A Better Tomorrow

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

  1. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    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)
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  2. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

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

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Below is the 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: May 20, 2021
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  4. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Alright, here are some more notes from 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)
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
  5. -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.
     
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  6. 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.
     
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  7. 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.
     
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  8. Rudolf Geyse

    Rudolf Geyse Well-Known Member

    Stay the course, NS19.
     
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  9. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Cool man, sounds like you're doing pretty okay !

    Nice pics you've been posting from your field trips ! Cool hobby too.
     
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  10. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    Hi, sorry for the late reply! In the Netherlands people do not tend to just talk to strangers as easily as in Southern Europe for instance, but when someone does it is almost always appreciated. I guess that people here like to connect to others, but are also a bit afraid to stand out of the crowd. I have to say that there is quite a separation in that between the more catholic south and the protestant, calvinistic north. And between cities and villages. About Sweden, a friend of mine who lived in Sweden for a while told me that the Swedish really need some more time to have the ice broken.
     
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  11. dark red drifter vessel

    dark red drifter vessel Well-Known Member

    Don't matter, back into the saddle with you. :3
     
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  12. dark red drifter vessel

    dark red drifter vessel Well-Known Member

    Two things: I admire your attention to detail in your posts.

    And I ordered my first electric toothbrush this weekend AND had my first deep clean today. (It was fun. I had to spit from reflex at some point, but since me and Ms Dental connected on a blunt weapon of force humor level it was all in good fun).

    Funny synchronicity.
     
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  13. Professor Chaos

    Professor Chaos Well-Known Member

    We invested in a high priced tooth brush. My wife wanted to get one and I couldn’t see the point. However after a couple of years it’s saved us a small fortune in dental bills. Highly recommend.

    PC
     
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  14. Pete McVries

    Pete McVries Well-Known Member

    As long as you're not following her on insta we're good ;)
     
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  15. Professor Chaos

    Professor Chaos Well-Known Member

    Well done mate! That’s a huge number of hours that you have taken back. That’s a huge accomplishment. I certainly noticed huge boosts in my productivity and learning from going P free.

    I also identify with the quest for never ending novelty. That’s where it really gets it’s hooks into you. The mix of the sexual roulette wheel and they constant updating.

    the important thing I have found is rediscovering passions that I used to have more energy for. Do you have something you are working on or working towards?

    congrats again.
    PC.
     
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  16. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    Alright, so let's start with Wack:

    A new life (how to heal—permanently) (pg. 60)
    • Quitting PMO is not a cure-all; it is a transformative process that allows one to live without artificial, empty satisfaction: “You have already read about how PMO can alter us and what benefits we may see upon quitting, but what comes in between is our transformation. I do not use that word lightly. Quitting PMO is not a cure-all that will change us into our ideal selves, but it does help clear the way for greater changes, which in turn will give us strength and reason not to return to bad old habits. This journey is not about altering just one aspect of our lives: it is about transforming ourselves into men who no longer require such artificial, empty satisfaction.” (pg. 60)
    • While others may benefit, this guide to recovery is for those who struggle: “Some will find it not very difficult to stop using porn, and by now those of you in this group have the information you need to decide if this is what you want to do. Many who want to quit, however, find themselves facing severe cravings and relapsing several times before realizing that they may not have the ability to break through this addiction without help. This guide is specifically for those men, but anyone who wants to leave behind his vices and strengthen himself and his relationships may benefit from it.” (pg. 60)
    • In the author’s view, there are only two paths forward for problematic porn users (using or completely removing): “There are only two real paths available to the problematic porn user. Path #1:…Continue to enjoy porn…Path #2: Realize how much porn use has hurt you and that PMO is completely incompatible with the person you want to be.” (pg. 60)
    • Some see an illusory, third path; keep using, but just use it a lot less; the problem is that the possibility of relapse will always remain: “Most porn addicts…will try to walk down…Path #3: PMO has hurt you, sure, and yes you need to take a break for awhile and greatly reduce your use, but never watch porn again?...You can enjoy all the benefits of quitting porn while still occasionally indulging…Unfortunately, there are major drawbacks to keeping porn as a part of your life—even a very small part…On path #3, porn always remains a possibility, and so those pathways will never die…You do not need to give a dog a treat every time it does a trick in order for it to continue following commands; you only need to give it a treat occasionally. It is the possibility of a treat that keeps the dog a slave to old habits. If you withhold treats for long enough, eventually the dog will stop obeying your commands, and if you abstain from PMO for long enough, eventually you will lose interest in it and move on with your life.” (pg. 61)
    • The author then lists 13 steps to serve as a guide for those who want to successfully recover: 1. Get Angry, 2. Get Excited, 3. Get Informed, 4. Purge, 5. Burn Bridges, 6. Abstain and Reboot, 7. Avoid Triggers, 8. Track, 9. Share, 10. Fill the Void, 11. Rewire, 12. Commit, 13. Relapse; they are covered in the following bullet points
    • Think of all you have lost and all that has been damaged by your addiction, and use this feeling to see PMO for what it is (a waste): “1. Get angry. If you have read this far and consider yourself a porn addict, then your habit has insidiously impacted every part of your life. You have been wasting your best years chasing an empty dopamine high when you could have been building valuable relationships, accomplishing personal goals, and contributing to your community and the world. Cultivate a disgust for the waste that is PMO.” (pg. 62)
    • Focus on and get excited about the future benefits of recovery (this will help with endurance in the long run): “2. Get excited. By now you have read about all of the benefits that you will enjoy by getting past your porn addiction. You will have more energy, confidence, focus, and sexual strength than you ever remember experiencing. You will leave behind shame, self-doubt, secrets and lies. Do you not want to reach this state as quickly as possible? Anger and disgust at your addiction and your past self will help you start this journey, but in order to remain strong and committed over long days and weeks, focus on your hope for the future.” (pg. 62)
    • Learn about addiction and recovery, then look for information that pertains more to your journey: “3. Get informed. Knowledge is power, and you need to know everything that you can learn about porn addiction and recovery…it is up to you to seek out the scientific and anecdotal information that best relates to your journey.” (pg. 62)
    • Your case isn’t as unique as you think (i.e. you aren’t as alone as you think), but you have to search for info and ask questions: “Often people feel as though they are the only ones to experience their problems…but this is an illusion. There are billions of humans on this planet, and there are no unique problems. Thanks to the Internet, it is no longer difficult to dispel the illusion of being alone with your issues, but you have to pursue the information…Read both general information and individual stories. If you still have questions, post them to one of the many online communities built around recovery.” (pg. 63)
    • Write down your sexual history and be honest to better understand your story; learn what led you here, and then craft your goals: “4. Purge. You have a sexual history, even if you are a never-been-kissed virgin. Write it down in all of its brutal specificity…if you leave something out because it shames you then you are cheating yourself out of the benefits of this step. The writing process will serve as an introspective journey into your past, and when you finish you will have a better understanding of your own story and how you became the man that you need to change…End this project by writing down your mission and your goals: what you want to accomplish and what benefits you hope to earn.” (pg. 63)
    • Use the SMART and SMARTER acronyms to come up with or optimize goals: “Whatever your goals, when writing them it is important to compose them in a way that facilitates their success…[use] the SMART acronym. A goal should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound…make your SMART goals SMARTER by Evaluating and Revising them.” (pgs. 63-64)
    • If you have any type of collection, get rid of it: “5. Burn Bridges. You have a porn collection. It might be DVDs under your mattress, magazines in your sock drawer, bookmarked streaming videos, saved files on your hard drive—whatever. Delete it. Burn it. Throw it all away.” (pg. 64)
    • The reboot allows your sexual response system to rest, makes you less dependent on PMO, and creates space for desire with a real partner (but you should avoid artificial sexual stimulation): “6. Abstain and reboot. The first leg of the healing process is known as the ‘reboot.’ Its purpose is to give your sexual response system a rest and allow your neurological dependency on PMO to weaken so that you can replace it with a stronger desire for real partners. But because this wiring for PMO is so strong and easily reinforced, it is imperative that you avoid all sexual stimulation that is not a real, attractive person in front of you.” (pg. 64)
    • But advice diverges at this point: some suggest MO to healthy fantasy, others just to sensation, and others recommend no MO: “This is where advice diverges depending on whom you ask and what case you consider. Some believe that fantasy and masturbation is fine and even beneficial as long as the fantasy is far removed from porn-like scenes…Another option is—if you are able—to masturbate only to sensation. Imagine nothing, look at nothing provocative…and enjoy the physical sensations…How well either of these options work or whether they are the right approaches for you depends entirely on your individual situation. The distinct disadvantage of these methods is that they do not allow your sexual response system the rest that many recovering addicts find necessary. For men who cannot find a partner to rewire with, these may be good recourses after an initial reboot of complete abstention…However, masturbation to fantasy or sensation is still masturbation. And more natural masturbation is probably not your end goal. If you want healthy, enjoyable sex with a partner and are having trouble achieving it, then masturbation of any type will likely slow your progress. This is especially true for men who have noticed physical desensitization of the penis due to consistent masturbation. The best way to re-sensitize the penis to the touch of a partner is with complete abstention.” (pgs. 64-65)
    • The rebooter should also consider what to do about fantasy (and what’s deeper: your need for porn or your need for fantasy): “The same applies to fantasy without masturbation. The more you do it, the more you reinforce the habit that sexual arousal happens when you are alone and in your head rather than with a partner and focused on real stimuli…Around this time is when men realize how powerful their addictions are and whether they are more dependent on porn or if the porn habit is built on top of a more deeply rooted need for fantasy. You have to decide for yourself if life would be better in the long term with or without sexual fantasy and masturbation, but abstaining at least during your reboot will likely quicken the healing process.” (pg. 65)
    • Edging: People who edge greatly exacerbate their addiction due to prolonged dopamine exposure (and often mistakenly think ejaculation is the problem): “Edging is masturbation without orgasm and usually involves approaching climax and then pulling back several times, resulting in longer sessions. People enjoy doing this because they are addicted to the dopamine rush that porn or fantasy provide. These users think that indulging does them no harm as long as they avoid ejaculation, but they are wrong. You do not need to orgasm in order to reinforce your PMO or MO addiction, and edging is relapsing. In terms of dopamine re-sensitization, edging is more harmful than PMO because by delaying orgasm we lengthen the heightened dopamine exposure.” (pgs. 65-66)
    • Testing yourself can be damaging; if you do it, make sure you’ve thought it out carefully: “Beware ‘testing’ yourself…This mentality can easily lead to relapse, so do no test too soon before your commitment has been cemented by action. If you do decide to test, make sure that you come to this decision over several days of reasoned thinking…Many men agree that after a 60- or 90-day reboot is the best time to test. They recommend only using sensation—no fantasy or visualization” (pg. 66)
    • Not testing is an option (plus testing alone doesn’t necessarily tell you how things will work with a partner): “Not testing yourself by yourself is also an option. How you perform alone is probably not a good predictor of how you will respond to a partner” (pg. 66)
    • Living without a sexual outlet may feel hard, but is doable (you won’t die without masturbation or orgasm): “Going without sexual release for weeks (much less months) may seem daunting, especially if you have come to rely on masturbation to suppress emotions, to fall asleep, or for any other reason. Sometimes it will feel as if your craving for porn or masturbation will just keep growing and growing until you have to give in, but this is an illusion. Craving comes in waves, and all you need to do to reach still waters again is to remain focused and let the wave pass. There is no physiological requirement to masturbate to orgasm.” (pg. 66)
    • Triggers can be obvious or subtle, but avoid them as much as possible for the first few weeks (they get easier to deal with over time); try to be thorough in identifying them: “7. Avoid triggers. ‘Triggers’ are cues or influences that start you back down the path to PMO. Triggers may be obvious…They also may be more subtle…It is especially important during the first few weeks of a reboot that you shun triggers as much as possible, though once you have built a solid foundation of strength and abstention you should find it easier to ignore triggers…You must do some critical thinking about what your triggers may be in order to preempt them. Be honest with yourself.” (pgs. 66-67)
