Instincts are created by emotions, how to break free?

Focus is the door to our senses, quality movement takes us through
Thinking circles back to our beliefs. Sensing can keep us free from reactive behaviour. Focus is the door, quality movement takes me through it.

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.

To your freedom!

How Mindfulness expands Freedom

Die to the future
Using mindfulness practice to improve the story of self is like trying to fill a leaky bucket. Can we lose the bucket and be the water?

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.

Compassion
relationship is possible when we see each other without the veil of meanings.

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.

Inappropriate tension is inappropriate memory
Contractive Emotions correct behaviour, they are useful and unavoidable. To release them, we need to release the story binds them into our body’s.

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.

 

7 – Almalgamate – Compassion, it isn’t what we think

Compassion

Our senses feed into a nervous system that is located within an organism we call the human body.

Our “mind” arises out of a combination of both the awareness of sensory data and in the meanings we apply to that data. The mind is a combination of real data and perception of real data, to access perception we reach into memory. Memories are stories about what happened last time we experienced a pattern of data. Often they are memories of memories of stories and not actually an optimal fit to the situation at hand.

It’s ok, I don’t know what the hell mind is either 🙂 and I will never know how YOU experience it. I respect, both your experiences and your stories about them. I am not here to invalidate you, only to understand myself so that I can act in ways that are more effective and respectful.

The fact that our nerve endings and sensory organs exist in a single body, has the tendency for mind to perceive itself AS that body. Our bodies are aging and will die, as an organism, we compete for energy and the fulfillment of our reproductive instincts.

Yet an organism, (depending on its level of complexity) is a collection of cells, tissues and organs that operate as a community. The community of the organism, operates within a local environment teaming with other communities of life-forms, that local environment exists within the biosphere. None of those parts can exist separate from the whole for very long.

What happens when the mind experiences sensory data from within and without the organism without reaching into memory? The amount of available attention increases, we stop making comparisons. We stop reaching into our memories and we stop imagining the future. Our world fills up with sensory data about what is happening right now. This is what we call “flow state”, in this state we can handle risk and mitigate danger better because we are alert without being inappropriately stressed, tense or flooded with adrenaline.

There is no future so there is no fear of what might happen. Without accessing memories, there is no past, so there is no expectation, no disappointment, no surprise and no opinion. No stories. Without the stories, there is no reactivity, we become free to choose a fresh action based upon real time data. In this state we are totally unpredictable. Perhaps most interestingly though is what happens to our minds.

In the absence of memories and stories of self, the mind stops identifying with the body and begins to identify itself with the flow of real time information. All that data streaming in from the environment, that environment that reaches into infinity in all directions, all that data that is constantly moving and unfolding in patterns of intricate interwoven complexity. All that data that represents both the flow of life out of death and so on. Of mass out of energy, of sound out of silence and light out of darkness and back again. It is vast, changing rapidly and beautiful beyond the telling. That is what the mind identifies with – just reality from the non fixed perspective of life flowing through and around our nervous system. We still benefit from knowledge and past experience, can even still have thoughts, but we do not get lost in them so easily, that is until we find self in them, through either advantage, desire or fear.

The more time we spend in flow states, the less we identify with our stories, our opinions and the memories of pain that they cover up. The more we identify with ourself as a unique expression of life itself, the less fear we have and the more we see our larger self, not only in others but in all things. This is how I currently see the possibility of compassion.

Compassion arises to the degree that we are prepared to feel the world through our senses, without our opinions there to protect us from the risk of pain and rejection. Without attaching ourselves to some concept in the hope that it will make us more valuable. For those choices reinforce the concept of self as a body that needs defending and improving, rather than temporarily residing in a body that is part of the flow of life through the biosphere.

So how is this useful? It’s not useful at all unless, you find a “safe” place to begin putting your awareness back into your body again, back into your senses. Each time a thought comes up, rather than feeding it, re-energizing it, return your most precious asset to your senses. Notice where you are tense, let it go, or just be with it. Your mind will go crazy at first, flooding you with impulses to eat, check Facebook, turn on Netflix, play a game. Even starting an argument or a new business is better than allowing the body to feel those places where we were hurt, where we still feel ashamed or where we feel threatened.

We never know when the body is going to die, the only thing we ever control is the quality of our now, the quality of the attention we give to each other and the tasks we choose to under-take.

That is enough for today.

Thank you so much.

6 – Allow – there is no flow in-tension

freemocean-blog6art

Key Take-Away – Flow states allow us to resonate with complex patterns of information in real time. Fear has a physical tension component that inhibits our ability to access our senses, pulling us out of the moment and back into the world of meanings and the desire to control.

Business is about trying to control the flow of goods and information, of things and motivation. We need to do this to pay for our lives, but controlling is very different from flowing.

Looking out on the mirror-like ocean this morning, I recall that, feeling alive (feeling life), happens from a place of receptivity, rather than control.

The reason the wise keep returning our attention to the possibility of “Acceptance” is that it allows our tissues to return to optimal tension. From this place we can avoid much conflict simply by conforming to our shared reality.

