“Good Morning Noor!” I try say it with a burst of energy, putting in warmth with every word uttered. Noor lays there in his bed snoring. Sleeping like a baby on his side. He is positioned to sleep every night. I will leave the other details of his routine for another time. Today, I wanted to talk about how he can whisper, if you focus and listen. If you pay a little attention, he tells you how he feels.
“Stay by my side.” He tells me. Hold my hand, when I cry. It soothes me. He reminds me that because he doesn’t have the capacity to think, he feels everything. A kind and gentle touch is what he seeks and loves the most.
I ask him why is it that not all touches are gentle. He tells me, “It’s not that they are not. It’s just the part of their job. Routine and time keeping often takes up their attention. But you, you are here to help slow things down and be gentle.” I chuckle when he says that. “Hmm… I wonder, so if I can slow down the routine work a little, do you mean I can inject some gentleness and kindness into it all.”
“That’s exactly right,” he says. He continues, “A little slow and steady, although I will tell you that people looking after me have the warmest heart and are most experienced. They have known me for a long time. So they also understand the nuances and expressions I convey, that much more.” He chuckles again and adds, “Yes, that’s right, they know when I am being a cry baby and throwing a tantrum.”
“That makes sense!” I tell him. “I read through your file and case to understand your needs better.”
He smiles when I tell him that. It’s a lot of effort and work to look after you, ain’t that right! He beams upon hearing me say this. I take a deep breath then centre my thoughts, so our conversation doesn’t distract us from looking after him.
He is a big star wars fan. He loves marvel and has watched every movie. In the movies, he tells me,”I fall asleep and then I am in the movie. I dream the movie, that’s how I watch them.”
“Wow, you must have the best dreams. You are really imaginative and creative.” I tell him. I then tell him about some of my experiences where I have dreamt the storybooks, audiobooks and podcasts. He is joyed to hear it and happy that he shares the similar experiences.
“You sure do, but you’re much more creative. It must be similar to watching anime.” As I tell him this, I realise that he has fallen asleep. Perhaps dreaming another movie and bringing our conversation to a close.
I am writing this at the hour of tiger. Although, I hear more ravens cawing haha the dawn is about to break. I mostly wake up around this time, no matter what time I go to sleep. It’s like a body clock that just wakes me up before dawn. Boy am I glad it does! Some of the most fulfilling moments of life are the hours witnessed at the break of dawn. The still and calming air. It’s almost as if all tranquility descends down at this time. Those who wake up find some of it descend into their hearts. However, waking up is not enough. Once out of the bed, you have to perform your routine rituals to truly feel and witness the moments. One of my habits when I wake up at this hour is to feel and witness the quietest moments, enjoy them, meditate on them.
That said, sometimes I lose the ability to get up of the bed and laziness becomes my companion. I wake up lying in bed, feeling cold and sometimes feeling other emotions. At other times it’s a rush of thoughts in my head that I am trying to calm. This turbulent state of mind sometimes really worries me. How can the mind not be quiet at the break of dawn. When all life is still, why is the mind not still? Why are there thoughts zooming in and out of the head? Pretty sure though, this is probably something a cycle or a period others go through too. When I get to this stage, I am concerned with the ways to return to a state of calm and quiet. Sometimes that is through meditation, other times through prayers, or at time simply accepting the fact that I am feeling lazy and half the reason why my mind is filled with myriad concerns is because of feeling unproductive. The mind is concerned with productivity and perhaps ego. Ego wants to feel valued, ego wants to break laziness, the higher consciousness is rebuking the laziness that is creeping in the self.
Exercise- martial arts, running or some of form of routine is a good way to create a void in mind, where thoughts can be blocked out. This void is quite healthy the way I am. Solitude and finding time alone is something that has always come easy to me. To keep my self in balance though, I have to balance solitude with activities or simply conversations with other humans; friends, family, peers and so on.
Then there are fewer periods where I lose the ability to wake up at the hour of dawn and my body clock stops waking me up. There are also periods of fatigue tied to waking up naturally at this time. No matter what time I go to bed because I wake up just before dawn, which is a blessing to me. My body requires a nap in the afternoon. Lately, these naps had been turning to hour long naps or more. Last few days, I have been so fatigued I guess that I fell asleep during the daytime without realising it. The following few nights were followed with waking up from a sleep paralysis and hypno-whatever the term for that nightmare lol. I am saying this and yet here I am writing at the hour of dawn… this had me worried because when I woke up, my leg muscles felt so weak that it felt like I had no strength in them. I looked this up and all symptoms pointed towards narcolepsy. Yes… taking a long look back I have had few moments here and there where I have fallen asleep and woken up confused. However, knowing my level of activity in those times especially school days and college helps me dismiss these as symptoms of some sort. These last 2 weeks fatigue built up is probably due to some other factor too, lack of consistent exercise, poor blood circulation. The fact is because it has been raining I haven’t ran or exercised at home. Yesterday though after waking up, I exercised till my leg muscles gained their working strength.
What I am saying is human body has limitations. Sometimes the weather, other times poor sleep pattern-(in my case), lack of exercise or psychological or physiological stress can induce fatigue, undue stress in our body which is out of the ordinary. The best thing to do when stuff like this happens is to take extra care of the self.
