Your words control your life, your progress, your results, even your mental and physical health. You cannot talk like a failure and expect to be successful.
Love without restraint makes one saint and the other faint the sweetest face and the tenderest embrace bring the sun to every place in such grace.
If there is a single definition of healing it is to enter with mercy and awareness those pains, mental and physical, from which we have withdrawn in judgment and dismay. (48)
Laughter has got to be the single healthiest activity one can perform. Just think how healthy you would be if you could sincerely laugh at that which now oppresses you.
Recovery through sleep isn’t going to happen if the majority of the components of your being aren’t getting enough stimulation or resistance to work against. Your brain may be tired after work, but if your body and emotions haven’t been challenged through the day, they’re going to keep irritating you even if you’re asleep. They don’t need rest; they need work for real recovery to take place.
The typical image of a depressed, lazy and tired person is someone hunched over and inert. Often, the assumption is that if one had more enthusiasm and inspiration, he would then stand up straight and move. In many cases, this equation is backward. But, as with everything related to one’s physicality, balance is the key. An overly erect and rigid posture may convey confidence and power to some, but it also causes a subtle accumulation of tension and rigidity on various levels, including psychological and emotional.
No one will improve his health significantly without accurately perceiving priorities, knowing clearly what is at stake if those are not attended to and what is to be gained if acted on correctly. That’s the basic homework before any change can come about. Then that knowledge has to be transformed into a sustainable motivation.
Well-being, or wholeness, implies integrity and harmony between all existing elements, providing freedom for the whole.
Ironically, many of the institutions that run the economy, such as medicine, education, law and even psychology are largely dependent upon failing health. If you add up the amounts of money exchanged in the control, anticipation and reaction to failing health (insurance, pharmaceutical research and products, reactive or compensatory medicine, related legal issues, consultation and therapy for those who are unwilling to improve their physical health and claim or believe the problem is elsewhere, etc.), you end up with an enormous chunk. To keep that moving, we need people to be sick. Then we have the extreme social emphasis placed on the pursuit and maintenance of a lifestyle based on making money at any cost, often at the sacrifice of health, sanity and well-being.
Physical well-being necessitates listening to what you already know, and then taking it seriously enough to act accordingly. When you wake up and feel the impulse to arch your back, stretch and exhale with a loud sigh, for God’s sake, do it.
In my experience, most people are actually seeking recovery from the monotony and anxiety of qualitative repetition. This applies to body, emotions and mind. And that monotony and anxiety involves inertia just as much as over-use, meaning inertia in some areas and over-use in others.
Yearning often does not provide a sense of attainment or “peace,” as it is fuel for one’s personal purpose, to in some specific way give or create; to do that is not necessarily easy or peaceful.
If I were to make a list of focus for well-being, I would begin with lifestyle (the totality of one’s circumstance and how that is engaged, including job and relationships, and proximity to nature), attending to the physical functions correctly (posture, breathing, exercise, food, rest, etc.), consistent expression of your natural range of qualities, working and playing well and hard, and designing things so that you are doing what compels you. Obviously, you can’t give this list out as a prescription for physical problems and diseases, but then again, it is probably the correct prescription. If one were to follow it, any specific problem, even extreme, would almost certainly resolve itself.
It’s highly refined stuff—holding to one’s purpose and focus, but also intuiting the value of being a piece in a larger design and evolution. The balance between these two rhythms is where and when true harmony is achieved and magic happens. Often, just the release of the obsession for personal preferences and to personally gain opens the door.
The essential dynamic underlying almost every elite and esoteric physical art is work with the breath, so there’s information available. I would only add that it’s unfortunate that so much work is done with it, and not much play. Laughter has got to be the single healthiest activity one can perform. Just think how healthy you would be if you could sincerely laugh at that which now oppresses you. I’ve mentioned before that one good measure of someone’s depth of spirituality is how long it takes before they become offended. Imagine laughing hysterically at the criticisms, complaints and impositions you receive. At the least, you’d be breathing well.
People generally believe that stress is responsible for depletion, but apathy and uninspired systematic repetition are equally responsible. Or rather, systematic repetition produces as much or more stress and anxiety as anything else.
Getting down to the gym a couple days a week and having low-fat milk in your morning latte isn’t going to make much of a dent in a system or lifestyle that is essentially, well, unwell.
If you’re ignoring a high percentage of the elements of your entire being, and the range of qualities they can naturally engage, there will be no real recovery or progress until you do. The typical relentless worker is just as lazy as the typical indulgent idler; they’re both just going through the habitual motions. To break the repetitive pattern, and discover more energy and effectiveness, one simply must stretch out in all directions, rotating focus and application of the qualities that make up one’s natural versatility.
The human body, like the human mind, is best at versatility and adaptability. This is our greatest skill and our greatest chance to unlock natural potential. What that means in terms of physical movement is that a fairly equal amount of time and effort should be allocated to the widest possible range of activity. That includes strength, flexibility, precision and endurance, but it certainly doesn’t stop there.
As I’ve mentioned too often before, we are governed, and specifically our physicality is governed, by fairly strict rules, which are easily observable in nature. We have some freedom to manipulate some of these, but really not by very much. Everyone knows, or at least has the information, about the horrors of ignoring health issues and expecting your body to do what you want it to do with the least investment in it. Another “authority” telling you what you should do is not the answer.
Besides having been identified recently as the single most important factor in what men find sexy in women, the list of how correct posture influences internal organs and systems, and also mood and general energy, is very long indeed. Your internal environment depends on the efficiency of the flow of elements within it. Obviously, this includes oxygen, blood, hormones and nutrients, but also all interaction between nerves and the brain. The spine, which is your foundation and support, has a natural position that guarantees the efficiency of movement and interaction of the related elements. Your internal organs are all right alongside the spine and depend on its correct position to function well. Any prolonged restriction or deviation from this natural position will result in some, at least partial, dysfunction. Over a long time, the results can be devastating.
I look at the idea of rest as rotating one’s qualitative focus, not just doing less or changing activity. The role of rest is recovery. If you keep pushing the same quality button (fast or slow, concentrated or dispersed, hard-working or lazy…) for the same component all the time, of course it’s going to become depleted, just like if you keep working a single muscle in the same fashion or don’t use it at all.
The trick is in genuinely appreciating the elements of apparent resistance while you are engaging them. Not to oppose or remove them as much as to creatively fold them into one’s linear line of movement, exploiting them and making the necessary adjustments as you go.
A balanced diet” is not so much about protein/fat/carbohydrate ratios. The real ratios to consider, at least for the typical American or European, are energy consumption/expenditure, pleasure/actual need, food/everything else.
If one follows what is in one’s heart (let’s leave out mind for the moment), one ends up with what one truly values and loves in life—and one acts accordingly. One’s own private indulgent cyclic habitual reactive subjective transitory feelings are, hopefully, not at the head of that list.
If you, one, loves something or someone, that means that one is willing to, and does, sacrifice for it. That is, one chooses to do and give what is better to the being or thing one loves than to sacrifice the loved one for the personal emotion that is unrelated to or even hinders the giving. In other words, the way to transform an emotion is with a deeper one. This involves discernment and, yes, discipline, which are both frowned upon and seen as emotionless and less important. Which is immaturity, plain and simple, and is the fundamental aspect of human growth from child to adolescence to adult.
There is an actual and palpable hierarchy of emotional, mental and physiological intensity that corresponds to the actual capacities and limitations of human beings. In other words, there does exist a real and definable scale of suffering, and of joy.
Although each of us has the right to believe we are suffering, I suppose, there is a definite and ultimately essential distinction to be made between actual suffering, its cause and resolution, and invented or imagined suffering.
The subjective experience of intense pain (“That’s all I can take”) corresponds exactly to one’s subjective experience in relation to truth (“That’s all I can take”).
The transitory and random quality of emotions (“Well, that’s just the way I feel about it”) is deeply connected to, and largely the cause of, random engagement of one’s values and priorities. This very randomness and inconsistency is actually the cause of deeper suffering, primarily through the accumulation of addictions and the indulgence in reactions that are disproportionately small in comparison to what is really being sacrificed for them. Curiously—and a major theme in my own work over decades—the casual association of emotions to love is part of the insanity in all this.
True balance, and harmony, necessitates finding a way to override the addictive, reactive emotions that are the fabric of one’s subjective illusion, and discover emotions that correspond to actuality.
On the high-end spectrum of emotions, which are innately connected to intuition and direct comprehension as well as imagination and creativity, meaning true empathy and knowledge, appreciative realization, transformation and invention, one finds a richer and more voluptuous combination of experience. Unfortunately, to “get there,” one has to be willing to sacrifice what is known for what is not.