• Aedan Tanner

Life is Rebirthing | A Focus on Wellness

I am a positive person.

Not as in "I am upbeat and always looking on the bright side of things" (though I do try). When I say "I am positive" I mean from the sense that there is only life living and I enjoy this. Life living means that whatever is happening is consciousness learning from what we do, say, think, and feel. This is being present with what is here. Consciousness is how we consciously choose in life: no one is more woke, just more focused on wellness and presence.

Negativity is just the sense that something is missing. Positivity, or being present, is seeing what is here and now. As I will elaborate on further, this is an idea of holism or wellness: that everything is perfect when what isn't perfect isn't fixated on.

A little note on verbiage: negativity and positivity have been connotatively used to describe feelings/moods of up & down, as opposed to the denotative sense of polarity or binary. When I speak of positive & negative in relation to human cells, I am speaking denotatively in reference to this cycle of polarity. When I say "I am positive" I am speaking about how I choose to view the world.

In this connotative sense, we need more promotion of positivity because so much negativity (in our actions, thoughts, and motivations) is thrown out into the world. We need a balance to the "death energy" or apathy or malaise and disenfranchisement with life and the systems we use to live and survive.

I believe we are here to have fun and love one another, not squabble over "limited" resources and commit acts of violence and rivalry. Life is not competition, it is cooperation.

We are here to live. Further, we are here on earth to be ALIVE.

Despite the 'old' adage that "Life is suffering," I adamantly disagree with this sentiment. Suffering is conditional and not absolute: Life consists of suffering IF AND ONLY IF 'old' pains are not examined, felt, and thoroughly released — And I speak of individual traumas as much as the collective worries and issues that continue to impact us every day. Collective traumas when not addressed lead to the above-mentioned apathy and malaise because we see the system as unjust and unmovable and uncaring. An inanimate world is cold; yet when we see humans behind every motivation, we can see pain and suffering driving many world actions.

We must let go of the 'old' conditional mindset and elect a mindset of holism/wellness, innovation, and radical honesty. (I will be writing on the first of these three pillars).

'Letting go' is a mindset shift that says that "everything is okay." Everything is perfect because it is and if there is a focus on what is missing or imperfect then that is what will show up. 'Letting go' is focusing on surrender over "trying to win." This is mindfulness or being present with what is as opposed to what can be gained. More importantly, being present is the cure for suffering because our fixation on the 'old' woes and 'old' joys are focusing on what is absent. And then life presents us with suffering if we choose not to be present with what pains arise in the moment. Addictions and distractions are often the remedy when we delude or daydream it away.

Presence IS the remedy. Presence is the key to fulfillment whereas fixation on the 'old' is the doorway to suffering. Suffering creeps into the psyche and cells and stays there because habit informs and implants us with a grime of suffering as an absolute. Nevertheless, it's NOT an absolute or even true, just a choice. Presence is a choice:

Life is whatever we MAKE of it.

I say that suffering is obsolete. An 'old' energy that is no longer serving you, your family, your culture, your country, or this collective humanity. Energy cannot be destroyed — merely transformed — and so suffering needs to transform into the 'new.' This transition/transformation is the basis of alchemy. A base metal of a crappy life into the noble metal of a chosen life.

If we all choose life, we can transcend: Transcendence is when presence meets what needs to be done to ensure wellness for all. Many spiritually minded people focus on ascension as an excuse to leave this earth, their bodies, this mess. Transcendence is a focus on humanity and how we can become better beings.

Here, I'm going to shift into how we can at an individual/mental/biological level affect this change. It all starts with what we KNOW as true. Just like suffering, many place death as a certainty. Choice is important because it gives us flexibility in life. Certainty (and knowing) are rigid and inflexible.

Death, like suffering, is only a given (i.e. an absolute fact for humans) because of 'old' programming based on experiential/empirical evidence: we say EVERYTHING DIES. Notwithstanding, I also adamantly disagree with this absolute opinion. If we give a person absolute power, it corrupts them absolutely in the sense that the power goes to their heads and they act tyrannically as opposed to leading from their heart. If we give a statement life "Life is suffering" or "Everything dies" power, it will corrupt us as it goes to our heads, and we will believe it no matter what, despite how we feel about it.

I say that EVERYTHING IS LIVING. Naturally, the universe is taking care of itself, but to understand life we must first understand our own bodies.

We are continuously reborn every moment. 'Old' cells die and make room for 'new' cells. This is called autophagy or programmed cell death (and rebirth). Autophagy is a biological and energetic re-uptake of old/obsolete organic matter. This is the essence of life force in my opinion.

Here's an example: the cellular body is like an ecosystem. When I see a wildflower field I am astounded by the variety of colors and shapes and sizes and types of flora (think gut flora) and all the insects buzzing around, and the fundamental VIBRANCY and aliveness that is present.

Yet, when fall passes into winter, the flowers die. Snow blankets the ground. All is still. Dead...

In spring, however, aliveness was just hiding when new buds emerge and sprout into new vibrancy. This is perennial expansion. This is cyclical dynamism. I never think, "how dare these new flowers for growing on this 'old' bed; why do they desecrate this graveyard?" Instead, I am continually astounded by the beauty of 'new' life every year, just as I am by the hibernation and stillness in the winter. I honor the entire cycle of the biological season, not just the beauty of one half of the process. I may not enjoy the winter as much, but winter is a time for reflection and repose.

