Healthy Intent

I studied exercise and nutrition in college. I was amazed at the lack of consensus in what constituted the best exercise regimens and the best eating practices. One professor said, just find something that works and do that. But haven’t people studied and tested these things, I’d wonder.

Researchers did perform studies but results didn’t always agree, or their methodologies and conclusions were questionable. Oftentimes there were just too many variables to determine anything conclusively or universally applicable.

But perhaps they were barking up the wrong tree. If the best-practices of diet and exercise can’t be pinned-down easily, perhaps it’s less about the actual physical practices, and more about the attitudes and beliefs we hold as we eat and exercise.

For example, perhaps it’s not what we eat, but our intentions that determine our diet’s effects. After all, diets do follow trends, changing all the time, what was healthy one decade is near-poison the next, yet people still remain generally healthy. The same goes for exercise, what’s perfectly healthy one decade is damaging and unacceptable the next, so again perhaps it’s our intention that determines our exercise’s effects, not the actual activity.

Healthy Mind

Haven’t you noticed that what’s considered “healthy” changes over time? Weird huh? Some would speculate that humans simply understand more throughout the ages. But if we laugh at the health practices of old, who’s to say future generations won’t laugh at our notion of “healthy”? And even among groups and cultures within the same era, what’s “healthy” varies — so there’s never a consensus on “healthy”. Strange stuff, no?

One would expect the prescription for health to be universal across all cultures and generations — but it’s not. One would also expect the prescription to be simple and obvious. Instead, it seems like a mystery to be solved, an exacting formula needing to be deciphered.

But perhaps the prescription for health really is simple and obvious. Through observation we can conclude that what’s “healthy” is not absolute, it changes and follows trends — what this suggests is that “healthy” is merely a belief, a state of mind. For instance, we can readily witness the remarkable effects of placebos — telling someone something will fix them, does.

What do you think happens when you tell someone something will harm them? Likely a reverse placebo, a nocebo effect. Imagine someone doing a particular thing for decades, then trends change, and suddenly it’s considered unhealthy, then they get sick and deteriorate. It’s likely that if we tell someone that what they’re consuming is killing them, then it probably will.

Whereas if we believe we’re doing something healthy, we’ll likely flourish. Of course nothing works 100% of the time, life never allows that. But from simple observation, it appears that our beliefs and state of mind have a significant impact on our health, more so than any other factor. This being the case, those seeking health should focus on their beliefs and the particular thoughts they entertain.

Life Is

What is life? Life is challenge. Life is stress. Life is emotion. Life is pain. Life is labor. Life is beauty. Life is flavor. Life is laughter. Life is love. Life is creation. Do you see? Life is activity. Life is the focus of all our attention.

Interest requires impermanence. Life is what it is because that’s what holds our attention. You’ve noticed your consciousness of course, the part of you that observes your life. What an exciting show you’re privy to. Anything less than this attention-grabbing spectacle would bore you to tears.

Your consciousness can get confused though, believing itself the originator of action instead of the observer. This confusion can create disappointment — but don’t worry, you can get back on track. There’s nothing that needs to be done externally, it’s just some simple steps on the inside.

What it takes, is repeatedly reminding yourself, your consciousness, that you’re not in control here. Think of life as a story that’s already been written, you’re just following along. And from there, embrace and appreciate the story.

Whatever happens is just part of the story, and you the consciousness get to decide how to interpret life’s plot. You get to assign the labels, calling things funny or sad, good or bad. With this power, you decide the nature of your story, whether gloomy, comical, uplifting, or whatever.

Keep in mind that this is only a virtual realm comprised of temporary illusions. The images formed in our thoughts are interpretations not facts. Everything that enters existence is destined to exit. With this outlook we keep ourselves from clinging to what’s not really there.

Enjoy the story as you would any story. Simply maintain your awareness during intense times to ease anxiety. Let life tell its story, wait and see how it ends — life controls the body and its outcome — as the observer, watch patiently and politely.

Preacher Man

I suppose I’d be a preacher of a benign religion. What’s a preacher do but speak of life and receive a living from doing so. Nothing revolutionary of course, just sermons on the hows and whys of living a lighthearted life.

Again, I grew up without religion, but once in awhile I’d watch preachers on TV. Sometimes I liked what I saw, not always of course, but some seemed like they were trying to help people. One of the bigger problems I witnessed was the intermingling of money with their message.

But I don’t believe monkhood is a necessary condition for speaking about spiritual matters, so an adequate stipend seems necessary. Beyond that, I don’t think money should pass through a preacher’s hands.

As part of my duties, people could approach me to discuss life and its many facets, not as an expert, but just as someone that thinks about such matters. Again, I never said I’d be the best preacher, or even a good one, just that I’d be one.

