Mag-fit-icence (or ‘An exercise in magnificence’)
My relationship with exercise, you could say, has always been a bit off-and-on. Much more off than on, if I am frank.
At every doctor’s appointment I’ve ever had, and health consultation of all types, the conversation would typically swing to how I took care of myself . . . “And so you regularly exercise of course? Just how much do you normally do? – 10-12 hours a week? What works for you?”. “I like swimming” I’d offer back, hoping they might be satisfied with this positive sounding response. “And how many times a week do you do that?” “Well, it’s more of an every now and then kind of thing” I’d sheepishly slide in. At each talk like this I’d sit there admitting to myself that it made simple sense to commit to regular exercise. It wasn’t rocket science that this would be beneficial all round for me, but still, I’d never do it.
When I grew up, I wasn’t one for teams or sporting clubs – though I was always playing soccer in the school field with my classmates. I learnt to ride and travelled all round town on a bicycle at high speed, enjoying the independence from being taken places in my parent’s car. I lived an active life with lots of walking and jumping up and down, worked hard physically in the day and always liked to play. My bodyweight was never an issue no matter what I ate (though amidst all this it is worth noting that my mental state was average at best).
After an operation on my chest when I was 20, I came to realise that my body was not just a machine to get me from A to B. It wouldn’t always be there to function as I liked, no matter what I did – it was actually something I needed to nurture and deeply care for.
I started to look after my food and be gentle with the way I moved. I gave up drinking alcohol and eating things I knew that my body didn’t like. I experimented and found I had a much bigger sensitivity inside to what was right and true for me. But with exercise no matter how many times I might say yes, everything in me it seemed would rather do the opposite: “I’m too busy right now, I have a slightly sore right leg, it’s too cold, maybe when I get more settled down in my job I can get onto that” went the familiar refrain. When I did exercise, invariably I’d go hard to make up for lost time, push my body to perform and get injured quick. “Aah the pain, oh dear! there’s no way I can go on, I’ll need to have a break again” – here was living proof, or so it seemed, that exercise clearly wasn’t for me. Maybe you can relate?
The muscles, sweatbands, super large weights, Arnold Schwarzenegger bodies, pumping iron and getting ripped, with six packs and football star super abs – I wanted to be part of all this, to succeed, be a man, get women to like me and transform myself into what seemed to be strong, but I could never pull it off no matter how hard I tried. It seemed I was another species compared to those who body built. No matter how many powders or supplements I might down, I couldn’t go through with this ‘no pain no gain’ approach for any period of time.
I came one day when I was 33 to the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine – and heard the key fact that “the body is the marker of all truth”. This confirmed what I had come to myself and the way my body would speak to me about what was true and what was not.
I started to grasp in a clearer way that ‘exercise’ and ‘getting fit’ had a vibe and energy to it that was actually unhealthy and unpleasant to feel. Far from honouring what the body needs, there was a drive to shape and push our physique into how we want it to look, to force and demand it perform at a certain rate so we can get endorphins and feel ‘great’. There was an addictiveness there and way of smashing it out that I could see had actually repelled me up till now.
I realised then and there that whilst this was the exercise world we’ve made normal, I still had a choice whether I subscribed to it or not. Surely it was possible to get fit and move free from that?
I looked around and found a modality called Pilates that I thought could be worth a go. It focussed on simple movements you could do to build your core strength internally. There were no weights involved or arduous obstacle courses or prescribed muscle size you needed to reach, so "why not?" I thought, "let’s give this a go".
My body changed as I completed the classes and what was difficult at first changed as I went along, developing steadily into a greater strength. Before I knew it there was new sense in me of flexibility and adaptability, fitness for my daily tasks and everything I needed to do . . . but there was something a little amiss in my new body state. The connection I had recently found of warmth and love inside my heart was nowhere to be found. Whilst the muscles and limbs were toned and ready to go, there was a hardness and rigidness to how I felt inside. After doing it for a while, I had to stop and admit something about this approach didn’t seem quite right. Geez! . . . it really seemed no kind of exercise would ever agree with me.
