Leo's Blog: Infinite Insights
Miscellaneous bits of wisdom about personal development, philosophy, epistemology, nonduality, life purpose, psychedelics, etc. Published randomly throughout the week.
Insights here are meant to be quick and half-baked. Consider these food for thought.
I've deliberately disabled comments to keep the blog streamlined. If you want to discuss any of the blog posts, you can do so here: Actualized.org Forum
Watch these two videos. They will be important for your understanding of Absolute Infinity — or what Absolute reality is. I'll explain this a lot deeper in the future. The important thing to understand for now is that it's not just a theory. You can become directly conscious of it. If you ever do, you'll instantly recognize it as "God".
And here's a bonus video: Imagining The Omniverse.
First, let's not lose sight of the highest goal: it's far more important to just meditate anytime in the day whenever you can vs not meditating that day at all.
But once you've got that habit locked in, you might want to optimize it further. Best times to meditate are:
- Whenever you're naturally most alert and awake
- Immediately after a nap
- Early morning (as long as you aren't still sleepy)
- After orgasm/sex
Worst times to meditate:
- When you're dead-tired
- When you're sleepy
- At the very end of your day
- When you're motivated to be elsewhere: hungry, horny, busy, etc.
The general rule of thumb is: your meditation session will be most effective when you are most refreshed, most mentally sharp, and least sleepy. Whatever time of day that is for you, that's your ideal time to meditate. For some people that will be early morning. For others, mid-day. For others, right after gym. Etc.
Right now I meditate first-thing when I wake up, but this is not my ideal time, because I'm still sleepy and foggy. I like to have a second meditation session mid-day, when I'm most alert. Of course when I'm most alert I tend to procrastinate meditation the most because I tend to want to put that alertness towards getting work done. It's a counter-intuitive move to interrupt the peak of my workday for an hour of meditation, but this is an investment that will pay back in spades over the long term, so it's worth it — an example of applied strategic thinking.
Note: this rule-of-thumb also applies to self-inquiry. Especially so!
I find my meditation and self-inquiry ability skyrockets immediately after naps, and orgasm. Because in both these cases the mind is relaxed and attentive, but not sleepy.
Also, make a distinction between an established meditator vs a newbie meditator. Once you've spent a few years doing daily meditation, your practice will be strong enough that you can meditate almost anywhere, any time. But during those first few years of starting up your practice, you need to focus on building a quality meditation. This is where it really helps to meditate at the ideal time in the day. If you're a newbie, you need all the help you can get. It won't do you much good to ingrain a habit of meditating while you're dead-tired. Your results from that will be very minor compared to meditating when you're most alert. The key to meditation is to do it consciously, not mechanically.
Always be double-checking with yourself: "Has my meditation become mechanical? Am I just going through the motions of meditating but actually forgetting to be aware?"
Alexander Shulgin was a lone-wolf chemist who single-handedly advanced the field of psychedelics the most. He synthesized and personally tested over 200 new psychedelic substances, which he describes with clinical precision in his books, PiHKAL and TiHKAL.
Watch this illuminating documentary of him and his work:
Interestingly, of all the substances Shulgin self-tested, he describes 5-meo-dmt as one of the most powerful and spiritually significant, rating it a ++++ experience. The substance was so special to him that he and his colleagues agreed to hold back from popularizing 5-meo because they didn't want the DEA to ban it. Their plan was successful until 2011, when it was finally banned in the USA.
Read about Shulgin's 5-meo-dmt experiences.
I wanted to share this excellent description of what enlightenment feels like, by Suzanne Segal, so you're clear what you're shooting for:
"After months of this mystifying witness awareness, something changed yet again: The witness disappeared. The disappearance of the witness meant the disappearance of the last vestiges of the experience of personal identity. The witness had at least held a location for a 'me', albeit a distant one. In the dissolution of the witness, there was literally no more experience of a 'me' at all. The experience of personal identity switched off and was never to appear again."
