Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Winners Find a Way to Win; Losers Know Only Losing

Some people think the only way they will ever win, is by lying, cheating, and stealing, and so the first thing they do, is find a way to beat the system, rather than recognize that the purpose of the game is for everybody to win -- even when one ends up on the short end of the score. That’s not just a platitude. The reality is that some people are not as good as others -- and demanding that that is so, is a denial of reality, and the purpose of the game ultimately, is to discover reality -- the reality of our own possibilities.

But that another must lose in order for oneself to win, is not a necessary outcome of the event; each is there to do his best -- and not to disqualify and prohibit the participation of all the others, so that one can win. Such victories are hollow and meaningless -- yet we see it from time to time, from people who have obviously learned the wrong lessons about sportsmanship and fair play. The world is not that brutal and brutish, that every encounter is a grim struggle for survival against every other, for everything, regardless of need and how much one already has. Those are the important lessons of mastering one’s activities.

The greatest practitioners of any activity, never see themselves in a competition with any other. They are just being themselves -- which they were born and conditioned to be. They are grateful that society values and honors those abilities -- that they just happened to be blessed with. The mediocrities of the world can never understand that, because competition is greatest in the middle of the pack. At the extremes, there is no competition -- and often, not even company. One has to learn how to go it alone -- to go where none have gone before. The others will only go where many others have been before, and may even be insistent that everybody go before they do. These are not likely to be our leaders.

In fact, they may actually undermine those who are leaders -- because they have no courage and ability to be so. Instead, they will preach the wisdom of cowardice as society’s highest virtue -- because that is what they have in greatest abundance. One sees it all the time -- in the institutional man, the organization man, the assembly line cog in the wheel. If they cannot stand out, they demand that nobody else should either.

That is the tyranny of conformity -- and opinion. Towards the end of the last century, that was even the predicted trajectory of life in the future -- more uniformity, conformity, and consensus. For that world, what was needed were mass systems, requiring everybody to fit into the ideal of the average, instead of the vision of life in which individual actualization and fulfillment was now not only possible but inevitable for those who merely did not resist it.

It is a world designed for every winner -- as long as one has no fear of discovering what that might be. What one is likely to be a winner at, is a life of their own unique fulfillment -- but in the repetition of the past, there is only losing, for those were the games of the past. There’s no rule that says one has to play the games of which he is only assured of losing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Language of Being

The fastest way to get into shape, would be to design and perform exercises for the express purpose of shaping the body -- into the ideal condition one wants to be in -- just as one would run a mile, perform a gymnastic routine, play a basketball game, master any objective -- while cutting out all the extraneous activity that merely burns calories and produces other (unpleasant) side effects, although many claim some kind of “high” from sweating profusely in heart-pounding activities.

It’s an adrenaline rush -- which a small percentage of the population finds intoxicating and addictive, but most people do not -- just as with drug or alcohol abuse, or racing cars at life-threatening speeds, etc. That is not an attractive and compelling experience for most people -- though it undoubtedly is with a small percentage of the population. Even the notion of perpetually competing and winning at everything, and at all costs, appeals to a small segment of the population -- but not everybody.

One wants to be careful about extrapolating the freakish onto the mainstream population, if the idiosyncrasy is a defect rather than a more generalized healthy response. Very obviously and simply, those who want to get into shape, want to effect that shape as quickly and as dramatically as possible -- but are sold the bill of goods about heart health, longevity, cardiovascular functioning, biannual checkups, body composition testing, personal training, supervision and computerized monitoring, nutritional supplements, inspirational books and tapes, various apparatus, better sex life, etc., before they are allowed to reach the pot at the end of the rainbow -- or embark on any directly productive activity.

But once one gets past all the toll keepers and gatekeepers, it should be obvious, that a person whose sole desire is to get into shape, should design movements that do JUST that. And people do -- but it is not heavily advertised, publicized and sensationalized.. The hucksters insist the public demands a gimmick -- and could never simply accept the simple truth of anything

Have they ever tried, or is that just their justification and rationalization for their particular commercial angle? A lot of people are (self-)deceived in this matter -- mistaking the question, what is the quickest, fastest, easiest way to get into the condition one desires -- and how to make the most money in this marketing opportunity, and build up a lifetime clientele and stream of income?