Today, I will hold back less, I will respect and trust you to “resonate or re-designate” how you spend the next few minutes.

Drunk people may fall a lot, but get hurt surprisingly little. That is because it is the sudden stop that hurts. Absorbing impact is expensive, allowing force to be expended elsewhere is usually preferable. Ocean swell is bounced against land and cancelled against itself, in so doing it turns rock into sand. If water is unable to transfer the energy, it would changes to a gas. Our bodies do not have that luxury, if we tense inappropriately, if we resist too much, we swell and become toxic.

Energy moves in waveforms. The properties of the waveform, pitch, frequency, magnitude, shape and trajectory, don’t just contain information, they are information. Since the measurable beginning, the matter of the universe is moving towards dis-order, scientists call this entropy. Life, however, moves in the opposite direction. Biodiversity, keeps energy in formation, in ever more complex  patterns of inter-relation.
Our bodies are made of organs, made of tissues, formed by cells. Each cell, (apart from red blood cells) contains DNA containing a range of possible expressions. Each cell has the ability to sense and react, but it operates as part of the larger community of the organism. The integrity of the organism depends on its ability to organize effectively. For this it requires fuel, spare parts and most of all, accurate information about where and how to acquire, synthesize and distribute that energy and those components.

You see – It’s always been the Information Age, but it’s moving fast, it’s flowing and it can only be accessed in real time. What we call knowledge is a snap-shot, a fragment, a tiny piece of a much larger pattern.

Social creatures, such as dogs and humans have access to something called “flow state”. It allows us to synchronize with a much larger bandwidth of changing data. To access flow state, we synch with our environment through our senses. To stay there, we cease to resist, we judge risk but do not over-react with pre-programmed fear responses. Our internal commands, move in synch with external patterns, we use energy with grace, our co-ordination and our communication move towards optimal.

This is what I was speaking of as “aliveness”, it’s the experience of being the flow of life, and yes, of death also. Energy can not be destroyed, but it can loose form, it can loose information, loose it’s place in the formation, move back towards separation.

Our highest calling is to resonate with the flow of life, to add the data contained in our unique perspective to the total. Flow is the “co” in communication. The senses of each individual add depth and complexity to our shared reality. If we pull back in fear, if we pollute the data of our senses with our opinions, the thread we add to the tapestry is tangled, the formation is mangled.
Sand dunes, like water are moved by the wind, as their bonds are supple, they embody the waveform, are shaped by the waveform, store the information of the waveform. We could say that the pattern of the dunes, contains sand particles that are “in formation”.

Tense or Allow, Flow or Resist, Move or be moved. When we tense we absorb energy but we alter the information, we impact the flow. We need not do this like a billiard ball that goes on to disrupt. Posture allows us to behave more like bamboo, more like a sea anemone.

If we can maintain our relative position but allow ourselves to be swayed like a sea anemone, we may filter what we require, energy, parts and information, without being cast adrift or breaking formation.

Of course I speak in metaphors. The idea of freemocean is to share understanding through experience, rather than control with ridged opinion. I aim to inspire you to experience your posture in real motion, rather than manipulate your position through stories and emotion.

Stand rigid on a board, or walk with stiff legs, notice how much your head moves and what that does to your focus. Now allow all below your eyes to sway, maintaining just enough tension to keep your head over your base of support. Experience the difference, notice how much energy each requires, how much impact your body must withstand.

Notice how tension effects your focus, and how your focus effects your tension. Your Focus determines the quality of your posture.  Your posture determines how well you use energy and how well you respond to data. Your ability to choose and maintain your direction is determined by your ability to hold your focus.

We are able to maintain our focus to the degree that we can release excessive tension. That is why our Attention is so precious, it determines the quality of our posture. Our posture determines how we are moved, how we receive energy, how we receive and transmit information. Fear pulls us out of flow, because it resists what might happen next. When we fear we try to control, when we flow, we receive more information about what is really unfolding.

Now consider the cost of excessive and inappropriate fear. You see now why   stories are so powerful, they determine formation, by altering how we receive information. We live in a world where we rarely interact with nature directly, everything is controlled. The more we control, the less we are free to flow.

Freedom is appropriate tension, it arises from returning focus to our senses, allowing our posture to move with gracefully with the forces at play.

Loss of focus, loss of posture, ignorance of connection, reinforces the embodiment of fear, this is when information becomes inflammation.

Freedom is proportional to situational awareness. The toys we rent, sell and buy are bio-feedback devices, that can be used to bring greater awareness to focus and posture in the forgiving and dynamic environment of ocean and wetlands. Water is a great teacher of flow.

 

 

5 – Appropriate – The graceful use of energy

Grace - no fear, no self,
Fear is the enemy of grace. To return focus awareness into the senses, accept what is, be grateful for aliveness and allow happiness to arise.

