How important is true appreciation?

In the ages-old arts that I teach, coach, and endeavor to follow, it is said that craving, desire, and fear of change, especially healthful change, are the root of most suffering. When we learn to better and better abbreviate clinging to our fear, desire, and suffering we can catch more and more common glimpses of what it is like to take genuine ownership of deeply healthful views…outlooks which in their practical application QUITE succinctly make the world a better place. It is SO much about learning to witness what it is like to be without our ‘walls of lies’ – to not be lost in the stagnicity of overt concern about the past or future. In learning to witness and take part in the living loving story of our lives (vs. just being a pawn to the story of our lives), we can better and better alleviate ourselves of the three portents (harbingers of all bad tidings) – hate, greed, and ignorance. It is ALL about being mindful and present, in a loving, selfless, altruistic awareness of what is genuinely important, i.e., a quintessentially resplendent light bright spirit of true appreciation of the miracle of the moment.

It is NOT about living for the moment, but living in the moment: If there is a Heaven, a key to the universe, even 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 a loving, selfless, and sparkling spine-tingling/shivering appreciation – a glimpse of a so-to-speak existence where there is no time, no space, no distance – no yesterday, no today, no tomorrow. It is a glimpse of an existence where all is known – once again, nothing to hide behind. It is a beautiful key to true health and true responsibility. It is a path of heart – a way of life without unhealthful fear, unhealthful pride, and blind greed. It is SO much about being healthful conduits/diplomats between Heaven and Earth, aka True Appreciation! — Dr. Glen Hepker

 

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Why’s healthful change SO hard?

Please check out this excerpt from my book, e.g., A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health – Chapter XII, “True Honesty”…

Embracing change is often quite difficult, to say the least. Albeit, the happier and more fulfilled we are in our daily lives, the easier it is to embrace change, the state-of-flux which is always going on all around us, and in us. A gauge of true health is a measure of our ability to embrace change, and not run away from it and/or ignore it. Life seems to fly past us at a speed which is congruent with the level at which we detach ourselves from its potentially deepest and most loving and heartfelt aspects. True appreciation of the miracle of the moment necessitates true effort toward embracing our discomfort as much as our comfort. In these health and wellness arts, we are privileged to have what are coined as the Three Marks of Being, as set forth in the following:

~ The world (this reality/state-of-being) is full of change. True health is inclusive of deep realization that there is no healthful means by which to circumvent/run away from the intrinsic state-of-fluidity/flux in the world. It is important to learn the skill of ‘giving up the self’ – lightening ourselves of the pernicious weight of ‘ego,’ and evolving beyond/outgrowing our addiction to our unhealthful discomfort with the seemingly inherent lack of permanency in this world. Deft employment of this ‘skill’ allows us to learn to lovingly embrace the ever-evolving state-of-change.

~ A significant portion of suffering is commonly rooted in resistance and/or purposeful or instinctive denial/ignorance of the constant state-of-flux in this ever-changing world. It is important that we learn to embrace the notion that the world cannot bring us the most substantive levels of happiness, e.g., we must first find it within ourselves, because most suffering is rooted in our fear of looking within ourselves. Utilizing true honesty in looking within ourselves enables us to gather a sense of true strength – strength which aids us in witnessing a truly healthful connection between ourselves and all else – a Glimpse of Heaven – a view of a so-to-speak-existence where there is no state-of-flux, nothing to hide behind. This level of healthful unblemished loving insight allows us to see this world much more clearly, much more like it really is – thus promoting greater and greater resilience in our wherewithal to meet and embrace, and even look forward to the miracle of life’s challenges – the moment to moment change which we can choose not to ignore. In this loving and mindful outlook, it is possible to gather a healthful appreciation of the reality that there is nothing perfect in this world – an appreciation in which we find a wonderful gift: that there is always room for improvement.

