Jamie Wheal is a performance expert and the coauthor of “Stealing Fire”. In the book, he, along with coauthor Steven Kotler, share how Navy SEALs, maverick scientists, and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs achieve deep mental states of concentration and creativity. Here he shares 2 simple ways anyone can get “into flow” easily. Following is a transcript of the video.
Most people start out sort of wondering if there is more to life. Wondering if there are states of complete satisfaction. Equanimity. Joy. Delight. Awe. And the short answer, and certainly the premise of the book “Stealing Fire” is, it’s “Hell yes.”
There’s several simple and easy ones that are available to all of us. The first is engage in some kind of respiration or breathing practice. Fundamentally we have three gasses in our lungs. It’s nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. And by breathing faster or slower in different rates and rhythms you can change that gaseous mix, and you can completely and radically shift your consciousness. From just being a little less stressed, or a little be bit more energised and poised for a high-stakes business meeting or a critical family conversation all the way to, if you engage in some of the more radical techniques from free diving or from Navy SEAL prep and training, all the way to completely shifting your state into experiences that are comparable to intensive psychedelics.
Breathing is a really simple one, and it’s portable, and we all have to keep doing it. So let’s get good at it. The other is just simply exposure to the natural world. There are many studies, everything from what they call ‘forest bathing’ in Japan, where people are going into the forest and either holding trees or hanging next to trees to mountain climbing to exposure to water. A lot of these studies are showing that awe comes from contemplating excess complexity in environment. There’s basically more happening in these environments than our brains can trigger and that creates a slowdown in brain waves, a decrease in stress neurochemistry, and an increase coherence in our cardiac rhythm. So, breathe more. Move more. We are disembodied heads on sticks these days.
Just getting into our body, not because I’m trying to fit into my high school jeans or get a six pack. Not for vanity and aesthetics, but for literally kinesthetics and cognitive function.
So breathe. Move. And get outside.
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