Sunday, December 04, 2016

Learning All the Wrong Things

It's not so much that people never learn -- as much as it is that they learn all the wrong things, and are convinced (persuaded) that it doesn't make any difference -- as long as one is learning.  But usually, along with such "learning," is the resistance to learning the difference between the "right" thing, and the "wrong" thing -- for which the self-designated "teachers" insist, is never necessary because they'll do that for them -- rather than the most important thing to learn, and the whole point of learning.

Those who cannot make such distinctions (discriminations), are of course incapable of distinguishing right from wrong -- in virtually everything they do, and others have to do that for them -- often than not, forcefully and definitively.  Those who are uncertain, or incapable of making those distinctions themselves, invariably become drawn into the chaos and confusion of the utterly lost.

So one of the great achievements in every life, is this ability to distinguish right from wrong -- and not fall into the despair that nothing matters, and the spoils go to the most ruthless in taking them.  That is the most primitive understanding of things -- and proof of learning the wrong lessons.  It may seem to work initially, but soon, everyone catches on to that manner of being and doing, and learns to avoid them, thus such people, are always on the prowl for fresh victims -- who are not yet "on" to them.  Invariably, they are the easiest people to run into -- because they have to go through many to find the few who are worse than they do -- wreaking havoc and mischief in their wake.

That could range from domestic to international affairs and treaties.  What is common in every case and matter, is the belief that anything one can get another to believe, is reality -- and not that reality is not just their agreement to see whatever they want to.  Such like-minded people are capable of convincing themselves of anything -- until they run out of other people's money, patience and goodwill.  That is the world of delusion and wishful-thinking -- over the sorry truth.

So when things go wrong, they have no way of making them right, or even knowing something is wrong in the first place.  To them, that is just the way things work -- and not that it could ever be better.  That is particularly true with age -- and what they think is "normal."  There is simply nothing they can do to alter that fact -- and so they do nothing, despite the fact they have all the time in the world to do anything they really wanted to do.  Instead, they dwell and ruminate over all the things they cannot do -- as the only thing they do anymore.

Naturally, the world for such people, collapses and grows smaller with each passing day -- because they are not expanding that world, as every meaningful life has to do.  It doesn't matter what they did fifty years ago -- or even ten.  It's the same advice we give to the young, yet think somehow, the old are immune from it.  The whole trick to staying young, is not plastic surgery and other advanced procedures, but approaching each moment as though learning it for the first time, with no preconceived notions of the possible and impossible -- but just "finding out," never presuming to know.

The one who says, "I know," is invariably the person who has learned all the wrong things -- thinking it is everything there is to know.

Friday, November 04, 2016

The Critical Path

People who think that everything is going wrong, are often surprised to realize that everything going wrong is the result of only one fatal error that makes everything else go wrong, and that correcting the one, would make all the others go right -- and not that one has to redo and reinvent the wheel in everything one does.

That is the surprising but hopeful news -- that one has to find the key to everything going right, and not the key to every door -- as though somehow, they are not connected and related to every other. That is the critical path -- that determines the success or failure of every other.  It is the assumption that all the others are based upon -- that should have been examined critically and not presumed that one had perfect knowledge to proceed.

It is always the simplest and most basic assumption -- that one has gotten wrong -- that threatens the most elaborate of theories and explanations resulting in confusion and disaster, in even the simplest of activities and executions.  Often, it is attention to the beginning and the end, while paying no attention to the process in between -- and whether that made a real difference.  That is frequently the case when one thinks the mere passage of time is sufficient to make a difference -- while not inquiring whether any processing actually took place in that interim.  The most familiar of this occurrence, is when a machine one has used reliably for quite some time, no longer works -- yet one is not aware of that passing.