    • Online protection and ad-prevention software can help prevent unwanted triggers (but they aren’t flawless): “Many men use web protection software like K9 to block adult content from their devices. Software like this can be helpful, but it is not flawless. Do not substitute it for your own willpower. Its best function is to prevent accidental viewings and give you a little more time to change your mind…I also recommend ad-prevention software to block potential triggers, such as Adblock Plus” (pg. 67)
    • You may want to reduce or temporarily/permanently remove substances (which are a common trigger): “Substances are a common trigger. If you get horny and lose willpower after using alcohol, marijuana, etc., then reduce your use or cut those substances out of your life completely—at least for the duration of your reboot.” (pg. 67)
    • Trigger test – Are you aroused by or pushed toward MO because of some stimulus? Then stop engaging it and come up with a precaution to preempt it: “If in doubt as to whether something is a trigger, there is a simple test that you can perform. Are you turned on or experiencing an increased urge to MO due to some stimulus or situation that is not a real partner? Yes? Then stop immediately and preempt that trigger so that it does not threaten your progress again.” (pgs. 67-68)
    • Subjectively and objectively track your progress: “8. Track. Monitor your progress, both subjectively and objectively. Subjectively, keep a journal in which you write your feelings, goals, experiences, temptations, etc…Objectively, mark days on a calendar or otherwise.” (pg. 68)
    • Counters can become double-edged swords, so try using a spreadsheet: “If you relapse, though, then a counter can serve as a reminder of your failure and an excuse to binge after one reset. In this case merely tracking the length of a streak starts to do more harm than good, and you should instead or in addition keep a spreadsheet that counts each relapse, the nature of the relapse, and the stimuli you relapsed to. Add whatever details you think will be useful to you. This spreadsheet method helps reinforce the fact that progress is not always all-or-nothing and that relapse is a setback but not a complete reset to your former self.” (pg. 68)
    • Share you past and present experiences, struggles, and efforts with others anonymously or in real life: “9. Share…share your past history and present struggle with others. The easy way to start opening up is by posting to an anonymous online support community…These communities can be a great source of information and emotional support, but do not stop at sharing anonymously. You need at least one person in your real life to whom you can open up. There are two reasons for this. First, the people you tell in real life can provide more concrete support for you on your journey.” (pg. 68)
    • Sharing in real life gives you stronger support and breaks down your self-limiting barrier that defends your ego: “Second, and most importantly, you must break through the barriers that you have set up over the years to keep your ego safe. You do not need them anymore. Not only do these barriers keep other people out: they also keep you locked in.” (pg. 68)
    • By sharing yourself with others, you accept yourself better and create a perennial sense of self-worth: “The true power of this step is that by sharing yourself you accept yourself, and by accepting yourself you acknowledge your own value—acquiring a sense of self-worth that can be an ever-present source of strength. This is your life, and it is time to stop hiding.” (pg. 69)
    • The ladder of destructive sexual action – the first rung is feel bad, the second is keep it to myself, and the third is the action itself: “Gerry Blasingame is a counselor who treats sexually compulsive developmentally disabled persons…Blasingame mapped the path to destructive sexual action in the form of a ladder. The top rung is ‘Bad Sex Behavior’, but to get there one has to climb the lower steps. The first rung on the ladder: ‘Feel Bad’. As recovering addicts…we are tempted in the hard moments…Feeling bad is an unavoidable part of life, so you will find yourself on the first rung of the ladder to relapse often. The second rung is ‘Keep It to Myself.’ Addiction thrives on isolation and secrecy. When we keep our pain private, it can seem overwhelming and insurmountable and lead us back to dark places. But the mere act of sharing your struggle with another person can lighten the burden immensely…Make yourself vulnerable and request help if you need it.” (pgs. 69-70)
    • Accountability software can be helpful: “If you do not trust yourself to succeed alone and need a friend to help you not use, consider installing ‘accountability software’ onto your devices. Such software monitors your online activity and sends reports to an email address of your choosing.” (pg. 70)
    • Deletion isn’t enough; you need to add things to fill the void: “10. Fill the void…Once you begin to abstain, you may realize that you used PMO in order to regulate your emotions, cover up negative feelings, and/or avoid having to confront your greater responsibilities and goals. It will not work just to remove PMO and hope for the best. You must fill the empty space left in your life by your absent addiction.” (pg. 70)
    • There are three great starting points for addition – physical fitness, finding passion and purpose, and developing social skills (pg. 71)
    • Physical fitness is an outlet for excess energy, combats depression, and improves health/mood/self-confidence: Physical fitness…it serves as a great outlet for excess energy, but when done right exercise will also improve your health, mood, and self-confidence. We are more vulnerable to relapse when feeling bad, and regular exercise has been shown to be just as effective as antidepressants in treating clinical depression.” (pg. 71)
    • Combine that with time in the sun, meditation & yoga, and improved diet for further benefits: “Exercise outside whenever possible. Sunlight has been shown to benefit health and mood as well…Some find that meditation in conjunction with yoga…helps them to achieve the self-awareness and self-control that is valuable to this journey. As important to physical and mental fitness as exercise is the fuel we put inside our bodies…In general, avoid heavily processed foods in favor of whole foods close to how they appear in nature—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.” (pg. 71)
    • Passions fascinate us, challenge us, and make our lives feel fuller; but it is purpose that provides true satisfaction:Passions and purpose…Passions are those activities and pursuits that fascinate and challenge you. Passions are what can fill your hours and leave you with a sense of pride rather than a sense of emptiness…Find yours and pursue them, but also recognize that they are side dishes. Passions are yummy and can make an underwhelming entrée more palatable, but to find true satisfaction we need purpose.” (pgs. 71-72)
    • If you have a good idea of what your purpose is, work on it; otherwise, it is up to you to find it (either through self-exploration or experimentation): “Do not gloss over this step, as this is the step most likely to help you succeed in this journey and in your life. If you already know what your purpose is…then there is no better time than now to throw yourself into that pursuit…If you do not know what you want out of this life, you must figure it out. No one can do this for you…The truth is that your head probably does not know what is right for you, either, which is why you must listen to your body…When confronted with a life-altering choice, close your eyes and visualize each option one at a time…As you visualize, remain aware of how your body reacts…The precise physical signs vary from individual to individual, but the principle applies to everyone…If you have no options to consider or all of them are shoulder-scrunchers, then you really must just start living. Experiment…Simply put, live as much as possible until you encounter that which feels right, and then heed that feeling.” (pgs. 72-73)
    • Recovery will have a noticeable effect on social skills and experiences, but remember that deeper connection comes from being vulnerable around others: Social skills…Whatever your previous level of social acumen, undertaking this journey will likely increase both your ability and your motivation to enjoy time with others.” (pg. 73)
    • Deep connections with others come from being vulnerable, and being okay with being vulnerable makes you more resistant to shame: “However, whether your goal is to meet new romantic partners or friends, know that you can only foster deep connections with others if you are willing to expose your vulnerabilities. The more people you allow to accept you for who you are, the less shame will hold you down and the stronger you will be at pursuing your new life.” (pg. 73)
    • Rewiring is mostly feeling and being physically close with your partner; with time, you will recondition yourself: “A big part of rewiring is simply being close with your partner, cuddling, kissing, and associating warm, sexual feelings with his or her presence. Over time you will condition your sexual response system to react to genuine rather than artificial stimuli, and real sex should only continue to get easier and better for you.” (pg. 74)
    • Everyone’s journey is different, but if you still experience physical difficulties, you may want to take a break from sex and orgasm (you can also leave your dependency on sex and orgasm behind): “Knowing when to start having sex again is difficult, and each man must experiment and find the timetable that works best for him…If you suffer from sexual dysfunction or believe that you are not enjoying sex as much as you should, however, then you may need a deliberate period of rest in order to re-sensitize your sexual response system. Know that continuing to have sex and reach orgasm soon after quitting PMO may slow this healing process considerably. Additionally, if you are accustomed to frequent sexual release, then this period of complete abstinence will show you that you can live without indulging lust.” (pg. 74)
    • The author’s general estimates for reboot duration for younger and older men: “Depending on the depth and consistency of your PMO abuse, you may need a longer or shorter reboot before you feel ready to rewire. Older men especially find that they need less reboot time in order to return to the sexual pathways they wired in their youth—approximately one or two months. Younger men who grew up on porn or who started using PMO before having real sex may need much longer. Many encounter success with 90 days, but you may need half of a year or more—or less. I recommend a minimum of 30 days without sexual release for all men on this journey. If you suffer from PIED and want to see a specific physical sign of recovery before trying to have sex, wait until you get strong erections just from passionate kissing.” (pg. 74)
    • If you have a partner, you should keep them fully updated to limit expectations and maximize the degree of help you can receive: “If you already have a romantic partner…you should keep your partner completely updated on your journey. The only way that he or she can fully help you is if you are open about the intimacies of your struggle…What you want to accomplish with this conversation is to limit expectations; if you do not, then expectations may end up limiting you.” (pgs. 74-75)
    • You still may experience performance anxiety after PIED has healed, so try and think less about erections and orgasms when being intimate: “Since PIED feeds performance anxiety and vice versa, you may still have trouble getting and maintaining an erection after a reboot simply because you are anxious about the results…do not worry about your erection or reaching orgasm. Know that it will happen eventually and that there is no need to rush it. Just have fun.” (pg. 75)
    • If you have DE, desensitization, or decreased libido after orgasm, make sure to only allow climax through a partner’s touch: “If you have DE or desensitization or your libido is greatly decreased over the days following orgasm…you should not use your hands to ‘finish yourself off’ during sex…If you cannot reach climax solely with the touch of a partner, then do not climax. This may take some willpower in the moment, but it will cue your body that sensitivity needs to increase in order to orgasm.” (pg. 75)
