What is requisite in realizing broad beneficial changes in our cultural outlook with regard to health and wellness, and our responsibility as such?

“Glen, in your opinion, what would it take to prompt radical society-wide changes toward truly substantial improvement in our overall health/wellness status (in our broad popular culture)?” (An inquiry from a reader of my book and blogs.)

Response: Humbly and respectfully, I believe that we need to institute mandatory nutritional classes in primary and secondary schools, as part of the ‘physical education’ curriculum. To complement this dynamic, there must be a movement therein to make an adjustment to the popular culture’s notion of physical education as primarily a setting for competitive sports (only a small minority of school children fit well within the competitive popular sport venue). Such sports can remain for those who fit well within that setting. In such a program, it would also be of significant importance to teach stress/anxiety-controlling practices and remedies, possibly inclusive of even refined meditation and all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing.

As set forth in my book, physical education in schools needs to promote a philosophical and practical curriculum for realization of true health: a genuinely healthful dietary, exercise/mobility, and stress/anxiety-controlling WAY OF LIFE is the key to taking true responsibility for our own health and well-being (and thus best avoiding chronic illness). ‘Lightning bolts’ may still strike…we all have genetic propensities toward realization of various maladies, but they will quite likely strike less and less as we ongoingly work to improve and take responsibility for our health and well-being. Again, humbly and respectfully, in most cases NOT taking true responsibility, as such, may be the REAL disease. Eventually, we would not have a so-called healthcare crisis if this outlook became the norm in school P.E. settings. In addition, the financial costs would fall dramatically, becoming less and less of a burden.

I realize this may all sound silly, on multiple levels, when considering our contemporary state-of-affairs. Albeit, this IS what is needed in order to provoke profound beneficial changes in the cultural dynamic. — Dr. Glen Hepker 

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Can the ‘real magic’ be in the effort?

“Glen, it seems like our society is often looking for answers to difficulties with a one-size-fits-all mentality. You have taught, coached, and practiced your traditional health and wellness arts for a long time. What is your outlook, and how do you think that people can embrace health and wellness, even if one-size-doesn’t-fit-all?” (An inquiry from a reader of my book and blog.)

Response: Thanks so very much. I believe it is significant to take into account that this is a holistic health and wellness philosophy. With regard to its practical application, it is QUITE important to embrace the notion that one-size-doesn’t-fit-all. PLEASE know I don’t say this in an unhealthful spirit of being evasive: I am simply setting forth that the magic (NOT parlor tricks) is in the ONGOING true effort in taking true responsibility for one’s own health and well-being. The primary thesis of the ages-old health/wellness philosophy that I teach, coach, and endeavor to follow, is that “the world would be a much different and better place if more and more people learn to take true responsibility for their own health and well-being.” Ideally, each person likely would have a slightly different take on what it all entails. But the ‘magic is in the effort.’

I wholeheartedly believe that our society is slowly shifting/improving with regard to being aware of what is healthful and what is not. That said, it is clear that a majority of people are NOT yet endeavoring to embrace these notions. It is the difference between thriving vs. just getting by…just surviving. This is NOT meant in a haughty spirit, I mean this lovingly and with deeply felt empathy – we all have our ‘thorns to bear,’ learn from, and grow out of, if we choose.

I believe that our immune systems are able to ward-off just about anything, if we aren’t living in a state of enervation. Pristine homeostasis can be realized through embracing the broad tenets of true health, e.g., a level of healthfulness which can make widely-perceived amazing things become matter of fact/normal (for those accepting responsibility for their own health and well-being).

A goal in this tradition is to learn to better and better embrace life as a most splendid of art forms…a living loving art, full of true appreciation and gratitude. It can be the difference between witnessing and taking part in the living loving story of one’s life, vs. just being a pawn to the crepuscular story of one’s life. It is avoiding being permanently stuck on stagnant plateaus which are like a living death. If there is a ‘key to the universe,’ it is rooted in true honesty and true appreciation, promoting of true happiness and true freedom, but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind. We are all programmed a bit differently, but each of us can better and better learn to embrace true health in a fashion which works well for them. True gauges as such, for anyone, can be to gather insight in this regard by asking oneself, “does it make my world, THE world, a better place?” “Am I doing this for the right unselfish sake?”

