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: “Tao te Ching” by Lao Tsu

I can see a possible scenario in the future, where I’m a greying old man, and I praise this book as profound and monumental. But let’s face it, It did not do much for me right now.

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I enjoyed it quite a bit and something tells me this book is special, but I don’t feel I have access to all its layers yet. It feel pointless to put a number on a book like this and therefore I won’t.

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The book is lightweight with it’s 81 aphorisms of Chinese wisdom – most of which doesn’t even cover half a page in the book. But it demands reflection. ——

📝 The oldest version excavated was dated back to 400 years BC.

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📝 “The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”

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📝”A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”

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📝 ”To understand the limitation of things, desire them.”

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⭐️ Takeaway:

Non-Attachment, non-Judgment and non-Resistance. We have heard it all before. These principles are easy to understand intellectually but so hard to master.

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My current plan is to get more editions (with different annotations) of Tao te Ching and keep going back to it every other year or so.

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What’s your relationship to this book?

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?/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: “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: “Levels of Energy” by F. E. Dodson

DISCLAIMER: This book contains pseudoscience and mentions of aliens and demonic entities. 😀

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I love when I get my hands on a book like this that gives me a new lens through which to see the world.

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The premise here is that there are clearly definable levels of energy, each corresponding with different actions, situations, environments, states of mind etc.

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The different energy levels (EL) makes up a scale of the progression of consciousness. The better part of the book is dedicated to explaining the scale in detail.

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A very simplified version of the energy scale:

0-100: Hellish

100-199: Low & Animalistic Emotions

200-299: Function & physicality

300s : Success & productivity

400s: Intellectual

500: Joy & Love

600-1000: Peace & Bliss

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Your energy level (EL) has a baseline but might fluctuate due to certain event and actions. A weekend on the couch in front of the TV with accompanying snacks might temporarily bring someone in the 400:s down into the 200:s for example.

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This doesn’t mean watching TV is “bad”. For someone with lower ELs, watching TV is a way to increase their state. TV is great at creating desire, which is a step up in EL from the shame, apathy and guilt of those below 100.

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Throughout my life I have been through a lot of the different states Dodson talks about in this book and it’s interesting to see how well my experience fits with his description of the ELs, and also how his description of how one ascends to next level (or descends).

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📝 Assuming mask identities can drain a lot of energy. The best thing you can do to improve your state is to stop caring what other think about you. —–

📝 Relax fully and work fully. Most people think about work when they are relaxing and about relaxing when working.

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📝 You experience the world, not as it is, but as you are.

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📝 Resistance draws towards us what we resist.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: To communicate effectively it’s important to know what kind of energies you are dealing with. Each levels demands a different approach.

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The most interesting and challenging books I’ve read this year. It’s super weird, but I think you can handle it! 😀👌🏻

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5/5

“Levels of Energy” by Frederick

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