One in Nature

Disentangling ADHD Tangles: Sentinels in Green Biomass.

July 17, 2021
One in Nature
Disentangling ADHD Tangles: Sentinels in Green Biomass.
Show Notes Transcript

Listen to Dr. Samuel Dismond explain an evolutionary perspective on what is commonly called ADD/ADHD. This evolution story recasts the so-called dysfunctions of ADHD as unique ultra-functions possessed by Sentinels. The story begins 100,000 years ago as our DNA became fixed as Homo sapiens. Within small primitive groups, the round scanning awareness of the Sentinel bloodline featured critically in the history of group survival.

Dr. D graphically illustrates how our very recent modern circumstance differs from our origin times. Our modern world has become a series of boxes connected by lines from kindergarten to career. These edges and squares can be challenging for the round awareness of Sentinels. Nonetheless, it is very possible for Sentinels to thrive and find themselves ‘in the right place, at the right time’ in their life.

The topics in this interview include:

  • Scientific parts and mysterious stories meet when our “quiet brains meet green biomass”.
  • What is a Sentinel?
  • Not a deficit but rather a valuable genetic variant: a new way to understand ADHD.
  • The powerful effect of green, natural environments on our brain.
  • Why modern life has become a series of lines and boxes.
  • How nature walks can untangle the tangles of life stories.

At the end of the episode Dr. D shares an evidence-based breath work technique  to help slow down and absorb while walking through green nature.

Dr. Samuel Dismond III, MD MBA, specializes in treating adults with ADHD. He provides a patient-centered approach and believes in the importance of the patient-doctor connection. Dr. D has been practicing as a  general physician for 32 years. He got his MD at the University Of Michigan Medical School as well as an MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Dr. D is a lifelong practitioner of qigong.

A list of background references quoted in this episode:

Bohm, D., & Fowler, D. R. (1978). The implicate order: a new order for physics. Process studies, 8(2), 73-102.

Brown, E. R. (1980). Rockefeller medicine men: Medicine and capitalism in America. Univ of California Press.

Clarke, R. A., & Eddy, R. P. (2017, May). Warnings: Finding cassandras to stop catastrophes. Ecco. 

Darwin, C. (1909). The origin of species (pp. 95-96). New York: PF Collier & son.

 Diamond, J. (2011). Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. Penguin.

 Diamond, J., & Ford, L. E. (2000). Guns, germs, and steel: the fates of human societies. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 43(4), 609.

 Hill, R. A., & Dunbar, R. I. (2003). Social network size in humans. Human nature, 14(1), 53-72.

 Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. Macmillan.

 Mandelbrot, B. B. (1963). The Fractal Geometry of Nature. New York: W. H. Freeman and


 Starr, P. (2008). The social transformation of American medicine: The rise of a sovereign profession and the making of a vast industry. Basic books.

Trammell, J. (2014). " The Anthropology of Twice Exceptionality: Is Today’s Disability Yesterday’s (or Tomorrow’s) Evolutionary Advantage? A Case Study with ADD/ADHD". In A Critique of Creativity and Complexity. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill.

Visuddhimagga. The Path of Purification.

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Transcript Episode 14
Interview with Samuel Dismond, MD 

Kat: Welcome listeners. Welcome back. And we are really grateful you're following us here at the One in Nature podcast. And we have a great delight with an  amazing guests here on the podcast today, sharing yet another perspective or yet another point of view, point of feeling about nature and how nature is helping us, how, how this amazing relationship between human beings, the world of the rest of nature is in synergy, how that works. So 

if you feel ready. If you have built your nest and feel comfortable, or if you're walking out in nature and ready to, to listen and to get inspired, let's tune in. My name is  Kat Novotna and I welcome you here today together with my co-host Pamela Wirth. Welcome Pamela.

[00:01:19] Pamela: Hi, thank you Kat for this wonderful introduction. And I'm very excited about today's conversation. We have an amazing guest here who also conducts his own podcast, but he's he's been willing to, to talk with us. Today's subject is about ADHD and how people who are on this spectrum can be served by connecting with nature.

So just let me backtrack a little bit. Most people probably associate ADHD with children who struggle with staying focused in school. But what happens when school is over, when we leave school and when we go to maybe college or start our careers, it turns out that many people can have quite a lot of challenges feeling that they really fit in or be as successful as they really want to be in life.

