Alexander Technique, and r/K-selection Theory in Pickup

moviestar had an interesting response to the Myofascial Release and Unwinding: “Kiss, Smile, Breathe, Repeat” and Fetal Position for Sleeping post.

moviestar wrote:

MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH!

I’m very happy about this technique. I fixed a major issue in my posture yesterday.
But it’s not so easy as described on Andrew’s blog, let me explain:

I was trying the kiss/smile technique for the last two days. I felt it was doing something (especially the smile) so I kept going. Nothing major happened and it seemed like I was on the brink of a yawn all the time but nothing was getting released. Until I figured I would stand up (I was sitting or lying all the time previously). So I stood up in front of a mirror and started smiling.

Now I remembered Ed saying to let the body unwind itself. So instead of mindlessly doing the technique I forced a smile and let the body do whatever it wanted to do. This resulted in major shoulder rotations and neck stretching. I was very much unwinding, at times it hurt a bit,especially when the neck was stretching, I helped it a bit with my hands (I have to mention I had manual body work done on me last year so I knew what going on).

Suddenly, my feet snapped into a different position and my belly stuck out. Literally it was a snap like my whole posture changed. I realized my feet are now parallel to each other when standing. My whole life I had bad feet position when standing – always wide apart to the outside. This resulted in big problems with posture. I had no idea until I saw how standing with properly positioned feet supports a proper posture. My belly stuck out like in a 2yr old child and my back was fully supported by the legs. Good posture became effortless. Awesome :).

I see now that any sort of mental posture effort (like the Alexander technique) is totally misfired. This is because by trying to do a posture you’re putting an additional layer of effort on top of the bodies natural functioning. THE BODY KNOWS how to heal itself and what a correct posture is. The thing is to get out of your own way to let it happen.
(this revelation is a bit like realizing the pickup community techniques are totally misfired – as with posture – your body knows how to attract and seduce a woman, you don’t need to put an additional layer of bullshit on top).

Thanks very much guys for this.
There’s still more work to do in my shoulders (they’re curled up too much) but I see what happened as a major breakthrough. And yes, I see potential here in totally eliminating manual body therapy (although as I mentioned I have a good idea how the body works in terms of muscles and also I have lots of hours spent under the influence of plant psychadelics so I know how to “let the body do its thing” – not sure if this can be taught to the average joe).
Wish me luck :).

Judging by the other responses and emails I have been receiving, we are really achieving something big with these new approaches to body work.

I have a couple of things to say about two of the points raised here.

I see now that any sort of mental posture effort (like the Alexander technique) is totally misfired. This is because by trying to do a posture you’re putting an additional layer of effort on top of the bodies natural functioning. THE BODY KNOWS how to heal itself and what a correct posture is. The thing is to get out of your own way to let it happen.

I practise two parts of the Alexander Technique. The breathing pattern (which I talked about here: Get your breathing right first!) is very effective, and definitely releases fascia. Starting the breath with a blow fills out the fascial sleeve of the abdomen and encourages it to release from its adhesions to the nerves (something major caused by trauma, e.g. the “freeze response”, breath-holding, and also chronic muscle tension). This sleeve extends into the legs and in fact everywhere in the body. Adhesions in the legs can cause massive breathing problems, which is why David Berceli’s trauma-releasing exercises focus on generating tremors in the thighs (psoas specifically). You can lie down and gently do an Alexander “push-breath” and have that wave propagate down into the legs. This can induce tremors immediately — particularly by continuing to gently push the “first wave” right down the body and legs. Where this wave reaches “stuck points” is where the body will contract and begin trembling. It is all part of releasing this fascial sleeve from the nerves it is adhered to, right down into the legs and feet. Be gentle!

Also, while walking, the push-breath tangibly releases fascia body-wide, so can be used to do fascia release on the fly with the benefit of improved breathing. Because Alexander breathing is based in the blow (push), it primarily activates the parasympathetic nervous system. My blood pressure is a stable 100/40 after Alexander breathing, as measured in a doctor’s office. In fact it is so effective in stopping the sympathetic fight-or-flight response that I have intentionally trained a “push-breath” as a reflexive response to any stressful situation. This is done by quickly, mindfully locating the area of stress-tightness, e.g. deep in the abdomen, then starting a push-breath there so it segues into a gentle breath wave. I recommend adopting this practice to anyone who regularly experiences bursts of stress.

My latest method for sleeping, which is incredible, is to adopt Andrew’s fetal sleeping position then gently breathe out through the nose. When this “breath wave” hits resistance (i.e. it has filled up the abdomen) it will automatically turn and become an in-breath. Just try it. You are aiming to have it “cycle” automatically, starting from just a gently out-breath through the nose. It should then turn by itself and become an out-breath again at the top. This is how to enter completed automated breathing.

Interesting things happen. At first, the out-breath wave will likely hit a “stuck spot” early in the cycle, usually deep in the abdomen. Continue gently pushing the out-breath against this stuck spot, and sheets of fascia tangibly release from around the base of the spine. Mild tremors happen at first which then subside. This out-breath then continues, finally “bouncing off” the bottom of the abdomen and then cycling automatically into an in-breath. At all times during the cycle, it seems fascia is becoming loose and fluid. The breath itself is doing the work.

Soon the breath pattern becomes very stable, then I can continue breathing with a single out-breath, continuing the gentle push, which cycles into in-breath and out-breath automatically in a flowing cycle. My breathing literally becomes an automated continuous flow of in and out just from the starting stimulus of a long out-push through my nose. My eyes/awareness then automatically shift to the under-the-nose/above-the-top-lip spot and I trance out and fall asleep literally within seconds. Fascia will continue to de-adhere throughout the night. This is a total stress-buster and does so much of the work for me.

The second Alexander Technique I use is the “free the neck” technique (YouTube it). This causes the head to rise, the spine to lengthen, and nerves all over the body — particularly those entering the base of the spine — to withdraw towards the spine, shedding fascial adhesions as they move. The neck SHOULD be free anyway, but it’s typically not in most people due to fascial tension — mostly from sitting, poor sleeping positions, and bad breathing and moving habits. The “free the neck” is kind of a hack method, simulating the freedom you’re supposed to have anyway. While it is good for vertical lengthening and improving movement, it does largely reveal the work that still needs to be done (since the tightness still in the fascia becomes more evident when the head is rising up against it).

(this revelation is a bit like realizing the pickup community techniques are totally misfired – as with posture – your body knows how to attract and seduce a woman, you don’t need to put an additional layer of bullshit on top).

