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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Podcast #130- Moving Meditation


Let’s talk about an essential ancestral life skill that I have never heard addressed:  How should you approach exercise mentally?  It really is a crucial skill that paleolithic peoples never even had to think about, just as they never had to think about what foods to eat (all foods were paleo back then), or how to exercise, (exercise, natural exercise, Perfectly Paleo Exercise, whatever you call it was just part of life!); so it was that your mind-state as you went through an early, ancestral lifestyle was also automatic.
Just what the heck am I talking about?  Just this: when you exercise, you must not be thinking about your job, or what you want to do this weekend, or anything at all, really-

You should be completely and utterly focused on the moment!

You should be thinking into the muscles being worked, feeling them contract and work beneath your skin.  Intensify the contraction, I.e. make it harder simply by willing it so!  This really does work- using this method, you can make lifting a 5 lb. dumbbell as hard as lifting a 50 pound dumbbell, or more, simply by flexing harder and more intensely, and by “putting on the brakes” internally by thinking into the muscle and willing it so.
Focus your total energy into each and every rep, each isometric contraction, and into each exercise in turn.  This is like moving meditation.  If you’ve ever meditated, (I do it pretty much daily, and recommend you do as well), you sit with your eyes shut, and concentrate on one thing only.  (I use the number “1”, repeated over and over and over.  Every time your attention starts to wander, you just pull it gently back to that mantra of “1” again.
At first, it seems quite difficult!  We are so programmed in modern life to try and multi-task constantly, to get more done, and more, and more!  But after awhile, it gets much easier, and carries over into how you approach life in general.
So too does this “moving meditation” approach to exercise not only improve your exercise performance, and especially exercise results- it starts to carry over into all of life.  Your ability to concentrate improves along with your physique, as does your mental acuity and ability.

Now, I don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t listen to podcasts while you exercise, or even watch tv while you do so.  I do often!  Just so the bulk of your attention is focused on the exercise, it is fine to have music playing, or someone talking or interviewing, or even watching a gripping movie or news program on TV.  In fact, I feel that an additional distraction or focus while exercising is additional insurance against your attention wandering to your problems, your boss, your kids problems, insurance salesmen… you get it, right?
Your workout is sacred, just as you should be totally in the moment while in church, or meditating, so should your workout time be spent in the moment.

You do need to spend time planning, not worrying, and this time too should be spent totally in the moment as well!  Then, you can plan, anticipate contingencies, decide what you will do if various scenarios occur, and then you can relax.  By staying in the moment, once again you have set yourself up of success.  You will not be distracted, because you have your plans in place- if something bad happens, you will simply deal with it, in the moment.  Whether it is something physical, or emotional, or intellectual to deal with, you will have developed the capacity to solve it.

Because you have turned your life into what it is meant to be:
A Moving Meditation