What does physical exercise has to do with “spirituality”?
This is not some training with nonsensical “3 sets of 10” without any “reason.”
We have a body. Bodies are designed to move and require “maintenance” to enjoy Life to the fullest. That is an obvious “reason.”
What is not so obvious is that part of the teaching that any seeker will need to go through, is called “conscious movement.”
That means that our movement will need to be slow enough so we can be AWARE of it. That is, our mind will need to be empty of thoughts (BE in the now) so we can be conscious of what we are DOING.
If we walk “consciously,” we will notice the swing of the arms and the position of our body as well as any sensation of stress, anxiety or pressure. Only if we NOTICE, if we are AWARE, we could correct this; otherwise, it will go on hurting ourselves. Once we make something into a “bad” habit, correction happens through awareness while in the moment, the now. It is instantaneous.
Although the mind would like for us to BE unchanged; reality is that the body ages, the body will not need the same amount of exercise as before, nor the same amount of food to eat. If the mind takes over, then that person will try to keep up with the past. The idea of “performance” will take over and eventually, the disappointment of knowing that “ I am not the same.”
That is a great “spiritual” realization. We are never the same. Is the body deteriorating? Only in the perspective of continuity; but truly we ARE different at every moment. Choose your perspective.
For our society, we will do great in Life, if our changes in time are very close to that “younger” photograph of the past. That is a hurtful fiction.
When I observe people exercising, typically their movements are automatic. They do not FEEL the movement of an exercise, but merely go through the motions. They want to “get something” rather than enjoy the experience of movement, the little rush of endorphins running through and the overall feeling of wellness. “No pain no gain” is their motto. No wonder, that is the same way most look at Life. It is a painful “gain” of unaccomplished illusions for them.
As we grow older, the value for conscious movement increases. We could maintain a “good shape” by moving consciously, that is by slowly feeling the muscles involved in a particular exercise. There is no need to count (mind game) the number of sets and repetitions, there is only a need to be AWARE when the muscle fatigues.
Exercises for flexibility (stretching) and with your own body weight are helpful to be physically fit. Walking or swimming are great cardio complements of a healthy routine. The emphasis is not on going “fast,” but in becoming fully aware of the movement.
This little “practice” will prepare us to become acquainted with our own feelings in the “now,” and to perceive how these influence our bodies. That will allow us to recognize emotions as they appear in our lives. As we become AWARE of them they could lose power, as we could become witnesses of our own existence. Then, when we observe our role in Life, we are not identified with it. Then, we could take things calmly, take our time and enjoy Life!
Now, that is “spiritual.”
The conditioning is in the perception that it is “ME,” the one “getting old.” Some will share this perspective by complaining about it: Decline in physical abilities, diseases, etc. Others will talk about the “beautiful aspects of getting old.” Today, there will be new perspectives.
The first one is the perspective of the “I.”
“I” was a baby, “I” will return to that stage.
“Getting old” is the way that Life has to take us to our beginning in this lifetime. Physically, a baby is as unprotected as an old person is. Although, the body cannot shrink back to a baby’s size; the body becomes feeble, walking becomes a new experience as we age. Therefore, to be childlike is the characteristic of someone who is becoming harmoniously older.
Do we notice that?
Of course, there are others whose mind relentless demand to be the “same.” That insanity will take the person into desperation, bitterness and an unpleasant experience. For instance, a father who is old enough to be a grandfather (or a small child) who still believes to be the “boss in the house.” Even though his mental abilities have declined, his pride (ego) will demand the same responsibilities that he once had.
Have we noticed how the “young look” may not work for many individuals who try all sort of cosmetic help? It comes a time, when it is not harmonious. Our character dictates how pleasant our face is in later years.
We are born as babies. We should go back as babies before we die. That is the cycle of Life. Our perception is to call the stage of “going back” as “old.”
The majority could observe all of the above, as most are aware of the perception of the “I.”
A less frequent perception, is when there is no identification with an “I.” There is no “old age” there. Who is “old”? “I.” Without that, there is only NOW.
“Look at this old picture. Look what everyone is saying.” It is in the perception of the majority, how we feel identified. There is no old age but only in comparison, when the mind is used to compare the “before” and “after.”
Every day is a new experience. Every day is a new “I.” That “I” has static memories, which no longer exist. It is the past. Bodies change all the time, and so experiences and personality. Everything is bound to change! However, our names may remain the same and our memory through the mind, brings the idea of a static self.
No matter what perception we take about “old age,” we will need to recognize that there is nothing static, nothing permanent, nothing that we could hold on; no matter how hard we “work on,” or how much effort we put into.
We are already flowing in Life, but our minds are painting a static, unchangeable picture, which is responsible for our sour taste of feeling powerless to change things our way; what we think it “should be.” That wall of beliefs will hit the reality of change. That wall is meant to separate. It is that feeling of separation constantly nagging us to look for meaning.
Our “old age” is not the time to search for meaning in Life or look for “salvation.” It is the time to enjoy the freedom of naturally losing the rigidity of our mind. That is not a small thing in our mind-based society.
Less mind means greater capacity for enjoyment in Life.
A Disease appearing out of living life is a “stop” sign. We could stop, watch the road in all directions and choose the one more suitable for us. Without this opportunity, we will go in automatic pilot, while daydreaming. Just like driving a car through the same roads. The “same old thing” will occur.
We could perceive that same disease in many other ways. After all, it is just a matter of perspective. WHAT IS, IS. We try to make sense of it, explain it, come up with a “reason,” etc.
We have been trained to “fight it” as if that was an enemy. That idea that anything that happens to us against our will or conditioning is “bad,” is so detrimental.
An athlete could have a disease that may stop his “achievements.” Nevertheless, Life is not concerned with that human idea. Our bodies are not designed for “performances,” although our society has made that idea, something to live by.
A “normal” person developing a disease may feel an inconvenience; something is getting in his way. Something to “win” the “fight” is needed, to get rid of the thing without further thought.
Very few will look into that disease as something to learn from. Undoing what we have done in Life, may take sometime, but we will learn a valuable experience once we dive into the underlying cause of such “stop sign” in our lives. Look beyond the physical aspect. Look into the emotional aspects.
We could choose to ignore the signs. We could choose to cover it as we do with many other things in Life, but sooner or later it will resurface and to undo what has been done, will take longer to heal naturally.
At the end of the day, duration of the “stop sign” is in direct proportion to our awareness.
Life is so full of variety even if we live in the same place for over 50 years. However, our conditioning make it so dull and tasteless, even with great entertainment.
Life is a symphony made of harmony. That harmony is without explanation or methodology. When we walk away from that synchronicity, a “stop sign” will appear in our path. Health is another movement of harmony in Life. It doesn’t happen because we have a strong will or because we read a lot. It is not the product of our reasoning.
Health is a state of equilibrium, which calls to redefine ourselves during our Lifetime. Today “I am this.” Tomorrow, “I am something else.” (present tense)
Note that I am not saying “ I will be something else,” (future tense) for that is only a creation of our conditioned mind. What I will be tomorrow, will happen tomorrow. That brings acceptance and faith in our destiny.
Acceptance is inner health.
To fight in Life for what we want, may sound good to get a job or in our next speech for an office; but in the greater view of Life, it only means our inability to integrate with Life by supporting the increase of the size of our ego. That mental construct (ego) does not exist, yet we make it so real. That sounds like a mental disease. We may need to be aware of it.
For many seekers, to be unmovable and stoic in the presence of hardship is a sign of “improvement.” Seekers may copy this behavior without seeing the inner lie.
Seekers do not realize that any natural change has a process. It is not a matter of forcing a behavior to copy a saint, a guru or an illuminated one. In society, “I” may appear to be “improving” if my behavior is impervious to misfortune but in Life, there is a consequence for that lack of inner honesty.
The idea of fighting to get what “I” want in Life or to enforce that which “I” believe is worthwhile based on my conditioning, is pursued as a value in Life.
In our society, if something comes which is not what “I” want, that is to be rejected. Fought against.
Life is like an Ocean. It has waves moving towards the shore in different directions. Some days, there is a high tide. How do I get into the Ocean to swim?
I can walk towards it stoically, without reaction, as the waves may act as whips inflicting pain. “I must put up with that pain. I will get to the end soon.” We may think. For many, that is their extent of “spirituality.” It is about cheering someone up with pretty words through hard times.
Others, may dive underneath the visible waves. They are not “fighting like a man,” they are not “being visible” but they can accomplish the same purpose, to be able to swim.
Nevertheless, this person is separated from what IS. This person cannot relax. This person is in the lookout for the next wave. Be like a cat: Vigilant but relaxed. That is an art in itself.