My version of a benign approach would be one not seeking to condemn or profit. One describing life clearly and concisely, not with antiquated analogy. One that celebrates life, seeking to appreciate the beauty in all aspects, one that stresses the underlying unity of existence.

Eternal Play

I don’t think preferences or personalities can exist outside earthly existence. Preferences rely on the presence of alternatives — and the various facets of our personalities seem to rely on ignorance and impermanence. A group of all-knowing eternal perfected beings would have everything in common, there’d be no surprises, no misunderstandings or overreactions. So in that sense, it probably doesn’t make sense that we’d exist as individuals beyond our earthly existence.

Instead, we might be a single entity experiencing existence, scattered amongst many bodies. And if you think about it, an individual human grown in an isolated vat isn’t much, it’s not until this creature is exposed to the whole of humanity that his imagination and emotions come alive. In that sense, the organism is humanity, individuals are merely its constituent cells.

But these cells live oddly dramatic lives, which is a suspicious thing. Humanity doesn’t march toward efficiency as much as it maintains an emotion-inducing spectacle. In other words, this realm seems artificial in that it maintains the balance of existence yet fosters a melodrama among its inhabitants. Humanity appears suspended in a state of perpetual ignorance, a condition necessary for the creation of suspense, the foundation of all entertainment.

Who am I, who is that, where am I, what is this, why is this happening, how does it work, what’s next, when will it end? Through perpetual uncertainty, every individual is provided the perspective to live life anew. But in the depths of consciousness, we sense a greater understanding, an awareness comprehending much more than our individual circumstances suggest possible. We are both beast and god.

What could this world be, but a funhouse for one that already knows everything, a place to get lost amongst enduring drama. So we aren’t meant to dismiss this drama, but embrace it, as it was created for us by us. This is the playground in which God frolics, the garden in which his fruit grows. There is no better place than this, else we would be there now.

What’s real when we’re surrounded by impermanence. Everything is virtual, existing for but a moment. To play we must lose ourselves to the moment, forgetting our origin, yet we must not lose sight of play’s lighthearted nature, nor our underlying connection to one another as playmates. Play can be cruel or kind, we must remember enough of ourselves to always play gently.

Slide Theory

Perhaps existence is like a slide. By the force of gravity we’re pulled down the slope of life until we reach the end.

But do we have the ability to derail ourselves, and roll off the side? Perhaps that’s those who have a hard time accepting the thrill as enjoyable, they’d rather jump than see what’s next.

Can we cling onto the sides to pause our descent? Perhaps that’s those who refuse to accept their fate until finally their fingers tire, they then accept and let go.

And upon completion of the ride, do we simply pick another slide? Maybe some chose twisting turning slides, others steep fast ones, and some small slow ones.

And maybe some slides are so mild that their riders get stuck along the way so they have to scoot themselves down.

Ready and Waiting

I’m ready to move. I’ve been researching this and that, towns, houses, town-houses, trucks, trailers, schools, furniture, I’m champing at the bit. Even the local news is trying to tell me to go, with some time-to-get-out-of-here type stories, nasty stuff.

Let’s do this already. It feels like I should be there, not here. I’m just waiting for the finances to kick in. I don’t know how that process works exactly, but I expect any day now my bank account will have sufficient funds.

I think they call it magic. The secret to my success will be wishes and magic. Since I’ll be moving, no one will wonder why I was an overnight success. They’ll simply assume it was years of hard-work mixed with talent. When asked for evidence of my endeavors, I’ll just say I’m a writer, writing under a pseudonym for privacy.

I think I can pass off the well-educated writer vibe. I wear glasses and have a little beard, and for whatever reason I dress more formally nowadays — button-down shirts and such. After achieving success, I’ll recognize all that came before as worth it, remembering the tough times fondly.

Sometimes I think about Lennie asking George to tell him about the rabbits, and how my wishful thinking won’t get me anywhere. But I have faith in life. For instance, when life looked bleak and lonely, my friend arrived. And the time we moved from my parents’ house, our new place appeared like an oasis in the desert. And when it looked as though a little-one would never come, he did. When we needed a nest to bring him into the world, a small one materialized.

So I have no reason to doubt life is providing me both the idea and the means to implement it. I’ve noticed life likes to build up the anticipation and suspense, as if what I want is never going to happen, but in the end, all of a sudden, boom, there it is.

Of course I’ve tried to work for things, over many years I tried various means to achieve my ends, but in a sense, I was attempting to force an outcome, and those endeavors always fell flat. Only when I stopped pushing, only when I relaxed and let things happen, did the things I want manifest. You can’t force a flower to open, the result won’t be pretty.

I don’t know how life works for everyone else, but for me, things have to come at their own pace, falling into my lap. Impatiently striving has only ever been a recipe for frustration. I can’t take what I want from life, it has to be given, and the receipt of such gifts brings forth my appreciation. And so with that in mind, I’m anxiously anticipating, awaiting my Christmas miracle.