The mind can go either direction under stress – toward positive or toward negative: On or off. Think of it as a spectrum whose extremes are unconsciousness at the negative end and hyperconsciousness at the positive end. The way the mind will lean under stress is strongly influenced by training.
Hyperawareness is not only related to stressful events, even though its biggest quality lies in the fact that it can be present in high stress events. But hyperawareness is something that can be exercised and practiced in any situation, stressful or not. I describe hyperawareness as a sort of Zen Rampage mode. It’s an oxymoron, but for me it’s just that.
It is not a very pleasant experience. It includes quick change between thinking (deductions, analyses and so forth) and perception, observing the world around you. Even in observing, one does not simply relax and observe, but observes in quite a proactive way – you do not merely wait for an observation, you seek it.
So, if you were to happen to be in a room during a meeting, you would not simply meditatively look at your surroundings, you would try to watch the reactions of many people at once, jumping with your eyes from one to another. You would be aware of movement and direct your gaze towards it. You would shift from multitasking to singletasking: from listening to a person speak and actively interpreting it while looking at their body language (multitasking), to just analyzing it (singletasking), to looking at the reactions of people (singletasking), to seeing someone shift in their chair uncomfortably and interpreting their behavior (multitasking). This exchange is rather rapid in nature, and, for me, quite tiring.
What you get during such hyperawareness sessions is a chaotic mass of new knowledge without any obvious hierarchy of importance. You get that your professor is bored, and you get that the college board is granting money to a magazine, and you get that a professor-assistant has weight loss issues, and you get a million other things that are absolutely chaotic in their organization. That’s what you get. A million pieces of info in a great swarm. That’s also the reason why hyperawareness is so hard to maintain for a long time. It’s much like sprinting – you cannot sprint 5K. In a lot of ways, the brain also works as a muscle – you use it and train it, and it becomes better at what you do. But the thing with the brain is that it CAN actually sprint for hours on end, and it can also get better at its sprinting speed. For example, my hyperawareness can last maybe an hour or so, but the intensity of it, the speed of the deductions I make and the amount of data I perceive are almost triple the amount I got three years ago. I remember myself several years ago because it’s then I started to write a journal, and from reading it today, I know how much I would get from my surroundings. I have multiplied both my hyperawareness intensity (the “hyper” part of awareness) and the length of time I can maintain it without relapsing into normal awareness. Of course, the natural goal of hyperawareness training is to maintain it indefinitely.
However, there are certain caveats that are important and should be shared. It would seem that hyperawareness causes hyperproduction during later, normal awareness stage. I have been told that I speak a lot (like, really a lot) and I have seen that my creativity drive and will to express myself (be it through words or movement) are almost indomitable. I must do something! I must write, sing, walk, run, jump, move in general, talk, explain – in one word: produce.
This is both a good and a bad thing. Good because, obviously, being creative is good. Producing things is go(o)d. Bad because, if you cannot control your will to express yourself, you do not control yourself, and if you do not control yourself, then all of this is in vain, because the whole point of overhumanity exercises is achieving control.
Control, because great powers without control are useless, and quite literally so. Useless = without use. Why develop something neither you or anybody else can use?
Balance, because life is best lived through balance. Eat an imbalanced diet, you get sick. Be overly emotional, you get into situations were you don’t want to be. Laugh too little and you’ll die wondering why you didn’t do it more.
Stability, because only through perseverance, hard work, dedication and a certain stubbornness do you achieve great things. Nothing good in life comes easy. Also, if you are stable, life doesn’t knock you over when it gets windy. The problems come and they go. You stay.
Mutability, because change is the only true constant. Nothing is ever complete or defined. There is no closure. There is no job safety, and there is no personal security. Everything changes. In a world where everything changes, one is obliged to adopt an attitude and a physique that also adapt. Discard your opinions and practice naivete. Discard your blunt force and flow.
Fun, because it’s the ultimate generator of the human condition. We can, of course, give rationally supported arguments why we do some things and not do other things, but at the root of it all is plain old fun. Be it throwing rocks into a pond or practicing a Seven Star Praying Mantis form on top of a remote mountain in China – we all do it because we enjoy it.
Growth, because that’s how you achieve all of the above. You grow. You see better, you fight better, you think better, you write better, you garden better, you program better, you eat better, you live better, you die better. You grow.
There are many other words I could use to describe this journey, and maybe I could have done so with much less. It doesn’t really matter in the end because the point is not to describe the journey, the point is to take it.