Thursday, December 14, 2017

I am enlightened!

It is done. The work is over. Everything falls into place.

Truly, the world does not really exist. I am but a part of the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. There is no more suffering. Not for me, man. I'm done with it.

We are all interlinked. Panta rei. Everything is connected to everything else. Discursive thinking is blahblah, duhduhduh, monkey minding monkey mind. You and me are all the same, that's the name of the rhyming... um... frame.

There is reason and purpose in the universe. Everything is exactly as it should be. You are perfect.

There is no self. No, not really, but there is not a self. There is not-self. And there is not not-self. And all of these, and not quite, but almost. The All is the One is the None. And I am enlightened.

Things are without essence, impermanent, unsatisfying.

Just let your thoughts pass. Let them go. The Buddha says what the Dalai Lama says what Thich Nhat Hanh says (and Thanissaro Bhikku, too, and basically Eckart Tolle) what I say what I like to be said by old sages. Some of whom can't defend themselves any longer on account of their being dead and rotten.

Oh, and Jesus, of course, says the same thing too. Basically.

And it's really a process, and nobody can describe it, and the Buddha and Jesus and Eckart Tolle didn't mean it that way at all, quite regardless of how you phrased it, you're always wrong, right from the start.

This is stream entry! Yippee. It's the first jhana. Let us jump into the flow!

I am an enlightened being.

All of these did I find. All of them, and then some. And yet, none of them at all.
All of them did I find in my meditation.

And I came out of my meditation, same old me, with my scars and fears and anxieties.

All of these, did I find them in meditation?
It would seem so, when I sit down and when I gather myself up again.

But who did say what, who said what first? Did I honestly find it in meditation? Or did I just take it with me into my sittings, and then pretend? When I first sat down, did I not go in with an expectation already established? Is it any surprise that I found just precisely what I had read in the books?

If I found that the self is eternal, that discursive thinking is the only reliable path to truth and math describes the universe perfectly, that things are eternal and solid and real, that the Buddha was wrong and Ajahn Brahm was a big fat liar... now, THAT would have been a surprise, and it might have had some significance.

If Siddharta Gotama himself had come out of his final enlightenment experience, telling everyone that the sun consists largely of hydrogen, or that there was no reincarnation, the Jews were right all along, and karma was a false teaching - now, *that* would have been significant.

As things are, I only managed to solidify my beliefs and get my hopes high. And so did dear Siddharta. Or not?

I am so fucking enlightened, it's not even funny.

(Sorry for my little ruse. I hope you saw through it right from the start. If you didn't, I hope you were able to get a bit of a healthy shock out of it.)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Discovering stoicism / general update

I just realized I haven't blogged in a while.

For shame!

As the title suggests, I recently got into the stoa. Mainly I've been reading a modern popular introduction by Massimo Pigliucci, and then went on to study me some Epiktet.

I find that stoicism gives me a really good cognitive framework for my meditative practice. It's like the other half of buddhism, the intellectual part of the practice; replacing those parts of buddhism I reject.

Two main ideas that I really enjoy: the "dichotomy of control" and the idea that you should only care about your own virtue, everything else is simply not your concern. It sounds grim, but once you're into it, it's highly liberating and very joyful.

The core idea is very simple, even trivial, but pose a lifelong challenge: Only some things are under your control. Your judgments are under your control. Your opinions, desires, aversions are under your control. On the other hand, your body is not under your control.

(Of course, our desires are not directly under our control, it takes time and practice, and a good reason for practicing, to get there, and the work is probably never finished.)

It's a fundamentally good place to start. There are even a lot of practical exercises. The only thing it doesn't seem to have, is a formal meditation practice.

Which brings me to...

I am now into regular, formal practice. First time in my life. I do one hour per day. I have done so for maybe two months now. It's tremendously, enormously beneficial. Anger goes away much faster, impacts me much less. I sometimes almost grasp impermanence and no-self, for a bit. Lots of anxieties just fall away.

Plus, it helps me keep up a good exercise regime, which is really good for my diabetes and my CP.

Interesting how I tried to read up on stoicism a few years ago, because one of my best friends is into it a lot. I just didn't grok it. Now, with regular meditation, suddenly it's... fairly obvious, really. Almost self-evident. A lot of the time, when I read the stuff, I'm like "oh yeah, sure, why didn't I see it before?"

I'm actually meditating (ha) to go on a buddhist weekend retreat next year. I just really really would like to beware of any cultish groups (I don't mind mainstream buddhism, I don't have to agree with what they say), and I need them to realize that I have to have some kind of back rest, I simply cannot sit in a lotus pose for more than a few minutes.

So, yey, I guess.

Also, the sex has never been better, thanks for asking. :-)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Mindfulness is not a value in itself, but it is a core skill

I advocate three core skills:

Rationality and compassion, supported by mindfulness.

I recommend basic mindfulness meditation - sitting, breathing, focusing on the breath - as the best tool I ever learned to develop mindfulness.

For those who are interested, I suggest to learn basic "tantric" exercises - breathing, pelvic floor training, letting go of orgasm as the primary goal of sexual activity.

If you really want to, I suggest to experiment with some form of chastity/nofap/semen retention, and visualisation. In my experience, they make life easier and more fun.