This continual and automatic process, be it a floral ecosystem or human cell systems, is life force. Death is only one part of the life force, not it's opposite. There is no opposite, just a continual evolution and prospering of lifeforms.

Life force is this cyclical emergence. A living feedback loop of thriving positive thriving, efficient cells (summer) is matched by the negative dying, rebirthing cells (winter). This up & down process is happening within the living feedback loop. Cells become obsolete and are re-purposed for new cellular growth: autophagy in action as an automatic, organic function. Rebirthing is constant activity and only seeming passivity or hibernation.

Neuroplasticity is an easily recognizable case for this process as we form 'new' pathways in our brains when old dead-ends stop providing fruitful or efficient means for cognition, memory, or sense orientation. With neuroplasticity, often a physical hindrance or accident or physical catastrophe provides the brain with just cause to form new pathways. When something no longer works, lifeforms, organic matter, and life finds a way to effectively reroute the stream, as it were. Gravity and the flow of time are apt metaphors here because cycles need tension and longevity to perform.

Knowing our biological functioning, is not about knowledge but just recognizing how inactive we are in our daily physical rebirthing. Life is an unending process with obsolescence/death and rebirth just one part in the cycle. And when we factor in consciousness, there is an intriguing shift. We actively — with free will — can decide to choose where our cycles of life take us! Life is more fun when we are not caught in a loop of 'old' shame and pain.

How can we take active part in rebirthing? One word: focus. And when we have an overarching focus or drive in life or with a specific goal, this is an intention. We often focus on "healing" in spirituality when I say that we are already whole and healthy and complete. A diagnosis or health complication is just an indicator that the current focus and intention is not working. When we are running in place, in a loop of inactivity, we die. Plain and simple.

I put forth that "death," or the ending of human life, is something we focus on as a "problem" or grievance. Our intention is activity and success, but our truth is we passively grow old and get sick. A true intention is holism or wellness or seeing both sides of the coin. Life & death are beautiful when seen in this cycle. We have a lingering preoccupation with death in our minds and in our cellular memory. This preoccupation causes anxiety, nervousness, a need to work and move and "live life to its fullest," and eventually resignation and regret i.e. suffering:

Like I said, it's this focus on what is absent in life. Instead, life and death are present and giving the cycle credence is a way to break the hold "Death," personified as a skeleton in a robe with a scythe, has on us.

My mom died of alcohol abuse this past April and it was a hard time after her subsequent stroke, heart attack, and liver failure. Despite the pain of loss, I gained so much reflection about life. I don't focus on how my mother is no longer with us (absence), or how she is portrayed in my memories (past), but I presently focus on how she is still in me, my cells, my actual birth, my genetics, my values, how her beauty affected others during her lifetime. This is the essence of Spirit in the most practical, actionable way I can envision. Spirituality gives way to embodiment of science and humanism. Learning to see holism is to honor the cycles and seasons, the Mother inside and outside of us, and the infinite creative potential in all of us.

Life is a bicycle and we are either struggling uphill or coasting downhill, giggling at the ease. "Life is suffering" is going uphill, both ways. Thanks mom. :)

So how do we allow this cycle to flourish and not stagnate? Many masters (of life force energy, 'prana,' or 'chi') reinvigorate themselves with “inner engineering” by allowing 'new' energy to mingle and replace with 'old' energy. These can be using practices to stimulate new blood-flow and oxygen; new chi and vitality; new movements and stretches; new ideas and mindsets; new situations, opportunities, and friendships. This is embracing that which life gives us and not holding onto — but honoring — 'old' things and ways and cycles. Stagnancy is the killer of our bodies. And of our human Spirit.

Unfortunately, we are creatures who focus on one half of this aforementioned feedback loop: prioritizing negativity over positivity; output over input; speaking over listening; exhalation over inhalation; cutting a tree down for paper over planting a new tree; cell death over cell rebirth; striving over acceptance; pointing fingers over forgiveness. Both 'halves' are equally important in this cycle or duality or polarity.

Here is the hope: we are infinitely worthy and whole. We are not broken. We just don't see the whole picture. We are playing with half a deck of cards, but we don't have to be. Duality may be absolute, but it's a tool in the cycle of things, and we can use polarity to further our individual and collective growth.

Holism, or looking at the whole picture, is what is needed to guarantee a long, fulfilling life. The only resolution or destination in this process is where we choose to be, what we choose to focus on, how we choose to view ourselves as complete.

A yogic 'union' or reverence (or just giving a damn) about both intake/outtake, input/output, masculine/feminine, cell birth/death is the recipe for a rebirth of each 'opposite.' It's just seeing that to have a full earth we need a north pole as much as a south pole. Seeing in all directions is the same as seeing everyone; inclusion within our social sphere is as important as inclusion of our individual mental and biological spheres. This is NEW EARTH to me.

We learn to trust others by seeing how life is not inhospitable and is in fact here to benefit us. It is the same in our internal world: life WANTS to keep on living.

I advocate wellness because it is seeing the healthy nature of the cycles, or the inherent holism, of life as opposed to focusing on what is absent, needed, or lacking. Focusing on, and having intentions centered around, what is present, abundant, and flowing is paramount to our individual bodily survival.

Furthermore, this holistic mindset is necessary to ensure that we protect our social/collective body: others, our communities, our citizens, and our earthly body: this planet.

The earth will not survive without a shift in consciousness. We must take in as heartily & prospering as one lets out. It just starts with choice. I have a thought that feels unhealthy, unholistic, unwell?

I choose to change that. I choose rebirth.


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