Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sports and evolution

Evolution made humans' nature to reward movement. Recent studies show that our brains and bodies are built to reward physical activity and motion. It makes sense, as everything else in biologic evolution, that physical activity is rewarded as it was a great means for survival. Our whole body is wired for that kind of survival abilities.

In today's world though, it's a total annoyance for most people and it becomes just something we know we HAVE to artificially DO. You need to exercise, you need all this physical activity, to be both in good body and mind shape. We try to convince ourselves that we need it, and that it's good for us, and even our brain produces pleasure chemicals as you do it, but deep inside your body knows it's a huge waste of energy and you have to drag yourself to your next gym trip. The same way your body knows it's a great waste of energy to eat a salad compared with the calories you get in return, we can try and lie to ourselves but deep inside our bodies know better.

The only solution I see to this increasing dilemma is genetic engineering. The gap between the thousands of years of evolution going in one direction, and the accelerated world-changing pace of our current technology evolution only can be closed by genetic manipulation.

Of course, genetic manipulation is the answer to many other much more important questions -health issues being probably the most outstanding ones- but for right now, I'm just trying to make up an excuse so I don't have to buy into the exercise thing so much ;)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cellphone charger standard

Like Time magazine would say "shockinly predictable" and we could add "forever expected" there was a major agreement (not including Apple so far) to use the Micro-USB as the cellphone charger standard.

I applaud this measure and also I am a big fan of standards in general. The big winner is the user!!

So many standards to follow ... notebook chargers come to mind ...

My life without caffeine (2nd part)

Back in August I started the little experiment My life without caffeine - 21 day caffeine free.

It kind of is time for an update on that after a few more months ...

I basically never went back to diet coke or coke. I did nevertheless went to Monster, RedBull and Mountain Dew a few times over the last months. Usually I noticed a correlation between that inoffensive occasional drink and being super dragged and tired in the next few days, of course really needing caffeine badly, although I usually wouldn't go back to it right away and the feeling would go away soon.

At my last PGA show in January, things got a little out of control. The preceding days to the show energy drinks followed sleepless nights in preparation for the show. After the show energy drinks followed sleepless nights in celebration of the show. The result? I was trashed for couple weeks after all was done and finished. Blame it just on the sleepless nights themselves or in the energy drinks caffeine withdraw process. Even for myself it sounds like too much talking about caffeine withdraw, but that surely is what it felt like.

In the end I decided no more caffeine in my life period. I've been sticking to that for the last month or so with no regrets and feeling just great! Wake up in the morning, full of energy, no need for caffeine again whatsoever.

I don't need more caffeine so that I can need more caffeine! The self-perpetuated circle was broken and I'm one happy decaf soul :)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Experimenting with consciousness/awareness

This little experiment was triggered by hearing an audio book by Eckhart Tolle, I guess the name of it is A New Earth. I'm not totally sure on the name as my friend Sandra gave it to me and I just threw it on my car CD reader.

Eckhart was talking about two components to the mind:
1. The awareness or consciousness, also could be called the true being, some would think connected to the whole.
2. The ego, the I, me, myself on each of us separated from everything else out there.

The experiment consists of perceiving the being inside ourselves and attempting to observe the ego from a separate higher level of consciousness. I have to admit that even when the concept of ego was familiar to me, I thought it was overrated and I was very dubious of the usefulness of this definition.

The way the experiment is conducted is by closing your eyes if possible (of course it was possible to me! It's 4:00am and I'm lying in bed when I started!!), and starting to feel the liveness of one of your hands, the other hand, feet, etc. While you attempt to have your mind perform this simple task, you monitor the thoughts that arise in your mind. You're trying to be just a higher level consciousness watching these thoughts as a person would be watching a tv show, without merging with them, without getting totally engaged with them, knowing that they're a separate thing from you, the observer. I guess it's the old buddhist and zen thing of observer and object of observation.

So, I got started and I have to tell you it was interesting -to say the least, for moments it was actually hilarious.

What I discovered with this little experiment is that I could really create a space of awareness monitoring my thoughts. I also got to discover very clearly the ego behind almost all of the thoughts that I could see arise on my mind. Most of the thoughts revolved around going into future or past scenarios with very clear needs of my ego. The question I would ask myself in every case would be: What kind of thought is this? How does this thought serve my ego? The answers I found revolved around these:

1. It will give myself pleasure or avoid suffering.
2. It would give some sort of explanation to something and get the logic part of my mind entertained.
3. It would justify what I've done or what I'll do and make me right in some way and others wrong as well.
4. It would compete with others and make me better in some way.
5. It would save me energy by repeating some old habit.
6. It will avoid something I fear. If I do that or don't do that fear of what would or wouldn't happen.
7. It would make my ego feel bigger. It would increase my rating/connections inside some social network.

Any of these thoughts would clearly take me out of my simple task, something I desperately wanted to do most of the time. Very exhausting little experiment.

The way it would go would be something like this. I'd try to feel the liveness in my hand, seconds if not fractions after I was questioning the experiment. Then, as the awareness was monitoring, I would see the thought of questioning, sensing that it's a thought of fear to the unknown following my habit of labeling everything. Then, I'd go back to the liveness of my hand and the next thought would pop out. Next I would have some totally unrelated thought about something I'd like to do in the future, or something that just happened and I needed to label in some way. It was incredibly difficult to steer my mind to one simple task, all sorts of thoughts kept arising. Eventually my mind arrived to some thoughts that seemed temptingly interesting such as conclusions on the experiment itself or something else. At that point I would have a thought to blog about it, which was hilarious to me as I could clearly discover the reason for blogging was a very egotistic one as well. Then, I was laughing and going back to the hand and so forth.

It was interesting also to see those thoughts pop out like bubbles faster and faster as I would ask myself what is the purpose of this thought? and how does it serve my ego? Those thoughts would quickly dissolve in the light of my consciousness.

How does it continue? I think I'll keep playing with this and see if this new way of thinking might lead me to new experiences or to a more connected and aware being of some sort.

Most people in their daily lives don't care about awareness or ego, so if you make it this far in this post I would tend to believe you're either a thinker or a spiritual person of some sort ;)

PS: I witnessed a little fight between my awareness and my ego regarding writing this post and I ended up deciding write this post in the end to share it and document my learning process (as my memory fades too fast).