They merely expect that after 30 minutes, the clothes will be washed, or the food cooked or chilled, and the clock will still tell the right time -- unfailingly.  So in using any machine, or relying on another, one also has to maintain the possibility, that something could go wrong -- even if it hasn't before -- and provide for a backup and failsafe in such an event.  The reason for multiple smoke detectors is so that they never all go out at the same time, or are disabled in the same manner -- to use their batteries in a less critical capacity, such as entertainment and recreation.  That is a critical failure in judgment -- that leads to no further other.

Yet a few people do such things -- as ride a bicycle on a dark road, wearing dark clothes and no lighting -- and expecting somebody else to see them, and assure their safety.  Such people are disasters waiting to happen -- but way before then, are the many signals along the way before the final rupture.  They'll take care of it -- after it happens, and so it invariably does, and all their hopes and dreams that it never does, are shattered in that instance.

There is no failsafe provision against things going wrong.  It is merely hoped that they never do.  Time after time, such people are disappointed -- that there is just one critical factor missing that would have changed everything -- and they are just that one missing link from perfect understanding and execution, getting from here to there.  That is the critical path -- that makes all the difference, while everything else, makes much less of a difference.

That is what they have to determine -- as the most important thing to do.  Failing to make that discrimination, will keep them wandering in the wilderness for all their days.   Many even pride themselves that they are incapable of making any discrimination -- as though that was a badge of distinguished accomplishment.  That means they are totally dependent on others to tell them what to think -- because they have never been thought how to think -- for themselves.

They are merely rewarded for the correctness of their answers -- and knowing the right people to follow in this respect -- as though knowing that, was truth itself.  So one asks, how do I know, what I think I do?  Was it just a falsehood planted in my memory that is beyond my asking?  That is the root of all one's difficulties and problems.  That is the critical path one dare not trod.

But asking that one question, is the key to life -- and all its answers.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Always Be Changing

The characteristic that most distinguishes those living badly -- is their resistance to changing -- particularly when everything in life is demanding that they do, and rather than flowing with that intelligence (information), they choose to deny it -- thinking in that manner, that they can get everything else in the world, to conform to their demands and expectations for it.

And so life beats them down -- relentlessly and unmercifully until they either relent or succumb.  There just is no way of denying reality -- which is the sum total of intelligence, and not just one's own thinking to prevail over it.  That is the critical failure of life -- inevitably resulting in death, but even before that, destruction and injury along the way -- until that final moment.  But before that end becomes manifest, there is much that one can do to improve their chances of prolonging and enhancing their lives -- no matter what.

Life is always the choice between better or worse.  One need not know all the answers at first.  One simply can choose between better or worse -- in that particular moment, and that results in the next, and not that starting from zero, one has to choose the perfect solution from the many choices available -- while thinking that it doesn't matter, and that they are all the same, and will get them to the same place, despite all they do.

To their way of thinking, nothing makes a difference -- and so "shit just happens," and there's nothing anyone can do about it.  Of course such a perspective and outlook, will ensure many disasters in that life -- thinking that nothing they can do, makes any difference in their lives -- instead of the more prudent realization, that everything they do, makes a difference.  And because it does, they also have to allow and provide for a margin of error -- as well, not just from others, but also from oneself.  In that way, they leave very little to chance and error -- and more often than not, realize their desired outcomes.

That is often the difference between winning and losing -- in mere games, which is the conditioning we think to obtain in our play and games.  We are practicing and conditioning ourselves for that success -- of achieving that well-being and good fortune -- and moving beyond to the next level of challenge that ensures that response.  Not to rise to the next challenge, is the beginning of the end.

And so how does one condition themselves for that responsiveness?  That is too always be changing -- especially when in doubt as to the proper course.  One has to retain that ability to change -- no matter what.  Because even if one chooses poorly, one can choose and change again.  Conversely, even if one chooses wisely but then never changes again -- life will eventually pass them by, and leave them behind -- stuck in their ways, that while appropriate and advantageous in another time, no longer serves that purpose.

