Monday, June 04, 2012

The Heart (Or the Mind) Is Not Everything

About as preposterous as anything, is the belief that some how, some way, the heart alone will pump all the other muscles (and organs) into shape, rather than the much more verifiable, obvious and apparent action of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles pumping themselves into shape through those specific, directed actions.  That is the reason why it is quite possible and common to see those who have developed one specific set of muscles at the expense and even the detriment of all the others -- by only working those muscles -- and not all the muscles equally, as would be the case if only the heart was responsible for that development -- because there would be no way for it to develop one over any other.

But we do see disproportionate development usually -- rather than the proportionate, symmetrical development that would be invariable if only the heart function were all that was necessary to achieving those ends -- but obviously, that is not what is happening to those with hearts beating fast or slow.  What is necessary, is voluntary muscular action in addition to the constant and autonomic heart function, to direct that flow specifically to where and how one wishes that development to optimize, and conversely, to remove the impediments to such flows and development that one is previously not conscious and aware of -- that may be stunting or preventing growth.

In most cases, that would simply be the lack of awareness that such movements and articulations are even possible -- as the fullest movements of the head, hands and feet -- which are usually totally ignored in favor only of the increased heart action -- because such instructors, are not aware of any other muscular functioning -- and that is why no amount of exercising with such instruction, will achieve those desired results -- despite all the time, energy, pain, injury and effort, because it totally lacks any understanding of simple and obvious cause and effect.

Muscles (the body) gets into shape, because one puts it into those shapes -- directly or indirectly -- but won't get into those shapes (conditions) unless it knows how.  That is usually the rationale for instruction -- rather than that they have no idea how because all they know with certainty, is how the heart works as a pump, and how to simulate that action if it doesn't -- while waiting for the emergency response personnel to arrive.  But knowing that, is not going to enable one to achieve and sustain optimal muscular development and functioning -- which is all one can do, and not the least signs of life.

You can't extrapolate and interpolate such actions meaningfully -- because those are extraordinary interventions -- and not wholly willful and modifiable ones.  Then it becomes meaningful to prefer one set of actions over random many others -- and think those efforts can make a difference.  But if one believes simply that anything is better than nothing, than such discussions are already meaningless and futile -- because anything goes, and one is satisfied to believe whatever one already believes -- despite the fact that it has put them into the shape and condition they don't want to be in -- and feel powerless to do anything about.

How that is an advance in human or individual progress is truly mystifying and obviously, those operating with that worldview, are virtually impossible to have an intelligent discussion with -- and achieve any intelligible results from those discussions.  Masterful instructors recognize the futility of such instruction, in preference for those to whom instruction is much more beneficial and effective as a validation of their own ability to distinguish these differences -- of what really makes a difference.

This greater awareness is the difference between focusing on the one thing -- to the awareness of all things, and how they relate to one another -- and not everything in isolation -- which is the current state of the art in understanding, which is how we want to condition ourselves to be in.  But we can't just think about it, or wish it were so -- but have to actualize it in movement -- as the flow that is how the body shapes itself.

That is the remarkable revelation to those who have conditioned themselves to think that getting into the shape they want to be in is a long and torturous process -- that they have the power to do so instantly -- as what their muscles are capable of doing, but don't know how to do.  It is not a process or necessity of becoming someone (something) else to do 

That was the striking revelation in conducting one of the first scientific studies of weight-training among a diverse group of admittedly self-selected individuals.  In exhaustive and thorough documentation of before and after results, what was most striking after several weeks of training, was that the greatest change and improvement, lay in people's abilities to momentarily change their shape and condition immediately.  That is the skill they learned to do -- and become proficient at.

To a certain extent, that is what most bodybuilders do, and what their competition is mostly about -- except that the most meaningful and significant changes, occur individually -- rather than against those with different favorable and unfavorable genetic predispositions.  That is to say simply, that for every individual, their own unique ability to transform themselves to whatever extent they feel possible and necessary, is much more meaningful than in competing against everybody else in doing so -- all starting from different levels of proficiencies, aptitudes and motivations, which throughout life, will invariably change and be in flux.

In this regard, the world champion may actually show the least ability to change (improve) -- because they begin with a high level of proficiency that may already exceed the gene pool, but are so highly specialized, they may restrict themselves only to what they do well -- and not develop fully beyond those talents, as preparation for the day when they are no longer the best at what they do.  Many begin a spiral of disintegration in that day of reckoning -- because that is not the world they have optimized for -- when they are old and vulnerable, and can no longer compete, or are "competitive."

How do they change and adapt then?  And that is far more meaningful to individual lives than who is the present world champion or record holder, which will always be somebody -- but not necessarily themselves, and can one live with that?  Competitions take place in very specialized categories and highly ritualized protocols -- but are not all or the totality of life and human activities and what is meaningful and important to do.  Life itself, is far more important than any, or many competitions, usually as amusement and entertainment, for which winning is not everything, or even, the only thing.

At any and every moment of people's lives, their greatest survival skill (fitness) is their ability to change and respond to the urgencies of their individual lives as appropriately and effectively as possible, and be in that condition of readiness to do so -- and not simply in measuring one against every other, because one can.


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