Wholeness: Is it just a concept or can it be more and more real? How important is true appreciation?

In these ages-old traditions, 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: This such splendid way-of-being allows us, enables us to genuinely embrace/deeply witness within ourselves a holistic oneness of the mind, body, and spirit. It allows us to lovingly embrace healthful change.

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 sweet and innocent 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 more and more 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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Learning how to breathe…

Sounds silly or crazy – doesn’t everyone know how to breathe? Only on a most basic level they do – and such breathing, e.g, using only the upper part of our lungs to breathe shallowly, genuinely isn’t the most healthful way to breathe. And this is proven empirically. Most people do not breathe in a most healthful fashion.

Shallow breathing can have a negative effect on most of the functions of one’s body – inclusive of one’s sleep, mood, energy levels, and all of our neurovegetative systems, together with the quality of circulation in every cell of our bodies. Shallow breathing abbreviates the amount of oxygen and energy circulated throughout one’s body.

Learning to breathe properly every moment (not just when we are conscious of our breathing), allows us more energy, overall improved health, inclusive of greater homeostasis, relaxation, circulation, less anxiety and fear – better preparing us for the stressors that life throws at us. It can even can have a positive effect regarding our realization of happiness, self-fulfillment, and clear thinking. This breathing paradigm better promotes secretion of relaxing, pain-killing hormones. Our bodies are meant to breathe in this fashion, but in Western culture, this isn’t commonly taught or promoted – people generally aren’t aware of this way of breathing, and/or its importance. Healthful infants breathe this way naturally, but it is believed that, through the stress of life and chronic raising our shoulders, the quality of our breathing devolves and we breathe less deeply – more at our chests. In many cultures, the importance of belly breathing is taught as children move toward adulthood.

1. This all relates to what is coined as diaphragmatic breathing or abdominal breathing. Singers learn this type of breathing, as do many of those who learn ancient arts such as yoga, chi kung, and tai chi chuan. It is set forth in those arts that nothing is more healthful than learning all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing. It is said thereof, that if one practices diaphragmatic breathing at least five minutes twice per day, within 30 to 60 days, most people will have trained their central nervous systems to accept the rhythm of this type of breathing all day, every day.

There are two types of diaphragmatic breathing: Advance abdominal breathing is performed by breathing in and pushing one’s abdomen out, and breathing out and pulling one’s abdomen in – much like pretending that one’s lungs are in one’s abdomen. At first one needs to do this consciously, but with practice over time, one learns to do it unconsciously; the same goes for reverse abdominal breathing, e.g., but it is just the opposite – breathing in, pulling one’s abdomen in, and breathing out, pushing it out. It is up to each person to decide which works better for them. Albeit, it is believed that in these stressful times, more than not, people will benefit more with focusing most on the advance breathing methodology. That said, ‘one size does not fit all’. It is believed that advance breathing releases heat and reverse breathing creates heat (quite generally, the former being for stressed-out people and the latter being for people who are more lethargic in nature).

2. It is significant to breathe in and out through the nose, or in through the nose out through the mouth. We should generally not breathe in through the nose, unless one has congestion, or if one is performing highly aerobic exercise such as running (then one should breathe in through both the nose and mouth, as necessary).

In addition, the nose is designed to filter raw air, warm it if cold, make it less dry if dry, etc. It serves to filter the air, it cleans it of debris, such as viral, bacterial, fungi, and toxic matter – even just dust/dirt. Hence, it is generally more healthful to inhale by way of the nose.

3. With diaphragmatic breathing, each time one inhales, it should feel like the air is going all the way down to one’s stomach. The muscles most succinctly associated with breathing, most especially deep breathing as such and ideally, consist of the diaphragm, abdomen, chest, neck, and shoulders.

It is extremely important to learn to keep one’s shoulders relaxed with regard to this means of breathing – undue raising of the shoulders pulls on and tightens the diaphragmatic muscles, making it much more difficult and less natural to breathe deeply. Raising the shoulders also pertains to the ‘fight or flight’ response, e.g., is very much associated with fear, anxiety, and stress – and these feelings can prompt the adrenal glands to secrete hormones that make one more tense.

