Sunday, November 28, 2010

Analogy for studying in US vs India

Driving in US is like studying in India and driving in India is like studying in US.

Driving in US:
1. US has fixed rules for driving(course expectations and deliverables).
2. Everyone follows them(everyone follows the same fixed course structure).
3. There is a feeling of security and you could do a lot even while driving - like talking on the phone etc(Before the final exams there is a lot of free time with little pressure)
4. You mostly have a GPS which shows you the road map(since everyone has the same course structure and expected to deliver the same things the map is fairly clear - your seniors have done almost the same thing, you could borrow their notes and analysis).
5. The road are mostly at right angles, have a defined structure and fairly simplified compared to the complex shortcuts you could use in Indian roads(like you have limited options, you cannot do an independent study, take courses from other departments. Basically very little customization).
6. You have speed limits which everyone follows(Like you need to submit the assignment on that specific day, you cannot give it anytime before that).

Driving in India:
1. You need to be alert(Continuous flood of information in all fronts - course related(smaller picture), career related(larger picture))
2. Continuously aware of the road(You need to evaluate, time manage and keep making choices all the time)
3. Keep minutely making course corrections(Due to such a lot of customization, you are always making corrections)
4. No GPS(People here cannot really provide a road map, notes for you. They would keep asking you to look inside yourself, find your passion and then move in that direction. Even your friends cannot help you much because assignments have to be original, your classmates may not be constant because of course choices)
5. No speed limits: People can submit assignments anytime before the due date based on their time management strategy. Even in the assignments the standard expected is not fixed, it is upto the student. (The student could either spend an inordinate amount of time and generate an excellent one or could just spend enough time to get done with it with decent quality.)
6. The roads are most of the time not in right angles, they could curve at any angle and there are tons of narrow roads and shortcuts for reaching the destination.(Since there are so many options to customize, you have myriad paths to choose from)

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I think most of what people do is related to acquiring the 4 A's - acceptance, approval, admiration, adoration; and respect from society. I feel this overpowering influence in my life too. Generally speaking, am I really doing what I want to do?Why am I doing whatever I'm doing?What are my motivations?Are they real ones? You could think of fairly plausible answers even as you look at these questions but if you question these further and further, you see through some of your habits and motivations.

In my case I noticed:

1. A large part of my self is defined on how others view me. I might form my self view based on the weighted average of people's views about me. I might assign much greater weights to people I care about like family, certain friends, people whom I dated etc.

2. I get frequently lost in philosophical thoughts and totally lose touch with all the activities that a person in my context would typically do. It is some form of dissociation which keeps coming back.

3. I have a ton of other preoccupations related to very diverse interests that can suck me into a state of flow pretty easily. Even in this case I lose all awareness of the expectations I am to meet.

Like I had 11 days holidays here. I'm sure most of the students here would have done a decent amount of studying, homework or something related to bettering their chance of survival. In my case, I just got lost in my preoccupations and interests and lost all awareness of all these practical concerns.

Sometimes I feel this is some form of rebellion inside me. I am resisting all these conventions and I want to be free.

Then I question myself,
1. Why do I want a good job? - to get good money, to buy luxuries, to lead a comfortable life, to make a difference

2. Why do I want money, luxuries, security, making a difference - Because I think they can give me satisfaction and happiness

3. You would not have enough time to enjoy the money, how does it still do it? - Because society would accept, approve, admire or maybe even adore me for it. So yea by repeated questioning I once again hit upon the 4A's.

I also hit upon these 4A's when I look at my other activities. Like why do I flirt(besides the physicality part)?Why am I looking for romantic interests?Why am I looking for close friends?

Some of the questions to ponder about:

Why do I want society to accept, approve etc?Is it really so important?Is it conditioning?Upbringing?Why is society such a major force controlling our actions?Is this really the optimal way?What is the real truth behind it?Why do we seek these?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Aesthetic detachment

This is a very interesting concept I came across.

Here's a part from an extract:

A special attitude with which to approach art, nature, and other objects. First, it differs from a practical attitude and has no concern with practical (sensual, intellectual, or moral) utilities. An aesthetic attitude takes nature or a work of art “for its own sake.” In this sense it is “disinterested,” as Kant emphasized in his Critique of Judgment. Secondly, it does not involve personal desires, motives, or feelings in dealing with an object. This freedom from desire or emotion is called “aesthetic distance” or “aesthetic detachment.” Thirdly, in contrast to a cognitive or scientific attitude, it is indifferent to the real existence, the content or the meaning of a thing. It does not appreciate an object through bringing it under concepts. Instead it is a pure appreciation or contemplation of the perceptual qualities of an object as an object of sensation. It is claimed that in this way we can live in the work of art as an embodiment of our feeling. Schopenhauer and Heidegger ascribe a metaphysical importance to the aesthetic attitude by saying that it can reveal the essence of reality more profoundly than conceptualization.

I think having this artistic attitude is liberating in a way. For example if you've just had a breakup with someone whom you invested a ton of emotions, you could write all the feelings and impressions down and thereby detach yourself from your experience. It helps you see the reality - good and bad of the relationship, all the different perspectives in a much clearer manner.

It reminds me of a story I had read about a great French impressionist painter Matisse. A visitor to his studio pointed to some unholy pictures hanging on the wall and asked Matisse: "Don’t you think these have a demoralizing effect on people?" The artist calmly replied, "My dear man, it is not a woman, it is only a picture." An artist sees only a picture in a woman, whereas an ordinary man sees a woman in a picture–this is the difference between the two. This does not of course mean that all artists are holy sages. But in them the creative urge becomes so strong that it produces a certain degree of detachment–aesthetic detachment as it is called.

