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.
The Best Things in Life are True
In the old days, people would warn that if something sounded "too good to be true," it was too good to be true -- rather than that the best things, are true -- but many will choose not to believe it, and never bother to find out. "Finding out," is what differentiates the highly actualized people from those who will never find out what their life is -- and might have been.
Such people live only in their thoughts, fears and anxieties -- which separates them from actual contact with reality. They live well within their "safe zones," never venturing far from where they are -- while moving in ever-smaller circles, so that nothing new can disturb them in the small worlds they already know -- confirming that, as all that can be known.
They repeat that, in everything they do -- never breaking out into the unknown and unfamiliar -- even and especially, if it "sounds too good to be true." Their minds are already made up -- nothing could be better than what they already know -- even if that knowledge, is the source of all their difficulties and misunderstandings.
That is the world of dysfunction -- but even then, one believes, nothing could be better -- and that which is, "sounds too good to be true" -- even if it is true. But they've already been warned -- not to go there. Those are the limits of the known world, and what one really wants to know, is the unknown world. And that is mainly a matter of conditioning -- to find out the unknown, and not just to repeat what one already knows -- as though that is the limits to what can be known.
Ultimately, that is what we are conditioning (educating) ourselves for -- to move into the unknown and unfamiliar, and not just to go where we've always gone before -- thinking that is the extent of the known, and the universe -- for certainly, it is not. The unknown, will always be far greater than the known -- of even the smartest person. And in fact, the smartest person will be the one who knows -- that what they know pales in comparison to what they don't know, and their life's work, is to find out -- what they don't know.
The unwise person, is they who believe that they already know-- everything that can be known, and so there is no need to ever find out -- despite how little they know -- and so the question is not how much that person knows, but how they go about finding out what they don't know. Those are the people who make a difference -- in every time and age.
The rest are merely delusional people -- who think that what little they know, is all that can be known. That is obvious -- to nearly everyone else, and so the work of such people, is to convince as many others, that that is not true -- but that up is down, left is right, right is wrong, good is bad, and even too good to be true -- as well as any other deception they can think of. That is sowing the seeds of confusion -- by which they hope to eventually make a living, if not rise to the highest offices in the land.
From there, it is much easier to tell everybody else what to think -- while those immune, are those who know how to think -- which invariably means thinking for oneself, and all that entails. Surely that means finding out for oneself the truth of the matter -- and not just quoting others as though that was some greater truth. The truth one discovers for themselves, is always the greatest truth -- and not merely repeating what others tell them is the truth, but they never bother to find out for themselves -- until it is too late, and then they realize that everything they thought they knew as the truth, is false -- but that is too little too late, and can no longer change their destiny and fate.
That is what aging is -- going one way, with no change possible. One is set in their ways, the course is immutable. So how not to be that way, is the question of every age. How can one change, and what is the meaning and process of change? How do we actualize that truth? How do we exercise it? And that is the significance of exercise -- to bring about change, and not simply reinforce the status quo and the path we are on -- with no turning back, no change possible.
Certainly, fundamentally, movement is about change -- and how we bring it about, and what are its aftereffects. It is not just about wasting energy in the greatest way possible -- as many so-called educated people think. If they really thought about it at all, they would realize how preposterous and absurd such conditioning is. Yet everybody else repeats it -- as though it is some holy mantra.
As one exercises, as one conditions themselves -- that is what they become. The fact is undeniable. If they are not getting the results they want, they must do something different -- and not just what everybody else does, that causes them to age hopelessly in the same way -- despite their denials of that fact. And that is their problem -- that they continue to do what they've always done, hoping for a different result -- rather than finding out, what it is that gives them a dramatically different result.
That is obviously what they are not doing. So one asks, "What movements, postures or poses will put one directly and explicitly into the shape one wishes to be in? -- and just do that." And let go of the rest.
