Lab Report: 60-Days of Non-Resistance

Current situation: children, crying, shit everywhere (literally and figuratively speaking), irregular sleep, a constant stream of contingencies and emergencies. It’s a lovely mess! BUT it can be frustrating at times. Condition are perfect for a new experiment.


The Lab Report – 009 – “60 days of Non Resistance”

Non-resistance is about letting things unfold as they do. Life is a mess. Instead getting frustrated by trying to control people and situations we can accept things to be as they inevitably are.

To offer no resistance to life makes you feel light and at ease— at least that’s the theory! Let’s look at the results!


Short term effects: ⭐️

– I was going to do this experiment for a month, but it took me a month just to get in the habit of catching myself in my resistance. Usually I realized what had happened only in hindsight.


Long term effects: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– My close relationships have improved.

– It feel pretty good to be able to stay in control when the storm comes.

– It’s still unknown to me how I’m able to handle bigger setbacks since only minor one occurred during the test period.

– Stress levels has gone down.


Sustainability: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– How long it takes to build a habit of non resistance might differ depending on you life situation. You might or might not have a life situation where you have a lot of opportunity to practice.


FINAL VERDICT: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

– A few days ago my wife complemented me on how patient and helpful I’ve been recently and how it had really made a difference during these first chaotic months with a newborn (she doesn’t know about the experiment (I think!).

– I actually kept productivity up during this experiment. I thought not forcing and resisting life would lead to less productivity.

– I’ll continue this going forward.


Related reading:

📖 A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle 📖

📖 The Bhagadvad Gita 📖


How do you handle the twists and turns of life? 🤔

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 Journey to the East” by Hermann Hesse

This short and sweet books became the next stop for my Hermann Hesse obsession.

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The story has magical, almost mystical feel to it. Almost impossible to understand at times, but we are being warned, that the story about to be told about the journey to the East, is an untellable story. It’s not just a journey in space, but also in time. It’s is also both biographical and fictional.

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The main character, H.H, loses touch with himself, his Being and his previously natural creativity. In an attempt to re-live past days of glory he sets out to write an account of his greatest adventure; his journey to the East with The League.

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The League is a secret society that he ones where part of, with roots going back thousands of years. Famous members including both real and fictional hotshots like Plato, Mozart, Pythagoras, Don Quixote, Puss in Boots, and the ferryman Vasudeva (from Siddhartha) just to name a few.

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”But no account of David (note: King David that is.) can prove to me that life is not just a game. That is just what life is when it’s beautiful and happy —- a game! Naturally, one can also do all kinds of other things with it, make a duty of it, or a battleground, or a prison, but that does not make it any prettier? Goodbye, pleased to have met you!”

– Leo to H.H in Journey to the East.

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It’s an honest and personal story about the cycle faith gained, lost and regained. The unending search for enlightenment.

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It didn’t grab me right away but when I got into it I couldn’t put it down before I reached the last page. Beautiful book!

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What should be my next Hesse book? 🤔Btw. Just ordered The Stranger by Camus. So expect more classic fiction going forward! 😊

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4/5

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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: “Improv Wisdom” by Patricia Ryan Madson

I picked up this book because it was recommended in #StevenPressfield s book Turning Pro. The idea is to use techniques from Improvisational theatre to enhance spontaneity and spiritual satisfaction in everyday life.

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I’m quite stuck in my ways of doing thing and thought it might help me loosen up a bit.

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The ideas where not mindblowingly original but still holds true:

🔸Make mistakes!

🔹Act Now!

🔸Gratitude!

🔹Enjoy the journey!

🔸Show up!

🔹Start from where you are!

🔸Be average!

🔹Pay attention!

🔸Face the facts!

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📝 “Improv is like tai chi for the soul” wrote a former student”…”it provides a workout that helps to shake loose rigid patterns of thinking and doing”.

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📝 Charles Darwin: ”In the long history of humankind (and animalkind,too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most efficiently have prevailed.”

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📝 Be Average! There is a paradox that when we are trying hard the result is often disappointing. Take the pressure off! When we try too hard our performance get jinxed.

