“How could she do something like this to me?” said a voice in my head. All the time. Everyday.
Hey YOU! Read this article first :)
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 343814 [post_author] => 16 [post_date] => 2014-11-13 14:05:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-11-13 19:05:49 [post_content] => As some of you may have noticed, I have not been very active on HE in the last year or so. Yes I've had my hands full with a number other projects, but the truth is that I had lost much of my passion for developing this community. HE evolved into an *infinite* stream of content that is often repetitive and potentially overwhelming. More is not always better. I can only appreciate the same quote overlaid on universe backgrounds so many times ;) I think this has diluted the 'mind-blowing' mission I wrote out almost 6 years ago (wow, can't believe it's been that long!) So Martijn and I decided to figure out how to transform it back into a website that would be a constantly open tab in our browsers each day. The result? You guessed it :)
HE 5.0 !!!Unlike with the last 3 major updates, we are giving you all a detailed overview of the coming changes so we can be sure this is something the community will love. We would really appreciate your input in the comments! The two themes of 5.0 are: Minimalism - The design is more simple with lots of breathing room, and there will be less content but held to a much higher standard. Community - HEthens are what make HE great. You amazing people who are passionate about life and helping others along their path. Many of the changes in 5.0 aim to create more inter-user interaction and to catalyze stimulating discussions are the content.
***WARNING****: The layout and functionality of 5.0 is drastically different from the current site, and most anything else you've seen on the interweb. It will take a day or two get used to, so bear with us and give it a honest chance :)
The New Features
Submitting external linksWrote an awesome blog? Found a mind-blowing article or a Reddit discussion that you think HEthens should read? Now you'll be able to post any external URL, which can then be voted upon and discussed via comments. You can also post image galleries instead of just single images, so comics or art collections can now stick together :)
A brand new way to browseThe Pinterest-style stream is a beautiful concept, but we found it to make the browsing experience more overwhelming than efficient. The new interface will be list-style, ordered by user votes. When you click on a post, it slides in without reloading the page, allowing you to view and comment without losing your place. Example below...
VotingVoting is even more important on 5.0 since it dictates what shows up on the front page. Please help us decide which posts deserve to be seen! FYI we shifted from 'loving' posts to simply 'upvoting' to encourage more voting (since 'love' is such a strong verb).
Discussion-focusedWith that Pinterest-style layout, there was no way to write comments on images/videos/quotes without clicking through to its individual page. So there was never any discussion surrounding those posts. This new design, however, will make commenting front-and-center to stimulate valuable discussion around content submissions.
Moderated SubmissionsOnly a select group of 'contributors' will be enabled to submit images/videos/quotes/links and have them published automatically. We will start out with 100 HEthens who have shown their dedication to HE through the years. Once you have submitted a certain number of posts that are approved, you'll be auto-upgraded to have your post published immediately. This does a few things:
"To fathom Hell or soar angelic, just take a pinch of psychedelic." -Humphry Osmond
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 344299 [post_author] => 29116 [post_date] => 2014-11-17 15:48:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-11-17 20:48:17 [post_content] => The following is an account of two separate experiments with LSD, both privately done, within the span of three weeks. They were my first attempts at psychedelic exploration on my own. The experiences ranged from feelings of ecstasy and divinity, to horror and detachment.
My Naked Experiments With LSD: The YinEmpty apartment in New York City, healthy breakfast of eggs and avocados, and I was ready to drop the tab of acid, only after taking a pill of 5-htp. After about a half an hour, I laid on my brother’s couch to listen to some soft electronica. It was his apartment, and everyone but I had left to go to work. My work was about to kick, the work on my psyche. The music was soothing, but it wasn’t what I was looking for, so after another half hour, I forced myself up and walked around a bit. The apartment had taken on a new life and I was experiencing all of it. I found a long full-length mirror on the wall, and I decided to inspect myself. I had heard many stories of people seeing aged versions of themselves when they looked in mirrors whilst on a psychedelic but it had never happened to me. I guess that is a good thing. But as I started to look at myself I decided that if I was going to examine my face, then I would have to examine my entire body, for what is the face but only a small feature on the vast expanse that is my physical being. I disrobed, fully. Even underwear would hinder my complete understanding of what I feel about my body. Growing up as an American citizen, or rather a member of the western advertising-infested culture, I knew I harbored some resentment towards my physical self and it manifested itself as I realized how tense my body actually was when looking at myself naked. I relaxed my stomach muscles, my shoulders, and I looked on, scanning up and down the body and at times focusing on my genitals. Almost instantly, upon staring at my penis, I understood (a thought appeared that presented itself as so obvious that it was silly I had not thought it before) that I had demonized my own sexuality for far too long. I had unconsciously considered my desires as impure, as something that would block my spirituality, something that should only be discussed in hushed voices. It isn’t hard to see why I had these unconscious guilt surrounding sex. As a child, I was told to cover my eyes when a couple kissed on the television screen. We just weren’t supposed to see these things, and if a child can’t process them, how can an adult, spawned from that child, process the idea of sexuality? An image of two unicorns, both cartoonish, one male, one female, wrestling and playing around on a cartoon rainbow popped into my head. I was “told” that I needed to treat sexuality as play, as innocent and natural as wrestling unicorns on a rainbow. Even my animalistic desires or passions should be regarded as beautiful, not dirty. With a laissez-faire attitude towards my sexuality, during that day, whenever I’d feel the urge to touch myself, I let myself do it. Realizing that it was okay and not dirty to touch myself, I lost the urge to masturbate. No longer was there a suppressed guilty desire that I wouldn’t allow myself to face until I had to find some release through momentary ejaculation. It felt like I was getting a grip on my sexuality. Later on, I fantasized about beautiful women, incredibly vivid visuals of them due to the LSD, and it engaged me sexually, but I kept reminding myself to treat it as innocent, because that’s what it was. My hunger was staved off with a very healthy, and normally unsubstantial, meal of Persian salted pistachios and carrot juice. Both belonged to my brother’s roommate, and I found no appetite to eat anything else. The two foods seemed to completely satisfy any need my body had. Not only was the meal delicious, I was caught in awe of the beauty of the pistachios. Their colors mesmerized me. The starry-night blue, the royal purple, the budding flower green, and the passionate orange, all lured me in, and I was examining the little nuts the same way a scientist examines a specimen. I had never paid much attention to pistachios before but now it seemed as though an event of cosmic significance was transpiring before my eyes. Inside of my hands, a stunning visual array, that was similar to the formations of galaxies and the deaths of stars, was unfolding. Within seconds of noticing the cosmic beauty, the image that was forming on the pistachio changed to one of a bleeding heart. The same colors, the same texture, and yet now I could see the organic human heart beating inside of my hand. I laughed with delight that within this tiny, delicious, nut package I was able to contemplate everything from the cosmos to human anatomy. After some time, I decided that I needed to meditate, so I went about setting up a nice pillow and blanket to wrap myself in and I set the timer on my phone to thirty minutes. That’s when the mayhem began. I use the term mayhem lightly of course, but with the feeling and understanding of time becoming meaningless, I experienced hours of beauty and inspiration that measured out to be simply minutes in clock time. It was as though every time I would close my eyes and focus my attention on my breath, I would dive deep into a psychological underwater realm where answers were given to all of my deepest questions without any hesitation. The experiences I had could not be explained in terms of logical thought, because it was more than that. These were the “awe inspiring” epiphanies that one feels to be true, in the core and throughout the body.
My Naked Experiments With LSD: The YangTwo and a half weeks later, I, again alone, dropped another tab of acid. This time I had the sanctity of my own childhood home to explore in. I had several intentions for this experience, the most pertinent being, ”What is my greatest fear?” Going into any psychedelic trip with the intention of understanding your darker nature is bound to bring up uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous, thoughts and images. The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide warns those who wish to guide others’ psychedelic experiences of people with such dark intentions, expressing the possibility that those people may get stuck in those darker areas. With the confidence that meditation will be able to solve any mental ill that I may encounter, I took the tab of acid, turned on music, put on blinders, took off all of my clothes, got into my bed and proceeded to enter into my subconscious. My music of choice for the afternoon was Phillip Glass, whom I had encountered many times throughout my life, but only became aware of him as a composer just the day before, while searching for appropriate “tripping” music. The profundity of Glass’ music moved me so much that I contemplated my death and the effect that it would have on my loved ones. I seemed to be more disturbed by the idea that my family would have to grieve my loss than I would be disappointed at losing my own life. Am I really not scared to die? Most likely the answer is I am scared to die and I am not acknowledging it, but at that moment, I cried more at the idea of what my father would have to experience if he came home that day to see his son, dead. I cried endlessly at the meaninglessness of life, at the impermanent nature of all that we attach our minds, souls, and hearts to. After being fed up with the emotional turbulence caused by Glass’ music and then my stomach was fed up with the strawberries I munched on after my short break from the music, I returned to my room and picked up the assembled pile of photos and my high school yearbook. The photos were a collection of images from my childhood, pictures with family and without, which I had put together just before the effects of the LSD started to kick in. This idea came from the short, but moving, book The Secret Chief Revealed. I do have to note that not once, up to this point in the trip or after, did I experience the mind-body understanding that I felt the prior trip. It all felt as though I was stuck in my head, and out of my body, out of touch with my surroundings. This was quite off-putting, and amongst other factors, probably led to my less than positive experience. The pictures moved me and pushed me to start appreciating all the work that my family had put in to make me the man I am. I felt great love and admiration towards my brother, 8 years my elder, who, for much of my life, had been a parental and masculine role model for me. I did not thank him enough. As for the whole family, I contemplated the beauty and harmony of my “tribe” of people, and simultaneously, I cried at the idea that one day this family would just be another that existed as a memory, gathering dust, on the shelf of history. Appreciation for others aside, I also started to realize my younger self’s beauty through the years. One memory that has long been ingrained in my head is the day when I could not have been older than ten, I stared into my sister’s full-length mirror and I kept repeating to myself that I was “so ugly”. I bring up this memory, not as a plea for pity or sympathy, but as an astonishing fact of the incredible strength that the world had on the perception of beauty and self-love of a small boy. At the age of ten, I was sure that I had been stricken with a case of the most horrendous ugliness. Upon addressing this fact, I gazed into pictures of myself from high school and younger, and I whispered, “you’re so beautiful”, over and over, as though the picture needed convincing. As I did this, the pictures themselves morphed, not literally, but my perception changed, until I could see how naturally beautiful I actually was. I cried, tears of happiness and love flowed freely. Two stages of the trip that I had wanted to address were now finished; the pictures and the eyes-closed session of listening to music. Now, it was on to the final portion; the meditation. I set the timer for one hour, but I ended up sitting for close to two. The meditation was not an enjoyable experience. As I mentioned earlier, there was no body- mind connection, it was all in my head, and I felt as though I was losing my touch with reality. As detachment increased, I was motivated to gain greater presence and consciousness over my physicality. Nothing I did seemed to bring me closer to my body, and this upset me. I asked the tough question, “What is my greatest fear?” and I was answered. Images of death, gruesome murder and worse popped into my head, and I tried to relax into them but I was almost convinced that I was a killer. The image of a hefty masked killer, donning leather aprons and masks, standing in a dungeon flashed in my mind, and it greatly worried me that were I to remove that mask, I would find myself, staring back at me. It would take days before I would be able to integrate the idea into a healthy self-image. You may be asking yourself, “How does one incorporate a latent serial killer persona into a healthy self image?” and I will address that in the next section. Building on that idea, an elaborate visual sprouted in my mind’s eye and it was a massive, moving representation of imperialism, or fascism, or whatever you may call a violent attempt to take over the world. At the top of the image was the head of Wile. E. Coyote, the Looney Tunes character, donning a general’s hat and black aviator sunglasses. The red background and the rising, expanding image, formed by individual rotating pieces of silver, that seemed to resemble weapons, and formed a pyramid as it grew, seemed to insinuate it was the symbol for dictatorial growth. As I stared in awe at this new image, I contemplated the idea of dictatorship and tyranny. I understood that had I, or anyone, had the power to become a dictator or tyrant, I would behave just as the animals, the Hitlers, the Husseins, the Stalins, that we all judge to be inhuman, would. It made me mad, and it made me scared. I spent the remainder of the trip, sitting in quiet meditation, with a mind agitated beyond the meditative state. I could not calm down my thoughts, nor could I suppress or relax into the images and thoughts I was experiencing. I felt foggy and disassociated and I had trouble staying present. I was disturbed and worried that I may be a killer and have hateful thoughts towards all humanity. Over the following days, I was able to calm my agitation and integrate the lessons I had to learn from the experience. In some respects, I may have learned more from this second, darker experience, than from the first, lighter one. Final Thoughts: Yin-Yang. The first experience was, unquestionably, positive. The over-all light nature of the entire trip, the feelings of connection and good will, the clear lessons that were demonstrated, dictating specific actions to take to create a more quality life, all contributed to the experience. The latter experience may be seen as negative, but, as expressed before, by integrating the lessons I had learned from it, it made me more “whole”. It forced me to face the darker aspects of my being, see that all the hate and negativity that occur in this world and in my life is a part of me, just the same as the love that I find is a part of me. As we play this game of life and death, we are faced with this ultimate position of the light and the dark. There cannot be one without the other. Light must have dark in order to be understood. Thus, if we want to understand our lighter aspects, then we must confront the dark aspects of our beings, so that we may be able to fully integrate the entire experience of life, and not just suppress what we consider “evil”. Alan Watts explains that those who achieve self-realization are considered holy, because they have become more “whole”, by understanding their light and dark nature. The lesson to be learned from the images of death and the idea of tyranny that I experienced is that we must understand the darker aspects of our beings, not opt for deluded thinking of positivity. With the understanding that “evil” may arise inside each of us, and not just an unlucky few, our attitude towards it starts to change. Our sympathy towards those we see as the dark one starts to change. We start to feel sympathy and we start to try to understand, instead of suppress or even over identify with it. Suppression of anything leads to an unhealthy balance, and I am a perfect example of that. I attempted to suppress my sexuality and I had (and potentially still have) a feeling of guilt and dirtiness surrounding something so innocent and beautiful as sex. I attempted to suppress my masculinity and my darker emotional side, and I ended up realizing unconscious thoughts of death and tyranny. What’s ironic is, that for so long, I believed myself to be very self-aware. How many of us are guilty of this fallacy? The experience of the “negative” trip also provided me motivation to deepen my meditation practices. As the thoughts popped into my head, it became a signal for me to become more conscious of myself, my mind and body, and to stop leading a life of unconscious habits. So, when we start to question which experience was the positive one, and which was the negative, the question fades away when we instead focus on the question of how useful each trip was. In that sense, both were positive. [post_title] => My Naked Experiments With LSD [post_excerpt] => "To fathom Hell or soar angelic, just take a pinch of psychedelic." -Humphry Osmond [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => my-naked-experiments-with-lsd [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-11-19 17:21:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-11-19 22:21:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=344299 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
My definition of truth is “something you keep stumbling into, again and again, in different forms.” I, like most people, spent most of my life wanting a quick fix for my suffering. My biggest...
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 343728 [post_author] => 58377 [post_date] => 2014-11-11 16:07:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-11-11 21:07:08 [post_content] => My definition of truth is “something you keep stumbling into, again and again, in different forms.” I, like most people, spent most of my life wanting a quick fix for my suffering. My biggest epiphany (and greatest disillusionment) was when I realized that all the life lessons I’d learned, all of the epiphanies I’d had about my healing and happiness, would have to be relearned again and again. Though I’ve seen the truth, I keep losing it and, then, having to find it again. I am, like everyone else, on a journey of my own, a journey where I encounter the same truths as everyone else in my own unique forms. Of course, I do (and will continue to) get lost. All I can do is laugh it off and find my way back to the path once again. I hope this article may serve you as an external memory device. Without further ado, here are the 6 life lessons that I already know, but keep forgetting (and then remembering again).
1. No one has any idea what they’re doingI used to think that happy, healed, successful people knew something I didn’t, some magic secret that made them 100% certain of themselves. I thought doubt only came in times of trouble. Now, I know that doubt is a healthy and necessary part of every human life. And that even the most successful person faces uncertainty in life. We must be willing to question everything in order to get anything. We must be willing to call truth a lie before we can find it. And still, doubt comes and, then, I doubt myself for doubting. C’est la vie.
2. We’re all fighting the same battlesWhen I was little, I was horrified by my stretch marks, thinking I was the only person in the entire world who had them. I felt like a freak. Soon enough, I realized that they happen to most women, and even most people. While it’s natural to feel like our obstacles, challenges, and problems are different and horrible compared to those of others, it’s simply not true. Everyone has fears, insecurities, regrets, and scars. Most of the time, silence and fear of vulnerability are bigger problems than lack of similar experience.
3. Before I can fix something, I have to accept itJust like you cannot program a GPS without a starting location, you cannot change yourself without accepting where you are before that change. Ironically enough, the number one thing that I’ve found stands in the way of a person loving themselves is their constant, unrelenting, self-induced pressure to hurry up and love themselves. Even more ironic is when I realize that I’m trying to force myself to be better at helping people stop forcing themselves to be better. What can I do but laugh and try again?
4. I’m in control of very littleEspecially as a people-helper, I always have to remind myself that I have no real control over other people, especially their will to change. I thought, for a while, that the only thing I could control was myself, but even that is questionable. Can I really control myself? When I practice yoga, I cannot control how deeply I go into the poses. When I am faced with criticism, I cannot control the fact that fearful thoughts come. Even when I choose to change my behaviours or change my perceptions, I have no control over how quickly change happens within me. I find that most of my negative emotions come directly from this - from my trying to control things that are not under my authority.
5. I must exercise the control I do haveWhile I cannot change people, I can certainly work on myself, do my best, and present myself authentically to other people, thereby setting a good example. While I cannot control how quickly I become more flexible or more resilient to criticism, I can choose to exercise my mind and body each day. I can control my choices. I can choose to perceive things differently, to be aware of my own behaviours and thoughts, and to take responsibility for nourishing myself, one day at a time, one choice at a time. If I focus all my energy on doing this, I forget about trying to control that which I cannot.
6. Questions are more important than answersI try very hard to embrace the impermanent nature of things, but at best, I’m attached to my rituals of detachment. I ask myself what I need, right here right now, always willing to receive different answers. And still, I become comfortable with the answers of today. Sometimes, I stop asking the questions because I think I’ve found the answers. Then, when those answers aren’t right anymore, I feel a deep sense of loss, knowing I need to plunge into the unknown and ask again. I remember, again and again, that the greatest wisdom in this world is to be able to ask the same questions for a lifetime, always willing to receive different answers. That is the way to truth. [subscribe]
What about you? What lessons do you find yourself learning again and again?[post_title] => 6 Life Lessons I Already Know, But Keep Forgetting (And Then Remembering Again) [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 6-life-lessons-already-know-keep-forgetting-remembering [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-11-23 17:36:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-11-23 22:36:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=343728 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 7 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
Leonardo da Vinci needs no introduction from me. Nearly everything that can be said of him, has already been said… Some claim he was a superhuman genius polymath with an IQ of 210, five...
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 344928 [post_author] => 77249 [post_date] => 2014-11-24 10:00:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-11-24 15:00:56 [post_content] => Leonardo da Vinci needs no introduction from me. Nearly everything that can be said of him, has already been said… Some claim he was a superhuman genius polymath with an IQ of 210, five hundred years ahead of his time. Others say that he was an opportunistic idea thief, only modifying the designs of the better inventors that came before him. A few even believe that he was a prophet and left hidden symbols, codes, and upside down animal shapes in his paintings (that’s a topic for another post…or not). But whatever you think of Leonardo da Vinci’s place in histories’ list of top IQs, there’s one thing that’s agreed upon by both the conspiracists and skeptics alike. The man was a damn good artist. So damn good, in fact, many art historians (and artists) have brandished him with the title of ‘the most technically gifted artist that’s ever walked the earth.’ Not bad, eh?
TheWhile it would be foolish to argue that Da Vinci’s artistic talents were not in some way down to his genetics – i.e. some people have better visuospatial cognition than others – it would be just as foolish to argue that his environment did not play a huge role either. Leonardo was born an illegitimate child (bastard), which made his career options limited to say the least. He was not allowed entry into universities or to continue in his father’s noble profession as a notary. Rather than simply accept this exclusion, he decided to use it is as creative fuel in an intellectual rebellion that would go on to shape the rest of his life. So what I can’t go to university, they don’t know everything anyway. I would rather learn from nature and from experience than some boring professor. As a young boy Leonardo began taking paper from his father’s office, which was very expensive at the time, and go out into the woods to make drawings of plants and animals. It was these drawings that Leonardo’s father showed to his artist friend Andrea del Verrocchio, who at the age of about fourteen, Leonardo joined as an apprentice artist. The bad hand society had dealt Da Vinci, it could be argued, was one of his greatest gifts. It gave him an uncomfortable chip on his shoulder that spurred him to constantly challenge and surpass the commonly held ideas of groupthink.
Da VinciTalent Code“I have removed the skin from a man who was so shrunk by illness that the muscles were worn down and remained in a state like thin membrane…”In the wonderful book ‘The Talent Code‘, the author, Daniel Coyle delves deeply into the science of what makes people like Leonardo “tick.”“It seems almost impudent to presume that we can draw useful lessons from the Renaissance—the hotbed of all hotbeds. After all, we’ve been conditioned to think of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli et. al. as quasi-divinities—the ultimate natural geniuses of the art world. But in fact, every one of those “divinities” were once seven-year-old kids, learning skills just like any other kid. While we obviously can’t recreate the combination of cultural/religious/historical forces that set the stage for the Renaissance (not to mention parents who enjoy sending off their seven-year-old to work full time as a painter’s apprentice instead of school), but we can do something just as powerful. We can look at the behaviors and methods—at the combination of deep practice, ignition, and master coaching—that systematically built some of the finest skill-circuits the world has ever seen.”Coyle discovered that when we practice a skill, an insulator-like substance called myelin thickens around our neural circuitry, which in turn makes us more talented. More Myelin = More Talent The type of practice one engages in is the determinant of how quickly our myelin sheaths thicken around our neural circuits. Good practice, Coyle explains, must test us and stretch our abilities right up to the edge of frustration. Talent without the motivation to ceaselessly improve will never lead to mastery. So that brings us to the question… How did Leonardo practice his art? What sketching techniques did he use to ‘stretch’ his abilities? As a fellow artist and somewhat of a Da Vinci nerd, I’ve searched through countless Da Vinci notebooks and biographies for these answers. Listed below, are the results of that search. Da Vinci himself, and his students used the following 9 sketching techniques repeatedly. They are meant to challenge you and stretch your drawing capabilities. They are not intended for the creation of pretty pictures. They are exercises. Training. Practice. Work. Treat them as such. [subscribe]
1. Draw Moving ObjectsThere were no cameras or Internet back in the renaissance so Da Vinci didn’t get his subject matter from Google images. He drew from life. But Da Vinci being Da Vinci took this ‘sketching from life’ a step further than most. He drew water, storms, birds, running horses, faces in the midst of angry outbursts and groups of laughing men. In the best biographic portrait of Leonardo, Serge Bramly, on the rapidity Leonardo cultivated by such practice:“Observing and drawing (and imagining or reflecting) were operations that very soon for Leonardo became much the same thing. Hand, eye, and brain became coordinated through determined training. He gradually turned himself into a sort of living, thinking, and inventive camera (he wrote of “becoming like a mirror” – an intelligent and critical mirror). Drawing seems to have been almost second nature to him. He saw to perfection, then judged and reproduced the subject, seemingly without an intermediary between retina and paper: his thought was formed in the movement of his hand as his hand interpreted his vision. He could work so fast that one sometimes feels one is looking at a form of shorthand.”Because we cannot depict every detail of the world around us, good drawings, one could argue, are simply the result of a series of decisions made by the artist about what to include, and what to leave out. “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary,” Picasso famously said. There is no better way of training yourself to eliminate the unnecessary and notice the most important elements of a particular object, than by drawing it while it’s on the move. Da Vinci, knowing this, instructs fellow artists to:“Keep a sharp lookout, for figures in movement, in the streets, in the squares, in the countryside, and note down the main lines quickly: that is to say, putting an O for the head and straight or bent lines for the arms and the same for legs and trunk; then when you get home, look back at your sketches and give them finished form.”Some of Da Vinci’s anatomical drawings are still used in many medical schools, as references to this day. His study of the human spine is one of the best anatomical drawings ever created. The astonishing attention to detail Leonardo possessed wasn’t a gift from god, rather a skill cultivated by sketching techniques just like this one found in a note he left himself:“Tomorrow make some silhouettes out of cardboard in various forms and throw them from the top of the terrace through the air; then draw the movements each makes at the different stages of its descent.”Do as Leonardo instructs. Go to a bustling place and make quick notes of the people going about their business. Go to a park and draw the birds or the ripples of a lake. Watch a gymnast or a wrestler on YouTube – without pressing pause. Draw moving objects.
2. Copy From The MasterLeonardo was an assistant artist to Andrea Del Verrocchio for roughly 10 years. Back then artists were not so precious over their work as they are now. It was quite common for assistants to learn their trade by painting small sections of their master’s paintings such as shrubbery or sky and work their way up. However, if their painting style was too incongruent with their master’s then the piece would look wrong (think Van Gogh doing the scenery in the Mona Lisa). In order to avoid this problem, students would spend a good deal of their time copying their master’s work. Not only was it great practice in it’s own right, it was good for business. Verrocchio’s style is very present in Leonardo’s early paintings. Leonardo, later in life, would often instruct his own pupils to copy his drawings, in the same way that he had copied Verrocchio’s.“The artist ought first to exercise his hand by copying drawings from the hand of a good master. And having acquired that practice, under the criticism of his master, he should next practise drawing objects in relief of a good style, following the rules which will presently be given.”Recently it was discovered that while Leonardo worked on his most famous painting, The Mona Lisa, a student of his, with his own canvas, copied along with him; stroke for stroke. Both are highly finished paintings of extremely high quality but if a picture says a thousand words, this comparison is an essay on just how skilful a painter Leonardo was.“The youth should first learn perspective, then the proportions of objects. Then he may copy from some good master, to accustom himself to fine forms. Then from nature, to confirm by practice the rules he has learnt.”Choose four Leonardo drawings that look difficult and copy them in the same medium they were drawn in. After this, draw from life incorporating the ‘rules’ you have learnt from this technique.
3. Play Perspective GamesThe act of turning self-improvement into a game (gamification) is hugely popular nowadays. Whether you want to get fitter or learn a new language, there’s a gamified app that can fulfil your needs. Leonardo, it probably won’t surprise you, was also a huge fan of gamification when it came to art. Perhaps he really was 500 years ahead of his time?“When, Oh draughtsmen, you desire to find relaxation in games you should always practice such things as may be of use in your profession, by giving your eye good practice in judging accurately of the breadth and length of objects. Thus, to accustom your mind to such things, let one of you draw a straight line at random on a wall, and each of you, taking a blade of grass or of straw in his hand, try to cut it to the length that the line drawn appears to him to be, standing at a distance of 10 braccia; then each one may go up to the line to measure the length he has judged it to be. And he who has come nearest with his measure to the length of the pattern is the best man, and the winner, and shall receive the prize you have settled beforehand…such games give occasion to good practice for the eye, which is of the first importance in painting.”He was constantly testing and stretching his visual perspective skills even when he wasn’t drawing. As Michelangelo said “An artist paints with his brains, not his hands.” Playing perspective games is an incredible drawing exercise. I have modified Leonardo’s approach into something slightly more practical but no less testing: Take a ruler and mark off the exact number of centimes you estimate an object to be, while standing 10 feet away from it. Challenge friends and family in a game.
4. Draw Both The Divine And The GrotesqueWhile we now think of Da Vinci’s work as things of divine beauty, a few centuries ago, they were infamous for the exact opposite reason. In the Victorian era all around Europe, these ‘grotesque’ heads, as they came to be known, were Leonardo’s most reproduced pieces of art. Did he have some strange fascination with strange looking people? If one were to read the work of Vasari, Leonardo’s earliest biographer, one might think so:“Leonardo was so pleased whenever he saw a strange head or beard or hair of unusual appearance that he would follow such a person a whole day, and so learn him by heart, that when he reached home he could draw him as if he were present.”Luckily, Da Vinci provides a hint at his reasons for producing these drawings in his notebooks. And in typical Da Vinci fashion, it’s rooted in artistic self-improvement:“The painter should aim at universality, because there is a great want of self-respect in doing one thing well and another badly, as many do who study only the [rules of] measure and proportion in the nude figure and do not seek after variety; for a man may be well proportioned, or he may be fat and short, or tall and thin, or medium. And a painter who takes no account of these varieties always makes his figures on one pattern so that they might all be taken for brothers; and this is a defect that demands stern reprehension.”Da Vinci, the polymath that he was, saw no value in doing just one thing well. “The artist holds the universe in his mind,” he often wrote. Drawing and painting was a self sustaining curiosity factory for Da Vinci. His need to depict the world accurately drove him to study everything in it. And the conclusions he made were tested in the result of his finished work. Do not doubt that Leonardo was thinking of the sinews and the nerves and the ligaments and the skeletons of the people he had dissected, while he was working on The Mona Lisa.“Nor is the painter praiseworthy who does but one thing well, as the nude figure, heads, draperies, animals, landscapes or other such details, irrespective of other work; for there can be no mind so inept, that after devoting itself to one single thing and doing it constantly, it should fail to do it well.”Draw obese people; slim people; muscular people; landscapes; strange animals; things you are not accustomed to drawing. It will make you better at drawing the things you wish to excel at.
5. Fix Things In Your Mind Through DrawingTo illustrators and conceptual designers the ability of being able to draw well from one’s head is essential. To Fine Art students, however, this practice has become somewhat of a lost art form. This is a shame… Do you really think Michelangelo had a model in every position in the exact right lighting as a reference for every person depicted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling? And do you really think the model in The Mona Lisa posed for Leonardo for the 7 years it’s estimated it took him to complete? Of course not. I’m sure if they could have worked from photographs and models they would have. It’s easier and it’s faster. But because they didn’t have that option, they were forced not to learn anatomy, lighting and perspective, but to master it. Renaissance artists internalized the visual alphabet and learnt how to paint stories with it. They transcended copying and became creators.
“Creativity feeds on limitations.”Leonardo would learn and test his ability to fix objects in his mind like this:“When you want to know a thing you have studied in your memory proceed in this way: When you have drawn the same thing so many times that you think you know it by heart, test it by drawing it without the model; but have the model traced on flat thin glass and lay this on the drawing you have made without the model, and note carefully where the tracing does not coincide with your drawing, and where you find you have gone wrong; and bear in mind not to repeat the same mistakes. Then return to the model, and draw the part in which you were wrong again and again till you have it well in your mind.”Repetition is an essential part of mastering any skill. No musician or athlete or surgeon or hairdresser or skateboarder could ever reach a high level without practicing the same drill over and over again. Art is no different, and Da Vinci knew it. He too, was a very accomplished lyre player. Perhaps he took the learning strategies he picked up from playing the lyre and applied them to art. In the same way that a concerto pianist will have C scales and D minor chords stored up in their head, ready to come out at a moments notice. Da Vinci had noses, and postures and animals up in his:“If you want to acquire facility for bearing in mind the expression of a face, first make yourself familiar with a variety of [forms of] several heads, eyes, noses, mouths, chins and cheeks and necks and shoulders: And to put a case: Noses are of 10 types: straight, bulbous, hollow, prominent above or below the middle, aquiline, regular, flat, round or pointed. These hold good as to profile. In full face they are of 11 types; these are equal thick in the middle, thin in the middle, with the tip thick and the root narrow, or narrow at the tip and wide at the root; with the nostrils wide or narrow, high or low, and the openings wide or hidden by the point; and you will find an equal variety in the other details; which things you must draw from nature and fix them in your mind.”Find a photograph of an object and copy it a few times. When you start feeling confident, try and draw it from your head. When finished, compare it to the photograph and make a note of the differences. Repeat until you can draw it from your head perfectly (or there about).
6. Draw In The Company Of OthersMany artists have no problem showing people their favourite finished pieces; few the processes that made them. Creativity is a messy practice. The first drafts of the best novels are often ugly and the initial sketch an artist lays down on canvas, often uglier. Leonardo urges us not only to embrace the uncomfortable feeling one gets when a drawing doesn’t go to plan, but to showcase it to the world:“I say and insist that drawing in company is much better than alone, for many reasons. The first is that you would be ashamed to be seen behindhand among the students, and such shame will lead you to careful study. Secondly, a wholesome emulation will stimulate you to be among those who are more praised than yourself, and this praise of others will spur you on. Another is that you can learn from the drawings of others who do better than yourself; and if you are better than they, you can profit by your contempt for their defects, while the praise of others will incite you to farther merits.”Good artists care more about the quality of their work than the frailty of their ego. Good artists are pragmatic. They view all set backs and criticisms as opportunities and feedback to improve with:“Certainly while a man is painting he ought not to shrink from hearing every opinion. For we know very well that a man, though he may not be a painter, is familiar with the forms of other men and very capable of judging whether they are hump backed, or have one shoulder higher or lower than the other, or too big a mouth or nose, and other defects; and, as we know that men are competent to judge of the works of nature, how much more ought we to admit that they can judge of our errors; since you know how much a man may be deceived in his own work.”Find a family member or friend and ask them if they’ll watch you draw. Tell them that you’re bad at drawing in front of other people and you think the challenge of doing so will help advance your artistic skills. Ask them to pick out faults and problems with your drawing as you go. Nine times out of ten you will have already noticed the problem, but the one time you didn’t… that’s the lesson. To see how Leonardo used mirrors to gain objectivity over his work see this article.
7. Draw DraperyLeonardo spent countless hours in his apprentice days drawing and painting drapery. It teaches one the importance of patience, light values and structure like nothing else can. Drawing drapery is just as challenging (if not more) as drawing a nude model. The added benefit is that drapery doesn’t move or charge by the hour. Place a single coloured blanket or curtain over a chair. Set up your light source so that it doesn’t constantly change and draw. Oh, and take your time…“Many are they who have a taste and love for drawing, but no talent; and this will be discernible in boys who are not diligent and never finish their drawings with shading.”
8. Draw The Same Thing From Multiple AnglesI remember asking my old art teacher once, “Why is drawing from photographs not as a good as drawing from life?” He replied, “Because you can’t look behind a photograph.” I was young at the time and didn’t really understand what he meant. Why would I want to look behind what I’m drawing? I’m only drawing the front. My art teacher, like Da Vinci, understood that a good artist doesn’t just copy. A good artist simplifies, deconstructs, reinterprets, and understands his subject matter. Many of the worlds greatest portrait painters openly admit that the better their personal connection with the person they’re drawing, the better the finished portrait will be. All our eyes see is raw jumbled light. Our brain takes this light and sorts it out into objects with form and texture. Sketching things from multiple angles makes our brains better interpreters of light. Children draw what they think something looks like; amateur artists copy what they see; master artists draw what they understand. Sketch a person from multiple angles. Imagine you need to make a record of how they look but you have no camera at hand. Even though you’re using different viewpoints, there should be a basic likeness between them all.
9. Draw In Your Mind’s EyeLeonardo wasn’t just an artist who could shade well and draw clean lines. He placed just as much emphasis on the composition and content of his art as he did it’s technical rendering. The triangular composition, the eye lines, and the curved centreline which extends into a finger pointing to the heavens, were all carefully chosen by Leonardo to tell a story. For centuries artists have experimented with drugs for inspiration, but this was not Da Vinci’s style. He had a cleaner, albeit stranger, method:“I cannot forbear to mention among these precepts a new device for study which, although it may seem but trivial and almost ludicrous, is nevertheless extremely useful in arousing the mind to various inventions. And this is, when you look at a wall spotted with stains, or with a mixture of stones, if you have to devise some scene, you may discover a resemblance to various landscapes, beautified with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys and hills in varied arrangement; or again you may see battles and figures in action; or strange faces and costumes, and an endless variety of objects, which you could reduce to complete and well drawn forms. And these appear on such walls confusedly, like the sound of bells in whose jangle you may find any name or word you choose to imagine.”Our minds are natural hallucinators. When we lack external sensory input our brains manufacture their own. This phenomenon can be seen in full effect with the use of sensory deprivation chambers. If you don’t have one of these, a bedchamber will suffice.“I myself have proved it to be of no small use, when in bed in the dark, to recall in fancy the external details of forms previously studied, or other noteworthy things conceived by subtle speculation; and this is certainly an admirable exercise, and useful for impressing things on the memory.”For inspiration deprive your mind of interesting stimulation so it comes up with it’s own. Stare at a stained wall, the clouds, into space or close your eyes and let your mind wander. Design a composition with the results of this exercise.
Sketching Techniques from Leonardo da Vinci Final ThoughtsThe ability to draw technically well is like a guitar player who can play extremely fast. It’s an added string to your bow. What really counts is the ability to move people, to present ideas and questions that stir up our emotions. But, the problem is that artists who lack any technical ability will struggle to communicate their ideas to their full effect. We need to be able to do both. Remember:“The painter should aim at universality, because there is a great want of self-respect in doing one thing well and another badly…I’ll leave you with some final words from Serge Bramly on the end result one can expect to achieve if they work hard at Leonardo’s sketching techniques:“In his studies of flowers, bodies, machines, and whirlpools, depicted in the minutest detail, or of birds in mid-flight, he finally achieved a mastery comparable to that of Zen archers who have come to identify so clearly with their weapon and its target that his arrows hit it without their having consciously taken aim.”Find your target. Take aim. DRAW. There’s a common myth that Leonardo da Vinci was a ‘chronic procrastinator’. To find out why this wasn’t the case and get an insight how Leonardo viewed topics like starting and finishing, check out this article here. [subscribe]
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I have a confession to make… I know meditation is meant to be good for you but I don’t meditate every day. I go through cycles of meditating 20 minutes a day and then slowly ‘forget’...
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I have a confession to make…
I know meditation is meant to be good for you but I don’t meditate every day.
I go through cycles of meditating 20 minutes a day and then slowly ‘forget’ and slide into not meditating until I feel I need to — until I feel like crap.
But recently things have been different.
For the last 30 days I’ve meditated for 25 minutes in the morning, 25 minutes in the evening and taken multiple 5 minute mindfulness breaks throughout the day.
I’ve written posts on the myths of motivation in the past going into the science of what makes people tick, but what I didn’t mention is what I believe the ultimate motivator is: reasons to act.
Simple I know, but when you have enough reasons to do something, motivating yourself to do it becomes a non-issue — this is why I tell everyone to read a book on a habit they want to change.
Bombarding your brain with reasons to act makes motivation easy.
I didn’t eat any vegetables until I was 20. I read a book on the benefits of healthy eating and I’ve eaten them every day since. “Vegetables are good for you” is not a good reason to eat them.
But after I read that book I had so many compelling reasons to eat nutritionally dense food it was harder not to. The same goes for any habit.
Want to give up smoking? How many books on anti-smoking have you read?
I decided to take this ‘bombard your brain’ approach with meditation. For the last few months I’ve researched countless books, studies, and lectures to find out the benefits of meditation and now I’m going to share these 26 Scientifically Proven Superhuman Benefits of Meditation with you!
*Spoiler alert* Meditation really can make you superhuman.
The Mind of a Meditator
In Social Psychologist Daniel Goleman’s book Destructive Emotions, he recounts his experience of performing the first scientific studies on the mind of a mediator. Among the scientists present were Richie Davidson, a neuroscientist, and Paul Ekman – one of the worlds leading researchers on emotions.
The Dalai Lama himself, who helped this meeting of the minds between East and West, said of it, “I want to put everything under scrutiny, what doesn’t work, even if it was there for thousands of years we’ll take out.”
He gave the scientists his right hand man Lama Oser to study — a European monk with over 30 years of meditative experience.
They tested him on various parameters.
This is where our story of the superhuman benefits of meditation begins.
1. Insane Equanimity and Wellbeing
The first thing they looked at was Lama Oser’s left-to-right prefrontal cortex activity ratio. People who are happier tend to have a higher left-to-right ratio in terms of brain activity, more neural pathways on the left side of the prefrontal cortex than on the right side.
The happier you are the larger that ratio is. Also, left-to-right ratios predicts how quickly you will recover from stresses both psychologically and physically.
Lama Oser’s ratio was measured and compared to a sample of 175 people. He was quite literally off the chart.
This off the chart prefrontal cortex activity ratio asymmetry suggests insane levels of equanimity, well-being and resilience to setbacks.
But this is not the only thing they looked at in Lama Oser…
2. Body Language Expertise
Paul Ekman has revolutionised the way we understand emotions and facial expressions. The lead character in the TV show ‘Lie To Me‘ was based on him and his research. Ekman was the first person to discover what he coined micro expressions — fleeting millisecond expressions that reveal our true emotions.
Ekman has tested hundreds of people on their ability to detect these subtle expressions from FBI agents to clinical psychologists and college students. When they tested Lama Oser nobody could have predicted the results.
Lama Oser was the best at detecting these subtle expressions Ekman had ever recorded.
Along with body language expertise this tells us two further superhuman traits Lama Oser had.
3. Empathic Intelligence
The ability to recognise emotions in other people is associated with levels of empathy. If Lama Oser was the best at detecting these micro expressions they’ve ever tested, by default, he also had more empathy than any other person they’ve ever tested.
4. Super Fast Cognitive Functioning
Empathy alone wouldn’t have helped him notice these super fast micro expressions. They last sometimes hundredths of a second. Lama Oser’s mind must have been sharp, focused and fast to catch them and process them. Faster that anyone else’s they tested.
5. No Startle Response
Paul Ekman has been studying the startle response in people for decades. The startle response is what happens if something loud or surprising happens to us suddenly. I’m sure you’ve experienced it. We blink for a millisecond; it’s an innate reaction.
They find it in every single person. Even in policemen and women. They practice their shooting all the time, constantly, yet every time the gun goes off they blink slightly – they startle. Everyone has a startle response.
Or so they thought…
Lama Oser was the first person in recorded history to suppress his startle response. When he is meditating, he is so relaxed, so focused on whatever he’s meditating on that nothing startles him.
Because there is a strong correlation between levels of anxiety and how easily somebody startles, the implications for this are huge.
6. Negotiation Expertise
Practicing meditation didn’t just affect Lama Oser, it also influenced everyone he interacted with. They did this experiment where they had him sit down with Western scientists and talk about controversial issues such as why scientists should give up science and become monks and reincarnation.
He interacted with two people. The first was a chilled out scientist. They both had a good chat and remained calm. Then they brought in the second scientist and they picked this scientist because he was extremely contentious, harsh and intolerant. I guess they were just curious what would happen.
Here is what that argumentative scientist had to say after the discussion:“I couldn’t be confrontational. I was always met with reason and smiles. It’s overwhelming. I felt something like a shadow or aura and I couldn’t be aggressive.”
The scientist was calm and friendly, something totally unexpected. Lama Oser’s levels of equanimity rubbed off on him. Emotions are contagious.
But what does this prove? It’s fantastic and shocking but do we also have to meditate for 30 years to reap similar benefits?
Let’s find out.
7. Less Anxiety
There are a few problems with the Lama Oser studies. The sample size was very small. The study showed correlation not causation (perhaps it was genetics), and well, the guy was a monk. We don’t all have 30 years to spare.
This is where Jon Kabat-Zinn comes in.
Jon Kabat-Zinn came up with an experimental design that had a control group and an experimental group. The control group signed up to a mindfulness meditation program but remained on the waiting list. The experimental group, who were compared to the control group, did a meditation program.
The program was 8 weeks long. They meditated on average for 45 minutes a day, they did a little bit of yoga, mindful breathing, body scans and had workshops talking to them about meditation.
In this experiment Jon Kabat-Zinn showed that the benefits of meditation don’t just apply to monks. In just 8 weeks, those who meditated achieved significant changes, both mentally and physically.
The first was a significant decrease in anxiety levels during the program and after compared to the control group.
8. Better Mood
The scanned the participant’s brains in the Jon Kabat-Zinn study. Like Lama Oser their left-to-right prefrontal cortex activity ratio changed compared to the control group.
Their positive emotions increased and their negative emotions decreased.
9. Stronger Immune System
Jon Kabatt-Zinn also injected participants with a cold virus to see how their immune system would respond. Those who were in the program had a stronger immune response and recovered faster.
The benefits of meditation are not just psychological, but physical.
The Lama Oser experiments and the Jon Kabat-Zinn experiment made the world, and the science community, start to take notice. From here on out I’m going to list some really unexpected superhuman benefits of meditation.
10. Improved Decision-Making
Imagine you are betting money on a slot machine. You allow yourself to spend $50. Even though after an hour of betting you haven’t won a dime, you’ve repeatedly come close to winning the $10,000 jackpot. Problem is, you’ve just spent your fiftieth dollar.
Seen as you’ve already spend so much time and money, rather than let it all go to ‘waste’, perhaps you should spend another $10 to at least recoup your losses. Somebody has to win, right?
This type of thinking is irrational (easy to say that when it’s not you) and known to the critical thinking crowd as the sunk-cost fallacy. It’s a subtle form of cognitive distortion that negatively affects our decision-making. Whether it’s putting more money into a failing business or simply deciding to endure a film you’re not enjoying because you’ve paid for it.
But we can get around it.
With just one 15-minute focused-breathing meditation we can de-bias our brains and make smarter decisions. By bringing our attention into the present moment we can think clearly about our decisions and avoid ruminating on past events, which can distort our thinking.
11. Slowdown Neurodegenerative Diseases
A pilot study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center suggests that the brain changes associated with meditation and stress reduction may play an important role in slowing the progression of age-related cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
After an 8 week mindfulness based stress reduction program the Alzheimer’s patients who took part showed less cognitive decline than the control group.
They also reported higher levels of wellbeing, which in turn also improves recovery.
12. Enhanced Creativity
The two main ingredients of creativity are divergent thinking — coming up with lots of ideas — and convergent thinking, solidifying those ideas into a single ‘aha moment‘.
Cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and her fellow researchers at Leiden University performed a study looking at the effects of two different types of meditation practices on divergent and convergent thinking.
Meditation improved convergent and divergent thinking. Interestingly, the type of meditation had an impact on which type of creative thinking was most improved. Free association meditation improved divergent thinking more that focused attention meditation.
13. Accelerated Learning
George Mason University professor Robert Youmans and University of Illinois doctoral student Jared Ramsburg asked a selection of students to meditate before a lecture and compared their test results with a control group who didn’t meditate.
They found that not only did the short meditation help students focus and retain the lecture information better, it also served as a good predictor of who would pass and who would fail
Meditation helps you learn faster.
14. Lower High Blood Pressure
Roughly 1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure increases one’s chances of developing heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure and kidney disease.
A meta-analysis of nine randomised trials conducted at the University of Kentucky showed that Transcendental Meditation (repeating a mantra) was the equivalent of adding a second anti-hypertension agent to one’s routine but without the side effects.
They compared Transcendental Meditation to other relaxation techniques but found that Transcendental Meditation was the only intervention that significantly lowered high blood pressure. I suspect that other forms of meditation will yield similar results but we need more research to really find out.
15. Increase Attention Span
Anyone who has ever meditated knows that focusing on one thing for any amount of time is harder than it seems. From the outside, sitting in a quiet room and placing one’s attention on the breath seems easy. There is a reason why buddhists refer to meditation as ‘training the mind.’
In one of the most comprehensive meditation studies to date, a group of researchers took 60 participants and split them in half — one became the control group, the other went on a three-month meditation retreat. The ones who went on the retreat showed continuous improvements on a difficult 30 minute attention test compared to the non-meditators and the results lasted for five months after the retreat.
Meditation improves your ability to concentrate and hold your attention on boring stimulus. This ties into accelerated learning and productivity.
16. Less Loneliness
Feelings of loneliness and social isolation are damaging to our physical and mental health, especially in older adults.
In a study at Carnegie Mellon University’s J. David Creswell, looking at 40 older adults, they found that just 30 minutes of meditation a day for eight weeks not only decreased feelings of loneliness but also reduced the risk of inflammatory diseases.
Creswell added “It’s important to train your mind like you train your biceps in the gym.”
17. Combat Cravings and Addictions
My philosophy when it comes to changing habits is to approach them side-on. For example, if one wants to become more productive, instead of trying to force yourself to work longer and harder hours, strategic breaks might help them more.
If someone wants to lose weight, before giving them a diet and workout plan I ask them to simply start weighing themselves every morning and recording the results. Every wave starts as a ripple.
Researchers at the University of Oregon put this ripple philosophy to the test. They sought volunteers interested in reducing stress and improving their performance. In actuality, the experiment was designed to explore how meditation would impact smoking behaviour. Unbeknownst to the participants, it did — they curtailed their smoking by 60%.
The meditation didn’t force participants to give up smoking; it simply improved their levels of self-control and emotional regulation. It changed their habits side-on.
18. Higher Pain Threshold
A study conducted at the University of Montreal compared 13 Zen meditators, all of who had at least 1,000 hours of practice, with a control group of non-meditators to see whether regular meditation practice would effect the perception of pain.
They tested the subject’s pain response using a calibrated heated rod on their calfs. The zen meditators experienced overall 18% less pain.
An extreme example of the insane equanimity meditation can provide in the face of extreme pain can be found in this shocking image of a Vietnamese monk who, historically, didn’t move or scream out once during his self-immolation.
But you don’t have to meditate for thousands of hours to reduce the sensation of pain. A brief intervention of 20 minutes of meditation for three days has been shown to have lasting pain-reducing effects.
19. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Our brain’s plasticity is a gift that allows us to continuously improve and expand our horizons. The flip side is that under certain conditions our brains can change in an instant, and for the worse. This is essentially what post traumatic stress disorder — a stress so significant, our psyche literally and instantly rewires our neural pathways into a disempowering configuration. Meditation can help reverse this.
A new collaborative study from the University of Michigan Health System and the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System shows that veterans with PTSD who completed an 8-week mindfulness-based group had significant PTSD improvements compared to the control group. 73 percent of patients in the mindfulness group displayed meaningful improvement compared to 33 percent in the treatment-as- usual groups.
Another soldier focused study looking exclusively at the preparation and recovery of war situations corroborated the benefits of meditation on PTSD, anxiety and depression.
20. Deeper Sleep
In a study done on 11 insomnia patients aged 25-45, relaxation techniques performed in the day were shown to improve the quality of their sleep at night.
Sleep latency, total sleep time, total wake time, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, sleep quality and depression improved in patients who used meditation.
21. Improved Hearing
In a study conducted at the University of Oregon music students were given a 15 minute guided meditation before listening to a 10 minute excerpt of Giacomo Puccini’s opera ‘La Boheme’. Their peak experiences and ‘flow’ were measured and compared to a control group who didn’t receive the meditation.
Overall, 97 percent of the participants who meditated had either one or several moments of flow or aesthetic response. Of the 69 subjects who engaged in mindfulness, 64 percent thought the technique had enhanced their listening experience.
Attention is manipulable. By training our mind to be present we can listen to what is actually there instead of listening to what we expect to be there.
22. Visuospatial Memory
When we glance at an object our mind can only retain the image for a few seconds. That’s why artists constantly look back and forth every few seconds when they draw. There are, however, stories of monks who are said to be able to hold complex images in their minds for minutes at a time.
In 2009 a study looking at whether visuospatial memory can be improved was carried out. Those practicing Deity Yoga, where they hold an image in their mind, where shown to have ‘significant’ improvements in their visuospatial memory following their meditation practice. More research needs to carried out to see how other forms of meditation effect visuospatial processing.
If the enhanced creativity, decision making and attention span wasn’t enough to get artists and engineers meditating, hopefully this will.
23. Compassionate Mind
No superhuman would be complete without improved compassion.
When the Dalai Lama first visited the Western world he was shocked to find that our understanding of the word ‘compassion’ tends to refer to acts of kindness only towards others. The buddhist word for compassion, karuṇā, means compassion both for yourself and to others. The Dalai Lama thought it was ridiculous that someone could hope to be truly compassionate towards others if they didn’t first feel compassionate towards themselves.
The good news is that we can all become more compassionate. In a study performed at Northeastern University College of Science showed that even a brief meditation intervention made their participants 50% more compassionate.
24. Turn Down Distractions
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology report that meditation helps increase alpha waves in the brain — a wave that turns down the volume on distracting information.
If you find yourself easily distracted by trivial things, meditation practice will help you focus your attention and zone out competing stimuli.
25. Autonomic Nervous System Control
Your autonomic nervous system is out of your conscious control — it’s involuntary. You can’t tell your immune system how much it should respond to a particular threat any more than you can consciously digest your food. But then again not all of us have spent years of our lives meditating like Wim Hof, aka The Iceman.
Wim Hof can withstand cold temperatures that would kill an ordinary person. To find out how, Dr. Peter Pickkers and his team at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre measured Hof’s immune response after being injected with bacteria during his meditation. He was able to suppress his immune response by 50% compared to the other 240 participants studied. He also had hardly any flu-like symptoms and had decreased inflammation.
Wim Hof really is a superhuman. He claims its due to his meditation practice.
26. Clearer Skin
New research is coming to out that shows stress might have more of a hand in skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis than previously thought. We know that meditation is one of the best ways of reducing stress, therefore it can indirectly help reduce inflammation in the skin.
Superhuman Benefits of Meditation Conclusion
I’ve listed 26 superhuman benefits of meditation. The truth is I could have listed a 100. There are new studies constantly coming out showing how meditation can improve our lives and the people we come into contact with.
Meditation has been around for 2,500 years but was never taken seriously until a small group of positive psychologists had the courage to break the mould and put these ancient ideas to the test.
Even though I write about a variety of topics here at Comfort Pit, I class this site primarily as a positive psychology site because at the heart of positive psychology is the idea that we can look at the most incredible individuals in the world in hopes to incorporate a little bit of that incredibleness into our own lives.
With meditation you can do this. Start today.
This post is republished with permission of the original author.
This original can be found at ComfortPit.com[post_title] => 26 Scientifically Proven Superhuman Benefits of Meditation [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 26-scientifically-proven-superhuman-benefits-of-meditation [to_ping] => [pinged] => http://comfortpit.com/motivation-to-lose-weight/ http://comfortpit.com/multitasking-stress/ [post_modified] => 2014-11-19 19:33:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-11-20 00:33:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=343156 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
Like this article? Check out this other mind-blowing comic: Supernatural Stimuli: The Seduction of Our Senses The banksy comic is republished from ZenPencils.com, please visit for more...
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Like this article? Check out this other mind-blowing comic:
The banksy comic is republished from ZenPencils.com, please visit for more brilliant artwork.[post_title] => Brilliant Comic of Banksy's Harsh Truth About Advertisement [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => brilliant-comic-banksys-harsh-truth-advertisement [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-11-19 19:44:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-11-20 00:44:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=339144 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 6 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
Banksy is an anoynomous English street artist and activist who has become a cult hero for his anti-establishment and rebellious artwork.
Unlike someone I know, who stays in his house all day drawing comics and watchingSimpsons reruns, Banksy is a REAL artist who challenges the status quo, forces people to think and puts himself in danger, all while remaining a complete mystery to the world. I mean think about it, he’s one of the most famous artists on the planet, his work has been popping up in major cities for the past 10 years and sell for millions of dollars and no one knows who the hell this guy is! I take my hat off to the dude.
If you haven’t seen it, I recommend the documentary Banksy directed, Exit Through the Gift Shop. What was meant to be a film about Banksy instead turned into a movie about the man who was obsessed in trying to meet him. Although many have claimed that it’s a ‘mockumentary’ and the plot a set-up, it’s still a brilliant film. It not only documents the street art movement, it also deals with the meaning of art, and whether or not an artist actually needs any talent or can just survive on hype alone. Two thumbs up!
This quote was taken from Banksy’s 2004 book Cut It Out. Some of the passage was inspired/appropriated from an essay by artist Sean Tejaratchi. I rearranged the last couple of sentences for this comic.
You’d have to be blind to have failed to notice how obsessed with sex the contemporary cultural landscape has become. Living in a capitalist, consumer-driven society where “sex sells”, our...
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You'd have to be blind to have failed to notice how obsessed with sex the contemporary cultural landscape has become. Living in a capitalist, consumer-driven society where “sex sells”, our bodies and sexuality has become a vehicle for nothing less than the commodification of anything with a dollar sign on it. From soft drinks to cars, sex is used as the lure through which corporate interests hawk their wares.
Even children are no longer immune to this all-pervasive process – from beauty pageants to their eroticized portrayal in fashion catalogues, there has been an increasingly disturbing trend in the sexualisation of childhood, stripped of its innocence and thrown headlong into the meat marketplace.
This crass and often exploitative over-emphasis on sex in the media landscape has had inevitable negative consequences on the health and well-being of a broad cross-section of society, disempowering both men and women, old and young and often reducing us to objects in which the exploitation of our primal drives strips us of our ability to truly connect with one another. In its most obvious and pervasive manifestation – pornography – sex becomes an almost dehumanising force; an addictive drive in which new pleasures are sought with the same level of zeal found in the dopamine-releasing excesses of the drug addict.
As High Existence recently observed, there's an ironic negative side effect to this sex-obsessed culture that is often neglected. The more sex we consume as consumers rather than connected human beings, the more desensitized we become to it, inexorably losing our true connection with genuine sexuality. Anxiety, depression, a loss of the ability to become truly stimulated and aroused and sexual dysfunction all begin to manifest themselves. The inherent lack of positive emotional values in the arenas of pornography and sexualized media inevitably has knock on effects on our subsequent emotional connections – the porn addict might suffer these consequences the most, but it affects us all subconsciously to varying degrees. The act of sexual intercourse becomes stripped of all its attendant factors – love, nurturing, compassion and sensuality – rendering the experience hollow and lacking in joy.
Writing in Return to the Brain of Eden, Tony Wright summed up the problem faced by contemporary society as follows:
“We are addicted to sex, but could part of this be an addiction to the feeling we get from being momentarily free from our ego-based, fear-ridden, left-hemisphere sense of self? Is the sexual drive, which has reached obsessive levels in our society today, as result of a striving to regain something that in our deepest being we know we have lost? At some fundamental level we know there is something more to the sexual experience, but because we don't know where to look, the desire becomes attached to a whole raft of sexual expression, from glossy car ad to deepest depravity.”
There is an easy way to rectify this obsession with sex, and it is to reconnect with our sensual side and see each other not just as objects of sexual desire but as beings with a whole range of senses and feelings which can be drawn upon to enhance our interactions both physically and emotionally. Sensuality is defined in the dictionary as “the enjoyment, expression, or pursuit of physical, especially sexual, pleasure” which goes some way to outlining its capacity to enhance our sex lives.
Our senses become extensions of our sexuality rather than ancillary functions – the sight of a lover, a delicate touch or gesture, their smell and everything else is no longer a prelude to the sexual experience, it is an integral aspect of the whole; a stroking of the senses where a walk, a moment of eye contact, a vocal expression and a smile stimulates on an emotional and libidinal level. Napoleon is said to have written home to his wife once saying, “I'll be home in three days. Don't bathe,” and as an anecdote this is a fine example of the intoxicating effect of our natural scents and their capacity to function as aphrodisiacs. The more we savour and appreciate these sensorial delights our bodies so readily produce, the less the libido, in Freud's words, conflicts with the conventions of “civilized behaviour”. Instead, the individual becomes master and mistress of it.
Naturally, our general health and well-being plays a crucial role in our connectedness to sensuality, and just as feeding the mind with negative, overtly sexualised imagery lacking in emotional resonance will lead to a disconnection from a rich and emotional sex life, so too can our diet play a huge role in reconnecting us to our sensual aspect. Many who have adopted a diet primarily of raw foods have claimed that a focus on sexuality – and increased emphasis on sensuality – has come about, a more expansive, all-encompassing desire for sensual experiences taking precedence over an obsessive psychological desire to attain orgasm. A good meal, it seems, can satisfy more than just our hunger cravings.
In a world in which mainstream culture seems to value sexuality over sensuality – values which have been largely imposed by vested interests manipulating our desires for profit – shifting the emphasis towards sensuality is as much a rebellion against an imposed value system as it is a way to reconnect with a far broader aspect of our selves as fully conscious beings, both physically and spiritually. Exploring and relishing our sensual side in all its manifestations will not only make us far better lovers, it will move us towards being fully integrated individuals capable of a whole new level of experiences with one another.[post_title] => From Sex to Sensuality - Restoring Balance in a Sex-Obsessed Culture [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => sex-sensuality-restoring-balance-sex-obsessed-culture [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-11-19 19:36:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-11-20 00:36:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=341616 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 4 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
It takes about 30 days to form a habit. The ones that are good for you require cultivation and determination. The starting phase is the (Hardest, especially if you want to change an old habit into a new one. This is why giving yourself a challenge for a minimum of 30 days is a great way to improve all facets of your life. So, take a moment to think 'Who do I want to be in 5 years?' What kind of habits would you like to have? You better start now if you want your new habits to influence your lifestyle and consequently your life! Check out this TED talk first to get inspired...
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3440 [post_author] => 58 [post_date] => 2011-07-28 10:41:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2011-07-28 17:41:25 [post_content] => It is been said that it takes about 30 days to form a habit. The ones that are good for you require cultivation and determination. The starting phase is the hardest, especially if you want to change an old habit into a new one. This is why giving yourself a challenge for a minimum of 30 days is a great way to improve all facets of your life. Yes, it is a gift. So, take a moment to think 'Who do I want to be in 5 years?' What kind of habits would you like to have? You better start now if you want your new habits to influence your lifestyle and consequently your life! Check out this TED talk first to get inspired: Now pick one or more challenges and stick with them! Keep a log, challenge your friends and stay inspired! Be cautioned, picking too many challenges at the same time can easily result in a failure of all of them.
#1 Write a I-Like-This-About-You note/text/email each day for someone (Easy)This is the perfect way to let someone else know you care. We are so often focused on the bad stuff that we forget to mention the good. You surely will make people's day, 30 days in a row!
#2 Talk to one stranger each day (Hard)This is a great one to cure approaching anxiety. Have you ever resisted the temptation to talk to someone because you were afraid and said to yourself that you actually don't want to talk to her/him anyway? Not anymore! After 30 strangers you will understand people are just people and there's nothing weird in speaking to someone you don't know.
#3 Take one picture each day (Hard)This one gets harder nearing the end of the challenge because at one point you will run out of the easy shots. This one is great to combine with other challenges, a great way to make a photo diary!
#4 Re-evaluate one long-held belief each day (Intermediate)Questioning your own beliefs is a great way to rid yourself of bullshit while continually adapting to new knowledge you've taken on since putting old beliefs together.
#5 Take a 30 minute walk each day (Easy)Walking is healthy, relaxing and inspiring. And it is both easy and free! A great exercise while walking is to observe other people and think about what the differences and similarities are between you and them. This will definitely increase your empathy and your observing skills! A great book on this subject is Manwatching.
#6 Take a moment each day to practice self compassion and self-love (Hard)Do you love yourself? Do you beat yourself up after you make mistakes? You can test your own level of self compassion here. Chances are you don't score very high. This is because our society sets standards that are almost impossible to achieve. And so we form a habit of thinking we are not good enough, not worthy enough. There is also a kind of stigma on self-love, it is often confused with either being arrogant or it being a weakness. Both are wrong. It is a skill that can be trained so you will develop the emotional skillset to accept parts of yourself which you might not like very much, you learn to stop fighting against frustration and start accepting it as an integral part of life itself. Self love and self acceptance are also crucial to loving and accepting others around you. Exercises to increase self compassion can be found here and check out the love yourself challenge here.
#7 Try a new recipe each day (Intermediate)If you want to learn how to cook you need to practice, practice, practice. Forcing yourself to try a new recipe each day is a great way to learn of more techniques and ingredients. It also makes it easier to drop bad food habits you might have and turn them into healthy ones!
#8 Refrain from alcohol and other drugs for 30 days in a row! (Depends)Do you have a social circle where there hasn't been a sober night out for years? Can you try to have fun without ingesting chemicals to alter your doors of perception? This is a great challenge to learn how to stand up for yourself against peer pressure.
#9 Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days (Hard)Ever wanted to write a book? Do it. Do it in 30 days. Check out the official site here.
#10 Learn how to draw a human face in 30 days (Intermediate)There are many 'how to' youtube videos on drawing and if you ever wanted to learn how to draw, stop making excuses. Set yourself a challenge and be amazed what you can achieve in 30 days!
#11 Watch a documentary each day (Easy)Always wanted to know everything about a certain topic? You are in luck, it's the digital era! There are more documentaries online you can possible watch in a lifetime. YouTube, Google Video, TruthTheory.org and TopDocumentaryFilms.com are some of the great sources. Here is a list of HEthens best documentaries!
#12 Read a chapter each day (Easy)We all know we should be reading more often but somehow we are glued to the same computer screen you are staring at right now. Clicking buttons. The solution is to take some time each day to read one chapter. Just one. Easy right? Do it somewhere cozy or outside. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, turn on some ambient music. Check out these links on what books to read. Click here and here.
#13 Study a topic you'd like to master each day (Hard)Always wanted to know everything about Animal Behaviour? Psychology? Physics? Philosophy? Educate yourself without school! Pick a topic, plan at least a lecture or an assignment each day and become a genius on your passion! Click here to find out what is possible and how to do it.
#14 Walk/Drive/Run a new route to work/school each day (Easy)This is a great challenge to keep alert, discover new places, get a better understanding of your city and to have more fun while doing one of the mundane daily tasks of life.
#15 Read a new article on HE each day (Easy)A great way to keep inspired, to come up with new ideas and to motivate yourself to make the best out of life!
#16 Media-fast for 30 days (Intermediate)Don't watch any television and stop following the news. Limit yourself to reading a maximum of 5 blogs this whole month. Log out of Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon. Stop the information overload and try living simple. You¥ll be amazed how much free time you have left!
#17 Pick one bad habit you already have and ditch it for 30 days (Hard)Are you a smoker? Do you like to see the negative side of things? Do you practice self-hate? Do you eat fast food? Do you play too many video games? Quit them for 30 days, and pick another challenge instead!
#18 Inspire yourself each day (Easy)Studies have shown that people who are inspired are happier, nicer, productive and will not stray away from their chosen path if life gets difficult. So print a quote and tape it to the mirror. Have an inspirational video as your starting page. Use an inspirational mantra for meditation. Get a principle to live by. In short, get your dose of inspiration each day!
#19 Take a cold shower each day (Intermediate)Cold showers are great for uplifting ones mood, cure stress related diseases, to strengthens ones immune system and to make your skin beautiful. You can read the reports of some HEthens that have been trying it for some time over here!
#20 Think of an accomplishment you'd like to achieve for each year of the next 30 years, a year each day. (Hard)This is great existential shock therapy. You can't answer these questions without facing your life as it is right now and how it is likely to unfold. This one also gets harder progressively. It's a great way to reflect!
#21 Practice a random skill everyday (Easy)There are many available How To's on YouTube and other video sites. Pen tricks, hand stands, parkour, dances, cooking tricks. Broaden your arsenal!
#22 Take the stairs every chance you get (Easy)Somehow escalators seem ridiculous to me, and in some cases elevators too. It always reminds me a bit of all the fat people in Wall-E. Too lazy to do anything. So take the stairs every chance you get for 30 days. It is healthy, it doesn¥t look silly and it will add up over a lifetime :)
#23 Wake up early each day (Intermediate)It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. - AristotleCheck out how to become an early riser.
#24 Keep a journal (Intermediate)Great for memory, reflection and especially awesome to look back to in the future and remember the good old times when you did these challenges!
#25 Don't lie for 30 days (Hard)This is quite the challenge. Stop deceiving yourself and others, speak from the heart. This one goes great with cultivating right intentions, because if you master that, there won't be any need for lying!
#26 Combine challenges (Easy)Take a photo of yourself reading a different book at a different location. Take 10,000 steps on a new route to meet a stranger and ask for a recipe to try out. Do all challenges, a different one each day. Wake up early to make time to meditate, practice self compassion and yoga. Finish it off with a cold shower!
#27 Doing something that scares you every day (Hard)Fear is the one thing keeping you from being the best version of yourself. The only way to overcome your fears is to face them head on!
#28 Don't complain for an entire day (Hard)This one will likely take more than a few days to work up to achieving. Even if you're a highly positive person, it's difficult not to utter one negative sentence for a 24-hour span. Don't be down on yourself if you can't make it past an hour -- as with everything this takes practice! This one is also great practice for becoming conscious of your thoughts.
#29 Meditate each day (Intermediate)Read this to learn why you should meditate, learn awesome variations on meditation here and discuss this challenge here. The best moments are just after waking up and just before sleep!
#30 Practice (at least) one completely selfless act each day (Easy)Go out of your way to help someone else out who may or may not deserve your kindness. Take out your neighbor's trash. Give a $5 to a homeless person. Do something that takes real effort on your part while brightening the day of the receiver. [post_title] => 30 Challenges for 30 Days [post_excerpt] => It takes about 30 days to form a habit. The ones that are good for you require cultivation and determination. The starting phase is the (Hardest, especially if you want to change an old habit into a new one. This is why giving yourself a challenge for a minimum of 30 days is a great way to improve all facets of your life. So, take a moment to think 'Who do I want to be in 5 years?' What kind of habits would you like to have? You better start now if you want your new habits to influence your lifestyle and consequently your life! Check out this TED talk first to get inspired... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 30-challenges-for-30-days [to_ping] => [pinged] => http://www.highexistence.com/a-new-paradigm-of-happiness/ http://www.highexistence.com/how-to-become-an-early-riser/ http://www.highexistence.com/the-art-of-meditation-stop-being-a-zombie/ http://www.highexistence.com/awesome-variations-on-meditation/ http://www.highexistence.com/how-to-become-a-social-badass/ [post_modified] => 2013-08-05 13:44:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-08-05 20:44:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=3440 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 381 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
Unless you’re the Dalai Lama, chances are you have trouble consistently taking time out of your day to center yourself. Yet if you’re on this website, you probably know that meditation is...
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 339041 [post_author] => 16 [post_date] => 2014-09-16 12:24:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-09-16 16:24:22 [post_content] => Unless you're the Dalai Lama, chances are you have trouble consistently taking time out of your day to center yourself. Yet if you're on this website, you probably know that meditation is the #1 thing you can do to be more present, focused, stress-free, loving and creative. I came across a brilliant mental gymnastic while perusing the /r/meditation the other day that will make this daily hurdle a thing of the past. The trick is to systematically reduce the time you commit to mediating until it's at a level to which you have zero resistance. For example..."Can I meditate for 20 minutes? No, that sounds way too long." "Can I meditate for 10 minutes? Nope, I still have some resistance to that." "Can I meditate for 2 minutes? Yes, I can definitely do that!"
There are three major perks to this exercise:
I hope this helps you form a solid daily ritual that leaves you centered in a powerful way. What is your zero-resistance time right now? [post_title] => The Simple Trick to *Guarantee* You Meditate Every Day [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => simple-trick-ensure-meditate-every-day [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-11-19 19:44:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-11-20 00:44:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=339041 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 5 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
- You may meditate for longer than you originally intended. I often think "I can go for another 5 minutes!" and end up doing several intervals of 5 minutes.
- You will form a strong habit of doing SOME kind of meditation each day.
- As you continue to build this habit, your average zero-resistance time will increase as meditation becomes easier.
Once in a while a book comes along that rocks your world so hard that you’re never quite the same after. Here are 7 of those books, ordered by how hard they’re going to rock your skull! ...
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Once in a while a book comes along that rocks your world so hard that you're never quite the same after. Here are 7 of those books, ordered by how hard they're going to rock your skull!
Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris PrentissOf all the books & articles I have read on happiness, this one is by far the best. Prentiss takes an extremely pragmatic approach to cultivating a mindset of happiness so that nothing can bring you down. This is not 'The Secret' with wishy-washy 'science'. No spirituality required. The author takes from his years of experiences working at an addiction cure center in California to nail down the steps required to ultimate happiness. If Prentiss can use these methods to cure a heroine addiction, imagine what he can do for you :)
On Mortality and Meaning...
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor FranklViktor Frankl experienced the limits of human suffering during his extended stay in Nazi concentration camps. While recapping his story, Frankl explores its implications on his views of meaning in life. He gains a very unique perspective while watching those around him break down completely, and yet another through seeing Jews adjust back to normal life after finding freedom. Fascinating, fascinating book.
On Health & Nutrition...
Yoga of Eating by Charles Eisenstein - Health & NutritionThere is much more to eating than you think. In this book, Eisenstein explains the shortcomings of western views on nutrition, and how to transform your eating habits to get more enjoyment and nourishment out of your food. He discusses how being present while eating and truly tasting your food affects your body's absorption of nutrients. He also explains diets, and how certain monks are capable of consuming only air, sunlight and water for years at a time.
Society and Economics
Sacred Economics by Charles EisensteinEisenstein expands on what you've probably heard about the faults of our current economic/debt system and takes you on a journey from the very beginning of currency. He explains in-depth how many of our societal ills (poverty, overconsumption, ecological devastation) stem from our highly unsustainable economic system. He then goes out to lay out feasible ways to start waining from this system to create a new economy, and consequently a new world. This is my favorite book of all time.
Sex & Relationships
Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda JethaSex at Dawn explores the history of human sexuality through surprising truths about our anatomy, indigenous societies and our closest primate relatives. The authors continually pile on scientific evidence to support what some might have guessed from our 50% divorce rate: monogamy is far from natural. Don't read this unless you're ready to destroy and rebuild your views on human nature, relationships and sexuality. It's that crazy.
The Nature of Reality
Conversations with God by Neale Donald WalschI've already written 2 posts about this book (1,2) and mentioned it countless time because it is just that good. Walsch is a frustrated Christian who angrily writes God a series of questions one day, and is shocked to hear a voice begin answering back. Whether you believe the non-fiction label or not, that voice paints an absolutely beautiful, and above all logical picture of the true nature of reality, and explains where modern religions have gone wrong. Every single person I have recommended this to has been moved. A common phrase I hear back is, "It's like I knew all of this before, but had forgotten until reading this book." At the very least this book will give you a massive amount of food for thought.
Death and the Nature of Reality
Adventures Beyond the Body by William BuhlmanI was extremely skeptical about out-of-body experiences (OOBE's) until I had two of them by accident 3 years ago while adjusting to polyphasic sleep. Since then, nothing has fascinated me more than the science and potential of exploring outside the body. In this book, Buhlman pulls from 30+ years of OOBE's, and explains the fundamental methods of achieving the state, as well as what to expect beyond the physical world. The truth is that we can each gain personal knowledge about life beyond this physical body. Death is not an unsolved mystery as modern science would lead us to believe. There are hundreds of thousands of accounts of near-death and OOBE's world-wide, spanning all of history, all reporting the same sensations. This is not bullshit. Check it out.
What books have had the greatest impact on your perception of the world?[post_title] => 7 Books That Will Violently Shift Your Perspectives [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 8-books-that-will-violently-shift-your-perspectives [to_ping] => [pinged] => http://www.highexistence.com/10-epic-quotes-from-conversations-with-god/ http://www.highexistence.com/6-more-epic-quotes-from-conversations-with-god/ [post_modified] => 2012-07-13 16:43:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2012-07-13 23:43:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=113486 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 141 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
Fifty useful life tips & tricks that you can implement this instant. Increase your efficiency and ability to succeed by modifying or adding these little habits into your daily existence.
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- Memorize something everyday. Not only will this leave your brain sharp and your memory functioning, you will also have a huge library of quotes to bust out at any moment. Poetry, sayings and philosophies are your best options.
- Constantly try to reduce your attachment to possessions. Those who are heavy-set with material desires will have a lot of trouble when their things are taken away from them or lost. Possessions do end up owning you, not the other way around. Become a person of minimal needs and you will be much more content.
- Develop an endless curiosity about this world. Become an explorer and view the world as your jungle. Stop and observe all of the little things as completely unique events. Try new things. Get out of your comfort zone and try to experience as many different environments and sensations as possible. This world has so much to offer, so why not take advantage of it?
- Remember people's names so that they feel appreciated and for your own future benefit when you want something from that person. To do this, say their name back to them when they introduce themselves. Then repeat the name in your head a number of times until you are sure you have it. Continue to use their name in conversation as much as possible to remove any chance of forgetting it. If you're still having trouble, make up a rhyme about their name: "Dan the Man" or "Natalie flatters me."
- Get fit! It's ridiculous to think that we have one body, one sole means of functioning, and people are too lazy to take care of themselves. Fit bodies lead to better health, confidence and more success with romantic endeavors. I'd say those are 3 very good reasons to get in shape.
- Learn to focus only on the present. The past is unchangeable so it is futile to reflect on it unless you are making sure you do not repeat past mistakes. The future is but a result of your actions today. So learn from the past to do better in the present so that you can succeed in the future.
- Even more specifically, live in THIS moment. Even 10 minutes ago is the past. If you live purely in this moment you will always be happy because there is nothing wrong in this split-second.
- Smile more often. Whenever you get a grin on your face, your brain is releasing serotonin, the happy hormone. Smiling is the natural way to force yourself to be happy. Many people even smile for five minutes straight in the morning to get themselves in a great mood for the day. It is a very powerful tool that is utilized less and less as we grow older and need happiness more than ever. Just remember that while happiness leads to smiles, smiles also lead to happiness.
- Drink water. Hydration is tremendously important for overall health. Soda has absolutely ZERO nutritional content; it's like pouring a punch of sugar and syrup into your cup. Instead, fill it with life-replenishing water. It may taste plain at first if you're coming off of a heavy soda-drinking streak, but you'll soon find yourself addicted to it. 10 glasses per day is optimal, how many have you been getting lately?
- Don't take life so seriously! Learn to laugh at the little things and this whole "existence" thing will be a whole lot easier. Be amused by your mistakes and failures and be thankful that you learned your lesson and won't mess up like that again. And most importantly do things that you enjoy! Life is not strictly business, it can be mixed with pleasure.
- Think positive thoughts. When you find yourself thinking a negative thought, stop it immediately by any means necessary. Slap yourself in the face, yell something positive at the top of your lungs or jump up and down. Do whatever it takes to get back to a positive mindset as such is essential for continual happiness and success.
- Read books. Knowledge is power. If you're looking for some mind-blowing books to read, check out '8 Books That Will Violent Shift Your Perspective'.
- Get in the sun. Superman was completely re-energized when he flew out to space and soaked in some rays and you can do the same right outside your front door (if you live in a constantly dreary place, my apologies). The sun feels amazing: your entire body will be coursing with warmth and life.
- Help others.I'll just give you a plethora of reasons why this is a MUST
- Helping people has a ripple effect. If you help someone they will feel more obliged to help someone else, and so on. Pay it forward
- You grow by giving and helping others. It can change you in ways you never expected
- Your relationship with that person will become stronger
- It's the most fulfilling thing you can do on this planet. It not only feels amazing physically, you also feel like a good person
- You might be able to call in a favor later when you need some help
- Karma (if you believe in it)
- Because there are more people in this world than just you
- Set aside a specific time to worry each day. Ponder all of your problems and anxieties during that time so that they will not distract you during work or moments of pleasure. This way you can be extremely efficient with your time and avoid focusing on negative things as much as possible. If you get all of your worry out of the way and have the mental fortitude to keep from reverting back to them, you will be much happier on the daily.
- Be honest at all times. Lies lead to nothing but trouble. Being known as trustworthy is an excellent trait to maintain and essential to having integrity.
- Sleep less. Fully adjusting to a new sleep cycle can take up to 21 days so don't give up if you feel tired after switching to 5-hour nights. The "required" 8 hour/night is for normal people. If you're reading THIS article on THIS site, you are not normal. So figure out how much sleep YOU really need and adjust accordingly. As enjoyable as sleep is, waking existence is much more fulfilling and efficient. IF this really sparks your interest, check out alternate sleep cycles with which you can be fine off of 2 hours of sleep per day.
- Read "Bringers of Light" and "Conversations with God" by Neale Donald Walsch. These books will help you decide what you want to do in this life and how to get to that point. They will also profoundly change the way you look at the purpose of existence. Read them!
- Figure out what your goals and dreams are. So many people wander aimlessly through life simply go for whatever small thing they want moment by moment. Instead, decide what your perfect life consists of and begin to put the steps in motion to reach that place. The most satisfying thing in the world (yes, better than sex, much better) is overcoming a challenge and reaching a goal. We are the happiest when we are growing and working towards something better.
- Start your day off right. Wake up and set aside an hour for personal development activities (meditation, self-introspection, observing nature, etc.) Do the things that make you feel blissful, optimistic and empowered so that you can set a positive tone for your day. I guarantee that once you start doing this, your days will be more enjoyable and fulfilling. Today is going to be the best day of your life.
- Utilize 'The Burning Method.' Whenever a fear or worry or complaint comes to mind, close your eyes and imagine writing down the thought on a piece of paper. Then proceed to light the paper and fire and watch it disintegrate. Even better, actually write it down and burn it. You won't have any problem ridding your mind of the thought after doing this.
- Travel. Anyone who has ever gone anywhere will tell you that traveling is one of the most exciting and life-changing activities that you can do. Observing a different culture will expand your mind while making you further appreciate the life you already live. This goes back to becoming an explorer: this world is your jungle so go explore! Who knows, maybe you'll find a place you love so much that you decide to move. Imagine the positive repercussions a new environment could have on your life.
- The Rubber Band Method This is the third and final way to rid yourself of negative thoughts (hopefully by now you have figured out that this is very important!). Place a rubber band around your wrist and snap it against your skin anytime a negative thought finds its way into your head. This operant conditioning technique associates a slight pain with negative thoughts like Pavlov associated food/salivation with the sound of a bell. Sounds a bit cruel at first but it only stings for a second, I promise. Plus the outcome, having only positive thoughts, far outweighs a little slap on the wrist here and there.
- Learn to be unaffected by the words of others. Most people get very upset when they are called negative names by others, but there is a simple trick to overcoming this. Here it is: If I went up to you and called you a fire hydrant, would you be upset? Of course not. Obviously you are not a fire hydrant, you are a human being. The same concept applies to when someone calls you something that you know you are not. They are foolish for saying such things, so why would you react with such anger? The only exception is when someone calls you something that is true! In this case, you should thank them for alerting you to a weakness, one that you can now work on changing.
- Read "Zen and the Art of Happiness" by Chris Prentiss. This book will give you the knowledge and instruction to be happy at all times regardless of the circumstances. Yes, this sounds like an oversimplification of happiness, but I assure you that this book will change you in an amazing way.
- Develop the ability to forgive. Forgiveness is something that most people fail miserably at even thought it's so simple. Grudges only bring more misery to those who hold them and prevent good relations with the target. YOU makes mistakes all of the time so why not have mercy when other do? Remaining angry feels horrible while forgiving someone brings a refreshing sensation to the mind and healing to the relationship.
- Be the person that makes others feel special. Be known for your kindness and sympathy.
- Learn to lucid dreamor to realize when you are dreaming so that you can control your dreams. Sleep feels good, but it's rather boring and unproductive. With lucid dreaming under your belt, night-time can be even more exciting than when you are awake. You can do anything: fly, travel to other planets, party with a celebrity, get intimate with your dream boy/girl, etc. Many lucid dreams have also reported being able to speak directly with the subconscious during dreams by demanding to be taken to it after becoming lucid. For those that know a thing or two about your subconscious, that is a BIG deal.
- Visualize daily. It has been said and proven time and time again that what you focus on is what you get. If you complain all of the time, you will run into more of the things you complain about. The same goes for good things like health, wealth and happiness. So spend some time in the morning imagining yourself achieving whatever it is that you currently desire. Focus is key in this exercise, so choose a quiet environment where you won't be disturbed. If you're having trouble focusing and continually find that your mind has wandered to something else, read about meditation in the following life tip. There is a lot more to this concept, so check out the full article on visualization and the law of attraction here.
- Meditate everyday for at least 20 minutes. In this modern world where everyone is so connected to everything else via cell phones, TV and internet, most people rarely enjoy the beauty of silence. The ability to quiet your mind and relax your body is an art and skill that everyone should develop. Simply sit somewhere, preferably in nature, and focus on your breathing or try to think about nothing. This is going to be extremely hard at first! You might find it boring or just plain impossible to think of nothing, but you will get better and you will learn to love it. Post-meditation, you will feel extremely clear-headed and.. well, just plain wonderful. The only way to really understand this sensation is to try it.
- Learn to control your mind. What kind of skilled human are you if you cannot even control your own thoughts? While the human mind is described as being a stream of consciousness, that does not mean you can't decide where your stream flows. Techniques like meditation and the 3 ways to flush out negative thoughts will aid you immensely in learning to control your mind.
- Learn to control your emotions. The only person that can make you unhappy is you! You are the one that decides to be affected by the words and actions of others. Realize this so that the next time you experience a negative emotion, you can find the strength within yourself to overcome it.
- Take a class in speed reading. Books are full of information that can enhance your knowledge-base, vocabulary and yourself as a person. Speed reading is an easy way to get at this info faster so that you can have more time for other endeavors.
- Relax! This one is for you workaholics out there (myself included). Yes, work is very important and productive but you need to take some time to chill out everyday or you are going to burn out faster than a candle with no oxygen. Additionally, you need to reward yourself for a job well done. What's the use of doing all of that work if you can't have a little fun from time to time anyways?
- Work on making good first impressions. Practice a strong, firm handshake and the small talk that generally goes along with meeting someone for the first time. People won't know what to think of you if you have nothing more to say beyond "My name is _______, nice to meet you." Also make sure you remember names, as mentioned previously. Who knows, you may be going into business with or marrying this person you're meeting for the first time if you make a good impression. Be sure and make an excellent one.
