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Illuminatus

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The Keys to Happiness
« on: September 16, 2012, 11:10:06 PM »
I'll probably make a post about it soon, but all you need to know for this post is that I have now given up all drugs, including alcohol and cigarettes.

Caffeine is still on the list, but I don't drink a lot of coffee and I don't really see it as a problem at all, especially given the reported health benefits of caffeine.

Giving up all substances leads to an interesting predicament, one which I have not experienced at all since the age of 16 when I started drinking regularly. That predicament is, simply, if I find myself feeling a bit down, I cannot simply reach for a substance to make it "better" for a while. This abstinence has forced me to address my actual human needs in a healthy, honest way.

This post is therefore for my own purposes, to create a list of things which create or restore happiness, as I (re)discover them. This might sound obvious, but, believe me, it's been somewhat of a reality check and a wake-up call as to how badly I was covering up these needs before using substances. So, here goes. This is what I've found so far.

The Keys to Happiness

  • Exercise
  • Socializing
  • Meat
  • Meditation

"Exercise" is anything which is enough to exhaust you for a while -- get your heart rate up, get you panting hard and your chest hurting, get your muscles aching etc. Exercise will actually mask loneliness via endorphin rush, and I have been using it as a measure until I improve my social circle.

Socializing is absolutely vital for emotional health. Facebook doesn't count -- it must be real-life interaction. I have suffered the most from this, living (and working!!) in this apartment on my own. I realized I was mainly using substances to mask loneliness, and have been basically my whole adult life. This was a real wake-up call. It has led to me rethinking my entire life, career, approach to other people, and so forth. Reaching for a beer or cigarette or tramadol would be so easy to make that nagging sensation go away, but without those safety nets, I have had to really see the truth of my own needs. I suspect many of you are doing similar things. Of course, the real problem with substance "safety nets" is that, by taking away the discomfort, they also take away the motivation to change! Substances are a recipe for stasis. I include anti-depressants on that list, also, by the way (although it would take a full post to really discuss anti-depressants in a thorough, useful way).

Regarding meat, I cannot say much about this, other than that I went this whole last week only eating a sandwich a day (with a meat filling) and some fruit, nuts and vegetables. Today I went to my parents' for a massive barbecue and gorged on meat, and afterwards felt great.

"Meditation" in this list covers specifically the presence method here: http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/forum/meditation/how-to-become-present-(ultra-quick-guide)/ and the breath meditation. The presence method certainly helps with all manner of mood, perspective and so forth. Generally I start to feel good the moment I leave the apartment.
The breath meditation is still in the "unsure" category. Yes, it allows me to let go of thoughts, and get a clear mind. However, it also often brings up really sad moments which I have not yet truly processed, and in order to "let these go" it is crying, I'm afraid. Crying in itself is okay, but it usually has a very depressant effect on my mood, which takes quite a long time to get back from. So I am still kind of weighing up the pros and cons of breath meditation, for myself at this moment in time.

More will be added as I discover them.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 12:04:12 AM by Illuminatus »

Mago

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 12:01:06 AM »
How about goals, like fixing them and working toward them and, eventually, accomplishing them ? I found myself the happiest for several weeks when I arrived in Paris and I always assumed it was because I had work hard for that and it was my reward. Also I feel happier, in general, when I get some work done, regardless of how much it improves my life ; for example I remember one day being very depressed, and I had nothing to do so I decided to start working on a project that was due for several weeks later (which means, working on it now would not change anything in my schedule). It turned out that I spent the afternoon on this and was able to get some of it done, and I felt really good afterward. One might say it's because it got me "thinking of something else" but I don't believe that to be true ; I would just feel great and I remember thinking, "wow I might have something that could cure my depression".

Also I tend to disagree with exercising, my saddest moments were actually when I would exercise the most ; however, it may have something to do with my diet at the time, which was just "eating less" and probably affected my mood a lot as well, so I might want to experiment with this more.

aelephant

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 01:31:36 PM »
I think Mago is the first time I've ever heard exercise correlated with negative mood.

It could be some kind of neurotransmitter depletion due to poor nutrition. Were you supplementing anything? How restricted was your diet?

Mago

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2012, 02:13:59 PM »
I think Mago is the first time I've ever heard exercise correlated with negative mood.

It could be some kind of neurotransmitter depletion due to poor nutrition. Were you supplementing anything? How restricted was your diet?

As I said I had very little knowledge about diets when I did that. I would just eat less, avoid junk food, and go and run 1 hour every 2 days. My goal was just to lose weight and I remember trying to cut sugar AND fat, and it was probably the real cause. Also I was depressed anyway when starting, and had a shitty sleeping schedule and everything. But the main thing is, I had heard at the time that exercising would help me improving my mood and it definitely didn't. It was just to note that it helps IF you get the right diet as well, lots of protein, and you're not too fucked up to begin with. It won't cure a strong depression if you're not used to exercise and have no idea what you are doing.