Of course this is very rare even among artists but it kind of demonstrates the concept. The artist basically creates a kind of psychical distance. The connection between the images in his mind and his impulses are supported by his will. Thus, if he detaches the will the connection can be broken in theory. It is a very challenging endeavor though.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Movies as a portal

Movies are a sort of portal for you to get into someone else's shoes and experience the world from their eyes. Though how much you can get into the characters depends upon how much resonance the events and nature of the character create in you. Its kind of like music. If you hear a totally classical song when you're in the mood to hear something fast and jumpy you are not going to have that level of engagement. So even while choosing movies its good to watch one that matches your mood and interest at that point of time for maximum involvement. Watching late night helps in creating the uninterrupted environment and low background light level. Another advantage is that, late in the night as we approach our sleeping time we are naturally drifting towards the alpha state. Alpha state is a great state to be in and an involving movie usually deepens this state. You can observe your reactions to the different events occurring in the movie and its a great way to analyze yourself.

The problem with movie watching though is that its too passive. And its difficult to reach a state of high concentration because of the continuous orientation responses it invokes in us - panning, zooming and constant movements of the image on screen. So its difficult for your mind to settle down and get truly involved. It tunnels your awareness onto certain aspects that are highlighted by the cinematography and that is stifling in a way.

I think future technologies might explore possibilities such as:
1. Fly around and watch the same scene from any angle you wish
2. Maybe, the whole TV could be 3D
3. A Holographic room
4. A headgear like device similar to Johnny quest
5. A device that gives you that 1.5hr dream in the correct sleep phase
6. Something that directly manipulates the electrical activity of the brain itself to recreate those experiences

Techniques to reduce sugar craving

Eating desserts after having the meal has 2 main advantages:

1. The blood sugar spike is minimized since in your meal, your consuming complex carbohydrates which only gradually increase blood sugar levels. After that the consumption of the sweet relatively does not cause such a big spike.

2. Eating desserts on an empty stomach/when fully hungry causes a much greater craving for those items. Eating them on a full stomach comparatively causes much lower craving.

Another way suggested to reduce sugar craving is to frequently keep consuming small amounts of food.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thoughts about jobs and future

I think we are still living in the 'Industrial Revolution' era. Machines and technology have dramatically increased productivity and quality of products but the overall mindset is still the same.

The business domain still thinks in a similar fashion:
1. Create better products, reduce cost, more efficiently utilize existing technology, look for technology that would improve efficiency and cost etc, expand the business by:
- increasing quantity of production and expanding
- Expand by creating new products itself
2. The office/work system of having work hours and responsibilities has not changed much too.

In other words it is about constantly re-evaluating the balance between Cost, Quality, Technology utilization and expansion with the ultimate driving factor being profit. (some may include value added to society)

Why do we have the system of work in the first place?
If you truly did what you wanted to do all the time that wouldn't be called work. Isn't that closer to what we might want?

One might expect the daily work hours to reduce to 4-5hrs a day by now '2010' but on the contrary, it is still 9-10hrs average in most countries. Why has this not decreased in spite of all the faster and superior technology available?

I think in the future there might be a fundamental shift away from this mindset. There would be a re-evaluation of what truly matters. I think in the future all the jobs that we do today will be done by machines and we could freely relive or experience anything we want either in the real or virtual form. Technology would enable us to connect far deeper with other humans and all of us could live self actualized lives. This would be some sort of paradise.

Observations in America

Capitalism is so ingrained in the American culture. Underlying it is the theory of the survival of the fittest, which sets competition as the basic driving force of life. The importance of success and winning is reinforced with an obsession with competitive sports, and their glorification of the best athletes and the richest people in the world. Even getting into the political system involves offering and selling ourselves as candidates, by publicizing how much better we are than our rivals for office. "Selling yourself" is like the mantra you would find everywhere.

It appears that most local people have embraced this culture. In general I have not observed much rebelling tendencies. People tend to be totally tame and seem to accept the system with their heart too. Almost everyone follows rules in all forms, be it traffic rules, standing in queues or waiting for people to pass by. People seem to be highly courteous. I witnessed almost a true "Dignity of Labor" concept here where people from all spheres are equally respected including blue collar workers. Maybe all this is related to the maturity level of the economy. Back in India, fat people were usually rich and thin people were mostly poor. Here, the economy seems to have already passed through that stage. Rich people here seem to have greater awareness about fitness and maintain themselves and conversely the poor people are the ones who tend to neglect the quantity and quality of food consumed and tend to become overweight.

The credit system in the US also seems to be quite convenient for consumers. The credit handling companies are in the middle of everything. The consumer, mall owners etc are all related to these companies. So the person selling the product to you does not really lose much even if you fail to pay your bill by credit because he would have a tie up with the credit companies. (The credit card companies would in such a case impact your credit history and privileges and through your SSN). The helpers in the store are paid on an hourly basis. So going to a store for window shopping is quite pleasant and the helpers are very friendly and do not appear to have any vested interest in you buying the product.

The amount of disposable income around here is crazy. This might be aided by the credit system too since people buy most things on credit. There are so many commodities and varieties, its staggering. Owning a private boat here isn't uncommon and there's a huge variety for that too. Everything is laid out in a platter with all the variety well sorted according to category,quality and price. The variety is especially surprising in the recreation, arts and music sections. E.g.: Huge variety in archery sets, other hobbies like building remote control toy cars etc

You tend to wonder, where did all this come from? and are there really so many people here buying all of these? The shop doesn't seem so crowded? How do these guys make money? How do they handle the logistics part? How can such systems exist?

