This Week's Questions
[posed by Ed D'U.]
Do you know?
I have been going over my choices for this month's questions for days now, and I keep coming back to Jen working with me to help me connect with my obliques. I have hit the proverbial wall when it comes to my physical fitness. I am about as disconnected from working out as I have ever been.
Even more disturbing to me is how little this matters to me. I used to be driven by my fear of being fat. But I've healed that wound, and now that motivation is gone. I cannot be completely in shock about it though, as I want to write my questions about the body and fitness.
I will add that since my last Mt. Washington trip (where I experienced the most enduring physical pain in my life), I have not had the same desire to push my physical limits, including that I feel reluctant to experience the pain of working out. Quite frankly, I am tired of this pain and discouraged by how little my body responds to working out. I have been working out, off and on, for my entire adult life and basically, my body has changed very little. I do get stronger, and my endurance improves, but I look pretty much the same as when I began; more bear than cougar.
Having said all this, I am aware I have a lot of blank spots in me with regard to my body and working out. I am intrigued by what we discussed in the group regarding pain, and how pain is the experience of moving out and away from connection. To me, pain is synonymous with working out. However, since this is the only picture I have for working out, I wonder if this is merely a single, BLocked picture.
Contemporary wisdom states, "no pain, no gain." Yet Steve has said the opposite; that where there is pain, there is no gain. My questions center around knowing which belief is true. It seems when I push too hard, I benefit less, especially when compared to when I work out to connect rather than to be stronger or faster. Yet I blame my failure to achieve my workout goals on my not working hard enough. The truth is, I don't know why I am stuck.
[Question 1] Using emergence theory, what is "working out?" What would an emergence work out look like?
Next, knowing the Consciousness Formula; M=I(T), is the second guiding principle. How? It tells you that consciously managing "time" determines one third of the quality of everything you do. Thus, you can improve the efficacy of your workouts simply by bettering the way you manage time during your workouts.
Now let's put these two things together.
If consciously managing your time determines one third of the quality of your workouts, and if being conscious relies mainly on being in the Inner Layers, then each time you feel alone, you are less than fully conscious. In other words, if you are not in the Inner Layers, you cannot be managing your time consciously.
The good news? You can improve this. In fact, since time consciousness accounts for a full one third of the quality of your workouts, focusing on this one aspect will greatly improve everything you do.
How would you go about doing this? In several ways. For one thing, "pace" is "what creates the quality in time," and "momentum forced" is "momentum lost." Translation. Do not force yourself to go any faster then your ability to stay conscious.
What I mean is, each time your pace exceeds your ability to remain conscious, you have suffered pain without gain. Moreover, do this a lot and you'll hate working out.
On the other hand, if you determine your pace based on your ability to stay conscious, you will then maximize your gains and feel happier while you work out. In addition, if you commit to an ongoing effort to improve your ability to be in the Inner Layers during your workouts, then you will always feel stimulated and challenged in the best of ways. Why? Because you'll constantly be learning new things about yourself.
This means your workouts need never be boring, as there are always new things to discover about your body. And about yourself in general.
My point? These two changes alone could literally turn your whole attitude around, not only about working out, but also about pain in general. You see, while exerting yourself does take effort, "pain" is "effort done alone." This means, "working out" is "effort done with others." And since spiritual guides count, you need never do another workout alone.
[Question 2] To me, the cyclist Lance Armstrong is on the opposite end of the spectrum from me. I believe he stays connected to his body throughout most of his riding. At first, I thought he had a great ability to tolerate pain. But now I suspect he does not experience much pain, as he seems to stay connected to his body throughout the ride.
I can't picture myself running or lifting without pain. Is it possible to work out without pain? If I'm feeling pain, then am I conscious enough to benefit from working out?
What I'm saying is, if you define "pain" as a necessary evil, then don't be surprised if you hate it. At best, you'll simply endure it. But if you see pain as what determines the difference between consciousness and shock, you'll see the good in it and use it to better your experiences.
Even more to the point, if you can redefine "pain" as "work done alone," then you may call fewer and fewer things, "painful." For instance, say you and a friend are carrying a heavy table across a picnic grounds. Say also that the two of you are laughing and joking as you go, to the point at which you are almost dropping this table. Would this feel like work or fun to you?
Now consider how different this same experience would feel were you to be carrying this table with someone who disliked you? Same table. Same amount of "effort." But an entirely different and more painful experience.
As for your question; if you're feeling pain, then are you conscious enough to benefit from working out? Ed, the answer lies in the idea that the more pain you feel, the less you benefit. Thus, yes, up to a point, you do benefit more from a painful workout than from no workout at all. However, since the amount of this benefit is inversely proportionate to the degree to which you feel pain, you could greatly increase what you gain from your workouts by pushing yourself only to the point at which you almost feel pain and then backing off.
[Question 3] As I write this, I am aware that I cannot picture my body. In fact, as far as I know, I have never had a picture of my body. It seems, I have always guessed at what I looked like. Thus, my perception of what I look like has more been based on how I feel than on how I look.
What I'm saying is, if I felt fat, I was. If I could lift a lot of weight, I wasn't.
As I think about it now, I guess I experience my body mostly in Layer 2. And I interact with my body from a Layer 2 place, meaning, I'm in my head a lot trying to figure it all out and blaming myself for my failures.
My question is, do people who have great bodies have clear pictures of themselves as having a great body? And is my body undefined because my picture of me is undefined?
The question then is, what would make you overlook such an obvious fact? The answer. You have a BLock. How do I know? The degree to which you can consciously see your own body determines the degree to which you can consciously see other peoples' bodies. Moreover, this is not just true for you. It is true for all of us. In fact, this idea is one of the most basic tenets of emergence.
So what exactly is happening to you here? To see, take a minute to remind yourself of how we define the personal experience of injury; as an "over or under reaction to an ordinary life event." It seems with regard to your visual sense of peoples' bodies, that you are over reacting to the flaws in your body and under reacting to the flaws in other peoples' bodies.
As for whether your inability to see your own body has impaired your ability to accurately access your body, to some degree, this must be true. However, if this is true, then it must also be true for how you see other people.
In other words, if you can't accurately access your own body, then you can't accurately compare your body to the bodies of others. In effect, you will distort both the differences and the similarities.
This means no matter how much you actually improve your body, no amount of improvement will feel like enough to you, especially with regard to you being as good as others. Why not? Because you are chasing perfection without ever realizing it.
Fortunately, there is a simple way for you to challenge this belief and in doing so, have an emergence. Do this. Go down to the mall at rush hour and find yourself a comfortable place to sit. This should be a place wherein you will have a good view of people walking by.
Now using a pad of paper, start keeping a written count of all the men who walk by with whom you would trade bodies. What I'm saying is, as you sit there, assess the body of every man who walks by. Then make a snap judgment as to whether you would or would not trade bodies with him. Then make a mark either in the "I would trade bodies" column or in the "I would not trade bodies" column.
How long should you do this for? For at least one half hour. Or until you crack yourself up. You see, while I'm sure there will be at least a few guys whom you might consider trading bodies with, when you then add in that you must also trade lives with them, I'm sure you'll come to your senses. And begin to realize, even if you were ugly or fat, you don't exactly have a bad life.
Also, remember the goal here. You are seeking the experience of delight. Thus you need to keep doing this "swapping bodies" exercise until you feel delighted by doing it. After which you will feel great relief and a noticeable improvement in your self worth.
Finally, on days where even this fails to help, simply ask your wife whether you are ugly and fat or not. I have a feeling she'll set you straight in no time <smile>.
[Question 4] There is a lot of literature out there about what is the “best” method for working out. Most of it refers to the intensity and frequency of the workouts. Often they will say things like that in order to stimulate growth, you have to vary these two factors. At the same time, although they sometimes do refer to picturing the changes you want to make, they never mention how personal consciousness effects working out. In fact, I don't recall anyone ever mentioning personally connecting to the muscle.
My question is, how would an emergence practitioner use the principles of emergence to work out? Is conventional training all about pushing yourself into shock?
First, Ed, they are right. Varying the frequency and intensity of your workouts will optimize your potential growth. Why? Because "consciousness" is "change observed." At the same time, you are right in that they are not specifically stating that you need to consciously connect to the muscle. However, by picturing muscle, you are consciously connecting to it. So here again, even without Emergence Personality Theory to guide them, they're pretty much on the mark.
So how would an emergence practitioner work out? This one I've pretty much addressed in my response to your first question. To recap though, while exerting yourself does take effort, "pain" is "effort done alone" while "working out" is "effort done with others." Make sure then that you make connecting to each muscle more important than merely doing, say, a high number of reps.
As for your second question, "Is conventional training all about pushing yourself into shock?" Here, my answer would depend on how closely you were following the advice of a trainer. What I mean is, a lot of the professional advice out there is very good advice. And very in line with the principles of Emergence.
For instance, most profession trainers insist on warms ups and cool downs, and I could not agree with them more. The thing to keep in mind though is that what trainers usually focus is on improving your body, whereas what an Emergence Practitioner would focus on would be on getting you to improve how you connect to your body. Which, in the end, simply means getting you to consciously realize you ARE your body.
In others words, while many trainers would treat your body as the house you live in, we Emergence Practitioners would treat you and your body as one and the same being. This makes connecting to your body more like Socrates' "knowing yourself" than being aware of something you own.
[Question 5] How can you heal the muscles into growth? Where in the Layers of Aloneness does muscle growth occur? Is growth what happens in the interplay between shock and consciousness?
At the same time, I know that we cannot have an emergence about something without it first having been injured. Which makes me wonder if tearing down muscle is the injury which allows new muscle to emerge?
If this is true then the answer to your third question would be, yes, growth is what happens in the interplay between shock and consciousness. This would make "the interplay between shock and consciousness," "the meta fractal for all conscious growth." If so then the fact that workouts include consciously chosen periods of shock is not such weird idea, given that balance in all things is the most basic spiritual maxim in the Universe.