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.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

No Amount of Doing It Wrong will Make it Right

Many people are taught to believe that there is only one way to do anything, so that when things go wrong, the only solution is to apply more force (effort) rather than improving their understanding -- of how things are going wrong, and how to make them right.  They insist on staying true to their present understanding -- no matter how disastrous the results are, while merely increasing those same efforts that have not proven successful -- and rejecting anything different.  That would threaten their world view -- as the only way it could ever be.

So rather than anything ever getting better, everything just gets worse for them -- in a one-way downward spiral that they are certain is the fate of every life, no matter what they do.  Of course such despair invariably leads to depression and the sense of hopelessness that is the worst of all human ills -- whether one has actual physical ailments or not.

Conversely, those with an outlook that thinks to try everything humanly possible until something does work, invariably find a way -- that works.  Way before that ultimate solution, they get better and closer to finding the solution and truth of their quandaries -- as rightfully, the proper purpose of all their activities.  Just as often as not, the better way may be something far different from what they set out thinking -- as their solution to their problem, which might have even worked before but no longer does, and might now even be the source of that problem.

The obvious ones are the champion athletes who now only become injured trying to do those things they did easily and effortlessly before -- that now may even be a threat to their continued survival as they grow older and wiser.  The truly wise, at that point, move on to where they can continue to experience success rather than tempting permanent debilitating injury and disability.

Usually, one sees the trend of decreasing reward at increasing risks, and changes course appropriately and moves onto new and different ways of being successful -- even if one was never before. But there is certainly no point, in continuing to do what one always did before -- resulting in failure and poor outcomes.  No amount of complaining and lamenting is going to change that -- yet that is what many do, while actually doing nothing that would make a difference!

The road of history, is littered with many such lives -- as the only thing many thought they could do -- which should become increasingly apparent to many, was not all that could be done -- even and especially in one's daily lives, where it would make the most difference.  People don't all do the same thing -- which accounts largely for their difference in outcomes and fortunes -- no matter how much mass media would like us to think otherwise.  If they had their d'ruthers, everybody would think and do the same thing -- with the same results, but obviously, that's not what's happening, even if one wishes it were so.

The weakness is the lack of fullest understanding of what is going on -- even while there may be many variations of the explanation that no one has a monopoly of the truth on.  That's true for exercise, medicine, investing, marketing, human knowledge and relations.  They are an ever-evolving and improving understanding -- and not simply that the oldest is the best.  Frequently, they are the least perfected -- even if advanced for their time.  

Because of such advances in every field of human activity and knowledge, the state-of-the-art subsumes all -- rather than just being the politically-(socially-) correct half-truth people often argue about.  The better issue, is which is the whole truth -- and not what partisan truth should win out over the other.  That is the endless problem -- and not the solution of evolving a greater (whole) truth.

That greater whole is transformative -- changing everything, and not just one thing -- while everything stays the same.  That is no change at all.  It is simply the same old problem in a different light, using different words.  But nothing has really changed -- not even the understanding of the problem.  

And that greatest understanding, is coming to the realization that everything one knows, is the problem -- preventing them from trying anything truly different.  They just call the same thing (lack of understanding) by a different name -- and think they have solved the problem, which of course, keeps on coming back.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mistaking the Effect for the Cause

"Correlation" is the co-incidence of two events happening simultaneously -- neither of which may have caused the other.  It is just noted that when there is an incidence of one event -- the probability of another event occurring at the same time, is that correlation.  

Less well understood, especially by those with just a politically correct (liberal arts) education without any science courses -- is the cause and effect relationship -- that is to say, that one thing causes the other, virtually without fail.  Then we're pretty certain, that one thing, is the cause of the other -- so to see the other, we have to cause it.

Nowhere is this misunderstanding greater than in the field of conditioning for fitness -- where one hopes that by doing certain things, one improves their chances for survival and success -- which is being fit to do so.  So essentially everything a person does -- is a preparation for everything else they will subsequently do, and if all they are experiencing is failure in everything they do, they have to change their behavior to produce the desired outcomes.

But that doesn't happen just because one wants them to; there are preparations and practices one must take to increase the likelihood and probability of those favorable outcomes -- all one's life.  There's never a point at which one can just call it a day and coast on in to the promised land of everything good, and nothing bad will ever happen again.  It requires a vigilance, constant preparation and practice -- or the results become less certain, unpredictable and erratic -- the normal definition of failure, disappointment and frustration leading to depression.

Thus the bottom line question asked by most health professionals, is summed up by the question, "Have you experienced depression in the last several weeks?"  Not to, indicates the resilience and robustness of that individual to feel they can overcome most challenges and difficulties -- and the future successes of that individual.  But that does not require a Ph.D or M.D. to master; it can come from any regimen that empowers one to feel that way -- capable of being successful at what they have to do in life, including all the things healthy people take for granted -- such as their own self-care, grooming, hygiene, cleanliness, nutrition, practices, interactions with others, etc.

Failing those minimal tasks, is a dire prognosis for the future of that individual.  So one hopes to get at least that much right -- for all the days of their lives.  Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, those lessons are seldom taught, systematically and rigorously, which already sets one up for a lifetime of successes or a lifetime of failures, and in the end, even the most previously successful succumb -- thinking they never have to improve anymore.  But all of life, is this evolution of being and improvement -- or there is extinction.  That is the Way of Life.

