A Better Tomorrow

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by NewStart19, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    And one more post of notes before I sign out today. This one is from The Four Agreements I have mentioned in some of my previous posts. As with Wack, I color-coded various points in the original document, but they didn't transfer over to the forum via copy-paste. Because of this, there may be some bits that seem strange or confusing.

    The Toltec (pg. xiii)
    - There are different definitions for the word Toltec: The Toltec have been referred to as a nation or race by anthropologists, but in fact they were scientists and artists who formed a society to explore and conserve the spiritual knowledge and practices of the ancient ones; Toltec masters are called naguals (pg.xiii).
    - What does the author mean by Toltec wisdom? “…it is not a religion…while it does embrace spirit, it is most accurately described as a way of life, distinguished by the ready accessibility of happiness and love” (pg.xiv).

    Introduction: The Smokey Mirror (pg. xv)
    - This section covers a story about a person who was training to be a medicine man; key words that appear in this story are: light (nagual), star (tonal), mirror, smoke (dream), life (or intent)

    Chapter 1: Domestication and the Dream of the Planet (pg. 1)
    - Everyone has the capacity for ‘dreaming’ (i.e. conceptualizing how one should live or be (?)), and the pre-existing ‘dreams’ of others become internalized to comprise our idiosyncratic dream: “Humans are dreaming all the time…the dream of the planet…is the collective dream of billions of smaller, personal dreams, which together create a dream of a family, a dream of a community, a dream of a city, a dream of a country, and finally a dream of the whole humanity. The dream of the planet includes all of society’s rules, its beliefs, its laws, its religions, its different cultures and ways to be, its governments, schools, social events, and holidays…We are born with the capacity to learn how to dream, and the humans who live before us teach us how to dream the way society dreams…The outside dream uses Mom and Dad, the schools, and religion to teach us how to dream” (pgs. 2-3)
    - Attention (focusing on specific phenomena in awareness) is used to craft our idiosyncratic dream: “Attention is the ability we have to discriminate and to focus only on that which we want to perceive…using our attention, we can hold whatever we
    - Attention is something people desire from others. Unbeknownst to us, our environment uses our attention to get us to believe something: “It is the same dynamic with Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters: They were all trying to hook your attention. We also learn to hook the attention of other humans, and we develop a need for attention which can become very competitive…The need for attention becomes very strong and continues to adulthood.” (pg. 4)
    - Language allows us to communicate our understanding to others, but this is because we have a rough ‘agreement’ about what the rules and units of meaning are: “The outside dream hooks our attention and teaches us what to believe, beginning with the language that we speak. Language is the code for understanding and communication between humans. Every letter, every word in each language is an agreement” (pg. 4)
    - Information and beliefs are also agreements because, generally speaking, they are only stored if we agree with their contents; however, many of these agreements are faith, i.e. they are believed unconditionally: “As children, we didn’t have the opportunity to choose our beliefs, but we agreed with the information that was passed to us from the dream of the planet via other humans. The only way to store information is by agreement…As soon as we agree, we believe it, and this is called faith. To have faith is to believe unconditionally” (pg. 5)
    - The ‘domestication of humans’ occurs because we ‘agree’ with information from external dreams and store it in our own; this forms the basis for how we live, be, and judge: “…[in] the domestication of humans…the information from the outside dream is conveyed to the inside dream, creating our whole belief system…we are told how to live…how to be human…and we also learn to judge” (pg. 6)
    - The copying of the external dream to the internal is done through operant conditioning (using the attention from others as the punishment/reward): “…We train our children…with a system of punishment and reward…the reward is the attention that we got from…other people…With that fear of being punished and that fear of not getting the reward, we start pretending to be what we are not, just to please others, just to be good enough for someone else…We pretend to be what we are not because we are afraid of being rejected. The fear of being rejected becomes the fear of not being good enough. Eventually we become someone that we are not. We become a copy” (pgs. 6-8)
    - ‘Domestication’ swaps our normal tendencies for the externally expected ones; once realized, we try to say no to assert our actual independence: “All our normal tendencies are lost in the process of domestication. And when we are old enough for our mind to understand, we learn the word no…We want to be ourselves” (pg. 8)
    - A point comes when the process of domestication is reinforced automatically within: “The domestication is so strong that at a certain point in our lives we no longer need anyone to domesticate us….We can now domesticate ourselves according to the same belief system we were given, and using the same system of punishment and reward” (pgs. 8-9)
    - We punish and reward ourselves with our dream’s belief system, using our agreements as a ‘book of law’: “The belief system is like a Book of Law that rules our mind…One by one, all these agreements go into the Book of Law, and these agreements rule our dream” (pg. 9)
    - This internalized book of law is used to make judgments about our experiences, and the recipient of these negative judgments is us, the victim (but these laws are not something we chose): “The inner Judge uses what is in our Book of Law to judge everything we do and don’t do, everything we think and don’t think, and everything we feel and don’t feel…There is another part of us that receives the judgments, and this part is called the Victim. The Victim carries the blame, the guilt, and the shame…this is all based on a belief system that we never chose to believe…even years later…we find that these beliefs still control our lives” (pgs. 9-10)
    - Breaking these laws, or rules, is painful because even if we know one is not true, our strong internal agreement with these rules makes us feel something: “Breaking the rules in the Book of Law opens your emotional wounds, and your reaction is to create emotional poison. Because everything that is in the Book of Law has to be true, anything that challenges what you believe is going to make you feel unsafe. Even if the Book of Law is wrong, it makes you feel safe…The agreement is so strong that even if we understand the concept of it not being true, we feel the blame, the guilt, and the shame that occur if we go against these rules” (pg. 10)
    - Humans (ourselves and others) tend to make ourselves (and others) pay for a single mistake (i.e. are judged) more than once: “How many times do we pay for one mistake? The answer is thousands of times…We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves. If justice exists, then that was enough; we don’t need to do it again. But every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, we are guilty again...If we have a wife or husband he or she also reminds us of the mistake” (pg. 12)
    - Most of our ‘book of law’ is wrong: “The Judge in the mind is wrong because the belief system, the Book of Law, is wrong. The whole dream is based on false law. Ninety-five percent of the beliefs we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe all these lies” (pg. 13)
    - Both internal and external dreams are (often) ruled by fear (making us experience emotions like hate, anger, jealousy, envy), transforming the dream into a nightmare: “…fear is controlling the outside dream…Whenever we feel the emotions of anger, jealousy, envy, or hate, we experience a fire burning within us. We are living in a dream of hell…Others can put us into a deeper hell, true. But only if we allow this to happen…Every human has his or her own personal dream, and just like the society dream, it is often ruled by fear…Our personal dream can also become an ongoing nightmare where we suffer and live in a state of fear. But we don’t need to dream a nightmare. It is possible to enjoy a pleasant dream” (pgs. 13-15)
    - We search for truth, justice, and beauty because our ‘dream’ obfuscates them, even though they all can be found within: “All of humanity is searching for truth, justice, and beauty. We are on an eternal search for the truth because we only believe in the lies we have stored in our mind. We are searching for justice because in the belief system we have, there is no justice. We search for beauty because it doesn’t matter how beautiful a person is, we don’t believe that person has beauty. We keep searching and searching, when everything is already within us. There is no truth to find. Wherever we turn our heads, all we see is the truth, but with the agreements and beliefs we have stored in our mind, we have no eyes for this truth” (pg. 15)
    - The feeling of ‘I am’ (i.e. the illusion of the self) is a ‘mitote’ (a fog in the mind: the dream): “Your whole mind is a fog which the Toltecs called a mitote (pronounced MIH-TOE’-TAY). Your mind is a dream where a thousand people talk at the same time, and nobody understands each other. This is the condition of the human mind—a big mitote, and with that big mitote you cannot see what you really are. In India they call the mitote maya, which means illusion. It is the personality’s notion of ‘I am.’ Everything you believe about yourself and the world, all the concepts and programming you have in your mind, are all the mitote. We cannot see who we truly are; we cannot see that we are not free” (pg. 16)
    - Expressing ourselves and living our lives is a bigger fear than death: “Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive—the risk to be alive and express what we really are…We have learned to live by other people’s points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough for someone else” (pg. 17)
    - Domestication forms an image of perception we compare ourselves to based on others’ POVs, but due to that we will never live up to it: “During the process of domestication, we form an image of what perfection is in order to try to be good enough…We create this image, but this image is not real. We are never going to be perfect from this point of view” (pg. 17)
    - Naturally, this image of perfection does not map on to who we are, creating dissonance within that makes us feel false, frustrated, and dishonest (and reflects how we judge others): “Not being perfect, we reject ourselves…We are not good enough for ourselves because we don’t fit with our own image of perfection…We know we are not what we believe we are supposed to be and so we feel false, frustrated and dishonest…We are so afraid that somebody else will notice that we are not what we pretend to be. We judge others according to our image of perfection as well, and naturally they fall short of our expectations” (pg. 18)
    - This dissonance leads one to punish themselves for their ‘shortcomings’, either through themselves or others, with the worst punishment being self-inflicted: “Humans punish themselves endlessly for not being what they believe they should be. They become very self-abusive, and they use other people to abuse themselves as well. But…the way we judge ourselves is the worst judge that ever existed” (pg. 19)
    - Our limit for self-abuse = our limit for abuse from others: “…the limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else” (pg. 20)

