Two Books to read before your first Marathon


There are not many rites of passage in the modern world. Rites of passage have been used through the millennia by human cultures to initiate members of the clan from childhood to adulthood. I consider my first marathon and the training for it as a self-imposed rite of passage. I decided to train for it and complete it because I wanted to assert my command over my body. To train for the mental and physical part I read . “The Non-runners Marathon Trainer”. Just recently I read the “Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei and wish I had read that before to add an additional element of the spiritual to my training as well.

For most people including myself the physical aspect of completing a marathon seems extremely daunting. When I started I was in the hospital after just about dying from surgical complications. After getting through the worst of it I decided to begin training and completing a marathon even though I was still in horrific pain. I began by walking a few steps outside my hospital room and then I began walking around the nurses station and eventually I began to get stronger and stronger. I had purchased “The Non-runners Marathon Training Guide” two years previously. Having been chronically ill for twenty years at that time and endured multiple surgeries I was tired of having my body call the shots in my life.

I wanted to increase my ability to override the physical demands of a body which was constantly waging battle with itself. I felt like I was caught in the middle of this fight. It took me seven months instead of the 4 months to complete the training laid out in “The Non-runners Marathon Trainer” because I started in a terribly weekend state. The biggest take away from completing my marathon was the idea of “locus of control”. That concept of locus of control boils down to the what controls your mind and actions, is it your or circumstance? You either have an internal locus of control or an external locus of control. This for me is what a rite of passage is all about: putting away the helplessness of childhood and embracing the ability to chart your own path in this world as an adult.

Throughout the book there are mental exercises to help entrain this philosophy of internal control. One of them is to imagine that your inner mind is a computer screen. You imagine typing out mentally letter by letter on a keyboard strengthening and inspirational messages. For instance one that I remember I would type over and over again was “My legs are strong, my legs are light, I can run all day and I and I can run all night”. This type of mental work is something I still do today.

During training it was incredible to feel the inner experience change when I would consistently do this. The first two to three miles were usually a struggle on training days. But I would gut it out using either typed out positive messages to myself on my mental computer screen or I’d sing them out loud as cadences. The power of the mind over the body is truly incredible and if you want to experience your own rite of passage and feel this for yourself I highly recommend reading “The Non-runners Marathon Trainer” before starting your marathon training.

The other book I recommend is one I just read, “The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei”. In Japan for over a thousand years these Tendai Buddhist Monks would perform absolutely astounding feats of marathon running. These different time frames and distances would range from completing a 25 mile marathon for 100 days straight to completing a 1000 days of marathoning over a twelve year stretch.

While completing their term of marathons the monks are still expected to perform all of their chores which include cooking, cleaning and maintaining temple grounds which affords them three to four hours of sleep or less. These marathoners don’t do it for medals or for bragging rights. Their reward for completing the 100 days of The Walking Hell is to complete a nine day fast with no food or water. During the fast they are only allowed to have a small amount of water to rinse out their mouths. They say that those drops of water as the sweetest of nectars. Self imposed suffering makes everyday life more palatable.

It is incredible to read about the individual stories of men who have endured what would seem like impossible physical accomplishments to us. But these monks are drawn from everyday life and many who have recently completed the 100 days of marathons are family men. They are not in anyway extraordinary except that they choose to do something extraordinary. By doing the seemingly impossible the monks emerge changed forever because they faced death and continued to move forward. This is an important rite of passage for the Tendai Buddhist monks just as a modest 26.2 marathon and seven months of training was for me.

Humans need rites of passages to push beyond our everyday struggles so that we can tap into the higher mental and spiritual states we all possess but rarely can access. The physical part of the marathon is merely the vehicle for this to occur. Everyday we struggle in this world with having an internal locus of control. Everyday we struggle with maintaining a connection to our spiritual side and not giving in totally to a materialistic view of this amazing world we live in. Marathon training with a purpose can transcend the medals and the bragging and actually produce lasting positive changes.

I highly recommend that anyone interested in training for a marathon read “The Non-runners Marathon Training Guide” and “The Marathon Monks of Hiei”.
Brad Miller
Fellow Human

Imagination – one of the Three Elements of Creation

“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so you shall become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.” James Allen

Everyone uses their imagination everyday. The main way people use their imagination is negative instead of positive and that is through worry and fear. For about six months I would grab my pocket while out to make sure I had my car key. I’ve only had one car key for over a year and I was constantly afraid would drop it and not be able to drive my car. And that’s exactly what happened. One day I went for a walk and then worked in my garden. Two hours later I went to go somewhere and I couldn’t find my car key. That was three weeks ago and I still can’t find it. Luckily I had an extra key I forgotten I had left at my brothers years ago. But I had used my imagination to create the emotion and scenario to lose my car key and I made it happen.