    • The Chaser Effect: “…some men find that frequent orgasm with a partner (especially during the first few months of their recovery) drains them of focus, energy, and libido—or it intensifies cravings for PMO in what is called the ‘chaser effect’.” (pg. 75)
    • The steps mentioned so far (or a combination of them) constitute true commitment; there’s a difference between actively living out your recovery and merely setting goals for it: “You may have noticed that the most important step has so far been left out of this list, but that is because each item above embodies it. The twelfth step is to commit to your new life. With the completion of each step, you are committing further and further to this journey. This commitment will shape your new reality…Understand that this commitment must exist at a deeper level than you are used to. You have probably ‘committed’ to endeavors in the past that you failed, but those were not true commitments. Those were goals, and goals can be missed. So do not think of this journey as a goal…you do not have to struggle with this decision because it is not really a decision…it is simply a fact of your underlying reality.” (pgs. 75-76)
    • Lived experience varies from person to person, and the same can be said for the criteria of recovery; just make sure you don’t omit any out of fear: “This list is designed to give you the best possible opportunity to heal yourself. That said, this is not a homework assignment. This is your life. Only you are in charge of your journey. There is no one right way to do this, and there are men who have successfully healed themselves without completing one or more of these steps—only you can decide what is right for you. Each addict is addicted to a varying degree, and some will be able to free themselves more easily and casually than others. Before you decide against completing any of these steps, however, ask yourself whether your decision to skip it is determined by fear: fear of commitment, shame, embarrassment, change, etc. If the answer is yes, then you are allowing fear to dictate your life. You have to decide if you can accept that.” (pg. 76)
    • There are many things that can be learned from a relapse: “13. Relapse…A relapse despite your best efforts can teach you many things: how strong your addiction is, what your triggers are, how your mind rationalizes PMO use, how you react emotionally to a relapse, etc.” (pgs. 76-77)
    • To successfully deal with a relapse means not dwelling on it and forgiving yourself, critically analyzing it, and then planning for the future: “The first step in dealing with a relapse is to forgive yourself. Regret the mistake, but do not regret who you are, for it is human to make mistakes…Second, analyze critically how it happened and how you feel about it…Then plan for the future, deciding how you will better avoid triggers and deal with urges…do not dwell on failure; this increases the urge to make yourself feel better by giving in again…Instead, be content with the new knowledge you have acquired and get excited about how it will help you to accomplish your goals.” (pg. 77)
    • If you find yourself continually relapsing, you may not be ready to quit; try focusing less on quitting and more on enhancing the positive aspects of your life so that you one day can beat the addiction: “If you continuously relapse, however, then you must consider the possibility that you are not ready to live without PMO. If so, stop trying to quit for awhile. Enjoy your PMO sessions and then move on, as berating yourself afterward only brings more negative energy into your life. Instead, just channel your focus into something productive that you are passionate about…After enough time enhancing the positive aspects of your life, you may find yourself strong and confident enough to move on from PMO.” (pg. 77)
    • There are tactics for those that don’t want to temporarily give up on quitting, but focus on 1-2 instead of all to better evaluate them: “If the proposition of delaying your new, PMO-free life even for that long disgusts you, however, then I have some more tactics for you. Each tactic is a tool in your willpower toolbox that, if used properly, can help you become the person you want to be. Instead of trying to employ all of them at once, focus and commit to one or two at a time in order to fairly evaluate its value in your own journey.” (pg. 77)
    • Tactic #1 – Understand the difference between guilt and shame, and release yourself from the shackles of the latter: Free yourself of shame…Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders. And here’s what you even need to know more: guilt—inversely correlated with these things. Guilt is what we feel after making a choice that goes against our ideals. Shame is what we feel when we believe that we are fundamentally bad, unsalvageable. Guilt is a powerful tool that drives us toward being the person we want to be. Shame is an anchor. You can and should let go of that anchor.” (pgs. 77-78)
    • Tactic #2 – Reframe the recovery process as giving up a better future, rather than as giving up PMO: Reframe your reality. We humans tend to want to hold onto what we have. Losing what we already see as ours hurts more than receiving something new helps, even if there is a rational net gain. So visualize yourself months from now and free of addiction, enjoying the benefits of recovery and the resolution of whatever problems brought you to this guide. You are happier, healthier, and more productive than ever before. Now accept that this future is what will happen—it is yours to lose. No one can take it from you but yourself.” (pg. 78)
    • Tactic #3 – Monitor your urges and determine if they are what you actually want, or if they are interfering with your greater goals, plans, or commitments: Cultivate mindfulness…We make the majority of our decisions on autopilot…Our limbic systems want social acceptance, fatty foods, and sleep, and this is good because all of them are beneficial in the right amounts. But because we live in a modern environment where overindulgence is a constant danger, we have to train our conscious minds to monitor those urges and make the final call about whether we truly want these things right now or if they are getting in the way of our grander commitments…The way we train this skill is by consistently reminding ourselves to be conscious of our thoughts and actions.” (pg. 79)
    • Specific technique for Tactic #3 – Whenever you have to exercise willpower for your addiction, write down your choices, then circle the choice you will make (you can switch to verbalizing this once it becomes second nature); if you circle your temptation, narrate the process aloud while you follow through with your decision: “Carry a piece of paper and pen with you. Whenever it comes time to make a willpower decision concerning your addiction…write down your choices. This will likely have something to do with your triggers…Circle the choice that you make, then do it…Once you practice this technique enough, you can just verbalize the choices to yourself rather than bothering with writing them down…If you do circle the choice that aligns with your unwanted temptation, then narrate your thought process out loud as you follow through with that decision.” (pg. 79)
    • Tactic #4 – Don’t try to control cravings or thoughts; instead, observe them and see that you don’t have to respond in the usual way: Accept your thoughts, control your actions. Part of cultivating mindfulness is learning to watch your own thoughts without trying to control or banish them…Instead, when a craving or thought about using rises, just breathe and observe your own mind and body…Accept that you are having these thoughts and feelings, examine them like a scientist studying wildlife…This process will teach you that your cravings do not control you…This technique takes a few tries to get good at, so practice and perfect it on less consequential cravings” (pg. 80)
    • Tactic #5 – Practice concentration meditation (the author recommends breathing as your anchor): Meditate. A proven way to strengthen your mindfulness muscles is through breath meditation. For as little as five minutes each day, sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on the sensation of your breath. Do not try to control it. Just observe and feel the inhalations and exhalations. If you notice other thoughts popping into your head or your attention wandering, simply take note of it and shift your focus back to the breath. Do not get angry at yourself for slipping or try to push these thoughts away. The goal of this practice is not to maintain a blissfully clear mind, but to notice when your thoughts wander and to nudge your focus back into line.” (pg. 80)
    • Tactic #6 – When you feel near the point of no return, tell yourself to abstain for just 10 minutes, and continue this process for as long as you can or until urges subside: Take 10 minutes…when you feel like you absolutely have to look at porn or masturbate, just abstain for 10 minutes…Ideally, you should use those 10 minutes to move yourself to a different environment, breathe, reactivate your mindfulness, remind yourself of your goals, and then start another activity…When the 10 minutes are up, you may find that the craving has dissipated…you may still want to relapse but can give it another 10 minutes, and then maybe another 10 after that…Or maybe you do give in after the 10 minutes, but at least you gave it 10 minutes, and that is a lot better than what you used to do.” (pg. 81)
    • Tactic #7 – Confront your trigger in a controlled manner; if that’s too daunting, come up with safe ways to do so: Extinguish triggers. If you find that the triggers you cannot avoid are overpowering you, you can take away their power by repeatedly confronting them in a controlled manner…Do this many times over many days and your brain will adapt to dismiss the former trigger instead of expecting PMO to follow. If you are afraid that you will just give in to the urge rather than breaking the cycle, first try this in a safe environment such as in public or with a friend present.” (pg. 81)
    • Tactic #8 – Raise the stakes of relapse by adding additional penalties: Raise the stakes. In the heat of the moment, it can be all too easy to forget why it is important not to just give in, so make it important enough that you cannot forget. For example, identify a charity, cause, or political party that goes against everything you believe in. Donate $100 to it every time you relapse, no exceptions.” (pg. 81)
    • Tactic #9 – Change your environment to break up your current way of doing things and eliminate potential triggers: Change your environment…the little world each of us lives in settles into a certain way of doing things, and to resist this momentum is like swimming upstream: usually doable but very difficult. If you need to transform your life, sometimes it is easier just to get out of the stream and walk somewhere else. You can change your environment in small ways…But you can also change your environment in drastic ways…Just be wary to not return to bad old habits when you return to an old environment.” (pg. 82)
    • Tactic #10 – Redefine your relationship to relapse and urges (from fear and fighting them to trust and levity): Lighten up. It is easy to become exhausted if you feel as though you constantly have to resist urges, but the beautiful and horrible truth about our own unwanted cravings is that they only have as much power as we give them. If you fear relapse then you allow for the possibility of relapse. If you fight urges as though they are opponents, then you give them a chance at victory. Instead, trust yourself. Decide to change and know that it will happen. You have complete control over this change, so there is no reason to doubt its certainty—it is not as if someone will force you to relapse. Once you trust yourself, urges are more like crickets chirping at your feet than formidable opponents. They are noticeable, but all they can make you do is smile in amusement as you move on with your life. When you wake up in the morning and the thought of relapse crosses your mind, laugh, shake your head at the funny joke, and go make yourself some oatmeal.” (pg. 82)
    Now on to The Four Agreements:

    Chapter 5: The Fourth Agreement – Always Do Your Best (pg. 75)
    • The Fourth Agreement is always do your best (pg. 75
    • Accept that the quality of your best will not always be the same: “But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good.” (pgs. 75-76)
    • Time will change the quality of your best (as does your implementation of the four agreements): “Regardless of the quality, keep doing your best—no more and no less than your best. If you try too hard to do more than your best, you will spend more energy than is needed and in the end your best will not be enough. When you overdo, you deplete your body and go against yourself, and it will take you longer to accomplish your goal. But if you do less than your best, you subject yourself to frustrations, self-judgment, guilt, and regrets” (pg. 77)
    • The fourth agreement removes the possibility of self-judgment: “…if you always do your best, there is no way you can judge yourself. And if you don’t judge yourself, there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment.” (pg. 77)
    • The fourth agreement makes taking action the reward, instead of predicating the need for action on a reward: “Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you’re expecting a reward. Most people do exactly the opposite: They only take action when they expect a reward, and they don’t enjoy the action. And that’s the reason why they don’t do their best.” (pg. 79)
    • Why doing your best releases you from self-judgment: “When you do your best, you don’t give the Judge the opportunity to find you guilty or to blame you. If you have done your best and the Judge tries to judge you according to your Book of Law, you’ve got the answer: ‘I did my best.’ The are no regrets.” (pg. 80)
    • Self-acceptance is important but don’t forget to practice and learn from your mistakes: “When you do your best you learn to accept yourself. But you have to be aware and learn from your mistakes. Learning from your mistakes means you practice, look honestly at the results, and keep practicing. This increases your awareness.” (pg. 81)
    • How to know that you’re doing your best: “You know you’re doing your best when you are enjoying the action or doing it in a way that will not have negative repercussions for you.” (pg. 81)
    • Expressing our existence means we are living fully, and we do this by taking action; otherwise, we are inactive and deny our lives: “Action is about living fully. Inaction is sitting in front of the television every day for years because you are afraid to be alive and to take the risk of expressing what you are. Expressing what you are is taking action. You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward.” (pg. 82)
    • Expressing our existence should include an awareness that allows others to do the same: “Taking action is being alive. It’s taking the risk to go out and express your dream. This is different than imposing your dream on someone else, because everyone has the right to express his or her dream.” (pg. 82)
    • Living in the past robs you of your ability to fully live in the present: “If you live in a past dream, you don’t enjoy what is happening right now because you will always wish it to be different than it is. There is no time to miss anyone or anything because you are alive. Not enjoying what is happening right now is living in the past and being only half alive. This leads to self-pity, suffering, and tears.” (pg. 84)
    • Embracing the fourth agreement allows you to more effectively live with the first three: “The first three agreements will only work if you do your best. Don’t expect that you will always be able to be impeccable with your word. Your routine habits are too strong and firmly rooted in your mind. But you can do your best. Don’t expect you will never take anything personally; just do your best. Don’t expect that you will never make another assumption, but you can certainly do your best.” (pg. 85)
    • Practice makes perfect, and the fourth agreement is no exception: “If you do your best always, over and over again, you will become a master of transformation. Practice makes the master. By doing your best you become the master. Everything you have ever learned, you learned through repetition. You learned to write, to drive, and even to walk by repetition. You are a master of speaking your language because you practiced. Action is what makes the difference.” (pg. 86)
    • The fourth agreement will lead you to love, personal freedom, and health: “If you do your best in the search for personal freedom, in the search for self-love, you will discover that it’s just a matter of time before you find what you are looking for…Respect your body, enjoy your body, love your body, feed, clean, and heal your body. Exercise and do what makes your body feel good…When you practice giving love to every part of your body, you plant seeds of love in your mind, and when they grow, you will love, honor, and respect your body immensely.” (pgs. 86-87)
    • All of these four agreements are a summary of one of the masteries of the Toltec: transformation; you transform an infernal, lived experience into a supernal one: “The Four Agreements are a summary of the mastery of transformation, one of the masteries of the Toltec. You transform hell into heaven. The dream of the planet is transformed into your personal dream of heaven. The knowledge is there; it’s just waiting for you to use it. The Four Agreements are there; you just need to adopt these agreements and respect their meaning and power.” (pg. 88)
    • Upholding these four agreements however, is not easy because the other agreements instilled in us by the dream of the planet are strong; we need to be strong and defend them to go beyond suffering and obtain personal happiness and freedom: “…you must have a very strong will, a very strong will to keep these agreements. Why? Because wherever we go we find that our path is full of obstacles. Everyone tries to sabotage our commitment to these new agreements, and everything around us is a setup for us to break them. The problem is all the other agreements that are a part of the dream of the planet. They are alive, and they are very strong. That's why you need to be a great hunter, a great warrior, who can defend these Four Agreements with your life. Your happiness, your freedom, your entire way of living depends on it. The warrior's goal is to transcend this world, to escape from this hell, and never come back. As the Toltecs teach us, the reward is to transcend the human experience of suffering." (pgs. 88-89)
    • Live in the present, don’t empower thoughts of failure, and always keep trying; you’ll get better with time: “…if you fall, do not judge. Do not give your Judge the satisfaction of turning you into a victim. No, be tough with yourself…If you break an agreement, begin again tomorrow, and again the next day. It will be difficult at first, but each day will become easier and easier, until someday you will discover that you are ruling your life with these Four Agreements…Do not be concerned about the future; keep your attention on today, and stay in the present moment. Just live one day at time.” (pgs. 90-91)
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  17. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    I really like your weekend trips and I look forward to the pictures. Should do something like that more often myself.

