This episode of the podcast features Jamie Wheal, co-founder and director of the Flow Genome Project and Flow Dojo, and author of the bestselling book Stealing Fire. Jamie is a leading expert on the neuro-physiology of human performance. His work ranges from Fortune 500 companies like Cisco, Google, and Nike, to the U.S. Naval War College and Red Bull. He combines a background in expeditionary leadership, wilderness medicine and surf rescue, with over a decade advising high-growth companies on strategy, execution and leadership. At the Flow Genome Project, he leads a team of the world’s top scientists, athletes and artists dedicated to mapping the genome of the peak-performance state known as Flow. Jamie talks about non-ordinary states of consciousness, group flow, and practices for accessing peak experience states.
2:00 Collective flow states & DEVGRU
6:21 How group flow works
9:33 VR and Mirror neuron effects
11:38 Collective coherence and hive mind
14:43 The emergent property of the 21st century = collective awareness + individual identity
16:40 Communities of practices doing it: music, movement, martial arts
19:36 Moving towards a global centric awareness
22:10 Non-ordinary states of experience
23:53 Relationship between states and stages
29:06 Practices to have the biggest impact on your state
33:07 Journaling and recording peak state experiences
38:15 Similar truths from ancient traditions and quantum theoretical interpretation
41:33 A dialectic of cultivating presence and absence
44:42 Maintaining and optimizing your bio-psycho-social-self system
50:51 How to develop capacity for genius abstract thinking
57:44 3 parameters to induce non-ordinary states of experience
1:00:30 How do we get a next level consciousness in culture
1:04:15 About Flow Camps
1:07:57 Vision for Flow Genome Project by 2020
1:10:26 Non-ordinary states for healing trauma and decreasing suffering
1:15:33 Stealing Fire and FlowGenomeProject.com
Connect with Jamie Wheal:
Links from the Episode:
- Flow Genome Project
- Flow Dojo: World’s First Research and Training Center for Flow States
- Group Genius – Keith Sawyer
- The Second City
- Jerusalem Syndrome
- The Fate of the Self
- Stranger in a Strange Land
- The Flow State Scale – Dr. Susan Jackson
- Stealing Fire
Daniel S: Welcome to the Neurohacker Collective Podcast. My name is Daniel Schmachtenberger. I’m director of R&D here at Neurohacker Collective. We are delighted today to be in a discussion with Jamie Wheal, who is the co-founder and director over at Flow Genome and Flow Dojo, and author of the recent bestselling book Stealing Fire. Which is a tour de force of understanding what flow states are about, what non-ordinary states of experience, and writ large are about, and how to achieve them, and what the future with more people in higher states of experience might look like.
Jamie has become a recent friend, and has a really fascinating background in search and rescue, and extreme sports, and human performance optimization, and functional medicine. So many different spaces that relate to what the kind of peak of human experience and human potential that are possible are. Including deep exploration into the mystical and the luminous in a scientifically grounded way. I imagine if you’re into neuro hacking enough to be on this podcast you already know about Jamie and the Flow Genome.
So if you are interested in an introduction to what flow states are, and why they matter, and what non-ordinary states of experience are, I recommend you go watch some of Jamie’s other talks on the topic. YouTube has many of them and read Stealing Fire. I’m going to assume that people already know that and jump into some of the deeper, and more nuanced, and maybe more interesting questions. That’s a preface as we head in. Jamie, thank you for being here with us.
Jamie Wheal: Yeah, man, thanks for having me Daniel.
Daniel S: I’m interested that you started out with talking about collective flow states. Right? Very specifically with the SEALS. You were talking about not just a flow state that an individual could access that could increase their personal capacity, but a flow state that a group could access where you had individual capacity radically higher, but also group coherence radically higher. Which are usually thought of as almost dialectic things, right?
Like someone is in a very deep flow state and they are less attuned to being able to modulate themselves to be coherent with others. Or, they’re paying attention to others and are maybe less attuned to their own adaptiveness. This seems profoundly relevant for obviously all teams participating together, but the kind of future of human beings as a whole, civilization as a whole. I would love to hear a little bit … Like when we’re talking about individual flow states, we can talk about what’s going on in an individual physiology and an individual person’s brain. You know, transient hypo frontality, but what is mediating collective flow states? Let’s speak a little bit more about that.
Jamie Wheal: Sure, I think to also clarify, it is that possibility of us actually syncing together to do the impossible. Like, well, you know, we said in the future in showcase, some are, rather razzle-dazzle stories from action, sports, special operations and that kind of thing. I think that’s the whole premise. That together we are stronger, smarter and better. It is certainly the reason we wrote the book and the reason for our organization in the Flow Genome Project.
It’s not simply ameliorating the worry in isolation. In fact, if anybody is interested in taking a deep dive into group coherence and collective slow states, Keith Sawyer at UNC Chapel Hill is … He wrote a book called Group Genius and he is arguably on the forefront of that specific study. It says, simply, the possibility that happens when we get outside ourselves … So, let’s take it to the ecstasis, which goes back to the old Greek, of anything that takes us outside ourselves.
To stand outside oneself is the functional original root of ecstasy. Within that big umbrella are a bunch of non-ordinary states of consciousness, meaning different than what we would call 21st century worried well [inaudible 00:04:35] stress. We can change the channels of our neurophysiology. We can get beyond our conventional story-telling and our sense of separation and identification. Once those states happen, and we happen to be in proximity with other people, the almost inevitable thing is some degree of connection in a post-rational meaning moving beyond either/or logical problem solving.
Connection to a coherent hope that there is something bigger than any of the individuals. The simplest, most obvious examples of that are anything from the Harlem Globetrotters to the Patriots fourth quarter turnaround in the Superbowl, where everyone is fueling off Brady and everybody … What happened, even though they were getting their asses handed to them for the majority of the game, they simply pulled off what seemed to be superhuman. It was really more super hyphen human. They were acting from a coherent sensing, thinking, and feeling shared group experience compared to individuals running around running plays.
The example we use to start the book is with DEVGRU or US Naval Special Warfare Development Group, more common with, and in the past known as SEAL Team Six, and the ways they both train for and operate in the field in that state. And the idea that, literally, what they do isn’t possible unless they have gone beyond their individual pragmatic self and they have such a high degree of trust and connection to each other that they are literally sensing, deciding, and acting as a superorganism. That’s, generally speaking, much harder when we’re stuck in our individual separated weighted-state selves.
Daniel S: So then, what kind of mechanism through which group flow is mediated, is just increased bandwidth of the individuals being able to perceive what’s going on with each other and make sense of it, and then respond? Because they are operating in an individual state, where they have increased [inaudible 00:06:40] capacity. Increased bandwidth for perception response.
Jamie Wheal: So, that’s certainly one part of it. I mean, if we roughly thought of it as a three-legged stool, we could say, hey, one is “I get beyond my [inaudible 00:06:53] my psychological separated identity in storytelling.” Like, I’m me over here doing my thing, and this guy’s over there doing his, and we’re actually past that or even before that as far as sensing and responding. So this is the low-passing basketball that kind of alley-oop’s, the kind of magic and stuff that comes together when people are so closely oriented. So that’s part of it.
The next part would be … I mean a huge part … Is present-tense synchrony, meaning everything from mirror neurons, so the way I look at you and the way you look at me, and if our movements are in sync, or complementary, our brain waves and firing patterns become more aligned, to vagal nerve tone, to heart rate variability. So literally, our every … Fundamentally, our physiology in real time, is actually becoming more similar because we cue off each other.
That all has been ascribed to several folks, but Galileo is one of them where he went into the clock maker’s shop and noticed that on the wall, all the pendulum’s were swinging in sequence to the biggest one. The biggest pendulum, actually, then basically brings all the others into sync with it. That was … That finding was echoed at ESADE Spanish Business School with emerging business leaders who were measuring biofeedback and they tracked how linguistic analysis … What were these folks saying? Was it smart? Or did they talk longer or louder [inaudible 00:08:22]? And none of those actually played out. The thing it did track is that the emerging leaders, the people who come up with the vast [inaudible 00:08:31] complex problems were the ones who actually regulated their own nervous systems best and, in turn, created synchrony. Actually became the bigger pendulum and got other people into synchrony with them.
So, we have the move beyond your ego into real time decision making response. We have real time neurophysiological synchrony, meaning we can align with each other like the pendulum. Then you’ve got long term synchrony, and that’s everything from … In fact, a colleague of ours, Kenneth Furrow, who’s been doing amazing work, because you already [inaudible 00:09:04] roller derby queen and actually the microbiome analysis of the roller derby king. And they’ve done this with lots of athletic people who spend long times in close proximity actually end up sharing … Their brains correlate as well.
And then you put all of those things together and that’s … Based on that kind of empirical neurophysiological level those are some of the factors that contribute to that drop [inaudible 00:09:31].
Daniel S: Yeah. Just … Not to go far on this, but when you look at virtual connection and someone being able to drop into a VR reality and connect to other people, obviously we’re getting exponential increasing capacity to do audio and video and a little bit of haptic, but it’s still so profoundly reduced from the multi-sensory and even sub-sensory channels of communication. Like, you’re talking about mirror neuron effects are immediate through so many things, but being able to pick up the pheromones, being able to pick up the microbial cloud and actually see the microbiome which is then epigenetically modulating people’s protein transcription … Gene transcription and protein synthesis. There’s really nothing that, it seems like, will have the capacity to replace in-person synchrony.
Jamie Wheal: Yeah. Although, you know, I’m sure we’re back to … We’re approaching act two on this, but there was fascinating studies back when Second Life was the new kid on the block, and they were saying neuron imaging of people co-locating as avatars. And a surprising number of those things were still being triggered. There was spatial recognition, there was mirror neuronal activity. All of those things. Even with relatively clumsy 2010 digital styles. So, everything you’re talking about, throw in the haptic regulation suits, the ability for you to be able to sort of see or feel the stock market based on the sensors on their chest, et cetera. The invariability to have compelling coherence prompted a non-local stasis.
I mean, you can argue … I’m sure … Only on their acts. To say nothing of hey, let’s take it … Let’s do something a hit of oxytocin and engage in some long-distance eye-gazing. Although I think this simplest one is like Skype and Google Hangouts and everybody has to figure out a corrective optical algorithm so that when you look at the camera, you’re looking at other people’s eyes. When you’re looking at the screen, you’re looking right-
Daniel S: Right. I’m looking at the screen right now and not up here.
Jamie Wheal: Yeah. That’s the glaring … I can’t believe we all do this work around. But somebody’s got to fix it.
Daniel S: Okay. So, with regard to the collective coherence, you actually mentioned in the book, describing it as a kind of hive mind, right? People entering this hive mind state where anyone can really count on anyone else to be able to respond in certain very high capacity, and also kind of predictable ways Right? And we think of hive mind, whether we are talking about ants or termites or bees. All of the members are pretty much inter exchangeable for all the other members. They’re fungible assets. Right? And so there’s no uniqueness, and whatever uniqueness is there is actually not relevant to what they can count on in each other. So they can assume that they’ll all follow basically the same protocols for gathering food or defending the hive or something like that.
And so, when you think about something like a sports team like the Globetrotters, they’ve went through a training where they can assume that anyone that they throw the ball to will be able to do certain kinds of things. Right? When you think about DEVGRU, you can … They went through, like you mentioned, millions of dollars worth of training to make sure that there are certain capacities that they will all be able to do.
So I can see kind of this collective coherence and the resonance zone because at first, when Galileo and others were looking at the resonance of pendulums, they have to be pendulums that have a pendulum length that allows it to go into resonance, right? It has to be things with similar wavelength, and then if the wavelength is close enough, they’ll go into similar resonance.
So, what … But if they’re on totally different oscillatory cycles, then they’re not going to come into synchrony. So what I’m thinking about … Crews of people who have very different skills, capacities, and orientations, than each other, what would collective coherence increasing between very different kinds of people, rather than very similar capacity in a very narrow environment of focus possibly look like?
Jamie Wheal: I would say the Grateful Dead on a bad night. You know? I mean, those guys, honestly … They took a fork in the road from most conventional music in the sense that they were exploring, and certainly exfoliated by early and frequent use of psychedelics on stage together. At that point, it became secondary. They’re like oh, we’re chasing this thing. And this things is of such value to us as musicians, and presumably of such value to our audience, that we’re all willing to go through massive possibility of a total shit show and complete de-coherence in search of the magic.
Daniel S: Right.
Jamie Wheal: And when it’s … Obviously, music is one of the more visceral and kind of obvious places … Jazz musicians. Anybody else who are getting into the pocket of those kinds of experiences. When it happens, it is quintessential. It’s the absolute magic. It’s why people quit their jobs and follow bands like that around the country. When it doesn’t happen, it’s excruciating. So, most bands end up doing big stadium shows and having to play the same set list every night. There’s no magic to be had. It’s just 80 percent of their best.
Totally variegated or heterogeneous coherence, I think that’s actually where we’re on the verge of these days. Because in the past … We talked about that I think in chapter three, where we say hey, they hear all the reasons why society has kind of put up a perimeter fence and said don’t go beyond this. That way lies madness. And it’s, you know, pied pipers, cults, and communists. The boogeyman of the modern west.
The idea is that if we’re not rational individualists, if I don’t have my own boundaries, my autonomy, my critical thinking, all of those kind of elements, and I dissolve into the collective, in the past it has generally been a pre-rational fugue state. I lose my sense of identity. Right? I give money to the cult leader, I change my name, I run off and join the circus, whatever it would be. And that’s been deeply threatening to the post-French enlightenment. Society was built on civil rights, but it all hinged on classical, liberal, rational individuals.
Where we are these days is facing the possibility that people get stuck outside themselves. People can have experiences that are ecstasis. People can connect to others and yet maintain their self remedy and their autonomy at the same time that they are experiencing a collective awareness and function. And that feels like a relatively emergent property in the 21st century. I don’t think it’s been necessarily … I don’t know of any historical cultural examples of that being anywhere at scale in the past. There may have been a tiny subset, like the Shaolin monks or a Shamanic tradition, or something like that, but always a tiny subset or fraction of a given society substrate. But I’ve never seen it possible at the levels we’re beginning to explore today. That, to me, is arguably one of … If not the only bright spot on the map as far as trends these days. We thought we could possibly do both ends.
Daniel S: Yeah. So you’re speaking to something that’s one of the most important and passionate points for me, is that thinking is on the other side of reconciling thesis antithesis, is where any adequate solution lives. Because otherwise, you can pendulum between partial truths that end up being not adequate. So, rugged individualism multiplied by seven billion people with exponential technology, you don’t get enough coherence and there’s too much power of the total group acting on the environment. There’s too much power of them being able to act on each other. Not enough coherence you get a catastrophe scenario. And we’re quickly on the path towards that. Getting coherence via homogeneity. Right? So we make everybody part of the same hive mind. Borges was a good classic example of the way we didn’t want to go. Right? Achieved a certain kind of coherence, but at the cost of something too sacred.
And so, it really has to be how do we get coherence and increase the meaningful parts of unique self-experience, unique self-expression, so we do get more of that jazz music coherence that … When you said it starts out as a shit show, because it actually has to go into chaos, then find an emergent order that no one could have designed before. It’s really a self-organizing system, right?
Jamie Wheal: Yeah.
Daniel S: But, how do we do that where we don’t have to have it 80 percent shit show and 20 percent unpredictable, emergent good. That’s a very interesting proposition.
Jamie Wheal: Yeah. And my sense is that there are communities of practice that are way further along than the rest of us, you know. Second City Comedy Improv, they’ve got an entire protocol for how to create that emergent thing that no one knows what’s going to happen next. And I understand, Second City is a comparable example to a stage show. Like it could be way worse than watching a perfectly performed Shakespeare piece or it could be absolutely the best thing ever. And so, the yes and, the idea of non-negation, not identified … (A) Disidentification … The ability like I am only here to advance the earth, and we play with yes, and’s, so we don’t ever cancel out contributions. We add and riff, idea, in the human centric design toolkit, and everything else they go into the states of innovation.
I think there are absolutely bright spots, even some of the Cirque performers and the way Cirque is continually generated absolutely amazing stuff where [inaudible 00:19:05] will never tell you. I found they would famously just encourage experimentation for six months, nine months. Completely hands-off. Wouldn’t micromanage any of it. And then there would be the super tight, rubber meets the road, let’s go to work every time first time filter at the end all that. So I think that we can … To say nothing of special operations or those elements. So music, movement, martial arts, and any other kind of movement art I think are great places for us channel that.
My sense is, as far as a mechanism, like how would we sort of say hey, here’s a manifesto folks. It’s just about time we get our shit together. I think one of the simplest is to say in order for us to truly have a global centric awareness, meaning that we are beyond tribes and nations and identities. And all of it is going to take steps back, right. We are least running the psychological software to be able to play well together without one of us take the ball and go home at an opportune moment. It’s fundamentally vertical development. I know that’s a space you’re deeply attuned to as well, but if we just go back and just state the obvious, which is that for every stage of development up a ladder from egocentric, to ethnocentric, to global centric, to kind of cosmocentric or whatever you want to say, it just like chunk I’m super athlete. You have to go one step beyond the level you want to secure and fully inhabit.
So in order for a child to become egocentric, they have to go from unfused with me at my mommy’s boob, or just one milky organism to I’m me, that’s my mom, I get to fuck shit up, aka the terrible twos. So then, I’ve made my move to egocentric, self-identified by understanding there’s an I and there’s an other. We move from … We move to ethnocentric once we understand there’s a we and an other. It’s not as if … We don’t affirm the identity of our child until we understand who those dumb asses are across the river. And so we annex by looking one step beyond. We then actually repeat.
What will it take for us to become truly global centric? Well it’s not shopping at Whole Foods or buying a hybrid. We actually … It would follow that we would have to have semblance of this little blue marble and actually have humanity. That’s clearly what many of the NASA moon astronauts have. They have profound abiding through the rest of their lives experiences looking back at earth and going oh shit, we’ve gone beyond the borders and all these things. We see the Ganges, and the Great Wall of China, and we’re both kidding around and we come back as humans.
Now, we can’t all become astronauts yet. Right? Branson at Virgin Galactic and Elon might take a few more years, and even then, the price point is fairly prohibitive. But, we can become, instead of astronauts of outer space, we could become psychonauts of inner space. We can have post-conventional ecstatic non-ordinary states of experience. That can, arguably, provide something similar. Or we wait for the Vatican to disclose hey, we’re not alone, right? You either have an experience of ET, that mechanical group of that space, or we come up with ideas [inaudible 00:22:08].
Daniel S: Okay. So let’s talk about states versus stages, because you were just alluding at it. Most of the book, and most of when people think about … When they’re thinking about states. Non-ordinary states of experience. Flow states, psychedelic states, meditative states. States are states of experience. Phenomenological states that are transient. Right? They’re in the moment. States that don’t really portent much about what the next states are going to look like. They just are either integrated baselines, or you can at least think of them as kind of the center of the bell curve of the states one tends to inhabit. And so, we all know about the possibility of someone having an LSD trip or going to the possum that rode. Whatever it is, and having a very high state, and coming back to being an asshole.
Jamie Wheal: They’re coming back and being an asshole?
Daniel S: Yes. Coming back to being an asshole. But they’re core structural stuff is still basically in place, and that the state might not have affected the core structures all that much. A little bit might diffuse, sometimes. And sometimes it actually just creates more stark contrast or how far along their baseline isn’t, and then they get depressed about it.
But, the question I’ve got for you is we’re not just looking at states that are semi-magical in the terms of what it takes to get into them or not. Like the beleaguered dick from the book saying “I hope it clicks on.” But, what are people’s integrated stage where they live at, elevating. What can you say about their relationship between getting in flow states and advancing in stages of meaningful communication.
Jamie Wheal: Yeah. So I think all of the cautions and caveats about excessive state seeking at the expense of stable long-term development and doing the hard things is they all stand and multiply them by three. Those are huge. And it’s fundamentally why there are very few fully developed ecstatic cultures in the world. Most of them go off the rails. They are almost always a bohemian subset. The kind that goes … Sneaks off into the woods and starts getting shit together, and there’s usually like wild successes early, and then the inevitable crash and burn [inaudible 00:24:25] prosecution. That’s why. That stasis, by its fundamental nature, is an unstable phenomenon. So that said, yes to all those and then some as far as the caution.
As far as the relationship between states and stages, my experience with this, it’s like traversing a mountain range. You’re down in the forest and you’re busting ass, and there’s a hard climb, and just feels like one foot after another indefinitely. And it can become totally demoraling and you may even … Especially if you don’t have signed trails, and you’re just wandering through the woods. The mental effort, combined with the physical challenge can be too much. Now if we can suddenly pop up to the top of that mountain. Pop up above the clouds. Pop up above the trees and go oh, three hills over is the river and the beautiful camp we’re looking for. Zoop! Now I come back down back on the trail or I realize, oh shit! I was walking the wrong direction. Let me get back on course. Let me calibrate my compass. And now, when I walk, when I hike, when I have to do the hard things, I’m actually covering that ground on the ground. My heart and my mind are a good bit lighter. So there’s the ability to check direction and perspective from fugue state, that I think is invaluable.
Another is simply the kind of the Atlas shuns notion. Like the burden of being human is almost crushing in the sense of we’re born, we’ve died … We’re born and we’ve died naked and alone. To figure out the rest in between, good luck. The ability, in the pique state, to have a true sort of ecstatic release, comparable almost to a physiological orgasm response, and reset our nervous systems. Essentially set down that burden of existential human awareness just for a few moments, right where we’ve blanked out. Where we’ve experienced ego death of some shape or form can be profoundly restorative. It doesn’t change the fact I’ve still got to shoulder that bag of rocks. I’ve still got to get up and over those mountains, but my relationship to that path can be fundamentally changed.
And then the third piece I would say is information access. So, peak states are cultivated well. And I don’t mean that in a kind of either a puritanical or elitist way. I just mean you’re paying attention to what you’re doing while you’re there and bringing back as much as you possibly can. That information had enhanced pattern recognition. The lateral connectivity that we can make to say nothing of every quality metaphysical supposition, but are we getting to access information on a platonic realm or anything else or what version [inaudible 00:27:04] Even if we just say within ourselves we’re reading or paying attention on real time, that information can be widely used.
And so our ability to take the peak of peak energy of an ecstatic experience and mold it into the valleys of our plateau development and use it to elevate our mean, or our average, center of gravity over time, can be profoundly useful.
