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Magic mushrooms, brain patterns and (running)(thinking)(just about)(everything!)

Posted by Torr | Chess,Marathon,Music,Spirituality | Wednesday 15 October 2014 20:30

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow

Recently, a scientific study has indicated that the human brain is capable of entering a variety of altered states if given “magic mushrooms” (psychedelic drugs !). These findings may seem obvious and expected, however, I do believe that both the philosophical and practical extrapolations are extremely interesting, and, if handled in the right manner, potentially life-changing.

Most importantly, the study indicates that a number of otherwise “unavailable” brain states may come into play. Philosophically, to me, this translates into that a number of personality traits and skill sets just await our personal discoveries.

Our experiences in life both create and define our lives and personalities, and, importantly, vice versa ! The magic mushroom implication here is that our lives, skill sets and types of experiences could be so many other “personally unthinkable” things. You are so much more than you think you are. At least, potentially.  It is there, in your brain !

Personal Development
We  do indeed learn so many things during our lives, and we can further develop and refine the skills we already master. Brain-wise this corresponds to entering either new or known brain trails / patterns and to strengthen these trails. The more trained a brain pattern is, the better you master the particular skill on a subconscious level. This is probably the brain equivalent to the 10.000 hours training principle. The cultivation and repetition of a particular skill/brain trail is indeed the cornerstone of all learning and personal development. It starts when we are infants and if you are a wise parent, you buy your baby toys targeted for brain development.

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
We can all benefit from the brain sciences, babies, children, teenagers, adults

We humans are both blessed and victimized by the (limited) number of brain states known to us. It may not necessarily be enough to “think positive” or in a new manner to change habits, to break diseases (including depression) or alter unwanted personality traits such as compulsive eating (or – disorders), low self esteem or what have you. It may require a magic mushroom, metaphorically speaking, to get in contact of these new states. This line of thinking support the essence of various of the New Age philosophies/schools, the practice of meditation (indeed, the powerful healing states of meditation are well described) and personal development stuff such as NLP, the latter being firmly based on the brains connection and involvement in our human experiences as a whole.  Below is a list of suggested activities (“safe mushrooms”) to explore.

1. NLP – Advanced tools for self development; [short into to NLP]
2. Meditation and self-hypnosis – Your body’s own healing and relaxation methods and states
3. Go into therapy. You send your car to a garage when it needs fixing. You need healing of your soul. We all do
4. Get a personal Psychological Profile (eg. the extremely detailed Identity Blueprint)  to identify relevant “issues”
5. Physical exercise – Creating hormones and BDNF to grow your brain [eg. by running]
6. Study something new to you, eg. the works of an artist, a new language, some unfamiliar music (preferably classical)
7. Off-line activities in the Nature
8. Do Charity ! Help someone without asking anything in return. Just help !
9. Love. Yourself. Your family. Your friends. Life itself.  Odds are you have this one chance. Love deeply !

In the Trails of Brain Science
Without going too much into academic references I do believe that all of the above suggestions have been “proved” scientifically to do good things for your brain and thus for your potential to explore new assets in yourself. There are actually a number of tools and activities that you can exploit that have even closer bonds to Science. I will list a few below and also add some book suggestions. I am pretty sure we will be hearing a lot more on the said issues in the years to come, the art being how to take real advantage of the ever increasing outputs from the areas of brain research and the related disciplines.

A. Use drawing tools like mind maps to capture and explore your ideas, concepts and universes
B. Use brain targeted music and programs like the Monroe products (eg.  Hemi-Sync music, Mind-Food tools) [youtube  it !]
C. Read up on the latest scientific findings within the vast field of brain research, popular books include
C1. “Making a Good Brain Great”, Daniel G. Amen
C2. “Change your Brain, Change your Body”, D.G. Amen
C3. “Super Brain”, Deepak Chopra, Rudolph E. Tanzi
C4. “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, Daniel Kahneman
C5. “smart thinking”, Art Markman

These books reveal the latest on issues like learning, problem solving, creativity, smart habits (including eating and sleeping habits) and a lot more, all based on our current knowledge on how the brain and the mind work. As stated by two of Daniel Amens brain-centered principles: “Your brain is involved in everything you do” <alas the Title of this post>, therefore “when your brain works right, you work right”. These principles convey one of my core intentions with this post, however, YOU must make the difference for you ! Every change  and experience in your life resides in your brain. You decide your moves and the World is not to blame (but of course some people live under circumstances where these thoughts are simply not possible to exercise due to extreme poverty, war, diseases,”regimes” and the like).

