Friday, September 08, 2017

Take All Day If You Have To

Probably the egregious error most make in their lifetime, is the value of time and its use.  Most regret that it was wasted in their youth -- never to be regained, restored, and even revitalized -- which is the remarkable and ultimately most meaningful achievement in any life.  How does one use time to increase it?  In that way, time is always on one's side -- and not the fearsome arch-enemy they come to regard it.  A large part is how we've been conditioned to think of time -- as the enemy, rather than the friend.

We always think we're in this race against time -- when we'd be better served to think we have all day to get anything done.  This is especially true of how we've come to regard exercise and athletics -- to see who gets it done first -- and not who finishes last, or when all the others have long given up.  The one who keeps going, is the stand alone winner.

But does that mean we all should take up marathon running -- and see who is the oldest ever to finish a marathon -- or climb Mount Everest, or die trying?  There are a lot more personally meaningful things one could do -- and keep on doing for as long as one is alive -- and the day they stop doing it, is the day they die.  But until that end, they are capable every day of their lives -- for as long as they live, and that is all that matters.  Then one day, you just don't wake up -- and the greater life goes on.

Many on realizing they haven't done their exercise for the day -- think they are too late to get it done then -- whenever they realize that.  Time has not moved on, but is waiting for them -- to once again, get with the program.  There is nothing more important for them to do -- at any time they realize it.  They simply have to begin it now -- and if they finish in the morning, afternoon, or before going to sleep , that is soon enough, and plenty of time to do it.  One has to make time for the important stuff -- and not let all the unimportant stuff deter and dissuade them, which for most people, is simply watching more television.  Eventually, that is all they do.

Long before they get to that point, they can realize that they don't need to watch any television at all, and would be immeasurably better off if they didn't -- including even watching exercise videos.  No amount of watching all the exercise videos in the world ever made, will put them into better shape than discovering what works for themselves -- in the doing.  Some people are amazed that anyone can learn (or is allowed) to learn on their own in that way -- like all the great prodigies of every field had to.  Nobody else could teach them -- what they alone knew, and brought to the world.

For such individuals, time stands still -- because what they do is the timeless -- and they are so into that moment, that it is the summation of everything that ever came before it, as well as changing the course of its future development.  In that course, many will become obsolete in that instant -- and leap into the unknown and undiscovered.  That is what we want to know -- even more than the known, and what everybody knows -- but is not working.  Obviously, it is more valuable to know what works -- than all the knowledge and information that doesn't, and has led us to the present problem and conumdrum.

And invariably, that is to the realization that what we thought works, doesn't anymore -- no matter how hard we try, and how much time, energy and other resources we devote to it.  Meanwhile, that which does truly work, is worth doing nothing else. Regrettably, that is what we fail to get right -- determining the useful from the useless, and preferring greatly, the useless over the useful -- and leaving no time and energy for it.  That is the tragedy of the human condition -- that assuredly, is not hopeless.  It is simply the road less traveled, and the path less trodden -- but assuredly exists, even if it is much denied.

However, it is not just a matter of wishful-thinking and affirmations in spite of the actual realities -- but actual fact, as improbable as it seems.  That is "the word made flesh," the manifestation of reality, and no longer simply the belief in that possibility.  That is the integration of thought in action.  But simply believing is not enough; what matters is the exercise of that belief -- to see if it makes a difference -- incredibly, instantly -- and not simply as a matter of time, and especially, psychological time -- as many are convinced, is necessary, to make any difference.  The difference is noticeable as instantly as turning a screw: it either makes a difference or it doesn't, and then in the positive or negative direction -- but the change is instantaneous, and not only apparent in a matter of months and years.  By then, it is too late -- and all will have been lost -- as the proverbial "too little, too late" -- to do anything about it.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Practice Makes Perfect

Many people think there is a point in life at which it is no longer necessary to keep improving -- and think that they can only get worse -- no matter what they do, so that many just give up trying.  Therefore, the prognosis for everything is not good -- as a self-fulfilling prophecy.  

They already know the outcome -- and there will be no positive surprises.  Mostly, that is their conditioning -- rather than undeniable fact.  Some people do go on improving day after day -- not by chance, but by deliberate intention.  That skews the odds away from randomness and entropy -- which is increasing randomness.