Daniel S: So, I like that. And all three of those are somewhat modulatable independent of being on the peak there. Things you can do to increase those. Right? So when someone takes the backpack off, and they rest, if they stretch, it’s going to go better. So there are ways that you can kind of maximize the restorative capacity and the catharsis of it. But I think the most modulatable is the information one … The third one you mentioned … Which is when you’re up at the peak, and you get to see the valleys, et cetera, you can draw a map and you can take that map with you. And the map is not the same as seeing it from up there, but the better job you do at really drawing the map, and then really paying attention to it afterwards, the better job you’re going to do tangibly, navigating the rest of the space.
So, one thing that I notice is people who do whatever kind of practice or process or technology to have a peak state, how … And then, I pay attention to the peak state they have to compare to how quickly that peak state starts to affect their baseline. And what affects … What are the processes, other than having the peak state, that affect how much it actually changes their baseline? It’s a whole set of different processes, other than having the state. Right? Like, map making is different-
Jamie Wheal: Absolutely.
Daniel S: -Than hiking atop the mountain. So, I have some favorite practices here, but I’m curious to hear from you. If someone is doing extreme sports, they’re doing psychedelics, they’re doing a meditative practice, they’re doing transcranial magnetic stem, they’re doing neurofeedback, they’re doing whatever they’re doing for state, what are the things they can do that will make that state have the most meaningful, lasting, and deep impact on the rest of their life?
Jamie Wheal: I’d say the simple … I mean, (A) We’ve just been talking for the last 10 to 15 minutes kind of tops down. What’s it like to kind of punch up to the mountain above the clouds and what kind of information can be developed of equal and opposite results if you advance up. That’s all the restorative and sustainable daily practices, which I think can be boiled down to, in a nutshell, purify the vessel, aka our subsystem. Because the clearer we are, the more integrated, and resilient, and vital as we are, generally speaking … Now I’m talking out of school here, there’s no footnote to this, this is pure personal experience. It feels like the more we go about our day to day house in order, the higher fidelity information we can bring back without going back to sleep and forgetting or becoming dull or evaporating. So the clearer we are based on our daily restorative practices, the better fidelity information we get.
As far as specific practices, I mean, I think we obviously … In some respects … Like, my working definition of a flow state or most non-ordinary states is fundamentally extreme situational awareness, coupled to hyper ergonomics. And that really just means extreme situational awareness is I’m just paying attention to more of the midstream in real time. And the hyper ergonomics is absolute … Forever the quest of absolute alignment of efficiency between thought and action.
What it boils down to further is basically extreme situational awareness needs to be boiled down to the bumper sticker “Pay attention.” and hyper ergonomics can be boiled down to “And work out the kinks.” If those are our two day to day practices. Right? Those do not require going to the Peruvian shaman or spending nine days in a Shamatha retreat blowing out of our nostrils. We can be paying attention all the time, that forever practice, as is working out the kinks, starting with the levels of our physiology because our neurophysiology stores everything we’ve found. Obvious biological function to emotional and psychological refuse to fundamental clarity of the self system as a tool. Right? So as long as we’re doing this with aspiration the obvious sentiment is perhaps I do the obvious and really slash no skipping steps … So people, especially even as you guys name, you’re unhappy or I’m unhappy or I’m having that weird hacking.
I think it’s actually a wild disservice to everybody that might not happen in that particular world. There’s not hiking we rarely show up for. I can either stand some faster way to get to the inevitable clarity of that which must be done. Certainly, daily practices are non-negotiable, and they include body, breath, sexuality, diet, movement, connection with [inaudible 00:31:52], all the obvious there.
Daniel S: So, what you just said is I think one of the, like, foundational classic ones, which is having immersive experience and then having practice together are two key poles. If you don’t have the immersive experience, you don’t really know what to practice. Or you practice it, but you don’t have an internal reference, and so when someone meditates after their vision quest or their psychedelic journey and they have a deeper internal reference of what clarity feels like … What the luminous feels like, they’re meditation is just potentially right?
The thing is if they aren’t doing that daily meditation, they aren’t going to integrate it and more drastically re-wire their physiology in the same way.
Jamie Wheal: I think that back then it was just about west coast psychedelic culture benefiting much of America then. An entire religious group of [inaudible 00:32:44] late 60’s to 70’s where a lot of people were get something via pharmacological privity. That seems really elusive. Who’s been actually looking at this in the longterm and stable stay-pack fresh stage development where they would all swarm to these prescriptions and that began a huge [inaudible 00:33:06].
Daniel S: I tell you, like one of my favorite practices and I watch with a profound difference, so I’m anxious to hear your thought on it, is after someone is pursuing a peak state that is meaningful … And let’s just use psychedelics because it’s just such a classic example of someone being able to change their state so profoundly in a way that they didn’t kind of developmentally earn. Which means that the likelihood of them integrating much is low, so the practice that I just find tremendously valuable for people is that when they’re coming down off the height of their mushroom journey or whatever kind of psychedelic they were on, pretty much as soon as they’re capable, before they’re even all the way back, for them to start journaling their insights ends up serving as a profound bridge between the non-ordinary state of experience and their ordinary state of experience later, so that their ordinary state can actually remember and access.
It’s kind of like writing your dream when you wake up in the morning, because if you don’t, you just completely lose it, because that beta brain state and the data they get to, they are so different that they don’t even have a bridge. The first thing, groggily in the morning is to have a bridge and then they’re able to start accessing better so having people write down the insights of the nature of reality as they see it in those moments. And then their, kind of, intentions for themselves and their commitments to action based on in that state. And then read it an hour later, and then read it a couple of hours later. And then consciously practice re accessing it, I find something like a thousand x acceleration on stage development from state experiences. I’m curious your thought on it?
Jamie Wheal: Well, that exactly what we practice as well in our contemplative meditative states. I’ve got five years of voice recordings from people [inaudible 00:34:56]. You know, like, here we go. Wow. It’s so absolutely critical, and there are times where it slips away from you. It’s elusive and you’re like wait a second. I have it. I have it. I have it. I want to make sure there’s no way I’m going to drop it at all. The recording of it answers … And again, I have no idea who at that moment would go back and listen to it a day later and then it becomes proven enlightened state and you can access that specific filing cabinet and not … You don’t have to go through that attainment state to have access to the information, so I’m a huge fan of that.
And another thing, [inaudible 00:35:33] if you’re doing it correctly is that people zone off into their own experiences and then double back for the purpose of a more meaningful one. Just a sample of sharing stories-
Daniel S: Yes.
Jamie Wheal: -Hey. This was my wild ride. What was yours? And then we go into Genome [inaudible 00:35:47] as well. But, yeah. That’s what a really meaningful … If you unpack it, I think it can work as well. The glimpsing of the void … I’m paraphrasing a little bit … The glimpsing of the void is what it is. Right? When you’re a kid, it’s inevitable and obvious. It’s the unpacking after that fact that gets wildly problematic. There’s ego hijacks. We are story-telling monkeys so we love to mix it up, and we love to go well beyond the confines of our actual phenomenological experience to then a certain meaning and motive and we mistake the feelings for facts, and it all just goes off the rails in a heartbeat. And so many, many people lose [inaudible 00:36:29]. Many people jump into the pudding, not everybody can remember the recipe.
Daniel S: Yeah. Yeah, I think there’s some unwritten rule that if you grew up in a Judeo Christian culture, and then you start doing ecstatic practices, you have to thank thank Lord Jesus at some point. The second coming of Moses. It seems two-thirds of the men that I had encountered who actually didn’t have a good support system guiding them, all had ego hijacks where they didn’t actually understand that this is a transpersonal experience, and so then their personality kicked back on and said well, shit. Does that mean I’m God? That I’m … The whole truth to that had apprehended. So figuring out how to interpret the experience is a big deal.
