Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ensuring Universal Participation

It seems strange that most plans to achieve “universal” participation, take an exclusionary approach rather than an inclusionary one. That is, by what definition and standards can we already include everybody -- rather than requiring them to meet certain (usually prohibitive) standards in order for them to meet our requirements for “compliance?”

If one wanted to ensure compliance, one would set the inclusionary standard to where it is impossible not to meet -- rather than ensuring that virtually everyone will drop out, some sooner than later, while the vast majority, will not have gotten aboard even once. That’s what happens when one has social engineering brought about by (physical education) teachers. They manage to turn a “slam-dunk” into 6 points going the other way.

That would explain that instead of populations becoming more fit and healthy in the aggregate, they are becoming less so -- because the capacity for deterioration vastly outstrips the actual gains in improvement by a wider margin -- because of the marvels that allow life to persist to even lower levels than was ever possible before.

So while the top tier is undoubtedly improving, the greater variance from the norm is that the forms in poor condition, are becoming even more dramatic. So even as the average increases, the distance from a higher average to the most prolific, exhibits much less obvious difference, than the average does to the person in the worst condition that can be maintained by modern medical technology. That would stand to reason -- except those in these advanced states of deterioration are seldom visible, except to the health care professionals.

In fact, it may be that for those in the poorest condition, their entire lives are consumed with trips to the therapeutic and diagnostic facilities -- and worse, trips by the therapists to the patient’s site of incapacitation. That’s how bad it can get. But it is not as bad as it has to be.

The more I think about the requirements for being in the condition one wants to be in, which is presumably the best condition one can be in, the more I’m convinced that the chief requirement is that the mind be in that condition of “mindfulness.” That is the first requirement for being on the path to universally accessible optimal well-being.

If that can be achieved for even one minute daily, it would have a transformative effect on one’s body, as well as every other aspect of one’s life. It would be the one moment in which everything in one’s body and life, is “in-synch,” “at one,” “together.”

Admittedly, the distractions, diversions and subterfuges are many -- if not unlimited. However, if one has even a moment each day of this total awareness of being, it is enough to nullify the deleterious effects of contemporary toxicity. Without it, one never catches up to that moment, for a minute daily at least, in which one doesn’t feel that he is hopelessly behind and discombobulated -- never to be “put together” again.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Quest for Truth (and Passion)

On my way to a political meeting yesterday, the first person I ran into at the wrong end of the site, was an ostensibly “homeless” person -- going through what seemed to be some kind of Oriental martial arts routine, but he immediately said upon seeing me, “Your name is Michael, isn’t it?”

It turns out he used to view the video Understanding Conditioning while he lived in Seattle in the mid-90s -- as one of the most frequently rebroadcast on public access by popular demand. I didn’t have a television while in Seattle, but I took people’s word that it was broadcast as frequently at times, as every other day from telephone inquiries, and the greetings I got in public from perfect strangers insisting they “knew” me.

But there was at least one person who would go into a rage every time it appeared -- as both a “competitor in the training area as well as video producer.” All the abusive calls I received -- anonymously of course -- were variations of that same person, pretending to be an army of outraged citizens agitated by my revelation of the secrets of exercise that threatened to destroy this whole lucrative field for exploitation. We even had long personal discussions about such matters privately at first -- which was this person’s manner of probing for a persons’ vulnerabilities and susceptibilities. This is a fairly typical profile and modus operandi of a harasser -- usually somebody well-known to the “victim,” often totally unsuspectingly in winning their trust and confidence.

I used to be welcomed initially at many offices of august persons in their field of expertise, who wondered what million dollar apparatus we might market based on my brilliant insights. It was a great disappointment for them to learn that there was no huge fortune to be made exploiting self-evident truth that I felt should be in the public domain as expeditiously as possible.

