Emotions are the programming language for our instincts.
They give texture to the stories we see and hear, tricking our bodies into storing them as though they are real experiences.
The reasons we make up to justify our behaviour are downstream products from our deep-seated assumptions.
Those beliefs decide how we react and how well we focus on the things we want.
Instincts save us, they also act like viruses that take over our operating systems. They can come from rich experiences such as in learning a skill. Or formed from our perceptions of something that happened. Perceptions are stories, and the emotional part tricks our nervous system into storing them as skills.
Emotions are electro-chemical events that change our biology, they increase our nutritional and sleep requirements as well our need for attention.
My expectations and the way I perceive what happens are shaped by my beliefs. When my perception does not match my expectation, I have inner turmoil. That conflict is the emotional charge being replayed. The tension and energy build up created is unbearable and leads to hasty and often addictive behavior.
There are positive emotions as well. Good feelings de-contract the stored tensions that cause us to act defensively.
Gratitude is powerful medicine that we make ourselves.
Gratitude is the deep accpetance of present circumstances. The idea that we owe something to someone outside of ourselves is often just a guilt trip. What is valuable is the energy saved, of course we should be mindful of those who enrich our lives.
To focus on our purpose, we have to debug our instincts. Beliefs are very difficult to remove once they exist at the automatic level. They are then part of our flight and fight responses and take precedence over rational actions.
To gracefully steer our nervous-system and blood chemistry is difficult. It pays to re-set our base-line tension using daily focused breathing and movement practices.
Focus is the Doorway
Both the Automatic and Conscious parts of our biology control our breathing. By slowing or pausing our breath we override the bodies fear and pain responses. We change our relationship to them when we allow these sensations to be.
With practice this becomes powerful, as Wim Hoff shows by near naked mountain climbing and ice submersion.
The main reason for regaining or retaining control is so we can spend more of our lives doing what we choose and saying what we mean the way we intended.
No point working 40+ hours a week for 40+ years to waste most of that money on things we did not need to buy
Focus is our birth right, stories that use emotion to trick us into forming instincts that create automatic inappropriate defensive reactions – don’t just rob us of our lives and turn us into reactive addicts – they keep us isolated and threatened.
Focus is the way out – breathing and conscious movement takes us through the doorway. But you can’t think through it, you have to step, its an action.
Hope this resonates? it is difficult to put into words – I will persist in breathing and moving and sharing what I find.
Mindfulness is a term used to describe paying attention to what is occurring in the present moment. In most definitions it includes being aware of passing thoughts. In this post I explore how mindfulness increases freedom and the ability to choose our actions.
Mindfulness Increases Sensitivity while Decreasing Reactivity
The opposite of mindfulness is to be unaware of ones present situation. The opposite of freedom is to be unable to select our actions.
When we become emotionally upset the chemistry of our blood changes, our physical posture and tension levels change and the way we see ourselves and our circumstances change also.
Not only do we experience ourselves and our situation differently but others experience us differently also. This alters both the options available to us and our perception of what is now possible.
Emotional Freedom through Mindfulness
We experience emotions as either pleasant or unpleasant feelings within our bodies. The more certain we are about how things ought to be, the more often reality is going to challenge those assumptions.
When our beliefs or assumptions are challenged we feel a tightening or contraction in our tissues. This can escalate into a full blown threat response with adrenaline and cortisol and may lead to harsh words or actions.
In situations which are truly threatening, these automatic responses can save our lives. In situations where only our opinions, ideals or values are threatened, these reactions damage relationships, waste energy and limit the range of actions available to us. They cost us our freedom.
We can either desensitise ourselves to these feelings of tension and “negative” emotion or we can do the opposite, which is to practice mindfulness.
Mindfullness is about Identity, how we see ourselves determines our level of Freedom
Mindfulness is a state of alertness to our senses. Our senses provide real time information about events occurring both externally and internally.
Much of what we notice internally is the result of how we perceive external events. It is our stories and assumptions that determine these inner sensations of emotion.
What happens externally is largely outside of our control, the greater part of mindfulness is being aware of the inner sensations and what is triggering them.
Mindfulness is the art of objectivity, of being able to recognise both inner events, (emotions), and external events, (sensations) as seperate from our assumptions and the meanings we place on them.
Meanings and Kindness alter our Freedom
When we are able to experience emotions and sensations as seperate from any story or perception, then we avoid making them mean anything. If we can accept what is happening without measurement or comparison then we remain free to choose our next action.
If we compare each feeling and sensation to what happened in the past or project what that may mean for our future, then our actions will be limited by our beliefs. Our meanings will determine and limit our actions.
While we are remembering past events or considering possible future impacts our attention is largely in our thoughts so we have reduced our sensitivity to real relationships in the present moment.
If we are able to remain present with the feelings and sensations as they arise, we remain fully sensitive, fully aware of our situation and all the rich possibilities it presents. We notice tiny differences and what creates them, we begin to understand the relationships between events with greater clarity.
This understanding of relationship and our own inter-relationship with everything and everyone usually results in us being more kind. We recognise the commonality of both joy and suffering and see ourselves in others.