However, integration with “what IS” is not there. That is, accept what IS. Become part of it.
Have you noticed that many times there are people who like and enjoy to DO things that we don’t?
How do you behave if you happen to be in the same environment? Many will reject what IS. We can walk out, we can walk away but what truly matters is if there is a rejection inside us.
A Life walker learns that differences are meant to be truly appreciated and then integrated.
Integration takes inner openness, acceptance. It may be expressed as : “I will give it a shot.”
Life is seen as a compilation of experiences. There is no label of rejection inside us.
Even death is accepted with integration. It is only another experience.
Do we “practice” integration with Life?
NO. Life will teach us when we are ready.
How do we become ready?
By BEING CONSCIOUS of living Life. Otherwise, we are confined to ideas, ideals, wishes, expectations, conditioning. That is dreaming.
It is a wonder that we dream constantly even though we believe to be awake.
Constantly I observe seekers wanting to improve themselves. These seekers will go to different places, take different classes and DO different rituals believing that “now” they are better, they have arrived.
In a short time, reality will hit them when there is no such change. DOING cannot change BEING.
The whole set up of what is called “spirituality” is made on the premise that someone else is able to save me, someone is able to heal me and someone is able to tell me what to DO with my life.
While we divert ourselves in fixing what we see as broken, typically we fail to understand what IS.
Humans have 3 centers within. The mind, the heart and the gut. Without feeling these yourself, I am merely giving information. Once it is felt, then you know. If you know, I am merely supporting with words what is in your experience already. Thus, I am not a teacher. You are not a student. I am merely sharing.
Desires to fix what is perceived as broken or to transform “bad into good” comes solely from the mind.
The mind, is the repository of ideas given to us from the surrounding conditioning. There is no “spirituality” per say, when someone is relating with Life from the mind for we are striving to find ‘reasons’ for everything. Life has no ‘reasons.’ Nevertheless, a beginner will try to understand Life from the mental perspective. Beyond the mind, there are other ways to be in tune with Life.
The heart is the next center. Emotionally, we are connected with Life through the heart. The heart has no reasons. Many times we will hide our emotional feelings with some mental reasoning. This will give us the sensation of not being satisfied. Mentally we may think that we acted in the “right way,” but emotionally, we will feel empty, hurt, unsatisfied.
We will not perceive this lack of harmony if we are looking for external ‘quick fixes.’
In some religions, there is the practice of looking at the navel to meditate.
The gut feeling is not something to meditate on, but something to feel. We are connected to Life and to our mission in Life through the gut. The language of the gut arrives when we feel what is going on there, while being barely connected to the mind. The mind merely receives the message, for without the mind; there is no interpretation, that is to put what we feel into words.
How many are in tune with these 3 centers within us? Not many. For our culture, the mind is the main center, when in reality to maintain the wholesomeness of a human being, the mind should be the last center in use. First is the gut.
The gut like the heart does not know about ‘reasons.’ To feel fulfilled in Life, we will need to learn to listen to the heart and the gut.
For instance, a seeker may be stuck in a job that he does not like. He may be listening to the mind and its reasons. The heart may have some emotional conditioning while connected through the mind, but the gut feeling only needs to be heard. Ask the question and listen for the “yes” or “no.” This is what takes “practice.” Trust arrives little by little.
Do we want to take a class to learn how to listen to the heart and the gut?
Do we need easy to understand steps, methods and classes? That is what the mind desires.
Part of the process of “improving” as a seeker is to unlearn in order to learn something new. Unlearning is a necessity. Newness comes through this. Most seekers are unwilling to go through this process of unlearning, as this means that the person will be “new.” Practically, this may happen as having a different occupation, leaving the settings of the previous life, knowing new people and naturally, cutting ties with the old ones, etc. Life will put this situation. This is not something that someone should try to “DO.”
In the meantime, how do we start? We need the time to experiment within. We need willingness to go into this journey. This is known as solitude.
This is necessary to understand ourselves. It is through that “understanding” (this is not mental but rather openness) how change takes place without looking for it, without expecting it, without believing that this change will make us “better.” In other words, it is a natural change.
What is natural will develop once the unnatural, conditioned barriers of our minds are left aside.
If we could look at ourselves in the same way we look at others, if we were able to grab and read our own personalities the same way we do with others, we will obtain the blueprint of our “I,” just to disassemble it; rather than enhance it with some idea of what ‘better should be.’
That is to help ourselves.
