All the Time in the World
It never fails to amaze (amuse) me to hear people who need to do something important and necessary, say they don't have the time -- because they are doing everything unnecessary and unimportant. Of course the most important and necessary thing to do is tend to their health -- which is the basis for everything else they do in life, and determines the quality of their lives. That's nearly indisputable -- but then after that briefest second of clarity, resume the busyness that is responsible for their poor health, condition and quality of life.
Undoubtedly, they have been conditioned for self-destructiveness, rather than self-actualiztion of their own greatest well-being and good -- both intentionally, as well as thoughtlessly by those with their own self-aggrandizing agendas.
Even those one would think have all the time in the world to do anything they could hope for or imagine, often are trapped in their own self-destructive tendencies and inclinations -- rather than simply letting them go, which would already put them way ahead in the game. It could even be that they have to push themselves to the breaking point each time as the only way they know how to be, or were conditioned to think is necessary.
Nowhere is that mindset more damaging than those mistaking needless competition and competitive strategies, for actualizing their best health and well-being. In the former, one may have to sacrifice their health and well-being, to outshine all the others -- especially if one is not genetically-gifted for that battle.
Everyone I know who thinks they have to go-all out every day of their lives until they drop dead of a heart attack or congestive heart failure, will succumb to their own self-inflicted injuries -- in that way. Most former super-athletes, go out that way -- because they cannot overcome that previous conditioning and mindset that would have allowed them to live many more years merely enjoying the gifts they were blessed with, instead of pushing their luck and limits to the breaking point -- sooner or later.
What is instructive to see is how the many "world champions," are able to make that adjustment to simply long lives in good health, rather than the all too typical story of their premature fall from grace, and many years of infamous poor health before their shockingly young end. That is particularly true, for many of the strongest, largest and fastest people who ever lived.
There has to be a lesson for less gifted people -- as well, because those genetically predisposed, often cannot help themselves -- being the way they are. They are so highly specialized and programmed, than they cannot be any other than they are. So while they are young and competitive, those attributes may be what gains them that advantage, but once they retire and still think that is the winning formula, may experience nothing but injury, pain and torment -- with very little of the benefits -- yet persist for the no longer can recall and related "benefits."
That is simply how they think they ought to do things -- and the "only" way they know how to do anything -- all out, or not at all, when the solution more often than not, lies somewhere in between. More often than not, a little goes a long way -- while of course, zero will remain zero, no matter how good one's intentions. Regardless, the valuable and instructive exercise, is simply "finding out." That is what most "too busy" people, never have the time for. And that more than anything, is the key to well-being and happiness.
In that condition, one is always improving, and life is getting better -- and if not, their condition is what it is. There is no denying the facts -- that what they are doing, is not working, and in fact, working to undermine them. Yet they go on in that way, ignoring and denying the obvious -- which are the problems of their lives, invariably thinking there is nothing they can do about it -- when in fact, they are primarily and ultimately responsible for everything happening in their lives.
How do people get that way? Unquestionably, there are a few things one cannot seem to help or hinder, but it is far from most, or everything one does in life -- or in most cases, does not do -- even if one has all the time in the world, to do anything one could possibly imagine doing.
Thus, it is very important first, to just stop whatever it is one is doing and thinking -- which is the quality of mind called "meditation," and just be aware. In that state of mind, all things are possible, and all the time in the world to do it. It doesn't have to be perfect at first -- especially the first time one does anything. But only doing in this consciousness and attention, makes possible this improvement -- and no amount of doing thoughtlessly and compulsively what one has always done before. No amount of doing that, will ever make a difference -- and effect the desirable change and outcome. In fact, and quite probably, that is the cause of one's problems and difficulties.
For all the truly important things in life, there is all the time in the world to do it -- even if it takes one's entire life doing it. For the unimportant things in life, there is little or no time for it -- and that is why one never has enough time for it, despite all one does -- first.