Doorways into Mindfulness
Be the act of observation, rather than the observer.
The observer is the aggregation of comparisons and judgements, of values and stories, comforts, fears, pride and shame. The observer who has created an identity out of their likes and dislikes is full of assumptions.
Observation without judgement is curiosity itself. It is perhaps the reason that trillions of cells work together to produce a nervous system capable of abstract thought. Sensitivity to reality rather than to meanings allows Mindfulness.
Identity determines Mindfulness
Simply being aware of the rich sensation pouring into our bodies gives rise to a felt sense of self. Developing talents, skills and traumas differentiates how we “feel” and come to know ourselves.
When our identity is determined by the quality of attention that others give to us, how we feel, and who we feel ourselves to be, will be dependant on those other people. Attention seeking behaviour emerges from this part of our identity.
The perception of threat keeps us reacting with inappropriate emotions and thoughts. The threats are most often to our stories of self, to all the assumptions, likes and dislikes that form our identity. The more stories we have, the more we depend on others to validate us, the more often we will feel emotions that have nothing to do with reality.
Much of thought itself is an inappropriate reaction that further de-sensitizes us to current happenings, making graceful action impossible.
To be mindful, I release the “I” of my Identity and allow all my biology to resonate with what is happening. The Christian cross is the Letter I with a line crossing it out.
To identify through the reality of biology and its current situation rather than through stories of how and why things should be is called “acceptance”. Our biology is interdependent with all the biology that coats this planet. The self as seperate is a perspective that can be set aside and a great deal of fear goes with it.
You will not find these ideas in books on neuroscience and psychology, rather than hard facts, my explanations better resemble metaphors. They are my attempt to rearrange fragments of knowledge and allow a fresh picture to emerge. One that better matches biology and the possibility of greater bio-diversity.
Relax to receive – Information as movement
Emotions lend power and texture to communications. As discussed in depth in my previous post, although emotions come in many flavours, perhaps it is useful to see them as being either: based in physical contraction or expansion. Notice, that I chose to write expansion rather relaxation.
When cells, tissues, organs and bodies are relaxed they are able to resonate or be moved more freely they are receptive to in-comming signals. They gather, transmit and move with more information, expanding their inter-relationship.
Do our Intentions determine our intelligence?
Intelligence can be defined either as pure information, for example, to gather intelligence. Or the ability to recognise and store repeating patterns. To sense and make sense of what is happening.
In nature, which encompasses everything, all is interrelated, even chaos or the dissolving of order happens predictably. We tend to hang onto or memorise the repeating elements or pieces of this larger pattern that we see advantage in.
Those broken of pieces of the greater pattern become our intentions. How we store or memorise these fragments determines both what we are able to feel and how we feel.
There are ways to make sense of the data that allow us to move gracefully and effectively in the flow of what is happening. When we cling to patterns that seem to bring personal advantage, but do not flow with what is happening we experience and perpetuate turbulence. Lets explore this.
Virtual Reality of the Synapses – The Mind Field
Neuroplasticity refers to the ability of the our nerve endings to make and break connections like trees waving together in the wind. As we have more rich and engaging experiences we make more connections, we come to understand what is happening and how to move with it. These types of connections are flexible and update readily. They begin to form an inner map that resonates with our environment and circumstances.
Our instincts shuttle resources away from this part of the brain, away from healing, rejuvenation and protection of the DNA. Into our muscle memories for fast life saving actions. Our muscle memories are a collection of learned skills that provide moving experiences. But skill are not the only patterns stored in our bodies.
May the Force be without you for a while
We need to contract to transfer or generate force. Applying less force for less time not only saves energy, it allows us to return to greater sensitivity faster.
Grace, elegance and efficiency are measures of how effectively we apply force. All of these are determined by how well our cells move in relation to each other and how well our bodies move in relation to their surroundings.
Friction is a cost of moving things, (like Inertia) it is a force that must be overcome in order create movement. In our bodies, non useful stored tension wastes energy as it hinders our ability to move and be moved.
Sensitivity is the ability to resonate or be moved by incoming energy, be it, sound, light, heat, magnetism or another expression of force, (they are likely all one anyway).
So if Neuroplasticity is in fact, all wavy and tree-like, how dow we come to be so tense and why do we have the ability to not be moved?
How do we store these patterns that do not “resonate” or move nicely with the passing energy, like leaves in the wind and waves in the ocean?
So glad you asked 🙂
The Spring within – Fascia is the tissue of Connection or is it?
A cell, much like an amoeba, is an individual unit of life, as such it can move (contract/relax), produce energy from food, and sense its environment and reproduce. It senses its environment predominantly, through its membrane or surface.
To increase access to information from environment it can increase its surface area, if it gets too big it will become unstable and fragile. At some point it is just easier to “join forces” with adjacent cells to create a more complex organism.
Cells become tissues, different tissues join to become organs, organ systems, organisms and eventually organisations of organisms. Yet binding this all is the tissue of connection – the fascia. Yes even our societies are bound by fascia.
Fascia becomes the tissue that determines if there is an issue.