- Learn to use your eyes to their full potential:
- Make constant eye contact when in conversation. Looking away (especially down) is a sign of inferiority and uncertainty. Instead, look at your conversation partner dead in the eyes and keep them locked on
- Master the piercing stare. You know when someone looks at you and it feels like they can see into your soul? Well that's not a hereditary characteristic, it just takes practice. Work on sharpening your gaze in the mirror. You'll know you have it when it's intimidating to continue looking at yourself
- Master the one-eyebrow raise. This one isn't necessary by any means, but hey, why not? Pick a brow to learn with and go look in a mirror. Raise both of your eyebrows but use your hand to hold down the brow that you want to stay down. This will probably feel very stupid at first but if you keep trying, you will eventually pin down the muscle you need to flex to get that one brow up
- Be mysterious. Don't let off everything about you and definitely leave out some major details. There is something both alluring and mesmerizing about someone who no one knows fully about. I'm not saying to confide in no one or to alienate yourself. Just think James Bond.
- Come up with a life mantra. You know, like "Carpe Diem" or "Live life to the fullest," but not as cliché. Make it something that really hits home with you so that you will actually stick to it. Make sure it' not so specific that it rarely applies but also not so general that it's not personal.
- Get good at something. Call it a hobby or a passion, whatever it is, just get damn good at it. Your occupation does not count! Make it something that you can practice often enough to excel at. Examples: Magic tricks, surfing, ping-pong, creating short films, and unicycling. It can be anything but I would recommend choosing something that: 1) You are passionate about 2) You can bust out at any moment to display your skills for any discerning crowd. My mind goes immediately to aerobatics and break dancing, but that's just me.
- Work out those abs. Above any other muscle group in the entire body, the abs are the most important. They constitute your core, the center point of your body. Your ability to balance comes almost completely from the strength of your abdominal muscles and balance is vital to performance in any physical activity. Summary: they're very important. For more info on how to work out your abs, check out this video.
- Keep your brain sharp. The majority of people are stuck in ruts. They go to the same job everyday, hang out with the same friends and eat at the same places. While that may feel safe, it’s not the most stimulating lifestyle for your brain. Those synapses have been built up enough, so try something that you do NOT know how to do! Buy a model car kit, master the art of sudoku or crosswords, or go pick up another major at your nearest college. The point is you need to be learning new things to keep your brain honest. Form new synapses by forcing your mind to work in ways it has not worked before. Just like physical workouts, doing too much of the same exercise will eventually give no results. Switch it up!
- Read something inspirational right before bed and after waking. This will set get you in a great mood for sleep and for the day. Read anything from a famous speech to your favorite self-improvement book. Try to read something that get's you really excited in the morning especially so that you'll leave your house beaming with energy and wonder.
- Do what you love. There is a huge difference between making a life and making a living; which one are you making right now? So many spend their entire lives trying to make as much money as possible so that they can afford to do what they really want later. It makes no sense to settle in life until you're 65 so that you can retire and do what you want when you're already WAY past your prime. We only live life once so why wouldn't you want to spend it pursuing your bliss? To do anything else would be a tragic waste of the freedom you are allowed if you are reading this right now. Follow your bliss and you will be a thousand times more happy than your retirement date and 40+ years younger. But first you need to figure out what you love to do...
- Choose your friends wisely. You are affected far more than you think by the people you spend your time with. Do your friends share your values? Do they encourage you when you speak of your goals and dreams or do they scoff? Make sure the people around you are conducive to the lifestyle you want to lead or you will find yourself being dragged again and again into behavior that distances you from your desires. Friends with a habit of producing negative thoughts will especially hinder you. This can be a hard task to follow through with if you realize you good friend is one of these saboteurs, but you must be firm! Don't let anyone get in the way of you being all that you can be.
- Don't burn bridges. By that I mean maintain your relationships with people even if you think you are never going to see them again. For example, if you are quitting your job, don't chew out your boss before leaving! You might run into him/her again later and life and wish you had never severed ties so harshly. You never know when you might need the help of someone you knew in the past. Plus there is already too much hatred in this world, why add more towards the people you interact with?
- Keep a journal/diary. It sounds like a very monotonous habit at first, but when you get into it, that little book will become a great way to organize your thoughts and track your growth over the years. Most of us already stay awake in bed at night pondering the events of the day anyways so why not document those thoughts in an organized fashion? That will allow you to look back and observe how your way of thinking has changed over time.
- Read "New Pyscho-Cybernetics" by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. This book will explain why the content of your thoughts has such a profound effect on your life through religious, philosophical and scientific arguments. A must read for completely understand who this life thing works.
- Learn to use and trust your subconscious/intuition. When you spend time in silence everyday, listen not for words but for a feeling that tells you to do something. Do not mistake your own reasoning and thoughts for those of your subconscious. If you can track where the thought came from, (this thought led to that thought which led to this thought, etc.) then it was not from your subconscious. Learning to accurately discern between the two will allow you to tap into knowledge that you don't consciously have.
- Develop a charismatic personality. You know, the kind of personality that is surrounded by people constantly and is the life of the party. Start visualizing yourself as THAT person. Maybe take a short course on dynamic speaking and learn some jokes. Take the time to learn some party tricks and sleight of hand. Most importantly, believe that you already are charismatic even if you fail at being the center point of the next party. Lie to yourself constantly and tell yourself that you are more warm and gregarious than Ronald Regan. Belief is the first step! Reality will come soon after.
- Love is all there is. If you truly want to be a master of life, let love be in your every action. Love your friends, family and enemies alike. This is the most difficult thing to do out of this entire list, which is why it is listed at #50. But if you accomplish this, you will be seen as a leader among everyone that allows hate, envy, disgust and all other negative emotions into their lives. Think Gandhi. Love is so rare in this world when compared to the massive presence of hate that by exuding love, you will immediately see yourself and the people around you change. Love. Love. Love.
***Check out Part 2 - 50 (More) Life Secrets & Tips!***[post_title] => 50 Life Secrets and Tips [post_excerpt] => Fifty useful life tips & tricks that you can implement this instant. Increase your efficiency and ability to succeed by modifying or adding these little habits into your daily existence. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => life-secrets-and-tips [to_ping] => [pinged] => http://www.highexistence.com/50-more-life-secrets-and-tips/ http://www.highexistence.com/ultimate-guide-to-fitness-men-edition/ http://www.highexistence.com/the-art-of-meditation-stop-being-a-zombie/ http://www.highexistence.com/love-experiment-introduction/ http://www.highexistence.com/this-will-mindfuck-you-videogame-ism/ http://www.highexistence.com/advanced-meditation-guide/ http://www.highexistence.com/cutting-out-the-crap-pt-23-negative-emotions/ [post_modified] => 2014-05-27 08:13:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-05-27 15:13:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=1334 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 221 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
So you know the psychological definition of lucid dreaming and how it’s all supposed to work – but what do lucid dreams feel like? Years ago, before I had my first lucid dream, I had a...
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So you know the psychological definition of lucid dreaming and how it's all supposed to work - but what do lucid dreams feel like?
Years ago, before I had my first lucid dream, I had a very specific idea about what a lucid dream would feel like. I thought it would be very intense and magical and perhaps a bit spooky. Turns out I was right on all fronts.
But there is a heck of a lot more about the sensation and perception of lucid dreams that I have learned about since then. While no two lucid dreams are the same (and while it's no substitute for experiencing a lucid dream first-hand) I have tried to define my own experience of a lucid dream for the uninitiated.
I've broken it down into physical, mental and emotional components:
The Physical Experience
Your physical experience is made up of sensory interpretations, like the feel of the ground underneath your feet, or the smell of the ocean. In waking life, this information is received via the five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. The stimulus is real and your brain interprets the data.
In dreams, this information is synthesized by the mind - from memory and imagination. And yet, when lucid, it can feel just as "real" and vivid as waking life. Sometimes that's very intense and pleasurable (which is why many beginners go in search of lucid dream sex) or sometimes it can be dulled down (when you lose lucidity).
Here are some examples of physical lucid dream experiences:
Eating in Lucid Dreams
It may be a cliche that women love chocolate - but it's a cliche for a reason.
So naturally, I have eaten some truly delicious chocolate cake in my lucid dreams.
Imagine the smoothest, richest, creamiest chocolate cake in the world. It's perfection embodied in a dessert. Now intensify that experience and you're getting close to lucid dream cake...
When lucid eating, chewing and swallowing takes less time and it's all about the flavor and texture of the food. What's more, your taste buds never become accustomed to the flavor so each bite is like your first. And of course there's no need to feel guilty about consuming unnecessary calories.
While chocolate cake is right up there, you can of course eat anything imaginable in a lucid dream. It can be a favorite childhood meal or even something you've never tried before (would that taste be authentic?)
Remember that your expectation of it being totally delicious makes it so. Which means you won't get gristle in the world's best beef burger, nor a floppy bit of lettuce. Expectation is why eating in lucid dreams is so awesome.
Flying in Lucid Dreams
Aside from skydivers, base jumpers and other extremists of that ilk, most people have never experienced the physical sensation of flying freely. Yet the lucid dreaming mind simulates it in extraordinary physical detail.
In my flying dreams, the sense of weightlessness, whooshing and wavering in the air is incredibly authentic (or at least how I imagine it to be). This awareness is critical to the experience, and your mind can even play tricks on you, like suddenly falling and simulating that stomach-dropping feeling.
Your dreaming mind may add more sensations such as feeling the wind in your hair, rain hammering on your skin, or the warmth of the sun on your face. If you have any doubts about your new skills, you may unexpectedly whack into a powerline mid-flight - which brings me to the subject of pain in lucid dreams...
Pain in Lucid Dreams
The lucid dream is co-created by two players: the unconscious dreaming mind (the one that loves surreal symbology) and the conscious self. In normal dreams, the unconscious has basically all control. In lucid dreams, the conscious self steps in and starts to tweak little things as it desires.
Both can technically create pain in lucid dreams, although it's most likely the unconscious mind that produces this experience. Pain is a result of pre-conceptions and established neural pathways: if you hit your thumb with a hammer, what do you expect? The brain simulates dream pain because this is its reality.
So, if you fall onto a bed of spikes in your lucid dream, you might just find out what it feels like to be impaled. But fear not - you can will the pain to stop instantly or even wake yourself up. And I'm sure it won't be a patch on the real life experience of being impaled.
When I've experienced pain in a lucid dream, it was very different from real pain. It was inconsistent with the cause, and stopped abruptly when the dream moved on. What's more, there was no psychological component, which can make real life pain so much worse.
I have also experienced choking, drowning and dying while in a lucid nightmare and my dream self automatically moved "out-of-body" where it was no longer painful and I could keep observing.
The Mental Experience
Now let's move to the cognitive experience of lucid dreams: how it feels to be aware, process information, recall memories and mentally control the dream.
Locaction Awareness in Lucid Dreams
In lucid dreams, your focus is expanded considerably compared to normal dreams, but some aspects are still very different from what you experience in waking life. Location awareness is one of them.
For example, sitting at my desk right now, I am aware of the room around me, the house beyond that, the garden, the village, the New Zealand landscape, and even a sense that I am on planet Earth. I know my location in the grand scheme of things and I know this is a solid, reliable construct.
But the lucid dream world is much more fluid. When lucid, I am most often in unfamiliar places which have no GeoTag. I accept this automatically, knowing that I can teleport to a new location any time. It's as if my brain has no intention of placing my location so instead focuses my awareness only in the immediate vicinity. The best way I can describe it is becoming absorbed in a video game or a movie and forgetting the "real world" exists beyond it.
Of course, with conscious effort, you can recall that your real body is lying in bed. Sometimes, however, such thinking only serves to wake you up prematurely.
But generally (for me, anyway) the default setting is to focus on the pretty colors in in front of my face right now. This is why it's a good reason to set up a lucid dream intention while awake, because it's hard for the conscious dreaming mind to imagine new places from scratch. If you have no pre-set intention, just allow the dream to take over and show you an unlimited amount of cool new stuff. This is where the best creativity arises anyway.
Memory in Lucid Dreams
Your memory works differently in the dream world. That's because large parts of your brain are inactive during sleep and it can be difficult to rouse them, even when you become conscious inside the dreamworld.
In normal dreams, you have little memory of your real life, and sometimes you even have false memories to make the dream scenario fit. Even the memory of the dream itself fails to lock into short term memory very accurately. In other words, your dreaming memory rather sucks.
Lucid dreams are only a notch or two above this. Waking memories can be hard to grasp while lucid, and the lucid dream must be recorded immediately upon waking or you risk losing the detail forever.
The moment I become lucid, I try to recall my lucid dream intention (my goal for the dream). Usually I'll set this the night before, when I'm going to bed, or earlier in the day during meditation. Sometimes I can't remember any particular intention, which is frustrating if I had a great one lined up, but I always have a backup plan to simply explore the local dreamscape, ask general probing questions of fellow dream figures, or let the dreaming mind take over.
Long term memory in lucid dreams is also off the radar. Like location awareness, unless you are specifically trying to access a piece of information, the awareness of past memories are simply absent - or out of focus. This is equally true of thinking about the future. My lucid dream self lives in the present moment and cares little for childhood memories or abstract intentions, unless I make deliberate attempts to focus on them.
Dream control is a cognitive aspect of lucid dreaming because it's all done through willpower and mental focus.
Contrary to popular belief, when you become lucid you don't automatically have total control over your dream environment. Lucid dreaming only means to have conscious self-awareness within the dream state. Sometimes this means controlling many aspects of it, sometimes just a few key expectations, and sometimes you may choose to relinquish all control altogether.
"The sailor does not control the sea," as lucid dream researcher Robert Waggoner puts it. You may navigate your ship (consciousness) through the ocean (the dream) but you do not have to consciously populate every dream scene with every leaf and blade of grass and wisp of cloud. The dream populates itself while we consciously frolic within it. Sometimes that means a bird flies of its own accord, or a dream figure behaves autonomously. It is all still classified as lucid dreaming.
Beginners often run into the trap of trying to control major features of the dream with only a partial sense of lucidity. This can be frustrating and disheartening. To overcome this obstacle, employ these tricks for increasing and prolonging your lucidity. Only then can you master full dream control (if you so choose).
When you do exert greater control over the dream, the world is your oyster. You can paint the sky with a sweep of your hand. You can burrow down into the ground and journey to the center of the Earth. You can fight zombies, become Iron Man, or even create an entirely new civilization. Absolutely anything is possible - unless you have a preconceived limiting belief about it.
For instance, if I told you it was impossible to fly into the sun in a lucid dream (and you really believed me) and then attempted it, you'd probably hit some kind of psychological roadblock. Perhaps you'd melt and emerge in a new scene. Or perhaps you'd hit a wall like Truman Burbank when he reached the edge of his "world".
When it comes to dream control, your expectations are paramount. And if you have no conscious expectations of a certain event, your unconscious will fill them in for you, evolving the dream on your behalf.
The Emotional Experience
The intensity of feelings in lucid dreams can be the same, or more intense, as feelings in real life. The main difference you'll notice is that because you're having such a jolly wonderful time, the emotions are more along the lines of awe, ecstasy, excitement, lust, gratitude, love and all that other fluffy stuff.
Getting Too Excited
The big problem with lucid emotions is being overcome with excitement - especially the first few times you achieve lucidity. It's tempting to jump for joy, shout and tell everyone in your dream that you are in fact dreaming. This is undesirable because it vastly increases your changes of waking up. Besides, in my experience it's universally true that other dream characters really don't care that you've become lucid anyway. Go figure.
So in your early lucid dreams I recommend taking extra care to remain calm. You can do it. All it takes is the simple acknowledgement right now that you won't run off on like a raving luncatic.
Eventually you won't need to ground yourself like this and you can let your emotions run a bit more free. But until you've mastered that minimum level of focus required to keep the dream running, just tone down the jubilation.
Heightening The Intensity
Eventually you may start to look for a deeper meaning in your lucid dreams. Don't get me wrong; you'll still have plenty of ego-gratifying activities you want to do. But none of it will be too original or paradigm-shifting. That's when it's time to turn inwards.
One of the more profound applications of lucid dreaming is to communicate with the dream itself by asking questions. Simply stop what you're doing and address the dreamscape:
"How can I feel at total peace with myself?"
"How can I find true love?"
"What is the meaning of life?"
"Can you show me a totally original dream?"
Or if you're really bold: "What is my greatest fear?"
Then let the dream reveal itself.
When you probe your dream self you will very likely start to experience more intense emotions and take-home lessons in your lucid dreams, learning about the true nature of your basest self.[post_title] => You Will Want to Learn Lucid Dreaming After Reading This [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => want-lucid-dream [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-11-19 20:05:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-11-20 01:05:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=321508 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 7 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
I met god the other day. I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did you know it was god? Well, I’ll explain as we go along, but basically he convinced me by having all, and I do mean ALL, the...