The muscles in the body can be trained to be in shape -- the shape one wants. The people who do it routinely are the artist, or figure models. A few others effect it subliminally -- such as actors and performers. It’s a matter of learning how to use the muscles to create that effect -- of being in condition. That makes the biggest difference in being in shape -- looking like one is in shape. It’s a huge variable -- in any condition. If one learned just that, that would be 90% of getting into the shape and condition one desires to look in.

Some might call that body language. It is the essential expression of the body. It is the language of the body -- its statement of being.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Life in the 21st Century

Many people are still shocked on hearing that expression, because they grew up in an age in which the 21st century was so far away into the future -- that it is shocking to think that it could be now, and even yesterday. They’re just getting used to things in the 20th century -- as the latest and greatest, state-of-the-art.

Undoubtedly, in many places, they’re still awaiting the first industrial revolution -- that the majority of civilization went through in the 19th century, resulting in one of the first widespread liberation movements. All but a few are aware that not only was a much celebrated civil war of liberation fought in the United States in that century, but there were similar revolutions in Russia, France, China -- that were changing the status of slaves, serfs, rabble and peasants. Naturally we assume that people everywhere have experienced that psychological evolution of liberation.

Those who haven’t, still have what we deride as the “plantation mentality,” which is the acceptance of overseers to do their thinking for them. It is familiarly the top-down organization chart and information flow. What we know, has to be passed on down from the top, and it is not allowed, to do one’s own thinking unless one is at the top. So all one’s time, energy and efforts, were expended to get to the top, but once one got there, one could do anything one pleased, and the only thing that had to be done, was to keep another from being similarly on the top.

The shift in the 21st century is the realization that if everybody can be king, then anybody can be king -- including oneself, and all but a few would agree, that is the society they wanted to live in and create. A few argued, “What was the point in having a society like that if one could not be above everybody else?” That is the old mindset at work. It thinks that the only way anyone can win, is for everybody else to lose.

Nowhere is this more evident than editorials and letters to the newspapers -- pitting one individual and faction against another, creating the unnecessary arguments that distract and detract from productive focus and work. Most of that society’s energies are sapped in this constant battle to prove who is on top -- and then maintain that status quo by preventing others from similarly riding on top.

That is the old culture and mindset dying away at this time. It should not be the model for modern conditioning activities provoking competition -- even with oneself. It is psychologically damaging to have this mindset that “one is not good enough,” as one’s motivating drive because that is the message one is reinforcing in oneself. It should also not be the paradigm for contemporary relating and communications -- reinforcing a hierarchy of the knowledgeable over the ignorant.

What that does is discourage people from acknowledging their ignorance -- which distinguishes the intelligent person; in him, there is no shame in not knowing, because that is his motivation for finding out.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

They Just Don’t Get It

Virtually every mainstream media account of the justification for personal physical improvement, seems to be a quantitative rationalization rather than a qualitative one. The major advantage of being in peak physical condition is not that it adds five years at the end of one’s life -- but that it greatly expands the possibilities and capabilities of the present moment. And in enhancing one’s prospects and successes in whatever one is doing now, that success improves one’s chances for survival -- in the many unforeseen ways. The greatest predictor of future success (performance), is present success (performance). Too many people fixate on the ultimate goal -- rather than just simply manifesting the best of all they can be, in each humble moment.

Then, looking back on one’s life, he will marvel that he never could have gotten where he is now by careful and deliberate planning -- but the fulfillment of each moment and task, brought him to where he could never have imagined -- beginning in that journey. That is more likely to be the typical success profile than a person who decides in kindergarten, exactly how his life will turn out. One will realize in that way, there is no possibility for the evolvement of a greater appreciation and understanding of the world in living life, and therefore, such success, though all goes as plan, is really a monumental failure and retardation of one’s greatest possibilities.

The 21st century life is this critical and quantum leap in understanding that is not merely the continuum of the past. Those are the moments of evolution and real progress in any life -- a break from the limiting patterns of the familiar and predictable past. And that’s why “science” has difficulty with this understanding -- because traditional science is about predictability and not the art of creating the new. In the moment of invention and innovation, the bonds of the past are broken -- and once they are, everything has changed, so there is no duplicating the results as though nothing has changed.

It is what the people of literature call the tour de force, a serendipitous journey through life. Everything that person does, breaks new ground for himself, and therefore, humanity. It is a one of a kind event, often not duplicated even in that same person’s life, because he continues to evolve. Such a person is always conquering new worlds for himself. And to live with that level of stimulation and challenge, creates a vastly different life experience from that of a person whose entire existence is characterized by unrelenting routine and predictability.