Fascia forms a moving, sliding, gliding three dimensional web that binds us to together. It is elastic and stretchy, combined with muscle and nerve fibres it both receives and transmits force. Fascia takes on the role of the membrane in that simple amoeba model, it is all about inter-action.
Due to the elastic nature of fascia, it can store and release tension like a rubber band. Imagine a cheetah running, as its foot absorbs the weight of its body returning to Earth, that force is stored, as it springs of the ground, that stored energy is released. Together with powerful muscle contractions the combined force is enormously effective.
For this to work, the fascia must release all non relevant tension, (friction) and get out of the way. The cheetah’s nervous system must coordinate muscle contractions and relaxations in perfect timing to the changing circumstances. Total and perfect sensitivity to environment though the senses is required.
Sensitivity is a function of softness, of suppleness of the membrane of the fascia of the organism to “allow” what is to be.
Threatened with extinction
When we perceive a threat, the emergency part of our brain selects a spontaneous instinctive response. Enormous resources are sent to move us out of danger. If there is in fact no real and present danger those resources remain unspent.
Precious bio-chemicals, electrolytes, endorphins, neurotransmitters, hormones, ATP remain in the system, we get a rush. The fascia gets wound up ready to spring.
We experience these minor and major tensions as the emotions of contraction. If not released, the spring remains wound up, that stored tension becomes a kind of body memory. The corresponding emotion is un-pleasent, unbearable in fact, as it keeps us blind un-easy, threatened and vulnerable. It makes us feel alone.
When we repeat this many times, fail to move and feed our bodies poorly, the fascia gets stuck in the prepared state and we loose both agility and sensitivity. We embody the fear response and as we become increasingly deadened, we get scared more easily. This turns us back to the tribe for comfort, re-assurance and validation. Attention seeking.
Swell times ahead – inflammation vs information
In the animal kingdom, animals that move poorly become lunch, their molecules are recycled early. In the world of Sapiens, we have learned how to re-direct the forces of nature, we can create swelling in the environment and harvest from it, saving our energy.
We no longer need to be graceful and sensitive, so long as we are up-stream of the swelling we can harvest easily. We are taught how to behave and what is valuable. We play the game of squeezing nature and competing for a place up-stream. Those downstream in the land of lack, are obviously un-educated or lazy.
These stories that maintain the status quo and are not fluid and wavy at all, they are all about fear, contraction, swelling and control. Perhaps we can not store these kind of memories in our synapses, maybe they are stored in the fascia, in the skin within. They are transmitted and re-enforced via stories empowered by tone of voice and body language, via the emotions of contraction.
Movement as Medicine
Movement brings awareness to both tension and relaxation, to where we are stuck and swollen and to where we are fluid, alive and sensitive. All movement happens in relation to the energy or forces that are present in our environment.
To free ourselves from the stories that are anchored in our fascia with emotion we need to return our focus to sensitivity. This is the most difficult task their is and very few succeed totally.
Most of us have fleeting experiences of the alive connected, timelessness and selflessness of these “states”. We call them altered states, but I wonder if they are our birthright and it is our collective culture that alters us?
The purpose of these writings and illustrations is to explore letting go of non-relevant tension. Allow our synapses to build better models, to understand the flowing biology that coats this planet. To return to Information, accept our vulnerabilities and release inflammation.
Do certain types of emotion trick our biology into remembering concepts as though they were actual events?
Stories create emotion through empathy, this identification gives rise to emotion, creating memories that will effect future perception and action.
Lacking real experience,we use emotions to store abstract ideas. The type of emotions used are contractive rather than expansive and as they do not gel with reality they end up triggering the emotions we used to store them.
I also suspect that we store these ideas in our muscle memory. Specifically in our fascia, constantly triggering these programs, and releasing stress hormones without any real threat leads to calcification in the fascia, loss of posture and loss of focus. Making it harder to achieve flow states.
This may turn out to be inaccurate, but my reasoning is as follows:
Life is Movement
From single cell organisms to mammals with complex multi organ systems, timely information about environment is critical to function. When organisms can not sense accurately, they can not respond or allocate resources effectively to maintain internal order.
Relax or Contract
Limbs wings and fins are obvious examples of groups of cells working together to contact or relax, to provide motion.
To pump gasses and liquids, digest, hunt and harvest, to fight or flee, learn, signal and reproduce, cells must move.
The complexity and diversity of movement possible in the biosphere appears unlimited but it all arises from cells contracting and relaxing in unison.
Among the ways cells sense and signal is via proteins on their membrane surfaces, these proteins are like locks waiting for the right keys. When cells are in contraction most of these key holes are full and the cells are blind to fresh stimuli until they relax again. ( This is a massive over-simplification but as a metaphor it may be useful).
Emotion is language
Sensitive nervous systems managing trillions of cells provide highly nuanced details of these states of contraction and relaxation. Language and Complex social interactions further broaden cellular signal movements to include gestures sounds and smells.
Homo sapiens emerged about 70,000 years ago and our ability to use language to cooperate and share information vastly increased different possible emotions. Beneath all that, I see these emotions falling into two categories, contraction and relaxation.