Diaphragmatic breathing assists one’s lungs in their function of gas exchange – the quality of which is significantly enhanced when taking place deep into the lower lungs. When breathing at the diaphragm, the diaphragm better massages the liver, stomach, and intestines – promoting an enhanced rhythmical balance/circulation. The lymphatic system has an important function with regard to the immune system – it can do its work much better when congruent with diaphragmatic breathing – most particularly in ridding the body of waste products from the bowels. Diaphragmatic breathing diminishes pressure in the chest and belly – relaxing the heart, making its work easier. It also allows the proper breathing muscles to do their job, versus other muscles having to do unnecessary work when breathing is shallow, e.g., just in the chest: as the chest becomes more relaxed as such, the neck and shoulders will have less tenseness, misalignment, and discomfort/pain.

4. True relaxation is of the upmost importance. We ALWAYS come out further ahead the more relaxed we are. The better we learn all-of-the-time diaphragmatic breathing, the more relaxed we are, and the more we avoid abbreviated levels of oxygen, which unto itself, makes the body and brain more stressed.

By strategically taking control of one’s breathing and making it more relaxed, it is like a positive domino effect. It is like tuning up one’s mind/body connection, therein and everything in-between. Our bodies respond in kind, prompting overall enhanced functioning. When the body and mind are relaxed, health is good, energy is high, and it becomes a more simple matter to be happy, appreciative, and loving – toward others and within/toward oneself.

5. Everything has a natural rhythm and vibration. This includes everything in our world, our universe – just like a finely-tuned clock: The seasons, earth, oceans, moon, stars, all of nature, etc. Our bodies are just the same…at best. For us, proper breathing promotes this clock to function better – inclusive of homeostasis (a healthful balance of the central nervous system), and the healthful secretion of hormones, on and on. When our bodies are tuned, they function the best – and proper breathing is a significant facet of this rhythm of true health.

— Dr. Glen Hepker

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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 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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What is the importance of gratitude in the quality of our health and well-being?

“Glen, it seems that, in my life when I feel the greatest sense of gratitude, it makes me feel best about my day, my life. It seems that, while feeling the wonderful outcome of this insight, I feel more healthy than at any other time. Is this what you mean when you say that true appreciation can be among the most splendid of healing mechanisms?’ What are your thoughts?” (An inquiry from a reader of my blog and book.)

Response: You state your thoughts QUITE well, thanks so VERY much. Humbly and respectfully, it is working toward taking deep and abiding ownership of a WAY OF LIFE in which one gathers a genuinely honest spirit of true appreciation…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 gratitude greatly enhances the quality of our lives, and is a substantive part of the dynamic in raising ourselves up…embracing true responsibility. It is an important tenet of the Bright School theory, assisting one in realizing greater and greater levels of health and well-being.

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 conceptions of health and wellness, i.e., True Health and/or True Health through True Responsibility. It sets forth that one cannot realize true health without the necessary and genuinely skilled attributes of true appreciation and true honesty. It is deep 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 beautiful and bright light of forgiveness.

A deep, abiding, altruistic, and loving spirit of gratitude is congruent with gathering a level of objective insight that introduces one 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.’ 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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On Earth as it is in Heaven?

“Happy Sunday to you Glen,

I just wanted to write to say hello and to thank you for the support you offered me over the past winter. It was very valuable to me and an important part of my getting through those dark days. Things at home are better now. I know that we’ll have bad spells in the future, but hopefully nothing so dramatic or damaging.

On another note, I’ve been finding myself experiencing moments of inner peace recently, especially when I’m outside walking. The moments are fairly brief, but the effect can last for hours, similar to the way getting some good news can make the whole morning seem better. I’ve been reading more Buddhist texts and going back through your writing to review and find new guidance towards cultivating and lengthening those peaceful moments.

I’m not really sure what brought them on, but I remember the first time that it happened I was walking to work and it was a beautiful morning and I sort of gave myself to the moment. The sensation was like being chemically high but rather than feeling the high overwhelm me (as with alcohol) it was something light that I couldn’t quite hold on to, but could feel sort of hovering just beyond the edge of my thoughts. It was somewhat like a butterfly that may land on your finger but which you could never catch by grasping.

As a result, I have engaged in more spiritual reflection lately and contemplating the idea of the “self”. I still struggle with the concept of letting go of an individual identity as I do not want to be absorbed into the universe the way a cup of water may be if emptied into the ocean. I am appreciate the idea of letting go of ego and the desire to rise above others as an individual, but I fear losing myself entirely.