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📝 “Make the decision to be a person who notices and remembers names, and then start learning them”.

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📝 “Beyond all other freedoms our greatest liberty is to choose our attitude”.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

There is an opportunity cost for books that only reinforce concepts that you already are familiar with (I.e you could spend that time on something more challenging). To remedy this I did something I usually not do. I did the accompanying challenges that came with the book – and that what provided me with lasting value. They where quite simple but could be quite eyeopening. I learned that it’s hard to really pay attention, I was reminded that saying “yes” usually takes you more interesting places than saying “no” and how devoting yourself to others can be quite rewarding.

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3/5

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Do you ever do the “try this”, “challenges” sections of Howto-books? 🤔

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Thoughts on: “Demian” by Hermann Hesse

The story revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding ones self. 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.

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📝 Abraxas: A deity combining the godlike and the devilish.

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

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📝 “When we hate a person, what we hate in his image is something inside ourselves. Whatever isn’t inside us can’t excite us.”

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⭐️ Takeaway:

About the previous quote: If that’s the case – and by observing this phenomenon for a while I believe there is some truth to it – then even when someone irritates us, we can use that as an opportunity to learn more I out ourselves. I kinda like that quote for that reason.

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📊 My Amateur Jungian Analysis: Sinclair is the “Ego”, Kromer his “Shadow” and Demian the “Self”. Lady Eve is the “Anima” (the unconscious feminine side of a man). One of Jungs anima levels is even named “Eve”. By opening up to Lady Eve, Sinclair becomes complete. He and Damien become one.

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⚖️ Verdict:

This a mysterious and short (100 pages!) coming of age story for philosophically minded reader. Pauses for contemplation are needed between each chapters. The best 3$ spent this year!

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For those who read already: What do you think Demian did to get Kromer of Sinclair’s back?

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What short book blew your mind recently?

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4/5

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Double review: “Good to Great” and “Autobiography of a Yogi”

Good to Great (GtG) lays out the result of a study that was set out to find the universal distinguishing characteristic of companies that went from good to great performance and sustained it for over fifteen years.

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Autobiography of a yogi is the is the life account of Yogananda Paramahansa; the yogi than introduced Kriya Yoga to the western world.

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How do these books have in common? Not much! But let’s do a combo review anyway!

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A reoccurring theme in Yoganandas life what that people materialize out of thin air. This did not happen to the “good to great” companies. On the contrary, a key ingredient for these companies success was to find the right people for the job; following the concept of, “first who, then what”. And “when in doubt, don’t hire”.

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And this is exactly the problem with both these books. GtG states the obvious and Yoganandan’s book is so out there that I have to check from time to time that it’s not a Harry Potter book you’re reading.

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📝 The characteristic “Level 5”-leaders of the GtG companies have a lot in common with Yoganandans guru. Humble, with a stoic resolve and a subdued ego.

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📝 “Put your best people on the biggest opportunities, not you biggest problems”.

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📝 “Continual intellectual study results in vanity and the false satisfaction of an undigested knowledge.” Yoganandans guru about about futility of mere book learning.

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📝 Autobiography of a Yogis Goodreads reviews are some of the most polarizing I have seen so far.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

I need to stop being a completionist when it comes to books. It’s not that these books are bad, I just think there is better ways to spend reading time. It’s okey to throw lesser books aside for better ones. Jump from good to great so to speak. 😎

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2/5

 

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Thoughts on: “Advice not Given” by Mark Epstein

“When we let the ego have free reign we suffer – but when we learn to let go, we are free.”

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Dr. Epstein explores where psychotherapy and Buddhism can complement each other in the persuit of mental wellness.

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The Buddha and Freud, Dr Epstein says, came to a similar conclusion. Ego is the enemy, the limiting factor in our wellbeing.