~ The primary fault of mankind is the notion that you are there and I am here. Much of our suffering is rooted in our addictive purposeful or instinctive denial or ignorance that ‘we are all in the same boat.’ We need not be so lonely and detached from each other as we ‘wallow in our muck’ – the muck being all the deeper and worse by our sense of being so alone, and/or that we are the only ones suffering from our difficulties. The world does not move so fast when we feel a sense of healthful loving closeness, a truly well-meaning spirit/affinity, a genuine sense of empathy toward others and they toward us. As we learn to realize a greater and greater sense of responsibility for our own health and wellbeing, it becomes easier and easier to enjoy true compassion and empathy for all of our peers.

There is no realistic doubt that much of the time contemporary life does require a majority of us to move quickly in order to be accountable to the myriad responsibilities which are manifest in our daily lives. Add to this mix some version of the emotional baggage which each of us lives with, and the weight on our shoulders can seem untenable: That is a very important point herein – when looking at life as such, without a seeming wherewithal to appreciate deeply meaningful aspects thereof, it can obviously seem impossible to deal with. The world can be a morbidly difficult, nasty, gruesome place. From this vantage point, the notion of taking true responsibility for our own health and wellbeing can no doubt seem quite silly and ‘beyond the pale.’ Be it as it may, without our willingness to try to get better and better in dealing with ‘what life throws at us,’ what is the point? Should we blindly go on suffering? Is that what all of this is about – at best?

There is morea lot more: There is true happiness, and it can be realized a majority of the time. In this imperfect existence (where succinct perfection cannot be realized), it is a glimpse of heaven. It is learning to witness one’s internal and external environments in an objective, unblemished fashion, without the need for precognitive expectations; a living lightness of mind, body, and spirit; a tool with which we can learn the ability of ‘giving up the self,’ and requiring of healthful true faith and true effort. It is the nurtured ability to healthfully prompt genuine clarity and spine-tingling loving feelings at will.

A path toward such healthful insight and congruent way-of-life, can be found in an understanding of, what are coined in these traditions, as the Four Noble Truths:

~ The world is weighted-down and suffocated by suffering and misery.

~ Most suffering and misery is rooted in unhealthful craving/desire, unhealthful styles of thinking and blemished views, a lack of critical thinking skills and healthful logic, and anger, hatefulness/prejudice, ignorance, and greed.

~ A Glimpse of Heaven – temporarily witnessing what it is like to enjoy true happiness – existing without the suffering and misery rooted in the unhealthful portents of the second Noble Truth.

~ True Happiness – a healthful way-of-life in which at least a slight majority of time one exists without the suffering and misery rooted in the unhealthful portents of the second Noble Truth, e.g., the Eightfold Healthful Path.

While nothing is perfect on this Earth, the Eightfold Healthful Path is a means by which to appreciate, to realize the miracle of true health. It is True Health Through True Responsibility – the living expression of the Bright Beautiful School of Thought. It is in congruent harmony with all loving and well-meaning religions and belief systems. The Eightfold Healthful Path is as follows:

~ Healthful View: avoidance of employing the lens of hate, greed, and ignorance; a  sincere absolute practical respect for the notion of True Health Through True Responsibility – taking true responsibility for one’s own health and wellbeing.

~ Healthful Resolve: employing a healthful intention of Acting Without Acting – doing the right thing for the right sake, without the need for selfish recognition; avoiding preference for the sake of preference; ongoing effort to educate oneself, face and embrace change, and work toward ongoing self-improvement; avoiding anger.

~ Healthful Speech: sincere practical respect of the significance of the true responsibility of healthful interaction and true honesty.

~ Healthful Action: endeavoring to make one’s world, THE world a better place on a daily – even on a momentary basis; a true awareness of the notion that the primary fault of mankind is the notion that you are there and I am here; and once again, Acting Without Acting – doing the right thing for the right sake, without the need for selfish recognition.

~ Healthful Life: ongoing work toward realization of emotional, physical, and spiritual true health – inclusive of the notion that all illness is on some level rooted in an unhealthful dietary way-of-life, a lack of mobility/exercise, and a deficit of skill in dealing with stress and anxiety; embracing the notion that one of the greatest gifts is that there is always room for improvement; sincere practical respect of the significance of the true responsibility of supporting others in their ability to succeed in healthful endeavors; realizing happiness in a vocational way-of-life which serves to make the world a better place.

