Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Makes a Difference

As a person who has observed "exercise" all his life, one asks, what is one trying to do in all these movements -- and theories/explanations of what works best?

Why this particular movement, rather than something else?  What makes it "work?"  What fundamentally, is the objective of all movement?  And what is so important to move?

Many will say the weight -- or even the body -- but the only movement of significance and importance, is a particular blood molecule -- making the round trip from the heart, back to the heart -- and not being clogged/impeded somewhere along the journey.

The circulation process, is what keeps a body healthy and alive -- and not just one part of it, frequently at the expense of all the others.  That would be counterproductive, because the strength and integrity of any system (organism), is limited by its weakest link -- which is different in different individuals.  With Achilles, it was his heel, although he exhibited no other weakness; but that rupture was enough to immobilize all his other strengths.

And so it is with many people -- living today's contemporary life, that often do not actualize and engage all the parts of their bodies sufficiently -- to ensure a healthful (maximal) blood flow to all areas of their body -- to keep it functioning even at its lowest level, and thus succumbing to disease -- because it is not part of the healthful flow.  In order to achieve this, it is not necessary to increase the heart rate alone, but optimize the circulation -- by creating a circuit, with as complete a cycle of contraction and relaxation -- by which liquids and gases flow -- to the greatest extent possible.

And the greatest extent possible, is the furthest extremity to which blood can flow, before returning to the heart again.  That requires movement at that furthest extremity (joint) -- at the head, hands and feet -- where most people do not think to move, but rather focus on the relatively strong parts of the body -- which are not where the human body begins to fail, that is not obvious except to the most observant.

That's why hands hang limply, and feet barely articulate while walking, and head movement (and facial expressions) has all but ceased -- so as to make one a great danger in driving, and not being able to look around -- easily and routinely -- as the quintessential human movement.  One often makes the right moves, just because of that awareness -- of what is going on around them, requiring such moves.  Otherwise, one can only move by memory and thought -- rather than in response to real time exigencies, and such conditioning, has real survival value -- and not just arbitrarily doing what one has been conditioned to think is important to do -- whether it is appropriate or not.

That is the question in much of life -- one can become good at something that is not necessary to do (although one may win prizes at it), while ignoring those things that are important to do -- but think they have no time to do it, because they are so busy doing all those things -- that are not important and may even be counterproductive, or injurious to do.  It is no accident, that the leading cause of injuries, is people thinking that they are injury-proofing themselves against that possibility -- until they are inevitably injured, and can do it no more.

For unfortunately many, that is the end of all further activity, as they no longer want to risk the inevitable further injury -- while ignoring the many other ways around doing just that.  It is their very conditioning, that has taught them there is no other way but that -- and that is the variations on the theme that more pain and difficulty, is the answer.

They cannot think of an easier and better way -- because that has never been part of their conditioning (education) to think so.  Their entire education (conditioning) has only been to make everything harder, more difficult, more complicated -- as objectives in themselves, as though overcoming them, made that right.  To such people, anything easy and effective, seems to be wrong -- because it seems too good to be true, and therefore cannot be.

But the best things in life, are easy, and as straightforward as that.  That is the obvious and the logical -- rather than doing the opposite, which is the very definition of dysfunctionalLife wants to make it easy -- but one has to be conditioned to go with that flow, rather than to fight it at every opportunity -- making everything, and all their lives, very difficult, because their teachers tell them, that is how they must be -- in order to win their approval.

But as the years pass, those who have learned only that conditioning -- realize it doesn't take them very far past that education -- when they have to earn from their own lives and experiences, what actually works for them.  At that point, many already begin to lament that they are growing "old," and the world they were prepared (conditioned) for, is a constant frustration rather than fulfillment of everything they know and thought to be true.

But certainly, it should be easy to understand that only working one muscle of the body harder, faster and tirelessly, won't get the superior results of working all the muscles nominally -- which is really what is required to maintain peak physical condition and responsiveness throughout a long and versatile life -- capable of doing the many things, and not just the one.

Friday, October 25, 2013

No Amount of Health Care Insurance is a Substitute for Health

In fact, the better the health, the less there is need for health care -- and not that more health care insures health.  Health is something else entirely -- not dependent on health care providers -- but what each individual must provide for themselves.  Nobody else can do it for them.  The fact that we've come to believe very differently -- the opposite, is the measure of its validity.

That's why it is so important for the health care insurance program to take off, that they convince healthy people to buy health care insurance to subsidize the costs of the unhealthiest segment of the population -- who don't care about their health, other than to see a doctor and have them make them well -- and if others won't, why should they themselves?

That's how perverted the whole discussion has become.  It's no longer that one might be the exception that ill health may befall, but now it is a certainty that everyone will suffer that fate in this society.  And so we are much worse off than we ever were before -- where people could choose and suffer their own consequences, rather than everybody having no chance better than the worst.

