The Embodied Spiritual Path with Richard Strozzi-Heckler, Ph.D.

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The French philosopher Descartes (1596-1650) was certain that we could alleviate chaos and provide certainty through rational means. His reigning philosophy was one of separating the mystery of Spirit from the life of the body. Reason ruled and sensing, feeling; intuition, and emotions, took a backseat to logic and conceptual thinking. And that philosophy continues to rule to this day, although quantum physics and other scientific research are pointing to a reality beyond the perceptions of our strictly rational brain. This deep dialogue explores the embodied spiritual path and what it means to live more consciously in a human body. He says, “The body is 3 billion years of evolution and there's a tremendous wisdom and intelligence in it that moves us towards wisdom, connection, mutuality, and interdependence. We are educated out of that. I'm not talking against rational thinking, because we are rational beings too. But there's a whole array of deep wisdom that we no longer have access to. And, I think that this lack of wisdom is one of the reasons that most conflict turns to violence.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms) 


Richard Strozzi-Heckler, Ph.D. is a coach and consultant on embodied leadership and mastery and has spent more than five decades researching, developing, and teaching Somatics and embodiment practices to organizations in such fields as education, healthcare, leadership team development, military, technology and international peace work, including the United States Marine Corps.. He holds a Shihan 7th-degree black belt in aikido and has founded and cofounded several Aikido schools and projects including the Mideast Aikido Project and Training across Borders, organizations that bring citizens from warring countries together to practice aikido. He was advisor to General Jim Jones, the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe from 2003 to 2006 in Afghanistan. He is the founder of the Strozzi Institute, where he teaches courses on somatic coaching and leadership in action. 

Richard Strozzi-Heckler, Ph.D. is the author of many books including: 

  • In Search of the Warrior Spirit, Fourth Edition: Teaching Awareness Disciplines to the Green Berets (Blue Snake Books 2007)
  • The Art of Somatic Coaching: Embodying Skillful Action, Wisdom, and Compassion (North Atlantic Books 2014)
  • Embodying The Mystery: Somatic Wisdom for Emotional, Energetic, and Spiritual Awakening (Inner Traditions 2022) 

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Topics explored in this dialogue include: 

  • What is the somatic methodology and how it combines the Soma, mind, body, and Spirit
  • What was meant by the proverb from New Guinea, Knowledge is only useful when it is in the muscle
  • What were the early lessons as taught to Strozzi by his Swedish grandmother
  • How was Strozzi’s life informed by the experience of observing the dead dog and how its transformation of going back to the land fed a multitude of life
  • How Strozzi’s life was transformed by the study of martial arts
  • Who was Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) founder of Aikido
  • What are the basic principles of the practice of Aikido that translate into being in harmony with a universal energy
  • Who was Nisargadatta Maharaj and what did Strozzi learn from him
  • How did Strozzi introduce meditation in his trainings to leadership groups
  • What is Strozzi’s advice regarding the fallacy in the search for certainty
  • Why making fear an ally can lead to the deeper wisdom that resides in the body
  • Who was Randolph Stone, founder of Polarity Therapy
  • How the sensation of longing is embedded in our DNA as a homing device to guide us to our true home
  • How aikido can be compared to a murmuration of Starlings
  • Why does Strozzi advise to go inside and bring your attention to the life of the body
  • Why we must continue to practice, practice, practice as life-long learners 

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 8/26/2022   Program Number: 3769

Music Playlist

From Album:  Touching Silk
Artist: Frank Steiner Jr.
2004 Real Music RM 8137

Opening Essay: Track 02 Indira's Chant
Music Break 1: Track 04 Beyond The Horizon
Music Break 2: Track 05 Bells Of Himalaya
Music Break 3: Track 10 Akash