The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A recent letter

To a friend, with the identification stripped away:
Dear C.B.--

Didn't know whether you've been to my blog.  The address is in the footer.  On it, I've been dumping my thoughts on this approach, (which I don't really have a name for.  anything accurate seems pompous) and might answer some questions for you.
You asked me what benifits one could expect from the 5MM.  Let me make a little list:
1) From the Be Breathed Technique
a)  All the benifits of any good abdominal exercise: better posture, flatter stomach, more energy, better digestion, better sex life, healthier back, etc.
b) Better athletic performance due to enhanced understanding of how the body works, as well as improved power transfer from lower to upper body.
c) Improved metabolism (due to improved digestion and improved utilization of oxygen).
2) From the Five Tibetans: Fine overall joint integrity, good strength/weight ratio (one fo the most important elements of fitness, and rarely discussed), improved balance and coordination, spinal flexibility, abdominal strength, toned arms and legs.  In other words--damned fine basic fitness in only fifteen minutes a day. (If you add the two systems.)
But wait!  Doesn't that mean I'm dishonest about the "Five Minute Miracle" tag?  Nope.  YOu can actually fit both together in five minutes a day just by being a bit clever.  Alternate days, darlin'.  Monday, Wednesday, Friday, do the Be Breathed 5 times a day.  Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, do 10 reps of each of the five Tibetans.  Takes five minutes.  I defy you, or anyone, to find a more useful 5 minutes of time.
But that brings up another issue: this stuff actually works.  And that means that, inevitably, it's going to trigger an ego panic button.  If you're dealing with some one with severe damange (like A.D., [a mutual friend who died from complications directly traceable to obesity and poor diet]) , NOTHING bought "off the rack" is gonna help him.  He needed serious meditative discipline under a serious teacher, or serious therapy with a damned fine therapist.  This stuff is like the best damned vitamins you could possibly buy.  What such a person, out on the far 1% of the scale in terms of damage, needs is PERSONALIZED, prescription medicine.  So when it comes to that level of damage, there is
1) Stuff that won't work--but that damaged people will buy. (Because intuitively, they know it won't threaten them.)
2) Stuff that WILL work, but that they won't try (because they intuitively know it will kill their ego, which clings to their false self-image).
Great spiritual teachers for thousands of years have known that "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear".  The teacher is always there.  One must have eyes to see.
And there is my conundrum.  After forty years of sinking wells, I hit water.  No matter how much I might want to, I CANNOT move the well.  I don't have the power, ability, or wisdom.  "Steve", my ego identity, would love to get rich finding a way to package it. But packaging it, making it "safe", "moves the well", don't you see?  I literally cannot do that, no matter how much I want, no matter how good or greedy my intentions.  All I can do is serve those who are ready to come to the well.  It ain't my water.  It ain't my bucket.  But I can help teach them to turn the handle and bring the water up.  That's all I can do, and I want to learn how to do that to the best of my ability.
The "Be Breathed" technique must be combined with some other activity to take it through more of the ranges of motion, otherwise, the pain and fear encoded in the body will prevent learning the technique properly.  As originally taught, it was a fairly athletic expression which I have simplified. Yoga and Tai Chi are two examples of other movement systems that would suffice.  However, both of them are FAR more difficult to teach than the Tibetans, so until and unless I find something better and simpler, I'm stuck with them.  This is the minimum to achieve the effect of breaking up the psycho-emotional "armor" and allowing the student to begin to process it. 
Which opens another question: what does the student do with the emotions as they arise?  The Tibetans answer that question: by adding only one or two reps per week, most people will be able to process it unconsciously, gradually.  You could add a dream diary, meditation, or psychological counseling and speed up the process.
So for the people you're talking about, the 1% who are really severely damaged, the physical techniques would have to be the same, but the additionof a dream diary and meditation techniques might make it easier to stomach.  Beyond that, no one has EVER been able to create an "off the rack" product or technique to help those in such severe circumstances.  I haven't ego enough to believe I'll be the first.


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