It almost seems like a melting point of all the best items manufactured in the world. This combined with all the variety laid out in a platter showing you everything from the lowest quality - lowest price to the highest quality - highest price creates a high motivation to be rich thus strengthening and keeping the system alive.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

About Enlightenment

Most self help books and websites address all the problems at the level of the mind, but when you talk about enlightenment, you need to transcend the mind itself. I read that Buddhism does not encourage the use of the intellect at all. I thought to myself "Oh, how can that be, are all those guys dumb or live life's that are highly under stimulated and simplified etc, Why would someone agree to that, the greatest gift we have is our thinking ability". But then, I later realized that their idea was to transcend the mind itself. Their logic is like "the only way to win the game is to not play at all". The fundamental nature of the mind is the "wanting state". No matter what you do, what you accomplish etc you would always remain in that state. So you need to sort of move into a higher dimension. Their lives were kept simple, abstaining from sexual activity etc but this was not exactly a total sacrifice. The reason for that was: Sex is one of the most powerful attractive forces at the level of the mind. So in order to transcend it, you would rather not have this powerful force tightly holding you". And about the simplicity of their life, the reason for that is, we erect our whole sense of self from memory. If this is too rich and complicated filled with varied likes/dislikes/passions/aversions it becomes difficult to transcend it. When you minimize your likes/dislikes/wants etc. your self is fairly simple and it makes the transcending part much easier. Generally if you completely overcome the fear of death, you would overcome all fears since death is the root for all fears.

Another question asked is that, does an enlightenment person ever suffer? The question of suffering/pleasure is a qualitative judgment at the level of the mind. When you go beyond that, the question almost becomes irrelevant. Enlightened people are in contact with the instrument of life force itself. They would always be like light and pass through any situation seamlessly including death. They would be aware of the mind and its conceptualization but they have the choice to turn the mind off. The consciousness force with them is like an iron ox and even death would not scare them.

Free your consciousness...

I think when we are just born, all we have is consciousness in its full volume. There is no preference for anything. In fact it is said that even the sense of self is after the age of 4. Below that, a child cannot clearly distinguish how it is separate from the environment. For the memory to start functioning, first we need to have a well established sense of self. That is why it is difficult or almost impossible to recall anything that happened before the age of 3-4. But unfortunately, this memory system is what deprives us of the consciousness. Initially we have this ball of consciousness with us which is like the sun - radiates it in all directions. Now so many complex entities control this consciousness. Beliefs, thoughts, opinions and your own sense of who you are formed from all of that. This sense of self prevents us from seeing the real picture of who we are. That is why it is commonly referred to as a prison. The consciousness is who we are. We are not the body or even the mind. Now, this might sound ridiculous or just impossible to conceive. Actually it is possible. Anything that you observe cannot be you because the very act of observation separates the observer, observed and the act of observation. We can observe our entire body and our every thought. So we cannot be any of that. It takes some resolve and practice to reach this stage where you can clearly see that when you observe something intently enough so that you are separate from what you observe. After reaching this stage, you realize, so many things are just controlling you. You think you are all those things but you are actually none of that. Its kind of like imagine you could only walk on the ground and suddenly someone takes you on helicopter ride. And you're like, I don't need to do what i do all the time, I'm not restricted, the prison is in my mind. Of course these aha moments are short lived initially and you get pulled into your thoughts and ego quite fast.

The thinking mind creates a game with a whole new set of rules and goals when what you are is none of that. Society has its own rewards and games and prevents you from seeing the real truth. Another thing that prevents us from even thinking in those directions is the huge investment we have made in creating our whole self esteem and concept of self. Creating a parallel road and walking on that is very scary and requires a fundamental shift. All you need to do is totally trust yourself and be absolutely honest with your feelings from moment to moment. You don't need to play that game at all. You are free. It should kind of feel like matrix or a dream that you have woken up from once this realization gets strong. Work hard now and you'll live a smooth life later is the biggest myth. Its just a pain avoidance behavior and that behavior will only be strengthened in future. The only way to increase happiness to to continuous be that way. You know yourself the best just like the taste in your mouth. No matter how many words you use, or how articulate you may be, only you will know your absolute truth inside you. There is another difficulty in realizing this truth. It is habits, past conditioning and our huge storehouse of memories reside in our subconscious mind. We have invested such a lot in creating those and we so identify with our life stories and experiences. So the shift is quite radical. It is simply observing all of the above and dis-identifying yourself from them because you are none of those. This is extremely liberating even as a concept or imagination. Its even more radical than any heaven you can imagine because you are complete at every moment. Having a dream is a sign that your current state is not as good as what you dreamt of.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

How do you deal with someone who hates you

People who hate you cause a huge amount of misery especially if they are in the same context as you and where you would need to meet them regularly like a college, office, school etc. The issue is common especially between very close friends when they have a fight or with an ex(GF/BF). A girl friend or boy friend with whom you have broken up is kind of like a failed marriage or a huge expectation mismatch. I think in either ways, its a failure to accept 'reality the way it is'. The person somehow affects you far more than you would expect. Because you have invested a ton load of emotions and time on that person, that person's opinion about you carries a huge weight-age. If I would analyze this further, the person manipulates you at a subconscious level. So if they express some negative emotion towards you, you get an unexplainable queasy feeling in the stomach and you might think to yourself "Why on earth do I react so much?Why cant I just ignore it". Once you're in that mood, you start feeling vulnerable and get polarized to feel that everyone is looking at you in the same negative way as the Ex.

When the more mature one the fight tries to resolve it, the problem can be compounded if the other one has serious anger issues. Its funny, some people can only express one emotion well, that is ANGER. Generally people who are neglected, physically or emotionally abused, with severe problems in their self esteem, body image etc. sometimes suffer from these anger issues. Anger is a kind of defensive mechanism to protect you from the real feelings. So the person lives in the false sense that everything that is happening is the other person's fault with so much conviction. The thing they don't realize is that they are very obviously hiding from the real truth and that the anger burns them far more than the people they are throwing it at. The problem, as with most things, this habit once formed just becomes a self-strengthening loop. In any self help article, the common theme is, 'face the real visceral feeling without the shield of anger'. That is how you truly overcome past pain. Another problem is that, even if you tell them this, their denial and ego would kick in. Thoughts like "I'm listening to this person who tortured me etc. Whats up with me? What can this know about psychology etc?" come up and whatever is said to improve the situation results in a series of denials emphasized by a "No" at the start of every sentence. It is impossible to rationalize with a person in that state. Even time may not breakdown their ego, because they would keep strengthening their old habit patterns at every moment till the end of their life.

I think the only way to deal with this is to melt them with your nice behavior and avoiding deeper and personal conversations. If you get angry, then you're lowering your consciousness to that level. So my approach might be, watch yourself when you react to this person, use your evolved reasoning and insights to prevent a lowering of your state. What comes out a person's anger is more about the person's anger than the content of what is said. The content that comes out is usually an exaggerated slanted version of all the bad things you did.

Let me attempt to put it in the real context. The allegations represent a very tiny portion of reality in proportion to everything that you are. Secondly, since the person is filled with anger, a distorted, slanted, exaggerated version is created of that tiny fraction. Thirdly, it represents the past which is imaginary in the context of this moment. You might have reacted that way in the past and it might have been the best approach considering your STATE(level of knowledge, personal interests, priorities etc.) at that time. That state might be irrelevant now. So at every level getting severely affected by that person requires you to revisit the context I have described above to dissolve the past conditioning or habit.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Getting inspired..

Inspiration and Love reside at the highest rung of consciousness. I need to meet people in that vibration to stay in that state. They seem to be difficult to find. Sometimes I see inspired people in specific aspects, but I'm not able to establish connection with them. I mostly form "small-talk acquaintances" with them because our global aspects - mindset, world view, cultural influence might differ a lot. The ideal combination would be people with child like enthusiasm and wonder and who are overflowing with it. So they do not expect anything in return. Its just for the pure joy of sharing the same passion. The synergy when you interact with people that state is an awesome experience.

I frequently try to bring myself up to that state. Reading high vibe stuff elevates me to that of inspiration temporarily but I get pulled down by mundane talk and pressure transmitted by people at lower rungs.

Speed of time..

Time flies by when you are happy, engaged, enjoying etc. and slows down to a crawl when you have extreme pain. More than the 'proportional theory' of time' these experiences seem to have congruence with the general theory of relativity which states "spending 1hr with a loved one would feel like 5-10mins". In the clock time sense, the theory states that - heavier objects warp space-time and slow down time. Like if you stand next to the pyramid in Egypt, time should be slower for you compared to a person standing far away. I guess time perception is more important than actual time passed since that is what would impact you. I think time perception would be related to how much new information you're processing from the environment. If the environment is all familiar and you are doing the same things that you've been doing for ages, time seems to go by very fast since there is very little new information added. It is also a factor of how aware you are at the present moment with respect to your surroundings and body. Things in the environment need to really captivate your interest to that extent for you to feel time slow down. Time would thus essentially be the slowest when EVERYTHING is new around you and when you are most intrigued by them.

Maybe at the time you were just born or if you visit an alien planet which is fundamentally different in every aspect compared to ours. Even a 1 day visit to such a planet would be the information equivalent of a month or more on earth. Traveling to a new place should slow down time too. Office is the most common environment where time starts to go very fast once you get accustomed to the job. Months pass by and you kind of have a feeling your losing control. Day -dreaming surprisingly makes time pass real quick. Maybe because no new information is added during day dreaming, in retrospect nothing much is remembered and hence we feel the time just flew by.

It is also said that, emotions like fear collapse time while awe expands it. It is also said that for stress free productivity you need to be relaxed first. So maybe relaxation without reduction in alertness should also slow time. The difficult part is that when we think of relaxation we conjure up states of mild hypnosis and stupor, but it is actually possible to get relaxed w/o compromising on alertness. Ive noticed this while drinking alcohol(assuming you've already had more than enough sleep to start with). The relaxation greatly increases without compromising attention. Another thing that comes to my mind is martial arts and sports when I think of time perception or speed of perception. In shaolin kung-fu and even bruce lee's jee kwon do it is emphasized that you need to turn off your mind and stay in a no mind state. Maybe we need to turn off the thinking mind to greatly increase our perception of time. Marital art masters train their reflexes and speed of perception to a level of 0.1sec response. That is if an average person's movements(0.3sec) would appear to be 3 times slower to the master. Martial arts is a very intriguing discipline as it trains both the mind and body.

Watching movies after midnight

Watching movies after midnight is fun and has quite a few advantages:
- The brain resides at the alpha state or twilight zone at this time and is fairly relaxed.
- After watching the movie, anyway you would be hitting the sack, so you do not have to think about all the tasks you need to do for the day.
- There is complete silence in the night - no birds chirping and other nature sounds, very very few cars on the road.
- There are no pending jobs for that particular day
- Have a high quality headphone and viewing screen coupled with a high quality DVD print is a luxury
- This lights can be turned off while watching, and since its night, all you would see is the movie screen

All these factors hugely improve the quality of the experience and they maximize the involvement and reward :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Childhood imagination

In my childhood, I had a very cartoon like view of the world. I saw reality in a very simplistic way. Most people consider this stage to be a passing phase and will tell you grow up, become mature, understand reality and other such things. Along with those comments they would also include 'Enjoy this childhood phase while it lasts'. Underlying all these comments is the opinion that child like thinking is inferior to what an adult might think.

