I first learned of the Love Principle in Walter Russell’s one-year home study course. Simply stated, Russell teaches that the Love Principle is expressed as a balance of giving and regiving.
The concept of giving and regiving is beautifully depicted in nature. For example, grass grows in response to the love given from Mother Earth and Father Sun. The grass is given life, in which it experiences the love of physical existence. Grass growing on the African savanna also experiences this giving. From time to time, a zebra comes along and eats the grass, which may or may not terminate its physical life. To be eaten by the zebra is the grass’s chance for regiving; it contributes its life and love to the zebra, nourishing and energizing the animal’s life. The zebra, experiencing the same love from Mother Earth and Father Sun in the form of water via river, stream or pool and food from grass, is perpetually receiving its giving or love and enters into its natural regiving when, for example, a lion kills and eats it. The zebra now passes its giving, its love onto the lion. The lion, though not a grass eater, enjoyed the love of both Mother Earth and Father Sun that was offered the grass as bioaccumulation in the zebra, allowing it to express the gifts of “lion life” on the savanna. Being at the top of the food chain, much like the human being, the lion’s only real predator is Father Time. The lion comes to the end of its natural life and typically dies in its sleep. Upon death, the buzzards, other scavengers and microorganisms will ensure that the lion offers its fair share of regiving, completing what is referred to as the closed organic cycle or the wheel of life.
Through the process of living the Love Principle, each life form is afforded the opportunity to exist and experience the splendor of a life sympathetic with existence as that particular life form. Under the laws of nature, life forms never suffer from a lack of love as a giving, nor can they consciously evade its natural regiving or loving back. It is only as humans that we manage to break these principles.
Analyzing the Love Principle, one can see that there is no waste and that all life and all forms of life are bound by love in a codependent relationship. Yet, when we come to human life and human behavior, we see over and over again a perpetual consumption or taking from Mother Nature. Humans consume Her love, yet at the same time humanity at large is negligent in its regiving. For example, we farm for commercial gain, literally strip mining the soils and turning what was once arable land into deserts where a fraction of the previous life can now exist. We dump billions of gallons of raw sewage and industrial waste into the ocean daily, poisoning the waters and impeding the immune systems of all sea life. We destroy the natural habitat of millions of living species so that we can drill for oil to power our gas-guzzling cars and fossil-fuel-hungry industries, despite the fact that both governments and big industry have suppressed numerous viable attempts by other loving, compassionate human beings to introduce more efficient and cleaner forms of fuel. Significant scientific evidence supports the contention that we are accelerating the greenhouse effect with our current forms of farming, industry and lifestyles. One effect of this is the changing weather patterns that disrupt the natural flow of the closed organic cycle or Love Principle even more.
While there are numerous more examples I could give, glancing at any major newspaper will elucidate my point. Because this article is an offering to health and exercise professionals, I would like to now describe how the Love Principle applies to those professional groups, both of which I personally receive a giving from and am hereby regiving in one of the many possible ways we all can.
The Corporatization of Health and Exercise
In our more natural state as hunter-gatherers, and even in the ancient agrarian societies that emerged in the Middle East some 10,000 years ago, we lived in accordance with the Love Principle. Most native societies were very careful not to waste any part of an animal. They ate what was edible and used the rest to manufacture clothing, shelter and equipment, such as fashioning tools from the teeth and bones. Our fecal material was returned to the earth, fulfilling the Love Principle by feeding the microorganisms that in turn accepted our giving and regave to the plant life. The physical movement of our life was woven into the fabric of the Love Principle’s giving and regiving as a natural, holistic expression of movement as seen in all of our developmental predecessors, be they water, air, earth, mineral, plant or animal. Our very movement, or exercise, was part and parcel of the wheel of life!
Within horticultural societies, the planting, farming and harvesting was primarily the task of the women, for it is well known that plant life has an affinity for female energy. Horticulture and hunting, a predominately male activity, existed side by side for some time, never disrupting the natural synergy of the Love Principle. With the advent of the plow, females were generally displaced from agriculture since they were not strong enough to handle the animal-plow combination. At this most important point in the development of humanity, the previously balanced contribution from males and females to the life process began to swing heavily toward patriarchy. This evolution in farming increased food production, which led to the ability to stockpile grains and other foodstuffs. This freed some people from the full-time task of food production and allowed time for specialization in tool making, art, crafts and more. Metallurgy developed, leading to the manufacture of progressively more advanced tools and weaponry. We became more and more specialized with our use of herbs and medicines. Out of the agrarian age came the industrial age, which gave birth to modern science. Modern science was primarily responsible for the progressive dissection of large holistic systems. Our scientific methods were never comprehensive enough to study the entire web of life, and therefore scientists had to confine aspects of living systems in attempt to gain knowledge of their functions. Yet the individual parts are never the sum of the whole! Despite the inherent drawbacks of an isolationist’s approach to science - through the dissection of nature – we gained the ability to harness electricity, to produce fossil fuels, identify the periodic table of elements and understand chemistry, to make plastics and much more.
Each step of the way, life seemed to get easier. By 1900, we had the ability to both destroy our enemy, produce electric motors and mass produce bread and other foodstuffs as well. As we drifted further and further away from the Love Principle, we moved into instant gratification. Some of the many results we now experience are:
- Using medicines produced from the fractionation of herbs or the dissection and extraction of various elements from plants, insects and animals. For example:
- Horse urine is used to make estrogen used in female hormone replacement therapies. However, consider that the need for estrogen replacement was almost nonexistent prior to the onset of the industrial and scientific age because women lived the Love Principal - they were in tune with nature - and menopausal distress was relatively unheard of.
- Antibiotics were developed to kill bacteria, which were suspected to be the cause of many diseases. Yet today, we prescribe more antibiotics than ever and now have problems with resistance to antibiotics, staphylococcus infections in hospitals and the highest rates of chronic disease in recorded history!
- Hundreds of patents for medical drugs and billions of dollars invested in pharmaceutical companies, yet modern drugs in general do not address the etiology of illness. They typically suppress the symptoms of untold numbers of diseases that were uncommon when we were living in accordance with the Love Principle. Generally, neither the site of the disease nor the symptoms are where the etiology of any disease process is found.
- Food processing, or the progressive refinement of foods beyond what is absolutely necessary to soften fiber and improve digestion, has resulted in the massive loss of nutrients in our diets. Each step of the processing, life force is detracted from food and in short order what was once a life-giving food becomes a displacement food. By definition, a displacement food is any foodstuff that takes more energy and nutrition to digest, metabolize, assimilate and eliminate than it delivers. With the progressive increase in food processing has come a concomitant increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases.
- Conglomeration in cities has lead to humanity losing touch with Mother Nature, which has facilitated our willingness to kill Her! For instance, recent investigations have found that many children with attention deficit disorder, anxiety and other such stress responses can make great strides toward healing or normalizing their physiology and psychology simply by spending more time in nature. Children and adults in cities are being bombarded by environmental stimuli such as electromagnetic pollution that our biological systems have never until now had to deal with, while at the same time being deprived of such natural stimulations as:
Additionally, a tremendous number of today’s children and teens have never even physically seen the very farm animals they eat! Meat is considered to come in packages from a grocery store. With this departure from nature has come an unintentional indifference to the destruction of nature at large. All the while, we are killing our Mother! It is well known that babies who don’t receive adequate physical nurture from their mothers or a human surrogate will not develop optimally and in many instances will die. Why would we expect detachment from Mother Nature should produce a different result, when in fact Mother Nature merely transcends and includes our individual biological “mothers?”
- Color stimulation
- Effective use of near and far vision
- Environmental pressures to use the body in such a way that our natural internal biological pump systems and energy systems are activated.
- Transportation and the mechanization of farming, while helpful at large, has resulted in tremendous problems stemming from sedentary lifestyles. Charles Wharton, a highly respected naturalist, has shown that the average hunter-gatherer society completed their hunting and gathering tasks in approximately three and a half hours a day. Certainly, three and a half hours of activity a day, even at low levels of intensity, is adequate to maintain optimal biological function and stave off any diseases linked to inactivity, not to mention being sufficient to optimize one’s physiology in the way that exercise is known for. Upon completing their daily tasks, parents of children took time to play with them, relieving the elders – grandparents and extended family of this generation - of their duties as educators. The result was a level of psychological stability that now we can only look back upon!
While it is unlikely that the so-called modern advancements of science and society are likely to go away, there is still very much we can learn from the study of holistic systems, which combined exercise, diet and spiritual development as a living philosophy.
Ancient Practices Uniting Spirit and Exercise
As I’ve pointed out above, in most ancient or primitive systems of spiritual development, exercise was either included or was a direct by-product of survival in their given environment. For example, around 3000 B.C. the Aryans began to enter north-west India, bringing with them their practice of yoga. The Aryans believed it was of utmost importance that thought, speech and action be life supporting, or in other words, in harmony with all other levels of the universe. In fact, the very word yoga means yoke or union.
As much as 7000 years ago, Qigong (pronounced “chee-gong”) emerged as a Chinese philosophical system of harmonious integration of the human body with the universe. Like yoga, Qigong is a system of physical, mental and philosophical training for cultivating moral and body strength, prolonging life and developing human potential. Today, there are millions of Chinese and untold thousands of people from other nations who practice Qigong. It is my personal experience and observation that many of these people have spiritual experiences, experiences that bond them with nature, improve their sense of well being and their capacity to love self and others.
The Chinese also developed a system of gymnastic exercise called Cong Fou. Cong Fou dates back to 2698 B.C.E. and is defined as the art of exercising the body and its application to the treatment of disease. In addition to Qigong and Cong Fou, the Chinese developed Tai Chi, which is often referred to as a soft martial art. Tai Chi is a system of functional exercise because, like the others mentioned here, it seeks to improve the health and vitality of the body and mind, improving man’s relationship with both external and internal nature. Additionally, most of the ancient systems of spiritual development not only included spiritual practices and exercises, they were inclusive of dietary guidelines and advice, including how to use food as medicine in the treatment of various ailments. These were complete “holistic” systems for the development of health and well being.
Anyone subscribing to any one of the above mentioned ancient systems of living for as little as six consecutive months will show one or all of the following signs of health and well being:
- Improved aesthetics (often looking noticeably younger than their age!)
- Improved energy levels
- Improved mental clarity
- Little if any need for medical drugs
- Greater sense of autonomy
- Improved sense of purpose and wanting to belong
- Greater sense of unity with nature
- Elimination of disease
- Increased resistance to disease
- Greater passion and compassion for life!
These very markers of physical-emotional-mental-spiritual unity can be found among those who practice the integration of religion or spiritual development and exercise. Clearly, as the great philosopher Spinoza stated, “Whatever increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of activity in the body, the idea thereof increases or diminishes, helps or hinders the power of thought in our mind.” Plato and Aristotle, who lived long before Spinoza, are recorded to have demanded that their philosophy students exercise regularly and vigorously, for they knew full well that he who is not fit is not fit to think rationally! Modern understanding of human physiology, millennia later, supports their contention in this regard, for the brain, weighing only about 1/25th of our body weight, consumes approximately 80 percent of the available blood sugar whenever cognitively engaged. Anyone who has taken a test in school has had the experience of leaving the study room feeling exhausted from the mental event!
In the USA today, only eight percent of men and three percent of women participate in any regularly scheduled exercise and that 84.8 percent claim to be religious or spiritual. This suggests that the majority of the sick, diseased and obese people lack understanding of the relationship between being healthy as a means of being more holistic and spiritual as a means of achieving higher states of consciousness for the betterment of all! We must begin to see that through the unity of spiritual practice, whole food eating and exercise, we can achieve health and vitality again. Then, with our new view and our new vitality, we will have removed the hindrances to the powers of our mind, allowing us to creatively seek worldwide brotherhood.