Under those conditions, deterioration is the prevailing life experience. The senses become dull and the ability to discriminate and respond vanish so that the prospects for future survival diminish with each passing moment. That energy level is palpable and affects everyone, as well as the outcome of any event.

The ancients described that study as the essential life force. It is as much psychological and mental as it is purely physical -- because it is about growth in all the aspects of life, to be significant and powerful. That’s not an easy concept for minds that think that all is achieved, just by categorizing, labeling and measuring everything into neat little boxes.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Meaning of Life

Lots of people don't seem to understand that the meaning and purpose of life is to create joy and happiness for themselves and everybody their lives touch -- rather than to make themselves and everybody around them, as miserable as possible. Many people don't learn the right lessons in life -- being around the wrong people all the time, seeing and learning from bad examples.

In conditioning activities, the instructor may even insist that the objective of what one is enhancing is the capacity to endure ever-increasing workloads of pain and suffering -- rather than achieving the cessation of it. That is, after all, what health and well-being is.

But the conditioning model of barbaric cultures, is the thinking that the reason for the workout is because it will feel so good when one stops. Of course, the brighter students in the class will note impetuously, "Think how much better we'll feel if we never start?" At which point, the brutish P.E. instructor, will demand that the inquiring mind should immediately give him fifty pushups or fifty laps -- whichever is worse.

There just is no winning an argument with those who believe in progress through the "miracle of brute force and unrelenting terror." The rationale, of course, is that anything one does, produces an equal and opposite reaction -- as though that was some kind of scientific principle.

That was a primitive world view, that in order to obtain anything positive, one had to create the negative. But in these more enlightened times, we now know, that in order to obtain the positive, we have to create the positive. Why should that be such a difficult concept?

While such naive thinking was commonplace in the last century, in this century, we realize the truth -- tht poverty does not produce wealth, sickness does not produce health, lies do not reveal the truth, bad does not necessitate the good, argument does not produce harmony -- and all the other tricks of the deceptive and manipulative mind. That's all it is -- the exploitation of one over another, which is not a mutually beneficial arrangement for either.

Such relationships were commonplace even in the most enlightened societies of the last century, and still persist in many cultures and subcultures today. That is not the pursuit of happiness for anyone -- but only misery for everyone. That has no meaning for life. Such conditioning regimens are destructive and detrimental to everyone's well-being.

Is it any wonder that people grow up not to want to be in their best possible condition?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Stigma Against Improvement

Once one has the knowledge of the technology of improvement, one naturally expects that there would not be resistance to implementing that knowledge but rather, the joyful embrace of those possibilities. But that's not the way it usually works -- because a large part of people's bad conditioning, is the resistance to change.

That is really at the base of their dysfunction -- the resistance or inability to change, because the neuro-muscularity of the body, is what brings about change. It is already there in everyone already; what has to be cultivated is one's ability to tap those resources -- effectively, at will.

While people who like to fragment and compartmentalize experience and understanding insist that nothing can be related to anything else, and good health has nothing to do with good appearance, functioning, and performance, the truth of the matter is that those aspects invariably confirm each other.

Often, people will deride improvement efforts and the desire to change -- to justify their own futility and despair -- as a hopeless vanity for everyone. "One should resign oneself to the hand one has been dealt" -- they will knowingly advise, as though they knew. If one persists in the belief that another outcome and fate is possible, the defenders of the status quo, will enlist ever higher authorities to discourage them and undermine their every effort.

So the technology (know-how) is not only necessary -- but also the right cultural and supportive environment. Usually they evolve together -- over time. The exception is when new or foreign ideas are imported into a culture -- rather than evolved in it. That kind of dissonant development disappears in a modern, as opposed to traditional, cultures.

The traditional is the belief that the past must be repeated unquestionably -- and not changed, or challenged. In the traditional worldview, change is the greatest crime against society -- and God, whom "they" invariably speak for. Who made them spokespersons for God? Why, they themselves, of course.

In the earliest days of American history, such a closed worldview was recognized as the Puritan impulse. The other extreme is the unrestrained narcissism of Hollywood and the media -- in which shamelessness now becomes a virtue, if not the highest striving of civilization.

So while it is now possible for anybody to become famous -- one should ask themselves, “famous for what?” For everyone, that would be actualizing the greatest possibilities of who they really are and can be. That is the justification for fitness activities -- the manifesting of it in real life challenges, and not just one's ability to operate a treadmill tirelessly, mindlessly.