Contract or Relax – Move or Feel
The language of contraction is dominated by instincts that correlate with defense, flight and fight, acquiring, consuming and mating. It’s all about survival, applying force and controlling risk. Contraction is action. Contraction without action can be seen as blocked energy or trauma.
The returning of relaxation defines the language of sensitivity. Allowing the possibilities of interaction, coordination, cooperation and even creativity. It’s all about using the incoming data for making fresh connections and expanding opportunities. About playfulness, coordination and learning. Relaxed tissues allow resonance.
Instincts and opinions
There are times when instincts save us and movement programs such as breathing, beating our hearts, digestion and even walking are essential. Patterns of movement become skills, when we add significant focus, those skills become extraordinary. When threatened, defence programs run automatically. They bypass my reason centers and take me straight into action.
Our biology can not distinguish between a real event and an imagined event. How I perceive or feel alters the chemical signals between my cells. My body responds to emotions, yet emotions that arise from thinking may be unrelated to the movement around me.
When I experience danger or a threat, my body releases the emergency hormones of flight and fight. These hormones free resources and narrow my focus in preparation for instant and massive action.
When I have a false alert this energy remains unused. Energy normally allocated to immune response, metabolism, accurate protein synthesis and higher level thinking, is now available for action. What happens to this unused potential?
Fascia, the skin within and its role in memory
Our fascia or connective tissue is the white skin that coats our bones, it surrounds individual and groups of muscle fibers, nerves and blood vessels. Fascia forms an interconnected three dimensional web throughout our bodies, storing and releasing energy like a system of springs. I think of fascia as an extension of our nervous system, but like many of these ideas, that may not be strictly accurate.
The programmability of fascia plays a role in how we create and store muscle memories. Fascia/neurone memories are “chunks” of information, which we combine instinctively to perform simple and complex tasks from walking to windsurfing.
In its dormant or relaxed state, the fascia is flexible and its fibres glide easily across each other. When threatened, parts of the body contract to defend itself. With trauma, we create patterns of tension inappropriately, and it can become permanent restriction that interferes with our posture.
When a wild animal escapes a near death experience it will shake uncontrollably to reset all its signals back to the open and receptive state again. Similarly, we see dogs run in crazy circles to burn of the hormones of excess excitement. Crying also helps to shed excess hormones.
As we age, “toughen up” and stop being silly, we don’t disperse these action potentials, and things that continually upset us build patterns of tension that become locked into our fascia.
This stored contraction holds both the shape and the feeling that triggered it. Besides inviting disease, it becomes a body memory that will inhibit both skilled movement and how we sense our environment. It keeps us partially blind and more reliant on memories and programs.
Healers call this blocked or stuck energy. Releasing it physically may help, but usually we must also release the perception or story that carries the emotional charge.
Pure experience provided by our senses, can never provide the evidence to support stories of a seperate anything. As all is in relation and effects everything else, valuations and comparisons are human assumptions.
When we latch onto ideas or stories for the purpose of increasing our feeling of power, control, worthiness or advantage, or when we latch onto knowledge to defend, enhance or protect our “selves”, we must use emotion to anchor these “facts”. Emotion provides a texture of tension that tricks our biology into feeling it is having a real world experience.
This accumulated tension creates an identity of self as seperate and keeps us moving in reactive semi-blind circles. The “seperate self” is in constant need of validation from other tribe members, to feel worthy, safe and connected. Much of our energy is spent in attention seeking, acquiring, improving or distracting the vague feeling of un-easiness created by this illusory seperate self.
Over thinking over
Our biology is not stupid, it says ” hey big fella, check out this feeling thats interrupting our cells – POW”. When that emotion arises we may accept it, suppress it, distract ourselves from it or react to it.
Reacting to it usually involves our minds inventing a version of events where we get to hang onto our belief and blame the bad feelings on something external. This replaying saps our focus, suppression saps our ability to feel that part of ourselves and both, keep us insensitive.
Loosing Sensation, feels like Separation
Being insensitive, reactive and walled off, destroys our ability to have healthy relationships. Leaving us unable to feel, even when people do accept and validate us. We mistake losing accurate sensation as the loss of connection and ironically may try even harder to seek attention, respect and validation.
Addictive behaviour traces back to the pain of feeling seperate. We are never seperate until the decay process removes the order in our biology. We need to feel connection directly, the same way we need to learn things directly. Both are hindered by remaining in contraction.
To grow with the Flow, I have to let go
I try not to get attached to concepts that I will not able to experience and test directly. Holding onto ideas that do not match the evidence of my senses creates conflict and emotional reactivity.
This stored emotional tension ruins my posture making sensitivity, graceful interaction, and fresh skill acquisition difficult.
Flow states and focused movement help us to release stuck signals, and more fully inhabit our bodies and relationships. Each of us is tuned to feel our world uniquely, by placing our attention into rich activities that fully engage our senses rebuilds our ability to focus and is another on-ramp into flow, into health and into freedom.
As usual this is deep and difficult to grasp, I hope you find it helpful. I suspect we live about 70 years because the journey of self understanding takes time to un-wind.
Freemocean is about understanding and achieving flow states(1). I enjoy sharing my discoveries and deeper thoughts on this blog, my goal is to follow the trail of questions rather than get stuck on answers.