The great shift from the last century to this, is from a world of scarcity to a world of abundance -- and how one deals with it.  If one continues to consume as much as they can, that will be one's undoing -- in a world of plenty, when the advantage than goes to those who master restraint and discipline.  They will not clutter every inch of their living space so that there is no room to enjoy it.  That is the disease of the acquisitive and accumulative (possessive) personalities in times of scarcity -- that literally bury them when all manner of things are too abundant and accessible -- giving way to the excesses of the present in consumption for its own sake.

Sure, one can, but is it wise to do so?  When is enough, enough?  Even for the good things?  Even medicine abused, can be too much of a good thing.  Those were the excesses warned of even in the ancient times -- when assuredly, things were much scarcer -- even in the most prosperous civilizations.  But then, usually all the abundance could be had by only one --for their exclusive enjoyment, and so there was great striving to be that One.  Such a mentality now, is destructive and ruinous.  There is plenty to go around -- if nobody hoards it.

Hoarding is wanting things just for the sake of having them -- and not using them wisely, if at all.  In fact, that is a great part of the hoarder's joy -- that they never use it, or can enjoy doing so.  Eventually they hoard so much stuff that they just get buried in it -- thinking they can take it all with them into the afterlife.  And in that way, they sacrifice their present life -- not making the most of it, and the present time -- taking only what they truly need, and letting go of all the rest.

In that way, there is plenty to go around.  But not if they think they need to have it all -- and be that way for all eternity.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Wiser is Better

Many people grow old without becoming any wiser; many even boast that they stopped learning in kindergarten -- when the formal education begins for most.  That's how life is different now, when the opportunity and necessity for learning something new, never ceases.  That is the great promise for life in the future -- that one out of conditioning and necessity, never stops learning. 

 One observes that one can't teach an old dog new tricks -- but there is reasonable confidence that one can teach a young dog new tricks -- and that is what makes them "young."  Rather than age defining the learning, it is the learning that denotes the age of the mind, and general health of that individual.  We have never seen things that clearly before -- mistaking the effect for the cause -- and correlating all the wrong things.

That is especially true of problem-solving -- that done successfully and well, keeps one alive and thriving, while those not so successful, experience a difficult life -- and have no idea how to change that.  In the worst case scenarios, they simply get worse -- all their lives, and even drag down the lives of all they have contact with.  They are the classic "toxic personalities" -- that there is no denying that they exist -- more commonly in some places than others.

So a great part of life, is learning to avoid such "black holes" -- and moving toward the light, which signifies life and nourishment.  Life evolved in light -- and not darkness.  The total deprivation of light makes life impossible.  Light is energy -- which makes growth possible.  Light is information -- which tells us which direction to go.  Thus we move towards the light, just as plants do.  That's why it is so important, that the first words of God, is "Let there be light."  That's when all life begins -- and the knowledge of it.

What makes anything "food," is that it has energy -- from absorbing the light.  Those are the basics of life -- seen simply, and for us to go on, we have to revert back to the basics -- of questioning all our assumptions, as though we were learning everything new for the first time.  Because the world is always new in that way -- but the mind makes us old in thinking it is the same old world of yesterday, and the past gone by.

That is the problem of "aging" -- and not simply growing through the years.  The mind gets old and lives in the past -- never solving the problems of its own existence -- and dying to the possibilities of the future.  While the "problems" of aging are well-known and documented, the promise of successfully solving those problems, are not thought possible -- and obviously, therein lies the future.  Can one solve the problems faster than they arise?  And is it even possible, to live without creating these problems in the first place?

Can we see life without the problems? -- which creates the need for a solution, and our economic opportunity, or advantage?  Then there is only the basic response to what is -- which is never a problem.  It is simply a choice one makes to the appropriate information one is wholly aware of, and the realization that all one's problems, are the inappropriate responses (choices), and not that the problems are inevitable no matter what one does.  That is always a fatal conclusion -- leading to death, deterioration and disintegration.