It is ‘tough stuff,’ albeit that is not what it is about – its spirit is endeavoring to do the right thing for the right sake, without the need for selfish recognition or hidden agendas. It is a loving, altruistic, and empathetic heartfelt mien – a spirit which is the key to unlock the door to sparkling spine-tingling/shivering communication, moments that are healthful beyond rational understanding: Such CAN be witnessed, appreciated as a WAY OF LIFE, vs. only in spontaneous sentimental moments, AND put into greater and greater levels of loving application. There is a True Love, inclusive, yet more than, familial, friendship, and romantic love. It can open ANY door.

These notions of ‘true health’ and ‘true responsibility’ do not necessitate anything resembling a one-size-fits-all mentality. Human beings certainly have individual differences which necessitate slightly different formulas/recipes for realization of impeccable or near-impeccable health and wellness. That said, deeply embracing/appreciating a pertinent and refined health and wellness philosophy may enable us to put all of our contemporary knowledge into splendid practical application.– Dr. Glen Hepker

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Words cannot do justice for all the gifts/blessings we are given.

Glen, what is your experience of, or insight into, what people refer to as ‘God?’ It can be good to express opinions and come up with theological outlooks, but what do we actually experience? Can we put it into words? Should we even try to? (An inquiry from a reader of my book and blog.)

Response: Thanks so much for your inquiry. Humbly and respectfully, I believe it is much about learning to (lovingly and selflessly) better and better play the part of an unblemished witness to one’s internal and external environments: I believe it is of utter importance not to limit ourselves to (only recognition of) typically-perceived grand miracles as the only legitimate miraculous phenomenon (i.e., ‘grand miracles’ which are outside what we perceive as our common every-day lives). I believe that we have been given the countless gifts/blessings which make it possible to experience miracles each day, even each moment. It is the difference between true objective insight and subjectivity: It is the difference between learning to better and better witness and take part in the LIVING LOVING story of our lives…vs. just a pawn to the story of our lives.

What I am speaking to, is in the loving and selfless spirit of true appreciation of the miracle of the moment…more and more each moment. This truly healthful spirit is without, or nearly without craving, desire, fear of healthful change, expectations, or preset patterns of thinking. If there is a Heaven, a ‘key to the universe,’ a ‘sixth sense,’ they are rooted in true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind. It is treating life and its living as a wonderful art…with a knowledge that among the greatest of gifts, is in lovingly embracing the notion that there is ALWAYS room for improvement, vs. the living death of ongoing stagnant plateaus.

Words cannot do justice for what God allows us or gives us – it is best witnessed in a loving and selfless spirit – a spirit which is in harmony with the notion of doing the right thing for the right unselfish sake. It is being an impeccable conduit between Heaven and Earth. It is a loving recognition that we all have a responsibility in making THIS world a better place.

To be more specific as you asked – the best way I know to put it is: learning to witness…catch a ‘glimpse’ of an existence, so-to-speak, where there is no time, no space, no distance – no yesterday, no today, no tomorrow, but once again most importantly…nothing to hide behind…all is known. It is spine-tingling/shivering-sparkling-beautiful-beyond words: “The Way that can be told is not the eternal Way…the Way that can be told is the Mother of all things.” “The Way can be witnessed in the madman screaming, ‘if the stars are not words then stop callings them stars.’”

Chapter XV (“True Freedom”) of my book sets forth the following saying which speaks to this issue in a succinct fashion:

The Lotus Flower Blossoms

“There is a place where, wherever you are there, whatever you are doing…no matter what, in any given moment, there should be nowhere you would rather be. It is where you are right now – and you have the ability to so deeply and artfully appreciate your life and its living…to connect one healthful insight to the next, and make them all one…learning to witness this already-existing truth.

