having free will sounds exhausting, so happy just being a deterministic slice of universe
> only guy with free will > can't go with flow > isn't actually part of flow like all his deterministic friends > sad
there’s much talk of “don’t aim for X (pleasure, money, meaning) aim for Y (meaning, happiness, health etc)” but basically all these things correlate. The more joy you feel the more flow you feel the easier it is to work. The more health you have the more money you can make etc
I think an extremely simple model that’s closer to the truth is that there’s some sort of global health parameter for a person, and as you up any parameter (good friends, physical health, baseline happiness etc) it goes up and makes all the other things more likely to go up
And similarly when things go downhill they can go downhill fast. A bad relationship can cause stress which will wreck your health which can wreck your finances etc or fifty other possible feedback loops
So I think it’s better to look at the system as a whole and stay clear of the really bad feedback loop wreckers and don’t worry too much about which particular good thing to aim for, just try and increase the general system health, if things go well it prob all goes pretty well
I also think it’s pretty likely that things like going to the gym that are known to be good are mostly good through bizarre mechanisms. Like maybe your psychological belief of your health going up has tons of positive feedback loops way more important than physical health gains
I also see this in the meditation domain. People worry a lot about which practices to do and identify with (“oh I do metta”) but if you up your attention and equanimity you’ll be able to do any of the practices, “general meditation health” matters more than any particular thing
meditation as healthy chore 👎 meditation as interior design 😎
i think it’s good to only care about the feedback of a few people you respect, but to care about their feedback a lot!
balances both not spinelessly following the whims of the crowds with not getting any feedback and flying off the rails
you can also replace “care about the feedback” with “try and impress” if that’s more inspiring, same thing i think
also helps you not get audience captured, i think i’ve done a poor job with my tweets of impressing the few people i value the opinions most and this is partially a note to myself to get back into this mindset
“Best comparable I have for jhana is sex (many people compare these) bc they're surprisingly similar. Jhana killed my desire for casual sex bc it's 10-100x better …
jhana made me not crave pleasure so much anymore. Cured that "addiction" via surplus. So I don't actually do it that much, and I usually forget that I can do it (this is common) rather than having to limit myself. Much prefer not be in pain and just live a normal peaceful day
the best analogy I have is if you're extremely thirsty you'd do anything for water but if you're barely thirsty it's kind of just nice and helpful. And you certainly wouldn't break a bone for it. Pre jhana I was always "thirsty" for feeling good, now I'm a lot less so
On Jhana (from mega thread)
Let's talk about the hilariously insane power of attention. Attention was where evolution accidentally messed up and made us extremely overpowered. It doesn't want us being easily happy, and if it could redo it it would nerf us, but it can't.
Attention like a flashlight. For most people it's an extremely broad and dim flashlight, kind of lighting everything. It also moves around and things tug at it all day and you don't really have control and you definitely can't just drop it on something and leave it there
If you're aware of something you're giving it some attention. If your attention were fine enough, as you move it around everything else would go away completely. If you attend strongly to your breath but not your body your body is gone. You're just a nose
With practice your flashlight gets much much better. It can get so good that nothing tugs at it. You can just drop it on whatever you want and not move it for 10 minutes and nothing is tugging at you to move. It's just there and that's all you care about right now
The way to get better at this is to practice returning your attention to one thing over and over again. It shouldn't feel like a struggle. Just lightly return it back. Your breath works, or metta, which is returning to the feeling of loving-kindness. It should feel good
I've been meditating regularly since ~2013 and I started with completely wasting about 500 hours on forcing myself as hard as I could to focus on my breath. Don't be like me, "concentration meditation" is a bad word bc it sounds forceful. Let it drift back to your object
Okay fast forward a bit and you're able to control your meditation pretty well. What do you get, what's the prize?
It builds up "samadhi" and first thing you notice is more beauty and meaning in everything, like seeing with glasses after a life of bad eyes. You can just fully do something. The world becomes shockingly gorgeous, kind of like 2cb if you've done that. It's just really nice
shoot this is accidentally turning into a weird meditation thread textbook thing so I'll speed up and drop some nuance … Now that you have a strong flashlight, you can decide what you want to feel by attending to it. It turns out if you attend fully to something, even if its small, it's all you feel, and you feel it extremely potently
So once you've build up enough samadhi you can feel whatever you want. Just find a tiny bit of it in your awareness, a tiny dot of joy near your hand, or smile a little to create a microburst of happiness. Then attend to it 100%
Your everything, your entire awareness of the universe will become happy. There's no more you, no more world, nothing. Just happy. This happy makes the tiny happy spot a bit stronger, making it easier to attend to, making it a bit stronger, etc until it explodes.
Importantly you can do this as much as you want. When it first worked for me I did it every 2 hours just to prove to myself that it actually works. I think this is the path to post-scarcity happiness, which changes life quite a lot imo