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Skanzi

Always go by your own experience FIRST.

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I want to address a topic that I sometimes see even highly conscious developed human beings undervalue. And that is the importance of valuing your own direct experience over any sort idea that society has put into you. This includes even ideas that I sometimes even haven't seen anyone making it a subject for questioning.

The most obvious example that comes to mind now is the topic of food. Everybody, almost everybody I have ever seen seems to have this attitude that certain types of foods are absolutely and undeniably unhealthy whilst other types of food are absolutely and undeniable healthy.

But what do you really know about healthy and unhealthy foods from your OWN experience? Have you witnessed how the food affects your body without the preconceptualized ideas in your mind affecting the way you judge the way the effect of the food on your body is? Have you truly experimented with an totally open mind with different kinds of food to see how it would affect you? I doubt you ever have. You may think you may have, but you don't understand how powerful your (subconscious) expectations on the way you are going to perceive it.

Take for instance Coca-Cola. Does anyone think Coca-Cola is healthy? I don't think it has to be, but I think in many cases it can be healthy and nourishing to your body. On what basis do I make this statement? Nothing more than my direct experience. What I experience drinking Coca-Cola is that it is initially sweet and pleasant, that it also has this prickly element of the carbonic acid to it, and that it generally doesn't make my body feel any more unpleasant afterwards. I have however noticed that if I do drink Coca-Cola in the evening that I find it hard to fall asleep that night; I assume this is because of the caffeine. I am however mindful of the fact how quickly I am drinking it. Do I guzzle it down all at once, or do I take more tiny sips? Do I fill my glass up with this soda halfway or almost full? These I have noticed are factors of in which way I experience the soda affecting my body.

This is just one example. How do you know Coca-Cola would be truly unhealthy? Have you witnessed it from own experience or have you simply believed everyone else when they said that this was an unhealthy drink and have you assumed that what they said would be true? Have you made an identity out of this person that prides himself of being a "proactive, responsible and conscious human being" and have you believed that not drinking Coca-Cola is part of living up to this identity? 

Have you merely adopted this new approach of demonizing certain foods and idolizing others because you used to come from the paradigm of being below the level of taking proactive responsibility for your life, and now in order to defend yourself (to your idea) to slipping back to that old paradigm of being at the effect of your conditioning instead of taking responsibility for it, you feel the need to identify yourself with a certain idealogy that does not accept the mechanical, unconscious way of acting, and therefore it needs to have certain standards of what is and what isn't acceptable within its belief system in order to make you feel like you have some sense of control over your lower unconscious, impulsive habits?

In other words: Do you feel a certain need or necessity to demonize certain foods and idolize others in order to be part a moralistic idealogical system that you can cling to in order to make you feel like you have sense control? And do you choose to adopt this idealogical system because it's a good midway between not following the habits of the majority yet not being willing to standing completely on your own? Because it's still a group you're trying to be part of. You have seperated yourself from the herd of sheep, you may think, but you are not willing to stand completely on your own, so you have chosen to be part of a smaller splinter group of sheep so you can together feel like you are different and wiser than the majority.

To be a part of the minority still implies being part of a herd. A smaller herd perhaps than where you used to come from, but still a herd. You are not willing to take FULL responsibility for your life and to be COMPLETELY on your own, where there is only you and your own direct experience as the ultimate authority.

Unless you are willing to take absolute full responsibility to stand on your own two feet and let nobody else —not even a small splinter group— decide what is ultimately true for you, you are not going to be free.

So if you have a certain group of people telling you what you should and should not eat, or should or should not do, or whatever morals they are trying to impose, then what you are ought to do is to investigate directly in your own experience whether what is being said is going to be true for YOU. If whatever is being said —however unlikely and absurd it may appear— does not seem to correlate with your direct personal experience, disregard the teaching. Because ultimately, nothing is going to free you but your own direct experience. 

I've always had trouble with accepting something that anyone else said to me as the truth. For me, it doesn't matter if it's supposedly verified by all scientists in the world, or expressed by the most conscious, awakened people that have ever lived, because I sense that unless I get to know it by my own experience, I'm just subject to allowing my intelligence to be hijacked by someone or something else. That's why I have a bit of an issue with the whole subject of science in general; especially the field of psychology. I'm okay with science being used for technological advancement, but if I hear that scientists have discovered that you should eat this more often, or do that more often to be happier, it just doesn't feel right to simply believe them, no matter with how much purity their studies have been performed. Because the issue is: How could I actually know for certain that this is true? And if it is true, how do know it is true? I rarely ever reference my statements to what someone else has discovered or said because it hasn't really any value to me if I haven't internalized a truth that is being given to me from the outside, or I can't verify that the data that is being shown from a scientific test would actually be accurate.