Jamie Wheal: Well that’s actually [inaudible 00:37:24] starts with the Jerusalem complex. It wasn’t so something bad that we’ve entered narrowest Christ consciousness does not mean we’re the second coming. And so hopefully-
Daniel S: And I think in general what you mentioned that whatever we’re accessing, we’re accessing through our perceptual filters, our perceptual processors. Which means our whole process of meaning making from our childhood that are filtered through our language, and so that the more that we do conscious state experience, but the clean-up. Right? So that’s kind of in the wake up side. But the clean-up side, which is look at all the meaning making dysfunctional that I have, both from poor education and from trauma, and clear that up. Then I become able to actually apprehend through clean-up filters.
Jamie Wheal: Yeah. Ultimately, my sense is certainly like a little bit of historical sleuthing and be like okay, is there coherent there, there? Meaning like, are method [inaudible 00:38:28] enough different traditions similar locations in the universe and describing roughly comparable translatable terms. And while those things, like the biophysics and all those kinds of synthetic works. Yes there is. We can also take a look at everyone from Barry Long, the Australian tantric teacher, to OSHO, to Ken Wilbur, you know that [inaudible 00:38:47]. You name it. Right? You realize that, oh, because [inaudible 00:38:51], you read their stuff and you’re like okay, well go deep. And you’re like, okay. They are backing up similarities in roughly proximal values, but they’re different.
So, and the same thing with physicists. You’ve got all these different interpretations of quantum theoretical interpretation anywhere from [inaudible 00:39:12], and you’re like okay, this is just a bunch of dudes taking their level best guess at pinning down quantum theorem. I think at that point, that’s where we kind of get to move into … Where we talk about in the book, the premise of agnostic narcissism where hey, there’s enough of us now, that we’re all getting [inaudible 00:39:31]. That we’re all ordinary. That one person with their hair on fire does not get to hijack the mike anymore. And as a result, it’s a little bit of a kind of big data crowdsource project versus a singular monolithic and potentially premature [inaudible 00:39:49]. This is the way it is or actually this is the way.
Daniel S: You mentioned it being a big data crowdsource process. We can imagine that everyone is apprehending something, but through their own whatever distortion filters and perspectives, there’s probably some signal in all of it. There’s probably some noise in all of it. And the signal is probably partially overlapping and personally different. So, we have to go through some process of being able to amplify the signal, separate out the noise, and synthesize the signal and see what we find. Right? And then … And that’s maybe a fair epistemology of both the inner and outer processes. But that’s very much … Synthesis is a key thing we’re saying again here, which when you said the yes, and, it doesn’t mean yes to all of it, because there may be a lot of noise. Right?
Like this particular person’s picture of the building, it is the west side of the building, it’s going to be a different picture than the east side, but it might be a picture of the west side that also has a fisheye lens that’s just distorting the shit out of it. So there’s still some truth in it. We have to correct for distortion and then synthesize the partial pictures. That seems to be at the essence of what we need to do for meeting making kind of everywhere. Is our ability to separate signal from noise and synthesize signal, which we seem to be horribly bad at. But when you were talking about the yes, and heal … So, do we want to get completely out of ourselves, or do we want to upgrade the nature of our self and ego understand what our unique identity has to contribute and be it well. Do you want to have no sense of time, or do you want to be better at delayed gratification and planning things that flow with our karma.
Jamie Wheal: You’re obviously, you’re setting up questions you already know the answers to. But I will humor our audience if they will pardon the pun. So my sense is it’s polarity or a dialectic where there are two guide rails of cultivating presence and absence. And the absence is the post-rational, post-hypnotic hey, I am of the bashful what’s arousing and I’m not going to hijack your [inaudible 00:41:56] into any given reality to tunnel to distort the lines. I’m just observing them all. I can tap in, I can move around, I can come back out, but I do it on the back. So, that’s the absence idea. And I’m certain that many of the people that aren’t of any particularly kind of faith and practice et cetera will probably encourage that.
And the opposite, which is particularly if you have a wife a kids, is presence. You know. Actually show the fuck up. [inaudible 00:42:19] the contradictions, beauty and pain and joy and sensation are being fully in this moment. So neither the twain shall meet between these two guides, so I feel like it’s the real trap of cultivating both and not that many folks pull that one off. They almost always over or under privilege.
Daniel S: This is actually what I really appreciate about your work on the flow genome is most of the writing that I’ve seen focused on flow is very much on one side of that dialectic of what accidents possible. You speak with nuance to what comprehensive holistic human development and not just personal, but also interpersonal development looks like, which I really appreciate.
I want to get into … It’s very easy to be hard on the prefrontal cortex. Right? [inaudible 00:43:20] we want hypo frontality, transient hypo frontality, less prefrontal cortex action. I would like to hear from you as maybe one of the people that most people right now are understanding the benefits of hypo frontality from, a user’s manual for the prefrontal cortex, and what it’s actual evolutionary relevant job is, and rather than just turn it off, what making … What learning how to use prefrontal cortex better might look like.
Jamie Wheal: Yeah. For sure. That’s such a great question, and to be clear, we have to pour a forming up a curb for our home to [inaudible 00:44:01]. We’re actually communicating through a million fiber optic communications and all that, and we’re sucking our thumbs. So, imminent to the question and, as I talk about in the book, the challenge with we are hyper-rational individuals [inaudible 00:44:21]. And that gave us the Woody Allen’s of the world. The idea where I can’t get out of my own hamster wheel, and this is now running me into the ground. And there’s actually a book called Presence of Self, I think it’s out of Duke, and it speaks to exactly that. We forget to install the off switch. So you’ve got two choices.
Another metaphor is like, you know, I’m erratic, story-time, always on in your critical voice is somewhat like a non-trained puppy. It’s shredding our slippers and peeing in the corner. That can be the best bird dog or watchdog ever, if we just learned to train it. We all need to get rid of our egos or our prefrontal cortex and actually put them in the right spot and engage them productively and constructively, and not mistake that voice or that point of view for the whole enterprise.
So one of the simplest ways to think about it is kind of, you know, 80/20 breakdown of Pareto’s idea that we can flip the script. If right now, we’re spending 80 percent of our time psychologically processing our entire existence and only 20 percent sometimes paying attention to the entire rest of our self systems and others and our relationships and everything else, let’s just flip it, and say, hey. Now, let’s only spend 20 percent of our bandwidth on our psychological merit and perception and processing identity maintenance and spend 80 percent maintaining and optimizing our bio cycle social self systems, and that’s front up on the dashboard basically seeing both an operating system. I am me. Behind my eyes to just user interface. I’m just managing all the apps in my reality.
You can do that by (A) Becoming bike gloves so that my vigilant centers are not on [inaudible 00:46:10]. If I have enough. Enough food, water, relationship, safety, security, belongings, and over all, just literally metabolic vitality, a lot of the chattering [inaudible 00:46:19] that just tends to go wild. And we’ve all have experienced that where the like petting, when you orgasm, the silence after orgasm the French famously talk about to just an amazing night or a great vacation or whatever. That stuff just got quiet at some point. I stopped noticing.
The other thing is that we can train. We don’t want to go around and look like zombies, like the loonies. We say okay, what … I still have to engage in with that 20 percent that now reduce our psychology to, so what are the maps and models and iris scans to make sure I’m making you think you’re nervous [inaudible 00:46:56] common known issues. What on earth do we think I’d learn that let me deal with most of the human experience?