I told my brother this story and he said I should start thinking about good things. That is what led me to write this post. Our imaginations are so powerful that they can create negative or positive events that we consistently dwell upon and that is why the In the Bible admonishes “Dwell on what is good”. That is extremely important or your imagination can create the negative future you are concerned about. We are all conjurers of our future.

I have a belief that anything the human mind can conceive of, can be accomplished with the combination of imagination, knowledge and time. The human brain is composed of the same basic building blocks of matter that everything else in the universe is made of. The human mind is a product of this materialistic architecture. This doesn’t mean I am discounting the unknown forces and processes that can be taking place across the entire universe which impacts our brains and interacts with what we call our mind as well. Today I want to briefly explore the first of the Triumvirate of Creation which is: Imagination.

Imagination is a mysterious force which can’t be touched or seen directly but we live in a world in which imagination has created. Imagination is arguably one of the most powerful special ability all humans have been granted. Each of us possess an amazingly complex imagination engine within our skulls. Just recently it’s been discovered our brains maybe be ten to 100 times more powerful then first realized. That’s because it’s not only our neurons that are able to perform calculations but its also the connections between them are capable of this as well. The physical part of imagination is based on biology. That’s why its critical to take care of our brains and provide what they need in order to use all that amazing computer power to devise and create the world we desire to live in.

Three things that everyone can do for their brains today and to improve your imagination is to:

1. Exercise

2. Ingest Omega 3 fatty acids

3. Lower your stress response.

Go for a walk, do squats, do some sprints. All of those things can have a positive impact on brain function. Omega 3’s are missing from most people’s diets. I like to get my Omega 3’s from krill oil and wild caught salmon. Stress -stresses out your brain. It has a physiological effect on every cell of the body including the brain. When I eat poorly and give into negative emotions and thoughts when I’m under stress I can feel the effect on my brain. In those moments of even low grade panic my ability to create imaginative solutions is greatly diminished. Even if imagination is as some artists believe and some scientists like Tesla believed is a mere ability to receive information from the ether or is inspiration from the muses, it still behooves us all to make sure our “receivers” are not flooded with stress hormones, has the fatty acids to function optimally, and are bathed with positive protective neurochemicals in order to have our full mental abilities ready to receive.

Besides having a healthy well fed brain what else is required for the better deployment of imagination? For me imagination requires that I’m constantly exposed to positive new ideas and that I combine with these with what I’ve already learned along with three main elements that I have to provide for the imagination process to take plac which are: Vision, Gratitude and Confidence. These are necessary for the imagination to take the elements we’ve been exposed to and to create a positive future. Vision creates that point in the future where you want to reach, gratitude is the solid bedrock foundation with which the bridge to the future has to be built upon and confidence leads the mind to find and create the necessary material in order to construct that bridge despite obstacles. Gratitude is often left out when talking about imagination. I know when I am living by sight and not by faith it’s because I’m not grateful for where I’m at and what I have. Imagination is a powerful force but it is sometimes hard to employ. When I complain I can feel the forces of imagination retreat within me. James Allen had a great insight into this

“The very fact that you are a complainer, shows that you deserve your lot.”

One way I’m working on unleashing my imagination is through a program called “Self-Authoring”. I heard about it from one of its creators, Jordan Peterson. He talked about it while he was on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast episode #877. I’m starting it today. In this program he has you do two exercises – one is to write an autobiography and the other is to imagine an ideal world you would want to live in, in the future if you could have exactly what you wanted. These two exercises are extremely powerful because it compels you to take a hard look back at your past and then consciously use your imagination to chart your own future.

So often we feel that our past is this prison we can never escape. That forces beyond our control have locked us into patterns of behavior that are permanent. This is another saving grace of the power of imagination. Even if you don’t know why you are doing what you are doing it can still help you to propel you beyond these destructive habits. Imagination is about creating new realities – and it uses everything at hand to construct that – including what you perceive of as negative aspects of your past.

We can increase our command and use of our imagination by being in a positive, hopeful, and grateful state or we can choose to chase away our muse and live at the whim of the forces of nature and the decisions of others. Imagination built upon vision, gratitude and confidence directs us to gain and apply the necessary knowledge in order to build the future we think about most. If we do this over a long enough time scale I am firmly convinced that anything the mind can conjure with the imagination can become reality. Good luck today with imagining and taking the next step to create that amazing future only you can imagine.