In the wilderness of our existence…a place of budding flowers about, about to unwrap in a showing of perfect appreciation for all to thrive upon, we are the flowers which can blossom again and again in each season of our deeper and deeper insights…all connected…each better and more healthful than before.

It is not unlike Heaven…and it can become Heaven, with enough insight and appreciation. It takes quite a few sparks, glimpses – spine-tingling moments…as a way-of-life which becomes more and more purposeful…more and more without time or space or distance. More and more there is less and less to hide behind.” — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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How forgiving should I be?

An excerpt from Chapter IX – “True Effort” – from my book, A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health…

“What healthful changes would you like to make in your life? What changes would you like to see in the broader world – changes which would make it a more healthful, safer, and better place overall? The problems which we have as individuals are often reflected to and from the broader world. The means by which each of us can make our world a better place is most often accomplished by promoting healthful change within ourselves; a more and more healthful way-of-life manifests a healthful model for others. Once again, this is our true responsibility, and obviously, it is not an easy thing: It requires true effort to make such changes and sustain them. Ghandi made a striking point which can be applied succinctly to the notion of making such healthful changes: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” His simple statement speaks profoundly .

Some problems can obviously seem overwhelming and may be inherently fixed to our level of maturity – individually and as a species. The great psychoanalyst Carl Jung, spoke eloquently to this point: “The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble…they can never be solved, but only outgrown.” Congruently, and according to the traditions of the health and wellness arts which I teach and coach, no serious illness can be cured – the problem of any bad habit, weakness, or tendency cannot be absolutely solved or eliminated. Such can ONLY be healed and/or made unattractive or unnecessary – though it will always be a part of our make-up, even if it is not outwardly viewable or manifested. This ‘outgrowing’ or ‘growing-up’ necessitates true effort toward educating ourselves about the nuances of health and wellness and ever-evolving critical thinking skills. Such ongoing development is what growing-up is all about.

Probably the most painful and arduous aspect of true effort is the notion of true forgiveness. It is inclusive of forgiveness of ourselves and forgiveness of others: In actuality the two often reflect upon one another and/or are one-in-the-same. In learning to witness this issue in a clear and unblemished fashion, we may realize a sense of true compassion – gathering significant insight into the notion that we are all in the same boat: Hence, the Same Boat Theory, e.g., the primary fault of mankind is the notion that you are there and I am here.

Our entire outlook on life can quite commonly have a direct connection with the issue of forgiveness. In being faithful to the spirit of truth, we all can obviously look at our experiences and see that each of us has uncountable things for which we can choose to forgive or choose not to forgive in ourselves and others: It is likely we have all made the same mistakes that we see others make. Within each of us, wars and famines of our spirits are reflected back and forth between us and the greater world. For instance, when wronged by others, we have a choice as to how to respond: We can choose to make matters worse by acting in spite, or we can choose a healthful mien through which we can forgive – displaying true (unadulterated) compassion in a spirit of dignity, decency, goodness, and grace – all-the-while making it clear to the wrongdoer that the behavior is wrong and unacceptable.

It is likely that for a majority of us, we have more often than not been unforgiving – in fact we have displayed varying levels of hostility and/or have acted to reflect the wrongdoer’s action back toward them. In the traditions herein, it is said: true self-defense is self-defense against ourselves and our own bad habits. This concept is similar to a common saying, e.g., “we are our own worst enemy.” In acting upon this knowledge, we can choose to exercise true effort toward healthful growth, or we can choose an unhealthful ongoing regression toward greater and greater misery which is filled with self-loathing and hatefulness. Having great role models will obviously be helpful toward making healthful decisions; it certainly ‘can’t hurt.’

I am not intentionally promoting religiosity in this writing – I am setting forth notions of a healthful philosophical way-of-life. Even so, I cannot think of a more profoundly powerful, impeccable, and immaculate example of a role model consistent with the notion true effort and true forgiveness: According to Christian teachings, as Christ was being put to death on the cross, he said, “Forgive them…for they know not what they do.” It seems quite clear that this level of true effort and forgiveness would truly be even more than just a glimpse…of heaven.

