Lessons Learned August 17

 

  1. I’m proud of being confident and congruent with myself at the wedding 
  2. I’m proud that George complimented me by saying I had not asked him a stupid question the whole night.
  3. I’m proud of Asha coming up with the idea of pitching Instaroid to cafes & bars
  4. I’m proud of thinking “what would a prolific creative & voracious learner do right now” and doing it.
  5. Fake it till you become it is a real thing. If you assume confident body language and actions, you will start and internal and external feedback loop that makes you confident. Same with if you assume the actions and lifestyle of a hugely creative and learning person.
  6. Asha isn’t too keen on travelling for long periods of time away from Singapore. This is going to cause strain in our relationship, but she is (and so I am) confident we will find a way to be happy without either of us overly sacrificing.
  7. I’m proud of where Asha and I are in our relationship. We’ve figured out the foundations, I believe. We’re amazing for each other, and I’m confident that next to nothing could break us apart.

This is part of The Daily Meditation Experiment, where I am practicing one school of meditation per week(ish) to understand the overall structure & effects of each.

Meditation Method: The Flame & The Void (Mushin Meditation)

The nerdiest of all meditation styles I’m trying in this experiment, The Flame & The Void comes from The Wheel of Time fantasy novel series by Robert Jordan. It is very alike to Mushin Meditation practiced by martial artists (a state of flow where the body moves on instinct and training instead of thought and planning), and to Mindfulness Meditatation.

Characters who use The Flame & The Void in the books experience a complete focus on the present moment & what they are doing in it, while being completely detached from anything else (including physical pain, fear, etc). One mark of this is to be able to be aware of physical pain and yet detached from it as if it were “happening to someone else”.

“I imagine a flame, and then I push everything into it. Hate, fear, nervousness. Everything. When they’re all consumed, there’s an emptiness, a void, inside my head. I am in the middle of it, but I’m a part of whatever I am concentrating on, too.” – Rand Al’Thor, The Dragon Reborn

How it’s done:

  1. Imagine a flame.
  2. Feed every thought, emotion, & feeling that comes to you into this flame.
    1. It may help to take a visual representation of the thing and feed that into the flame.
  3. When everything is gone, let the flame go and surround yourself in the Void of emotion and thought that is left.
    • Go back to step 2 if the void disappears.
  4. Take the actions you need/want to take, unaffected by thoughts or emotions.

I practiced The Flame & The Void in many different scenarios, some extremely uncomfortable or even painful:

With my hand in ice-cold water, on a bumpy and uncomfortable bus, in bed going to sleep. I would also do miniature meditations when I needed to deal with something like emotional turmoil, boredom, or getting my eyebrows plucked (I’ve got a unibrow by default. Gotta keep that thing tamed).

Ice water was the most painful, and therefore most indicative of success in trying to distance myself from physical pain. I was able to hold my hand in ice water for 3 full minutes, the maximum I’m sure I can go without causing myself harm (chosen by following in the footsteps of Mythbusters in their Pain Tolerance experiment).

Most people can’t do this, and I know I would have given up in the first minute if not for this meditation.

Throughout the three minutes, I had a few solid moments where I was completely successful in not caring about the pain, and a few where it hurt intensely and the only way I was able to keep my hand in the water was to just continually feed that pain into the flame as fast as it was hitting me.

Adherence: 69%

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Singapore At Night

  • Never assume you’re going to get money until you have the money. Things go south.
  • Relationships can be hard as FUCK. They can devolve into painful, psychologically harmful, shitstorms of damaging emotions and mutual harm causing. They can really suck and break you down.

  • Video games can be excellent family bonding tools. Even/especially when the family is not together
  • Watching the world go by on the train is quite relaxing & enjoyable
  • When Asha asks me to listen to her music, it’s often because she’s in a flow and wants to show it to me in that moment. Putting it off can result in the flow ending without her showing it to me, and leave her frusturated and sad.
  • In Paypal’s early days (pre acquisition by eBay), they only hired people they knew though could become good friends with.
  • Board game meetups can be a lot of fun.
  • Lorenzo’s got a tattoo of a pillow in his right arm. It says, in Chinese, Grace’s pillow. Because that’s where his daughter Grace slept when she was a child.

What I Learned This Week (July 27 - Aug 02)

  • When Asha is feeling moody, instead of feeling moody as well, I should make her happy. Bring her into my sphere, not go into hers.
  • Sleep is vitally important to Asha. We must ensure she gets it.
  • Work is sometimes more important to me than sleep. Than almost anything except Asha (with whom it must find a balance). Especially when I am inspired.
  • Asha & I can figure anything out, can do anything, when we’re true to ourselves and work together.
  • Making money can be really easy. Especially when you’re skilled, confident, and good at making connections.
  • Both Asha and I have a tendency to focus on the bad and not the good

July 20 - 26

  1. Sweating to clean oneself is quite effective. For the first 2 hours or so, the sweat will wash away the dirt on you and in your pores. If you leave during this time, you’ll be sticky and smell sweaty. After that, it’s much like taking a saltwater bath.
  2. Once you start, creating is a lot of fun.
  3. Planning can be a serious form of procrastination. It feels productive and energizing, but if you don’t follow through then it was just masturbation.
  4. You can distance yourself from pain using The Flame & The Void meditation. I proved this by holding my hand in ice water for three minutes and having parts of it where I was able to distance myself from the pain
  5. You can forget to do regular things if you miss your trigger point. For example, not starting your nightly ritual when the alarm rings = nearly forgetting to review your day.
  6. I like gym workouts, when they’re short.
  7. Once you’ve begun a day badly, it’s quite hard to get it on the right track.

