Human nature..........?

Carl, I am wondering, Tai Chi or Yoga?

I was looking at your booklet on Hatha Yoga (downloaded from the web).

I have had issues with my back which have forced me to face the lack if care I have given to my body particularly in the last twenty years, when my activity level has slowed due to changes in lifestyle (family & focus on education and career) and poor diet. I am getting care and improving. It is time to make a major shift in my approach to maintenance and care, like maybe give it some attention, HA!.

I don't know when you last saw me but I have lost 55 pounds since September last year. I am not sure where I should be in terms of weight but I was 205 at 22 when I got married and I was pretty trim. I have always been built like a brick outhouse. I figure I could loose between 25 and 60 more pounds. I am more concerned about being healthy than the actual weight except that I really don't want to see fat hanging off me any more.

I have been thinking for a while about starting something like Yoga and, maybe two years ago, I tried a beginner class on Tai Chi. I liked it.

Which would you recommend for someone like me getting started at 41 years of age? I really can only focus on one right now. I can imagine myself getting into some of those yoga poses but wonder if it is even possible for me anymore. Maybe I have suffered too much neglect for too long.


  • edited December 1969
    Does not the looming environmental crisis level the playing field among all religious claims and paths of spiritual development? As this crisis alone reminds us that the material desires within our nature continue to hold dominance over both the spiritual and ethical aspirations that humanity can dream about but never realise. And even for those who would believe that they may have achieved some form of enlightenment , that 'light' is not strong enough to be considered a sufficient solution to the human condition.

    At this point in history, if humanity is to turm back from the abyss of environmental destruction, leading to enivitable cutural conflagration, is not something new and more potent necessary? At what point do we question whether our spiritual progress has been no progress at all? If that progress is not reflected in the general progress of a society? For if spiritual progress is only for 'self', our progress must be an illusion! A deception of our nature!
  • edited December 1969
    hmmmm, well, a couple of thoughts.

    My 'spiritual' development has taken me to the point where I feel perhaps "enlightenment" (if it exists) means accepting the human condition, with all its foibles. There need be no solution.

    Also, your words remind me that maybe the fate of the human race is not the most important thing in the universe. The more spiritual (I'm not even sure what that is), the more humble. As the Tao says, take the lower position.

    Perhaps the planet is trying to shirk us off, as if we were a plague. Maybe that's the best that can happen. It is, according to Kurt Vonnegut, who says the best thing we could do for the planet is to stop having babies and let ourselves die out.

    Subjectively, of course, I balk. But still I have an inkling we humans are too self-important.
  • edited December 1969
    Then as demonstrated by the environmental crisis, one can assume that within human nature, we do not, of ourselves, possess either the ethical of spiritual potential to turn back from the eco abyss or end conflict?

    And/or that our spiritual pretentions [any tradition theistic or not] however sincere they may be are only that. in practical terms, they remain only an aspirational ideal but a practical folly. And that spiritual traditions, if not leading us, being unable to question their core, founding assumptions, stand by while we turn the earth into our own self made hell?

    Does that negate the legitimacy ones presumed human spirituality?

    That is a status quo that needs to be broken, but if we are, by nature, all part of the problem, then any solution, if a solution can be discovered, will have to be at the expense of the existing intellectual and spiritual paradigm? Which has failed of offer a solution?
  • JoeJoe
    edited December 1969
    I think I tend to follow more along what Lynn's suggesting. The solutions you speak of relate more to a human perspective. The mountains, even the air, don't need a "solution". They just are. Whether a damn that changes the immediate environment is built by beavers, or by human, nature includes all this.

    I personally want to take the best care of the environment I possible can. But in terms of how life does, or doesn't, exist on planet Earth, it's still a human projection. In another billion years, I don't think the planet will likely show any trace of what humans have accomplished, or of what we've destroyed.

    This said, I pursue mindfulness in every moment, which I find keeps me on a more appreciative view of the planet, including the imperfect animal species that I'm a member of.
  • edited December 1969
    Hi Klatu, and welcome.

    Your probing questions are just what I like. I concur with Lynn and Joe, though I imagine their replies fall short of what you'd like to hear. I'm sure I'll fair no better than they, but still I'll say what I see. We all share the same concern as you. It is in our expectations where we may differ slightly.

    Many of us fall into the ubiquitous trap of judging our species by the standards our species has established. That [chref=53]by-path[/chref] is the cornerstone of most, if not all, humanity's ethical and 'spiritual' platitudes - not to mention the moral proscriptions that follow. Hmm, that probably sounds harsh. Put more simply, [chref=38]A man of the lowest virtue never strays from virtue and that is why he is without virtue.[/chref] Does that make sense, or just sound weird?

    Thinking back - gads, forty years ago now - I concluded that humanity was a 'cancer' on the earth! And certainly, I'd still admit that we are, in the sense of uncontrolled growth on every level - reproductive, technological, intellectual, 'spiritual', creative, destructive,... you name it. Nevertheless, the emotion behind the judgement is gone. Perhaps this is why Taoism appeals to me so much. It 'sees' things as they are, yet [chref=73]it does not contend[/chref] with them.

    In my view, judgement issues are never resolvable because humanity's 'standards' are nothing but a reflection of our own needs and fears. Thus, our 'standards' are a symptom, not a cure. We've made up the rules of this 'game' based on natural emotion - instinct. Issues of life and death, pleasure and pain, friend and foe, bias our point of view and direct our agenda. [chref=16]Impartiality[/chref] is very difficult to realize, yet without it we only deceive ourselves. As this week's chapter put it: [chref=75]It is just because one has no use for life that one is wiser than the man who values life.[/chref] Of course, most folks hearing this will [chref=41]laugh out loud [/chref] at best, or burn you at the stake at worst. :oops:

    So what is resolvable? Only the resolution - the peace - that we find within ourselves. As each of us is individually, so our species will be collectively. The chain can be no stronger than its weakest link. And no one link can lend its strength to another. What is the weakest link? [chref=18]Hypocrisy[/chref], born of our cleverness, carries us away from integrity. Self honesty - [chref=16]returning to one's roots[/chref] - is the only way I know to 'fix' this. As that old time song says,...

    You've got to walk that lonesome valley,
    You've got to walk it by yourself,
    Ain't nobody here can walk it for you,
    You've got to walk it by yourself.
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