Brad Miller

* I’m beginning the course today. If you would like to go along on this journey there is a spring special for $29.90 for which you get two logins so you and your significant other can go through it together or you can share it with whomever you choose.

This is a link where you can read  for free the great book by James Allen – “As a man thinketh”

Feeding The Wolves Within

There is an old Native American parable about the two wolves we have within us all. The two wolves represent the darkness and the light. And each day we get to choose which of the wolves we feed. We feed the wolves with our thoughts, emotions and actions. This in turn determines which wolf grows. I consciously considered which wolf I was feeding with my mental state when I went see the movie “Logan” with a good friend.

I’m terrified of making commitments. I’ve been chronically ill for almost three decades now. In that time I’ve made and backed out of hundreds of opportunities to do stuff with friends and family. And this was always to my detriment. I would bail because I was in pain, tired or just emotionally in a dark place. The Dark Wolf was being fed a lot back then. Even now when I make plans it’s a big deal for me and which wolf will be fed is not a certainty.

Even before I made the plans I was feeding the wrong wolf with negative emotions. I was going through the normal bullshit of “I’ll bail”, “I’ll feel like shit and not have fun”, or “I’ll have to leave the movie because I’ll get sick and ruin it for him”…and so on and so on. The Dark Wolf fed heartily on these negative emotions. After deliberating for a few days I finally did suggest that we meet to go see the movie and he agreed. That was the first hurtle.

The next step was to finalize the plans – What time and where? I suggested a time and a place and he countered with a different movie theater than I had first considered and I wasn’t really thrilled with the choice due to the location. Again I was vacillating between feeding the diametrically opposed wolves within. As we are going back and forth with texting – which really was only a brief exchange I became anxious because I get all knotted up inside when I have to wait for someone to respond to a text. I know its stupid but it’s something that happens. And my Dark Wolf fucking loves to feed on anxiety, that’s his second favorite food behind feasting on self-hatred. I was able to put aside the fact we were going to a different theatre and I actually made the best of it by suggesting we grab dinner at an Italian joint I’ve not eaten at in a while. Turning a situation to the good is food the White Wolf devours.

I get to the theatre right on time. It’s packed and again alarm bells go off – I’m not a fan of crowds. The Dark Wolf is salivating over what emotions and thoughts which are bubbling up in my mind. I get to the theatre and park just in time before the movie starts and my friend isn’t there. I wait some more. It’s now ten minutes. And my first thought is this is why I don’t make plans. I would just rather do stuff alone. That is what I normally do because I feel that I’m so unreliable anyway. Again the Dark Wolf wolfed down these negative thoughts and emotions. My friend then texted and said he’d be five minutes due to traffic. Then it was ten and finally after fifteen minutes I stopped allowing the negative emotions and thoughts to occur.

Instead of standing there doing nothing except indulging my Dark Wolf in his favorite foods. I took the time to edit a previous blog post as I waited and I began to relax and actually enjoy myself. I could feel the Dark Wolf slink back into the recesses of my mind. The White Wolf was now being fed steadily and was strong enough to chase him away. I thought I’ll make the most of it and in the end it’s just a movie.
I was inside waiting and then I had to go outside to meet him and then we had to wait in line to show the ticket guy our electronic tickets. Again the Dark Wolf poked his head out of the long grass in my consciousness but he had nothing to eat. I kept thinking “it’s okay, I’m really excited to see the movie and I’ll catch the beginning when I buy it”. Then we went and got some waters and found screen number 12 showing “Logan”. By now I didn’t care about time because what’s the difference between twenty minutes or twenty five minutes late, it didn’t matter at all.

At the number 12 screen a huge line had formed. One person in line told us the showtime had been pushed back. We hadn’t missed anything. All of those anxieties and doubts and self-recriminations and dredging up ancient negative memories was a total waste of time. But in the end of that scenario I had fed the White Wolf more than the Dark Wolf and I think that sums up what all the philosophies and the religions are attempting to teach us. Which can be summed up with : each day we all have a choice of which wolf we are going to feed. Negative emotions like jealousy, hatred, fear and self doubt feed the Dark Wolf. And positive emotions like Love, peace, hope and gratitude feed the White Wolf. 

The question I ask myself each morning is “Which wolf gets fed today?”.

Brad Miller

Fellow Human 

Purpose of life is more life

What if humans weren’t a cancer on the world? What if human activity was natural just like the activity of every other plant and animal on Earth? And what if nature has created us to spread life off this planet onto the barren rocks of space?