[00:02:20]So. Dr. Samuel Dismond, our guest today, runs a private practice for adults who find themselves on the spectrum of ADHD and much of the service that Dr. D offers involves really being in conversation with patients. A lot of time spent actually talking with them. So this is the background information that we gleaned in our conversations with Dr.

D and his practice has grown tremendously over the last three years in California, which really points to a big need for this kind of service. And Dr. D is also a long term practitioner of qi gong, and he often practices in nature and with the energies of nature with air and water and the life force within plants.

So welcome Dr. D. It's really. Yeah. It's really wonderful to have you with us. 

[00:03:24] Samuel: Thank you for that introduction. 

[00:03:26] Pamela: Yeah. Yeah. So there are a lot of recommendations and research I've, you know, we've both Kat and I have been looking around on the web Googling, you know, ADD and nature connection and nature therapy.

[00:03:40] There are a lot of recommendations and research, which all point towards, you know, nature's good for people on the spectrum,  spending time in a green environment, improves the so-called symptoms of ADHD and helps with paying attention and being more calm and more focused. And I say the so-called symptoms, because I know that you have a very different perspective and I'm excited for you to share your findings and your discovery from you know, all your time in conversation with patients, with our listeners. 

[00:04:17] Samuel: Sure. I can, I can talk a very long time about this. So for the sake of brevity it may be easier. So I know where at what altitude altitude to come in, if you start by asking me some questions, because I. 

[00:04:37] Pamela: Sure. Yeah. so first of all maybe a little bit of information about your perspective on ADHD. I'm sure it's unusual because generally it's, it's considered a mental disorder, but your perspective is very different. 

[00:04:52] Samuel: Yes. just a couple of a few things, so that  folks know from where I come.  First I've spent, I'm a self-taught computer scientist, and I've spent the better part of 13, 14 years describing first order load, modal logic of first person experience. That's a big mouthful. So what is first person experience? It is me saying what I am experiencing right now. I say I am sad. I see this book. I see you. I am speaking to Pamela. That's first person experience and it has a logic that logic is similar and coincidentally, to story.

The logic of first person experience is the logic of stories. There's a beginning, middle and end. We reckon we instantly recognize when a story is happening and This is important because this is the big link with nature, the big link with nature. So the things that I tell people who are interested in me helping them have to do with history stories to make sense of why, how did we get to here?

[00:06:21] How did we get to calling a stable genetic variant a disease and it has to do with radical changes in our culture that began this particularly in healthcare in 1917. The man's name is Frederick gates. He was the person that directed the Rockefeller fortune into public good. And he saw the west European approach to medicine, which is essentially an engineering approach as a good thing for America, because at the time Americans were plagued with all kinds of impostors, hustlers, and charlatans selling snake oil for anything that ails us. And that didn't happen, that wasn't happening so much in Europe, there was more of this engineering approach.

It was very scientific. And so that got imported wholesale as a result of Mr. Gates directing literally in today's money, billions of dollars and professionalizing medicine and making it an engineering endeavor. And so. The engineering approaches. There's a problem. So let's engineer a fix and that became the standard.

One could not prescribe a therapy, a medication for anything other than a disorder. And it's like, it's nothing evil. It's just an unfortunate quirk of the way we are, we humans are when we come together in huge numbers  making money becomes you know, at first, when we formed agrarian societies, business was about social connection.

And then just the way we are it soon became just all about money rather than social connections. And that's what run rampant through the pharmaceutical industry. Every woman knows this: before 1950 there was no such thing as menopause. It was not a disease. And it became a disease because a pharmaceutica discovered how to extract estrogen like substances from horse urine, they patented it, they spent a lot of money on a public relations campaign and menopause became a disease. Something that naturally happens to every woman is now a disease. There's an international classification of disease code for menopause, for the expressed purpose of being able to prescribe a medication that may help.

[00:09:07] Okay. And I, you know, it sounds kind of evil, but it's just, it's just what we humans do. It's it's happened in so many ways in so many circumstances. Well, the same thing has happened to folks who have this stable genetic variant. I borrow the word coined by Richard Clark for folks with this stable genetic variation, Sentinels.

[00:09:35] So that's how I refer to people who come to me for help. And so what's a stable genetic variant. Well  you Kat and Pamela are females, I'm a male, we're both homo sapiens sapiens. So sex is a stable genetic variation. It's not a disease. We just come in two flavors. In fact, we come in lots and lots and lots of flavors and one of them is the Sentinel. And so  that's I think that in a nutshell is the, is how it's a pretty big nutshell how I, how I , explain what I do to people who seek me out for help my perspective. That's my perspective. 