It is quite fashionable among some cohorts --to believe that life and everything one experiences in it, is random, and there is nothing one can do to make a difference -- so bad things just happen, and good things, are not what they seem.  Thus they warn, if it seems too good to be true, it is -- and so they will not even consider those possibilities as real, and actual.

In this way, they live their whole lives in denial -- that everything that seems obviously true, are false, and vice-versa.  The obvious is never the truth -- or actuality.  The mind, they are convinced, must convert everything it experiences as the actual reality -- into its opposite, and do that for everything one encounters and considers in life.  Thus it is easy to fall into confusion and contradiction -- forgetting which is the true and which is the mind making a conversion into its opposite.

The simple-minded have no energy to waste in doing so.  They simply accept the obvious as the obvious -- because they don't know better, and haven't been conditioned otherwise.  Of course, that is the tactic of advertising and marketing -- to convince one of what is not true, and deceive them(selves) into buying whatever they happen to be selling.

The world was never meant to be so complicated and convoluted.  People get good at what they actually do -- and not merely what they wish not to do -- even if it is the obvious.  That is the deception of wishful-thinking -- that it is the same as actually doing anything, especially by those who pride themselves in knowing better.  They think that knowing is simply enough, and not doing anything based upon that knowledge.  If fact, those believe that knowledge is a substitute for doing -- and even better.  So they never bother to practice and effect the value of that knowledge; it is merely enough for them  "to know."  And so they never find out the truth of the matter.

Yet that is what practice is -- finding out what is the truth of the matter, not only once, but as many times as one can -- until one can't.  When that day arrives, there's nothing they can do about it -- but until then, they do it to assure themselves they still can, and know what they can do.  They live their lives that way -- every day of their lives, instead of falling far short of when they actually cannot -- and have long given up trying -- claiming they are too old, too young, or inexperienced.

That's what practice is for -- to gain that experience and expertise.  It may not be the same as it was before -- but learning the new limits is even more valuable than dwelling upon memories of what one had before.  That's what young athletes do to get better -- practice.  That's also what the devotees of any discipline do -- to get get better -- even if it is to better learn their new limitations, as well as capacities.  

In doing so, one strengthens themselves in unexpected ways, and increasingly less in the expected and predictable ways.  That is real progress -- and not merely staying within the box of their limited expectations.  That is the ultimate intent of "practice" -- to break through to where one has not gone before, or even thought possible, and not merely to repeat the tedium endlessly -- as though somehow that is transformative.

The practice is to make perfect.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Change Is Good

In a lifetime of any length and quality, change is good and desirable.  Nobody in their right mind, would think that never changing was preferable, since without change, improvement is not possible -- only doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result.  The world doesn't work that way.

The healthiest individuals are those who can deal with the greatest changes -- and effect the greatest responses -- using that challenge as an inspiration and springboard to outcomes not possible previously.  But the dysfunctional, interpret all change -- even if desirable, as a threat to their continued dysfunction -- which they seek to perpetuate above all else.

But even the breakdowns and crises are the catalysts for greater action -- in rising to the challenges.  And there will always be challenges to those who can recognize them -- unlike the many whose typical responses are to go into denial -- that anything out of the ordinary is happening -- until it is too late to do anything about it.  In that way, they never have to change -- but continue blissfully in their delusions of paradise, no matter how high the debris is piling up.  They simply, would rather not know -- or they might have to do something about it.

Meanwhile, those in the vanguard, are inevitably those who realize something extraordinary and unprecedented are happening -- in that, and every moment of their lives.  Those are the lives of great significance -- and not those who waste every moment and opportunity in the stupor of their choice.

That is their escape from reality -- which their lives have become entirely about.  Thus no real problems can ever be solved -- while the imaginary, are executed to perfection -- so there is no improvement needed.  Things are perfect as they are.

It's hard to argue with that -- when no improvement is desired, despite the constant talk that things were other than they are.  That is the life in denial and self-contradiction -- living in another world than is apparent to most other people.  Not that most other people are also not deluded in their own way, to their own degree.

And so the quest for the greater life, is to be free of these delusions -- beginning with one's self.  If that essential work is not done, then nothing else can be known as well -- as it will be just a projection (distortion) of who one is, or wishes to be.  But merely wishing  things were different, does not make it so.

That is the importance of action -- and knowing the difference.  Knowing this difference -- is the meaning of intelligence.  All the knowing, of that which does not result in action,  doesn't make a difference -- and is not worth knowing -- even as much as one places great importance, and spends all their time thinking about it.

All they do in fact, is to retreat and withdraw farther from the world of substance -- in favor of this diversion and entertainment -- of which they increasingly cannot tell the difference.  And if one can no longer tell the difference, what does it matter?  In fact, the culture may encourage one to let them do all their thinking for them -- since they never have to find out the truth of any matter for themselves.  "The authorities" will tell them what to think.  They should no longer be required to think for themselves.

As they are assured, everything will be "taken care of" -- but not necessarily as one hoped they would -- but by those who know better, what is best for them -- and everybody else -- on their say so.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Simplicity of Change

People not wanting to change, insist that change is very difficult -- rather than the easiest thing.  Everything in life and living, is change.  The thoughts, memories and illusions, are unchanging -- and that is most people's problems.  If they respond to the present realities, there is never any problem -- but only responding to the exigencies of the moment, as best they can.  It is when instead of responding to the present challenge, that one responds to the past, or the future, that they become detached and lost from the demands of the moment, and out of synch with it.

Then they are solving "problems" that don't exist, while neglecting the simple demands of the present -- that make things better.  So even when people think they are doing everything possible to make things better, if that is not confirmed by their actual results and experience, what they think they are doing, is not making things better, but worse -- and continuing to do so.  That should be obvious.

But only a rare few, will question further -- to all their assumptions, premises and prejudices -- to learn any other than to confirm what they think "right," but obviously isn't working.  This self-righteousness is the same in the most knowledgeable and educated, as it is in the most ignorant, dysfunctional and despairing.  They don't want to know anything but to confirm what they already "know" -- that isn't working.

The fate for those, will undoubtedly be cruel and unrelenting.  They are certain that that is how life must be -- for everyone, and not that a rare few, will find a better way.  That is not the privilege of only a few -- but the quest of any, who choose to live their lives that way.  But it has to be chosen -- and not merely given, and "entitled."  It has to be earned by each -- and there is no other way, although an unscrupulous few, will promise it can be sold to them.

But life is not like that -- only available to the most unwary and gullible -- no matter how much money they have, or can get.  The real value is in the skills learned and mastered -- and not just mimicked, as though one knew -- or claimed to know all there is to know.

Invariably, such masters of the universe, will wake to the realization that what they knew, was not all there was to know, and experience critical failures when the need to know is paramount.  That is glaringly obvious in what we regard as the natural "aging" process -- when everything one thought they knew that worked, suddenly abandons them.  Usually, their response is "too little, too late," and they don't want to have to learn anything new all over again.  They just want to go to their graves knowing everything they already know -- but increasingly, forget.

One quickly forgets, what is no longer useful -- or does not work, because there is no reinforcement of that behavior.  One merely goes through those motions compulsively -- until one even loses that.  But learning something new that really works, is revitalizing and renewing -- and recharges one for the next ten years.

And then something else can be discovered -- giving one another new lease on life.  That means change -- and not just continuing as the same person one has always been.  That is the secret to great vitality -- that one dies to the old, and is reborn in the new.  It is also the great spiritual teaching -- and not just carrying the dust of many generations into the next.

Change is the reason for practice and exercise.  By it, we hope to get better -- and not just stay the same, or get worse a little slower.  Yet that is many people's approach to any practice and exercise -- and not that there can be significant, dramatic and immediate improvement -- as self-evident truth.  Instead, it becomes merely a belief in some distant time in the future -- and even into the life thereafter, if all else fails. 

For the aging bodybuilders, the lesson unheeded over a lifetime is usually lost by then.  That is the grotesque imbalance and priority given to developing the biceps and the "six-pack" abdominals -- to the total neglect of those parts of the human body that becomes glaringly problematical for them as well as for most people with age.  That is their feet, knees, hips and back -- which should be given highest priority, and the way to do that is not by variations of the deep knee-bend -- which is painful for most, but the slight knee bend -- in all its variations, as actually the cure -- from those years of abuse.  That includes even sitting in a chair -- for prolonged periods of time -- or standing with a bone-on-bone lockout.  Either, and both are damaging because it does not engage and lubricate the knee -- preparatory to any movement.  In order for that to happen, the knees have to move forward in front of the toes -- which the self- certified exercise "experts" command must never be done -- thereby ensuring that lifelong problem.

