Huge master-model on its way: Fascia, emotional responses and metaprogramming
I’ve stumbled into a profound and comprehensive model of human experience. This happened last week quite by itself as all the data points I’ve collected over the last several years of all the things I discuss on this website — muscles and posture, fascia, mood, thought, emotion, memory, drugs, responses, metaprogramming — suddenly coalesced into a new stable pattern.
The task now is to somehow put this model into a form whereby you can understand and use it — because currently it relies on specialized knowledge and awareness which, as far as I know, only I have. I will however try to explain the general principle here.
Firstly you should watch this video and pay particular attention to the part about how mood and emotion are trained into fascia:
Now, my new model puts fascia at the centre of human physical experience — i.e. your stimulus → response patterns you exhibit here in physical reality. So, this is everything ranging from how you breathe and stand to how you respond emotionally to crowds, intimate situations with other people, thoughts about the future and so forth. Essentially — “how you are”.
I’ve taken Thomas Myers’ idea about mood being programmed into fascia to its extreme, and found it to be completely descriptive and workable regarding all conditioned responses after birth. Your responses are literally like little “computer programs” stored “in” fascia that activate after an input (stimulus). The stimulus can be external, coming in via the senses, or internal, triggering off of a thought or memory. Many of these programs are “core” — meaning deeply unconscious, and “global” — meaning they alter the body’s form in huge ways on an holistic level. This occurs by your body matching some small input against a “master key” and then, via fascia, enacting a global change in physical form (think “head down” response, or practically any whole-form response). I predict that the earlier in your life these patterns were created, or the more emotionally impactful they were at the time of their creation, the more “core” they are, meaning “fundamental” and taken for granted as part of your “personality” — yet they are still able to be changed, in my model. Core patterns will also tend to be more “global”, meaning they affect more systems simultaneously, and are therefore perceived as being some immutable quality of “you”. The really core programs equate with the concept of “imprints”, which are found in many biological and psychological models, and are discussed most poignantly I feel in the Eight-Circuit Model.
Furthermore, I then realized that all personal development techniques are basically concerned with rewriting these fascial programs. Meditation — for example, equanimity meditation — is all about writing a global “peace” response any time a stimulus is encountered. So, you sit there and have some bad memory of some person shouting at you for example, and the old fascia program of fear or anger becomes active, but you are enacting your “peace” response via your meditation so the fascia program gets rewritten to incorporate elements of the new peace program. Over time, with regular practice, you rewrite more and more of those fascial programs until your response is “peace” to practically everything. And the deeper the meditation, and the more you practise, the more “core” the programs you are able to access and rewrite.
The stimulus literally activates the fascial response, and while it is active — so, while muscles are moving to create the new “form”, and the endocrine system is outputting hormones to match, etc. etc. — that fascial “file” is “open”, and can have new data written to it. What I have discovered — some of these methods being found years ago and talked about on the old forum — is ever-better ways to actually write new data (responses) to those files, or in fact just “wipe” the response completely, or do a combination of both (“wipe” then “reprogram”). Here are some of the main methods featured in my new model:
- REM. I can consciously invoke REM to “depolarize” fascia. This “softens” it so a new response can be installed. I believe the purpose of REM is to depolarize fascia (e.g. to wipe the day’s tension patterns) and to write or solidify new fascial programs via dreaming.
- Current. I can send “electrical current” into fascia to relax it consciously. This was hinted at in this post: Posture “Mind” Method — Feedback Wanted
- Yawning. Yawning itself invokes a brief REM burst during the in-breath, and also sends current into fascia primarily on the out-breath. You can spot both of those occurring when you yawn — try it now and see for yourself. The current while yawning is especially noticeable running from the head into the base of the spine. A yawn can be “sent into” specific muscles/fascial areas by simply holding those areas — e.g. your leg, if you want to relax your leg — in mind while yawning. You can just steal the “current” effect from yawning once you know what it feels like and use it to relax any fascia or muscle at will.
- Pulling. I can use micro-movements (i.e. less than a millimetre) of muscle to pull fascia back into its original (“blank canvas”) form. In fact, I remember reading somewhere that fascia itself can move, and I therefore believe that many of these micro-movements are actually just that: the fascia itself resetting. I believe the shakes/tremors that many people experience during meditation is actually fascia trying to reset.