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
Creating Mind Maps is an incredibly effective way to use and train your brain, to learn and innovate. Check up on the books by Tony Buzan. You find my Mind Map on my London Marathon 2005 here.

Leonardo Da Vinci and the Renaissance Man
For me, the ideal of brain and potential utilization reached its very peak with the life and works by the great masters of the renaissance, ie. artists like Bernini and Michelangelo and the universal genius Leonardo Da Vinci.

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
A sketch by Leonardo Da Vinci, the ultimate brain of all time

There is actually a book on peak performance called “How to think like Leonardo Da Vinci [by Michael J. Gelb]” and it is very much similar to mind mapping and to utilizing all your senses  and putting a variety of skills into play (at the same time). Kind of the same goes for the De Bono Six Thinking Hats approach to brainstorming and problem solving forcing you to approach the same problem from six different angles (it’s fun to do, actually !). You find similar “advice” in the famous Disney Principles, or, to change the game slightly, in LEAN or Six Sixma approaches to optimization within production systems and organisations. The common denominator for all these things is: applied pattern recognition (plus, perhaps, rigor and systematic). Pattern recognition is en passant one of the key skills in playing chess and playing chess may in fact increase your overall IQ according to recent studies.

The reason I mention this in this section of the post here is based on the thought that patterns and brain usages are (or may be) similar to or “transportable” from one type of thinking/skill to another. Like my oldest son is a “genius” with a ball in any type of such sport (soccer, table tennis, basket ball, etc.), just the same  ease Leonardo had with the arts, with sculpturing and with “the sciences” (which he founded in many ways).

In conclusion: strive to make your brain work  beneficial to several areas of your life. Take your pride and talents from one set of skills and apply them (if possible) to other, perhaps for you, new areas. If you can learn one language, you can learn ten. If you ever learned anything, you can learn again. Your efforts (and, obviously, in some countries your opportunities) define the limits. Not your brain – it is (for all practical purposes) limitless ! Just imagine, your brain can make up a picture of Mick Jagger sitting on the moon in a pink tuxedo with Scarlett Johansson on the left and Megan Fox on the right them all listening to “Over the Rainbow” sung by Elvis on his old days. Tell me:  your brain just produced exactly that, yes ? See ?!

Visualisation, Peak Performance and Running
It has been known for quite a while that visualization is a powerful tool for eg. athletes with respect to their *physical* performances / skills, this again translates into sets of “activated” brain patterns in these individuals. One might even speculate that it may be the very availability of these particular brain patterns that provide the assets to these athletes, and if you extrapolate, that particular skills have their corresponding brain patterns.

You could speculate that a “talent” for something is a natural or maybe even a genetically given preference or availability to a particular brain pattern / sets of neurological trails. It may be such that certain patterns by default are just not available to everyone, explaining why some few are “naturals” and  most of us not. However, this is where the implications of the Magic Mushrooms become so interesting: the default can be circumvented ! It requires, however, brain work.

In some contexts brain work is actually achieved “by proxy” by the body’s physical movements. Babies learn to walk during numerous repetitions of the copied behavior of their parents or siblings, and what actually happens is that the brain patterns connected to “walking” are being established and sufficiently strengthened until the skill of walking is mastered.

Babies also train speech long before action [according to this brain research study]. The same can be said about so many other physical skills, including running. It is thus tempting to speculate that one could dramatically improve ones running abilities / performance by eating Magic Mushrooms in the metaphorical sense: can we get reach of “new” brain states that unlock such awesome running skills ? I think the answer univocally must be : Yes ! Indeed, this is what much training of eg. running style is all about: finding and enforcing the brain trails to support an efficient/desired running style. The alluring thought here is whether we by visualization/pure brain work can discover mushroom running states which we then afterwards can transform into actual movements ? I take delight into thinking so. Obviously, we would need to bring our body into the shape to be able to carry out this awesome running and this shaping could itself require various kind of work such as weight loss, training if core and leg muscles etc. The point is: the mushroom awesomeness is there, available if you go for it and put in the hours. Your brain decides.

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
Bring Running to your Mind and your Mind will make you run !

So – how ? Well, you could start out by studying videos teaching a particular running style. You could read up. You could take notes and make personal posters to remind you of the new stuff. Mushroom posters, running motivational posters. Your first thought each morning should be on your running style, and your last one each evening. The more your mind focuses on reaching your goal, the closer you get to it. Use your mind to create your Reality, NOW and your Future. This applies to Running as to everything else in your life.

