Kisame

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  1. Here's what Shinzen Young has to say on this, from The Science of Enlightenment. A note on terminology: when he says things like "zero" and "Gone," he's referring to the no-self of enlightenment.
  2. Maintain a masculine and feminine polarity in the relationship. Somewhat along the same lines, every relationship should have a leader. This modern egalitarian thing where every decision is split 50/50 and each partner has no strong opinions about anything without the unanimous support of the other partner is a surefire way to turn both the man and the woman in the marriage into listless, asexual hermaphrodites without a spark of mutual attraction. Learn tantric or taoist sexual techniques! The man should master the art of being multi-orgasmic. Don't do everything together. Have your own hobbies, personal time, and personal space.
  3. To be blunt, both of you are too fucked up to be in a relationship. He's obviously a tool whom you should have cut from your life long ago, but the fact that this wasn't obvious to you says nothing good about your headspace. A good relationship consists of two people who have their shit together getting together and creating something greater than the sum of their parts. A bad relationship consists of two emotionally crippled people codependently leaning on each other for support, with the desperate hope that the other can compensate for their own faults, but ultimately all they do is mutually drag each other down. You don't need me to tell you which category you fall into. Walk away from this douche and work on yourself.
  4. @pluto Thanks for the link. I'll research this more.
  5. Perhaps if they didn't meditate, they would have gotten cancer and died at 40, instead of only getting it at 65 or whatever. This is the sort of counterfactual experiment you can never run, so you can't draw any conclusions from the fact that skilled yogis have gotten cancer. It would be more helpful if you could amass data about a population of skilled yogis with clean diets, and compared their cancer rates to that of the general population, but this data isn't available either. Also, their "clean" diets may not be as clean as you assume. The more you dig into nutrition research, the more you realize that the human body is incredibly adaptable, and can adjust to all kinds of wildy variable food intakes. There are amazing success stories from vegans who have overcome health crises through diet--and the exact same stories, from zero-carb/pure carnivore dieters. These two ways of eating exist at the complete opposite ends of the spectrum, and yet both are apparently capable of producing extremely healthy people. And for both veganism and zero-carb, you also get stories of people who feel awful attempting to eat this way, and have to move on to some diet a little more towards the middle. The "optimal" diet for each person varies depending on individual genetics and epigenetics. It's possible that these yogis who suffered negative health outcomes were actually not eating the diet that would have been best for them.
  6. Interesting. Saw this thread last night after dinner and decided to try a dry fast on a whim. I'm 17 hours into it now, with the intention of pushing it to 36 hours. Maybe 48 if it feels okay, but not beyond that since it's my first time. I've done several moderate-length water fasts before and have been keto for a few months, so I wasn't worried about jumping in without prep. Previously my two longest water fasts were 120 hours. So far I don't feel anything unusual, besides the fact that I'm "thirsty," yet when I check, I have no trouble producing plenty of saliva. This perceived thirst is probably psychological. Not unexpected, considering this is probably the longest period of time I've gone without having something to drink in literally my entire life. I don't understand why removing inorganic minerals from your body would be considered a good thing. I was always under the impression that fresh and natural spring water is ideal for consumption (even during a fast) expressly because it contains trace minerals, and water fasting protocols (e.g. from Jason Fung) often advise people to add some sea salt or Himalayan salt to their water. Basic electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium, etc. are necessary for proper cellular function (as long as they exist in the correct ratios in the body) and are not something to detox. I always avoid distilled and reverse osmosis water because it's completely denuded of everything. Thus when this empty water enters your system, it literally has to leech minerals out of your cells and your bones via diffusion to remove the chemical gradient. Then you piss away all your valuable electrolytes, and feel like crap during a fast because now your cells are depleted of the stuff that they require for proper signalling and water balance.