The struggle has not been in trying to get acceptance of these simple insights that pretty much eliminates the barriers to optimal fitness to anyone -- but the suppression from fellow “authorities” not to eliminate these problems mainly due to ignorance and misinformation -- and not a lack of effort, time and money -- as their profit opportunity. I have nothing against profit but feel it should be made off of right information -- rather than wrong information, to perpetuate the problem and condition.

Even in the best of situations, people will fail to achieve their objectives due to poor execution and perception of what they are doing -- rather than wrong understanding. I think we should all begin with at least the “right understanding.” For many years and still today, it was the “wrong understanding” from which all one’s efforts could not overcome. The Buddhists even had a precept a thousand years ago, that "right understanding led to right effort,” and lacking this “right” understanding, only the “wrong” effort could be expected. In fact, nothing else was possible.

Most people’s frustration with conditioning advice is that much of it doesn’t make sense but is proffered authoritatively and authoritarianly -- as the way they were taught, with an obsession for control and little understanding of true objectives of how they can be obtained through causality (also an early Buddhist insight).

Anyway, this person I met off the beaten path, who one might think might not be, seemed totally at peace in the world -- and robustly healthy, and obviously aware of what was going on.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Truly Healthy Person

In this day and age, people still talk about “health” as though it can only be obtained by the sacrifice of some other aspect(s) of their being -- instead of it being the whole point of their existence -- to be as fully developed (healthy) as they can ever be. In a previous time, it was even widely believed that one sold (sacrificed) one’s health -- to earn a living, as in the case of the coal miners, or others who believed the stress they underwent, was what it took to earn a living -- and there was no other choice.

Men under those conditions, were expected to have a heart attack at 45 -- forcing many to adopt new life patterns they couldn’t unless forced in this way. To choose an “easier” path was regarded as unmanly, if not cowardly. The difficult path was regarded invariably, as the virtuous one.

That was the conditioning of the past -- that making anything “hard, tedious, laborious,” was the virtuous path -- while that which was “easy,” was regarded as the devil’s doing. Nobody thought to question that -- that virtue lay only in embracing hardship and difficulty above all else, and particularly productivity and effectiveness.

The first hint that that was not the road to utopia, was when the mass marketers realized that making their products easy to use, was more important than making them difficult to use -- if they wanted to sell to everybody, rather than only an exclusive few. Products used to be valued for their status as much as their usefulness. To some extent, that is still true. People like the feeling of having something not everyone has -- or to be able to do something only a few can do.

The downside is that when everybody can do what everybody else does, they are not aware that some do it a whole lot better than others -- which is true in everything -- not because one necessarily wants it to be that way, but because it happens to be that way.

So whether one wants there to be sameness -- or diversity, doesn’t matter as much as they turn out to be -- which is finding out. Very few can approach anything that way -- that finding out the truth of the matter, is more important than what one would like it to be -- beforehand.

One wants to be rich or successful -- without first bothering to find out what it is one is doing, and not knowing that, one can hardly be successful or rich, yet one hears it all the time, that people want to be successful without caring what it is they do to accomplish that “success.” Obviously, these are words without meaning -- but the sounds are so mesmerizing and pleasant. Many undoubtedly feel that all that is necessary is just to say the words -- and that is enough to make them true.

The truly healthy person is this one to whom perception and the reality are the same -- that the person they are, is not merely wishful thinking. -- but the fact of their existence. Why isn’t one the person one wants to be -- and who really, is preventing that?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What’s Different This Time

Fat and ugly are treatable.

That's what the whole fitness revolution for the last 40 years has been all about. No need to go through life having a complex that clouds one's perspective in this way anymore.

Now with the information revolution, a lot of conditions that people thought were immutable, will also be rendered inconsequential, and easily modifiable. Up until the recent past, people thought they were doomed to their conditions (fates) -- but with a better understanding, they resolve them easily and move on to be fully developed human beings -- instead of crippled by their mainly psychological (self-imposed) limitations.