Ninety nine percent of all species on Earth are extinct.  There have been six mass extinctions and at one point in time 96% of all species were wiped out. And guess what we had zero to do with it. Either the Earth or the Jniverse or whatever forces are at work here don’t give two shits about life on this planet or life is so resilient that not even a massive ball of fire hurtling towards the earth at 70,000 miles an hour can wipe out all of Earth. I am of the belief that it is the later.

My theory is that humans are not the problem and in fact we are the solution to making life more resilient. This is inline with Life’s Number one Commandment which is to become more resilient you must grow. I believe that Humans are the brains of nature and our hands are needed to rearrange the natural world so we can leave this planet and in doing so bring the seeds of life. We have been chosen to be THE GARDENERS OF THE GALAXY.

What we know so far is that in our neighborhood of space there is no other planet that has life. Life wants to expand grow and increase in complexity. We are on the cusp of increasing in compact in order to spread the seeds of life to asteroids, moons and planets. When humans fulfill our birthright trillions upon trillions of new species will evolve. The breadth and complexity of life in a few hundred years will dwarf any impact we’ve had on our fellow pecies of Earth.

Even if humans weren’t here the likely hood all the animals would go extinct is still 100% over a sufficient timescale on Earth. By moving out into space Nature has increased her odds of continuing. I do believe that Nature or Life is a force of some kind. Not in a hippie dippie way but in a way that we have not yet been able to measure. And when we do measure this force it will be one that contains this simple line of “code” “Grow”. That is its fundamental imperative.

Humans are so self hating. We are regaled by the prophets of doom on a daily basis. We are destroying the “planet”. We are making all other species extinct. What if all this messy development is to serve a larger purpose? Could all the cat videos, porn and spam that fueled the creation and adoption of the internet exist simply to provide the resources to create the cyber world? And this cyber world was necessary in order to facilitate the creation of new technology that will:

ONE – Will help us stop the next killer comet from wiping us out and most of life on Earth.


Secondly: Will help us reach all the rocky barren worlds out there to help fulfill our imperative and the imperative of all life which is to grow.

Think about what humans are doing. We are mining the rocks and resources that are locked deep down within the planet that is being unproductive and brining it up to the surface to become building blocks of life. What if all things that are considered non-living are actually part of the living system in the universe? We are all made up of non-living materials. The more non-living materials that are available for life will in turn become more life.

Humans are part of the natural system. We are not separate. We are not a cancer. The more humans the better because no one has any idea how we are going to get into space and spread life around cosmos. Life exists to do one thing and that is to grow. We are fulfilling this biological imperative and we are going to move other life with us wherever we go. No other species that has existed that we know of could do this.

What if the Earth is a seed? In a seed all that the plant needs to sprout and to grow initially is inside the seed. This includes DNA plus minerals, fats, and other molecules that help the DNA to create proteins in order to fulfill its mandate which is to grow. Life on Earth is using Earth as a seed. What other purpose does it have? A static view of nature is naive, foolish and down right dangerous. Massive changes have been the normal condition of Earth for its supposed 4 billion plus years. To think the Earth or the sun for that matter is Eternal is insanity.

The idea that we can “use up” resources is also a mistake. If a plant uses all of its minerals and fat and other molecules contained in its seed does that mean that matter no longer exists? No on the contrary. This seed has now put these non-living materials into the living world. This will in turn be reimagined by an endless number of creatures. Each of us began in space, the water we have in our bodies began in a comet, our minerals were carried to Earth by asteroids. And all of these minerals and other building blocks of life have been recycled for all intents and purposes an infinite amount of time. How many bacteria and viruses die inside us each day? How much food do we eat each day? How much water passes through us?

I do believe that this LIFE FORCE wants us to spread life to the Stars beginning with our Moon, Mars and other rocky bodies on our Galactic Street. Having a larger perspective about this Life Force is important or authoritarians can gain control and actually decrease the amount of life that exists and limits its complexity and resiliency. Without this perspective it’s easy to look at incidents and relationships that are occurring on a minuscule time scale in relation to geological time, especially when we try to understand human activity, we can actually betray Life’s Imperative of Growth.

Humans need to flourish for life to move beyond Earth. And for humans to flourish we need freedom. We are best when we are free to chart our own paths. The United States is extremely flawed in many ways. But what was done right in my opinion was the rejection of the idea that the state issued rights. All humans have inherent rights that I believe are in line with the Life Force’s imperative of Growth. They include the Right to Life Liberty and Property. When people are free to chart their own path, keep the production of their labor, and peacefully trade with others amazing things happen. Food production sky rockets, technology increases exponentially, and life expectancy increases.

