photo courtesy of maldiviandude
Alright, here’s the final installment of Do This Now - The Anatomy of Happiness. Over the past several months, Matt Krepps and I have had 4 conversations about the nature of happiness, and about what contributes generally to a state of unhappiness, or dissatisfaction in our lives. This is the fourth.
We begin with an exploration of deception techniques in the natural world. If you look around, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any species (ours included) that doesn’t employ some sort of deception in order to maximize its position in the food chain. This implies, particularly in humans, there may also be some advantage for those who evolve a proclivity for self-deception. How much more convincing are we when we believe our own lies? What role might this self-deception play in our day to day frustrations? If the spiritual traditions, in asking us to surrender our little lies for the honest business of existence, remove the powerful evolutionary advantage of deception, why have they stuck around so long?
These are a few of the questions we address in this installment. Here’s a point-by-point synopsis:
- Intro and recap of Parts 1-3
- Variations on Original Sin as The Fundamental Flaw
- Sin as a Disease of Perception, which has an Evolutionary Advantage
- Self-Deception as an Evolved Trait
- Why the Spiritual Traditions?
- The Disadvantages of Self-Deception
- The Most Difficult Thing About Religion
- The Toolbox of Spirituality
- The Nature of Fearlessness
- What It Means To “Stand At The Beginning”
- Distrust Your First Thought
- Surrender As The Final Destination
- What Do You Do When You Don’t Get What You Want?
- The Spiritual Traditions As Motive Clarification Techniques
- Final Thoughts
Here’s the audio file download link, and of course you can use the player below. It runs about 62 minutes.
The quote of the conversation for me was Matt’s revelation that “the ability to be unsatisfied with style makes an adult with style … and panache.”
Feel free to comment below or e-mail me at philip(at)brickhousebodymind(dot)com if you have any questions, thoughts, etc.
I am closing the official Anatomy of Happiness dialogue, but we are planning more conversations in the near future. Is there anything else in particular you would like us to address? Do you think we’re crazy – are we wasting our time?
Please let me know.
Until next time, Peace be with you and yours.
photo courtesy of justneal
No long wait this time! It’s Part 3 of my ongoing series of conversations with my longtime friend and yoga teacher, Matt Krepps, about the nature of happiness. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Hard to believe it’s December already, huh? I’m deep in the throes of editing my manuscript, still hoping for a January publication date for The Brickhouse Bodymind Blueprint. Even with all that, we managed to get Part 3 together. We’re really driving toward the culmination now. This part addresses the Mechanisms of Personal Perception and Identification.
How exactly do we become aware of external events? How do we make decisions? Is what we perceive to be the present really in the present moment? Given everything that is physically required to do something as simple as move your finger, do you really purport to have control over your actions? Furthermore, do you really want your happiness to depend on your ability to make all those things happen in just the right way and at just the right time?
Here’s a point-by-point synopsis:
- Intro and recap of Part 2
- The experiments of Benjamin Libet
- Happiness as a product of personal volition
- A stuck perspective = A living death
- Job’s Body and the Sense of Effort
- Were you there when you were seven? Are you here now?
Here’s a link to the pdf – A Course in Consciousness – that we mention several times in this conversation. Here’s the audio file download link, and of course you can use the player below. It runs about 59 minutes.
This conversation really took some twists and turns, but like Matt said, the purpose of this is to be like a torpedo to the ego. So much of human happiness and consequently the lack of said happiness is tied to personal identification. The ego’s job is to own things and identify with things. That’s how we relate to the world around us. But since all things eventually pass away, the ego sets us up for disappointment. Only when we begin to shift our identification toward that which does not pass away can we hope to find true happiness. Only then do we become fearless, unshakeable, and unbreakable. Only then do we flow as we were always meant to flow.
As Matt points out here in Part 3, this is ultimately a religious discussion, since God – The Great I Am – is “that which does not pass away.” In the final installment, we want to bring together what we have learned in Parts 1-3, and have this religious discussion; but we need your help. Please comment below or e-mail me at philip(at)brickhousebodymind(dot)com if you have any questions, thoughts, etc.