    Also thanks for your notes on the books. I think I'll share some of my own notes from books I've read here, too. Since I have them on my laptop, it's just copy&paste (even though some of them are in german, depending on whether I've read the book in english or german. But I think it's a good way to share.
     
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  18. NewStart19

    NewStart19 Well-Known Member

    While I did read the last two sections of Wack, the second was a collection of mostly success stories, so I didn't take any notes on it:

    Johnny’s in his room again (parenting: porn and sex) (pg. 98)

    • Things are no longer how they used to be; young people will learn about sex and sexuality on the internet, but they will encounter a mixed bag of information: “Decades ago children may have been able to find their own way to a healthy romantic life, but home Internet access has changed that. No longer are young persons figuring it out for themselves: instead, the Internet is their teacher, and it has just as much or more potential to teach unhealthy promiscuity, objectification, and addiction as it has to teach healthy sex practices. Sex education has become a race between the Internet and you, the parent.” (pg. 98)
    • Don’t rely on sex ed to properly prepare your kids for sex; it’ll be too late and is usually inadequate: “Neither can parents rely on schools’ sex education classes to teach their children everything they need to know. Most of these classes are woefully inadequate or come too late…children need a home environment in which they are comfortable discussing sex. When parents provide that environment, their children will come to them for answers. If the subject of sex seems at all taboo, uncomfortable, or shameful, then children will seek answers elsewhere.” (pg. 99)
    • What’s a parent to do? Get informed, practice talking about it with friends, and then talk to your kids about it; make sure you talk about it multiple times instead of only once: “The first step toward avoiding this trap is to educate yourself about sex…Learn everything you can, and get comfortable discussing sex with your friends and/or spouse. Children are very receptive, so if you project reluctance or discomfort they will pick up on it and try to eject from an awkward conversation—which is why you must first practice with other adults…Dismiss the idea that there is one ‘sex talk’ that parents have with their children before putting the topic to bed. Sex is a very important part of life, so it should be a common topic of discussion throughout your children’s lives.” (pg. 99)
    • If you learn your child is masturbating, avoid responding in a way that makes them feel ashamed: “If your young child is touching him- or herself or masturbating, do not snap in anger, try to distract him or her, or avoid the topic. Doing any of these things only communicates that sexual pleasure is shameful and not to be talked about, which is an attitude that can last a lifetime.” (pg. 100)
    • If you are asked about sex/sexuality and don’t know or feel unsure, try researching the answer together with your children: “As your children get older, maintain this forthright attitude. If they ask you something that you are not sure about, just admit that you do not know and suggest that you research the answer together. This will allow you an opportunity to demonstrate how good research is done” (pg. 100)
    • If you hold certain views on abstinence or safe sex, explain your views and discuss them instead of enforcing rules: “As far as encouraging abstinence versus safe sex…you are more likely to succeed in fostering a healthy adult if you explain the reasons for your beliefs and open up an honest, comprehensive dialogue rather than just enforcing rules.” (pg. 100)
    • One review of national data showed that teens who received comprehensive sex ed were more likely to abstain from sex and impregnate/get pregnant less than those who received no sex ed or abstinence-only sex ed: “…a University of Washington review of national survey data showed that those who received comprehensive sex education were the least likely to engage in intercourse and 60% less likely than those who received no sex education and 50% less likely than those who received abstinence-only education to get pregnant or impregnate someone during teen years.” (pgs. 100-101)
    • The best time to discuss pornography is when your kids first start using the internet: “As for discussing pornography, the correct time to broach the subject is not after you discover some disturbing web history on the family computer, as this is likely to feel more like a confrontation. Instead, bring it up as soon as your child starts using the Internet.” (pg. 101)
    • To help protect your kids, only allow family computers and use internet accountability software: “You should not allow children to have personal computers in their rooms…Instead, keep a family computer in a common area in which it is easy for anyone to see the screen…Internet accountability software…tracks web use and sends reports to your email, allowing you to keep an account of Internet use in your home and open a discussion with your family if you see anything inappropriate.” (pgs. 101-102)
    • If you find your child using porn, respond calmly and try to spend more time with them in the future: “If you do discover that your child is using porn, whether online or off, it is very important to maintain a calm and easygoing dialogue rather than confronting your child with anger and disappointment…Take it as a sign that your child may need more of your time and attention in positive ways.” (pg. 102)
    • If you have already made a sex-negative environment at home, reflect on past approaches you have experienced and what you would like to change; then, make this taboo topic a more frequent part of conversations and don’t be discouraged if they don’t open up at first (and don’t pressure them to talk): “If you have already created a sex-negative atmosphere in your household and regret it, you are not too late to forge a more honest and open relationship with your children. Think long and hard about how your own parents handled discussions about sex, whether that was healthy or not, how you have discussed sex with your own children, and how you would like to change…Depending on how old they are and your family’s history with sex, shame, etc., your children may already be firmly uncomfortable discussing certain parts of their lives with you and will resist open communication. Do not be discouraged. It will simply take time for them to believe that they are safe talking to you and that they will not be judged, shamed, or punished for being honest…Do not pressure your children to talk to you about their own private lives as this will only cause them to retreat further into their shells. Instead, make sex, drugs, and other taboo topics a more common feature of family conversation.” (pgs. 102-103)
    • Depending on the age/maturity of your child, one way to connect is to talk about your struggle with a vice and how you overcame it (current struggles can work too, but you need to be more careful): “One of the most powerful techniques for helping your child to relax and open up is to share your own story…Show them that you, too, are fallible and vulnerable to temptation, and also that vices can be overcome. Your example of trust and honesty is likely to inspire them to do the same, thought not necessarily right away…On the other hand, do not burden and confuse children too young with your baggage. Teenagers are usually ready to hear about their parents’ flaws, but each child’s needs and capacities are individual and must be assessed by you, the parent…When your struggle…is current, however, disclosure to your children can still be beneficial but must be facilitated with greater care.” (pgs. 103-104)
    • When to disclose and how much to disclose (remember to do it as a team with your spouse): “The degree of disclosure that is appropriate depends on the children’s age and maturity as well as the nature of the issue, though disclosure should always be a united effort by both parents whenever possible. In cases of current sexual addiction in one or both parents, experts suggest disclosing the full nature of the problem no earlier than mid-adolescence, except where the child needs the information for his or her own safety or is in danger of hearing about the problem from another source. Younger children, however, can still be told about their parents’ marital and personal problems in more general terms, along with reassurance that the parents are working hard to solve the issue.” (pg. 104)
    Moving on to The Four Agreements, the notes from the first of the two chapters covered are as follows:

    Chapter 6: The Toltec Path to Freedom – Breaking Old Agreements (pg. 93)

    • We stop ourselves from being truly free because we have forgotten what that means – to be who we really are: “Are we free to be who we really are? The answer is no, we are not free. True freedom has to do with the human spirit—it is the freedom to be who we really are…Who really stops us from being free? We stop ourselves…We have memories of long ago, when we used to be free and we loved being free, but we have forgotten what freedom really means.” (pgs. 93-94)

