Liam Johnson

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About Liam Johnson

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  1. Entry 260 | Reflection The days since my previous reflection post have been incredibly fulfilling in every way. It feels like I've had the chance to explore every emotion in great depth. There were times when I cried, felt heavy resistance, worry and stress. But also times of utter joy, excitement, happiness and tranquility. I've cultivated a new type of meditation practice which is ideal for me. Using my biggest passion in life in such a way that promotes the art of raising awareness and consciousness has got to be the biggest breakthrough I've made. Every single time I've done it, the results have been incredibly satisfying. Sure enough, I could still just sit motionless for an hour in silence and meditate that way just as I have for over a year now. But this highly individual approach to meditation has transformed everything. My love for life just deepened immensely. In terms of the YouTube channel, ideas are bubbling away in my mind ever since I made the commitment to produce weekly content. I've only produced one video so far because of the limiting beliefs holding me back. But now that it's out there, I feel motivated to produce even more. And to be honest, I don't care what kind of reception it gets. In fact, writing this public journal has eliminated that desire for recognition completely. When I started, I used to secretly keep track of the views it got. Petty for sure. But for a long time now, the priority of this journal has been about telling the truth and documenting anything that interests and helps me. I've always known that it really shouldn't be about the views of your work, but it's only now that I can say that I honestly live that way. The passion comes first. It humbles me to receive a reception of any kind these days and I am grateful to everybody who shows even a slither of interest in what I do. It does seem to encourage the passion and the desire to put more work out there but I feel mature enough to understand that it should never be the fuel. So I'm also getting used to being in a relationship with a guy I met from the Edinburgh tour. In some ways, it has felt kinda strange to be out in public and display affection because of a few potential reasons: being with a guy for starters, the fact that it's still relatively new, worrying what others think... A lot of surface-level resistance. But I feel more than confident enough to battle through such resistance. Especially because I'm deeply satisfied with how this relationship has gone. The whole means of starting a relationship via dates and sex just goes completely against everything that I would want. It's an incredibly pretentious way to go about doing things for me because it feels like I have to act in a certain "gentlemanly" way in order to have a successful date. It prevents me from being myself. Whereas with this guy, I had several weeks living with him in Edinburgh and spending time as nothing more than friends. Turns out we had an unbelievable amount of similarities, desires, values and other things in common, enough to suggest best friend material. Then when the tour ended and I couldn't stop thinking about how much I loved being with him, that's when I submitted to myself that this guy meant something deeper to me. Ever since then, it's been strength to strength. The typical relationship-type stuff is wonderful but perhaps the thing I enjoy most is that we are both passionate about growing ourselves as individuals and as one. I feel incredibly comfortable to talk to him about whatever is on my mind and he tells me he feels the same way too. We both inspire each other in different ways. We're starting to do work together, meditate together, and potentially make a dyad practice together. This relationship feels like such a rarity and it's incredibly exciting! On a note for potential improvements, my eating habits have slipped a little maybe. I've been to some fancy restaurants with my partner and stuff without considering my health and I've also been eating a lot of protein bars. My spending has also gone through the roof over this period of time but most of it to a worthy cause, including the Life Purpose Course, Tab Pro (lifelong guitar tablature access), bonding activities with my partner and Christmas presents. But things overall are going so wonderfully. My fulfilment levels are incredibly high these days. And perhaps the best part of that is that it doesn't seem to be as a result of achievement. It's more form the sheer joy of living. Life is beautiful right now. And that meditation session where I ended up grieving my own death... Wow. I don't think I've ever seen life in a more beautiful light since then. Pick of the day:
  2. Entry 259 | Getting Used To Relationships Theory: Building a strong relationship is like a field of mastery in itself and is not separate from any other facet of self-actualization. Applying it: Make sure both you and your partner understand this concept and are willing to work together to improve on it over the long-term. So I'm away from home this weekend to visit my partner. It has been really fun to come and support him in a concert that he performed in for part of his university degree. We've been together for around three weeks and I'm still getting used to it. In fact, it felt to me like our relationship was on a bit of a plateau. We discovered together that the main reason why I felt this way was because I was worried about bringing my self-actualization work and routines into our relationship. We only see each other once every few weeks so it was very easy for me to throw out all of the progress I'd made to focus solely on spending time together. And as much as I love spending time with him, it kinda felt like I was sacrificing that stuff just to be with him, even though he is fully supportive of the work I do. It was my belief of "I must devote all of my time to you whilst I'm here and nothing else" that was making me worry about being my true self. After talking about this together, we realised that this was something we both wanted to change. We both wanted to not only spend time having fun together, but more importantly we want to support each other's work and encourage each others growth, even doing it together. And that's when I remembered that building a strong relationship is like a practice in itself. There's certain challenges that need to be overcome but this is what leads to the truest kinds of growth. And it feels great to have found a partner who actually is supportive and understanding of this growth. Things don't have to be perfect all of the time. What matters is that we both know that this relationship is a practice like any other. And practice is the surest way to travel the path of mastery. Pick of the day:
  3. Entry 258 | Grieving Over Yourself Theory: The only way to you can come to terms with death is to go through a grieving process with yourself. Applying it: Become as conscious as possible of all the suffering that revolves around your thoughts about 'me.' Realise that in order to eliminate this suffering, you must face your own death. Open yourself up to the raw emotions that you feel when you genuinely feel crushed that you must die. Yesterday, I spoke of the magic that occurred when I used my guitar as a meditation tool. Today was the second day of such a meditation practice and it proved to be even more powerful than I could have imagined. After peeling back the layers of resistance, I suddenly found myself becoming conscious of all the thoughts about 'me.' My body. My life. And as time passed, the suffering behind all of these thoughts also came to the surface. I've been running away from the truth about the "no-self" for a long time. But finally, I had the courage to face it head on. I allowed the feelings of terror and despair come to the surface as I contemplated death. My death. So many thoughts came up. "I don't want to die." "Why can't I live in this beautiful existence forever?" It was so emotional that it brought me to deep sadness and tears with it. In order to reach a place without suffering, I had to die. Or at least, the thoughts of 'me' had to die. And for the ego, that feels soul-crushing. This feeling remained with me for quite some time. I wanted to end the meditation early, but the fingers kept plucking away at the guitar as if to completely ignore Ego altogether. Then as if by magic, that raw and powerful emotion that came with grieving myself suddenly transformed into ecstatic joy and fulfilment. It made the present moment feel extraordinarily beautiful. It was beautiful already but not on this scale. It felt like orders of magnitude larger. And with that experience brought the strongest possible feelings of presence. Stillness. As if something died within. Pick of the day:
  4. Entry 257 | Meditation For Musicians Theory: As a musician, you have the possibility of meditating in a completely unique way by using your instrument as a mantra. Applying it: Perform a repeated pattern, drone or phrase and loop it for 45-60mins straight. Maintain full awareness of your bodily sensations, sights, sounds, and other raw data. I've used my instrument to do this kind of thing before. It's given me some wonderful outer-body sensations and heightened states of awareness before. But I'd never considered using it as a supplement for a formal meditation practice. Perhaps because it never really occurred to me that the instrument could be used as a mantra to bring you into the present moment. It really is no different, when done correctly, to the sacred "Om" chant that has been practiced for centuries. Today, I used a repeating fingerpicking pattern to produce a drone from my guitar. Nothing complicated at all. And I performed this pattern over and over and over again without deviating or manipulating it. Then once I became comfortable with the pattern (after only a few minutes), I then shifted my awareness from my hands to the rest of my body. I tried to become as conscious as possible of all the different sensations in my body. Then, I would become conscious of the actual frequencies and overtones of the guitar as it played. And I bathed in this awareness for as long as I could maintain it. The results were phenomenal. I could feel something growing and expanding from within. It felt godly to the point where I became partially disoriented about the reality around me. Several layers of resistance were peeled away until I reached a state of deep calm. And as wonderful as it was to listen to the guitar drone and experience its richness and beauty, it will never compare to the magical state of being that came over me when I gradually brought down the volume to silence. Everything became stillness. After doing a fairly standard type of meditation every hour of every day for the past year, it felt so wonderful to try meditating in this way. Not only was it good guitar practice, but there was something so special about using my passion to produce unimaginable peace of mind. It was a highly personal and authentic way of using my creative voice to expand my consciousness. Such a powerful moment to witness in this life. Pick of the day:
  5. Entry 256 | Insight About Money Theory: Money is spiritual poetry in motion. Applying it: Be mindful of all the ways in which you are spending and accumulating money. Notice how the money is a clear expression of your authentic desires and values. I'd like to start off with a powerful quote from Mastery to explain this insight: Money in itself is a shallow thing. Chasing for more money all the time is therefore a shallow thing to be doing. But if you really take the time to observe the ways in which money operates in your life as well as others, you can get in touch with the spiritual connections that are associated with money. Reread the quote above. And reread it again. And reread it. And again. Because there's so much truth in this statement when you bring it into your own life. It's even more abundantly clear if you've ever paid for something that contributes to your personal growth. As a guitarist, I regularly spend a few hundred pounds on guitar strings alone every year. And in all of that time, I've never once looked back and thought "gee, that was a bad investment." With every pack of guitar strings I buy, I make a statement about how much I value the beauty of music and the desire to improve as a musician. As someone who is also interested in becoming wiser and more knowledgable in relation to self-actualization, I've made some pretty significant investments given my current predicament. I've spend over £100 on books and have recently purchased the Life Purpose Course for £200. Am I sceptical? Sure. Those thoughts have occurred to me. But after I made the investment, the insight about money came to me. There is something magical that happens when you consciously decide to spend your money on personal growth. You choose to value your Higher Self, not your Lower Self. You choose to honour your Muse, rather than your Ego. You sacrifice your physical possessions to receive wisdom from the Infinite Intelligence. Spending money is a way of making a final commitment to yourself. And it feels spiritually satisfying to do that. Pick of the day:
  6. Entry 255 | Post-it Quotes Theory: The quickest and most efficient way of learning key insights and understanding bits of wisdom is to place them where you will come into contact with them on a daily basis. Applying it: Decorate your space with post-it notes containing quotes and nuggets of wisdom that are meaningful to you. Make a regular habit of examining them one-by-one until you can explain in depth what they mean. This is a new habit that I've started over the last week or so that has become both incredibly fun and rewarding. As I've started reading more books, I've realised that it isn't enough to just underline important quotes. In order to fully understand the concepts of the book, you have to be able to internalise them. One of the best ways to show that you have internalised any teaching is to be able to explain it in your own words. But to do that, you need to know certain quotes well enough to perhaps recite them from memory. Post-it notes have become my tool of choice for implementing this strategy. My bedroom is perhaps below-average when it comes to decoration. The walls are quite bare, which makes them the perfect place to put these post-it notes. I use post-its of different sizes and colours to articulate my own thoughts on paper as well as to document important and relevant quotes from the books I've read. I've also started the habit of methodically going though these quotes every morning and night. There are three distinct sections on my wall for post-it notes to be, and there are three different colours to choose from (although the quotes are not colour-coded). The method would be to walk up to each section of the room and pick one quote of each colour to examine and internalise through explanation. This could take from anything to 15 minutes to an hour to complete depending on how deep into the explanation I am willing to go. I've only done this for Mastery so far and there are still plenty more quotes I could pin up onto the wall. But this procedure has allowed me to internalise some juicy bits of wisdom that wouldn't have been possible through a simple read and underline of a quote. Pick of the day:
  7. Entry 254 | Dyad Trial My partner and I decided to try out some dyad work with some guidance from the web. Admittedly, we haven't been shown anything about how to do it properly nor do any of us have prior experience as to what to do or expect. But we did the exercise anyway for a short trial session. We sat cross-legged on the bed facing each other, became present with some deep breaths in unison, and proceeded to give instructions to each other and respond to them. He took the first turn at giving the instruction for which I would comply. The first instruction hit me deep almost immediately: "Tell me how you want to be loved." The way he delivered the instruction was heartfelt and with every intention of discovering the answer. It was such a personal question that it pierced deep into my authentic self. After years of small-talk and shallow conversation with others in everyday life, this line of questioning came as a bit of a shock. But it felt incredible to open up myself in front of him knowing full well that he would not react (as part of the exercise). We continued for a few more turns with this line of communication. And that's exactly what it felt like: not conversation, but pure communication. I opened up to him and he opened up to me. Not only did I discover so much about him in such a short space of time, but I also discovered so much about my own desires, feelings and attitudes. Admitting your own feelings to yourself is a wonderful thing. And to have my partner in front of me without reacting as I did this felt all the more special. As I say, this was just a trial. But from that small session, we discovered that this could have some wonderful effects if we keep up the habit. Pick of the day:
  8. Entry 253 | Die To Live Theory: The person you are before you go to sleep is completely different to the person who wakes up in the morning. One must die for the other to live. Applying it: If you want to retain any kind of wisdom from one day to the next, you must expect that the person who wakes up in the morning will be completely different to who you are at night. Through this awareness, you can more easily carry wisdom across from one day to the next. A bit of an airy-fairy topic, perhaps. But every time I go to sleep, I aim to treat it as a death. It might seem highly unlikely that you could just go to sleep one night and not wake up the following morning. Although it's uncertain, it's possible. It happened to a local gym instructor a year or so ago. He was seemingly a young, healthy, fit guy when he suddenly died through the night. Sudden death syndrome. What's more, our minds and bodies are changing constantly. The person who started writing this journal will not be the same one who finishes this journal. And the person who wakes up in the morning will not be the same as the one who goes to bed the night before. To attempt at being poetic, it's like one version of you has to die in order for the new version to wake up the next morning. But the only trouble is that the one who wakes up will have a completely fresh mind. A blank canvas onto which thoughts can be painted on. I've started implementing a morning and night routine to accommodate this. At night, I will read and explain out loud several of the quotes posted on my bedroom wall in order to develop wisdom. Then before it is time to sleep, I will remind myself that the person who wakes up will be sleepy to begin with. They will want to snooze in bed a little longer or they will want food immediately. Basically, the monkey mind will kick in unless I provide constructive thoughts for the brain to digest. By becoming aware of this the night before, I can go to sleep and wake up with the same level of awareness. Then once I've gotten out of bed, I will repeat the process of explaining and interpreting the quotes on my wall to reconnect with that inner wisdom that was cultivated the night before. This process might become really useful in stitching together each day to construct a narrative instead of waking up every day as if it were a fresh start (which is only a practical thought to such an extent). Although the nocturnal version of myself metaphorically dies to allow the morning version of myself to wake up, I can make sure that both versions are connected strongly through this procedure. Pick of the day:
  9. Entry 252 | Mastery By George Leonard. So this book is Leo's highest-priority book on the entire booklist. Was it worth reading it? Definitely. Was it worth the top spot? It's hard for me to say. Especially given my background in pursuing musical and guitar mastery, the topic in and of itself is very familiar to me. For that reason, I don't think it had the revolutionary effect on me that it could have had for someone who has never pursued mastery. HOWEVER, this book is full of wonderfully written insights about the entire process of mastery and it's importance in everyday life. The book is divided into three distinct parts. The first part describes the several paths we can take with any domain we choose, and how the most fulfilling one is the path of mastery. The second part describes "the five keys" to unlock mastery which are instruction, practice, surrender, intentionality, and "the edge." The final part of the book describes the nuances that appear along the path of mastery and how to prepare for and deal with them. It gives a clear overview about what the path of mastery (of any domain) requires from you and has in store for you, seeing as it is a field of work worth mastering. As a self-actualizer and musician, this serves as a great reminder to keep pushing forward in spite of what our modern culture would have us do instead. It's full of anecdotes and stories that illustrate the key points, even mythical ones. Many of the quotes that I have underlined were so inspiring and thought-provoking for me that I've started writing them on post-it notes and sticking them around my wall. This book is probably best for those who have never consciously pursued the path of mastery. But even as someone who has been on the path for a while now, not only can I recognise the truth in each one of the key points made but I found that there was still plenty of good stuff to be learned from this book. Would recommend. Pick of the day:
  10. Entry 251 | Resistance and Truth Theory: All resistance is a denial of the Truth. Applying it: Try and pinpoint all forms of resistance in your life and figure out what it is you are resisting. This insight came to me during meditation today. I managed to reach a deeper place than normal today which allowed me to sustain focus for the entire hour. Two insights came to me during the session but this is the only one that I could remember and write down in time: all resistance is a denial of the Truth. Resistance can take many different forms but all of them serve the same purpose. They take you out of the present moment, reduce awareness of the physical senses and prevent mental clarity. This could include persisting thoughts, muscular tension, ego beliefs, numbness to emotion, and other things that contribute to suffering. All of this resistance prevents you from seeing the truth of what is right in front of you. What's more, resistance can be so abundant at times that it becomes unconscious. This makes it very hard to perceive Truth. Resistance is the ultimate dream killer. I've had plenty of first-hand experiences with it to be sure. So long as you are resisting the fears and anxieties within you, they become stronger. So long as you allow muscular tension in your body throughout the day, you will become fatigued. So long as you keep clinging to the belief that you are "me" and that this "me" exists and needs to be protected and preserved, you can never open yourself up to receive some of the most profound experiences to ever happen to you in life. Why then is it so difficult to defeat resistance once and for all? Why is it such a difficult task to relax when those around you increase in tension? Because when you're in a state of resistance, the possible becomes impossible. It's only when you're in a state of acceptance that the impossible becomes possible. Pick of the day:
  11. Entry 250 | Reflection What a number. A quarter of a thousand journal entries. I've sat down and written at least 250 journal entries (excluding two-parters) over the last year. Next month, it'll be a full year on since committing to this journal. What a wonderful edition to my daily life. I've heard time and time again that the first year of entrepreneurship is the worst. And I'm certainly feeling those vibes. Because I essentially have no boss, it's up to myself to build the self-discipline and the correct mindset to produce what I want to produce. Never in my life have I had to be more conscious of my own thought patterns and habits than right now. I'm having to tackle my problems head-on. But fortunately, I know exactly where all the problems lie: within the mind. The thoughts I think today will determine the actions for the rest of my life. If I don't believe in myself, then my actions will align with that belief. If I believe it's going to be hard work to make money from music, then that's what will be attracted to my life. One of the ways I'm starting to confront these limiting beliefs is to go through a self-coaching process: become aware of the beliefs, understand what emotions, actions, and results they create, and create new thoughts to practice believing. One thing I will say is that by committing to this difficult path in life, the things that I used to find pleasure in before are starting to reveal themselves as toxic to my emotional wellbeing. Playing video games, binge watching YouTube videos, eating snacks, and procrastinating are just as easy to do (perhaps even easier) but they no longer provide the comfort that I was used to. I've become super aware of the long-term effects of doing these things, which has been enough to dilute the pleasure of doing these things. At least on a regular basis anyway. Something I've been struggling on is maintaining a clear vision of the bigger picture. I've been neglecting my visualisation once again. As I complete my goals, my mind suddenly wants to revert to self-doubt, fear and anxiety that it could result in failure. It's sometimes hard to motivate myself to look at the positives, the long-term vision for the future, and keep going with full force. One way I'm starting to combat this is by sticking a load of post-it notes on my bedroom wall to remind me of all the things I've learnt from books and also all of the positive beliefs that I need to focus on. A while ago, I promised that this would be the week that I shoot videos for a YouTube channel. As sloppy as the past few weeks have been in terms of preparation and planning, I'm going to go for it anyway. There's a good few compositions that I could create performance videos for. And at long last, the Wiimote video is finally ready to shoot. So by the end of this week, I will have at least one video shot (the Wiimote video) and perhaps a second one for performance. One of the biggest limiting beliefs that has been holding me back from YouTube is the desire for perfection. If only I had the right camera, the right microphone, the recording skills, the home studio, the personality, the charisma... Perfectionism is nothing new to the way I like to do things. However, I can finally say that it's going too far as to prevent any progress whatsoever. I'd like to remind myself of an important quote from Psycho-Cybernetics that sets the record straight about perfection and approximations: In other news, I've started a relationship with a guy I met for the Edinburgh tour last August. It came as quite a surprise that even though I wasn't looking for a relationship, it just happened. We both have ridiculously similar interests, we're both aspiring musicians, we've had uncommonly deep conversations for a typical friendship, we don't reserve our authentic personalities with each other, and we both have the hots for each other! I thought being in a relationship would take away some of my drive to complete my goals. Instead, it's made me feel more motivated to complete them. He's been motivating me when I needed it most and I try to do the same for him. It's giving me something else to strive for in addition to everything else. So yeah. In summary, I have been struggling with this path and I'm not deluded enough to pretend otherwise. The main source of the struggle is tackling my own beliefs about my potential in this life. It's hard to believe that you can become a rip-roaring success when it hasn't happened yet. And it's even harder to rewire your mind to produce positive thoughts and beliefs, especially since there are so many of them. But despite how much of a struggle it may seem to me, progress is being made. Not necessarily in reality, but certainly mentally. It's only a matter of time before it follows through. Pick of the day:
  12. Entry 249 | Boss What's Before You Theory: What if life purpose is simply the task right in front of you? What if you could just boss the fuck out of that task? Applying it: Realise that in the here and now, you can only really do one task at a time. You can't multitask. But you can certainly boss the fuck out of whatever it is you're doing right now. It occurred to me during meditation a moment ago that it really doesn't bother me what task is right in front of me. Nowadays, I rarely think to myself "gee I wish I was somewhere else doing such and such a thing." I'm perfectly happy doing whatever task is right in front of me, whether it be writing a journal entry, waiting in a waiting room, cooking food, doing bicep curls at the gym, strumming on one chord with the guitar, spending time with a loved one, or anything else. And it reoccured to me that perhaps life purpose is about the very thing that's right under my nose. It's not about what I could or should be doing. It's all about what I'm doing right now. And perhaps it's a streak of perfectionism that started this habit but whatever task I give myself, I make sure that I give it my full attention and complete it to the best of my ability. In other words, I try to boss the fuck out of it. The actual doing of the tasks is not the difficult part. It's starting the task to begin with that seems like the biggest hurdle. Perhaps all the other obstacles after that first hurdle decrease in size as each one has been overcame. I can relate that to guitar playing. In the beginning, I was such a slow learner. The simplest of tasks felt so difficult to do at the beginning. But as the years of commitment started to accumulate, it slowly became easier and easier until the present day where it feels like a breeze. The important thing about this is that I chose to make guitar playing my task to master. I could have easily chosen to spend that time playing video games or watching television as a kid (which I did to a degree, but not enough to prevent my ability to grow as a guitarist). As such, the difficult part is not in bossing the fuck out of the task. It's deciding to face that task head-on, in the present moment, and choose to boss the fuck out of it. That's why we say "that decision is as good as done." Once the decision is made wholeheartedly, that's the hardest part done. There's no point trying to juggle tasks in your mind too. If you're doing some task in the now, there's no point in remembering the other tasks that you could be doing because it will only prevent progress. That's when you need to prioritise the task right in front of you. That's when you commit, and recommit, to bossing the fuck out of what's in front of you. Pick of the day:
  13. Entry 248 | Making Up For Slip-Ups Theory: It's very easy to continue on the path of slipping up once you make your first slip-up. The key to growth is committing to getting back on track. Applying it: Try and save yourself as quickly as possible from going on a continuous path of slipping up, even if it takes days, weeks or months. So this is an entry to make up for the fact that I didn't post one yesterday. And it's basically the reason why I never made one in the first place. Yesterday I went to do an STI screening early in the morning (just as a check-up, it's very important stuff) which completely threw me off my daily routine. I guess you never fully appreciate that you have a routine until you get thrown off it like that. But after I was thrown off once, it was very easy to just think "fuck it" and not bother getting back on track. I went on a bit of a shopping spree after leaving the hospital and spend a good portion of the evening playing on video games because it's been a while. But one thing I realised was that once you commit to the path of "fuck it," it's very hard to get off that path and onto the one that you originally abandoned. Let's face facts. The path of "fuck it" is ridiculously easy to follow, most people have travelled on it at one point in their life, and you can abandon all sense of responsibility. The path of self-actualization is comparatively a difficult path. It seems like a lot of work for nothing all that tangible, hardly anybody that you come face-to-face with is also committed to this path, and you have to face your demons and be focussing on growth all the time. But anyone wise enough to recognise that the easy path is the least fruitful one knows what's ultimately worthwhile. It's not work to no avail, even if it seems that way. Any fool can commit to the path of self-actualisation. The true committers though are the ones who recommit time and time again without giving up. You don't have to be good at it either. You just have to recommit. Pick of the day:
  14. Thanks both for introducing this topic. It sounds fascinating
  15. Does anybody have any suggestions for exercises that work really well for two people doing self-actualization/enlightenment work together? It'd be so awesome to get some advice on this. I've managed to find a partner who is just as interested in meditation, self-actualization, enlightenment as me. And we both had the idea that it would be really cool to meditate together and feed into each other's efforts. For sure, we could easily just meditate together like normal. But are there any specific techniques for group or couple work that could be really valuable and might not be an option for solo work?