~ Healthful Effort: True effort in realization of true appreciation of the miracle of the moment – appreciation of the miracles in both our internal and external environments; embracing our comfort and discomfort equally; true insight into the notion that “most suffering and misery is rooted in unhealthful craving/desire, unhealthful styles of thinking and blemished views, lack of critical thinking skills and healthful logic, and anger, hatefulness/prejudice, ignorance, and greed”; practical realization that success in any healthful effort necessitates working at it…working at it…working at it…until nothing short of success is enjoyed – never giving up – No Matter What; life should be (seen and acted upon as) the highest of art forms – the more and more selfless one becomes in creating one’s art form, the more and more beautiful and healthful the art, the artist becomes; formulation of awareness of the practical benefits of curtailing the need for immediate gratification – while feeling and displaying a true sense of gratitude; once again, taking true responsibility for one’s own health wellbeing; honest application of the notion of true forgiveness towards others and towards oneself.

~ Healthful Thinking: the goal of true mindfulness, e.g., an unfearful true awareness of one’s inner self (acute emotional/mental and spiritual awareness) – an unfearful true awareness of one’s outer self (acute physiological awareness) – and an unfearful true awareness of one’s external environment (an acutely objective, unblemished view of the world); realization of a mindful lightness being, light of the heaviness of self, inclusive of a Visual Meditative Demeanor (eyes open or closed) – in total: a mindful lightness of deportment and carriage, without heavy pernicious weight of stress, anxiety, tenseness, and precognitive, preset patterns of thinking and expectations; true relaxation and true freedom – devoid, or nearly devoid of suffering and misery described in the Second Noble Truth; an unblemished unmitigated healthful true love of being – the living embodiment of untarnished deeply-felt gratitude.

~ Healthful Meditation: The significance of true meditation within the philosophy of true health is difficult to gauge, and is why aspects thereof are commonly described in various contexts within this writing – to ‘connect-the-dots,’ between it, and most of the concepts set forth herein. True meditation is a composite of practices which cannot be completely exclusive of one another, and are meant to promote a healthful harmony between one’s physical, emotional/mental, and spiritual dimensions. In order to enjoy a deeper perspective into this notion, it is important to contrast this “harmony” with a ‘harmony between heaven and earth,’ both in analogy, and to some degree, literally. Most significantly, true meditation must be devoid or mostly devoid of preset, precognitive patterns of thinking – without expectation, rumination, cyclical thinking, and MOST particularly, without the pernicious weight of hate, greed, and ignorance. It is the embodiment of a truly healthful sense of lightness in being: It is playing the part of a less and less blemished witness – in most simple terms, it is a tool with which one realizes the wherewithal to witness one’s internal and external environments through an untarnished or almost untarnished lens. It is a tool which diminishes desire and craving of the need for something to hide behind: Such true honesty is not inclusive of unhealthful self-deception.” – Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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“Embracing our comfort and discomfort equally” – what the…?!#@! That’s crazy! Or is it?

An excerpt from a chapter in my book, A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health, e.g., Chapter XIII – “Embracing Our Comfort and Discomfort Equally”…

“The notion of “embracing our comfort and discomfort equally” will likely seem quite odd and eccentric to most, to say the least. In reading about it, I am only asking that you allow yourself an open and objective mind – as in these arts, it is viewed as being a very important concept – which when utilized in practical application, is a significant key to realization of ‘true Health.’