I suspect that every exercise that incorporates mindful breathing and gets you more "into the body" will be a good supporting practice: yoga, qi gong, tai chi, etc.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

All over my body, without any effort

Okay, this is interesting. And fascinating. And quite delicious.

I've practiced PC muscle clenching and breathing for quite a few months, even years, in everyday life.

I visualized/felt the energy moving upward, as expected.

Only right now, like 5 minutes ago, I realized that, right at this moment, i have this incredibly wonderful vibrating, warm, tingly feeling all over my body, without clenching anything. It's just there. Calm, blissful, energizing and cozy.

I guess I must have created an unconscious association between a certain kind of breathing and this feeling, by all that kundalini'ing.

I have to admit that this feels like a breakthrough!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tantra is all about sex!

Tantra *) is all about sex. It is not about meditation, it is not about religion, it is not about enlightenment.

It is not about intercourse either. Or about masturbation, for that matter.

It's definitely not about "cumming".

It is about bringing sexual lust and desire into all of these. Into your consciousness, into the very whole your body, (including all its holes), into your mindfulness, into your meditation, into your relationships, into your job, into your whole bloody life.


*) standard disclaimers apply: Tantra the way I practice it - practical, irreligious and secular. If your stance is that this is not truly tantra, fine - any suggestions for a more fitting word?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Trying Street Epistemology

Last friday after the office, I went through a shopping street on the way to a good restaurant, for some baked cheese.

A little detachment from a group missionary project was preaching about the prodigal son. I listened for a while, partly out of sentimentality (I know the group from way back), but also because I really like to discuss religion. Nobody approached me, and the sermon was boring, so I moved on.

A guy followed me and asked to talk to me.

He was very polite, to the point of sweetness, very honest, very thoughtful, and had not a bit of that dreadful arrogance that some religious youngsters tend to display when they think they found The Truth.

So I exercised a little bit of what I know from Boghossian's "Manual For Creating Atheists".

It was an interesting and weird experience. On the one hand, I guess you can plant some seeds of doubt in someone's head, which is obviously a good thing. But on the other hand, I ran into a severe case of bite inhibition. That guy was 18, 20 years old. I have it all thought out, time and time again, read about it, listened to talks and debates, written about it. It's just so easy to get a guy like that stunned, stuttering, unable to give a coherent answer. It's almost unavoidable, if you grill him too much.

Of course he had seen my funny walk. Of course he told me about some prayer, where he had prayed for someone and that person was healed. Of course I know the fallacies behind that. Of course I know that memory is a creative act, and anyway it's not proof of anything.

I had him talking about his epistemology, asking how we could distinguish between good and reasons for believing something. He was off his script, and he didn't have all the answers laid out. He had to think.

All of this is good.

But still...

I don't want to do that. I want an honest debate. I want to be on equal footing. I want someone who can stand up to me, challenge me, make me think. I can't have that if my interlocutor just has no chance, due to age and experience and years and years of education.

So I left. I politely refused his offer to pray for me, and we parted ways.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The long list of things I tried

Sometimes I'm amused by the sheer number of pseudoscientific and religious woo that I was involved in, or that I at least gave a chance, at some point. Especially seeing that during most of that time, I thought of myself as a somewhat rational person... After I wrote the list below, looking at it, I found it quite impressive and more than a bit shocking, really.
  • Fundamentalist christianity (of the catholic charismatic variety). Nothing to add here, really, we all know it's bullshit.
  • Satanism. I never actually believed it, but I was quite fascinated with Crowley for a while. I still think he's a very charming fraudster.
  • Kabbala. I never believed in it, but I read a lot of the literature and went to a lecture by the Kabbalah Centre once. I even gave a few talks on the history of it.
  • Tarot. I really wanted to believe that one. I even gave a few readings for money, until I learned about cold reading and realized that I had been doing exactly that all along, purely by intuition.
  • Wicca. I attended a wiccan ritual at some point, with high priestess and all. It was all very friendly and polite, but it felt incredibly shallow and noncommital. Coming from fundie religion, it just felt somewhat ridiculous. (Nobody was in the nude, by the way.) Oh and I had a little "temple" at home, consisting of a large cloth on which I had painted some symbols.
  • Buddhism. That one I'm still kind-of into. Over time, I learned to extract the meditative practice and reject all the metaphysical nonsense. I visited a real sangha a few times. I thought it was a valuable experience. I didn't crave any form of religious community at that point, so I never went back. I liked how the "sermon" was really more of a discussion with the whole group in one of those.
  • Tantra. Duh, you knew it had to be coming. By now I know how to distinguish between what's real and what's religious woo, so I can keep on practicing without fear of getting into anythng bad.
  • NLP (and other assorted communication teachings). That was the most expensive, by far. I did my self-hypnosis, which is one of the few things out of that whole mess that I would still recommend. It helped me give up smoking. But apart from that, it's just crap that turns people into monsters.
  • Pickup. Yes, been there done that. I never paid for any bootcamps or anything. I did get a few "lays", but I learned to see how destructive and inhuman it all really is, and I never overcame my "approach anxiety" in the long run.
  • Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Yoga etc. I would still recommend all of these, strictly as a physical workout. I practice some of it still, though I'm utterly incapable of performing any serious Tai Chi.
Just to show that I'm not completely cookoo, I never believed in: Astrology, crystals, pyramids, alien abductions, conspiracy theories, anti-vacc, Ouija boards, tachyons or Desteni.