Monday, January 27, 2014

What Matters

There is no end to what people can consider to be important -- and relevant, and so one has to determine for themselves, what most matters and makes a difference.

One cannot prepare for all contingencies -- so one must prepare for those outcomes most likely to manifest, as the wisest and most productive use of their time.

That is particularly true for those who could do anything -- because they the have resources and leisure to re-create their lives in whatever fashion they think is important to do so.  That doesn't have to be running a marathon every day -- or the equivalent of it.  No arbitrary measure such as that, has ever been a "requirement" to be fit.  One is "fit" by the challenges and tasks they want to master -- which can be as simple as one's own genetic limitations and defects -- which every individual uniquely has.  It's not the same for everyone.  That should be obvious by now.

Yet daily, we are bombarded by what some "expert" thinks "everyone" must conform to -- even if it is for all to run on a treadmill for at least 30 minutes each day, or to stand up as much as possible -- when doing so, would be intolerable pain and torture for many.  Such experts will insist that everyone can -- from age 7 to 70 -- and beyond.  What of those who can't?  They should at least try -- and failing that, they should try harder -- until they can, the bromide continues.

In that way, one can get all others to do something they would not ordinarily do in a lifetime -- if not so advised they must, and is essential for their well-being -- despite it not addressing the most critical problems of that individual, and in fact causing them.  One doesn't have to throw a ball 100 mph all one's life, or lift the heaviest weight possible at every opportunity as testimony to their fitness, or to survive; one can do things more important and meaningful to do.

In every case, that would be the most intelligent thing one can do -- rather than the most difficult thing one can think of doing -- that they would not do otherwise, if someone didn't convince them that was what they have to do.  Usually, that is simply the fad of the moment -- rather than some great enduring truth -- that their teacher was the first to discover thousands of years ago.

But the truth can always be discovered in the present moment and circumstances -- especially by an unprejudiced mind -- not too full of their own knowledge to consider that any other truth can be known.  For most though, their truth is simply what confirms what they already know -- and so no new information does them any good, but merely strengthens their resistance to knowing any other -- because that is also a part of their conditioning -- and probably the greater part of it.  That dooms them -- rather than makes them more fit to discover the unknown.

And so the first time they do encounter the unknown, they are among the first to perish -- because they have no provision for dealing with the new -- as the new, and not simply a repetition of the old, in a new guise.  That can be a fatal or irrecoverable mistake -- rather than a greater opportunity it presents -- sometimes killing the messenger before learning that they are free -- distrustful of outsiders as they have become.

So the advice that one must do anything only a certain way -- without the presentation of underlying reasons for that choice, and any other alternatives, should be reason for caution and inquiry before proceeding much further -- particularly if they aren't working, for the teachers themselves.  That is usually the first indication, that an idea has merit and some validity.  Otherwise, the morbidly obese, anorexics and atrophied, would know all the ways that do not work to achieve robustness -- rather than always be striving and losing their battles to achieve it.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Learning from the Heart (and Brain)

Every moment is the pinnacle of every other moment that came before it.  That is what evolution, progress, and ultimately, life is all about.

Life is not random -- but moves in the direction one opens to it.  That is probably the greatest fallacy of the 20th century -- that everything in life is random behavior, when assuredly it is not.  There is a reason why things happen -- why the right arm is developed, and the left withered.  Random behavior would dictate that it doesn't matter -- everything comes out the same, no matter what one does.

That is the thinking many have accepted of the futility of movement -- that no matter what one does, results will be the same.  And so it is asserted that there can be no such thing as "targeted efforts" and "targeted results" -- but only "equal" results, because the heart does not establish direction -- and so the flow (circulation), must be equal in all directions with every heart beat -- rather than understanding that such flow can be directed and optimized in the specific way one desires to.  Thus they claim, there cannot be any such notion as "spot-reducing," or developing one part out of proportion to every other as is commonly seen in gyms --  rather than the aberration.

That's why heart beat doesn't tell one the whole story -- of one's fitness level.  The measurement has to be taken at the extremity -- to ensure that is still functioning -- by exhibiting range of movement at the furthest point of control.  That implies the rest -- but not vice-versa.  That is the presumption -- that just moving at the core (heart), is enough to ensure full-range of motion throughout the body, but vice-versa is always true.  That's how the body declines -- first from the furthest extremities where circulation is poorest -- the head, hands and feet inward.

So the strategy one takes, is to ensure movement at the greatest extremity from the heart -- and not just the heart working harder and faster -- against the resistance of fluid that is not moving.  The flow has to actually be measured at the extremity to be meaningful, because it is that flow, that maintains the health of the body -- in providing nutrients, and removing the waste products (toxins).  That simple process, optimizes that life's potential -- whether they know it or not.

Knowing something, and actualizing it, is two different things.  What one "knows," is not necessary how things actually work.  Most of the time, it is because they have never thought things through -- but only accepted and repeated what they have been "taught" -- as the truth of the matter, and forced others to accept it also.

And so there is a widespread belief that only the action of the heart matters -- rather than the action of all the other muscles in the body that accounts for why one is developed in the specific one is.  The presumption that just because the heart beats -- and beats faster, automatically ensures that the flow in and out of the extremities must be occurring -- is misinformed.  It is dependent on the muscles at the extremity, producing a contracting action that pushes blood and fluids towards the heart -- with the realization that the effectiveness of the heart, is its characteristic regularity of a full contraction alternated with a full relaxation producing the characteristic effect of a pump -- which is how any other muscle in the body could be conditioned to function to optimize the circulation and health of the body -- particularly in conditions affected most by that low level of functioning and "disease."

