Thursday, October 15, 2009

Why Do You Train?

     Do you have a passion in life?  If you do, why do you do it?  What drives you to excel at it?  What drives you to continue at it?
     What drives you to do it?
     I have a passion for lifting weights.  I have a passion for working out.  I have a passion for reading.  I have a passion for traditional martial arts—the kind that can take you from gross to subtle to Causal.  I have a passion for True Spirituality—the kind of spirituality (hence the capital "T" and "S") that transcends common, everyday run-of-the mill spirituality; the kind that transcends spiritual materialism in all of its maddening forms.  (And sometimes I even have a passion for writing.)
     And, yes, sometimes I have a passion for things that I shouldn't necessarily have a passion for—women and beer; drugs, even, at one time in my life.  (By the way, there isn't necessarily anything wrong with any of these three things—or other things often thought of as "wrong"—don't read more into what I am saying than what is on this printed page.)
     So, the question remains: Why do you train?

     Interlude: For the sake of keeping this piece short, I am going to stick with training—specifically training with weights.  (At least, for the most part; I have been known to ramble, to let whatever comes up—especially if that "whatever" is Spirit—lead me where It wants to lead.)
     You can apply something other than lifting weights if it fits your particular personality.

     If you are expecting some high-flung, self-help style of answer, then you're going to be sadly mistaken.  I—by the way—can't stand all of the "self-help, guru" crap that masquerades in some form of spiritual guise.  In other words, if you think crud like "The Secret" is spiritual—or is in any other way helpful to this world we live in, to the further development of the evolution of human consciousness—then you might as well find some other blog at this point.  (This one ain't for you, buddy.)
     The answer is really short to the question posed here.  Two sentences should suffice.  (I will probably expound a little bit on these two sentences, of course, but if you want to stop at the next two sentences, feel free to do so—they're all you really need, especially if you get them right off the bat.)
     Here they are:
     I train just to train.
     I train because it is what I am.
     If you train for any other reason, then you're doing it for the wrong reason.  You got that right; please don't misunderstand me here.
     If you are training to look better in order to pick up women—or women, to pick up men—you're training for the wrong reason.
     If you're training in order to break records, win powerlifting meets—maybe be the flat-out strongest sumbitch walking around the gym—then you're training for the wrong reason.
     If you're training just to look better (without all the picking up women stuff), you're still training for the wrong reason.
     If you're training just to be stronger, you're training for the wrong reason.
     And, yes, if you're training in order to feel better, you're training for the wrong reason.
     Don't get me wrong about this, either—there's nothing wrong about getting stronger, looking better, feeling better.  I competed in powerlifting meets for years, and when I entered a meet, I planned on damn-well winning the thing.  But these things are only by-products of your training—they should never be the reason you train in the first place.
     You must train just to train.
     You must train because it is what you are.
     I have no choice but to lift weights, to train my body, push it to its limits.  I have no choice because training is what I am.  I couldn't be otherwise even if I tried.  (Now, this doesn't even mean that you necessarily have to enjoy training.  You can train just to train without ever enjoying it.)

     And so the question must be asked once again:  Why do you train?


  1. Thanks for the post! I definitely relate to this C.S. and couldn't disagree with what you just wrote. By putting training in these terms :

    You must train just to train.
    You must train because it is what you are.

    Makes it allowable for all the right reasons. What I mean is I personally have in the past actually felt guilty about training over say doing sitting meditation or something else. Often it's hard not to compartmentalize. At least for me it's been off and on a weak point throughout my life.

    But why do i compartmentalize? Because I obviously feel this is completely separate from or opposing that. There's friction. I'm not supposed to be doing this if i do that (ie I think maybe my spiritual path doesn't mix with weightlifting). Don't get me wrong, just like you I believe relative reality and moral ethics must always be heeded regarding harming and benefitting and the wisdom that must come with that. But if your going to stay on your path and do your best to integrate life in general, well all this restistance can really stunt growth.

    I often think I'm seeing a bigger picture but it comes with this underlying resistance. Thinking the way you describe helps cut through such resistance. Furthemore with having those above mentioned reasons I believe you have a firm foundation with what you are doing.

    Hopefully in turn all the extras; doing it for strength, girls whatever will be undertaken in a more wholesome, healthier manner.

    Just some thoughts,


  2. Ryan,

    Glad you found it helpful.

    I remember when I first—how do I put this?—"awoke" to my True Nature, I had a really hard time integrating it into my weight training. (Like you, I felt guilty about lifting weights instead of meditating, or perhaps practicing non-dual inquiry, or some other such thing.) But this was probably a good thing because—with time, at least—I began to really ENJOY my training like never before. I was now doing it JUST to do it. No. Other. Reason.

    So, anyway, I think we both can relate a lot on this.

    Thanks for your thoughts.


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