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Freediving: To Discern Between Meditation & Hypnosis

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Moalboal, the Philippines, 2019 May

What captivate my attention to meditation and hypnosis?

The question popped out to me for the first time when I pursued a deeper personal depth record in Moalboal, the Philippines. It had been uncomprehending that I could not broke my Personal Best (PB) while there was still enough air in my mouth, and my chest and stomach felt no stress. Also, as far as I knew, I feared nothing except for lacking confidence and deft skills in my Frenzel equalization technique. I had been questioned by a Chinese ADIA instructor I hired locally for tons of times: What happened to you under there? You must know what’s going on with you because you are the only one knows and the one can settle it, he said.

During my training, I had two friends randomly joined my practice. One is from Taiwan, an AIDA LV2 girl, who only dove for less than 10 times in her entire life, eclipsed my record of 26 meters with ease. Another one is from England, a guy relishes spiritual concepts, suggested me that my attempt to dive deeper (than my comfortable depth) was thwarted by my own subconscious, which serves as protection mechanism to avert injury. To break the protective shield, he offered that he could hypnotize me to shut down this function so I could break limit easily under a tenuous influence of my subconscious.

His proposal galvanized me into action and I called my Taiwan AIDA instructor right away for safety consulting. However exhilarated I was, confirming there was no potential pernicious influence from this approach was meant to help me circumvent unnecessary risks. Though we didn’t develop a confiding relationship, I did trust my instructor for his knowledge and experience, while mine was rudimentary. Trust matters considerably in this case. After telling him what I was up to do, my instructor first derided my hypnosis attempt and said that all I needed was a restorative sleep and doing mediation—just convincing myself I am comfortable with depth over 30 meters. His words exuded confidence and then left me with my lingering doubts. My confusion towards the relation between meditation and hypnosis began here.

Practicing Meditation and Hypnosis on My Claim Day

In my last training, I wanted to make a best try since it was my last chance to reach 30 meters. During my preparation for breath adjustment, I kept telling myself that I was accustomed to descending to 100 meters and thus 30 meters would be a piece of cake for me. At that moment, I ignored any divergence or strife between meditation and hypnosis, simply staying focused on my breath and replaying my 100 meters illusion in my mind. Last breath, holding the breath, equalizing ears—I duck-dived down and kicked my fins, approaching my claim depth. I reached 29.8 meters in this dive, my PB until now. This is my very first time to link my manipulated mind status to my athletic performance, a subversive experience of a lifetime.

I recounted this adventure to some of my Freediving friends, wondering the differences between meditation, hypnosis, and self-deceiving. Although obtained a gratifying result, I found the confusion a convoluted knot to me, and I could not corroborate if these mind tricks did work on me or it was no more than a coincidence.

Exploring and Defining Meditation and Hypnosis Trough Yoga Concepts

Four months later, I stayed a while in Gili Air Island, Indonesia, for depth training. Unfortunately, I contracted a cold and my chances to dive deep were therefore deprived by my illness. I had a humdrum land life, doing nothing but sun bathing or riding bicycle, and healthy (insipid) food permitted only. Despite of the affliction (that I couldn’t dive) and my bleak outlook to this trip, I still paid few visits to my reserved Freedive school to find my ebullience back. As the dictum goes, if go to a right place, then you would meet a right person. There I met a cordial Swiss guy with nimble mind, who had been in Lombok Island for a month for Yoga training lessons. He commiserated with my misfortunes and we had a late lunch together to discuss about his Freediving training in Gili Air, a devious route for me to experience Freedive here.

Our conversations developed from Freediving to yoga to our current life status. He just quit his job and turned to focus on life coaching training. I talked to him about my nebulous ideas about meditation and hypnosis; shortly after, our discussion led us to jointly define meditation and hypnosis regarding to Freediving process. According to our conclusion, from the time we start diving down until the end of Freefall, a lasting moment that gravity overcomes the buoyancy of a diver’s body and they can drift effortlessly down to the sea, this is the timing we are in meditation status, staying so focused on equalization and thinking nothing, indulging ourselves in insouciance. Both of us agreed that meditation is the most fascinating and undesirable status during the whole Freediving process.

In my personal experience, the rampant weeds in our daily mind are replaced by pellucid tranquility while Freediving. Sometimes my eyes were closed, feeling the diffuse light underwater dimmed, and the sense of both comfort and insecurity emerged. Maintaining streamline position, I descended faster with such understated status until the wake up point.

Let’s move on to the wake up point, defined by us as the time we no longer feel comfortable to environment and were withdrawn from our full mind focusing status. At this point, I usually have two choices: one, turning back to the surface; two, continuing going down. Come on, we are talking about extreme sport, pushing ourselves to the limits is the intrinsic part. Nevertheless, with some physical difficulties and mental uncertainties, how could we move on? This, is exactly how hypnosis comes to use. We hypnotize ourselves at this point to make us dive deeper. High Five!

Voila, both of us were happy that we found acceptable explanation and specific position for meditation and hypnosis in Freediving. This conversation was inspiring and had a tonic effect on me, dispelling my previous frayed nerves. Most importantly, it reminded me of how wonderful to create and enjoy connection with people while traveling. Ever since I started to Freedive, all my vacations are featured with Freediving and I would rather spend time with companions in this field than outsiders. My lost passion to people somehow reobtained.

Scientific Inputs from An Expert Friend: Cognitive Alternation

A fortnight after my trip in Gili Islands, I had a reunion with my Moal Freediving buddy, who has expertise in speech and language impairment, a subject in a tight connection to cognition. She gave further elaboration to meditation and hypnosis through scientific definition. Meditation, she said, is when you picture your movements or actions in your mind while hypnosis implies you lose self-dominance and controlled by others. This means people can hypnotize us but it is implausible for us to hypnotize ourselves. The commonly used “hypnotizing ourselves” is actually an erroneous impression, a fallacy. Instead, we could use the term “cognitive alternation” to descrie our mental cognition swift.

I felt my vacuous mind was enlightened again. So, what I had told myself—100 meters was my comfortable depth— is neither hypnosis nor self-deceiving, all I did was alternate my cognition. What a great boon for us to achieve our goals, to empower us the ability to change our behaviors! I am still on my way to explore our sophisticated mind and mindset, and some answers to these questions may remain as elusive as ever. However, I am quite enjoying, and this is why Freediving is an approach to explore the world and myself.

Obyan, Saipan Island, 2019 July

發表者:fiercefifi

Fifi Tseng started her journey of freediving since 2017. During a vacation in Palawan, the Philipines, she was amazed by a local boatman who dived into 20+ meters deep water and brought back a stunning shell to show her the beauty of the island -- the man dived simply with a dive mask and a single fin-like shoe for kicking. She was deeply moved by this approach to get closer to the big blue that she loved and therefore became a passionate freediver. Her ultimate dream is to freedive in the Great Blue Hole in Belize, to the bottom.

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