Health in a time of crisis: Legendary fitness and health teacher Paul Chek on Against Everyone With Conner Habib

20 Oct

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Want to buy the books mentioned on this ep, including Paul’s game-changing book, How To Eat Move and Be Healthy? Go to my booklist for AEWCH 129 on bookshop.org. It will  help support independent bookstores, and the show gets a small financial kickback, too.

Friends,

We’re heading into another lockdown here in Ireland, and Europe is returning to conditions of earlier this year. The US is heading towards its election and people are being banned on social media and other people are gaining power and everyone is just trying to cope.

Amongst all of this, I’ve spotted a problem, or should I say the spiritual challenge, of the current crisis which is largely un-talked about and quite dangerous: the state of absolute yet unearned certainty which is accompanying so much of the way we talk to each other, the way we think about others and the way we form our lives and responses.

I’m not talking just about the mainstream narrative here, either. I’ve noticed that many of the most spiritually evolved and politically active and intellectually developed people – the people I love and trust for solid perspectives on most things – are all putting forth their various narratives with a sense of total certainty, accompanied with a sense of intense emotion. And I see them trying to dominate each other. It’s almost as if anyone not believing what you believe about this crisis is unbearable, that anyone and everyone must be pulled into our own dimension of intense feeling and righteous certainty to be heard.That means that no matter what the content of the narrative we have is – the gesture is the same. In other words, even if you think you believe in something different, this act of emotion-filled certainty is leading to the same consequence and action. This holds true for conspiracy theorist and mainstream liberal, spiritually advanced teacher and atheist materialist. All in the shadow.

In fact one of the most difficult things to do in this crisis is to look through to see what we actually know and to separate it from what we don’t know. So we need to come up with a counter-gesture – and it can’t be the completely disingenuous and ineffectual “well, I don’t know!” That’s completely impotent, it’s a failed attempt at inaction, and a totally smug posturing.

Instead, we have to find a way to meet each other in our conflicting certainties.

Certainty is a deadness. It’s a kind of dead knowledge that acts as if it’s an object (objective thinking some like to call it). There’s nothing wrong with dead knowledge, exactly. In fact, its deadness is what allows us to hold it, interpret it, examine it from different angles. We can reject or accept it. But holding the dead form of certainty only takes us so far – because we don’t have a question of what the right knowledge is here. And it’s becoming increasingly clear – just look around you! – that there will forever remain differing certainties of what’s right.

What the question is, then, is: How do we come into relationship with each other?

We don’t need a fixed type of knowledge, we need a living relationship to the truth that we’re all creating.

That’s the counter gesture to the certainty: finding a way to interact with others that helps us come together no matter what their narrative is.

How will the ant-mask person get along with the person who needs to wear a mask? Where’s the meeting point that’s not just the screaming fit in the Trader Joe’s or the histrionics of photographing people in the park who aren’t wearing masks? How do we find common ground between the person who wants to protect their grandparents and the person who wants to protect their business? How do we come to wholeness with one another?

Wholeness is a kind of health; the word health comes from the word meaning “whole!” So I knew I needed to talk with someone about this on a wholistic level.

Paul Chek is one of the most respected health professionals in the world and the founder of the CHEK institute (which shares his name but stands for Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology). He’s done health consultations for professional golfers, the Chicago Bulls, and many many more elite athletic clients. His book How To Eat Move And Be Healthy revolutionized fitness and personal health and wellness. He’s also the host of the complex and detailed and engaging podcast Living 4D with Paul Chek, on which he talks to health practitioners and experts from all modalities.

I found Paul’s work shortly after I’d moved to San Francisco, when I decided that I wanted to create a new kind of body for myself. I didn’t want to knock myself out of balance by doing what I saw many others doing – taking chemical steroids, eating whey protein, working out in haphazard ways.

Paul’s work is the opposite of all that. It’s layered and profound – He talks not just about how I should eat this much protein and carbs and calories or whatever, but about, diet, happiness, quiet, movement. And most importantly, how they interact with each other. How does sleep affect diet? How does moving the right way affect my ability to be happy? How do my relationships affect my posture? Over the years, Paul’s public output has grown even more wholistic and more comprehensive – I heard him talking more and more about spirituality and capitalism and God and sex (not to mention Rudolf Steiner!). You’ll hear it on this episode – we start to talk about health, and we end up talking about God and reality and death and listening to your soul – and in the course, I hope you as a listener can recognize that these are the questions of health – that questions of health are extensions of questions about reality, God, death, creativity, and paradoxes.This is a dizzying conversation about health and wellness.

And because Paul is funny, we start and end with dick jokes.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The options available for health, including doing nothing
  • The importance of webbing together concepts of health
  • The individuality of health and how to chose between experts
  • “It’s not a crisis, it’s an awakening…If you’re running away from a lion, it’s a bad idea to throw in a cartwheel!”
  • Why we need to be “world-centric”
  • The reason why the world absolutely depends on your existence
  • How realizing you can’t see your own face gives you a reality
  • God witnessing itself through us
  • The importance of reptiles for consciousness
  • The hijacking of alternative health modalities by fundamentalists and racists
  • Vegetarianism as a natural principle, not a rule
  • The world as a schoolyard of souls
  • Why we’re not actually afraid of death

SHOW NOTES

• For more on Paul, visit the CHEK Institute, of course, where you can sign up for courses, find practitioners in your area, and look into Paul Chek’s media. A favorite episode of mine for our moment? “Creating Stability In A Time Of Crisis” Also, Paul does a multilayered Q&A on his show every few episodes. They’re great introductions to his work and thinking. Here’s his second Q&A which I particularly like. You can also read the sporadic entries on his blog.

• My two essays on the difficult time of my life are here: on being assaulted by my then-boyfriend and getting a lymphoma diagnosis.

• The quote, “God sleeps in the rock, dreams in the plant, stirs in the animal, and awakens in man,” is attributed to Rumi, Ibn Arabi, Madame Blavatsky, and more. Anyway, it’s good.

• For more on the creation of elementals, listen to AEWCH 67 with Daniel Joseph. And for a bit on being the universe witnessing yourself, listen to AEWCH 116 with Are Thoresen. And here’s my conversation with Mona Eltahawy who says, on AEWCH 121, “If your community is ready for you, you’re already too late.”

• If you’d like to learn about Ian Stevenson’s reincarnation research, here’s a good resource.

• Here’s a lovely picture of Shankaracharya for you to put your attention to.

• My friend Mira Bartok is the person whose brain was damaged and suddenly got more input. She wrote about her brain damage in the bestselling memoir, The Memory Palace.

• I wrote an accessible intro to the work of French psychoanalyst and philosopher Jacques Lacan as part of my “The Sex Radicals” series.

• I talked about the changing nature of archetypes in relation to consciousness on AEWCH 112 with Peter Berbegal.

• To get an intro to biogeometry, you can listen to Paul’s conversation with Dr. Ibrahim Karim, and also this great intro to biogeometry with Dr. Karim on Nick Penault’s podcast.

Friends – stay whole and stay healthy.

Love,

CH

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