The pickup business can be summed up quite simply as: training people to adopt r-selected traits to attract women on the primal, shallow, slutty level. It is designed to transmit extroversion and sexual openness (promiscuity) cues for fast, short-term, virtually anonymous sexual encounters. There is no discernment involved about the woman’s character (in fact, it actually selects for r-selected women). If you give this tech to someone already r-selected, it just acts as a “permission slip” to let them exhibit traits that come naturally to them anyway. They fly.

The real problem arises when someone who is K-selected (like myself, and arguably most guys finding the pickup community) tries to adopt these r-selected traits: it’s a total mismatch. The main reason for this mismatch is that K-selected types experience the emotion of DISGUST far more palpably and often than r-selected types, and particularly in the sexual sphere. r-types do not actually experience disgust very much — or shame, which is just inward-facing disgust — hence their apparently shameless behaviours and willingness to bed anything that moves.

K-types are actually far more discerning and, while finding girls sexy on a primal level (“Man, I want to fuck that!”), are also simultaneously disgusted by their promiscuity cues and behaviours considered “non-decent” (a pit-of-stomach disgust for the whole situation). This gives K-types a kind of persistent cognitive dissonance regarding what they are trying to to when they go out to “pick up”. So, in the pickup community, you end up with a bunch of K-selected intellectual, introverted, discerning, picky, socially-conservative and broadly xenophobic guys, going out into the hub of r-selection (bars and nightclubs) and attempting to adopt shallow, promiscuous, “anything-goes” r-selected behaviours. It rarely works. One reason is that K-selected guys have FAR more emotionally-expressive faces due to their larger amygdalae. Their disgust at the women they are pursuing — a general feeling that all these sexy little tarts in tiny dresses doing body shots are actually BENEATH THEM, while paradoxically still wanting to have sex with them — plus their discomfort at trying to adopt alien extroversion behaviours, flows emotionally from their face and body language, sabotaging the whole activity and making them stick out like a sore thumb. It takes a sustained affront to the K-behaviours — achieved by approaching tons of people in quick succession with shallow small-talk — to force a temporary shift to the r-selected behaviour set — which was coined as “getting into state” by Tyler Durden (RSD) back in the day. This is actually a temporary shift to an r-selected mind-state. K-types must go through this ritual each time they wish to enter r-selected space.

The reason the pickup community exists at all is because the West is so r-selected now that K-selected behaviours don’t easily fit into the jigsaw puzzle of the social world. K-selected guys therefore try to change behaviours which are encoded at the epigenetic level: of course social anxiety is rampant in such guys; they are basically feeling that they do not belong here — because, broadly speaking, they don’t. This is why I always did best picking off the couple of girls sat away from the crowd looking uncomfortable, then seguing into more intellectual conversations about meditation, science or philosophy — the K-types recognize their own. The K-type male is actually attractive provided he does not try to compromise his values to the r-type set (which comes across as totally incongruent anyway). Transmit K, see who picks up the call. That is also why I have also been advising guys for years to be more selective about the girls they approach, and to eschew the “spray and pray”, “approach everybody” r-selected stuff that the pickup community always seemed to espouse.

Stefan Molyneux’s “Gene Wars” series is an excellent introduction to r/K-selection theory:

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80 Responses

  1. Wow, that bit about r/k selection is fascinating and rings so true. I remember being the one who felt that they didn’t fit in (in those situations and many others) when in my late teens/early twenties. Eventually gained the confidence and self knowing to just not be part of something i wasn’t congruent with (and did different things with different people) but looking back it was painful at the time. As for the push breath, great idea. My body did that naturally for a long time as a coping mechanism -it would hold at the end of an exhale, naturally trying to do something very similar but when i realised i just needed to let it do that and i wasn’t an issue (it was a self correcting action that “the system” was “initiating”), i let it do it and voila, improved breathing and released tension in the areas discussed. Great stuff Edd.

  2. James says:

    I find the k-selection thing rings true for me too

  3. Pat says:

    Great post! How do drugs like phenibut or MDMA play into helping a k-selective male succeed in an r-selective mating environment? Do they simply shut off the “disgust” and “shame” responses?

    • Illuminatus says:

      They both turn off disgust and xenophobia. Phenibut turns down discernment regarding experience generally, giving a more “anything goes” attitude. MDMA turns up pro-social touchy-feely behaviours, giving permissive behaviours even around strangers. It’s kind of the ultimate r-selection drug.

      • Lampa says:

        Interesting, ’cause MDMA always leaves me with a feeling of fake love, something unnatural, even somewhat disgusting. So it’s fun to think about that from this point of view.

        • dominicj says:

          i also used to wonder why it had so much of an effect on the jaw, i wonder how it is related to all of thiis, the increased serotonin gives more energy in the bundled up fascia so people are more aware of it maybe? illuminatus you didnt include it in your jhana drugs posts, does it feel very different from jhana or were you not sure exactly where it fit?

          • Illuminatus says:

            MDMA releases dopamine, which has a feedback loop with the jaw (and just chewing regular gum increases dopamine, showing that the system is two-way).

            MDMA is in the amphetamine family and would go under “Dopamine Drugs” in that post. MDMA is not particularly like jhana, though.

      • Pat says:

        Since I’m guessing the vast majority (if not all) of oneitis sufferers are K-selective, do you think disgust is one of the more effective ways to end a oneitis, barring something like what you said you did, where you got good enough at concentration meditation that you can generate enough internal fulfillment to the point where you don’t feel the need for a oneitis?

        • Illuminatus says:

          r-selecteds can still get pairbonding oneitis but a) it usually requires them to have had sex with the person, b) they don’t appear to feel it anywhere as much and they move on quicker one it’s over and c) they are happy to cheat even while pairbonded whereas K-selecteds will tend to want to stay faithful (at least for the first several years). These are all huge generalizations, obviously.

          K-selecteds seem to develop oneitis easily just through verbal contact or even at a farther distance; their more vivid imaginations probably play a part in this.

          Yes, disgust is a palpable trigger for ending a oneitis. For example, if you learned that your oneitis gangbanged the entire football team, your K-response would get triggered and you probably wouldn’t have oneitis much longer — though you would likely still go through a bizarre “breakup” pattern in your mind, probably lasting a few days, which would mimic the stages of grief like all breakups do. Provided you didn’t “forgive her” mentally during this time (since the endorphins of oneitis are so addictive, the brain will play all sorts of tricks to maintain the supply), the oneitis would probably permanently end. Then you would have to use mental management to spot and stop the imagination loops that create the next oneitis, BEFORE they create it.

