Month 2: September, 2017
MONTH 2: September, 2017.
Firstly, an accounting of my September, 2017 Goals:
For Month 2: September 2017
Get all A+'s in Summer Quarter UCLA classes [Complete]
This has been one of the most soul-forging journeys of my life…. This summer [from June - September] I decided to jump right into 5 science classes:
(1) Math: Differential and Integral Calculus
(2) Math: Integration and Infinite Series
(3) Math: Statistics
(4) Chemistry: Atomic and Molecular Structure, Equilibria, Acids, and Bases
(5) Chemistry: Thermodynamics, Electrochemistry, Kinetics, and Organic Chemistry
To make matters worse… these were all accelerated summer classes -- meaning the full 12 week course was condensed into 6 weeks. I spent some days studying 18 hours straight for chemistry (only getting up to go to the bathroom and to eat). For calculus I had to re-teach myself trigonometry (that was fun).
This process really helped me ingrain “Inquiry” (as taught by Byron Katie) into my soul as a way-of-life. At first I wanted to cry, explode, scream (you name it). Studying was more intense and painful than the worst day of my 10 day silent Vipassana retreat back in December 2015. Not only did it include extreme stretches of reflective, focused silence… but in addition to this there was the aspect of performance: I had to use this information to compete against over 100 other hungry, intelligent students for an A+ in the class.
After about 7 or 8 weeks, I crossed the threshold (which also included undergoing ketosis [switching my body from burning carbohydrates to burning fat for fuel] and the corresponding “keto flu”). By “crossing the threshold” I mean, I had effectively overcome stress. No more pain studying 18 hours a day -- only joy. No more anticipation for exams -- only love. No more anger I couldn’t learn faster or accomplish more throughout the day -- only peace.
Nothing really causes me stress or suffering anymore -- I just practice inquiry -- and boom! I’m unhooked. The mind is the freest I have ever experienced it in my whole life. It’s strange for me to even call it “my mind” because that implies the question: who am I? And the more I practice Inquiry -- the more I experience myself without my stories. The more I experience unconditional love, peace, and bliss.
Furthermore, after crossing the threshold, I wasn’t coming home completely exhausted and depleted anymore. My eyes weren’t blurring like I was going blind. I didn’t feel the explosive pressure of throwing my heart over the bar to squeeze an extra hour or two of studying in… and then the ecstatic release when I got 100% on a test. None of this. I just felt completely at peace and at ease -- like a soul on permanent vacation… To be fair though, I only attained the apotheosis of this state in the last few weeks.
At the cusp of this threshold, a friend of mine who recently earned his M.D. sat me down and tried his best to convince me not to become a doctor.
He said: “everyone says: ‘it’s so great being a doctor!’ but it’s not. It sucks.
“You spend 99% of your time studying -- while you watch all your friends get these really cool jobs at Google or at start-ups. They’re traveling the world. They’re having fun… But you’re wasting your life studying.
“And if you think it’s hard now, it only gets harder: You kill yourself studying in college… then you kill yourself studying for the MCATs… then -- no one tells you this either -- in medical school, you kill yourself studying for The Boards (a bunch of 9 hour long tests you have to take throughout Medical School that determine the rest of your life… and they’re HARDER than the MCATs)... then you kill yourself in Residency working for no money… and somehow if you make it through all of that: you’re a doctor.
“Doctors have the highest suicide rate out of any professions. Medical students have the highest rates of depression and suicide. There are many people every year who kill themselves after taking The Boards. If you get below a [ -- I forget what he said -- ] score on The Boards, there goes your dream of becoming a surgeon. You worked your whole life to get there and then… boom. Not possible. You’re never going to be a surgeon. That’s how it is every step of the way. It’s crushing”
…. I looked this up from the New York Times….