    Prelude to a New Dream (pg. 21)
    - To live a more joyful and fulfilled life, you need to break fear-based agreements and create love-based ones (stop expending energy, conserve it, and gain more): “If you want to live a life of joy and fulfillment, you have to find the courage to break those agreements that are fear-based and claim your personal power. The agreements that come from fear require us to expend a lot of energy, but the agreements that come from love help us to conserve energy and even gain extra energy” (pgs. 21-22)
    - Changing our agreements changes our dream; there are four of them that help break fear-based ones (and ultimately change your dream, i.e. system, overall): “If we can see it is our agreements that rule our own life, and we don’t like the dream of our life, we need to change the agreements. When we are finally ready to change our agreements, there are four very powerful agreements that will help us to break those agreements that come from fear and deplete our energy. Each time you break an agreement, all the power you used to create it returns to you. If you adopt these four new agreements, they will create enough personal power for you to change the entire system of your old agreements” (pgs. 22-23)

    That's it for now. Hope all reading have a great, PMO-free day.

    Take care
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2021
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  2. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    Yes and yes. Both are great! :)
    NewStart19 likes this.
  3. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Hey @NewStart19, thanks for posting your notes! Very interesting.
    NewStart19 likes this.
  4. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Woke up very early today to balance out my sleep schedule. Was pretty productive yesterday. Today might experience a dip due to some sleep deprivation, but I need to live with that possibility.

    The binaural beats tracks I listen to (e.g. here) on YouTube aren't quite giving me the mileage they used to for concentration, so I started using some Western art music as a substitute, and I noticed an improvement in my focus, which is nice (examples: Baroque and Renaissance). If anyone reading has the time or energy, please let me know if there's any music on YouTube you use for focus/concentration.

    Managed to get in another episode of Fargo S04 before going to bed (Ep3). I enjoyed some of the cinematographic choices in the episode, as well as the perhaps unrealistic but entertainingly idiosyncratic characters that appeared on screen.

    I had some chamomile tea last night, something I have been experimenting with to help with sleep recently. Unfortunately, I didn't get much out of it, and in fact I only had one night so far where it felt like it helped. I've had similar experiences with sleep aids. But it's either those or my roommate's valium, which leaves me with a lethargic "hangover" that lasts for a while upon waking up, something I'd rather avoid.

    I also finished the issue of The Economist I was reading, but I am still one issue behind. Hope to close the gap this week. Also hoping to schedule a dental appointment today. My teeth are in dire need of cleaning (and hopefully nothing else).

    @Pete McVries

    You might just be the first person I've met who has seen Plague Dogs. Watership Down was more hopeful with its ending, but I think I might actually prefer PD, although it's tough to say because it's been so long. Thanks for still sticking around and spending any time at all popping into this topic. You're a saint ; )


    Lucky Luke! You're back.

    Thanks for the kind words. I'm mostly doing it as an additional measure to help reinforce this habit of reading non-fiction, but it's awesome to hear someone has gained even a modicum of value from them.

    Sorry I'm not reading anything out of Germany at the moment. The two books I've referred to are both North American-centric. But I think I mentioned this once in your topic: the last German book I read was The Magic Mountain. It was a dense read, but there were some passages in there that were just so fantastic, and that was just the English translation. I bet it's even better in the original German. I'm a little embarrassed, but I never got around to reading Goethe's Faust. Did you? Is it long?...but I really shouldn't add anything else to my list haha.

    Hope all is well with your circumstances. Wishing you peace and resolution with your situation.

    Hang in there!


    Finished the notes for the rest of the section on symptoms in Wack. Here they are:

    - Emotional numbness happens gradually and is difficult to recognize: “Emotional numbness is one of the more gradual and difficult-to-recognize symptoms of consistent PMO…This change only really becomes apparent once addicts cease PMO and their lost emotional landscapes begin to reassert themselves” (pg. 26)
    - Studies suggest a connection between social status/support and D2 receptor levels: “…a 2010 study showed that people who enjoy higher social status and increased levels of social support also display a higher density of dopamine D2 receptors, while a lower density is associated with lower social status and decreased social support” *NOTE: There’s another study referenced here that had similar findings for macaques (pg. 27)
    - A subject in a study who had their dopamine levels stunted experienced a slew of cognitive, emotional, and physical problems: “In 2005 a high-functioning, healthy medical student…volunteered to have his dopamine levels chemically stunted…he experienced loss of concentration, memory, motivation, and vocal fluency as well as increased tiredness, shame, fear, anxiety, and depression…when we force our limbic systems to desensitize with repeated porn-induced dopamine spikes, we may be making ourselves less confident, determined, and attentive and more fearful and addiction-prone…this may help to explain why, as a recovering porn addict’s brain re-sensitizes by activating more dopamine receptors, he often also experiences greater confidence, focus, motivation, energy, emotional depth, and social ability” (pg. 28)
    - Dopamine and other neurochemicals released during orgasm produce tiredness and affect sleep quality: “…orgasm releases a whole slew of neurochemicals into the nervous system that result in tiredness, but a 2012 study shows that dopamine activity…actually interferes with the body’s synthesis of melatonin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. So…the quality of….sleep and our ability to wake up refreshed and alert in the morning may be impaired” (pg. 29)
    - Reduced athletic performance, reduced muscle mass, and a wasted appearance are anecdotally reported, but there aren’t any studies that link them to chronic PMO: “Reduced athletic performance and muscle mass is a symptom reported anecdotally but is thus far untested by the scientific community…a wasted appearance and acne are also often self-reported by PMO addicts…but no studies yet attempt to link the two” (pgs. 29-30)
    - Why do all these symptoms occur? We expose ourselves to a virtually infinite supranormal stimulus, the equivalent of which our ancestors hardly ever encountered: “For hundreds of thousands of years Homo sapiens and their ancestors lived in tribal societies in which there was a very limited selection of mates, so meeting a new attractive man or woman was a rarity that our limbic systems evolved to respond powerfully to. A situation in which several or many new attractive mates were present and willing was so rare an opportunity that our limbic systems would kick into overdrive, pushing us to copulate with all of them in order to pass on our genetic material…Fast-forward to the 21st century…Internet pornography has been designed to hijack this binge drive by feeding our brains a constantly refreshing selection of extremely attractive mates doing anything we could ever want or imagine….But…there is no end to our binge. That ‘later’ in which we rest and recover from our sexual buffet need never come, because there is always more Internet porn to masturbate to. With porn, we activate a biological response that was designed to make us push past our normal limits—a response that in real life is activated only rarely but with porn can be exploited as often as we want” (pg. 31)


    I also typed up my notes for the 2nd chapter of The Four Agreements:

    Chapter 2: The First Agreement – Be Impeccable with Your Word (pg. 25)
    - The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word (pg. 25)
    - All that you experience from your first-person POV is expressed externally through the (spoken) word: “It is through the word that you manifest everything. Regardless of what language you speak, your intent manifests through the word. What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are, will all be manifested through the word” (pg. 26)
    - Your word (both spoken and thought) influences your lived experience: “The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create the events in your life…But like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream, or your word can destroy everything around you” (pg. 26)
    - Analogies between the mind and fertile soil, and seeds and the ‘word’: “The human mind is like a fertile ground where seeds are continually being planted…The word is like a seed, and the human mind is so fertile!” (pg. 28)
    - Our spoken word is powerful (like a spell…or curse) and can intentionally or unintentionally harm or help others: “Seeing the awesome power of the word, we must understand what power comes out of our mouths. One fear or doubt planted in our mind can create an endless drama of events. One word is like a spell, and humans use the word like black magicians, thoughtlessly putting spells on each other. Every human is a magician, and we can either put a spell on someone with our word or we can release someone from a spell” (pgs. 28-29)
    - One’s opinion can create a sense of fear in others, regardless of the intent: “We cast spells all the time with our opinions…During our domestication, our parents and siblings gave their opinions about us without even thinking. We believed these opinions and we lived in fear over these opinions” (pg. 29)
    - The author defines impeccability as without sin, and defines sin as anything that you do which goes against yourself; everything you feel or believe or say that goes against yourself is a sin (pg. 31)
    - Being impeccable means you take responsibility for what you do, but you don’t go against yourself (no judging no blaming): “Being impeccable is not going against yourself. When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself” (pg. 31)
    - When does “sin” begin? With self-rejection: “Sin begins with rejection of yourself. Self-rejection is the biggest sin that you commit” (pg. 31)
    - There are two ways to use the ‘word’ (either internally or externally): we can use it to spread ‘truth’—which the author inextricably links to love (self-acceptance?)—or we can use it to spread lies, which he calls ‘black magic’ or emotional poison (i.e. negative emotions like anger, jealousy, envy or hate); the former is being impeccable with your word: “Being impeccable with your word is not using the word against yourself…if I get angry and with my word send all that emotional poison to you, I’m using the word against myself. If I love myself I will express that love in my interactions with you, and then I am being impeccable with the word, because that action will produce a like reaction…If you make an agreement with yourself to be impeccable with your word, just with that intention, the truth will manifest through you and clean all the emotional poison that exists within you. But making this agreement is difficult because we have learned to do precisely the opposite. We have learned to lie as a habit of our communication with others and more importantly with ourselves…Mostly we use the word to spread our personal poison—to express anger, jealousy, envy, and hate. The word is pure magic—the most powerful gift we have as humans—and we use it against ourselves…The truth is the most important part of being impeccable with your word. On one side of the sword are the lies which create black magic, and on the other side of the sword is the truth which has the power to break the spell of black magic. Only the truth will set us free” (pgs. 32-37)
    - Ruiz defines gossip as the worst form of "black magic" (pg. 37)
    - Fear and suffering are the parts of the dream of the planet that keep us down, and gossip fulfills this function (and perversely connects us to others): “Gossiping has become the main form of communication in human society. It has become the way we feel close to each other, because it makes us feel better to see someone else feel as badly as we do…Fear and suffering are an important part of the dream of the planet; they are how the dream of the planet keeps us down” (pg. 38)
    - Gossip is analogized to a computer virus that we both contract and spread (i.e. the mitote): “One little piece of misinformation can break down communication between people, causing every person it touches to become infected and contagious to others. Imagine that every single time others gossip to you, they insert a computer virus into your mind, causing you to think a little less clearly every time. Then imagine that in an effort to clean up your own confusion and get some relief from the poison, you gossip and spread these viruses to someone else. Now imagine this pattern going on in a never-ending chain between all the humans on earth. The result is a world full of humans who can only read information through circuits that are clogged with a poisonous, contagious virus. Once again, this poisonous virus is what the Toltecs called the mitote, the chaos of a thousand different voices all trying to talk at once in the mind” (pgs. 40-41)
    - The worst cases of this are the ‘black magicians’ who spread gossip intentionally: “Even worse are the black magicians or ‘computer hackers’ who intentionally spread the virus…As children we do this quite thoughtlessly, but as we grow older we become much more calculated in our efforts to bring other people down. Then we lie to ourselves and say that person received a just punishment for their wrongdoing. When we see the world through a computer virus, it is easy to justify the cruelest behavior” (pg. 41)
    - The word is also used internally (i.e. thoughts): “For years we have received the gossip and spells from the words of others, but also from the way we use our word with ourselves. We talk to ourselves constantly and most of the time we…use the word against ourselves” (pg. 42)
    - One’s opinion does not necessarily equal truth, but we spread it regardless because we want to feel validated: “Your opinion is nothing but your point of view. It is not necessarily true. Your opinion comes from your beliefs, your own ego, and your own dream. We create all this poison and spread it to others just so we can feel right about our own point of view” (pg. 43)
    - You can protect the fertile soil of your mind by being impeccable with your word, and this can be measured by your level of self-love (acceptance?): “You will only receive a negative idea if your mind is fertile ground for that idea. When you become impeccable with your word, your mind is no longer fertile ground for words that come from black magic. Instead, it is fertile for the words that come from love. You can measure the impeccability of your word by your level of self-love. How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word. When you are impeccable with your word, you feel good; you feel happy and at peace” (pg. 44)
    - Successfully making this first agreement will change the nature of your soil and thus what kind of seeds can be sown: “It is up to you to make this agreement with yourself: I am impeccable with my word. Nurture this seed, and as it grows in your mind, it will generate more seeds of love to replace the seeds of fear. This first agreement will change the kinds of seeds your mind is fertile for” (pg. 44)
    - Your impeccability will convey love to yourself and others and break the agreements that cause suffering: “Use the word in the correct way. Use the word to share your love…beginning with yourself…Use the word to break all those teeny, tiny agreements that make you suffer” (pg. 45)
    - This agreement makes you immune to an infernal existence and able to live a supernal one: “With the impeccability of the word you can transcend the dream of fear and live a different life. You can live in heaven in the middle of thousands of people living in hell because you are immune to that hell” (pgs. 45-46)

    That's it for today. I'm glad I'm reading more consistently.

    Take care
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2021
  5. Bilbo Baggins

    Bilbo Baggins Well-Known Member

    I like Fargo too. Even though season 4 was not as good as the three first ones, in my opinion, it was still pretty good. Great series.
    NewStart19 likes this.
  6. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Bilbo Baggins

    Oh nice! Wasn't expecting a comment on that point.

    Thanks for sharing! I have come to notice that I am quite the outlier, but I'm (apparently) the rare example whose least favorite season is probably the first (still enjoyed watching it though). Haha, it must mean I have poor taste.

    Out of curiosity, how would you rank the seasons? I'd probably say 2, 3 then 1 (I have to finish 4 first before I can place it). One small thing I really like about the series is how they are all interconnected, but only tangentially, and it's kind of up to you the viewer to find the connections (as opposed to a series like say The Sopranos or Madmen where all the seasons are very directly connected).

    As an aside (and inspired by your avatar), it would be nice to see a high-budget, (relatively) faithful serial adaptation of The Silmarillion. That would be a joy to watch.

    Take care!
    Bilbo Baggins likes this.
  7. Bilbo Baggins

    Bilbo Baggins Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I like how each season is different! Each time you start a new one, you discover new characters, a new universe... Dark and funny, really nice.

    As for ranking... I really liked the 3 first seasons a lot, but I guess it would be 1-3-2. Bud as I said, they’re all excellent. I liked Lester in season 1, and both characters played by Ewan McGregor in the the third. I didn’t even recognize him in the main character at first, it’s crazy how they managed to change his look.
    NewStart19 likes this.
  8. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I recently downloaded an app with nature sounds, where you can choose between some sounds (rain, ocean, forest, birds,....). I find this quite helpful so far and it's definitely a better user for my phone than watching some porn. o_O

    I think it's really great that you read so many different things!

    I also read "The Magic Mountain" (but in the original language - Der Zauberberg) a few months ago. It took me quite a long time to read it to be honest, but that doesn't mean I didn't like it, quite the contrary. Your post reminded me that I've never read any of the old German classics in English. That could be interesting how they handled the translation. Reading these old german authors is interesting. Like when you read Franz Kafka (who was Austrian, but same language), one sentence is like two pages long. And yes, I've read Goethe's Faust when I was in school. But that was more than 15 years ago. If I remember it correctly it wasn't thaaat long, but I think I needed my time to read it back then.
    Pete McVries and NewStart19 like this.
  9. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member


    What's the name of the app?

    Same here, it took me a long time to actually finish the book. I think it was about the same time that Hans was at the sanatorium (around 7 years).

    Haha, you could do a comparative analysis between the English and German versions, but that might be quite the endeavor. There is a German film adaptation of Der Zauberberg, but I couldn't find a version with English subtitles and gave up trying to watch it.
  10. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    One more thing:

    Gabe uploaded a new Reboot Q&A video yesterday. Check it out if you have the time (≈ 28m).

    Take care
    Pete McVries and Bilbo Baggins like this.
  11. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Alright, quick update. Sleep is rounding out pretty well since my attempt to balance it a few days ago (not quite there yet, but progress is satisfactory). I decided to (yet again) kick out caffeine. Hope it sticks, but I know better than to jump to conclusions. Live with the process and observe. At least the headaches are done with. Now to ride out the rest of the physical withdrawals and get better at living a life without using caffeine as a crutch. I think I also mentioned in some posts here and there that I sometimes use my roommates ritalin, but I decided to also not rely on it as a crutch to get things done, and thus removed it entirely a few weeks ago. Lastly, while I do occasionally smoke sativa, I decided to avoid it entirely until I at least get five weeks clean, as I want to embrace the entirety of acute recovery without any distortions of my normal experience. My reasoning is that I'll have experienced the worst of recovery at that point, and it's something that I can clearly look back at later on down the line to remind myself that no matter what recovery difficulties I face, it'll never be as bad at THAT, and I'll clearly remember what that is. Plus, it helps build resilience. If I can handle the worst of it as is (without resorting to any substances), I surely can handle the rest. It's been a few weeks since I've smoked anything.

    Other areas in my life are being maintained, which is nice:
    - Should be seeing the dentist soon.
    - I had time for one more episode of Fargo S4, but the episodes' length can be difficult when they are the duration of a mini-movie. Thankfully, it has continued to be entertaining for me.
    - I made freekeh for the first time with my rice cooker, and thankfully it turned out fine.
    - There are some other tasks I have been delaying for lack of time. Not all that important, but I hope to finish them by...dare I say the end of the week? I have an old email address that I want to delete, but this means going through all my emails (inbox and outbox), saving any data or info I need and then deleting them all, informing any contacts whom I want to stay in contact with of my other address (if they don't already have it), closing or changing the credentials for any accounts associated with it, and switching all my YouTube playlists to the other account. I've done most of this task (the YouTube playlists, while seemingly trivial, were pretty time consuming because of how many songs I had in them, but it did get me to back up their info in a word document in case channels private or delete them etc., another task I had been wanting to do for a while but never got around to), but have been putting the rest of it off for a while (it's not that urgent, and can be boring at times, plus it triggers my OCD occasionally). I also went to my ISP to get the ball rolling on setting up a new account and service, as they don't allow one service to have multiple gateways, and my computer is in the B1 of my building and suffers from a weaker connection, interfering with tasks/work at times (I am NOT doing this to stream porn faster, I promise! haha)
    - I bought some reference materials for one hobby I want to take to the next level and for another hobby I want to add to my life, but time is a limited resource, so I'm not going to dive into them just yet. It is nice knowing that I have them all available when I'm ready though, so scratch one (well multiple) hassles off the list. Some other items I ordered (USB cd-rom/dvd drive etc.) also arrived
    - The reading hobby is still going strong. For History of the World Map by Map, I just entered the next and second-to-last section (Progress and Empire: 1850-1914) a few days ago. Between Wack and The Four Agreements, I am trying to get myself to read and take notes on at least one chapter a day, and this too has been keeping its momentum. I am also gaining ground on my current events reading: I'm now only a half issue behind with The Economist. Hope to be at the end of the current issue by the end of this week (fingers crossed).