      • Pat says:

        Can a high enough level of concentration meditation have similar effects to these two drugs with regards to getting comfortable with an r-selective environment and behaviors?

        • Illuminatus says:

          Well I can only answer from my own experience. Concentration meditation has completely eliminated my anxiety, far beyond what I even thought possible. I am now totally “comfortable” being around the r-selected freakshow and go out to bars etc. about once a week and am happy just watching.

          The difference with MDMA (and other stimulants, e.g. 3,4-CTMP) however is that while on those drugs I would go and dive right into the r-selected games. I would be talking to new people within minutes and the r-selected mating switch would also be flipped and soon I would be organizing my “hook-up” for the night. That was all pretty autopilot as a result of the drug.

          Concentration meditation hasn’t shown much sign of being able to induce massive changes in character like those drugs did — and I’m also not sure I want it to, for reasons I will now explain. The main reason is that meditation practice has made me very comfortable with who I am. So, I used to not like many of the K-selected traits (the regular disgust at things not up to my standard, the xenophobia etc.). However, now I am very comfortable just being with those emotions in the present moment. I even enjoy them. I LOVE things not being up to my standard, and making some dry remark about it in disdain. And because I’m now being honest and not apologizing for it, many people actually find it funny and endearing (though not all — but that’s kind of the point of being discerning: you want to find YOUR people). I think worrying about your own character traits — that somehow they make you not fit in etc. — is actually a huge source of anxiety for K-selected types, and simply accepting these traits and embracing them both gets rid of the anxiety and is a lot more fun. I now get to find out what makes me tick; what situations this person actually wants to be in, rather than fitting himself into the social defaults of trying to be hypersocial and fuck anything that moves.

          The second reason ties into this last point — the discernment of K is there to find good long-term wife/girlfriend material (in other words, a K-selected mate). I don’t know if that exists any more in the West, but in any case you are not likely to find it in some bar with some girl you hook up with in the first five minutes of meeting her. So the K-strategy of discernment, disgust and xenophobia is actually there to help you filter out all the women that aren’t going to be right for you on a core biological level.

          • Pat says:

            Thanks for the lengthy, in depth answer. Cool to hear how much concentration meditation can reduce your anxiety. While I certainly wouldn’t want to permanently eliminate my own k-selection, it would be nice to be able to switch it off for short periods of time, if only in order to secure short term sexual gratification, since I agree with your point about how unlikely it is to find a quality k-selected female mate in the west these days. I guess the best solution for that would be drugs?

            • Illuminatus says:

              The best solution is willpower plus mimicry of r-behaviours. This is also known as “Game”.

              The next best solution is hookers.

              There are simply far too many negatives attached to drugs to make them worthwhile.

              • Pat says:

                Even phenibut?

                • James says:

                  drugs are bad mmmmmkayyyy

                • Illuminatus says:

                  You could give phenibut a try if you wanted to see what it did. It massively lowers alcohol tolerance though so be careful how much you drink while on it.

                  You still have to apply willpower and go and talk to people while on drugs. They just remove most of the psychological barriers. I used to get emails from people saying, “I tried phenibut. I felt good but then didn’t do anything.” They expected the drug to just do their whole night out for them. But, no, it’s a lubricant, nothing more.

                  I would recommend meditating on phenibut using a kasina (i.e. flame afterimage). Look up kasina meditation if you don’t know what that is. Phenibut is one of the best drugs for visualization meditation.

                  The problem with drugs for socializing is as follows. Firstly, a tolerance builds quickly, whichever drug it is. Most of the “high” of the first few times a new drug is taken appears to be auto-suggestion — the expectation of a new and brilliant state. On successive taking of the drug that effect starts to fade rapidly and you end up taking more and more to chase the dragon.

                  Secondly, that hypersocial state (and the success it brings) is highly addictive and socializing starts to be about chasing that state rather than actually meeting new people.

                  Thirdly, that state gives a level of (artificial) confidence which women find hypnotic. Stefan Molyneux had a good show recently where he discussed how men who have insane levels of confidence basically have a hypnotic effect over women. It is a state most often exhibited by psychopaths. The problem is that this state is very far removed from most people’s normal state. So socializing in this state, because it’s so powerful, is training you to believe that only this state is acceptable for yourself. It sets the standard at some ridiculously high level, meaning when you’re out and you’re not in that state then you feel weak and not good enough. It just sets you up for cycles of drug dependence and state-chasing while doing nothing to improve the confidence of the “real you”.

                  So, those are basically the dangers of any drug you take to improve social confidence.

                  • Pat says:

                    “Stefan Molyneux had a good show recently where he discussed how men who have insane levels of confidence basically have a hypnotic effect over women.” Now that would be pretty cool to get out of concentration meditation, if possible.

  4. Edenist Whackjob says:

    Illumi, you really should write the definitive Personal Power Meditation book.

    Think about it: it would be like the Prometheus Rising of the 2010s. Stuff like r/K, PUA, smart drugs, Edenism, etc, wasn’t really around back then. Not to mention all your original research.

    You’d have a pretty good initial market in the manosphere – people who wouldn’t read RAW because he’s a “liberal” but who would read you because you’re more into xenophobic reality-tunnels.

    Thoughts?

    • Illuminatus says:

      I will be writing things like that. I’ve always had a lot more writing planned; I’ve just been consumed by my myofascial project (which it seems now is, thankfully, coming to an end).

      By the way, concerning Edenism: it’s all crap. The Neanderthal/Sapiens/Melonhead traits can be explained completely satisfactorily via r/K-selection, IQ, and sociopathy — in humans alone, without invoking extra species. Koanic even writes about those things, then adds the additional layer of Neanderthal/Sapiens/Melonhead on top as a completely unnecessary gloss.

      Since he got into his whole “humans are the result of a boar fucking a chimpanzee” angle, I stopped reading him completely. Occam’s razor is a useful tool at times.

      • Edenist Whackjob says:

        I think the Thal parts are the most useful. Deepsock and T-back are definitely predictors of certain personality in the wild for me. I would probably approach it more from an rdos or even mainstream angle.

        I also think phrenology in general is true. “Melonheads” seem to be several different kinds of scammy/social/sleazy/salesy phreno-types jammed into one box.

        The whole “cro-mag” thing seems to be an artefact of Tex’s thinking. Real Cro-Mags are Icelanders and Swedes – generally decent, non spear-chucky people, if a bit conformist.

        • Illuminatus says:

          The phrenology aspect still interests me a little. I agree the deepsock and Thal-back (rugby-ball shaped head, yes?) do often match with certain characteristics. But it’s equally likely that we simply ASSIGN such characteristics to many of those people. Deepsock people LOOK vulnerable. We feel that about them. There’s equal amounts of subject-object going on there.

