Then I had a realization. We have everything we need to be fit AND healthy. If we are not producing something, if we are getting sick, if we are not recovering-it does not mean we need to take a pill, potion or powder. It means we need to fix something within ourselves. I believe for most people this means developing the mind as well as the body. This is not just an eastern concept-it's a theme that is quite obvious in George Hackenschmidt's excellent book "The Way to Live in Health and Physical Fitness".
Shifu's comments about health today led me to ask him a question about why he thought that people who eat well and exercise still get sick. His answer was very simple but incredibly brilliant and insightful. He said they fail to do the internal work, to develop their minds. They succumb to negative energy and negative thoughts that ultimately manifest in unhealthy ways in the body.
Make no mistake, pumping your body full of chemicals and non-natural substances in an effort to "get fit" will result in anything but. Sure, you might look like Hercules for a little while, but there will be a price to pay for chemical and physical abuse. Many will argue this, and I would have to as little as a couple years ago.
Shifu told me we need to bring the mind back into training and focus on internal development as well as external development. Working hard is good. Training hard is good. However we cannot neglect the development of our mind. Strong healthy minds and positive thoughts will produce good energy and strong health bodies.
Meditation is one way to strengthen the mind, but don't let it end in the lotus position. Meditate in everything you do. Why is this important? When you meditate, when you truly quiet your monkey mind, when your mind becomes blank and allows thoughts to pass without attachment, you are now present. You embody your true nature which is pure being. Why not be present in all you do?
Think about how much of your time-your life-is lost to regretting past events and fearing future events. When your mind is living in the past and future it is preventing your from being here, in the now. And guess what? Now is all there is. The past is nothing more than a previous series of now moments and the future is a series of now moments that have yet to occur-so why let them rule you?
Instead, try to be present in everything you do-whether it is sport, exercise, study, driving, talking with friends and family, etc. Be present and give the present moment your full attention. I believe this is why people become addicted to adventure sports such as rock climbing-it's hard to be terrorized by the past or worry about the future when you are hanging off the side of a cliff by your fingers and toes!
When we bring our mind into training, we encourage internal development in addition to external physical development. If we truly want to be fit AND healthy we must connect the mind and the body.
I believe when good health is achieved, and all aspects of physical and mental development are in line, our potential is limitless!
Stay Strong AND Healthy!