[00:10:33] Kat: Yeah. It's really fascinating if I, if I can jump in it's it just made me smile. It's such a great example of how everything becomes a disease and a diagnose and you give labels to everyone, right? So like you have. You have ADHD, that's your label and now deal with it. 

[00:10:55] Samuel: That's right. That's right. And, and there's a wonderful man. He's a neuropsychiatrist. His name is Ian McGilchrist. He wrote a book called the master and his Emissary. It's about the hemispheric function. And in the first half of the book he goes into great detail explaining how a lot of the early stuff we thought was happening, what we thought characterizes the two hemispheres is wrong and what the state of the art is. And he's just a, he's just a wonderful guy, extremely well-read. The second half of the book provides a cultural argument, how the left hemisphere function has run amok in our culture.

And again, it's nothing evil or nefarious. It's just, we haven't evolved to live around so many people at the same time. And so some, some of our behaviors have run amok. I think anybody that looks at politics can say, yeah, that's true. SoThe left hemisphere can best be described as answering the question, "what" the right hemisphere answers the question, "how", and the, since 1950 the left hemisphere answering the question, "what", has run away, truly run amok. A very famous physicist, David Boehme, talked much about this and developed a mathematical way of re-examining quantum physics from the perspective, the right hemisphere answers the question, "how", and the right hemisphere does not use words.

It's like, . It's like, oh, that fits, what does it fit? It's a story. And what's the story. How to do something. The reason I'm making this digression is it's just fascinating to me because the right hemisphere, the one that answers the question, how responds to the color of green biomass. Isn't that interesting.

[00:13:15] Pamela: It's  very interesting. Yeah. I've never heard this expressed in this way that the left hemisphere answers the question of "what" and the right hemisphere answers the question of "how". It's so simple. It makes so much sense. 

[00:13:33] Samuel: So that's Dr. McGilchrist, it's his brilliance for laying that out.

[00:13:38] Pamela: Yeah. And, and so, How about the Sentinel? So the Sentinel, what that word means, is someone who looks out someone who stands guard, 

[00:13:49] Samuel: Correct. So the , there was a paper recently. Wondering why there are so many people with the "disease of ADHD".

The hypothesis of the paper was that if it's a disease, we should see it decreasing, it being negatively selected. And as far as anybody can tell, it's been rockstable. So just, just for a second, think how preposterous formulating that hypothesis. It's like a dude saying, being a woman is a disadvantage, is a disease, why are there so many women? It's like, well, besides the fact that all humanity come through women, it's holding up a false condition as normal. So there's disease and then there's normal norm. 

Kat: And we Created the normal. Yeah. 

Samuel: Yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes. So,The the, the, the connection with nature and a Sentinel.

So mother nature, God the Buddha doesn't matter, cosmic intelligence, doesn't matter. The words you describe the words you use to describe the big mystery doesn't matter that. Operator for lack of a better word has some tricks that everybody can acknowledge. And the tricks are groups do better than individuals and groups with variation do better than groups where everybody's the same.

And if, if we look at the most successful social species, On the planet that is it's easy to see from the smallest honeybees and weaver ants to us, homo sapiens sapiens, we come in distinct flavors. If you go to the isthmus of the southern part of this landmass, gigantic landmass going to Antarctica, you will find people who are small in stature their legs, their lower legs have highly developed musculature and, if you go over to the east coast of Africa, you find very tall people with markedly, darker skin who can run a hundred miles like it's nothing. And as examples of distinct types of homo-sapiens in muscular structures, skeletal structure, there are differences in neurologic structure.

So the name of the game, the trick that the operator, the great mystic operator has used, is saving energy towards the end of making more beautifully complicated balances, saving energy to make beautifully complicated balances. So a group does better than an individual because the group can utilize resources collectively better than an individual can and a group with distinct differences does a better job than a group that's all the same. Well, for us humans, the Sentinel as far as we can tell , um, reading a lots and lots of sources, have saved us energy. And it's really easy, really easy to make a comic book version of the evolutionary pressure.

So, sentinels appear to have an awareness that's big and round, and we, humans used to aggregate. Way before the agrarian revolution we aggregated in small groups, Robin Dunbar was the first to talk about this phenomenon of social groups. And so his name is attached to the number it's called the Dunbar number.

The Dunbar number from him for humans is somewhere between 50 and 150. Let's split the difference and say 75. So there's 75 of us moving around a hundred thousand years ago when life was brutal. That's between 200 and a hundred thousand years ago is the conjecture of when we became homo sapiens, sapiens, the hypothesis.