  7. It's true that a lot of the traditional practices involve excruciatingly long sits, ice baths, sun dances, and other ordeals that would qualify as torture, if not undertaken voluntarily for the purposes of spiritual purification. It's also true that some of the more famous awakened individuals arrived at their insight in moments of extreme emotional duress, like Eckhart Tolle who awakened in a fit of suicidal self-loathing, or Ramana Maharshi who had his enlightenment experience while in the grip of a paralyzing fear of death. On the other hand, the Daoist literature and other esoteric erotic traditions teach that proper cultivation of sexual and orgasmic energies can lead to awakening as well, whether done alone or with a partner. I don't see any inherent reason why pain is more likely to lead to enlightenment than pleasure, except that pain is simply the more practical and available tool. You can induce extreme pain in pretty much any body part whenever you want, often using means that won't induce permanent damage and require little set-up (e.g. ice baths, or via ridiculously long sits with no movement), whereas the mindful cultivation of pleasure is much more limited physiologically (most guys can only experience the heights of pleasure in their genitals) and requires far more discipline to properly pull off (for example, the Daoists heavily emphasize semen retention, so if you're trying to masturbate yourself to enlightenment and accidentally blow your load, you won't be able to fully "recharge" for a few days--compare this to ice baths, which you can do any time you want).
  8. Two main forms of meditation are usually taught in the West, and both are beneficial for different reasons. I personally switch between these two most of the time. They are: Concentration meditation. This develops concentration, i.e. your ability to focus on one specific thing for long periods of time. A common technique is focusing on the breath. You can focus on the feeling of your belly moving as you breathe, the feeling of the air passing in and out of your nostrils with each inhale and exhale, or any other aspect of the breath, but pick something about our breath and just focus on that. Let your breath be as natural as possible. When your mind inevitably wanders, and you suddenly remember that you're supposed to be focusing on the breath, just bring your focus back. If you wish, you may count ten breaths, and each time you lose count because of mind wandering, start from the beginning again. This will give you a general sense of how good your concentration is. Mindfulness meditation. This is "meta-cognition," being aware of thoughts as thoughts, and sensations as sensations. For example, usually what happens when you think of something that made you angry (e.g. someone cut you off in traffic, or your boss was acting like a dick), you just get lost in the memory and become angry. When you properly apply mindfulness, you are aware that you are becoming angry, rather than just becoming angry. You see the angry thought arising, rather than getting lost in the thought. Then, when you see the thought as just a thought, you deliberately observe it with detachment, and (insofar as you are able) just let it go. Don't pursue trains of thought. Some thoughts will be "stickier," like anxious or angry thoughts, and will want to hang around. This is fine, simply remember to observe them with detachment and let them come and go. When you get better at concentration meditation, you can enter really peaceful, relaxed, and stereotypically "blissed out" states of awareness. This is nice, but note that it's hard to bring this state of altered consciousness to everyday life, because rarely in real life do you get the opportunity to focus on one thing exclusively for long periods of time. This sort of meditation and super-concentrated absorption existed before the Buddha's time, but wasn't a particularly reliable path to radical alterations in consciousness (i.e. enlightenment), since as I mentioned, it's difficult to replicate in everyday life. The Buddha is usually credited with formalizing the second type of meditation, mindfulness, which is also called vipassana or insight meditation. That is, insight into the nature of reality. Theoretically, mindfulness meditation is a far more reliable path to awakening than concentration meditation. When you get really good at this type of meta-cognition, and detachedly recognizing all your thoughts and perceptions as nothing more than fleeting subjective phenomena, you begin to grasp the insight that your "true self" is not the things of which you are aware, but rather the consciousness that is aware of them. Yes, this happens to everyone, and it's actually a great opportunity to apply mindfulness meditation specifically. Many awakened individuals have apparently superhuman levels of pain tolerance. There are the marathon monks of Mount Hiei, Thich Quang Duc who burned himself alive in gasoline and didn't so much as flinch, or guys like Peter Ralston who can undergo a root canal with no anesthesia as though it's nothing. The reason they're capable of such things is that they have enormous sensory clarity, in that they can distinguish between physical sensations and negative thoughts, and the constant experiential awareness that they are not the sensations and they are not the thoughts. They can disidentify from both, and watch them detachedly as nothing more than sensory phenomena. Rupert Spira always uses the metaphor of a television screen. The screen is consciousness itself, and all things that the screen shows are thoughts and sensations. But no matter how negative or painful the images that appear, they can never fundamentally change or damage the screen. When you have true insight that you are the screen, and not the screen's images, the images lose their power. Hence the pain tolerance. So what I'm saying is, when you begin getting uncomfortable or bored, meditate on the discomfort. Try to tease out the differences between the physical pain and the negative thoughts that the pain provokes, and with mindful awareness explore how they interact, congeal together, and occasionally separate. Of course, don't push it to the point of actual injury or anything, but generally speaking, if you can get into your meditative position and hold it with no issues for the first couple of minutes, it's not going to permanently damage you if you hold it for another hour.