That's not the same as doing the right thing -- even just to find out. That makes all the difference in the world. Problems and difficulties do not arise DESPITE all we do; problems and difficulties arise BECAUSE of all we do. That is the key to understanding what we are actually doing -- and the condition we are in.
To A Better Place (Survival of the Fitness)
The lesson in life is that one must constantly improve -- or be left behind, to perish with those who can no longer move on. But that fitness is not only about strength and agility, or any other one thing -- but about everything, and how they work together -- to create more than the sum of its parts. That is the synergy of life -- making it more than just the little details -- but altogether, take on a life and intelligence of its own, and creates marvelous new things and possibilities one could never have imagined before.
The new, is not merely the old reinvented, and improved. It is something different entirely. There's a reason it never happened before -- because it took time to come into being. And then when it does, people wonder why they never thought of it before -- because it is so obvious, simple, and straightforward. Life does not move to greater complexity but towards greater simplicity. That is the genius of it.
But many confused and confusing people, think the object of life, is to make everything more difficult and complicated -- so we need them to understand and explain what is going on. There is permanent job security in that -- or so they think, until people catch on, and realize they don't have to be dependent on them to interpret life for them. Of course, some people never achieve that clarity -- or think it possible -- but it is always there for the taking.
First, one has to let go of one's previous conditioning -- that what they know, is all that can be known -- and look with fresh eyes unprejudiced by their own knowledge. That is a great handicap who those who pride themselves on their knowledge -- and want to hold on to that as long as possible -- thinking it conveys great advantage.
The advantage is always that of an inquiring mind that presumes it knows nothing -- and thus, is willing to learn everything. Such a mind, is a formidable mind -- because it knows and recognizes no limits, and so is free to observe only what is, as the only reality it knows. The truth is out there -- and not in the words, thoughts, culture and traditions of an imperfect time and understanding -- that its adherents and devotees insist must be for all time.
Reality and truth is not like that; it is in every moment -- in its own time. It is the best we know at any time. And time changes everything. So the solutions of our youth, are not the solutions of our maturity and seniority -- that we now have to rise to. The life of one time, is not the life for all time, and thinking so, will keep us answering to the wrong challenges of our lives -- despite all we do. It is simply the wrong thing, at the wrong time and place -- though many knowledgeable people, will insist that one can never properly and successfully time life, and what must be good, must be good for all time, and every occasion -- which is why they are often so disastrously out of step.
And they grow more so each day, with each passing year -- until the final isolation, which is to be cut off completely from life and apart from it. That is the obvious. So our challenge is simply, how do we not get that way? The real tragedy is that many young people get that way and so don't even make it to adulthood -- let alone the golden years of senior citizenship.
Survival is the fitness. That is the reality of the matter. That which is dying, disabled or dead, is not fit -- and one has to change. Life is not an entitlement -- no matter what you do.
A person has to do what they have to do. It's easy to second-guess what another should have done -- or should do. That's not the rightful province of any person -- to tell others what to do and how to live their lives. Their primary and greatest responsibility is to live their own lives -- as best they can, and in doing so, set an example for the others -- as to what is possible. That's the only way any problem has ever been solved.
There are countless people whose lives are a mess -- giving advice and telling everyone else how they ought to live their lives, rather than actualizing their own to the highest possibilities. Countless people want increasing and infinitely more -- without ever making the most out of what they already have -- which is usually their greatest problem, so no matter how much they have, and want others to give them, they always need more.
But assuredly, that won't solve their problems -- because any more, will just be wasted, like everything else they've wasted. And that first, is what are they making with their lives -- their body and their health? Are they in their best condition they can make themselves -- or are they expecting the doctors to make them as well as they can be? -- or for that matter, any other person? That is what is most overlooked in the discussion of contemporary problems.
Are you making the most of what you already have? -- and then it is meaningful to discuss, whether more is deserved, merited, and will do any good -- or merely be more resources laid to waste, as one has already proven they have done. "More" is always the easy answer, but very seldom the real solution -- to most problems. In most cases, the solution is "different" -- and not more of the same thing, that is already the problem.