    • Young children are free because they live completely in the present, living fully as experience: “If we see a child who is two or three, perhaps four years old, we find a free human…As children we are not afraid of the future or ashamed of the past. Our normal human tendency is to enjoy life, to play, to explore, to be happy, and to love.” (pgs. 94-95)
    • In general, adults are not free because their experience is filtered through the systems of agreements wired into their minds: “But, what has happened with the adult human?...What has happened is that we have the Book of Law, the big Judge and the Victim who rules our lives. We are no longer free because the Judge, the Victim, and the belief system don’t allow us to be who we really are. Once our minds have been programmed with all that garbage, we are no longer happy.” (pgs. 95-96)
    • It is not surprising that those whose dreams were domesticated did the same to you, so there is no need to blame them; but to break the cycle, you need to change your agreements: “The chain of training from human to human, from generation to generation, is perfectly normal in human society…They had no control over the programming they received, so they couldn’t have behaved any differently…There is no need to blame your parents or anyone who abused you in your life, including yourself. But it is time to stop the abuse. It is time to free yourself of the tyranny of the Judge by changing the foundation of your own agreements. It is time to be free from the role of the Victim.” (pg. 96)
    • We lack freedom because our agreements orient our behaviors toward others, instead of toward expressing ourselves: “The freedom we are looking for is the freedom to be ourselves, to express ourselves. But if we look at our lives we will see that most of the time we do things just to please others, just to be accepted by others, rather than living our lives to please ourselves. That is what has happened to our freedom.” (pg. 98)
    • To become free, we first need to realize we are not free: “The worst part is that most of us are not even aware that we are not free…and therefore they don’t have a chance to be free. The first step toward personal freedom is awareness. We need to be aware that we are not free in order to be free.” (pg. 98)
    • The dreams that domesticate are just that – dreams; by making different choices, you challenge your dream’s agreements and release yourself from suffering: “There is no reason to suffer…You can look for a way to heal and transform your personal dream. The dream of the planet is just a dream…If you go into the dream and start challenging your beliefs, you will find that most of the beliefs that guided you into the wounded mind aren’t even true…Dream masters create a masterpiece of life; they control the dream by making choices. Everything has consequences and a dream master is aware of the consequences.” (pgs. 99-100)

    • The way of the Toltec is to understand and live as your subjective experience: “To be Toltec is a way of life. It is a way of life where there are no leaders and no followers, where you have your own truth and live your own truth.” (pg. 100)

    • A Toltec requires three masteries: “There are three masteries that lead people to become Toltecs…[first] the Mastery of Awareness. This is to be aware of who you really are, with all the possibilities. The second is the Mastery of Transformation—how to change, how to be free of domestication. The third is the Mastery of Intent…Intent is life itself; it is unconditional love. The Mastery of Intent is therefore the Mastery of Love.” (pg. 100)

    • Domesticated humans are sick from a parasite (the internal Judge, Victim, and the Book of Law) that feeds off one’s negative emotions and controls their dream: “From the Toltec point of view, all humans who are domesticated are sick. They are sick because there is a parasite that controls the mind and controls the brain. The food for the parasite is the negative emotions that come from fear…The Judge, the Victim, and the belief system fit this description very well.” (pg. 101)

    • There are two choices – keep living this current dream or rebel against it (while understanding you won’t win every battle): “One choice is to keep living the way we are, to surrender to the Judge and the Victim, to keep living in the dream of the planet. The second choice is to do what we do as children when parents try to domesticate us. We can rebel and say ‘No!’ We can declare a war against the parasite…That is why in all the shamanic traditions in America…people call themselves warriors…But to be a warrior doesn’t mean we always win the war; we may win or we may lose, but we always do our best and at least we have a chance to be free again. Choosing this path…ensures that we will not be the helpless victim of our own whimsical emotions or the poisonous emotions of others.” (pgs. 102-103)

    • There are three ways to rebel and eliminate the parasite – confront each fear one by one, avoid fueling emotions that come from fear, or live each moment without forgetting it could be our last: “If we want to be free, we have to destroy the parasite. One solution is to attack the parasite head by head, which means we face each of our fears, one by one. This is a slow process, but it works…A second approach is to stop feeding the parasite. If we don’t give the parasite any food, we kill the parasite by starvation. To do this we have to gain control of our emotions, we have to refrain from fueling the emotions that come from fear. This is easy to say, but it is very difficult to do…A third solution is called the initiation of the dead…This is a symbolic death which kills the parasite…When we ‘die’ symbolically the parasite has to die. This is faster than the first two solutions, but it is even more difficult to do.” (pgs. 104-105)

      The Art of Transformation: The Dream of the Second Attention (pg. 105)
    • Our attention was first used to domesticate us and create our first dream; it’s up to us now to choose to use our attention to change our agreements and thus change our dream: “The process of domestication can be called the dream of the first attention because it was how your attention was used for the first time to create the first dream of your life. One way to change your beliefs is to focus your attention on all those agreements and beliefs, and change the agreements with yourself…thus creating the dream of second attention…Now it’s up to you to choose what to believe and what not to believe. You can choose to believe in anything, and that includes believing in yourself.” (pgs. 105-106)

    • Continued awareness of your dream is important, but to truly change, you need to harness your attention to identify the fear-based beliefs that make you unhappy; you then overwrite them with alternative beliefs (e.g. The Four Agreements): “You must become aware that you are dreaming all the time…However, to really change your beliefs you need to focus your attention on what it is that you want to change…So the next step is to develop awareness of all the self-limiting, fear-based beliefs that make you unhappy. You take an inventory of all that you believe, all your agreements, and through this process you begin the transformation. The Toltecs called this the Art of Transformation…You achieve the Mastery of Transformation by changing the fear-based agreements that make you suffer, and reprogramming your own mind, in your own way. One of the ways to do this is to explore and adopt alternative beliefs such as the Four Agreements.” (pgs. 106-107)

    • Breaking smaller agreements gives you more energy to tackle the bigger ones: “The stronger you get, the more agreements you can break until the moment comes when you make it to the core of all those agreements. Going to the core of those agreements is what I call going into the desert. When you go into the desert you meet your demons face-to-face. After coming out of the desert, all those demons become angels…Every time you break an agreement, you gain extra power. You start by breaking agreements that are very small…until you reach a point when you can finally face the big demons in your mind.” (pg. 108)

    • This process takes time and you should replace agreements of suffering with agreements of happiness: “That’s one way out of the dream of hell. But for every agreement you break that makes you suffer, you will need to replace it with a new agreement that makes you happy. This will keep the old agreement from coming back…There are many strong beliefs in the mind that can make this process look hopeless. This is why you need to go step-by-step and be patient with yourself because this is a slow process.” (pg. 109)

    • The energy it took to make an agreement is similar to the energy it takes to break it: “We need the same amount of power to change an agreement. We cannot change an agreement with less power than we used to make the agreement, and almost all our personal power is invested in keeping the agreements we have with ourselves. That’s because our agreements are actually like a strong addiction. We are addicted to being the way we are. We are addicted to anger, jealousy, and self-pity.” (pg. 110)

    • Our daily energy is limited and can be depleted by certain actions: “Every day we awake with a certain amount of mental, emotional, and physical energy that we spend throughout the day. If we allow our emotions to deplete our energy, we have no energy to change our lives or to give to others.” (pg. 111)

      The Discipline of the Warrior: Controlling Your Own Behavior (pg. 111)

