Discipline yourself or be disciplined. This could be a mantra for our times, when distractions abound. Without it, devices will master you, social media will. Whims will waste your time, goals will always be an illusion away. You wont get anything worthwhile done. You wont be the captain of your ship, the creator of your own destiny. Without mastering yourself, everything and everybody will be your master. Forever a slave, you will be whipped by the forces of conformity. No whining will help. No amount of procrastination will circumvent it. For wayfarers of all times, as well as Nike, this is an immutable truth, just do it. Do the work.

DharmaHacking at its finest

Discovered this Japanese Zen Buddhist monk and live-looping artist, Yogetsu Akasaka. He live streams on YouTube. This is one of many. I could get into some seriously cool meditation to some of these tracks, this one in particular.

Hiking adventures to combat lockdown malaise

Some pics from a few days away in Cornwall on the South West Coast Path, one of the finest walks I have ever experienced (this was my third time I love it so much). Nothing like some gorgeous outdoors by the seaside to combat lockdown malaise, lift the spirits and make you feel alive. The Google Map plots the exact route, places to stay, eat and drink, etc.

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Hacking humans – welcome to the new frontier

Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, among others, makes a powerful commencement speech in this recent video. As a Dharma Hacker I subscribe to the view that we are hackable. It’s how its done and to what end that is important. Some more thoughts on that and the video, in addition to what I have already written.

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Pay attention, learn and love – a #blm statement

I want to say something. It seems that to stay silent makes one complicit. And yet…

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Wise words – morning inspiration

There are certain days which seem to cry out to be filled – mornings that plead for action – the atmosphere vibrant with expectancy and high, heroic challenge, and this was such a morning.

From Mr Pye by Mervyn Peake – Filed under Literature/Poetry/Prose

Wise words – glittering end to the weekend

Life [exists] only because of a myriad of synchronicities that bring us to this particular place at this particular moment. In return for such a gift, the only sane response is to glitter in reply.

Robin Wall Kimmerer – filed under inspiration/death

Wise Words I’ve collected over the years that are perfect for these challenging times if you need some solace, inspiration or just to get your mind off things.

How to respond to global challenges mindfully and the 3 stakeholders in success

The title of this post is hopefully not too oblique and its clear I’m referring in part, to the challenge of our time – COVID-19. And when I say mindfully, my principle context is the practice of meditation, where paying attention is key. By paying attention you become more aware. You become more concentrated and achieve states of natural clarity. All the better to manage responses (or non responses) to circumstances effectively. By stakeholders I mean the individual and groups, like organisations and broader societies.

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Zen and the right view of cloud technologies

On the path to the cloud, just as in life (as the Buddha would have us understand), one must submit our most cherished assumptions to rigorous questioning. We would make better decisions if we were clearer about the foundations of our own thinking. Cloud technology is a vast subject and this post tackles just a few assumptions, in the spirit of the DharmaHacker.

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Homo Deus and the cosmic dance between humans, mind and machine

I’ve just come back from holiday where I read Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari.

It focuses on many things and chiefly the direction is forward looking, as opposed to his first book, Homo Sapiens, which looked backward from whence we have come.

One aspect I was fascinated by was his account of the recognised decoupling of consciousness and intelligence and how this might play out in the future given the rise of “machines” and their impact on humans.

With machines and technology getting bad press of late, I thought it would be useful to highlight the positives that I see.

It’s very much in line with my take on Dharma Hacking – more below.

I created a #daneldoodle of course, to summarise my thinking. Here it is:

And some added notes to elaborate:

Why the Dharma Hacking in the title? There is more here on what it is but essentially it is based on the the interplay between humans finding our way, developing our mental capacity (especially consciousness) and using technology to help.

We have only just scratched the surface in terms of expanding our known mental states and utilising our super consciousness.

Technology, far from being the bogey man that it currently is, can greatly help us get there.

It plays its role (intelligence), we play ours (consciousness), in a unique cosmic dance of creativity.

In this past post (The post robotic AI age and the role of creativity and innovation) I think I was somewhat deluded in my belief of what will distinguish humans based on their unique skills in the future. Intelligent technology will be able to master these skills and are already (see next point) but it will be advanced levels of consciousness (super consciousness) that will be our unique differentiators.

AI and Super AI is already doing credibly well with being creative and innovative. Check out the comments in this video I uploaded a while ago of famed theoretical physicist and futurist, Michio Kaku (you’ll need to view the video on YouTube for that). He also it appears, was deluded.

How technology will help us develop our consciousness and to what ends is outlined in some of the elements I position in the doodle. Essentially it is between the island on which we currently find ourselves with our known mental states and the antipodes of the mind as I call them. I’m not sure what these supporting roles and end states all are yet but I will be exploring further – watch this space 😊

Welcome to the adventures

Thanks for visiting. This is a welcome post to orient you around what this site covers and its core focus areas. Find out more about the author of this site, adventures and latest work by going to the about page. If you look at the sidebar of full posts, a list of categories and tags will give you a better idea of topics covered.

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The battle for the self and the essence of being

The other day in a meditation session I arrived at an insight – roughly represented in the doodle.

In my best sessions when I can get to that calm place, insights arise.

Finding that place of calm, focus and insight is difficult and not always achieved in a meditation session. Sometimes just getting to calm is my best outcome. That’s because of all of the things that come into play to take you away from that place.

This situation is kind of a metaphor for life. I wanted to write a post to share my insight about why meditation is such a powerful tool. It can lead to many insights and one of the most important is about our true self.

In meditation, many things keep us from practicing well with good outcomes. Discomfort with sitting, distractions like noise, thoughts, etc.

In life, many things detract from the ability to enjoy and be productive every day. Some are cirmcumstancial and others of our own doing.

If we can but learn to see past circumstances, distractions and our own bad habits, we can arrive at the essence. The essence is where we are enjoying who we are and what we are doing. When we are in that state of being, we can be productive and lead meaningful lives.

Being aware of the barriers is the first step. Doing that consistently takes practice. Meditation is one such practice.

Getting to the truth or essence you can then start distilling that further and form insights about reality.

Allow me to elaborate on the main elements in the doodle.

Distraction

These are the minutea that get in the way of a focused, productive and enjoyable life. Many are of our own making and we allow, even encorage them. Whittling away fruitless hours on social media with the contsant dings of notifications to entrench it. Endless but pointless to do lists that don’t have any meaningful outcomes – shallow work instead of deep work. Even circumstances that require our attention but we sometimes overblow just because it allows us to avoid facing a painful self.

Ego

This is the persona or identity of who we would like to be but is most often the furthest away from our true selves.  It could be the vision of the person we would like to become yet so frequently becomes a mirror of what the media and modern society tell us we should be. We very often face a battle between the structural identities of our idealised selves that Freud wrote about: Id, Ego and Super-Ego. We can spend hours playing out these mental games without any discernable enjoyment or benefit as research is increasingly showing.

Thought

Many of the thoughts we have when we have the time and are not distracted by the mundane, are useless. They are often in service to the ego as mentioned but can be equally mindless as other distractions. Daydreaming for example is a pernicious type of mind wondering that research has started to show is either useless or even leads to unhappiness. Mostly it is the aimless flitting from one thought to the next characterised in Buddhism as the Monkey Mind.

Emotion

In my doodle I have emotion as an offshoot of thought. I often find I have a thought and the emotion follows. If the thought is negative, the emotions that arise are negative. This flows into an ever downward spiral. I’m no psychologist and have no idea if this sequence is correct. This is just my observation. In the long term its as if continuous thought leads to a cementing of an emotion. It becomes ingrained, like a habit. At some point I feel like these habitual emotions start leading and effecting my thoughts. The key of course is to stop the cycle and mindfulness and meditation practice always does.

Essence

When I mediate and achieve that state of untrammeled calm I recognise a form of being that is pure. It’s a pretty beautiful state and feels authentic, not shrouded by any masks. It is also thoughtless and emotionless. But it doesnt mean that insights cannot arise. These insights are sensed. They don’t become articluated into thoughts until afterwards. It’s difficult to describe which is kind of the point. Our words are just a way to attach meaning to something. Most often we confuse and get things wrong by applying our cognitive biases.

In my best sessions I sense this state to be the true version of myself that is fully present and aware. A state of mindfulness that leaves me refresed and focused for the day. Over time I’ve become more attuned and closer to this state on a permanent basis. Every so often I achieve these breakthrough insights.

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