We live in an information war era in which it can be difficult to find un-bias or non-manipulated information in regards to what is “good” for our well-being. Currently the normal body standards that are portrayed to the general population through the media reveal that one is “normal” if they have less than 5% body fat. Men and women are pressured by idealistic body image criteria and are spending a lot of money to attain this image. With the dietary supplement industry pulling in annual sales of over $20 billion (1), one has to question the true motives behind the health and fitness industry. Is our overall health and mental state truly in the interests of the mega-companies? What role does our own ego play in the motivation to stay physically fit and where does the balance lie between health and vanity obsession?
Our ego is an essential part of our human experience; it is the mirror from which our soul reflects to understand itself and to learn. The ego gives us a name, gender, and appearance to form a sense of a separate identity from one and other, helping us to grow and to learn in the most profound ways. When we say, “I want to exercise and become fit”, it is merely a facet of our ego trying to morph an identity to which it can attach itself to. As the planet shifts and we awaken to our true potential, we are being forced to look at our ego more than ever before to help us become more conscious of how it drives our motivations.
Humankind’s goals to be physically fit can be traced back to the hunter/gatherer times where only the strongest survived. Nutrition came in its rawest and most unadulterated forms, and our bodies were internally pure and in sync with nature. As civilization evolved so did our ego’s separate identity away from nature, and coincidently our need to be strong and fit took on a philosophical and social interest, as portrayed in the gymnasia of ancient Greece where men would use these arenas to participate in physical exercise and to gather for social interaction. Over the years the gymnasium culture faded away and it is only in the past hundred and fifty years that we saw a rebirth of the gym concept when the “turner movement” propelled through the United States in the late 1800’s and gymnasia were built once again (2). It is interesting to note that the Turner movement originated in Germany during the early 19th century, when Napoleon had occupied the country, and we know this area correlates with the illuminati/masonic origins(3). Nevertheless the Turner gyms provided the groundwork for the explosion of similar organizations such as the YMCA and by the 1920’s gyms had become assimilated into the public school systems to provide exercise, games and social interaction for the youth.
Fast forwarding to the current day we see fitness hysteria happening where men and women dedicate their entire lives to attaining a desirable physique spending thousands of dollars a year on gym memberships and supplements. One has to stop and think about where this desire is stemming from. Is it our ego’s need to be socially accepted and recognized that drives people to the gym? Perhaps it is about goal setting and achievement, or maybe it is simply about feeling healthy in mind, body, and spirit. Whichever the case, it is safe to assume that the fitness ideals have been standardized by the media especially in the last few decades in which we have been bombarded by false and misleading marketing and advertising. In truth the gym and supplement industries are targeting the ego by utilizing the media to create an “acceptable” image by which people are judged from, thereby motivating people to work out to avoid not feeling accepted. Any health supplement claims to be for the improvement or benefit of physical fitness and health, but like previously mentioned the supplement industry pulled in $22.7 billion in 2007 alone (1) so one can only naturally infer that these industries are influenced more so by financial gain than having the health of the people in mind.
That being said, if we look at our natural state which is born to create and to play, then the idea of fitness and being physically active should not be judged solely as an aspect of ego. When we understand that everything we are choosing to experience is all for learning and the expansion of our consciousness, we can then treat physical fitness and health as part of a harmonious and balanced lifestyle from which we can even gain awareness of ourselves. This is demonstrated in the practice of yoga, which teaches about being aware of and listening to our body and finding presence, all while strengthening our bodies. The practice combines exercise with fluid meditation. As humanity awakens, we are beginning to observe everything that we do with a fresh perspective. This means that instead of enslaving ourselves to a rigorous gym regime, we choose to hike a mountain to connect with nature and to smell the fresh air, or choose to feel the coolness of the water as we swim through a lake. Exercise will be less about ego fulfillment and more so about connecting our bodies with love, peace, and harmony. This takes our physical fitness back to its true roots of interaction with the nature.
So how do we ensure that our ego is not the main driving force behind our workout schedule? It is simple; just remember to always be connecting with your body, and to be asking yourself “what is my motivation behind working out?” If the answer is to gain more muscle mass or to get skinny, then perhaps you are doing it with the wrong intent. If the answer is to treat your body with love and respect, then you are on the right track! The world is our playground on which to enjoy and to experience, so rather than getting caught up in a monotonous workout schedule, go out to play and have fun!