How much happiness do we really want?

An inquiry from a reader of my blog and book: “I mean it point blank – just how happy do we really want to be? All the knowledge we could ever want is at our fingertips, yet for so many of us, we just don’t seem to get it. I don’t mean this to be as negative as it sounds, it is just so disheartening to see things as they are. It seems that times change, but people don’t. And certainly, I am not saying that I am better at any this than anyone else.”

Response: Humbly and respectfully, no doubt this all is hard work for all of us, requiring of true effort, to say the least. I believe that likely the most important thing in this and many regards, is that we should first and foremost accept that there is always room for improvement on this Earth, greater and greater insight. So often we get stuck in the notion that we’ve reached a pinnacle and don’t have to try anymore. This may be a VERY important key to true happiness.

I believe substantive insight into these dynamics can be realized by way of lovingly embracing the notion of Acting Without Acting, i.e., endeavoring to do the right thing for the right sake – without the need for selfish recognition or hidden agendas. It is in the wonderfully healthful spirit of true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind. It is in learning to better and better play the part of the unblemished witness to one’s internal and external environments – in a genuinely benevolent and altruistic spirit of deep and abiding true appreciation. It is learning to HONESTLY display oneself with dignity, decency, goodness, and grace…no matter what. It is SO very much about realizing that we are all so very much more in the same common boat than we so often think and act. It is SO very much about supporting others in their healthful goals.

There is a true love beyond, yet inclusive and in splendid harmony with, friendship, familial, and romantic love. It is the living embodiment of true forgiveness – forgiveness of ourselves and others, without the dire heaviness of significant co-dependence. It is in better and better alleviating the pernicious weight of hate, greed, and ignorance. It is SO much about enjoying loving sparkling spine-tingling feelings in interaction/harmony with others…a loving resplendent quintessential lightness of being. It is ‘true health,’ answering to what may be the greatest of responsibilities…making the world a better place (vs. tearing it down and/or just going along for the ride – giving up or not really trying). It is learning to more and more skillfully gather an impeccable appreciation of the bright beautiful light of life.

“Please ask yourself…when is the last time you had truly sweet and innocent, loving, spine-tingling real fun? As a child? Ever? What true joy it is – selfless…light…shared. It is back to The Garden. Oh boy!” — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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Is gratitude a key to health and wholeness?

“What would life be truly like if one could honestly say…’If in Heaven I have what I have now, I would be happy?’” (Copyright 2011)

What are the consequences of this outlook? This is NOT to say that it is up to any of us to decide what Heaven should or would be like – it certainly is not the point here. The spirit of the (initial) question is most particularly congruent with the following questions, e.g.: What level of ‘true health’ would we have to realize/enjoy, before we could honestly make such statement? What level of ‘true responsibility’ are we willing take and/or enforce? Is it our (even dire/true) responsibility to make the world a better place (as such)? Consistent with this outlook, most of us have the ability to do this…we already have the gifts/blessings we need to do so.

Humbly and respectfully in the ages-old health/wellness philosophy that I teach, coach, and endeavor to follow, it is so VERY much about a deep altruistic spirit of true appreciation – consistent with living one’s life as a LIVING LOVING ART FORM. This level of benevolent gratitude is a splendid healing mechanism unto itself…even a quintessential form of preventative medicine. It can allow us a level of true freedom which is almost impeccably light and almost impeccably free of the heavy crepuscular weight of addiction to unhealthful expectation, entitlement, desire, craving, AND fear of healthful change.

What level of honesty, objective insight does this necessitate? How healthful do we want to be? In these arts it is said that such a healthful way of life is requisite of “true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less (and less!) to hide behind.” Such a healthful way of life is congruent with the true effort to realize life as a genuine ‘work of art.’ It is Acting Without Acting – endeavoring to do the right thing for the right selfless sake. It is lovingly, selflessly, honestly, and appreciatively learning to play the part of a less and less blemished ‘witness.’ It is being more and more mindful, meditative, AND ‘light’ of addiction to our fear of healthful change (AND light of the potentially pernicious fear of what things can really look like in reflection…our reflection inwardly and outwardly).

What does all of this mean in practical application in our daily lives? It is up to you and I to decide for ourselves. But there is a traditional hint which is given, e.g.: “It is NOT about some far-flung time/goal/objective to accomplish/reach in some mysterious future…it is about right NOW.” It is about being ‘present’ and loving and deeply appreciative right now, this moment, nothing more and nothing less. IF we are willing to see it, BE it for real, it just might be a beyond splendid/beyond words oh boy(!) ‘glimpse of Heaven.’

Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” In Christianity, there is an old saying we’ve likely all heard – “God helps them that help themselves.”

Just one more point to make – to complement these aforementioned points: What could make one feel more light than the ‘light’ – ‘lightness’ of ‘true forgiveness?’ I am not here to set forth religious tenets, albeit I can’t think of a more genuinely impeccable model of such forgiveness, e.g., as Christ was dying on the cross he said, “Forgive them…for they know not what they do.” It is requiring of another big “oh boy!” If this isn’t true health then what is?! Quite humbly and respectfully, this was/is some very special mentoring. — Dr. Glen Hepker

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How much gratitude do ya need to be healthy?

