Thursday, March 30, 2017

Growing Better

Time, like life, is individually what each makes of it -- as well as what each has been uniquely given to work with.  In that way, we are equally bound to our own abilities -- and the ultimate expression of them.  It doesn't matter then that we are not born with equal abilities as all the others -- but uniquely our own, and that is what we have to work with.

That is the beginning and ending of every life.  With each having their own unique parameters, the relevant question is whether one is growing better -- or worse, as the only sure guideline of how life is going.  And that changes with time and experience.  It doesn't mean simply being a better or worse version of what one was as a twenty year old -- as the immutable yardstick.

And if in fact one lives their life right, the person at fifty is quite a different person entirely from the one they were at twenty -- knowing very little, and having still their whole lives ahead of them.  That is true of any extraordinary growth achieved in any life: the person they became, was unimaginable at any more youthful and inexperienced age.

On the other hand, those who did not grow much, always seemed the same, predictable, repetitive, obsessive-compulsive personalities -- until the day they prematurely met their untimely end.  The sadness of such lives, is that they frequently caused great pain and hardship for those affected by those lives.  Life was always this constant struggle against their own demons -- and everybody else was collateral damage.

Not to affect others in this disastrous way, is a good and successful life -- from the beginning to the end.  That doesn't mean undoing all the good, or taking it with them to the grave -- as also their "entitlement" -- before they go.  They leave net positive -- so their posterity, can move beyond those constraints of tradition and custom.

In this way, all of life grows better -- and not simply preying on the less able -- as a zero-sum game simply repeating itself for eternity.  There is movement towards better -- and not simply random movement signifying nothing, as though it is the same thing -- and even the height of sophistication and enlightenment.  Obviously, that is the mark of despair -- that one cannot distinguish the difference, and thinks that is an achievement in itself.

That would be the failure to distinguish the authentic from the inauthentic, or false.  Authenticity is revealed in the truth of that living -- whether it solves the problems of its own living, and not merely one success at the cost of all the others.  That is the balance one hopes to achieve -- when one is "firing on all cylinders," and not simply one -- for however long that lasts.  Usually it doesn't last too long before it destroys all the others.

Nowhere is it more obvious and spectacular than the short-lived athletic lives that sacrifice everything for that fleeting moment of glory as the one they hope to recapture all the rest of their short-sighted lives.  And they are encouraged by those who should know better -- but really don't, until it is too late to do anything about it.  Those people just get worse -- without knowing any difference.

When does one irrevocably become one of them?  Frequently it is associated with age -- but not necessarily.  Some begin at a very young age -- to exhibit this failure to grow and thrive.  They may even at one time been very promising.  But they never turned the corner -- and with time, grew farther from that promise -- rather than ever actualizing (owning) it.

This burden of self-actualization was passed on to every succeeding generation -- as the unfinished business of humanity -- with no serious intent to actualize it by any particular individual, only in the vague abstraction.  Thus, it was just a noble fantasy -- and not the reality of most lives, and especially, the most thoughtful lives.  And in fact, the thoughtful life was dismissed as the ultimate fantasy -- rather than the solution to most problems in one's life.

If that focus could be given to one's own living -- instead of distracting it into so many ways of amusements and entertainments that divert that attention, life would have quite a different ending for many more -- rather than the dire prognosis we've been led to accept as the inevitable fate for most.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

You Have To Change to Get Better

Getting better is change.  That's why doing the same things over and over -- expecting a different result, is the very definition of insanity.  Yet many live their lives hoping to disprove this age old observation -- thinking maybe, that they can be "first" at something for the first time in their lives.   Well-meaning advisers may even encourage them to persist -- at what they are doing unsuccessfully -- thinking that if they persist at it long enough, they are bound to be successful -- misunderstanding that is the reason for their failures.

The most commonplace in most lives, is this experience of aging -- badly, and hopelessly, and thinking that things can never get better again, and there is nothing they can do about it -- so justifiably, they do nothing about it.  They simply want to get better -- without changing, and of course, that  is the definition of absurdity.

Yet that is the conversation one will have with everyone who does not get better -- because that is their core belief -- and life expectancy -- that predetermines their outcomes and everything they do, and experience in life.  So it is not a matter of doing more or less -- of what they already do -- with unfavorable results, but adjusting the understanding before doing anything further.

It's not a bad idea to question everything one does -- and paring down to the essentials, and the known qualities in that life, and beginning all over again from that solid base.  Over the course of time and one's life and dealings, one has often come to accept errors as the truth -- therefore leading them astray and off the fruitful path.  Periodically, all that has to be weeded out -- retaining only the pearls of wisdom, and getting rid of the clutter that now overgrows and overwhelms their lives.  That is invariably the lifestyle of the acquisitive and accumulative personalities who think that is the goal and objective in life -- and therefore think that the answer to everything, is simply "More" -- without end.

Eventually, they just run out of space to store everything, and nowhere is that more true than in the finite space of their memories -- even with the latest devices available.  At that point, memory fails to serve them well -- because they need a better method of distinguishing the most essential from the superfluous -- and mistaking that, never get around to the essential and critical -- no matter how much they do.

That means asking all the right questions from the very beginning -- instead of assuming all continues to be valid.  The fact that things aren't working out satisfactorily -- should tell one otherwise.  They may have worked before, but they no longer work now -- which may be the first realization that what one thought worked before, may not have before either -- and the real reason for their previous success, was for another, greater reason -- that reveals itself in time and age.

That is particularly true, obviously, in the realm of conditioning and athletics -- where frequently champion athletes, succumb prematurely, a few short years after their previous success, and apparent invulnerability.  The frequent cause of death, is heart attack and/or failure, exacerbated by overexertion, enlargement of the heart, and thus the weakening of it.  Usually once such people are in recovery, they are advised not to participate in activities that overstrain the heart again -- but rather than do nothing, could devise movements that do not strain the heart at all excessively, but shifts the demand onto all the other muscles to enhance the circulatory effect, since that is a basic function of all the muscles as well.  

That is how one directs prodigious development to a certain area -- in priority to every other.  Understanding that, one should think long and hard at what one now wants that to be --  and not thoughtlessly, how they can simply burn more calories, as though that wastage was a good use of the human body, or any valuable resource, for that matter.  

That means rethinking all one's activities and expenditures as frequently as one is inspired -- as well as when they are absolutely forced to -- when their continued existence depends on it.  This forethought beforehand, allows a margin of reserve, when the margin for error is critical, and makes the difference between survival and extinction -- and before that, a neverending downward spiral of getting worse, and feeling there is nothing they can do about it themselves.

At that point, life is usually not considered viable -- which means meaningful.  Even plants respond to light and nourishment, and move in that direction -- and continue to do so, until there comes a time it does not respond so.  But before then, the gardener does everything they can, to see if they can change those conditions t get better.  They don''t just hope for a change in the outcome without doing anything different.