Fitness is survival. I am not necessarily referring to a life and death situation but a heightened experience of life that relies on physical stress inducing movement that leads to inner peace, less thought, greater mental strength and a more expansive, formidable mind. These are the basis of any survival. But, for it to work it must not be part of the becoming mindset, where our choice of exercise is based around masking how we feel and embracing the ego that will have us chasing an ideal of who we should be and how we should look. This is to create more fear and vulnerability. The chasing of a physique as a primary goal are the perfect example of this, that leave our true potential lost behind insecurity and the seeking of attention. Compare this with the ultra runner, who might just be one of the most anti-fragile athletes on the planet, who runs without any crowd or audience support, and in the lonely moments of the run, knows any thoughts and feelings of insecurity and uncertainty will be invited into the forefront of their consciousness and faced head on within the art of self imposed suffering that is ultra running. Not so with the physique chaser, in contrast, this is the art of hiding, masking and faking courage and confidence. Anything but really face head on, those feelings of fear and seeking approval.
There is an incredible wisdom of the body that has an unparalleled intelligence beyond conscious thought. There is a far greater reason that exercise is so beneficial for those suffering from mental health issues than is being currently explained. Exercise and movement are an expression of mind, because the body itself is part of the mind. It is a reconnection to an innate, ancient wisdom that no analytical, intellectual thought can compete against. The body is one of the first ports of signalling to the brain varying sensations that are then processed as information. Connecting to the body’s intelligence means you are far less likely to suffer from mental health issues and in addition, thoughts and even creativity will be far more useful and directed. However, what we have created is a set of approaches that overlook this intelligence and instead, often create vulnerability, fear and fragility.
It doesn’t require much analysis and thought to see that most people want their training to deliver enhanced mental strength but with the large number of good physiques on display these days, in proportion, mental strength remains a rarity. You don’t have to pursue something as testing as ultra running but we can make better choices and use exercise as a way of mindfulness in action. Martial arts taught by an expert is one of the best choices you can make, if it is indeed taught by a good instructor. Martial arts is one of the arts that deliberately dismantles the ego, helps understand fear and develops character. In a society that dishes out coloured belts like chocolate smarties, it is no easy task to find an instructor capable of doing this, so don’t just jump straight in but ask around for recommendations. You may need to travel but the rewards of training with a great instructor are one of the best investments you can make. I maintain that six months serious study with a top Judo instructor, as an example, are worth a lifetime of any of the personal development courses available. Other movement skills such as dance, gymnastics and running are also good. Lose yourself in the art. It ideally should spill over into all areas of your life, creating an enhanced strong mind that continually chips away at our preconditioned self that pushes us back towards fear.
The awakening of a formidable, ancient intelligence is through repetitive movement of the art you choose. We are in an age where everyone is encouraged to move away from the hard work of repetition and instead choose a constant variety of movement to escape boredom. This is to embrace the very issue that is creating a fragile mind, letting a bored mind, obsessed with a self imposed comfort zone, choose a fitness pursuit that doesn’t stretch beyond its own lack of understanding. The body knows better.
Wherever you are now and whatever your struggles, I know with absolute certainty, anyone can go from being extremely fragile to the opposite – anti-fragile. Just don’t forget to incorporate movement in your mission. It is part of your mind and is waiting to reveal a greater expression of life for you.