That’s what I thought after the first time I ever did a full Radical Undoing session.
I must be having a heart attack. I never knew it could feel like this. I never knew it was possible to feel this much life coursing through my body!
That’s what kept running through my head in that cold room in Buffalo, Wyoming 90 minutes after deciding to do a simple “meditation experiment” I’d been meaning to try.
Holy goddamn fuckin shit, was that an experiment! More like an adventure! I forced my small, hardback Moleskine journal open with one fist, and wrote with a pen jammed into the clasped fingers of my other hand.
Buzzing and tingling radiated throughout every inch of my skin and body. I literally thought I could be dying, I was so unfamiliar with that much intense aliveness.
I was at my partner’s parents’ house for Christmas vacation, and the dinner bell rang in the middle of the most intense experience of my life.
I stumbled up the steps, determined to explain all the secrets of the universe to her happily gathered family.
“I just did this crazy meditation experiment from this book and you’ve gotta try it, it’s like some kind of….” (I had no idea what to call it, so “meditation” had to suffice.)
Right then I learned a very important lesson: don’t put on a punk rock show for a crowd waiting to hear Kenny G. No matter how well you play it, the audience ain’t right.
So I turned off the amps and unplugged for some turkey, potatoes, gravy, and a bottle of beer–which was the best bottle of beer I’ve ever tasted. Come to think of it, that was the first dinner I’d ever had in my new body.
What the hell does that mean, you ask?
Up until that experiment, I never realized I had a body before. I knew that my knees and elbows got scraped, I’d scratched a thousand itches, warmed my hands and feet on raging campfires, and experienced myriad joys of the flesh…and yet, I never fully realized the body in which I experienced all these things.
It might sound ridiculous to think of not having a body one day, and then waking up to the fact that you have one the next day, but that’s exactly what it felt like. Up until that first Undoing session, my body existedmainly as a composite of ideas in my mind.
Before that session, most of my life was like that: ideas in my head. Suddenly, the textures of everything opened up before my newly awakened senses. The weather, my house, the falling snowflakes, a light breeze across the backs of my hands, tingling in my fingers, and a deep warmth were all the first, last, and best possible experiences anyone had ever had, and I knew it, and felt it for myself.
Nothing could get between me and my body ever again. With that new awareness and union, everything else made exquisite sense.
Turns out all that stuff I used to think of as me was just a conglomeration of ideas, like rounded stones and sediment collected in a dry riverbed.
I used to think I was one of those stones.
But, after that first session–and the waves and ripples that rushed through every part of my life–I felt more like the solar system in which suns, planets, rivers and rocks take place.
Maybe that’s a little obscure, so let me bring it back home again. No ideas can ever fully encompass you. In that light, none of your ideas about yourself are accurate. They’re just a collection of observations about the past…about things you remember doing…about things you regret doing and not doing…and a whole lot of ungrounded opinions.
You don’t need your ideas of yourself. What you really want is to feel good, to wake up in the morning excited, curious, and grateful about the day opening before you. And you want to fall asleep feeling good at night, letting go of the day you just had.
The one trick I know to feeling good most (if not all) of the time is to get out of the vicious jungle of your mind and dive deep into your body–especially your breathing.
That’s what radical undoing–and all the Command Z courses, NGF workshops, and adventures are here to help you do: bring you back to yourself, minus the guilt, shame, and belief that there’s something wrong with you as you are.
Because there’s nothing wrong.
When you’re ready to experience this for yourself, get in touch and we’ll figure out which Command Z adventure is right for your situation.
PS: still time to reclaim your mind for more than half off. For those of you who know intuitively that facing mortality can exponentially enhance the quality and appreciation of your time here, get this one too.
I’ll keep this short, so you have time right now to try out this exercise.
It’s very simple, and you can use it to shake yourself out of bad moods, to relax deeply, to feel more alive, and see things from a new perspective.
If you’ve tried any of the exercises I’ve sent out over the past few days, you already know they get better and better the more you do them.
Sometimes when I catch myself drifting into some imagined suffering, an exercise flashes through my mind. If I’m not trying to rebel against my own enjoyment and fun, I take the cue and do the damned exercise, no matter how difficult it is to get myself to do it.
Because of that, aliveness fills my belly, a grin dances onto my face, my arms look for something fun to work on, and a tingling awareness buzzes in my lower back.
Those are just pleasant side effects of breathing deeply and paying attention to your bodily experience. When you ground your awareness in your body, everything else gets easier, and you can finally feel in charge of your states.
Not that you’ll always feel at your best, but you’ll always be willing to do your best, and to squeeze out some fun, laughter, and enjoyment, regardless of the circumstances.
