Lab Report: Meditation -The First 6 Months

“If you continue to this simple practice everyday you will attain a wonderful power. Before you attain it, it is something wonderful, but after you attain it, it is nothing special.” – Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki

The Lab Report – 008 – “Meditation: The First 6 Month”

For me these first 6 months was about establishing the habit of sitting daily. With that now in place it’s time to take it to the next level.

Instead of counting both inhalations and exhalations I’m now moving on to counting only my out-breath. The end goal is to not count at all, but that’s when I built up my ability to concentrate enough.


Mid term effects: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

– I still dose off from time to time.

– Resistance to the practice and boredom is no longer an issue.

– I had a mystical experience (a positive one) when I was a the peak of frustration and boredom with the practice (day 130). I can’t really share the details.


Long term effects: ❓❓❓

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


Sustainability: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

– The habit has become automatic. I have missed 3 days so far which leaves me with a 98,3% success rate. Now I just need to find time to sit for longer sessions.

– Meditation time is in direct competition with my reading time.


FINAL VERDICT: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I don’t feel the same frustration about the practice that I felt in the beginning. Maybe it’s because I’m back on coffee and therefore don’t dose off as easily? More likely it’s because of habit and the well-being I get from sitting. It’s hard to put finger on the exact benefits but they are there and they are noticeable. I feel more calm, yet alert; more detached, yet more engaged.

What are your daily rituals? 🤔

Check out Lab Reports for more!

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? 🤔

Find more experiments in the Experiment archives.

Thoughts on: “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

At the age of 6 the narrator abandoned his favorite hobby; drawing. Grownups kept mistaking his depiction of Boa Constrictors who swallowed entire elephants, for drawings of hats… 🐍 🐘

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“Grownups never understand anything by themselves and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again”.

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The narrator puts drawing to the side and instead becomes a pilot. After a dramatic crash landing in the Sahara desert he runs into a young boy that he refers to as The little prince. The boy shares his life story with the narrator. He tells tales about his interplanetary travels where he visited all kinds of weird and narrow minded people. All of the grownups, all of them very serious, all of them deeply irrational.

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📝 “Anything essential is invisible to the eye”

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📝“It’s the time you spend on your rose that make your rose so important”

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📝 “You are responsible forever for what you tamed.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

This book is a great reminder of the foolishness of being so serious all the damn time. Grownups often have an inability to perceive what is really important. Children on the other hand can often see things more clearly.

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Reading this book reminds me of a great quote from Nietzsche: “A mans maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child at play”.

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I’m going to buy this book in Swedish and read it as a bedtime story together with my son.👌🏻 🤴 it’s short, sweet and quite wonderful!

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What is your favorite children’s book?

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Photo credit: @deepsnow_fromjp

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4/5

Review (4/5) – Get the Book!

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Thoughts on: “The Wisdom of Insecurity” by Alan Watts

I’m focusing on notes this time around!

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Watts does a really great job at explaining ideas that seem to be at the core of most religious and spiritual teachings.

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📝 The Law of Reversed Effort. ”When you try to stay on the surface of water, you sink; but when you try to sink you float. When you hold your breath, you lose it— which immediately calls to mind an ancient and much neglected saying, “Whosoever would save his soul shall lose it.”

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📝 There is a contradiction between the desire of being secure and fact of change. We want to be separate from the life of flux and change to feel secure and that, paradoxically, create the sense of loneliness and fear. “The desire for security and the fear of insecurity are the same thing”.

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📝 “You want to escape the pain, but the more you struggle to escape, the more you inflame the agony”.

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📝 “Look!”

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📝 Money is as a token for wealth. “In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are “coins” for real things”. They represent them but are not those things. Words are fixed while what they represent change.

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📝 “When each moment becomes an expectation life is deprived of fulfillment, and death is dreaded for it seems that here expectations must come to an end”.

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📝 “So long as there is the motive to become something, so long as the mind believes in the possibility of escape from what is at this moment, there can be no freedom”.

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🤯 Is the brain really good for us? Or is it taking on a destructive evolutionary specialization by our focus on trying to predict the future?

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⚖️ This book is a given in the library of the spiritually minded reader, alongside modern classics like the works of Eckhart Tolles, and timeless classic like Bhagavad Gita and Tao Te Ching.

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5/5

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Thoughts on: “Hardcore Zen” by Brad Warner

Brad Warner is punk rocker turned Zen master. He is “controversial” because he is not part of either of the two dominating fractions of Zen in the west; the overly intellectualized one or the woo-woo New age version. ——————————————

He wants to make Zen available and practical for to regular people with normal lives and jobs. Not having rules for the sake of rules. In the end, zen is all about silent sitting. No more, no less.

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When his publisher was slow to take action on turning the book into and audiobook, he recorded the it himself with GarageBand in his kitchen.

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This recording style definitively adds to the punk vibe. Cats interrupting the recording by walking on the laptop keyboard is quite charming. The book being a bit unstructured is also punk, but it makes the message less powerful and takes away more than it adds.

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The book also has autobiographical parts about his bands and how he got is dream job. To work with Japanese monster movies. He realizied that reaching that goal didn’t made him happier and deepened his journey into zen. ——————————————

📝 “You may find that having is not as pleasing a thing as wanting. This is not logical but it is often true” – Mr spook

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📝 The origin of suffering is desire

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📝 Instead of accepting reality for what it is, we often compare reality to our ideal version of it. Suffering comes from the comparison between our ideal and what is.

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📝 The most poisonous lie that religion spreads is that truly moral people never have immoral thought. The truth is that they have. They just only act on the moral ones.

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📝 Reaction to anger is a habit. It takes more energy resisting than to go with it.

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📝 Do what you do as well as you can. How you approach thing matters.

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3/5

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Thoughts on: “Wherever You Go There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn

What does the expression “Wherever you go, there you are” point towards?

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Wherever you travel you always bring yourself with you. It’s easy to think that with a new job at a new company will finally make you happy. A few months later, after scoring that new job, you start to think: “if only I could escape this small town and move to a big city, then I will be happy.

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Believing that external circumstances will bring inner peace is a trap. You will re-live the same pattern over and over again til you die. OR you start to appreciate where you are right now, come to terms with yourself, and surrender to the present moment. When we are fully present, the world in which we live becomes extraordinary.

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I’m have definitely not mastered this myself, but I think I have caught glimpses of it, and I believe these yogi people might be on to something!

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📝 “So at the beginning, you might want to stay with your breath, or use it as an anchor to bring you back when you are carried away. Try it for a few years and see what happens”

Quite a different timeline from the “10-min abs” and “get rich quick”-schemes you see everywhere! 😎

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📝 In ancient times, when it got dark people gathered by the fires. There was not enough light to continue doing stuff and we got a natural break for stillness. Today we don’t have to be limited by daylight and we can be kept busy 24-7.

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📝 “The joy of non-doing is that nothing else needs to happen for this moment to be complete”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

“Going to 10 day meditation retreats might not be a big deal for some, but when you decide to start a family it gets harder.”

See the children as your practice and teachers! They will test your mindfulness and selflessness and push all your limits. It’s like a 18 year retreat!

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This is a great book for inspiring the already initiated, but there are better alternatives for people not yet familiar with the topic of mindfulness and meditation . Eckhart Tolles “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth” will teach you the same concepts, but in a more powerful way in my opinion.

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3/5

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