As individuals, we often develop a way-of-being, a way-of-life, without utilizing definitive levels of strategic thinking. We do make choices – commonly we do decide what we like and do not like, albeit it seems that we are often unaware that our choices are what make up our way-of-life – a way-of-being which will largely dictate the quality of our health and wellbeing throughout our lifetime. Many of our choices are rooted in an often-unhealthful desire for immediate gratification (though to be fair, this is not unusual – in fact it is quite frequently the norm). Modern societies are quickly evolving, becoming more and more complex – as are the temptations: some of these things are (more) evidently unhealthful, and some not-so-evidently so. Notwithstanding, too much of (almost) anything can be a bad thing. New ‘toys,’ new tastes, new fun, can be very tempting and catering to our seemingly innate desires, though often such things can distract us from what is truly important. If our health and happiness are not rooted in strong foundations, then all we may have are our “new ‘toys,’ new tastes, and new fun.” (And such superficial stimuli can quickly become old and boring – prompting the desire for more and more – which may be, after all, the ‘grand plan.’)

Obviously, we are all born into a given culture, and each culture is made up of an intricate web of customs and values. Without culture, we as individuals would be unable to survive. Even so, it is equally obvious, that not all of the intricacies of culture are healthful. Some cultures seem to thrive more than others, and the least healthful ones sometimes disappear – not unlike that which occurs when we as individuals depart this life earlier than necessary.

Is it too much to ask, that we learn to routinely ask ourselves, how healthful do we want to be? Is it unreasonable to view such a practice as a ‘true responsibility?’ What would the world be like if this would become a cultural norm? And what does this have to do with ’embracing our comfort and discomfort equally?’ The answer is that we can choose to make difficult choices – choices which are healthful, yet initially at least, provoke discomfort and necessitate self-discipline (which for most of us, unto itself, is uncomfortable).

Earlier in this writing, the following notion (intrinsic to these arts) was set forth: All illness is prompted or made worse by a way-of-life which is inclusive of unhealthful nutritional practices, a lack of necessary mobility/exercise, and the inability to inhibit unhealthful levels of stress and anxiety. For all of us, it is likely that evidence of this point is in some fashion displayed in our lives each day. The scientific research which supports this outlook on nutrition, exercise, and stress is undeniable, yet it is extremely difficult to enforce healthful change and sustain it. It seems too easy to go with what is comfortable, versus choosing to work really hard at what is uncomfortable.” — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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Why is exercise so commonly such a chore?

An excerpt from my book, e.g., A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health, Chapter XIII – “Embracing Our Comfort and Discomfort Equally”…

“A great majority of us took part in physical education and sport activities in primary and secondary school. In this setting we were often required to perform athletically, with the goal of trying to do our best competitively, or at least take part and try to show improvement within the various activities of our ‘physical education.’ Some will recall a distaste for having to, for instance, try to run fast. Their experience as such, leaves an unhappy memory of running – in fact were quite ‘turned-off’ by it. It is sad that this is the case. Wouldn’t it be better, if physical education was really just that, being educated that exercise is once again, a way-of-life, not just an unhappy memory of having to take part in competitive sports (or simply be pushed toward accepting a competitive mindset)?

This is not to say that competitive sports are a bad thing – albeit they are clearly not for everyone. On the other hand, comprehensive health education in such school settings – the promotion of exercise as a way-of-life, could be for everyone. Healthful exercise as a way-of-life could be, more and more, enjoyed by most everyone: Exercise can be exercise, without having to actually be athletic. The world would look quite different if, for instance, slow jogging and walking were promoted as a way-of-life in our school systems. Humans were meant to walk and run – the speed is not very relevant to overall health…it is the doing which is clearly relevant. Even so, the most important thing to promote within the young minds of school children, is that if they learn to desire healthful success as such, they each need to realize that it is never completely easy. They will have to learn to better and better embrace their discomfort, each day, each year, throughout their lives, in order to realize genuine levels of comfort/wellness. Enjoyment of a truly healthful quality of life takes a lot of effort…it is not meant to be an easy thing – it does not need to be easy. ‘True health’ necessitates ‘true effort.’ It necessitates learning to deeply appreciate challenge…as that among the most significant of blessings.

