The Royal Arts
Eastern cultures have recognized for many thousands of years that the proper study of integral arts is a "royal road" to superb health, high levels of fitness, and higher consciousness development. After years of focused attention, the royal artist comes to realize the underlying fundamentals of the training: Release from the constraints of time and space, triumphs over limitations of the physical body, and dissolution of ego become very real and frequent training experiences.
A high quality of vitality is the foundation of human health & longevity, the basis of immunity and resistance. As vitality depends on nutrition, breath energy, and nourishment of spirit, we are able to significantly affect how much vitality we have. Cultivating vitality directly on the level of energy is the realm of the ancient Royal Arts.
The longest-lasting, most efficient method of generating vitality is through the integration of three higher human functions: breath work/chi kung; visualization; integral mind-body movement. These three functions have been consciously integrated, codified, and presented systematically in India, Tibet, China, southeast Asia for several thousand years.
The systems we are referring to have been known variously as "vajramukti/Lion's Roar/ch'uan fa/kempo"; we shall refer to them here as "The Royal Arts," as they've been the root training (as well as higher studies) for a preponderence of sages, warrior-kings, and holy men, including Gautama and Bodhidharma. The Royal Arts includes the martial arts, training in medical practices (massage, spinal adjustment, acupuncture, herbal lore), philosophical investigations, spiritual research, meditation practice. The differences and similarities inherent to the major components, known as the Internal School and the External School, generally reflect the weight of martial intent. However, it is absolutely true that both approaches include good health, longevity, spiritual growth and abundant energy as core concerns.
Uninformed and inexperienced altruists exclaim about the inappropriateness of yoga studies including martial arts, as Yoga is founded in ahimsa (literally, "not violent"). This is an incomplete understanding of the word, and The Royal Arts embrace the larger definition: the love of creation. Awakened beings recognize that some humans are of evil disposition, that there are those who destroy life and the earth for pleasure. I once asked my Hatha and meditation teacher, a Brahmin priest, why he was carrying a 6-foot staff at his side in an old photo on the wall of the ashram.
"Very good bamboo," he replied. "Bad people come close and you whack 'em once here," and gestured to the top of his cranium. "Split the head like a melon. Very good bamboo."
Sage advice from a Guardian of the Inner Temple. Indeed, all the ancient civilizations cultivated superior men who fused martial skills with the Divine Arts.
Potent self-energy indicates a successful, dynamic relationship between different aspects of animate-inanimate-spiritual life. The Royal Arts is the study and application of this relationship. The Royal Arts helps us to see how fundamental forces of the cosmos mirror within ourselves. It enables us to live consciously in direct relationship to cosmic forces. It enables us to extract everything we can from the human experience.
This is what is promised to us from this work: