Monday, June 12, 2017

The Simplicity of Change

People not wanting to change, insist that change is very difficult -- rather than the easiest thing.  Everything in life and living, is change.  The thoughts, memories and illusions, are unchanging -- and that is most people's problems.  If they respond to the present realities, there is never any problem -- but only responding to the exigencies of the moment, as best they can.  It is when instead of responding to the present challenge, that one responds to the past, or the future, that they become detached and lost from the demands of the moment, and out of synch with it.

Then they are solving "problems" that don't exist, while neglecting the simple demands of the present -- that make things better.  So even when people think they are doing everything possible to make things better, if that is not confirmed by their actual results and experience, what they think they are doing, is not making things better, but worse -- and continuing to do so.  That should be obvious.

But only a rare few, will question further -- to all their assumptions, premises and prejudices -- to learn any other than to confirm what they think "right," but obviously isn't working.  This self-righteousness is the same in the most knowledgeable and educated, as it is in the most ignorant, dysfunctional and despairing.  They don't want to know anything but to confirm what they already "know" -- that isn't working.

The fate for those, will undoubtedly be cruel and unrelenting.  They are certain that that is how life must be -- for everyone, and not that a rare few, will find a better way.  That is not the privilege of only a few -- but the quest of any, who choose to live their lives that way.  But it has to be chosen -- and not merely given, and "entitled."  It has to be earned by each -- and there is no other way, although an unscrupulous few, will promise it can be sold to them.

But life is not like that -- only available to the most unwary and gullible -- no matter how much money they have, or can get.  The real value is in the skills learned and mastered -- and not just mimicked, as though one knew -- or claimed to know all there is to know.

Invariably, such masters of the universe, will wake to the realization that what they knew, was not all there was to know, and experience critical failures when the need to know is paramount.  That is glaringly obvious in what we regard as the natural "aging" process -- when everything one thought they knew that worked, suddenly abandons them.  Usually, their response is "too little, too late," and they don't want to have to learn anything new all over again.  They just want to go to their graves knowing everything they already know -- but increasingly, forget.

One quickly forgets, what is no longer useful -- or does not work, because there is no reinforcement of that behavior.  One merely goes through those motions compulsively -- until one even loses that.  But learning something new that really works, is revitalizing and renewing -- and recharges one for the next ten years.

And then something else can be discovered -- giving one another new lease on life.  That means change -- and not just continuing as the same person one has always been.  That is the secret to great vitality -- that one dies to the old, and is reborn in the new.  It is also the great spiritual teaching -- and not just carrying the dust of many generations into the next.

Change is the reason for practice and exercise.  By it, we hope to get better -- and not just stay the same, or get worse a little slower.  Yet that is many people's approach to any practice and exercise -- and not that there can be significant, dramatic and immediate improvement -- as self-evident truth.  Instead, it becomes merely a belief in some distant time in the future -- and even into the life thereafter, if all else fails. 

For the aging bodybuilders, the lesson unheeded over a lifetime is usually lost by then.  That is the grotesque imbalance and priority given to developing the biceps and the "six-pack" abdominals -- to the total neglect of those parts of the human body that becomes glaringly problematical for them as well as for most people with age.  That is their feet, knees, hips and back -- which should be given highest priority, and the way to do that is not by variations of the deep knee-bend -- which is painful for most, but the slight knee bend -- in all its variations, as actually the cure -- from those years of abuse.  That includes even sitting in a chair -- for prolonged periods of time -- or standing with a bone-on-bone lockout.  Either, and both are damaging because it does not engage and lubricate the knee -- preparatory to any movement.  In order for that to happen, the knees have to move forward in front of the toes -- which the self- certified exercise "experts" command must never be done -- thereby ensuring that lifelong problem.

That is the proper positioning of the Horse Stance -- from which every effective movement has to be initiated from -- whether one is aware of it, or not.  That is the slight knee bend -- pulsed for a count of 50 -- as the key movement that must be done to ensure the highest functioning of the supportive structures, as often as one can think to do it.  Then the myriad of other problems don't arise.  That is the simplicity of change.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Just Do the Hard Part -- The Rest is Easy

In most people's exercise, they spend most of their time doing the resting -- while avoiding the hard part -- and so their results "show" it.  Despite all they say they do, it looks like they have not done anything -- or at least nothing productive, for the results they want to achieve.

