I’m a HUGE fan of this man for a whole lot of reasons.
I have and will continue to share many aspects of his work. All of that aside, what he as accomplished as a meditator is incredible. The title doesn’t lie. He does it at will.
This man is AMAZING!
Are you a fast walker? A slow walker?
What does this tell you about your mind?
I was working with a client the other day when the conversation turned to his gate. He has been tracking down the source of his knee pain for quite some time. Recently, through work with a chiropractor and a structural integrationist he has been made aware of some basic distortions in his posture and the way that he walks that are contributing to his pain. Let’s call him Carl.
Carl is a fast walker. Carl lives in NYC and is well aware of the crowd. Carl charges forward and walks right past most others on the sidewalk. I am a lot like Carl. Occasionally I stroll, leisurely taking in the sites, but most of the time I am a man on a mission. I have somewhere to be and it is not here.
This is where consciousness comes into the equation. This is why the mind has a lot to do with how you walk.
Years ago I read the book “Slowness” by Milan Kundera. I love Milan Kundera. His insights into the inner workings of the human experience help him to create the most illuminating characters. I often put down his novels with a beautiful new appreciation for a subconscious process or previously unexplored habit. There is a scene in slowness, perhaps right at the beginning (it has been many years) that describes one of the characters walking away from something that just happened. Kundera focuses on the speed at which this character is walking. He points out that a key to understanding a persons relationship to what just happened is the speed at which they are walking.
Imagine yourself in the middle of giving a really embarrassing speech in front of a crowd of people. Pretend that for whatever reason this talk is just not going well. Your confidence is sapped. Feel the embarrassment in your body as you struggle to wrap up and get off stage. Do you want to hang out and mingle with the audience or do you want to leave quickly? Now walk away from that place and head somewhere completely different. Head to the comfort of your home. How are you walking?
I’ll bet you are walking fast. You want a distance between you and that place. More importantly, you want to move away from the feeling of being in that place. Kundera suggests that we walk quickly when we want to forget. It is as if moving faster might not only move us farther away physically, it might also speed up our metabolism and help clear these negative feelings from our system.
Now imagine the opposite. You have spent the night in your new lovers arms. Most likely in their bed. This night was bliss. You felt full, you felt seen, you felt respected and desired, you felt satisfied. You and your lover get up in the morning, kiss goodbye and you walk out the door. How are you walking now?
I’ll bet you are barely moving. You want to linger. You want this experience to last. Savoring a moment will cause one to walk slowly. The last thing you want is to have another experience too soon, to shake these feelings from your body. Letting too much in too quickly might just crowd out the sweetness that you just tasted.
The speed at which we walk is not only tied to the past. It is also tied to the future. Excited to get somewhere? You are walking quickly of course. Dreading a meeting? I’ll bet you are a bit slower.
But what does a nice, moderate pace communicate? What consciousness, what mood, is cultivated by walking at a pace that is not too slow and not too fast? What lies between a desire to leave the past and a desire to stay in the past? Between a desire to be in the future and a desire to avoid what is coming next?
Equanimity is one word for the complete acceptance of what is. It is a term often used to describe the state of mind that a life of meditation will cultivate. With equanimity comes deep joyful breathing and a lightness about all that has passed and all that is to come. Equanimity is a composure that even the most difficult situations can not disturb. Equanimity is not physical stillness, but it can feel like a stillness in ones thoughts. In many ways it is tied to being in a state of FLOW.
Our body follows our mind, but our mind also follows our body. It is a chicken or egg cycle that we can impact from either side of the equation. Change your mind and your body will react. Change your body and your consciousness shifts. You likely know that I am a huge fan of using Breathing Exercises to shift your mind and your subconsciously controlled body systems (such as heart rate and digestion). Another, perhaps more easily tapped resource is the way that you walk.
Try this today. Next time you are walking somewhere notice the speed at which you are walking. Now notice your mind. Play with the speed. Try walking extra slow. Do you feel resistance? Can you enjoy where you are? Are you thinking about the past? Does your mind go to the future? Can you feel your feet hit the ground? Can you smell the air? Do you hear birds? Cars? Other people breathing? Can you hear your own breath. The speed at which you walk connects with the contents of your mind. It connects directly with your ability to connect with The Power of Now.
This post is from a series called Insights that are inspired by the work I do with my clients as a Life Coach.
If you are ready to live with more joy, more passion and more purpose then I would love to be of service. Contact me to find out how my Life Coaching Program can kickstart your journey.
Devin Graham makes AMAZING videos.
This is one of my favorites. This really is the most insane rope swing ever.
This man is AMAZING!
Do you tend to engage in “Additive Thinking” or “Subtractive Thinking”?
This has to do with how you handle failure. This determines whether your failures become learning experiences that make you better or suffering experiences that make you meek.
In psychology there is something called “counterfactual thinking”. Counter = contrary (to the facts). “For example, a person may reflect upon how a car accident could have turned out by imagining how some of the antecedents could have been different… if only I hadn’t been speeding… or if I had been going slower…. People can imagine alternatives that are better or worse than reality” (wikipedia) The key for us lies in the last phrase.
Counterfactual thinking is what we engage when we play the “what if” game. What if I had decided to study a different major? What if I had tried harder to love her? What if I hadn’t been drunk? We’ve all played the what if game. I actually do my best to avoid it now. I’m a fan of the Be Here Now school of thought. I don’t spend a whole lot of time dwelling on mistakes. This has its perks, but if we forgo reflection entirely we end up skipping not only the harmful aspects of “what if’s” but the beneficial ones as well. This is where Additive and Subtractive Thinking come into play.
“An additive statement involves engaging in an event that did not originally occur (e.g., I should have taken medicine) wheres a subtractive statement involves removing an event that took place (e.g., I should have never started drinking) (Epstude & Roese, 2008)”
Simply put, Subtractive statements are destructive. When we engage in subtractive thinking we do little more than chastise ourselves for our failings. We look at our mistakes and wallow in disappointment. We see a problem and dwell on it. Recognizing your mistakes will increase your awareness. This is good, but it is not enough. In order to learn from our mistakes we must not just see them, we must see beyond them.
Additive statements are creative. They are akin to problem solving past mistakes. When we engage in additive thinking about the past we are seeing our failures and creatively re-imagining how we might better handle this situation if it were to arise again. This starts with a self-critical appraisal, but the thought does not stop there. We use our critical faculties to mark the point we would like to change. Then we engage our creative faculties to imagine changing something.
Nearly all of my clients end up working with visualizations at one point or another. When we can see, hear, feel, touch and smell something in our awareness we come infinitely closer to experiencing it. When an athlete can see her actions before competition she is far more likely to perform well. Visualization is a powerful form of practice. When a man can truly envision his ideal mate he is far more likely to recognize her if she walks by in a crowded room. His energy is far more likely to draw her to him. Visualizations are incredibly powerful.
Most often I work with clients to visualize potentials to overcome limiting beliefs. What I have recently begun doing is also helping them to re-author the past failures that are lurking in their awareness and contributing to their limiting beliefs. “OK that didn’t work when you tried it before and you can’t stop thinking about it. It’s great you know that, but you can do more than just ruminate, you can recreate. Visualize how it could have gone better.” Not only does this type of exercise lead you towards better future performance, it also helps you to release the emotions that are mired in past experiences. By transcending the negative energy surrounding failure with positive creative/additive energy it becomes far easier to release regret and stop dragging memories of the past back up into your present awareness. Additive thinking trades negativity about the past for positivity about the future.
Can you see these patterns at work in your awareness? Can you choose to alter the way they unfold? Can you recognize when you are stuck in subtractive thinking and can you then see how to transcend this with additive thinking?
This post is from a series called Insights that are inspired by the work I do with my clients as a Life Coach.
If you are ready to live with more joy, more passion and more purpose than I would love to be of service. Contact me to find out how my Life Coaching Program can kickstart your journey.
Martial Arts at their most refined.
This must be watched straight through. No fast forwarding!
I got chills. Love that it takes such a powerful man to do something so incredibly subtle
(His name is Madir Eugster)
This man is AMAZING!
Have you ever read the AA bible, the 12 steps manual? For those at all familiar with AA’s approach to overcoming alcohol addiction (a STRONG habit) there is one crucial element that appears repeatedly. It turns many off, but those who are the most successful with AA often site it as the thing that empowers them to succeed in overcoming their drinking problems. These people make “a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him.”
AA was started by a one time agnostic who, while in the hospital being treated for alcoholism was given large doses of the psychedelic belladonna. He had visions and wrote ‘the book’ very quickly afterwards. This book mentions God in 7 out of the 12 steps. A belief in a higher power is not recommended for AA, it is required. For many, a lack of this type of faith is enough to turn them off form AA altogether. For years people have debated whether or not a belief in god is crucial to recovery. I suggest that it is not god, but the belief itself that is transformative. Faith is the key. A higher power is the thing that inspires such unwavering faith, but it is the belief itself that inspires and transforms.
Two weeks ago I introduced you to the habit cycle as described in “The Power of Habits” by Charles Duhigg. Last week I introduced the technique known as Habit Reversal Training that can be used to help change any habit. I also mentioned that there is one crucial element that can make any habit change either bulletproof or susceptible to failure at a crucial moment. This element is belief. More specifically, it appears to be belief in something bigger than oneself.
A study conducted by the NIH, UC Berkeley and Brown University looked for correlations between religious belief and how long people stayed sober. What they found was what that while yes, habit replacement works, it also fails at critical, stressful moments. A woman may get sober for two years, but when circumstances arise, when strong enough cues are present, she may well go back to drinking UNLESS there is a strong enough belief in place that empowers her to maintain her course. In AA this belief is that a higher power has entered ones life. People who succeed genuinely believe that things are going to get better. Faith is not a simple, black and white happening, but it may not be all that mysterious either.
In AA God is the name given to this faith. When it comes to habit change in general it might be more helpful to think of this faith as not in god, but in the process itself. AA inspires this in a few ways as well. First, AA provides you with proof. When you sit in an AA meeting you are surrounded by those for whom this process has worked. It is hard for even the biggest skeptic to maintain disbelief the entire time. Reality is telling you that this has worked before. You would be a fool not to believe. The second thing AA provides is the experience of something greater than yourself. You are part of a group and you are offered opportunities to serve that group. Whether setting up chairs, offering encouragement or becoming a sponsor for someone earlier along the path there is the continuous experience of being part of something that is bigger than the individual. The process itself is something bigger than any one individual that you must surrender to for it to work. It may feel like a stretch to call this god, but the AA book does ask you to define God however you choose. For many the need to have a specific definition is trumped by the direct experience of being a part of process that they can not fully understand. The key for many, if not to fully believe, is to at least suspend disbelief for long enough to let grace in.
One other key to belief that AA provides is community. Whether or not you have a supportive group of people around you can make all the difference in whether or not you believe that change is possible. remember, community can be as small as one other person.
What habit do you have that can not be addressed by applying this process of Habit Reversal Training coupled with a healthy dose of faith? Almost no matter what you are struggling with, you know that others have succeeded before you. You likely know that you yourself have succeeded at times. The key is to remove judgement, apply a healthy dose of logic via a proven process, all while letting go and having a bit of faith, in yourself, in the future and in the fact that you are a part of something far bigger than yourself that will carry you when you allow it.
You may have noticed that changing some habits seems impossible while other, really simple habits are easy to change. What is really amazing is that if you find just the right simple, easily changed habit it can create a cascade effect that leads to effortless change in the rest of your life. Duggins refers to these as keystone habits. I wrote about something quite similar a while back. I call them TrimTabs.
What habit would you most like to change?