Journey to the Centre of You.

I found something infinitely interesting on the web (on, Facebook actually) sometime back. Her:

This is Ernestine Shepard. She is 75 years old. She is a bodybuilder. As of 2011, she was the Guiness Record Holder for the oldest bodybuilder int he world.

You’ve got to be effing kidding me.

As it turns out, No. Here’s her really interesting story:

So I know, there are apparently a lot of 75 year old grammas and grampas doing a lot of things and its all over the internet. But what this woman has achieved is phenomenal for the following reasons:

1. She started training at 73. She wasn’t fat or unfit or anything. Fairly slim, but even so, 2 years is a fairly short time to get into this kind of shape.

2. The human body is one of the hardest things to change. You can change everything else about yourself, but your body is one stubborn sonofabitch. In fact, for every change you’ve tried to make and failed – your body can be held responsible.

3. Summoning the kind of willpower, discipline & patience required to do this at 75 – well, wow.

So that brings me to the essence of the matter: Are old people a lot more focussed & clear about what they want?

The straight answer is obviously NO. Most old people are anything but clear. Most of them harbour some kind of ill-conceived bias or prejudice, many are rigid & inflexible. Generally all of them are bitter & angry. Clear & focussed? not so much.

BUT, when they do want something, they are fearless, without hesitation & unilaterally motivated towards their goal.

Does being close to death have anything to do with this? Is fear of death the greatest motivator there is? Far greater than the joy of living?

And what does it really mean – to be alive? When does one fully ‘feel’ it? Is it true that one truly feels alive when one is inches away from death? Like those much touted ‘near-death’ experiences that people live to tell?

I had a dance teacher once who said to us, “You are all having near-life experiences right now” (she was referring to the way we were dancing) She said, “You know how people have a near-death moment? The moment that they feel their about to die, but not quite dead? Well you guys are having near-life moments. It’s like life is about to happen to you, and you’re holding back. Life is right here, and you’re skirting around it. Why? Go for it!!”

I believe, she had, very simply, captured the essence of our existence.

Near-life moments. That’s what we’re living. Never fully alive, never really living. She sort of getting there, and pulling out.

So what would it be like, if we were to dive right into the vortex of life? Would we just drown?

No. That’s where we go wrong. See the centre of a vortex, a whirlpool, a cyclone, is always calm. Peaceful. Tranquil. It’s the periphery that is in chaos. It’s the same with life. As long as you’re on the edge, you just keep going round and round, confused & terrified, all the time afraid that you’re going to get pulled in – when in is where you should be!

In his book, ‘Consciousness’  Osho talks about this ‘centre’ being inside oneself. It is supposedly that part, which, when accessed, brings a certain depth & understanding, meaning, to existence, a calmness to action & a clarity of thought like no other. But he conveniently misses out on how to go from the whirlpool to the centre. Or rather, what he says about that makes no sense.

I believe this ‘centre’ is our raison d’etre. Quite literally, our reason to live. Knowing why you ‘want’ to live. Knowing that it is something you must ‘want’. Not just accept because you happen to wake up every morning. But actually ‘want’ to wake up. Knowing this, knowing one’s purpose, brings to one an unforeseen clarity of thought, a calmness of action, a firmness of belief that is impossible to possess otherwise.


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