Your Brain, Your Health, Your Spirit and God
During the reading of the above you might have thought “but I believe in God”, or “I am a spiritual person” or “I believe in Science “only”" or whatever, so all this does not apply to me.

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
David, Transfiguration of Christ; coronal section of human brain
From Paluzzi et al., Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 2007

Well: Wrong ! Brain research has indeed established that “believing” is a brain-state itself, a very healthy and positive one by the way [A.Newberg, M.R.Waldman, "How God changes your brain"], and that the brains of believers change such that the objects of their beliefs become as real to them as “real” verifiable experiences/objects. The mentioned book also points out that religious extremism damage the brain and leads to destructive behavior. (Just take 5 minutes think about the content of the last sentence and what it actually means and implies !)

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
Did Michelangelo hint the God-Spirit-Brain connection in the Sixtine Chapel ?

Surely, “healthy” and “constructive” are the key-words we like, and what could be more important to any person – and thus families and whole communities – than a prosperous health, both mentally and physically ? Again, your brain is the key player, and you may by the powers of your brain and will-power govern your  daily health by meditation, and, in case of disease, apply your mind to heal via the Placebo Effect [J. Dispenza, "You are the Placebo"]. It is time to step up to the fact that our minds can heal, and that disruptive, non-constructive behaviors may be the results of brain-damages, literally, and thus need treatments as such. The latter has been proven over and over again at the Amen Clinics by capturing and analyzing thousands of brain SPECT images (cf. the books mentioned above). Healthy is (involving) a series of brain patterns and so is unhealthy. Same goes for the experience of “God”.

Disclaimers and Conclusions
Please note that I am not trying to reduce neither Religion nor diseases to “a brain thing” only, I am just pointing out that our brains a involved no matter what and that we can benefit from this knowledge itself.

I am also not prescribing  ”development” as an exquisite positive by definition, indeed, in many matters of life just keeping a blissful status quo is just fine ! Change should be initiated by your own motivation and desire, which again can be propelled by either lust or need. If you have already found the brain states and activities that bring grace and happiness to your life, you may need no change. At the end of the day, authenticity may prove to be one of the most important things in a persons life and well-being, casting ropes to the psyche, feelings, aspirations, sexuality and personal, unique life-stories and fates.

Ok, to wrap it up: this write is a somewhat long “brainstorm” (!) / series of associations upon the mentioned Mushroom Study, and the key point is this: your brain can take you to new places. You may add; if so desired. Indeed, identifying what you want and what is good for you is a key and life-long process. My speculation on the Mushrooms is: your goal/state may be completely out-of-box with your current normal thinking. Or it may be applying your skill-set from one area in another (a touching and telling example is found in the movie “The Blind Side” where the All American football player Michael Oher sets on fire when protecting [the "other" skill-set] his team).

Magic mushrooms - Tor Rønnow
The Blind Side: Michal Oher finds his transferable skill. What is yours ?

I believe we will hear a lot about this in the future as the research in these matters continue to evolve and refine our understanding of the magnificent human brain. The techniques of tomorrow is already here, perhaps in somewhat rudiment forms, it is up to us to utilize them, both for our personal endeavors and for out loved ones, colleagues, friends, people we meet, communities. Striving for a better tomorrow will benefit the entire mankind and the future generations to come.

The Force is within us all – our brains.

Norwegian Adventures !

Posted by Torr | Spirituality | Saturday 10 August 2013 16:52

Long before I started to run marathons, I was first – and always – a mountain hiker. Few things in the world can compete with the soothing solitude, the vast valeys and views, and the fresh air in the Norwegian mountains. This summer 2013 came to contain a pack of the best of my beloved second country.

Dalseter

As written in my July posts in 2009, 2010 and 2012, this hotel Dalster and its surroundings is a very, very special place for me. This year I managed to climb a few of the peaks nearby (Ruten and Sprengpiggen) and also tried something new, namely to ride on horse through these marvelous landscapes, to cut it short an absolutely fantastic and breathtaking experience ! Even this very day of writing I miss my white companion, Dari, of Åsli Ridecenter. Below you find a collection of the finest impressions from the Dalseter days 2013, click each picture to see in larger scale (opens in a new window/tab). In the horisonts you have the mountain chains Jotunheimen and Rondane, I have hiked a lot in these areas when I was younger. Pure love.