Humbly and respectfully, this is all about working toward taking deep and abiding ownership of a WAY OF LIFE in which one gathers a genuinely honest spirit of true appreciation and gratitude…more and more each moment. What makes this all the more real, is in knowing that among the greatest gifts of all is that there is always room for improvement: It is a significant aspect of taking true responsibility for one’s own health and well-being. This deep and abiding sense of living loving gratitude greatly enhances the quality of our lives, and is a substantive part of a dynamic of raising ourselves up, up, and up, so well beyond what are often pernicious stagnant plateaus which can be like a living death.

This splendidly healthful outlook is distinguished by its remarkable, thought-provoking, and ingenious notion of coalescing ethics, morality, and deeply rooted insight/objectivity skills with concepts of health and wellness, i.e., True Health through True Responsibility. A primary notion within this philosophy is that one cannot realize true health without the necessary and genuinely skilled attributes of true appreciation and true honesty. It is a deep and abiding sense of mindfulness, insight, morality, clear objectivity – learning the genuine skill of being able to look within and without (into one’s internal and external environments), without fear, without preset patterns of thinking, and/or weight of expectations. AND in addition, it is with the SO healthful spirit of the bright beautiful living light of forgiveness.

Certainly this is ‘tough stuff,’ to say the least…but quite likely there may be very little that could be more rewarding. As an example, and to put it most simply, the notion that, each moment, we are living, breathing, thinking/intelligent, free-willed functioning beings, on a lava-filled rock/planet which supports us while we act out our innumerable comedies and dramas on its surface/stage setting, while spinning at 1000 miles per hour, traveling through space at an average of 66,000 miles per hour around a star, in a solar system tuned like a clock, in a galaxy in a universe moving at least at the speed of light, means, when one views it objectively, that each moment is by any rational and appreciative standard, a miracle without measure. And truly, this is just one example of the innumerable blessings for which we can choose to be appreciative of in our lives: Just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ so-to-speak.

No matter how difficult life is for us, no matter the many ‘thorns in our side’ in our daily lives, how dare we not appreciate the gift of each moment for the miracles that they are! Why do we not feel a deep and abiding rational, emotional, and even spiritual appreciation for each moment, in each moment, as a way of life, a way of being? Maybe the key to this is outrageously simple: we need to overcome our seemingly instinctive fear of a deep, abiding, altruistic, and living loving spirit of gratitude which is congruent with gathering a level of objective insight that introduces us to the notion of not needing anything to hide behind. Such healthful clarity is a significant aspect of what is humbly described as a ‘glimpse of heaven.’

John F Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” This may be an especially significant point to make on this day – Memorial Day.

We can face and overcome our clinging, our addiction to desire and fear of healthful change. This healthful way of being cannot be realized without deep gratitude…without gathering a genuine spirit of true appreciation more and more as a way of life – way of being. It is consistent with living each day in a sparkling spine-tingling/shivering fashion in which we are resplendently recharged and inspired anew. — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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How important is True Appreciation? How important is it to recognize the genuine abundance in our lives?

How important is it each day, even each and every moment…NO MATTER the quality of the day, the moment – choosing to find a means by which to make even the most difficult of days/moments into splendid blessings that we will never forget? Do we have such wherewithal?

What would the world be like if more and more of us learned to succinctly see this as a true responsibility? Would it require that we learn to better and better embrace healthful change and avoid getting lost in a mien of blind craving and desire? Would it require that we learn to better and better embrace the notion that we are all so much more in the same common ‘boat’ than we often think and act? Would it require that we endeavor to do the right thing for the right selfless sake…more and more and more? Would it require that we endeavor to be resplendently benevolent, compassionate, and empathetic (albeit NOT co-dependent) in our interaction with others…displaying dignity, decency, goodness, and grace…and figuring out how to truly mean it, NO MATTER WHAT? Would it require that we be supportive of others in their healthful goals?

Certainly this is ‘tough stuff,’ to say the least…but quite likely there may be very little that could be more rewarding, inclusive of realization of true health. Such appreciation of life and its living is absolutely requisite of quintessential levels of love and deeply genuine gratitude – sparkling spine-tingling/shivering impeccable true appreciation of the miracle of the moment. So humbly and respectfully, it is requisite of true effort – realization/enjoyment of levels of true mastery whose ‘secret’ may be in enjoying deep appreciation of one of the most significant blessings of all on this Earth, e.g., that there is ALWAYS room for improvement, greater and greater levels of objective insight and mastery. Is this a ‘key’ to true health? Each of us can only answer this for ourselves.

