By Zane Christopher
We moderns tend to be lost more than we care to admit when it comes to how to live our lives. I know for a fact that I have gone from the heights of living (according to a vision that worked well for a time) to losing all security and bemoaning my fate in an almost cyclic fashion. An important realization for anyone is that this is a normal process and has much to do with the values we have created in our culture. Capitalism (and all civilization to an extent) is basically about the accumulation of ‘stuff.’ This, unfortunately, doesn’t satisfy our individual needs in the way we need it to. I have always thought our society strange on this front and have been slowly trying to move away from the game of collecting the most paper money to something more in line with the way we evolved to live.
One finds that the closer one brings their actions to those of the wild humans that still exist today and those ancient ancestors that we are all descended from, the healthier, happier, more outgoing, more social, more forward-thinking, more respectful, and ultimately, the more fulfilled we become. This is because we evolved (or were created it doesn’t matter what you believe) to live this way, and by doing so, every individual cell in the body can do the things they need to and want to do, which is to live in tandem with the life around it and continue to spread the knowledge locked away in its DNA.
I have been slowly piecing this list together for a few years now. I realize there are many lists out there and not everything will be accurately represented below but I have found that this list works extremely well for myself and others that follow its outline. Being part of the human tribe, I possess a strong desire to see my species live fulfilling lives. Even though I can’t possible fit everything I’ve learned on these subjects (books could be written) I want to begin to get these thoughts out into the ether.
Here is the order of necessities many of us now take for granted. These being more of physical necessities, I do not want to delve into the spiritual side although all of these listed below enhance, promote, and are vital into themselves for the growth and maintenance of the spirit:
Air – We can’t go for more than three minutes on average without oxygen. Get outside, even the dirtiest cities have better air quality outside than inside. Breathe deep. Get out of the city as far from a human settlement as possible. This is where we can find good airs that are created by a somewhat less human touched landscape. This is where we can recharge our lungs so breathe deeply. Climb to elevations you are not used too. Play in the mountains. This trains our lungs in a way many of us never experience before and helps our bodies to utilize the hidden fire found in oxygen with greater efficiency. Breathe deeper.
Water – Three days is nominally the average a human can survive without water. In all seriousness, we could really be called walking bags of water since we have more of it than anything else. Most of us are chronically dehydrated and would feel, think and operate exceedingly better if we only just drank as much water as the food we ate.
This should always be considered the first medicine of man, the first to be considered to remedy any illness or disease, or relieve cravings and addictions. The closer you can return your water to the clean spring water you normally would gather in the wild the better. Reclaiming your water sovereignty is perhaps the easiest step in taking back our personal power from government and corporations. Waters that bubble out of the earth, untouched by human hands embody an almost divine quality humans seem unable to capture in their tiny plastic bottles. Most people can literally taste the quality. This is living water. Your cells will trade out the lesser quality water inside their porous walls for higher quality water every time.
This is our evolved hydration.
Food – Third on the list. Three weeks is the average time span we can go without eating foods, but some can extend this up to two months depending on how nutrient dense they themselves have become. While air and water both are used for fuel and growth of the human organism, food is the building block we assimilate into our very cells to create more cells. If your diet includes only a few desperate species, even if it has many different colors and is considered very diverse by modern standards, it cannot be anything like the diversity of the wild humans. This is one reason medicinal herbs can be powerful in any diet as they supply variety in a more wild form then our domesticated feedstock.
And remember, we did not evolve to eat petrochemical cocktails like the ones sprayed on conventional agriculture. Whereas a machine runs better when properly oiled, it would appear that with organic machines it is the opposite. Poor consumption habits are actually a reflection of a deeper disdain of the self. I know from experience that it is hard when living in a culture to eat clean (I would never claim to be perfect in this regard) but unknowingly your happiness and the happiness of those around you often depends on it. Learning about what we consume is equally as paramount as eating itself. Cultivate that appreciation of those animals and plants that died for your survival because eventually you will die and return to the air and soil to feed them.
Movement – This should be considered a nutrient. We require movement to live. Life is movement. Life is change. Without movement, there is no possibility for life. If you consider Einstein’s theories of relativity, objects in motion slow down their decay rate in relation to a stationary observer. Time-travel of a sort. I realize this is not really talked about in the health world but those that move seem to follow this theory as well.