It is the failure to integrate oneself with what is going on in the world -- cutting oneself off from vital life in the present reality, while choosing to live in the darkness of one's own memories, thoughts, knowledge, and beliefs -- as though they were reality itself.  That was the conditioning (education) of the old -- being supplanted by everything new.

But not if one convinces themselves, that everything older is better.  That which is better and best, is new -- and constantly renewing that fact, and not simply a habit of always doing things that way -- which is often the problem.  The problems we have, may be due to that fact that we always do things that way -- while not realizing that doing things differently, may be the solution -- and better, that no problem will arise.  It is simply doing the "right" thing from the very beginning -- or at any point thereafter.

However, no amount of the "wrong" thing, will ever make it right -- no matter how long one persists at it, or "forces" it to be right -- through denial or deceit.

Monday, August 08, 2016

Two Kinds of People

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who create problems, and those who solve problems.

The worst pairing, is when a problem-creator, gets together with a solutions-creator -- in the classic dysfunctional relationship of codependency.  The more problems one can create, the more the enabler solves for them -- always resulting in a zero-sum game, canceling out the efforts of one another.  Eventually the problem-solver realizes that the more energy they put in -- is the game of the energy-draining problem creator -- for never in their universe, must everything work well.  If it does, it is their calling, to create a problem -- as the only thing they know how to do, to gain the attention of others.

For in their faulty upbringing, the only time they ever received any attention from their parents or teachers, is when they were bad -- and all their efforts to be good. were ignored, dismissed, or ridiculed.  From a lifetime of such humiilations and shame, they learned only fear, and the power of making others fear them -- even if it was to upset the apple cart others had so thoughtfully and carefully loaded.

These are the psychological heirs of the Vandals -- wreaking havoc as their greatest joy -- because they could not conceive and build their own orderly, well-functioning society.  But they knew they could have a power and control over others, if they merely learned to destroy.  A variation on the theme, is an offer to help build -- while undermining everything others built -- in desiring its failure.  And thus the good society of people, have no suspicion that one is working against them -- which is an even worse crime than those openly opposed and defiant.  Because then one knows -- and allows for that caution. 

Eventually and in all likelihood, they are simply identified and banished -- where they can no longer do much harm.  In the extreme, it is physical isolation and detention while in other cases, it is just the advisement and warning to assume and presume nothing about that person -- and particularly anymore, what they tell one to believe about themselves and their motives.  Those are the villains of history and literature -- the cause of "tragedies."

It was never believed that "bad things just happened," since humanity came into its consciousness.   And that consciousness is to believe that there is a cause of problems -- as well as its solutions, and avoidance from future recurrences -- rather than the trap of despair and hopelessness, that it doesn't matter what one does -- the cards are stacked against one, so all one can do, is rage against them.  And of course, rage becomes an end in itself -- to sow as widely as possible -- as one's calling in this world.

Theirs can never be a better world -- just another precarious step away from doom and misfortune -- expecting one day to succumb irreparably.  There is no "happily forever after," as am objective.  Others can merely be pulled down with them -- as their idea of "leveling the playing field."  Gain and advancement is not possible -- only the mind-numbing repetition of life as it always has been before -- and in fact, devolving from that.  There can never be more, but only less.  And so it becomes their self-fulfilling prophecy -- that life can only get worse, despite any progress in every field of human activity and study.

That is the dark side of life -- while on the other, there is relentless change, progress and evolution -- as the whole object of life at any time.  One is never too old or too young to make that progress -- in everything one does.  That is the only way life gets better -- to work at it, and not despair that nothing matters -- it is all futile and hopeless, and so they go about repeating what they've always done before, no matter how spectacular the failures.  And of course, learning nothing from it.  Never any breakthroughs -- to the other side.