I wouldn't say it deteriorates anything as well. Just that it was clearly not what I needed at the time, although it made sense (and that's why I did it) : if I lose weight I would achieve something and feel better. But diets DO affect you're mood to some extent, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. For example more recently I did Paleo and I started as slightly depressed, within 3 days I would feel the best I've ever felt... And after about 3 weeks my crave for sugar was just too strong and I had to stop, but the mood was still very good overall. That's why I agree that meat is very important for the mood.

Alcoohol is very weird as well. Say I cut alcoohol for a month (I did it twice the past 12 months). First it becomes harder to socialize because most people drink when they socialize so it's hard to get on the same state than them. Also, the months/years of drinking has affected your overall mood and that's when you're NOT drunk that you realize it. So usually the first couple weeks are actually depressing... And then after a while, you start to feel a lot better. You improve the quality of sleep, you get a lot more things done as a result, and you start and enjoy a sober life again... It's a completely different reality tunnel that people who never really stop drinking never understand.

That's also usually when you reward yourself with a drunken night and start it all over again ;)

neither21

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 02:50:23 PM »
Kind of a strange synchronicity...I was talking withe Jase over skype and was trying to say the same thing about drugs and alcohol...I have seen it in many people but don't have the personal experience to back it up... so I always end up feeling a bit naive and Puritan and even hypocritical...because I drink. Would you lump psychedelics into the same "masking problems" category? Also...I think building some kind of momentum is the key to happiness.

Illuminatus

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2012, 04:21:29 PM »
Would you lump psychedelics into the same "masking problems" category?

If someone wants to take psychedelics once or twice a year as part of experimentation, that is fine. I would probably do the same if someone had mushrooms, LSD, etc.

But if it's a regular thing, then of course it's masking!

Illuminatus

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2012, 04:32:41 PM »
The Keys to Happiness (cont.)

  • Straight neck

I cannot describe how important this is. It is possibly one of the most important things you will ever, ever do. It literally eliminates any anxiety I ever had about anything, and makes all emotions feel good. It is absolutely vital, and I believe a bent neck possibly represents one of the greatest threats to happiness in the industrialized world.

Most people have upper-crossed syndrome ("head forward") to some degree, from computer use and poor posture. This means the head and neck meet at this angle:

\
/

(In the above, the top slash is the base of the head, and the bottom is the top of the neck. The head is facing right in this admittedly lacklustre diagram.)

You want it to look more like this:

|
|

Picture of the bad neck angle:



See the following pictures for examples of correct neck straightness:




(Esther herself, lol. So cute, I could eat her!)

I developed an exercise just these last days to correct neck straightness. It has been very successful for me:

- Using your hand, push your chin inwards towards your neck. This will cause the face to dip down.
- With the other hand, reach around and grab the hair on the back of your head, and pull upwards to lift the head. You may even get some satisfying "crack"! (but do not force it if you do not hear/feel any -- it's not important)
- Finally, whilst maintaining this, begin to dip your head forward until you feel a satisfying stretch in the spine. Hold for 20 seconds.

It is the stretch which lets the whole thing stay in place.

I will demonstrate this to anyone who wants to see it first-hand on Skype, if you cough up the bucks. We could cover it in 30 minutes. I would also show you my "elbows/shoulders back" technique for proper walking and standing.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 04:35:44 PM by Illuminatus »

Illuminatus

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2012, 07:16:06 PM »
The Keys to Happiness (cont.)

  • New posture tip -- imagine that you are stretching upwards! I am now the undeniable master of posture. The effects on mood, sense of well-being, correct emotional flow, and total eradication of anxieties and "bad feelings" is testament to how important posture truly is. I would now start any training of anybody on any issue with a total evaluation and re-vamp of posture.
  • Breath meditation is out, "watching visuals with my eyes closed" is in. This trains "reflex centring" while out walking, whereby you use the same shift of attention to clear your mind as you do when letting thoughts go and returning your awareness to the visuals during the meditation. The "visuals" in this context are the swirling, pulsing colours and shapes which occur with eyes closed as you go into the deeper stages of meditation.
  • Presence walks in crowded town -- particularly following the above two exercises.

On my last presence walk, just now, I experienced "TrueSight", that silly name I came up with ages ago for when I can see everything perfectly clearly, in real life, as though it were a lucid dream, despite actually having rather poor eyesight and a heavy prescription for my glasses (which I don't wear). I take TrueSight as a sure sign that I am 100% present. I last experienced it rather a long time ago -- demonstrating how much my meditation/presence practice had actually slipped over this last year. I attribute this to massive "Earth-bound" drama, e.g. relationship fights and breakups, lots of frustration, addictions, and other very "egoey" things. It appears now that I am coming back to balance, at long last. That all came from dedication to restoring spiritual peace (giving up substances, eating right, hitting the gym, meditating, regular presence walks, and regular socializing). I am happy again.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2012, 07:20:55 PM by Illuminatus »

Lisa5720

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2012, 09:28:28 AM »
Hi Illuminatus!