*Of special note: In this writing, I could certainly present a large number of practical examples of true effort in order to assist the reader in formulating clearer examples as to how to apply this philosophy. Albeit, that issue pertains directly to the whole point of the matter: Congruent with the philosophy herein, I do not presume to be able to ‘teach’ you anything – how dare I if I did. If allowed, I can only serve to assist and direct, and at risk of stating the obvious, I can only assist the willing: Only you can decide how to best learn and utilize knowledge in its practical application – when you are ready. Without pressure or coercion, it is up to each individual to decide as to if and how the philosophy herein applies to them, and most importantly, how to go about applying it in their daily lives. That is succinctly what the notion of true effort is all about. At its best, it is the healthful exercise of free will: It is taking true responsibility for one’s own health and well-being.” — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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Miracles do not have to be rare and unusual things…

An excerpt from Chapter VII – True Appreciation of the Miracle of the Moment – out of my book, A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health…

“All facets of the Bright School of Thought theory are logically, intrinsically intertwined in a fashion congruent with the traditional concept of ‘pattern literacy’: In these health arts, pattern literacy is a refined means by which to ‘connect-the-dots’ between deep insights into specific frameworks of knowledge – most particularly, healthful, selfless truth. True appreciation of the miracle of the moment has an acutely powerful connection with two other true health theories, e.g., ‘acting without acting’ and ‘playing the part of the perfect witness.’

In realizing meaningful levels of true appreciation, it is an appropriate step to attempt to do the right thing for the right sake, without need for selfish recognition: acting without acting – taking action based on true and healthful reasons, versus false and unhealthful reasoning or instinct. According to this strategy, the only certain means by which to do this is by playing the part of the perfect witness: employing a light meditative demeanor in which one has made a self-disciplined effort to learn to clear the mind of thought, e.g., unblemished witnessing versus heavy internal dialogue – heavy pernicious cyclical thinking which is promoting of unhealthful craving/desire. This is true freedom – the ability to avoid being weighted-down by heavy cyclical or scattered thinking, without opinion, precognition, preprogrammed, or preset patterns of thinking. This practice may allow us the lightness of being in which we can truly appreciate the miracle of the moment, each moment.

In ‘connecting-the-dots’ and fitting all the pieces of this formula together, it is important to realize that, even in times when we are busy taking care of daily responsibilities and it is obviously impractical to be clearing the mind, such times/moments can be significantly complemented by the blossoming effect resulting from the healthful peace of mind which can be realized through consistent application of the meditative practices mentioned herein.

A clear measure of true health is having the internal wherewithal to interact with others in a spirit of dignity, decency, goodness, and grace – and find a way to truly mean it, No Matter What. We will be unable to do so unless we are willing to look deeply within ourselves and work diligently in dealing with our internal difficulties. Our willingness or unwillingness to do so is, once again, a measure of true health: It is reflected in our ability or inability to look within ourselves with less and less fear. We can choose to improve and evolve, or we can choose to ignore our internal difficulties and suffer accordingly. By nurturing, realizing a truly healthful self-image – by displaying true forgiveness towards oneself for historical misdeeds and faulty internal logic – by learning to heal one’s festering emotional sores, this then, in itself, if it is made to happen more and more often in more and more moments, is truly a miracle to be appreciated: It is realization of true health if we enjoy the wherewithal to choose to appreciate, to ‘pay attention’ to, the miracle and blessing of each moment.

William Henry Channing spoke eloquently in his recognition of a sense of genuine appreciation of the miracle of each of life’s moments and how to realize a healthful way-of-life in congruence thereof:

‘To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable; and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly…to listen to the stars and buds, to babes and sages, with open heart; await occasions, hurry never…this is my symphony.’