Flow states are peak experiences or altered states that humans (and many animals) can deliberately access to increase performance, happiness and creativity. Traditionally they were considered matters of spirituality and gurus usually associated attainment with abstinence of that which was deemed to be un-healthy or un ethical.
Over the last few decades we are seeing an acceleration in athletic, creative and intellectual performance being attributed to flow states. Altered consciousness, no longer solely the domain of mysticism, is rapidly flowering everywhere, where peak performance is essential.
I removed my opinionated posts about nutrition, but I continue to experiment with my own biology. Nutrition is not crucial to flow states, but I have found that higher energy levels and being able to move freely are powerful”on-ramps” into the flow state(2).
Identifying and removing the blocks to flow
First slavery, then our early technologies such as steam and oil have allowed economic forces to ignore the ecological requirements that sustain biodiversity. What this means is that we no longer needed move in synergy with nature to harvest, food, energy and raw materials.
The investments that followed have locked us into some poor harvesting strategies. Those strategies were supported by our cultures and much of that dogma became entrenched in academia. We find ourselves waking up daily to fixed overheads. They can only be met by participating in systems that keep us desensitised to the relationships present in our own biology.
With the the dawn of agriculture, how we eat and move changed radically over a 10,000 year period.Industrialisation rapidly took us even farther from direct connection with natures cycles. Fortunately the Information Age may be allowing us to re-explore and learn from our roots. To learn again that relation with biology was never a choice, but a necessity.
We can read or listen to ideas about being more in tune with our surroundings, but experience can only arise from action and feedback. When we get direct sensual feedback, then we understand, then we are in connection. Only then does action arise without the need to think, without the need to check in with memory and past perceptions. From here we can allow flow.
The move n’ meat Experiment
Amara Watersports hosted an SUP, (stand up paddle) race in early December 2016, I had been playing with the low glycemic diets, (low in sugar and other carbohydrates) for a few years by that time. I was using 45- 50 minute aerobic training in preparation for the 6km SUP event, where I came third. That was almost 4 months ago.
Since then I have been focusing on flexibility and intense body weight training using gymnastics rings and some animal movements (6). Beyond the odd windsurfing session, I have not done any aerobic type training. In the last 4 months, the longest I have paddled is about 1.5km, and only on two or three occasions.
I hardly move, but when I do, I ensure it demands strength and focus into my senses. High quality attention, but surprisingly little time spent in practice.
Not only did I stop exercising so much, In the last 4 months I started to reduce the amount of plants I was eating to simply onions, turmeric and pepper. In the last 6 weeks leading to my next race on, I began eating only raw grass fed beef once a day(5). In the week before the race I ate a few extra meals, mostly of sausages, cheese or bacon. (not an ideal Omega 3 to 6 fatty acid ratio, but affordable and accessible fat for fuel).
I joined the March 26th 2017 SUP STATION event(4) where nearly 50 boards crowding the start line. Despite eating, no fruit and no vegetables and doing no aerobic conditioning, I still managed a solid third place in the 6km race.
This result surprised me. I did not think it possible to be in the lead pack without conditioning my body for long distance. The result obviously does not prove anything, but perhaps it does open the mind to what that our biology thrives on and what it does not required at all. To enter flow state, we release assumptions, most especially ones that affirm self as seperate from the greater biology that envelopes this planet.
(1) I define “Flow” as direct and effortless bond with environment, though the senses. Opinions or thoughts of self as seperate create conflict and suck me out of flow instantly.
(2) “On-ramp”, a fantastic phrase borrowed from writer, Steven Kotler. Who provides a fantastic resource on the history, impact and biology of flow states in his books and on his website – The Flow Gnome Project
(3) Lowering Carbohydrate intake reduces insulin spikes and when reduced enough, leads to using dietary and or body fats instead of sugars for fuel, termed “nutritional ketosis”. My article – Oxygen and your DNA explores why that may be an interesting option
(4) SUP Station is an awesome business on the Chaophraya river near Bangkok, the owners are wonderfully intelligent and kind people. The event was so much fun and the skill of the racers is growing with each event. The trophies in the photo were made by Cobra international who also supported the event. SUP Brothers Bruno and Daniel hosted the event with the support of Starboard and NSP.
(5) I did break my own rules a few times, but all those exceptions would add up to far less plant based products than what most people eat in a single day.
(6) The Gymnastics rings I use are simple donut shapes hanging on adjustable length straps from a tree, another set up is some rope that washed in from the sea, it is has loops tied in either end and is also hanging over a tree branch. Animal movements emulate the motion of the bear, the monkey and the frog, they demand balance, build muscle and open joints. I only use them for a few minutes. I rarely practice movement for more than 20 minutes a day, though I am starting to do more intuitive stretching.
My current perspective sees people as a collection of human cells, bacteria and fungi that form the walking “*meat puppets” from which our attention emerges.
In any moment, we can either place the emergent property of our attention into thought or into our senses. Meat puppets, like plants and fungi are a community of cells cooperating to increase complex relationship through specialization. Whoa there camel! – that’s a big concept worthy of several books . Lets assume we are still on the same page and keep moving though.
Change for a time
I wanted to be “just friends” with coffee without the addiction. So I eventually managed to stop drinking it for about 9 days, which killed my energy delivery. I had not realized how much caffeine amplified ketones.
I am mostly ketogenic(1), but that is only partially relevant to this post.
I tap into a lot of highly creative ideas but action very few. Caffeine seems to ramp up my strategic thinking when what I really want to pay more attention to the world around me(2). Blabber-mouthing with out paying attention to others was not being helped by caffeine either.
Now that I see this clearly, the motivation to quit daily use of coffee arose naturally, requiring little discipline. After quitting the habit of using coffee to kick-start my energy delivery, I thought about just drinking coffee on Sundays.
The trouble with creating treats in a future date is that this affirms psychological time. Another “big concept”, but lets keep moving with it. Creating futures that are better or worse than the present, does not help me to experience and appreciate the perfection of the moment and can keep me lost in imaginings and concerns.
Divide and be Conquered
Most serious healers and teachers, come to understand that most social and a fair bit of biological pathology arises from feelings of separation, loneliness, unworthiness or inadequacy. From the loss of sensitivity to innate connection.
Wasting my attention on over thinking, makes me more insensitive the situations around me. Lowering the quality of my interactions which feeds back into my insecurity, making me think more.
I think in words, symbols for “things”, for divisible units of reality that I can now compare and assign values to. Words while extremely useful for communication and cooperation, paint an inaccurate picture.
Thinking in words I see everything, including myself as separate and open to valuation and comparison. When deeply in my senses, I do not experience the world as separate”things”. When not seeing everything through a filter of thoughts and assumptions, I see no boundaries to cause and effect only constant change.
I can see order and disorder, complexity and chaos. In my senses, my actions become more graceful because I am aware of the movement around me. I understand what is happening so do not need to check in with memories and opinions, so I can stay present and attentive.
What has this got to do with Coffee?
Yesterday, I had a strong craving for coffee, which signals either chemical addiction or discontent aka, non acceptance of events. After an argument with my wife my vitality crashed and I felt a strong desire to kick start my energy. Not a good time to re-enforce a negative feedback loop, better to do some repairs around the house and accept my feelings instead of trying to change them.
I got a lot done yesterday so today is a good day for writing and drawing. Checking in with my biology, no cravings or discontent present, so I visit a nice coffee house. Its raining and there’s nobody else here. Perfect time to use the drug, caffeine and put it to work deliberately and with focus.
I hope this story is a useful metaphor about giving priority to sensation in biology rather than mental programming, (memory). Operating from the senses affirms connection, whereas operating from thoughts can affirm fragmentation and separation.
Self as separate gives rise to fear, and yet more “strategic” thinking, which pulls us further out of awareness of how interrelated everything and everyone are.
I have tried to address some difficult concepts using simple examples, I hope I have not wasted your time. Especially if you were looking for definitive opinion about wether to drink coffee or not. As you can see, why we do is more important than what we do. How we think, more important than the contents of our thoughts.
(1) Ketogenic – Nutritional Ketosis is a state of using either dietary or body fat for fuel, it can occur in the abssense of carbohydrates. The writer uses this as his predominant state due to anti-inflammatory and reduced oxidation benefits – read more
(2) Dr. Amen is most well know for using FMRI imaging to measure the effects of organic and synthetic compounds on patients brain activity.
I was going to call this,”Oxygenetics”. But even for me that is too much cheese.
The way we use oxygen is critical.
Oxygen is powerful simply because of its instability. It has 6 electrons flying around its outer orbit(valance shell), when 8 would be be stable. This means that it combines with or disrupts other molecules readily. Trying to “steal” 2 more electrons to make a perfect balanced 8.
This instability makes it perfect for ripping apart other molecules -which is how our mitochondria use O2 to make electrical energy from our food. Energy is transported as chemical energy in the molecule ATP.
Power to the people
Mitochondria have their own simple DNA, they live in our cells and make up about 10 % of our bodyweight while producing ATP in a single day equivalent to our bodyweight. When we are in fight or flight mode, this already impressive production goes through the roof.(2)
Because Oxygen is so reactive, it can also damage healthy cells. So a big part of mitochondrial function is cleaning up the by-products of energy production. It uses, Uric acid, Vit C* and Glutathione to do this, they essentially donate electrons to stabilise the residual Oxygen. They are known as Anti-Oxidants. (that was a brutal and shameless reduction of some pretty heavy chemistry).(3) (8)
When we burn sugars, (carbohydrates) we use more (up to 28% more(1) Oxygen than when we burn fats, (ketone bodies produced by the liver). This leaves a bigger mess and requires more Vit C and Glutathione to neutralise it.(1)
Less Oxidative stress is better than more Anti-Oxidents
The accumulation and interaction of environmental toxins also place massive load on our antioxidants, meaning there is less available to neutralise damage in our mitochondria.(2) I suspect this is how radiation works also, leaving our DNA unprotected.