          But here’s my main problem, and the real reason I just stopped using phrenology entirely as a predictive system: I have met tons and tons of people who have the various phrenological features but don’t exhibit the trait assigned to that feature. E.g. a family friend has a blatant melonhead but doesn’t act like a melonhead at all. A girl I know is clever and highly visually creative but has no discernible phrenological features (she would be considered “Sapiens” in the Koanic model). These people are better off described by labels such as “high IQ” and “K-selected”. Then there is a girl I know who has a rugby-ball shaped head and acts exactly like a “Thal”. So it matches up some of the time — enough that, with the creative pruning that characterizes human reality modelling, you could make a model and find that its predictions come true (if you are willing to ignore all the times it doesn’t).

          Starchild is an interesting one. I figured out quickly that the Starchild skull is actually a partially-separated conjoined twin. You can see this easily for yourself if you get a model skull and a mirror. Hold the mirror at a specific angle to the normal skull and, combined with the reflection, a clear Starchild skull emerges. So it is a conjoined twin that has partially separated at a specific angle on the central axis. You can even do this in Photoshop by making a mirror image of a normal skull image at that specific angle — and I did this to demonstrate it to Koanic, but of course he just said I was wrong and that it’s definitely an alien (I don’t think I have the image any more either). This deformed infant has been cradleboarded, hence the flatness at the back of the skull.

          Even though the original Starchild skull itself is nothing more than a deformed human, the “Starchild type” still matches specific traits in phrenology. Robert Anton Wilson himself is a Starchid type: http://deoxy.org/img/robertantonwilson.jpg
          So is David Bohm: http://67.media.tumblr.com/8309059c96f3fad1c5ed0b6d09d2c573/tumblr_n3b9alMSzX1ri1icuo1_1280.jpg
          And Stanley Kubrick: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/KubrickForLook.jpg
          The trait I am looking at there is the wide round head and the pointy ears when viewed from the front.
          The defining characteristic of this type is that they believe the Universe is, as its basis, just mind. All subjective. No actual objective reality — only the perception exists. These people also tend to have “Universal connection” and bizarre extra-terrestrial-sounding insight.
          I am also this type.

          • James says:

            “The trait I am looking at there is the wide round head and the pointy ears when viewed from the front.
            The defining characteristic of this type is that they believe the Universe is, as its basis, just mind. All subjective. No actual objective reality — only the perception exists..”

            Me again =)

            • James says:

              Also, Sadhguru said he can tell a persons whole life, past present and future, just by looking that geometry of their face.

  5. James says:

    Ed, you should write a childrens book on how to be happy.

  6. Edenist Whackjob says:

    Nother thing I want to ask:

    I find it strange how you manage to combine left-brainedness (xenophobia, dividing things into us-them, logics) and right-brainedness. As someone who’s always been logical and has recently been able to go into right-brain mode, it seems like failure every time I slip back into left-brain negativity now. It seems like there’s two realities I can in, and left-brain is the false one (or a necessary evil at best, for pure survival purposes).

    How does one handle these things?

    • Left and right brain are not 2 different areas doing completely different things – their is no left brain right brain mode. We can use these descriptions to make distinctions of behaviour but it’s not accurate. The inter dependency/communication between the 2 is more complex than that. I’ve only scratched the surface of it but it’s not a case of left brain right brain. This kind of thing should be obvious to us by now.

      • Illuminatus says:

        @Andrew: What you just said is broadly correct. However there are two broadly discernible modes which can be summed up as: “narrowfield focus” (left brain) and “widefield focus” (right brain). The right brain views the whole; the left brain zooms in and cuts bits off the whole for a more penetrating analysis. These different modes of attention become quite evident in activities such as jhana.

        @Edenist Whackjob: Can you tell me where you got this idea from that “left brain = negative thoughts?” I semi-regularly get emails asking me questions based in that assumption. I fear it may have been something I wrote about years ago before I really understood the hemispheres.

        The left brain is not “negative”. It is just singularly focused upon its goal. This leads to intense bursts of positivity and motivation when it believes it is on the right track. When it feels derailed from that track, its main response is ANGER (the left brain is very connected to anger whereas the right connects more strongly to fear). The intense rapture and pleasure of the early jhanas come largely from the left hemisphere. The left brain is also not xenophobic. In fact, the left brain is rather pro-social. It loves to talk. If you meet a right-brain stroke victim (so only their left hemisphere works), you will notice they are always jolly and like to TALK and laugh incessantly (usually nonsense). If you meet pro-social Asperger’s types they are also like this.

        It is more useful for the purpose of your question to divide the brain into “front and back” (or “top” and “bottom”) where you put the neocortex at the top and the lizard brain and limbic system down the bottom. Then you have a better representation of your inner conflict: between imprinting and physical health at the bottom vs. higher functioning or your “grand plan” at the top. The bottom derails the efforts of the top.

        Meditation has hatha yoga (movement and body work) to calm the bottom brains, and raja yoga (concentration meditation) to power up the top brains. (Obviously that’s just a yoga example: insert any methods you use in these spots, as they all target either the body and lower brains, or the top brains).

        Early childhood imprinting — in the bottom brains — is the main cause (besides ill-health) of why your top brains get derailed. It’s all that crap that we’re really trying to dig up and nullify.

        A morning session of kundalini plus concentration meditation — even just 15 minutes — puts me in the “good reality” for the rest of the day. This is specifically what the new jhana guide will be about, and it will almost entirely focus on technique.

        • Edenist Whackjob says:

          Wow, had no idea I was so misguided. Thanks!

          So it’s more accurate to say that:

          left = goals

          right = observation

          top = detachment

          bottom = attachment

          Is that correct?

          • Illuminatus says:

            Not really.

            left = narrow goals (the “how”)

            right = broad goals (the “why”)

            As for detachment/attachment, well you will have to clarify what exactly is “attached” to what for me to comment on that. It’s a bit vague as it stands. 🙂

            • Edenist Whackjob says:

              You wrote recently that when one is in the frontal lobes, things feel more free and spacious and there is more choice. Being in the lower brains, things feel more cramped and it’s harder to think.

              I just assumed that Buddhist attachments “live” in the lower brains, I guess, and that detachment meant = being in frontal lobes. I guess I make a lot of assumptions!

              • Illuminatus says:

                That’s a good enough working model for now.

                The lower brains are more attached to bodily suffering, which is what people are trying to solve or get away from most of the time. So entering a jhana gives immediate relief from the body.

