What I Learned This Week (Nov 2 - 8, 2015)

  • It feels good, sometimes, to not have a bunch of thoughts and plans and to just feel emotion.
  • Rereading a book after a period of time makes it a very differnet book.
  • Planning a year takes little more than a day or two.
  • Always, always negotiate to get what is fair.
  • Jealousy & fear can lead to a lot of pain and mistrust. One way or another, I must internalize two things.
    1. I have chosen to put my full trust in Asha, and I have never caught her breaking it. While it is definitely possible that she does break my trust without me knowing, for reasons I don’t understand… thinking like that will drive me mad and surely end our relationship. I am left with but one reasonable option: trust her, and find comfort in that trust.
    2. I do not need Asha. I want her almost desperately. My life would be worse off without her. But I do not need her. She supports my work, is a source of my comfort and emotional warmth, allows me to koo, ensures my sex life is excellent, is adventerous and philosophical… she is excellent for me. But to allow these facts to make me cling too tightly to her will simply harm us and handicap me. I must be able to walk alone, even with her. Take deep pleasure and comfort in her presence, but not rely upon it too often.
  • Bring in interesting and inspiring ‘fuel’ for my mind, and I will be compelled to produce interesting and inspiring work. If creativity is shit, this is food.

This is part of The Daily Meditation Experiment, where I am practicing one school of meditation per week (well, it’s supposed to be a week. I hasn’t been, really.) to understand the overall structure & effects of each.

Meditation Method: I Am Meditation

This is a quite simple meditation type. The goal is to obtain a feeling of who you are.

How it’s done:

  1. Sit down with your eyes closed, and ask yourself “What am I?”.
  2. If the answer comes to you in the form of a thought, discard it, and ask the question again. Focus instead on the subjective feeling of “I”.
  3. Whenever thoughts/emotions arise that distract you from the question, ask yourself “To whom does this arise?”. The answer will be “Me”. To which you ask “Who am I?”, thereby bringing yourself back into the meditation.

I did this meditation 9 times over the course of 19 days.

Adherence: 47%

I practiced I Am meditation from September 15 to October 3rd (considerably more than a week) to August 2nd. In those 19 days, I achieved a full meditated session for 9 days.

My pathetic adherence record combined with the minimal value I found in this meditation very nearly stopped me from publishing this post. However this experiment is about successes as much as it is about failures, so here it is, published so you can know where the value is and how damn difficult it is to ahere to.


This seems like a strange middleman-esque meditation without much value to it.

While I did, at times, get some clarity and a powerful feeling of who I am, it was not something I am unable to get elsewhere.


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%


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


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%


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.


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…)