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.
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.