                However there are still attachments in the higher brains — attachment to concepts, attachment to outcomes etc. In Buddhism those are worked on with progressively higher resolution and skill, but that is somewhat advanced.

                For an ordinary person, a temporary escape from just bodily suffering by entering a jhana is a life-changing event.

                • Edenist Whackjob says:

                  Ah, so Circuits I, II and IV are really bodily suffering?

                  • Illuminatus says:

                    Quit mixing models!

                    • I may be wrong (after all, we know nothing) but i would take issue with even those definitions as they are unknowns and assumptions. The “brain” (in fact the whole system) is not truly understood to that level and from what i do know, those at the forefront (on the fringes to some but mostly people at the top of their game so to speak) would argue the same. To define any kind of separation of function/jobs, any tendencies or values to one side of the brain is folly. Just my thoughts though. .

                    • Illuminatus says:

                      @Andrew: I would recommend the book “The Master and His Emissary” as a counter to that. The author Iain McGilchrist has many good video presentations on YouTube as an introduction if you want the gist of it.

                    • I’m well aware of Iain McGilchrist and some of his work. However, there are far too many factors/real time influences to truly grasp any of this. Simply the fact that these “studies”/tests are done in a laboratory/”synthetic” environment changes the game completely. Once gathering information becomes an experiment all bets (or at least most) are off, especially when working with the human “brain”. I’m sure you are aware of the double slit experiment and others that show similar influence. I could list many other external factors but this alone changes things so much that it’s not necessary. There are so many holes in scientific method it is quite staggering – and when the method itself is flawed well,you know the rest. What i will call “real science” is well ware of these flaws at the very heart of most research – and that’s why you find people in those areas are often far more open minded to ideas slightly outside the realm of what have become perceived wisdoms – and are well aware that this is all nothing more than just another guess – often poor guesses based on (what appear to be) flawed assumptions. It’s when admitting this and really opening up that science shines.

        • Lampa says:

          Right brain is in charge of unpleasant emotions. It’s how we’ve studied it so far.

          • Lampa says:

            Edit: some researchers think the theory is outdated, others have found supporting evidence. As always, you get to choose what to believe in 😉

            • Well put Lampa. We don’t know anything, we are all pinning our beliefs to guesswork – and that’s fine as long as we accept that. There is huge arrogance in these fields which goes against “scientific values”.

              • Illuminatus says:

                @Andrew: The flaws in the scientific method (which are well documented throughout this blog) aside, what we have been given by McGilchrist is a workable model of hemispheric modes. The work of Ramachandran in this area — via split-brain patients, and stroke patients, who have to live life “in one hemisphere or the other”, not just in the lab — is highly valuable. One of the main points in McGilchrist’s work is that, when put together, often the hemispheres DON’T operate in a “combined mode” (which is perhaps your point?) but rather the corpus callosum acts to actually suppress one side, leading to real-life behaviours that emanate from one hemisphere acting more or less independently.

                Via McGilchrist’s model, we know which kinds of activities encourage which hemisphere into dominance. This is very useful for my meditation and other psychological work. I have found it to have great predictive value in my studies of people, too.

                Saying this model is no good because it’s not perfect is a bit like declaring classical physics to be useless just because quantum physics hadn’t come along yet. But you could do a lot with classical mechanics, like sending people to the moon.

                So I look at models in terms of their ability to explain and create useful practices. McGilchrist’s hemisphere model is good in this sense and I refer to it a lot on my blog.

                • I suppose the model can help with creating useful practices when approaching it from a particular perspective. I prefer the work of Tony Wright (and similar) who does use aspects of the left/right idea but only because it allows him to explain his ideas/work using our current understanding/perspective – which he sums up so eloquently with the following – “The data predicts that the data will be misinterpreted” – Such is the level of our “severe neural retardation” as a species because of the changes that have taken place in the human brain over the past few hundred years.

  7. Edenist Whackjob says:

    Nother one, if you feel like it…

    It seems a lot of men today are struggling with validation neediness. Ie wanting to go out and get approved-of by females constantly. Definitely my main time and attention drain.

    At the same time, validation from women feels very good indeed, and even seems to have some brain-boosting effect if you ask me. Tyler of RSD remarked that his brain seemed to rewire itself on nights out when he got IOIs from HB10s and that this unlocked new “brain lanes” in his mind. (Leaving aside whether he’s a scammer or not, I can relate to that experience). If nothing else, it’s a sublime experience to have an HB beaming love and lust into your eyes.

    There’s also the whole PUA sexual market reality-tunnel, where the “Sigma male” is the ideal. The guy who doesn’t have to conform, yet gets all the girls. See: Vox Day, Krauser, Tom Torero, etc.

    To add to this, being a manosphere reader I’ve internalized Christian morality on the topic (see: St Augustine) which adds guilt to the mix. Ie the whole “self-mortification as the way to God” thing. See also Bruce Charlton, who says our sexual license is the main thing we need to repent in the modern world.

    So basically we have a big knot made up of:

    overwhelming need for validation + validation actually provides some tangible benefit + pua reality-tunnel demands sigma malehood + christian guilt + hope of spiritual transcendence via self-mortification.

    Any ideas on how to get out of this one?

    • Edenist Whackjob says:

      Hehe. Maybe the problem will solve itself when Swedish society collapses. We’ll all go K and be too busy with the civil war to chase skirts 🙂

    • Illuminatus says:

      Well those problems are hardly new. Man has pined after woman since the dawn of time, and gone to great lengths to fulfil that need.

      I think adding Christianity into the mix, if you weren’t already a Christian, is a step backwards. You have to remember that most of those guys who write passionately about Christianity were actually conditioned into Christianity from age 0. You can’t trust that they’re offering something good to you, since they are just offering their own upbringing on autopilot. If you were raised secular, you will have a hard time adopting a Christian worldview anyway.

      Via the jhana, meditation provides a far more practical and immediate spiritual solution to suffering. So, all of those problems you just described — well I still experience them, but after jhana, I am not “stung” by them. They appear to move through me. The jhana makes me transparent. It’s like a non-stick coating where there is less resistance so the experience doesn’t “stick” and cause suffering. Even a crappy meditation session will have SOME of those positive effects tangible in the day, whatever your skill level. People should meditate each morning whether they can get jhana or not.

      “At the same time, validation from women feels very good indeed, and even seems to have some brain-boosting effect if you ask me. Tyler of RSD remarked that his brain seemed to rewire itself on nights out when he got IOIs from HB10s and that this unlocked new “brain lanes” in his mind. (Leaving aside whether he’s a scammer or not, I can relate to that experience). If nothing else, it’s a sublime experience to have an HB beaming love and lust into your eyes.”

      I am of the impression that Tyler did not have his needs met very much as a child, and the dopamine-opioid mix from sex is just putting his brain back to “normal” temporarily. I can certainly relate to that: sex with an HB used to make me manic for days.

      Suddenly increasing dopamine does give the impression that new “brain lanes” have been opened but I believe much of this effect is hallucinatory.

      • Edenist Whackjob says:

        Thanks, that’s helpful!

      • Pat says:

        I know Tyler has mentioned meditation (I read a bit of his stuff years ago,) do you have any opinion on whether he has gotten very far with it?

        • Illuminatus says:

          I don’t know. The only thing I heard him say about it once was that he stares at a wall for a certain number of minutes. That may sound crude, but any method whereby you steady your mind on an object, even for as little as 5-10 minutes a day, has transformative power and results will accumulate over time.

          But ideally you want 30 minutes minimum with good technique.

          • Pat says:

            Yeah, I’ve definitely noticed the most benefit from lengthier sessions. They seem to be the best way to get whatever states are difficult for me at the moment, i.e. I used to need at least 30 minutes to get jhana at all, and now I need it to get what I believe is third jhana.

  8. Edenist Whackjob says:

    Illuminatus, two questions…

    1) Why is it that some days I get crazy amounts of IOIs/over-exertions from girls, other days not? There is no discernible difference (to me) in clothes, swagger, behavior, etc? Is it pheromones? Are the wenches reading my aura?

    2) I believe I may have some level of psychic powers. But so far, everything that has happened can be explained in the objective reality-model of cause-effect and confirmation bias (even if it seems unlikely). Is there some way to prove once and for all that I have these powers? Is it wise to do so?

    Sorry for all the spamming, but you are pretty much the only person who can help me with these types of questions.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Amusingly, I was planning the magick section of the new jhana guide, specifically the objective vs. subjective worldviews, when you wrote that. 🙂

      I am on shaky philosophical ground in advising you here as my advice will directly shape your experience going forward, whether one is inclined toward an objective or subjective worldview. James’s advice about keeping a journal and tracking results is pretty neutral, so you could do that.

      “I believe I may have some level of psychic powers. But so far, everything that has happened can be explained in the objective reality-model of cause-effect and confirmation bias (even if it seems unlikely).”

      The thing is, it’s always like that. Everything can always be explained on both spectra (objective and subjective) simultaneously: Even if you demonstrated something completely unlikely such as teleportation, an objective-inclined person seeing that would just say that it happened by some scientific mechanism we just don’t understand yet. There is no “winning” in that respect (and there is also no real prerogative, moral or otherwise, in trying to convince people of the existence of magick).

      I am not sure entirely what leans certain people toward more magickal mindsets, but it is probably set at birth. Personally I had a few precognitive dreams as a very young child which I remember well, so my inclination towards the more subjective/magickal side of perception was set early. Even then, seeing siddhis work in real time (e.g. with my gambling, but also several other things) was mind-blowing and it took a long time psychologically to absorb what I was seeing and its broader implications (and some practices, such as vajrayana, use magick specifically to gain insight in this way).

      The main danger of adopting a very magickal/subjective mindset is that it can quickly descend into solipsism. If you decide women are attracted to you via “mojo”, does that mean you will quit working out, or stop approaching girls in a more traditional way?

      “I believe I may have some level of psychic powers.”

      I will give you my personal view. I believe telepathy is not only completely normal, but is in fact the primary method of communication between humans. All the stuff about body language, pheromones etc. are just rationalizations for psychic events. Like attracts like. If you felt successful that day for some other reason, or felt attractive for some other reason, that would have “vibed” the girls. This is in fact all the more reason to keep doing successful things in your non-women life — it all rubs off.

  9. James says:

    I’m not Illuminatus (Or am I? who knows, maybe I’m you from the future…) start a journal and find the patterns of when you get the positive attention vs not.

  10. Alex says:

    Hey Illuminatus when’s the new Jhana guide coming out? Really looking forward to it.

  11. Edenist Whackjob says:

    Illuminatus, what is the correct order of the sixth and seventh circuits? Excuse if this sounds aspergery, but in some cases third circuit nitpicks like this ARE actually valid. Antero Alli says that the lower circuits are the bases for the higher ones, so it’s kind of relevant to know whether Neuro-Electric is based off of Territorial or Symbolic. (Or is it?)

    Cheers!

  12. Pat says:

    Hey Edd, do you still consider OCD to be part of your introvert model, and if so, can you give your own definition of it and examples?

    • Illuminatus says:

      I think that OCD is caused by dopamine surges — which, themselves, can have several potential causes, including physiological and psychological.

      So, I class OCD as a symptom of various conditions — perhaps methylation issues, perhaps psychological due to abuse, perhaps damage due to drug abuse, etc. etc.

      I also think of bipolar in the same way, being due to inflammation first and foremost (with inflammation having several potential causes).

      I would love to see the DSM redefined to class OCD and bipolar (and other things) as symptoms rather than “conditions”.

      • Pat says:

        Very interesting, thanks for the answer.

      • Mayath says:

        “I would love to see the DSM redefined to class OCD and bipolar (and other things) as symptoms rather than “conditions”.

        You should really expand upon this thought. I find this fascinating and it rings true to me as someone who studies Psychology and Neuroscience. I’ve some training in CBT and our lecturer was very against anti-depressants as he basically saw them as useless and lacking strong evidence. He also hated Stephen Fry passionately and doesn’t think he’s bipolar at all. Great teacher. Morbidly obese too.

        Did you teach yourself Neuroscience or did you do it in college? I’m read Iain Gilchrist atm and its fascinating. I havent read anything in my “official” studies that contradicts what he says about the left Brain and the Right Brain yet.

        Do you have any thoughts of Julian Jaymes Bicarmel mind theory?

        • Edenist Whackjob says:

          I have OCD, among other things, and it definitely feels that it’s in a cluster of symptoms with the same root cause. If I am less OCD I also feel less guilty, socially anxious, less stiff in my body, things like that, but I also tend to be less mentally “persistent” and care less about abstract thought. Memory and verbal intelligence seem to go down as well. Actually, Phenibut seems to really turn down the root cause.

          I think it comes down to some kind of hemispheric imbalance at the root. OCD is an improper mix of left-brain thinking. But that’s just speculative of course. (Illuminatus will now slam me for getting he brain stuff wrong yet again).