For that reason, one should not be fixated on one answer to everything -- but should entertain more different solutions -- than just the one panacea -- which they feel is the answer to everything, while never asking the right questions. That is always the root of every problem -- that makes it irresolvable, and just gets hopelessly worse, no matter how much more resources, time and effort they give to doing it that way.
That is invariably the difference between success and failure -- and never simply, more and less. That's what the countless failures need to know -- that the successful, are doing something different, and not simply more of what is failing them. Only in that realization, is there the possibility and hope for a breakthrough -- to the other side, and freedom from the torment of constant failure, misery and disappointment.
It is not somebody else's fault; it is one's own lack of understanding -- everything. Therefore, one must begin everything at the very beginning -- questioning all one knows, because it is one's assumptions and presumptions that are faulty, and not the conclusions assuming they are based on the proper understanding. Assuming one knows absolutely nothing, is actually the quantum leap in understanding -- and not a waste of time the hasty, misguided and hopelessly lost assume it will be.
To begin every day with a fresh mind, is the great awakening of all wisdom -- and not coincidentally, the great teaching of every spiritual tradition. "One must die to the old, to be born into the new." To be refreshed and renewed in this way, is never to grow old. It sounds like a tautology, or simple truth -- that is the most profound understanding in any life. That is the root and basis of ever-renewing life -- and not simply old ideas, thoughts and words repeated yet again, as though nobody ever said them before. In fact, everybody has repeated it before -- and that obviously hasn't worked, and so why not begin anew? -- as though one knew absolutely nothing -- and learns to find out.
So it is irrelevant and counterproductive to boast about what one already knows. The real value, is the capacity to learn what one doesn't already know -- for that is the treasure, and not all the fool's gold, one simply wants more.
Freedom is the Celebration
Many are independent -- but very few are free. Actually, most people in "retirement," are independent, but very few think they are free -- or act like it. Freedom is the realization that everything is a choice -- born of decision and no longer the compulsion to do anything as they've always done it before, or even think that it could be any different.
And that is the beauty of freedom -- to be what one imagines they could be -- not only in their minds but in the actuality -- which is reality. That's how it comes about -- but not if one insists that only what one has always done before, is reality, and everything else merely wishful-thinking. Each are equally plausible; it depends upon the commitment and investment in each reality.
If it works, then one should continue doing so -- but if it is not working, one must do something different -- and not just the same thing, hoping for a different result. That won't change anything -- and what is needed is change. Change makes all things possible -- because it produces a different result, even if at first, it is not exactly the desired result. One knows then, whether one is closer or farther, to reaching their desired outcome -- rather than just the predictable same ol' thing.
And thus one learns one thing -- and then another -- but it is a different thing, and not merely confirming the futility and despair in thought and action. Then one is a slave to tradition and convention -- and not free to find out what lies beyond. It is the finding out -- for oneself that distinguishes the authentic from the pretension. The pretentious have no idea what is real; they only pretend to know -- thinking that it is the same, but fails them in critical moments, when they absolutely have to know the difference.
That is the freedom to find out the truth of the matter -- and not just repeat the truth somebody told them -- as though they thought of it themselves. But such people have no idea how to think for themselves -- because they only know what they've been taught is the truth -- as though it is the same thing, which it seldom is. To believe they are, is the reason for futility and despair -- without the hope of ever finding out.
That is why freedom is always a celebration -- of one's ability to find out the limits of their being and doing -- and not as the fearful think, that it is a freedom from those challenges. The greatest gain, is the loss of that fear. Then one becomes fearless -- and therefore free, but not before.
All of Life is a Preparation for Whatever Happens
Everything in life doesn't happen by accident. They happen because we prepare for them to happen. In that way, the life we prepare for, is invariably the life we live. That is the meaning behind education, diet, exercise, and caring -- both for ourselves, as well as for others, which is the world we live in. That is why we must care for the world as much as we do ourselves -- because it is ourselves.