    • Analogy -> The mind is an organ infected by emotional poison and people consider this normal: “Every human has an emotional body completely covered with infected wounds. Each wound is infected with emotional poison—the poison of all the emotions that make us suffer, such as hate, anger, envy, and sadness…The mind is so wounded and full of poison by the process of domestication, that everyone describes the wounded mind as normal.” (pg. 113)

    • The dream of the planet is contaminated with fear, which infects us and makes us suffer and lose our ability to reason: “We have a dysfunctional dream of the planet, and humans are mentally sick with a disease called fear. The symptoms of the disease are all the emotions that make humans suffer: anger, hate, sadness, envy, and betrayal. When the fear is too great, the reasoning mind begins to fail, and we call this mental illness.” (pg. 114)

    • To heal, we need to forgive others and ourselves so that we can let go of resentment (the parasite = Judge, Victim, the Book of Law) in order to replace self-rejection with self-acceptance: “…there is a cure…First, we need the truth to open the emotional wounds, take the poison out, and heal the wounds completely. How do we do this? We must forgive those we feel have wronged us, not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because we love ourselves so much we don’t want to keep paying for the injustice…We can let go of resentment and declare, ‘That’s enough! I will no longer be the big Judge that goes against myself. I will no longer beat myself up and abuse myself. I will no longer be the Victim’…Once you forgive yourself, the self-rejection in your mind is over. Self-acceptance begins, and the self-love will grow so strong that you will finally accept yourself just the way you are.” (pgs. 114-115)

    • You know you have forgiven someone when they no longer generate an emotional reaction within you: “You will know you have forgiven someone when you see them and you no longer have an emotional reaction. You will hear the name of the person and you will have no emotional reaction. When someone can touch what used to be a wound and it no longer hurts you, then you know you have truly forgiven.” (pg. 115)

    • The truth is painful because it cuts through the denial system, which has its function but is unnecessary once we have obtained self-acceptance: “The truth is like a scalpel. The truth is painful, because it opens all of the wounds which are covered by lies so that we can be healed. These lies are what we call the denial system. It’s a good thing we have the denial system, because it allows us to cover our wounds and still function. But once we no longer have any wounds or poison, we don’t need to lie anymore.” (pg. 116)

    • Most people’s behaviors are enslaved by their emotions, but a warrior controls (their responses to?) their emotions so that they can refrain from acting on them until the right time: “The problem with most people is that they lose control of their emotions. It is the emotions that control the behavior of the human, not the human who controls the emotions…We must learn to control the emotions so we have enough personal power to change our fear-based agreements, escape from hell, and create our own personal heaven…The warrior has control. Not control over another human, but control over one’s own emotions, control over one’s self. It is when we lose control that we repress the emotions, not when we are in control. The big difference between a warrior and a victim is that the victim represses, and the warrior refrains. Victims repress because they are afraid to show their emotions, afraid to say what they want to say. To refrain is not the same thing as repression. To refrain is to hold the emotions and to express them in the right moment, not before, not later. That is why warriors are impeccable. They have complete control over their own emotions and therefore over their own behavior.” (pgs. 116-117)
    The Initiation of the Dead: Embracing the Angel of Death (pg. 118)
    • The initiation of the dead is acknowledging we don’t know when we will die and living every moment like it’s our last; this makes us more open, freer from fear, and kinder towards others: “The final way to attain personal freedom is to prepare ourselves for the initiation of the dead, to take death itself as our teacher. What the angel of death can teach us is how to be truly alive. We become aware that we can die at any moment; we have just the present to be alive. The truth is that we don’t know if we are going to die tomorrow…The angel of death can teach us to live every day as if it is the last day of our lives, as if there may be no tomorrow…that is what the angel of death taught me—to be completely open, to know that there is nothing to be afraid of. And of course I treat the people I love with love because this may be the last day that I can tell you how much I love you. I don’t know if I am going to see you again, so I don’t want to fight with you.” (pgs. 118-119)
    • This process kills the parasite, but it is difficult because the parasite will fight this and because we are afraid to let this part of us die: “What is going to happen in the initiation of death is that the old dream that you have in your mind is going to die forever. Yes, you are going to have memories of the parasite—of the Judge, the Victim, and what you used to believe—but the parasite will be dead…It is not easy to go for the initiation of death because the Judge and the Victim will fight with everything they have. They don’t want to die. And we feel we are the ones who are going to die, and we are afraid of this death.” (pg. 120)
    • The result of this process is that we return to the freedom of our childhood, but this time around we have wisdom to manage our life: “Whoever survives the initiation of the dead receives the most wonderful gift: the resurrection…The resurrection is to be like a child—to be wild and free, but with a difference. The difference is that we have freedom with wisdom instead of innocence…we are free to use our own mind and run our own life.” (pg. 121)
    And to conclude, here are the notes from Chapter 7, the second of the two chapters:

    Chapter 7: The New Dream – Heaven on Earth (pg. 123)
    • How we relate to experience determines the quality of experience: “The dream you are living is your creation. It is your perception of reality that you can change at any time. You have the power to create hell, and you have the power to create heaven. Why not dream a different dream? Why not use your mind, your imagination, and your emotions to dream heaven?” (pgs. 123-124)
    • Others have transformed their lived experience into heaven through their use of love: “Only love has the ability to put you in that state of bliss. Being in bliss is like being in love. Being in love is like being in bliss. You are floating in the clouds. You are perceiving love wherever you go. It is entirely possible to live this way all the time. It is possible because others have done it and they are no different from you. They live in bliss because they have changed their agreements and are dreaming a different dream.” (pgs. 126-127)
    • Perceiving your experience and surroundings through the lens of love, you dispel the mitote and obtain happiness: “You can see everything with the eyes of love. You can be aware that there is love all around you. When you live this way, there is no longer a fog in your mind. The mitote has gone on a permanent vacation. This is what humans have been seeking for centuries. For thousands of years we have been searching for happiness. Happiness is the lost paradise. Humans have worked so hard to reach this point, and this is part of the evolution of the mind.” (pg. 128)
    • Perhaps things are written in stone, but one thing you can choose is whether to identify with the mitote; you can choose to suffer or be happy: “Unfortunately, your identity is mixed with the dream of the planet. All of your beliefs and agreements are there in the fog. You feel the presence of the parasite and believe it is you. This makes it difficult to let go—to release the parasite and create the space to experience love. You are attached to the Judge, attached to the Victim. Suffering makes you feel safe because you know it so well…But there is really no reason to suffer. The only reason you suffer is because you choose to suffer. If you look at your life you will find many excuses to suffer, but a good reason to suffer you will not find. The same is true for happiness. The only reason you are happy is because you choose to be happy. Happiness is a choice, and so is suffering…Maybe we cannot escape from the destiny of the human, but we have a choice: to suffer our destiny or to enjoy our destiny.” (pgs. 128-129)
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2021
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  19. Gil79

    Gil79 Seize the day

    It is always very interesting to read your posts. You write about lifestyle changes, but isn't it something deeper than that? Isn't this really at the level of exploring and expressing yourself and developing self-love and love for others? To me it reads like that is the path you're walking.

    Cool pictures of your trip again!
     
    NewStart19 likes this.
  20. Doper

    Doper Well-Known Member

    I knew the scene you were talking about without you throwing up that clip cuz it's so hilarious.

    "If you don't remember your lines I'm gonna blow your f'n brains out." ... or something to that effect.

    I sure hope Tarantino doesn't retire after his next movie or whatever. That's a depressing thought.
     
    NewStart19 likes this.

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