Jotunheimen and Besseggen

The perhaps most renowed hike in Norway is the airy climb over Besseggen, a quite demanding trip but still no harder that both kids and elderly can manage it within 8-10 hours.  You sure feel walking in the footprints of Peer Gynt and in companionship with the Norwegian “mountain” poets such as Aasmund Olavsson Vinje and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (Nobel Prize Laureate 1903). Toss in some tunes of Grieg and the norwegain experience is total ! The trip is often done by taking the ferry from the nice hut Gjendesheim and thereafter walking back from Memurubu.

The Old Strynefjell Mountain Road and Videseter

The next experience was mainly in the car. I know what you might think. However, I am talking about the trip from Gjendesheim to Videseter passing through on the Old Strynefjell Mountain Road and in very rough and remote landscapes.

Aurland, The Nærøy Fjord and Gudvangen

The danish writer Karen Blixen made the mysterious Nærøy Fjord known through her poetry. The fjord has in recent times been added to the list of UNESCO Heritage sites and the nature is indeed as breathtaking as the pictures you see. We took the car ferry boat from Flåm to Gudvangen – passing lovely Aurland [in proximity of the incredible Aurlandsdalen], probably the most scenic fjord trip in Norway, possibly the world. We were not too lukcy with the weather, though, however, we still enjoyed coffee at the Stalheim Hotel with the spectacular view onto the Gudvangen Valley.

Haukeliseter, Hardangervidda and the meaning of Life

The last part of the trip was spend at Haukeliseter on Hardangervidda, another of the larger norwegian mountain areas. The weather was phenomenal and we managed to climb yet another peak. I have hiked in the norwegian mountains since I was 4 and days and landscapes like these bring me back to the thoughts and feelings I have had since I was that little reflective kid in the vast Nature. The intuitive feeling of the shortness of a human life span. The recognition of Nature and Life itself being so much bigger, richer and outlasting than a single individual, a community, an era in the civilization, even a geological era. So what is a Life ? It is just the days passing by, the feelings you have, the stuff you do. A human life has no real extension or span after we die, and to have a real Legacy is first of all not LIFE and secondly entirely an artificial construct based on the willingness of the hereafter. Basically, we human individuals will be remembered through two or three generations – at best – and will most likely be entirely forgotten after just 20-30 years after we die. This may sound depressing but it leaves an important point for how to live our life: DO NOT CARE ! Do you feel this or that, do you do this or that, are you rich or poor, skinny or a fat ass, nobody really cares. The important thing is that YOU care.
Unfortunately, we live in times where the media and the Internet may seduce us to think that all kinds of crap is “important” and will have “lasting effects” and what not, however, this line of thinking and living is hysteric and completely out of proportions if you ask me. No, the mountions and the Nature teach and reconnects us to the profound wisdom of living: The important thing is that you just live and let the days pass by, hopefully in happyness and with your loved ones around you, doing stuff you like. It is that simple.

Search your Feelings

Posted by Torr | Spirituality | Saturday 29 December 2012 14:51

Music, literature and movies all possess the power to affect us in very deep ways. We call it “art” when we are left truly altered and “reborn” in some aspect. Thus, “The Godfather” was the “I Ching” for (american) men for a generation and the “Star Wars” sequel continue to thrill and engage each new batch of youngsters and spectators alike. The concept of “The Force” is timeless and pervades all cultural and religious barriors that may otherwise be in the World. The idea that all matter, energy, is connected is not only intuitively straight-forward and emotionally strong, it is also a scientific “fact” and a brutal dictator of consequences in both the world’s economy and the globe’s ecology. We are one !

Now, this post is not about the outer world nor the Globe. It is about your inner world and your psychology and your feelings. Your feelings point you to the important issues in your life, to your dreams, your fears, your friends and your enemies, escpecially your imaginary enemies which/whom may in fact be artificial products of your own nerveous system. Only you know. So, as it is said very powerfully by Darth Vader: “Search your feelings” ! What this may cover is also: search your subconscious. I do not have the latest scientific data on this matter but from what I understand from the headlines of the material emerging more and more these past decades, it is likely that our brain, our subconscious, recordes and stores as good as everything exposed to it. Millions and millions of bits of data, of experiences, of words, of colours, of scents, of sounds, all the good and all the bad that you have ever been involved with. This is, if true, incredible in itself but what is of greater importance and for you to act on is: it also governs all the decisions you have made, ever since your childhood. And let’s face it: your Reality is first and foremost the product of your own decisions. There are no real limits, psycologically, for a human in this world. We all live in our own created fences. We can all, potentially, remove these fences. We just need to identify them and evaluate if we still believe that thay exist or are useful to us. Most often, they are not. The fence you needed in a given situation or period of your life, most likely childhood, is probably not relevant anymore. So you may uninstall it and install a new and better one. You must change – change your beliefs. So, search your beliefs, keep the useful ones, change the bad or dysfunctional ones. It may sound simple – and it may be just that ! Simple.