And so life was really, really rough. Half of all women and children died in childbirth of the children that survived only a third, made it to one year of age. Life expectancy was somewhere around the very early thirties. So the name of the game was surviving a really harsh environment. 

Well, of course the great operators threw up some variations. And one of the variations was the Sentinel, somebody with this big round nervous system. And how did that work? Well, one person looking out for danger, looking out for the way to go saves energy because that one or two people in the group doing that meant everybody in the group didn't have to do it.

[00:19:24] And yeah. It's easy to imagine us recognizing the Sentinel in our pre-modern state.So most kids, every parent will know this, most kids, if there's a big group of adults spontaneously the adults. You can see this at a playground. So adults form a circle around the kids and the kids all play together in the circle.

Well, Sentinels, people with this genetic complement, with this physically different nervous system, these kids are easy to spot. They, they run and they climb to the highest point on the jungle gym. And. Or they're running around the outside, you know, close to the perimeter of the adults, wandering out away from the group.

You know, they,  "come back here, come back here!". And it's only one or two of the kids in a group doing it. Okay. So in pre-modern times when we saw those kids, we like, oh, good Sentinel babies, because when they grunted or just stipulated run, hide, we adults, you know, 29 going on dead, didn't run over and say, "oh, what's wrong?".

We just started running in the same direction they were running. And in one fell swoop, the whole group is saved. That's a comic book version of the story, the right brain,  "How did we get here?". And so the amazing thing is that the right brain does not use words. That's a left brain, "What, what is this? It's a blank, blank, blank, blank, blank.".

Right brain is, it's like that click of the story makes sense. And it appears that our state of nature, pre-modern state of nature, the green of biomass just makes our right brain rejoice. And so the non-verbal stories get made that help us integrate. And, and like that sounds very mechanical. It's almost, it's, it's really mysterious.

And we should respect that mystery. That's a right brain thing. And we explain mystery by ways of story. And that was a mouthful. So thank you. Thank you for letting me ramble on.

[00:21:41]Pamela: So does it mean that the sentinels are more right-brain focused? 

[00:21:48] Samuel: I don't think so. I don't think so. It's it. So. What has happened, particularly after 1950 and lots of folks have written about this. This is not my, this is nothing original. I, this I'm regurgitating things. If anybody reads Richard Brown, the Rockefeller Medicine Men; Paul Starr's book, The Social Transformation of American Medicine; anything by Jared diamond. You just read all that stuff and just sit back. You're like, oh my God. 

[00:22:20] Pamela: Thank you for having read all these materials for us, you know, you can just, you know, share the, oh my God, I get it version with us. 

[00:22:30] Samuel: Sure thing. So it appears that what has happened, especially. So In the second before the second world war America was a nothing in terms of manufacturing, a nothing. By the end of world war II, we were, we made all of the tanks that the Russians used to fight the fascists we made most of the guns and ammunition. For all of the allied forces fighting fascism, we went from zero to the manufacturing superpower in the space of five years.And then the war ended. By the way, women were like the backbone of manufacturing, because all the men were dying on the battlefield. And so, we had this huge manufacturing capacity and no more war. And so  the plutocrats and the politicians were wringing their hands saying, oh my God, what have we got to do?

[00:23:36] And it was a very conscious decision to convert that manufacturing into making durable consumer goods, turning us into a hardcore consumer economy. And in order to do that, the, the principles of an assembly line, you know, you've got a line and you put stuff in boxes that got pushed out into culture big time.

And again, it's not evil. It's just, we humans, you know, we just didn't evolve to live so packed together. And so these weird behaviors and weird blindness is developed emphasis, underlined blindness developed as a result of being packed together and have to live together. Here we are transforming our culture and our society to make consumer stuff and everybody's happy. You know, rich people are happy. Consumers are happy apparently, but we had to make things, a series of lines and boxes. Think about the typical person going to work. They wake up in a box. They, move from box to box, room to room then to get to work, they have to go outside of a box and walk on a line, which is the cement going to their car.

They get in their car. That's a box, which is in another box, which is their parking lot or driveway. They drive out of that box onto a line, which is the street. And then. Yeah, they follow that line all the way to another box, which is the parking lot of where they work on and on and on the poor Sentinel with this big round fluffy radar dish nervous system that hell that's just living hell.  