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3463 [post_author] => 16 [post_date] => 2011-07-11 08:49:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2011-07-11 15:49:26 [post_content] => I met god the other day. I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did you know it was god? Well, I’ll explain as we go along, but basically he convinced me by having all, and I do mean ALL, the answers. Every question I flung at him he batted back with a plausible and satisfactory answer. In the end, it was easier to accept that he was god than otherwise. Which is odd, because I’m still an atheist and we even agree on that! It all started on the 8.20 back from Paddington. Got myself a nice window seat, no screaming brats or drunken hooligans within earshot. Not even a mobile phone in sight. Sat down, reading the paper and in he walks. What did he look like? Well not what you might have expected that’s for sure. He was about 30, wearing a pair of jeans and a "hobgoblin" tee shirt. Definitely casual. Looked like he could have been a social worker or perhaps a programmer like myself. ‘Anyone sitting here?’ he said. ‘Help yourself’ I replied. Sits down, relaxes, I ignore and back to the correspondence on genetic foods entering the food chain… Train pulls out and a few minutes later he speaks. ‘Can I ask you a question?’ Fighting to restrain my left eyebrow I replied ‘Yes’ in a tone which was intended to convey that I might not mind one question, and possibly a supplementary, but I really wasn’t in the mood for a conversation. .. ‘Why don’t you believe in god?’ The Bastard! I love this kind of conversation and can rabbit on for hours about the nonsense of theist beliefs. But I have to be in the mood! It's like when a Jehova’s witness knocks on your door 20 minutes before you’re due to have a wisdom tooth pulled. Much as you'd really love to stay… You can’t even begin the fun. And I knew, if I gave my standard reply we’d still be arguing when we got to Cardiff. I just wasn’t in the mood. I needed to fend him off. But then I thought ‘Odd! How is this perfect stranger so obviously confident – and correct – about my atheism?’ If I’d been driving my car, it wouldn’t have been such a mystery. I’ve got the Darwin fish on the back of mine – the antidote to that twee christian fish you see all over. So anyone spotting that and understanding it would have been in a position to guess my beliefs. But I was on a train and not even wearing my Darwin "Evolve" tshirt that day. And ‘The Independent’ isn’t a registered flag for card carrying atheists, so what, I wondered, had given the game away. ‘What makes you so certain that I don’t?’ ‘Because’, he said, ‘ I am god – and you are not afraid of me’ You’ll have to take my word for it of course, but there are ways you can deliver a line like that – most of which would render the speaker a candidate for an institution, or at least prozac. Some of which could be construed as mildly entertaining. Conveying it as "indifferent fact" is a difficult task but that’s exactly how it came across. Nothing in his tone or attitude struck me as even mildly out of place with that statement. He said it because he believed it and his rationality did not appear to be drug induced or the result of a mental breakdown. ‘And why should I believe that?’ ‘Well’ he said, ‘why don’t you ask me a few questions. Anything you like, and see if the answers satisfy your sceptical mind?’ This is going to be a short conversation after all, I thought. ‘Who am I?’ ‘Stottle. Harry Stottle, born August 10 1947, Bristol, England. Father Paul, Mother Mary. Educated Duke of Yorks Royal Military School 1960 67, Sandhurst and Oxford, PhD in Exobiology, failed rock singer, full time trade union activist for 10 years, latterly self employed computer programmer, web author and aspiring philosopher. Married to Michelle, American citizen, two children by a previous marriage. You’re returning home after what seems to have been a successful meeting with an investor interested in your proposed product tracking anti-forgery software and protocol and you ate a full english breakfast at the hotel this morning except that, as usual, you asked them to hold the revolting english sausages and give you some extra bacon. ‘ He paused ‘You’re not convinced. Hmmm… what would it take to convince you? May I have your permission for a telepathic link?’ 'Do you need my permission?' 'Technically, no. Ethically, yes' Might as well play along I thought. 'OK - you have my permission. So convince me' 'oh right! Your most secret password and its association' A serious hacker might be able to obtain the password, but no one else and I mean NO ONE knows its association. He did. So how would you have played it? I threw a few more questions about relatively insignificant but unpublicised details of my life (like what my mother claims was the first word I ever spoke – apparently "armadillo"! (Don't ask…)) but I was already pretty convinced. I knew there were only three possible explanations at this point. Possibility One was that I was dreaming, hallucinating or hypnotised. Nobody’s figured out a test for that so, at the time I think that was my dominant feeling. It did not feel real at the time. More like I was in a play. Acting my lines. Since the event, however, continuing detailed memories of it, together with my contemporaneous notes, remain available, so unless the hallucination has continued to this day, I am now inclined to reject the hallucination hypothesis. Which leaves two others. He could have been a true telepath. No documented evidence exists of anyone ever having such profound abilities to date but it was a possibility. It would have explained how he could know my best-kept secrets. The problem with that is that it doesn’t explain anything else! In particular it doesn’t account for the answers he proceeded to give to my later questions. As Sherlock Holmes says, when you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Good empiricist, Sherlock. I was forced to accept at least the possibility that this man was who he claimed to be. So now what do you do? Well, I’ve always known that if I met god I would have a million questions for him, so I thought, ‘why not?’ and proceeded with what follows. You’ll have to allow a bit of licence in the detail of the conversation. This was, shall we say, a somewhat unusual occurrence, not to mention just a BIT weird! And yes I was aleetle bit nervous! So if I don’t get it word perfect don’t whinge! You’ll get the gist I promise. ***********************************‘Forgive me if it takes me a little time to get up to speed here, but it's not everyday I get to question a deity’ ‘The Deity’ he interrupted. ‘ooh. Touchy!’ I thought. ‘Not really – just correcting the image’ Now That takes some getting used to! I tried to get a grip on my thoughts, with an internal command - ‘Discipline Harry. You’ve always wanted to be in a situation like this, now you’re actually in it, you mustn’t go to pieces and waste the opportunity of a lifetime’ ‘You won’t’ he said. Tell you! That’s the bit that made it feel unreal more than anything else - this guy sitting across the table and very obviously accurately reading my every thought. It's like finding someone else's hand inside your trouser pocket! Nevertheless, something (other than simply having given my "permission") made me inclined to accept the invasion, I had obviously begun to have some confidence in his perception or abilities, so I distinctly remember the effect of his words was that I suddenly felt deeply reassured and completely relaxed. As he had no doubt intended. Man must have an amazing seduction technique! So then we got down to business… ‘Are you human?’ ‘No’ ‘Were you, ever?’ ‘No, but similar, Yes’ ‘Ah, so you are a produc.t of evolution?’ ‘Most certainly – mainly my own’ ‘and you evolved from a species like ours, dna based organisms or something equally viable?’ ‘Correct’ ‘so what, exactly, makes you god?’ ‘I did’ ‘Why?’ ‘Seemed like a good idea at the time’ ‘and your present powers, are they in any way similar to what the superstitious believers in my species attribute to you?’ ‘Close enough. ’ ‘So you created all this, just for us?’ ‘No. Of course not’ ‘But you did create the Universe?’ ‘This One. Yes’ ‘But not your own?’ ‘This is my own!’ ‘You know what I mean!’ ‘You can’t create your own parents, so No’ ‘So let me get this straight. You are an entirely natural phenomenon.’ ‘Entirely’ ‘Arising from mechanisms which we ourselves will one day understand and possibly even master?’ ‘subject to a quibble over who "we ourselves" may be, but yes’ ‘meaning that if the human race doesn’t come up to the mark, other species eventually will?’ ‘in one.’ ‘and how many other species are there already out there ahead of us?’ ‘surprisingly few. Less than fourteen million’ ‘FEW!?’ ‘Phew!’ ‘And how many at or about our level?’ ‘currently a little over 4 ½ billion’ ‘so our significance in the universe at present is roughly equivalent to the significance of the average Joe here on planet Earth in his relation to the human race?’ ‘a little less. Level One, the level your species has reached, begins with the invention of the flying machine. The next level is achieved when a species is no longer dominated by or dependent upon it's own primary – your Sun. They are able to prosper away from their own, or indeed any other, stellar system. Humanity is only just into the flying machine phase, so as you can imagine, on that scale, the human race is somewhat near the bottom of the level one pack’ ‘Do you mean we will one day control our own Sun like Kardashev and Asimov talk about?’ 'quite the opposite. Those are the visions of an evolving mechanical species who imagine that bigger machines are better and stronger and that we will always need more and more energy to achieve mastery of the universe. The truth is the exact opposite. The more advanced we become, the less energy we require and the less impact we make on our environment. You manipulate matter, which requires enormous amounts of energy. We manipulate energy, which requires none. As a consequence, you would not, for example, even recognise a level two species as a lifeform unless it chose to let you ' ‘ all these evolving species; they are your "children"?’ ‘I like to think of them that way’ ‘and the point?’ ‘at its simplest, "Life Must Go On". My personal motivation is the desire to optimise the intelligence of the Universe. In your own terms, I strive to maximise pleasure and minimise pain. A great deal of pleasure, however, arises from communications between separate entities. Once you’ve achieved my level, we tend to cease to be billions of separate entities and become one ecstatic whole. A single entity that cannot die unless it loses the will to live. Advanced and self contained though I am, or perhaps, more accurately, because I am so advanced and self contained, one of the pleasures we lose along the way is that simple joy of meeting new and unpredictable minds and either learning from or teaching them. Thus, in large part, the point of the exercise is to provide company. I am the first eternal in this Universe. I do not intend to be the last’ ‘so you created a Universe which is potentially capable of producing another god like yourself?’ ‘The full benefit will be temporary, but like most orgasms, worth it.’ ‘this being the moment when our new god merges with you and we become one again?’ ‘don’t play it down, that’s the ecstatic vision driving us all, me included – and when it happens the ecstasy lasts several times longer than this universe has already existed. Believe me, it really is worth the effort.’ ‘Yes, I think I can see the attractions of a hundred billion year long orgasm’ ‘and humans haven’t even begun to know how to really enjoy the orgasms they are already capable of. Wait till you master that simple art!’ ‘So it's all about sex is it?’ ‘Sexual ecstasy is merely a reward for procreating, it is what makes you want to do it. This is necessary, initially, to promote biological evolution. However once you’ve completed that stage and no longer require procreation, you will learn that ecstasy can be infinitely more intense than anything offered by sex’ ‘Sounds good to me!' 'How direct is your involvement in all this? Did you just light the fuse which set off the big bang and stand back and watch? Or did you have to plant the seeds on appropriately fertile planets?’ ‘The first significant level of the intelligent self organisation of matter is the arrival of the organic chemistry which forms the precursor for biology and the first primitive life forms. That chemistry evolved, mostly, in deep space, once the stars had created enough of the heavier elements, and purely as a result of the operations of the laws of physics and chemistry which your scientists have already largely understood. All I did was to set the initial conditions which triggered the bang and essentially became dormant for nearly 5 billion years. That’s how long it took the first lifeforms to emerge. That places them some 8 billion years ahead of you. The first intelligent species are now 4.3 billion years ahead of you. Really quite advanced. I can have deeply meaningful conversations with them. And usually do. In fact I am as we speak’ ‘So then what?’ ‘Do I keep a constant vigil over every move you make? Not in the kind of prying intrusive sense that some of you seem to think. Let's say I maintain an awareness of what's going on, at a planetary level. I tend only to focus on evolutionary leaps. See if they’re going in the right direction’ ‘And if they’re not?’ ‘Nothing. Usually’ ‘Usually?’ ‘Usually species evolving in the wrong direction kill themselves off or become extinct for other reasons’ ‘Usually?’ ‘There have been one or two cases where a wrong species has had the potential of becoming dominant at the expense of a more promising strain’ ‘Let me guess. Dinosaurs on this planet are an example. Too successful. Suppressed the development of mammals and were showing no signs of developing intelligence. So you engineered a little corrective action in the form of a suitably selected asteroid’ ‘Perceptive. Almost correct. They were showing signs of developing intelligence, even co-operation. Study your Troodons. But far too predatory. Incapable of ever developing a "respect" for other life forms. It takes carrying your young to promote the development of emotional attachment to other animals. Earth reptiles aren’t built for that. The mammals who are, as you rightly say, couldn’t get a foothold against such mighty predators. You’ve now reached the stage where you could hold your own even against dinosaurs, but that’s only been true for about a thousand years, your predecessors didn't stand a chance 65 million years ago, so the dinosaurs had to go. They were, however, far too ubiquitous and well balanced with the ecology of the planet, and never developed technology, so they weren’t going to kill themselves off in a hurry. Regrettably, I had to intervene.’ ‘Regrettably?’ ‘They were a beautiful and stunningly successful life form. One doesn’t destroy such things without a qualm.’ ‘But at that stage how could you know that a better prospect would arise from the ashes?’ ‘I didn’t. But the probability was quite high.’ ‘and since then, what other little tweaks have you been responsible for in our development?’ ‘None whatsoever. I set an alarm for the first sign of artificial aerial activity, as I usually do. Leonardo looked promising for a while, but not until the Montgolfier brothers did I really begin to take an interest. That registered you as a level one intelligent species’ 'If the sign is "aerial activity", how do you identify technological bird species?' "Same way. Intelligent flyers rarely become technologists though. They tend to evolve into adaptors rather than manipulators but the few exceptions develop flying machines rather more quickly than species like your own because they have a natural understanding of aerodynamics." 'but why would a bird need a flying machine?' 'that's like asking why would your species need cars and other forms of mechanical transport. The technology lets you carry heavier loads, faster and for greater distances than just relying on your own physical abilities.' ‘OK, so what about our more famous "prophets"; Jesus of Nazareth, Moses, Mohammed…’ ‘hmmm… sadly misguided I’m afraid. I am not here to act as a safety net or ethical dictator for evolving species. It is true that anyone capable of communicating with their own cells will dimly perceive a connection to me – and all other objects in this universe - through the quantum foam, but interpreting that vision as representing something supernatural and requiring obeisance is somewhat wide of the mark. And their followers are all a bit too obsessive and religious for my liking. It's no fun being worshipped once you stop being an adolescent teenager. Having said that, it's not at all unusual for developing species to go through that phase. Until they begin to grasp how much they too can shape their small corner of the universe, they are in understandable awe of an individual dimly but correctly perceived to be responsible for the creation of the whole of that universe. Eventually, if they are to have any hope of attaining level two, they must grow out of it and begin to accept their own power and potential. It's very akin to a child’s relationship with its parents. The awe and worship must disappear before the child can become an adult. Respect is not so bad as long as it's not overdone. And I certainly respect all those species who make it that far. It’s a hard slog. I know. I've been there.’ ‘So, you’ve been taking more interest in us since the Montgolfiers, when was that? 1650s?’ ‘Close. 1783’ ‘Well, if you’ve been watching us closely since then, what your average citizen is going to want to know is why you haven’t intervened more often. Why, if you have the power and omniscience that goes with being a god, have you sat back and allowed us to endure such incredible suffering and human misery in the past few centuries?’ ‘It seems to be necessary.’ ‘NECESSARY??!!’ ‘Without exception, intelligent species who gain dominance over their planet do so by becoming the most efficient predators. There are many intelligent species who do not evolve to dominate their planet. Like your dolphins and most of the intelligent flyers we were just talking about, they adapt perfectly to the environment rather than take your course, which is to manipulate the environment. Unfortunately for the dolphin, theirs is a dead end. They may outlive the human race but will never escape the bounds of planet earth, let alone your solar system - not without your help at any rate. Only those who can manipulate the world they live in can one day hope to leave it and spread their seed throughout the universe. Unlike the adaptors, who learn the point of cooperation fairly early on, manipulators battle on. And, once all lesser species have been overcome, they are so competitive and predatory that they are compelled to turn in on themselves. This nearly always evolves into tribal competition in one form or another and becomes more and more destructive - exactly like your own history. However this competition is vital to promote the leap from biological to technological evolution. You need an arms race in order to make progress. Your desire to dominate fuels a search for knowledge which the adaptors never acquire. And although your initial desire for knowledge is selfish and destructive, it begins the development of an intellectual self awareness, a form of higher consciousness, which never emerges in any other species. Not even while they are experiencing it, for example, can the intelligent adaptors - your dolphins - express the concepts of Love or Time. Militarisation and the development of weapons of mass destruction are your first serious test at level one. You're still not through that phase, though the signs are promising. There is no point whatsoever in my intervening to prevent your self-destruction. Your ability to survive these urges is a crucial test of your fitness to survive later stages. So I would not, never have and never will intervene to prevent a species from destroying itself. Most, in fact, do just that.’ ‘And what of pity for those have to live through this torment?’ ‘I can’t say this in any way that doesn’t sound callous, but how much time do you spend worrying about the ants you run over in your car? I know it sounds horrendous to you, but you have to see the bigger picture. At this stage in human development, you’re becoming interesting but not yet important.’ 'ah but I can't have an intelligent conversation with an ant' 'precisely' ‘hmm… as you know, most humans won’t like even to attempt to grasp that perspective. How can you make it more palatable?’ ‘Why should I? You don’t appear to have any trouble grasping it. You’re by no means unique. And in any case, once they begin to understand what's in it for them, they’ll be somewhat less inclined to moan. Eternal life compensates for most things.’ ‘So what are we supposed to do in order to qualify for membership of the universal intelligentsia?’ ‘Evolve. Survive’ ‘Yes, but how?’ ‘Oh, I thought you might have got the point by now. "How" is entirely up to you. If I have to help, then you’re a failure. All I will say is this. You’ve already passed a major hurdle in learning to live with nuclear weapons. It's depressing how many fail at that stage.’ ‘Is there worse to come?’ ‘Much’ ‘Genetic warfare for instance? ‘Distinct Possibility’ ‘and the problem is… that we need to develop all these technologies, acquire all this dangerous knowledge in order to reach level two. But at any stage that knowledge could also cause our own destruction’ ‘If you think the dangers of genetic warfare are serious, imagine discovering an algorithm, accessible to any intelligent individual, which, if abused, will eliminate your species instantly. If your progress continues as is, then you can expect to discover that particular self-destruct mechanism in less than a thousand years. Your species needs to grow up considerably before you can afford to make that discovery. And if you don’t make it, you will never leave your Solar System and join the rest of the sapient species on level two.’ ’14 Million of them’ ‘Just under’ 'Will there be room for us?' 'it’s a big place and level two species don't need much space' ‘and, for now, how should we mere mortals regard you then?’ ‘like an older brother or sister. Of course I have acquired more knowledge and wisdom than you have. Of course I’m more powerful than you are. I’ve been evolving much longer and have picked up a few tricks along the way. But I’m not "better" than you. Just more developed. Just what you might become’ ‘so we’re not obliged to "please" you or follow your alleged guidelines or anything like that?’ ‘absolutely not. Never issued a single guideline in the lifetime of this Universe. Have to find your own way out of the maze. And one early improvement is to stop expecting me - or anyone else - to come and help you out.' 'I suppose that is a guideline of sorts, so there goes the habit of a lifetime! ' 'Seriously though, species who hold on to religion past its sell-by date tend to be most likely to self destruct. They spend so much energy arguing about my true nature, and invest so much emotion in their wildly erroneous imagery that they end up killing each other over differences in definitions of something they clearly haven’t got a clue about. Ludicrous behaviour, but it does weed out the weaklings.’ ‘Why me? Why pick on an atheist of all people? Why are you telling me all this? And why Now?’ ‘Why You? Because you can accept my existence without your ego caving in and grovelling like a naughty child. ' 'Can you seriously imagine how the Pope would react to the reality of my existence?! If he really understood how badly wrong he and his church have been, how much of the pain and suffering you mentioned earlier has been caused by his religion, I suspect he'd have an instant coronary! Or can you picture what it would be like if I appeared "live" simultaneously on half a dozen tele-evangelist propaganda shows. Pat Robertson wouldwet himself if he actually understood who he was talking to. Conversely, your interest is purely academic. You've never swallowed the fairy tale but you've remained open to the possibility of a more advanced life form which could acquire godlike powers. You’ve correctly guessed that godhood is the destiny of life. You have shown you can and do cope with the concept. It seemed reasonable to confirm your suspicions and let you do what you will with that information. I can see you're already thinking about publishing this conversation on the web where it could sow an important seed. Might take a couple of hundred years to germinate, but, eventually, it will germinate. Why now? Well partly because both you and the web are ready now. But chiefly because the human race is reaching a critical phase. It goes back to what we were saying about the dangers of knowledge. Essentially your species is becoming aware of that danger. When that happens to any sapient species, the future can take three courses. Many are tempted to avoid the danger by avoiding the knowledge. Like the adaptors, they are doomed to extinction. Often pleasantly enough in the confines of their own planet until either their will to live expires or their primary turns red giant and snuffs them out. A large number go on blindly acquiring the knowledge and don't learn to restrain their abuse. Their fate is sealed somewhat more quickly of course, when Pandora’s box blows up in their faces. The only ones who reach level two are those who learn to accept and to live with their most dangerous knowledge. Each and every individual in such a species must eventually become capable of destroying their entire species at any time. Yet they must learn to control themselves to the degree that they can survive even such deadly insight. And frankly, they’re the only ones we really want to see leaving their solar systems. Species that haven’t achieved that maturity could not be allowed to infect the rest of the universe, but fortunately that has never required my intervention. The knowledge always does the trick’ 'Why can't there be a fourth option - selective research where we avoid investigating dangerous pathways?' 'There is almost no knowledge which is completely "safe". As you can see from your own limited history, the most useful ideas are also, nearly always, the most dangerous. You have yet, for instance, to achieve the appropriate energy surpluses required to complete this phase of your social development. When you've mastered the relevant technology, it will eliminate material inequalities and poverty within a generation or two, an absolutely vital step for any maturing species. Your potential paths to this bonanza include the control of nuclear fusion - which you only began to explore in the context of potential mass extinction weapons and nano engineered solar energy harvesting or hydrogen cycling. And already your leading military scientists are looking for ways to develop equally dangersous weapons based on the same technology. And they will find them. You may not survive them. Similarly, you will shortly be able to conquer biological diseases and even engineer yourselves to be virtually fault free. Your biological life spans will double or treble within the next hundred years and your digital lifespans will become potentially infinite within the same period:If you survive the potential threat that the same technology provides in the form of genetic timebombs, custom built viruses and the other wonders of genetic and digital warfare. You simply can't have the benefits without taking the risks'. ‘I’m not sure I understand my part in this exercise. I just publish this conversation on the web and everything will be alright?’ ‘Not necessarily. Not that easy I’m afraid. To start with, who’s going to take this seriously? It will just be seen as a mildly amusing work of fiction. In fact, your words and indeed most of your work will not be understood or appreciated until some much more advanced scholars develop the ideas you are struggling to express and explain them somewhat more competently. At which point some of those ideas will be taken up en masse and searches will be undertaken of the archives. They will find this work and be struck by its prescience. You won’t make the Einstein grade, but you might manage John the Baptist! This piece will have no significance whatsoever if humanity doesn’t make certain key advances in the next couple of centuries. And this won’t help you make those advances. What it will do is help you recognise them’ 'can I ask what those advances may be?' 'I think you know. But yes - although you are at level one, there are several distinct phases which evolving species pass through on their way to level two. The first, as we've discussed, is the invention of the flying machine. The next significant phase is the development of the thinking machine. At your present rate of progress, you are within a few decades of achieving that goal. It marks your first step on the path of technological evolution. Mapping the human genome is another classic landmark, but merely mapping it is a bit like viewing the compiled code in a dos executable. It's just meaningless gibberish, although with a bit of hacking here and there, you might correctly deduce the function of certain stretches of code. What you really need to do is 'reverse engineer' the dna code. You have to figure out the grammar and syntax of the language. Then you will begin the task of designing yourselves biologically and digitally. But that task requires the thinking machine' ‘You say you avoid intervention. But doesn’t this conversation itself constitute intervention – even if people alive now completely ignore it?’ ‘Yes. But it's as far as I’m prepared to go. Its only effect is to confirm, if you find it, that you are on the right path. It is still entirely up to you to navigate the dangers on that path and beyond.’ 'But why bother even with that much? Surely it's just another evolutionary hurdle. We're either fit enough or not…' 'In many ways the transition to an information species is the most traumatic stage in evolution. Biological intelligences have a deeply rooted sense of consciousness only being conceivable from within an organic brain. Coming to terms with the realisation that you have created your successor, not just in the sense of mother and child, but in the collective sense of the species recognising it has become redundant, this paradigm shift is, for many species, a shift too far. They baulk at the challenge and run from this new knowledge. They fail and become extinct. Yet there is nothing fundamentally wrong with them - it is a failure of the imagination. I hope that if I can get across the concept that I am a product of just such evolution, it may give them the confidence to try. I have discussed this with the level two species and the consensus is that this tiny prod is capable of increasing the contenders for level two without letting through any damaging traits. It has been tried in 312 cases. The jury is still out on its real benefits although it has produced a 12% increase in biological species embracing the transition to information species. ‘Alright, so what if everyone suddenly took it seriously and believed every word I write? Wouldn’t that constitute a somewhat more drastic intervention?’ ‘Trust me. They wont’ 'and so it's still the case, that, should another asteroid happen to be heading our way, you will do nothing to impede it on our behalf?' 'I'm confident you will pass that test. And now my friend, the interview is over, you have asked me a number of the right questions, and I’ve said what I came to say, so I’ll be going now. It has been very nice to meet you - you're quite bright. For an ant!’ He twinkled. ‘Just one final, trivial question, why do you appear to me in the form of a thirty something white male?’ ‘have I in any way intimidated or threatened you?’ ‘No’ ‘Do you find me sexually attractive?’ ‘er No!’ ‘So figure it out for yourself…’ Original Story can be found HERE Photo by ejpphoto [post_title] => Mind-Blowing Story: "Talking to God..." [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => mind-blowing-story-talking-to-god [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2011-07-11 10:44:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2011-07-11 17:44:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=3463 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 238 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
No matter your experience with meditation, this guide has something for you. We're going to be exploring basic to advanced methods of breath-focused meditation in order to reach extremely heightened states of awareness. If you've ever wanted to experience bliss without sex or substance, this is it :)
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 100201 [post_author] => 58 [post_date] => 2012-04-24 09:18:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-04-24 16:18:09 [post_content] => You have read about the benefits of meditation and just want to get started. You are convinced that meditation can bring life lasting advantages and now you want a small map to guide you through the basics of meditation. You might have tried to sit once in a while, but never had a clear picture of what to do when and how to progress. If you feel yourself nodding yes, then this beginners guide to meditation is for you. I will start with a simple posture and some preparation. I will recommend everyone to start developing a strong a single focus meditation practice first. If you don't develop a strong equanimity (non-volatile awareness) first, then you will be easily distracted when trying out insight meditation. Focus and insight are the two wings of meditation, you need both to fly. So after this beginners guide to meditation explains single pointed meditation first, we will move into some of the basic insights meditation can bring.
