A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. ~Oscar Wilde

Posts tagged ‘being healthy’

The Telescopic Vision of Mr Jefferson

Thomas JeffersonLeave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Obviously Mr Jefferson had never read a lot of the popular literature of the twenty first century, some of which read like they were written by an unlearned person, and others read like they were edited by an unlearned person. In order to avoid the risk of offending many of the popular authors fast garnering millions of dollars in royalties, I will not mention any books here. The point remains, though, that reading does not necessarily equate to learning. Reading, however, can equate to recreation, and has the advantage over exercise that it need not be confined to any part of the day.

The next thing that jumps out is that Thomas Jefferson, may the Lord bless his wise soul, does not seem to have heard of mental health. Yes, exercise, does improve mental health, but reading does so as well, and it seems to me, from his sentences, that Mr Jefferson is talking of the kind of robust health that is energetic, kinetic, and bursting with movement. He is not talking of the health that lights up one’s innermost thoughts and adds a spring to one’s smile. He has a point, naturally, but maybe if he had been a twenty first century guru of everything, he would have phrased this same advice much differently.

Maybe he would not have talked of leaving ALL the afternoon for exercise and recreation, for if the ordinary man did so, the ordinary man would have to also go to bed with maybe one meal less in his tummy. Who but the school student, or the sports star has the opportunity to exercise all afternoon? It is also very questionable whether said school student or sports star would actually find this steady, compulsory sport practice recreational, all the time.

Maybe he would have suggested recreational exercise at different times of the day, suited to different walks of life, ages, and cultures. Maybe he would have added reading as recreation. Maybe he would have emphasised reading for health as well.

But, to give him his due, Thomas Jefferson is probably drawing the attention of people to the need for exercise and recreation, and recreation through exercise. Perhaps, in his wisdom, he foresaw, that there would come a time when people would get so cornered into eking out a subsistence during the day, and relaxing on their buttocks during the evening, that he saw the need to remind us to get out there and exercise. The “all” afternoon, is probably rhetoric, and the point about health and learning the same as well.

All Hail Thomas Jefferson. 

Chill. The centenarians are coming

As usual, scientists are excited and baffled, together and separately by the challenges of living longer, healthier.Social scientists, politicians, financial experts seem to be scratching their heads as well. In the interests of happiness, health and having your grandma around for longer, or great grandma around at all, the scientists are searching for the fountain of youth. Others are debating whether that fountain has the answers society needs. Or wants. Like all real life phenomena, the answer is not displayable in any one sequence of thoughts and experiments.

People age at different rates, this is observable evrywhere. We are envious of the person of fifty with the trim taut and terrific body, and the person of seventy with a spring in their step. Yet, at the moment, the perfectly healthy nonagenarian or centenarian is still an oddity. But mythology, as well as scientific understanding of the human body tells us that a bod can continue to be hot till much longer than is the current norm. So the scientists are searching, the naturopaths are extolling and the pressure on society to give up smoking and start running is enormous. Even though these last two pieces of advice do not seem to be backed by non controversial scientific data.

So what do we do? What do the rest of us do, those who do not live our lives out in a lab, those of us who run from fad to latest fad… as touted by Huffington Post, twenty something beauty YouTubers and YogaTubers? We live life as we can. as always.

The life of a yogi is not lived out solely on the mat, and the life of a beauty guru is not lived out solely in front of a vlog camera. There may be a lot we can apply on our skins to achieve the complexion of a twenty year old. There may also be many pretzel shapes that massage our inner organs to health and youth. We can embrace all of these. But perhaps, what works most, is to embrace these, and other ideas, with the chill of a toddler. With the joie de vivre that is so visible in those who have been recorded laughing and giggling at a hundred and twenty, or so.

Perhaps we take a regular moment to read, and watch, and then do what our common sense tells us. After due consideration. Perhaps, we should just keep laughing. Keep loving the best in ourselves. Do what seems right to us, inside of us. That part in there, untouched by others, is perhaps the perfect guide. In doing so, if we do reach to be a hundred and fifty, and be able to enjoy that life, let us share a huge belly laugh. If we are cut short before that magic date (set arbitrarily by me) we can still share a huge belly laugh as we leave.

Let the sands slip through……… Slipping sands

These thoughts inspired by: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/10/what-happens-when-we-all-live-to-100/379338/. A pretty un chill article. But seems to be able to provoke some chill thought.

Aside

First Impressions: The Circle Begins

After reading class 1 on my “learn meditation page” of choice, I decided to go ahead and incorporate the exercise in my own way.

Fresh from the resolve, and eager to get going, I hunkered down that night for my five minutes before bed. I looked at the time, set my intention for five minutes and settled down to the first of the first steps. Breathe in and out at least 7 times. I don’t really know how many times I actually did so, I was concentrating on breathing in the life force and love, and breathing out my frustrations and negativity. I noticed a slight tendency to hyper ventilate and adjusted my in breath to less long. Which then meant I had to shorten my out breath as I did not have enough air in me to breathe out. Sigh! Then, of course, there was the noise. The trucks rolling past on the highway, the last of the neighbours hunkering down for the nights, and finishing up in their kitchens, and a host of other noises that I normally do not notice.

Aha! I am supposed to notice them, and let them go, so I did. I did not think there was any reduction to the noise level, but my breath calmed down, and the tightness in my chest softened. And all of a sudden I thought, “That would be five minutes” and my eyes popped open. Feeling a little “hmm… need to learn a bit more”, I looked at the time, and what do you know? Exactly five minutes!  So I must be doing something right!

I had the heaviest, deepest sleep that night for a long time. My limbs felt heavy, and even in my sleep I was aware of a heaviness. Let us not forget the dreams! The dreams were vivid, and scary and adventurous. I had trouble waking up in the morning…

So my morning was rushed and chores grabbed me before I could settle down and meditate. But I got that bit done before that 7:20 am hit its mark and the need to madly rush out into the day manifested.

All through the day I felt removed. I had a standard 21st Century muddle of a day mixed with work, friends, family and chores, with its attendant pulls, pushes and drags.  But I did not feel like those things quite touched me. Not that I was unemotional, but it felt like the emotions were an outer part of me, and hence something that I observed and let go, rather than get gripped by them. It was a wonderful, liberating feeling.

I think I am going to love this. I think I am going to be able to carry this on.

Have you joined us on the Bodhi Circle yet?

PS: this morning, during the time I meditated, I did not notice any back ground noise at all. It was still. Quiet. Interesting. Time for Class 2.

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