And there’s certain stuff. Births, deaths, marriages, tragedies, successes, failures that just require all of us to show up unfiltered and unbuffered. But an awful lot of what passes for human social behavior, which is the same as having to do this again and again and again. In the same heartbeat, I think it traps, and we can run … You know, upgrade our software, we can massively reduce the role of our prefrontal cortex, putting the right direction, keep it occupied so that it’s not overbucking our processor at all, and bring out a lot more of that energy and vitality in action into our bodies, into our hearts, into the rest of ourselves.
Daniel S: Yeah. So you’re saying two complementary, very important things. Which is, there are parts of ourselves, other than prefrontal cortex, other than self aware rational mind that are super important to develop. And that does mean that that particular experience of self has to chill out a chunk of the time. So, it is partially less, and it is also partially better. It doesn’t just need to chill out, it actually needs trained to do exceptionally well. It’s actually both about increasing our kinesthetic awareness, and our sensory motor awareness, and our embodiment as well as training our rational abstraction visual logic brain to process more effectively the things that it’s supposed to process.
Jamie Wheal: Absolutely. I mean, if you think about just the pace … The big screen or brain rate life these days, it’s absolutely insane. There’s not another human organ light up in existence that’s ever had to deal with the amount of data we consume and/or have to process in a given day. So it’s not too much of a stretch to say we’re all experiencing perpetual post traumatic stress,-
Daniel S: Yeah.
Jamie Wheal: -And when we’re very much hold on to this while we’re just tottering around, sitting in chairs, strapped into seats, staring at screens and we’re just literally like up in our head. Our bodies just become transport systems for our three pounds of gray matter, the only place to start an engine is in our domes, and they move around like a hamster on meth. But, you can do that. It’s like having a solar panel out in the midday sun in Arizona with a golf cart battery. But the energy coming from the sun transfers to that battery, it’s going to overcook those cells in a heartbeat. And you’re going to end up with broken, acidic puddle that used to be a great energy storage system. A battery for a golf cart. If you add an array of batteries that can actually hold the sun on it’s own, you’ve got something useful.
And so the same thing happens, particularly with people thinking, these days, that they don’t have any business thinking, meaning they haven’t done any developmental practice other than they’re not operating on too many [inaudible 00:49:54] checks and balances. They’re just going for it, shooting the moon, whether they should be or not. What happens then is they’ve overworked their processors. They’re engaging body/mind processes any forms of functional practical … Functional movements together. That all naked works including respiration and everything else. Then you’ve got heat sensors. You’ve got places to store that juice that you’ve just gone and grabbed off of the jumper cables and don’t know what to do with, without cooking yourself.
That’s another thing. It basically puts less strain or pressure on the prefrontal cortex. The only game in town, to make sense of everything that’s gone on, you may find yourself engaged in movement, [inaudible 00:50:35]. Movement, breath, song, chanting. Like there’s lots of ways to move higher energy states other than just in cogitation. And cogitation is arguably the weakest, slowest, most bungling [inaudible 00:50:50] in the whole earth.
Daniel S: So, I have any interesting question for you. With regard to the kind of information processing that the SEALS need to do, or that the athletes need to do, or the jazz processors need to do, there … They need to be processing real time data quite quickly, okay? So the speed of process really matters and prefrontal cortex is not that good at that. Also, prefrontal cortex is particularly abstraction, and they don’t really need abstraction that much in that moment. They need something much closer to sensory input, information processing about that much abstraction into response process. Let’s compare this to, say developing fundamentally new science, where we … New scientific insights, where we actually don’t need that much rate of process to immediate sensory data, but we need very high degrees of abstraction. So, say that we compare Woody Allen … The caricature of Woody Allen as the example of someone stuck in prefrontal cortex hyper clocking, but not actually doing anything all that useful. Right? It’s more like having a hammer and beating your son with it rather than hitting the nail. It’s not the problem of hammer sucking, it’s just not knowing how to use a hammer very well.
And so it’s mostly looking at fears that aren’t really there and trying to solve problems that it’s making up and things like that. Compare that case to Einstein, Rama Nguyen, and Tesla, et cetera and say the people that really advanced our abstract understanding of the nature of reality in ways that actually instantiated into technology and process. What would you say about the kinds of processes that develop those capacities and how relevant embodiment stuff specifically is, because we do know very interesting things that say Einstein did that were other than being in his prefrontal cortex. Right? Where he would kind of zone out, go into a more right brain state. A more other than conscious mind state, but most of the time we can look at guys like Paul Erdos who was almost a savant in terms of their ability to do graph theory in mathematics and almost had no awareness of having a body at all.
So, talk to me about what your thoughts are of hyper capacity that’s actually meaningful in the areas of abstraction oriented cognition and maybe the difference of those developmental pathways.
Jamie Wheal: Yeah. That was a long and beautiful set up to an almost ineffable question. Fundamentally, what brain does genius come in all its shapes and sizes. And, came to mind as you were talking. The short answer I don’t even begin to know. I’m not sure … I’m just not sure that we collectively, as to the combination of academic laden practitioners really have begun to pass that for the obvious reason mathematic silos, micro specializations, et cetera. That’s a very synthetic question that you’re asking.
But keep in mind, it’s almost like fast twitch and slow twitch [inaudible 00:54:15]. You know, like in the immediate time where this very specific situation will physical requirements, I am actually probably chunking kinetic patterns. Right? I know what to do next, whether that was Tiger Woods, back before his bender, and his ability to effortlessly connect to golf swing, stroke, and putting balls into magic. Or Federer on a great day. Or SEALS navigating complex [inaudible 00:54:43]. Those kinds of things are … Regardless … There’s a body of practice that preaches that it is necessary, but not sufficient. There’s, at the moment of requirement, shifting states from prefrontally cortically dominated into whatever other posture decision making processes are available.
My hunch is that they are going to be different based on context, based on personal environment, objective, and then [inaudible 00:55:12] blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And the utilities key is, you have the foundational practices you’ve acquired the skills and [inaudible 00:55:21] as your tool set. Then you shift out of prefrontal cortical dominance to get to the workspace, right, in ecstatic state. Can you then do, either in rapid real time or in a more elongating hour of illumination and reflection, the work that you are going to do. And beyond … I know that’s a relatively humanistic metaphorical model, but that would be how it would occur by some super [inaudible 00:55:49] episode. Any pea split test and empirical study.
Daniel S: I actually really like you saying fast twitch and slow twitch because the time scale matters. Right? Like, even in terms of thinking about cognitive process, when you look at playing fast chess or how fast one can solve a Rubix Cube, it’s a fairly constrained domain of what success looks like or speed that really matters. Whereas, like it’s famously known …
Can you still hear me? Okay, cut out for a moment. Restart.
It’s kind of famously known that Niels Bohr was considered a almost retardedly slow thinker. Because people would say something to him, he would just really not have a response in the moment. He’d have to go sit on it for two days, and then his response would almost always be a couple of orders of magnitude more insightful and profound than most people’s responses. So there was some slower process, but he was going through more domain, and coming up with more interesting relevant things.
So, I think that’s actually kind of an interesting way of thinking about it.
Jamie Wheal: Yeah, that’s why Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid. Right? The wax on, wax off, and then that becomes so ingrained, it again, kinetic chunk recognition. It’s in Danielson’s body. If anybody remembers Stranger in a Strange Land, that old sci-fi book. Right? Valentine Michael Smith, who’s that kid, even though he is raised on Mars, comes back to earth and is so sensitive to the human experience. He has to grock things. Grocking, if anybody knows that verb, but understand something in it’s utter complexity. But that’s what you would do. Sometimes you go into like a hybernetic state at the bottom of a pool for three days just to understand what a woman goes through.
Daniel S: There you go.
