Healing From Within – Ping Pong Teaches Life Lessons
Host: Sheryl Glick R.M.T.
Special Guest: Guido Mina Di Sospirio
In today’s episode of “Healing From Within”, your host Sheryl Glick author of The Living Spirit: Answers for Healing and Infinite Love which shares stories of spiritual awakenings, spiritual communication, healing energies, miracles and ways to go within to find your true self, welcomes Guido Mina di Sospirio author of The Metaphysics of Ping- Pong who will show us how his love for spinning a feather-weight ball takes him from his local Ping Pong club to training drills with a world class coach sharing many philosophical principles of Plato and Aristotle, metaphysicians, the psychology of Carl Jung’s Sun Tzu’s war tactics the I Ching and much more. Guido was raised in Milan Italy in a multilingual home, trained as a classical guitarist and attended USC’s School of Cinema Production.
Guido as listeners of Healing From Within well know my guests and I seek to understand our spiritual and human nature in relationship to Universal Energy in order to know more about ourselves our emotions illusions and our multi-dimensional state of being. As we share our experiences and those of leaders in the metaphysical and scientific religious and medical fields we learn to transcend fear and worry and achieve wellbeing peace balance and a greater state of love of self and others.
Guido shows how what began as a hobby, Ping Pong, became a platform for a journey of the soul and heart and a quest for philosophical clarity. From celebrity clubs like SPIN in NYC owned by Susan Sarandon to pro athletic competitions table tennis—already the second largest participatory sport in the world, is undergoing a huge renaissance in the U.S…We will discuss two breeds of ping pong players: empiricists and metaphysicians, and will explore a world- wide passion for table tennis through the Perennial Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle and the psychology of Carl Jung.
As a child, Guido used to go to a summer camp in the Dolomites, which is a mountain range in the Alps in northeastern Italy. The boys and girls played, hiked, flirted and enjoyed the great outdoors and when it rained we were corralled into a huge recreation room on the first floor of the building and there was a ping pong table and large windows looking out toward the mountains…one boy a little older than Guido and his friends, was clearly the best player and he used a Butterfly Japanese racket. Into Guido’s teen years, he went to the Sea for vacation and there again was a ping pong table.
Guido writes, “As a teenager in the Swiss Alps I was able to play outside high in the Bernese Alps. With gusting winds that made the ball swerve unpredictably the effect was exhilarating and surreal..Surrounded by glistening snow- capped peaks and strong sun with cows mooing and grazing on the steepest slopes we used to play and drink Coca cola mixed with ice water from the glaciers…It was enlivening and empowering. For the most part and for most of the kids ping pong remained a summertime activity Then a life changing move from Milan to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California added new dimensions to his life experiences. Guido married and moved to Miami and put up an outdoor ping pong table and began teaching his three boys.” At that time it was still a recreational game.
Guido goes on to say “My full blown obsession with ping pong began 4 years ago with the semi-epic road trip from Albuquerque New Mexico through the southwest and into Southern California and then north to San Francisco. In a library in Big Sur a young librarian told me about Henry Miller and Bob Dylan who really didn’t hit it off but found out they both played ping pong. Ping pong has always attracted clever people. Discovering I had high blood pressure and needed more exercise I decided to find a club where I could have more time and exercise and met some interesting people I learned about extreme spin and the trajectory of the bounce and this was now Table Tennis and had a different nature and essence than merely ping pong.”
Guido has linked philosophy to table tennis. “During a summer in Italy my friend Rupert Sheldrake the controversial philosopher of science, his wife Jill and their 2 sons Merlin and Cosmos visited us and I taught them a few strokes…Back in London they persuaded their father to buy a table and all of them played. It was fun and surprisingly also intellectually stimulating…something about the game escaped us. Eventually after some speculative discussions about it we realized that ping pong is strikingly non Euclidean…Euclidean geometry is geometry of plain surfaces and three-dimensional space, but non-Euclidean geometry is the geometry of curved surfaces hence it is an appropriate term for this kind of ping pong.”
There are two breeds of ping pong players: Empiricists and Metaphysicians By adopting anti-spin paddles empiricists declare explicitly who they are and what they stand for. Metaphysicians on the other hand are fascinated by the mysteries of the spin which propels them into the realm of four-dimensional nonlinear geometry. They strive to bend the laws of physics by giving the ball the exact arc it needs to touch the deep end of the table rather than go long. The author is a Metaphysician finding one’s guru in the game. The higher the level of the game…the more the players are aligned to the Taoist Way self actualized in harmony with the cosmos. The humble game becomes a metaphor for understanding the entire human condition..As with planet Earth it’s all in the spin.
The Metaphysicians in the game of table tennis are those who strive to master the art of spinning and to find the secret at the core of the game one demanding a holistic approach that starts with agile footwork and ends with a snappy twist of one’s wrist….they strive to bend the laws of physics.
On the other hand table tennis empiricists take the easy path and don’t strive at all. In their empirical experience they’ve realized that spin remains a mystery to them and that striving takes them nowhere.
Guido and many other metaphysical players feel the empiricists are in essence losers as they represent what is cowardly and lazy in the human soul. It seems there are only some dwellers of the cave who mange to escape it and aspire to the true form. Table Tennis has taught Guido many things about his life. Guido learned about three types of initiation by the Roman scholar Mircea Eliade including puberty initiations: secret rites, involving exclusive membership and vocational rites with shamanic induction. The overriding motif of initiation is the death of ones’s former self and a dying of childhood and an awakening to adulthood. Our very life initiates with death and rebirth and affords the individual rite of passage from one state of being to another or allows for needed changes.