Movement through space and time seems to slow down the aging process (to an extent, as with everything, too much of anything is harmful to all of us). We moderns commonly call this exercise, staying fit, doing work or what have you. And just like foods, certain kinds of movements can be more nutritious to different individuals than other ones. Find the ones that challenge but invigorate you. Make sure to practice mobility, flexibility and strength both separately and together. Run through fields, swing from the trees, swim in the oceans, crawl like the animals and walk across deserts and over mountains. Experience the seasons through movement. Experience the vast information of diversity found in nature as opposed to the sensory-deprivation of a traditional air-conditioned box (we sometimes call them gyms). Be creative. Remember that nothing ever stops moving. Only the dead have stopped moving from and then only from internal processes. Outside processes, however, continue to move them through the stages of decomposition – life is in constant movement and conservation of energy applies to everything, dead or alive. The more you move the more the world will move with you.
Sun – while not necessary for survival in the long run (we can live without it for a very, very long time, perhaps multiple generations) the more sunlight we have the healthier we seem to be. We evolved to consume sunlight photons, the way plants devour it for food, and as with plants, we also use it for certain bodily processes that make us healthy, happy individuals.
It isn’t strange that our deepest darkest thoughts seem to come out at nightfall. We are all children of the sun, yes even us pasty white ones. Evolution favored those runners that could survive the midday sun when all the predators were resting and the creatures we ran down overheated the quickest. This was the beginning of our great hunting expedition as a species. The sun thus was a vital resource in making us the ‘Wise Man’. *And this was done when the sun was hottest and brightest. We are the only creature that sweats the way we do, our skin pores opening in hungry anticipation to receive the light rays and for that wonderful UV exposure that creates the strange hormone Vitamin D (there still is not agreement on how to exactly classify it as far as I know). Sun lotion blocks this activity and potentially allows us to stay in the sun longer than we can handle. Just be smart about your activities, the body will respond to repeated sun exposure, it will adapt.
Stupidity can be avoided with a little thought.
Introspection – This is a very broad category and one that is very fluid, with many different forms. A lack of introspection can result in confusion, an expansion of the ego and progression of what we call mental disorders. All of these can be fixed with ample supplies of the above nutrients. The mind is, however, potentially more powerful than all of the previous vital nutrients. “The mental makes the physical” or “you create your own reality,” are just two common sayings of those that know the world is shaped by our individual wills. When you practice introspection, to discover who YOU are as a person (an almost endless quest), to find out your mission in this life. This mission is never one fixed thing through one’s life, though it may feel like that. Purpose changes as a person evolves to see that we are just the tiniest part of a huge sprawling web of life, however, a really important part.
Your entire life takes on a meaning that comforts the mind-body structure that is you. This is the ultimate relaxation that mitigates against any stressful event that rears its head. Things happen that are beyond our control but they will pass, nothing is forever, not even you. A happy human is a thoughtful human.
Connection – The ability to feel connected to something greater is much easier when we have taken the time to do the above things. A feeling of purpose and beauty pervades life the more you examine and flow through it. This is not the connection I am referring to here though. I mean to speak of our human need for the tribe. We evolved to be social creatures and have thrived as a result of it, perhaps to the detriment of the rest of the planet. Our sociability goes both ways though, bringing us together and tearing us apart. These are just two sides of the same coin. Either way, the more we identify with a group or friends or family the more we can feel safe and secure. This in turn allows us to take more chances and can make the most stressful situations easily sufferable. The wild ones depended on the tribe to thrive in every environment, those going it alone would obviously be at a disadvantage in the business of thriving. Plus they missed out on all those things we have come to expect that make us happy; the music, the celebrations, the intimacy, the friendships, those smiles that can make a bad day turn around, etc.. Connection may be the very thing we humans need the most to give us a reason simply to be. Disregarding this most vital nutrient can put us into some very dark places. Just keep in mind, everyone requires connection to varying degrees and loners might just need less of this at any certain time. Copious amounts of connection can easily lead to a deficiency of introspection. Connect, thrive, multiple.
So, this is my list and it has worked exceptionally well for me when I implement the above congruently into my life. Of course there are times when work or social interactions become paramount in my life and stress rears its torrid head. After all, I am a modern too. But those hard times are better dealt with when one lives in sync with the fundamental elements that made us who we are. The close tribal connection we once shared, the movement that makes life life, the bountiful and diverse foods that we worked and were grateful for, the environment we matched our very many different cultures too. We are the end product of this planets first experiment in reasoning intelligence and no matter what, we continue to evolve with our environment whether that environment may be natural or artificial. This is our choice. We can choose to evolve in congruence with our innate genetic abilities and desires or ignore some or most of them and unplug ourselves from that which ultimately made us the humans we are.