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Fluidity and the Future

August 26, 2015 2 Comments

fountain of youth

fountain of youth

When the worldwide economy takes center stage anything can happen.  Some people are caught in a crunch without sufficient funds to cover their losses.  Some investments are easily converted into cash.  These are considered to be fluid investments.  Anything that you own for which there is no instant market is not fluid.  You must find a buyer in order to unload those items.  Often the seller takes a serious loss when forced to raise funds to cover losses. Think of the recent real estate tragedies in the united States as an example.  The underwater homes and mortgages were stuck in  a stagnant market that favored buyers over sellers.  The American dream of the 30 year mortgage in real estate as a fabulous investment has been revealed to be less than foolproof.  Not all homes will retain value, and in some markets real estate is very difficult to move.

Fluidity is a factor in investing and planning for retirement, but it is also a major element in future flexibility in life. The body you create as well as inherit will serve you for better or for worse as time passes.  You will be able to enjoy activities and stay involved in social and intellectual interests as long as your physical health allows.  The precious resources of healthy mind and healthy body can’t be overprotected.  The body is the permanent home we will occupy until we die. Keeping it in good working order is the most valuable gift we can give our future selves.  Retaining good range of motion will pay excellent dividends in terms of comfort and ease. How can we contribute to our liquid physical assets?

  • Immerse yourself in water- use the support of hydrostatic pressure to bring ease to your movement and enhancement to your natural flexibility
  • Try new forms of artistic expression- the latest trend is all about adult coloring books as a meditative practice. Crafty or edible, use any new excuse to expand your artistic horizons.
  • Plan free time to include more activities in nature.  Picnics, hikes, and trips to the dog park all bring the healing power of nature into our daily experience.
  • If you have any space (even a balcony) try growing some of the foods or herbs you eat.  The satisfaction of gardening is a shortcut to both better nutrition and therapy.
  • Start a regular stretching and strength routine.  The methods you use are less important than making the practice a daily habit.  Keeping range of motion all over the body, especially the spine, is an investment well worth your time.
fountain of youth

fountain of youth

Mind Work/Body Work

January 6, 2015 1 Comment



There is no way to separate the effect the body has on the mind or the mind on the body.  This intricate interaction is centered around self image, accurate or not.  We may not see ourselves as we are.  In fact, the yoga sutras begin by addressing this subject:

1.1 Now, instruction in Union.

1.2. Union is restraining the thought-streams natural to the mind.

1.3. Then the seer dwells in his own nature.

1.4. Otherwise he is of the same form as the thought-streams.

1.5. The thought-streams are five-fold, painful and not painful.

1.6. Right knowledge, wrong knowledge, fancy, sleep and memory.

This was written in Sanskrit and has been translated in many ways since Patanjali wrote it.  This translation is by BonGiovanni.  We learn by reading this ancient text how the mind works.  It is very specific and detailed.  Meditation is offered as remedy for confusion and lack of clarity of purpose.  Westerners have flocked to yoga as the perfect fitness activity, enjoying all kinds of variations on yogic teachings.  Here in the western hemisphere we have trouble integrating mind and body, consciousness with soul and spirit.  We want to have landmarks and rewards for success as we progress. Yoga as a strictly physical practice, even if you include pramayama, or breath control, does not align with the purpose, which is to control the mind.  If we are successful yogis we will not only dwell in our own nature, but we will be free of identifying with thought streams.  This requires constant and uninterrupted practice.  Thought streams arise from ourselves, from the opinions of others, from cultural belief, and from circumstances.  To acknowledge them and let them go is a powerful and uplifting act.  You are not your thought streams!!  This idea is the basis of meditative practice.  Learning to execute the perfect tree pose takes full concentration.  Presumably there is no attention left for thought streams while you balance on one leg and stay aligned.  Asana is not the only way to bring the mind into focus by using the body:

  • Walking or running can be a kind of contemplation.  Using a mantra while you move along can improve focus.
  • Body work by a good therapist offers a healing, non-verbal way to leave the daily grind on the table.
  • Bathing, steaming, soaking, or using aromatherapy reduces the level of stress, opening the door to bliss.
  • Breathing is a simple, always available, way to bring your focus inward to keep your mind in order.

The easiest (and therefore perhaps the most difficult) breathing practice I know is just a simple counting of breath.  Count to ten, marking each inhale and each exhale with a mental number.  This seems so simple that you will be surprised how often you can’t make it to ten without the mind drifting off onto some thought form. When you observe the interruption, simply start again with a silent number one on the next breath.  Don’t struggle with the thought; just let it go. Resume counting and breathing. Do you have a practice to focus the mind and keep it focused?  Do tell.

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