Monday, September 12, 2011

The Power to Change

What is the mechanism (process) by which humans can bring about change? Understanding this, is vital to being able to make a difference -- as what every healthy human being wants to do -- if only they could, or knew how.

Unfortunately, that is still not what is taught as the basic lessons most humans have to learn -- but instead, start off by doing what they are told to do, and never first, why they should be doing so. That is simply what everybody else is doing -- which is enough to make it right -- or the "correct" thing to do. That is socialization -- which is not wrong in itself, but doesn't necessarily make anything right in itself -- either. And so throughout history, something that is right in one time, may easily be recognized as the wrong thing in another time, simply because those understandings have changed too.

Thousands of years ago, in the development of yoga and tai-chi (chi-gong), it was widely understood that the major function of muscles was to relax, and thus unblock the tensions (contractions) that were recognized to impede the flow of healthy life impulses -- which predates science in their intuition.

In the 20th century, it is realized and systematized, that muscle contractions are the distinguishing characteristic of what makes muscles proliferate, culminating in the brief popularity of "isometric" exercises, or muscle contractions in the 1960s -- which was the sustained muscular contraction (state), for as long as possible, as the key to muscular and strength gains. The problem with that, was those who could sustain those efforts overly long, eventually blacked out for lack of flow throughout the body -- particularly to the brain, as the most sensitive organ to the deprivation of the flow (circulation). Predictably, such programs were fairly quickly abandoned as soon as they reached those logical extremes.

But on the way to those obviously hazardous extremes, many others practiced the common strategy of producing a more limited and isolated constriction of the flow to a localized area, with what is familiar as anaerobic exercise, because the flow back to the heart is constricted to produce the pumping up of muscles to the point that they finally fail. That is the common practice of bodybuilders, to actually impede the flow back to the other organs so that most of it stays in the muscles -- until that muscle failure is reached and nothing more is possible, and the greater survival instincts and mechanisms of the body, force a relaxation to restore a healthy flow once again.

That is thought to be the process by which one can build the muscles up rapidly -- which undoubtedly is an unhealthy practice prolonged for too extremes. Thus the advocacy of aerobic exercises not like that, were thought to be the safe threshold that everyone could participate -- because it avoided entirely, producing those undue stresses on the human body, no matter what condition they were in -- which is particularly important for the beginner, and more importantly, for those who always wish to remain so.

So there is nothing magical and mystical about "aerobic exercise," except that they are movements that can be sustained and prolonged for an extensive enough period of time to produce any benefits. Obviously, any single maximum attempt, is not an aerobic exercise -- albeit, a highly stressful one. The same can be said of sets of 10 repetitions or fewer. But when one can perform 20-25, that would usually only be possible "with breathing," and with 50 repetitions, that would certainly require one to develop a strategy for sustained performance in itself indicative of an aerobic activity.

And so what makes a movement or activity "aerobic," is not the kind of activity, but its sustained duration for a prolonged (indefinite) period -- rather than producing what is often called "muscular failure," but is more truly, brain failure -- because it is the lack of flow (circulation) to the brain, that will stop all other extraneous activities and efforts by any other part of the body that produces and exacerbates such a condition. The brain is the unfailing determiner of that. It will shut down all the other systems, if survival comes down to that.

So the important lesson here, is that rather than teaching and favoring the muscles to do all relaxation, or all contraction, it is the change, from one to the other, that is the distinguishing characteristic of the healthy human body and being -- and not just being one way, which results in death, and before that, all degrees of dysfunctions and decline before then. That is the basic lesson that needs to be understood before embarking on any program for change and improvement -- the very basic process of change itself, and how it is effected -- either as a muscle in relaxation, or moving to its fullest contraction, which is its articulation and expression -- of all it can be. That achievement (peak contraction), is its highest intensity, which should be achieved momentarily, alternated with much greater periods of relaxation and rest -- in order for such movements to be able to be sustained indefinitely -- and performed with that proper understanding, is the power and ability to change (anything).

But one should not just caught up in the words and incantations as though they have magical and mystical powers in themselves -- as though that was enough to make any difference in anything.


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