TG: Hi Michael, thanks for being interviewed. Could you start off by telling us a little about your background in the wellbeing industry?
MJ: You’re welcome Tom & thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I started my career working as a manual physiotherapist and from there went through a somewhat Parcival journey searching for the Holy Grail even though I wasn’t aware of it back then. Back then, I did what I was always taught to do, which was study hard, work hard, and be the best physio, and most of all,….get results. It wasn’t long before I started realizing that although I was getting results with patients, there were always those where it seemed I couldn’t do anything for them. This along with a deceptive healthcare system in the United States steered me towards alternative perspectives such as the strength and conditioning, personal training, and nutrition fields. From there I ran into Paul Chek’s work and he helped open my eyes to the possibilities that I was only previously unconsciously dreaming of. I always had an intuition that there was something else missing or at least a different way of looking at the same old conditions and Paul taught me to not only look further outside the box, but to be the box, and still be able to come back within the box and put things all together so that everything flows. After completing CHEK IV in 2007, like Parcival, I began to ask the right questions and break out of the mold of my old conditioning and walked away from a successful private physiotherapy practice and started working primarily as a CHEK Practitioner. If that wasn’t enough, I then went through shamanic training with Alberto Villoldo and the box I was grown to be intimately involved with totally disappeared; meaning, even my identity as a CHEK Practitioner was dissolving. Presently I coined a term “health consulting” to describe the eclectic approach and expansive manner in which I work with clients. My “Ten second elevator speech” when asked what it is I do for a living is: “I help people find the Soul through the Body by finding the Courage to change the Mind.”
TG: What edge do you feel you being a Chek Practitioner IV gives you personally?
MJ: As one scales the ranks in the CHEK Practitioner program, you develop what I like to call “perverted seeing”; not like a dirty old man sense but more in the way that you look at things from as many different angles as possible without necessarily accepting what is considered “acceptable” until experience dictates otherwise. And even still, you are open to the fact that everything is constantly changing so what may be true yesterday, may not hold true today, or even tomorrow. In CHEK Levels I to III, the intern learns about the Body in relation to the Mind. In CHEK IV, they are prepared to relate the Mind with the Soul and after CHEK IV, the Practitioner is no longer the same because who they thought they once were no longer weighs them down. I like to jokingly call this “CHEK V & Beyond” because the ego demands/wants/desires are exposed and the window to the Soul is shattered opened so that It can no longer be ignored. The CHEK IV training is a process that continues long after Paul Chek gives you a hug and your certificate. The “edge” personally for me, is the courage to LOVE. Keep in mind that not all who have completed CHEK IV training experience this initially unless they have also completed Paul’s PPS mastery program. I actually took a different route where I was called to follow the shamanic path and through that training learned to “wine & dine & sixty-nine” my shadows so that I can be completely present with clients.
TG: What benefits does it give your clients?
MJ: Imagine how awesome it would feel if you can go to someone whenever you had an issue and you can fully express yourself in an environment that felt safe, non-judgmental, peaceful, and perhaps most importantly, no separation which allows for empathy and compassion to fuel the healing process. Imagine regardless of what was said during your session, healing happens simply from the both of you “listening” to one another. Sometimes we can develop physical/mental conditions because we’ve forgotten how to listen – to our body, our thoughts, and our actions, as well as to others. Someone can teach you how to listen simply by being fully Present with you and although somewhat subtle, may be the most effective approach to facilitate the changes necessary for healing. The clients that commonly feel called to see me are the ones that have some very deep seated issues that are way beyond the physical symptoms on the surface. My days of superficial “quick-fix” treatments are long past and what I offer clients is an opportunity to go deeper within; and in this manner self-empowerment happens. There are a ton of professionals who are willing to work on the surface and provide “quick-fix” care…I’ve been there, done that, and have grown to where I am now understanding that some may not be ready to go deep, and yet many are…
TG: How important is the link between body and mind?
MJ: Great question! The reality is that there is no separation or link between body and mind and it is probably more accurate to say body-mind instead. We as society have been conditioned to what is called the Cartesian separation from the philosophy of Rene Descartes and Newtonian mechanics of reductionism where any thing can be broken down and studied from its fragments and a theoretical understanding of the whole is formulated. The problem with this, which is being proven in the quantum sciences, is that the separation of “things” is an illusion. It is actually not just body-mind, but body-mind-soul, three aspects of the whole Human Being, three sides of the same coin. To refer one aspect without the other is fragmented and limits one’s Life experience. I saw this a lot working as a physio where patients would come to me for chronic pain or such and no matter how much I addressed the physical aspects, there were always mental/emotional and Soul issues interfering with their healing. We are now entering an epoch of Human evolution where we are beginning to learn, or rather remember, the Soul aspect of the three-foldedness of the Human Being. The difficulty in this task was that how do we objectify one that is not an object? And this is a question that can truly only be answered through experience and not solely by abstract thinking.
TG: How can we go about developing this link?
