Body, Soul and The Mind- 2

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.

Ego, heart and mind connection

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.

How the heart beats when under stress and when there is a shift to appreciation

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.

Where are you on the wavelength?

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.

Instead of describing the different frequencies of brain waves, here’s a link to a short video of a crash course on brain waves. How they help us achieve higher consciousness! how it can help us open the path to new possibilities!

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.

Different Types of Fear

In this article I am going to explore different types of fear. The recent discussions with someone regarding my own fears and inability to overcome them, leads me to explore fear, where do they stem from? The category it falls under, they cause of it and its relation.

My purpose in doing so, is to identify why fears take root in our subconscious and unconscious minds. How to tackle those fears and/or manage or overcome them. Fear is a strong emotion, you can see in the image above how different emotions are ranked on the spectrum. Image was taken from an article I read on neuroscience.

So here’s a clip I found from Dr. Jordan Peterson’s YT channel explaining four different types of fear. Here is what he mentions 1) own inadequacy & malevolence 2) society 3) nature (environment) 4)unknown.

1- Own Inadequacy and malevolence he explains is often felt by soldiers when they find themselves doing things that they have never imagined. An example would be war crime- a soldier raping a civilian.

Personally I have felt this fear in sparring in martial arts and something that made me defensive. To get the aggression out again I had to explore this fear, the only way I was able to explore this fear was to face it, expose myself to it and then overcome it. Did I overcome it? I would not say I overcame it, but this particular fear is what I learnt to manage. I consider this fear a healthy friend, that keeps me calm. Let me give you an example, I get into a confrontation while at a party, entertain me here, do not ask me why I was there in the first place lol, I am just creating a hypothetical situation. A person barges into me, doesn’t apologize and instead gets aggressive, using foul language and tries to intimidate me. Being me or any normal response in this situation will be an adrenaline rush, Fight, Flight or Freeze response will try hijack me. Freezing in this situation will make it worse, fight- I won’t do it because I will have the fear that I might go overboard or use excessive strength because it’s not a sparring situation where I can go light or heavy according to the level of my opponent and rules. This fear, will make me subside the adrenaline rush, let the prefrontal cortex take control of the situation and quickly calculate an appropriate response. These things often happen in milliseconds to perhaps a few minutes. So, quick thinking and confidence to handle the situation becomes key. Ultimately exposure and confidence and situational awareness helps manages this type of fear for me. What really helps here is confidence in ability to diffuse the situation.

2) Society– living in the polarised world, with many different cultures, many different peoples. I think it’s fair to say, that those who don’t conform to the norm are judged by the society. While I won’t go into a lot of details here because then, I will have to explain the characteristics of today’s society. And people will form an opinion as to what views I hold, which side I lean towards.

You see what I done up☝️, that’s some form of fear perhaps of the society judging and forming an opinion on what I write. Withholding my views here can be considered as a result of fear. Oh well, it’s not like I am here to preach my sermon. I am simply trying to elaborate on what different types of fear are like when experienced in real life. Society can be harsh and judgemental as Dr. Peterson says. He also says, courage is what wins over fear. Humans don’t become less fearful, they become more brave. So, courage is what reduces our fears and overcome/manage them. Emotional awareness is a key component, our ability to recognise when these fears are triggered is the first step in overcoming these fears.

3) Nature (Environment) This I suppose is the healthy fear that has been built in us for our survival. Nature can be a relentless force, that can turn things around in an instant, swallow up land. Tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides and storms. It’s natural to fear the wrath of nature. Nature is also loving, the mercy and blessings far extend over the wrath.

4) Unknown– Our minds constantly seek certainty. This search for certainty amidst uncertainty causes anxiety and brews up all sorts of other emotions; one of them being fear. Fear of missing out on opportunities. Fear of losing, fear of unknown. However, if we can learn to embrace uncertainty, then we can take a step towards overcoming the fear of uncertainty. Uncertainty can be fearful, it can be exciting. Uncertainty can be potential, uncertainty can be possibilities. Uncertainty is sure risky but nothing in life comes free. It either has time cost or costs money. These last few lines of wisdom are shared from other great people I have learnt a lot from haha

What you seek is within you- Rumi

Hope is a powerful emotion to replace fear. Hope for a better future, hope for ease after difficulty, hope for achieving the goals. Hope… beyond the scope of this discussion. There is no fear and sorrow concerning those… in the world beyond.

Manifestation, Choices

In my last post Fragility, I discussed some of the cause-effect issues that surround human behaviour by presenting simple example of what I have experienced. You know what they say, little knowledge is dangerous. To some it is not a big deal, but to me how I write and what I mean by it and how it is interpreted matters. Cause-effect relationships occur from macro to micro. To us humans, it may be correct to say that we may experience them and observe them, however, we/the object/the element/compound are not the source of causation. This is a theological issue and perhaps I came across it to realise what mistakes I made. And perhaps not just realising the mistake of using incorrect words, the idea and its understanding, philosophy behind it. Even though I may have known and accepted the understanding intuitively. Reminders are a great way to delve deeper into difficult issues, knowledge that is not mainstream anymore. In my search for seeking answers, I came across a new series of lectures which explained the idea to me in the way that it made sense to me. What we see as cause and effect in this universe is simply manifestation of the decree. The pen has been put down and ink dried.

Of course, my love for writing and continuing these posts of self-reflection and idea sharing, hasn’t come to an end with the last post. That said, after writing it those few days of stumble perhaps lingered on for a bit longer. However, I have also stumbled into a lot of good in the meanwhile, things that are waiting so that I can explore them.

In this post, what I want to talk about is something simple. I want to clarify first that I am not an expert in the field of psychology. The little knowledge that I have, has been gained through reading some books, listening to some lectures, and most of all living through experiences the good ones, the bad ones; reflecting upon those moments and trying to understand my thoughts, behaviours and emotions. I will keep this super simple and would like to explain just a few concepts that might help some people who may read this. Firstly, I want to talk about fixed vs growth mindset. I want to talk about nature vs nurture. I want to touch upon the tools that if you use them too, will provide you with important life lessons from your own experiences.

Fixed mindset individuals carry this belief that their intelligence, creativity, personality traits are unchangeable and hence static. They carry this belief that our life’s successes and failures are dependent upon these inherent values, traits, and qualities. Growth mindset on the other hand, promotes the notion that failures and challenges in life are a means of growth in personal lives and professional careers. It simply makes more sense to me, as we constantly learn from our mistakes, even if we do make some mistakes over and over. In the study of CBT- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, research has deduced that cognitions(thoughts), emotions and behaviours are inter-linked. Hence to change our patterns of behaviours, we can work by changing our patterns of thoughts. In doing so, the emotions we feel will change too. This requires deliberate practice, and change may come easy to some and delayed to others. The idea here is that, change requires small progressive steps, requires a foundation of habits. This is why habit stacking is extremely important. This should be taught in schools at an early age so that these principles are well understood. I definitely wished I had known the little I know now when I was younger haha.

Nature vs Nurture. The way I understand nature is through the Arabic word فطرة. In my understanding, all humans are born upon pure nature. As we grow our environment and surroundings nurture this nature. At an early age, some qualities stand out more so than others. All of this is manifestation too. Our characters are proportioned out. However, nurture is the ability that if constantly utilised, results in gradual improvement of human nature or perhaps gradual destruction, depending whether you’re walking the path of light or of darkness. It’s obviously understood that a murderer after each murder only becomes more numb. The evil act becomes easier to carry out each turn. Similarly, if we project our nature towards good, nurturing the good qualities and traits with repeated habits, actions, and processes.

So, what are the tools that can help you in achieving a growth mindset and shift away from having a fixed one?

1- Acknowledging and affirming that you have a growth mindset. Realising that failure can be overcome, setbacks perhaps are a blessing in disguise. 2- Each time you fail, ask yourself, was there a lesson to be learnt? 3- Not dwelling in the past, living in the present and working to build a better future.

What tools can help you nurture a good nature? One is obvious that you all already have. Life experiences! We all have different life experiences, so we may all learn something different from reflecting on unique experiences that we have had. Keeping in mind at the same time, out of the 7 billion people alive and many that have lived before, they have also most likely been through similar experiences. We are unique and at the same time tied to a bigger picture. Reflecting on your experiences, not ruminating, not dwelling in the past, just reflecting! Squeezing life lessons and carrying them forwards to new experiences. This is one way of nurturing a good nature.

I will end this here. Share it with others if this helped you in some way.

Until next time…. Ciao