Still, many think that if they were only rich and famous (first), they would surely become good at something eventually -- and not that it will simply speed their self-destruction.  In the field of physical conditioning, many are prescribed a course that is impossible, and if they don't (can't) do it, they will predictably be in bad shape, but if they could walk on their hands for 100 yards each day, they would assuredly remain in remarkable condition they had never achieved before at any time before in their lifetime -- as though that was any wisdom and usefulness.

Yes, I suppose if one could fly or walk on water, one would have godlike powers -- and health.  So the question one asks, is not what one cannot do that will one day result in their doing so, but what can they actually do -- and improve?  That answer should be obvious and self-evident -- in increasing the range of motion of what movement one already manifests.  By that, one means more precisely, increasing the range of motion one can obtain voluntarily and willfully -- and not by any outside force forcing a range of movement that can be done safely and healthfully (without injury).  Otherwise, we can just snap a head back with the justification that "whatever doesn't kill one, will make them stronger and better off for it."

Obviously, that is the wrong understanding -- but not unlike much advice one hears in many highly competitive and destructive activities -- especially to see how far they can push the limits without injury and death.  There is a certain appeal and thrill to some -- who misunderstand the first rule of survival and fitness is not to be injured or killed by anything one does.  That includes the realization that if one doesn't use their legs anymore, the chances of them becoming permanently disabled are inevitable -- that can be effectively maintained by using them daily, for at least a few repetitions in increasing that specific range of motion -- daily.

So rather than being a hard thing to do, it should be made easy by practice and intent -- even if one does nothing else otherwise.  That is especially so for those who have no better use of their time than to devote it to dissipation and destructive habits -- even if they think that is what their "retirement" should be all about -- hastening their own end until it is over -- as the only way they know how to be.  That is the only way they've seen it done before -- and not that that stage of life now has to be re-created and re-imagined, because it was never possible before.

But that is the challenge of this time and age -- as never before.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easy Does It

People fail when everything they do becomes too difficult and impossible to do even the simplest things necessary to achieve and maintain their optimal health.  Eating becomes a chore, sleeping, bathing, and eventually even breathing.  At that point, life lies in the balance.  If things get any worse, that life may no longer be possible -- but if it gets better, that life is resurrected and recreated -- and that is the importance of "recreation," and also, "resurrection."  "One must die to the old -- and be reborn in the new" -- especially when that old is not working but only ensuring one's end.

Still, letting go of the old, may not be possible for many -- conditioned as they have been, to always make things more difficult for themselves.  That is what they think is necessary to "improve" -- that they first have to create the problem in order to motivate themselves to discover a better way of doing things -- than they always have been done before.  There is no provision in their learning (conditioning), of simply finding a better way -- freeing one from the addiction of that conditioning that fails them.

In this very manner, most people are ultimately their greatest victims -- victims at their own hands.  Only in rare cases, are a few destroyed at the hands and capriciousness of others.  Even those who are, usually play a large part in placing themselves at the mercy of others -- whether well-intentioned or not.  The most common of these "relationships," are the familiar toxic codependencies -- of which it becomes difficult to distinguish which is the victim and which is the perpetrator.

Only a generation ago was there acute awareness of such vulnerabilities -- as people were more dependent of specific others because they didn't have access to everybody as easily as the World Wide Web made possible.  It is even difficult for those who were not living then to even imagine such a world -- now living at the leading edge of communications and information, as every new generation is born into.

So the challenge of the old, and for every generation, is to constantly die to the old, and be reborn into the new -- and living only in that reality, and not the past, or even the future -- but the now, which implies that past and the future, and is the only reality.  How one does in that present moment, is the sum total of that life -- and nothing is more real than that.

The culprit therefore, is all the distractions and entertainment, that takes one away from that focus and mindfulness, that that is what matters -- and not all those things we often think is so important instead.  That is the simplicity of being -- totally there, in the present moment -- when all things are possible.  And particularly, that is the solving of the problems of our daily living -- which is both the simple and the grand -- reduced to clarity.  Otherwise, there is confusion as to what is the actual and what is the imagined.

And that is the way many live their lives -- always in this confusion -- mistaking especially, the complicated for the simple -- and insisting that things always be complicated and difficult, as though that was the end purpose of their lives and activities.  Eventually, life just gets totally out of control -- and consumes all their time, energy and resources.  Every little thing, then becomes a big thing, consuming all their time, energy and resources.

Yet despite that, everything simply gets worse, and eventually, hopeless -- at which point death becomes the only thing possible.  That existence is no longer viable -- and capable of continuing, no matter how great the expenditures and effort.  So rather than effort being a measure of success, it actually is a better indicator of failure -- because sustainability demands economy and efficiency.  Everything that is uneconomical and inefficient must end.  We know that in everything we do.  But some will persist in their denial for as long as possible -- until that is no longer an option.

Then life and choice, is out of their hands, beyond their control. Intelligence is what makes the world simpler and easier -- rather than more complex and difficult.  And that makes all things possible.