Sorry to get so metaphysical this early in the morning, but there aren’t many people near me whom I feel comfortable discussing this issue with. While I have been attending church and enjoying being part of a spiritual community and being reminded of the value of Christ’s message, I don’t hold to the idea that Christianity is the one and only true path and that all others are false. That’s not a very popular assertion, so I keep it to myself. No matter how open minded people may be, there is a certain comfort found in dogma that they are reluctant to give up. I believe in truth, but I do not believe that any one group has a monopoly on it, though many may glimpse it to a greater or lesser degree.

Thank your for taking the time to read through my ramblings. I hope you have a wonderful day ahead of you.”

E.”

My response:

Happy Sunday to you also –

Thanks so much for sharing your such splendid depth of insight (and so well stated). You are clearly making the world a better place as such – not just your immediate world, but the world at large.

It is obvious to me that you are becoming a more and more healthful/less and less blemished ‘witness.’ Please know you have naught to fear, you will not lose yourself, you will only better and better find your true self and become a more and more healthful conduit/diplomat between Heaven/the heavens and Earth. Please have faith in this ‘beyond words’ truth…you deserve this, you have earned this, i.e., those immaculate moments of light and lightness…the ‘accumulation of light and lightness.’ It is an initial aspect or step in learning to have those sweet and innocent, loving and sparkling spine-tingling/shivering bio-electric feelings/realizations at will. In those wonderful moments, you are embracing healthful change on a substantive level, giving up unhealthful craving and desire. This is the living loving spirit of true appreciation and gratitude for the miracles that are all around us and within us, each moment, all of the time. It is treating life as a living loving art form. Consistent with the Bright School Theory, 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. This splendidly healthful spirit can prompt glimpses of an existence where there is no time, no space, no distance – where all is known…but once again and most importantly, nothing to hide behind.

I know you don’t like compliments, albeit I am very proud of you. And please know, that even in your most difficult moments, you can(!) better and better learn to hold onto your such splendid depth of insight and objectivity. It is requisite of true effort – but I know you and am so quite confident that you are able.

As set forth in my book, the Lotus Flower Blossoms describes your insights in a succinct fashion:

“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 insight…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.”

I’ve been meaning to call you to see how things are going. It means a lot that you have shared this – how you are doing.

Once again, thanks so much. I genuinely appreciate it. Please don’t ever hesitate to write or call. I am honored by our friendship.

Brightest of blessings,

Glen

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Is it possible for women and men to be ‘just friends?’ How important is it?

A question from a reader of my book: “Can men and women be ‘just friends?’”

Response: HUMBLY speaking as a REALLY dumb fellow…yes, I believe women and men CAN be ‘just friends.’ Respectfully, this may just be one of the ‘keys to the universe.’ I have splendid friendships with many women, in the here and now and historically. It doesn’t in any way have to be about sex. This may sound naive and quaint, but I don’t believe it is so. It is sad that we often miss out on what may be among the most splendid of blessings/gifts (female/male friendships). This is on every level, emotional, spiritual, and overall health/wellness…resplendently so.

Living in a semi-rural area (versus also having lived in a large metropolitan area for many years), I find that many men (especially) act like they have an intrinsic responsibility to (on some level) ‘hit’ on every woman, or they don’t feel like ‘real men.’ Humbly, I am no one ‘special’ or important, albeit I find that learned and/or cultural outlook embarrassing. Sex IS a SO splendid blessing, yet everything doesn’t have to be about that.

Please know that I’m not saying I am in ANY way some ‘sweet and innocent’ fellow…it is NOT the spirit in which I am setting forth my thoughts herein. That said, among the most splendid blessings in my life, is in being ‘just friends’ with many women, i.e., who I believe are most often the superior half of people. In having such friendships, I sincerely see this as a most splendid part of my good fortune.

Once again (and again, and again, and again, if necessary) quite humbly and respectfully, I believe it is SO much about a benevolent and altruistic spirit of dignity, decency, goodness, and grace…AND figuring out how to TRULY mean it, No Matter What! I believe it is SO much about a benevolent and altruistic spirit of endeavoring to do the right thing for the right selfless sake. I believe it is SO much about realization that we are so much more in the same common ‘boat’ than we often think and act. — Dr. Glen Hepker

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