Saturday, February 15, 2014

Just Do the Warmup

Many people think that a lifelong conditioning program should be an extreme sport as an end in itself -- rather than just the warmup and preparation for our real life activities.  So, frequently, they risk life and limb -- thinking if it doesn't kill them, it will make them stronger -- rather than dead, crippled or otherwise impaired.  That should be obvious as counterproductive -- yet still, many get lost in their shortsighted objectives -- to miss the whole point. 

One wants to be prepared for anything --  or many things, and not just one thing, because seldom does one's fate lie only on the outcome of one event.  The successful life is actually a series of events -- that we have to do mostly right, and not perfectly, or as a world's record -- and then we don't have to do anything else but rest on our laurels from here on out.

Of course in anything, the greatest difference is the difference between zero and one -- rather than 110% -- and then nothing forevermore.  90% in most things, is enough to be an extraordinary individual.  Even for the world champion, the warmup that prepares them for a world record -- is mostly what they need to do.  They don't have to go over the top -- risking serious injury or death, to go where no one has gone before.

There are the obvious injuries -- but less obvious, are all the ways one can undermine their overall health by throwing all caution to the wind, as one might have to do in a once in a lifetime situation -- but doing it daily, merely increases their chances of a short life.  No organism is designed for a life of all-out struggle for survival on a daily basis -- not even the caveman.

In all probability, those who weren't faced with daily extinction -- are the evolutionary survivors.  They figured out a way not to have to fight for their life -- in everything they did.  That is the bigger picture -- and not the brief short life of those constantly embroiled in life and death struggle -- as though their lives depended on it.  Those are not the people who ultimately survive.

But that means being prepared to meet most of the challenges of everyday living -- rather than being increasingly disqualified from even doing that -- which is merely caring for oneself -- all the days of one's life, as a meaningful and purposeful existence.  One doesn't have to do anything heroic to justify living their daily lives as best they can -- which is the quality of their lives.  That is the average of all they do -- and not just one thing -- to the exclusion of everything else.

Certainly the money is important, but that is not the only thing in life, nor is the amount lifted, or distance run, the pounds lost or gained.  It is the greater totality that matters -- that one is firing on all cylinders, and not just the one.  Along the way, one may even need help -- to overcome an obstacle too big for just any one to achieve.  But if one is conditioned to believe they are always in competition with every other, they may undermine all the others -- thinking that the only way for them to win, is for everybody else to lose.

That's how they think the game is played -- rather than the common purpose of preparing everyone to do their best -- and that is sufficient, for all practical purposes. 

Friday, February 07, 2014

Understanding Flow

Probably the key to understanding the universe and life, is the principle of flow -- or movement; life would not be possible otherwise, and when that flow is impeded in the many ways, it creates the disruption that is the source of disease and poor health and functioning.

Most people know that the heart is the organ responsible for pumping blood through the rest of the body, but most are unclear of how the rest of the body, pumps blood back to the heart -- as though that was something that needed to be thought about at all.  But that is how people are not created equal -- as those who are the healthiest, are the most skilled at doing -- even if they are not aware of that up to now.

When people become aware of this simple principle of why and how there is movement, then life itself takes on a whole different meaning and purpose -- because one has this control of their essential well-being and functioning to a greater extent than they ever thought possible.  It's not something profound that should not be discussed except by the great philosophical and physical Masters, but something every person should learn as early as possible -- as their basic understanding of life.

Atoms and molecules move from where there is a greater concentration (pressure) to where there is less; blood flows not because the heart is pumping, as the greater principle that it expands and it contracts to create pressure differences in the direction that allows it.  Once the blood and nutrients are at the extremities, they do not just turn around and return by the same path they came, but by the network designed for flow (movement) only back towards the heart.

We know it -- if we distinguish the difference at all -- as the arterial and the venal systems -- that operate distinctively differently -- and largely determines the differences in people, and in individuals themselves -- when they are operating at their best (in the flow), and when they become diseased and dysfunctional (blocked).  The ancient people had all kinds of explanations for these blockages -- and how to restore those passageways -- so that one returned to health -- or suffered an untimely end.

They are more effective because of the better understanding of the principles of flow -- and how they better effect that flow, rather than subvert and impede them -- both deliberately and inadvertently.  In athletic competitions, performances, events, behaviors, that is the unifying objective -- to get into and achieve that flow which is the success of any undertaking.  Not to, leaves a sense of incompletion and dissatisfaction that all did not go well -- and something was missing, even when they aren't sure of what "it" was.

Many even condition themselves to the struggle -- and not the flow, until it is too late to learn anything else.  By then, their bodies may be totally exhausted or compromised, and becomes the cause of their own demise.  It might be the dementia from breaking too many bricks or boards with their heads, catching too many punches with their heads, absorbing too many blows on the football field, or professional "wrasling" -- convinced as they were, that what didn't kill them, made them stronger, rather than increasing their exposure and risk to self-inflicted permanent disability.

Thus, people a hundred years from now, will regard as mind-boggling, that people now inflict injuries upon themselves thinking that is making them healthy, instead of directly understanding how to restore the flow to the area of their lives needing it.  That's why postures don't work, or holding a contraction for as long as one can -- because both work against optimizing the flow, in preferring one state over the other, when it is both that are required to maximize the flow -- just as the heart does with its rhythmic alternation.  That is what the heart does unfailingly -- at its end of the bargain.  It would be doubly appreciated, if that is what the muscles of the rest of the body did, to optimize the flow, and therefore health, of the entire organism.

That is ignored, and often placed off-limits by the specialists who believe that is their exclusive province to administer -- as though God gave anybody that exclusive domain over all the others.  But even if God doesn't, men will conspire to claim those exclusive rights for themselves -- through some exercise of power and exclusivity -- as though they knew with certainty about such things.  But theirs is just their own understanding -- and not necessarily the truth, unless one chooses to believe it so. 

Many are convinced that if they just lift enough weight, or run a certain distance, that will optimize their health for life -- rather than that it could harm it prematurely. The greatest cause of injuries, is from people hoping to become more fit -- whether in the gym, track or football field -- until finally one day, they realize they are past the point of recovery.  So in designing a program for lifelong well-being, there should be minimal risk of injury -- instead of producing them, as one will do in activities seeking to push themselves beyond their present limits.  A better practice, would be to learn what one's limits are -- and not to push beyond that, jeopardizing one's well-being and readiness, if not life itself.

That is simply "knowing oneself," rather than "becoming" what one is not -- however greater one might think to be.  That is a very key understanding -- that the greatest achievement is knowing the person one is -- rather than all the illusions and delusions of  another one wishes to become.  That is the simplicity of understanding -- out of which life flows.