- A feeling of falling. This invokes REM and current and can be used to drop muscle tension patterns immediately. You can literally learn to “fall” specific areas of your body, e.g. tense abdominal muscles, when they are maintaining a sense of fear, anger or some other negative response. This is known in folk wisdom as “letting things go” (discussed at the end of this post). You can literally use it to wipe responses in real time. If you lie down or do sitting meditation and imagine your whole body falling while breathing out slowly, you will get an instant euphoria which is easy to segue into First Jhana.
- Awareness. It seems that awareness of fascial events itself is often enough to reset unwanted responses. For example, in the post How I Beat Depression — Forever, by simply being aware of the fascial “tugs” in my stomach area that made up the sadness response (the “Misery” territory in the Theravadan model), this was enough to actually wipe them. I believe this is the main method of how progress is made in insight meditation — enough of the responses are wiped in each “territory” that you can then say you have mastered that territory. “Enlightenment” is therefore the ability to wipe any responses and therefore achieve total wilful dispassion in any situation, if desired.
- Breathing. Breathing itself is a depolarizing wave. Some fascia depolarizes on the out-breath; others on the in-breath. At times when I am having trouble depolarizing some area, I will switch to an out-breath or in-breath accordingly and find it spontaneously depolarizes. Breathing’s unique ability to spontaneously activate all fascia — and in effect cause a “wipe”, if a fascial response program is in progress at the time, and the breath wave is allowed to pass through that area of fascia — is the central reason why breathing is at the core of practically all meditation and yoga practices, and other personal development methods such as hypnosis, anxiety treatment programmes and so forth. The importance of proper breathing cannot be overstated. Most people in the developed world, I believe, do not breathe properly. Specifically, they do not allow the breath wave to pass through all areas of their body and thus conduct its depolarizing effect. Sitting is a major cause of this negative conditioning. Sitting conditions breathing to be shallow and contained in the chest (so not spreading into the head, which is especially important for mood, and into the extremities which are anchors for many muscle tension patterns). In order to get the most gains from any personal development method in the shortest possible time, you must make learning to breathe fully and with correct form an absolute priority. I have found Alexander Technique to be a suitable guide to get you started.
I can use all of those methods to literally wipe emotional responses (the “fascia computer programs”) in real time, at will, when they occur, and as part of an ongoing reconditioning meditation practice at home. I have, using just these methods alone, been able to wipe entire anxiety programs concerning specific people or situations, to name just one example. Using pulling I’ve been able to make massive corrective changes to my posture just by moving a few tiny areas of fascia, which ends up enacting huge global changes to form (you would not believe how much can get done from so little work).
Furthermore, I also have other abilities which have developed of their own accord, I believe as a result of: a) Mindfulness meditation, b) Psychedelic drugs, and c) A natural inclination towards such abilities (e.g. synaesthesia). These abilities are best summed up using umbrella labels, and I will use the Eight-Circuit Model for this purpose, although these abilities are mentioned in other models and systems of practice under different names and concepts.
Circuit V: The Neurosomatic Circuit
In short, Circuit V is when the mind becomes totally aware of the body. I talked a little about Circuit V on the old blog: The Essence of Circuit V
My understanding has come on leaps and bounds since then, however. The skills that pertain to the kind of work I am discussing in this post are awareness and synaesthesia (“seeing” fascial responses visually).
My understanding of Circuit V is now roughly as follows: The body’s “default”, flatline, blank canvas state is one of blissful peace (non-attachment to events). Conditioned responses to stimuli disturb this state. Circuit V is therefore both the blissful state, and awareness of the events that disturb that state. Mindfulness meditation cultivates the awareness of those disturbances, and thus trains Circuit V. The power of Circuit V in my model is that it shows you exactly where to look in the body — in the fascia — for the disturbances (the unwanted fascial response programs) and wipe them and/or edit them. The profundity of this ability cannot be overstated. My resolution in this awareness is now so high that I can detect disturbances to the nearest micrometre and edit them practically on the level of individual neurons. I am not exaggerating this or making it up. I believe practitioners of insight meditation have already been doing this for millennia (though calling it “investigating the sensations that make up reality” or similar). I have been training this awareness for about 7 years now, and have a natural inclination towards synaesthesia (which helps me find the disturbances via a visual representation of the body) so I do not think it pays to be sceptical of what can be achieved in this area. My synaesthesia, by the way, is developed to the point of having “X-ray vision” into my own body. I can “see” individual neurons as white lines, and “disturbances” as a kind of distorted mesh of those lines. (I can also see into other people’s bodies, now, but pertaining only to muscle structure and posture at this point.)
