Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lifting in the 5th Dimension, Part One - Thomas R. Foote

Lifting in the 5th Dimension
by Tom Foote (1985)

Through my acquaintance with Tom Foote, I have come to realize that we share a common belief that athletic performance can be transcended through mind control techniques. Fortunately, this fundamental belief has motivated Tom to produce the first major comprehensive book on sports meditation. The book is thoroughly researched and creatively written. Best yet, it provides an easily understood systematic approach to mastering meditative techniques.

Although THE ART OF WEIGHTLIFTING IS USED AS A VEHICLE TO ILLUSTRATE THE TECHNIQUES OF MEDITATION, this book can be successfully used by virtually anyone in any field of endeavor. In short, the book is not only enjoyable, but also informative.

-- Dr. Judd Biasiotto.


With experience every weight lifter finds there is an elusive mental edge that is necessary in order to make a good lift. Manipulating that edge is something we are just beginning to consciously do in Western sports. However, in the East it is something that students of the martial arts, yoga and meditation have done for thousands of years. Instead of a vague body of knowledge on the fringe of what's acceptable, these ancient traditions represent detailed disciplines. This book applies that knowledge to weight lifting.

Some interpretations of meditation stress the goal of seeking pure consciousness. However, the human experience is both mental and physical. An experience of being "whole" must strike a balance between the two. As a lifter, I'm also aware of an intimate cooperation between my mind and body. At times there is something more. There is a singular experience dominated by neither. This is the 5th Dimension where mind and body are but two dimensions of a larger happening.

In this 5th Dimension you live on that special edge, where you function as a whole to form something more powerful than the simple sum of your parts. Lifters who have glimpsed this condition know it as being "psyched." What they have seen is just the tip of an iceberg; in this book we are going to venture below the surface.

Here's how we are going to do it. We are going to take a journey beyond Time & Space. You are going to enter the 5th Dimension where gravity is a bearded giant and pain is an ill-tempered dragon. You are going on this trip with two friends of mine: a grizzled old fart named Path Finder, who knows the way; and his reluctant apprentice, known only as The Kid.

What are they doing there, and more importantly, what are YOU doing there?

The Kid thinks he's looking for the fabled city of Shambala. This is a legendary place which remained lost until Path Finder came along. It is still very hard to get there but it's well worth the arduous journey. Once there, The Kid expects to be endowed with all sorts of special mystic powers.

You're going there for the ride!

Along the way you are going to learn to approach weight lifting from an entirely different direction. This is no small thing and will serve several purposes. First, you will learn skills to improve your lifting. Secondly, lifting in 5D will inject new enthusiasm into your workouts. This will ring your chimes if you've ever walked into the gym to find that your motivator has died. And last but not least, the journey itself will be FUN.



-- The Leap of Faith
-- The Magic Compass
-- The Gateless Barrier
-- The Ultimate Training Partner
-- The Mad Plumber


-- The Rope Trick
-- The Forms
-- Free Play
-- Low-Tech Purist
--The Fugue Steppes


-- Trail Blind
-- The Third Ear
-- Shambala

Chapter 1 - A Leap of Faith

A narrow gorge has obstructed our pilgrims' path. Chaos has crumbled an ancient bridge, which once defiantly spanned the chasm.

"Puny humans" the ragged rock lips seemed to taunt. "You will not pass this way!"

Path Finder began to stretch out his muscles like a runner before a race. Then he took a calculating look at the void, which separated them from the other side of the bridge. The Kid, having crept on hands and knees to the crumbling edge, noticed his companion's activity. Suddenly, it occurred to him that the old man actually meant to jump the broken distance.

"You can't be serious!" The Kid gasped. "Have you ever jumped a stream?" Path Finder inquired. The Kid nodded. He'd jumped ditches and swollen rain gutters. "You make it, or you get your feet wet," Path Finder continued.

With that, the guide tested his footing and took several deep, slow breaths to compose himself. He turned slowly and graced his wild-eyed young companion with a calm smile.

"Have faith," the old man said with a wink. Then he broke into a rapid run.

"In what?" yelped The Kid in panic as Path Finder bounded past.

Then, in one explosive effort, the old guide launched himself into the gaping space. With the silent grace of a great cat he landed on the opposite side.

Turning back to face The Kid, Path Finder shouted, "In yourself, of course."

Now The Kid knew he must follow. Remembering how he willingly stepped out of his own front door to begin this strange journey, he felt like an idiot.

"Use your fear!" Path Finder yelled. "It's a source of energy. Just fasten it to that single instant when you need it."

At least The Kid knew timing would be crucial. One chance was all he had. In the next moment it would be done, or he would be undone!

"Get with it!" prodded Path Finder.

And he did. For a moment the kid was a vision of knees and elbows, as he sprang through the air like an ungainly bird. Falling just short of the mark, Path Finder managed to grab one outstretched wrist in an iron grip. It was over. He'd made it! (with a little help from his friend).

Smiling, Path Finder pulled the unsteady Kid up to safety.

"Well done," congratulated the old guide. "We had my reputation to protect, you know."

The Challenge

Imagine that a barbell has materialized at your feet. It waits in mocking silence, for you to pick up the challenge. Will you accept?