Miracles do not have to be rare and unusual things – as is commonly perceived. Miracles are manifest in each moment of our lives, intrinsic to familiar everyday occurrences whose true significance we most often choose to ignore and take for granted. Life itself – in and of itself, is truly a miracle beyond measure. How dare we not make a genuinely sincere effort to recognize and feel a deep abiding appreciation for it. How dare we take it for granted – each or any moment.” — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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I don’t like my vegetables. How much trouble am I in?

An excerpt from Chapter VIII – Endeavor to Avoid Preference for the Sake of Preference – from my book, A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health…

“We all go through life developing preferences, often blindly, without much thought as to whether they are good or bad for us. Such preferences are most often fashioned after the role models which we witness. Commonly, if asked, we have difficulty explaining why we have this preference or that. The statements, “I don’t like vegetables,” and, “I don’t like exercise,” both seem quite self-defeating and onerously unhealthful. Of course, some preferences are healthful: they are often those which are based on conservative principles of culture – developed over time through trial and error and are easier to explain and justify. Notwithstanding, even some of these preferences can be found to be quite faulty and unhealthful – particularly now that modern science has allowed us a plethora of information with regard to health and wellness.

The primary thesis of this theory sets forth the concept that the value of preferences should be gauged by whether or not they are promoting of good health. This may seem like it is quite evident, e.g., common sense. If that is true, then why is this simple logic not more commonly utilized in practical application? Perhaps the answer is potentially, equally evident. We quite commonly prefer to be creatures of habit, set in our ways, in our ‘comfort zones,’ even if it means being ‘lost’ in what are often obsessively addictive and blind unhealthful prejudicial practices; practices which universally make us unhappy, ill, and even kill us. We fear change, fear appearing different, and/or are lacking of self-discipline, self-esteem, and/or the helpful and in many cases necessary role models from which we can gather healthful inspiration and insight. Living healthfully does not have to be viewed as a means by which to deny ourselves the ‘simple pleasures of life.’ In contrast, preferring to live more and more healthfully can be witnessed as embracement of the joy of true health: It is allowing ourselves the genuine pleasure of substantive and tangible true happiness.” — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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How much ‘room for improvement’ can we handle?

An excerpt from Chapter VIII – Endeavor to Avoid Preference for the Sake of Preference – from my book, A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health…

“We often prefer not to make the effort to be objective and insightful, and many do not choose to develop critical thinking skills at all – choosing a lifestyle in which we develop an ‘addiction’ to ‘running away from ourselves’ – running away from looking inward. In practical application, this is like living a lie. Broad manifestation of unhealthful practices is a vicious cycle: We learn from role models, and we model the same for others – to our contemporaries and from one generation to the next. In commenting on someone’s unhealthful behavior, a common response is “‘gotta go sometime.’” It is a sad commentary when contrasting it with the realization of true health which we are capable of.

Living a way-of-life in which unhealthful preferences are seemingly matter-of-fact norms stifles our ability to feel good about ourselves on a truly substantive level. In contrast, learning to gauge our preferences in a fashion which is congruent with objective understanding of what is healthful, versus what is unhealthful, enables us to develop the capacity to appreciate and enjoy higher and higher levels of True Health. This true gauge can be applied to virtually ANY moment, ANY aspect of our lives. When we nurture and ‘fine-tune’ this gauge, this tool, we are treating life as an art.

One of the greatest gifts in life is the same which is manifest in what makes any art an art: No matter how hard we try to do a ‘good job,’ no matter how much effort we make to perfect it, there is always room for improvement – we can always do a ‘better job.’ Life CAN be an art, an art form, if we prefer, if we choose to embrace it as such. In choosing to realize higher and higher levels of true health, we must be willing to exercise significant levels of free will by ‘opening our eyes’ to this art, this beautiful gift of life – thus taking true responsibility for our own health and wellbeing.

Dependence to, and/or infatuation with unhealthful preferences limits our aptitude in realizing (what are coined herein as) spiritual or divine sparks – spiritual insights. In congruence with the traditions of the health arts which I teach and coach, the ability to promote and commonly experience these ‘insights’ is one of the substantive measures of true health and true freedom.” — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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