  9. I'm fond of a certain Kierkegaard quote for occasions like this: "Giving utterance to reflection has a weakening effect on action by getting ahead of it." When you talk to other people too much about your plans and activities, especially if they are of a deeply personal nature, it can drain you of the energy that would be better spent simply doing whatever it is you want to do. Solid advice. This is also a good strategy to ease a reluctant girl into anal.
  10. I like how the classic Stoics categorized the sources of "happiness." On the one hand, the things that really matter are your virtues: your emotional resilience, your patience, your compassion, your wisdom, your perspicacity, and so on. These virtues are the qualities that, when refined to their absolute highest levels, produce happiness independent of circumstance, and an utterly unshakeable serenity with who you fundamentally are. In the lingo of the Eastern traditions, you might call this enlightenment. On the other hand, the Stoics had a name for all the other good things in life, that don't really matter: preferred indifferents. Having a roof over your head is a preferred indifferent. Being able to eat at a 3-star Michelin restaurant is a preferred indifferent. Being a in a rewarding sexual and romantic relationship with a woman is a preferred indifferent. Preferred indifferents are not necessary for deep fulfillment, but they certainly make life more pleasurable. So with that in mind, I'm all for pursuing relationships, so long as you don't fall into codependency and neediness. Never look to your partner to validate your worth. Developing yourself is always your top priority, and romance is just a bonus. I think given your age and general lack of experience, you should date around a bit right now. Just casually, not looking for a serious relationship or anything, but see a few different girls and gain some perspective. Developing confidence with women spurs a lot of personal growth (in the realms of self confidence, assertiveness, not being butthurt, etc), which will carry over to other areas of your life. Being in a few relationships will also demonstrate to you exactly how insecure and needy (or not) you are, and point to weaknesses in your character that you can mindfully shore up in the future. Plus, sex and seduction are both skills, and you can't get good if you never practice. One day you'll meet a girl who'll actually be worth keeping around long-term, and if you've had enough experience in the past, you'll know what to do to run the relationship right. On the other hand, if you spent your twenties "working on yourself" as a completely celibate monk, because you philosophically convinced yourself that "romantic relationships are just another external source of happiness," when you meet this future high-quality girl, you're guaranteed to fuck things up royally due to lack of experience.
  11. The central irony of Fight Club is that Tyler Durden advocated not being one of the sheeple and carving out your own path, but in the end, the cult he created ended up worshiping him as a living messiah, performing automaton-like behaviors and military training with machinelike precision, and completely erasing individuality. "In Project Mayhem, we have no names"--remember? Why call out Leo? We don't need (En)Light(enment) Club. The lesson of Fight Club is that you don't need Fight Club. If you're gonna do this thing, you do it yourself, by yourself, for yourself. You don't post about it on the internet. "He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god."
