Primal Foundations

About Luca Rade

Hello, I’m Luca Rade.

I used to have an iron mind. I worked my way into Princeton, where I built my own interdisciplinary major in psychology, mathematics, and ecology, then worked my way to magna cum laude (high honors) and a promising research career.

But, although I didn’t realize it at the time, I hated my soul, this force inside me I couldn’t control. I was ashamed of it. I abusively tried to hammer my soul into the shape my mind demanded of it.

Then, as my mind forced it ever farther towards a lifetime of enslavement, my soul was saved by poetry and dance.

First, through a portal opened by my professor, the French poet René Char spoke across decades to me of the wanderings of the soul in a cage of shame, and more importantly, he showed my heart there was another way to exist. After class, I wandered in a surreal daze through the winter storm that had ripped through campus, awakened from my mind’s long dominion.

A year later, during a dance class, my spine clicked into place for the first time in my life and I felt for a moment what it was like to walk fully upright and relaxed on this earth, with my primal energies flowing.

Heart and Soul

From there, the habitual grip of my mind over my actions gradually loosened enough for my heart and soul to begin having real influence on my path through life. I abandoned my research project on adaptation in complex systems and my systems biology PhD, moved with a friend to Berlin to explore experimental dance and somatics, and set up a decision coaching practice. It was a big risk, diving into unknown territory, and I was filled with fear.

The Frontier of Being

A year later, I reached the frontier. At a Contact Improv retreat in the south of Portugal, connected through dance and touch to the group, to myself, and to the nature around us, I felt for the first time in my life that what I was experiencing was not remotely like anything I’d ever seen in a movie, read in a book, or experienced around me during childhood.

It was not just different; it was in an entirely different class of experience, one for which there were no models, no rules, no precedents, no systems, no words. There was just experience, unfolding in the moment, pure and rich. I felt I had found the frontier of being itself.

The experience was so profound, that after further training, I began teaching Contact Improv classes.

But I began noticing that the frontier was not in Contact Improv itself; I only rarely felt it again at Contact Improv events. Various other somatic practices, including Qi Gong, Bodymind Centering, and physical intimacy occasionally gave me the same feeling; but so did reading certain poetry in the right life circumstances, so did visiting my family with a new attitude, so did days after particularly vivid dreams I wrote down in my dream journal.

What the frontier of being really was, was the feeling that every moment is exquisitely new, that I am only and completely alive in this moment here, and that I am free to exist as whatever it is that I am. I experienced in the frontier the state of presence and oneness I’d been promised but never fully reached through years of meditation. And I could sense that there was a pattern to the apparently disconnected moments in which I arrived at it.

The Primal Way of Being

Now my mind’s Princeton training had found its purpose, in synergy with my heart and soul. Stretching my interdisciplinary capacities far beyond what I imagined possible, harnessing my multicultural upbringing between Europe, South America, and the US, building on my decision coaching and contact improv teaching experience, and leaping ever farther into the unknown, I fought lucidly to understand and give form to the frontier I’d discovered, so I could solidify it and create a portal into it.

And so, through experimentation, trainings, philosophy, friendship, and love, I gained increasing clarity on the nature of the Western way of being I’d spent most of my life in, and of the Primal way of being I was now flowing ever deeper into.

To my surprise, the main difference was not in radical lifestyle shifts, as I’d thought. I moved deeper into the Primal way of being when I returned closer to the lifestyle I was used to. And in my explorations, I discovered that the Western way of being was dominant even among hippies living in the forest and dancers exploring their bodies.

Instead, I found the difference between the Western way of being and the Primal way of being to be in people’s inner relationships with the forces in and around them.

These inner relationships were subtle, following a logic of their own. I met countless people who had tried to shift them, upending their lives and going through intensive retreats, meditation practices, healing processes, and somatic explorations, but in the end had only reinforced their stuckness in the Western way of being. It was tragic to witness. I only avoided a similar fate by following my deeper intuition and finding guidance in works of philosophy, poetry, anthropology, and mysticism, even when they went against what everyone around me said.

And so, after running a series of smaller pilot programs to refine and generalize my methods, I created Primal Foundations as the sorely needed initiation process from the Western way into the Primal way of being, bringing into lived form the work of the many philosophers, artists, mystics, and scientists who have labored to understand and transcend the Western way of being, in synergy with the deep intuitions bubbling up from the primal energy coursing through me.

For my deeper insights into the journey of being alive and the Primal way of being, check out my podcast: