The Tao of Iron
Leaders, warriors, real men. There’s a growing call to see more of each in today’s society. As our world becomes more materialistic, our identities become intertwined with our Facebook profiles, we begin to lose the values that develop these leaders, warriors, and real men. Alas, the gym, that secluded fortress of iron, becomes a place where we can escape to, to develop the mental toughness, forge our own unique identity, and create a stronger body and soul.
The following article is by Danny Adams. Read more about him in the conclusion. He’s here to help us use the hallowed halls, the home of the iron, to build stronger bodies, as well as stronger souls.
It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life.”- Telamon of Arcadia
Do you ever feel that your time in the gym seems pointless, lacking a higher purpose beyond the physical appearance of your body? I wanted to take some time to share some principles that I have tried to implement in my fitness regimen as well as in my daily life to expand upon my potential as a human being. Unfortunately, I see so many people with good intentions at gym that fail to grasp their true strength, falling prey to the consumer fitness machine and never experiencing a feeling of satisfaction or joy. These people are often “seekers” with good intentions who focus solely on the external, believing in the illusion that if they separate themselves from others, work harder, get stronger, and achieve that ideal body that they will one day feel whole and appreciated. This is the core delusion of the fitness industry and precisely why it has become a multi-billion dollar business embraced by millions of empty souls. I should know, I was once one of them. Time to awaken… Be Your Own Hero!
1. Push Physical Limits To Discover Mind/Body Connection
Lifting weights and breaking physical barriers has one goal and one goal only, discovering the power of perception in shaping your World. I have always gravitated towards sports and weight training because I wanted to become something more, I wanted to understand and cultivate a strength that could never be defeated. I tried to push myself past every physical barrier that I could and eventually began to redefine my perceptions. Up until my mid-twenties the focus of my training was always on the external as I believed that if I kept on accomplishing, achieving, and growing that I would one day feel content. Most people will always have this perspective as they will never muster the courage to confront the adversity necessary to unveil the illusion. They will live their life according to what fitness magazines tell them because they will keep on believing that they guy on the cover must be the happiest person on the planet. YOU’RE NOT ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. Push physical limits daily, challenge your perspectives of what is possible, and never identify with externals. You have a power within that is capable of crushing any obstacle that stands in your way if you harness it. Will you use your training to cultivate a mindset that can push past any perceived barrier in your life?
2. Cultivate Creativity & Ability To Evolve
Creativity enhances every aspect of our existence and it is something that we need to authentically pursue every single day of our lives. Don’t get stuck in monotonous routines due to fear of change. The only way to grasp your greatest power is to be able to evolve on a daily basis without clinging to old systems that may have worked at one time. Try new exercises, change your diet, challenge your perspectives, and enjoy each step of the journey. The physical goal isn’t an end in itself, channeling your creative energy and learning to evolve to any situation will allow you to achieve anything you put your mind on. By fully embodying this principle, you will find a new energy in your workouts, career, and relationships which will serve as an empowering force to others.
3. Avoid The Separation Trap
Have you ever wondered why that male or female bodybuilder at the local LA Fitness seems to be dead behind their eyes? Why they seem to have it all physically, yet you can feel an extreme insecurity and emptiness when you talk to them? Unfortunately, their life is fueled by trying to fill the internal void with external accomplishments, a core delusion in the human psyche that leads to a dark abyss of endless suffering. So does that mean you shouldn’t focus on external goals? Of course not, but the minute you define yourself through a physical accomplishment or goal, you will lose all of your power. Believe me, I know because it took a long time to climb out of this abyss myself. Push yourself, empower others, and never be afraid to confront a fear. That is true power.
4. Challenge The Collective & Find Your Own Truth
The fitness industry is a consumer machine which knowingly creates a void in the life of the perspective buyer then conveniently provides a solution (which they sell to you through supplements, exercise equipment, diet regimens, and tons of other bullshit). The key players of the fitness industry are fully aware that the vast majority of society is unconscious and will continue believing whatever is fed to them by “fitness experts” that repackage the same information over and over again.
There are people who are helping a lot of people. They genuinely want to push you to become better. People who create great programs and care about the human more than the dollar. You can spot these guys from a mile away. They’re real. They’re raw. But the vain are still the majority. All they need to do is make you believe that if you lose x% of body fat through “x” solution that you will live a glorious life, attracting beautiful partners, and never again experiencing the void you feel currently. They are lying to you, however, it will never be revealed since it will bring an end to our current economic system based upon consumerism and debt. Fortunately for all of us, past failures lead to future success, so don’t allow yourself to remain blind to this reality which strips so many people of their power and freedom. Obtain information, test it out on yourself, and always focus on simple solutions.
Anyone who makes things complex doesn’t know what their talking about because if they really mastered the concept they would be able to explain it to a beginner. This is an all encompassing fact of life. Don’t be afraid to listen to your gut and and find your own truth through dissecting the information you are presented with.