That is a fundamental understanding many people miss -- thinking what they do with and in their own lives, has nothing to do with anybody else's. They may even think that they are against everybody else -- and are always prepared to be so, as the whole object of their lives, which of course, makes it hard and difficult for themselves -- and everybody else.
That is how they see life and all that is happening in it -- as a struggle against everything and everybody else -- rather than the cooperative effort to make life the best for anyone, which is themselves and the world they live in. This way of thinking, is often regarded as the highest form of understanding achieved by only a few, after a lifetime of arduous study -- often in separation and seclusion from the world "outside," in a worldview that seeks to separate one thing from every other.
For such persons, life is predictably hard and difficult, full of self-denial as well as the denial of things as they are -- preferring their self-indulgence as how things ought to be. But no matter how grand their schemes for self-aggrandisement, it is only about themselves -- and not the world they share with anybody else. That is the anti-social and criminal mind, and to a lesser extent, the dysfunctional personalities we all hope not to become -- who invariably perish prematurely through some misunderstanding of how life could be otherwise -- with or without them.
Assuredly, life will go on -- whether one makes the best of it, or the worst of it. The wise choice is obvious and preferable -- but an aberrant few, will never figure that out until their dying day -- and all the days before then. Those are the few who disproportionately "make the news" -- because they are so spectacularly wrong.
There is that tendency in each one of us -- and not that there are the self-righteous "intelligent," and the rest deserving to be manipulated and exploited for their own self-interests. The problem is in this cultivation of this self -- in opposition to all others apart from the living without the cultivation of the self. That's where all their energy and thoughts are going -- and so there is none left for the being and doing that actually matters and makes a difference.
That is to be in the reality that matters -- where all things are possible and is constantly evolving towards the greater. That is the meaning of a better life -- that one becomes increasingly aware of -- and not that it doesn't exist, until one personally discovers it. It is out there already -- just for the taking. That is the world we live in. It already has been created -- it is just what we haven't discovered for ourselves yet -- in the great collective intelligence. Knowing and learning that -- is what real intelligence is -- and not what one thinks they alone possess, that all the others don't.
That is the flawed understanding of every person living below their potential and actualization -- finding out and knowing the way that works, usually while stubbornly clinging to the way that doesn't for them -- which is their reality -- but not necessarily the greater, and desired one. That is the conclusion they have to come to -- that it is not working, and not that that is the best that anyone can hope for.
Such a better life, requires decisions that result in different outcomes -- and not merely continuing to do the same things, even while calling it different names. That is not progress -- or can make a difference. The word is not the thing itself. One has to see that distinction. Wrong effort, is not the same as right effort -- and calling them the same, will not produce the desired outcome. In this case, it is that any effort is preferable to none -- when all one's efforts are creating and perpetuating the problem -- and are not the solution that one is "too busy" to discover -- first.
And not only is their solution not working for them, but they also feel greatly compelled to see it not work for many others as well -- as their great mission in life, because they just don't know any better, and refuse to learn anything different -- until eventually, they couldn't if they wanted to. But by then, it is usually too late to make a difference, and too late to care.
So while one can, the truly inquiring mind is interested in not what merely confirms their present understanding and limitations as all that can be known, but of determining what they don't know that they think they do. Therein lies the solution -- and the greater (better) life beyond.
The Power of Time
Time doesn't just pass -- neutrally, the same for everybody. Some make it do something favorably, while others do things that disfavor them. That is really the crux of aging -- that a few wear well, while many others, show a wear and tear before their time. But it is not time itself that is a destructive force; it could also be a constructive one as well -- as some use it to build better than before, and before that, maintain what one has to optimize its use and usefulness.
That is also the story of every individual life -- as much as some would have us believe that all things in every case are equal. People make a difference -- in every individual case. If that were not so, then it wouldn't matter -- that one chooses better or worse. The result would always be the same, no matter what anyone did. But obviously and thankfully, that is not the world we live in -- that all in life is a random crapshoot -- and then you die.