First we'll do a Clean in the usual way. There sits the bar and it's time for you to lift it. The gym is a little crowded. You were psyched when you arrived but that was 20 minutes ago. You've waited to get on the lifting platform like a hungry animal anticipating his dinner. Now you're cold. Your get up and go has got up and went. But you are dedicated . . .

Your routine calls for 5 sets of 5, pyramiding the weight upward with each set. Because you're probably thinking about your goal, and not what you're doing at this moment, you mash your finger loading the bar! This isn't going to be a record workout.

You chalk up and position your grip. Again you realize that you don't have the mental edge that a good lift requires. You also notice some lifters of the opposite sex in designer outfits (notice how cleverly I've avoided gender). It's now the moment that you are supposed to explode with that bar in your iron fists and impress the rest of the gym. What happens is more like a fizzle than a boom.

The weights go up; the weights come down. Rep after rep you grind out each set. This is work! Visions of an open road ride through your weary brain and you long to follow them. But like I said, you're dedicated. So you stick to it until the bitter end. The best thing about a workout like this one is when it's over.

Now let's approach it in the 5th Dimension. You begin by breathing slowly. As your breathing deepens so does your awareness. You are beginning to sense a special moment approaching. You feel the pull of the Earth in your lower abdomen as the force flows through the columns of your lower legs and the soles of your feet. Suddenly you are connected to the Earth. Her power streams through you. As your mind has become focused it has become quiet, the mental chatter which is usually distracting you has ceased. Doubt and uncertainty about your ability has been pushed aside like a wake before the silent bow of a relentless ship. You want to board that vessel. There can be no hesitation. You close on the bar, your feet and hands know their positions. You visualize the Earth's energy streaming into you. It is building pressure within you. At the perfect moment, a moment of power, the energy is released to sweep through the ceiling into infinity. In this moment the Clean is won! You have given yourself to it completely . . . and the bar has come to rest comfortably at shoulder height.

It worked! A single coordinated event has transpired. An event in which you were immersed, only to become self-conscious after surfacing at its conclusion. Each new repetition is an adventure, a pleasure, and a challenge. Each moment is infused with necessity!

The Leap

To Clean in the 5th Dimension is like no other experience. To introduce it, I needed an image that would make real the testing moment when mind and muscle must join for a single effort. Most of us have had some experience jumping creeks or rain-swollen gutters. You either make it of get your feet wet. My legs must have remembered such an experience, because suddenly the cinemascope image of The Kid and Path Finder leaping a fearsome abyss flashed on the living screen between my ears. Just picture yourself peering over the edge of a crumbled old bridge. For some insane reason, you have to jump to the other side. Are you tired? I doubt it! Your stomach feels like a gaping hole. Your courage has drained from your legs, leaving them weak and shaky. Strangely, your hearing is very acute. The sound of gravel grating under your feet as you test your footing is the only sound in the world. The old pump in your chest feels like it's going to burst the blood vessels in your ears. While you are being overwhelmed with all this noise from your body, your mind has become strangely silent. You're not calm. But there is a stillness to it. Everything fills it in a new way. Aside from the shaky legs, this might be what a medieval samurai felt before doing battle. These Zen-trained warriors intentionally entered an altered state of consciousness, in which their senses were highly tuned, in order to be more effective.

My intention is to show you how an ordinary event, a single repetition of an exercise, can take on a warrior's spirit. If you learn to lift in the 5th Dimension you need never be bored with your workout. You will learn to make each rep count. When The Kid had to face jumping the fallen bridge, you can bet time slowed to a standstill. With his heightened awareness he paid precise attention to every detail of his experience. Furthermore, after the success of his jump he was changed! He had learned a vital lesson.

That big jump was a one shot effort. Had he missed the far rim he would not have been able to rest a few moments and make another attempt the way weight lifters can when they miss a lift. The whole point of the bridge episode was to bring home the way a sense of urgency can transform your awareness. During those intense few moments The Kid was more alive (and more aware of it) than at any other time in his life. He had, unknowingly, glimpsed the 5th Dimension where every experience is raised above the ordinary plane of existence.

Weight lifting, too, can teach vital lessons. It can be much more than it appears to be. But how do we transform an exercise like a Clean into something so special? There are hints in the description of the second Clean, the one done in the 5th Dimension. It was a Clean of Power. It was a prototype, containing all the elements of the 5th Dimension; body awareness, the relationship to gravity, controlled breathing, visualization, and other lessons from Aikido and Hatha Yoga. I decided to introduce the Clean with many unexplained elements, as though it were an assembled puzzle. Later, as we travel through the 5th Dimension, we will explore each piece and learn to recombine the elements into a whole routine of exercise forms.

Next -- more on the Clean . . .


  1. This book was written by my husband! When
    MY family moved me to an independent living facility and they didn’t bring it with me. I have wanted to obtain one!
    He illustrated many other books! The one I would like to replace was the one on dieting and a picture of an old cowboy taking shot at a very large gushy ice cream sundae and it is hysterical
    Plus there was one picture where many overweight

    1. Hello! I don't keep my books and mags in any real proper order here, it's a boar's nest. I'll see if I can find the book , hopefully I didn't tear out pages to make it easy to transcribe by scanning and enlarging. If I can round it up here, I'll tell you in this comment deal and we can arrange for me to send it to you. Thanks for commenting!


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