Is there anything else in particular you would like us to address? Are you having trouble digesting the conversations? Do you think we’re crazy – are we wasting our time?
Please let me know.
What is the nature of your religious faith? How do the things we’ve discussed here jive with that faith? How does your faith play into your happiness? How does it help you through difficult times? Does your happiness depend on your ability to make certain things happen in this life?
Until next time, Sit down, Shut up, and Ask yourself what’s True.
You, me, or perhaps your mother, from the perspective of a bubble chamber.
At long last, here’s Part 2 of my ongoing series of conversations with my longtime friend and yoga teacher, Matt Krepps, about the nature of happiness. This part is called, “Macro vs. Micro: The Lessons of Modern Physics.” Below is a point-by-point outline of our discussion:
- Overview of the perspectives of modern and classical physics
- A thought experiment – Schrodinger’s Cat
- J.J. Abrams’ Mystery Box and the creative collapse of the wavefunction
- Another thought experiment – The Levitating Camera
- The Yamas as a description of Awareness (your True Nature)
I actually got my “production guy” shit together on this one, so the sound quality is far superior to Part I. I must warn you, however, we come across a bit schizophrenic at times. Sometimes we speak as the True Self, other times as the small self. Sometimes we address the True Self in you, other times we address your small self. Either way, there’s a lot of great info packed in here. I hope you enjoy listening, and as always, please ask any questions you might have below.
Oh, and I’ve started a newsletter. If you’re interested in receiving some great, exclusive information and video content unavailable to the general public, please fill out the short form below to subscribe. The plan is to do one every two or three weeks.
Click here to download the audio file to your computer, or use the player below. Part II runs about an hour in length, so get comfy. As always, your comments are encouraged. And if you like what you hear, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog either by rss or e-mail, so you won’t miss the next installment of this informative audio series.
PS - Here’s your Moment of Zen from this installment: Matt blowing his own mind with the following words of profundity, and my rudely moving on without acknowledging them to get to my thought experiment … that’s why he’s the teacher, and I am but the padouin.
“I am not inside this body looking out. This body is inside me. I am not in the world. The world in inside Me. Nothing has ever existed apart from the Awareness that creates matt. The I Am. The basic Thing that cannot not be … The Being [as a verb] that knows Itself, that wants to be.”
Photo borrowed from The Doc Whisperer
Editor’s Note – The audio quality on this recording leaves a bit to be desired. We recorded it with a simple voice recorder, and as a consequence the mp3 compression is a bit distracting. It’s not that bad if you listen through external PC speakers or something similar, but for those listening through earbuds or headphones, I apologize. Being a production guy, I should have planned ahead a bit more, but rest assured that future installments will sound better.
I mentioned a while back there was some exciting new content coming toward the end of summer. Well, I am proud to present a new series of audio recordings called Do This Now. At the bottom of this post is the first installment in a series of conversations between my longtime friend and yoga teacher Matt Krepps and I about the nature of happiness. In my experience contentment, happiness, and equanimity are all synonymous with the experience of enlightenment. When we talk about enlightenment, however, the conversation tends to get bogged down in concepts like nonduality, the True Self, and Maya, none of which has any real context in Western society. This usually leads to confusion and frustration, ultimately turning people off to the idea of enlightenment altogether.
Still, I believe some understanding or felt-connection with these concepts is necessary for true happiness to be embodied. In my continuing effort to bring a new vocabulary to enlightenment and to find correlations to Eastern concepts within Western constructs, I have initiated this series of dialogues with my friend and teacher.
What can we learn about happiness and the human predicament from the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, their temptation and eventual ejection from the Garden of Eden? Are there modern teachings we are already familiar with in the Western world that echo more ancient teachings from the East? Can we hope to transcend the endless coulda-shoulda-woulda game without giving up the passionate pursuit of work, family, and fun we love so much in this life?
For the answers to these questions and a host of others, hit play below or click here to download to your computer. Part I runs about an hour in length, so get comfy. As always, your comments are encouraged. And if you like what you hear, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog either by rss or e-mail, so you won’t miss the next installment of this informative audio series.