After a period of cold-shouldering exercise again, hoping no one would bring the subject up, I started to attend some new classes, a little different to those I had come across before. These put the emphasis on connecting to your body first; that everything you did wasn’t about achieving a fitness picture but more a state of feeling together and connected with yourself. Like a dog you walked, you could take your body for a class and observe and feel how it went through every step. The classes often started with Gentle Breath Meditation™ and a moment to come back to you after all that had gone on in your week. This alone was like a welcome oasis in the desert of everyday life – my body lapped up these sessions and immediately wanted to come back for more.
The stretches and gentle weights we’d do after meditation were small, but the way you’d move and do them in the class felt so different from anything I’d done before. The push to achieve a desired body state, and perfect weight, the idea to change and appear different, the intensity to get ahead and fast track my development, all of it fell away to leave just the simple joy of moving through each phase. Like an experiment in physicality and game of biology you could play, the sensations and the feelings in your muscles were profound to observe. As I went along, I could feel shakes and wobbles as my body expressed itself and energy it was holding onto dropped away.
With this experience as my new benchmark, I signed up for a gym and regularly exercised before work as my day began. I’d go for a swim and then do some light weights, springing into the shared space with a joy in my step, savouring the stretched out feeling that you get from having connected and warmed up. Whilst there was still resistance some days, I felt finally like I had come out to the other side . . . exercise and I were friends at last! Hurrah!
But as life changed and I welcomed my son into my life, relocated interstate and changed jobs, exercise was put on the back burner and got overlooked once again. “It is just not possible now, when he gets older I’ll find space, for now I need to focus on changing nappies and lifting him – not weights”. Fast forward two and half years and he was walking, talking and able to do his own thing, but my health on the other hand was not so great. I felt crusty, old, creaky and in pain when I stretched down to pick him up. I could just about get by with what I had to do, but often found myself exhausted and sick after seeing another day of work and Dad life through.
My state of mind changed over this time as well: arguments and emotions came, where before things had been pretty clear. Relationship issues surfaced and wouldn’t go away. I felt stuck in myself, unable to escape strife it seemed, as arguments and fights often peppered my day. “If only I could take a break from things and finally get some proper rest, then I’d be able to cope” I’d think to myself.
It was in the midst of this fog of sluggishness and internal unrest that I finally turned again to exercise. A friend recommended an online fitness program they had used called ‘MoveFIT'. It had some quick routines, 10-15 minutes long, with very gentle movements and stretches you could follow along, and funky music that I liked. How much, how fast and when I did it, was completely up to me. “Ok, well this is worth a go – after all, how hard can this be?” I thought.
As I pulled on my exercise gear and completed my first stretches my muscles and limbs responded back “ohhhhh nooooooooo! ohhhh dear . . .” That’s right I remembered now, after a long time ignoring how your body feels, the sense when you check back in can be very confronting to say the least. “Hey, I used to be able to do this and that – are you serious? everything hurts . . . Is the class over yet? Oh my God 9 more minutes, I can’t handle that!”. But after navigating these initial wobbles and hissy fits it started to become a new normal for me to complete these sessions every day. My wife joined in too and my son at times, stretching his plastic bricks and toy cars over his head in unison with me.
What I started to find as I did these classes stunned me a bit. The issues I was struggling with, the emotions I felt owned by, the mood swings I experienced, they all dissipated and disappeared on days that I exercised this way. Not just that but there was a change in how I spoke, the ease with which I wrote and expressed and handled tricky life situations too. My workdays had a new flow, meetings took place as if turbo-charged to go straight ahead, my day-to-day exchanges with my son and family became more harmonious and I was less reactive in myself . . . all from saying yes it seemed to some gentle exercise.
What was different about these classes? Like the ones I had done before, they focussed not just on building strength, but connecting with your body and your breath as you moved. But in addition to that there was something else about the presenters on the screen and program as a whole – a freedom you could feel from the drive to ‘get fit’ that normally comes through with classes such as this. There was a joy in the presenter’s bodies you could easily discern as they modelled back how easy exercise could be in each step they took. This in itself is super rare and very powerful to witness. When someone is at one with their body like this and embraces not just their physicality but also their divinity, it’s a stunning and inspiring sight to see.
That said, what seemed simple and a very basic routine when you watched them move was actually super challenging when you did it staying fully present with yourself. I started to realise how much I pushed through life on autopilot, instead of being 100% there with each step. The movements that we did in the class gave my body a foundation for the whole day, a commitment to being with it no matter what came up.
