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8/17/2020 3:23 PM
 

I had dinner with an older and much wiser friend than I a couple of weeks ago and we ended up spending all of our time on me getting much needed counsel from him. At the end, he let me know that he had some questions about natural pace which we hadn't had time to cover. In lieu of a private email conversation between he and I, I thought it might be valuable to have the conversation publicly as others might benefit.

For reference, here's the natural pace video where I talk a little about it on camera:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AdOjjHqkoU


The big thing to understand is that natural pace is about RELATIONSHIP. Your natural pace is set in response to the world around you and what it is telling you. I talk on the video about "male" and "female" energy which is an eastern concept. Male energy projects onto whereas female energy is receptive. At the time of the video, I thought in terms of female energy being the seat of intuition whereas male energy is completely oblivious. Upon reflection, I think both types of energy can be intuitive. So if it helps to think in terms of those two types of energy, drive on. But if not maybe scratch that and simply think in terms of forming a relationshp with the world around you.

Human beings are marvelously intuitive creatures. We're capable of reading and responding to the energy of other animals -- communicating with them with no need for words. Most of us have experienced this to some degree with dogs. However, we're capable of this with all living beings including wild animals. When I say "all living beings", I also include plant communities. Furthermore, we're capable of reading the energy of a coming storm that's still over the horizon. We're maybe capable of reading the energies of less complex - slow formation structures as well but that's going pretty far down the rabbit hole.

Here's the catch though -- our marvelous capabilities are quickly overwhelmed by the worlds in which most of us live. Normal urban population densities cause us to completely close our intuition out of self defense. The noise is simply too much otherwise. The devices we use to interact with a world that doesn't really exist neither require nor allow for intuition.

So what about natural pace? It is in relationship with the natural world that we can reawaken our intuition and it is the discipline of trying to move with a natural pace that exercises that relationship. I think of moving with a natural pace as feeling the ebb and flow of energies around me and moving in relation to those energies.

I hear a series of sounds in the forest. When I relax and stop trying to focus on the sounds, all of the sounds and probably some other input I'm not consciously aware of coalesces into the sense of a movement, the picture of an animal on its path. I move parallel to the animal's path. Move away from it, and I'm no longer in relationship with it. Move towards it and my aggression pushes it away. Move alongside it and we dance for a while. If I'm at rest, without a cluttered brain, without trying to impose too much of my will, I can feel the degree to which the animal is comfortable with my presence and I adjust accordingly. That is natural pace.

This picture I paint isn't how it always is. It is an ideal that is only sometimes realized. Mostly I am clouded and lack intuition. I see with my eyes but not my heart. My steps are wooden, they walk on but not in. My desires drown out my hearing. Still, I aspire to walk at my natural pace. I can sometimes tell when I'm not doing so, but I can feel the resonance when I am.

My friend asked me if there are any exercises or tips I can give about natural pace. I'm going to keep reflecting and see if I come up with anything more. Hopefully the foregoing is helpful. Beyond that, there is one thing that usually helps me. If I am out in the woods and take a nap under a tree, I come out of the nap in a more natural state.

That's all I have for now. Hope it helps.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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8/17/2020 5:55 PM
 
I like that, thanks for sharing it.

I find, too often, that when I get out into the world I try to mimic my "training ruck pace" from the suburban sprawl into my wilderness time.

To my detriment. In terms of lack of focus. Lack of appreciation. Lack of being, and of being with nature instead of just in it.

I'm going to save your essay as a reminder.
 
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8/18/2020 8:23 AM
 
I fear I won’t be able to add much without detracting from Evan’s excellent and though provoking post!

This discussion sounds very similar to the Yin and Yang type flow between awareness and focus. They are diametrically opposed but both serve a purpose in the process. Brian Enos did an excellent job of getting into the weeds with this in his book Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals. Our current culture tends to be WAY to focus based and product oriented. It does keep the pharmaceutical corps making profits though.

Mike Hull (Hull’s Tracking School) and I were discussing personality types and their impact on tracking. He mentioned that “Type A” personality types that are very forceful and driven really struggle with the patients and awareness that is takes to make a world class tracker. He mentioned that females tended to make better trackers in this regard.

Tony Nester has also mentioned the very noticeable “mellowing” of students at about the 3 day mark in immersion classes. Around the 72hr mark from not being drip fed high speed stimuli in the backcountry people seem to chill and start to become much more aware and in sync with their surroundings. Flowing and not forcing.

“Training began with children who were taught to sit still and enjoy it. They were taught to use their organs of smell, to look where there was apparently nothing to see, and to listen intently when all seemingly was quiet. A child who cannot sit still is a half-developed child.” Luther Standing Bear.

I don’t want to come across as name dropping but minds much wiser than mine have so much to share on this subject. I hope the discussion continues with more input from Evan and others.

We are called human beings and not human doings for a reason I guess…

Talk is cheap...lets compare fur checks.
 
