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If you are like me, there are many things that have to be changed as we age, for safety and health if for nothing else. Why not make it pleasant and useful to make these changes.

Kenn and me in Latir Peaks Wilderness

One thing I hear a lot about is falling and its dangers for us old geezers.  I’ve been lucky to avoid falling whenever I begin to lose my balance.

A friend of mine who is seven years younger than me was given a series of exercises to keep his balance as he gets older.  He showed me the routine and it seemed far too boring and tedious.  I’d rather risk falling than spend so much time on this routine.

The obvious thing that keeps me on my feet is my hiking, for it keeps the leg muscles strong enough to catch myself when I begin to lose balance.

But there is another ingredient that may be just as beneficial.  Let me tell you how I got this simple deterrent.

 

Meeting a Beautiful Woman

I met a lovely on a flight to DC from New York in 1986.  Two days later I was dating her.  And three years after that we married,  And yes, she continues to bring me great pleasure every day.  But that is not all.

We talked and talked on the flight.  She happened to mention she was attending a school in The City. I skipped to a more interesting topic. We chatted about North Carolina’s Outer Banks, opera, food, books and films we’d recently enjoyed.

One day led to another on our weekly dates. And shortly I joined her, attending that school, that had seemed so humdrum to me for people my age.

But from the first evening of the first class, my life was revolutionized.

No, it was not the lectures, nor any reading for the course.  It was that word, Practical, in the School of Practical Philosophy’s name, which was the heart of what this school was all about.

At that first evening class, the tutor gave us an exercise that was so simple and so easy to do and produced such powerful immediate results that I couldn’t wait to come back to class the following week.  The same the next week and the next.

I found this practice enormously helpful in all aspects of my life — my business, my social relationships, all activities that I engaged in thereafter.

In fact, I have been in that School ever since — some thirty years now!  I can’t get enough of it.

At one point along the way I heard another student, a psychiatrist, say, “This is practical therapy!  And we’re getting it free!”

He may have exaggerated a bit, but it did have that sort of benefit for me.

The school attracts a lot of people with higher degrees.  One of the branches in the 60 cities in countries world-wide, there were twenty-three physicians and surgeons enrolled at the same time.

 

The First Practice

There are many simple practices that the School offers students all of which are practical ways to help us stay in the present.  That is the practical side of its name.

The first practice given at the first class session is the simplest way of coming to the present and gaining control of ourselves — I mean really getting to NOW with no other idea in mind and to stay present a few minutes.  We think we are already present.  This practice shows us how far away from it we are during our everyday life, and how powerful it is to change our perspective.

This practice opens up each of our senses — listening to the subtlest sounds, feeling the touch of clothing against various parts of the body, our feet on the floor, and to allow all thoughts to leave the mind, while staying with the senses opened wide for a few moments.

It isn’t as easy as it sounds.

But anyone can do it and can do it in just about any situation you find yourself in.

I just came from a meeting with a group of eight others and was able to do this practice during the meeting.  It enabled me to come out of the meeting with a lot more information than when i went into it.

You can try the exercise on your own.  But the power of doing it with a group has far greater power than you can imagine.

I heard one physician say that he thought that doing this exercise with the group was worth more than the rest of the entire ten-week course.

I believe that the practices I learned at the School of Practical Philosophy have given me as much preventive medicine against falling as does my hiking.  It enables me to spend a good deal more of the day focused entirely upon what I am doing.

The trick of course, is to use the practices.  I mean to practice them as often as they come to mind.  And the School offeres many retreats at which the practices are reinforced.

 

Intensive Retreats

I went on as many of the retreats as I was offered.

The beauty of all this is that the costs of attending the School are so low I could easily afford them.

The primary reason costs are so low is because tutors, as well as all school work, is done by student volunteers.  The School is run strictly on a volunteer basis — all the way.

Sound like a commercial for the School?  I suppose it is.

I’ve never heard of another place that emphasizes so much of the practical side of spirituality.

My writing about it doesn’t earn me one nickel.

Here is an entirely free website that sells you nothing, but will give you a regular dose of the teaching we get in the classes.

www.philosophyworks.org/

 

 

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