But with time and persistence, they may get better, and those results will manifest -- unless they continue to have no idea of what they are doing, and hope to achieve.  For unfortunately many, they have no real idea of what they are doing -- except that somebody instructed them to do so, who professed to know better -- but often, that "expert" showed the same lack of desirable results that would inspire confidence in the discerning student.

That is particularly so as people get older -- and show less results for their efforts, until eventually, they stop all efforts and accept the fact that nothing they do anymore, seems to work -- even if it might have when they were younger.  But now, everything they know, has betrayed them -- rather than realizing that what they know, may not have been valid in the first place -- and what seemed to work, was not the reason they thought.

That realization should challenge them to further inquiries -- rather than causing them to abandon any further inquiries and learning.  Learning, they will insist, is what only young people need to do -- and not everyone, every day of their lives.  That's the only thing that makes sense, right?  

Any learning begins with just paying attention -- and seeing what is actually happening, rather than what they would like to think or believe is happening.  There often is a huge difference among people in that -- which largely accounts for their success in dealing with the world, in all its interfaces and interactions.

The large disparities between what one does, and what they believe they are doing, or would like to have everyone else believe, is cognitive dissonance.  The results usually override -- sooner or later.  Nowhere is that more true than in the rapidly declining health and well-being of those who think they are doing everything "right" -- with only disastrous consequences as a result -- producing injuries, worse conditioning and functioning, even death -- despite all the good they think they are doing.

That was notably true of those participating in bodybuilding competitions in the 90s -- when many of their luminaries started dying of various forms of heart failures -- and other critical failures of the human body, because they were exercising them to "failure," in the mistaken belief that what did not kill them, made them stronger.  It caused the thoughtful to begin to back off from that dangerous manner of thinking -- and reflect, that that manner of conditioning did not seem to be working -- especially if longevity and well-being in it, was also a part of the equation.

So now, with definitively established longer life spans, thoughtful individuals want to enjoy those peak years for more than ten before prematurely dying, or being disabled for the rest of life -- especially as a result of their conditioning activities.  Yet people are still allowed to abuse themselves in the many ways -- until the reality hits the fan, and they can no longer physically continue.  Not coincidentally, that's what usually ends most athletic careers -- the injuries, no matter how great they were at one time.

What matters now, is simply doing the best they can -- at living their everyday lives and activities.  Still, that can be done and improved for considerably longer and better than most think is possible, by avoiding the extremes of overexertion (abuse) alternated with extreme inactivity, negligence and indifference.

What is surprising, is how little attention, time and energy is needed to attain those beneficial effects -- when all the beliefs, thoughts and destructive conditioning are abandoned, and proper thought and observation merely introduced.  In most activites, beginning with the basic muscle contraction, most of the time and movement is actually devoted to relaxing and resting the muscle in preparation for its "firing" -- which is very brief, followed by a prolonged relaxation phase -- again.  

But it is the contraction only -- that puts the muscle in the shape and condition one wants it to be (toned), and not the relaxation.  One of the earlier realizations of this, resulted in the promotion of what was called "isometric" exercises -- which was to get into a fully contracted muscular position and then hold it for as long as possible -- which required one to also stop breathing, and produce undesirable internal pressures as a result.

An even earlier version of that training style, was popularized by Charles Atlas as dynamic tension -- which didn't require weights, but pitting one muscle against another -- in a prolonged contraction -- also requiring, that one hold their breath to prevent moving out of that contraction.  There is no reason, or advantage for holding a contraction as long as possible -- as doing so increases the disastrous effects, that multiple, extremely brief discrete pulsing contractions while maintaining that position, does not.

There's no reason or necessity to move a muscle back into the completely relaxed (extended) position -- except to give it more rest, for a next attempt.  One can eliminate that portion of the movement, and simply pulse further contractions -- while maintaining the original contracted position -- forcing muscles not recruited in the original contraction to fire -- until all the muscle fibers are recruited (exhausted) in that way.

The result is that one is immediately toned and conditioned by using the muscles in that way -- to achieve their maximum contracting capability -- and deliberately eliminating the rest that is most of the time one is "exercising."  And so very brief workouts are necessary to achieve maximum results -- immediately, and with frequent practice, one gets better at it -- also very quickly.