The Offering of the Health and Exercise Professional
Are our gyms, physical therapy clinics, osteopathic clinics, chiropractic and medical offices offering and encouraging any form of spiritual practice, whole food eating and appropriately balanced functional exercise as part of a program for developing well being, or are we merely perpetuating a failing application of science and medicine?
Certainly, one may argue that there have been many advances made by science and medicine, as I’ve acknowledged above. Yet, please consider the following short list of “advances:”
- Synthetic carpet releasing toxic fumes into our homes and workplaces
- Microwave ovens destroying the cellular make up of our food
- Spraying some two billion pounds of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and rodenticides a year, despite the fact that crop losses are at an all-time high and food quality and human vitality are at an all time low
- Open heart surgery to cut out arteriovascular blockages that were relatively unheard of prior to the start of the 20th Century and the onset of modern food processing
- Having more gyms per capita and yet the most sedentary, obese population in the recorded history of mankind
Is this progress? I certainly don’t think so! We have done the very same thing to exercise that science has done to nature and food processors have done to food. We have broken the body into component parts and created machines to exercise each part. Our gyms and medical centers of all types by and large peddle every sort of isolate you could imagine and then some! We have surgeons and rehabilitation professionals worldwide isolating the spot that hurts only to cut it out, inject it with a numbing agent or anti-inflammatory agent or manipulation the sensory motor system through the application of electrical stimulation or other topical analgesics. Yet, how often are we addressing the etiology?
Is it a mystery that women suffering PMS commonly display sizable and at times unmanageable mood swings, low back pain and neck pain? Is it a mystery that we have the highest incidence of orthopedic injury among high school and college athletes (of both sexes), despite the fact of the so-called advanced exercise technologies available at every major school system in industrialized nations today? Why is it then that even among our athletic population, including bodybuilders, we have unprecedented psychological disorders, concomitant with rampant medical drug use? Is this our evolution? Does this in any way, shape or form resemble the very Love Principle from which we were spawned?
My personal opinion is that we, the exercise professionals, the acupuncturists, the physios, chiros, the osteos… indeed, the very professionals who once stood for identification of and addressing of the etiology of a patient’s pain and discomfort, must begin to practice what we once stood for!
We have all been given a grand opportunity to do what we love to do and to regive. The first thing we can do is practice what we preach! Our clients and patients need the gift of observational leadership - leadership not by academic rote but by example. You can’t give to another what you yourself do not have. It simply doesn’t work, and the proof is all around you, in the magazines, on the news, literally everywhere. We must give the gift of health and well being to ourselves first, which means following the foundation principles of health and well being. But are we? Is the average exercise or healthcare professional healthier to any significant degree than the very people they work with?
We must give ourselves health through the very means our ancestors did, as clearly outlined in Weston A. Price's book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. For clearly, our fad diets have failed, as have our amazing isolates! Only when we are overflowing with health and vitality ourselves can we outflow that love, that quality of existence to others. We must be like a tree so full of fruit that it literally bows to the earth, dropping its fruit out of the burden of its fullness.
When we take the initiative to remove the garbage (equipment and so-called foods and supplements!) from our gyms and healthcare centers as an act of leadership and as a natural outgrowth of our own well being, when we bow to our clients and patients to share the fruits of our own healthy lifestyle, we will bring forth the union of a real yogi, we will have the abundance of chi afforded to the committed Qigong or Tai Chi practitioner. When this occurs in your own life, you will not need to schedule appointments with your clients so they can pick the abundant fruits of your well being. Your well being will radiate to everyone around you.
Your health and vitality, your well being and mine IS our potential regiving. I can only speak for myself in saying that this is the future I dream for and work toward each and every day.
What is your dream? What are you working for? What is your regiving? What are you creating with your thoughts, words and deeds as you see your clients and patients each day? Is your spiritual practice one bent around survival, or is it an expression of your love?
It is my dream that we all live the Love Principle together, for surely that is what all the great spiritual masters have taught us to do. Surely that was their dream for humanity.
May we all dream together. May we all focus our thoughts, words and deeds on what we want as our future, not what we don’t want.
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