The dilemma of the living
To be born is a miracle. Then what?
The truth is beautiful but terrible.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. The trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them. – Dumbledore.
In life we suffer. We suffer because we distract ourselves from the inevitability of the moment. We consume each moment by doing things, having conversations, thinking about our hopes, aspirations and future. We consume the moment with the illusion of getting somewhere with our lives, with a self-enhanced autobiography of achievements, with the subjective importance we place on ourselves.
The human brain has the remarkable ability to create multiple realities. The ability to time travel. We can travel back in time to moments that we hold dear. We can project forward in time and see our dreams come to life. This ecosystem of realities co-exist in an electrical storm generated by a piece of tissue that weighs no more than 2% of our body weight.
In a world that thrives on instantaneousness, we are distracted beyond our own grasp. In 2000 the average attention span was 12 seconds, but this has now fallen to just eight. The goldfish maintains a solid nine seconds. When our attention deviates from this moment, it subtracts from the current reality a potion of our Presence. This is because the brain can mentally wander in time however, the body can only remain in one place – here. This creates an incongruence between brain and body.
No “Body” can be in two places at once.
We seek meaning in what we do – career, relationship, family, friends, personal growth, health, fun and pleasure. No amount of focus we give to any of these will have any meaning unless there is a brain-body coherence.
The brain is rooted in the spinal chord
There exists a great illusion – you can dislike what you do, you can get consumed by what you do, you can work hard at what you do. However, the terrible truth is that there is no meaning in what you do. No matter what you do – it is never enough. This is the illusion that traps us in the repetitive cycle of seeking the next possibility for fulfillment.
The terrible truth contains within it, unspeakable beauty. There is no meaning in what you do, but rather it is the joy that pours into what you do from deep within you. The greatest masters of our time all know this and do it without thinking – Children.
Children play. By its very nature, play is agenda free, driven by curiosity, exploration and adventure. Play is clever in mysterious ways – the substrate for creativity. Play creates a time-free space. Play neutralizes the contradictions of cognitive dissonance – the layers of incongruent realities that co-exist in our mental ecosystems.
We do not seek benefit from play. Play is the benefit.
As adults we experience the miracles of play in states of Flow. Contrary to popular belief, flow is not derived from our activities. The joy of flow enters what you do from an internal euphoria – the Love that consumes.
Flow has 5 core characteristics:
- Effortless – There is no resistance in what you are doing. It happens naturally.
- Automatic – There is no thought interfering with what you do. Action and Awareness merge and you execute through an empty mind.
- Peak Creativity – You go beyond your cognitive threshold.
- Intrinsic Motivation – There is so much joy pouring into what you do, that what creates flow is its own reward.
- Timelessness – Hours disappear in minutes, yet you do not want the moment to end.
When our undivided attention (brain-body congruence) is emitted through our Presence, it doesn’t matter what we are doing – we find profound satisfaction deep within. This satisfaction is inseparable from our heart’s desire and cannot exist outside this moment.
Flow gives off its own abundance. An abundance that is aligned with the unknown – the intelligence that we cannot comprehend but fulfills it purpose through us – the miracle of the moment that is given the space to unfold.
The conditions of flow is independent of the context, independent of any given task or explicit objective. The conditions for flow is created within. The learning that is Implicit – one that cannot be measured, tangibly verbalized or empirically deconstructed.
Implicit learning can occur one of three ways:
- Errorless learning – a safe space for exploration. The learning gradient is so inconsequential that the learner is unaware that learning is taking place. For example, when I was learning to do electroencheplography (EEG), I pictured the end result and worked backwards to fill in the gaps. Countless repetitions created cumulative learning.
- Analogy – Learning through an unrelated activity. For example, when I was learning to play guitar, the acquired finger strength translated to grip strength for rock climbing.
- Cognitive Stacking – Paying attention to a secondary task to learn a primary task. For example, when learning to do a handstand, I first acquired the alignment necessary for a precision handstand then, focused on counting my breaths giving my body the opportunity to learn by itself without my explicit interference on remembering the “right way” to perform it.
When the body is not involved in what you are doing, the mental time anomaly means that the body is fighting against the moment – the indivisible body cannot be in two places at once. Implicit learning through the body is stable because it’s independent of context (Analogy), robust to stress (Cognitive stacking) and inherently enjoyable (Errorless learning)
The heart of man contains the love of the universe.
The energy that we pour into what we do is evident in what we create. End and means are one. The miracle of life is the fact that we are alive. Simply being fully present is enough.
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