Circuit V primarily pertains to “resetting” fasciae to their default non-disturbed state. The central ability given by Circuit V is the knowledge of what “feels wrong” and, immediately following on from that, the intuitive knowledge of what to do to make it “feel right” (to return it to the blissful, non-attached state). For example, if I feel emotionally blocked in my chest due to some fear or other disturbance, Circuit V might tell me to imagine a straight line extending from my forehead to the base of my spine and to “breathe along” that line. Literally try that yourself, now.
Circuit V is largely about not arguing, but assuming that the solution you are presented with is exactly the right solution to the problem in that moment, then having enough faith to actually just do it. It is, of course, all coming from the right hemisphere, and the right hemisphere’s solutions are basically always predicated on intuition and “faith” in seemingly nonsensical solutions (which, it turns out, are exactly the right solutions). This is where things like yoga came from: a Circuit V-activated individual was presented with the forms required to solve a physiological problem, and he then codified those forms into a practice which could be taught to others. When you have Circuit V yourself, however, you make your own yoga, and it is always 100% correct for you in that moment. Much of my daily exercising would be indistinguishable from yoga or tai chi to the layman.
When an individual learns to correct disturbances using his mind, and then codifies that method into a teaching programme, a new meditation school is born. Enlightened people can be seen as those who are so highly trained at “putting things right” within themselves that they reside permanently in the blissful Circuit V state. In Zen, this is known as living “with one foot off the ground”.
Circuit VI: The Neuroelectric Circuit
Circuit VI is about coordinating form on the neuronal level in order to install your desired forms, programs, or modes of operation for specific circumstances. Circuit VI requires Circuit V before it can be utilized — every piece of literature I have read concerning the Eight-Circuit Model has so far concurred on this point, as do I. You need to have some well-defined “map” of the body before you can begin playing with it via Circuit VI.
Where Circuit V pertains to resetting the body to its default (non-disturbed, blissful) form, Circuit VI goes a lot further and pertains to actually installing desired response programs — thereby creating your own “forms” as you wish for any situation. So, let’s say in some situation you wish to be more analytical and calculating, detached, clinical and logical. Let’s say it’s a specific kind of social situation where you wish to be more like a psychopath — whereas before you were fearful, or relaxed, or non-attached, or angry (I have mixed up “negative” and “positive” states there intentionally; the preceding state is irrelevant when it comes to Circuit VI, as only the desired “form” — the desired mode of operation — is important). Firstly you would need Circuit V in order to be able to wipe the preceding state back to baseline (non-attached; blissful and calm). Circuit V is also required to give you access to the body to show you “how” to install the new form. This is presented on an intuitive level and does not translate well into words. Next, you would require intuitive knowledge of the form you wish to adopt. These forms are inherent in your being and can be drawn out of you. However, when starting out, it is probably best to have some archetypes you can refer to. For the calculating, logical form, someone like Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock character is a good match. Get a good idea of his face and mannerisms, and play with imitating them. A major premise in my model is that “thought-emotion” and “form” have a 1:1 relationship. The form is the experience. (This is also the premise of “power stances” and other such basic renderings of this rule which are already out there in folk wisdom and some personal development programmes.) Adopting analytical posture and facial expressions will literally make you more analytical.
Assume you can make Sherlock into a “form” — a “whole” which you can then morph into yourself. Wipe the existing fascia program via Circuit V (soften it up ready for the new program), then invoke the form of Sherlock and feel yourself morphing into him. Go with the new form with total faith. That is an example of Circuit VI metaprogramming. I wrote some other rookie posts about metaprogramming back in the day. The “Easter egg” method in the first post is a good example of intuitive Circuit VI form integration:
I stopped writing about the Eight-Circuit Model a few years ago because I hit a major brick wall in my understanding of it, and also could not use it consistently. Since then however I have achieved a complete imprint on Circuit V and a good imprint on Circuit VI (which I am still getting to grips with).
