wisdom

THERE IS NO GOAL, ONLY PROGRESS

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What is the reason for being? The ultimate human question. The answer is, we don’t know. But I believe, as Steven Pinker said in his book ENLIGHTENMENT NOW, the goal of human effort is PROGRESS. He crafted his definition of progress, not from the words of great philosophers, not from religious text, rather from empirical facts. For it requires only the convictions that life is better than death, heath is better than sickness, abundance is better than want, freedom is better than coercion, happiness is better than suffering, and knowledge is better that superstition and ignorance. Any effort to advance any one of those elements for the benefit of mankind is progress. We don’t know why. There is no goal, only progress.

He then wrote the book that amply justified his conclusion that the people of the world are far better off today than at any time in history. The problem for the World is, we are not on the same page as to what the goal is, much less how to achieve it. Every concept is a belief. Every person has their own beliefs. These beliefs are conflicting. And we believe it is lawful for a person (or group of persons) to use force to impose their will on another. The problem you millennials are facing is: once you justify the use of force to impose your will on another, there is no logical reason not to use all of the force available to you until the enemy succumbs or is destroyed (or you are).

Such is the conundrum you millennials face, so, what do you do with your life while you have it? It’s a big world out there and you can’t solve all of the problems. You find what your good at, you find what you’re not good at, and then you find a niche to work in that calls on what you do good and does not call on what you do badly. Then work hard at it and leave the world better off than you found it. Hopefully, that’s progress.

It’s real murky out there. With everyone having a different opinion on what the goal of humanity is and it seems everyone is writing a book about it, I don’t know how you can figure out the answer. But that is what these messages are meant to do. I wasted most of my life trying to live according to Roman Catholic dogma. These messages are what I found out and I hope it saves you some time in not having to learn what I learned the hard way.

Let’s start with God. You have to believe in God, or not. You have choices to believe in the God of Theism, 2,800 verities; the God of Judaism, 3 major brands; and the God of Islam, I don’t know how many interpretations there are. Then there are the Eastern religions: Hindu, Buddha, American Indian, etc. I think you would benefit from reading Worlds Apart, by Geisler and Watkins. That will give you a big boost in understanding the different interpretations of God. But there is another source of confusion about God and that is dogma. Men have written about God and other men have deified their work. But dogma is to my spirit as an eggshell to the chick. I am birthed within it and could not grow without it, but if I do not break free…dogma will entomb my soul. Are you trapped in dogma?

Dogma is the personal belief of one or more persons about life after death presented as a fact of life for all persons. But the fact is, the answer to the questions of life after life, is that there is no factual answer, only belief…the singular, individual, and unique belief of each person. That is why one person’s belief is as good as another. That is why no one should be allowed to tell another person they have the REAL GOD and use force to impose it.

I know it’s a big world out there and our generation didn’t do what it might have, but it’s the world you will live in. Think of life a 100 years ago and life now. Make it better!

This article was written by Lawrence McGrath.

Originally titled: 1st Message for Millennials

Lawrence wrote the book: A Cry From The Heart: A Personal Essay

Click here to purchase his book on Amazon.

Mr. McGrath is an author, father and grandfather. A retired marine pilot, lawyer, college professor, college president, bank president, and consultant.

THE SUN, THE MOON, AND THE TRUTH CANNOT HIDE

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Karen was my last client for the day. We met at seven sharp, right after Steve.

Karen was an obese woman I trained twice a week. She was thirty years old, weighed 250 pounds, and was 5’ 2”. However, these numbers don’t say anything about her as a person. She was a painter who owned her own gallery in Manhattan. The serenity in her eyes and the way she smiled for no reason introduced her to me before she even told me her name.

She had been married for more than five years to someone who was in good shape. I knew this because her husband came to pick her up after our sessions. The conversation we had the first day we met left me pondering about life for days.

I asked the same question I asked every client before we began the program: What are your three main fitness goals?

Karen said she only had one goal: to enjoy the workouts.

I recall looking into her eyes as if she had not understood my question. I rephrased it, and this time I was more specific.

“I understand, Karen, and I will ensure that the exercises will be fun, but what I meant was, how many pounds do you want to lose?”

Again, she answered with a smile and said she didn’t care about the weight; she just wanted to feel good during and after the workouts. Furthermore, she said it didn’t matter if she didn’t lose any weight at all. Her peaceful eyes and joyful smile reinforced the truth of her words.

I could not believe this woman and how out of touch with reality she was. She was obese, for God’s sake! She could actually die of a heart attack at any moment, and my mind refused to believe that anyone could be at peace with a body like hers. It couldn’t be possible.

I insisted. I tried to force her to make a deal with me, and asked her to agree on losing one to two pounds per week.

Once more with the same serene, happy look on her face, she replied that I didn’t understand her. Patiently, she repeated that she was fine with her weight and that she enjoyed her work. She was a person who loved and was loved by her family and friends. Her life was a blessing, and she was grateful for what she had. There was nothing else to be added or removed to make her happier. The workouts with me were just to get her body moving while she had some fun.

I wasn’t amazed by her attitude, because I neither understood nor believed in what she was saying at the time. Nevertheless, after our encounter that day, I went home thinking about her, and I remembered a thought I’d had when I was a teenager, one that had returned many times throughout my life.

I would die young.

I believed I would not reach the age of thirty, despite being physically healthy.

Perhaps intuitively, I knew that my heart could fail at any time because of my lack of understanding of what life was really about: love and kindness.

I am convinced that Karen became my client for a reason—to teach me that to be healthy is to be loving. She trained with me for almost a year, and never lost any weight.

Karen was the healthiest client I ever had.

 

Much Love!

Valeria Teles

EAT LESS, THANK MORE.

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We know that the best way to lose weight is to eat less, especially of foods that are high in calories. Sugar is a well-known adversary of weight loss. But before depriving ourselves of healthy fats and sweets, it’s wise to try to understand the real reasons we eat more than necessary. I believe that wishful thinking and fear are subconsciously operating in our minds when it comes to our eating patterns. Food can become an addiction, often stemming from emotional triggers when we wish our lives to be different. Steven Pressfield, the famous writer, once wrote: “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us.”

The way I see it, having the courage to realize the unlived life within is essential to our physical and psychological health. Trusting this moment for what is—this is courage. Feeling grateful for what we have can empower us to follow our hearts, thus making each moment fulfilled and joyful. The happier we are within, the less preoccupied with food we become.

The perfection of this moment embraces us with unconditional love for our spiritual wealth, for who we truly are—there is nothing lacking. 

KIND HEARTS...STRONG BODIES...PEACEFUL MINDS.... Fit for joy! 

Much, much love! 

Valeria 

CALLING FOR FITNESS AND SPIRITUALITY

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My six o’clock client was not a regular. A fellow female trainer had had to leave due to an emergency, and asked me to take her client that day. I filled in for her as a substitute trainer.

Steve was a fifty-seven-year-old businessman who seemed to be under a great deal of stress. I could tell this just by being around him for a few seconds. He gave me a serious, almost intimidating impression, and breathed heavily. We were introduced in a hurry by the other trainer as she ran out the door.

Steve looked at me with an expression of quiet impatience. He was in good shape and looked strong. His chest area was well developed, leading me to think he must have been lifting heavy weights for years. I could tell he was very proud of his chest.

Before I could ask him about his training routine, he gave me the workout for that day. His program had only four exercises: barbell bench press (155 lbs — 12 reps), incline chest press (50 lb dumbbells — 12 reps), floor push-ups (20 reps), and incline dumbbell flies (20 lbs — 12 reps). If you understand something about muscle-group training, you will notice that Steve’s workout had only chest exercises.

I looked at his program and said enthusiastically, “Great! Let’s do it!”

I set up the barbell and began the first workout on the list. I was ready to spot him if he needed it, standing close to the bench behind his head. As he ended each rep, I cheered him on by saying things like, “Great job, Steve. You’ve got it! Nice work! Keep the energy! You can do it! Wonderful! You are doing it right! Don’t give up! One more left! Nicely done!”

In truth, I was talking to myself. I needed to hear my own enthusiastic words, given the day I’d had. I noticed something unusual when I took a glanced quickly at Steve’s face to make sure he was okay. He was looking at me and smiling as he lifted the heavy weight. He’d finished lifting without saying a word, but he smiled. I didn’t exactly understand the reason for his happiness, but I was glad his serious and stress-filled expression was gone.

 

Considering he was a new client, I didn’t feel comfortable enough to begin a conversation about my early insights into fitness and kindness. Nonetheless, I asked him trivial questions, which he didn’t answer. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy interacting with others when I’m with them. I like separating things: There is a time to be fully alone, and a time to be fully with others. In a trainer/client relationship, there are moments to focus on the exercise, moving and breathing properly, and also moments when we can talk.

 

Steve’s behavior was making me feel incredibly awkward. Concerned but trying to stay cool, I followed him around with my cheerful chatter. His behavior didn’t change. The studio was quiet; there were only a few people working out with their trainers. No one seemed to notice how uncomfortable I was around Steve.

Once again in my life, I felt stuck. I didn’t want to stay there, but I couldn’t leave. I tried to stay calm and do my job well.

We went through the workouts. In the end, Steve was sweating, still with a smile on his face. Before we said goodbye, he asked for my name again, then mentioned that he liked my training style. He also inquired if I could train him from that day on. I politely explained to him that my schedule couldn’t fit another client.

In truth, if my heart had not begun to guide me toward fitness and spirituality, I would have accepted his offer. 

Much love!

Valeria Teles

 LIFE OR BODY TRANSFORMATION?

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Diana was next. We met at five in the evening.

She came in ten minutes early and hustled past me on her way to the locker room, saying, “It’s been another busy day. Give me the hardest, most beast-mode circuit you’ve got, Valeria.”

My energy was very low at this point. I really didn’t want to train another client, especially a high-energy person like Diana. She was thirty-four years old and exercised every day in the morning before she went to work. Her jogging sessions lasted an hour. She usually met me in the late afternoons for her weight training.

Today was an upper-body session. While she lay under a sixty-five-pound loaded barbell, doing twelve reps of military presses, I asked her, “What is the most important thing in life to you, Diana?”

She was so focused on her reps that I wasn’t sure she’d heard me. As usual, she was having a serious conversation with the barbell. We didn’t tend to talk much. Her workout mood had always been to get the job done as well as possible and then leave the studio.

A few seconds later, she put the bar back on the rack. The next exercise was ab work, and she knew it. We had the circuits programmed in advance. She moved briskly to the yoga mat on the floor to do a set of twenty reverse crunches.

Her breathing was heavy. The circuit was intense. She was never happy with anything light or easy. I was still waiting for an answer to my question as I kept track of the number of reps, but I didn’t ask it again.

On the floor, while doing a quick stretch—bending her knees close to her chest while keeping her legs together—she said, “The most important thing to me is to keep moving forward through the days. When I wake up in the morning, I have a to-do list in my mind. I just go through it naturally. It’s a clear, focused, and precise daily plan I accomplish by the end of the day.” She finished her answer by the assisted pull-up bar, after fifteen reps.

Diana had been moving fast for the last thirty minutes. She performed all her exercises with the same focus and precision as she checked off her to-do list.

“Do you like your job?” I asked.

She was so focused on her spider plank ab work that her favorite movie star would have gone unnoticed had they walked by us. Sitting on the mat, wiping her face, she said that she got her job done, made great money, and was proud of herself. She worked out hard in one of the best fitness clubs in New York, and could afford my high personal training fees. She laughed and added that she ate out all the time, traveled, went out with friends for drinks; serious relationships and love were too complicated to give attention to.

You know that feeling when there’s nothing you can say to someone because they’re too busy listening to their own thoughts? That’s how I felt.

After we finished the workout, I reflected on how Diana’s life was not that different from her to-do list. It was programmed. She’d been in a cycle of living according to rehearsed habits, and her life had turned into a running race with no finish line or winners, an existence driven by nonstop actions. There was no space left to even think about love.

Diana followed the exercise program and ate clean while training with me. She achieved the fit and athletic look she wanted in three months. Her body composition transformed, but I wish her life had, too.

Much Love!

Valeria Teles

THE HEART RULES  -  THE END

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We, people who listen to the voice of own hearts, don't listen to people who despise us — who envy us — who don’t believe in our life’s purpose. We don’t listen to those who tell us what to do — what to think or what to feel. Those who try to make us small, deceive us, treat us with disrespect, use us as a modern slave. We don’t give ourselves to these people with unnatural, synthetic hearts. We are precious! We are the stars on Earth. We are people who have the love of humanity in our being. We don't hate. Only the unloved hate — the unloved and the unnatural.
We, people who trust in the heart, know that the Kingdom of “God” is within — in everyone. We are true to ourselves. We have the power to create a free and loving environment. The power to create happiness! We have the power to make this life a compassionate and marvelous adventure.
Then, in the name of our heart’s aspiration, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us come together for a new world, a decent world that will give everyone a chance to work, that will give youth the future and old age security. By promising these things, people with synthetic hearts have risen to power, but they lie. They don’t and didn’t fulfill their promise; they never will. These people are selfish; they free themselves, but they enslave others. Let’s come together to fulfill that promise. Let us come together to replace greed, hate, and intolerance with generosity, love, and justice. Let us come together for a world of kindness, a world where science, development, ideas, and opportunities will lead to everyone’s happiness.
We, people who are confident in the truth of our hearts, are the hope we seek.

Much Love!

Valeria

"One who knows how to show and to accept kindness will be a better friend than any possession." – Sophocles

 

** Credit: The Heart Rules content was paraphrased and inspired by The Final Speech of the Great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin

THE HEART RULES  -  PART TWO

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TV, social media, and the radio have brought us closer together. However, the very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in our hearts, cries out for universal brotherhood, for unity.

Even now — although the voice of the heart can reach millions throughout the world — millions still can’t hear the message. With persistence, they comply with a system that makes them feel tortured and imprisons their souls.

To those who can hear me, I say — do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed — the bitterness of those who fear the way of human magnificence and honor, will pass.

Nothing is permanent.

Life is constantly changing and renewing itself because it trusts our hearts.

Those who still choose to act with hate and greed will die, but so long as we live, the heart will never give up on us – it will give the gift of loving here on Earth and beyond. Love never dies.

Much Love!

Valeria

 

"The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." -Aesop

 

** Credit: The Heart Rules content was paraphrased and inspired by The Final Speech of the Great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin

DIET OF THE HEART

Many of us feel compassion when preparing or eating animal flesh, and some even reject meat at childhood. This is not an accident. We all live in different spiritual realities and levels. What is interesting is that those of us who have had profound spiritual experiences often don’t trust them to be real. I believe this is because we are too immersed in, and attached to, our physical reality. We are basically in denial of the interconnectedness of our reality.

The way I see it, food cravings (though certainly not all of them) are directly connected to anxiety and fear. This may be because the mind has associated happiness with pleasure, and since pleasure and pain are closely related, suffering becomes a tasty experience. The body, on the other hand, craves food and sex for self-preservation and perpetuation, not pleasure. It’s interesting to notice that only the heart is rooted in love and kindness. It has no cravings that can cause us suffering. The heart cares for our being as a whole, and it also for others—happily and healthily embracing everything as a big family.

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving.