Evolution by the Numbers: Number Twelve

number twelve: start counting your breaths

 At any point when you aren’t preoccupied by something else, either walking or sitting, put your attention on your breaths and start counting them. Even the actual numbering isn’t that important, but if you lose track of the numbers it’s a good sign to reapply your attention.

 The nice thing about this is that you don’t need to know why this works, only that it will. Learning some of the subtle changes in focus will make it go quicker, but it’s just as likely you’ll figure them out yourself.

  Besides sharpening your concentration and calmness, this is a natural doorway into some profound meditative states, and with practice you can carry this anywhere doing almost anything.

  There is literally nothing else you need to know to become a master meditator. If you spend enough time with this process all else becomes clear. The only caveat is that it takes most people several years to really take off doing it this way, so I wouldn’t cut you loose on that alone. That said, the only reason it usually takes several years is that most people spend most of that time trying to avoid actually doing the practice.

  So do as you will.

Evolution by the Numbers: Number Eleven

number eleven: get your freak on

I’m going to err on the side of caution once again, and assume that most of your are suffering some kind of neurotic tension, sexual repression, or misdirected, distorted or pathological manifestation of your bodily energy.

The reason Ican say that with some confidence is that developing these maladaptations is kind of the default conditioning given to us for dealing with the sick, emotionally hysterical, borderline psychotic society such as much of the world now is. That, and the demographics for mostly white, mostly male, internet using, highly abstract thinkers skew towards the neurotic.

So I don’t mean to suggest that you might be sexually frustrated, suffering from warped body image, repressed fantasies that lean towards the perverse, and getting worse all the time, or that you might be suffering various body syndromes and disorders resulting from same… but for the moment indulge me while I address all those other fucked up people over there.

Quite simply, the best way of dealing with this kind of crossed wiring, and the slightly disturbing energy that you are probably giving off because of it( which is not so bad as it sounds since most everybody else is too, to some greater or lesser extent), is to vent all that stuff in some kind of healthy, socially responsible kind of way.

For those of you in a ‘relationship’, however loosely you define such a thing, this probably means actually talking to your partner about what you really want, and seeing if you can’t come to some sort of acceptable arrangement. Instead of, you know, hoping they become telepathic and find out that you secretly want to be bound and whipped and subjected to golden showers or something.

Sadly most people are so insecure, even in what passes for a loving partnership, that they can’t even talk about these things, and play tippey toes around each other, and any hint of organic libido, and how it might pass through the prism of our own unique imprinted imagery.

I will be the last to say that a relationship ought to be founded on sex, but I will also be the last to say you should try to ignore it either.

For the rest of you, if you’re not in a relationship and you want to be, a big reason for that is probably some of that body pathology and distorted self image I was talking about.

One of the better ways of redressing this that doesn’t involve depraved sex acts, is to get some body work. Y’know, massage and stuff. One way to reprogram the body and it’s responses is to wipe the slate with some pleasure signals. Getting a nice thorough massage on a regular basis is a good way to do this.

If you feel good, you will look good( or, at least, on a subtle level, better), and when you look good, it’s more likely another human will want to see you naked.

And lastly, if you’re a celibate either for a temporary undertaking, or as a lifestyle, some body work will still probably be useful to smooth out the repressed body energy, and help you focus it on whatever else it is you’re doing.

Evolution by the Numbers: Number Ten

number ten: notice your reactiveness

Life is full of things you do without thinking, but I’m going to suggest that your start thinking about some of them.

By reactiveness, I am, for the moment, referring to automatic negative reactions. When something you don’t like occurs and itimmediately triggers some other mental or physical response to it, to make it either stop happening, change it’s presentation, or disappear.

You don’t need to do anything about it just yet. Start with noticing it. Taken in toto, this consitutes your conditioned pattern of rejection of the world as it is, and/or flight into the world as you think it ought to be.

Worth paying attention to.

Evolution by the Numbers: Number Nine

number nine: become consistent

One thing I’ve heard Douglas Rushkoff say that I thought was especially smart, and this is coming from a guy who says a lot of smart things, was that the most revolutionary thing anyone can do is to become totally consistent in the very smallest of their actions.

What does that mean? It means if you have a value, a principle, a practice, an observance that holds meaning for you, don’t just do it when it’s convenient, or interesting, or rewarding. Do it all the time, do it everywhere you can do it. Don’t just hold up your standards when it’s easy, but when it’s hard, when it’s unbearable, when no one is gonna pat you on the back for it.

If you want to meditate, then meditate every day, every chance you get. Don’t treat your life like the metaphysical supermarket. If you’re gonna do these things, then DO THEM until you cannot learn anything more from them, or you you simply cannot continue.

If truth, or justice, or understanding hold meaning for you, then apply them everywhere. Speak the truth to everyone, apply your integrity and justness to every interaction, not just the people you like or respect. If you really want to be healthy, then don’t just have a vegan shake on the weekend. Throw out the crap in your fridge, and don’t buy it again.

If you’re going to bitch about economic disparity and poverty, the inequities of the global financial system, then quit spending so much money to support it, it’s banks, it’s currency, it’s buisnesses.

If you do even one of these things, your life will get very interesting, very fast. So don’t complain if your life isn’t as compelling as you’d like right now. It is what you have made it.

Evolution by the Numbers: Number Eight

number eight: get interested

The usual way of conducting one’s life is to concern oneself primarily with those things that directly impact or interest  ‘me’.  And by ‘me’ I mean ‘you’.

However, at any given moment, the percentage of observable phenomena in the universe that have any bearing on ‘you’ whatsoever is so vanishingly small that ‘you’ might as well not even mention it. Except, of course, that it’s really important to ‘you’, isn’t it?

The only solution to this frankly lousy predicament is to widen your horizons a little bit and start to asses reality and it’s merits based on something besides servicing your sense of utterly delusional self-importance. If ‘you’ actually want to understand what’s going on well enough to create anything of interest to yourself , ‘you’ need to set yourself aside and actually start to care about everything else that’s going on. Feel free to vanish up your own ass into self obsession if you want, but sooner or later the universe will recycle your ass and no one will  know the difference. Except insofar as it happens to service their own self obsession in that particular moment.

It’s not about you.

  It’s never been about you.

  It will never be about you.

It all goes along just fine without you. 

  Get over it.

Evolution by the Numbers: Number Seven

number seven: finish your thoughts

Anyone with a passing familiarity with mystical or meditative literature will probably have come across the idea that one should ‘stop’ thoughts. How exactly this might be possible is not always clear.

I will propose to the contrary: as a famous mystic once said ( I could tell you his name, but do you really care? ) Why are you so concerned with stopping thoughts? Try finishing a thought for a change. When you do, the thoughts will go away on their own.

The normal pattern for human thinking is to have dozens, if not hundreds, of unresolved thoughts in the background. Advertising takes advantage of this. I believe it’s called the zeigarnick effect. A long chain of open propositions creates anxiety. Makes it easier to manipulate people. But I digress…

Instead, take one of these hanging threads of thought, and tie it up. Select a line of thinking and finish it. Doesn’t mean you can’t pick it up later, but when you’re done with it for the time being, reach a conclusion in your own mind about it and then set it aside. Do this methodically until you actually have to look to find a thought that won’t go away.

Conversely, if you’re really obsessed with something, then follow it without any breaks at all, until it’s done. Or, as done as you can make it. You’ll either find some marvellous conclusions, or you’ll find it’s not worth the hassle. In which case, it was never worth the hassle to begin with.

Evolution by the Numbers: Number Six

number six: decide what you want, and then do it

Not so easy as it sounds. Let me be more specific: every day, decide on the ONE THING that is most important for you to achieve each day. Not three things, not two things, ONE THING. And then DO IT.

It doesn’t need to be hard. That’s not that point. It can be dead easy. If the most important thing for you every day is dead easy, then you’re probably blessed. But the point is, to make a decision about what you want, what it means to you, and act on it, to completion.

How many times do you actually do this in the course of a day? What kind of a life is it, when you almost never fully manifest an intent? That’s the point. Not meandering through your routine, not reacting against something, not going through a whole series of default options, not existing in a haze of half-formed ideas and unmanifested intentions.

Make sure you do that just once every day, and see how it feels.