That's how we all hope to make a difference -- as we live, which is also the way we die. Those living with attention to their health and well-being, invariably see that it makes a difference -- while those doing everything to undermine themselves, may get by for a while before it all comes home to haunt them -- though it seemed at the time, that there were no consequences for imprudent choices -- the abuses that one seemed to get away with, the extra calories one could consume because it was there for the taking, the lack of exercise and other practices that one no longer did because there was nobody there to nag them anymore, or reward them for their own good.
And if nobody else cared, why should they themselves? They never learned at some point in their lives, that nobody will care for their wellbeing, more than they will -- and that is the whole point, and not that they should be doing it for anybody else's sake. They have to care that much about themselves. And that makes a difference.
It is much like the miracle of compounding interest -- as a function of time. The meaningful measure is not just what is accomplished once -- and then abandoned, or undone -- but what is sustained for as long as possible, and thus becomes one's life. Many people will have a passing interest in many things -- mastering none of it. Those who become very good at it, do it because that is who they are -- and not to do it, would be undermining their very reason for being. Then if fame and fortune comes, they have already been well-rewarded by the gifts that they themselves are the greatest beneficiaries and judges of -- because nobody can appreciate that more than they can. They are self-employed -- in the truest sense of that word -- because nobody else can do it better, than they can themselves.
That is the ultimate life -- and beyond that, are no regrets, no second-guessing -- it is a life fulfilled, which is the significance of every life -- and not just the rich and famous. Such considerations, make it a trivial striving -- or one who has no idea what they want to do in life, except to become rich and famous. But there will always be somebody else who is richer and more famous -- but may not be fulfilled by their own richness and self-worth -- which is to discover and create their ultimate best life.
That calling is not just for a privileged few -- but for all, in their own way -- that matters, and when that is done, there is no lack for what everybody else has done. One has done all they could have done -- and not all the regrets for what one didn't, that accumulates over time, to produce the person one now is. Formerly, only exceptionally "wise men" thought that way, but with increased standards of living for all, many more think that way as the new normal -- just as many more now become billionaires, and many more elders seem to defy aging as we have known it in the past.
The critical mass changes -- which makes a whole way of being -- commonplace. But that is not because one person lives to be one thousand -- but many more live to be one hundred so the discussion shifts from quantity to quality of life. They are no longer statistical exceptions but follow a rule -- that those living with great attention and awareness, live better lives -- and not just because it is the "right" thing to do that nobody expects anybody to. That ship has already sailed.
It is no longer enough just to know what are the "right" things to do; the only valid question is, are you doing everything you know to be right and true? If one is, that is the fulfillment of one's being and doing -- in the age of these unprecedented possibilities. The greatest sorrow, is not doing so. But what else is more important for anyone to do? Certainly not all the other distractions -- that take one away from what is important to do.
There is just so much time.
The new New Age
The new old age is also the new New Age -- having supplanted both -- as the real nature of new. Otherwise, it is just the old being called the "new" -- when it is just the same ol' thing. That used to fool a lot of people -- deceived by a word, and not the actual fact. Increasingly, that is what the new age does -- integrate the new with the old -- so all that remains, is the new -- and present reality.
By "old," we now mean the world that used to exist before the turn of the century -- when though it was anticipated with great trepidation -- was lost just as "1984," was denied happening. The world became "1984," but then became the 21st century -- or the new millennium, although the world did not end in the way many thought it would. Rather, the new just came into being -- and did not have to kill off the old.
It is enough, just not to give it new life -- by repeating it as the way things are -- because they are wholly different now. Comparisons to the past, keeps those memories alive -- along with its knowledge, which is of the past. Discovering the truth of the moment, does not reference the old for that understanding -- but seeks to understand the present as it is unfolding. The mind discovering the new, has no preconceived notion of knowing what it is -- which is the mind of the past, mired in the past.