MJ: On the surface for your average, everyday person, there is perceived a link between the body and mind and it may be difficult for them to see the connections at first nonetheless acknowledge the two as one in the same. Someone may be in love and have their heart broken and experience a heavy feeling around the chest is a classic example of the body and mind link. To transcend the delusion of separation of the body and mind we can learn from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras where the fourth step, or limb, of yoga is called pranayama. This is referred to as controlled breathing and the breath is the bridge that connects the body and the mind. Awareness of the breath during one’s thoughts and actions is an initial step to “linking” the body and mind as one and this is commonly how beginning meditators are taught how to quiet the constant activity of the Mind.
Practices such as yoga or qigong or any meditative practice may also enhance or “enlighten” one to body-mind awareness. I teach a simple technique where whenever one feels something off in their body to immediately at that moment ask themselves what was on their mind or what was going on in their life around the time they noticed their discomfort and without judgment or speculation to simply place it aside and see if a clearer picture, or message, is revealed to them.
TG: What part do you feel food has to play in the mix?
MJ: Food is like the great equalizer to bring together all aspects of the Human Being. It nourishes the Body, calms the Mind, and soothes the Soul. But when there is a disconnect between these aspects, food is more like fuel for the machine of the Body. The Body becomes a slave to the Mind and the Mind a slave to the senses and the Soul becomes lost to the imagination. As a result, food is used as a source for comfort, pleasure, and happiness and because many look outside of themselves for these feelings rather than within, it is no surprise there are so many overweight people. Again, what is missing is a connection to the Soul aspect. The over consumption of food distracts the Mind’s connection to the Soul and this is why in every world religion there is some form of fasting as part of a purification state for one to become closer to “God”. Fasting brings one closer to their Soul/Spiritual natures because the Mind is less distracted. The thing about food is to find the right quality and quantity for each given moment you eat that assists the overall rhythmic flow of your day. Right eating is mindful eating, or conscious eating, where you are aware of your relationship to the food, you, and the greater scheme of Life.
TG: Why do you feel it is that the average person gives very little consideration to the quality of food that they eat?
MJ: Again, there is a conditioned belief that the Body is simply a machine and food (ie. any food) is the fuel and that food is food and as long as one has food in their belly it doesn’t matter what the quality is (and if it’s cheap, quick, and convenient, even better). It is this conditioning that desensitizes us and our relationship to food, the food sources, and the planet that grows the food sources. The paradox here is that the more processed and refined food one eats the more of a “robot”, or machine one becomes. In other words, the less Human. How do you think our ancestors were able to distinguish what plants, bugs, or animals were safe to eat or what plants had medicinal attributes and for what ailments? Even in our modern times in the Amazon Rain Forest there are shaman who can “listen” to plants and know which is for what situation. If you simply tried to eat more wholesome, fresh, organic or locally grown food and eliminate or minimize any processed food for a couple of weeks and then went back to eating junk food, you would be able to distinguish a significant difference. Of course this would entail finding some courage to change the Mind by challenging some of its old beliefs but commonly it is when someone gets sick or hits “rockbottom” that they are open to even try something new.
TG: What are the most common barriers that your clients have to success and how do you overcome these?
MJ: Without hesitation it is the person’s mind/ego that has created protective mechanisms that are so cleverly engineered that one may not ever be aware of them until total chaos forces then to be known. Each person is their own worse enemy because they have a shadow they are either not aware of or are aware of it but trying to resist, or fight, it. The shadow is that dark part of us that we don’t want anyone to know about because we’re ashamed of it. The ego can be so clever in hiding these shadows that we project our issues outwardly and recruit others to play along with our drama. How often do you see someone that bothers you or pisses you off? It just may be that they are simply acting out parts of you that you have not been willing to fully address. If not, then it wouldn’t bother you, would it? You see, in this respect we’re all liars. And the more lies we refuse to address, the further away we push our Soul/Spiritual natures from us.
I help clients from where they are and commonly they are “stuck” in the Mind level so what I do is go in their mind and do what the mind does best which is wrap itself around things with its thoughts and have their thoughts wrap around themselves and then unravel them with several different perspectives and angles of the same issue so that eventually the Mind can start seeing through its own workings and self-willingly be able to “step outside” of itself. It is then the client can get out of their Mind and start communicating with the Soul through the Imagination. Now the Mind, rather than just communicating with the Body and the senses, can relate to the Soul as well and all three aspects learn to work together.
TG: Tell us a bit about what the future holds for you?
MJ: If I knew the future I would be considered a psychic which I am not. But I can tell you my dream. On the microcosmic level, the dream is to teach others to reconnect and relate with their Soul/Spiritual natures in this lifetime rather than wait for the period after death. And to do this in a manner that is practical, real, and universal. On the macrocosmic level, the dream is to move to Peru and open up a retreat center where anyone in the world can visit and learn their way back to Health.
TG: Thanks for your time Michael, and we wish you all the best for the future!