Today, I spent over five hours reading. Do you know what the title of these books were?
The Power Brain, Five Steps to Upgrading Your Brain Operating System, by Ilchi Lee, and Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Weston A Price. Both are fascinating books, and I look forward to learning from the incredible knowledge in both, but here’s the thing: at what point is intellect the enemy of experience?
Just as a water fast can be beneficial for 3 days, or 5 days, or maybe even 20 days (I am just throwing out numbers here, I really do not know the answer to this mystery), when do you pass the threshold into diminishing returns? When does the fast stop healing and start hurting?
While it is not the exact same analogy, it reminds me of the books I am reading about health and fitness, longevity and biohacking, self-help and happiness. Because do you know what I did today after I had enough of reading? I watched YouTube interviews and listened to podcasts about universal consciousness, (Mark Gober, Where Is My Mind?) and fasting (Peter Attia, Tom Bilyeu, Mike Mutzel). All super interesting, super informative, and super intellectual. But sometimes, when I read or listen to such topics, I pause and think of this quote from the movie, Dead Poets Society.
Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
Do not get me wrong. Reading and learning and growing make me very happy. And so, too, does working out and eating smart and going to sleep early and connecting to nature and feeling pain-free and healthy.
But you know what else makes me happy? Having a beer with a friend. Devouring a homemade pizza with all the add-ons. Staying up all night to talk about life and girls. Spending time with family. Falling in love. Making love.
What is the point of being healthy if we do not enjoy our body?
What is the point of our discipline if we do not let loose occasionally?
What is the point of avoiding lower back pain if we do not play?
Who cares if I honor my body’s circadian rhythms if I cannot connect to the present moment?
The more I reflect on my life so far, the more obvious it is that the most influential and groundbreaking moments of my life are not ones of intellect or wisdom, but of connection. It is the feeling that I remember from the special moments, not the words that were said or the knowledge that was shared. It is the feeling, the connection, that makes life worth living.
The ultimate purpose of strengthening our body/mind practice is so that we can enjoy this one precious life we were given. To enjoy a beer with a friend and go for a hike afterwards. To be healthy and inspired humans, which allows us to take the focus off ourselves and onto others.
To walk each other home, as Ram Dass would say.
I write these words to serve as a reminder, to myself as much as anyone, that life is meant to be lived, not survived. And to live means to feel, both the strength of a thousand suns and the loneliness of a broken heart.
To live means to make mistakes, to venture off the path, to temporarily lose oneself while waiting for life to begin again. To be a good human means to do your best, to inflict no harm, and to take a moment every now and then to breathe and listen, to pause and smile.
So, back to the original question, what is the point?
To me, the best answer is this: to live.