Although in the “civilized” world, witchcraft is dismissed as fantasy; many spiritual seekers may have experienced this little known area.
Historically, humans have searched for ways to alter the natural course of the world. Humans want to change things without being noticed. Witchcraft is used for this.
In many countries, witchcraft is used as part of the cultural ways of Life. For instance, a witch may offer his/her services to “unite couples.” If John loves Mary and she does not correspond, then a witch could help. A witch may ask for a picture of the loved one or something that she wears. Mary may change but that is unnatural. That change is a coward attempt to utilize another human being.
A witch could be used to debilitate someone or even kill a person. For the common man, this may look as a disease or sudden death.
It is more comfortable to believe that a person dies from “unknown causes” than witchcraft. It is very difficult or almost impossible to prove.
How does it happen?
We are multidimensional beings. When a person dies, a “psychological remainder” lives. It is unnoticed by many as most individuals do not have the sensibility to perceive these energies; but those are there. Witches will trap these energies and use them for their purpose.
Many times, we think that we have created our thoughts. These energies may be there, influencing our thinking and our feelings. If we are not AWARE, how could we change things? There is not a chance.
Individuals using witchcraft for their own purposes are truly hurting themselves. In Life, everything we DO to others, we will DO it to ourselves.
Even though human laws may not have a chance against witchcraft, those using these practices will suffer the consequences.
The natural law in Life is that we are all ONE. Those using witchcraft to hurt others, will pay a steep price.
Even though we think that we may be alone, we are not. The physical world is only one realm of “life” out of many. We are all influencing each other.
Most are only AWARE of the physical realm. That awareness will determine their scope of understanding of Life.
“Do unto others as you would have do unto you.”
That is a basic law for those with basic understanding. That law is not based on the perception of oneness, but rather on the perception of separation. “I” will do good to you because I want it for myself. This is not a virtue but a transaction. There are interests behind it.
The “golden rule” does not consider the oneness of all. If our consciousness was based on oneness, the golden rule could not be understood.
The world of spirits is real and so, human greed.
A time will come when we want to DO things “right.”
However, what is our standard for that? Our conditioning of what “right” should be.
It is from there how we envision “spirituality”: A God that should act in the “right way.” A “Paradise” where right-full people should go to enjoy Life forever, since they were busy suffering the mishaps caused by “others,” who in turn, will pay their dues in “hell.”
Our idea of “justice” is framed within those parameters: Give to A the same amount as to B. That is our concept of equality.
From there, a family will automatically implement those “values.”
Education then, becomes nothing but training to implement these ideals in the minds of children. We call that to do the “right thing.” Those “unfortunate” who are away from the system, are uneducated, handicapped children who are not in the same condition to “compete” with others in “Life.”
We could inquire into the “fairness” of competition. Then, we will find 2 contradictory “values,” justice vs. competition.
Contradictory “values” are the signature of our society. Thus, be smart. Use those as convenient. That is to be politically correct, right. Right? 🙂
Therefore, any spiritual teaching in alignment with values of society, are only preserving mainstream understanding. Those teachings could be helpful for some to fit with society’s values; but rest assured; that these teachings are not a reflection of the reality of Life. They only reflect our society.
The first thing to understand is that Life is not only what happens between 8 to 5 at work. It is not what happens on TV. It is not what happens in the family.
Life is more than that. To grasp Life we will need to go beyond our need to preserve that who we think we ARE. Our identification with that, will not allow us to move into the changing waves of Life.
Who we THINK we ARE, is not who WE ARE.
What others label us, is not who we are.
Let it BE undefined, without a conceptual idea.
Society is not prepared for that, but that is the starting point for deconditioning, otherwise; we become successfully trained with these teachings.
What are those teachings?
In a word: FEAR.
The future is more valuable than “now.”
Fear of punishment here and the afterlife.
Fear of the unknown. Death is perceived as something to avoid.
There are “good” and “bad” individuals. They could be easily recognized as if they were wearing a particular t-shirt color. Thus, we fear labels.
If you are not like us, you are against us.
If it cannot be controlled or regulated, it is “bad.” Sex comes to mind.
Pretty words and politicians will save the World.
Technology and math are the key for happiness.
Those values are heavily imprinted. This perception becomes our trauma in Life.
How could we be able to OBSERVE something different when we have that ingrained in our core?
That is the first question to resolve (for an intelligent seeker.)
Freedom from the known, is at the end of the street.