This economy and efficiency -- while also eliminating the possibility of joint pain and injury (which is the characteristic pain/danger of contracting from a fully extended position) -- is what anybody can do -- anytime, anywhere, very inconspicuously -- because the entirety of the movement, is confined within the body -- with minimal visibility of external movement (which is not what is producing growth).  And that is what is really important -- not the overt, but the inverted movement of the muscles -- even with minimal visibility, or show, for anybody else's benefit, or approbation.  But that is the way we've been conditioned to exercise -- for the visible benefit of others -- rather than what is going on inside the body.  That -- is presumed, but results in the lack of desirable effects/results -- obviously.

The joints are minimally stressed -- because there is minimal movement at the joints in their strongest positions -- while still activating the muscles -- which is a major disincentive for aging, aching joints -- while providing superior muscle activation and stimulation of the nerve pathways.  That's what one really wants to do -- to attain, retain and enhance the optimal responsiveness of the voluntary muscular system by which we accomplish most things in our daily living.

It undoubtedly is a major shift in thinking (paradigm shift) -- when the well-established ideas no longer work -- especially when it critically must, in the aging.  That is the test of time.  The most obvious and highly visible proof -- are the parodies of the aging bodybuilders, who doing (or trying to do) the same things they did before, no longer get the same results -- and frequently are discouraged from continuing by the innumerable and overwhelming pain caused by those movements (exercises) and misadvised to endure the pain to even greater tolerances -- yet still the gains are not forthcoming. 

Injuries and debilitating pain eventually cause them to quit entirely -- instead of rightfully reflecting and rethinking what they are doing.  Often in primitive conditioning, that is expressly prohibited -- that one should question what one is doing, and merely respond, "How high?" when commanded to jump.

So the question is, what movements can one do -- without the pain, and only the productivity?  One begins by eliminating the extraneous -- even as widely as they are the unquestioned and unchallenged truths (premises) of what one is doing.  Is it necessary to lift a heavy weight -- to produce a muscle contraction, or is it sufficient just to know what position is the contracted position -- and pulse further contractions, while exhibiting very little movement externally?

You're not doing it to impress others -- or even set a Guinness World's Record for the oldest person to finish a marathon -- or climb Mt. Everest, for that matter.  One really hopes to be the oldest person going about their normal daily activities -- without any signs of impairment, pain and disability.  That is the obvious.  Straggling across the finish line looking like one is dying, is totally unnecessary at that point in life.  Many look that way without trying.

Muscle control and responsiveness -- even without the conventional measures of validation -- are impressive in themselves, especially at that point and stage of life.  Not to be moving feebly, or even grossly, is the faculty maintained by a rare few.  Masterly control and movement cannot be faked.  That is the manifestation and appearance of a healthy, well-functioning individual.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lucky Accidents

The greatest discoveries in every life are not those merely confirming what one hopes to know -- but is the unexpected, unanticipated, and unforeseen.  Merely to confirm what one already hopes, is merely to confirm what one already knows -- and the great learning, is discovering worlds and possibilities one had no idea existed before.  

That is the limits of human understanding -- thinking what they know, is all that can be known, and never bothering to find out anything more.  It doesn't matter how much they know -- because what they don't know, is infinitely greater.  It takes a truly intelligent person to realize that -- but that is all they need to know.  When one knows they do not know, then they can easily find out -- because that is the inquiring mind.  The mind too full of its own knowledge -- which is usually not working, simply denies that everything is not as it should be.    

That is the mind in denial of everything as it truly is.  Everything goes wrong despite of everything they do -- and not because of everything they do.  The outcomes are always random -- and they are quite proud of that enlightenment, and resulting self-righteousness.  If only the world knew, everything they knew, all would be right with the world.

And so they develop "ideals" apart from the actualities of their actual experiences -- and think they are quite noble for it, and feel quite justified on imposing that reality on everybody else -- because they know better than all the rest.  Most simply recognize them as delusional people -- whether they are old or not.  That is what we've come to expect of "old" people, and it is quite alright that they continue in that way until the end -- because they are avoidable.  That is the familiar isolation of the old -- that they simply become irrelevant and harmless to nobody but themselves.

That is quite acceptable, and even the "norm."  Young people even hope to have that right when they are "old," and not be forced to conform to any reality anymore.  Whatever they want to believe, is what they are "entitled" to believe -- come what may.  "They've earned it," the sympathetic are heard to say -- as though that was enough to absolve them from any consequences.

But the world doesn't work that way -- no matter how much they wish it could be so.  There are always consequences -- causes and effects.  Even ancient people called it the law of karma.   Later thoughtful people observed that there was a reason for everything -- even while the priests insisted that it happened on their say so, as the favored disciples of the great deity.

More often than not, the great discoveries of the world, was a lucky accident of its time -- that some perceptive person noticed, because they didn't know better.  Those who did know better, were already certain that nothing new could be discovered -- because everything that could be known, was already known, and so there was "nothing to see."

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Knowing All the Wrong Things

Knowing all the wrong things is not the same as knowing only one right thing.  The one right thing enables one to find the other right things, while knowing only the wrong things, provides no such foundation for any other exploration.  One is on constantly shifting sand -- a fantasy island of one's own delusions -- and never questioning the difference.

In any dispute between the two, one will always choose what they wish to believe -- over what the actuality is telling them.  In that manner obviously, things can only get worse -- no matter how much they do.  They even come to believe that nothing matters, and nothing can ever make a difference.  

The less one knows, the more certain they are that they know everything there is to know -- even though using that knowledge, results in catastrophic results.  Such people just plow ahead harder -- never suspecting that the fault might lie in their understanding -- and not the effort.  So they apply even more effort and force -- as surely what can overcome any lack of understanding.

Predictably, as they go through life, they only seem to get worse -- and never any better, and all those they choose to hang around with, confirm similar "results."  In fact, their choice of "associates" and "acquaintances," are chosen mainly on the qualification that those chosen, are even worse off than themselves -- and so can be more easily exploited -- in a very vicious circle and cycle.  That is the dysfunctional society of why some people fail -- in almost every aspect of their lives, and drag everybody else down with them.  Nobody has a clue -- that something terribly wrong is happening.

That is simply how the world is -- and there is no changing that, no matter what, and one should (over)eat, (over)drink, and be (over)merry, while one still can -- before one can't (as a result of that over)indulgence, and never having a clue what one's part in it played.  No matter how "guilty," they will protest their "innocence" -- thinking that is enough to make it so.

In their world, the "facts" are what they can get anybody else to believe.  Of course the most obvious of these, are the pathological criminals -- but less obvious, are those who are better at convincing everybody else otherwise.  In fact, that is their source of pride and joy -- manipulating everybody else's opinion.  But alas, they cannot lie to themselves -- and the truth reveals itself in their daily living.

That is why some people age badly and some don't -- the truth of what they tell themselves.  If it doesn't matter, then that will reveal itself -- in time, when it is least convenient and propitious to do so.  It may seem for a while that one can get away with anything they please, but it catches up to them.  Each is his own worst victim -- or beneficiary, of all they have done -- and nobody gets away with anything.  

That is the most powerful argument for living the best life one can -- not for the sake of anyone else, and the approval of others -- but the quality of life one provides for themselves.  The world is, what one is.  That is the simple truth.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Times Are Changing -- Again

The key to a long and successful life is always changing and adapting -- and not just once and thinking one need never change again.  That is always the fatal formula -- why even the powerful dinosaurs that once ruled the earth, are all extinct.  They couldn't adapt fast enough -- or at all.  They were perfect for a certain time and conditions, and when those changed, they had no skills for changing.

That is the important lesson for any time -- and conditions; one has to be prepared for change, and to change again, and as long as they are, remain viable, fit and able to whatever challenges arise.  The sadness, and the sad lesson, are those reliving their youth, as the only way it can be -- thinking it will always be that way, even if only in their minds, which becomes their self-isolating and self-fulfilling prophecy.

Those are the people who age badly -- while good aging, are people changing with the times -- to be their best at any time.  That formula is just as obvious -- as well as the look of one always changing, adapting, perfecting their responses.  As long as one can change, adapt, improve, they have more than a better chance of being successful -- and surviving.  That's what success is.  There is no other.

It isn't some other static, immutable, unchanging metric for all time and ages.  It is the very ability to re-create oneself -- as needed, and as appropriate -- that is fitness, in a very real world, as the only place that matters.  That is the ultimately and consummately successful individual.  That is the person creating the parameters -- of any given age, time and place.

Those of the old, will insist that one has to repeat the patterns of the past -- as the only way it can ever be -- insisting it is since time immemorial, of which they also claim to be the heirs and caretakers of that legacy and culture.  But time passes them by -- no matter how much of the old they accumulate -- thinking one day, it will all be relevant again.  It never works that way -- no matter how much of the old they accumulate and repeat -- and remember.

All that is gone -- and something new and very different rules the day -- and that is what they now have to learn and master.  Those who won't make it -- will go into denial, refusing to acknowledge the present realities -- increasingly living only in their minds and memories, as though that was enough of a survival response to remain in the game and flow of life -- rather than the certain death it has always been.

Some prefer that certainty to any change -- but it is in embracing change that is the way -- and not simply doing what they have always done before, as though that was enough to ensure their survival or prosperity -- especially if it hasn't worked before!  But by then, they've become these obsessive-compulsive personalities that just go through the motions -- without relevance and acknowledgement of the current realities.  They pine for another time -- of their greatest glory, whether it actually ever was.  Their memories and thoughts are all they think necessary -- to cling to, until they are no more.

At one time, that may have been the predominant mode of thought -- but alas, that too has passed on.

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.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Until Something Works

We remember Thomas Edison for the one time he succeeded -- and not the thousand times he failed -- but each failure was different until he succeeded, and not just failing the same way every time.  The more different ways one fails, leads them eventually to success -- and not just failing the same way over and over again, ensuring their failure.  That is the difference between success and failure -- and not that one never makes mistakes, or fails to try.

One learns from failure -- until something works.  And then when something works, one merely repeats that -- and moves on to learn something else, something new and different.  In this way, energy is released and refocused to something else, the next challenge that stands in the way of ever-improving life.

That is what evolution is about -- finding a way to win, and not merely resigning oneself that it doesn't make a difference, and nothing matters.  Yet some people regard that as the height of intellectual sophistication -- that they can no longer discern the difference in anything -- the true from the false, up and down, left and right, the authentic from the inauthentic,  

It all averages out they proudly proclaim. So why try harder -- when the least amount of effort will do, and better yet, why do anything at all, if the reward will be the same for all -- regardless of merit and effort.  In fact, such people think that the more useless they become, that they have won the game of life -- because then everybody else will have to do everything for them, and they no longer have to do anything for themselves.

Naturally such a life is a self-fulfilling prophecy -- and they become more useless to themselves, more dependent on others, less free and independent -- which means doing for oneself, as much as possible.  There is a certain joy in being able to do things for oneself -- as well as survive and thrive under many challenging conditions from which many others might perish.

It might be as simple as being able to cross the street by oneself -- with some assurance of safety -- rather than just stepping into traffic regardless of what others might be doing.  The safest person in such an event, is one who is aware of what everybody else is doing -- and not merely preoccupied with what they want to do -- thinking that everybody else's responsibility is to look out for them.

The world, and life, does not work very well that way.  Every individual has to be their own first line of defense -- being aware of what their unique vantage/perspective can provide to the larger community and culture.  Early on in life, that is mostly provided by the larger to the individual -- but at some point it is hoped, the best individuals will greatly reward that investment into those formative years.

A few don't get there as fully "mature" people -- at any point in their lives, which should be a great concern for those responsible for that function and learning.  But in order to do so, they have to be able to tell the difference -- and not despair that no matter what they do, nothing makes a difference.  It won't as long as they keep doing the same thing -- hoping for a different result.  Nothing works that way.

Instead, they have to do something different -- and notice the differences that result -- good or bad, because both are equally important in providing information that gets them closer to the results they want.  The mistake is to persist only in believing in the outcome they want -- rather than the actual results, that they will deny as being valid.

Their beliefs (ideology) prevail over everything their actual experiences are telling them.  The actual may even be derided as "anecdotal" -- or having no scientific basis because the properly designated "experts" have not discovered or thought of it first, and gotten funding for their studies.

Science is not about a hierarchy of experts but the access to the truth by anybody, and particularly those not indoctrinated by the current thinking which oversees this problem only getting worse without end.  Obviously, that current thinking, is what doesn't work, and one should be free, to explore other solutions that might -- confident that there is nothing to lose by maintaining the status quo, and accepting the dismal prognosis as a certain fate.  It's not surprising then, that many people find their own "cures."

Very often, it is one of a kind -- at the right time, place and circumstances -- when nothing less will do.  And if it works, one stays with it -- until it doesn't, and then one has to discover again, what works.  And failing that, not proclaiming proudly to all, that nothing works, and nothing can make a difference.