Why is it that you do not wear glasses/contacts if  you have bad vision?

Illuminatus

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2012, 05:01:45 PM »
Hi Illuminatus!

Why is it that you do not wear glasses/contacts if  you have bad vision?

There are a number of reasons, but the main ones are to do with the way glasses make me feel.

I do not like having frames around my field of vision. It makes me conscious that I am looking "at" something, rather than "experiencing" it. Wearing glasses is a bit like watching something on a screen, as opposed to actually being immersed in it.

Secondly, I do not like the way glasses make me feel. Lenses affect the position of the eyes, usually making them diverge. You can see this in someone who wears glasses when they remove their glasses for a moment -- their eyes remain "beady", pointing in slightly different directions. I associate diverged eyes with states of neurotic thought. My meditation guide here, for example, stresses the importance of relaxed, central vision: http://www.personalpowermeditation.com/forum/meditation/how-to-become-present-(ultra-quick-guide)/  Wearing glasses hinders this.

Wearing glasses feels less natural to me. I also feel they make me think more, maybe due to the diverged eye reason I described above. Wearing glasses makes me feel like a nerd. This phenomenon is well documented in studies -- if you take a group of individuals, dress them in lab coats, then have them take an intelligence test, they will outperform a control group dressed casually and another group dressed as jailbirds (who will perform the worst).

I also prefer the way I look without glasses.

As I don't drive (I have a licence but I don't need a car, so don't have one) I do not need to wear glasses for driving. For work, it's just on a computer, and I do fine without glasses. My vision is functional enough for walking around town. I can see where I'm going just fine.

Finally, there are phenomena which have taken place with my vision. The first is "TrueSight" which I described a few posts ago in this thread. If I was wearing glasses, I would not have noticed that. Another phenomena is that, if I spend a lot of time outdoors or just away from the computer, so my focus is on the distance more, my vision will actually improve by itself over a few days. I would not want glasses to get in the way of that. Finally, there was this one time when, after a severe headache lasting around 2 days, my vision spontaneously healed. My left eye, usually a -1.50, came down to a -0.75. My right eye, usually a +4.00, came down to a +3.00. I was examined by both a doctor and an optician, neither of whom could explain the sudden change. I was prescribed new glasses as the old ones didn't work any more. Instead of buying them, I decided to wait in case it changed again. This was the right choice, as my eyes went back to somewhere between the two prescriptions around a month later.

I don't wear contacts because I don't like the idea of having to put something directly in my eye. Because my vision is functional, and I enjoy seeing what happens to it next, I just prefer not wearing vision aids at all.

RevLifestyleDesign

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2012, 05:29:54 AM »
I would would agree with all and add avoiding or limiting ejaculation to this list. Also I've done without and my life is far better with 100mg of caffeine + 1.5 litres of water in the morning and fasting till 1.

aelephant

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2012, 02:01:24 PM »
I would would agree with all and add avoiding or limiting ejaculation to this list. Also I've done without and my life is far better with 100mg of caffeine + 1.5 litres of water in the morning and fasting till 1.

I'm alternating on- and off-days with coffee now.

On off-days I just drink green tea.

Not sure I get the limiting ejaculation thing, but I do enjoy masturbating without ejaculating. Zorba's recent thread about copulins got me thinking that there could be some legitimate biochemical differences between masturbation & sex with a partner. I'll try to save my sperm for my partner.

RevLifestyleDesign

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2012, 05:02:38 PM »

I'm alternating on- and off-days with coffee now.

On off-days I just drink green tea.

Not sure I get the limiting ejaculation thing, but I do enjoy masturbating without ejaculating. Zorba's recent thread about copulins got me thinking that there could be some legitimate biochemical differences between masturbation & sex with a partner. I'll try to save my sperm for my partner.

Ya I find you can do it every day just take it in pill form with tons of water, it knock the jitters and stiffness out as it counteracts the diuretic effects. As for ejaculations, ya doint multiple male orgasms while masturbating and recirculating that energy is the way to go, and for your partner tantric/karezza style sex is awesome. No dopamine crashes, no prolactin spikes and a recirculation of your lifeforce

xenization

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2012, 07:09:13 PM »
Quote
As for ejaculations, ya doint multiple male orgasms while masturbating and recirculating that energy is the way to go, and for your partner tantric/karezza style sex is awesome. No dopamine crashes, no prolactin spikes and a recirculation of your lifeforce

You got any good sources/links/tips for tantric/karezza methods of sex i've always been curious about trying this stuff.

RevLifestyleDesign

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Re: The Keys to Happiness
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2012, 06:18:14 PM »
reunitic.info is a good place to start


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