Lab Report: The First 100 Days of Meditation

We keep reading about it; the most important endeavor one can undertake is self knowledge – “Know thyself” as the inscription reads at the Temple of Apollo – and what better way to start that examination than practice of meditation?

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The Lab Report – 005 – “Meditation:

The First 100 Days”

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The meditation style I do is Zazen. This first phase of the experiment is about establishing the habit of sitting everyday (I prioritize consistency over duration) and building up my capacity concentration.

I count each inhalation and exhalation starting from 1 and going up to 10, then repeat. Its easier said than done!

This meditation is done with open eyes. I started with 8 minute sessions and I’m now at ~20 min sessions and I’m gradually increasing the duration.


Short term effects: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

– It can be quite frustrating to observe when one’s mind wanders off.

– I dose off all the time.

– Observing one’s thoughts and “monkey mind” creates a gap between Me and my thoughts.

– Outside of meditation I feel that it is easier to catch myself when getting lost in thoughts and snap back to presence.


Long term effects: ❓❓❓

– Still unknown. I’m aiming for doing 365 consecutive days in this experiment, so it’s still to early to tell.


Sustainability: ⭐️⭐️ ⭐️

– I find activities like this one, that should be performed everyday, to be tricky. I only missed 1 day out of 100 so far. But the only way for me to achieve that was to make meditation my number one priority during this period. So that’s what I did.


FINAL VERDICT: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

It’s still the early days but I’m happy to have established a solid habit. But it can be a frustrating practice. I guess Being is hard when you are used to Doing. Still, I love taking a few minutes out of my day for self care!


Tell me about your experiences with mediation? 🤔

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “Demian” – Hermann Hesse

A short and moody novel that revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding oneself. Growing up in a protected and pious middle class home he eventually has to face the real world. Sinclair gets a new mysterious classmates, Demian, who guides him to detach and revolt from the superficial world of form and awaken to his true self.

📝 “All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?”

This is most memorable fictional book I’ve read this year. A coming of age story with strong connections to Jungian psychology and symbolism. It came to me at a perfect time; Since I, much like Hesse did when writing the book, just “began to explore the writings of Freud and Jung on dreams and archetypes”. Something that really influenced Hesses writings.

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “Trust Me, I’m Lying” – Ryan Holiday

“Each generation of media has a different cock in its mouth.” – Ryan Holiday, Trust me I’m lying.

😔 I thought I was on top of my media game and was able to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. I WAS WRONG!

📰 😱I knew the situation was bad; I even quit following “the news” 3 years ago because I thought it misrepresented reality to a larger degree than it represented it (and also for the sake of my wellbeing). But Ryan Holidays confessions from his career as a media manipulator paints a even darker picture than I could ever imagine!

👨🏼‍💻Understanding the structure and constraints of click-based media is essential. These structure explains almost everything they do. It’s in the nature of the system.

🥇 The first half of this book is should be mandatory reading (the other half turns into a bit of a rant). This is probably the book that influenced me the most this year!

What was your most influential books this year? 🤔

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “12 Rules for Life” – Jordan Peterson

Life is suffering. How do we deal with that?! We face it, we bare it. Hell is a bottomless pit and in spite of how fucked up and unfair things are, we still can make it even worse. Let’s not do that! What if we instead get our act together and prepare ourselves to face suffering when it comes knocking? That’s the better path. And we all know where we fall short.

Peterson puts the responibility of all the world and all of it’s suffering on the individual. “If we all lived properly, we will collectively flurish.” If we put ourselves in order, maybe we will do the same to the world?

📝 “Aim up, pay attention, fix what you can and don’t be arrogant in your knowledge , strive for humility, be aware of your weaknesses. Consider the murderousness of your own being before condemn and judge others. Maybe you missed the mark? And most importantly, don’t lie! Lying is the path to hell.”

The book is fantastic, but maybe more importantly – it led me to examine the world of Jungian psychology – and what a wonderful rabbit hole it is to dive into!Leading me books like these:

📖 Man and his symbols

📖 King, Warrior, Magician, Lover

📖 Demian (kinda related..)

📖 Women Who Run With with the Wolves

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” – Gabor Maté

💉 An excellent introduction to the complex problem of addiction. Dr. Gabors is specialized in its study and treatment. His book offers powerful portraits of his patient lives, the story of his own addictive behaviors and the path to recovery.

📝 “As a rule, whatever we don’t deal with in our lives we pass on to our children.”

⭐️ TAKEAWAY: Regardless of your degree of addiction or whether your drug of choice is heroin, TV, food or shopping – reading the stories and research presented in this book will help to shine a light on your own addictive tendencies.

This year I got rid of two addictions: Nicotine (snus) and caffeine. 🚬☕️

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Book Year in review with @chriserzfeld

Book Year in review with @chriserzfeld:

“This year, I read a lot of interesting books. One of those was “Behave” by Robert Sapolsky. I got a lot of insight into what makes humans tick, and how we are irrational, emotional and out of control creatures in an entertaining way so that book influenced me a lot.