Optimized circulation not only provides growth, but prevent diseases due to this lack of circulation -- like arthritis, weakened grip, weak foot control (balance), and of course, all the functioning of the head, including brain functioning -- thinking that nothing more can be done, except to increase one's heart rate -- but not moving specifically at the head, hands and feet, as what makes the difference.

The body is a system, a whole, and not just isolated bodyparts -- functioning in line with all the specialties and specialists -- each operating and unrelated to every other.  That's not how the body is  designed to work -- and in fact, is the prescription for how it doesn't work -- and is taught to work against every other part of the body, as though that was the height of knowledge.

A well conditioned athlete or performer, does not use one set of muscles against every other, but uses all the muscles in concert with every other -- either all contracting simultaneously, or relaxing simultaneously -- and not just to cancel out each other.  That is not how the healthy body works -- but is probably how the unhealthy body works -- against itself, including what is considered "normal aging."   Such people beat up on themselves relentlessly -- convinced that that is what an intelligent person would do to make life as difficult as possible for oneself -- rather than the realization that the most intelligent thing to do, is to make life as easy as possible for oneself as the preferable survival strategy.

That doesn't mean atrophying -- so that eventually, every effort and action becomes supremely difficult or impossible to effect -- land then one can have an army of caregivers to do everything for them -- as many misguided people think.  No, one wishes to become the consummately independent and competent person -- capable of recruiting their total resources for any task or challenge.  Job number one would be to quietly take in as much information of what is happening -- before reflexively launching into one's course of action, or overreaction.

Seeing that water runs downhill -- is not necessarily bad, and something has to be done about it.  That is simply what one has to work with -- rather than against, no matter how valiant one's efforts.  That would be of course, foolhardy.  What would be the most intelligent thing to do?  Seldom would it be to exhaust oneself unnecessarily -- or to produce muscle (systemic) failure -- at any time.  One needs to retain something in reserve -- for an even greater challenge than one anticipated.  Those who live constantly on the edge, perish prematurely in tempting fate in that way.

The most fit, show a lot -- but also have a lot more in reserve.  That reserve is built up in muscle mass -- as a reliable indicator that the body is in growth and not in decline and deterioration.  If that growth can be sustained, then the body is not aging, but still in growth.  That is just the simple fact -- as proof of optimal circulation -- not only from the heart, but back to it as the function of skeletal muscle contractions -- often associated with work and exercise, but seldom intentionally to produce that effect.  But more than anything else, that would be the most beneficial effect to achieve -- in and of itself.  That is more important than lifting a weight, or running any distance -- because that is the essential work of the body to optimize its health.

We've never thought in that explicit way before -- because we were never certain what produced that specific result -- especially when the body began a prolonged decline in its capabilities.  Most just accepted that as normal aging -- rather than the process of deterioration that doesn't necessarily have to characterize growing older.  But that requires a better understanding of why deterioration seems so inevitable otherwise.  It is the decreasing circulatory effectiveness associated with decreasing quality of activity and movement -- denoted by decreasing range of movement, most notably at the joints of the extremities of the head, hands and feet -- which are also the markers of aging in the human body, more than any other organs.

To those who work with the aging and terminal, that is overly obvious -- as to be the given.   But it is thought to be the end result, rather than more accurately, the cause of premature failure of the human body.  that is what needs to be exercised more than the heart (which is always working), or the core which is largely meaningless without an ultimate expression at the head, hands or feet -- as in hitting or throwing a ball, writing, hearing and seeing -- while communicating that effort to others.  That is not all taking place in the mind -- but in the visible and verifiable actuality.

Some see those movements more clearly than others -- because they have movement (neuromuscular) intelligence greater than most -- while most will be oblivious to those fine distinctions and movements.  the gifted will be able to mimic those movements exactly -- just seeing them once, just as musical prodigies can, or prodigies of every activity make them gifted at.  To them, it is the obvious.  It is, what is -- and not merely some theory that needs more funding to study -- of the many things that are irrelevant but people can be convinced are so important.

Once we establish that blood flow can be directed expressly to one area over others, then the question is, "Where would one's priority be?"  Some people would say, "Washboard abs," but more reticent and thoughtful people would say, "The core," or "the heart," failing to recognize that the heart is the only organ guaranteed to get all the blood flow anyway.  The really insightful and intelligent person would recognize that if there is one critical faculty, it is the brain -- that regulates all the others -- and thus should be serviced as the priority of all one's efforts in this respect of securing the optimal blood flow.  That would be indicative of movement at the head (neck, face) -- and its muscular development -- which is also the result of that optimized blood flow.

However, prodigious muscular development and the robust health it conveys, is rare to see in those above the age of 60, or 50, and even 40 -- and that startling decline is in fact, the greatest indicator of the general health and functioning of that individual -- and all individuals.  That is not a result simply of increasing heart beats, but of increasing the range of head movement -- the lack of which becomes especially noticeable in those with declining mental functioning -- as well as the rapidly decreasing movement throughout the body.

Such "failure" becomes critical with increasing age and impairment -- compounding and cascading on one another -- until ultimately, total failure is achieved -- but not necessarily death, which become the modern horror -- of outliving one's faculties.  At that point, it becomes a minor matter that one has outlived their money, or friends -- because there is little cognition of the difference, or any differences anymore.

Thus the priority of exercise to increase circulation, should be directed expressly and primarily to the head (brain), and thusly empowered, it has the capacity to take care of the rest of the body as what it is designed to do -- rather than the countless decisions and dilemmas of the mind not so empowered, and to which every consideration now becomes a "crisis" situation requiring extraordinary efforts just to get through each day, and to do the simplest things.