I do however like reading up on scientific discoveries or words that (spiritual) teachers say just to wonder and amaze myself over the possibilities; just to dream a little bit or get my mind a little bit challenged. There's no harm in just looking at it, but just don't blindly believe anything you read. You can also check if what's being said resonates somewhere with an understanding that you yourself already had at some level. Other people's teachings or words can facilitate and help your own contemplation upon life and numerous insights may be had just listening to or reading the information that other people have to give. But what they say will be useless to you if what's being said doesn't connect with something deeper within yourself. Ah well, you can also just do it for fun

And you know, maybe even in cases where you're acting upon certain habits that even with a higher degree of sensitivity and awareness there doesn't seem to be anything bad with them, maybe there is even in these cases a potential that it does have a longer-term negative effect on your body and health, but personally I'm just allergic to any knowledge I can't verify by my own experience so I just can't really follow up on it. Because how do you know that when your body starts forming certain problems later on, that it was without any doubt because of this supposedly bad habit you allowed yourself to indulge in? There are numerous other factors that could have caused this physical problem. My feeling is that there shouldn't be really much of a reason to worry about it because I feel like the wisdom that you need to make this discrimination of what's going to be good for you and what not is already innately available in as the intuition of the higher Self. I can't prove that statement absolutely, but that is my feeling. More about how the higher self later on.

Having taken this attitude of always going by my own experience —or at least approximating it more and more— I have found simply in my personal experience that a lot of things that the health, nutrition and exercise gurus say are simply not true, or at least not absolutely true. They are at least not true for me and my physical/emotional/energetical/mental/spiritual system at this time. There are many different factors and many different layers in which different intakes may lead to different outputs or effects, that you are not to take ANYTHING that ANYONE says simply for granted. Sometimes people may speak the truth and in the way they express themselves it may appear to be the truth, and it in fact may be the truth, but how will you know if this is the truth if you don't see it for yourself? Take what others say into account, be open to it, but verify for your own experience and your own experiments —without as little preconceived notions as possible affecting your experience and interpretation— what is ultimately your Truth. It doesn't matter if it is (alledgedly) against everything that science says, because science is still in development and scientists are often blind to their own ignorance and biases, or there can be intentional, deliberate manipulation and hidden political agenda's or other agenda's playing a role here. Or it may be so that some things they say may generally be true for the majority of people, but it doesn't have to be an absolute law.

So having taken this attitude of always wanting my own direct experience to be the ultimate authority, I have experienced that certain things that almost everyone deems to be unhealthy can in some cases be healthy, and the other way around. 

In my own experience I haven't generally found pizza having a negative effect on my body. Cheese can sometimes feel like a very nice thing to eat, other times it doesn't feel super pleasant to eat that. Sometimes I really like eating different kinds of grain products, other times these same grain products don't make me feel that great at all. The point is that I can often quite accurately intuit how its going to affect my body and feelings by just sensing within myself whether I feel eating it or not.

Sometimes I like to eat candy, but if I eat too much at once if it it doesn't feel good. I now experience that even eating one piece of liquorice or candy can make me feel a bit restless in my head for like 15 minutes afterwards. I do however notice that for instance fruit juices with a decent amount of sugar in it don't seem to generally have this same effect, interestingly enough. I think this may have to do with the fact that water can act as a great neutralizer for what would otherwise be a sugar overload. So I drink lots of fruit juices, but I never buy sugar-free. i feel like sugar is an important and perhaps essential ingrediënt in our or at least my energetical/physciological system. Sugar free means it is added with all these sweeteners which may perhaps be pleasantly sweet, but I feel like it doesn't nourish me. It's a bit similair to as if you're chewing on a piece of food but not swallowing it. It tastes nice but it is missing something.

There are moments or days/weeks when I feel like eating a lot of chocolate and then it feels really nice to me, and then there are other stretches of time where it doesn't interest me whatsoever. I have this oscillation in interest/disinterest in certain foods quite a lot. Some foods I eat a lot during certain periods of time, and after a while it completely disinterests me. For instance: Sometimes I buy a lot of strawberries of blueberries and then I absolutely just munch on them, and when having eaten enough of them i don't feel like eating them again for quite a couple of days or even weeks.