📖 “Behave” – Robert Sapolsky


I also enjoyed “The Laws of Human Nature” by Robert Greene, which expanded my views on people and was a great book to read right after Sapolsky’s book.

📖 “The Laws of Human Nature” – R. Greene


Then I learned a lot from reading Carl Rogers and his book “On Becoming A Person”. Especially the first half of the book.

📖 “On Becoming A Person” – Carl Rogers


I highly recommend you check them out!

The key insights for this year must be those of neuroscience, behavior, psychology, and biology. We humans are not so rational and stable as we think we are. But if we can come to terms with the factor that our hormones govern our behavior, we can begin to catch ourselves when we are about to carry out an impulsive action and stop ourselves before we do something we will later come to regret.

I am looking forward to reading more about psychology, mythology, and human nature next year. I’m also looking forward to writing and publishing more blog posts. I am excited about work in general so that pretty much sums it up!

Thank you for reading, and thank you for supporting Bookstagram. We’ll talk soon. Take care.

Best regards// @chriserzfeld

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: 21 Lessons for the 21 century

What Harari has done here is quite a feat. He has squeezed what could easily been a series of books into one volume, covering topics like:

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▪️The resurrection of nationalism.

▫️What to do in a post-jobs world.

▪️The opportunity cost of fighting terrorism.

▫️Why we need a deep understanding of suffering and how to attain it.

▪️What should we teach our kids in school to prepare the for the future?

▫️How to live in the age of biotech, algorithms and AI.

▪️Is religion still relevant?

▫️Do we need a whole new ideology to deal with the problems of the 21st century when liberalism just wont cut it anymore?

▪️Culturism vs. Rasism.

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The book is relevant, nuanced and sometimes frightening.

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How do I plan do dig deeper into the themes covered in this book in 2019?

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I will read ‘Future Presence’ early next year. It’s about human connection in a future of virtual reality.

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

My Book Year in Review – Part 1

⚖️ This year had a rough start with severe work-life balance issues but now I feel I have greater momentum than ever going into 2019.

🛠 I promised myself to make 2018 a very practical year and it has been just that! A lot has been done during the year that I’m very proud of:

✅ – Nicotine free (100+ days in!)

✅ – Established a mediations habit (80 consecutive today)

✅ – Preformed 5 speeches.

✅ – Co-founded a small book club

✅ – Kept my gym and running routine for another year.

✅ – Stoic challenges!

✅ – Started the ’Video Content Club’.

✅ – Did my first Podcast appearance.

✅ – Made new friends!

✅ – One post a week on Instagram.

✅ – Had a great year with my family!

📚 There has also been time for books; more than 40 of them! And the coming days I will post about the five books that stood out the most for me in 2018!

❓What practical actions did you take during the year? I know a lot about your intellectual achievements, now I want to hear about the practical stuff! 🤔

Practicing Stoicism: Voluntary Discomfort (Part 2)

Now it’s time to level things up a bit. Here are my stoic challenges for the coming weeks:

❗️Not drink anything for a day.

❗️Do public speaking.

❗️ Sleep without a pillow for a week.

At least for me all these appear worse to me than only drinking water for and sleeping on the floor (with pillow 😀) for a week. (Actually, I still only drink water it kinda stuck with me.)

One of these new challenges have a slightly different feel to it; to do public speaking.

Voluntary discomfort is not only about gaining appreciation for things you have and preparation for aversion: it’s also about eradicating irrational fears.

One of the most common irrational fear is the fear of public speaking. This is one of my irrational fears. So this month I’m going to put myself in uncomfortable situations where I need to talk in front of large groups of people. Wish me luck!

Follow my progress in my Instagram Stories!

In what ways are you torturing yourself these days? 😆🤔

Practicing Stoicism: Voluntary Discomfort.

I’m back into stoicism again after rereading Seneca and after picking up the so far excellent book, ‘Stoicism and the Art of Happiness’. But this time around I’m not settling with only theory. I want to try some actual Stoic exercises, or more precisely; Voluntary Discomfort.

Why would the Stoics voluntarily put themselves in uncomfortable situations? Well, to develop appreciation and gratitude for what I already have and prepare for future adversity.

Here are some things a stoic practitioner could do:

❗️Underdress for cold weather.

❗️Forgo pleasures such a passing of a glass of wine of watching you favorite show.

❗️Sleep on the floor instead of the bed.

❗️Eat only plain foods and drink only water for a week.

❗️Emulate poverty by dressing in shabby clothes and sleep under a bridge.

❗️Not drink anything for a day.

❗️Reading the comments on articles and videos on the internet to elicit anger and practice equanimity (found this one on Reddit 👍🏻)

❗️ Sleep without a pillow.

You get the idea: Get yourself more uncomfortable than you’d usually be. It’ll make you stronger. You’ll appreciate what you have and eliminate irrational fears.

Or at least that’s the theory. Now I’m going to try it myself for a month or so. See my Instagram Stories for weekly updates! Or wait for my Lab Report . 😀🔬

What experiments are you conducting in your life? 🤔