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.

Thoughts

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.

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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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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…)

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.

Love by MVPThe Hypothesis/Reason: 

A few months back, I realized that I was doing a horrendous job at interacting with women. So I broke it down to take a look at the cause.

Turns out, if you looked at it like a sales funnel (which it is), mine was utterly unplanned. So I took a MVP approach to it, and found out what would bring me the desired results with as little time and effort spent.

I predicted that the results would look like the funnel on the left (as opposed to my default funnel on the right).

The Plan:

It’s outlined here: The Love by MVP approach.

Results:

About 5 weeks later, I’d fallen in love with a girl who is still the best match for me I’ve yet met.  (more…)

Making Decisions
Last week I was faced with a life changing choice and 48 hours to make a decision.

This was big. The biggest and most difficult choice I’d been presented with in perhaps years. In the process of making it, I stumbled into creating a decision-making process I’ll be using to make big choices from here on out.

It combines Tim Ferriss’ fear-setting method, some data-geek metric-loving, feedback from the 15 people in the world who’s opinions I most trust (and who’s thoughts I go and pondered to make this choice), and the process of ‘percolation’ used by the world’s greatest copywriters, and Barry Shwarz’s thoughts on The Paradox of Choice.

Here is my method for making huge decisions…

Step 1: Dodge Paradox of Choice

First off, narrow your options down to no more than three concrete and well-defined choices. More than that, and your mind won’t be able to fully grasp all the variables. You’ll loose yourself to analysis paralysis.

Make sure they are clear, concrete, and easy to convey in no more than a few sentences each.

Here’s a good look at Paradox of Choice.

Example:

I narrowed down my choices to…

1) Work with Salty Volt & Linchpin. Full schedule, highest and most certain monetary value, stress guaranteed. 

2) Work with Salty Volt & Best Trip Advice. Full schedule, lower guaranteed monetary value but possible huge value to be made via part ownership of BTA, stress guaranteed.

3) Work with Salty Volt only. Spare time and energy to devoted to other things, equal guaranteed monetary value with #2, low stress.

After a bit of thought, I decided to drop option 1 due to my desire to only take on projects I’m deeply passionate about.

Step 2: Gather Data

Collect all the information you can about each of your choices. Ping the few people you most trust and admire in the world, tell them briefly what each choice looks like, and ask them which option they think you should choose. If they have a few extra minutes, tell them you’d love to hear why they think what they think.

Example:

I identified my 15 tribe members who I most admire and whose opinions I most trust. Then sent them a medium sized email that quickly defined my options, told them I my timeline, and told them I’d love to hear their thoughts.

Step 3: Define Fears & Dreams

Use Tim Ferriss’ method of fear-defining to, in deep detail, define exactly what the very worst and very best case scenarios look like for your options.

Example:

Look to Step 4

Step 4: Quantify

Following a modified version of Tim’s method in step 3, give each case a score between 1-10 representing how impactful it would be to your life.

1= No impact. Nothing changes.
2= Pretty significant impact. Noticable life change.
3= HUGE impact. Life changing.

Now give each case a percentage number based on how likely it is to happen.

Example:

  Worst Case Best Case
SV & BTA I screw up both Salty Volt and Best Trip Advice. Tim and I go cold. Kat and Luke and Sofia all resent me for fucking up. Some word gets out and I have trouble getting new clients.
 I have virtally no savings. A few hundred dollars, maybe.
I fly back to Canada a bit defeated. Start trying to find feelance clients again.

IMPACT: 5

ODDS: 25%

I kick ass with Salty Volt, writing everything that needs to be written, wonderfully, rocking out the community, helping find investors, doing a PR launch. We keep working togther with me as community manager and growth hacker for $1000/month. 

Best Trip Advice is making $2500 in sales a month from now, I own 10% of it and so am making $250/month off that. It’s growing.

My relationships with Tim and with Katie and with Luke and with Sofia are all excellent. I’ve surrounded myself and am working fully with really awesome people.

IMPACT: 9

ODDS: 25%

SV I give Salty Volt everything I’ve got, get paid the $1100. For whatever reason, our work together ends there. Relationships stagnate. Relationship with Tim stays lukewarm as it is now. RadNomad, despite my best efforts, stays grounded.
I get no additional freelance gigs. I’ve got like $500 in the bank.

Once again, I’m searching for freelance gigs

 

IMPACT: 2

ODDS: 10%

I kick ass with Salty Volt, writing everything that needs to be written, wonderfully, rocking out the community, helping find investors, doing a PR launch. We keep working togther with me as community manager and growth hacker for $1000/month. My relationships with Katie and with Luke and with Sofia are all excellent. I’ve surrounded myself and am working fully with really awesome people.

I take on a few rad clients here and there that I find via Salty Volt and other connections. I’m bringing in another $500/month without too much extra work.

The RadNomad community is growing, I’m making about $100/month through amazon sales and playing around with growth hacking techniques.

Impact: 8
ODDS: 40%

Step 5: Score

Now do some math. For each choice, multiply each impact score by it’s likelihood to happen, then subtract the final worst case number from the final best case number.

Example:

SV & BTA: (9*25)-(5*25)= 100

SV Only: (8*40)-(2*10)= 300

Step 6: Percolate

Now take a whole day off. Vow not to think about it for just one day. When you do catch yourself thinking about it, stop.

This is pulled from Joe Sugarman’s copywriting method of stepping away from his writing and going to do literally anything else for a while. When he would come back, he found that subconscious had mulled it over and he was able to see a ton of improvements and ideas that he couldn’t see before his percolation.

Step 7: Decision Time

Come back, look at the numbers, feel what your gut instinct tells you.

You have all the info. Now give yourself 2 hours to make your decision.

Once it’s made, it’s made. No more thinking on it, the choice has been made. “The word decision, closely related to incision, derives from the meaning ‘a cutting off’.” – Tim Ferriss

Commit to it and have no second guessing. In the words of Markus Almond, “Commit yourself fully to your decisions and happiness will follow.”

I have been experimenting with weed for the last few weeks. A passion ignited by the results of my little Marijuana Productivity Experiment a few months ago.

My finances finally caught up to my desire to learn more about this, and I can now buy the materials (namely, marijuana).

The practice I have put into place starts with a morning wake and bake (built into a meditation inducing activity by my careful and flawed rolling of the day’s joint).

I relax back in my reading chair, breath in the joint, and just sit.

The results are as follows:

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