And so I have a lot of eating habits that most people wouldn't be able to see the intelligence or sensitivity of. When they see me eating candy or drinking a Coca-Cola or whatever they may be thinking I'm just acting out of habitual, unconscious impulses. Little do they know I'm actually very sensitive to what I'm eating and I make most that is in my diet a conscious choice not based on a logical system of what "is meant to be healthy", but I intuit in my body what it desires for and I trust its instincts. OKay, sometimes I do habitually reach for food that then I realize I don't really want to eat, but it doesn't happen too often. The same thing by the way for me also is applicable with for instance exercise. I hear everybody say that exercising is healthy and one should do it more often. In my own experience, it simply makes me feel more congested, uneasy, unpleasant. 

I think the difference between me and a child that wants to steal the candy pot and eat it in its entirety (and afterwards finding himself sick), is the fact that my decisions aren't only informed by lower instinctual impulses, but also by a higher connection with spirit or the higher Self. If you are both connected with the higher and the lower, then the higher will inform the lower what to do: Spirit will inform body what is good for it and what not. And if it were to be the body and the lower unconscious impulses alone, then indeed there would be an unhealthy lifestyle. That is why this advice of trusting your own experience is in reality only applicable to those who have gotten enough distance between them and their lower drives that now they know they have a developed capacity of discipline, and once discipline has come to its full culmination one will be able to make a conscious choice to let go of their disciplinary rules and idealogies and let once again body speak for itself, as now you have been able to connect spirit and body together and now every time you choose to let go of your discipline and instead follow your intuition, it will be a proper decision. 

If you are not developed enough, any of this advice will be malicious since now instead of allowing spirit to take charge, you are indeed reverting back to the lower unconscious impulses and it will not be an improvement at all. The important difference here is whether it feels like a decision you have to gather courage for to make. This is actually key. Advising to let go of discipline to someone who does not have the right amount of development and understanding can in fact be very, very dangerous. Because the receiver of this message may in fact not be the higher self but the lower self (ego) in such a case. If the higher self receives this message, it will be an incredibly useful advice. If the lower self receives the message, it is simply the ego seeking an oppurtunity to reinforce its own position. A choice made through the lower self (ego) or a choice made through Spirit (or higher self) may seem very, very similair on the surface. But the quality of this decision is vastly, vastly different. Generally, the advice to trust your instincts should not be given to people who lack a capacity or history of disciplinary action and willpower. People who have gone through such a phase though can be greatly benefited by the advice to forsake discipline, or at least try to. There is however a great possibility that some ego will be left that will now try to make this letting go of discipline and willpower into another form of discipline and willpower. Still, it may be the way forward, as holding on to discipline and strict regulation may imply coming from a more egoic standpoint.

That's why I say it requires courage to trust spirit and allow instincts to have their own say and to forsake any of your old idealogies. Because going deeper into the egoic position does not require true courage. It is very easy and convenient for the ego to use any well-intended advice for its own purposes. It requires courage to let go of old identities and beliefs, but it doesn't require courage to stick to a position you have already been familiar with for too long.

So with this post I would like to invite people here to be more critical towards their own assumptions and really start to examine: "What do I actually really know for certain?". And what do you know for certain? In fact, is there in philosophy actually one thing we can know for certain other than that we are? I'd like to invite the readers here to just really examine their own experiences better and to see where there's potential for your own beliefs to color the way you interpret your experiences. Beliefs are very powerful in the way that it colors our reality, without this belief actually needing to be an objective truth. Examine how beliefs might affect your life.

So that's the end of my post. Be brave, be intelligent, and be alert.

Edited by Skanzi

I am using a new account named "Nightwise". In in fact intend to stop using this account from now on and use that account instead. So I am not planning on using these two account interchangeably or intermittently. Only "Nightwise" from now on. I am doing so merely because I like the username much more. For some reason, that feels to be important to me. 

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Just because something feels good in the short term doesn't mean it's good for you in the long term.

Drinking sugar water (Coke) makes you fat. Filling your body with heavily refined stuff like corn syrup is not wise.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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And we created science.

Not to believe in but to try to enlight the darkness

I ve Seen Yesterday that fat and sugars' desactivate part of the brain on mouse + observation on young human ( then we should trust or not the study )

Simply put fat & sugar physically impair memory.