Jamie Wheal: So, yeah, that ability to go slowly or fast, I think is absolutely an element of mastery and skillful repeat access to non-ordinary state.
Daniel S: When I think about the scientists and philosophers that really had the most profound contributions, they all had some practices that I’m aware of, of access and non-ordinary states of experience. Some of them were physical, but many of them were Einstein playing his violin, or Bucky Fuller going out and rowing and getting in kind of a physical flex state, or even just going into expanded meditative states. They did figure out how to turn off the conscious bandwidth that can only process here’s our data, here’s our axiom, deductive or inductive reasoning on it. To then be able to allow the faster processing that can do pattern analysis to process all of that and come up with insights. So I think it’s interesting to think about all of the different ways of developing flow for different applications there are.
Jamie Wheal: Yeah. And it is almost always some degree of embodiment. That doesn’t mean that everybody need to or ought to be accosted, it just means it’s something to do with fine motor, gross motor. Respiration, movement, even the debate between the shower or bath. Even free diving, which is how deep can you dive without scuba tanks. And I’d say, oh that’s not anything like an extreme sport. But you’re like oh, no, no, no. You’re going down where you can’t breathe at all, you’re experiencing pressure and changes in light, and you’re moving through a medium where you weren’t buoyant, it’s highly meditation.
What we have found is there three typical parameters that, obviously, you can combine them or you can have at least one at a time. But one or more is almost always present. Typically, there’s intensity and that would be the extreme sports athlete or the martial artist where I’m about to get hit or die, I’m paying super attention to it and that jacks me into it. Duration, the loneliness or zen of the long distance runner. Right? So I’m literally just exhausting all my resistances or my typical structures. And habit, or repetition. And if anybody remembers Mr. Babylon, that [inaudible 01:00:01] of the Arthurian legends where one of the [inaudible 01:00:05] can’t stay on the loom or at a potter’s wheel or gardening, or anything that is a step and a movement, even slave, spiritual, the work gangs where there was the repetitious movement of field harvesting or rock busting. Any of those. So intensity, duration, or repetition. Typically, they’re some of the fastest ways in through an embodied hack.
Daniel S: So, I’m interested … And I know the last third of the book you discuss these topics. Why do you think our ordinary state of consciousness sucks so much for so many people currently? How much of that is, what you just say, is human condition, but specifically, how much is specific societal dynamics. Education, media, et cetera. And then foreshadowing, what could it look like if human development were even supported closer to optimally at a macrostructure level?
Jamie Wheal: What a funny question. I love it. So, I mean, to unpack the primary limitation of a culture that has evolved in all its parameters, education, health, wellness, community, et cetera, identity, around overactive weightless state, would be several more podcasts in and of itself. But let’s just say we did. And this is what we’ve got. And it wasn’t all on purpose. So there’s a lot of contraindications of side effects as creating that laser beam of hyperrational individual and separate self.
With that said, what could it look like. I think part of the reason it’s so problematic, like with us, we just don’t have an off switch. So it’s not that specific spotlight of our rational waking [inaudible 01:02:07] useful. It’s just a winding and profoundly keying when it never gets turned off. And the other part is … I remember some friends of our have a group of older and accomplished slapped up all over the bar, and one of them is don’t die wondering. And you think … That always stuck with me, which is like no one, at this point in time, should be wondering if there’s more. If you’re still wondering that, or you just kind of superstitiously or obediently took someone else’s word for it, or you found yourself in the post World War II existential wasteland of thinking meaningless and it was all a sham, go find your white whale.
Go find that meaning. Because once you have that, and whatever it turns out to be for you, is attainable, you can go conduct that experiment seven ways to Sunday, at this point. And once you have found that, then we get to come back and we get to reacquaint ourselves, just like Dorothy with Auntie Em and all the work hands on the farm in Kansas. She sees them again for the first time after her individual experience of the yellow brick road. Then she comes back and says aah, this is home. This is what I wanted, and that is obviously [inaudible 01:03:26] classic, you know, home away home. And the ability to come back and see with fresh eyes and celebrate the tools and capabilities, capacities, and opportunities, even in that together.
So stay awake and build stuff is another kind of motto of mine. Which is the building stuff comes down here. This isn’t 3D, where you push matter around and make the garden chair beautiful. And if we can have that relationship to immersive [inaudible 01:03:52]. You have the idea of the keys of the kingdom. Right? Choosing ultimately [inaudible 01:04:00] are there keys to our cage, and your erratic compounds and concepts. That, to me is a beautiful invitation and opportunity. That we can unlock both at once. And then reconcile them all. That’s why a level of consciousness in culture.
Daniel S: So for people who are interested in getting beyond wondering, obviously there is a lot of things that you talk about in the book. People can go to the parks, and then go to a hollow topic growth work session, go do a sun dance, but you have an online kind of introductory training process, as well as Flow camps. Can you talk a little bit about what someone would experience there and how they access those?
Jamie Wheal: Yeah sure. Obviously one of the biggest challenges with ecstatic culture and practice, and honestly why it was kept so close to the vest by the community who practiced it is because it involved found interest and that carries through to present day. Many of the techniques and practices that have been used [inaudible 01:05:03] on the outside potent sanctioned on a whole host of levels. Our attempt with our online channel, say hey, wherever you are in the world, you can start by starting in your own life. And what you do at base is essentially do your training [inaudible 01:05:20]. And say hey, you just take 15 minutes out of your day. A three minute, five minute, ten minute chunks, and just use that to optimize your rest recovery, how you pay attention, how you can start beginning to get more conversive, more skillful, in baby steps, miles from everyone. And then we do more advanced training online, but also in person-[crosstalk 01:05:44]
Daniel S: You told me about some stat training and online training that I thought were fascinating.
Jamie Wheal: Oh yeah. I mean, we been using the flow scale inventory, which was developed by Dr. Susan Jackson. She’s in Australia, but she partnered with [inaudible 01:05:53], a kind of godfather of her research at the University of Chicago, but that’s a sort of academically validated instrument. And in six weeks for an hour a day, people were experiencing … It varies, obviously, by individual, but on average a 78% increase in incidents of their flow mastery, absorption, and targeting. All the good things that we would associate with that kind of a peak state. That’s massively less that the darker study of some of those that have had one off studies with archers, or snipers, or various other people in kind of medical grade interventions.
But to say … That’s only … It’s a hell of a lot and to be DIY at home 60 minutes a day over six weeks, not just eight sessions is pretty useful. I don’t think people realize three quarter upgrade on that kind of investment of time.
Daniel S: And what about the in-person training?
Jamie Wheal: Yeah, that’s obviously my passion coming from mountain guiding, surf rescue, all of those kinds of elements where, for me, those kinds of environments I’ve always taught myself and people would guide so much. So, we do everything from completely immersive back country expeditions, and that’s in the canyons of Utah.
Daniel S: Can you hear me?
Jamie Wheal: Or pike surfing, or fly fishing or back country skiing, or anything of those things that are really alive practices and give us very direct feedback. Plus, they’re tons of fun. You don’t have to present a PowerPoint there. So we give just enough neuroscience to be dangerous and then go out and actually be in a real classroom [inaudible 01:07:29]. And then our Flow Dojos, which are fundamentally [inaudible 01:07:33] dome, Cirque du Soleil meets X Games meets [inaudible 01:07:38]. The thing to answer is, what do these play on? What does 21st century optimize wellness look like? Not just counting steps and calories, but how do we integrate our bodies and our brains in service being that much more pro and capable. Spontaneous management and collaborative is the culture today.
