Monday, February 27, 2006

Integrating Thought and Action

One of the great problems caused by professionalization, specialization, fragmentation, compartmentalization, is the often noted remark that “one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing” -- so disconnected have each facet of our existence become from every other. So one is often not aware that while he may say/think one thing, they do something else entirely -- and that is particularly true of intellectuals and those one would think would have a higher understanding of themselves, since they claim to understand people as a generalized abstract so much better than the rest of us presumably do. However, often knowing much about the generalized average, is only possible by dismissing the range and deviation of the particulars -- and it is these individual aberrations that are the realities, and not the generalized, abstract, theoretical ideas of what is real, and happening.

Thus many people who say they may be do something, may not actually be doing it, living it, but only intended to do it, wished they did it, imagined they did it, or know better to do it -- which is not the same as actually doing it. A few have a greater sensitivity to this (body) awareness and feedback, but for many others, and obviously those who view their mind and body as separate entities, universes, and realities, it can be very problematical. That is particularly so when the development of the mind or the body is greatly out of proportion with the other -- and often, to the denial and destruction of the other -- because it has been recognized since the earliest awareness of human consciousness, that the greatest actualization of any life is balance, and not one or the other, at the expense of every other.

History is replete -- if not ignored and dismissed by today’s incompletely developed authorities -- with individuals who were notably great in their time because they were the “total package” of the highest actualization and expression of humanity. That was true of Leonardo da Vinci, Socrates, Jesus, Edison, Lincoln, Michelangelo, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Buddha, Mohammed, etc. They were not frail, intellectual wimps of people, but had to be extremely robust and vigorous to withstand tremendous odds and conditions against them.

There’re not too many people who survive 40 days fasting in the wilderness, survive repeated attempts on their lives, relentless persecution, without having extraordinary capacities that enable them to stand above and alone in this way. Running with the crowd is a whole lot easier than running against the crowd. In time, the historians may revise the picture to make it seem that such individuals were actually the paragons of the established status quo -- rather than the revolutionaries and iconoclasts they actually were. Instead, they become icons of the present status quo -- as the products of the status quo -- rather than as the great challenges to the status quo of their times that defined and distinguished their lives.

So it is very important to modern conditioning strategies that the functioning of the mind and body is integrated in this way -- that the mental exercise is also the physical movement -- and the results are “embodied” in the human form, and not be something other then the apparent -- that requires technological gadgets and calculations to detect. That is the integration of thought and action.

In the teaching of such movements, what the teacher merely notes, is the difference between what is and what should be -- which the student may not realize, is not what he merely thinks it is, hopes it is, wants it to be. And that difference between merely wishful-thinking and the actuality of the execution, entirely explains the deficiency and disappointment of satisfactory “results.”


At March 01, 2006 2:02 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Of course the most common encounter of this fragmentation of thought and action is what is called “liberal hypocrisy,” and the deception of “good intentions,” by which they can justify all kinds of abuses But self-deceptions, soon overwhelm every aspect of their lives -- like the corruptive force of telling the first lie; eventually one blurs every distinction of right and wrong, good from bad -- into a nightmare world in which nothing has clarity, everything is arbitrary, and one waits fearfully and anxiously for the next command of what to do and what to think. Then they proudly pronounce, “One should make no discriminations about these things or about anything anymore,” as though that was the highest attainment of human intelligence.

Human intelligence, is the ability to make these fine discriminations -- and overcoming the prejudices and preconceptions that corrupt one’s thinking, that in fact, make thinking impossible and forbidden. The beginnings of this fragmentation and dis-integration is the conditioning to rely on another for one’s feedback -- rather than that it is integrally what a well-balanced, well-developed individual does.

So integrating thought and action is central to the conditioning process of assuming more control over one’s actions and their consequences -- that is one’s life, and not what he hopes to do when he has the time, energy and money to get around to it -- which one expects to be never. Because it is only in attaining this comprehension of the totality of one’s being, will the dark clouds and struggle against every other aspect of one’s existence, reveal the ease and inevitability of all that is meant to be.