Key Take-away: We spend much of our lives earning money that we will spend trying to change the way we feel. Many of the feelings we have are not fully relevant to the situation at hand, yet often we find we have responded to them anyway. These negative feedback loops are stored in our body tissues as tension. Thinking in terms of energy and nature may be helpful for understanding why focused movement allows us to access  and release these patterns. The more of our body we bring awareness to, the more alive we feel. When we are less reactive, we are more creative and playful, nicer to ourselves and each other.

Life is very much about energy, using it effectively means getting more, using it efficiently means needing less. In nature, energy is stored in fats and starches,(sugars are more of a low value lure), in societies, we store energy as money and assets. We meet our food, shelter, entertainment, social, education and medication needs with money. This keeps us removed from thinking of energy in terms of nature, (where else could it originate?). In this post I will look at energy in terms of movement. Words won’t make you move better, but I hope they will bring a greater depth and quality to your movement training, or just getting around.

Drive to Survive or Allow to Thrive

The world of organisms is composed of a diverse multitude of creatures, living, reproducing and yes, eating each other in a complex network of relationships. They have common drives, yet many ways of achieving them.

Organisms must get enough food to live, grow and reproduce. In the search for resources and breeding partners, both cooperation and competition dominate their existence.  Success is measured in the acquisition, storage and expression of energy. In so called higher life forms, we begin to recognize qualities beyond survival and reproduction. Such as creative expression and understanding, the ultimate being compassion, which is seeing the self in all things. This recognition of connection, arises naturally in the absence of fear.

Graceful or lunch

Predators such as lions and wolves will test a herd to select the prey which is least able to utilize energy, that being, the very young, the old and the sick. This selection process both saves the predators own energy and ensures that only the prey that are best adapted to their environment survive for breeding. It also keeps herds moving, preventing over-grazing and feeding the bacteria in the soil.

The best use of energy is the perfect application of tension to a body’s tissues, (or just cells for the little guys) at the ideal moment. The appropriate application of force for optimal outcomes is what we recognize as physical gracefulness. An engineer may think of this in terms of increased mechanical efficiency through optimal mechanical advantage together with minimal friction.

To move gracefully, we must release excess tension, to stand on a narrow SUP on moving water, we must allow the board to move beneath us. To maintain balance, we must surrender some of our desire to control. To keep our heads over our base of support, we simply allow our bodies to be supple, this requires releasing non-useful tension, also known as stress, also known as fear.

Fear is the enemy of grace

Squeeze and repeat

Organisms are composed of single or multiple cells, and in larger instances, tissues and organs arranged in a way that gathers food, processes it and expels the waste. This is done by contraction and relaxation to harvest and move gasses, solids and liquids from process to process, (in larger organisms these wave like contractions are known as peristalsis). Energy moves in waves, in water you can see them and play with them. You can attune to them.

Each contraction uses energy to the degree that force is required. Residual tension in the organism is wasteful and interferes with the process of movement. So the ability for the organism to relax is as important as its ability to contract. That goes for propelling substances, limbs or entire “bodies”.

Tension transfers force, softness absorbs it. There is information in waveforms also, when we are soft we may feel it, when we are tense we alter it, like a rock in a stream creating turbulence, we destroy the signal. When we resonate with a waveform or signal we gain its information. In this way movement makes us smarter, while tension keeps us in the dark and fearful.

Energy, the currency of life

Residual tension also wastes energy by keeping substances trapped where they are more likely to be oxidized and cause damage to their surroundings. In the case of capillaries, insulin and PUFA 6 acids are more likely to cause damage. In the case of joints, over-compression reduces circulation and leads to inflammation of tendon sheaths and damage to the articular cartilage, (the shiny end of your bones).

Contraction and relaxation are necessary for respiration, food acquisition, digestion and expulsion. Also for changing location and reproduction. In the animal kingdom, movement is life, the currency of life is energy, only the most effective at acquiring and using it will survive and pass on their genes. In higher life forms, it’s all about the quality of consciousness, fear and dellusion, create tension and turbulence. Understanding flows out of acceptance, abundance flows  out of recognizing synergies. Freedom arises out of reliquinshing control.

Our nervous system is the electrical wiring with the brain computer sitting on top, our heart is pumping our blood, loaded with hormones oxygen and spare parts. These systems are our communications and supply lines, when they are inflamed, restricted or out of alignment we are not just using energy very poorly, we are waiting to be eaten.

The predators waiting for us are disease, politicians and salespeople.  The things that make us tense, inflamed and mal-aligned are what I call – “swelling mistakes” and the biggest one is fear. Our egos have worked out clever ways of making sure we never face the real source of our fears directly, that is why we use names like “stress” instead. Everyone is under pressure, everyone has stress, but nobody has fear, only the weak  or victimized are scared, right? Puh! I am shitting myself 🙂

Research Notes: Most of this comes to me, while working with students on the water. Looking at the way they move, where there eyes go, how their body follows their head and their head follows their focus. The moment they loose concentration, (opinions are triggered) their eyes wander and they fall. Conversely, when they un-tense, hold focus and allow their bodies to move with the rhythm in the water, they take off. They begin to un-wind. It’s a joy to facilitate and I am sure I learn much more than they do.