This is part of The Daily Meditation Experiment, where I am practicing one school of meditation per week to understand the overall structure & effects of each.

Also, this post is not nearly a week after it’s predicessor. Sorry about that. I fell off the meditation routine and it took me about 1.5 months to get back into it.

Meditation Method: Loving Kindness (Metta)

I sit on a cushion, eyes closed, for 20 minutes, listening to theta wave binaural beats.

I breathe deeply & naturally, focusing on my breath and on allowing my thoughts to pass through me without capturing me, just as I did in Vipassana.

Once my thoughts are clear, I begin to envision in detail what I would like my life to be like. I mentally repeat the words “I hope that I have X”. I then do this with someone I love. Then someone I don’t really care about. Then someone I don’t like.

 

Adherence: Minimal

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This is part of The Daily Meditation Experiment, where I am practicing one school of meditation per week to understand the overall structure & effects of each.

Meditation Method: Mindfulness (Vipassana)

I sit on a cushion, eyes closed, for 20 minutes, listening to theta wave binaural beats.

I breathe deeply & naturally, focusing on my breath and on allowing my thoughts to pass through me without capturing me.

When thoughts do capture me, and I notice them, I label the thought broadly (e.g. plan, worry, memory), and return to my breath.

If I am able to achieve total empty mind, never for more than the space of a few breaths, I feel my mind open and relax, while I notice my breaths & the total emptiness of thought between them.

Adherence: 71%

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Daily Meditation Experiment

The Experiment:

Every week, I will practice one type of meditation (listed in my Meditation Crash Course, which is currently in development) every day for 20 minutes.

I will track my progress using Momentum, and report back here weekly on how I practiced the previous week’s meditation & what my thoughts/feelings are on it.

Why

It seems like nearly every single person I admire meditates. Tim Ferriss, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Neil Strauss, Rick Rubin, Steve Jobs, Jerry Seinfeld, Colin Wright, Tynan, Eben Pagan, Sebastian Marshall, Josh Waitzkin…the list goes on. And they all espouse the benefits that meditation has brought to their life.

When enough people you admire all say the same thing, it’s wise to listen. So I’m trying meditation out for myself.

The Hypothesis

I’ve already been loosely doing meditation for a month now. (more…)

Mum's Basement Hustle

  1. Asha is more mature than I.
  2. The truth sets you free. When you know sometihng is wrong, and you truthfully figure out what it is, it will be better.
  3. While one should strive to understand everything, one should not structure and SOP everything. Some things, like passionate love making, are killed by structure.
  4. While staying in touch with reality, always assume the best and act accordingly. Remember that, no matter what you assume, as long as it’s based on objective evidence, you’re equally likely to be wrong as any other assumption. However, if you assume the best, you are most likely of all scenarios to actually achieve the best.
  5. While remembering the first, always know & plan for the worst.
  6. Sexually, don’t always grab. Flirting & chasing & teasing is fun!
  7. Always striving to impress each other, dress up for each other, surprise each other. This is a cornerstone to an amazing relationship.
  8. When someone earns your trust, and asks for it, give it to them.
  9. When stressfull things are happening, strive to stay even and calm. Deal with what is.
  10. If you are frusturated, do not take it out on others
  11. Focused meditation, where you do not explore your body & emotions nor calmly think through problems, is extremely difficult. Your mind will wander to the most unrelated places in literally the space of two breaths.
  12. Never accept free drinks from the bartender/owner unless you are prepared to pay for them. You probably will.
  13. Being a creative, fast moving, calm, optimal version of myself is just as hard/easy as being a lazy, tired, stressed, basic version of myself. The difference is that being optimal is hard in terms of having the willpower and energy and sangfroid to power through the hard parts with calm enjoyment. It is easy in terms of enjoying my life and loving what I do and who I am. Being basic is easy in terms of not having to try hard to do anything. It is hard in terms of disliking my life and who I am and being very restricted by my failure to create.
  14. People can forget the importance of not editing my copy. I have to immediately remind them when this happens. Nip it in the bud.
  15. When Asha and I are highly emotional in a fight, we need time to cool down.
  16. I LOVE google analytics. It’s so fucking powerful.
  17. Resepct other’s privacy, even if you don’t have much of your own.
  18. The Don’t Break The Chain method is extremely powerful in the face of rationalization.
  19. Willpower goes down as sleep debt goes up.
  20. I can do great work even when sleep deprived. In fact, I have a theory it helps with certain types of work. I should do a Sleep Deprivation Productivity Experiment.
  21. Elon Musk is probably the most impressive human I’ve ever heard of.

Daily Meditation Experiment - Momentum - Pre-Experiment

This is part of The Daily Meditation Experiment, where I am practicing one school of meditation per week to understand the overall structure & effects of each.

Meditation Method: Free Style

I sit or lie down, eyes closed, for 5-20 minutes.

I listen completely to a song OR feel my body’s emotions and focus on accepting & solving them OR I do a century count of 100 deep breaths OR try not to focus on anything at all OR something else.

Adherence: On & Off

I practiced free style meditation from April 28th to May 24th. My longest streak was 9 days, and I meditated for a total of 22/27 days.

Results & Thoughts

I’ve seen some impressive results. I’ve gotten perspective on a lot of seemingly huge emotional problems, had entire days where I was calm simply because I had meditated, and discovered how hard it is to quiet the mind and not be taken over my thoughts or emotions.

  • Increased & lasting calm.
  • Reminded that everything will be okay.
  • Big problems made not so big. Solutions created.
  • Almost always feel better after meditating than I did before.
  • Learned that quieting the mind is difficult.