5. Develop Awareness of The Present Moment Through Breath And Focus
It is definitely easy in the gym to let your mind spin in a million different directions as Eminem blasts in your ear. You go through your typical routine, get annoyed with all those “lazy” people that get in your way, get distracted with various text messages, and think about all the other things you will need to do once you leave. And you enjoy working out?
Your time in the gym will be much more efficient if you see it as a spiritual practice focused on pushing physical limits and increasing energy. Listen to only uplifting music (Sigur Ros and M83), pay careful attention to breath and form, and be present in everything that you’re doing. Live by the mantra,”Everything is as it should be”, and focus merely on this moment, relinquishing all judgement. You will find a new quality that arises in your workouts and you can apply the same practice to everything you do in life. Can you tell that I like universal concepts?
6. Use People’s Love For The Literal As An Opportunity To Connect On A Deeper Level
99% of people identify solely with the literal (physical appearance, career title, possessions, wealth, etc) so use this to your advantage in being able to connect to them on a deeper level. You will find that if you follow the principles in this article that your energy will substantially improve, enabling your body to take on a new glow that people are naturally attracted to. This is your opportunity to slowly bring a new awareness of who they are, enabling them to let go of the rigid perspectives responsible for their suffering. You meet everyone in life for a reason so be sure to open and authentic in every interaction regardless of outcome.
7. Empower Those Around You Through Compassion And Humility
We are all connected on a deeper level so be sure to be compassionate toward everyone that you meet. What we judge we often fear, so take small steps each day to confront your own internal divisions rather than placing blame on external situations. Grasp the power in Proust’s quote, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.”
8. Begin To Become Aware Of “True Strength” In Others (It May Not Be What You Think)
I used to think that the most muscular guy in the gym was always the one most capable of handling adversity and therefore was the “strongest”. However, I found at a young age that the people I often looked up to weren’t very interesting and seemed to be tremendously insecure despite their physical appearances. The minute they had to go outside of the gym and do something that was alien to them, they would immediately crumble. “What do you mean Dan? I can’t do that!” Obviously this is rather a broad generalization, but if often always rings true with body builders who use artificial substances to enhance their physical appearance.
Again, when you are attached to anything external (especially your body) it will be extremely difficult to confront obstacles that force you to miss a meal, a workout, or anything that reinforces your perception of who you are. Again, I fell into this trap myself (not taking artificial substances but becoming obsessive about meal timing, diet, and other trivial bs)
Enjoy your workouts and try to be consistent, however, never fall into the trap of seeking an identity through the weight room. That shit is weak and will cut you off from living your dreams.
9. Develop Inner Strength To Balance Outer Strength
The weight room is a great tool that can expand perceptions of what is possible by confronting obstacles in the form of physical goals. But is it really enough? The answer is no. If you really want to become a “warrior” and discover your true power in life, you need to spend an equal amount of time expanding your mental awareness through study and the application of principles to your direct experience. This is “true” education and something I didn’t grasp until getting out of the system (graduating from college). Sorry for wasting your money Mom and Dad.
10. Practice Non-Attachment To Physical Goals And Be Unafraid Of Failure Or Loss
This has been reinforced throughout the article, however, it is probably the most important piece of advice I can give you. Do not become attached to every outcome and perception for you will continue to suffer. How do you really know what is good or evil? Have you never had something “bad” happen to you that turned out to be a “good” in disguise? Good cannot exist without evil, hot without cold, summer without winter, life without death, so stop judging! Do not let the fear of failure or loss deter you from following your heart. The World opens up and supplies us with the necessary resources when we are willing to take the leap of faith into the abyss. I try to live this concept every.single.day.
11. Discover Your Power To Create Your Physical Form And Transition This Mindset To Everything In Your Life
You can create your physical form through your perception of working out, food, and stress. It is “scientific” fact that our DNA can express itself in different ways according to our mental perceptions. Paste a picture of what you would like physically on your bathroom mirror. You will find that the World will present you with many opportunities to manifest your goal, however, you must be “aware’ of these opportunities when they strike. How do you know when these opportunities arise? If you feel fear, you know you’re headed in the right direction.
- Eliminate Weakening Influences: The vast majority of people have no idea who they really are so be sure to take charge of your energy in all environments. It is sad, however, many people are unconscious vampires whose primary goal is to suck energy, focusing on their limitations and making you aware of yours. Don’t fall into this trap of identifying with the collective and be compassionate to those who are fighting this battle. Practice repeating this saying on a daily basis, “I am on my path and the views of others is none of my business.” It’s the truth since it is your perspectives that create your reality.
Do you wish to join many individuals that share the mindset outlined above?
We are accepting the strongest applicants for the 2013 Higher Purpose Project and would love hear your story? Do you have what it takes to lead a life of impact?
Dan Adams, a highly successful visionary entrepreneur, Creator of the 2012 ESPY Award Winning Mission Kilimanjaro, NCAA Record Holder, aspiring actor, and adventure junkie driven to help people realize their infinite power to create their lives, was inspired to create The Higher Purpose Project in 2012 after witnessing the need to empower young generations to “be their own hero” and evolve failing structures found in political, religious, educational, and financial sectors.