Many people in contemporary lives discount this possibility as a low-priority desire that they do not expect to consider achieving in this lifetime -- but that clarity of singleminded purpose, is the ultimate achievement of their lives. Rather, they’ve been convinced in the thinking that a hopelessly futile existence is a mark of worthwhile activity. Simplicity is the easiest thing -- and not the most difficult, or that everything else in life is the opposite of what it apparently and evidently is, creating the division, struggle and conflict. Thought makes it something other than it simply is. And many are proud of that knowledge, and think that is what makes them smart and sophisticated.

That is clearly the problem of thought -- that many undermine themselves in out-thinking themselves -- because they have been convinced of the superiority of mediated thought over their own thinking. The vested interests will even deride the very notion one should be thinking for oneself -- because that’s what the “experts” are for. In that manner, one’s whole existence is at the mercy of all the other people’s opinions about what one’s life should be -- so much so that one never has the time and space to simply realize what it is. At every turn, thought is stimulated to overwhelm the actuality of just being -- in the preoccupation and premeditation of what “should be.”

This was the well-noted fragmentation of 20th century reality -- as most of humanity emerged from the total preoccupation of just getting by. What then to do with all that excess of human time, energy, and money -- the challenge of affluence and leisure (retirement)? The primitive impulse was to destroy it to create the need to produce that surplus again -- and so much energy went into fabricating problems; insurmountable problems that human resourcefulness could not overcome -- because no greater use of human energy could be imagined -- but to solve the old problems over and over again. That was the essential fragmentation of being -- that we created the problems in order to solve them. That was the breakthrough, the leap in human understanding -- that we didn’t need problems, to give life meaning and purpose.

That is the quintessential challenge of the 21st century -- that we don't need to manufacture and perpetuate problems as our only occupation and entertainment.

At March 02, 2006 9:21 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Obviously, the implication for integrating thought with action in the arena of fitness and conditioning, is to make those activities the normal part of daily functioning -- and not an extra-ordinary event, requiring special consideration, special equipment, special clothing, special ambience, psyching up, a dramatic and traumatic change requiring a physician’s examination and consent. The fact of the matter is that it can be done wholly within the parameters of one’s ordinary daily activities. You don’t have to run marathon daily if its not already a daily part of one’s activities.

The key is that one’s conditioning program only needs to be what gets them from a low operating state to a dramatically high level of performance -- which athletes frequently do as their warm-up activities. And most people, before doing their workouts, are advised, or do warmup activities and movements -- without realizing that may be all they need! It is the warmup to one’s regular movements and activities -- but deliberately designed to optimized movements from their lowest operating state -- which is immediately after they awaken from sleep -- or at their first opportunity..

Therefore, most people stumble around for a few hours or even all the day, not to mention the rest of their lives, in a stupor, without realizing that the first thing they need to do, is to condition optimal movements before reinforcing sub-optimal movements for the rest of the day. That would make it a warmup for just the normal activities and movements of one’s day -- in a truly conditioning sense. One articulates the full range of movement at the head, hands and feet -- which many people, getting a lot of unproductive “exercise,” still do not articulate at -- which is where the body begins to break down, and causes problems for all the other parts of the body.

Unless the feet are functioning optimally, it will likely cause problems for the legs and back. So the focus of the movement has to be at the axis of movement (rotation) at those extremities -- and not simply ending at the hips and shoulders. People typically note arthritis at the hands, feet, neck first -- and that works its way back to the core of the body. In most though, they’ve never learned to move their hands, feel, and neck -- and don’t realize such movement is even possible.