The bright future is always on the other side -- the new world, and not the old world people cling to as the only world that can ever be.  It's not like nobody has ever gone there before.  There have always been the few and exceptional -- who know they have to find out as the whole meaning and purpose of their lives.  The worst that can happen, is never to find out.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Better Place

Most people don't choose the place they live in but accept the place they find themselves in as the best of all possible worlds.  So they indulge themselves while on vacation -- as the place they would choose to be -- and not where they spend most of their life.  It just never occurs to them that they could.  Only a rare few find themselves where they really want to be -- as though such a thing were possible.

Yet that choice, has the greatest effect on all their other decisions and choices in life.  Many are simply not in the best environment for themselves.  It may be too hot, or too cold, too far from the ocean or mountains for them to feel at home -- in their best environment.  They may be remote and isolated -- and mystified why they feel that way.

And beyond that, is what they make of that environment -- to make it better, optimal as far as possible for themselves -- before eventually realizing they must move on to even better.  The quest always involves a journey.  It is never about just staying in one place all one's life -- thinking one day life will be different.  That is the reality of poverty -- that things never change from day to day, and year to year.  There are no passages in time and rites.  Everything stays the same.  There is no hope for different -- and better.

That may be the differentiating mark of those who stagnate, and those who grow -- not just by one parameter, but every facet of their lives so as to be immeasurable and unrecognizable from where they began.  Then change is very significant and meaningful -- and not just small modifications that don't amount to anything.  Real change changes everything -- and not just one thing.

So, many are unprepared for real change -- as much as they talk and hope about it -- but having no understanding of what it really is.  Real change even takes on a life of its own -- and for that reason, is eschewed by those who want to control it -- or feel they must be in control.  Instead, they will seek to suppress it.  And so the power of good things, is never allowed to happen -- to blossom in its own good time.  There is a season for everything -- but not before its time.

Lots of people want to be told what the truth is -- but very few are willing to find that out for themselves, and that is the real power and joy of it, and its value.  It is the finding out that separates the truth seekers from those who only pretend to know -- because somebody else told them so but they will never know how to find out the truth of any matter for themselves.  And that's what matters -- and not the countless many who say, "Tell us what is the truth, and we will repeat it -- as though we understand and thought of it ourselves."  "Tell us what is correct, and we will follow and chant it," and think themselves enlightened and wise beyond all the others.

They think they know all the answers -- but have not even begun to ask the right questions.  So how could they know anything worthwhile?  Because to ask the right (meaningful) question, is the beginning of understanding -- that no amount of simply knowing all the right answers can ever hope to achieve.  To such people, it doesn't matter what the question is -- they know their answer, regardless.

By asking the right questions, it is possible to discover the answer to any question, but if one only learns the right answers, they may never realize they know nothing worth knowing.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lifting Your Own Weight

All my life, I've pondered the question, "What is the most essential movement (exercise) to do?"  Obviously, that would probably be a movement one takes entirely for granted -- but shouldn't.  That is the key to their entire well-being, and differentiates those thriving, from those retreating and withdrawing from life.

The question can also be rephrased, "What is the most efficient way to lift one's own bodyweight?" -- which many offhand will dismiss as impossible, only for world-class athletes, rather than something everyone needs to do daily -- as many times as possible, and doing so, will ensure their good health.  It defines their good health -- and capabilities, all things being equal.  That is the simple act of raising one's (own) bodyweight from a chair or bed, and also lowering one's bodyweight with grace, ease and safety.  

This is particularly important, the older and weaker one gets -- to do this very well, and those who lose this ability and faculty, lose their mobility and basic competency that makes all other movements possible and practical.  Those who lose this facility, are called "incapacitated," or "disabled," even if the capabilities exist, but are never exercised anymore -- at some point in life.

One simply decides at that point, that one can no longer do it -- for one reason or another.  Often, it is for a concern of safety -- that one is too weak to stand up any longer, or one has feet, knee, hip or back pain that makes any movement (change) painful and difficult -- which obviously won't get any better if it is never articulated and exercised anymore.