Notwithstanding, for those of us beyond school age, it can be obviously said that we cannot change the past. For those of us who do not participate in healthful levels of exercise, it would require a lot of effort to do so – especially when we have almost innumerable types of distractions – “toys,” “tastes,” and “fun.” A healthful response might be that toys are best utilized in moderation, tastes (of whatever type) can be enjoyed in moderation, and fun can become something healthful. Albeit, at least until one develops a liking for healthful exercise, it does require one to embrace one’s comfort and discomfort equally. We can change the past in a sense, if we are willing to learn to embrace the discomfort of painful memories. By doing so, we can look at and witness the past, and use the resulting knowledge as impetus to further educate ourselves – discovering why we can justify turning uncomfortable effort into something positive, though initially hard and difficult, into a healthful way-of-life which sustains our health in ways many only dream of or think impossible.

To further support this point: It is difficult to argue against the notion that we all have a true responsibility to be the best role models we can be – most particularly for those school children spoken of earlier. The better role models we are, the less difficult it will be for children to see that healthful effort and outcomes are normal – not simply just something that they are being told to do…not simply just ‘do as I say, not do as I do.’ Making healthfulness a norm is doing the right thing for the right sake, without the need for selfish recognition – and ‘it doesn’t get better than that.’” – Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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How important is mindfulness…objective insight?

An excerpt from my book, i.e., Chapter XII – “True Happiness: A Glimpse of Heaven”…

“Even though we are quite often moving quickly through our daily lives, we do have the wherewithal (if we choose to exercise it) to slow our sense of awareness down. We can actually get more done when our minds are more relaxed and we are less scattered in our thinking – thus able to better focus on, and truly embrace what we are actually doing – all-the-while elevating the likelihood that we can realize a deep and loving sense of true appreciation of the miracle of the moment (more and more and more…as we nurture this skill). This old handed-down saying presents a relevant point in a subtle, yet telling fashion, if one takes the time to explore its deeper meaning:

‘Go fast, one can only go fast – go slow, one can always go fast.’

The notions herein could easily be seen as haughty high-minded ‘stuff.’ Please know that this is not the goal. Life is difficult, and at times, it can seem to be a painless thing to simply allow oneself to ‘get stuck,’ versus trying ‘really hard’ to improve oneself. In these arts, The Five Virtues are viewed as a simple vehicle toward deep insight and philosophical and practical clarity and happiness when we most need it. Even so, nothing may be more difficult to answer to – particularly when seen as a vehicle toward our ‘true responsibility’ of making the world a better place:

1. Healthful Respect

2. Healthful Loyalty

3. Healthful Humility

4. True Honor

5. True Integrity

Getting stuck on the ‘plateau of not trying’ is a living death. In purely colloquial terms, ‘nothing is worth anything unless we are willing to keep trying.’

What would life be truly like if one could honestly say…

If in Heaven I have what I have now, I would be happy…in the spirit of perfect appreciation, remember the true and real import of warm-heartedness, compassion, and dignity…?” — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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Where are all the angels?

A question from a reader of my book and blog: When I look at all that is going on in the world, often so much negativity and difficulty, I wonder if there really are angels. To many this may seem like a silly question or concern. Nevertheless, I believe that some level of intrinsic goodness is all that has kept the human race going, vs. destroying itself. That said, I am deeply concerned about such a plethora of bad things happening all around the world: Maybe it is simply because modern technology allows us to know what is happening almost everywhere, even in real time. I know that the world has always had lots of bad stuff going on, but it seems likely to be worse nowadays. What are your thoughts?

Response: I believe that the most important thing in this and many regards, is that we learn to better and better embrace the notion that our most significant and primary calling (in having been placed on this earth), is to recognize and act upon the knowledge that it is our daily responsibility to make the world a better place. If this became the norm for more and more and more of us, oh what a different world it would be!

Quite humbly and respectfully, I believe it less important to concern ourselves with angels, i.e., in the most traditional sense...I believe it so much more important to be our own bright beautiful angels and diligently make the world a better place (AND doing so in a loving spirit of true appreciation and gratitude). This is not to in any way deny the existence of angels in the classic sense, quite the contrary. If angels do exist, then maybe they’d feel better about the whole thing if we took more and more true responsibility for our own well-being. Hence the old saying, “God helps those who help themselves.”

