Regeneration Settlement 6
The sixth settlement in REGENERATION is Nirvana. However, we must first apologise for making nirvana sound like a place or a destination because it is not. It is really an enlightening of the mind so that we may experience some form of inner peace. How we go about achieving inner peace, harmony and relaxation will be different for us all. There is no one-cap-fits-all choice to be made. In fact, a balanced diet here is possibly more favourable than a single choice preference. So, in this REGENERATION game we have chosen to focus our attention on just 3 ingredients that will provide our bodies with generous portions of goodness. They are placement, mindfulness and exercise.
Placement is the 16th ingredient we need to consume for our REGENERATION and the first ingredient in Nirvana. This ingredient has the potential to place us in a very positive position, where nirvana is more easily experienced. It can position us to access more vitality and help us find the time to do the things that we want to do, whilst simultaneously clearing our minds from distractions, frustrations and clutter. So, if you would like to nibble on this nutritious nourishment then, we ask you to consider how the placement of societal infrastructure, equipment and the natural world affects the way you feel about each environment you enter. You might like to contemplate and focus on how you feel when you enter your friends’ homes. Do you experience the same feelings in each of their homes or do you experience different feelings? Have you ever considered which of their homes is most preferable to you? Perhaps you could create and apply a simple sliding scale for your feelings when visiting different homes; including your own.
Applying a score of 10 out of 10 for the home in which you feel most relaxed and comfortable, compared to a score of 1 when you can’t wait to rush back out of the door, once you’ve gone through it. Of course human interaction will contribute to your desire to remain in one place rather than in another place. Your mindset will also compel you to dash in or dash out of a place... So, please focus only on your feelings in relation to the placement and texture of items previously mentioned above. Writing out a list, containing your analysis of the things you have identified and their placement, which affect your emotions, will help you distinguish the factors which bring harmony or disharmony to your life. You can carry out this exercise in your professional environment as well. If you find this too challenging then all will become clear and energising in the away environment.
You can take that exercise further by considering how you feel in other environments. Imagine you walk into a room full of clutter. It might be a room where paper and an abundance of other items are covering just about every surface, including the one you are standing on. Perhaps you are standing in a garage full of all the stuff that just doesn’t seem to have a regular place elsewhere in the home. In there, you are looking for something and yet fail to find it as you are beaten back by garden tools swinging freely from the rafters; as you weave your way through the stench filled space, dodging the items dotted sporadically cross the ground floor surface… Hopefully, this paragraph is highlighting the frustration and pressure we feel when too many things enter our consciousness at any one time! For other people these barriers act as insulation, protection and security from public scrutiny.
Finally in this exercise we would like you to consider how the natural world and societal infrastructure affect you. You might like to recall and record all the things in the natural world that bring harmony to your life. How much space do you need to feel comfortable? Is the seaside more alluring than lakes and mountains? Do animals in close proximity make you feel calm or nervous? When you take the time to write down all these thoughts, you also create a map of the future, which will contain all the ingredients that you need to experience nirvana. The amount of traffic noise, commuter noise and emergency sirens we have to listen to will also affect how we feel. Some people are afraid of silence… So, include these things in your deliberations. In addition to the sounds of our communities you might take note of the smells that raise your personal vibration or dampen it. Do you like the smell of roses or freesias? Perhaps you prefer the smell of wild garlic or rosemary…? Maybe smog, creosote or fumes from the local factory bring you feelings of familiarity, security and community…? Remember, nirvana and how we achieve it will be different for us all. So, please take the time out to question the world you live in. Inform yourself of your likes and dislikes. Most importantly make a note of them because the positive ingredients you identify with are also the ingredients you need to commune with regularly if you want to experience nirvana.
FLAVOUR SAVER: The Greek word ‘atomos’ was shortened to atom in the late 15th Century by the English. The sense of the word meant indivisible. And yet, quantum physicists have proved that atoms are not indivisible, they are in fact made up of numerous parts. Atoms are simply vortices of energy, quarks and photons that are constantly spinning and vibrating, each one radiating its own unique energy signature. The world we live in is a mass of energy. Each part of it, including ourselves is vibrating at a frequency. We might not understand or wish to understand quantum physics, but we can certainly understand when we are vibrating on the same frequency as someone or something else. When we enter a room we sense the combined energy of each part it contains. We feel it. Sometimes the energy feels good and at other times it can feel overwhelming and even threatening. Fortunately, energy is not fixed; it is always in a state of flux, which allows us to move about until we feel comfortable. This comfort might be experienced when we resonate with someone or something else, a particular person, a place or a material. Conversely, we might feel uncomfortable in an empty room or next to electric pylons… Water also has it own vibration, when still it vibrates at a different frequency to cascading water. To experience nirvana we must balance our energy with our surroundings. Our attraction to each energy source will also be dependent on our own energy level at any given time because nirvana is about balance. The Chinese developed Feng Shui over 3000 years ago. It is a metaphysical system that seeks to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. At its heart is a form of energy known as ‘chi’. We will investigate this concept and other concepts like Hygge in more depth in the away environment.
TAKE AWAY INGREDIENT 16: When you have identified your preferred ingredients, you can choose when and which ones you would like to blend together to experience nirvana.
Mindfulness is the 17TH ingredient we need to consume for our REGENERATION and the second ingredient in Nirvana. To get a taste for this ingredient you might like to consider your behaviour on a daily basis. The majority of us are focused on meeting the needs of our external environment. Increasing performance, organising schedules and appeasing people within our professional setting are all tasks we undertake on a daily basis. It’s possibly what we do best, meet the needs of other people; often at the expense of our nearest and dearest. We operate like machines. So, why not stop for just a moment and ask yourself a couple of questions like, ’when did I last truly focus on the person I was talking to’? ‘Am I only interested in what I hear from them or what I have to say to them, and what does that say about me’? Questions like those can jolt us from our automated behaviour. They almost always open our minds, so that we can become more connected to the things around us. So, when did you last become mindful of your connections? When was the last time that you sat down and took in your surroundings?
Our lives are just so busy with mental tasks these days, which are exacerbated by the incessant alerts from our social media devices that we barely find time to relax. So, take another moment out now and ask yourself about your morning routine. When you are washing you face and looking in the mirror what do you think about? Are you scheduling the day’s events, mentally preparing for a presentation or visually selecting the best garb for the day? Perhaps this is a good time of the day to look at your reflection and connect with it. Ask yourself, ‘how am I feeling right now’? Wait a moment whilst your mind connects to your physical body and runs an internal physiological test.
After a very brief time your internal dialogue centre will provide you with a summary report. But, please bear in mind, if you want to affect change, experience nirvana or enhance any area of your life you will need to focus on the detail; a summary report provides insufficient data. So, enter into some internal dialogue and ask yourself for more detail. ‘Which part of me is not delivering at full capacity’? ‘OK, send me an image of that part’. When the image arrives in your mind you might be shocked at what you see. What would a tired, neglected part, lacking in nutrition look like to you? What does the overall appearance of that part look like? What colour is it and what shape does it take? Is it bulbous or slender…? There are many questions you can ask here, so please do.
You can go on to speak directly to the part and ask it what it feels would be necessary to rejuvenate and regenerate itself. Listen carefully because its answer might surprise you… There are many techniques that help you become more mindful; we cover a few of them in the away environment.
FLAVOUR SAVER: Our personal history provides us with a chronological record of events that we participated in during our growth and development. Some of those events will fill us with feelings of warmth and nostalgia when we recall them. Conversely, recollections of other events will make us feel uncomfortable and perhaps vulnerable to forces beyond our control. However, all our recollections will affect our emotional state, either positively or negatively. If we now consider the future and what it holds for us, we might find only plentiful predictions. Focusing on some of those predictions will make us feel enthusiastic, excited and fully alive. Conversely, some other predictions will fill us with feelings of alarm, dread and despondency. Moreover, predictions of our future, like recollections from our past have the capacity to affect our emotional state. Unfortunately, we cannot control the events of the past or the future, but we can control the present. Mindfulness, is all about the here and now. It’s about your awareness and consciousness in each moment. It’s about how you enter your mind and take control of your processing machine. Looking down the neural pathways which link your mental activity areas; whilst listening to your internal dialogue and connecting with each emotion you’re experiencing is achievable. In the away environment, we will provide you with a number of self-help strategies, so that you can experience nirvana through mindfulness.
TAKE AWAY INGREDIENT 17: We cannot control the past or the future, but we can change how we perceive them. Mindfulness on the other hand allows us to experience nirvana in the here and now.
