Incredible You! - Connect To The Moment And Enhance Your Power With Sound

in incredibleyou •  last year

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Your mind is an incredible instrument, however if you don't know how to unlock its full potential, then it is rather akin to owning a Ferrari, but only taking it for a half a mile trip to the grocery store once a week. Which of course would be great, however somewhat limiting.

Last month I started the Incredible You! series by talking about flow state, (a state of mind that allows you to achieve incredible, seemingly impossible feats), and how you can achieve this near superpower using meditation. However in the interests of keeping your attention and not making the post too long, I just skimmed over things I would have liked to go deeper into.

So without further ado, let us delve into the working depths of your incredible mind, and unlock your hidden powers, so that you can achieve that state of calm and control, usually reserved for high level martial artists, or yogis that have been meditating for decades.

The Sound Of Now

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Let me start by asking you a question; as you read this, are you sitting in a completely quite place? If you answered yes; are you sure; I mean really sure?

It is highly unlikely, in fact, unless you are reading this in the vacuum of space, and you haven't got a spacesuit on, then you will definitely be able to hear something. Whether that something is your own breathing, or some whirr of machinery, there is some noise near you right now.

The fact is, your subconscious mind, filter's out all the noise it feels you don't need to hear, this is different from background noise, of which you are vaguely aware. I'm talking about noise that has been filtered down to complete silence!

Take your breathing for instance, as you draw breath in through your nose, it makes a noise, even if you haven't got a cold. The reason why you don't hear your breathing all the time, is because your subconscious mind, has decided that it is a noise which does not need your attention, so it filters it down to complete silence.

However, as you sit there now, pay attention to your breathing, you will hear the sound of air being drawn up your nostrils, and then the slightly lower pitched sound as you let the air flow back out of your lungs and through your nose.

So what? I hear you say. What's so amazing about that?

Well the sound in itself is not anything special, it's how you use that sound. When we talk about being in flow state, we are articulating how we feel when we're in the moment, and everything is just flowing perfectly for us.

You might have heard top athletes talking about being in the moment as they won their event. This is because being in the moment, is the best place to be when we are trying to carry out a tricky task.

This might sound obvious, however as human beings, we are rarely in the moment, take this very moment now; are you fully concentrating on this article? Or are you thinking about scrolling down to the bottom, voting or commenting and moving on?

Or maybe you're thinking about that thing you have to do in an hour, or you're at work and you're thinking about what happened yesterday, and how it's going to affect what you do for the rest of the day?

The fact is, we are rarely in the moment, because we have the ability to worry about the future, and deliberate about the past.

This is why sound anchor's us to the present, notice I say sound, and not music. This is because music will activate neurons in and around the amygdala, which will trigger memory, and therefore put you in the past.

By paying attention to sound that is happening around you right now, you are anchoring yourself in the present moment, and therefore giving yourself a route into flow state.

Stepping Into The Chamber

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Shhh, it's the quietest room in the world.



OK, so now that we've established sound can anchor you to the here and now, let's explore the best way to train yourself to use filtered noise to connect you to the moment.

I believe this is best done as part of your meditation, however, as long as you're not going to be disturbed for the next 5 to 10 minutes, it really doesn't matter where or when you try this. In fact, once you have mastered the basics, I would suggest doing it in as many public places as possible. By doing that it will get you into the habit of slipping into flow state in real-world scenarios.

Step 1 - Sit comfortably

Sit in a high backed chair if possible, do not recline or lie down, this isn't necessarily about relaxing (though that is often a byproduct), it is about being alert and being in flow state. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor and you're in a position that you can maintain comfortably for at least a few minutes.

Step 2 - Regulate your breathing

Don't force this stage, you don't necessarily have to take mega-deep breaths, keep your breathing as natural as possible, however at the same time strike up a rhythm, of always breathing in and out for the same amount of time. This has the added bonus of regulating your heart beat, and making you feel calm.

Step 3 - Listen

Start by listening to your breaths, do so without any inner commentary, just simply listen to the sound of air being drawn in, and blown out of your lungs. Try and notice subtle differences about the in and the out breaths, and your breathing as a whole.

