#9 Tuning Up Your Machinery

Tuning up your Machinery.

For this lesson we look at four ways to pay attention to your machinery.  They are equal and discussed in no particular order.  But every single one of them is essential for your biological machinery to function perfectly.

We have been designed by nature to be physically active, to move around.  Certain activities, when done consistently, with awareness, improve your machinery, your well-being.   You already know what they are, but let’s take a fresh look, anyway.

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The activities of good posture, range of motion, and graceful movement are so basic that they are often overlooked.   Your attention here improves blood circulation, frees nerve conduction, permits vital energy flow, brightens mental attitude, and reduces muscle fatigue and tension.

Two more elements, closely related to good posture, range of motion, and graceful movement, are eye-hand coordination and balance.  Your awareness and practice here enable you to avoid injuries and navigate through life’s challenges, especially as you get older when injuries from falling become frequent, potentially life altering, and too often, fatal.

Then, there is aerobic activity, endurance exercises characterized by increased, rhythmic breathing and sustained elevated heart rate.  Your benefits here are well documented.

Better circulation, especially at the microvascular level, the smallest blood vessels, where every cell of your body gets improved access for nourishment and vital gas exchanges.

Stimulates your endorphins, natural chemicals that calm and center your mental state. Lowers resting heart rate and your blood pressure.  The list goes on and on.

And finally, certain physical activities are capable of increasing your strength and power.  By progressively overloading muscles, connective tissues, and bones, you become stronger and more powerful, both useful survival qualities.

So there you have it, a delightful spectrum of physical activities from which you can improve and maintain your own personal, custom-made machinery.  Moving on, let’s look at another requirement, one that demands our complete attention.

Your machinery needs regular rest, recovery, and rejuvenation.  Call it a time for healing, a time to repair.  Not just R & R.  It’s more like R & R & R & R. This is huge.  Think about it.  Approximately, one third of your life is spent in this vital mode.  8 hours out of every 24.  30 years out of 90.

Rest, recovery, rejuvenation, and repair happen during 6 – 8 hours of nighttime sleep, an afternoon nap of from ½ hour to 1½ hours, and regular meditations of about 15 to 20 minutes.  Meditations offer rejuvenation that is not found in sleep.  Your machinery reverts automatically to rest mode, part of your circadian rhythm.

It wants to shut down naturally and regularly on its own.  You simply need to let it happen, by avoiding outside interferences from rest time.  Learn to listen to your body.  It will tell you when to rest.

Let us go to requirement #3.  All machines need fuel, some form of energy that allows them to run, to work.  For your machinery, we are talking about food, and really about nutrition.  Food is what we eat.  Diet is a list of foods. Nutrition refers to the vital biochemicals released from digested foods that power your biologic machinery.

And to be fair, the term, gastronomy, refers to the uniquely human art and pleasure that can be derived from a love of foods.

This subject of food receives an incredible amount of attention.  Seems like everybody has strong opinions about what to eat.  There are always new and better ways to eat.  Discovering what works best for your own machinery is one big ongoing challenge.  You really have to think about this.  No doubt, mistakes will be made and that’s okay.

For examples of new and better ways, two remarkable recent books have turned this subject upside down.  They are Wheat Belly by William Davis and Grain Brain by David Perlmutter.  These authors address the hazards of engineered food products, especially grain and sugar products.

Engineered food products have emerged very recently, in the last 50 years or so, and they now dominate human diets, at least the Western diet.  Think about that.  Our species, Homo sapiens, has been around for 195,000 years, nearly 2000 centuries; engineered food products have been around for only the last 50 years, or a half a century.

These mutants have not been developed to enrich your body. Their effects have not been thoroughly studied.  What we have found out to date has all been bad.  Engineered food products have been developed mostly to enrich the companies that produce them.

In his book Grain Brain, Dr. Perlmutter states that the number one item consumed as human food in the United States today, based on total calories, is: high fructose corn syrup.  How scary is that?

Your biologic machinery does best with a wide variety fresh, high quality, whole foods. You have to figure out for yourself how you want to do that.

By the way, good nutrition depends on how you eat as much as what you eat.  Pay attention when eating.  Eat at a slow pace in a relaxed setting.  Only then will your gut break down foods into nutrients.  Eating fast and eating in an agitated state, alters the absorption of nutrients and promotes food allergies.

Finally, keep food portions reasonably small.  Your biologic machinery needs less fuel than you think.  It has been said that 25% of our calories support our bodies and the other 75% supports the medical industry.

The most powerful food quote of all time comes from Des Muirhead, a famous golf course architect and expert on trees.  He states that golf course trees get too much nourishment and water.  This regimen predisposes them to disease.  He goes on to say: “ There’s a parallel to obese people, who, as you know, don’t live as long, and are susceptible to disease.  WE DIG OUR GRAVES WITH OUR TEETH, YOU KNOW.”

Now, for your last requirement, Your machinery needs to be protected, protected from all types of environmental dangers, for examples, exposure to sun’s rays, cold or hot temperatures, wind and rain. Protected from other living creatures, big and small, from viruses to predators.  And even, sometimes, from other people.  You need to be aware constantly and adapt your behavior to protect your machinery.

So, there you have them, the big five, mental awareness, physical activity, rest, nutrition, and protection.  How well you apply these to your personal machinery determines your health, happiness, and unique human potentials.

The key is mental awareness, paying attention.  Everything else directly results from this one.  Remember, it starts with breath, gentle rhythmic breathing.  Think of your breath as your personal guardian angel, your best friend always ready, always ready, to be called upon.  So, learn to breathe throughout your day.  Using your breath is easy, it’s peaceful, it’s creative and powerful.