"The personal self was gone, yet here was a body and a mind that still existed empty of anyone who occupied them. The experience of living without a somebody, an 'I' or a 'me', is exceeding difficult to describe, but it is absolutely unmistakable. When the personal self disappears, there is no one inside who can be located as being you. The body is only an outline, empty of everything of which it had previously felt full."
"The mind, body, and emotions no longer referred to anyone — there was no one who thought, no one who felt, no one who perceived. Yet the mind, body, and emotions continued to function unimpaired; apparently they did not need an 'I' to keep doing what they always did."
"In an attempt to understand what had occurred, the mind began working overtime, generating endless questions, all unanswerable. Who thought? Who felt? Who was afraid? Who were people talking to when they spoke to me? Who were they looking at? Why was there a reflection in the mirror, since there was no one there? Why did these eyes open in the morning? Why did this body continue? Who was living? Life became one long, unbroken koan, forever unsolvable, forever mysterious, completely out of reach of the mind's capacity to comprehend."
"The oddest moments occurred when any reference was made to my name. If I had to write it on a check or sign a letter, I would stare at the letters on the paper and the mind would drown in perplexity. The name referred to no one. Without a personal self, the inside or internal simply did not exist. The inward-turning motion of the mind became the most bizarre of experience when time and again it found total emptiness where it had previously found an object to perceive, a self-concept."
"The more baffled the mind became, the greater the fear. Worst of all, simultaneous with the cessation of personal identity, the experience of sleep had changed radically, leaving me with no escape from the constant awareness of emptiness of self. Sleeping and dreaming now contained the awareness of no one who slept or dreamed, just as the waking state of consciousness contained the awareness that there was no one who was awake."
"In that moment a deep despair settled over the mind as it realized that I would never again experience having a personal self — even though the mind could never grasp how that was possible. I walked around wondering who was still alive. I wandered the streets gazing into every shop window, praying that the next glimpse of my reflection would bring back a flicker of recognition, praying for a solid experience of seeing myself in the eyes that stared back from the window's glare. It never happened."
It's time to grow up; time to stop pretending there's a you here.
Credit: Collision With The Infinite by Suzanne Segal
When are you going to finally face up to your web of excuses?
One of the most outrageous unacknowledged crimes committed by the U.S. government:
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
The above is a verbatim confession of Nixon administration and Watergate co-conspirator John Ehrlichman.
That psychedelics are illegal and so demonized by the state is a crime against human rights. What they taught you in school about psychedelics — and what has now become the general population's default position on psychedelics — was a propagandistic, scientifically invalid load of horseshit. A political smear campaign which will take us more than a century to correct.
Make no mistake, we are still in the Dark Ages. If only people knew to what extent... Of course the very tools that can quickly and easily show the extent are demonized and outlawed. The ego's devilry knows no bounds. It simultaneously does its dirty work at the private and collective levels, without qualms.
For the same reasons, The War on Terrorism will prove a far greater failure than The War on Drugs.
A few months ago I heard doctor Jeffery Martin of the Finder's Course — who's doing great research on enlightenment in an academic setting — referring to enlightenment as "persistent non-symbolic experience".
At first I thought: what an awkward way to phrase it.
But the more I meditate and self-inquire, the more I see the power of this phrasing. Because it captures the essence of what we're aiming for.
What are we REALLY trying to do when we meditate or self-inquire?
We're trying to escape symbolic experience! Monkey mind is symbolic experience. Rationalization is symbolic experience. Traditional learning is symbolic experience. Talking is symbolic experience. Western philosophy is symbolic experience. Science is symbolic experience.
To escape all that and to see reality AS-IT-IS you have to drop symbolizing. Because symbols, by definition, are NOT the things they represent. People really overlook this simple point: to symbolize a thing is to immediately misrepresent it. Because you have to substitute the thing itself with a second thing, while forgetting the second thing's being! This is the core of how illusion happens. Symbols cannot get at the BEING-level of anything. All symbols are metaphorical, which means they aren't the bottom-most level.
Mindfulness = the opposite of symbolism. Mindfulness is the untying of the knot of being wrapped up in language, to return back to a non-linguistic, non-symbolic mode of being.
