When I was growing up I was fairly active, but the idea of sport was just to intimidating for me. I loved to run, jump, and climb, but the awkwardness of social pressures kept me off the sporting field. It wasn’t until I joined the Army ( at the tender age of 18) that I discovered the joy and pain of competitive exercise and strength conditioning. I rapidly excelled and by the time I left the service I was one of 16 troopers in my Airborne Infantry unit who exceeded the maximum goals of the Army’s fitness test.
After leaving the Army I continued to pursue fitness in the form of bodybuilding. In the midst of my desire to transform my physique ( if you wanna be Airborne, you gotta be thin) I also wanted to improve my spiritual health and increase my wisdom or Gnosis . Gnosis is defined as knowledge of spiritual mysteries. The first major lesson I learned is that to achieve growth you must be willing to experience pain. I found this obvious physical lesson translated directly to my development in the spiritual sphere as well.
As I continued in bodybuilding I found that not only must I be willing to experience pain, I must also learn new exercises, switching up routines and becoming adapt at being uncomfortable , never letting myself settle into being complacent, for that would lead to an abrupt halt in my progress. In a similar manner I was constantly re-configuring my paradigm as new truths became realized. I saw my life as a never ending learning process and knew that the moment I thought I had arrived would be the moment that I was no longer truly living.
Bodybuilding gave way to power-lifting , then to boxing and eventually Brazilian jujitsu. All the while I translated the various disciplines needed to excel at these sports into new spiritual truths. I saw the shortcuts used to compete in power-lifting and recognized how simple wisdom can deceive one into thinking in the black and white. I pushed my cardio conditioning to the limit in boxing and learned that it takes twice the energy to throw a punch that misses- easily equated to how one ‘o shit’ can cancel out a hundred ‘ job well done’. Brazilian jujitsu is still teaching me so much, and I have subsequently tried to live my life like a man playing chess, rather then a child playing shoots-and ladders.
In conclusion I encourage everyone to embrace the holistic nature of life. Everything you do impacts everything else, in degrees large and small. A saying I heard that I often reflect on is” How you do anything is how you do everything” Never half-step, pursue the best you at every turn, and cross reference the lessons you learn therein . Double dipping in your own life experience. The sum capital of our existence is our time- make the most of it!
Steven William Robinson 2019