In observing the Chinese players, Guido noticed they were following not the teaching of their own countryman General Sun Tzu in the classic “The Art of War” which suggested that all warfare is based on deception and to subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill… but rather the German military theorist Carl von Clausewitz in his book “On War”. Carl von Clausewitz concentrated on a frontal attack saying that “War is an act of violence which in its application knows no bounds. Kind hearted people might wish for some ingenious way to disarm or defeat the enemy without too much bloodshed but pleasant as that sounds it is a fallacy that must be exposed: war is a dangerous business and mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst.”
Sheryl Says “In regard to these philosophies of war, it seems to be playing out in the world right now and appears our government is following Sun Tzu’s system in regard to Isis and the Middle East and probably should have a strategy more in alignment with Von Clausewitz’s “On War” forgetting deception spies and dodging the issues and forging forward with power and skill on the offensive not defensive stance.”
Guido tells us about some extraordinary people he met as he traveled on the tennis tour. Meeting Joe, Alex, Gilbert and Hein, Guido was surrounded by giants realizing it was an honor to be in their company…. He writes, “They had all suffered- loss, pain and tortured lives but were strong souls, such giants of the human spirit. I eventually understood humbleness and humility. The four giants had been humiliated either by ill fortune or by sadistic persecutors without losing their decency and dignity. Joe lost an eye..Alex… a Russian Jew was sent to Siberia to work as a slave..finally emigrated to Israel…Gilbert the Filipino player had a permanent limp due to having damaged one of his knees in an accident and had two jobs delivering papers and handyman of a large apartment complex. Hein was Vietnamese and spent 8 years in prison when captured during the war. I’ve come to realize that there exists a supranational tribe that numbers close to four hundred million that belongs to the United Colors of Table tennis and when you met a member from any country there is a feeling of familiarity. The Table Tennis planet seems to be a parallel world more enlightened, fair and friendly than the one we normally live in.”
Sheryl asks if Guido has a favorite competitor. He tells us that, “Jamie and his brother were responsible for forming and training the junior teams at the Club Deportivo Naco in the Dominican Republic with so many distinguished players: Jamie was a team member in the Table Tennis Diplomacy Dominican Republic vs. China event and had also been a national team member for the World Cup. Jamie is a distinguished economist at an international financial institution in Washington DC and has been playing competitive table tennis when he was young. Jamie enjoyed training me and did it as a friend and had plenty of instructions to impart.”
Sheryl says “In regard to finding a friend and or a teacher or Mentor on the journey of self-investigation and the search for inner truth in my book The Living Spirit I expressed it this way, “How do we begin to see, to feel, to know, to hear, in conjunction with higher souls, teachers loved ones, higher vibrational beings angels and indeed the voice of God?…..No book can replace your own experiential exploration of your Divine connection. Begin by finding an energy healer who can teach you about how your energy sustains a healthy life force within and how you can deal with daily life events in a proactive rather than reactive manner. You should also find a spiritual teacher, yoga practice, a meditative group, or an outdoor physical activity that brings you closer to the beauty and physical vibration of joy in your life and at the same time assists in opening the heart chakra to the expansiveness of life.”
Table tennis, when showing it true nature not only requires a dexterous hand for that is not enough…In a holistic discipline where every detail counts, in which the whole body contributes to a result that goes beyond the sum of each individual movement we realize it isn’t the game, but the player who has achieved a sense of enlightenment and acceptance of himself that is the real goal of any sport or endeavor and the reward or gift ultimately is self-fulfillment.
Table tennis or ping pong a game that originated in England now is one of the most popular sports in China.
The game as certain other pursuits is the way to self-awareness and peace within your own physical and spiritual journey…it leads you to meet other people and improve your way of communicating and moving through the daily challenges of life…It leads you to find friends and teachers for…. understanding the role of a teacher and friend..The teacher’s role is that of pathfinder the facilitator, the enabler someone who can give us the key to our treasure or in other words our own talent and ability. The twelfth –century mystic and poet Mizam Ganjavi wrote, “ By yourself you can do nothing: seek a Friend. If you could taste the slightest bit of your/insipidity, you would recoil from it. Taoist wisdom too states that teachers and friends play a vital role for support and guidance along the path spiritually or otherwise or both…..The ultimate teacher resides in our own heart but until we’ve made a stable connection with this inner wisdom, it is crucial to take advantage of these forms of external guidance.
The Metaphysics of Ping Pong offered Guido a journey of self-discovery and interactions with people many exotic countries and colorful people helping him realize that” If mankind dedicated more time to playing, there would be less hostility in the world and probably fewer wars
Guido has shared how his love for Table Tennis like all love is a passion for understanding life and living it in a most ethical and moral way so we may become the heroes of our own life journey and know ourselves our friends and the world and the Universe in an intimate and satisfying way. We spoke of the 2 types of players…the metaphysical and the Empiricists and Guido wrote “It is hard to understand why the various types of Tennis Table empiricists would resist escaping from the cave. But try to talk them into changing and they’ll resent you and point to their occasional wins against advanced players. In their mind winning is all that matters: how one wins is irrelevant.”
Guido and Sheryl would hope you would find your ways to move out of the cave or limitation of your fears and conditioned thinking and to think that winning is all that matters and to see the bigger reality: the joy and possibilities for reaching your full human potential for joy health love and wisdom through all the challenges events experiences and people in your life who offer you the opportunity to evolve and simply BE- the extraordinary being you already are. In knowing yourself you win and winning is within our reach when we ask the right questions.