I didn’t start writing this article today. I have written it over a few different days. More like whenever I felt like dumping my thoughts in my head at the early hour of dawn. Writing at this hour helps me quiet the mind and focus, instead of just scrolling through the internet or YouTube or some other platform. It helps me centre myself so that I can look forward to mediate and exercise at the minimum. After I have done that I am more than grateful and happy to head back and catch up on my sleep.
This is my normal circadian rhythm. I am quite used to the fact that I have to catch up on my sleep via naps. Although there are occasional days when I sleep a whole 12 hours or more. This reminds me of the time when I was around 9, I fell asleep for two weeks. There are just a few things I can recall from that time, I vaguely recall being dragged to go to the toilet, I recall waking up after two weeks and getting up to walk and falling down. My body wasn’t responding, so I had to crawl until I could walk again. Which only took a week at most. The reason given to me at the time was that I was sick and mumps made my body quite weak. Not sure if that was a coma, because I was not hospitalised. Anyhow… that’s just a short trip down memory lane, the last two years has really helped me recall most past memories. Before that I mostly used to think that I have a poor childhood memory. Even though I know that my memory in the present has always been really good. In fact, if anything it has improved a lot more after being able to process and recall many of the past memories.
Few Mondays ago I posted a poem with the same title. I wanted to elaborate on why I wrote it and how are the body, soul and the mind intertwined.
Self-awareness is to be able to observe one’s behaviour whether in real-time which takes a lot of practice, or through hindsight. In addition, dissecting the emotions away from the thoughts and behaviours. So that we can look down from above. An objective view.
Metacognition is the ability to change one’s emotional state through thoughts. Our minds and limbic system doesn’t know the difference between emotions that are felt through real life experiences or the ones we feel by daydreaming or visualizing an event and emotions before the event happens. Feelings influence thoughts, similarly thoughts influence feelings. When feeling the emotions that we don’t want to feel, the research in psychology suggests, we should replace those feelings with positive feelings. Visualisation is powerful technique that can help us anchor our being in a state of calmness and joy amidst discomfort and adversity.
Chronic stress is a stress response that is built in the body over a long period of time. A chronic stress response when triggered is difficult to control as the chemicals released when in any situation that triggers chronic stress, are the natural state of the body. The body goes into the fight, flight or freeze response, cortisol and adrenaline kicks in, heart beat pumps up and the person loses control over their thought process/rational thinking and emotions. As a result, the individual is likely to make poor decisions and underperform. It’s a self-sabotaging mechanism. For many individuals, if they do not address instant stress then there is a greater likelihood of chronic stress getting triggered.
I have a lot of unfinished articles laying about in the drafts. Despite knowing theory and believing that I am emotionally intelligent, emotional self-awareness in real time can be quite challenging to actualise, especially in high performance situations/sports. But such challenges also give us an opportunity to grow.
So, having explained those terms that I think link the mind body and soul, I will refer back to this diagram I drew when I wrote about the ego.
Heart and brain coherence can be observed scientifically through exposing people to different situations that will trigger a response and the ability of those people via meditation/breathing techniques to remain calm. Exposure and deliberate practise is one of the ways to develop heart and mind coherence.
Conscious breathing is a great tool and anchor to shift to appreciation when feeling stress. Wim Hof has proven scientifically how he can control his body temperature under cold stress through breathing technique. It unlocks the potential of mind, it taps into the ancestral genes that lie dormant within us. Joseph Campbell in the ‘Heroes with a Thousand Faces’ describes the many journeys of the hero. The archetypal journey of hero is full of challenges, stress and obstacles. That is the nature’s way of nurturing the potential of the hero.
It is possible to reach the highest state of consciousness and keeping in mind the struggles of ego as presented above, the rhythm of the heart and breathing technique to consciously shift to a state of appreciation. Practising this over and over can help release all the trauma, stress and dispel negativity. Below are the emotions and how they rank on the spectrum. The elevated emotions on the upper end and the limiting emotions on the other end. The elevated emotions are selfless and also the creative emotions. The limiting emotions are survival emotions which keep the mind, body and soul pinned in a scarce surrounding. There is no room for growth in feeling these emotions. Growth starts when one replaces the limiting emotions with elevated emotions. Deliberate practise through focus, meditation and breathing technique can help reach a higher state of consciousness. One of abundance, one of gratitude, one of appreciation.
Which frequency are you tapping into? Is your mind constantly bombarded with beta waves? Do you rest and sleep to energise yourself? In our sleep, our mind goes into the slower theta waves. With deliberate daily practise of breathing and meditation, it is possible to access to slow down the brains waves to gamma frequency and access higher consciousness. Traditional meditational practises of different religions have proven this. Although, it is not an easy thing to achieve, it is not impossible.
This is an explanation via what I have learnt from studying psychology, a little bit of neuroscience and reading and practising meditation. If you are not a science person, refer to my previous article Affairs of the heart. In there you will find other techniques and meditations, if practised with deliberate focus, those techniques can help you get near the path of higher consciousness.