As you breathe, connect the action to the motion of your chest, however make your ears the prime detector, then start to notice how many other things you can hear.

Maybe it's traffic outside, maybe like me, it's the washing machine going in the background. Again, you're doing this without any inner monologue, you are just observing the sounds as they come to your ears.

When you first do this, you might find that you're flicking from one sound to another, first you concentrate on your breath, and then traffic outside, and so on. This is totally fine, however what I want you to do after a few moments of doing that, is to simply let the sounds wash over you without listening to any one in particular.

Pay attention to how many sounds you can hear at once, you may find your eyes closing naturally, or that you have an urge to do so. This is fine, it is your brain realising that you want to concentrate on sound, so it is shutting off stimuli to your visual cortex so that you can completely focus on the noises around you.

Even in a moderately quiet environment, you will be surprised by just how many things are going on around you, that you had previously ignored.

Sound And Flow State The Connection

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Doing the above exercise is fun, and when you get used to doing it, you'll be able to sit in a crowded bar whilst chatting to your friend, and remove your noise filters and listen to your friend and all the people in the bar at once!

But what is the practical use of paying attention to sound in this way? Well, as I said before, it is one of the ways we can slip into flow state, let me give you an example.

I love playing golf; I am reasonably skilled at it, however I've never taken it seriously enough to get a handicap, or play in any tournaments. I just like playing with my friends, and sometimes on my own, as it's a very relaxing pastime.

In my pre-Zen days, I used to get very wound up with the game, that is until I read the amazing book by Dr. Joseph Parent, Zen Golf.

As is the same with a lot of golfers, before a shot, there is the potential for all sorts of negative words and images to flood my brain...

don't MISS this one

you really MESSED UP last time you played this hole

don't SLICE IT TO THE RIGHT, careful you don't want to GO INTO THE WATER

Of course the words I have written in caps, are the ones your brain tends to focus on. Like most golfers I used to find it very hard to keep all of this negative stuff out of my head, and invariably when you're thinking about not hitting a ball into the water; guess what? That's exactly where it will end up.

So back to sound; now when I am about to play a potentially tricky shot, I bring myself back to the moment and one of the ways I do this, is by using sound.

As I approach the shot, I turn off my filters and I may notice the sound of a far off woodpecker rat-a-tat-tatting on a distant tree looking for grubs.

Then the sound of my shoes crunching, or squelching, depending on weather conditions, across the grass. The sound of voices being carried to my ears by the wind, which in itself is making the most beautiful rustling as it meanders through the nearby forest.

Mmm, is that the sound of a bubbling brook? An aeroplane off in the distance, I can hear its roar as a silent hum, I wonder how far away it is?

Before I know it, I am in the moment and I take my shot, it may land where I aimed, it may not, if it doesn't, I know it is not because I was distracted, but simply because I misjudged; whatever the case I'm happy. The ball has left my club, it is flying through the air, all is right with the world, I am in the moment, participating as part of the heartbeat of the planet, I am in flow; now come and join me!

Previous Incredible You! Articles (right click and open in new tab)

Incredible You! - Finding Your Flow State Superpower
Incredible You! - Move Like An Animal With Ido Portal

Up next in the Incredible You! series, we'll be getting touchy feely, and exploring how to stay in the flow using the power of touch.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? ARE YOU AMAZED BY THE SOUNDS YOU HAVE BEEN IGNORING, DID YOU TRY THE EXERCISE? OR MAYBE YOU HAVE YOUR OWN TRICKS FOR ATTAINING FLOW STATE? AS EVER, LET ME KNOW BELOW!

Cryptogee

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I could not imagine always being aware of all things around me at all times.

Everything feels obvious to me, like I can see things just a moment before they happen. I can't really see the future, but I think I'm incredibly predictive, even in a chemical-physical sense.

Not only that, but my awareness knows no bounds. I'm processing all received input at an incredibly high rate, all at the same time, and I don't lose any of the details.

Everything is crystal clear, and all events make sense to me.

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Everything feels obvious to me, like I can see things just a moment before they happen.

That is called the specious present, and it is very interesting in deed, I may write about it one day...