          • Edenist Whackjob says:

            When my verbal intelligence goes down, I often (but not always) find my visuo-spatial intelligence going UP instead, which is something I care much more for since it tends to lead to more concrete insights, eureka moments, and true creativity. Verbal is good for poetry, but otherwise it tends to go in circles.

            Or, actually, I think the proper thing to have is to have high visuo-spatial AND high verbal, but in equal measure. That way, the linguistic engine can name the image-stream (cue Win Wenger) in real-time and at a high level of granularity, while the visual engine can create videos from the linguistics.

            All speculative, again.

            • Illuminatus says:

              I believe what you actually want is a collection of different modes combinations, wherefore you can access the right combination for each task. This has traditionally been achieved via RITUAL. So at the everyday level, getting up early and putting on your shirt and trousers and heading to work strongly activates your “work” mode. Alternatively, as you are putting on your jeans and aftershave at night, you might suddenly feel a surge of sociability for your “night out” mode. Rituals like this can be cultivated for a number of mode switches.

              Years ago when I thought I was “broken” and had all these “mental conditions” I would look at that highly sociable, relaxed, fluid (usually drugged-up) night out mode and consider it the pinnacle of states, and that I should be aiming to have that state at all times. I measured the rest of my week against that ruler. What should have been obvious to me however is that you can hardly sit down to work, or do other analytical tasks while in that mode. The fallacy was that there was a single “perfect me” I had to become at all times. I believe this fallacy negatively affects many people regarding their own self-image. It is to do with the idea that we each have some solid, stable “self”, perhaps a “true self” we should aim to become.

              In reality however we are each a million different people; a combination of the brain modes we are in at the time. It is smart to cultivate, say, five different “me”s — one for each life area. Buddhist insight meditation — seeing the no-self in all things — helps unstick our cravings and attachments to any particular mind-state. That however does not mean abandoning the idea of a “self” as a functional interface with reality. The best way to figure this stuff out and make it work, I have found, is to do, say, 30 minutes or more each day of total no-self meditation, where you abandon the idea of a stable self entirely and just observe the sensations that make up each “mode” as they arise without attempting to manipulate them. Then, at the end, pull your “self” back together and go back out into the world. (The “self” at the end of the meditation will usually be quite different to the “self” that started the meditation.)

              This is completely different from jhanaic concentration meditation whose goal is intentional manipulation towards pleasurable states of mental unity.

          • Illuminatus says:

            Actually I agree that the impulsiveness and narrow focus of OCD is characteristic of a left-brain misfire.
            My idea is that the whole brain is over-firing and the OCD is just the left brain’s response to that. The anxiety etc. might be the right brain’s response. (Right brain = thematic responses, left brain = action-based responses.)

            How much phenibut do you use? Amusingly, I ordered a small bag a couple of weeks ago and the guy fucked up the order and accidentally sent FOUR HUNDRED GRAMS. Literally a year’s supply. I considered this part of my “good fortune” spell cast a month ago (and some other cool things happened during that time). I will be writing up a modern review of phenibut shortly.

            • Edenist Whackjob says:

              I use around 1.5-3 grams per day, if the little scoop is any accurate.

              I’ve only done it twice though. Last year I did it for about a week, and got some really nice results. Ended up having a withdrawal week from hell after that, though. Used maybe 6 grams per day back then.

              Second time was earlier this year, used it for about 3 weeks non-stop at the lower dose. Got some nice effects during the first week, then not much after that. Was able to quit without any problems.

              If I use it a third time, I’ll be much more meticulous. As in measuring with a sensitive scale and noting down amounts and time of day and such things. I’ll be aiming for stronger effects, so I need to be much more careful, and also be prepared to taper off.

              FWIW, the first time I used Phenibut, I was fine on my first day off (which goes against common reports that the withdrawal kicks in after a few hours). The following night, I was fine until I had some social trauma which kicked me back to social phobia. I had a few drinks to get to sleep, and the following night after that is when the withdrawal started.

            • Edenist Whackjob says:

              Right now I’m trying to build a “Limitless” state. Like in the movie / tv show. Ie a state of highly resourceful problem solving where the answers just pop into view.

              Am trying to access deeper layers of brain, flexing the problem-solving muscle directly instead of having to go through verbal / conceptual / or even visualization layers.

              Essentially, trying to merge inspiration with conscious, directed thought.

        • Illuminatus says:

          “You should really expand upon this thought. I find this fascinating and it rings true to me as someone who studies Psychology and Neuroscience.”

          Well my theories are quite nascent so I don’t have that much to add. At its root, I believe aberrant mental modes are signs of inflammation. That inflammation can be psychological in nature — the brain working against itself, which happens in our crazy world where you are often asked to hold two standards simultaneously — or environmental, from a food or drug or other toxin, or from a vitamin deficiency.

          “I’ve some training in CBT and our lecturer was very against anti-depressants as he basically saw them as useless and lacking strong evidence.”

          Anti-depressants fail to address the root issues and will eventually become toxic themselves (sooner rather than later in my experience).

          “He also hated Stephen Fry passionately and doesn’t think he’s bipolar at all.”

          Stephen Fry is a blowhard left-brainer. He confuses the endless acquisition of information with actual understanding. People think he’s smart, but all I’ve seen him do is recite things he’s read. That’s not to say he doesn’t understand things — he probably understands certain areas very well. But he definitely seems to have this need to demonstrate intelligence through endless reciting of facts. He seems cut off from holistic sensate interpretation of reality which is probably one reason he struggles with his own emotions.

          I think he demonstrates bipolar symptoms. However his tendency towards conceptualizing everything as information packages means he has said, “I have this intractable DISEASE called bipolar which does X and needs to be treated with Y (drugs).” But high-IQ creative types who become famous often display such symptoms. It is largely a result, I feel, of overwhelming social pressure, while lacking the internal psychological supports to deal with strong emotions. I believe much of bipolar comes from childhood trauma and lack of internal love and security — meaning one is unable to cope with upset emotions so they spiral into a mania or a depression. Those emotions can initially start as brain inflammation from a toxin or vitamin deficiency, or something internally created due to the underlying psychology. Whether or not they spiral determines what the symptoms will be. The strength of the feedback loop is the most important thing. You want to knock out as many fuels of that feedback loop as possible. Strong parental love and a non-traumatic childhood is what sets up the psychological structures that will interpret emotional upset in an appropriate way and dissipate it. If the person looks outside themselves and cannot see friends or feel love (due to childhood deprivation of those things) then they will get onto a feedback loop of disaster scripts (which will amplify the inflammation, e.g. adrenally) and bipolar symptoms will manifest rapidly.