For a Sentinel, before, if you're like, you know, on your horse or walking a trail and you see something interesting, a sudden I'll just walk towards. It check it out. No, you can't do that in a car. You gotta stay, you know, you can't jump the curb and go drive up to what's interesting.

[00:26:12] You have to force yourself to stay on the road, that constant drip of frustration , um, people wanting you to be in a box. Why can't you do this? Why can't you do this on time? It's like , uh, I'm just doing this to live. This is not interesting to me. That starts with, from a little kid that constant drip is erosive.

Okay. And it just a lot just doesn't make sense. Nobody, nobody says to a Sentinel, oh, you're a Sentinel kid. You know, you really shouldn't think about careers where you're going to be in a bunch of boxes. That's just like, that's it. You know, what are you going to do when you grow up? You're going to do do this kind of thing in this kind of box only options.

[00:26:54] So the, the, so that's the. That's the blindness that happens because our heuristics fail us. When we're packed together. We have no sense of history. We don't tell stories to each other anymore. It's always about "what, what, what, what, what, what, what are you going to do?" What, what, what answering the question, "What"? It's never a, "How ?". 

So the magic happens, when exposed to the, the green of biomass, the right brain is stimulated. And so the how gets answered and it's not, how do I get out of this thing where I am, where I'm unhappy.

[00:27:38] It's the, how is like I really like bouncing around. I really liked jumping from project to project, or I really like being up high and working. I really like responding to emergencies. And that's the, how, it's more of a how thing. It's not a, what I want to be. This, it's a, how I, when I do this, how I do this makes me feel good, how I respond and that it's not linear, like I'm describing in words.

And I'm using words, that's my left brain saying, what, what is the, how the, how just mysteriously and magically happens. And that's why I tell everybody just to walk in green, get it. If it's not, if you're in the middle of San Francisco, get in your car and drive to the Presidio and just walk where it's green.  Well, what will that do Dr. D? It's like,  just do it please. Don't I can't give you a what. Yeah, 

[00:28:46] Kat: That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. It makes a lot of sense. And it's really the taming of this modern society that we are so linear, it's the domination of the left brain, right. The words, and always needing a reason for everything that you do.

[00:29:02] Samuel: Yeah. 

 Kat: Naming everything. And then we have lots of research on the attention restoration, and I just love that the Sentinel is simply somebody who is very much needed, who saved energy to the whole human kind. And it's kind of celebration of diversity rather than a disease or a diagnosis.

[00:29:24] Samuel: Yeah. Right. And I just, sorry. Yeah, no, no, no, please. 

[00:29:32] Kat: Now it just brings me to the case, you know at least in my surroundings, most people diagnosed with ADHD or add. The so-called disease or condition their children, right. And once a child, like I'm imagining an eight year old who all of a sudden they observe him or her, and then they diagnose them with ADHD.

And all of the sudden you have this being different, right? You have this not belonging, being weird, being treated differently, needing special, special approach, indeed. And so I'm just wondering if that's another aspect of nature or how nature is healing this, because in nature, one of the aspects that we have is really  again, feeling that we belong, that we are part of the whole.

[00:30:25] So maybe that could be another aspect of why such a walk that you prescribe to your , uh, clients can be healing as well. 

[00:30:35] Samuel: Yes, ... my personal I only have three things. I, I feel a responsibility to highlight from where the things I say, come in just three buckets. First is data. That'll be a highly regarded journal article or a book,the second is my clinical experience,  years of experience helping sentinels. And the last is a wild ass guess a WAG. And that's more a one-on-one thing. And I tell people, "Look, you choose it's your body. My job is to help to keep you safe". So, what I'm about to say is from the second bucket, my clinical experience. For those people who have gone, who have done it, who have taken the walks, it doesn't happen right away. They don't feel anything. And I keep telling them, you know, they say Doc, it, I feel the same way. I'm like, "keep doing it".  

Then,you know, after some time, just regularly walking ... I advise them go to places where there's not people and you can't hear cars as much as possible.

[00:32:02] So the times where I've had the privilege of people, you know, calling me and say, Hey, doc, let's talk. This is what I hear. "I had an insight." So if I must use a, "what", that's the general word for it. It's an insight. That's  the way I can summarize what people tell me, they use different words for insight, but it's an insight and the insight is  radical. 

They clearly see that they could not have gotten this insight, just doing what they were doing. It was related to taking the walks, especially when there's no people around, it's just them and green biomass. So I don't know if that's what you mean by healing, but that's, that's my personal experience. I can actually write down the names of these people who said that to me too.It's very, very specific. And it's, it's that it's. Profound insight. 