That is the proper positioning of the Horse Stance -- from which every effective movement has to be initiated from -- whether one is aware of it, or not.  That is the slight knee bend -- pulsed for a count of 50 -- as the key movement that must be done to ensure the highest functioning of the supportive structures, as often as one can think to do it.  Then the myriad of other problems don't arise.  That is the simplicity of change.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lucky Accidents

The greatest discoveries in every life are not those merely confirming what one hopes to know -- but is the unexpected, unanticipated, and unforeseen.  Merely to confirm what one already hopes, is merely to confirm what one already knows -- and the great learning, is discovering worlds and possibilities one had no idea existed before.  

That is the limits of human understanding -- thinking what they know, is all that can be known, and never bothering to find out anything more.  It doesn't matter how much they know -- because what they don't know, is infinitely greater.  It takes a truly intelligent person to realize that -- but that is all they need to know.  When one knows they do not know, then they can easily find out -- because that is the inquiring mind.  The mind too full of its own knowledge -- which is usually not working, simply denies that everything is not as it should be.    

That is the mind in denial of everything as it truly is.  Everything goes wrong despite of everything they do -- and not because of everything they do.  The outcomes are always random -- and they are quite proud of that enlightenment, and resulting self-righteousness.  If only the world knew, everything they knew, all would be right with the world.

And so they develop "ideals" apart from the actualities of their actual experiences -- and think they are quite noble for it, and feel quite justified on imposing that reality on everybody else -- because they know better than all the rest.  Most simply recognize them as delusional people -- whether they are old or not.  That is what we've come to expect of "old" people, and it is quite alright that they continue in that way until the end -- because they are avoidable.  That is the familiar isolation of the old -- that they simply become irrelevant and harmless to nobody but themselves.

That is quite acceptable, and even the "norm."  Young people even hope to have that right when they are "old," and not be forced to conform to any reality anymore.  Whatever they want to believe, is what they are "entitled" to believe -- come what may.  "They've earned it," the sympathetic are heard to say -- as though that was enough to absolve them from any consequences.

But the world doesn't work that way -- no matter how much they wish it could be so.  There are always consequences -- causes and effects.  Even ancient people called it the law of karma.   Later thoughtful people observed that there was a reason for everything -- even while the priests insisted that it happened on their say so, as the favored disciples of the great deity.

More often than not, the great discoveries of the world, was a lucky accident of its time -- that some perceptive person noticed, because they didn't know better.  Those who did know better, were already certain that nothing new could be discovered -- because everything that could be known, was already known, and so there was "nothing to see."

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Times Are Changing -- Again

The key to a long and successful life is always changing and adapting -- and not just once and thinking one need never change again.  That is always the fatal formula -- why even the powerful dinosaurs that once ruled the earth, are all extinct.  They couldn't adapt fast enough -- or at all.  They were perfect for a certain time and conditions, and when those changed, they had no skills for changing.

That is the important lesson for any time -- and conditions; one has to be prepared for change, and to change again, and as long as they are, remain viable, fit and able to whatever challenges arise.  The sadness, and the sad lesson, are those reliving their youth, as the only way it can be -- thinking it will always be that way, even if only in their minds, which becomes their self-isolating and self-fulfilling prophecy.

Those are the people who age badly -- while good aging, are people changing with the times -- to be their best at any time.  That formula is just as obvious -- as well as the look of one always changing, adapting, perfecting their responses.  As long as one can change, adapt, improve, they have more than a better chance of being successful -- and surviving.  That's what success is.  There is no other.

It isn't some other static, immutable, unchanging metric for all time and ages.  It is the very ability to re-create oneself -- as needed, and as appropriate -- that is fitness, in a very real world, as the only place that matters.  That is the ultimately and consummately successful individual.  That is the person creating the parameters -- of any given age, time and place.

Those of the old, will insist that one has to repeat the patterns of the past -- as the only way it can ever be -- insisting it is since time immemorial, of which they also claim to be the heirs and caretakers of that legacy and culture.  But time passes them by -- no matter how much of the old they accumulate -- thinking one day, it will all be relevant again.  It never works that way -- no matter how much of the old they accumulate and repeat -- and remember.

All that is gone -- and something new and very different rules the day -- and that is what they now have to learn and master.  Those who won't make it -- will go into denial, refusing to acknowledge the present realities -- increasingly living only in their minds and memories, as though that was enough of a survival response to remain in the game and flow of life -- rather than the certain death it has always been.

Some prefer that certainty to any change -- but it is in embracing change that is the way -- and not simply doing what they have always done before, as though that was enough to ensure their survival or prosperity -- especially if it hasn't worked before!  But by then, they've become these obsessive-compulsive personalities that just go through the motions -- without relevance and acknowledgement of the current realities.  They pine for another time -- of their greatest glory, whether it actually ever was.  Their memories and thoughts are all they think necessary -- to cling to, until they are no more.

At one time, that may have been the predominant mode of thought -- but alas, that too has passed on.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Until Something Works

We remember Thomas Edison for the one time he succeeded -- and not the thousand times he failed -- but each failure was different until he succeeded, and not just failing the same way every time.  The more different ways one fails, leads them eventually to success -- and not just failing the same way over and over again, ensuring their failure.  That is the difference between success and failure -- and not that one never makes mistakes, or fails to try.

One learns from failure -- until something works.  And then when something works, one merely repeats that -- and moves on to learn something else, something new and different.  In this way, energy is released and refocused to something else, the next challenge that stands in the way of ever-improving life.

That is what evolution is about -- finding a way to win, and not merely resigning oneself that it doesn't make a difference, and nothing matters.  Yet some people regard that as the height of intellectual sophistication -- that they can no longer discern the difference in anything -- the true from the false, up and down, left and right, the authentic from the inauthentic,  

It all averages out they proudly proclaim. So why try harder -- when the least amount of effort will do, and better yet, why do anything at all, if the reward will be the same for all -- regardless of merit and effort.  In fact, such people think that the more useless they become, that they have won the game of life -- because then everybody else will have to do everything for them, and they no longer have to do anything for themselves.

Naturally such a life is a self-fulfilling prophecy -- and they become more useless to themselves, more dependent on others, less free and independent -- which means doing for oneself, as much as possible.  There is a certain joy in being able to do things for oneself -- as well as survive and thrive under many challenging conditions from which many others might perish.

It might be as simple as being able to cross the street by oneself -- with some assurance of safety -- rather than just stepping into traffic regardless of what others might be doing.  The safest person in such an event, is one who is aware of what everybody else is doing -- and not merely preoccupied with what they want to do -- thinking that everybody else's responsibility is to look out for them.

The world, and life, does not work very well that way.  Every individual has to be their own first line of defense -- being aware of what their unique vantage/perspective can provide to the larger community and culture.  Early on in life, that is mostly provided by the larger to the individual -- but at some point it is hoped, the best individuals will greatly reward that investment into those formative years.

A few don't get there as fully "mature" people -- at any point in their lives, which should be a great concern for those responsible for that function and learning.  But in order to do so, they have to be able to tell the difference -- and not despair that no matter what they do, nothing makes a difference.  It won't as long as they keep doing the same thing -- hoping for a different result.  Nothing works that way.

Instead, they have to do something different -- and notice the differences that result -- good or bad, because both are equally important in providing information that gets them closer to the results they want.  The mistake is to persist only in believing in the outcome they want -- rather than the actual results, that they will deny as being valid.

Their beliefs (ideology) prevail over everything their actual experiences are telling them.  The actual may even be derided as "anecdotal" -- or having no scientific basis because the properly designated "experts" have not discovered or thought of it first, and gotten funding for their studies.

Science is not about a hierarchy of experts but the access to the truth by anybody, and particularly those not indoctrinated by the current thinking which oversees this problem only getting worse without end.  Obviously, that current thinking, is what doesn't work, and one should be free, to explore other solutions that might -- confident that there is nothing to lose by maintaining the status quo, and accepting the dismal prognosis as a certain fate.  It's not surprising then, that many people find their own "cures."

Very often, it is one of a kind -- at the right time, place and circumstances -- when nothing less will do.  And if it works, one stays with it -- until it doesn't, and then one has to discover again, what works.  And failing that, not proclaiming proudly to all, that nothing works, and nothing can make a difference.