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How To Take Cold Showers

The first time I took a cold shower, I went into shock. I felt like I had been hit by a baseball bat and the wind was knocked out of me. I almost started hyperventilating. I remembered one thing. Breathe! I had to breathe in, breathe out, breathe… oh the heck with this I turned off the water. Was I really going to start taking a cold shower everyday?
Yes, I was determined.

My family has a history heart disease, and I need to do everything I can to get my blood pressure under check. Cold showers can sometimes help. I looked to cold showers not out of desperation but as a way to excel beyond my current boundaries. People have been able to endure cold for decades and it seems it was a lost art. I am inspired by Wim Hof and his excellent video series, of breathing, and pep talking that encouraged me to take the next step. Several months later and I may take two cold showers a day. The second shower usually involves ecstatic laughter because I am so happy the freezing cold doesn’t bother me anymore. The temperature of the shower for me ranges anywhere from 40 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Not exactly warm.

So how did I do it? Slowly and painfully under guidance of Wim Hoff’s course.

But Wim’s videos only covered so much. Everything I found on cold showers just told me how great they are but none of them went into details of how to get started. I will tell you the easiest way you can get started.

cold-poster-conqueirng-the-cold-shower

Day 1 -3 : Take A Normal Shower

Start the day by taking your normal hot water shower. Clean up, wash your hair and before you are ready to get out start breathing deeply. Breathe in. Breathe Out. Breathe in. Breathe out. When you are able to hold your breath for a few moments you are ready to give your system a shock. Breathe out when you switch to cold water. As soon as the water touches, your natural reaction will be to take a deep breath. This is good! Breathe in and out. Feel the water gently hit your back and trickle down to your feet. Feel as your body rapidly adjusts from hot to cold. If you start to shiver or get goosebumps turn off the water and dry off.

Continue doing the above technique for a few days. While slowly staying longer and longer under the cold shower. As your body adapts to normalcy from the extreme temperatures the cold can be exhilarating and relaxing.

Day 4-14: Exhale, Turn 90 degrees, Inhale

Do the same as day 1 to 3 but this time turn 90 degrees so your left side is now exposed to the cold shower. Again your body will immediately inhale. It is important you are able to maintain control of your breath to prevent hyperventilating. When your side adapts again exhale and turn 90 degrees so your front is facing the shower. This part is tricky as some of our most sensitive body parts are here such as our faces. Quickly plunge your face in the water. Remember to breathe in and out. When you are ready exhale and rotate 90 degrees. Now you are getting your right side exposed to the water as well. Once your right side has gotten used to the cold rotate 90 degrees one more time and turn off the water. Pay close attention to how your body feels when you turn off the water. Notice how the blood rapidly flows to the cold parts.

I will reiterate it is very important to stop the shower and warm up immediately if you start to shiver or get goosebumps.

Continue doing this for 2 weeks increasing your time ever so slowly. The shock from going to hot water to cold water is greatest when you first turn it off. In time you can adjust the temperature of your normal shower down. Once you are comfortable with this technique you can challenge yourself more by taking a monthly ice bath. The water from an ice bath will never go below 35 degrees even the coldest parts of the ocean do not drop below 28-35 degrees.

If you want to learn more about Wim Hof we have an excellent documentary over here, that covers his amazing feats.

How to Open Your Third Eye

Preface: I had initially rewritten this to be included on the Wim Hoff Method Blog. But, it went unposted. Rather than see the work lost I am sharing it with you. In addition to being easier to read than the last version I’ve added an illustrated how to poster.

how-to-open-your-thrid-eye

What is meant by ‘opening your third eye’? It is a meditation technique that refers to becoming more self aware and in tune with your surroundings. Results may be different for everyone. Some experience heightened awareness, more creativity, or a sense of calm and confidence. When performed consistently, your intuition will improve and you will become more aware.

I first tried this technique when I was a young boy. My mother and I were at a swap meet. It was there, after much pestering, that she bought me that book on Native American Shamanism. I wanted the book because my best friend was telling me about his great spiritual powers and how he was going to get a power animal. Since young boys can be quite competitive, I felt I also needed to do what my friend was doing. When we left the swap meet, I began reading the book in the car. One of the first meditation exercises I stumbled upon was contacting the ancient spirits for help. I decided this would be a good exercise to start with before I tried to find my power animal.

This is what I remember of the exercise.

“Breathe in through the nose for a slow count of 3. Hold for a count of 3. Then exhale for a count of three. Do this slowly and rhythmically. Focus on the point between your eyes above your nose on your forehead. Roll the eyes up behind closed eyelids. This may take 10-20 minutes before you can contact the spirits. As you breathe in and out, you will see different colors starting at yellow then shifting to purple. When you see purple you may, most respectfully speak with your spirit guides.”

When that evening finally approached, I found a quiet spot in the house and laid down on the ground in a darkened room. I breathed in and out. I became more and more relaxed. I saw flashes of yellow and purple. Then I asked to speak to my grandmother’s and grandfather’s spirits, the ancients, and the enlightened. Then, it happened! I heard a voice, as clear as day in my mind, and I freaked out. I did not know it then, but this was the day that would define the rest of my life.

It was not until years later that I tried meditation again, and it would be longer still when I tried, what I now know as, the third eye meditation. Almost like clockwork, years passed by again and it is only now that I realized the importance of opening my third eye.

Was I contacting ancient spirits when I was a child? Maybe, but more likely, I had gotten in touch with my higher consciousness. This higher consciousness is in us all. It is what makes us human and allows us to do amazing things.

There are many exercises and meditation techniques for opening your third eye. The easiest technique is to sit upright in a comfortable chair. Place your arms at your sides and hands on your lap. Breathe in through your nose to a count of 10, hold for 10, then exhale for 10. The longer you can do this the better, but the key is in the consistent rhythmic breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. When you do this, focus on the point between your forehead. You do not need to literally turn your eyes to your forehead, you need only to focus on the point in the middle of your forehead while you breathe in and out. Around the eight to tenth breath, you will start to see the yellow color spiral in your mind. As you continue breathing, the color will change to purple and then to flashing colors.

When this happens, when you finally see that vibrating purple color, it means you have opened your third eye. This ‘opening’ means different things for different people. For me, it has allowed more creativity and focus.

If you don’t see swirling colors, or you can’t hold your breath for 10 seconds, don’t worry. Just keep trying and do what you are comfortable with. One of my students would complain of constant headaches, but he persisted. Only when he persisted did he realize that his headaches were because he was staring at his nose cross-eyed.

The more meditation you do, the more understanding and control you will have over the effects of your newfound awareness. Many people think that the benefit of meditation is only during the actual meditation, but it is quite the contrary. The benefit comes a short time after the meditation. The more consistent you are in your meditation, the more aware of the benefits you become. You realize that, perhaps, you aren’t lucky, but there is someone/something guiding you. You see patterns where there would be random chances. This is just the start to an improved and a better you.

If you need help, or have questions, you are always welcome to contact me.

Are you spiritually materialistic?

spiritual-materialism

This was a term I first heard in reference to a buddhist teaching I was learning. Spiritual Materialism was coined by the buddhist Chogyam Trungpa. So what is spiritual materialism? It is an affliction of spirit intertwined by the great ego that rules us all. There are different types of spiritual materialism but the greatest was once called idol worship. It is the collection of spiritual or religious objects to make one feel more spiritual or to try and satiate that gnawing more need within.

An example of this first type of spiritual materialism would be surrounding yourself, with crucifixes, malas, holy books, the bible, the quoran, crystals, statues, rosaries, holy relics, prints of spiritual deities, books or tv shows of a supernatural nature or anything fo the sort. Many of us may have one or two of these items and this is fine. It is when there is a collection built, a compulsion or need to surround yourself with these items that it becomes a spiritual materialism. This is the most base of spiritual materialism as it has its grounding in the physical world. Possessing these items is not a guilt or offense alone, because it is when the possession is in conjunction with a superiority complex.

This is the next stage of spiritual materialism the halo effect, it is a holier than thou attitude. A feeling that these people don’t deserve to worship here or have these items because they cannot properly care or appreciate them. This is the ego feeding off of the spiritual need to better one’s self. This halo effect has the opposite effect however and pulls us closer toward materialism and the desire to belong, to control and conquer.

Spiritual materialism is not a means to an end, it is a soul sickness. The goal of a spiritual aspirant is humility, compassion, understanding, empathy and right mindedness. Without these qualities the aspirant is lost amongst the visceral noise of another materialism that is under the guise of something more.

It is with great sadness that I see many aspirants adorn themselves with malas, pentagrams, or astrological bangles in effort to be more spiritual. These items alone will not aid in the journey. It is the intent behind the item, the aspirant must be willing to toss them aside and look to achieve more. The objects are nothing more than simple guides. But, when they become crippling, and you cannot live without them or function in fear of removing or losing them, they become like a poison to the soul. It is at this point when spiritual materialism truly takes over. We are merely ethereal beings in a perceived physical world. We are of one consciousness trying to unite itself globally, and universally. When the desire or need to be better leads to egotism all of your work is for naught.

You are a spiritual materialist if

  • You surround yourself with religious or spiritual objects
  • You think others are unworthy of their spiritual efforts
  • You feel you alone are able to guide humanity

You do not need to have all of these to qualify as a spiritual materialist, you only need one. When you are able to admit to yourself that just maybe you are materialistic in soul, then and only then are you ready to transcend beyond.

How do I escape from spiritual materialism?

It may be a quick change of direction for some and a longer process for others but in the end it will improve you.

Step 1: Identify if you are materialistic
Look around and see what do you keep close to you? Could you live with out the objects? Can you look at the situation outside yourself? What do you hold close what is driving you to where you are? When you can answer these question honestly with yourself, because you are the one who knows if you are lieing. Then you can begin to step outside your comfort zone.