[00:33:13] Kat: So it will be the combination of nature as such, the green biomass and the silence the solitude, and 

[00:33:21] Samuel: yes, yes. I think for many sentinels being so highly sensitive when there are other people around. They're clocking that, you know, that's, that's how their nervous system appears to me to be designed as to like, okay, who are you?

I don't know you. I'm checking you out. And so they're not, you know, that's a, what, what, what, what, what, what, and it's not just absorbing the green and letting that silent machinery work on the right side. 

Kat: Yeah. 

So I think that's what the ... not being around people, how that promotes the insight.

So let that machinery run. 

[00:34:07] Pamela: So it sounds to me right now that, you know, beyond finding. Like a cure or, you know, relief from the so-called symptoms actually for sentinels being immersed in nature is a way to really tune in with the gift of what it is to be a Sentinel where they can really discover their brilliance, their creativity.

[00:34:34] Samuel: Yes. Yes. So the way the difficulties that sentinels have appear to me is, and people who work with, clinicians who work with folks like this, know this as well. It's circumstance driven. So the 20 years of looking at it, there's three things that are really clear.

If a Sentinel has been appropriately identified and they've had the opportunity for themselves to figure out their own medication regimen and use it as needed. It's not an everyday. They use it as needed. Three things are true first, their personality doesn't change. Second, there has been no documented case of addiction.

[00:35:26] None in 20 years of looking for it just doesn't happen. Third, no long term damage to their body. And so when a Sentinel uses their optimal regimen that they figured out themselves, it's really clear the insight that happens. I'll give you an example. This is a true story. So of a person that got out into nature more.

She was a program manager and she was like really flailing square, square, square, square, square. Found her optimal stimulant regimen, was doing really well. And, you know, it's like her, her immediate boss recognized it and started giving her raises. And her immediate boss was actually talking to the CEO of the company about how well she was doing.

So her immediate boss called her in to give her a promotion. Along with another raise and the CEO happened to be walking by and he stuck his head in and said, I've been hearing about you. And I actually have a job for you in an entirely different department that you should try. And she said, okay, let me think about this.

And of course, she went out and took a walk in green biomass, and then she came back and she said, Yes, the CEO, she had a clear path of success with her current boss getting another raise and a promotion, but she jumped into an entirely different department that the CEO wanted, where the CEO wanted her to work and it suited her round awareness, nervous system much better. And she was ecstatic and she told me that she needed less stimulant to function because she was in a better circumstance given her gift. That's the punchline. 

So what I have observed is people making better choices about what to do next. When they avail themselves, avail their right brain to the magic of the biomass. That is nature. That's what I have personally observed. And so that's from the second bucket and my clinical expense. Does that make sense? 

[00:37:57] Kat: Yes. Yes, definitely. And I'm just thinking  because it really reminds me of people who are highly sensitive, it makes sense. Right? So the Sentinel is basically a person who is highly sensitive, 

[00:38:10] Samuel: right. A big around fluffy radar dish awareness. 

[00:38:15] Kat: Yes. Yes. Yeah. It makes so much sense. Indeed. And just wondering about , cause I've read some research and I've been interested in how or why nature sounds, even though this is no silence, right? So we, if you hear birds, if you hear the wings and you hear the wind, so what is happening in the brain that it is calming for us and it's not like noise. It's not disturbing. You have a theory about that or observation.

[00:38:51] Samuel:  Yes. So I can, I can quote Charles Darwin, the last page of The Origin of Species here, let me pull it up where yes. On the last page of The Origin of Species he says, and I quote, "it is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting around with  worms crawling through the damp earth." and he called it a tangle. 

Now let's jump over to the revered meditation manual called Visuddhimagga, loosely translated The Path of Purification. And in it, the question is posed about  the tangle. It says the inner tangle and the outer tangle. This generation is entangled in a tangle. And so I ask of Gautama, the Buddha, this question, "who succeeds in disentangling, this tangle?"

 I find that utterly remarkable Darwin grasped the fractal nature of nature. It's just this tangle of tangle of tangle. And it's all these stories. It's the bird story and the trees story and the bug story and the river story all intertangled together.

[00:40:47] Kat: That's beautiful.

[00:40:48] Samuel: And witnessing the tangle the master, our right-brain as, as Dr. McGilchrist calls it, the master, our right brain, the story maker is the only thing that can grasp all these tangles and it's wordless. It's not a what? It's not, I get this because, because, because, because, because.  It grasps it as a whole.

[00:41:12] So all the sounds of the birds, the rustle of the leaves and the Sentinel's nervous system, this is my hypothesis. Tuned to differences on the periphery in this tangled biomass. And it's just calling to the sensitivity, subtle, subtle sensitivity. What does subtle mean? Subtle just means I ain't got words for it. Left brain can't do it. That's all. It means that the non-word ... it's there, I get it ...How do I describe it? That all happens in the master, the right brain. And it's stimulated, not unsurprisingly by the green of biomass where the tangle is. That is from where we've come. That is from where we've come. 

We think of ourselves as a product of our modern culture. We're we're still not long in terms of evolutionary time. We are not long out of the biomass. A hundred thousand years is nothing in DNA time, nothing. It's a blink. It's a fraction of a blink that is from where we've come. Not from the buildings we, in which we live from the tangled bank of the biomass. So it's, you know on the street we say, you know, game recognize game, well, nature recognizes nature. That's our right brain, the master. 

[00:42:56] Pamela: So whether we hear the sounds or I think it also applies to, you know, visions, you know, movies, films, images of nature. We recognize that.

[00:43:15] Kat:  Nature recognizes nature. That's so beautiful. Yeah. And also I love that you… because the first time that you used the word tangle, then my association is kind of messy or we are messed up. We are tangled - but actually I love this shift of perspective that nature is a tangle of diversity.

[00:43:36] Samuel: Yeah. Yeah. 

Kat: All of these things being a whole and the right brain knows that and the Sentinel feels that they just, it's just difficult to put in words. And you can feel that you are unable to kind of work in the society if you're not able to express 

[00:43:55] Samuel: Yes. Yeah. 

[00:44:03] Pamela: I had this experience just yesterday evening. I went for a walk as the sun was setting. And I started this walk, really feeling tangled inside of me. Like my brain was tangled. There was, different streams of thoughts and emotions and It was uncomfortable. And I was just, walking and looking around. And there was a moment where it's almost like that tangle just didn't exist anymore. It doesn't, it's like nothing changed except all of a sudden it's like, I was just noticing the world around me, this, the setting sun, the smells, the grass was blowing in the breeze a little bit. The grass is very tall, right now. There were no people. And my brain suddenly felt clear and I had this beautiful inspiration for something that I had been thinking about, a week ago. I wasn't even thinking about it, I was just stuck and I let it go. And this creative inspiration came and made me so happy. And that whole inner tangle just was irrelevant. 

[00:45:27] Samuel: If I may use the vocabulary of the Visuddhimagga to describe what happened. I'll say it again. The inner tangle and the outer tangle, this generation is entangled in a tangle. And so I ask, Oh, I'm sorry. I get so emotional reading this stuff.

[00:45:50] It's so profound. And so I asked Gautama this question, "who succeeds in disentangling, this tangle?"... it's to it's to you unite as a strange word. The inner tangle and the outer tangle to come together so that it's not, it's not, it's not tangle anymore. It's me. This is me. And when I see me, that's my insight.

[00:46:19] That's my liberation. When I feel me in my story, that's my, that's my salvation. I'm in my right place at my right time. Here in this moment when the insight happens.

[00:46:41] Kat: Hmm. This is so, so inspiring. And I think I'm gonna  take, especially two things with me like for a walk to nature and just contemplate about it. And one of them is really what you just said about the inner tangle and the outer tangle coming together. And that's me, that's the insight. That's the salvation. That's the wholeness. And  the second thing is really nature recognizes nature. That's that's a very profound way of saying it. Thank you so much, Samuel. 

[00:47:20] Samuel: You're very welcome. Yeah, my pleasure, 

[00:47:25] Pamela: I feel like we, we just traveled. We journeyed together and I'm really appreciating you and your insight and your wide perspective.

[00:47:43] Samuel: Oh, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to speak. Thank you. 

[00:47:50] Kat: Yes. Yeah, there is some very deep wisdom. And I also love the perspective of seeing us as diverse beings and celebrating that. So coming from love rather than trying to fix everything as a disease, as a, as a diagnose, but yeah, celebrating these special traits that we are carrying the gifts that we have. Basically "we nature". So, thank you so much for joining us. 

And I hope our listeners were enjoying as much, as much as I did. I'm just really inspired. So thank you. Thank you both for, for this beautiful conversation. And just to close up, we invite you to simply take a walk into the green biomass and just reflect to see what insight comes , if you are going to feel something from the tangle that we were talking about, if you are going to feel that nature recognizes nature or any other aspects of this conversation.

