Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I was listening to Satan this evening while I was working out. "Oh Jack, " he said in a silken and sonorous tone, "you poor thing. This is so hard, Jack, all this hard hard work. It's so much. Just go a little slower, Jack. It will be easier, and it doesn't really matter, a few more seconds. You can make up for it with a strong finish. Sure Jack. Save nothing. At the end I really do want you to save nothing. Balls out, Jack, absolutely. But Jack, Jack, don't exhaust yourself right now, for heaven's sake. Be sensible, sensible, Jack. Exhaustion is dangerous. You're very healthy for your age, Jack -- you really look so good, for your age -- but blood vessels do burst. And no one knows how hard it is, for you in particular, Jack, and they won't even know if you take it a little slower, a little easier, not that you would ever go easy. No one will know, Jack, not that it's their damn business ... and anyway they don't even feel sorry for you. Jack, is it hot in here or what? Man is it hot. They don't even notice how the sweat is just POURING off of you. And Jack, isn't that talking a distraction? But just keep plugging alone, I mean along. Heh heh. A little slowing each time is expected. Oh! Jack! -- you're wobbling! You almost STUMBLED, Jack! Jack, you must REALLY be working hard. Did they notice? No, of course not. So hard. Too hard. And Jack, this is only four minutes! Another sixteen?!? Ridiculous."

On and on he went, Satan. Thing of it is, he was right. No lies at all. No lies this time. Even the "too hard" -- it is too hard, to do something faster than I can do it. But it's not too hard to do as fast as I can do it. Which this wasn't. Satan loves the truth. He loves most of the truth. Sometimes it's all, or mostly, or at least some lies. You can't do it. You're not good enough. But with me he knows he has to stick with the truth, mostly. Because I can hear the lie. But I can be fooled by the truth. It is hard. There is another 16 minutes. The heat is unpleasant. If I save it now I will finish stronger. You shouldn't argue with what is true. It's just that in this particular circumstance, truth is invented by what you do. You choose your truth.

Just as I was getting started, E reminded me about mental attitude. Too late though. That's a strategy that has to be practiced, trained. Start with a short workout. Develop a monologue, see what works, what's effective. It may be different with different people. It will be a trial-and-error thing, because not all theories are correct. There should be workouts designed to identify mental techniques that work. We have p-factor workouts, and for all the joking around I've done here with it, it is a valuable idea. This seems like it should be valuable too. Because every champion understands at some level that he will succeed. No maybe about it. "Champion" is a confusing word, because we think it involves other people. At my level, I just have to beat myself.

In ritual magic there's the idea of the magical personality. It's a deliberately developed state of mind, something like the way role-playing games have characters that the players build up over time. The ritual magician is not to use this personality outside of that ceremonial place. It's just psychology. The idea of sacredness, separateness. Every religion has it, in the solemnity of its rites. The High Priest of Israel would be struck dead if he entered the Holy of Holies with an impure mind. That's why he entered with a rope tied around his ankle -- if he died in there, they could drag him out.

Application: neither ceremonial magic nor athletics is sacred. But attitude matters. Tai chi is not a form of exercise. It's a form of meditation. That's an interesting point. Exercise also may be most productive when it is a form of meditation. Because it's all about the brain anyway, its neurons and its hormones. And the brain is just the sponge that holds the fluid of the mind -- as it were. It's just a sort of meat. It is the servant. I am the master. Aren't untrained dogs obnoxious? Isn't it annoying when kids have bad manners and stupid parents? And isn't it a huge mistake, when you listen to your meathead instead of your wisdom?

Tonight my strategy was to just work at a steady pace, and try to take as few rests, or as brief, as I could. Pretty big p-factor, so I think that strategy may be a failure. Too soon to tell though. I don't know how much thought I'm going to give to this latest idea in the next few days. Maybe brew up a few stratagems. A script, a visualization, a theatre of the mind progression. Incremental velocity. Integral veclusion. You're very lucky to know me.

I have in mind something about music. Music bypasses the mind and goes straight for the emotions and subconscious. That's why it's dangerous. But, yeah. This is a good idea. The rhythm alone should make a difference, without even touching the subconscious. A matrix, a scaffolding, to organize unconscious energy. A cue toward a mental attitude. A way of keying into and associating with past successes -- picking up where you left off. Something to occupy the mind, other than failure talk. I wish I knew some songs. What do they call it? a mix tape? a mix? Upbeat, 'Rocky' you can fly now stuff. Not Eminem. Eye of the tiger. You know that I am, unfortunately, right.

Ah well. It's not my month to program the workouts. We shall see. Meantime, just relax. Have some popcorn. It can't do any real harm. And you work so hard, so much of the time. Mmmm. So hot and crunchy. The smell. So salty and buttery. It's so good. And here. Have a cookie.


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