But it dépend your goal.

Even poison could up something else benefitial.

But It's hard to observe for your own self. But there is truth in your way to inquiry. Just work on self bias.

Everything is body context dépendant and goal dépendant.

 

 

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It sounds like you are PMSing however I will still touching a few things. I agree with you on experience and not taking other people's experiences as true but you refer to yourself as different beings when you say "higher self" and things about human nature which doesn't that categorize you by the very stereotype you're pointing out?

But to add to your coke addiction (that was a joke)

I've been in the health industry for about 15yrs now and so this topic is right down my path. 

Coke is bad for your body however in some situations it can be more beneficial short-term then it is detrimental long-term.

Example if you did not eat enough the day that you did a strenuous exercise and so you could pleated your bloodstream of glucose and are going hypoglycemic so you grab a coke and you drink it (or something with simple carbohydrates and simple sugars ) it will enter your bloodstream faster than complex carbohydrates will and it will bring your blood glucose level back up from a hypoglycemic attack making you feel much better however as stated above this does not mean it is "good for you and bad for him" this is just a situational circumstance.

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On 9/15/2019 at 11:05 AM, Leo Gura said:

Just because something feels good in the short term doesn't mean it's good for you in the long term.

Drinking sugar water (Coke) makes you fat. Filling your body with heavily refined stuff like corn syrup is not wise.

It makes you feel good, which reduces stress and has overall benefits for health. Now I'm not telling people to drink it excessively, as that can lead to its own form of stress, but the occasional Coke won't hurt. Even too much nutrient-dense food can be stressful on the body. It's a delicate balance one has to find, and I agree with OP that it's something that can only be found through direct experience.


I am myself, heaven and hell.

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Not all things can be found through such naive direct experience.

Here's a counter-example which throws a wrench in your logic:

Sushi seems healthy and delicious. Eating it makes you feel good compared to many other foods. It's light and refreshing and not over-cooked. But if you take this as a sign of health and you start eating sushi 4 times a week, eventually you'll discover it gives your lead and mercury poisoning. Your brain will start to function poorly as it fills with more and more heavy metals and you won't even know what's wrong with you until you get some medical tests which finally reveal the truth.

The moral of the story is that not all problems can be solved through straight direct experience. Sometimes you need an external source like an x-ray or a satellite photo or a Geiger counter to tell you something is unhealthy or problematic.

Also, some things are so dangerous that it's too risky to discover so through direct experience. For example, sticking a fork in the wall socket. In this case you just have to take people's word for it.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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11 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

Sushi seems healthy and delicious. Eating it makes you feel good compared to many other foods. It's light and refreshing and not over-cooked. But if you take this as a sign of health and you start eating sushi 4 times a week, eventually you'll discover it gives your lead and mercury poisoning. Your brain will start to function poorly as it fills with more and more heavy metals and you won't even know what's wrong with you until you get some medical tests which finally reveal the truth.

What kinds of sushi load your brain with lead and mercury? As far as I know, there are many kinds of sushi.

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@CreamCat Any kind that uses large predatory fish like tuna, salmon, etc.

All seafood in general is getting problematic if eaten frequently.

Don't even think of eating a bass you catch at your local pond. That thing is ridden with toxic chemicals.

Most freshwater fish in American lakes and rivers is unhealthy to eat due to toxic pollution.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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22 minutes ago, Leo Gura said:

All seafood in general is getting problematic if eaten frequently.

I eat dried pollack and fish cake. Is that a problem, too?

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@Skanzi I had a dilemma similar to yours until I understood that direct experience is not in conflict with knowledge developed collectively.
If you commit 100% to live by your own rules, you will be able to master yourself but that mastery is barren unless you are able to act it out in the world. Unless you are satisfied with influencing everything yourself, you will need understanding that is shared among people. That is the purpose of tradition (and that includes science).

Once you understand everything, nothing will sound wrong except for suffering.
Knowledge that is not fleshed out with understanding is useless, but once you understand you can share it using any language.
Study any tradition of your choosing and use it for the benefit of everyone. Pick the splinter out with another splinter, or so to speak.

Edited by tsuki

The true heresy is hearsay.

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@Skanzi what a long post!

I like that you're taking a holistic approach that gives some weight to your direct experience, rather than just demonising certain "bad" foods.

If we become overly cautious, we might miss out on life.

I also agree with Leo that direct experience is not a completely reliable measure of whether a certain food will be good for your body. In fact, in many cases it may be misleading.

