Dear Yogi friend,
Estremo is Italian for extreme. I trained with the Iceman, attended sizzling hot sweat lodges and went to Spartanic Buddhist meditation retreats. Now why is it that I like to put myself in extreme situations?
I was showing off that I put myself in extreme situations like:
- Going into holes in the ice (click here for a video)
- Attend sweatlodges that get up to 130 degrees c.
- going to 10 day meditation retreats and sit for 10 hours a day
Now why would someone voluntarily do these things besides the obvious masochist characteristics? There are many reasons, one I’d like to point out right now:
Extreme situations helpto understand the nature of thought and how to deal with the mind.
When going under the Ice the cold can become quite painful, however when you focus and surrender, the mind becomes still, the shivering stops and you actually relax.
When attending a sweatlodge and the steaming heat peaks to 130 degrees celsius there are a few options:
- you could fight but the stones are way to hot
- you could run away which is probably the sensible thing to do but it doesn’t make you proud of yourself
- You could surrender, the option advised by the shaman
In a Vipassana retreat ,when sitting absolutely still in the same posture for hours, something in your body is bound to start to hurt. In my case my knees hurt in an unbearable way. I was told that the solutions is to accept whatever was present and by just observing the pain, it would dissolve. And it did…
You are not your thoughts nor your feelings
When you are able to observe thoughts and feelings you have to come to the conclusion that you are not your thoughts nor your feelings. That there literally is a space in between you and your thoughts.
When you stop identifying with your thoughts and feelings you can suddenly experience a calmness in which you are able to withstand a lot more than your mind ever told you was possible.
The mind is a great tool and treacherous at the same time. If you think of a situation as being unsafe, it becomes unsafe. When you think you need safety you create fear.
If I listen to my mind in a sweatlodge, the pain multiplies. If I react to my mind in the ice I become freezing cold. And in meditation, if I stop accepting the pain the pain becomes unbearable.
If you place yourself in extreme situations and you discover that all the warnings the mind gives you aren’t helping you then realize that maybe you should not take to mind so seriously.
In what situations do you realize your mind isn’t supportive? Do you give the mind attention in those moments? Do you feed the thoughts?