The statistics on physician suicide are frightening: Physicians are more than twice as likely to kill themselves as nonphysicians (and female physicians three times more likely than their male counterparts). Some 400 doctors commit suicide every year. Young physicians at the beginning of their training are particularly vulnerable: In a recent study, 9.4 percent of fourth-year medical students and interns — as first-year residents are called — reported having suicidal thoughts in the previous two weeks. NYT
The whole time he spoke I sat with an uncontrollable, gigantic grin on my face. I was so excited. All I could think was how grateful I was to enter into the Arena to compete with intellectuals who were willing to die for a score on an exam…. It reminded me of my favorite story from the Illiad where Hektor challenges the most Heroic of the Greeks to 1 on 1 mortal combat to end the war -- and how Aias’s “heart was gladdened” when his lot was drawn….
I thought to myself: How grateful I am to be playing such a high stakes game -- such a challenging game… how grateful that the only thing limiting my height of success is me -- my raw talent and my willingness to invest the extra hours of study... how grateful I am that I crushed suicidal depression years ago… how grateful I am that I had even recently conquered “stress” almost completely…. How grateful I am to have learned the tools and skills of self-mastery and Jnana Yoga starting at age 7… How grateful I am that I have people like this who love and care enough about me that they want to protect me from years of pain and suffering…
… And how grateful I am to have earned A+’s in all of my classes.
Relaunch Integral Fitness & CFD LA + CFD NYC [Complete]
I shut down Integral Fitness (www.integrallyfit.com) in early May after the last Conscious Family Dinner in LA. That’s another story that I will probably write about in Month 1 (as things happen, I wrote this, Month 2, first).
Re-launching IF was a whole other journey… and I’m eternally grateful to Roxann Burroughs for not only helping me kickstart it back into action -- but also for helping me to achieve new levels of emotional fitness and mental freedom with the work and introducing me to Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell.
Here’s the short story… I had committed about a year ago to doing an “Introduction to The Work” workshop with Roxann. When the day of reckoning came, I felt completely overwhelmed with school work. I honestly wanted to back out… For some crazy reason I didn’t.
So, in the span of about a week, I built an entire website on Clickfunnels (www.clickfunnels.com) and integrated it into a custom website I built on Wordpress.
Here’s the page I put together (complete with email automation, a lead gen, and a ticketing system):
My ego also convinced me that in addition to all of this, I also needed to announce the next Conscious Family Dinner (www.integrallyfit.com/cfdla11)... so I locked down dates, teachers, and some vendors and boom: I announced both the Conscious Family Dinner and Roxann’s workshop simultaneously….
It also just so happened that I had 3 finals the week I did all this: a calculus final, a statistics final, and a chemistry final. And I also had a final draft of my First to Love Wins (Games) proposal due to my agent [clocking in at about 80 pages].
If Roxann’s event hadn’t created a deadline, I think my ego would have simply delayed this relaunch for a considerable amount of time. Plus, hosting the workshop for Roxann directly led to this:
Shabbat dinner with Roxann Burroughs, Stephen Mitchell, Trudy Green, and Byron Katie
(For the Kiddush I always ask everyone to make an intention. My intention was “Play.” Stephen’s I believe was “depth” or “wisdom” and Katie’s was “My intention is: Stephen.” !!!! So cute!!!! and if you’re wondering: YES we danced La Cha Dodee and laughed our asses off).
To give some perspective to the impact this meeting had on me: imagine meeting three of your heroes simultaneously…. And then you get to go out afterwards and casually grab a beer 1-on-1 with them. And then they want you to come on their team as a consultant…. # heart explosions !!!!
A few weeks after I launched the Roxann event and the Los Angeles Conscious Family Dinner… I decided the thousands of dollars and hundred of hours I spent building my clickfunnels system wasn’t working for me. So I spent about 90 minutes suffering (stressing) over making a new decision in calculus class until finally I broke through using Inquiry.
The next day I rebuilt my entire website using Squarespace. ( www.integrallyfit.com )
I’m making this sound like an easy decision now -- but to my ego you may have well been asking me to make the most important decision of my life… that’s how hard I was stressing about the sunk cost of the time and the money -- plus the additional investment of having to build a new site… all while getting my ass kicked in the arena of school. The ego is such a cute instrument!
But it was definitely the right decision. Literally the day after I launch it, Conscious Family Dinner x NYC re-starts with a new director… and we were gifted a 4 story venue in the heart of manhattan to build a CFD experience focusing on Social Impact.
Anyway, the rest is history. I put everything together for the CFD x LA and Kelsey, Kara, and Dasha orchestrated everything for CFD x NYC... WE CRUSHED IT!
CFD x LA 11
CFD x NYC Photos
Memorize a random "septillion" number (25 digits) LIVE in 60s. [Complete]
I’ve gotten to the point in my mental-athletics where I can memorize about 50 numbers in 100 seconds by myself… but when I do this in public (meaning in the presence of another human being), my performance changes significantly. It’s very fascinating to observe this -- it has clarified my relationship to my ego tremendously. I experience it contracting and reacting -- and notice just how sensitive it is to the thought of “judgment” or even “appraisal.” Perfect.
Anway -- Kency has been testing me. I said to her: let’s film this next one (which made it even harder… this is why you see me kind of like whirling around, I’m releasing stress and tension and thoughts of judgment for a clear mind) -- and boom! Nail it!.
Remember every day of the month [Complete]
This is a silly one… but I notice how my ego’s relationship to time can be fraught with difficulties. In other words, it tends to magnify and minify time based on the point it's trying to prove… leaving me to contend with any series of beliefs, emotions, and commitments which (under further inspection) reveal themselves to be… simply put: lies.
So I really only started this goal on September 18th, but I can track what I did every day from September 18th to October 1st (as I’m writing this).
I’m only going to recount the most eventful parts...
September 18th: mainly mental exercising, studying, and doing web-development stuff (working at Coral Tree Cafe in Brentwood). Also start experimenting with perfecting my Cold-Brew Coffee Techniques by making about 15 batches as a controlled experiment.
September 19th: another study day. End it with Stephen Reedy at the Manly P. Hall theosophical / philosophical research society learning about the Popol Vuh (basically, the Mayan bible)... and then get into a 90 minute conversation with a veda swami and vedantic monk about the Hegelian Dialectic, evolution, & the meaning of “emptiness.”
September 20th: get my blood drawn at Soram Khalsa’s clinic in beverly Hills. Also run into one of my spiritual teachers, Guru Prem, and his daughter Hari Simran. Get into an amazing conversation with a waiter around Ketogenic Diets, being a weightlifting ectomorph, and also Ken Wilber’s Pre/Trans Fallacy
September 21st: start facilitating people again. I work with a guy in Australia. He wants to become a life coach / motivational speaker and doesn’t know where to start. We go through a “What - Why - How” facilitation process. #breakthroughs.
September 22nd: Visit Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell with Ross Everett for a reading of their new book “A Mind at Home with itself.” She kisses Ross and I -- I’m fangirling out for hours! Really grateful they got us tickets.
September 23rd: Host Conscious Family Dinners in LA and NYC simultaneously (see above!)
September 24th: Have a great lunch with my mom… we talk business, life, and inquiry… I decide to start donating some time as a facilitator again to help people unhook themselves from stress and suffering and find flow in their life.
September 25th: First day of Fall quarter starts with Physics. Facilitate a friend -- we practice Byron Katie’s Inquiry process. #Breakthroughs.
September 26th: First day of Fall quarter starts with Biology. I start getting acquainted with woodland hills. Also have a meeting with my friend Nael who’s artist Sabrina is about to BLOW UP. He plays me an undeniable hit -- really proud of him! He’s about to become a huge manager in the industry.
September 27th: Meet with a friend named Sydney. We practice some inquiry together at Le Paine by UCLA. I start working on my book The First to Love Wins: 8 Steps to Enlightenment again… I sort of threw it away a few months ago, but as my ego tries to reconstruct the central arguments for a more condensed study, I find what I wrote there to be particularly inspiring. So instead of throwing it away, I decide to complete it.
September 28th: Meet with a former client and friend… We discuss his new music and book project. Really proud of him and extremely excited for what he’s about to do!!!
September 29th: Teach Mnemotechnics to my friend Coco. Her mind is blown -- She memorizes the 15 cognitive distortions from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in under 5 minutes. She’s also able to memorize her credit card number for the first time in her life. So happy for her! I also discover the most amazing cold brew latte with cold brew ice cubes -- it completely redefines my understanding of what’s possible for coffee. Also have my first chemistry laboratory.