There have been healthy people for ages -- as well as unhealthy people, who in times past, would just perish -- because there wasn't an army of caregivers to keep alive -- because no society had the affluence to prolong life no matter how unviable it became.  The world still doesn't have that kind of unlimited resources -- and never will.  Difficult choices always have to be made -- and that is what the history of civilization, and the personal lives of every individual has been all about.

Now, people with very comfortable and secure lives, point out that they can't afford to make trips every month, anywhere in the world -- as though that is their entitlement also.  But the easy life is not as easy as it seems -- because when those people aren't making their travels, they are alternately receiving and recovering from a $100,000 heart surgery -- or some other equally expensive and life-changing procedure.  It may be to cut out a part of their gastrointestinal system so they don't digest all that good food and living.  But until it gets so bad, most people just let it pile on to their bodies and strain their organs -- until they qualify for that life-threatening necessity.

If that weren't bad enough, many so-called health conscious people -- actually inflict their own injuries as the inevitable result of their activities -- often in taking extreme risks to prove their fitness.  But things can go wrong jumping out of airplanes -- or off of ski jumps, even if those thrills may reassure one they are still alive -- as well as swimming with the sharks, or driving fast, for that matter.  That's even true with bicycling, when many people think the object is speed and time, rather than safety.  No amount of (health care) insurance, is guarantee for such poor choices and priorities.

It does make an overwhelming difference that one is at the healthiest condition they can be -- that enables them to function and make the best choices of their lives -- because their minds are sharp and clear to do so -- arising from their health.  Unhealthy people, cannot make good decisions -- and that determines the results and outcomes of their lives.  It doesn't just happen -- but are the inevitable result not only of one bad choice, but the many that make bad choices inevitable -- even if it is habitual smoking, or overeating, and never doing anything for themselves anymore -- until finally, they are dependent on an army of caregivers to do everything for them -- just to keep them alive, for no other reason except that it is possible, and they are fully insured to do so.

But we never ask first, what makes life living? -- only that it must be perpetuated for as long as possible -- even against their will and wish -- as though somehow we knew better.  Not surprisingly, that is ruinous for many people -- often young people who have to "sacrifice" their lives, to keep alive another who cannot do so for themselves -- because that was what was always done before.  In that manner, each generation sacrifices for another -- and no one is held accountable for their own lives -- as their prime responsibility -- the meaning of their own existence.

They are too busy "serving" others.  That is what it means to be an indentured servant -- to serve another -- above one's own interests and well-being.  And so we are back to Square One -- when the founders of this nation, sought to create a society free from those predetermined obligations -- to serve everybody else above themselves.  No society works very well that way -- and not for long, because the efficient society, the productive society, is where each has unlimited title to their own efforts and choices -- and not that the most successful, must serve the least.

The strong then become weak, and the weak, weaker -- because they can, and are fully entitled to.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Life is Very Simple

However, many people think the objective in life, is to make it very complicated -- but life itself, is very simple.

the objective of every life, is to be the best you can be.  That doesn't mean being the best one can be for somebody else -- or by any other standards but only the best by one's own standards, and how one actualizes them.  That is the meaning of life for everyone -- how well they live up to their own best actualization of it.  It doesn't matter what most people do -- or what everybody else is doing -- as long as one is following one's own path of discovering their own best actualization of life.

That gives meaning to the survival of the fit -- and the fittest.  If one doesn't do it for themselves, then nobody else will do it better for them.  It is something each has to do for themselves -- as their calling in life -- beyond all the other concerns and problems of their daily living.  It might be a job, but it is much more than that.  It is their total being -- in everything they do.

And that is what conditioning ultimately is all about -- preparing one for those attempts to be one's best.  But many have never learned to think that way -- of being at their best, because they were convinced they didn't matter and had no competence to think about such things for themselves -- but should follow some master plan thought up by others -- who know better, or presume they do -- when even they have not thought about anything for themselves, but merely went along, because that's what everybody else was doing.  

But if one is lucky in life, one gets to actually think for oneself -- on the many things others offer to do one's thinking for them -- invariably for their own benefit/advantage, and not necessarily one's own.  That too, is what they believe, "everybody does."  And so one of the great quests in life, is to find those who point out the truth of the matter -- and not just because it is to their advantage to have everyone else think so -- and become confused on the difference.  They may start out knowing the difference, but with practice, end up believing their own lies -- as the truth, and find themselves powerless to abandon that path -- that they have invested and dedicated their lives to.

Because that would mean starting all over again -- which they believe is the worst thing that can happen to a successful person in life -- rather than realizing, that the truth is always beginning all over again, because it is not dependent on tradition and conformity to make it so, but can be proven by every individual, in their own lives.  It is not the truth, just because many, or "everybody" says so -- but can be discovered anew, by a fresh and simple mind.  That is the attentive mind capable of infinite learning -- because it has no preconceived notions, of what the truth is.  It is an unconditioned mind.