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8/20/2020 10:54 AM
 
> Normal urban population densities cause us to completely close our intuition out of self defense.
> The noise is simply too much otherwise.

Our senses seem to be logarithmic--we get a "constant" amount of information for vastly different amounts of data. It is easiest to notice this with light--a couple times in my life I've had to work nights and sleep days. Twice when this happened I attempted to make my sleeping room as dark as I possibly could. Both times my efforts were *slightly* less than "perfect"--meaning a little light would seep in, either through pinholes in the material used to block the windows, or whatever. In both cases the room was *objectively* seriously dark. *subjectively* it was still light enough that it jacked up my ability to get a good deep sleep.

Sound, I think, is the same way. Our brains build a filter to block all the stuff we don't "need" to get through the next short period of time, and a noise (or smell) needs to either be *very specific* to get through that filter, or needs to overwhelm that filter. How many times have you "barely" heard your name (or a interesting keyword) come out of what is basically background noise?

Several years ago the winner of Alone Season 2 posted about his experience on another forum I read. He said:
"
If you go to the wilderness long term and have plenty of food, your instincts never engage. When you are starving and forced to live off the land the brain begins to access very deep original programming. The senses heighten. The forest is no longer silent. You smell changes in the air. You start noticing patterns in nature. I noticed this change in my dreams. I stopped dreaming of people and food or the outside world. I dreamed of the forest and the sea, fishing, catching crabs. The dreams lacked verbal content, I was just feeding off the landscape.
"

and in another post:
"
I remember being on the reef fishing and hearing a mink running along the forest edge about 100 yards away. That frame of mind feels really good in a "silent" forest, but sudden exposure to the outside world is jarring.
"

> My friend asked me if there are any exercises or tips I can give about natural pace.

Have you tried/do you think mindful meditation would help? There seems to be a similarity between some of what you're talking about and what the mindful meditation practitioners talk about.

If it's either the same sort of mind state, or close enough that gives you a specific "skill" you can work on when out there that might let you slip into that mind state more easily.
 
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10/12/2020 8:20 AM
 
Thanks for taking the time to articulate this, Evan. You do a good job of addressing something I find difficult to explain. One thing I will add is I've noticed when I get really in tune with nature, life, whatever you choose to call it, I can actually hear the silence. I call it the sound of silence (song reference intended). In order to hear the silence I need to be in a wilderness setting, and it takes a day or two or three to slow down and tune in to the natural world. Once I am hearing the silence my connection to all that is unfolding around me becomes profound.
 
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10/13/2020 11:55 PM
 
petrocc wrote:
> Normal urban population densities cause us to completely close our intuition out of self defense.
> The noise is simply too much otherwise.

Our senses seem to be logarithmic--we get a "constant" amount of information for vastly different amounts of data. It is easiest to notice this with light--a couple times in my life I've had to work nights and sleep days. Twice when this happened I attempted to make my sleeping room as dark as I possibly could. Both times my efforts were *slightly* less than "perfect"--meaning a little light would seep in, either through pinholes in the material used to block the windows, or whatever. In both cases the room was *objectively* seriously dark. *subjectively* it was still light enough that it jacked up my ability to get a good deep sleep.

Sound, I think, is the same way. Our brains build a filter to block all the stuff we don't "need" to get through the next short period of time, and a noise (or smell) needs to either be *very specific* to get through that filter, or needs to overwhelm that filter. How many times have you "barely" heard your name (or a interesting keyword) come out of what is basically background noise?

Several years ago the winner of Alone Season 2 posted about his experience on another forum I read. He said:
"
If you go to the wilderness long term and have plenty of food, your instincts never engage. When you are starving and forced to live off the land the brain begins to access very deep original programming. The senses heighten. The forest is no longer silent. You smell changes in the air. You start noticing patterns in nature. I noticed this change in my dreams. I stopped dreaming of people and food or the outside world. I dreamed of the forest and the sea, fishing, catching crabs. The dreams lacked verbal content, I was just feeding off the landscape.
"

and in another post:
"
I remember being on the reef fishing and hearing a mink running along the forest edge about 100 yards away. That frame of mind feels really good in a "silent" forest, but sudden exposure to the outside world is jarring.
"

> My friend asked me if there are any exercises or tips I can give about natural pace.

Have you tried/do you think mindful meditation would help? There seems to be a similarity between some of what you're talking about and what the mindful meditation practitioners talk about.

If it's either the same sort of mind state, or close enough that gives you a specific "skill" you can work on when out there that might let you slip into that mind state more easily.

 

 

I've done mindful meditation practice for the last 12 years or so, and it's helped with a plethora of things, including my ability to chill and be in the woods.

Most beneficial has been The Kamana Naturalist Training Program.  It strikes some folks as kind of "woo woo." I'm not sure the PRACTICES are, they take you in some interesting places that can give you a very solid way of being in the woods. I think it tends to attract people who approach it in a "woo woo" kind of way, if that makes sense.

 

 
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