As you say to always be aware, would be maddening, for instance I have done the above exercise with sound in noisy places, and for a moment, have panicked that I won't be able to "switch off". Needless to say, there was no need to worry :-)

Cg

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Hmm.

I just feel it all the time. I always have, and I guess that's why I was a weird kid in school. =p
I just have a lot of natural awareness, I guess. Unless I'm tired. Then I sorta lose my charm.

Although I'm always in the specious present by default, I can switch it off easily, but only to switch from introversion to extroversion.

If I need to make a speech, or do something in front of people, I become less aware, and start to generate output, instead of process input, which seems like a fair trade-off to me.

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If I need to make a speech, or do something in front of people, I become less aware, and start to generate output, instead of process input, which seems like a fair trade-off to me.

Interesting; and does it bother you? Or is it like you say a fair trade off, because it's better to be in output mode in that situation?

Unless I'm tired. Then I sorta lose my charm.

Never! I don't believe it for a second :-D

Cg

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No, it doesn't bother me. I'm in my head a lot more than speaking, so I'm better at introversion and deep thought. I mean, my essays I write aren't exactly standard reading material.

But those essays are generated via the introversion, the speciousness.

If I'm in real life, I'm a clumsy mess. I can handle it, sure, but I need more practice.
I'd probably be good at it if I was living in the @gardenofeden, but I'm stuck in a house, isolated from the community, unless I get food or something. You know how it is.

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT ALERT

@cryptogee, you are in violation of copyright for posting those images. You should remove them or comply with the licenses where applicable.

@steemcleaners, this account is posting a lot of stock images and images found on the web. The account needs to be investigated for a history of copyright infringement and abuse.

Here are links to the original images posted above. @cryptogee has neither linked to the sources, nor attributed them to anyone but (presumably) himself, nor is there any "fair use" of these images for commentary or educational use. @crpyogee is a professional blogger and is using these images for commercial use.

Megaphone (stock image):

http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/listen-gm157330850-6031055

Yoga man (stock photo):

https://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-4269617/stock-photo-young-man-meditating-yoga-in-lotus-position
http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/young-man-meditating-yoga-in-lotus-position-royalty-free-image/100392626

Microsoft's quiet room from Business Wire (press release):

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151015006693/en/

Lake man (stock photo):

http://www.istockphoto.com/photo/the-world-at-rest-gm157404674-7706240

Since @cryptogee expects to make money on this post, it is a commercial use of the images. I have posted extensively about this issue on Steem, including this one about the dirty secrets of posting stock images.


Example of a fair use: If @cryptogee was just commenting about Microsoft's anechoic chamber, there might be a reason to discuss it and use the image above to help his commentary. Instead, all of these images are there for what I call Eye Candy, which for stock photos means that a license needs to be obtained and paid for.

PHOTOGRAPHERS HAVE RIGHTS!!

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First of all why not contact me directly instead of shouting all over my blog.

Secondly, the pictures I use are always in the public domain, for instance the anechoic chamber, was taking from a Russian blogging site, and there are quite literally hundreds of photos of that chamber sitting for free on the web.

The other stock photos you posted, I was not aware were stock, as I found them on various blogs, unwatermarked. I tend to stay away from stock photography for this very reason.

Lastly, you have linked to a royalty free image, meaning I can use it, so chill out and try talking next time, rather than immediately taking this hyper-aggressive stance.

Cg

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I need to educate you here! You happen to be way wrong on your understanding of the Royalty Free License!Royalty Free does not mean Free! I'm going to shout this from the rooftops till someone gets the message! You are not alone. Many others on here need to learn about image licensing! I've been a stock photographer for over 20 years, (and MOST of my images are ROYALTY FREE, so I happen to know a thing or two about how you can use my stock images, or the images of my peers!

Royalty Free means that once you have paid a license for an allowed usage, you are free to use the image again without paying again for the licensing. Royalty free images can license from anything up to $600 per image! Again Royalty Free images are not free!