In my opinion however, childhood is a magical phase and is no way inferior to the way an adult perceives the world. The consciousness is the same but the experience is still so radically different, just like how you are the same person during deep sleep, dreaming and while awake. These states from the surface seem completely disconnected, but they are all connected at a higher plane.

In creative professions like designing things first start of with very rough and ambiguous sketch. You might question, if the person is so good at drawing, why should he draw a sketch that is devoid of details and why should it look rough and ambiguous? Isn't that a quality of a non artistic person? The idea of drawing a rough sketch is to explore the breadth of ideas and to stimulate imagination. If the drawing is concrete and embellished with shading and color, it is very difficult to explore ideas using that as a base. Such a drawing would be a prototype and not a sketch. A Prototype is generally used towards the end of the design phase after narrowing down all the ideas. The rough nature of the sketch stokes our imagination and we try to fill in all the holes. A child;s view of the world is similar to the rough sketch. There are so many holes to fill. The child fills in the gaps using his/her imagination and this is not limited to the plethora of constraints the real world poses: social, ecological, anthropological and psychological. So in essence all of us have passed through this magical period where we begin to conceptualize the world and we actively use our imagination. In adulthood, the view of the world resembles more of the prototype stage. Your imagination no longer functions as vividly and freely as before since you are aware of a whole new HUGE set of constraints and most options get dismissed right at the start. It should be noted though, that most of the creative geniuses like inventors and artists did find a way to access this free association state and that is what lead to all the extraordinary work and groundbreaking inventions.

Virtual worlds of the future

In a dream, we are practically unconscious, but we still retain conscious traces of it for a short while immediately after waking up. We go through so many virtual worlds which are sometimes so intense and filled with so much emotion. There is this unreal element to them. What happens to us during this period? Its still a mystery. There are so many theories floating around. Some say it metaphorically fulfills our day's residue of expectations. Some of the other neuro-scientists consider dreams to be random electrical activity in the brain and after waking up we try to interpret this random electrical pattern using our conceptual or rational mind - prefrontal cortex.

Somehow a dream sleep feels more fulfilling than a dreamless sleep in my experience(assuming you are sleeping comfortably for more than 6-7hrs). I sometimes feel that dreams are a higher form of communication far beyond things like language we have in our waking life. The communication through dreams happens at a different plane or dimension itself. Its might probably be the next breakthrough after language. We may be able to communicate with others directly by using thoughts or visualizations. Basically all that we see with the mind's eye can be transmitted directly as electrical impulses to another person's brain. So in essence the person on the other end would see exactly what you see. Maybe language itself might become obsolete and we could share far deeper bonds with people than is ever possible today. The virtual world and the real world might become almost indistinguishable. Each person might choose to live in his or her own concept of utopia. Choosing to live in the real world might actually become a 'choice' or we could slip in and out of it at will. We could explore crazy depths into our imagination potential in a collective way. Artificial intelligence can be created to address exactly what you need in the visceral form itself and not what you think you need. So you would kind be living in a miracle world where everything is a miracle. Such inventions would fundamentally change the concept of how we view ourselves and may open up new vistas or paradigms for exploration itself.

Concentration as a goal by itself

Among all the numerous goals we have in our life, concentration and awareness lies beneath all of those. Everything stems from that. Awareness is an effortless state reached once you reach a certain level of concentration by training. Awareness is our natural state. When we just entered this world, we were fully aware. After that there are numerous things that happen to us in childhood and the unfortunate part of that is we are quite helpless at that age. Most of us have lost huge amounts of ability to really see reality due to all our childhood conditioning. Our every thought and action is conscious at first, it only becomes an ingrained habit after doing it plenty of times. Maybe the habit or behavior created was the best option at that time but it may not apply anymore. Even after we identify that we are still not able to adapt since habits, beliefs and conditioning seep into our unconscious mind like a tetris game. So many opinions, beliefs and habits prevent us from seeing the real multifaceted nature of reality. These opinions, beliefs, habits and over reliance on rational thinking are like a prison. We need to undo this conditioning to free our attention.

Instead of having a lot of discrete goals I was thinking why not have a single goal, that "I would be completely aware and mindful of whatever I experience and am going to be completely honest with whatever I feel w/o any judgment". This would initially be a strong resolve and an endeavor and later it would transform itself into a state of higher consciousness itself which is awareness. Wont all the other things just follow? You might even discover what really matters and what doesn't? Get some new insights into reality - like your perception, beliefs, conditioning and how all these aspects influence you in your daily life, interactions and dreams? If you are mindful at every moment, you would obviously take the most optimum decisions and choices since you are completely in touch with yourself all the time? Its kind of like moving into another dimension itself. Wont you be living a self actualized life in such a case which is also deceptively simple in its rules?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Concept of momentum

Momentum is everywhere. In the wind which carries the leaves and moves the blades of grass. There is so much momentum even in the small waves of the beach. Roller coasters, tsunamis, hurricanes etc. show us how powerful this force can be. Even partner dancing like salsa, jive, tango etc involves creating momentum and maintaining it and that creates excitement and flow with the interplay of push, pull - domination and submission.

We need to create sufficient momentum to achieve or learn anything. Its so easily observed in sports too. I noticed this making the transition from badminton to tennis. Badminton is more about flicking with the wrist while tennis needs an entire shoulder motion. When I was learning football for the first time, a small kid with half my strength was doing a far better job than me. Momentum is classically used even in martial arts or boxing. Even while swimming, in my initial stages, my movements were both pushing me forward and backward, thus canceling each other. So I would never generate any speed. Similarly, while learning roller skating the same thing happened. After pushing with one leg, when I would go to the other I would lose all momentum. So that is like the difference momentum can make. This is taming and utilizing momentum in the physical world.