In fact, your can inspect your outer world to examine what your subconscious holds. It is very likely that your outer, physical reality directly reflects your deep subconscious decisions or beliefs about the world. Please understand that this covers “for normal people”. I am not talking about people living under extreme situations such as in extreme poverty, war zones or being patologically sick. I talk about normal people like you and me being able to read this in the first place. So… find something in your outer world that you dislike… and then… Search your feelings ! Be honsest to yourself, really honest. Does this outer world “thing” correspond to the belief you hold yourself, deep down ? Does it align with your actions, your thoughts, your beliefs, your feelings ? Does it ?

Well… most proably yes. Do your want to change it ? Then you must revise something. You must unlearn the learned (as Yoda says). You must create your new Reality. Doing this may involve a lot of work, it may cost you… but rest asured that if you don’t act, nothing changes. Surely, it may require help and supervision from others to accomplish your change, you may need help from a psychologist to understand and heal your childhood wounds and dysfunctionlities (we all have these, all !), you may need coaching to improve your self-esteem, your may need a physical trainer and programme to change your diet and body etc., all this is trivial, what is not is the fact that YOU roll all this to happen. Because YOU decide to. Other people do this, some more natural than others but other people do. So why not you too ? Do you still finds doubts in yourself ? Seach your feelings why ! Only you hae the power to either keep or change your interpretation of your Reality, in fact, your Reality is not an objective experienced Truth, it is your subjective interpretation. Change your beliefs (or your feelings) and your Reality changes. It is that simple.

I may elaborate more on this, for now I wish you a Happy New Year 2013, let it be a truly new year in your life.

The Flux of Life and Matter

Posted by Torr | Spirituality | Saturday 11 August 2012 14:14

Watch the video above in full screen and 720 dpi resolution. You may think WTF, nothing is going one here and this is seemingly the case. Yet, this video contains everything you would ever want to know about our existence. Let me share my thoughts.

I remember at age 6 sitting by this very spot in the Norwegian mountains, it was an unusually sunny and warm day and I was together with my granddad on my mothers side. I remember thinking exactly what I will write in the following. I was thinking that sitting by this peaceful and soothing “river” was a unique moment never to come back. I was filled with love to Nature and to experience the calmness that only mountains can give you. I was thinking that this water would keep on running for years and centuries in complete disregard of mine nor my grandfathers nor anybodies existence (indeed, he, and my father, died the following year), in complete neglect of our feelings, dreams, hopes, lives. I found this to be a great comfort ! That the flux of Life and Matter continues long after the short visit we Humans pay on Earth. People may be born and raised and die, wars may be fought, Kingdoms may be destroyed, the water keeps on running, the Flux of Matter continues. Uncaringly.

So, “what matters ?” did I think. “Does anything ?”. The answer was all around me. The warmth of the sun, the love of my grandfather, the sounds and the mountain we had to concur that day. Our little goals in life, insignificant to the vaster landscapes but important to us. The belonging to time and place. The thought that we just exist, that we cannot fail. That the water will keep on running anyhow. That you need to love the stuff you are doing, that you have to caretake and collect the unique moments of Life, not beceause they matter much but because they matter to you.

I have visited this little river many times since in my Life and revisited these thoughts. And even though the old Indian saying goes that “you cannot swim in the same river twice”  (the river has changed and so have you) I still find myself back at age 6 and in the same comfort that Nature is at fix and that everything worth knowing always have been and always will be, that I have been fortunate enough to understand, that the mountains will outlive me, that one sunny day may represent an eon and make up for insights and feelings to remain for a lifetime.

So please understand: The Flux of the elements is eternal – we are not. Use your Time with Love and Wisdom.

State Machines and Happiness

Posted by Torr | Spirituality | Monday 23 April 2012 18:20

Being a computer geek, professionally, I work with data. A very common thing in a computer system is the maintainance and changes of STATE. If you replace the word “computer” in the last sentense, you have a perfect description of a woman. LOL. Ok, let’s just say: a human being. This post is on some thoughts on the keeping of the Human State … of Mind and on the pursuit of Happiness. Issues that matters to us all every single day.