But obviously, if I can effect neuromuscular control at the furthest extremity, it implies that the impulse has had to go through the supporting structures and network closer to the spinal core of the body -- but if one only moves at the axis at the hips and shoulders with no movement beyond, the extent of my stimulation does not extend beyond -- to the furthest extent of my neuromuscular system. It may be that the only muscles, nerves, structures moved are those closest to the the heart -- without extending the range of circulation, stimulus and control. And that is my objective -- to fully extend and articulate THAT full-range of movement.

THAT stimulation and articulation has wide-ranging effects, activates and optimizes functioning throughout the body -- to the furthest extent possible! Otherwise, as much as I make my heart work, the rest of my body may not be involved --in my conditioning activity, as presumed and assumed. It may be that throughout my exercise, I concurrently constrict and contract my neck muscles so as to cut off the flow to my brain -- which will cause a failure throughout the body -- not because of muscle failure but because the brain is the organ that has to be served as a priority, and if not, shuts down the rest of the body. That’s just the wisdom of how the body is built.

And thus understanding that, designing a conditioning program, is a no-brainer.

At March 02, 2006 9:42 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Although there is movement (muscules) at the furtherst extent of the body at the head, hands and feet, most people can better visualize those movements at the neck, wrists and ankles. Most people do not realize that they can move at those axes nearly 180 degrees -- and the extremes of those movements, produce the maximum contraction of ALL the muscles of the body.

But that's likely to be the range of movement one has not explored before or realize is even possible -- because they don't normally see it done -- but is possible in everyone.

Once one realizes that, opens up all kinds of possibilities in one's thinking about nearly everything -- that the capacity is there but we simply don't think to utilize it.

At March 02, 2006 10:06 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

* NOTE 2:
One will note that in articulating the fullest range of movement at the wrist, etc., that there is no restriction to that range of movement except for the resistance produced by the muscle itself to further contraction. That is, there is no physical danger to the structure resulting in a pain not to continue or a risk of injury -- although initially, a full muscle contraction may result in a "cramp" to those unfamiliar with those sensations.

Throughout the body, the proper range of motion for other muscular structures also have no restrictions against a further, fullest range of movement (muscular contraction). However, movements often taught and performed, may not be the proper full range of movement for that muscular structure -- indicated by the possibility of skeletal pain and injury.

In discovering that for oneself, one has to discover that range of movement that is possible that causes no limitation but the muscle's own resistance to further contraction.

For the chest muscle, it would be moving the left arm across the chest so that the left elbow touches the right shoulder -- while the traditional machine to work the chest muscle, moves the arm directly out, in front of the chest -- which is not the full contraction of the chest muscle, but is the easiest machine to build and market as a chest exercise.

One has to be clear about those distinctions -- that the fullest range exercise/movement, will not require an apparatus to perform and will actually hinder that possibility and discovery.

At March 02, 2006 10:40 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Often heard throughout the gyms in the world, from trainers and coaches, is the advice to add resistance throughout the full-range of motion -- implying that the movement they are prescribing, is the full-range of motion possible.

The proper metaphor is the understanding that the full-range of motion provides its own greater resitance -- if it is the true range of motion (articulation). When one achieves that, he has the ability to contract his muscles (appearances)in how he sees fit and desires -- and if he doesn't, he needs to learn how.

But simply doing a lot without that understanding, will not be as productive in toning the musculature of the body -- with all its attendant benefits.

At March 02, 2006 10:43 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

Being "in shape" is actually a skill -- more than it is an inherent physical condition.

At March 02, 2006 10:57 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

So this is what is true:

A person gets into better condition by being more skillful.

All the amount of random/inefficient activity, wasting as much energy, time and effort -- won't pruduce the same desired results.

At March 02, 2006 2:36 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The integration of thought and action implies that the focus is properly on the neuromuscular conditioning -- rather than the cardiovascular conditioning, which one cannot effect directly. The latter is by-product of what one does neuromuscularly -- because that is what can be conditioned willfully. The true sense of conditioning is to precondition, or predispose, the organism to respond in a certain manner -- and therefore to have that capacity for response. That is the meaning of practice -- in relationship to the actual game; one hopes to have familiarized all the scenarios so that under actual game conditions, one is not then thinking how to respond but reacting instinctively from that previous conditioning -- and paying attention and reading his cues properly for the best selection of responses.