Without trying or calculating or strategising to get this result I could see that this type of exercise was making me fit for my whole life – not just in a stretching muscular sense but strengthening my ability to be present and embrace the awareness that I have.
It’s not always possible to exercise each day and the amount I did could still vary, but inevitably and without fail I found my days flowed totally differently when I connected and exercised this way.
"The reason people do not self-care is because they do not want to be aware. Simple."Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume II, ed 1, p 347
During each class, as I followed along with the presenter’s sprightly moves, a feeling would bubble up in me: “yes to life, I’m all in, I’ll sweat it out with the best there is, I have all I need right at my fingertips, I’m here to be spunky as, everything is simple and part of a bigger plan”. Any seriousness or funks I had found myself slip into dropped away as if by magic. My fear of getting injured or hurt disappeared too. Sometimes my body was still sore, but I could see this was often showing me more how connected I had been with myself. My body was my ally now, no longer a foe to be forced into submission through a fitness regime.
Through all this, the way I viewed exercise changed, there was a bigger purpose I could sense: instead of building strength to impress or protect, now it had its place to support me to be great, vibrant and on the front foot in my life – to access joy and say yes to feeling magnificent and the simplicity of being me. There was a totally new kind of fitness I was building inside – a mag-fit-icence if you like.
"The body is energy well before it is function."Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume II, ed 1, p 268
As well as the teachings relating to our body mentioned earlier, Serge Benhayon also presents on the Spirit and the Soul, and how in any moment we are impulsed to think and act a certain way by either one of these aspects.
Whether we admit it or not, the reality is we are all impacted by the quality of energy we choose to source in everything we do, every moment we are alive.
Whilst the exercise mentality that is promoted all around us doesn’t take this into account, there is a way to move that brings greater awareness of the truth, that magnifies a connection to something much bigger than us and helps us observe energy and withstand forces that come our way every day. In short, exercise can support us to confirm who we truly are, and no longer play into the lies and games that make up the spirit’s way.
So naturally there is an incredible resistance to exercising and building this true inner strength of our body in union with our Soul. Hence the plethora of physical activities that come in to seemingly strengthen our physique but actually take us away from connection and help numb ourselves to the messages of our body and who we truly are.
Connected exercise is not a crutch to solve every issue we might think we have, just a beautiful opportunity to focus on and amplify the quality we move and then take to life. Every step we take or move we make in our session has the potential to magnify joy and our innate divinity. When we exercise this way, we make ripples in the unseen fabric of life that are much bigger and greater than we realise. Beyond a chest press and a dumbbell lift, each step of our routine is a beautiful opportunity to build a relationship with the quality we express. Every move we make adds to a pool of energy that builds throughout our day for ourselves and everyone else in the world to tap into.
No wonder then that connected exercise is subjugated and relentlessly avoided and resisted the way it is, for it holds a fundamental key to building our awareness, love and light – the very things that the darker forces in this world do not like. So when we exercise in a connected way, we can know what we do is way bigger that just a bench press, sit-up or a curl, but an alchemy of aligning to the truth with our every cell.
"The true day is won on alchemy, not action that lacks it."Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume II, ed 1, p 412
Exercise is still a constant development for me. These days I have been working with an amazing physio who has helped me realise that there is a coasting and softness that can come into play in the name of avoiding pain and being gentle with myself, but is actually a sneaky way of playing life at half-mast. It’s amazing what our approach to exercise reflects about our attitude to life.
I finally got that love isn’t meek or mild or weak, but 100% committed to what it does, busting out whatever is appropriate for the body and what is needed then. When you look at an animal they don’t hold back or go further than their body can – so why should we insist on playing these silly games?
If you are anything like me then we have a much greater capacity to work, play, laugh and love than we have been told or ever considered to be real – when the energy that fuels it all is one that is true. So let us not hold back or continue to indulge in the vicious cycle of pushing and driving our body into numbness and withdrawal, then sitting on the side-lines and holding back.
Let’s embrace our inner magnificence, multi-dimensionality and true power and build a fitness and relationship with that.
"Make sure you are keeping on top of what will keep you on top. Look after yourself deeply and never compromise on deep love and deep self-care."Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume II, ed 1, p 385
"If you do decide to love yourself, be prepared for the grandness that naturally comes with it."Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume II, ed 1, p 246