PURSUIT OF CALM #34
Physical training for mental well-being
Mind training for physical well-being
For most of us our go-to strategy to live our best life possible is to try to avoid pain and seek comfort at all costs.
However a much more interesting, kind and adventurous life approach is to develop our courage so we’re able to be more curious about all aspects of life – whilst avoid ‘labelling’ whether the object our inquisitiveness is good or bad, scary or fun, easy or hard.
I think we tend to avoid pain, suffering and challenging circumstances because we’re always trying to live a life in such a way in an attempt control our life – so that it turns out on our own terms.
But this approach is problematic, namely because it’s completely delusional. Life simply isn’t one dimensional, its hard & challenging but also fabulously rich & rewarding. Always leaning into comfort and distraction will only lead to further confusion and conflict because we end up dull, lazy,desensitised & emotionally-stunted, as we attempt to avoid the life obstacles that will invariably occur and unsettle our status quo.
The fact is we can endure a lot of pain and a lot of suffering– and we can only find this out when we undertake the process of self-learning to find out who we are and our relationshipwith the complicated world in which we live.
And we can’t self-learn if we avoid much of what life has to offer.
If, and outside the constraints of our jobs, we’re only committed to comfort, then as soon as we come up against the least bit of pain & suffering then we’re going to engage in avoidance tactics and escape by mindlessly emoting and blaming our environment and circumstance.
And in doing so we never know, or never give ourselves the opportunity, to resolve the particular obstacle, pain or suffering that has presented itself to us. And the fact is, our self-learning is found in exactly these moments…not in the escape.
We’re not triggered by things,
but by the view we take on them.
This breeds a tendency in us to tolerate and put up with things, and get used to them, and then, blame them on our circumstances. ‘If I wasn’t so busy, I could this or that.’ ‘If I had more time, I could focus more on my wellbeing’. ‘If I had a holiday, I would be much happier.’
The irony is we blame our inner-conflict on our environment and circumstances, yet we’re the ones who have created it…both the conflict and the environment.
By tolerating this conflict over time we become dull to the impact it’s having on us. Just as one can get so used to the beauty and joy that surrounds us all, yet we no longer notice because we’re dull and busy.
A dull mind creates indifference, and as a result we accommodate our dull-indifferences by means of escape – alcohol, distraction, or some other form of amusement and relaxation.
The Habit of Escape
We need to self-cultivate courage to face the facts of our reality, and build strength & energy to keep us from escaping every time we’re confronted, annoyed or frustrated by the situations outside our control, the behaviours of others, and when our own vulnerabilities rear their head.
Why do we avoid facing the facts?
You can face a fact only in the present, and if you’re never present, because you’re always distracted, lazy and busy escaping, then you can never face it, and because we have, over the years, cultivated a whole network of distraction and escape we are unwittingly caught in our own habit of escape.
Recognising our habits of escape requires sensitivity – if we’re not sensitive we will not recognise how complicit our self-conditioning is on our wellbeing and energy levels.
“The ability to observe without judgement is the
highest form of intelligence.”
It fascinates me that we all innately know, deep-down the dangers and implications of our contrary habits, we actually see it & feel it…yet we both fail to recognise the impact, and or, don’t act to remedy it.
Is it because we are lazy, laziness being a lack of energy?
Interestingly, when push comes to shove, we will not lack energy when we find ourselves in immediate physical danger, or if we receive a scary diagnosis – we act swiftly and immediately.
Why then do we not act immediately when we innately know the contrary impact our habits are having on our vitality?
What’s stopping us from acting NOW?
So this is where self-kindness comes into play.
If you accept the premise, and you don’t have to, that it’s our thinking and doing habits that are cause of our pain & suffering. Then does it not make sense that if we shone a light and investigated ourselves, with the view of accepting who we are, and learning how to resolve the influence these habits have on our psychology – then would that not possibly begin to quell the ill-being effects these behaviours have on our health, our energy levels…our vitality?
If we’re able to crack open, embrace, and accept the very parts of ourselves that we have ignored, suppressed and armoured over the previous decades – the parts of ourselves that keep us a slave to inebriation, fatigue, distraction and stress – then how profoundly would that impact your life?
“Imagine the outcomes if every choice you made was shone though a prism of self-kindness”.
[what a concept!]
Self Kindness: Self-Learning in Action
Being kind towards ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything – we can all still be our usual beautiful crazy, timid, anxious, bonkers selves.
Our approach is not to try to ‘change’ ourselves’, to throw ourselves away with the view of becoming something better or different. It’s about befriending who you are – it’s about improving the relationship with yourself by [re]learning who you are.
Q: If you were your own best friend, what advice would
you give yourself?
Self-kindness is a process of self-cultivation to propagate a re-interest in ourselves, to be self-motivated to investigate and be inquisitive about ourselves.
To learn more about ourselves we need to be courageous, inquisitive and curious. It also requires sensitivity, being gentle, precise and transparent or open. Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön defines ‘gentleness’ as a sense of goodheartedness towards ourselves. And ‘precision’ as being able to see very clearly, and not being afraid to see what is really there, just as a scientist is not afraid to look into the microscope. ‘Openness’ is being able to let (that sh!t) go and to be open.
Self-Kindness Ain’t No Walk in The Park
Being kind to ourselves isn’t some flimsy woo-woo wellness approach, identifying and enacting better choices for yourself is incredibly challenging, because it requires constant attention.
In effect you’ll be placing pressure on decades of self-conditioning. Pressure as in alertness & clarity [attention] that will allow you to see your conditioning not as an intellectual concept, that you will do nothing about, but as something that is deemed important and requires immediate & swift action now
So it’s when we see, is when we act…and this cultivates our vitality.
Undoubtably an immensely challenging proposition, but would it not be one of the kindest, most courageous things you could do for yourself?
Imagine the outcomes?
And honestly, what’s the alternative?
“The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it’s conformity.”
Ref: Pema Chödrön, Krishnamurti, Epictetus, Seneca, Socrates & Dr Suess
What I have to say has
all been said before,
And I am destitute of
learning and of skill
I therefore have no
thought that this
might be of benefit to
I wrote it only to sustain
Next: Vitality Is Attention
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Peace & Health
Disclaimer: It needs to be noted and understood that what I write on this blog format must not be interpreted nor construed as ‘personal medical advice’.
The written word can easily be mis-interpreted, especially my own god-awful writing ability.
I try to emphasis, as awkwardly as I do, that I have no skills, training nor studies under my belt to advise or diagnose when it comes to medical or psychological conditions.
If you need professional help or advice then please seek it.
My own advocacy is shot primarily through the prism of my own life-experience. I only promote lifestyle and the related choices and habits that optimise sleep, mindset, nutrition and physical strength. All incredibly powerful and profound methods to improve all aspects of one’s own health-wealth, but potentially not the remedy ‘proper’ for those individuals that may require professional clinical diagnosis, medical intervention and/or treatment.