The Smallest Changes Make the Biggest Difference
The people who accomplish the least, are those who take on the most ambitious projects -- while those who accomplish the most, are those who pay attention to the smallest details. That's how things are accomplished -- one small detail (step) at a time until the outcome is inevitable -- while those who think only of hitting homeruns, seldom make contact with the ball -- and it is putting the ball in play, that makes everything possible.
It is far easier to write a sentence than it is to write a book -- but to those who do neither, think it is the same. But if one begins with a simple sentence -- constructed thoughtfully, it becomes the foundation for the next, and shortly becomes that book. That manner of doing, determines whether we will be successful at anything we do.
That is particularly important when we lose our way -- and wonder how we can get back on track, whether that is recovering our health or building financial security. You have to first save a dollar. Failing that, it doesn't matter how good the investment -- if one never has the resources to underwrite it. Health is that same way; the least of our movements, is the road to recovery -- while not doing anything but hoping for improvement, will end in the predictable result. Nothing else would be possible -- in a cause and effect world.
It is not necessary to plan on running a marathon or lifting a record weight in order to make the simplest movement possible -- which is then repeated a hundred or a thousand times -- but it is invariably the one simple movement, mastered to its greatest efficiency -- rather than the million things going on all at once. Which step is more important than any other? So rather than any single repetition meaning more than any other, one is really working against the corrupting influence of "fatigue" -- so that there is no corruption of form, but perfecting that movement with each repetition. Thus the last, is even better than the first -- because that is the practice of getting better -- by actually getting better.
Unfortunately, this attention to detail and improving performance, is not foremost in most programs for improvement, let alone being the objective. Instead, it is erroneously believed that simply doing anything -- no matter how badly, is better than doing nothing at all, and of course not wasting any time and attention learning the difference -- which makes all the difference. Thus some people in their activities and practice, show remarkable improvement and prodigious results, while inattentive people wonder why they don't get those same results -- while fancying that they are doing exactly "the same thing." Obviously and tangibly, they aren't -- but think that is close enough -- whether running, jumping, singing, writing, speaking, etc.
They ostensibly do the same thing, but always get a different result -- and then they don't even realize, it is a different result -- because of their unshaken belief, that doing anything, is better than doing nothing but paying attention is a necessary requirement for doing anything well -- and knowing the difference. It is learning that attention to detail -- and what makes the difference between a poor performance and result, from a vastly superior outcome, is always the greatest lesson one can learn doing anything.
This becomes increasingly more important, the less able one has become -- while hoping to recover or achieve for the first time, the capabilities one thinks they want to have. But it doesn't just come -- because they want it badly enough. It has to be their primary practice -- in doing anything, and everything -- and particularly in living the life that works extraordinarily well for them -- especially at those times most crucial to any outcome -- the matter of life and death itself.
That's what one hopes to be preparing for -- and not that one is too old and beyond hope for that to happen anymore, which becomes more obvious and apparent with time and age -- in not doing so. So while one may think they are doing everything "right," everything else in life is telling them it is "wrong," but they reject that logical conclusion in preference for what they wish to believe -- until reality catches up and clobbers them. Then their response is always, "too little, too late," rather than the right amount, just in time.
At that rate, one is doing as well as one can hope to ever be doing -- for as long as they can. When they are perpetually "too little, too late," they eventually run out of time and life, and chances to do the right thing. Not that they have ever known the difference. And that is why learning the difference -- the quality of paying attention, is what meditation is all about -- the state of mind capable of seeing and observing everything, and not just confirming what one already knows -- as though there is nothing to see and learn beyond that.
But obviously, that is where the answer to any question, problem and difficulty lies -- or there wouldn't be any problem and difficulty. Otherwise, the problems of the past, merely repeat themselves timelessly -- because nothing else is possible -- unless one asks the impossible question, "What is one missing?" Those who are too ready with the answers, have merely learned the "right" answers -- that may or may not have anything to do with reality, but know what has been taught as the only thing that can be known, and accepted by most -- even if it doesn't work, and makes no sense to believe in -- invariably that any other way is not possible.
Making the smallest changes, always results in the biggest differences -- over time. If it's not working now, it probably never did. One is always finding out.