Protecting our DNA, rebuilding healthy cell structures and immune response are massively energy demanding. Getting upset, also is a huge drain, which is why it is so beneficial to recognise and treat stress and its triggers.(6)
2.3 billion years ago, before cells were able to use oxygen to rip apart food, they had to ferment it, producing lactic acid as a by-product. Cells with damaged mitochondria or with no oxygen, are forced to use this old less efficient way to produce energy. That burn we feel in our muscles when we exercise is lactic acid, a little is great for sending the signal to grow, a lot is perhaps not as good as we once believed as it increases oxidative stress.
Cancer, better do your own research before trusting the “indoctrinated”
Cancer cells have damaged mitochondria so have to ferment sugar or glutamine for fuel, even in the presence of ample oxygen.(4) Thats why PET scans are used to locate cancer by its tell-tale lactic acid trail. This is called the Warburg effect.
It has been shown clearly and irrefutably in rats, that healthy mitochondria can heal cells damaged from cancer, while damaged mitochondria allow cancer to arise as it simply can not protect the DNA .(5)
In cancer states, more glutathione is regulated into the healthy cells where it is needed for ATP production with O2. By ramping up oxidative stress, doctors can make the damaged “fermenting cells” suffer as they do not have the Anti-oxidentst to donate electrons.
Meanwhile the healthy cells, with their extra share of Oxygen protecting anti-oxidants, can survive and express genes that continue life and complex relationship.
This is why Ketogenic diets work so well in conjunction with stressors such as hyperbaric oxygen or even chemo drugs and radiation.
When you understand the basics it is actually blindingly simple. However, billions of dollars and thousands of careers depend on a cure that can be patented. (7)
Progress – who is driving this thing?
Over the last 10 thousand years we have switched from high quality fats and proteins bio accumulated by the enzymatic activity in the biology of large herbivores in pristine environments. (sorry that was a mouthful in itself).
Over to consumption: based largely in fructose, grass seeds and their oils. Most of the world now feeds on simple sugars with super high omega 6 concentrations.
The petrochemical intervention required to force nature out of bio-diversity and into straight lines has been enormous. Ironically the chemical byproducts of producing soy, rice, corn, wheat, canola and fruits are further cause of mitochondrial damage.(2) (3)
How this came to be has much to do with the way we operate in groups and how that went from being our competitive edge to pushing us over it.
The price we pay for this drastic shift is the oxidisation of our mitochondria and the inevitable damage to our DNA.
(6) Blog posts 1-8 which need to be re-written, explain how our instincts may have been skewed by group dynamics. Shifting our focus away from our senses and into memory.
(7) It appears that the most effective cancer fighting drugs are the ones that hinder glucose and glutamine synthesis or simply make the patient so sick that they can not eat. This causes the liver to switch over to body fat for fuel. Cancer cells can not use fat for fuel, so they starve while healthy cells recover.
note: I am not qualified to advise on any of these topics, however, I am not here to advice, rather to inspire you to do your own research. It could add 20 good years to your life.
Instead of letting my mind wonder while trying to burn calories. I use a nutrient dense diet and use movements that demand that I pay close attention to my posture.
By training in un balanced situations, such as on Stand Up Paddle Boards and body weight games, I learn to keep my head aligned over the base of my support.
This requires that my total focus be anchored in the signals streaming into the nervous system. My body follows my head, which follows my eyes, which follows my thoughts. In other words if I think I fall.
Trillions of human and bacterial cells work together to form my tissues and organ systems. I am pretty sure that did not happen just so they could listen and respond to replays of my last argument.
More likely, they want the vital environmental data so that they can allocate energy and resources gracefully.
Getting my head I the right place.
Simply by leaning your head forward you can feel the weight shift to the balls of your feet, notice also how this affects tension in the back of the neck and pulling into the sides of knee joints.
SUP training is fantastic, as the energy moving through the water continually shifts the ideal place for our hips to be. In order for our heads to remain situated over our feet, we sway, we embody the wave-form that is moving through the water. We un-wind, just as the ocean is “un winding”.
Conforming to the effects of the sun and the moon on water is a great healthy way to reset our base tension levels. The more tense we are the less we can feel, and the more likely we are to operate from reactive programs.
Do not try the experiment in the photo, without the advice and supervision of a chiropractor. I use the rings and my feet to gradually increase the load on my occipital ridge, de-compressing the vertebra and allowing my body to soften and “swing” back underneath my head.
Wellness remains a possibility and a choice to the degree that we understand, through direct experience, the relationships that run through biology in real time.
think-or-feel. boo hoo my clever little animation won’t display ah such is life 🙂
Ever notice how children walk?
They don’t, they run, jump, skip, hop and dance: with or without music. They don’t learn to walk until they go to school and the teacher says, “get in line, stop running around”.
But we must have order, right?
Well, what is order, where is order?
Is there order in the universe, order on Earth?
Sure there is, we have physics, chemistry and biology they show quite clearly that the world moves in predictable patterns. That cause and effect are inextricably linked in time.
Now that time thing, that is a little tricky. For us to take a measurement, we need to place a mark, so that we can compare to it. We need a reference point. We need to create a fixed memory, a defining point, and assign a value to it. So that we can measure change or difference, over time.
Welcome to the box.