Daniel S: You’ve spent decades studying these practices, processes, technologies, training small groups like SEALS or Red Bull athletes or whatever. And have only, in the last few years, started these kind of lighter offerings. So, if we fast-forward, if you were to have the kind of fullest success you could want to have, or bringing technologies of ecstasis to the world, and you could have both transformation happen to existing adults as well as new humans growing up in the different kind of environment, what could that look like?
Jamie Wheal: Well, our organizational mission is that by 2020, we have open-sourced the genome, our kind of core building blocks of ordinary state or non-ordinary state peak performance to the world. So, that’s one stake in the ground that we put down a while back. Our intention is that this is human birth rate. There is no excuse for people trying to hug it, or hide it, or patent it. So, that’s a very strong idea and we’re working already with lots of schools, senior centers, veteran centers, you know, PTSD, et cetera. We want this toolkit to be out there.
And, if you want to be like Linux, there’s [inaudible 01:09:09], which is a very successful computer software and consulting company. They work on Linux, and you’re like, how do you make a business with Microsoft? If you’ve got some iCloud problem you really want to solve, you need to get the guy involved there. And so that’s kind of been one of our guiding things. We’re open source the brain. Let’s be a place that if people want to come and really do deep down paintings, they can. And therefore, we are a very helpful and reliable resource.
So my goal by 2020 would be to have 50,000 impact readers, entrepreneurs, teachers, coaches, academics, doctors, practitioners, people who are the closest to this, and then we’ll have a professional system and advantage. So, basically, we would rely on them and have 50,000 people that are conversive in flow, tools, and technologies management. [inaudible 01:09:59] kind of awesome. We’re already getting good feedback at Scale, and that’s humbling and inspiring to think about it. One of the major professional groups that have taken the tour already know exactly what to do with them. When they get back to us, they’re like, oh, by the way, you haven’t heard from me in six month, nine months, a year. But here’s the seven things that I’ve just scaled. And it’s completely, completely [inaudible 01:10:23]. It’s a cascade effect.
Daniel S: So, I’m curious, I haven’t asked you this yet. We’ve been talking about increasing performance. Right? Elite performance across a number of axis. But what can accessing non-ordinary states of experience do for trauma. Various forms of psychological and physiological trauma. Do you all work with that? And I know there are medical claims you can’t make for legal reasons, but just, what is the sealed offer for the future of decreased suffering.
Jamie Wheal: Yeah, I mean that’s actually the foundation of it. We all come to any of these to improvement processes the projects kind of and some of us, sadly and tragically, much less than others. Unfortunately, I get to make all those claims because this is how I research. If its out there in the public sphere, [inaudible 01:11:17]. What I think is most fascinating, probably the most heart warming piece of evidence … A lot of people will read about Google, or Red Bull, or Navy SEALS, or some elite population, and go that’s fine for those guys, but what about me? What about my experience. And the studies on trauma have really shown across the board that experiences, even as brief as a single session, even if you were to stopwatch it, even down to 15 minutes to a few hours, can permanently and irreversibly, or at least sustainably, I’ll say that, shift trauma and believe not to sentence the seeming root causation. And that’s true for … I mean, again, use substantive as an easy filter, because you are just a hidden compound in terms of relatively predicable result within said parameters.
Let me give you an example, which is the FDA says I think they’re on right track. There’s trials right now on legalizing … There’s been tons of studies already with the use of MDMA, which is an empathogen, or helps people with rare a chemistry. It just give safety, security, belonging, openness to [inaudible 01:12:30]. In conjunction with skilled therapy and guidance, people are able to revisit a traumatic experience but without the nervous system sort of in information [inaudible 01:12:41]. Or more to the point, usually brings a lot of response. And, we get to sort of brew through it, work with it, and release it. And again, in conjunction with therapy to support [inaudible 01:12:54] relatively strengthening.
The results are profound unto the point of Iraqi war vets and being cured in as little as one session, compared to even the protocol, which is three. Ironically, negatively affecting their stats, because on account of the dropout because some people never came back because they were done. They were like I’m good. See ya’. I’m going to go home to my wife, which is amazing. But what’s really interesting … That’s one core test case.
But what I find far more interesting is that there’s a program at Camp Pendelton that is using surfing as a trigger for flow states. They’re bobbing up and down in the ocean, having and catching waves, all of the embodied experiences, exposure to nature, all that good stuff, and they’re experiencing virtually identical clinical results just after five weeks versus one to three [inaudible 01:13:40] sessions. And know that we’ve done similar ones with mediation, so that’s a very straightforward of mind cleanse. And that’s taking 10 to 12 weeks and getting comparable results. What you realize is oh, mechanism in action. It could be pharmacology, it could be embodiment and action, like surfing. It could be mindfulness and introspection, but the fact that you’re getting out of your 21st century normal, with paramount stress, [inaudible 01:14:05] non-ordinary state.
You do a cold reboot on the nervous systems and potentially the psychological narrative and recurring genome, and then our choice. We have these moments of like, okay. Now I’m not being … The tail is not wagging the dog. The trauma tail is not wagging the dog at my leg. Now I get to choose what direction I want to go in. And that feels profoundly empowering and incredibly helpful. When it comes to a million Americans that were suffering acutely from PTSD. And that’s not just one genome. The longest period of extended multi-conflict war in human history, which has been taking place and is not quite done yet.
And of course child abuse, sexual trauma, and then just any others where people not necessarily know what they’re going through and experiencing, but there’s low level [inaudible 01:14:58]. So the ability to change the channels of our consciousness, the change the [inaudible 01:15:04] of our state, and to actually hit reset. Basically it’s telling that girl to shut up, and the hat trick which is punches us through the cloud helps us to wake up. As soon as its aware we’re broken and let’s us grow up. It’s what we do without the bangs and scrapes and trauma mechanisms and lets us show up. And that three step process feels super needed and profoundly useful.
Daniel S: So I imagine people can get Stealing Fire on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, anywhere. With regard to finding out more about Flow Camp and other opportunities to go deeper, where should they go?
Jamie Wheal: That’s a great question. We are not advertising Flow Camp. It’s basically on an invitational basis. There is one that’s happening this August, the 20th through 25th in Utah, on top of a mountain. And for those who haven’t yet read, or by then, will have read Stealing Fire, we actually described the site of that. There’s a place up there with a 1,000 person prepared dinner and all those kinds of things, that’s the very same spot. It’s going to basically be glamor camping with a Flow Dojo service, so tons of fun. We have an entire team that’s hard at work on it right now already, and yeah. Absolutely. We’re getting calls and train in the community, and get the absolute short list of the 60th best [inaudible 01:16:25] 15 years of [inaudible 01:16:29] pointing in that direction. And we’re also doing a back country [inaudible 01:16:35] in October. You can reach out to [email protected] and just ask and we will send you the magic tickets.
Daniel S: And finding out about the online training, it’s just right at the website, FlowGenomeProject.com?
Jamie Wheal: Yeah. FlowGenomeProject.com and there’s literally a tab at the top right that says train. Pull that down and there’s a free Flow profile that you can take. It’s one of the largest optimal site diagnostics right now. There’s probably over 100,000 people that have taken it, and that’s the beginning of [inaudible 01:17:13]. How do I uniquely identify with some of the pitfalls and potentials that my personality type, and then also the flow and mental training that’s right there and available as well.
Daniel S: Thank you for being here today. This was fun and I hope many people from the kind of interested in Neurotech Hacking community that aren’t already get interested in the offer that you have. It does feel like you’ve done really uniquely good job of synthesizing a tremendous amount of ancient and modern across many different developmental process technologies, and I’m happy you’re doing that.
Jamie Wheal: Awesome man. Great conversation. Thank you.
Daniel S: Alright. Thank you my friend.