    In keeping with the the last point, my notes for the two books are as follows:
    a) the last chapter I read in Wack was about Noah's personal recovery story, so I didn't take any notes. It's actually an abridged version of his original story, which can be found in this thread on YBR.
    b) See below for Chapter 3 of The Four Agreements

    Chapter 3: The Second Agreement – Don’t Take Anything Personally (pg. 47)
    - The second agreement is don’t take anything personally (pg. 47)
    - Taking things personally is the epitome of selfishness: “Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about ‘me’” (pg. 48)
    - People’s words and actions are caused by their dreams, not yours: “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one we live in. When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world” (pg. 48)
    - Lacking this agreement makes you vulnerable to black magicians and their poison: “Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators, the black magicians. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up” (pg. 49)
    - Keeping this agreement makes you feel fine emotionally, regardless of the circumstances: “…if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell. Immunity to poison in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement” (pg. 50)
    - Without it, you defensively react, potentially creating conflicts: “When you take things personally, then you feel offended, and your reaction is to defend your beliefs and create conflicts…You also try hard to be right by giving them your own opinions” (pg. 50)
    - What others think about you isn’t about you, it’s about them: “It is not important to me what you think about me, and I don’t take what you think personally…it does not affect me because I know what I am. I don’t have the need to be accepted…Others are going to have their own opinion according to their belief system, so nothing they think about me is really about me, but it is about them…you see the world with different eyes, with your eyes…It is your movie. The way you see that movie is according to the agreements you have made with life. Your point of view is something personal to you. It is no one’s truth but yours…if you get mad at me, I know you are dealing with yourself.” (pgs. 50-52)
    - People get angry because of fear, but without fear, you don’t feel emotions like anger; instead, you are content and happy with the movie of your life: “And you get mad because you are afraid, because you are dealing with fear…If you live without fear, if you love, there is no place for any of those emotions…You are loving everything that is around you, because you are loving yourself. Because you like the way you are. Because you are content with you. Because you are happy with your life. You are happy with the movie that you are producing, happy with your agreements with life” (pgs. 52-53)
    - The 2nd agreement can also be applied to your internal dream: “Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore, you don’t need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally…We have a choice whether or not to believe the voices we hear within our own minds, just as we have a choice of what to believe and agree with in the dream of the planet” (pgs. 54-55)
    - On its own, the mind can talk and listen, but it consists of many voices, which collectively can be a cacophony: “The mind can also talk and listen to itself…Part of the mind is speaking, and the other part is listening. It is a big problem when a thousand parts of your mind are all speaking at the same time. This is called a mitote…each one has a different point of view…those agreements we have made—are not necessarily compatible with each other” (pg. 55)
    - Recognizing our agreements aids us in reshaping the cacophony of the mitote into harmony: “Some part of the mind has objections to certain thoughts and actions, and another part supports the actions of the opposing thoughts. All these little living beings create inner conflict…Only by making an inventory of our agreements will we uncover all of the conflicts in the mind and eventually make order out of the chaos of the mitote” (pg. 56)
    - People are drawn to suffering, and we help one another sustain this, but the 2nd agreement inhibits this: “Don’t take anything personally because by taking things personally you set yourself up to suffer for nothing. Humans are addicted to suffering at different levels and to different degrees, and we support each other in maintaining these addictions” (pgs. 56-57)
    - Ruiz on lying: “Wherever you go you will find people lying to you, and as your awareness grows, you will notice that you also lie to yourself. Do not expect people to tell you the truth because they also lie to themselves. You have to trust yourself and choose to believe or not to believe what someone says to you” (pg. 57)
    - Look to someone’s actions for honesty, and don’t lie to yourself about the results: “If others say one thing, but do another, you are lying to yourself if you don’t listen to their actions. But if you are truthful with yourself, you will save yourself a lot of emotional pain. Telling yourself the truth about it may hurt, but you don’t need to be attached to the pain” (pg. 58)
    - Trust yourself to make the right choice, and don’t cling to the pain: “If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you…Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal…You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices” (pg. 58)
    - The 2nd agreement helps you avoid many upsets, releases you and keeps you free from hell, and makes you immune to the spells of black magicians: “When you make it a strong habit not to take anything personally, you avoid many upsets in your life…If you can make this second agreement a habit, you will find that nothing can put you back into hell…You become immune to black magicians, and no spell can affect you regardless of how strong it may be…You can see how important this agreement is. Taking nothing personally helps you to break many habits and routines that trap you in the dream of hell and cause needless suffering” (pgs. 58-59)
    - You are responsible for you, not the actions of others: “As you make a habit of not taking anything personally, you won’t need to place your trust in what others do or say. You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others; you are only responsible for you” (pg. 60)
    - This agreement allows you to be open without getting hurt: “If you keep this agreement…You can say ‘I love you,’ without fear of being ridiculed or rejected. You can ask for what you need. You can say yes, or you can say no…without guilt or self-judgment” (pg. 60)

    That's it for today. Take care
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
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  12. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    The summaries are very helpful, thank you!
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  13. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    @Pete McVries

    Nice! Like I said earlier, I'm mostly doing this to help brace my nascent habit of reading non-fiction on a daily basis, but reading comments like this makes it even better. But as a disclaimer, nothing amounts to reading the actual texts themselves, and these notes are mental shortcuts for me who has already done the reading. They may skew a reader's understanding in a particular direction, or omit other points that may be more useful to them. But if it makes even one (or a few) people consider getting the books themselves, all the better. Oh yea, Noah's book is completely free and available on his site nowadays, so that option is available. I just repurchased it because I like having physical copies of books.


    Another quick update. I am grateful that the withdrawal-induced headaches (from caffeine) went by rather quickly. I attribute this to the fact that although I fell back into the habit, I was drinking less on a daily basis than I usually do when hooked. But I'm travelling through the narrow, tight valley of withdrawal-induced constipation at the moment. My days are now periodically punctuated by the feeling of granite either sitting in or passing through my bowels. Based on previous breaks from caffeine, this process usually lasts 1-1.5 weeks, and sometimes a bit of diarrhea will be mixed in there as well. Thankfully not so far, but I do have bursts of painful and odorous flatulence. Not trying to gross anyone out, but suffice it to say, things are unpleasant. Hoping this passes sooner rather than later. Another blessing on this front (at least so far) is that I haven't experienced much of the veil of morning grogginess I usually feel during this process, so that's a plus.

    I read another section in Wack, the notes of which can be found below. As for The Economist, I am about a quarter of an issue behind at the moment. The next issue should come +/- tomorrow, so I'm feeling good about my progress here. Hope to keep things consistent and not fall behind. The last section I read in History of the World Map by Map was about Socialism and Anarchism, covering its conceptualization by Marx and Engels in 1848 (The Communist Manifesto), the attempts of some adherents to try and push for it through the established systems at the time (i.e. through parliamentary means), and the attempts of others to push for it through violent means, including the assassinations of King Umberto I of Italy in 1900 and former American President William McKinley in 1901. It also mentioned the short-lived Paris Commune of 1871.

    On to the notes. As mentioned above, it's a continuation from where I left off in Wack:

    Dude, you don’t watch porn? (prevalence and cultural impact) (pg. 45)
    • One study showed that many male college students and a large minority of female college students use porn (at six different colleges): “A recent study of over 800 students (ages 18-26) on six college campuses revealed that 87% of the men and 31% of the women use pornography” (pg. 45)
    • Another revealed that over half of young teen males and a sizeable minority of young teen females have used porn in the Southeastern United States (1/3 of teen boys in Alberta, Canada in a different study): “…[in] a 2009 University of North Carolina study of young people in the Southeastern United States, over half (53%) of males and nearly a third of females (28%) age 12-15 reported using sexually explicit media…this percentage rose drastically from 43.2% of 12-year-olds to 66.1% of 14-year-olds. Among females: from 21.2% at 12 to 38.9% at 14. In Alberta, Canada, a study of 13- and 14-year-olds revealed that one-third of boys were heavy users” (pg. 45)
    • Studies point to links between increased sexual aggression and porn: “…porn use has been linked to increased sexual aggressiveness, including sexual harassment and assault. In London the number of sexual offenses committed by children increased 20% from 1,664 in 2002/2003 to 1,988 cases in 2006, a jump inked to the greater availability of Internet porn to minors. In Australia in the early 1990’s, the Child at Risk Assessment Unit at Canberra Hospital saw about three children under 10 each year who were considered ‘sexually aggressive’. Now, they expect about 70 children each year to fall into this category…‘almost all those children had accessed the Internet and specifically had accessed the Internet for pornographic material’” (pg. 46)
    • This link is for children predisposed to aggressive behavior, and not for ‘normal’ kids: “This is not to say that any well-adjusted child can be transformed into a sex criminal by Internet porn. Rather, it is children who are predisposed to aggressive behavior due to abuse, neglect, or mental illness who are most suggestible by pornography. Researchers Malamuth, Addison, and Koss found that high-risk individuals who are also heavy porn users are about four time more likely to commit sexually aggressive acts than high-risk males who use porn rarely or never. Those non-users may still act out, but they are much less likely to act out sexually without the influence of pornography” (pg. 46)
    • Many other adolescents experience more subtle effects: “In a review of modern research on exactly these effects…‘research suggests that adolescents who use pornography, especially that found on the Internet, have lower degrees of social integration, increases in conduct problems, higher levels of delinquent behavior, higher incidence of depressive symptoms, and decreased emotional bonding with caregivers’ as well as decreased self-confidence’” (pgs. 46-47)
    • There has been an increase in child pornography online over the years: “…the number of images on the Internet depicting children in a sexual manner grew fourfold from 2003-2007. The extremity of the content has also increased. According to the Internet Watch Foundation in 2008, 58% of the hundreds of assessed domains contain level 4 or 5 material, level 4 being ‘Penetrative sexual activity involving a child or children, or both children and adults’, and level 5 being ‘Sadism or penetration of or by an animal’” (pg. 47)
    • Question raised -> Is there a link between the increase in child porn and escalating tastes: “Over the past decades we have seen the porn supply escalate to more and more extreme content in order to appease an audience that has grown bored with scenes of vanilla sex, which raises the question: Can demand for sexual content involving children be in part driven by heavy porn users who have developed a tolerance and need shocking new genres in order to get off?” (pg. 47)
    • Men who grew up in the internet age generally do poorly academically, socially, and suffer more from ADHD: “…psychologist Philip Zimbardo and assistant Nikita Duncan…in their book, The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It…men who grew up during the Internet Age are in general academically failing, socially inept, ADHD-prone layabouts who spend most of their time indulging their ‘arousal addiction’…pornography…video games…social media, television, etc. Men are now 30% more likely than women to drop out of both high school and college. Two-thirds of students in ‘special education’ are males. In private US universities, only 40.7% of students are male…boys are more than twice as likely as girls to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)…40 years ago, 40% of Americans surveyed agreed that ‘shyness was a major current trait that they possessed.’ Today, 60% of Americans say the same…According to Gary Wilson, the symptoms of arousal addiction—which includes porn addiction—mimic ADHD, social anxiety, depression, performance anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder” (pgs. 47-48)
    • Higher rates of ED in young men: “Erectile dysfunction was once the realm of older men with 60 years of bacon grease under their belts (and lining their arteries), but now one patient in four diagnosed with ED is a young man” (pg. 48)
    • The majority of divorces in the US in 2002 were related to porn: “At the November 2002 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 350 attorneys were surveyed to determine if the Internet played a significant role in the divorces they handled. 62% said yes, and of these, ’56 percent of the divorce cases involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic websites’” (pg. 49)
    • Link between pornography exposure and decreased sex life and relationship satisfaction: “In 1988…Doff Zillman and Jennings Bryant…[ran a study where] participants were shown either pornographic (of the non-violent, vanilla variety) or non-pornographic videos in several sessions over six weeks…Results show that this exposure to pornography had no appreciable effects on any aspect of their happiness except one: their satisfaction with their sexual lives and relationships…decreased satisfaction with their ‘partners’ affection, physical appearance, sexual curiosity, and sexual performance…[they] assigned increased importance to sex without emotional involvement. These effects were uniform across gender” (pg. 49)
    • Cybersex addictions negatively affected various relationships within families: “In Schneider’s survey of partners of cybersex addicts…the addition had created severe problems of mistrust, resentment, sexual dissatisfaction, separation, neglect and harm to any children, and divorce. Among 68% of the couples, one or both partners had lost interest in sex with the other…37.1% of respondents with children reported that ‘The kids have lost parental time and attention/lost their 2-parent home.’ 30% reported that ‘The children have seen us argue, see the stress in the home [related to cybersex addiction].’ 14.3% reported that ‘The children have seen pornography and/or masturbation and I’m worried for them.’ 11.4% reported that ‘The children have seen the pornography and have been adversely affected.’” (pgs. 52-53)
    • Porn/cybersex addiction affects the groups and communities we are a part of: “Too many of us have slipped from casual to compulsive porn/cybersex use, and our individual struggles are manifesting on a cultural, global level. It is not our fault that we live in an environment filled with unnaturally powerful temptations, but it is our duty to ourselves, our families, and our communities to be the best men that we can be” (pg. 53)
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2021
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  14. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Short post today. I was still able to finish the reading I wanted to do yesterday, but no notes for now. Incredible urges yesterday (and I mean that in the pejorative). They're continuing into today. Handled everything pretty well so far, but it's draining when they hit you on and off for hours. Keeping my on the prize though. My four pillars of recovery are really helping. I'll try to elaborate on those someday.

    Take care
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  15. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Alright, update: Urges keep raging! Incredible, but it's to be expected. Reduction has reduced the intensity of the process so far (so grateful), but it was always beyond terrible for me, so it's all pretty rough and will continue to be I bet. But I am welcoming it. Not sure how long it's going to take, but the point is that it gets better eventually, and the grip does weaken with time. At this rate, with just one foot in front of the other, I can do this. But that assurance doesn't quite matter either. It'll happen when it happens. I need to just keep living my life.