Edited by Dan502

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On 9/18/2019 at 11:44 AM, Leo Gura said:

Sushi seems healthy and delicious. Eating it makes you feel good compared to many other foods. It's light and refreshing and not over-cooked. But if you take this as a sign of health and you start eating sushi 4 times a week, eventually you'll discover it gives your lead and mercury poisoning. Your brain will start to function poorly as it fills with more and more heavy metals and you won't even know what's wrong with you until you get some medical tests which finally reveal the truth.

The moral of the story is that not all problems can be solved through straight direct experience. Sometimes you need an external source like an x-ray or a satellite photo or a Geiger counter to tell you something is unhealthy or problematic.

Also, some things are so dangerous that it's too risky to discover so through direct experience. For example, sticking a fork in the wall socket. In this case you just have to take people's word for it.

Yes, I definitely think one should use all the tools available in one's toolbox. Pardon me for not appreciating the nuances. I'm not disregarding your example, but I would like to mention that a very aware person might notice their cognitive abilities declining after introducing radical changes to their diet. Your collection of memories is important too, not only your direct experience in the moment.


I am myself, heaven and hell.

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you guys think shrimp is unhealthy ive been eating it and feeling like crap lately :(

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10 hours ago, Commodent said:

a very aware person might notice their cognitive abilities declining after introducing radical changes to their diet.

You're not going to be able to detect the effects of heavily metals through direct experience alone because there are numerous potential causes for stuff like fatigue and cognitive decline. You might feel the effects, but you won't know the cause is mercury from your sushi. You might think the cause is old age, your drinking water, a hormone dysfunction, a genetic factor, or stress at work. You will not be able to sort all those out without some external testing.

Maybe it's not the sushi after all, maybe it's the lead in your favorite brand of toothpaste. You don't know. You could be a Zen master and still not know such things.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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@Leo Gura Yeah, I get that. But how about those people who clearly notice something is off, and yet tests show them that everything is fine? I've noticed that particularly among sensitive people. We have barely scratched the surface of the complexity of our bodies and the food we eat, so tests can be quite limited.

Another thing, I sometimes wonder if you're conscious enough and have a high vibrational frequency, your body will be able to withstand environmental toxins? Like, in the case of the Wim Hof method (awareness, conscious breathing and intense focus) your body will be able to withstand extreme amounts of cold, which likely would have killed most people. Or kill of injections of bacteria that leaves most people bedridden for days.


I am myself, heaven and hell.

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13 minutes ago, Commodent said:

But how about those people who clearly notice something is off, and yet tests show them that everything is fine?

Of course that can happen.


You are God. You are Love. You are Infinity. You are Leo.

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On 9/18/2019 at 3:10 AM, Leo Gura said:

@CreamCat Any kind that uses large predatory fish like tuna, salmon, etc.

All seafood in general is getting problematic if eaten frequently.

Don't even think of eating a bass you catch at your local pond. That thing is ridden with toxic chemicals.

Most freshwater fish in American lakes and rivers is unhealthy to eat due to toxic pollution.

It's unsettling to read this, I definitely held the belief that meat you acquire via fishing or hunting is better for you than store bought products. I prefer to eat meat from the wild. Is there an argument to be made about how everything you ingest or come into contact with will cause your body harm?

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@Leo Gura Sorry for reviving this old thread, but I read something in "Power vs. Force" by David R. Hawkins and came to think of this conversation. Thought you might be interested.

Quote

The most striking finding of kinesiology initially was a clear demonstration that muscles instantly become weak when the body is exposed to harmful stimuli. For instance, if a patient with hypoglycemia put sugar on his tongue, upon muscle testing, the deltoid muscle (the one usually used as an indicator muscle) instantly went weak. Accordingly, it was discovered that substances that were therapeutic to the body made the muscles instantly become strong.

[...]

That the body responded even when the mind was naïve was most impressive. Most practitioners did their own verification research, placing various substances in plain, numbered envelopes and having a naïve second person test a third. The overwhelming conclusion was that the body would indeed respond accurately, even when the conscious mind was unaware.

This was really what I was talking about, I simply wasn't aware at the time that the body's accuracy was that good. Of course, if you eat tasty food you will get that immediate gratification, but if you listen very deeply you will be able to intuit whether it is actually life-promoting. And that even when the mind is naïve of harmful substances in the food!


I am myself, heaven and hell.

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