Salutary Chaos: Monks, Worms & Hearts

saint_anthony_orthodoxChaos in Religion:
The hermits of Scete were 4th century Christian ascetics who lived the contemplative life in the deserts of Egypt. They lived largely in solitude, silence,  and meditation, laboring for a hand-to-mouth existence.    However, occasionally they relaxed their vigorous austerities and just chatted.   Below is one story from a collection compiled and translated in 1960 by a Trappist monk called Thomas Merton.

Once Abbot Anthony was conversing with some brethren, and a hunter who was after game in the wilderness came upon them.  He saw Abbot Anthony and the brothers enjoying themselves, and disapproved.  Abbot Anthony said:  Put an arrow in your bow and shoot it.  This he did.  Now shoot another, said the elder.  And another, and another.  The hunter said: If I bend my bow all the time it will break.  Abbot Anthony replied:  So it is also in the work of God.  If we push ourselves beyond measure, the brethren will soon collapse.  It is right, therefore, from time to time, to relax their efforts.
(CVI  pg 63.,  The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton — translations from the “Verba Seniorum”)

It is good to add play to your life.  Break up the routine, surprise the animal and wake up !

Chaos in Your Heart:
A healthy heart has a natural fractal-like organization of heart rate (HR). Most standard aerobic training, like marathon training with one speed over long times, slowly breaks down this fractal-like organization and makes the heart unstable and thus marathon runners drop dead of heart attack at young age.  HIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Resistance exercise have been shown to strengthen the fractal-like organization.  Building chaos into your exercise is good for your heart !

Chaos in Your Bowels
Nature (5 Feb 2009) has a research article showing that worms (C. elegans) lifespans are increased by 56.6% with Intermittent Fasting (IF), 40.4% with Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) and only 13.2% by Chronic Calorie Restriction(CCR).  CCR was the craze in the longevity circles for a while.  Fasting has always been a secret in all religions for spiritual growth and health.  ADF is too is more regular than IF which is the most chaotic way to fast.  IF is all over the Paleo webs now as an amazing secret to health, weight loss and strength building.  Great introductions to IF can be found at: Spotlighthealth & Mark’s Daily Apple.

Consilience Principle: We are genetically built to prosper if add variety to our life, and not slow-tone variety but intense variety.

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