While it may do wonders for the readership of this blog, I will (probably) not be experimenting with acid or any other hallucinogenic drugs. LSD is simply the acronym that I’m going to use for ‘Lifestyle Design’. I don’t give a rat’s ass if lifestyle is one word – my blog, my rules.
As I mentioned in the first post, the experiments that I’m going to be conducting will be cheap and quick. My writing is going to focus on the results of the experiments rather than the science behind them. The ultimate goal of the experiments is to determine whether or not the independent variable (the shit that I’m testing) should be adopted as part of my post lab-rat lifestyle. In determining whether or not to adopt the test variable, I will essentially be weighing the effects it has on the follows areas of my life:
- Free time
- Physical energy
- Sleep quality
- Ability to think critically
- Mental dexterity
- Personal entertainment
For my first experiment, I’m going to meditate within thirty minutes of waking up every day for a month.
One of the reasons for my interest in meditation is that I have found it to be a common practice among people I admire, from entrepreneurs and philosophers to world leaders and athletes. These individuals support the notion that meditation is to the mind what steroids are for the muscles – except meditation isn’t frowned upon by Major League Baseball.
For full disclosure, meditation is not new to me. I started meditating at the beginning of this year and have gone through 130 sessions and 30 hours of exercises since. I’ve tried a number of different techniques but have had the most success in using… a friggin’ app. It seems like an oxymoron. How can you effectively combine something so natural and organic and minimalistic with a god damn piece of technology?! I’ll tell you how – with Andy Puddicombe and Headspace. In a nutshell, Andy is an Englishman who was ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist Monk, started a company called Headspace, and released an app where he uses his soothing British accent to guide you through mental exercises. I’m not saying that Andy is the second coming of Christ, but then again, nobody has ever seen Andy and Jesus in the same room.
Even though I have a decent amount of experience with meditation, I never fully committed to the practice of it. I didn’t meditate every day and when I did meditate, I did it when it felt convenient for me. This is a sure-fire way not to get the results you want. There is scientific evidence that suggests that the human brain responds best to meditation when it is done soon after waking and at the same time every day. If meditation has a connotation that is too religious (typical democrats) or too eastern (typical republicans) for you, substitute the term “mental priming” and the utility of it may become clearer.
Because my mind isn’t presently conditioned for meditation, I’m expecting the first week of this experiment to be rough. When my alarm goes off tomorrow morning I’m sure I’ll be tempted to skip the exercise and sleep for an extra twenty minutes. I’m expecting that I’ll get distracted by external stimuli or my sleepiness during the sessions. I’m expecting to get impatient when I don’t notice any results after the first few days or weeks.
With that said, I cannot wait to get started. Listen, the science that supports the benefits of meditation is out there. It’s public knowledge. I, like most people, just need a swift kick in the ass to really commit myself to it. This experiment and, more generally, this blog is that ass kicking. It’s the accountability I need to see the experiment through.
Alas, by the end of the experiment I expect the following results:
- Improve my ability to focus on work related tasks
- Improve my sleep quality
- Allow my brain to function at a higher level for longer periods of time
- Healthier reactions to mental stress and anxiety
I feel the most objective way to measure the results is through daily reflection (which I’ll document the shit out of). I’ll provide weekly updates so you’ll be able aware of any learning curves, breakthroughs, and struggles that I experience. You’re obviously welcome to join me in any of these experimental undertakings, but the intent of this blog is for you to learn from me doing the dirty work and letting my results guide you in which practices you choose to adopt.