Monday, March 8, 2010

The Joy of Being, Explained

The Endorphin Effect: A Breakthrough Strategy for Holistic Health and Spiritual Wellbeing is a book by British psychologist William Bloom, published back in 2001. It is an Aristotelian approach to the Platonic (and pre-Socratic) mode of being called joy.

Take a look at this three-minute video. By way of contrast, it's a great tool for the understanding of the joy of being.

Bloom recommends five strategies to boost your body's production of endorphins: "rest"; "exercise"; "positive triggers"; "attitude of the inner smile"; and "connection with the natural world."

"Positive triggers" would be just about anything that makes you feel good--the thought of one's children, a beach in Hawaii, and ace in tennis, anything.

Exercise provides the best example as to the real essence of these strategies. Imagine the guy (or woman) who has to log sixty miles running per week. No one can care that much about running, can they? What he cares about is the endorphins that the running releases, the "runner's high," as it's called. He's become addicted to the endorphins, which are, in fact, a thousand times more powerful than morphine.

Is it better just because it's natural? It still causes him to involve himself in activity that is essentially a waste of time and actually, after a certain point, causes harm to the body.

The problem here is that Dr. Bloom (and all Aristotelians, see The Philosophy of Success, elsewhere on this blog) see the body's natural state as neutral, as opposed to joyful (the joy of being, e.g.). His strategies are devised to trick the body out of its natural state of neutrality (according to him and all Aristotelians) for a while so you can get a dose of this natural drug, whereupon when you've gotten you fix you can re-enter the neutral world with you neutral body.

The running man in our example doesn't realize that a steady production of endorphins is something the body does naturally when it isn't saddled with the Aristotelian mindset of neutrality. We can remain in a state of joy (i.e. positivity, steadily producing endorphins) no matter where we are, no matter what we are doing. He doesn't have to do all that running to get it.

To be sure, you've got to get in touch with your inner joy at times of relative calm before you'll be able to maintain it in what others would consider stressful situations. But having said that, not infrequently it is the most stressful of times that give rise to "that peace that passes all understanding," as the Apostle Paul famously called it.

Here's Dr. Bloom:

If you want to hear more from Dr. Bloom, a 35-minute video is located on this webpage. In this video, he says that all of these methods, to be effective, require and inner pause, another way of saying one must become aware of the present moment.

This reminds me of the Macintosh commercial with the dull PC guy and the cool Mac guy. Aristotelians want to be cool. They get all the features right but in the end the total package they offer is clunky.

It's clunky because it's missing one crucial element: a decent operating system. Their Aristotelian philosophy lets them down. They are stuck inside the Aristotelian mythos and are unable to break free of it because they don't understand that it is a mythos (see The Philosophy of Success elsewhere on this blog).

The Aristotelian mythos preaches that the universe in neutral, governed by neutral principles like the law of cause and effect (see The Law of Cause and Effect a Tenet of Faith elsewhere on this blog).

But the Aristotelian mythos doesn't make sense. It doesn't work out (see The Law of Cause and Effect a Tenet of Faith elsewhere on this blog).

There is a competing mythos that at least has a theoretical possibility of working out. That's the Platonic version of metaphysics (or better yet the pre-Socratic metaphysics). Why not choose this one as the basis on which we live our lives? There's no downside and a lot of upside? (See The Anatomy of Success elsewhere on this blog).

No matter how logical such a choice might be, Aristotelians generally can't make the transition because they can't understand or they can't bring themselves to understand or admit that it is a mythos, as differentiated from verifiable fact. There is a good bit of pride and in-humility in this position.

So they soldier on, duct-taping Platonic and pre-Socratic elements to their tragically silly philosophy, hoping to stagger to life's finish line holding on to some modicum of dignity until they return to the dust, which is, they are sure, all they ever were.

This is crazy, people! Joy is the body's natural state! If you're not experiencing joy in every fiber of you physical body--if not all the time, at least on a regular basis, every time you think of it--it's because you are infected with Aristotelianism and don't realize it.

If you can manage to still your mind and, with as much time as your life will allow, begin to focus your attention into your body, you will most likely find negativity there--negative sensations. These negative sensations are the result of thought (the highest domain of the Aristotelian). Turn off those thoughts and you are left with being--who you are (the Aristotelian knows nothing of this part of him or herself).

You dissolve these pockets of negativity simply through awareness, focused attention on the unpleasant sensations in your physical form. Your body then provides the feedback to your spirit that, indeed, negative thoughts and an addiction to thought in general, is the root cause of the problem, providing further motivation to cease thinking except when necessary to accomplish a task for which thought is required.

Otherwise, keep you internal monologue shut off. You can do this. It is possible and quite easy with just a little bit of practice. In fact, this too is our natural state. A state of being, vice thinking.

As you learn to just be, your body's natural state of joy begins to return--the positive universe experienced in the cells and molecules and atoms of your body! On the chemical level, endorphins are released. You are then experiencing the Positivity of the universe. You experience God, in you and around you.

1 comment:

  1. I find it true in my experience also that "pockets of negativity" can be dissolved through awareness. This to me is an amazing truth. Awareness has this miraculous absorptive capacity to dissolve our pain- when we have the openness and fearlessness to truly bring awareness to the pain that we have been in the habit of blocking out and avoiding. You also describe how this awareness of body sensations then leads back to the negative thoughts that gave rise to the sensations. You also point out that there is "an addiction to thought" and that it is possible to "cease thinking except when necessary to accomplish a task". I agree with you and would be interested in hearing more about thought and awareness and the natural state of joy. Thanks for an enlightening post!


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