Weekly Head Voices #207: Kogelberg

The 207th edition of the Weekly Head Voices, which in theory should cover the week from Monday October 5 to Sunday October 11, 2020, is in fact only here to remind future me of that time when I took the Thursday October 8 off from work to go run the Kogelberg Trail with friends PK, TvD and EW.

(Ok, well maybe there is also a backyard philosophy thing hidden at the end of the post…)

Figure 1: About halfway through the first climb

Figure 1: About halfway through the first climb

Random notes on the Kogelberg Trail adventure

  • Taking the day off to go run in the mountains: These two separately pleasant actions are even greater when applied together.
  • Based on the predictions a week or so before the time, we were going to run in a bit of rain. As the date came closer, the predicted start time of the rain kept on creeping later and later. The day itself was mostly gorgeous sunshine with very little wind.
  • According to the Cape Nature peeps at the starting point, we were the first people to run the route since before the lockdown when they, err, locked down the nature reserve. This was noticeable by the overgrown vegetation we had to fight through for a kilometre or two, just after the first climb. Other than that, it felt pretty special!
  • I like running with a GPX of the route on my Apple Watch (WorkOutDoors is amazing for following a route with maps while you’re running, especially if you’re directionless like me), but I could not find one available online before the time.
    • So I started a Strava Pro trial so I could use their amazing global heatmap to draw the crowd-sourced GPX in about 6 clicks. I’m probably going to keep the Strava Pro: Being able to make routes like this of any place that you might find yourself in is amazing.
    • You can download a GPX of the route we actually ran, as logged by my iPhone, by clicking on the following link: Kogelberg Trail GPX. The whole thing is just under 24km.

Below is a video impression somewhere just past halfway. Don’t miss the waterfall!

Find a place in the universe that is your consciousness

On the morning of October 7, about halfway through a 10 minute mindfulness practice with the Waking Up app, Sam Harris says something like:

Take a negative emotion, and examine it. Remember, you can find a place in consciousness that is not implicated, to stand on and be able to do this.

His words really struck home at that moment.

By the end of the session, analysing a particular negative thought, I experienced quite viscerally (haha, sorry) the phenomenon of relatively easily finding a non-implicated mental space to stand, from where I could take apart that negative emotion piece by piece, without being drawn into it at all.

Now it feels like all of those practice sessions exploring the experience of consciousness, as the whole of the reality simulation being run over the trillions of neural connections in the human brain, were not in vain.