My experiences could by described under any number of models (see: model agnosticism). However, I feel the Eight-Circuit Model is currently the best framework through which to convey my new understandings. I will be interested to see if my skills extend into Circuits VII and VIII in future, though at this point I have no idea what the practical applications of those circuits would be.
In the methods I am going to be sharing with you in the near future, I am mostly going to be focusing on Circuit V methods for wiping responses like anxiety, anger, and all the other nastiness of the human condition and resetting to a blissful, usable baseline. I am going to write these methods up as simple practical exercises and meditations you can practise, without any of this kind of lingo or bewildering concepts such as “Circuit V” etc. The first post is going to be called Basic Smile Meditation and will go in the Start Here section. It will teach you how to wipe existing negative responses via natural smiling, which can be practised largely at home as well as out in daily life as such situations arise. This meditation is a form of metaprogramming and is basically the simplest and best thing I ever came up with. It will show you how you can turn on your vagus nerve, and how to actually notice that you have turned it on. The vagus is the main nerve in the chest responsible for establishing calm, relaxed enjoyment of situations. Feeling activation of this nerve is what is known as “feeling warmth in your heart” in folk wisdom. Natural smiling actually turns on this nerve anyway, and I will show you how you can break the old conditioning that brings you out of this state.
This brings me to my next goal: Talking about folk wisdom and sayings and how to actually achieve them in practical terms. A lot of understanding of the human condition and body is actually encoded into our language. For example, consider the saying, “Just let it go!” Well, you can actually learn to let things go. It literally pertains to letting go of the muscle tension patterns that maintain a specific kind of attention you place on a situation, e.g. anger or compulsive dwelling. You can let it go by invoking a feeling of falling in the muscles that are currently tense, as discussed earlier in this post. You can find out which muscles those are via training moment-to-moment mindfulness of your body, via meditation. Then you can actually feel those muscles tense up in certain situations and consciously let them go. This literally wipes the response in future, too.
Finally, there is another very profound “trick” I learned during the last week. That is: learning actually to not give a fuck. People have probably told you at some point in your life, “Just don’t give a fuck!” about certain situations. Well, I’ve found out the actual body method to do this — with almost disturbingly profound results. This is quite simple to describe. There is a space within your head, in which you can place your awareness, where you don’t care about anything. Picture this as a literal cavern within your head in which “you” can be, in any situation if you choose. The location is just behind your eyes, and up a bit. Find it. It’s a space you can “be” in. You can do this while walking around, while in bars, while in crowds, or while just on your own. Find it. It is just quiet there. Now practise just being in that space. In folk language, this is known as a certain “head space”. Well, it literally exists. Practise it while on a night out or somewhere else chaotic (just to test it, if not for any better reason). If you’re in that little space in your head, you won’t have any of your usual reactions to things. If you begin to react, notice how you have moved outside of that space, and just move back into it and notice how the noise just drops away again. When I discovered this head space on a night out last week, it was so profound that I began thinking about what it even meant to be on a night out. If nothing bothers me, if I don’t have to invest a large proportion of my mental energy keeping myself entertained and “having fun” and not minding idiots, then what are my actual goals there?
I’m not saying nights out are pointless (far from it — I had a great time) — but that my very concept of such activities has now been challenged by the knowledge that I need not be so mentally and emotionally burdened during them. The “spinning plates” metaphor has come to an end. I remember being in the kebab shop after that night and, while in that head space, noticing how everyone else in the shop was just fidgeting around, adjusting their posture to “look cool” or like they “don’t care”, all with the implicit assumption that they know they are being watched and have to indulge that — and how I was just standing up completely straight not minding anything at all with complete silence in my head. That was a bizarre moment.
Ultimately, discovering these methods has really made me think: some people are going through life not giving a fuck. Or always being calm and happy out of choice. They are in such “head spaces” anyway, or they have the ability to shift into them (probably unconsciously). How many good (or bad) things in someone’s life can be explained by their default mental states? Suddenly having such abilities to choose my state has given me an entirely different outlook on life. So much resistance and “fighting myself” has now fallen away. For example, I’m now really looking forward to going on holiday this year because I know I won’t have to spend some large proportion of my mental resources tolerating idiots. In fact, I actually like people now, which is a stark contrast to my hithertofore burgeoning misanthropy. If most of my experience is in my responses, what do I want my responses to be?