Now that being said I don’t believe in a scorched Earth policy. And I don’t believe that will happen when people are free. I do believe that humans when we learn more and more about the inherent laws of nature we will work more efficiently with those forces in less wasteful ways. Having a growth mindset for life in all regards is a healthy attitude to have. The more diversity in life that Earth has the more new species will evolve when we plant the seeds of life on other worlds. Freedom creates resiliency because it encourages individual adaptations to local resources and social conditions.

Now this doesn’t mean we should concrete over the entire world. The philosophy of life is growth. How we grow is important but it shouldn’t be at the hands of authoritarians. The Climate Change crowd and a lot of the environmental movement is led by authoritarians who want to control individuals. That is not good for growth. Freedom is necessary for individuals to learn from their mistakes and to follow their predilections and also their talents to flourish. When that happens technology advances. Life also learns from its mistakes. There is no top down committee or dictator determining how many acorns a squirrel should bury or how much salmon a bear should eat before it hibernates. Humans are apart of or infused with this same LIFE FORCE that compels the growth of all life.

A lot of folks will say even if they agree with my premise that we should go to the stars in order to spread life is that the smartest should be anointed by those in power and given taxpayer funds to accomplish this. That again is against the paradigm of the natural world. Taxation is a form of theft. That money existed in an individuals pocket before it was taken. The more people are working on these opportunities the better. And those who are looking to accomplish this should have to exist in the Free Market just like you and I do. That is we have to persuade others to part with their cash by exchanging our ideas, knowledge and labor for it.

No one could predict how the internet or smart phones have impacted the world. No one can predict how we are going to go to space. And we can’t force this by funneling resources to authoritarians who have a monopoly of force determine how 7 billion people in the world should live. Anyone who wants to contribute to or increase the expression of the Life Force on Earth should withhold as much power and resources from governments as possible. Have you been to a military base lately? They are toxic waste dumps. How many hundreds of millions have been killed by governments? How many people died today because of drone strikes? How many people around the world are having trouble affording food because of the actions of the Federal Reserve?

Others will argue that only government can accumulate the resources to do the really important work. I counter that with the fact that large companies are constantly going out of business because of competition from smaller companies because technology, attitudes and ideas are constantly evolving. A perfect example of how small scale private projects can create progress when a larger scale public project funded by billions is still years away, is the Fusion generator quest. Lockheed Skunkworks is leading the private sector way with this tech and is less than ten years away to create a compact fusion reactor that will be truck transportable and be able to power over 80,000 homes. While a huge European project is ten years behind schedule on its timetable and 4.6 Billion over budget and may never be turned on. Lockheed or some other company will beat the government run program because of the ability to adapt to the new information and technology that is being created everyday.

One example within this example is the development of hydrogen metal magnets. These super conducting metal was just created last year. The government project which is based on ten year old technology will not be able to adapt to this new tech while Lockheed or another company might be able to. The benefit of the Hydrogen metal is that it is a super conducting metal at room temperature. This allows designers to create significantly smaller fusion reactors. In the future fusion reactors will create nearly limitless energy using materials readily available.

The future is amazingly bright for humanity and the Life Force. In the past the Earth was at the mercy of heavenly bodies smashing into it and setting back evolution millions of years. The Life Force on Earth has never had a defender of her biosphere like humanity. We are the brains and hands of Gaia or whatever you want to call the Life Force, who will be able to destroy any killer planet killing comets or asteroids that come our way. And one day if enough individuals live in an atmosphere of peace and freedom we will have the tech necessary to launch ourselves into space and create new Edens on the endless planets that exist. We have the potential to help the Life Force spread where she has not yet gotten a toe hold.

I used to think that going to space was insane. Why would we want to go to a place that is so unfit for life. But this is exactly the reason we are compelled to go. Because life is not there. Humans have an innate need to explore and to find new spaces to inhabit. The complexity and resiliency of life is only going to expand as humans increase despite the klaxon of warnings being sounded by the population control people, the climate change people and the environmentalists. I say the more humans the better. The more minds we have the more capable we will be to defend and to spread life to where it is not.

If people truly care about life we should all want more humans on Earth and to have those humans live in an atmosphere of peace and freedom. Prosperity breeds technological innovation and freedom gives space to individuals to dream big, gain resources using persuasion, and create the necessary tech to get to space and thrive on other planets. And if peace lasts for long enough we will do just that. If peace lasts for long enough and if there is enough freedom for the billions of individuals on Earth we are destined to go forth into the Cosmos in order to be fruitful and multiply. We are not a plague. Babies are not the enemy. Life is precious. We are created to create more life. We all embody the Life Force’s Imperative which is to Grow. The more we do the more life has a chance of reaching the stars with us.