If that sounds like a radical life change, it is. If it seems impossible, I’m here to show that it’s quite possible, if you spend a little time every day dedicated to feeling more alive.
Here’s a video of today’s exercise:
The cool thing about all the CZ exercises is that they get easier and easier to take action toward what you really want, and to make sure you get the most enjoyment and satisfaction possible in all the experiences of your life.
In addition to that physical exercise, you can also learn to put up boundaries to help nudge you more toward your own deepest satisfaction and joy–in every area of your life.
I call the process of putting up those boundaries Psychic Self Defense. What that means is to:
1. Know what you really want. If you have no idea, then your next step is exploring your options and finding out.
2. Aim yourself at what you want, and take action toward it. If you make a mistake or fail, aim again and continue further.
When you don’t know what you want, you can get caught up in the treadmill of a life not of your own making–and that’s not satisfying to anyone, except maybe the people and businesses you donate thousands of days of your life to, and the other businesses you pay to keep you distracted, to help ease the woes of living a life that doesn’t fill you with satisfaction and joy.
When you decide to take the reins of your own life, to play only the games you want to play, and do what deeply satisfies you on a consistent, day to day basis, you’ll be surprised at the resistance that arises to keep you in your place.
Friends, family, coworkers, and popular media create a chorus of doubt, despair, and discouragement that overwhelms and conquers most people’s best intentions before they even get started.
When you start changing your life, be prepared to take responsibility for your own joy and satisfaction, and don’t let the naysaying of other people get in your way.
It’s in that spirit I made the NGF Guide to Psychic Self Defense.
Don’t let another week goes by without standing up for your time, reclaiming your mind, and making progress toward your own best interest…
Have fun earnestly,
PS: The cool thing is, when you master the exercise from today, plus the stuff you learn in the NGF workshop, getting the results you want gets easier, while you have fun and enjoy the process.
It’s your focus on what’s wrong. When you learn to let go–and I mean letting go in the most direct, physical way possible–you’ll watch most of your problems fade in the rear view mirror as you race into a radically different life.
Captain Jack Sparrow says it best: (click “display images” to see)
My handy computer dictionary tells me that problem means “a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.” (emphasis added by me.)
If you weren’t feeling uncomfortable, you wouldn’t identify your experiences as problems. The problem is, once we get focused on problems, it’s hard to see things from a different perspective.
The urgency of believing you need to deal with and overcome something can overwhelm and dominate your mind to the exclusion of other perspectives and opportunities.
This is how our problems and obstacles can become habitual ways of thinking–mental prisons that keep us focused in the wrong direction.
Often, you’re just facing the inside wall of your cage, with your back turned to the open door behind you. It’s the need to solve all your imagined problems that’s keeping you from enjoying and flowing with your life.
The only answer is to get a different perspective, to stop defining discomfort as a problem, and to learn to let go of your expectations about how things are supposed to be.
This may seem like some gargantuan feat, but it’s not. It’s actually a very basic step in your natural development.
The sad fact is that the cult of society, or the society of CULTure, has taught each and every one of us how to cling to our imagined obstacles with a stranglehold of suffering.
Do you ever wonder why so many people don’t really enjoy what they do with the majority of their time? And yet, instead of doing something–anything–different, they just carry on day after day, until life recycles them back to the oblivion they came from and finds someone else to play their roles.
Have you ever heard someone complain about their life? Isn’t it funny how much time and effort people will spend complaining about their own problems, without doing a damned thing differently? Then, if those problems run out, they find new problems on the news to complain about.
This is what’s accepted as normal, and what’s normal is completely ridiculous, and no one’s saying anything about it, so the doom parade carries on.
That’s the strangest part about all the conditioning we receive as children: to believe that you are your problems. That way, you’ll never sidestep them and do what you really want with your life.
You’ve got only one option in the face of this terrorific situation: letting go.
First, let go of all the shit that ain’t yours: the problems of the world, the problems of politics, the issues you’re supposed to care about and take sides on.
Second, let go of all those problems you imagine holding you back from what you really want.
The only way I know of to learn how to let go is through using your body.
Try the exercise in the following video, but pay very close attention to the minute details of how to do it. It’s almost impossible to do correctly at first, but when we do sessions together, I can give you specific tips to help you learn how to let go, not only of your tensions, but of all the problems you’ve identified with in your life.
In the 4 week intensives, you’ll quickly discover that the adventures available to you RIGHT NOW will quickly overwhelm all the problems you carry around, and you’ll be forced to make a choice: let go of your problems, or abandon the adventure of your organic life in that amazing spaceship you call your body.