    The urges and the withdrawals. It's interesting how the emotional withdrawals have been more in the anger/irritation category for a while now. It used to be mostly anxiety, then depression, and the rest was usually anger/irritation, though there were rare outbursts of other emotions that I usually don't experience during this period, like sadness. I can only speculate as to the reason, but I think it has to with my continued efforts at lifestyle change.

    Still very early of course, but I am handling things pretty well. The aforementioned self-titled four pillars, which I think of as the general categories of changes I have been working on between the last 1-2 years, are providing some much needed support to me so I can make it through this: structure, lifestyle change, mindfulness, and reduction. They may not capture everything, but they encompass most of it.

    I 'll leave it at that. I have been maintaining with the other areas of my life, even the (relatively) new daily (or close to daily) hobby of reading non-fiction and current events (excluding the history reading, which isn't much in daily content and so I didn't think of it has a hobby per se, more like an individual task or project, but I digress). I managed to watch three more episodes of Fargo S04. Booked a dental appointment for next Tuesday (I'm uninsured so I'll have to pay out of pocket, but it's worth it). I mentioned in one post dealing with getting new internet service set up at my place, as well as clearing out and ultimately deleting an old email of mine. I might just get those two done tomorrow. I tried another item out in my rice cooker, and it worked (split pea soup). There really were a lot more possibilities for convenient cooking available than I thought. I may also go back into one of my old physical therapy routines for about two weeks in order to reduce some pain in my body (as well as stiffness and potentially headaches). So there's a lot to work with for the interim. Just need to be careful with balancing the gas with the brake pedal.

    Alright, here are the notes (2 days worth). First up is Wack:

    Part Two: The Solution (pg. 55)

    I feel like toasted **** (what to expect when you quit) (pg. 57)
    • This section covers experiences you will likely have during recovery: “Men who have made this journey before you have encountered the following before considering themselves healed and free of addiction. You will likely live several of these experiences” (pg. 57)
    • Time: In general, it takes younger men more time to regain sexual function: “Time…older men who did not start masturbating to Internet porn until they were adults seem to have an easier time returning to healthy sexual function than do younger men who started PMO during their formative adolescent or teenage years. Presumably this is because users who began using earlier in their lives…conditioned themselves more thoroughly for porn” (pg. 57)
    • Recovery length depends on symptom severity, how/how often you masturbate, no. of relapses, rewiring, and your emotional state: “The length of the journey also depends on the severity of your symptoms, how often and how you masturbate during the process, relapse to PMO, the opportunity to rewire with real partners, and your emotional state” (pg. 57)
    • It may take weeks, to months, to years or more to recover, but with time and consistency, you’ll get better: “Most men continue to see improvement even in the months and years after they consider themselves healed and are enjoying a healthy sex life—whatever that may be for them. Mild addicts and older men may hope for good results in as little as a few weeks, while younger long-term users often see good improvement after several months. Even fully committed, however, it may take some men close to a year to heal. No one who has committed to the process, however, has failed to see results, even if they came later than was expected or preferred” (pg. 57)
    • Many men will initially feel hypersexual and experience increased cravings for a time after quitting: “Hypersexuality and craving. As an addict, your body and brain are very likely used to consistent sexual outlet. When they stop watching porn and masturbating, many men quickly feel a sharp increase in sex drive that usually lasts for a few days to a week or more” (pg. 57)
    • Those increased cravings are not your natural sex impulse or a need for release, but instead dopamine cravings: “But this is not yet a return of the natural sexual impulse. These urges are not a need of the body for release but actually the dopamine cravings of an addicted brain crying out for a fix” (pg. 58)
    • The author defines the flatline as a near total lack of sexual drive and erections, often accompanied by depression and apathy. Sometimes called “dead dick” (pg. 58)
    • Flatline can occur at various points in recovery and can alternate between it and hypersexuality: “…most men encounter flatline at least once while in recovery. Usually it occurs after the hypersexuality phase, though many enter a flatline right after quitting PMO and some may not experience flatline until several months into their journeys. A man can alternate between flatline and hypersexuality as his body and brain go through the changes necessary for a return to natural sexual and emotional function. In flatline, many men begin to fear that this is it. This is their new life, and they’ll never recover their sexual fire. In desperation they use porn to tease out a sexual response and end up relapsing. But flatline is a strong sign that real changes are occurring in the limbic system, and it will end” (pg. 58)
    • As receptors return to their normal levels, a wide range of emotions with outbursts are experienced by many who recover: “As the neurochemical receptors in porn addicts’ brains begin to re-sensitize, many men experience a wide range of powerful emotions. These emotions can manifest in almost any way imaginable, from sublime wonder at the beauty of nature to despair-induced panic attacks, from blinding rage at the empty juice carton left in the fridge to sobbing at baby powder commercials in between football quarters. But as addicts’ bodies find a new balance, these emotional outbursts do normalize” (pg. 58)
    • Remembered dreams often become more frequent, usually sex-related (their usual contents change with time): “It is very common to begin dreaming more clearly while healing, and often dreams become more disturbingly sexual, at least in the beginning. Men commonly dream at least once about relapsing to porn, usually struggling against it even while giving in. As their journeys progress, these visions usually give way to a higher frequency of dreams about desirable sex” (pg. 59)
    • Nocturnal emissions might increase, but don’t think of them as setbacks or relapses (even if they feel like it) unless you were prodding them with fantasy or physical stimulation: “Nocturnal emissions. Occurrence of ‘nocturnal emissions’ or ‘wet dreams’ can increase when abstaining from other sexual activity. The dreamer usually experiences a sexual dream and wakes up to find he is ejaculating or had already ejaculated…Emissions are not considered to be a setback or relapse, though some men experience a reduction in libido and energy after these events. Accidental ejaculation can happen during waking hours as well, and though this is rare it is no more of a relapse unless brought about with fantasy or purposeful physical stimulation” (pg. 59)
    And secondly, The Four Agreements:

    Chapter 4: The Third Agreement – Don’t Make Assumptions (pg. 63)
    • The Third Agreement is don’t make assumptions (pg. 63)
    • We tend to make assumptions and believe they are true: “We have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth” (pg. 63)
    • The problem with taking an assumption as truth: “We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing” (pg. 64)
    • Our assumptions often lead to gossip, creating a lot of emotional pain: “We create a lot of emotional poison just by making assumptions and taking it personally, because usually we start gossiping about our assumptions” (pg. 64)
    • Without clarification, our assumptions can lead to conflict; clarify to avoid/reduce suffering: “Because we are afraid to ask for clarification, we make assumptions, and believe we are right about the assumptions; then we defend our assumptions and try to make someone else wrong. It is always better to ask questions than to make an assumption, because assumptions set us up for suffering” (pgs. 64-65)
    • We’re used to making assumptions about things we don’t understand: “We have the habit of dreaming with no basis in reality. We literally dream things up in our imaginations. Because we don’t understand something, we make an assumption about the meaning, and when the truth comes out, the bubble of our dream pops and we find out it was not what we thought it was at all” (pg. 65)
    • Assuming in relationships → We make assumptions based off our feelings, without communicating: “Making assumptions in our relationships is really asking for problems…In any kind of relationship we can make the assumption that others know what we think, and we don’t have to say what we want. They are going to do what we want because they know us so well…A whole drama is created because we make this assumption and then put more assumptions on top of it” (pgs. 66-67)
    • We make assumptions to feel safe from the fear (feelings?) of uncertainty: “We have the need to justify everything, to explain and understand everything, in order to feel safe. We have millions of questions that need answers because there are so many things that the reasoning mind cannot explain. It is not important if the answer is correct; just the answer itself makes us feel safe. This is why we make assumptions” (pg. 68)
    • Assumptions are our go-to because they ameliorate our fear (feelings) of uncertainty (and lead to less communication): “If others tell us something, we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don’t understand, we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions” (pg. 68)
    • Making these assumptions comes from our agreements about communication: “The assumptions are made…because we have agreements to communicate this way…When we believe something, we assume we are right about it to the point that we will destroy relationships in order to defend our position” (pg. 68)
    • Our biggest assumption is that everyone operates the way we do: “We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way we do. We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge, and abuse the way we abuse. This is the biggest assumption that humans make” (pg. 69)
    • We make assumptions about ourselves, which often leads us to overestimate/underestimate ourselves: “We also make assumptions about ourselves, and this creates a lot of inner conflict…You overestimate or underestimate yourself because you haven’t taken the time to ask yourself questions and answer them” (pg. 69)
    • We try to justify why we like someone and make assumptions about them (e.g. my love will change them), and get upset when our expectations aren’t met: “Often when you go into a relationship with someone you like, you have to justify why you like that person…Then you make assumptions, and one of the assumptions is ‘My love will change this person.’ But this is not true. Your love will not change anybody. If others change, it’s because they want to change, not because you can change them. Then something happens between the two of you, and you get hurt…Now you have to justify your emotional pain and blame them for your choices” (pg. 70)
    • Accepting others as they are is love; if you’re trying so hard to change them, you probably don’t like them (and expect the same from them): “We don’t need to justify love; it is there or not there. Real love is accepting other people the way they are without trying to change them. If we try to change them, this means we don’t really like them. Of course, if you decide to live with someone, if you make that agreement, it is always better to make that agreement with someone who is exactly the way you want him or her to be. Find someone whom you don’t have to change at all. It is much easier to find someone who is already the way you want him or her to be, instead of trying to change that person. Also, that person must love you just the way you are, so he or she doesn’t have to change you at all” (pgs. 70-71)
    • Asking questions is the antidote to assumptions: “The way to keep yourself from making assumptions is to ask questions. Make sure the communication is clear. If you don’t understand, ask. Have the courage to ask questions until you are clear as you can be, and even then do not assume you know all there is to know about a given situation” (pg. 72)
    • People will respond as they will (as can you) but asking is always available to you: “Also, find your voice to ask for what you want. Everybody has the right to tell you no or yes, but you always have the right to ask. Likewise, everybody has the right to ask you, and you have the right to say yes or no” (pg. 72)
    • Clear communication improves our relationships and make our word more impeccable: “With clear communication, all of your relationships will change, not only with your partner, but with everyone else…If we communicate in this way, our word becomes impeccable” (pg. 73)
    • Becoming aware of habits/agreements is a good first step, but action, repetition and automaticity are what you want to aim for next: “We have all these habits and routines that we are not even aware of. Becoming aware of these habits and understanding the importance of this agreement is the first step. But understanding its importance is not enough…Taking the action over and over again strengthens your will, nurtures the seed, and establishes a solid foundation for the new habit to grow. After many repetitions these new agreements will become second nature” (pgs. 73-74)
    • The author’s description of the Toltec path to personal freedom: “When you transform your whole dream, magic just happens in your life. What you need comes to you easily because spirit moves freely through you. This is the mastery of intent, the mastery of the spirit, the mastery of love, the mastery of gratitude, and the mastery of life. This is the goal of the Toltec. This is the path to personal freedom” (pg. 74)
  16. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Still alive. Things have been busy, so no notes for the time being.

    I wanted to take this opportunity to mention that Gabe Deem uploaded another video. Only twenty minutes, and a worthwhile watch. Please check it out if you're interested.

    Take care
  17. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    Sorry for the late reply. In my phone the app has a german name, but when I open it it just says "Nature Sounds" and the developer is Dream-Studio (I hope it's ok to write the name here, since it's not my own app).

    I hope you're doing well.
    NewStart19 likes this.
  18. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member


    Thanks for getting back to me about that. Appreciate it.

    I looked for the app, and while it is available on Google Play, I couldn't find it on the App Store. There were some other ostensibly similar apps there, so maybe I will try one of them out or look for something on YouTube. I remember seeing some videos in the past that blended soundscapes with the sounds of nature.


    Still no notes, but I will definitely share them when I have something new. Everything else in my life is being maintained, and while there have been some interruptions in my non-fiction reading hobby with respect to going through full-length books, the history reading has been unaffected and my current events reading is still going strong (almost done with the current issue of The Economist). I had the time to finish Fargo S4. I mentioned this earlier, but it was fun to have an infusion of some entertaining, fictitious plot in my life.

    There is a Japanese panel show that I was going through for a time a few months back, but I suppose I got burnt out with watching it. The episodes can be quite long, and the contents are often 'boring' in a certain sense, but since I only had three episodes left, I decided to jump back into it, and now there is only one left. Hope to finish that last episode within the week. I also watched half of David Fincher's newest movie Mank last night. He's one director that I've seen all the films of (minus Mank), so I decided to give it a watch since it was just sitting there available on Netflix. I hope to watch the second half of it sometime by the end of next week.

    I also recently started weekly 'expeditions' as I now like to refer to them, where I basically go outside for an extended period of time--ideally in nature but not limited to that--and walk around, see the sights, perhaps interact with some passersby etc. This is my third week since I've started. Last week ultimately resulted in nothing as the place I visited closed just when I arrived, but I was pleased that I was able to accept the intent of going (it was in the evening and raining, which created an additional barrier to wanting to go) as sufficiently fulfilling in and of itself. But aside from that, there isn't much to say. I'll try to upload pictures like last time if I successfully complete my outing this weekend. Fingers crossed.

    The process of recovery is often quite hellacious. And I'll leave it at that.

    Take care
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
  19. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    I find it always difficult to interact with strangers, but when I am relaxed I notice that sometimes out of nothing I talk or smile to someone, surpising myself with it. It is always so satisfactory and can make my day.
    NewStart19 and Thelongwayhome27 like this.
  20. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Ditto. It's such a pleasant feeling when it happens spontaneously, naturally, without having planned for it. It's cheesy to say but it's almost like the Universe is winking at me at those moments. Guess such level of happiness and joy resulting from it shows what I want deep down ; a sense of connection with others without trying to pretend I'm someone else.
    NewStart19 likes this.

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