Skip to main content


Every kid has a dream. Some want to be fighter pilots. Others want to be firefighters. A few among both sexes just want to be fighters. And hardly anybody does it better than Ronda Rousey. Did, before she got whupped. I am more of a lover than a fighter. So I dreamed of Ms. Right. I haven't found her and may never. I also dreamed of perfection, which ironically is a more realistic goal than romantic fulfillment since being perfect depends on nobody but yourself.

First it was physical perfection that I sought. I wanted strength. I grew up idolizing the Incredible Hulk as played by former Mr. Universe Lou Ferrigno. He-Man was my favorite cartoon. Fittingly the super-hero's name was Adam. When my parents took us to see Rocky III at the age of 9 I fell in love with Sly Stallone's physique, which was only topped in Rocky IV by Dolph Lundgren's. 

I had real life heroes too. The Loyola High School senior wide receiver Jimmy Klein was so ripped that when I watched him play intramural Ultimate Frisbee every muscle quivered and glistened in the sunlight. "I want that," I said to myself, then a sophomore. And so around 16 I began lifting weights. With compound movements like bench press and military performed at Gold's Gym, Venice, I developed slick slabs of muscle, which I fed with protein shakes and frequent small meals high in quality protein. Playing high school soccer assured that cardio was also a fixture in my workouts. Endurance training is great to keep the skin thin and achieve that really lean, shredded look. As the greats say, you want to be "ripped," or "cut." My strength peaked at the age of 19 when I benched 275 lbs twice. I couldn't get any stronger without gaining weight, and carrying 185 lbs on a 5'10'' frame made me look really muscle bound. So I started running more, lost some weight and actually achieved a more aesthetically appealing look, more proportional. Not many bodybuilders who can bench almost 300 lbs also run marathons in under 3 hours. I didn't do these feats at the same time but still I patted myself on the back and moved on. And did I mention that in high school I was voted best body? So, done and done. 

Body, mind and soul is total development. So next I turned my attention to my mind. I had already been an honor student in high school and earned high marks in philosophy electives as a UCLA undergrad. But I wanted to be top of my class in a graduate program, so I enrolled in medical school. While my roommate was island hopping to scuba dive, I read Robbins' Pathologic Basis of Disease, all 1,200 pages, as closely as a born again Christian reads the Bible. I earned straight As in the medical school basic science program and gave the commencement speech. Next I focused on my soul, however odd this may sound. 

Something strange happened when I did, however. See, the soul is already perfect. It is timeless, ageless and spaceless. It is truly infinite and immortal. All you have to do is strip away the imperfections, thoughts and worries and attachments that the mind superimposes on the spirit and simply be what you truly are. And here too much physical and mental development can actually be a hindrance on the spiritual road. Identification with a muscular body causes you to mistake yourself for the flesh-and-blood vehicle you happen to inhabit to get through life. This is as ludicrous as someone who thinks he is the car he drives, however fancy it may be. It's hard to remain fixed in inner joy when you are constantly thinking about your next meal, and eggs produce flatulence so fetid as to distract even the staunchest spiritual adept. So I went vegan. And a mind that is overly analytical cannot escape a world of thought. It is trapped in a fictional realm of worry and anxiety and problem solving, which renders the thinking man incapable of simple being, of enjoying the bliss of pure existence. So I had to detach from my pristine physique and distance myself from my analytical mind and become as a child in nature.  

This is Self-realization in two senses of the term. To realize means to make manifest. To realize your dreams (of becoming realized), for instance. So you are clearing away all that is not spirit to let shine what you truly are. Realize means also understand at a deeper level. As in "I realize that you love me." Thank you for loving me. I love you too. So Self-realization means gaining a greater understanding of the immortal spirit that you are. And while we're on the subject of who you are, it is not the lower self, the body/mind complex that you are realizing but the pure consciousness that in the East is called the Self.

This I have come to find is the hardest part of being perfect, and the longest to achieve. How to be what you already are in a society that tells you to do do do? But I am learning. Or unlearning. And these words help me understand what I am not. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you. May they be among my last.


Popular posts from this blog


I was watching the TV show Naked and Afraid last night as I sometimes do. The show teams together two strangers, a man and a woman, who attempt to survive on their own for a period of 21 days in some remote and isolated region. Some of the locales featured include the Australian Outback, the Amazonian rainforest and the African Savanna. The man may have a military background, or be an adventurist or deep sea fisherman. Sometimes he's an ordinary dude who lives with mom. The woman is a park ranger or extreme fitness enthusiast or "just a mom" herself. Sometimes the couple quarrel, sometimes one or both "tap out" (quit) in a fit of anger or illness. It is satisfying to see them actually make it through the challenge and reach their extraction point. The victors are usually exhausted, emaciated, begrimed and bare ass naked. 

Even more satisfying, at least for me, is the occasional ass shot, snuck in at strategic intervals to boost viewership, of course. It's co…


There is no such thing as screw-ups.

Case in point. My excellent friend Deej comes over to help me beautify the garden. He immediately dives in, crouching down on his knees and weed whacking with his bare hands. Before I can say yay or nay, he proceeds to remove a huge clump of daisy greens from the oblong patch of Earth adjacent to the driveway. The area instantly looks bare. Like the back of Woody Allen's head. Smoothing out the soil and shaking his head Deej mutters to himself "I fucked it up!" over and over again. We try everything. Planting succulents in the daisy's place. Covering it with rocks. But still the area looks barren. And every time you water it the water trickles down onto the sidewalk in the absence of roots to hold it in place. It's getting dark so we go back inside. The next day I return to the spot with a clear perspective and remove all the other daisies, leaving only rose bushes and the succulents that DJ planted, and depositing 10 bags of m…


This is not a commentary on the latest fitness fad. Because if it were, the little I'd have to say on the subject would be largely derogatory. I simply cannot see see how crouching in a stuffy, dark, cramped room surrounded by sweat-drenched strangers while expending a lot of energy and going nowhere deserves to be called fun, though aficionados tell me it is (fun). I tell these aficionados that if no pain no gain is your thing, discomfort can be had for a lot cheaper than $50 an hour. Try plucking your nose hairs. What we don't do for the sake of beauty. This endurance heir to the Stairmaster and elliptical is all hype. There's a name for the type who likes to run (or otherwise move) in place. It's called a hamster. 

This reminds me of a joke my father likes to tell, about what living with a woman turns a guy into. You go from a wolf to a sheep to a hamster. After nearly 40 years of married life, my dad has added cockroach to the zoological lineage. Which I'm sure …