First-order reality is non-symbolic. Second-order reality is symbolic, but this entire second order is by virtue of the first. It's eye opening to pause throughout the day and realize, "Oh, hey! I've been lost in symbolic reality all day. That's not primary! Let me get back to what's primary by letting go of all this symbolizing."
Symbols are a very powerful tool. Just think of how much it has allowed mankind to achieve. But like all powerful tools, when used unconsciously, it's a source of great suffering and danger. Symbols creates the possibility for delusion.
This insight is MASSIVE in it's scope and significance. It will take you years of mindfulness practice to grasp what I'm saying. But that's okay, it will be worth it.
Anal-Haq (pronounced: an'aaal h'aaak) is an Arabic phrase which translates as, "I am Truth".
This phrase was famously uttered by the great Sufi mystic Mansur Al-Hallaj, who was executed in Baghdad in the year 922 A.D. for proclaiming: "Anal-Haq! Anal-Haq!"
"I am God! I am God!"
Of course he was dead-on. So much so it got him hung. A tragic example of how organized religion backfires, killing the very truth its meant to promote.
I wanted to bring this phrase to your attention so you could add it to your nonduality lexicon. I love collecting and studying the many different phrases for enlightenment found around the world. Hopefully this expands your appreciation of mystical traditions around the world and makes your pursuit of nonduality more cosmopolitan.
Be diligent with your self-inquiry work, and one day you will exclaim "Anal-Haq!!!" with a shit-eating grin.
I saw my Lord with the eye of the heart
I asked, "Who are You?"
He replied, "You".
"Rational" people tend to dismiss too-easily various religious, spiritual, mystical, and folkloric traditions from around the world, and from the past. The reality is that even though many of these traditions contain much dogma and nonsense, they also contain hidden truths grounded in hard empirical facts. It's just that often these are edge-case, non-mainstream phenomena.
Here's an illustrative example:
Did you know that Will-o-the-wisps actually exist?
Yeah, I'm not kidding. Check this out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will-o'-the-wisp
Apparently it's a real phenomena found in swamps and marshes. As various gases escape the swamp, they create an eerie display of glowing light, often interpreted by unsuspecting folk as a ghost or water spirit.
Pretty cool, eh?
It's important that we learn the epistemic lesson here: just because something sounds spooky or mystical doesn't mean there isn't something real behind it. Reality can be stranger than fiction.
In my own research and experience, I'm finding enormous value in studying and trying to understand the esoteric traditions of the past. Humans were A LOT wiser in the past than we were taught in school. This is easy to overlook because we basically live in a modern culture of idiocracy. Our culture places way too much emphasis on the mainstream, the low-brow, and technology.
If science was clever, it would re-visit all the ancient myths from all the world's cultures with the aim of validating them, so that we may discover all their possible empirical origins. This could be a research project worthy of a Nobel prize. My hunch is, it would yield some fruit.
Following up on my video The Role Of Balance In Personal Development, I wanted to clarify what real balance looks like.
So I drew this little diagram:
So in this case what the diagram represents are the possible ways to balance the issue of science vs mysticism. This is just one facet — out of dozens — that you'll have to balance in your life. Look at this like a spectrum. On the far left you've got the hard-nosed science position. On the far right you've got the very religious/mystical position.
Most people have a naive notion of balance. They think of balance as depicted by the green dotted lines above. Balance to them either means going straight down the middle on an issue, or down one of the sides.
But real balance looks more like the purple line above. It's jagged and nuanced. Drawing that jagged line requires a real exploration of the issue. It takes work. How much easier to be an ideologue and draw one of the dotted lines.
Of course this applies to all the other facets of life:
- Career vs family
- Personal development vs pursuit of enlightenment
- Being an asshole vs being too nice
- Theory vs practice
- Pragmatism vs idealism
- Art vs marketing
- Chasing money vs neglecting money
- Doing vs being
- Expressing emotions vs suppressing emotions
- Capitalism vs communism
- Privacy rights vs defending against terrorism