Congruent with this outlook is the notion that enjoying free will is among the most wonderful of blessings. Albeit, LOTS of responsibility comes with it, most particularly IF we CHOOSE to RESPECTFULLY answer to it. Ideally, it must be harmoniously consistent with the wonderful spirit thereof, e.g., creating a truly healthful and appreciative WAY OF LIFE.

Getting ongoingly lost on crepuscular/stagnant plateaus can be like a living death: Embracing healthful change CAN make it possible to more and more realize the ability to play the part of the less and less blemished Witness…taking part in the living loving story of our lives, vs. just being a pawn in the story of our lives. It is so much about true appreciation and true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind. — Dr. Glen Hepker

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If there is a Heaven…

If there is a Heaven, a ‘key to the universe,’ they are rooted in true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind. What does this mean? It means that there is a so-to-speak place where there is no time, no space, no distance…where all is known…but most importantly once again, nothing “to hide behind.”

What does this have to do with this existence? It means that the more and more healthful we are in the here and now (spiritually, emotionally, and even often physically), the more we can catch sweet and innocent benevolent sparkling spine-tingling/shivering glimpses of Heaven. Why is this important? Because in this existence, we genuinely are much more in the same common boat than we so often think and act (whether we accept it or not, this is a significant aspect of true health and true responsibility). In so-to-speak Heaven, there is NO separation whatsoever, and accordingly, the more and more responsibility we here on Earth take for our own health and well-being, the more prepared and open we will be when it is our time to go and/or be there. Is it true that ‘God helps them that help themselves?’ Maybe it is up to each of us to do decide.

The more and more we can learn to do the right thing for the right selfless sake, the more and more we will be able to treat others with a loving spirit of dignity, decency, goodness, and grace – realizing better and better that we genuinely are so very much in the same common boat, here AND everywhere. Accordingly so much so, that our taught/perceived differentiation is a grand or maybe not so grand illusion…a beyond-words terrible and sad joke. Maybe this is an important reason we are here on Earth, to rediscover the Truth.

It is so very important here on Earth, that we learn to better and better support others in their HEALTHFUL goals and objectives. It is so very important that we learn to live our lives as living loving art forms, vs. getting permanently stuck on stagnant plateaus – all being so much about, once again, taking true responsibility for our own health and well-being. Again, it is so very much about endeavoring to do the right thing without the need for selfish recognition or hidden agendas.

What would it be like to be light and fluid, embracing healthful change, vs. running away from it and/or ignoring the possibility? The following Lotus Flower saying states it succinctly…

The Lotus Flower Blossoms (as set forth in Chapter XV – “True Freedom” of my book, A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health):

“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.” (Copyright 2011)

*Consistent with this ages-old philosophy, is that here on Earth we enjoy the brightest of blessings, e.g., that there is ALWAYS room for improvement – greater and greater objective insight. Sadly, this so often does not seem to be a blessing at all, in fact quite the contrary. We often fool ourselves into thinking that embracing healthful change is a terrible, even ugly thing. It is SO important that we learn to see it in a more and more positive light. We truly can enjoy a beautiful faith that this light can glow so bright that it will become beautiful beyond words, in a fashion which there is no need for time or space or distance, and one more time…nothing to hide behind. The walls of lies CAN come tumbling Oh boy!

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Going with what’s comfortable?

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 (Tao Chan/Ming Chia – the Bright Beautiful School of Thought), 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 well-being 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, with our ‘eyes wide open,’ mindfully and strategically make difficult choices – choices which are healthful, yet initially at least, provoke discomfort and necessitate self-discipline. Using significant self-discipline as such, unto itself, can be quite uncomfortable.

Intrinsic, central to the ages-old traditions I speak of herein, is the notion that all emotional, physical, and spiritual 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. Our culture more and more seems to be promoting the notion that ‘if it isn’t easy, then forget it.’

What would life be like, how different would our world look, if we learned to better and better see that, it is our responsibility, each moment, each day, to make the world a better place. How different would things be if we better and better embraced what is likely the most difficult of things, e.g., ‘true heath through true responsibility.’ This is all about true honesty, promoting of true happiness and true freedom…but most importantly, needing less and less to hide behind. We CAN learn to play the part of a less and less blemished witness, witness to our treating life, TRULY so, as a living loving art form, vs. getting permanently stuck on stagnant plateaus which can be like a living death.

Getting stuck in a spirit of craving, desire, and fear of healthful change is a frightening thing, but we CAN move on to a more healthful spirit of love, compassion, empathy, and maybe most important, true forgiveness. It CAN be a spirit of dignity, decency, goodness, and grace. We CAN realize that we are ALL much more in the same common boat than we often think and act. It IS the right thing for the right selfless sake, SO quite inclusive of being humble unintentional role models.

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, and once again, needing less and less to hide behind. If we embrace and nurture this notion, we may learn to better and better catch glimpses of a so-to-speak existence, where there is no time, no space, no distance…where all is known. Once again, nothing to hide behind. Oh boy! — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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Rethinking primary/secondary school physical education…

An excerpt from a chapter in my book, e.g., 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.’” (Copyright 2011) 


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