Basic Principles

This is an unusual posting. If you are solely interested in meridian stretch, brain training or yoga then please ignore this posting. It contains an excerpt or the beginnings of a book I’m writing about “Basic Principles.”

Leading the Life
we want to Lead

Basic Principles are a set of guidelines that we can use in any area of life to make what we are doing easier. It would be like buying an Apple computer and being able to use it straight out of the box.

Likewise with basic principles. Rather than wasting time figuring out how to figure out what we are trying to do they are to help us know what we are doing. Once we know what we want to do the idea is then to provide the tools for how to do what we want to do.

The ultimate goal of these principles is to help us lead the life that we want to lead.

Living Life

The basic idea is finding the simple, easy or elegant way to do things or to get things done. But as well as applying to how we do things it also applies to how we relate to others. The idea isn’t to liken people to things (or things to people) but to derive the principles that are common in our relationships to both.

And if we just use that word, relationship, if we focus on that idea then this book is about making every relationship we are a part of a positive one.

And for those that we can’t make positive (after all it does take two to tango) then it offers ideas for how to disconnect from those relationships.

Another way of looking at these principles is as tools for being more conscious.

so we can

Why might we want to be more conscious?

First and foremost so that we can choose the life that we want to lead. That is part of what being conscious is, being able to choose. But prior to choosing we have to be aware of what the options are.

Being conscious means opening our eyes, and opening our heart or mind so that we can sense what is truly possible. Then we can choose.

As an analogy, driving on the road when it is foggy we have to drive slowly because it is difficult to see the limits of the road. However if we drive slowly because we imagine that it is still foggy even though it isn’t, well that is being unconscious. That doesn’t mean that we have to drive as fast as it can. It means that if we notice the fog is gone, if we can then see the edges of the road (and the gaps between the traffic that is on it) then we can drive as fast or as slow as we like. We can choose.

Looking for
Room to Move

Another analogy relates to the “cup is still full” story. In this story the teacher keeps filling the cup even though it is still full. The “lesson” is that if the student doesn’t empty his cup, how can his teacher fill it.

Another point of view of this story is that if the teacher is aware he will notice that the cup is full and stop pouring. If the student takes time to empty his cup and the teacher takes the time to notice when it is empty then the two can work in harmony.

And in that lesson is a principle. Use your senses. Direct them. If you are pouring tea make sure the cup is empty. Or watch for the cup to become empty and then act. (And be sure that the recipient actually desires more tea.)

If we use our senses we can wait for the opportunity to act. We can look for the “room to move,” In this case, a cup that is empty.

We can also look for the way to create room to move.

“You’re tea is getting cold.”


Basic principles are a way of practicing inner skill. Rather than brute forcing something to happen it is about finding the easy way to allow what we want to happen. That isn’t to say that effort is not required. It is to say that when it comes time to apply effort, that effort isn’t wasted. It has maximum effect and maximum benefit.

We get a really big bang for our buck.

In the next installment of basic principles I’ll talk about the basic building blocks of the universe.

In the meantime the regular installments of the email plan you are a part of will resume.

Thank you for your time.


Neil Keleher

Leading with the Mind

Life Skills

Most of the things that we can practice with the dance of shiva can be applied to anything we do. They include:

  • learning to break complex tasks into simpler ones,
  • sensing and choosing options,
  • knowing what we are doing before we do it.

One of the advantages of the Dance of Shiva is that it provides a good way of practicing any of these skills. Plus you don’t have to figure out how to practice them, you can simply get on with practicing them.

Clear Ideas

One of the things we can practice is “leading with the mind” or “leading with a clear idea”.

In the more advanced practices (I call them “Warps”) we can memorize a sequence of moves. An example would be “CF-T, CF-CF, CF-B, F-CF.”

This is a “generic” formula that can be used to start from any of the 64 different positions of the dance of shiva. Repeating this formula 4 times returns the arms to the position from which they started. So that we use each of these moves from each of the 64 positions we need to practice this formula from 16 different positions.

When practicing this sequence or any other sequence, before we “do” each move we can first see it with our mind.

As an example, starting from position 1-1 the first move is a CF-T which takes the arms to b-3. With enough practice we know the positions so that they are easy to see with our minds eye. As a result we can see our hands in position b-3 before we actually move them there.

From our new positions we can then see what the result of the next move is before we do it. From b-3 we can “see” that the CF-CF move will take our arms to 3-d. Having seen with our mind we can then move our arms there.

Rather than moving automatically and then checking where we are once we get there, we use our mind first and then follow with our body.

Move Mind
then Body

If we move first (automatically) and we move correctly, our hand position shows us where we went. That is not a “bad” thing. However, if we think first then we have to use our mind to draw up the memory of where our hands should go. Rather than relying on our body to give us the answer we use our mind and then we use our body.

We can learn to use our mind quite quickly in this fashion. Rather than waiting for our body to give us the answer so that we can check it, we use our mind and then check that our body has done the move correctly.

This is exactly like the kung fu movies where the adverseries see the fight and what they do in it before the fight actually begins.


Another term for gong fu is inner skill. I like to take this as meaning seeing with the mind first and then doing with the body. Practicing “inner skill” with the dance of shiva we develop our ability to think fast.

Thinking fast, we can do quick movements knowing that we are doing the movement correctly, or we are able to correct ourselves while we are doing the movement if we spot that we have made a mistake.

This “leading” with the mind lends itself immediately to what we do outside of the dance of shiva.

Do we know what it is that we are trying to do? If not what is it that we are trying to do. We can then spend time figuring it out rather than wasting time by doing something we don’t need to do. Then once we are doing something we can do it quickly, efficiently and like a martial arts master.

Practicing Warps, if we use our mind to know where we are going before we get there we can then lend additional brain power to monitoring our arms as they do the movement (since we already know where they are going.) We can make our movements more precis, more exact.

We then not only train our brain, we also train its ability to control the body while training the body at the same time.

To try out a warp (don’t worry, this is for free) click here.


Neil Keleher