Ok, let’s start by understanding what STATE can be. As for the Human Life we can define three states:

L1. Unborn
L2. Living
L3. Dead

I will not go into discussions whether there are more states than these, ie. if the is a L4 for Heaven or whether we repeat cycles L1-L2-L3-?-L1-L2-L3. What should be of some importance to you is your current state L2. We all tend to forget the fact that our days in L2 are finite. We DO enter state L3 at some point, beyond which all other states, issues, wealth and worries do not seem to follow us. So be grateful for your L2-state every day, do good and useful things, love someone, love yourself. You only have so many days.

Love yourself. Often we do not. We are unhappy because the outer world does not mirror our expectations. So why do we act like insects when things don’t fall out perfect for us ? We should be better than that ! Insects are driven by chemical substances, pheromones, and are as similar for many other dynamics in Nature forced into a stimulance-response pattern, attack or retreat. We Humans are a bit more subtle, we have a million different states for our mood, mind and feelings, so why not refine their usage a bit ? Anyways, let’s list a few core states:

C1. Hungry
C2. Sleepy
C3. Afraid
C4.Feeling Safe
C5. Aggressive
C6. Horny

You might think that most men just go for C1 and C6, but truth is that we could list tons and tons of additional states here. You see, the states are actually not so important, well, at least not if you have the luxury to get food and water every day. What really is interesting are the MECHANISMS that set our states. Are you happy because of something in the “outer” world or because you choose to yourself ? Do you need outer proof in order to feel happy or can you be “just happy”. Analyze what really makes you happy. Is it Money, is it your Partner, your Kids, your Family, your Friends ? And does the lack of these make you unhappy ? If so, why ?

There is a lot to be said about our states and it is a very complex matter. First of all, please realize how quickly your state may change. You hear a piece of music that reminds you of your Childhood or a lost love… and your state changes. You scent the fresh-cut grass cycling home from work… and you are back to the summer holidays in School. You hear dissonant violins in a horror movie… and are scared as hell. Oh yes, the media and movie guys know how to manipulate your states. The question is: do you ?

Surely, the Human Psyche is playing tricks on us. You see, we might think that we have narrowed down a certain state and why and why not we are in it… only to find (later in Life) that the REAL determining state is a completely different one. You could for instance again and again choose partners that leave you and put you in a sad state.. only to realize that the real state triggering this is your own state of being in/handling loss to which you are familiar and feel safe in. Or you might eat too much food making you feel happy for a short while… but actually being escaping the real issue you have: the lack of self love. Or just love. Thinking about it, I consider Love/being loved to be the universally one true state we all long for.

I’ll write more about “State Management” later.. also with respect to Running. Meanwhile, ask yourself some questions.

What state are you in now ? And why ?

New Technology and Old Spirituality

Posted by Torr | Spirituality | Saturday 4 February 2012 10:45

One of my favorite books is the “Meditations” by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. It’s fascinating to contemplate that the most powerful man in the World actually was a Philosopher. “Meditations” was written almost two Millenniums ago but is still ever so relevant. Just take this quote as an example:

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment

So easy to read and agree with, so hard to practise ! I guess we forget again and again that we filter the “Truth” ourselves, as brilliantly captured in the movie “Memento” and so powerfully explained in the sort-of scientific teachings of NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) and in the more spiritual ones by Seth/Jane Roberts, especially the book “The Nature of Personal Reality”. As described by Leonardo da Vinci we Humans are left with the powers of our Senses. NLP and Seth elaborate that we each create our own subjective, personal interpretation, an inner representation, based on the “data” from our senses. We tend to think that our experiences is the “Reality” or “Truth”. They are subjectively but not objectively, cf. Marcus Aurelius. Do dwell on this for a minute !

The Vision is perhaps the most powerful and persuading of our Senses. If we have seen something, it must have “happened” and it should be possible to establish a common Reality with others witnessing the same events. Right ? Wrong ! We are still filtering, we are still being Subjective. Intriguingly, take this piece of new technology as your aid: a camera that takes completely unfocused images ! See this example  and play around with the picture (click around): https://www.lytro.com/living-pictures/2325

Woo ! Imagine that our Mind could do the same. Refocus.

You were right, Marcus Aurelius !

2012: New Contexts, New Patterns, New Goals

Posted by Torr | Spirituality | Sunday 1 January 2012 19:40

So a Happy New Year to you !

It is magic, isn’t it, how a simple new digit may change our outlooks towards Life. I guess that is one of the special things about the New Years Evening and the transition into January – that we put aside the disappointments from the Past and really believe that the Future will bring us new stuff. Well, it might.  The interesting issue here is the mechanism itself: we adopt a change in our entire system. By the definition of a New Year we surrender to something that may fall so difficult in so many other circumstances, times and situations in out lives: we reframe our Worlds, we alter our interpretations and we twist our mind-sets on what is possible. Indeed, all these virtues are available each second we breathe. We should use them more often !

So why does it fall so easy on New Years Eve ? Perhaps the answer is: the context. It is “OK” to start again, you could even say that we feel that we are given permission to change,  that it is OK to change direction and to set new goals. Indeed, Context is a great factor in our subconscious mind and I tend to believe that our interpretations of Life and especially our feelings are extremely driven by our abilities to perspectivate, i.e. to choose our Centext instead of feeling doomed or destined by it.

We all want to be HAPPY, don’t we ? Well, I think that Happiness is a point-of-view and as such an interpretation of what actually happens in the outer world. So where do the Context blend in ? Let me give you an example: yesterday, the entire Globe celebrated the New Year, many were probably both drunk, horny and happy and thus most people have a positive feeling connected with “New Years Eve”. For me, this evening is in the light of another Context: this is the Evening on which I in 1973 saw my Father die at age 31, makeing me an Orphan just aged 7, a situation I fully understood on that very evening and how this was to define my entire life. So: same evening, different contexts -> different feelings, thoughts and degrees of Happiness.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not begging for pitty here, I am trying to prove a point, perhaps one of the most important ones I can pass on to you: learn to Perspectivate, learn to understand the importance of your sensation of the Context of any given situation or argument you might be in. Understand your Life in a larger context Timewise, i.e. in the vast span of Eternity and in the modest and perhaps random age of the Civilizations. We are all merely Dust in Time and Space and exactly therefore is Context everything in our short lives. Everything. So be aware of yourself, of your Centexts and of your Choices, first and foremost your mental ones,  they will define your feelings and thus your Experiences. Get it ?

Personally, I jump into 2012 with many and great hopes for the Future. Running-wise I will now interpretate everything I do, eat and train from the perspective that I am a 3.15 Marathon Runner. This is a very different position as compared with just a few months ago. I choose this Context for myself  and thereby I define some of the important aspects in my 2012 must-do’s.

Also, I choose to welcome saying good-bye to a few People that obviously don’t belong in my Life, People whom have abused my Trust and my Love. I know I did the “right” things and should not go down due to the Others misbehaviour.  So, I will choose the positive version knowing that “I can Love”, and leave the victimized version behind. I will choose the Context of not having met the really important people and partners yet. I have changed my interpretations and as such killed the love and the friendships that I thought I had – but never really had. In that Context the loss is now a gift. Thank you, Life, for making me understand.

So hello 2012, bring on Happiness, great races and lot’s of Love. For all of us.

New York City Marathon 2011

Posted by Torr | Marathon,Spirituality | Wednesday 9 November 2011 18:51

Some experiences makes you transcend your own life and give rise to a rebirth of your spirit and soul in ways you would not imagine possible. For some  this could be doing the laundry, for others like myself it could be visiting great places like New York, that is New York as in New York, New York, United States of America ! Wooo !

So, I did !

Running the New York City Marathon was of course the main purpose of the trip but indeed just being in New York City is a great, blessing and loveable experience. There is so much to see, the skyline, the shops, the parks, the hectic but also friendly atmosphere. For persons like me New York widens one’s perspective and I come home renewed, refueled, reborn ! I come home with a great sense of humility of what the World has to offer and how much we should enjoy every single opportunity in life to experience stuff, to improve, to love, to give and to share.

To you, I give you this: the pictures from the awesome New York City Marathon 2011 (link below), a race which itself gives a lot to charity and outlasting moments of both pain and joy for those who participate, for those lucky and brave to endure the 26.2 miles through the five borroughs of New York. For me, the day started with the ferry trip to Staten Island passing the Statue of Liberty…

… and reaching Staten Island with this poetic view. A beautiful start of a very memorable day.

The race begins with the task of passing the Verrazano Bridge…

… followed by nuking Brooklyn….

… the tough Queensboro Bridge…

… Manhatten and the First Avenue, the latter completly stuffed with spectators and a outrageous crazy atmosphere…

… the Bronx…

… and back on Manhatten the Fifth Avenue, Columbus and the great finish in Central Park.

Surely, Time passes you by in New York (City Marathon) like a flash but believe me, the impressions are imprinted for the remains of your life. It is called: perspective. It is called: wisdom. It is called: love.

I love NY.