So the training to be attentive is essential and not diverting one’s attention from his activity and purpose -- to be inattentive, and therefore to respond inappropriately, catastophically. Neuromuscular conditioning is justified by the hoped for benefits cardiovascular, which is a part of the total response -- but not the primary response. That would be like measuring one’s heartbeat in playing the piano. That is not the objective, relevance or the measure of that performance -- and it also is wrong in the value of all other neuromuscular performances.

To play a piano, to dance, to move effortlessly in the performance of one’s daily tasks is the objective by which our conditioning activities have real meaning -- and not improving one’s cardiovascular health alone and in isolation. That was the very damaging fragmentation in the thinking of the last forty years that actually produced the worsening of conditioning in the general population -- because of that grievous in thinking. That is the failure of that paradigm of conditioning -- that the discussion is about “cardiovascular” effects rather than about “neuromuscular” performance and effects.

“Conditioning” is only meaningful when talking about the neuromuscular response. One is not directly telling the heart to beat faster but it responds appropriately to the neuromuscular directive for action -- to move at the other muscle structures! Until the attention is redirected properly to where it has to be, the effects of most people’s conditioning activities will be nonsensical as well as mostly unproductive -- for that lack of proper understanding, about all one’s actions and activities.

The primary purpose is not to keep one’s heart beating or even to affect in any manner expressly. It is the end-action that is meaning and purpose of it all -- and not understanding that, one is hopelessly fragmented and disintegrated in every thought and action.

At March 02, 2006 4:54 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

By pre-conditioning movements at the head, hands and feet in this manner -- if one does nothing else but in their daily commutes, are predisposed to move their heads with effortless ease and attentiveness 180 degrees -- they will already have created a better, safer, happier world.

At March 02, 2006 5:38 PM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

These are the skills that should be taught -- rather than all the antiquated knowledge of the past, which are better maintained by the electronic storage capacities of this age -- and can be easily accessed if ever needed. again They don’t need to be learned by everyone -- and maintained by everyone, remembered by everyone, to ensure the survival of the society and culture.

That frees most minds to discover the unknown -- rather than redundantly learn and storehouse the known (knowledge, tradition, memories). What is essential to retain will be encountered again and reinforced -- and what isn’t, can be learned in short order, while freeing the brain (mind) otherwise, to only have to pay attention to the actual realities before them, requiring an appropriate response -- unhindered by memories, tradition, knowledge of the past that may not be relevant to the present (generalizations).

Yet frequently, in the old manner of functioning, one responds to the present as though it is the past -- and thus can never confront the new as the new, the individual as an individual, the unique as the unique, or the unprecedented as the unprecedented -- because the mind is immediately is operating from thought, and not the awareness of the present circumstances, which is probably something else entirely.

Much of contemporary conditioning (education) is still of this type -- that teaches us to refer to a past lesson rather than take in better information of the present, causing the familiar knee-jerk responses that may be entirely inappropriate to the current situation, ensuring a repetition of the past (failure) -- rather than a wholly new and fresh response that creates the future.

That is the most difficult realization for particularly educated people, whose pride and identity are tied up in that superiority, to let go -- for an even better way that is now possible for the mind and the total being to function because of the present highly developed technology and culture (shared information). The old paradigm is the advantage of not sharing information but possessing more than another and every other, exclusively -- which has become an irrelevant consideration and advantage, and certainly not an indication of any special intelligence and merit.

The cultural imperative has actually become the capability to share information -- which totally overthrows the old paradigm of hoarding and manipulating information, and all those institutions that serve that purpose and function. Those first, become the last and the least in the greater new world emerging and actualized daily.

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