Previously, every "old" generation thought it was their responsibility and duty to pass on the old ways of thinking and doing -- as though somehow, they were superior to the new -- always. If nothing else, they became defenders of the status quo -- to keep things the same as they always had been -- at least in their own lifetimes. But a few, and then the many, began to question whether that made any sense at all -- when it was understood that the truly new, supplanted and included everything that was known before -- in the present.
Unlike previous times, it was admitted that nobody really knew "everything," and far more needed to be discovered, than had previously been known -- especially when things didn't work out so well with the old (past) understanding. Instead, there is always uncertainty -- in which each has to discover for themselves what is the truth -- in their own experience. That was previously dismissed as the anecdotal -- or individual experience, that varied from one to another -- which was never allowed previously. Each was only a cog like every other cog in the great machine of society.
Individual means indivisible or whole. It is the basic quantum of reality. It is the one meaning total. That is the foundation of statistics, and great numbers -- but each is not simply a part of reality, but the whole of reality, for particular individuals. Everyone does not die of heart disease -- but some people do. That should be of great concern to those who will, but less so to those who won't, and are more predisposed to other vulnerabilities -- that each discovers as they live their lives. It is the same way with abilities and talents. Properly done, it takes a lifetime to discover, and develop -- and is the meaning and purpose of those lives.
How well each does -- determines their success in life -- in developing the mastery of that life -- from beginning to end. In this, the game is not over half way through -- or after 20 or 40 years, but lasts the whole lifetime. Most, in the past, haven't done that so well -- beginning to lose that vital life force at 60, 50, and even 40 -- when they began to think it was all downhill from here, with no further worlds to conquer.
That is the great problem of these times -- the old old age. It is becoming increasingly apparent that that continuance, is not sustainable -- because eventually, we get to the point that everybody has to be dedicated to caregiving everybody else, and nobody has the time or energy to care for themselves -- which means that things just get worse, and can never get better. But life has to get better -- or it will cease to exist. That is the self-evident truth. Things must get better -- and not simply repeat themselves, as they have always done before.
That is just an illusion. It was not always that way before. That was just the old culture saying so -- hoping to perpetuate itself for eternity. But history does not repeat itself -- except for the defenders of the status quo saying so. Even as they do so, they will deny that that is what they are doing -- preserving the past -- through their songs, habits, compulsions, and dysfunctions of fragmented and disintegrating lives.
Their problems are always "outside" themselves rather than the very core of their being -- internally. That is where most problems are -- and so can never be solved. But if they are the problem, then they can be the solution -- just in the understanding of that. That is the problem -- the understanding of it. Properly understood, there is no problem. That is particularly the problem of the old old age. Previous generations did not realize that everything they do -- becomes them. You can't do everything wrong, and think that the outcome will be good. You have to do all the right things -- to produce a more favorable outcome.
The wrong exercises (practice) won't work; they aren't working. But one has their whole life, to find out what works for them -- and failing that, or failing to try, dooms one to failure, and ultimately (premature) extinction. There is no guarantee of success -- but that is the chance one has to take, and nothing is more important to do. Then the prognosis for a whole generation becomes better than we could imagine -- only knowing what we know now.
What changes that -- and everything, is discovering what works -- and wholly living in that new reality, and not just arguing the old against the new. That is totally counterproductive -- and won't solve any problems. That's how the world changed in the 21st century -- leaving behind most not born into it. Old age has always been this failure -- and not greater successes that surely must be more possible given greater opportunities and advantages.
Beyond people living longer, they are living better than was even imagined for the most privileged twenty years ago. Every twenty years is better than the previous. So how does one take advantage of that opportunity? Not by merely living longer, but by living as best they can -- which is not being stupid. That a few think that that is what is meant, shows their lack of understanding -- that the good is not bad, and other (self-)contradictions. The good is that which is intelligent to do. That solves all problems -- and not simply repeating what hasn't worked before -- hoping for a different outcome.
Life doesn't work very well that way.