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The New Work Out & Soul Selfies.

  The New Workout n Soul Selfies

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The other day we were returning from our walk. We stepped past the gym in our building.

Celia looked in and chuckled.
"Er... Why?" I asked.

There were 5 teens inside. One was working out enthusiastically. The rest were hard at work making You Tube Videos. And taking selfies.

In many ways this is an iconic snapshot of this generation. And it will make many chuckle.

Now every generation has its foibles. In the 70s, many of us sat around Coffee Shops, straggly beards,  kurtahs, and talked about Social Justice, Existentialism, Cold War... And while post that absolute poverty declined, income inequality increased, the cold war ended and now escalates again, and as far as existence goes... Well unlike Sartre and Camus we now realise the universe is not indifferent.

Makes Us Think. Now the thing with an icon is it leads one to reflect deeply about numerous things.
-- Obviously, social media.
-- The gap between image and reality.
-- The gap between star and followers.
-- Equality and inequality.
-- Exercise and nature.
-- But also it helps us peer deeper into reality,
To look closer at the astral.

Pretence Versus Reality: How we cheat ourselves.
We saw these exercising kids once in the gym. But the impression some would have received is of great athleticism. Constant visits. No harm done. Yes, no harm done. But there is a vast difference between a selfie of a workout and a real workout. There is a vast difference between pose and reality and between that gap a life can slip. Er… how?

To answer this let us ask a question: But why are we doing something? Are we doing it for Joy Versus staged for FB? The first will give joy, the second will give pats on the back.

Are we doing things for the Eyes of People Versus For Life. A Selfie of  a Workout can build a business, a Workout can build your body, strengthen your heart.

And many live their lives, skirting the surface of ice. Seemingly glorious on the outside, but inwardly empty.

Many couples walk around hand-in-hand, and the world admires them. But consider a marriage where the only reason you went around with someone was because others admired him or her? Many do that, precisely that and well, often end up with hollowed out lives.

The same principle extends to work. Between a career that fulfils and a creer that satisfies, many choose the more paying career. More of these burn out mid-career.

In a psychological experiment, patients waiting for a dentist, were offered 2 choices. One a posh waiting room, cold, but swank. The other, warm, cosy, but a trifle fuddy-duddy. The patients were asked to rank which they would feel more comfortable in. Most ranked, the warm and cosy waiting room. But when actually waiting a great number chose the posh, yet cold waiting room, over the one they would feel home in. And so the truth is many would choose the hepper option even it makes them more uncomfortable.

So, should we not have the eyes of someone on us?
Not really…

The Lie can inspire. The image of someone exercising may drive many to exercise, some to be reminded of exercise, some to be shamed to exercise. The lie may promote a truth.

But is life just numbers? One may ask. Hmm… can the pretence really feed brilliance?

For Pretence can Drive The Extraordinary.
Have you not encountered a time, when pushed by expectation, someone does something extraordinary?: The beginning maybe a lie, but eyes act like yeast, and cause life to surpass itself.

Take a musician, an amateur, sitting in nature he hums a tune. He gets joy. The tune is simple. He enjoys it, then puts it aside. When friends ask him to sing, he sings one of the standard numbers like ‘country roads’. It’s good, but the music does not rise from his country, and the delight in sitting in nature.

Now compare this with another musician, an pro, sitting in nature he hums a tune. He gets joy. The tune is simple. He enjoys it, then thinking of a concert, he develops it, and at his next concert he plays it. The music rises from his experience, and his delight in sitting in nature. Because he is an artist, pushed by an audience he does not sing “Country roads”, but instead plays a ‘Rasta to My Dil…’  It may not match the box-office records, of country roads. But a fresh tune adds to life…

In this comparison we see the eyes of the audience and critics, is the thing that actually keeps things honest.

So one realizes likes can stifle, and likes can support. eyes can deceive, and eyes can inspire.

The effect on others.
Now we can prod our mind with a question: But who truly benefits?

Of the 5 teens only one was exercising. Often in a group, all interested in something, when one of us is very good at something, that can actually be bad, it can deter others, stop others. So a good thing for one in the group maybe stultifying for others.

That said, this also promotes diversification. And so while one in the group may be sporty, another may choose Yoga {Less sweaty, but more health in it}, the next maybe a film maker, another may become a sports good manufacturer…

Appreciating The Astral.
Now there is a plane called the astral, this is closer to the ultimate reality than our world of things. It is a 'state' spiritually much higher or rather deeper than our physical plane. In that realm images are real, impulses are real, desires are real, what is thought has impact.

From this world of dreams, we get  gifts of magic, the ability to look beyond the grime, the ability to imagine so deeply it compels us, even directly takeover arms, shift the context of the physical,  open new worlds and possibilities. But the same plane is also one that befuddles, enmeshes, misleads, lies, enslaves, ensorcells... And so it has also been called the realm of medusa...

But why would, you may ask would a realm closer to the divine, so magical be so contradictory, ugly?

And as you look at the example of The New Workout we understand just why…

Why dreams lead to Unicorns and breed vampires.

Why many who exercise actually hate their bodies.

Why someone who loves will care the most, and hate the deepest.

Why many bound by the same dream, are not motivated by the same dream. So a set of friends bonded by a common desire to lose weight, often turn on the one actually does.

Why someone who excels may crush followers.

And we understand the whys of life a little, appreciate the infinite complexity a trifle more. And you realize you understand society, tyranny, freedom…

And you stretch the wings of your soul… and you realize why with angels one wing is clarity… the other confusion…

We stood a moment at the bright light of a gym… and now we walk the chiaroscuro paths in God’s forest…

-- Love & God, Celia & Tarun Cherian