Allowed usage for any stock images, whether you have paid for them or not, does not allow insinuating the images are yours by giving no source for it in a blog. In any case, Steemit is for-profit, so usage (even paid) does not allow for profit from the images, so giving a source will not help you (and it certainly will not pay the photographer's bills.) And do you think that because you paid for some image somewhere in the past, means that these photographers will be happy? They likely could care less. Please stop and think about it!

Also you say you find an image that someone else is already using on a blog and take it from there without checking the source? It is so easy to check the TRUE SOURCE of an image! Drop it into Tineye and check for the stock sites it's on - and if it's on any, or on someone's private photography page - you can't use it!

And please don't think it doesn't hurt my income (or the income of my peers) if an image is used without paying. Some clients will search the web first to see how an image is being used. If it is all over the place on blogs, or if the image is being used in a way inconsistent to what they want to use the image for, they may not want to license my image after all. And all because someone thinks an image is so great that they have to take it and maybe give the photographer credit!

I am not sure which images were pointed out to you, but I can tell you now that the image of the guy doing yoga is not only a Getty Image, it is also Restricted in its usage. (Fee paying clients are restricted from using that image in certain ways, so how can you know what the restrictions are if you have not contacted Getty?)

I'm pretty new on Steemit, but I am learning very quickly that people are quick to shout if someone is taking their written word, but at the same time they see nothing wrong with taking images that are not theirs and using them for eye candy! I may not end up being very popular, but I believe that education on this subject is critical for Steemit to survive as a legitimate site, respected by all. I intend to fight the image plagiarism as hard as others are fighting written plagiarism!

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I apologise and will remove the yoga picture, thanks for clearing that up.

Cg

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Education on the use of imagery is badly needed. I just explained the same thing about Royalty Free on a comment a couple of days ago because someone was stating that he could use RF images because they are free. In a famous case in the business recently, a blogger had to pay $7,000 for the unauthorized usage of an image. Why take the chance when there are legitimate sites where you can get free imagery? I personally know that it's not a risk worth taking. Stock photographers use Tineye all the time to search for where their images are being used on the web, so it's just a matter of time before they happen to search on the particular images a blogger is using. Agencies use web crawlers. It's like playing Russian Roulette!

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Awesome! Thanks for your support. I hope you understand that it's not easy to stand up to the +70 reputation folks and I apologize if my post was too negative. I'd like to be supportive of those who change course, so I am in the process of upvoting your responses and I appreciate the discussion we had, heated or otherwise.

I even left you a final parting statement over on the chat.

I am a bad photographer and a worse graphic artist, so I greatly appreciate the good stock images out there. @dmcamera is a really fine photographer, and new to Steem, so I want her to prosper. I'd like her to post more good stuff... and not run around being the police all the time.

Steem on @cryptogee!!!

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OH and on top of that, I have actually paid for photos in the past, so chill out with your accusations dude.

Cg

I did not try exercise as yet but think I am going to have a go, and explore sounds I have never actually given a second thought.

keep it, excellent post

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Please do, it is a most rewarding experience, and like I say, when you do it enough you will be able to use it to bring you back to the moment and get in flow :-)

Cg

You've described the flow state very well and the exercise is quite apt and can be done easily. The steps make it very clear and it actually seems easy to do.

I have tried and succeeded in achieving a flow state. In it, I feel completely immersed in whatever I am doing and I can think very clearly. The only bad part is that I lose any sense of time - and that accounts for many sleepless nights. But yeah, I made up for the sleep the next day each time!

Another thing that bothers me is that I can achieve the flow state only once in a while. I mean I cannot summon it on demand. I know, I need to work on my meditative skills!

Thanks - I'm following you now.

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Thank you for your kind words.

Yes being in flow state is a wonderful thing, and you're right, if you're doing a task that has no natural time limit, like playing a game of football, then you can easily get lost in time.

In fact, I wrote the above article, and another one today, and I was in complete flow state. My fingers were a blur on the keyboard, and the ideas were pouring forth. I started at 8:30 am, the next time I looked up it was 3 pm!

Getting in and out of flow is difficult, however if you meditate every day, and do the exercise I talk of above, it will start to come easier. The next article I am releasing on the subject will give you more tips on how to sink into it.

Sometimes though, try as I might, I just can't get into it, and I have to give up; I think letting go is part of it as well, concentrating too hard on getting into flow, can mess things up.

Cg

This Post was Added to the Steemit Social Media Queue.

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... and praytell, what is that? :-)

Cg

Very interesting - wow you have a wonderful way of writing something.

To tell you thee truth I do not want to hear the rythmic sound from my own body. Being inside the quietest room in the world will just makes us mad.

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You don't have to listen to your own body, you are surrounded by noise everyday. I watched a video about that room, and it doesn't make you go mad at all :-)

Cg

as you draw breath in through your nose, it makes a noise, even if you haven't got a cold.

Mine is always whistling Dixie.

When we talk about being in flow state, we are articulating how we feel when we're in the moment, and everything is just flowing perfectly for us.

An extremely rare state of mind for me.

The fact is, we are rarely in the moment, because we have the ability to worry about the future, and deliberate about the past.

Mindfulness is a difficult practice.

By paying attention to sound that is happening around you right now, you are anchoring yourself in the present moment, and therefore giving yourself a route into flow state.

As you enter the flow state, wouldn’t the presence of these sounds diminish, taking you out of the moment?

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Mine is always whistling Dixie.

Lol, mine does when I have a cold :-)

An extremely rare state of mind for me.

Practice makes perfect, it was rare for me 2 years ago, today it is slightly less rare...

Mindfulness is a difficult practice.

At first, however like with anything, the more you do, the easier it gets. Meditation got easier for me once I accepted it was a test of will. That's when I looked upon it as a challenge, rather than something you could either do, or not.

As you enter the flow state, wouldn’t the presence of these sounds diminish, taking you out of the moment?

No, because you are using them to bring yourself back to the moment. So for instance, you might be trying to enter flow state to write an article. But the thing stopping you is you keep thinking about the past or the future, so maybe your potential payout, or something totally unrelated.

Perhaps you're thinking of an argument you had with a friend or family member, or you're wondering what the party will be like on Friday night.

Essentially I use the sounds to bring me back to now, once I am back, they naturally drift away, and I'm concentrating on the thing I need to do, whether it's writing an article, or playing a tricky, uphill 7-iron shot :-)

Cg

I'm reading this just before going to sleep so am laying in bed, and going through the exercise of paying attention to the sounds of my breathing and as many other sounds as I could and my eyes shut involuntarily a few times. It is VERY relaxing and centering. Good exercise to put in my toolbox for when I need it, thanks!

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Yes, that's why I always say sit upright if you're using to meditate! :-)

Pleasant dreams....

Cg

music will activate neurons in and around the amygdala, which will trigger memory, and therefore put you in the past.

So, other sounds will do, I guess it doesn´t depends whether is music or sounds but how your brain has registered those sounds and/or music.
The sound of the ceiling fan has a rhythm as well as the refrigerator therefore it can create the same effect as music.
The sound of a certain music may no trigger any memories but instead the sound of a cricket brings you a lot of them.
What I am trying to say is that regardless of the source of the sound, getting in state of flow is possible in either way.

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Yes, I summarised here, because there was the danger that I would go off on a tangent about memory, sound and music.

However you're right, for instance, for years the sound of a generator would completely trigger certain memories for me and therefore take me back into the past.

So in that instance, listening to the sound of the generator would not be good for my flow state, because I'd be thinking about something that happened years ago.

Music is more likely to have this effect, which is why I mentioned it; however, I can listen to classical music, that I only write or study to, and that helps me sink into flow state.

As you mention the sound of a ceiling fan can have a rhythm, but as long as that sound doesn't give you flashbacks to 'Nam or something (:-) ) it will help you focus on the now, which is the whole point of the exercise.

Try it, next time you are being distracted by thoughts of the past, or worries about the future, just zone in to what's happening around you, and you'll find yourself being anchored in that moment.

Thanks for your comment :-)

Cg

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I actually use all senses, I pay full attention to what I hear, see or picture, sense on my skin and smell, using the same technique that you mention here for the sounds. And it works very well for me too.
I will try only with sound, i'll let you know.