Electricity

If you ever touched a live wire, or two poles of a battery, you have experienced your sensitivity for and conductivity of electricity. Don’t worry if you haven’t. Your nervous system acts as a communication network, transmitting information from our senses, muscles and organs back and forth.

You have three cloud networks for all the electricity buzzing along your nerve cells right now, coordinating millions of simultaneous signals along simple rules. Each node of the network has lots of input and output connections to other nodes, and can fire impulses more than 100 times per second.

Multiply this with trillions of neurons, and you will understand that a lot of electrickery happens within your nervous system at any given moment, definitely much more you want to spend attention on.

The cloud networks host the centre of each node, the body of a nerve cell. Out of the cell body grow the communication channels, the axons. When you pick up a cup, the axons on your fingertips connect with the nerve cell body within the brain. Imagine axons as tentacles of neurons.

Your arms and legs fulfil different functions from your trunk or your head. Limbs seem more disposable, but rarely develop a life on their own. Skin covers the entire surface of your body, and that’s precisely where your brain ends. Your nervous system looks more like a jelly fish with heaps of entangled tentacles than the inside of a walnut.

If you could see a little blue dot when a nerve cell body in the brain fires, and a tinier golden dot as the signal moves along its tentacle, then you would witness a brilliant fire work. Not all of your electric activity focusses in your brain. Add green dots for nerve cell body within the heart, and orange dots for the gut nervous system to add a bit more sparkle.

The spine contains abundant numbers of neural cell bodies while connecting the cloud network centres heart, brain and guts. It contains the colours of the rainbow from red to light blue, your skull adds the remaining frequencies of the visible spectrum.

Luckily, like all systems in your body, the electric system largely organises itself in response to its internal and external environment. On the highest level, you can distinguish (with some training) the nerve centres for thinking, feeling and moving.

As an experiment, map the gut centre (lower dan tien) as the feeling centre, the brain as movement centre and the heart as thinking centre.

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Movement

For as long as the human body lives, it maintains movement within. Our breath moves our lungs, blood absorbs the oxygen by moving in bursts through its vessels, electrical pulses move along nerves, interstitial fluid flows along its channels, connective tissue is moved by breath and blood. This happens all the time, and you haven’t even moved a single muscle consciously.

You affect processes like breathing and heart rate to a certain degree by conscious means, but without necessary knowing to which effect. Usually, the way in which the autonomous systems work, reflects emotional states and/or the physical activity you engage in.

Unless you learn a new way of moving, like dance, martial arts moves or other physical skills, voluntary movement happens by executing habitual patterns. It took you a while to master the art of walking and talking, of reading and writing, yet now this activities requiring a complex set of muscular coordination happen by pure intention.

If you ever engaged in ‘ghosting’ (copying the way another person walks), you get an idea that the simple act of taking a step forward has quite a lot of individual variations of doing it. Hundreds of muscles acting on the 206 bones in a human body allow for many ways of doing something simple like walking.

The habits of voluntary movement affect the quality of the involuntary movements essential to keep you alive. A simple experiment can give you an immediate experience of this relation. Let your head slowly move towards the ground, curling your spine. When you can’t curl anymore without effort, try taking what you think of as deep breath.

You might have noticed that this bodily configuration restricts the movement of your ribs, and interfered quite a lot with getting much air into your lungs. Less air means less fuel for the metabolic processes happening inside your body, which in turn can limit what you intent to achieve.

Of course, it’s unlikely that this forward curl looks anywhere near how you usually move through your life. This experiment just illustrates that your voluntary movements interact with the involuntary movements, quite often in not beneficial ways. Luckily, no matter how you deliberately distort your body, it’s usually not immediately life threatening.

Transforming interfering habits into supporting habits pays off. Despite the majority of people using their body not really aligned with its design, the life expectancy averages at 69 years.  The way how you move through life will affect how long you live, and how happy you feel on your journey.