Thursday, October 28, 2010

You can only reject that which you actually desire - Guest Post by Chris Ellison

It is strange that you can know things and yet not 'get it'. 
You can only reject that which you actually desire. I've known this to be true for so long and yet I never 'got it'.

Something that keeps coming into my mind over the last 2 months is what is essential to be human. 

Stripping 'things' away until you get to the point that if you take anything else away you aren't human any more. Finding the essential human condition.

What I kept seeing was a naked man standing on the earth - literally earth...on dirt. 

Everything else is not life, it is stuff that humans make that gets in the way. In an alert awake state everything else started to fall away in front of my eyes and I became so content with just being alive in that moment. 
That was life. Being awake. Breathing in and out.

I was now seeing the other side of the coin, inasmuch as the end state (the coin) would be the same, but for the exact opposite reason. 
Where the possessions left me, rather than I rejecting possessions; the ascetic lifestyle was left not what was 'obtained'. Where the desire for enlightenment was replaced by enlightenment through removal of desire.

It was only then that I actually 'got it'. You can only reject that which you actually desire.

Since I was a child I was drawn to a spiritual life and did not want to pursue material possessions. The first irony is that I did just that. I consciously rejected the importance of money while subconsciously pursuing it with great effort.

What I have come to realise 20 years later, is that my interest in a spiritual life was rooted firmly in ego. I wanted to be 'more spiritual' and be 'more enlightened' than others so that I would be the best! 

I can see now why I subconsciously moved away from this 'pure' path and took the hedonistic path, which again ironically, led me past the 'desire of enlightenment' and brought increased self realisation.

I guess you really do have to go somewhere before you can leave. That is something that has been repeated through my life: You have to go somewhere before you can leave

The path to enlightenment (or anything) is just that, a path. You have to go to each step before you can move on. You cannot just say; "I can see what that step is trying to achieve so I will just skip it move on." 
I see strong parallels here with weightlifting. You cannot just say I understand what your training programme is trying to achieve so I will just skip it and go straight to a 500kg squat.
 Every step brings more truth, and you can't just understand it, you have to 'get it'. You have to go there.

So it was interesting timing to see you write about 'life being easy' when at the same time I was contemplating a similar thing.
Life is being awake in a physical reality, living is all the stuff that humans put in the way

You once quoted Jack LaLanne to me: "If man made it, don't eat it", but how about "If man made it, it isn't real". 

I feel you have the hardest job, trying to lead people to 'get it' for themselves. (If you will forgive the presumption that I know what you are trying to do).

Teaching people that 'the stuff', both mental and physical isn't important while avoiding driving them to an ego driven 'asceticism by desire' is a very hard road.

~ Chris

Cliff's Note:

This post came from an email that Chris sent me, that I'm sure you'll agree is quite awesome! So with his gracious permission I have posted here.
Chris is a client-turned-friend of many years. He has been a long time student of weightlifting, strength, physical culture and spiritual practice.

Thanks so much Chris!

~ Cliff

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