Jevan Pradas is the author of The Awakened Ape and creator of the blog The Tribal Way. He uses evolutionary psychology to hack the human mind and body and combat the society he deems bored, anxious, fatigued and overweight. In his book he argues how a unique synthesis of a Palaeolithic lifestyle and Buddhist meditation can teach you how to achieve a deep state of bliss and shape your body into the fit and healthy animal millions of years of evolution programmed us to be. Here, he outlines ten imperative principles of tribal societies.
Our ancestors grew up in small bands of people who counted on each other for their survival. Contemporary studies on well-being show that what separates happy people from the rest of us is the strength of their social and romantic relationships.
The daily grind on the African Savannah involved walking great distances in search of food, carrying heavy buckets of water back and forth from the stream to the campsite, fetching firewood, and the occasional fight or flight with a dangerous animal.
Hunter-gatherers' diet consisted of natural foods such as game meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts. There was no processed food to go around back then, and consequently they enjoyed a robust health unimaginable by today’s average person.
Sleep comes in a variety of different forms around the world, especially outside the west. Whether you have to get your sleep all in one go, indulge in an afternoon siesta, or enjoy polyphasic or sporadic sleep like some hunter-gatherer cultures, the important thing is to get plenty of it. While those of us in the west are often sleep deprived, hunter-gatherers' chief complaint was too much sleep!
A variety of studies have shown the benefits of being immersed in nature range from improved health to a calm mind and better concentration. Our ancestors lived amongst the flora and fauna like wild animals. Flowers, trees, landscapes, camp-fires, sunsets - enjoy them.
According the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA, the average person thinks 70,000 thoughts per day. Constantly wrapped up in this tornado of worry, thoughts of the future and past is both stressful and exhausting. Hunter-gatherers, in contrast, lived almost entirely in the present moment and had a remarkable lack of worry or stress. Hunter-gatherers are said to be the first meditators - staring at the flames of a burning fire and allowing their thoughts to drift away. Meditation, yoga, and relaxation techniques such as slow breathing should be incorporated into your daily routine.
Meaningful work, and not too much of it - that is the key to a happy profession. Hunter-gatherers spent no more than 20 hours a week foraging for food. Most of their day was spent enjoying abundant leisure activity - playing games, singing songs, gossiping with friends, and taking naps. Figuring out how to accomplish this in our workaholic modern society is the big challenge.
In the Maasai tribe of Africa, a boy is not considered a man until he has killed his first lion - with a spear. Can you even being to fathom the courage this takes? Nietzsche famously said: “Whatever does not kill you, makes you stronger”. The Tribal Way doesn’t recommend you becoming adrenaline junkies, but occasionally pushing boundaries, taking risks, and exploring new horizons can imbue one with a profound sense of competence and confidence.
Tribal societies regularly engaged in community dances and rituals. They sang songs, painted their bodies, wore masks, and adorned themselves with jewellery.
The happiest people to ever walk the face of this planet are the shamans of hunter-gatherer societies and the enlightened monks and yogis of the east. While the safest way to reach these elevated states is through advanced meditation techniques, this also takes the longest. Psychoactive plants such as magic mushrooms, peyote, kava, and marijuana have a long history of use in tribal societies. The more intense psychedelic trips should be only explored under the supervision of an experienced user as they are in these tribal cultures. If done correctly and safely, these trips can deliver life-changing insight into the magic of reality. The high doesn’t last however, and that is why we here at The Tribal Way instead recommend hardcore meditation so as to be able to achieve these amazing states of mind safely and on command.
By Jevan Pradas.
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