I suggest embracing the adventure of your life, which means letting go of the certainty of your problems in trade for the uncertainty of an open-ended exploration of your life, which means waking up, which is why you’re reading this!
So do the exercise, and let me know how it goes for you. I’m happy to hear from you.
Oh, one more thing, for the next round of intensives, would you like to start on May 3, or closer to the middle of the month? Let me know.
Life is way more fun when you stop pretending you know what happens next, and stop clinging to the problems that make you feel safe and comfortable. Look around…is there anything you’ve fallen asleep to in your life?
Adventure is yours, if you want it.
PS: If you didn’t see it yet, I put together a workshop on reclaiming your mind and body, and cutting off the influences that put your to sleep and convince you to keep living the life someone else wants you to live…instead of your own. That’s the NGF guide to psychic self defense. Over half off for the next couple days.
“Man, when he is merely what he seems to be, is almost nothing.” -Antonio Porchia
From the moment we are born, the world gives us the impulse–and many times forces us–to have control over our lives. Emotions, behaviors, thoughts, everything must be regulated. We enter adulthood having learned to judge every detail of our existence, evaluating ourselves based on how much control we’ve acquired in the different areas of our lives: our bodies, job, bank account, interpersonal relationships, housing, etc.
We identify all situations where we feel we have no control as problems or difficulties. We also tend to categorize people and situations that aren’t living their lives within the proper parameters of control as dangerous and to be avoided.
In Colombia, my country of origin, there’s a saying about this: It is better bad and known than good and unknown.
The paradox resides in the fact that the more we believe we have control, the less prepared we are for the times where having it is just not possible, and we feel like victims of circumstances.
Our beliefs wear down and with them our capacities to accept ourselves wither away. We all know people who seemed to be very solid in their lives, but suddenly during an unexpected moment they succumbed to madness and lost all the apparent control they had over themselves and over the lives of others.
The father of a close friend of mine–after being very proud of the way he raised his family and thinking that his sons were under his control–became very aggressive and later depressed after one of them revealed that he was gay. The man blamed his wife, the school system, and finally himself for his son’s sexual preference.
Although, if we reflect about what having control—over our bodies, our minds, our environment and the people around us—means, what we find is that it’s related to our ability to accurately predict the future. My friend’s father thought that by controlling his son’s daily routines, schedules, and attitudes, he could prevent or minimize unexpected and undesirable future situations, but of course, he couldn’t.
This raises many questions. Is having control over things a guarantee for the future? Is life predetermined? Are acts of control and repression necessary to ensure a predictable future? If so, is it satisfying and desirable to always know what the future holds?
In my own life, a powerful urge to control my physical appearance required me to repress emotions and behaviors that seemed to be against my desire for control. Ideas about my appearance dominated my mind. Whenever the scales and mirrors didn’t match up with my ideals, I felt weak, useless, and unable to accomplish anything in life.
Our lives are always transforming and will continue to do so for as long as we live. False ideas about control can make us lose our heads when reality doesn’t live up to our expectations.
Many times, the desire to control is nothing more than a desperate attempt to avoid or alleviate our underlying sense of uncertainty, which is one of our greatest fears.
Despite our best efforts to dodge the impending insecurity, all our intents to repress, dominate or control inevitably lead to disappointments and failures.
When certain of my relationships came to an end, I felt very disappointed, because I had believed that trying to control everything I could about myself and my partner would somehow guarantee that it would last forever…
Much of our beliefs about control come from distorted ideas about how life really works. It’s a lie. We think we’re in complete control of our lives, but then something unexpected comes up to disappoint our best efforts (which is going to happen at some point no matter how much we try to avoid it). Then we experience feelings of guilt and shame, which perpetuate an endless cycle of trying to control, falling apart, and then trying again over and over.
The reality is that we’re not controlling anything in this way, we’re just following instructions, obeying an external authority who gave us the erroneous beliefs in the first place. And while we’re too busy trying to control the uncontrollable, our own lives are being governed by others, and this is where we are losing the only real thing we can be in charge of: being ourselves, connecting with our own truth.
Welcoming the uncertainty, learning how to flow in all situations in life, connecting with ourselves and with the rhythms in everything we experience, and living from a position of genuine curiosity rather than from fear and obedience; these are the keys to being empowered and letting of the belief that we’re victims of our circumstances.
Working with Command Z and doing the undoing exercises every day has been leading me through a process of re-discovering myself. I’m learning to navigate the different aspects of my life without the fear of losing control. What before seemed abnormal or chaotic, I now see as essential parts of my development.
And I’ve discovered that it’s more exciting to not know what tomorrow brings than to try to control or anticipate it. I don’t care much about divination anymore because now I know from my own experiences and sensations that there is nothing to control, everything is as it is, in its right place.
His work has always stood out to me for their focus on body awareness and organic experience.
In a genre filled with fantastical thinking, wishing, and imagining, Antero’s approaches to consciousness exploration remain grounded in the body and individual perception.
Keep your body in mind while you listen to the discussion, and treat it as a jumping off point for your own individual exploration of your mind, body, perception, and life.
Antero and I have a free-flowing conversation starting with the 8-Circuit-Brain model and it’s relation to direct experience, and then we go deeper into Paratheatre, and his ParaTheatrical ReSearch project stretching over the last 3 decades.
The images above are paratheatre stills from “Dreambody/Earthbody: A Paratheatre video document by Antero Alli (2012; 80 min)”; photo credit: A. Alli.
His most recent offering is this year’s 8 Circuit Brain 8 Week Online Course, starting on March 14, 2014.
Enjoy the interview in the player or by downloading below, and let us know what you think here in the comments!
I’m sitting at a cemetery near where I live. A couple horses stand around near me, just past the fence, one eating grass, and the other licking and scratching its face on the bark of an old oak tree.
I let go and thoughts drift through caverns and containers and finally join me here near a wooden grave marker.
Last Sunday a client and I spoke about believing in things we don’t know with 100% certainty. Then we talked about abstract concepts that get almost universally accepted as solid fact.
One example is the term “the world.”
What does that mean? You assume it exists, but can you point at it? If you start to think carefully about it, you might realize that the world only exists in your head. But you act as if the world exists.
Now, what else do you believe in that you’ve never really looked into before? How about your limitations? Many of them are no more than unchallenged beliefs.
So after we talked about beliefs for awhile, I mentioned that some clients want to just get the basic benefits of undoing:
-greater awareness of your own motivations
-knowing what you really want
And that’s fine. It delivers.
There’re also a few clients who, for some reason, want to go all the way.
By that I mean to explore fully all the assumptions and beliefs you have, and to rid yourself of everything false. After he said he’d like to take things all the way, he asked me why people seem to need to believe in things, from science to religion to occultism to politics etc.
Good question, and it gave me pause to consider how and why people live out their lives in a land of abstract concepts, make-believe categories, stifling roles, and ideas of how things should be…
Two main reasons dawned on me:
Both reasons relate to a paralyzing fear.
1. The fact that you can’t rely on anything but your own perception and experience.
Your own perception is primary, and the rest is second-hand information, no matter how accurate it seems. This can be frightening to realize, simply because it’s unfamiliar and you aren’t used to sitting on your own throne.
2. No one knows what’s really going on.
You’re born. You develop into a child and then an adult human. You get told and believe all kinds of stories about what’s going on, from evolution to angry sky gods to million armed blue deities to philosophies aplenty to….
Just because you hear about and enjoy and react emotionally to a story doesn’t make it true. Even if you memorize the bible or the origin of the species or a book on brain science doesn’t mean you know the 100% truth of what’s going on here.
That can also be horrifying to realize, especially since the only person you can rely on has no idea what the hell is going on.
It makes you feel important to pretend you know what’s going on. And it gives you a sense of stability, importance, and permanence.
There’s another way to live where you don’t require concepts and beliefs. It takes a lot less effort, and you don’t need to maintain false certainties about what’s going on.
You can remember that your life is the adventure you’ve been looking for. You find it by letting go. Letting go of what? Of all those fears about what’s gonna happen if you stop being the way you think you should be and doing what you think you’re supposed to do.
We all end up in the same place anyway, so why not get a fair amount of joy just by remembering how unlikely it is to be alive, to have a body, to perceive, to feel anything at all.
Is it not utterly magnificent when you really think about it?
Here’s to your adventure!
PS: if you feel like expanding your adventures and cutting through your own bullshit, you’ve got options:
1. Esozone Codex Course: perfect to test the waters, opening up to new ways of perceiving yourself, removing some filters between you and what is, and ridding yourself of guilt.
2. Radical Undoing 101: going a lot deeper into the process, conquering social anxiety, moving through fear, going beyond your perceived limitations, following what truly excites you, and expanding your life in ways you really enjoy.
3. Body Movement Course Series for learning how to undo your own chronic tensions and internal conflicts. Make your body and mind run smoothly so your life feels more like a ride or a movie rather than a prison camp or the doldrums.
4. Direct personal training online, in Ojai, CA, and sometimes available for workshops in your area.
If you want an extended training series, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss what approach is right for you.