In the mental world, there is so much of invisible momentum. Its like an invisible force. I think this is what high achievers generate within themselves. Our fears, preoccupations and habits usually prevent us from acquiring the required momentum to achieve our goals.

Personally, with work related stuff, I procrastinate till the pressure starts channelizing the mind and a stage is reached when I know that the work needed would take exactly all of my time and probably even a stretch. At this stage, I start working with momentum directly proportional to the pressure. Towards the end of it as i race towards the finish I almost reach a state of flow. That kind of gives me proof of how much momentum I can generate. However, this momentum depends on external factors and situation. I need to explore and find a way of generating that level of momentum internally, at will, independent of the external context and situation.

Other ways of looking at money

Becoming a millionaire seems to be an exciting journey. Its a rich experience and can be very rewarding if you have the right motivations and if your inner world is relatively free of conflict and rich too. Even the people working in regular jobs do not work much less than a millionaire. In fact the millionaire has the option to quit anytime and still lead a very luxurious life. He has basically freed himself of money scarcity and stepped into abundance. Abundance is what allows us to be free and who we really are. Free from this preoccupation, the person can decide to pursue any dream from that point. Keep yourself fully mindful of all the possibilities where social value overlaps with personal value and that is the first step to finding money. Keep doing the things you like to do and be free in your expression. At any moment of time, you are working towards what you really want. Is just that you are unaware of the deeper parts of your mind. So a behavior may look ridiculous at the surface but if you actually penetrate to the level of core beliefs and view the entire picture, you would realize that you were indeed doing what was best for you. The awareness needs to be increased a great deal. Your motivation would come more from 'What do you want to do after getting rich? Is it purely a personal goal?. Generally higher the goal, higher the energy. Like if a person decides I will do my ultimate best in whatever I do with an extreme determination, then getting a promotion in a company or winning the appreciation of his colleagues may be a reward he would get effortlessly. Whereas if the persons only goal was to get promoted, he may manage to achieve it but the motivation would lack the power and effortlessness of the former. So a strategy could be work an keep in mind your highest goals, the lower goals would automatically get fulfilled, maybe even more than what you may expect. In any case life is about finding out how you really are and all the experiences you feel along the way. It is also about penetration from the gross to the subtle in terms of both depth and breadth. The western world professions do a very good job at identifying and utilizing subtlety in the material world. Every profession functions at this high level of subtlety. Money is an instrument that helps you express yourself in the material world. Once a friend told me, it is like petrol for a car. The car can then be driven anywhere. If the car represents your material needs then this analogy fits well. I think as you lead life, if you are extremely honest with what you feel and act according to that, you are truly being yourself. I believe this simple higher goal control everything and the rest of the lower goals and thoughts are more like a game.

Frustrations with money

Becoming a millionaire seems like a very complex endeavor and the path seems so vague. There are so many beliefs that we have deep within us which kind of deter us in a way from achieving this goal. Books like 'Rich Dad Poor Dad' and 'Secrets of a millionaire' talk about these beliefs and how our conditioning and environment has played a major role at how we look at large amounts of money. Owning large amounts of money is potential. The real motivator is usually the experience of a service or product itself. So its kind of difficult to understand how people all around me are so motivated by money(potential). If you have money you get social approval, appreciation and respect. Is that so damn important in people's lives?Would you like sacrifice a huge chunk of your free time just for that? Its ridiculous the things that people do just to fit into society. This is not a rebellion against society but I think people are just being paranoid about it. The herd mentality is so infectious we stop trusting ourselves which is the most unfortunate thing. How can you be bad for yourself? That's a contraction and it makes absolutely no sense? How can someone else know the taste in your mouth? Why cant people just trust themselves and be happy? Or be more honest with their own feelings? It is understandable if primary needs are not getting adequately(subjective here) satisfied or if u have a loan, then you do have a very strong motivation to earn enough money.

But if a person is going to spend 9-10hrs+ at work, 22days a month for a period of say 40yrs, and we sleep 7hrs a day on an average.

So if I factor everything,
you have 8784hrs in a year
- 2562hrs sleeping - approx 30%
- 2420hrs at work - approx 30%
- 3802hrs of free time - approx 40%

This is assuming the typical working class white caller job. Usually offices demand much more than that. How much stress you carry home needs to be measured. After completing minimum 10hrs of work, you may need to work extra hours on many days and work on weekends too.

So it would kind of go closer to 40% - work, 30% - sleep, 30% - leisure

Now in the 30% leisure time, its barely all leisure, you got to manage a HUGE number of things even in that zone. Its a life full of juggling responsibilities. Why the hell do you need to do that?
Whats the use of buying a very expensive couch if I cant sit on it long enough without any stress or worry. That is like the most inefficient method ever.

Then other paradigm is that, if you are motivated to work. Some people have specific interests and even there, there's a lot of variation. People with COMMERCIAL interests would be much more successful at making lots of money while there are plenty of people whose interests have no room for the typical large scale commercial options available. Every person on this earth adds value. Why is money making so narrow. It is 100 times harder to become a great artist than it is to become a manager in a firm even if you have the same ability in both areas.

Why is getting a job so hard? Why is it so hard to plug into social systems that generate value and create money? Aren't work hour timings supposed to reduce with better technology? It has just got worse. Whats up with people. The difficult part here is, all these constraints of reality in this domain will make you reconcile to them and do the needful till you need is satisfied. But where do I get the motivation from?People expect you to be driven, motivated, passionate? Giving 10hrs of work per day minimum is hard enough, the mental state requirement makes it OUTRAGEOUS.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Concept of heaven

What is your concept of heaven?Is it universal or person specific?Whatever heaven we humans create, wouldn't it be limited by our imagination?Would heaven be a place where we could create our own heaven just as we want it and change it at any point of time? OR would it be something universal? What is the most pleasurable feeling possible? What if heaven were filled with only things that gave pleasure? Wont pleasure lose its meaning in such a context since we know pleasure only because we know what pain feels like. So if we have positive feelings all the time, it would lose its value, meaning just like if we could convert stone to gold by alchemy, gold would completely lose its value. Pleasurable feelings exist only because their duals exist.

So if a universal heaven exists it should be higher than all of the above. It should be something incredible or inconceivable from our current state.

I think the below concept appealed to me the most!

There is no time, space, size, shape or quantity there so your mind cannot imagine it. There is no quantity like 5,000 people since there is only one thing which is a oneness. The thing that is there is feeling. Try to imagine all the greatest feelings you have ever had coming together and all the best feelings that everyone has ever had coming together in one place. It feels like total contentment, perfect peace, pure joy, limitless happiness and endless love. When you feel it, you know that is what you have always wanted to feel or experience.

Enlightenment might allow us to reach this state in our normal lives.

Aphorisms and Thoughts - most of them are original :)

Anything that you can observe is not you
Sensitive people tend to also be more observant of others
Awareness is king, it increases the quality of everything in life
We make choices at each and every moment, choosing to be unhappy about something is also a choice
The neocortex power is what makes us human. Else we would just be slaves to our limbic systems
The world we perceive now may just be a projection from higher dimensions - plato's cave theory
Be in tune and intimately understand your reward system
You may be actually living your deepest desire through this life
There are mirror neurons in our brains that play a special function in visceral empathy - mirror the behavior/feelings of people we observe or interact.
Rediscover and exploit the plasticity of your brain
Wheres the place for judgement and classification in infinity? infinity is just 1
Physical and mental fitness complement each other
Increasing the sensitivity of your nervous system is the primary benefit of meditation, its opens up new dimensions and perspectives
Observing is different from witnessing. Witnessing is natural and effortless, observation is a skill that requires effort
The shift from observing to witnessing happens after intense observation and introspection
An active life, mentally and physically, increases dopamine and sense of well being
The amount of money you make depends upon the perceived social value of your work and not personal value
The dream states and waking consciousness are quite similar, however, the main difference would be, in the dream state there is a sort of discontinuity and its charaterized by detachment(free association), while the waking state is continuous with strong attachments
In the 5th dimension, there are plenty of optimal paths
The only tool available for experiential learning is your body
Knowledge of the outer world is wisdom, knowledge of oneself is enlightenment
100% of the reality is inside you
The west have mastered the material world, while the east have mastered the mind
Enlightenment is losing even the desire for enlightenment or having pure choiceless awareness
We never really love anyone but ourselves
Lucid dreams challenge your definition of reality
There are 3 levels in the functioning of your mind- thoughts, emotions and beliefs
Your core beliefs control a vast array of thoughts and emotions
Language is just an abstraction/simplication of real things or feelings. The real things/feelings are infinite in their diversity
You are either nothing or your everything
If the senses are the instrument used to perceive the world, the best quality would be acheived if there was a device that could recreate the same resolution as your senses
Penetration from gross to subtle realities is the objective of meditation
There is both depth and breath in techniques for meditation
When high skill meets high challenge, it results in flow
When low skill meets high challenge, it results in anxiety
Endo-reality exploration can be extremely rewarding
The best you can possibly feel depends on your body's reserves of pleasure chemicals - seratonin, dopamine, oxytocin etc
Sex is the most pleasurable legal activity known to man
Our ultimate desire is to become one, which is why we enjoy the sexual union, social relationships, state of flow etc
Accept reality for what is and not what it should be
For people to admire you, they need to find a resonance of those qualities in themselves too
Most of us are primarily sensation seekers:(real or vicarious) - outdoor adventure, novel experiences thru places and people, disinhibition, susceptibility to boredom
We feel highly uncomfortable with the dissociation phenomenon in our personality(the various roles we play - as a thinker,philosopher, pragmatist, dreamer, son, father, husband, friend etc)
We get large rewards by places/events and people that integrate the various parts of our personality
The consciousness that pervades all creation is referred to as god
Humans created the concept of karma to fill up holes in their understanding of the nature of life, existence
Place your awareness and attention on the 6 consciousness and not on the objects to avoid attachments and defilement
Notice the shiver that runs down your spine while hearing specific songs and lyrics - The release of euphoria inducing chemicals
Music is created due to the silence between the notes, in a similar way, excitement/euphoria/novelty can only exist with their duals
The only thing we fear is fear itself
All we look for is resonance(what we are and our potential)in relationships
Detachment is not a sacrifice, its an outcome of intense introspection
Do most close relationships get transformed into love-hate?
Are we inherently hostile towards strangers?
If there is no resonance, we get hostile towards the other person and treat them as competition/threat
Either everything is a miracle or nothing is
Love is a continuous state of vibration, its not selective
Awareness and attention is continuous, its just a state - its dependent upon the activity we do because we choose that
Slow down eye moment to increase vividness of the visual field
Multitasking is a myth...its just that you give microseconds to a task..similar to how u think u can see everything in the field of vision but the truth is most of the rods/cones are in the center so you only see the central spot clearly
If you concentrate on nothing, you can concentrate on anything
As we progress in the professional field towards learning, the higher you go the more you see details - knowledge becomes oceanic and then in the end you would see infinity
What is perceived is limited by how good the instrument used for perception is Eg: Hearing 320kbps mp3 with a very cheap earphone
Novelty triggers attraction. Even exercising for several minutes can make one more attracted to other people on account of increased heart rate and other physiological responses.
Needing rational explanations for everything is a prison of your mind
Dogmatic and rigid people live in the prison of their mind all the time even if externally they are living in a mansion.
Zig Ziglar - Every obnoxious act is a cry for help
Vulnerability is true strength and you can truly love only when you are completely vulnerable

Your capacity to tolerate pain also indicates your capacity to feel pleasure

Myth: When you consciously observe your pain it increases and when you do the same for your pleasure it decreases
-Infact its the opposite, mindfulness multiplies pleasure and divides pain

We want others to see us the way we see ourselves or want to see ourselves

What you experience in the gap between your thoughts is the real you. Not the mind or the body.

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” - Bruce Lee

Compulsive thinking: Spending more than 5-15mins on a problem usually does not help for 95% of the problems we face in daily life.

What we are really looking for is not pleasure, it is satisfaction the pleasure gives. Satisfaction can be acquired through challenge/novelty etc and not necessarily pleasure.

Pursuing the greatest goal(can be subjective) gives the greatest satisfaction and happiness
The contents of the mental stream are not as important as the consciousness that knows them

One interesting thing about intelligence is, the less you have of it, the more certain you are that you have it. And vice versa. Why? Because you lack the intelligence to see the gaps in your own, or if you are intelligent, you are much more able to see what you don't know. It works the same with awareness. The less aware you are, the more certain you are aware. The more aware you are, the more aware you are of the gaps in your own awareness.

Thoughts are too slow for higher consciousness

Famous physicist Werner Heisenberg said "What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning"

Generally using the ‘f’ word suggests that you don’t want to care, not that you don’t care

Michael Persinger - 'If you stimulate the amygdala at the same time that you have an experience, then you think that it's true'. Maybe the liberals have much lower activity in the amygdala vs rigid thinkers.

Be aware that what you are seeking is more a state of mind, than a solution in thoughts.

I believe that for most people, they are guided by decisions, not choices. Choice implies freedom, decision implies selection.
Conformity is the opposite of mobility. Conformity, and it’s evil twin complacency, are born of the past.
The difference between selection and choice are not about semantics, they represent the critical distinction of purposefully creating our future, or it’s being created by our past.

Your real self is what you are when your in deep sleep. The unchanging formless part of you. If you identify with this, then your unstoppable, unshakable, indestructible and immortal. I guess anything that changes cannot be the absolute you.

Werner once asked, "Have you ever noticed that whenever you have a problem, you're around?" Similarly, whenever we have a moment of true flow, of being "in the zone," we're never there! Because the two cannot coexist.

It is always important to balance fatalism (death) with optimism (birth)

"In the same way you hit the brake when you¹re driving when you see a yellow light, when you put feelings into words, you seem to be hitting the brakes on your emotional responses," Lieberma

"To say the brain produces religion is like saying a piano produces music."

In your dealings with people, can you detect subtle feelings of either superiority or inferiority toward them? You are looking at the ego, which lives through comparison. Envy is a by-product of the ego, which feels diminished if something good happens to someone else, or someone has more, knows more, or can do more than you. The ego's identity depends on comparison and feeds on more. It will grasp at anything. If all else fails, you can strengthen your fictitious sense of self through seeing yourself as more unfairly treated by life or more ill than someone else. What are the stories, the fictions from which you derive your sense of self? (Echkart Tolle)

From a non-dualistic perspective, the only purpose of life is to realize the highest truth.

An interesting thought:
Instead of being goal-obsessed, to “use a compass, not a map.” This is having a sense of direction, not a specific destination, and then allowing yourself to “meander with purpose.” Being "goal-free" (or "goal-light") increases your creativity and increases your openness to new opportunities. This has led to great success in my life. And it makes life a lot more enjoyable too! What matters most to me is that when I walk away I can say "It was me who did that, not the person I'm trying to be, or someone else expects me to be."

Just like the measurement problem of atom particles in quantum physics, where the act of observation reveals particles nature and otherwise it behaves like a distributed energy field. The brain may just be using apparatus to interpret part of the vibrational field as solid objects.

Just like the measurement problem of atom particles in quantum physics, where the act of observation reveals particles nature and otherwise it behaves like a distributed energy field. The brain may just be using apparatus to interpret part of the vibrational field as solid objects.

Considering endo-reality(internal reality of our dreams, thoughts etc.) and exo-reality(external reality e.g. physical), death of a person could simply mean that the exo-reality would stop feeding the endo. But the person still lives in your endo reality(your thoughts, dreams etc).

Changing yourself changing your frequency channel like changing the channel on the giant TV. Only thing real is experience, there is nothing out there, its all here and all now. The only thing real is NOW.

"True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us."

Nothing is to be taken seriously. Frustration is a sign somewhere, you took it too seriously - Chetan Bhagat

States of mind are similar to different rooms in a house. In each room you keep certain stuff and you are only able to access that stuff when you are in that room. The mind works much in the same way. Different states of mind will allow you to access the different memories, experiences, feelings and definitions that are associated with that state.

mind relates to the most intense sensation it feels on the body

what really intrigues us about reality? Dry facts? or someone's personal view of the facts?

An important part in mind perception of objects is that it happens only after it has taken feedback from body sensations at that moment. This means if your body is feeling excellent, every object you see would be perceived as excellent. Similarly, if you have fever, every object would look distasteful to you.

There is a difference between being happy in your life and being happy about your life.

All possibilities are known,  but the actual result, the actual path that
occurs in the illusion of linear time is  something you are building.

Qualities of a diamond mapped to experience

The ideal +ve experience is where the mind is like an infinitely large diamond that is clear, does not hold anything but yet, reflects/refr...