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Sure! We can control our egos to a large extent if we put in the effort, but I’m not as convinced as Dr. Epstein, that Sigmund’s Id, ego and super ego – and the “self” of buddhism are too similar – other than that the burden of societal norms increase our suffering – and that breaking free of those bonds is the key to inner

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📝 The Eightfold Path: Right view, right motivation, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

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📝 “Death is Apart of Life. Don’t make a big deal out of it!”

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📝 Right speech goes for both the external and the internal. Catch loops of bad self-talk!

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📝 We all need to find a way to deal with the truth of impermanence. ”Change is the Only Constant.”

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📝 Freud was a badass, Buddha was a badass!

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Epstein gives you psychotherapeutic case studies and personal stories interwoven with Zen parables – All tied together neatly with each chapter representing one of the 8 fold paths of Buddhism.

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I solid read for winding down and getting over yourself!

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3/5


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Thoughts on: ”Eat & Run” by Scott Jurek

Scott Jurek runs and eats! By running I

mean 100 mile runs (that’s 160km!) and 24 hour races. By eating I mean only plant based foods.

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Endurance has been a theme in my reading for a while and this is the latest latest entry. I was led to this ultra marathon legends autobiography because Jurek was mentioned in “Born to Run”. But unlike “Born to Run” which I would recommend to anyone, this is better suited for running enthusiasts only.

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The most interesting aspects of the book is his search for the link between endurance sports and altered states of consciousness. I also enjoyed the more practical sections with training and dietary advice.

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📝 A common mistake for beginners is to have too long strides. Count the times you right foot skrikes the ground In 20 seconds. Multiple by 3 and you get your stride rate per minute. Speed up til you reach 85-95 strides per minutes.

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📝 Later in his career he started a more holistic view on his training:

– Yoga for body awareness, flexibility & centered focus.

– Body posture & stabilization.

– Conscious breathing.

– Upper body strength.

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📝 “The more I measure the more sure I was on my instincts” Jureks book has a more open attitude towards technology than the “back to basics” attitude of “Born to Run”.

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📝Jurek Book Recommendations:

“Running Wild” – John anorino “Running and Being”

“The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei”

“The Power of Now”

“Bone Games”

“The Way of the Peaceful Warrior”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Every runner knows it is a hassle to time meals and workouts. Free up more time for actual training (instead of digesting) by replacing heavy meaty meals with plant based ones!

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4/5

 

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Thoughts on: “Walk Like a Buddha” by Lodro Rinzler

“All of you are perfect as you are, and you can use a little improvement”

Zen Master Suzuki Roshi


This is a very practical and accessible book about how to apply the teachings of the buddha to different aspects modern life. It has a question/answer format like: What would the buddha do in this and that situation or what would his stance be on one thing or another.


The book is good, but I feel that most of the value I got from it comes from cited sources rather than from the authors own experiences and insights.


📝 An elderly man teaches his grandson about peace. He said that he has two wolves that lives within his heart. One is fueled by anger and aggression and the other by kindness. They are always at war with each other for his heart.. The grandson asked: “who will ultimately win?”. The man answers:

“The one that wins will be the one I choose to feed”.


📝 Everyone think they are busy all the time. It’s easy to be busy! Get a dedicated time for meditation.


📝 Impermanence is a bitch. Going through Hell is not punishment, it’s training. We have to learn to deal with. A big part of life is pain and if you don’t learn to relate to it you are missing out on big aspects of life.


📝 At work: if you feel boredom. Drop it like a meditator drops an intrusive thought. The present moment is a perfect point from which to start anew.


📝 “Always don’t know”. Keep an inquisitive mind.


📝 There are so many things that can make an office environment toxic, but Mindless speech seems to be is chief among them.

The Four Gates of Speech:

1. Is what I’m about to say true?

2. Is what I’m saying necessary?

3. Is what I’m saying kind?

4. Is it a good time?


📝 From “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” by author Bronnie Ware:

“I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself and not the life others expected from me.”


💡 Takeaway. “Live your life as an experiment”. Nothing new here! BUT I’m a big proponent doing experiments. Going forward I will post about concluded and ongoing experiments I’m conducting. Stay tuned!What are you experimenting with in your life?

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