Once again, please know I mean all of this quite humbly and respectfully. Having said that, I believe that, each day, I should ask myself, “Haven’t I already been given all of the wonderful gifts that I need?” How dare I selfishly think that I always need help, when I can do so much more for myself. Why do I choose to repetitively get stuck on stagnant plateaus (‘plateaus’ that can be like a living death)? Why do I not more appreciate all of the truly splendid blessings that have been offered/given to me? Why do I not recognize my responsibility to do the right thing for the right selfless sake?

Maybe it is important to recognize what might be the greatest of blessings on this earth, i.e., that there is ALWAYS room for improvement, greater and greater levels of insight and the practical application thereof…thus being more and more willing to embrace healthful change. In this fashion, it may be quite possible to become more and more healthful conduits between heaven and earth. At a minimum, can we at least acknowledge that the world might be a much better and different place if we at least take time to consider such notions…each day?

I believe in the ages-old notion that, “The primary fault of humankind is the notion that you are there and I am here.” I believe that a most likely means by which to prove it true, is to act upon it as if it is true. I believe that the closer we become to each other, the closer we will come to being our own bright beautiful angels.

I believe we all, to varying degrees, hide behind a wall of lies. In the arts that I teach and coach, an old saying sets forth, “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 may be much about true forgiveness and learning to witness truth beyond expectations and preset patterns of thinking…playing the part of a less and less blemished witness.

When is the last time you’ve embraced, experienced, genuinely sweet and innocent, light and loving fun? When is the last time you lived a moment, an hour, a day, with your spirit filled with sparkling spine-tingling/shivering appreciation and utter benevolence? A true lightness of being? Ever? Maybe such a lightness of being is consistent with being your own bright beautiful angel – so capable of making the world a better place, each and every day. Maybe we can thus learn to live life as a living loving art form. Maybe, just maybe, living loving true appreciation and gratitude, intrinsically in harmony with empathy, is the ‘magic elixir.’ — Dr. Glen Hepker

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How angry am I?

An inquiry from a reader of my book and blog: “How do you view anger and frustration, i.e, with regard to the dynamics of what you coin in your book as ‘true health?’ How does one deal with these most difficult of human characteristics – meaningfully and healthfully grow past them – learn to deal with them in a more and more beneficial way?”

Response: Humbly and respectfully, I believe I need to ask myself many times each day…”What genuine effort am I making to control my anger? What level of honesty am I utilizing with regard to my attachment to hatred, pride, jealousy, greed, ignorance, frustration? Am I fooling myself? How deeply am I willing to look? How important is it to me to learn to objectively gauge my thoughts and actions…MOST PARTICULARLY in a spirit consistent with my responsibility in making the world a better place (i.e., versus a spirit of tearing it down)? Is the ‘key’ to unlock the door to such true health found in a loving sparkling spine-tingling/shivering ‘magic elixir,’ made up of splendid amounts of true appreciation and gratitude? Is it found in deeply embracing my comfort and discomfort equally? Is it found in learning to better and better ‘witness’ these dynamics in a less and less blemished fashion?”

Is this level of insight enjoyed by way of impeccably endeavoring to do the right thing for the right sake…without the need for selfish recognition or hidden agendas – no need for reward? Is this what ‘true health through true responsibility’ means? How much healthful faith does it necessitate? Yin to yang, how badly do I need to hide behind my ‘walls of lies’ – walls built with anger and frustration? How deeply do I want to embrace the notion that, “if there is a Heaven, if there is a key to the universe, if there is 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?

Can I stand the fact that no matter what, on this earth, there is always room for improvement, deeper and deeper loving and selfless objective insight? How badly do I want to avoid getting stuck on stagnant plateaus of living death…a living purgatory? How badly do I want to live my life as a “living loving art form,” versus living a life in which I take so much for granted? Once again, please remember that this is ALL meant in a spirit of humility and respect: We are ALL in the same common boat in this – our lives here. — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

 

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