The box is our collective culture, the culmination of our assigned and agreed upon values. Our arbitrary reference points that allow us to make comparisons, valuations and invest wisely…for the future. To treat the world and each other as though everything can be improved and enhanced if we all work together as a team. (anyone else hearing Pink Floyde ?).
To be considered useful, does information have to be relevant, accurate and timely? We now, not only have access to, we are in fact bombarded with so called “information”. How much of it is qualified?, how much of it do we allow the “qualified” to qualify for us? Who is qualified to maintain the quality of the the quantifier’s?
Who decides which PHD scientists receive grants or get published? How are they to present new ideas using old patterns of thinking? How are they to make it compelling enough to get or hold our attention?
Why the Decline?
Have you noticed how older more experienced people can not seem to grasp new technologies, while 5 year olds learn at blinding speed? Why the decline? Is it because children learn by playing, by fearlessly trying everything without worrying about the consequences?
Do children learn faster, because they do not have to compare every potential outcome to a memorised effect?
Is it the mesmerising effect of memory that robs us of our sensitivity? Isn’t the only thing that can ever bring us truly up to date, relevant and accurate information: our own nervous systems?
In any one moment we can either feel directly what is happening or we can put our attention into our memory. Which do you suppose is more accurate? From which do you suppose high quality action arises?
Our nervous systems process tens of thousands of chemical and electrical functions each second. Co ordinating on the electro-magnetic and gravitational planes instanteaneously what is required to keep us alive. This happens to the degree that accurate information is able to be sensed.
Mammals and Memory
Memory that is stored with an emotional component effects the tension in our bodies, over time we take on this shape and it limits the way we are able to sense new information. It keeps us lost in thoughts, insensitive and reactive.
To operate from the reality of what is happening, first we need to sense it directly. Not feel our own emotion, then react based upon opinion. To actually notice and accept what is. Then allow a new kind of action to arise. One based on the real relationships that are present. Rather than memories made of words and charged with personal agendas. Now that is freedom…
You find it through movement – though anything that forces us to inhabit our biology with high quality focus.
It is the nature of words to divide for the purpose of comparison and valuation. Can these implied meanings ever match the nature from which we arise? Does this create conflict and emotional turbulence, interfering with our cells ability to sense and adjust to the real situation at hand?
Force vs Resonance
How does the way we receive and process both energy and information determine the quality of our lives, relationships and actions?
In any one moment an organism can contract or relax. To simplify, let’s think of this as a YES of acceptance, permeability or even leakiness. Or a NO of contraction, tension, defence or even inflammation. We need both, for without movement and interaction, there is no life, and that’s a drag.
All of our sensory organs receive information by resonating with the frequency of the incoming data. Energy moves in waves, our senses receive These “waveforms”as either resonance, force or a combination of both.
When you push on a blade of grass, It moves away, little force is transferred to the roots or other blades of grass.
When you push on a twig, force is transferred to the branch, which will be moved by the twig.
Force is transferred to the degree that movement is not possible, to the degree that there is tension in the receiving tissues.
Movement contains information about the energy source, do we embody that information to the degree that we resonate with it?
Force appears to me as the energy of the source without the full information of its qualities.
If we squash a waves pitch, amplitude and frequency does it become a flatline?
Do we pass on (“passion”) information or force to the degree that we resonate, to the degree that our tissues resist or allow?
When we are tense, rather than ebb and flow, the force crashes into us and we loose balance. We receive the energy but not the information. This is like saying “No” to the possibility of life. We are constantly moving through the equilibrium of balance, swaying across the centreline, the closer to the centre we rest, the less energy we need. The easier it is for us to change direction as required.
When we match our base tension to the waveform we are receiving, accepting. We sway with the force, returning to center without losing balance. We feel the amplitude, pitch and frequency, we retain the information, allowing most of the force to pass. Is this a “Yes” to life?
When we apply constriction or opening to the capillaries, tubes and pumps of our tissues and organs, we begin to see how emotion effects health.
What if we imagine emotions as the feeling of our tissues responding and holding a “No”. What If we imagine our senses in the absence of opinions, assumptions, comparisons as a “Yes”.
We may start to see non-useful inflammation as the inability to resonate, in rejection of information do we absorb even more force. It may be that emotions are the feeling of turbulence created by applying memories rather than understanding to current events?
Ratios in the balance
*Omega 3 to Omega 6. Vitimin K2 to Vitiamin D3. Magnesium to Calcium. Potassium to Nitrogen, Insulin to Glucose, Acids to Alkalinity, amino acids to fats. The organisms that we are: must receive and balance ratios against the backdrop of what is actually happening. In thinking we send additional signalling, such as threat and support, pride and shame, confusion and assurance, allowing and resistance. We come to embody a shape that is formed by both our nutritional inputs and our base assumptions of who we are. Both food and thought shape our tissues, organs, bodies, societies and the biosphere.
* The author is being playful here, not exact or even accurate by any stretch of the imagination. The idea here is not to create fresh meanings, rather to explore the possibility of trusting action to arise from sensing life directly.
The author uses SUP coaching sessions to bring real life experience to the possibility of balance, to feeling gravity and the graceful application of force.