The Basics of MeditationSit in a comfortable position with your back straight, the crown of your head 'pulled upwards' and your chin turned in a little towards your chest. If you feel any pain in the knees or in the back, sit a little bit higher on a cushion. It is of essential importance that you can relax deeper and deeper, and potentially even fall asleep while sitting. If this is not the case, choose to sit in a chair or to lie down on your back. I once read that your skeleton in meditation should be the like a coat rack and your limbs should just hang. Breathe in deeply and pull your shoulders up to your ears. Then pull them backwards and downwards while breathing out. Do it slowly and with awareness. Push your shoulders out to the front and then upwards while inhaling. Do this circle progression 5 times with deep inhalations and exhalations. Reverse the movement and do it for another five times in the other direction. During the meditation, try to concentrate on the physical, bare, sensations of the breath. This will be your object of your focus. When you are new to meditation, focus on the area around the belly, sucking air in, pushing air out. Try to breathe into the belly, here are the most veins that take up oxygen and helps the parasympathetic nervous system to calm you down. In time, when you have developed a somewhat better concentration you can move to the sensations around the nostrils. The sensations here are harder to detect and thus you need to pay more attention. Keep in mind that everything else other than the bare sensations is a distraction. Feeling good? Go back to the sensation of the breath. Having a good thought? Go back. Making sounds on the rhythm of the breath? Then you are masking the true sensations of the moment, try to find how it actually feels so go back. You might want explicitly note every time you get distracted. So if you notice you are not on the breath anymore, label the moment 'distraction' and move your attention back to the object of meditation. Keep in mind, every time you notice you lost the object, you are making progress! Start with 5 minutes twice a day. Move up once you feel like you could and are really interested in wanting to discover more. This can already happen after the first session. Move up to 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 minutes twice a day. Perhaps even take a whole day where you practice 30 minutes every two hours, and take mindful walks between them.
How To ProgressWhen you are around the 10 minute mark you probably noticed already the crazy habitual stream of thoughts. It is NOT the goal to get rid of these, just being aware of them and what their effect is on your state of mind is enough. Their pull will lessen over time. However, every time you get distracted from the breath, it means you didn't notice the pull of the first thought that started another whole train of thoughts. You can ask yourself, why exactly that thought, that moment? The more you meditate, the more you will notice that thoughts are just clouds passing by in the mind space. But some thoughts still attract your whole attention. These are the ones that you desire, or, in other words, the ones that distract you from what is really happening in your body, on the sensational level. These are the fantasies or worries that pre-occupy your existence because you don't want to see what lies beneath.When you run after your thoughts, you are like a dog chasing a stick. Every time a stick is thrown, you run after it. Instead, be like a lion who, rather than chasing after the stick, turns to face the thrower. One only throws a stick at a lion once. -MilarepaThe instruction here is to relax into your body on every outbreath, letting go, and focusing more intensely on the bare sensations on every inbreath. This creates a rhythm, a tendency, that actually resembles a kind of courage to face old neurosis and traumas. With every breath you are more intimate with impermanence. Nothing is fixed, no stable ground to be found. Thoughts will still be there, but they will become powerless. They will show their true face, not the commander of the human passions, but the slave that works for the passions. The next step is to go deep into the sensations. At the start of an inbreath, the sensations are barely noticeable. At one point, where the speed of inhalation is the highest, the tingling around the nostrils will be the most intense. And at the end, when the lungs are quite full already the sensations slowly disappear. When they are hard to distinguish from other stimuli around you, try to go deeper. Zoom in. Can you feel a little more before they disappear? Is it really one sensation, or are there many small ones? Investigate and keep your eyes on the ball. Make it a game, try to catch the thought that pulls your awareness away from the object. If you miss, just restart. Go back to the breath. The more you meditate the more you find old layers of tension popping up in your awareness. Places where anxiety rests. These are the places that stress up when you are in a situation that seems hostile to you. This could be all the time (chronic tension). The most common ones are the areas around the neck and shoulder, chest and groin. When you notice this, try to be mindful during the day. Just being aware of it and when possible, try to relax the tension. If you do relax a bit, be extremely aware of the thoughts that arise while letting go. A certain psychosomatic phenomenon will always co-dependently arise with it. (For example, the opening of the heart are for some individuals are paired with thoughts of self-judgment.) When you go deeper into these areas, you might get distracted much quicker than when concentrating on the sensations of the breath. This is because your defense mechanisms house there. You don't like being aware of it, it feels like suffering. You would rather be un-conscious of them. This is true every time you are completely into your thought stream and not in your body. Thoughts can not feel suffering but your body can. And if your body get's too in-tense, we run into our own fabricated house of symbols. Remember that most people go through life, day in day out, without a fundamental trusting connection with their body. To establish this, we need to be compassionate, be caring. Get massages, take sauna's, eat well, exercise diligently and take enough rest. All these movements, if motivated by taking care of ones body, will greatly enhance your meditation practice. Being scared and hurt can show itself in many ways, in anger, arrogance, pride, revenge, anxiety etc. These are the moments where true insight can arise. In moments of being vulnerable one can restore and heal parts of ourselves that we disowned a ling time ago. The best way to do this is to include yourself into your circle of compassion. If after a few months of being mindful of these problem areas you still can't relax into them fully, then you could try to add yoga, tai chi, chi qong or dancing to your practice. It opens up the tension, these are really powerful tool that are probably very uncomfortable for many. But, once the old knots disappear, you feel lifted, the world seems lighter and a more happy place. The different drives of your body start conversing with each other again.
Advanced InstructionsAt one point you will experience what is sometimes called access concentration. This is the point where nothing will distract you from the object of the breath. Thoughts still appear but they are in the background, just like the sensation of your legs while sitting right now. They simply inform instead of screaming for attention. They start to know their place, just as another sense organ, not as the master and commander of your body (this is the ego illusion.) At this point, which should be easy doable in 1-2 months of 20 minutes of meditation twice a day, you can choose to go three different, albeit overlapping, ways.
1. Develop Deeper ConcentrationContinue focusing on the breath. Keep zooming in more and more. The breath is a great tool because the more you relax, the harder it is to detect the sensations. So the difficulty level goes up over time and so keeps challenging your limits. Deeper concentration, being less prone to distraction, will benefit your overall well-being and other spiritual practices immensely. At one point you can switch the object from the breath to the space of the mind. Here are where the small distractions lie that normally go unnoticed. The ones that pull you a little bit away from your moment to moment experience (because the mind doesn't want to, I will elaborate a little bit on this later on). The object is the mind which is everything that arises in the mind, and nothing else. Treat everything else, sounds, bodily sensations, pain etc. as a distraction. In the beginning it is very hard to distinguish this area from the more tangible sensations. To make this a bit easier you can question yourself; what is the mind? Where does this question come from? Where is it located? Just relax and see what answers pops up! For a great overview what is possible and how far the mind can train itself read The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind.
2. Entering JhanaJhanas are the blissfull altered states of mind one can enter during meditation. Jhana is also called 'absorption' or 'ecstasy'. And that is exactly how it feels. During jhanas you are so completely absorbed into the object of meditation that all distinctions between the observer and the observed will cease to exist. It can give you great insight into reality and give a profound sense of bliss and joy. There are eight jhanas but I will only elaborate on how to enter the first one. For more information you can check out this wonderful book Focused and Fearless: A Meditator's Guide to States of Deep Joy, Calm, and Clarity or this online free PDF. If you entered access concentration and your body is as calm as can be, the places where you normally hold tension are now relaxed and thoughts are just whispers in the distance you can decide to enter the first jhana. Slowly, without getting distracted, move your attention from the breath to a pleasant sensation. Most common areas are the hands, the chest or the breath itself. Focus on the pleasantness of the sensation. It is of utmost importance to not get distracted. Don't think to yourself how pleasant it is or if this is the right spot because it is very easy to lose access concentration. When you focus on something pleasant it is very likely it will cost you less effort. In this way, you can, as it were, slide into the absorptive state. It might start out small, but it can grow to infinity in a non-linear way. In the buddhist scriptures it has been said that jhana's act as a fire that can burn away mental defilements. Just keep in mind not to get attached to these blissful sensations!
3. Investigate The Three Marks of ExistenceThe three marks of existence are experiential truths you can investigate to liberate yourself from suffering. Meditation is a tool to become skillful enough in this investigation that you can understand and face reality as it really is, at any given moment. You will not find the absolute, non-changing, timeless truth here, but will become a truthful person that can handle uncertainty, ambiguity and, most important, mortality. Once you entered access concentration you can take any given phenomenon arising in your experiential field and find these three marks, a kind of constant falling apart while staying the same. Anicca: Impermanence. Every sensory experience changes from moment to moment. There is no fixed substance anywhere. Everything is transitory. This is one of the easiest marks to grasp. Every sensation consists of thousand other sensations which in turn also consists of a thousand others. Some are slow, some are fast, but they never last. To investigate this, find an object, any part of now you like, and see if you can find something that is not changing. If you find anything, take that as an object and investigate deeper. Even the worst pains and the highest joys don't last forever and neither does the mental projection of an observer at a distance. Dukkha: This is often translated as suffering but a better term is un-satisfactoriness. Since all phenomena are in a constant state of flux, there is nothing you can hold on, nothing you can control, nothing you can keep safe. But our desire is to get happy, and once we have happiness, to keep it. Yet this is impossible. To investigate this, take any object and explore the anicca part of it and see what the mind does. It tries to hold the pleasant states or reject the unpleasant states. If it has something it likes, it wants more of it or wants to try to secure it. It is something we constantly do, something we can't even imagine we can do without. If we can let go of this continuous grasping, just like the tension I mentioned earlier, we get uplifted immediately. It takes some bravery and courage to investigate this, but it will also develop the strength needed to confront any issues you might have in life. Anatta: Non self. There is no observer that observes. There is no thinker of thoughts, not hearer of sounds. There are just thoughts, just sounds. If you entered a jhana you understand that at that point, the observer and the observed are one. But this goes for every single phenomena in our experience. At one point, there is just the breath, or just the hands, or just the ongoing stream of thoughts in our mind space. (Watch out! It is very easy to identify yourself with the one who has the thoughts, but remember, this 'observer' just arises and passes away too, it is just a mental construct designed to make something permanent).
Thank YouIf you made it this far, I want to thank you for reading my words. You clearly have an interest in meditation and I honestly believe it is one of most beautiful gifts we can give ourselves and others. Every time you take a moment to sit, you show the world how courageous you are and that you are not afraid to take the whole universe into your comfort zone. For those that show an interest in meditation but never really found a way to start or keep a daily practice. I know you can do it. Yes, it's hard, it's not always fun and it takes time. Sometimes you aren't even sure why you are doing it at all. But isn't this true for everything worth in life? Maybe it's time to do away with the band-aids and accept our moment to moment experience as it really is and not as we wish it to be? There is great source of joy and strength to be discovered, all it takes is a little discipline. [post_title] => The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Meditation [post_excerpt] => No matter your experience with meditation, this guide has something for you. We're going to be exploring basic to advanced methods of breath-focused meditation in order to reach extremely heightened states of awareness. If you've ever wanted to experience bliss without sex or substance, this is it :) [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => the-ultimate-beginners-guide-to-meditation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-11-04 07:44:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-11-04 12:44:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=100201 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 4270 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 341396 [post_author] => 75833 [post_date] => 2014-10-16 15:04:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-10-16 19:04:54 [post_content] => [post_title] => The Science of Happiness Explained: What Habits To Develop & What Activities to Avoid [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-ways-boost-happiness-instantly-3-things-will-kill [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-11-19 19:38:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-11-20 00:38:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=341396 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
“How could she do something like this to me?” said a voice in my head. All the time. Everyday. Back in 2011, when everything had gradients, iOS icons made sense, and people used deodorants, I was...
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 334097 [post_author] => 71647 [post_date] => 2014-07-10 11:16:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-10 15:16:44 [post_content] =>
“How could she do something like this to me?” said a voice in my head. All the time. Everyday.
Here is the horse-shit: The server forces us to use at least one UPPERCASEcharacter, at least one lowercase alphabetic character, at least one symboland at least one number. Oh, and the whole damn thing can’t be less than 8 characters. And I can’t use any of the same passwords I’ve used in the last 3 months.
I was furious that morning. Tuesday, 9:40 a.m. -It was so hot that my torso was already sweaty even though I just got to work. I was late. I was still wearing my helmet. I think I forgot breakfast. Something tastes like cigarette in my mouth. I need to get shit done before my 10 a.m. meeting and all I have in front of me is a huge waste of my time.
So there it was… This input field with a pulsating cursor, waiting for me to type a password that I’ll have to re-enter for the next 30 days. Many times during the day.
It was obvious that I couldn’t focus on getting things done with my current lifestyle and mood. Of course, there were clear indicators of what I needed to do -or what I had to achieve- in order to regain control of my life, but we often don’t pay attention to these clues.
That simple action changed the way I looked at my ex wife. That constant reminder that I should forgive her, led me to accept the way things happened at the end of my marriage, and embrace a new way of dealing with the depression that I was drowning into.
In the following days, my mood improved drastically. By the end of the 2nd week, I noticed that this password became less powerful, and it started to lose its effect. A quick refresh of this ‘mantra’ helped me. I thought to myself I forgive her as I typed it, every time. The healing effect of it came back almost immediately.
And guess what happened. I shit you not. I quit smoking overnight. This password was a painful one to type during that month, but doing it helped me to yell at myself in my mind, as I typed that statement. It motivated me to follow my monthly goal.
- Forgive@her ← to my ex-wife, who started it all.
- Quit@smoking4ever ← it worked.
- Save4trip@thailand ← it worked.
- Eat2times@day ← it never worked, still fat.
- Sleep@before12 ← it worked.
- Ask@her4date ← it worked. I fell in love again.
- No@drinking2months ← it worked. I feel better.
- Get@c4t! ← it worked. I have a beautiful cat.
- Facetime2mom@sunday ← it worked. I talk with my mom every week.
This method has consistently worked for me for the last 2 years, and I have shared it with a few close friends and relatives. I didn’t think it was a breakthrough in tiny-habits but it did have a great impact in my life, so I thought to share it with you all.
Try it yourself! Write these statements with the right mindset and attitude, and you’ll change your life. Let me know how it works for you!
[post_title] => How a password changed my life. [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => how-a-password-changed-my-life [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-11-20 15:50:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-11-20 20:50:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=334097 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 15 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
Social situations are among the most important in our lives. Yet, there is a huge chance that you are oblivious to the plethora of unwritten social rules that structure everybody’s behaviour....
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 338214 [post_author] => 65172 [post_date] => 2014-09-03 05:10:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-09-03 09:10:22 [post_content] => Social situations are among the most important in our lives. Yet, there is a huge chance that you are oblivious to the plethora of unwritten social rules that structure everybody's behaviour. Failing to comply to these cultural imprints can cause irreversible damage. Just following them blindly will not get you ahead. Hacking them, however, will give you the best results possible. Therefore we bring to you these - 25 psychological life hacks that will help you gain the advantage in social situations
1) Assume comfort in any interaction.Our brain is an incredibly complicated instrument. Our relationship with it, is a love-hate one. We think we have control over it but usually something unconscious dictates our actions. In most of our social interactions, we find it difficult to feel comfortable among strangers because our brain tries to protect us from exposure. This however isn’t helping us when trying to be social and meet new people, is it? This is why assuming comfort is so powerful. Commanding your brain to feel that you already know the person you are about to meet puts you in a position of advantage. It increases the chances of people showing interest in you and consequently even liking you.
2) Pay attention to people’s feet when you are approaching them.Interrupting people when they are in the middle of an important conversation is one of the most annoying things to do. It shows that you have zero knowledge of social dynamics which will lead to unpleasant social situations. When you approach a group of people while in a conversation, pay attention to their bodies. If they turn only their torsos and not their feet, it means they are in the middle of an important conversation and they don't want you to interrupt them. If they turn both torso and feet, it means you are welcome. This is extremely important, because the right timing in such situations may put you in a position of advantage, especially if the conversation was boring for both sides.
3) Whenever you have an argument with someone, stand next to them and not in front of them.We've all been in situations where out of nowhere the conversation started escalating. Unless you love drama, I would suggest you to avoid these situations. You might have the best argument in the world, but usually people get irritated when they feel they are wrong. So, whenever you feel that the argument you have with another person (especially friends – it’s not cool to fight with friends) creates tension, move next to them. You won’t appear much of a threat, and they will eventually calm down.
4) Whenever you need a favor, open with “I need your help.”Admit it. We all love to get others to do stuff for us. Either because we are lazy, or because we really need some help to complete a task. Social dynamics show that when it comes to platonic relationships, nobody really likes an asshole. So whenever you need a favor, start your sentence with “I need your help." In most cases, people will accept your request and help you out. This occurs because we don't really like the guilt of not helping someone out and we do like to be the one who is capable of helping.
(Including the One I Use In Every Conversation)%MINIFYHTMLd549d97b8661e15d9eff650e34bb3f1828%
5) If you want people to feel good, give them validation. Rephrase what they just told you.We love validation. Most of our actions are the outcome of our need for validation. So what is the best way to get people to like you? Give them what they need of course. A simple example, is when you are in a conversation with another person and he says something really important for him. After he finishes, rephrase what he just said in your own words. This will make him think that you are a good listener and that you are really interested in him. It makes him feel he is the center of attention. That's validation right there.
6) If you want to get a positive response from someone, nod while you talk.This one is extremely powerful and also a bit manipulative especially if the person is suggestive. So use it with your own responsibility and in an ethical way. Getting a positive response from someone is usually what we want. Whether it is making a sale, or promoting a viewpoint, we always want people to get on board. Nodding while you try to deliver your message is a powerful way to get the person to agree with you. People usually like mimicking, so they will most probably nod back while you talk. This will subsequently communicate to their brains that they have to agree with you.
7) Want to see if someone is paying attention to what you are saying? Fold your arms.Usually when we are in the middle of a conversation and especially if we talk about something very important to us, we get lost in our talking and rarely pay attention to whether the other person is following or not. So instead of losing time talking to a person who is distracted and might not even be interested in what you are saying, do this. Fold your arms while talking and see if the other person follows your move. If the other person is observing you and pays attention, they will most likely mimic you.
8) Having trouble remembering names? Repeat the other person’s name during the conversation.I suck at remembering names. I usually don't even listen to the other person when he says his name the moment we get introduced to each other. So usually, I ask a friend to introduce himself to the person so I can listen to his name. But then I forget it again. Awkward. Remembering names is very important because we feel important when someone mentions us. So the moment you meet someone repeat his name. Example: “Hi my name is Alex” “Nice to meet you Alex. So, Alex how do you know John?” And continue to repeat his name throughout the conversation.
9) If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer, just wait. They will keep talking.This is a very common situation when you don't know the other person that well or your question wasn't clear enough. If they finish the answer without providing a full answer, just wait. Stay silent and keep eye contact. If the tension becomes unbearable, raise your eyebrows. It puts a bit of pressure on them but it communicates that you show interest. It also sub-communicates that you are a person that usually gets what he wants.
10) People usually focus on the emotion and not on the subject.This is very useful in public speaking but also in building rapport with an acquaintance. Whenever you introduce yourself to new people, most probably they have already heard what you are about to say. Well that's not a problem. Even if you want to talk about the most boring topic in the world, make sure of one thing: Always try to evoke emotions. From my experience the 3 emotions that you want to evoke are: • Excitement • Laughter: Everyone likes to laugh • Intrigue: Leave a little mystery so the other person has to invest energy to hear more. Don’t be purposely distant, but avoid verbal diarrhea. There are many techniques to turn a boring conversation into an exciting and intriguing one, but here are a couple of my favorites:
This article was originally published in The Quintessential Man, and edited for HighExistence.[post_title] => 25 Psychological Life Hacks that Will Help You Gain the Advantage in Social Situations [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 25-psychological-life-hacks-help-gain-advantage-social-situations [to_ping] => [pinged] => http://www.highexistence.com/8-ways-to-be-uber-charismatic/ [post_modified] => 2014-11-19 19:47:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-11-20 00:47:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=338214 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 9 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
“Microdosing of 10 to 20 micrograms (of LSD) allow me to increase my focus, open my heart, and achieve breakthrough results while remaining integrated within my routine. My wit, response time, and...
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 333093 [post_author] => 58 [post_date] => 2014-07-14 13:35:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-14 17:35:34 [post_content] =>“Microdosing of 10 to 20 micrograms (of LSD) allow me to increase my focus, open my heart, and achieve breakthrough results while remaining integrated within my routine. My wit, response time, and visual and mental acuity seem greater than normal on it.”On a beautiful morning in Amsterdam I grabbed my vial of LSD, diluted down with half high grade vodka and half distilled water, and told my friend to trust me and open his mouth. While semi-carefully measuring the droplets for his microdose, I told him to whirl it around in his mouth for a few minutes before swallowing the neuro-chemical concoction. I quickly followed suit.
- Madeline, The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide
We had one of the best walking conversation of our lives.I first became immensely curious about the potential of microdosing psychedelics after reading this captivating story about James Fadiman and his research. After a few test-runs, I knew I stumbled upon something significant. Today we are witnessing the birth of a truly remarkable epoch. With the psychedelic renaissance well under way, consisting of new fascinating research, the coming out of thousands of individuals and the introduction of many, hitherto unknown, psychoactive plants steeped in their cultural context of healing and initiation, we are now facing some new and interesting questions.