Exercise is the 18th ingredient we need to consume for our REGENERATION and the third ingredient in Nirvana. This ingredient is another staple for our bodies and our regeneration. So, if you would like to actively ingest this ingredient, then take your time to consider how it affects your life. You can begin by asking yourself a couple of questions, ‘what does exercise mean to me and why do I do it’? As you consider those two questions you might find it more beneficial to answer the second part of the question first. This will open your mind up to more possibilities when answering the first part of the question later. So, question yourself now and recall as many reasons for exercising as possible, you might like to record them, so that you know what you are aiming to achieve; what your goals are. Once you have written down all your reasons for exercising, you can choose to give your list the once-over and see if you can find any words pertaining to ‘experience nirvana’. If you didn’t find those words or words that have a similar sense to ‘experience nirvana’ on your list whilst in the Nirvana settlement, then you will be unlikely to recognise, acknowledge or achieve such an experience!
If you mentally take the question, ‘why do I do it’ further, you could find your focus moving away from your focus topics and centering on the agreement you have made with yourself. Is your agreement to exercise conditional? Are you exercising to meet a criterion set by society or somebody else; so that you can fit in or stand out? OR, perhaps you have set some of your own conditions? Times, targets and triumphs might all become measures for conditional exercise. Alternatively, you might be exercising to get away from the world around you or to connect with yourself. Whichever answers spring to mind, they will identify some of your outcomes and goals. Of course we all need identifiable goals if we are going to achieve them, but how we set and seek those goals can lead us to either favourable or unfavourable outcomes. Nirvana is an experience not just an outcome. We will identify such barriers and how we can willingly choose to overcome them in the away environment.
Let’s look at the first part of the question again, ‘what does exercise mean to me’? As your responses to that question fill your mind, you might like to record them, because they will highlight a variety of exercise options available to you. To add more options to your list, you could create different headings at the top of your list like, mental exercise and physical exercise. How many mental exercises did you come up with? How many of those mental exercises could simultaneously and mutually contribute to your physical exercise? Don’t worry, we will provide you with a number of options for your consideration in the away environment. You might also choose to segregate your mental and physical exercise options into sub categories. Mental exercise only, physical exercise only and a mental physical combination exercise.
Each of those categories can be further segregated into categories like, stationary, movement, indoors, outdoors or green exercise… There are many options here, with equipment; without equipment, with other people or alone. Open your mind up to consider everything. Playing an instrument, digging out a pond in the garden and solving crossword puzzles are all forms of exercise. So, please take as much time now as you have available to you, to find as many options as possible in each of your categories, because you might well choose to engage with some of them during the shorter colder days of winter.
FLAVOUR SAVER: Exercise is a word with multifarious meanings. Each individual person considering that word and what it means to them will apply their own sense of it. In terms of nirvana this is excellent. You get to choose your own pathway to enlightenment. How will it manifest itself? When will it manifest itself? The answers to those questions are as individual and unique to you, as you are as an individual person to society. However, and this is my own perception and interpretation of nirvana, I believe it is an experience of sensation; when we cannot differentiate between two opposing agents or forces. We are neither part of the painting or the book, nor the artist or the reader. We exist in limbo for a moment, cocooned in space… Nirvana can be experienced in many forms. I once experienced it during a serious accident and this is how it feels. Stillness enters the body and our minds become fully aware of both time and space. As time stands still we become mindful of our detached state; where freedom and speed of thought go unchallenged. The illusion of power, material wealth and fear is laid bare. Achievements, targets and goals, all pale into insignificance. Only our emotional connections flicker through our visual cortex; before impact of some sort brings us back to perceived reality. Another perception of nirvana is often experienced by sportspeople. You will have heard athletes and sportspeople who often talk about ‘being in the moment’ or ‘in the zone’. It’s a moment when the motion taking place feels totally unchallenged. A track athlete's legs will become weightless as the athlete reaches VO2 max and the ground beneath their feet returns the same amount energy it absorbed, and the athlete feels as though they are floating through the air, neither pushed nor pulled. Interestingly, the physical exercises we undertake have additional benefits. They help our bodies to create endorphins and these hormones control various physiological functions such as: how we feel (pleasure and euphoria), our mood (state of mind and behaviour pattern) and our focus (concentration on a centre of interest, and attention span). We will explain further the benefits to you of exercise and endorphins in the away environment.
TAKE AWAY INGREDIENT 18: When we cannot differentiate between two opposing agents or forces we experience nirvana. We simply resonate at the same frequency as everything around us.