Yet if there is only one thing a person does, that is the movement that will make the greatest difference in one's health and well-being, and so if a person does nothing else, that would be the movement to master -- and the key to their health, well-being and fundamental strength.  Not coincidentally, the best form for lifting one's bodyweight off of a chair, is the identical movement employed in Olympic weightlifting-- to lift the heaviest weights humanly possible.  That is the movement of greatest economy and efficiency -- and as such, is the fundamental movement that should be mastered by everyone -- whether it is their intention to do a little or a lot.

Learning the proper mechanics and dynamics, also solves most of the back pains and problems of alignment resulting in the abuse and misuse that results in destructive wear and injury.  By using the major (largest) muscles of the legs and back, ensures the proper priority of strength and development, and all else can then be done from this position of underlying, fundamental, "core" strength -- much more so than merely developing six-pack (ornamental) abs.

That (latter) is not an essential development in any practical or useful movement or activity.  The only function is for "show," or display.  Otherwise, it has no useful function -- and may even be counterproductive in producing a development without a usefulness -- as the actual ability to get in and out of a chair or bed easily, competently and gracefully, conveys.  Before one is completely bedridden, they may spend many years being helped into a chair in which they never leave all day.  That is the condition known as infirmity -- or the weakness and inability to do normal things without assistance.

But way before we get to that point, what can one do about it?  That answer is simple and obvious: that is the strength and ability we must cultivate as a priority -- and doing so, will prevent most of the problems of increasing immobility -- from the comfort, familiarity and safety of one's favorite chair.

The beginning position is exactly like that taken to lift the heaviest weights possible -- leaning forward with arms hanging to one's side until one is basically falling out of the chair onto one's legs, and then standing up and completing the movement with a shoulder shrug -- rather than stopping the movement at the lower back, allowing the upper back to remain rounded.  The completion of the lift is achieved when the force generated by the legs is allowed to traverse through the spinal column -- rather than stopped at the lower back, absorbing that force -- causing many people to walk around painfully all day with rounded backs, rather than exhibit a healthy, pain-free arched back as their basic posture.

That is obviously the difference in the healthy posture and a poor one.  That has been the observation, study and practice of yoga -- primarily to develop that flexibility in the spine that allows them to move into an arched position.  The problem is that that is achieved by only using half of one's body -- either from the waist up, or the waist down -- and not wholly and integrally, from the feet on through the neck that restores the fundamental integrity of the body structure to always move completely in that manner.

That's why most "back" movements are ineffective -- for relieving pain and building strength -- because back strength cannot be developed only from the lower back up, or the lower back down -- which are all the exercises we traditionally think of as "back exercises."  The back has to be exercised completely -- from the feet on through the neck -- to revitalize and restore that fundamental strength and functionality of the human design.

That is the quintessential weight-lifting movement of the human body -- just to lift its own bodyweight into the position it can do the most good and be the most effective.  One doesn't have to buy and lift any additional weight -- besides one's own, in the most efficient, economical and effective manner that ensures their mobility and fundamental capacity to recruit the muscles of the entire body -- all at once, every time.  That is the fundamental dance of movement -- to get up and down tirelessly, effortlessly, gracefully -- as long as one lives.

One doesn't have to run, swim or lift a marathon -- until one can't, and then never gets in and out of a chair or bed anymore.  That is their mantra -- what they must become good at.  Getting in and out of a chair as the most fundamental weight-lifting movement -- and doing so, will ensure one perfects that skill all one's life.

In Memoriam,
Tommy Kono, 2016.

From a seated position, feet flat on the floor, head up looking forward, arms hanging alongside the legs, shift the weight forward until it is in front of the toes, raising the hips and straightening the back with a full shoulder shrug -- in a smooth, continuous motion. 

Slowly lower the hips until one is seated again. Repeat ten times.

Repeat throughout the day as often as one is mindful -- but at least ten times to begin each each day, and ten times before retiring at night.  One has just lifted their entire bodyweight in the most useful manner possible.