by Lucinda Staniland
What is radical wholeness?
This is a question that Philip Shepherd has spent many decades exploring and experiencing. As an international embodiment expert and the author of “New Self, New World,” “Radical Wholeness,” and creator of The Embodied Present Process™, Philip has studied wholeness through scientific, historical and anthropological lenses and through the felt intelligence of his own body.
Kara-Leah Grant caught up with Philip to explore his nuanced and, to many of us in our head oriented culture, surprising experience of embodiment and wholeness.
As Philip so beautifully says,
“Wholeness cannot be achieved. You’re already whole, how can you escape it? There’s nothing but wholeness. All you can do is surrender to it.”
I trust that you will enjoy and surrender to this nourishing conversation.
Much wonderful work is offered to help us get in touch with our bodies. Philip’s work addresses something else: a marriage of the unique insights of the head with the body’s genius. Until those divided parts of our mind are united and coordinated, we cannot experience the unity of our being. The best we can do is switch between them, as though we had to choose one or the other. And in our culture, the default mode is the head.
Philip Shepherd has gained an international reputation as a teacher whose breadth of vision and original exercises enable people to escape the enclosed chatter of the head and ground their thinking in the calm, deep-dwelling intelligence of the body. His workshop provides tools to last a lifetime, even as it gently opens the door to a radical experience of wholeness.
Quotes from the interview
“Wholeness is the nature of the reality in which we live, and we have desensitized ourselves to it.”
On the brain in the gut
“We are so committed to this cultural story that the head should be in charge that there’s no place in our story for this brain in the belly.”
“There are cultures that honour the brain in the belly as the place where you come home to your most profound truth; it’s where you land in yourself and in the present.”
On the wounds of our culture
“The primary wound in our culture is the separation between our thinking and our being. We’ve been taught that we can think more clearly if we shut down the sensations of the body.”
“We have put so much faith in independence. We’re told to seek it in our lives and to strive towards it and there is no such thing. There’s no single example of independence in the universe.”
“There is a cultural message that tells us as children, “You are alone, and aloneness is the human condition.” It’s like we are taken as seedlings and stuck in this pot of aloneness and told to grow there.”
On the intelligence of the pelvic bowl
“The genius in the head is a genius of analysis, and we’re trying to patch together our lives into wholeness with a tool whose speciality is breaking things into pieces. The intelligence in the pelvic bowl is where our genius for integration lies.”