          So “bipolar” is a bunch of repeating symptoms fuelled by different processes and causes. It’s not a disease or condition, and viewing it at such means you will never get into the nuts of bolts of it.

          • Edenist Whackjob says:

            As someone who’s probably slightly bipolar (although mostly hypomanic), it definitely feels like the mania is some kind of “fake” or “reserve” energy being used to try and survive and get out of the current situation.

          • Mayath says:

            Agree with everything you say here I think the problem with Stephen Fry is that he’s basically the figurehead of a movement which is very influenced by Psychiatry and Pharmacology.

            I see more and more people comparing mental illness like Depression to chronic conditions like Diabetes and I think that’s a load of bullshit. That they need to take their antidepressants to keep it at bay, never mind that these pills are largely ineffective for most people and haven’t had any major improvements since the 1940s.

            Mental illness definitely has a biological basis but it also has to be fought cognitively. Your attitude, your world views, you’re philosophies all have to be challenged and examined.

            Our fucked up society and poisoned environment indoctrinates us to be constantly sick and in a state of desire and want.

            We’re really not gonna combat these things by drugging people, which is the Stephen Fry response. Drugged, depressed people are easier to control. It’s why our society promotes everything that makes us sick.

            Here’s a good criticism of the medical model of mental illness from a Psychologist: http://peterkinderman.blogspot.ie/2016/02/open-letter-about-bbc-coverage-of.html

            That said, here’s what I think. There’s two types of severely mentally ill people:

            The ill individual that completely denies the psychiatric system to their detriment. Despite my criticism of antidepressants, there is some medication and drugs(legal or otherwise) that will help you, especially when you’re in the depths.

            -The mentally ill individual that completely embraces the psychiatric system to their detriment. People who are diagnosed as having multiple conditions like ” I’m Bipolar Type One with rapid cycling, Borderline Personality disorder and features of Schitzopherenia”.

            Please, a person like this has been stuck with a label. No ones knows what’s going on with you. In a case, like this, you have to dive deep into yourself through meditation to figure it out yourself. You’re even more fucked if you believe this is your “self”, because you may start modelling your behaviour so you actually act like these conditions.

            If someone came to me, complaining of mental health problems, I’d honestly just point them towards Buddhism, getting physically healthy and removing whatever obstacles are in their path ie, figure out the solution to what’s bothering you in your environment and take action. It’s amazing how many people don’t do this last one. I haven’t decided if that’s a human nature problem or whether it’s because we’re infantilised so much by society.

            It’s not my main reality but I think Buddhism is the best reality tunnel to use to tackle suffering.

            Any thoughts on therapy Illuminatus?

            I think it has its place in order to wake people up to the way there hurting themselves but I dunno. A lot of people want the illusion of changing themselves but they don’t really want to. A stranger can’t force you to do that unless you want to.

            Mindful based cognitive therapy excites me but it’s too insight focused p. There’s not enough focus on developing concentration and cultivating positive emotions. Someone might take a course, accept their pain but never actually develop the ability to orient their mind towards feeling mentally and physically good. There only half way there.

            I think that’s why you’re work on the Jhanas is very important. People need to be to cultivate bliss and equanimity on demand.

            • Edenist Whackjob says:

              “If someone came to me, complaining of mental health problems, I’d honestly just point them towards Buddhism, getting physically healthy and removing whatever obstacles are in their path ”

              This highlights one of my neurotic thought-loops: my mental model says Buddhist style Enlightenment is the goal, which means fixing my externals (achieving goals, eating tasty food, making money, even cleaning my apartment) is a false quest, and only a way to mask suffering. On the other hand, those things DO work. Part of me wants to optimize my life, another part says it’s wrong because it goes against spiritual doctrine.

              What’s the proper frame here?

  13. Mayath says:

    The proper frame really is what works for you and no one else can find it for you except you. If doing those things you listed, helps you, then great. Do them. Definitely don’t deny yourself pleasure.

    Just be mindful of why you’re doing them things you’ve listed and that certain things, like achieving goals aren’t going to fully satisfy you. Nothing will satisfy you permanently. Just don’t get too caught up in things. They can only give you temporary pleasure. That sounds scary when your depressed and neurotic but when you develop strong mindfulness and are able to cultivate positive emotions, it won’t bother you. As Bill Hicks once said “its just a ride”.

    I’m not a Buddhist. I don’t follow it religiously. I pick and choose what works for me from it. I eat Meat and have no intentions stopping. If you want to do something and it doesn’t hurt you or other people then why the fuck not do it? Definitely don’t let dogma live your life for you.

    If the dogma or any other thought pattern is causing you suffering you need to abandon it.

    Cleaning your apartment and eating nice food are all things we have to do. We can’t spend all our time meditating. Even monks can’t do that. I have goals in life and Meditation is one of the ways I improve myself to make them happen. One of the main reasons I started meditating, apart from fixing my mental health, was that if I could improve myself, I could get what I wanted out of life. Now that I’m a bit further long in my meditation all development, I still want the same things but to a far less extent. Before my wanting caused me so much suffering because I wasn’t getting where I wanted. Now I don’t care all that much and paradoxically I’m far more productive and things are happening for me. Now my attitude is, “ah sure, I might as well do things”, where before it was “if I don’t get want I want, life is not worth living”.

    Buddhism is meant to be the Middle way. It’s not about indulging or denying yourself. If you have negative thought loops the best way I can think of combating them is through mindfulness and CBT.

    I don’t know much about treating OCD( you mentioned it somewhere) as I’ve never suffered from it but it’s worth a shot. I’m not sure if any ailment can be 100 hundred percent conquered or that suffering can be completely eradicated. Even becoming an Arahat isnt going to stop Cortisol production in your body. Enlightenment from what I gather will just stop you identifying with the suffering and help you go along with the ride so to speak.

    Also, from what I gather you could achieve Buddhist style Enlightenment, relatively quickly if people like Daniel Ingram are to be believed. He says it could be done in a number of years. I’m a bit dodgy on Ingram. I’ve great respect for him but he emphasises the Dark night so much.

    I prefer people like Shinzen Young and Culadasa who don’t go on about suffering so much. Shinzen Young says Stream Entry is definitely possible. You should aim for that, if you Enlightenment, first. It might help you achieve your goals too.

    I personally follow Culadasa’s path and my goal in meditation is to develop the Jhanas before I jump into searching for Enlightenment. That’s my framework. I have no intentions of joining a monastery or following a dogma. I’d much rather create my own system and understanding of the world, then take on someone else’s. I want to enjoy my life and reap the fruits of living, both internal ones and external ones.

    What’s your meditation practice like?

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