Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Purpose of Life is to Get Better

From time to time, everybody loses their way -- but the categorical imperative of every life, is to get better -- all the days of one's life, and when they no longer do that, their prognosis in life is not favorable, and diminishes daily.  That purpose and clarity, is what distinguishes the quality of lives under all conditions -- at every age and stage of life.  When people lose that edge and drive to get better, they fall behind and are less competitive against all the challenges they will face -- even if they are self-imposed.  And for many in modern life, that is often what they are up against -- the handicaps and disabilities of their own making.

In former times, the competition in life was provided largely by others -- or the conditions of their environment -- but in a time when those are greatly self-chosen, those limitations are largely of one's own making and choosing, rather than the inevitable for all.  That is the reality we finally realize are the limits of our lives.  But many choose badly, or fail to acknowledge that what they accept as the immutable and unchangeable conditions and premises of their lives, are in fact, their own choices and abdications from those choicees -- that result in their bad outcomes and predicaments -- that continue if they continue as they have been.

There is nothing inevitable about that.  Life could be very different -- very easily and immediately -- just in choosing to make it so.  It should not be difficult to convince anyone of that -- but it invariably is -- because of their conditioning that life is so -- and many well-meaning but wholly misguided, will insist that those lives must continue as they are -- rather than changing everything, so as to remain viable, and even become formidable once more.

That is not the world most have prepared for -- but fall into the predictable pattern, because it is easy to exploit -- for another's benefit.  That is the world of exploitation, and at best, mutual exploitation -- until one will have no part of it anymore, and breaks directly into the light.  However, the forces and institutions of the status quo, will not allow one to go so easily -- even if they could.  It is for that reason, they invested years of conditioning -- to maintain that "state."

So those "breaking free," generally have to pioneer their own ways -- just in living their lives differently, intelligently -- and not in the failing ways that are well-documented and reported -- as to how life must be, for everyone else.  The successful paradigms are not reported or even "noticed" because they have no opportunities for exploitation by others.  The benefits go greatly to the one exercising their lives in that way -- and are self-employed in that way.  They are their own bosses, and best customers.

Such people are "retired" from the conventional world in that way -- but obviously more engaged, active and involved than people have ever been before -- in wholly integrated lives, rather than the fragmented and conflicted lives of the past, in which the best that could be hoped for, was to continue to live as they have always done so before -- but no longer breaking new ground in the development of their lives.  That model cannot sustain lifelong improvement -- because that is not even a possibility to their way of thinking.

One hundred years ago, that was not possible for most to become "fit" to build up their bodies in the way it has become commonplace to see these days.  What changed?  It was largely in thinking that it could be so -- and so easily accomplished -- especially when one could easily access all the information that institutions largely managed for their own advantage and benefit up to then.  That's how the world has changed -- but the defenders of the status quo, are the last to let everyone know.

A few still insist, that information is exclusively their job and jurisdiction -- while the multitudes go rushing past them -- to obtain the benefits that those few think are their job to mete out only to those signing up for "their" programs -- while undermining the confidence in every other, and particularly the notion, that one could competently do anything for themselves -- because they haven't been duly certified and licensed to do so -- by their confederates.

And so they proclaim triumphantly, "The more things change, the more they stay the same," and "history always repeats itself" -- as though they were the great and inviolable truths of human progress.  People do improve -- and that changes everything.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

An Independent Life (Putting It All Together)

The most disturbing thing of people feeling a lost of control over their own lives and destiny, is the increasing reliance on "other people" to fulfill their basic (daily) needs.  So increasingly, they feel their lives are beyond their own control -- and all they feel they can control, is the remote for their television and entertainment.  They may even feel privileged and "progressive" to have reached such an advanced state of "interconnectedness" -- that they fail to realize they have become entirely helpless in living their own lives -- and are even advised to become even more so.

It is good business for those who provide their "services" -- for those who no longer can provide many of these things for themselves -- and increasingly lack the competence and confidence to do so -- which seems quite a perversion of how we think life should be for the best.  Early in life, they thought nothing less for themselves -- until increasingly reaching a point sometime in their lives when they experienced a definitive turning point -- and felt resigned to the kindness and mercy of others -- who could not resist the power of feeling others totally dependent and indebted to them for their continued existence.

That is the modern version of power -- just as these of an earlier time relished their power of life and death in the most brutal ways that now have become so subtle and insidious.  If we can make a whole category of people helpless, we have an unlimited source of customers for our own services -- and they never change so that they don't need us anymore.  They are our personal "cash cows."

One is simply the "pass through" -- for others getting paid (rich), while they never get better -- but only increasingly worse, and dependent on even more costly services.  That certainly distinguishes life at the bottom -- where those are regarded as expendable and disposable, and openly prey and exploit the most vulnerable, and not merely gullible.  In that scheme, the most "successful" regard themselves as the ultimate exploiter -- at the top of the the pyramid -- outsmarting all the others.

But real success is getting beyond all that dependency and co-dependency to become an "independent" person (mind) -- not thinking in such terms, but providing as much for oneself so others never need to consider doing so for them.  Such a life these days, seems almost unthinkable -- so reliant have many become on information and input provided for them -- disturbing the stillness and tranquility of their own minds in deference to the most intrusive and persistent.

Just as "scarcity" has been replaced by "abundance" in a generation, many have not made the shift to adjusting their strategies and orientation when the rules of the game have changed so drastically -- and the danger is no longer underconsumption, but overconsumption -- even to one's own destruction.  Thus, obesity and excess are the markers of advanced decline -- and the minimalist lifestyle of only what one actually needs, seems ingenious.

That is the new paradigm for this age -- and not that of the previous generation's -- of acquiring and accumulating as much as one can -- even if it risks burying them, as hoarders are wont to do.  Such people feel they are "dependent" on their possessions for their well-being and prosperity -- even as it "owns" them and dictates their lives.  As such, their whole lives can be seen as an "obsessive compulsive disorder," having little to do with meeting "actual" needs, and have become ritualized to where no deeper insight is possible.

Of course that is mental illness -- that many increasingly fail to recognize, or are taught not to see -- as all delusions are encouraged, as though that was a public good. That increases the "GDP"  -- the greater dependence.  It's good to be able to disconnect from the grid of predetermined choices and fates -- and write out one's own.  But one has to ensure that they haven't lost those capabilities -- in exercising them from time to time -- if not oftener.  That's how one knows they are still capable of doing these things for themselves -- and not have these memories and experiences merely planted in their heads -- as though they thought of these things themselves.  Or did they? -- and how will they know the difference?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Practice Makes One Good at What They Do

That doesn't mean that practicing anything -- any ol' way -- will make one good at what they want to do.  What they hope to get good at, and what they actually practice, may be two different things entirely.  If they practice badly, they will do things badly -- and not that any amount of inattention to what they are doing, will make them proficient and expert.  They are simply practicing to be "bad" at what they do.  That is the objective for many -- who think there is no difference between doing something badly, and doing it exceptionally well. 

One can easily be deluded, and that is why it is important to check in with others for their opinions and perspective, and not dismiss them if they are not what one wants to hear -- that one is the greatest that ever was, and ever will be -- and cling to that belief despite everything telling them otherwise.  That is why a lot of people who only watch television all day, think they are capable of doing everything better than what they see -- because others make it look so easy and effortless.

But one never finds out the truth of that difference until one actually goes through the motions -- and then realizing that a somersault is not as easy as it looks, and what seems impossible at the start, becomes graceful and effortless -- along the way.  That is not their final destination -- but just one more milepost in the journey of their lives, and there is no going back, or standing still.  Life is movement, and thus, momentum -- either getting better, or getting worse -- but there is no just standing still.  Only the frightened mind, fearful of any change, hopes that they can simply remain the same -- forever, but that is not life, or any living being.

So at all times, one must ask themselves, "Am I getting better, or am I getting worse?" -- and if so, know to change one's course and direction.  Obviously, doing the same ol" things that made them worse, is not going to make them any better -- and so they have to start with just doing things differently, and let the results tell them what to do next.  One doesn't need to know the ultimate destination -- to start heading in the right direction, even if they have to try all the others first.  That is also the learning process -- and not simply never making mistakes.  In fact, the most successful people, will tell everyone that is how they got there -- and not that they started at the top -- fresh out of the Garden of Eden, and now are just trying to find their way back to that perfection, which they invariably call, "Paradise."

They wish to believe they started out perfect, but over time, lost their way -- and not that that work still lies before them, and they have to prepare and embark on that journey -- no matter how late in life.  Of course it is much easier to start as soon as one can -- but there is nothing more important to do -- at any stage and age in life.  That is the business of life -- all the little things and details that add up to the big things.  That is how one gets there, and not just by proclaiming their intent the loudest.

One has to get good at life and living -- and not just demand that that be so despite of everything they actually do.  It never happens that way -- no matter how many others one can recruit to join in their demands.  They have to do something -- besides demanding that others have to change the world  -- and their lives, for them.  That is the only way things ever get done.  The people who actually want them, have to get them -- for themselves first, and then it is possible for all the others.  But simply demanding that others deliver that to them, is the reason things have always stayed the same.

Nothing will change until they do.  When that happens, everything else is possible.

Friday, March 02, 2018

The Power of Exercise

The biggest difference anybody can make in their own lives is to exercise -- because that is invariably the person they are.  Nothing else is possible.  You are what you do, and if you don't do anything, the results are obvious.  That doesn't mean that a person has to climb Mt. Everest (or the peak of their choice) to prove they are fit -- or die trying to do so. 

One just has to be able to do everything they normally do -- as best as they can, and maintain those capabilities as long as they live.  That's really a simple task -- made difficult by doing otherwise.  Usually, they get distracted onto doing things that subvert that health and well-being -- with the rationalization that it doesn't make a difference.  Thus they are convinced, and convince themselves, that things that matter, don't -- with disastrous consequences to follow.  For a while, they say they should have known better, but after a while, they make no pretense for falling apart -- with no will or skill to make it otherwise. 

Then the worst just happens -- and they are powerless to do anything about it.  For a few, that is the beginning of the end -- of increasing hopelessness and despair, and the feeling that they will ever master and be in control of their lives again -- as they might once as a young person believed.  Now those dreams are over, and they can only look forward to diminishing health and well-being -- because it is "too late" to do anything about it.  But so was every moment before then.  That is their conditioning, that is the "shape" they are in.  It is both physical and mental, and their whole adaptation to life.  That is the person they've become.

So how can one NOT become that person?  That is the difference between those who are succeeding and those who are failing at life.  One is the master of their own destiny, while the other is the victim in every other's path.  For these latter individuals, life is more about what others can do for them, and less about what they can do for themselves.  Inevitably, there is very little they can do for themselves -- which is the skill set they never acquired some time in their lives -- having missed the whole point of what life was all about.  They never matured, and blossomed into a free and independent person -- at some point in their lives, and preferably, in the best years of their life.

For most, that is the golden years, and the golden age -- of when they do.  Instead, they were too busy chasing finish lines and fulfilling bucket lists -- to have remained at home, taking care of business -- and all those housekeeping chores that the wise build their lives upon.  They were out chasing fame and fortune -- at least in their own minds, while their own foundations were crashing down upon them.  One wondered -- when if ever, they would ever awaken to that awareness -- which was the only thing separating them from the happy outcome they sought, while choosing to chase the wrong things -- even if only because "everybody" else seemed to. 

But was that truly "everybody else," or merely the false idols held up before them? -- all seeking that same, elusive fame and fortune? -- they would give everything they had, until they had no more to give.  Still, they could replenish the well -- if only they knew how.  That was not something they thought important to learn -- as they were confident there was always more where that came from.  In that way, the best often become the last -- trailing badly as they limp and hobble their way to the end -- thinking they would always maintain their advantage at the head of the pack.  They only knew how to win -- and when the winning stopped, they had no idea what to do -- and so they perished, or merely shrank into a shell of themselves -- rather than reaching a higher level with every passing phase.

Such people, only want to stay young forever -- rather than growing into each successive stage.  Those were the best years of their lives -- that they now merely want to relive forever -- even if only in their own minds.  Far better would it be for them to exercise the best version of their present selves -- as though that was all that really mattered.  That doesn't mean simply repeating the past -- as though that was the only thing that mattered.  Surely what matters now, just as any other time in the past, is finding out what one's present (actual) capabilities are -- whatever that might be. 

That knowing and discovery, is what is important -- at any stage, and condition.  That is discovering "reality," and to know that, is worth all one's fantasies -- no matter how lavish and glorious one thinks they used to be. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Integration of Knowledge (Wisdom)

Ask ten people what they think "Yoga" is, and you're likely to get ten different answers.  The literal definition is that it means "yoke," and then, "union, and finally, "integration' -- which is the connection of one thing to everything else.  And that way, all three answers are correct and meaningful -- for one thing is tied to every other.  That doesn't necessarily make it spiritual or sacred, but is the thread that runs through all things -- which is energy.

Of all the things people can do, many are beneficial, just as many are harmful -- and distinguishing one from another, is the wisdom one hopes to attain in this lifetime.  One is successful to the extent that the former, overwhelms the latter -- through trial and error more than academic learning, because the former is what one has to learn uniquely on their own.  Academic, or theoretical learning, is what somebody else has told us is the truth -- but for many, that is all they know, and have never found out the truth of anything for themselves -- by themselves.  But that is the valuable learning -- that is the outcome of individual experience and results.  That is who we are.

"Exercise" is not merely practice and useless, but means "use" itself.  To exercise one's faculties, options and rights, makes them manifest -- and moot if not.  People become good at what they practice -- which is what they actually "do."  It is an entirely different matter if one only imagines or think they can do -- without actually going through the motions, or integrating thought in action.  That is when reality is made manifest.  Despite what the pundits "know" and are certain about, they go ahead and play the game -- to find out what actually happens.

And that is how it is with all of life: it doesn't matter what one thinks is real -- until one finds out for themselves if it is.  Not everyone will encounter the same results.  For that, we have to dig a little deeper. and find out the difference in outcome, even when both think they are doing the same thing.  When the results are consistently different, some greater principle is at work -- and not simply that one practitioner is more devout and deserving than the other, is the only explanation possible. 

Usually though, one more devoted to their practice, will experience greater results than the less dedicated -- all things being equal, and they seldom are.  The world was not made that way -- with each an interchangeable part with another.  Industry tries to achieve that universal interchangeability, so one needn't reinvent the wheel each time one fails.  It is enough just to replace the part that failed -- after it is determined what failed.  Often, that is not obvious, but requires extensive trouble shooting to find out -- while many do not get to realizing that something is wrong and malfunctioning.  They think that is how it is supposed to work and be -- broken and badly.

That's why it is necessary to categorize and catalogue the movements each body should be capable of -- as the standard of what should be possible, in the normal human body.  Those movements, postures and poses have not changed much over the course of 5,000 years -- and are easily recognizable in the contemporary exercises of today -- from the pushup, situp, and jumping jack -- even without any apparatus.  The familiar basis of productive exercise, is the movement within the body -- and not any external measuring device.  All it takes, is an awareness that that is true.

And that is particularly true, the older one is.  The functioning of their own body, is the ultimate measure of how well they are doing.  Just that, is enough to tell one what they need to know -- when they need to know it.  But one won't know that, unless they take that inventory daily, if not momentarily.  That is the only way they know with any certainty, that they actually have that capability currently, and not just the vestiges of a memory long since unexercised, and probably extinguished for that lack of use.

Unless those neurons have been fired recently, it is premature to assume that one still has those capabilities -- at some basic, minimal level.  That is to say, that one doesn't have to run a marathon to know they are still capable of running -- if they really had to.  Mostly they need to know, if they are just capable of such a movement at all -- because it is merely repetition after that.  Can you do it once? -- even without any resistance?  That's all one needs to know -- with certainty.

That is the simplicity of exercise, and how little one needs to do.  But one simply has to do that.  That is not too much to demand of oneself.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Making the Best of Any Age

Younger people want to be older, and older people want to be younger -- so obviously, those who are happiest, are those making the best at whatever age they are -- and not wishing things were different before making the best of each and every present moment.

There are countless dysfunctional people who know exactly what they would do if they won the lottery -- but have no idea what to do under their present circumstances, and are not even going to try.  Instead, they will go into denial that things as they are, is trying to tell them something.  It invariably, is what they don't want to hear -- and deal with -- as the way things actually are.  So they go on to solve some other problem -- imagined or real -- to distract them from the present urgency, hoping it will pass and resolve itself -- as many problems will.

But that seldom gets to the root of the problem -- which causes it to reoccur, more virulently the next time -- until finally, "the shit hits the fan," and life cannot go on any longer in that denial and neglect.  Often, it is one of these famous incidents that become known to the public because of its violence and bizarre circumstances.  And the question that immediately comes to mind is, "What were they thinking -- if they were thinking at all?"

Often those reporting such events, don't first question the particulars of such bizarre events as the first line of defense for an unsuspecting and generally trusting audience.  They think it must be true or why would someone bother informing them of such a thing?  Sometimes they do because it is profitable for them to spread such misinformation -- if the truth won't sell.  Thus they prefer a falsehood that sells well, to a truth with diminishing customers, because once those people know the truth, they have no need to buy more -- of what doesn't work.

That is life in the small pond.  They have to sell more to the same people, rather than one to an ever-expanding universe -- who only need one.  But such products, change the world, and life as we've known it.  They are the products and services of a certain age and time -- that was the springboard for even greater products and innovations -- rather than allowing the same old problems, to simply persist and haunt humanity forever after, as the infamous age-old problems

But are they really the problems of age -- or something else -- something much more fundamental?  And that is the lack of understanding things properly -- invariably because that which was assumed to be true, were never questioned in the first place.  Even the thought of it, is mind-boggling and even insulting to those who thought themselves educated and rational.  What if those problems, are not caused by one's genes, but one's behaviors?  And so when one changes the behavior, those "genes" simply disappear -- or more accurately, are not expressed.

In much the same way, capacities that are never expressed, weaken and may finally be extinguished -- for lack of use, while less desirable traits, are reinforced as the person one has come to be -- and that is true at any age.  That is what we know commonly, as the "lack of exercise."  People are, what they actually do -- and not what they wish to become.  That is just the simple truth of life and living.  So it behooves one, to be that person -- who does that, and not simply know better while doing something else entirely.  And so the difference between the person they are, and the reality they wish to live, grows wider with each day.

Even doing only one thing repeatedly and constantly -- to the exclusion of everything else, will not make one more fit to do everything else -- contrary to what the promoters of that one thing as the only thing will tell us.  You have to do everything else, to be able to maintain those capacities.  That is particularly true with the most versatile and adaptable species -- that are capable of such a wide range of expressions and articulations.  What capabilities are necessary to maintain at at least a functional level all one's life?  That is what has to be maintained -- more than doing any one thing, however repetitively and exclusively.

That which we do most often, is that which is easiest to overlook -- such as sitting, lying, watching television, and compulsively eating, let alone the smoking and drinking with their well-known adverse impacts.  Yet admittedly -- or not, they account for fully 90% of our health problems, when the alternatives, are limitless.  It need not be difficult -- and that manner of thinking, makes it prohibitive -- while those barriers should be lowered as much as possible, to make the doing as effortless as necessary.  That has been the wrong-thinking -- or even lack of thinking, from those agencies and persons charged with encouraging the wider adoption of healthful behaviors.

Beginning is always the hard part.  Once a person has begun, momentum takes over -- and becomes difficult to stop.  So the question to consider offhand, is not how difficult it should be, but rather, how one gets one started -- and once started, should not be discouraged.  Even if done wrong -- because the practice inevitably becomes self-correcting.  "Practice does make perfect" -- as long as it is not made increasingly more difficult as a requirement of that performance.  That's how many go astray -- in thinking that the objective of any practice, is to make it increasingly more difficult.  In doing so, the practice becomes easy, rather than increasingly more difficult -- which should be obvious that one doesn't want.  Done that way, one will eventually have to give up such a practice -- rather than persist in it all one's life, as the foundation of well-being, throughout one's years.

Too many focus on the destination at the end of the journey -- rather than the beginning, which necessarily is the foundation of where one hopes to be.  If the beginning is undertaken, the prospects for that undertaking is auspicious -- over never having taken that first step.  That is the graveyard of most ambitions. Never getting started, never knowing what to do first.  All their energies are focused on what to do last.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Biggest Difference

The simplest, most obvious thing, is the most difficult thing to see.  That is simply what we take for granted, and never question -- and the key to any problem, is asking the right question -- as obvious as it seems.  Most will not think to question -- anything.  They will take everything for granted.  They will even regard it as their entitlement -- that they deserve it just by being alive -- until one day it is gone, and they are at a loss as to how to get it back, and that is the story of how most people age badly -- and have no idea what to do otherwise.

There was a time when everything seemed to come easily -- and even effortlessly-- and now nothing comes, no matter how much effort they put into it, or imagine they are putting into it -- just by thinking about it endlessly -- without doing anything actually.  Therein lies the difference-maker -- the difference between one and nothing -- even the littlest amount of actual doing, rather than all their thinking about actually doing something.  They even think that there is no difference between the actual doing -- and thinking about that doing, while actually doing nothing -- but again, they cannot tell that difference, and take it for granted that they are the same.

In the healthy, they are the same -- but in the unhealthy, they are not the same -- and it is that fragmentation, division, and conflict between thought and action (actual), that is their essential problem.  Thus it has been commented and observed by the wise throughout the ages, that every great change and undertaking, begins with a tiny step -- and that action alone, has great power, while no amount of thinking, no matter how great, without any resulting action, will make any difference.  And that, is the simplicity ad power of life -- no matter what one thinks.

That thought without action, is the world of illusion and delusion -- where nothing makes any difference, and so nothing matters.  So to know even one thing, no matter how small and insignificant, already puts one way ahead in the game of life -- because one knows one thing -- rather than everything that doesn't make a difference.  They know the one thing that does make a difference.  And from that, all other things become possible -- and even easy.

In a very simple world, that is knowing the difference between one and zero.  Entire civilizations, worlds and universes can be built on that powerful (simple) understanding -- not unlike we know today as though none other has existed before.  But it too, was built one step at a time.  It didn't come into being all at once -- as though from some great master plan that everyone, or even some one, knew from the start.  One person took a step, and then some other did also -- and then at the end of the day, civilization moved forward.  The primitive mind, thinks it is their job alone, to tell everybody what to do, and how to think.  That manner of thinking, is a return to the Dark Ages.

Under such world views, nobody is allowed to move forward -- until the self-chosen one allows them to, and of course, nobody is allowed to move ahead of that self-proclaimed "leader."  Often, they will refer to themselves as the "enlightened" (progressive) one -- the guardian of the sacred and righteousness (correctness) -- and those who don't adhere, must be mocked, persecuted, and stoned -- as in the good ol' days.  The story is amazingly familiar and consistent throughout the ages -- and is celebrated throughout the year and every year -- lest we forget the very foundations of our present civilization.