Step 2: Practice selflessness
Give it away, give away your collection, the items you hold so dearly. Give away yourself help others not in hopes they may help you or return the favor but simply to help. Expand beyond your safety zones. By giving away items that are closest to us or serving someone we may consider below us we practice humility. We are able to see what makes us uncomfortable and we can use that to better ourselves. What part makes you uneasy, what do you feel safe doing? Is what you are doing for the betterment of others or is it self fulfilling because you were told to do it?

Step 3: Repeat
Keep reflecting upon your current situation, where are you? what are you doing? what is a need versus a want? We have many wants our modern culture drives them all the time. We are bombarded by wants, but what is truly needed to grow?

This is not an easy process and I myself admit I have been struggling with some aspects of this. But, I keep trying knowing that someday, I will not want or need, I will be able to help others and live in wealth without ever wanting or needing more. The spiritual items we surround ourselves with are like a safety blanket of a young child. Eventually, either the blanket wears away or we realize we don’t need it any more. If you find that some items you have do genuinely benefit you and not perceivably benefit you then I encourage you to keep them until you know you no longer need them. If you use them because you invested $1600 in it and it is a pain point to give away that astrological bangle or old tome then it is time to let go. I hope this has been of some help to you and if you are ever struggling I encourage you to reach out to me and I will do my best to help guide you.

Pax Vobiscum,
JackDirt

The Art of Play

When you get older, your childhood becomes more and more distant until one day you forget. You forget what it was like to be a child. You may remember being young but you forget what it was like to be a child. Which, is nothing short of a travesty. You don’t forget because you choose to. You forget because you are conditioned to. From the first day you are presented with adult problems you are forced to grow up. For many this is the transition from one school to another, for some it is a challenging life event that comes too soon.

Whatever the reason it is not too late to recapture that lost youth, that lost child. We can play, and we can enjoy it. The question is – How do you play again?

On the day you are born you are told how to think. You are told what to believe. It is the rule makers,the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers, the religious authorities that try to form in your mind their vision of life. You know what it worked. But, it is time to move forward, time to let go of their vision, their dream of reality. You can start by playing.

Playing doesn’t have to be hard, and if it is you are probably worried about that perceived view of reality in your mind.

Let Go.
To start you must let go, you must for a moment or two, forget you are an adult. Set aside your responsibilities. Look at the world around you for the first time. Really, stop reading this and look up. Look at everything around you. Look near and look far. What do you see? Now think about what it would be like if everything you have been told didn’t matter. Look again. What do you see?

Re-imagine.
You know what you are supposed to be doing because you do it. Now what if you didn’t know about the world around you. Children learn by doing, by exploring. When we have explored and tried enough times, we form ideas of how things are “Supposed to work”. We work with minimal information based on lessons we’ve learned previously. Only when we can see our surroundings with a new light can we begin to re-imagine.

Interact.
Get up and walk over to something, anything, it can be a chair, a television, a drinking glass, anything. Now interact, if it is a glass of water play with the water. Pour it out study it, notice how it feels on your skin, give yourself permission to learn again. Give yourself permission to just be in the moment. Only when we are ready to let our inhibitions go are we free to interact with the world without judgement.

I am sure you may be feeling self-conscious right now but if you did what I suggested above then you are ready to play.

Create.
Pick a medium it can be pen, paper, markers, blocks, needle, thread, clay, paint. With your chosen medium find a space where you will be uninterrupted. Then just start creating. You can do whatever you think of. If you have blocks build a tower, an airplane, a wall. If you have paper and pen start writing, or drawing. Allow yourself to just create, you don’t need an end goal, just a moment to scribble, stack, cut or sew.

Destroy.
Now destroy whatever it is you made. Knock over the tower, rip up your paper, smoosh your sculpture. Whatever you did undo it. Don’t just undo it because you have to do it because it’s fun. Without an end there can be no beginning.

Play.
If you have done all of the things above then you are ready to play. Let go of your inhibitions, let go of all those things you’ve been told you should or shouldn’t do and go into the world and have fun. Run outside, jump up and down. Do things that make no sense but are just enjoyable. Be a child. Children are always running, jumping, picking things up, dropping them, stacking and knocking over. They don’t know what the world wants of them so they try everything. They learn what happens when you knock over a stack of bricks. They learn what happens when you scribble on paper.

Children learn to make a mark, they learn to leave an impression. Then somewhere along the way they forget, and they are told not to pour water on the floor, or draw on the walls. They are taught how to act to fit in to our collective view of reality. Then time goes by and they forget that they can have fun with the simplest of things. That is our gift. We can make something of nothing, we can enjoy or hate the simplest of things.

One person can change the world. You can alter the course of human history, you just need to be mindful, and not let those inhibitions stop you. Bring joy and happiness to yourself, bring joy and happiness to the world. The universe has been waiting for you to start fulfilling your divine purpose. Now, forget what you’ve been told and play!