 How can we get the mind into that state of openness so that it can learn the truth?  That is why it is important in doing one's exercises -- to rest -- as much as it is, to put out a maximum effort -- because it is the movement from from one condition to the other, that is the power to change, and know that difference.

Most people's conditioning, is to do only one thing -- either to put out the effort, or maximize the relaxation -- and not move easily from one to the other, which is the power to change.  And so they are only reinforcing the way they are -- instead of being able to change, into whatever is appropriate and suitable to the challenge.  Sometimes maximum power is desired, but also recognizing when to yield in the face of much greater power, conveys greater survival value -- which even the "king of beasts," must often do, if they wish to remain so for long.  

One need look no further than the instruction of the heart -- to know that its effectiveness and value in life, is that it simply moves from one state of complete contraction to the state of complete relaxation -- and back relentlessly, as the optimal way every muscle can be conditioned to function, and endure.  In no case, would one want that muscle to fail -- yet that is what many think is desirable to do -- produce muscle failure, and fatigue -- rather relieve it!  That is what one one's conditioning should desire instead.  How does one condition one's muscles not to fail?  That is the question.

And the answer to that is very simple -- alternating a full contraction with a full relaxation -- rather than a constant effort until the muscle fails.  And then to completely relax until one recovers again -- to produce muscle failure again, etc.  But simply lowering a weight is not resting -- as most people think is true, whether doing a bench press or squat -- because one is still putting out effort enough to support that weight, or the weight will crush their chest or cause them to collapse.  

So essentially, they are maintaining a near maximum effort (contraction) throughout the duration of that set (exercise), and then require a prolonged rest period to recover before they often repeat those efforts -- instead of finding a way they can continue (prolong) the movement, by alternating the rest and contraction -- that requires them to take a much lighter weight that allows them to feel relaxed, while finding a way to attain a maximum contraction without using an overly heavy weight -- that has very little to do with a peak muscle contraction, but everything to do with a sustained muscle contraction until its inevitable failure.

And that is why the body (muscles) fail -- rather than succeed at remaining vital for the duration of one's long life -- even in those who were "successful" in that way for a brief time much younger in life.  They ultimately have to fail in that way.  Nothing else is possible -- in that manner of training.  So one has to devise a new (different) way of training that takes into account that insight -- which is a very obvious and simple thing to do.  That changes everything.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Better Than Young

Is young the best that one can hope to be -- or is there something beyond that that makes the rest of life more meaningful -- otherwise, we are young just to grow old, and old just to long to be young again?

Each stage of life has its own challenges -- and merely wishing to be what one is not, is not a very intelligent way of meeting the challenges at any stage or conditions of life.  In fact, that is the very manner in which people become disconnected from their lives and the realities -- and choose to live in "another world" that others have an increasingly difficult time understanding why it is they are doing what they do.

That is the problem of thought and memory in preference and precedence to awareness of simply what is.  Instead, one superimposes what should be, or what they would like it to be, over how things actually are -- which is what is.  Many people's conditioning -- is entirely of that manner -- preferring to live in their worlds of delusions, fantasies and entertainment -- which robs them of the singleminded focus required to make the best of what they already have.

Always, despite what they have, they want more -- or different, and never what they already have -- and make the most of that.  And if that were not enough of a problem, they blame others, for not having what they want -- and as much of it as they want, while doing little, or nothing, with what they already have.

Not surprisingly, that is also the regard they have to their bodies, health and talent -- that is something only to be taken for granted, and that they should wish for something else -- a better body, features, being young again -- rather than being the best they can be -- at their present age.  The presumption is, that they already are -- but they've never given any thought to where they are, and why they are the way there are -- before wishing it were otherwise.

In order to get anywhere, one first has to know where one is presently, and not knowing that, it is meaningless to proceed along any journey, undertake any task -- and that is why the central feature of any map, is to tell you first where you are -- before telling you about the places you can go.

For that reason, the great advice of wise individuals throughout the ages, has been to Know Oneself -- otherwise, one can have all kinds of delusions about who one is, and what one thinks they are doing, and always, there will be great disappointments leading to greater disconnections from the simple realities of the present.  That has to be the clue to understanding why people do what they do -- even if it is killing them, and causing their problems -- that they just hope, somebody else will solve -- and it is never that the reason for their living, is to make the best of their own lives.

The media propaganda is often that that is not what we should be doing -- but only doing that for somebody else -- their family, their community, their country, and some vague notion of high ideals -- while thinking nothing, and doing nothing of simple acts of execution that actually matter, and make a difference.

They've lost touch with that essential connection -- and so it is not entirely surprising, that they become increasingly disconnected from their own bodies, and what is required to maintain their essential health and well-being -- and what they concern themselves with, have nothing at all to do with the task at hand, but is only a diversion and entertainment, from applying all that thought, energy and time, to what would make a great difference -- and that is a greater awareness of what things actually are -- and not just their wishful-thinking, of what they would like them to be.

That never works.