[00:49:20] Pamela: And I just want to add really quickly that , um, if you're interested to listen to more of Dr.D's podcasts, he has his own podcast. Where can people find that?

[00:49:33]Samuel: So the, the practice website is and that's just so people know what it's about, but there are some blogs. There are podcasts there answering some specific questions that are germane to Sentinel. 

[00:49:58] Pamela: Great. Thank you so much.

[00:50:00] Samuel: Oh, you're very welcome. Yeah. Thank you. 

[00:50:03]Pamela: You can subscribe to one in nature on lots of different podcast platforms. And if you'd like to support our work and also get occasional special treats from us, please join us on  

[00:50:30]The next seven minutes are guided breath work with Dr. D. It's simple yet quite potent. And we invite you to try it out and enjoy it on your next walk outdoors. We asked Dr. D what kind of a simple practice he would recommend to our listeners to disentangle and balance the inner and outer tangle that he spoke about and in the following segment, he's sharing one of his own regular practices with us.  

[00:51:04] Samuel: When I offer something to someone,I look for , um, evidence of benefit across large numbers of people with proof of testing and adjustment.

And there's a huge amount of evidence from the military and the security agencies on the efficacy of four by four breathing for helping us slow ourselves down. And it's taught to veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. It's taught to soldiers to keep themselves calm in a firefight.

And it's proven tremendously effective. And so it is the thing I use for myself and it is what I tell anybody that asks me for help understanding how to slow oneself down. The reason it works is because breathing is the only vital function in our bodies. That is both under conscious and subconscious control by vital I mean, if you stop breathing, you die. Heart rate is a vital function and we do not have direct, conscious control over our heart rate kidney function. We have no conscious connection to our kidney function. I can't suddenly think and make my kidneys work. So that's why breathing works for helping us slow ourselves down. 

[00:52:33] The four by four breathing I do is natural. Okay. And the key is balance. 

When I walk, I slow down at the edge of where we humans make ends and what is blossoms. And I slow my breath. First, I take a big inhale and exhale with a sound. Sounds like a nice relaxing side. Like I'm sinking into a hot tub.

And I do that two or three times with that a few times. I don't know how many, as long, as much as it takes and inflate my lungs really big to get that kind of an exhale. And then I fall into a rhythmic breathing. It's an evidence-based approach. It's called four by four breathing. Speed doesn't matter. Balanced. Inhale for a count of four hold for a count of four exhale for a count of four hold for a count of four. I get that pattern going and it's smooth and easy equal sides of a square.

Inhale. 2, 3, 4, hold 2, 3, 4, exhale, 2, 3, 4, hold two, three.

Inhale. 2, 3, 4, hold 2, 3, 4, exhale, 2, 3, 4, hold two, three. it's reminiscent of waves on a beach, the sound of the wave coming in, splashing on the beach, and then the wave receiving until the next wave comes in. Inhale 2, 3, 4 hold. Three four, exhale, 2, 3, 4, hold 2, 3, 4. If that is too slow, if I feel myself struggling or becoming out of breath, I simply speed it up.

The key is balance inhale. 2, 3, 4, hold 2, 3 4, exhale, 2, 3, 4, hold 2, 3, 4, inhale 2, 3, 4, hold two, three. Exhale, 2, 3, 4, hold 2, 3, 4. I tried that two or three times. If I'm struggling at that speed. If that's too slow, I speed it up. Even faster. Key is balance.Inhale. 2, 3, 4, hold 2, 3, 4, exhale, 2, 3, 4, hold 2, 3, 4, inhale 2, 3, 4, hold two, three.

And then I focus on just maintaining that balance until it's natural. 

And as I start to walk, I am aware that I'm entering a land with no language made of words. It's like a foreign country and I need to. Live in this foreign country. And my only hope is sensing feelings that are similar to emotions. They're hard to describe, but recognizable. And I just, I need to learn this thing in this new way.

And as I'm breathing, I realize I have to be very quiet inside myself. And I usually will pick up some stiffness in my knees or my hips. And so I stop and I just bend my knees and stretch out and twirl my hips and stretch my arms so that the sounds of my. 60 plus year old body don't crowd out.

Anything else all the time, doing my balanced four by four breathing. And when those sounds inside me are as quiet as I can make them. I begin to slowly move. And feel .