  12. I used to not feel like meditating either, and then when I'd actually do it, I'd struggle with being extremely bored, and when I wasn't bored, I'd get incredibly sleepy. I remember sessions where I spent half an hour literally nodding off every 30 seconds. It was straight torture. Then I realized that the struggle is the meditation. If you have a perfect session where you're just sitting there blissed out until the timer beeps, and it was completely effortless, of what use is that? It's good to have such sessions once in a while for morale, but the real growth occurs when you're forced to be mindful of the restless energy and yammering thoughts that arise in boredom, and consciously experience and dissect all the threads of physical discomfort from long sits, and bring your attention back again and again from the brink of sleep. It's like lifting weights. There's no progress if there's no difficulty. As the saying goes, "The obstacle becomes the Path." Anyway, in the beginning, there's nothing you can do except carve out a time, be consistent, and just do it. When you don't feel like doing it, tell yourself to stop being a little bitch and just do it. And keep doing it. Keep it up for a month or so, and the habit will be established. Soon afterwards, you'll be surprised to find that you look forward to it. These days, I barely watch movies, anime, tv shows, or hang out with acquaintances who don't qualify as real friends, because I'd honestly rather sit there and stare at a wall in my spare time. It's actually pretty funny.
  13. These alienation issues have nothing to do with being a seeker. There are plenty of people who have no problem balancing contemplative pursuits with being a normal human being. In fact, by far the most common report is that the deeper you go into these practices, the more generous, compassionate, and psycho-socially well-adjusted you become. If being spiritual is making you more and more fucked up rather than less, you're doing something wrong and may require outside interventions (e.g. from a trained psychotherapist who's knowledgeable about and sympathetic to your meditative pursuits). Contemplation is great and all, but it's not a panacea for every possible psychological issue. Part of wisdom is knowing when to ask for help.
  14. If your only goal is enlightenment, then it would behoove you to pursue it intelligently and systematically. I don't know how much experience you have with consciousness work, or how experimental you've been with drugs and such, but if possible you should focus on the approach that feels most personally promising to you. Maybe you resonate more with Japanese Zen than Tibetan Buddhism, or maybe there are certain secular approaches that simply seem to work well for you, but whatever it is, settle on a direction. Next, the best way for a novice to learn how to attain a skill is to receive personal coaching from an expert who already possesses that skill. Whatever approach you've chosen above, take stock of who the foremost experts are in the world, and do some research on where they're located and whether you can go learn from them. Figure out how much money you have and how long it'll last you with the different potential teachers. For some you may have to join a monastery, for others you might have to rent housing in their city and go to them for regular paid consultations. Since you have no idea how long this will take, it would be wise to have a backup plan in terms of providing income for yourself, should it come to that. Probably with some teachers this is less of a concern, e.g. if you're able to join a monastery where they provide for your basic needs in exchange for you doing some sort of work. I'm actually not too sure how monasteries function, there are probably lots of variations depending on the country and other factors.
  15. I love keto, but I must be genetically adapted to it or something. I never fell victim to any of the common side effects that you hear about, such as keto flu, loss of libido, feeling cold, getting brain fog, decreased energy, lagging performance in the gym, or anything else. There was no real adjustment period for me, it felt fine from day 1. But like I said, I'm an outlier in this respect, so take my endorsement with a grain of salt. I've been keto for 5 months now. Possibly I drop out once in a while when I have some sushi or eat a potato here and there, but usually my net carbs are under 25 grams a day. I'm leaner and more muscular on keto at the same bodyweight, compared to when I was eating higher carb. My jawline is noticeably more defined. I can still put on muscle mass, and my strength performance never suffered. For context, I mainly lift weights (barbell movements plus some calisthenics) and rock climb (bouldering), which are sports that require max power efforts more than extended endurance, for what that's worth. But from what I hear from guys like Peter Attia and a bunch of others, endurance can actually improve once you're fat-adapted as well. My diet is basically meat, vegetables, water, coffee, and tea. Once in a while, I'll have some fruit or chocolate or raw honey, but in general it's real minimalist. I like it, it works for me.