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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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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