All the visuals are here: Spiderman runs New York City Marathon 2011 – pictures

and in English: Spiderman runs New York City Marathon 2011 – pictures (US version).

Men, Multitasking and Running

Posted by Torr | Marathon,Spirituality | Monday 26 September 2011 17:18

It is often said that men can’t multitask. That is obviously nonsens ! We can e.g. drive a car and think about sex, be in a business meeting and think about sex, and we can even have sex and think about sex with others ;) So don’t say we can’t multitask !

So what has this to do with running ? Absolutely nothing ! Well, perhaps a little bit. Beceause if we change the word “sex” with “running” we are getting where I would like to be the next two years. We are in The State of Mental Running. That’s what I will call it, anyways. A State where thoughts about running are present in your mind at least subconsciously all the time and where many – not all ! – of your decisions and actions throughout the day are connected to your training and goals as a Runner.

Importantly, your subconscious Running Sensor is questioning everything you choose to eat and drink – with the end that you probably choose to eat a bit differently than “if not”. Basically, your Runnning Sensor will be responsible for keeping you on track with your goals both as a Runner and as a Human. So now you may ask: where do I get this Running Sensor, how do I find into this Running State ? The answer is simple: in your Mind ! You just have to decide !

Well, that’s what I have done. I realized after the writing of the book (ELSK AT LØBE) that things would only change for me if I changed my thoughts and actions. This is merely repeating that if you want different outcomes in your life, you have to undertake different (new) actions – and different actions start in the Mind with different thoughts and mind-sets.

So the next two years I will opt for a revised Running State for myself. I will indeed be multitasking on how to improve my running technique, on how to get more traning into my normal working days, on dropping those extra kilos and so forth. I will be reading and cross-referencing running literature with self-improvement books and again cross-referenced with Music and other means of getting into “states”, into the famous FLOW as coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I will be a Runner 24/7/365 and I will  not settle for less  ;)

More will follow on this topic – The State of Mental Running or, for me, Marathon Multitasking. Make no mistake: this is not just a spacy mental excercise or superficial words on a blog. This is the essense, the destilate, of the teachings from the book that will be used in the hard and patient training and strenghtening of my body with the declared goal to run a sub-3 marathon before 2014. This sounds like a ridiculous goal for me to achieve – just making it even more compelling.

I’ll catch you out there.

Transformation vs. Preservation

Posted by Torr | Spirituality | Monday 15 August 2011 07:12

As indicated before, I do have a very strong intuition at times. I “know” things before they happen or at least fully unfold. This is handy in some situations, troublesome in others. Especially hurtful is when I “see” bad actions, bad intentions, poor friendship behaviours, lousy love-affairs and the like way up front. And I guess I blame myself for not pulling the bullshit-break sooner than I mostly do. I actually give people too many chances… knowing that they will misuse them… and still end up like the fool. Speak about having good intentions with a shitty result !

On a larger scale I think as a parent that is important to evaluate what we pass on to our children, both actively and passively.  Children copy our behaviour and they make decisions that can last a lifetime. So it is far from trivial which values we carry.

Those of you who know me quite well know that I carry Integrity and Perseverance as very high values. I do NOT take the easy solutions. I am unbribable. For the same reasons I will tend to lower deceit and mistrust and it is for sure a fact that if you position yourself outside my circle of trust, you’re out for life. I may probably forgive you (or myself) along the time but you will still never re-enter the circle. Luckily, only a handful of persons thoughout my lifetime has taken this “trip”… underscoring the severity when I say “out”.

I truly believe that Life means “include”, but I do also have standards and they are not for sale. Not for sale for superficial friendhips, not for sale for flattery, not for sale for public attention, not for sale for manipulation, not for sale for “convenience”,  NOT FOR SALE ! So yes, my kids will be fed the values of Integrity and Perseverance, alongside with Honesty, Physical Activity and the love for the Nature. Core values of the old world, perhaps.

My Children will also be encouraged to exploit stuff themselves. They are well at it already, and outpowering their old man. Isn’t that nice ! That is the way Life should be: the next generation superseeding the old. But “we” old ones can still evolve, we can still transform. To this end, I am about to. But unsure in what way. But it will be a huge Transformation. As it has happened a few times before in my Life, strong voices call from “the other side”, like prerecognitions of a Personal tsunami completely overflowing my Reality. I try to dismiss these voices (mostly appearing in Dreams) – but all efforts are in vain.

So I have to find out: what is the next Transformation ? What is to happen ?

The Phoenix will fly !

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