Yesterday, my friend and mentor, Elliott Hulse, dropped this awesome little nugget of wisdom in his marketing email. Since not all of you follow his material I want to share this with you, but I’ll also share my own take on his theme.
“Beast” is a term of appreciation and respect in a gym these days. See somebody finishing a super heavy set or a gruelling met con circuit and you’re likely to hear, “Dude, you’re a BEAST!” It’s meant to be a sign of respect and admiration, one I have used myself, on more than one occasion.
True to form, Elliott invites us to look beyond the intention of the accolade and look just a little deeper. He says,
“It’s a cool thing to say, but that’s all.
I’ve found that there usually isn’t an ounce of truth in theses statements.
Lifting weights that are so heavy that you bust blood vessels in your face and eyeballs does not make you a beast.
Driving your body further into physiological dysfunction by irrationally pumping out 47 reps of the power clean, with horrific form, in under 11 minutes, does not make you a
In fact, this type of neurotic narcissism does nothing but cause the animal in you to die slowly.”
It’s these last words that start to clue us in to his true intention. Is there any animal you know, besides us humans, that drives itself with such intensity for such superficial purposes as vanity and appearance?
“…the insistence of your ego stroking exercise programs stimulates nothing but backlash from the real beast in you.”
Does this beast still live inside you? That’s really a stupid question, because the answer is, of course it does. The real question is what’s the condition of that beast? Is it subdued and cowering in a corner, somewhere deep in the subterranean recesses of your psyche? Is it angry? Has it turned malignant, furious at the betrayal for your natural self, mad with hunger, lurking in the shadows in search of prey? Is it drugged and bloated, so narcoticized with chemical additives, processed foods, and the lethargy of modern living that it’s been domesticated into a food source for others?
When we talked about the Tao before we realized that it applies to all things. Our tendency to see things as all “this” or all “that” is a basic misunderstanding of reality.
Many of us fear the beast, because the beast is aggressive.
We fear aggression, but when we do, as we lump aggression into the “bad” category, we lose sight of aspects that actually serve us. Passion is aggressive. Desire is aggressive. Drive, motivation, and persistence are all aggressive.
Your inner beast can be aggressive, but it can also be calm, yielding and even playful.
Your dog is a beast. Your cat is a beast. Why do we brings these animals into our homes. Why do we share our lives, our food, our shelter with them?
“The beast patiently waits for you to acknowledge it.”
I think it’s because a part of us wants to be reminded of our more natural selves. The truth is we can do more than live vicariously through our pets and we don’t have to give up all our modern conveniences to do it.
“In fact, the beast wishes you would just get the hell out of the way and let it do what it does best…obey nature.”
I would qualify that statement and encourage you to obey your nature. Are you a fidgety, active personality that needs to move? Then by all means move. Arrange your life so that you can move and fulfil that need. To deny that need is just to set yourself up for misery and discomfort.
By the same token, if you are a slower person, follow your own nature. Don’t force yourself to live out any external expectations. Take the time to discover your own inner nature and follow that.
Sure, someone’s going to read this and take it as a license for lethargy and sloth. Fine. Who knows? That person may have been running so hard for so long their adrenals are blown and their body is begging for rest.
If you live true to your nature, life becomes simpler. Eat when you’re hungry. Sleep when you’re tired. Move when your inspired.
For some of us discipline and routine are part of our natures. Taming certain aspects of the chaos of life gives room for greater development in the areas we are moved to focus on. Again it’s not an all or nothing arrangement.
A tough workout is not in and of itself a bad thing. In fact, it’s often a great thing. What matters is the source. Where does the drive come from? Why are you doing this?
Are you listening to the natural beast inside you or are you just pretending to be one?