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Do This Now – The Anatomy of Happiness – Part IV

Written by Philip Walter on Mar 2 at 7:15 pm.

Week 2/52

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.

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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.

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Tips For Surviving A Cinnamon Roll Attack

Written by Philip Walter on Feb 23 at 10:25 am.

Emily at IKEA

photo courtesy of abbamouse

So, in my day job, I produce videos and provide audio/visual support for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. As I make the rounds from one meeting to another, I come across more free food than you can shake a stick at, which is simultaneously a blessing and a curse. For example, this morning I was accosted by a tray full of ooey gooey cinnamon rolls. They were tempting to say the least. Heck, it was because of this very thing that I gained probably 15 pounds when I first started my job at the hospital.

Since then, of course, I have tamed those wildly hungry hippos, and this morning I was able to avoid temptation as well. I did this largely because I have goals set in front of me, and I have a specific plan in place to reach those goals. This is paramount going into a situation like the one I faced this morning. Had I not had those goals in mind and the specific strategies in place to reach those goals, it would have been much easier to cave into temptation.

Most of my goals at the moment revolve around getting my book as perfect as I can get it before its release next month. My physical strategy going into taking pictures next weekend has been a combination of Intermittent Fasting and strength training. I first came across this strategy in Brad Pilon’s fantastic eBook, Eat Stop Eat. If you’re interested in building muscle and burning fat, follow the link below and pick up a copy for yourself. Plus, if you get one in the next 48 hours, he’s got a FREE GIFT for you: his newest book on the truth about protein.

Brad Pilon’s Eat Stop Eat + The Truth About Protein for FREE

All that said, the idea of having goals and strategies in place certainly doesn’t apply just to physical fitness. I have gone to great lengths to include emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual strategies in my new book as well. For a few tips on setting goals across the board, click below to read the rest of this article.

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Hope, Recovery, and Your NPR Driveway Moment of the Week

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 29 at 11:23 am.

Inspiration for New Years from

photo credit: KansasPhoto (Patrick)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season! My wife and I are winding down celebrating Christmas with our families and looking forward to ringing in the New Year together. It’s a great time for getting inspired, of course – the week of the New Year’s beginning – so I thought I would share with you all an inspiring story I heard recently on NPR. Consider it your NPR Driveway Moment of the week. I know I haven’t kept up with posting them much, but I think you’ll enjoy this one.

Jason Crigler – Hope and Recovery

It is a story about a musician – a New York City guitarist named Jason Crigler – who suffered a brain hemorrhage during a concert in Manhattan in 2004. His wife, pregnant at the time with their first child, and the rest of their family were devastated by the grim prognosis given by Jason’s doctors. Even so, they refused to give up on him, and what ensued was an 18-month odyssey, the vast majority of which, Jason has no memory.

During that time, he spent more than a year in the hospital, but finally, thanks to the dogged hopes of his loved ones, he recovered from his injury. The whole saga is documented in an inspiring film called Life. Support. Music. Hearing this story on the way home from work affected me deeply and reminded me of several things we would all do well to keep in mind during the coming year.

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My Other Pet Blog –

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 22 at 10:40 pm.

Project Distillation

A Distillation of … what?

Photo credit: Pål Berge

So, the holidays are coming up, and as most of you probably know, I’ve been hard at work finalizing the recipes, workout plans, stress management techniques, and thought experiments that will make up my book, The Brickhouse Bodymind Blueprint.  That has unfortunately meant fewer posts here at the blog.  Things will return to normal as soon as the book is ready, which with any luck will be the end of January.

Anyway, until then I have started up a new little project.  In addition to being a fun challenge in the web design department, it should give me an outlet for less structured features than those found here, and keep me from becoming a total recluse while I finalize the book.

It will also serve as my workout log.  Those of you who are interested in seeing what my regular physical training regimine actually looks like can do that at this website.  Currently I am trying to shed a final few percentge-points of bodyfat before we take pictures of the exercises that will be featured in my book.  You can read a detailed description of the workout cycle here.

The new website is called A Distillation of Self.  I wrote an introductory post that explains the whole vision in a nutshell.  Also, you can find the best yet description of my personal transformative practice there.  Please don’t hesitate to let me know what ya’ll think of the new site by commenting here or there, or sending me an e-mail at philip(at)

Peace and thanks for reading!

One Year of Brickhouse Bodymind!

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 4 at 10:21 pm.

one full year of has come to a close

photo courtesy of my wife, amy

One year ago yesterday I published the first ever post on I can’t say the time has flown by, nor has it dragged particularly. Seems like it’s been a year. My goal was to publish one post a week, and I am pleasantly surprised to find I actually managed to hit that goal. This is post number 53, so that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

You are now part of a community of over 1,000 unique visitors who read this site every month, and that number continues to rise, so thanks to all of you for spending time reading my ramblings and watching my videos. Without you all, it would hardly be worth it.

It has certainly been an interesting journey. One that I’ve enjoyed very much indeed. This blog was supposed to do two things: 1) contribute to the growing conversation about the integral model and integral fitness, and 2) keep me motivated and on track toward finishing my book project. The first purpose seems to be fulfilling itself as more and more people stumble upon the site, and with a realistic publication date for my book sometime in January, it looks like the second purpose too is working itself out.

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