With a better understanding, a lot of the problems of the past, both individual and societal, just disappear, and the conditioning (education) we receive, has to allow and empower that, rather than continuing the tradition of co-dependence, that becomes an increasing problem with the demographics of an aging population.

One half of the population can’t be taking care of the other half of the population, and then two taking care of one, and then three taking care of one -- while that population requiring that care, increases faster than the remaining. So obviously, that increasingly aging population, has to do so without the problems of that dependence.

The problem presently, is that those who would benefit the most from the powerful enabling technologies of these times -- are those most resistant to adopting them -- because of their conditioning to resist change. Without change, there can be no improvement -- because improvement would mean change, and change to the old status quo, is bad. So the solutions are there -- but we are conditioned to reject them, and embrace the age-old problems as familiar friends.

The academic tradition is the perpetuation of the status quo -- and not
responding to the challenges of the present times. In this manner, we prepare ourselves for a world that no longer exists -- while refusing to deal with the challenges of the present moment as the only reality. The critical question in conditioning (education) is asking what is not absolutely necessary to learn -- and eliminating that, rather than having no time, energy and resources for the challenge of one’s actual living because we are "too busy" learning the irrelevant. All the problems they are solving are theoretical and academic ones -- thinking in that way to develop the capacity to solve real problems.

Solving phony problems is not a skill worth cultivating -- though they ensure job security for the countless teachers, who have no real value to impart. They just do it because that’s what others did before them -- when the understanding was less perfect. When the understanding is improved, it supplants the old and shouldn’t be added to the old -- which the acquisitive and accumulative personalities of the past, think is the whole purpose of existence.

In almost every case, that which is better requires less -- and not more. The demand for MORE is indicative of the problem, and not its solution.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Freedom From the Known

I try to post the advance schedule of my video Understanding Conditioning when I’m aware of them at -- but sometimes there are last minute changes -- to the plus or minus, but are fairly reliable. When the program is broadcast without my knowing about them (by popular request), frequently somebody calls me in an excited voice asking if I have a video or book out -- so used to the informercials they’ve become. It is kind of nice that somebody calls me out of the blue, when I least expect it, and we have this profound discussion on exercise, conditioning, and understanding that is life.

The video they have just seen, is the seminal taping of the presentations I used to give to live audiences at whatever venues afforded to me -- from 1st graders to retirement centers, from world-class athletes to paraplegics, but notably, from people who are the creative pioneers in their own fields -- recognizing the process of discovery and simple awareness of what is.

Much of what is taught as knowledge, is not the simple understanding that gives it power -- but the confusion of those who have been educated to believe that knowledge is an accumulation, rather than the liberation from the known -- into the unknown. That is the thrill and excitement of inquiry that only an unfortunate few presently will be exposed to. Most will only know the tedium of endless boredom -- as learning what life is and must be for them.

That was what was propagated as the “conventional wisdom,” and more institutionally, as the "academic tradition," by which one believes something to be true, because those who “know better,” say so, and we adoringly, are privileged to be called their disciples. That whole disparity of equality is probably most familiar as the experience we have as “physical education,” which is this sanctioned threat and intimidation to do what the authoritarian figure demands we do under threat of their unlimited right to abuse.

Partly for this reason, physical education classes have lost popularity as a core curriculum in the public schools -- to other more faddish concerns of the present political correctness. Unfortunately, that seems now to be that one should not discriminate against those who adopt bad health practices in their youth -- handicapping them for life. Much of present education is a similar handicap -- demanding that we believe to be true on some self-designated authority’s say so.

Hence the importance of “other people’s opinions,” or testimonials to override one’s own judgment and senses. The Understanding Conditioning presentation has none of that -- but is a direct appeal to the rationality of the other -- that for whatever reason, brought them to that message in the receptive mind that makes it that which they have been looking for as the missing link that integrates their understanding.

It is that moment of clarity, that changes their understanding of everything.