September 30th: Go on a hike with some mindblowing entrepreneur friends of mine. Reflect on the last year of my life -- memorize all the magic moments of the last year (I’ll save words by not including those here). Practice Inquiry with another friend and turn her onto Byron Katie’s The Work. Go to temple for Yom Kippur. Celebrate Break-Fast at the Passmans’.
October 1st: meeting with my friend Vivian who is about the change the live-event ticketing world. Epic studying. Write this post.
What’s really cool is not only was it very easy for me to recall all of these dates -- but I also know what day of the week it all happened on… my ultimate goal will be to memorize a complete year of my life.
As someone who has lived with a mind that couldn’t even remember what it ate for breakfast that morning…. I consider just this half-month feat to be a huge achievement for the mind’s instrument of memory.
Learn to play guitar (10 songs)... [ I learned 5 ]
Synthesize, Translate, & share 20 research articles on wellness… [I did about 6.. But a few were long in the ~40 page range]
Finish my book "Happiness Secrets (and hacks)" [end up sort of abandoning this project and going back to finishing the First To Love Wins: 8-Steps to Enlightenment book]
Publish Bill Wich's Essential Healing Course & Indy Rishi's "Laughing into Success" Video Courses [been making day by day progress… I think my Bill Wich Landing page is already like 4,000 words… and I’m trying to design it to look nice… luckily all the footage is already complete & hosted on vimeo, waiting to be embedded]
I did some other extraordinary things this month… like building this website. And then I also added a lot of other random things back onto my daily to-do list (like becoming an expert in a series of transformation modalities that I once knew much better… as well as adding biofeedback based meditation back into my daily Sadhana). And I also started helping a former music client again with an upcoming giant release (by building his website, updating his marketing plan, setting up the advertising, and creating a budget). Very proud of him!!!
I also ended up reading Carl Sagan’s The Dragons of Eden, Some Byron Katie Books, and somehow or another managed to watch almost every Rick and Morty episode created…. Ross and Alex got Roxann and I addicted… Well -- I can only speak for myself. I am addicted to Rick and Morty. And I’m proud of it!!!
With that said, I learned SO MUCH by creating this monthly challenge. I learned a lot about my own growth and my capacity.
In fact, I just wrote about 2500 words about this… but why??
When I met with Chester the other day, he asked me about the book I quit my jobs and transformed my life to write back in December of 2016…. I told him, I have a whole new perspective now. I have fundamentally recognized -- particularly this month -- particularly after leading PlayRoom at the last Conscious Family Dinner -- that not only am I Jnana Yogi (through and through) but I love wisdom…. Like musician loves musics… I could just jam out to the sound of wisdom all day long. It is not “instrumental” (a means to an end) for me. It is simply an end in and of itself.
Therefore, the exercise in writing all of this is to solidify my ego’s evolution. I want to be able to systematically track its learning and its optimization as I continue investigating the phenomenology of my own being through time. So, in many ways, I doubt if anyone will read this -- I’m not even sure it would be helpful to anyone else… but for me, I see this as a sort of dojo for myself where I can maintain accountability to the goals I set for myself each month.
For example, this month I am committing to publishing the Bill Wich and Indy Rishi video courses. Period. Done. That’s happening.
I’m also committing to finishing 20 research articles based on Joel Milam’s (USC) HP 440 Health, Happiness, and Wellbeing syllabus.
I’m also flirting with the idea of learning the Swift programming language to develop a biofeedback meditation app…. Although that may be pushing it… especially as my biggest take home from reading my personal journals over Yom Kippur was: DEVELOP MASTERY. To focus and complete things systematically and not to get too scattered (which is an addictive tendency of my ego). That’s my new year's resolution.
… and, obviously, doing all of this in addition to maintaining my mental exercise, exercise, cold shower, and A+ study habit routines.
I've attained quite a high level of Ketosis (I couldn't exactly tell what color this was... but it's high...). This wasn't an explicit goal, but definitely something I'm happy to have accomplished in September.