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New Exercise - Clear your Head
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arnoilgner


Apr 21, 2006, 1:40 PM
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New Exercise - Clear your Head
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Ok fiend you toproper you... Here's something to consider and do.

I've been becoming aware of how much I think and how much I don't simply perceive. I can be driving or walking engaging my senses in the environment with the intention of not thinking about it but just perceiving it. And within a few seconds I'm thinking about something. Then I catch myself in about a minute. Then I'm back simply perceiving and again the thoughts interrupt in a few seconds.

If this happens so easily driving/walking imagine how difficult it is to keep thoughts out when climbing something stressful. In a way, stressful climbing can focus our attention but that doesn't mean thoughts won't come in and distract our attention off the climbing.

So, here is something to do:
1. In your everyday life, driving/walking/whatever, set an intention to simply observe and perceive (this means with your senses: seeing, hearing, feeling, etc). When you notice that you are thinking and not perceiving anymore, go back to perceiving. Don't get pissed at yourself; just get back to perceiving. See if you can document each time you catch yourself. See how many minutes (seconds?) it is between catches.

2. Do the same on climbs beginning on easy, then on intermediate, then at your limit.

Have fun.
arno


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Apr 21, 2006, 6:43 PM
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OK, but what's the point ?
Active (and constructive) thinking is good !
Passive thinking (which generates the inner negative dialog) is the problem.
But instead of clearing all thoughts I'd rather deal with the bad ones.

Yes, I clear my mind just before starting climbing, but this is only to concentrate better on the climb and not to allow myself to act on instincts or pre-acquired patterns.


hillbillywannabe


Apr 22, 2006, 1:41 PM
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what do you mean by percieve?


shanz


Apr 22, 2006, 1:42 PM
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perception IS reality


hillbillywannabe


Apr 22, 2006, 1:51 PM
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do you mean like actually observe whats actually going on rather than just thinking about what for dinner,do i need to do the laundry when i get home, did i feed the dog?


coopershawk


Apr 22, 2006, 3:00 PM
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I think it all has to do with the ego trying to reaffirm itself by constantly creating images and scenarios in which the "I" must participate and think and act on rather than just take it all in with out anaylizing and attempting to self-position all the time. In order to keep our identites, that self-imagined persona which is really nothing more than the reflection of the ego, we constantly think about "I" and what "I" must do. We put ourselves in a constant state of time reference to further reaffirm the existence of the ego: I did this or that, I went there, etc. The secret is to lose that ego, I guess


puerto


Apr 22, 2006, 8:22 PM
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I think what Arno was referring to is that when you're "in the zone", so-to-speak, climbing seems to happen effortlessly, without much thinking about what you're doing...things just flow and happen, you don't sit there thinking about what you're gonna do next..

There was a sports psychology book called "Peak Performance" I read and used years ago where they interviewed world-class athletes about what it felt like to be in this state..it was almost poetic the way they described it..


_fiend_


Apr 25, 2006, 5:47 AM
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In reply to:
OK, but what's the point ?
Active (and constructive) thinking is good !
Passive thinking (which generates the inner negative dialog) is the problem.
But instead of clearing all thoughts I'd rather deal with the bad ones.

Yes, I clear my mind just before starting climbing, but this is only to concentrate better on the climb and not to allow myself to act on instincts or pre-acquired patterns.

I think the purpose of the exercise is to become familiar with stopping - or pausing - our thoughts in general, to allow us have more choice as to how much we think. I.e. we get to the stage of being able to choose to have active thoughts, or even passive thoughts, if we like, but also to choose to not have them (or at least quieten them down!).

I tried this a bit this weekend, and will try it some more. It's not easy - I'm not very aware of when I'm thinking much - but when I catch myself, it is interesting how much I get wrapped up in my thoughts.


shiggetyshiva


Apr 25, 2006, 6:05 AM
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In reply to:
set an intention to simply observe and perceive (this means with your senses: seeing, hearing, feeling, etc). When you notice that you are thinking and not perceiving anymore, go back to perceiving.

Beautiful! :D

Careful to those who might see this as a method of controlling "negative" thoughts, or stopping them. By observing them from within as thoughts we're having (instead of objective reality), we can experience them as passing thoughts instead of cues to feel :evil: :shock: :( or :cry: .


_fiend_


Apr 25, 2006, 6:19 AM
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In reply to:
we can experience them as passing thoughts instead of cues to feel :evil: :shock: :( or :cry: .

I dunno, I find feeling :shock: is a pretty good response to most of life ;)


arnoilgner


Apr 25, 2006, 8:46 PM
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Ok...
The ideal state for climbing, as with any sport, is the flow state. You cannot be in the flow state and be thinking at the same time. You must diminish thinking as much as possible. So, the point of the exercise is to become more aware of how much you think and how it tends to interfere with climbing.

Once you become more aware of how thought intensive your climbing is then you can do things deliberately to diminish them, like continuous climbing.

This is an awareness exercise.
arno


billcoe_


May 8, 2006, 9:27 PM
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Thanks Arno, I'll try it.


fleshwater


May 8, 2006, 9:55 PM
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i know exactly what you mean, its amazing how hard it is do just BE and not become occupied with the act of being. I'll definitly start trying to zone out more, lol. 8^)


_fiend_


May 9, 2006, 3:48 PM
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This is a good exercise. I can tell it's a good exercise because it's hard and I'm crap at it. So it must be good for me, right :wink:

I definitely have a lot of "headless chicken"-style mulling over thoughts where my brain is gnawing at something like a dog with a bone - and not a lot of these seem actually productive. I am catching myself sometimes, but it takes a while...


lichenmuncher


May 9, 2006, 5:33 PM
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Thanks Arno, i have been trying this for a couple weeks now whenever we are walking to and from the local cliff and it's a kick ass exercise, and i will be using it a lot :righton:


arnoilgner


May 11, 2006, 12:19 PM
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*************THE NEXT STEP***************

Once you develop awareness of how thought intensive your mind is, you can do things to diminish those thoughts.

When you are engaged in thinking your attention is inside your head. To be more present for whatever challenge you are in, such as climbing, you need to have attention out of your head and in the environment. In other words, move your attention out. You can accomplish this in several ways:
1. Engage your senses. Look intently at the rock and the features. Listen to the sounds in the environment, feel the holds...
2. Breathe continuously and deliberately.
3. Do things with your body. Loosen your grip, lower your heels (feel grounded on your feet), chalk up, reposition your body (refine your balance)...
4. Get into problem solving mode. Look up to identify the next rest and pro, look down to assess the fall consequence, look up again to identify climbing sequences, then make a move up or down, etc.

By engaging your senses, breathing, doing things with your body, and focusing on problem solving you keep attention out of your head and engaged in the climbing situation.
arno


_fiend_


Jul 12, 2006, 11:27 AM
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How are people doing with this?

Any reports / interesting anecdotes?

Any people getting on with it in normal life and in climbing?

I must confess that I have been lax and not been trying it recently, no particular reason other than I've got wrapped up in other things and let it slip....I will try to start doing it again as I'm feeling that I need to keep my head free of clutter at the moment as it has got...well...cluttered.


gobotrocker


Sep 8, 2006, 9:34 AM
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Some of this stuff I started learning outside of climbing. For me Arno is inviting us to become more mindfull of the situation we find ourselves in weather it's on the rock or not. When we practice this stuff off the rock it becomes a habit and that means that on the rock it'll be more familiar and useful to us, because of the habit energy that has already been created by practicing this off the rock.

My father said "You should use your head for something other than a hat rack". I have the option of paying attention or not. I find that on hard leads where my fears are in charge, my ability to come back to the climb and take thoughful action is greatly enhanced by deep mindful breathing. I was recently trying to get a clean lead on a climb and was skitzin at every placement, but my friends below noticed that each time I consciously took a couple deep breathes I would calm down. My ability to do this comes from repetition, someone asked "whats the point?". It's about creating a strong mental awareness of the here and now, and then learning to take charge of how we use the strength of our minds. The more we do it the stronger we can become at it. Repetition...


generationfourth


Oct 11, 2007, 1:09 PM
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I suggest that everyone read "Miracle of mindfulness" by thich nhat hanh. which goes in depth on how to be mindful. It goes very well with the rww


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