Virtually all athletes who learn to use LSD at psycholytic dosages believe that the use of these compounds improves both their stamina and their abilities. According to the combined reports of 40 years of use by the extreme sports underground, LSD can increase your re- flex time to lightning speed, improve your balance to the point of perfection, increase your concentration until you experience “tunnel vision,” and make you impervious to weakness or pain. LSD’s effects in these regards amongst the extreme-sport community are in fact legendary, universal, and without dispute.He goes so far to suggest that, to some in the extreme sports subculture, taking a microdose at any physical competition is considered cheating. And this is not just the case for sports. P.G. Stafford and B.H. Golightly write in LSD — The Problem-Solving Psychedelic about a student that wanted to learn german making huge strides under the influence of an unknown amount of LSD. These are the words of the student:
It was a week before registration and it depressed me tremendously that I had not spent the summer learning German, as I had planned. I had intended to give myself a crash course so I could take second-year German, which I needed for my study in physics. I had heard of a woman who had learned enough Spanish in a few days, via LSD, to speak it fluently when she had to go to Mexico on business. I had taken LSD before, and while I couldn't see how she did this, I decided it was worth a try. I hadn't even gotten around to picking up a textbook, but I did have a close friend who knew German well and who said he was willing to "sit in" while I took the drug and try to teach me the language. Fortunately, I knew something about conjugation and declension, so I wasn't completely at sea. I wanted to get worked up and feel involved with the language, as it seemed that this must be at least part of the key to the problem, so I asked my friend to tell me about Schiller and Goethe, and why the verb came at the end. Almost immediately, after just a story or two, I knew I had been missing a lot in ignoring the Germans, and I really got excited. The thing that impressed me at first was the delicacy of the language (he was now giving me some simple words and phrases), and though I really messed it up, I was trying hard to imitate his pronunciation as I had never tried to mimic anything before. For most people German may be "guttural," but for me it was light and lacey. Before long, I was catching on even to the umlauts. Things were speeding up like mad, and there were floods of associations. My friend had only to give me a German word, and almost immediately I knew what it was through cognates. It turned out that it wasn't even necessary for him to ask me what it sounded like. Memory, of course, is a matter of association, and boy, was I ever linking up to things! I had no difficulty recalling words he had given me—in fact, I was eager to string them together. In a couple of hours after that I was reading even some simple German, and it all made sense. The whole experience was an explosion of discoveries. Normally, when you've been working on something for a long time and finally discover a solution, you get excited, and you can see implications everywhere. Much more than if you heard someone else discovering the same-thing. Now this discovery thing, that's what was happening with me—but all the time. The threshold of understanding was extremely low, so that with every new phrase I felt I was making major discoveries. When I was reading, it was as though I had discovered the Rosetta Stone and the world was waiting for my translation. Really wild!In the 60's the creativity enhancing effects of psychedelics were already hailed as revolutionary, and these famous trippers would certainly agree. One significant study investigated the effect of 100 micrograms of LSD on top of the field experts who had been struggling with a hard problem for months. Their solutions were reviewed by a panel of other experts in the same field. As Tim Doody reports;
LSD absolutely had helped them solve their complex, seemingly intractable problems. And the establishment agreed. The 26 men unleashed a slew of widely embraced innovations shortly after their LSD experiences, including a mathematical theorem for NOR gate circuits, a conceptual model of a photon, a linear electron accelerator beam-steering device, a new design for the vibratory microtome, a technical improvement of the magnetic tape recorder, blueprints for a private residency and an arts-and-crafts shopping plaza, and a space probe experiment designed to measure solar properties.Psychedelics can be described as "non-specific amplifiers", and, as such, not just creativity can be enhanced, also the distressing states of mind. In smaller doses this is not as overwhelming and therefore, if used properly, can be quite beneficial. Myron Stolaroff, while writing about the usefulness of psychedelics in the practice of buddhism, argues that low doses of psychedelics can be extremely beneficial to improve ones meditation practice.
The use of low doses often can be much more effective in dealing with our "psychic garbage." Many do not care for low doses because they can stir up uncomfortable feelings, and they prefer to transcend them by pushing on into higher states, but it is precisely these uncomfortable feelings that must be resolved to achieve true freedom. With low doses, by focusing directly on the feelings and staying with them without aversion and without grasping, they will in time dissipate. Resolving one's repressed feelings in this manner clears the inner being, permitting the True Self to manifest more steadily. Such a result provides greater energy, deeper peace, more perceptive awareness, greater clarity, keener intuition, and greater compassion. It permits the deepening of one's meditation practice. The surfacing of buried feelings that this procedure permits often can bring new understanding of one's personality dynamics.
The potential to improve cognitive functioning, body awareness and our spiritual evolution with a microdose of psychedelics are limitless. There are five categories by which we can describe the overall effects of microdosing LSD. I gathered these from the various first person reports I've quoted so far and my own extensive experimentation.
Anyone that has tried a psychedelic drug know that it’s impossible to fully explain the experience to someone who hasn’t tried one. The entertainment industry completely misrepresents these experiences with dragons flying out of people's faces and walls melting into nothing, which never occur even with strong doses. So, here is my best attempt at explaining the psychedelic experience...
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 95049 [post_author] => 16 [post_date] => 2012-05-10 23:00:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2012-05-11 06:00:46 [post_content] =>(The image above has a really cool animation once it loads!) Anyone that has tried a psychedelic drug know that it’s impossible to fully explain the experience to someone who hasn’t tried one. The entertainment industry completely misrepresents these experiences with dragons flying out of people's faces and walls melting into nothing, which never occur even with strong doses. So, here is my best attempt at explaining the psychedelic experience. I'd like to start this off with an anecdote from Ram Dass, who was talking about working with a member of the anti-drug coalition on a book about LSD. In choosing pictures for the book, they agreed on only one:"It was a picture of a guy on the floor, looking at some spilled Coca-Cola. And he liked that because it showed the people under drugs became so trivial, and their minds became so caught in nothing. And I liked it because it showed this person was seeing that in everything there is everything. That in the spilled drop of Coca-Cola is the entire universe."
The General SensationWhile tripping, you realize that Shakespeare's idea that "All the world's a stage" was excitingly true. Everyone else is still acting in this play, taking their characters very seriously. But you are backstage, watching it all play out with you mask off for once. Your beliefs, which you now realize are oh-so human and tied to your subjective sense of self, have come off with that mask. You are now able to look at the world through a truly differerent lens for the very first time. Without the filters of 'sobriety', the nature and innate truths of the world become clear. Furthermore, your appreciation for absolutely everything is exponentially magnified. That filter in your brain that says "I've seen that flower a thousand times before, so it's not that cool anymore" is turned off. Even the most insignificant objects are seen as though it is the first time you've ever encountered them. You are temporarily reborn with a child's eyes for 4-6 hours.
The VisualsFor the most part, you do not see things that are not actually there. You see things that ARE physically there move around and warp into amazingly intricate patterns, but you will not see a colorful dragon-fly through your bedroom. All surfaces begin slowly undulating in tiny waves as if all matter has come alive. Not to the extent that you'll think the world is melting or reality is breaking apart; just enough to let you know that 'solid' is more subjective than you thought. However you will see some INSANE visuals when your eyes are closed (or in darkness, since the experience is the same), like a super-imagination that is much less under your control than usual. Imagine seeing an endless chain of vivid scenery seamlessly warping from one image to the next. The bizarreness of these images knows no bounds.
PerceptionOne of the coolest insights can come from the power of your perspective while tripping. The best example of this is when you look in the mirror. You will see your face morph back and forth between looking the most beautiful way you view yourself and the ugliest way you view yourself. If that’s hard to understand, think of someone with a horrible case of anorexia. Even when they are compared side-by-side to people they think are skinny, they still see themselves as fat. You can see this extreme, and the opposite extreme without any effort on your while you are tripping. But of course, you one see your own extremes… so you won’t see yourself look anorexic unless you are capable of thinking you look like that while sober. This also holds true for any object you look at. You can look at a chair and consciously fluctuate between seeing it as a supremely evil, horrible, ugly chair, and seeing it as the most wondrous, angelic object you have ever seen. This is why having a ‘bad trip’ is possible because people can get stuck at the negative end of this spectrum if they have emotional issues or something traumatic happens during the trip. In summation, the influence of your perception on reality is infinitely magnified on shrooms/lsd. While this is happening to you, you will see that this is also true while sober, but it occurs less immediately. Very cool stuff.
Rules for Tripping1) Know your dealer & drugs. As with anything you ingest into your body, make sure you know what you're buying. This includes amounts and strengths as not all mushrooms and tabs are created equal. 2) Trip where you feel extremely comfortable, especially with relation to temperature. You do NOT need to be outside to have a fantastic trip (my best trip ever was inside a small room), but nature is pretty sweet! You can clearly see the difference between dead and living 'objects' through the lens of mushrooms and LSD. 3) Trip only with people who you trust and enjoy completely while sober. Just one person can put a bad spin on your trip. This is a big event so don't be afraid to be picky! 4) While tripping, be sure to spend time by yourself. The longer you spend alone, the deeper you can go into the trip, and the deeper insight you will receive. Focus is paramount while tripping. Insights and even intense visuals do not develop unless you focus your attention or vision on something for 5+ seconds. 5) Write down your epiphanies. Psychedelics experiences are like dreams in that they're clear right after, but fade away quickly after. Try to write them down while you're still tripping otherwise some of the understand will be lost, no matter what.
Maximizing Your Trip- Drink orange juice beforehand. The vitamin C helps you to relax physically and mentally and the acidic nature of the juice helps the digestion of the substance. - Change your surroundings every hour or so, even if you're just moving to another room. It's difficult to describe how awesomely different a new environment can feel while tripping. - Wear the most comfortable clothing you own. Even if that outfit consists of footsie pajamas and one of your mothers crazy hats. Comfort is vital. - Plan a fun activity to do while you're waiting to come up. It's much more fun to all of a sudden realize you're tripping than to be constantly asking yourself 'Am I up?' for an hour and a half. Don't worry, you won't miss it :p - Listen to music. You think music is amazing on weed? Oh just you wait :) - Remember to spend some (if not most) of your trip alone. It's important enough to be mentioned twice!
Other Things to Know- These substances are perfectly safe. In fact they're the safest drugs you can take behind marijuana. You cannot die or cause brain damage from LSD or mushrooms without eating hundreds of dollars worth of the stuff. It's like alcohol -- perfectly safe unless you're extremely stupid about it. For that matter it's far easier to cause harm to yourself with alcohol. Do your research online beforehand so you have more than my word to go off of! Erowid is a good place to start. - You're not alone in being intrigued by experience another type of perception. According to a site-wide poll in 2011, 47% of HEthens have tried mushrooms and 36% have tried LSD. Woot :) - You will feel some discomfort and possibly nausea when you're coming up on either magic mushrooms or LSD. Many people describe this feeling as 'wanting to get out of your body'. For me, the non-physical nature of the soul becomes very obvious during the trip, so this sensation makes sense. The unpleasantness will go away when you're all the way up. For further advice, read this: http://www.highexistence.com/discussions/topic/question-for-those-who-have-done-shrooms/ Happy tripping :) Original image by James Jean [post_title] => The Mushroom/LSD Experience Explained & Explored [post_excerpt] => Anyone that has tried a psychedelic drug know that it’s impossible to fully explain the experience to someone who hasn’t tried one. The entertainment industry completely misrepresents these experiences with dragons flying out of people's faces and walls melting into nothing, which never occur even with strong doses. So, here is my best attempt at explaining the psychedelic experience... [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => mushrooms-lsd-experience-explained-to-non-user [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-10-18 07:55:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-10-18 11:55:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=95049 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 105 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )
Mr. Nobody Who would you have been when, at crucial moments in your life, you choose to walk a different path? That thought experiment is explored brilliantly by this amazing science-fiction movie as...
WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 297456 [post_author] => 58 [post_date] => 2014-05-05 08:37:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-05-05 12:37:36 [post_content] =>
Mr. NobodyWho would you have been when, at crucial moments in your life, you choose to walk a different path? That thought experiment is explored brilliantly by this amazing science-fiction movie as we follow Nemo(s) for 118 years. Set in the past, the now and in the future, we follow different branches of his life through time, covering the topics of technology, love, human fragility and how decisions shape who we will end up being. Spectacular.
Yo, TambiénYou haven't seen a romance story like this before, and you don't have to like them to fall deeply in love with this one. While most movies about unlikely couples end up in lame cliches, this one lifts the hearts and makes an impression that will last a lifetime. 'Me, Too' is about Daniel, a young guy who is born with down-syndrome yet finished university, and Laura, who spends her life getting cheap attention at nightclubs. What makes this movie unforgettable is not just the superb humor that catches you off guard, but the story itself -- a pureness rarely encountered. It truly makes you feel that, on a deeper level, we all long for love, warmth and connection.
A Scanner DarklyBased on the book by Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly perfectly captures the dark and mind-bending tones written herein. This comes as no surprise because it is made by the same director as Waking Life. We follow an undercover cop who gets hooked on a new designer drug that slowly starts to take make serious changes in its user. All lines between reality and fiction start to blur when he doesn't know who he is anymore.
They LiveThis 1988 Hollywood movie is counter-culture classic. John Nada goes to LA in search of a job. But what he finds are special sunglasses that reveal the hidden structure of the social order. Everywhere he looks, he finds subliminal messages that are used to control the masses. I am not going to spoil it by telling who does the controlling, but the metaphor is all too real. Don't watch this movie if you expect the best acting or the coolest special effects. But certainly watch it if you are looking for the same sunglasses!
Un prophète (A Prophet)Gritty, raw, dark. We follow a young boy who has been dealt the worst cards all his life. In prison, he belongs to no group, and just wants to be left alone. However, others have different plans. Slowly, they push him to the edge, but they will not like what kind of man he becomes. Very powerful movie, one of the best in its genre.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and SpringThis is perhaps my favorite movie of all time. Set in the Korean wilderness lives a Buddhist master in the middle of a lake. One day a little boy is left behind at his door, which he attempts to raise. We follow them through the seasons and the different cyclical phases of life, learning amazing lessons on the way. This is a profound movie, one you can watch multiple times, each time deepening your insight. Or rather, peel away another layer of illusion. Watch it, I promise you won't be disappointed.
The Act of KillingThis is a deeply disturbing movie that has to be seen by everyone. This documentary has former Indonesian death squad leaders create reenactments of mass murders in different film genres. The way it is carried out and rationalised is perhaps the deepest tragedy the world is facing. I don't think I will ever forget this film, nor the line "War crimes are defined by the winners".
A Single ManYou can watch this movie just for the cinematic beauty alone. A Single Man is about a man who lost the love of his life in a car accident and is left with no reason to continue his existence. As he prepares his suicide, he finds he is not alone in his despair. Watching this movie can be likened to an existential guided meditation on love, death and deep moments of reflection. The perspective we, as the viewers, inhabit is that of a cold distance, which heats up once we connect with it.
The EdukatorsThis is a surprisingly interesting movie with some strong dialogues and a very gripping message about the fate of the hippie generation. We follow a young trio as they break into rich people's homes to leave behind obscure messages (Die fette Jahre sind vorbei!) It quickly turns into something more personal as they kidnap a man without knowing what to do with him. When everything seems to unravel we learn about love, friendship and the price you must pay for your ideals.
Perfume: The Story of a MurdererThere is something about this movie that is deeply upsetting, yet it is so mesmerizing that you can not help but to watch it till the end. Perhaps it is the recognition of the almost psychotic dark side of love, the fact that we are capable of doing anything in order to attain that idealistic perfection. Perfume is about an almost mythical story of a boy, a perfume maker, who has the finest smell on the planet. But soon he becomes obsessed by finding the ultimate smell, sacrificing everything that stands in the way.
HerThis is probably the most beautifully shot movie of this century. An elegant mixture of wild science fiction and powerful love story we are invited into the life of a single writer, Theodore, who purchases the newest operating system, Samantha. The emotional and intelligence development of both, with beautiful philosophical remarks make for an extremely funny, emotionally spellbinding and all around feel good story that also begs the question of what makes us human. Watch this on a rainy day with someone you love.
Le Grande BellezzaAbsolutely jaw-dropping. We follow italian writer Jep Gambardella who lives a life of the elite in Rome. We observe him as he is mesmerised by both the beauty and the absurdity of his world, a world filled with post-modern art performances, a growing decadence and a taste for extravagant parties. The well-timed pacing of the movie draws the viewer in and makes the one shot lingering in the next, blending these together in a beautifully captivating dream. Watch this movie if you want an experience - not an answer.
2001: A Space OdysseyI know everyone has seen 2001, but I couldn't help myself to include it anyway. (Go watch it now if you haven't, ksst!) This is one of my favorite Kubrick movies ever. While it is clear that it comes from a different age, and perhaps our fast paced minds have to do our best to tune in, it hasn't lost one fragment of its brilliance and beauty. If this movie doesn't make you think about life, the universe and everything in between, I don't know what does.
Die WelleA German high school teacher has a class on autocracy and starts an experiment of his own. Soon the class turns into a fascist group that is no longer under control. A great movie for everyone who would like to feel and understand how such an order can arise and how it functions. Together with Das Experiment it forms the two great German movies about social structures.
The Gods Must Be CrazyTruly one of its kind. An African bushman finds an empty coke bottle that has been thrown out of an airplane. Xi, having never encountered such an object before, soon discovers that such a weird artifact upsets the whole typical order. Of course this is all a big metaphor for the birth of a society. Combined with the different stories, the social and political critique, the beautiful landscapes and the often hilarious moments make this movie a brilliant master piece.
GattacaThis amazing science-fiction movie depicts a society in the future where people get classified and ranked by their genes. If you are sub-optimal and your parents didn't pre-screen you, you will never be able to hold any important job. In a fascinating plot one untermensch defies such genetic determinism and proves that discrimination based on genes holds no ground. Very thought-provoking.
Before MidnightThe sequel of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, it is probably the best of the series. (Don't worry, you don't have to watch the first two to appreciate and understand Before Midnight). Life is fragile, and so are relationships. This is the background of a movie which only features lengthy dialogues, philosophical reflections on being-together, sharp insights of a world that can't be controlled. What I loved most about this movie is the fact that you can feel the rawness of the characters. It is genuine. It is real.
Ladri di biciclette (The Bicycle Thief)It is a rare occurrence that a simple story can capture the hearts of all its viewers. Perhaps it is impossible to make such movies anymore and that they are just fleeting remembrances of a time long past. Perhaps the poetic love depicted in this Italian masterpiece needs a slower pace of life than we currently experience. Either way, it is not a surprise that all the great Italian actors and directors point to this movie as the birth of Italian cinema, which is just about a man, his son and a stolen bicycle.
SamsaraNot to be confused with the documentary of the same name, this movie is about a young Buddhist monk that flees his monastery to pursue his wildest fantasies. Besides the beautiful settings and the depiction of rural Tibetan life it has some unexpected dialogues that has got me thinking to this day. Especially the ending is one of the most emancipatory perspective on Buddhism and enlightenment I have ever seen. Must watch.
Solyaris (Solaris)If anything, this movie captures the idea of a mind-fuck the best. Crazy, cold, absurd, yet extremely captivating and beautiful. A psychologist ventures into space to look for a crew that has gone crazy. Some say this is one of the worst Tarkovsky's movies, but I disagree. As one IMDB commenter puts it "Watch it at night, alone, when everything out of your home is dark, silent, and cold." I promise you, do this and you will wake up as a different person.
LimitlessYes, you have probably seen this one too. But I think this movie is such a spot on reflection of our time, an almost religious movement that consists of self-help books, designer smart drugs and quick 'get genius' schemes, with the ultimate goal being limitless as a kind salvation. Nietzsche would be proud. Boosting your capabilities to extraordinary heights, such a science fiction pill is quickly becoming a science fact. What would you do if you became limitless?
Batoru Rowaiaru (Battle Royale)What happens when you put 42 9th grade students on a deserted island, give them some random weapons, and let them know only 1 may live after 3 days pass, or they will all die? This is what the brilliant Japanese movie batoru rowaiaru explores while giving a subtle critique on a society with extreme childish values on the one hand and demanding utter discipline on the other. This is an extremely violent movie which raises some disturbing questions like 'could you kill your best friend?'.
The Pervert's Guide to IdeologyIf you want a thought provoking movie, then this one tops the list. Philosopher Slavoj Žižek, neurotic yet brilliant, psycho-analyses the hidden subliminal messages Hollywood movies convey to us. From the titanic to batman, Žižek never fails to deliver a devastating critique of our current capitalistic ideology, implying that changing just ourselves is not enough if we want to overcome global destruction. Difficult, witty and sometimes outright hilarious, this is a movie to watch twice.
Das Leben Der Anderen (The Lives of Others)A deeply touching movie set in 1986 on the east side of the Berlin Wall. We follow the liberal couple Georg and Christa, who, almost by accident, get 24/7 surveillance by the Stasi (the east-german secret police). In what follows we see how a paranoid state creates a claustrophobic environment that alienates its citizens and smothers the life and creativity out of its inhabitants. But what the state couldn't foresee is the effect this couple has on the police agent who is able to hear everything they do. It is impossible to say more without spoilers, all I can say is that it is a beautiful gripping tale that is highly relevant today.
Adams æblerThis is perhaps one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. Perhaps because the humor is so unsuspecting and disturbing at the same time. Or perhaps it is because Danes just know exactly what social situations are so absurd that we can not help but laugh. We follow Adam, a brilliantly played neo-Nazi, who after committing a crime has to learn how reintegrate into society. He joins the parish of pastor Ivan who believes he is at war with Satan and that every event is to test his faith. Utter hilarity ensues.
What are your favorite, relatively unknown movies?[post_title] => 25 Spectacular Movies You (Probably) Haven’t Seen Pt. 3 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => 25-spectacular-movies-probably-havent-seen-pt-3 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-11-19 20:10:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-11-20 01:10:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.highexistence.com/?p=297456 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 18 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )