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The Dharma Battleground (DhB)

Is Love The Emotionally Intuitive Meaning of What Feeds Blood To Our Brain?

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Although there may be much more to the story, in my experience love seems to be the emotionally intuitive sense of where the blood supply comes from; possibly why we feel it with the heart as it feeds our brain food for thought to think and feel our way through the meaning of life. As we learn and grow and accumulate complexity, emotional attachments that had been invested in loving the brain's own heart and blood supply for neurodevelopment, instead becomes attached to people, things, routines, and before we know it we're like human-sized mosquitoes that ocd crave self-love by tapping into every nook and cranny of the universe to extract teeny tiny amounts of self-love. The more complexity that gets in the way of self-love, the more effort is required to extract many fractured small doses of the meaning of life, the less energy is available to deal with inequalities and externalities that build up into an ethics sponge.

Counterintuitively, the responsible thing to do might be to experience and share/spread a megadose of love that so thoroughly satisfies our deepest cravings and needs that it collapses all/most of our unnecessary motivations for self-love mined from complexity in other people and things. Philosophy, religion, culture and politics attempt to be an externalized man-in-the-middle to give us meaning, but they often add way more complexity and meaning than our brains know what to do with; schrodinger's rule 42. Nirvana seems to be reconnecting with the meaning we crave to satisfy all other cravings by feeling alive on nothing more than our own ouroboros blood supply that makes all other attachments feel meaningless in comparison. This is the process I sustained for 3 days and nights (with healthy sleep and tiny food intake), but in my infinite lack of wisdom I exposure tested what the experience is compatible with, lost it and now I paradoxically crave the state of not craving (laughing at myself).

Fully backing up to how I came to this strange understanding, about a year ago I was experiencing a sevely debilitating combination of accumulating panic-inducing phobias; heart-racing, body numbness, inability to move, fingers autonomically pinching, hands locked like claws, fueled by agoraphobia, oikophobia, anthropophobia, ideophobia, check-mated by somniphobia and compounded by ocd, insomnia, osa/uars and iron anemia. No one locally was able to help directly with the phobias at the time, so after getting my iron levels back up I diy combined exposure therapy flooding with extremely slow walking meditation (full body muscle limp staggering every ~5-30 seconds) and my brain eventually accumulated enough physical evidence to not trigger panic-attacks; but there was still the eerie sense that it could come back, so I slowly challenged myself until all every-day activity felt calmly normalized, I regained stability to start living life again, and The Witness started intuitively percolating in the background of my mind.

Six months later I moved to a new place to start fresh with new healthy routines and think about what to do for the rest of life with this new-found stability, until one night I brainstormed an idea for a technodelic app/game on the human condition that walks people through a map of internal/external attachments. After sketching out some models, that night I went to sleep like any other normal night, but several hours later I was awoken in the middle of my mind transitioning to a purely intuitive emotionally conscious state with little/no logical thought, infinitely no anxiety, and an experience that was like an input output state where the only options given were accept or deny the current thought/emotion state. Where I would previously think through the complexity of all details of something, this was like a freeze frame of intuitively knowing all relevant information about the current thought/emotion state with an accept/deny option, and based on the complexity of how much needed to be reprocessed in the brain (or converted to physical action) it would be reflected in the intensity of the current emotional state.

So if something made sense based on everything I knew and felt and didn't require too much reprocessing, it wouldn't feel too intense, I accepted and it started processing everything that was necessary for that to finish, immediately bringing up the next thought/emotion package state, one after another, after another, after another, after another; it was like the entire backlog of everything that had yet to be fully processed. Needless to say I had to take many breaks to let my brain finish processing so as to not overwhelm myself, so I'd stay paused in the current accept/deny state and distracted myself with something like a game or video, and that's when I realized wtf this isn't just nonsense in my head as all of my spatial awareness of navigating in a complex video game where I'd normally get infinitely lost until I went through repetitive serial memorization, instead I just knew where everything was after seeing it once.

The process continued into the next day, one after another, accept or deny. I was freakishly anxiety free, drenched in self-love that I hadn't experienced in two decades from when it was arbitrarily attached to someone, with just the emotional awareness and intensity of each current thought/emotion package. After so many accept/denies, I tried to write everything down about the experience because I didn't trust I could remember in the future, but that slightly disrupted the process, increased the current emotional intensity, and temporarily pulled me out of the state so I could only do it in small bursts. After what seemed like a completely sleepless night, I eventually got to a point where a peculiar thought arose; what if the entire point of sleep and dreams was an inbuilt state to go through this process independent of our waking state, and what if I just broke the need for certain stages of sleep by perpetuating this state out of the context it's generally used for.

The stream of accept/deny states seemed neverending, so I brought myself to emotionally trust and form an intuitive agreement that my intuition of emotions and reason would autoprocess everything that makes sense and needs to be processed, and if something makes sense but is too intense then my brain could process it over longer timescales so it doesn't overwhelm either the processing or the emotional intensity. I accepted that state, kickstarted a runaway process, my brain went into overdrive and I was awake for 3 full days and nights; still doing the bedtime sleep-restriction routine of lying in bed the 8 hours I'd normally sleep, and staying active during the day. It soon became clear that my ability to function on many practical tasks was degraded, so I accepted that was likely a fools errand, so I accepted the need to return to a normal sleep cycle, moved pillows to the floor and allowed myself to sleep there to break whatever associations with the bed may have arisen. I managed to get some sleep, but still had low level awareness of a chain of ~20 reras from osa/uars where I'd bring myself to acceptance which transitioned to autonomic breathing before drifting back to sleep.

Part of me now thinks I may have been in some low level state of awareness for the entire 3 days due to a rera happening at the exact wrong moment in a sleep stage or stage transition. By the next morning I still felt super stable with self-love and freakishly anxiety free (is anxiety blindness a thing?) despite everything I had been going through. I shared everything in private to someone, and over the next week or so I found myself going in and out of states that retrospectively seem like the dark night; derealization bordering on psychosis as I speculated on unknown variables like considering if I had died and was in some strange limbo state, my dopamine was likely in overdrive as everything seemed to be infused with layers of hidden meaning or messages nudging me in one direction or another; a song on a radio, a random neighbor speaking strange profundities around me, even my own bodily activity being over-interpreted as some form of communication with myself at some deeper level. I mostly resisted the allure and madness that entailed and let it eventually subside over ~1.5 weeks, but it seemed to bring up allot of philosophical baggage.

Perhaps in my infinite wisdom or foolish lack thereof, I ended up processing something that involved metaphorical infinities and found myself enraptured by a scenario spanning the entire cosmos and all possible timelines going backwards and forwards to "solve" the problem of yin and yang in order to emotionally navigate back to my original timeline without accepting madness. Yeah, that was a big f*u to my brain; at that time the experience of emotions felt like a representation of the self navigating 4+ dimensions and nervous panic was like vibrations of bumping into 4+ dimensional walls. I managed to do it, or convince my brain I did it enough that I could let those ideas subside whether they were true or not; but my brain came back with avengeance pointing out one error in the "logic." I thought I broke the universe, so in an act of exhaustive desperation I thought really long and hard and came up with an algorithm to fix the "error" without having to go through serial infinities so I could finally put that nasty scenario to rest once and for all.

After convincing my brain I solved the meaning of life, the universe and everything, whatever that means (don't ask me), it was like I achieved something greater than anything I could do in my lifetime, so it hit my reward centers, I let everything go completely, derealization subsided and I watched a nine hour train ride to rest and return back to the land of the living, lol. The entire process left allot of wreckage of ideophobia where certain ideas would trigger mini derealized episodes, so I spent the next ~3 months exposing myself to some of the ideas in small doses until I had no more relapses, and most of the self-love that I got out of that was only temporary and subsided back to emotional neutrality but with greater emotional intelligence.

It's now been 6 months of feeling super stable as I continued exploring my newfound emotional intelligence (full disclosure, I was diagnosed with asd a little under a decade ago), and to start this year off with a bang I did a strange version of love and kindness meditation (I didn't know it at the time), and that sparked something inside me that hit on my deepest craving making all other cravings pale in comparison. It felt like my brain's straw to suck up and love it's own blood supply had widened to it's maximum bandwidth and my consciousness was slurping it up with a kinesthetic hit to all craving, and that sustained and continued for 3 days straight; I'd go to sleep with throroughly satisfying self-love, wake up with thoroughly satisfying self-love, go about my day doing practically nothing with thoroughly satisfying self-love.

I thought I hacked my way to an ever-present self-love for the rest of my life by attatching meaning to my own blood supply; it was a state not unlike depression where nothing else felt meaningful or motivating, but instead of a lack of meaning it was because meaning was continuously sated. I tested the stability of the experience by doing several activities and watching several movies to see how the experience changed with many variables, but it maintained consistency throughout all activity and I slowly began to realize the freedom that entails of being able to redirect all of my available energy away from the past baggage of nonsense routines and towards helping make the world a better place.

I wasn't sure if there was anything this could be mapped to, but after doing some reading it seemed to map onto nirvana as described here, so I went to social media (first mistake) to share this potential newfound wisdom to someone that resembled myself as I was ~5 years ago to see if I can replicate the experience in someone else. Every effort seemed to be met with infinite goal post moving as they directed themselves away from the experiment and towards a desire to understand the logic of determinism for some unknown reason. I lost it trying to understand their perspective, and haven't yet found my way back to that experience aside from a few brief glimpses here and there.

Now for the twist ending that might recontextualize everything I've been through; slime molds... can reliably solve the shortest distance through a maze to get to one of it's cravings, oats. Based on my experience, intuition seems to use a similar process of exploring all possible paths to highlight an optimal understanding based on all available information. Okay, I'll just come out and ask, what if we are a bloody kind of slime mold? The brain might not actually be the self but actual storage to help navigate food supply among other things, and all cravings might be tied back to some fused conscious homeostasis between the blood supply and the brain, and the interpolated-self gets in the way by not understanding that process and stumbling into self-destructive behavior and attachments.

I thought that was nuts too until I started looking at the Default Mode Network, a large scale brain network of interacting brain regions known to have high activity correlated with each other and is distinct from other networks in the brain; the DMN is often measured with fMRI... blood flow, and it's potentially relevant in the process of intuition, flow and meditation. I haven't foolishly concluded anything yet, but I felt compelled to post this here to prevent a strange insight and possibly relevant understanding from being lost forever in my brain. If you think feeling like a dish of mold is nuts, what if it were oats?

Closing thoughts: I crave getting back to the state of not craving in-part so I can experiment with that experience to more thoroughly understand how it fits into the human condition. If I can keep it, that bonus would make my lifetime, but is not required for what I intend to do with it. I was originally planning on integrating all of this stuff into an app that could trigger some of these states in people and hopefully spread it if it works, but I may have mapped something wrong and I don't want to risk causing derealization in anyone; so I've left it to collect dust for the time being as I reorient my focus. I currently have mild background anxiety and only experience glimpses of self-love here and there at the moment. I've devoured many buddhist podcasts in the process to get a general sense of aspects of the community, current understanding/focus of life as it is today, and am now turning towards more methodical practice diving into the depths of buddhism and practical insight meditation to draw inspiration and guidance from, explore some of the gaps in my understanding, get back on track, and now here I am, tada.

After trying a 3 hour zazen practice at a monastary a little over a week ago, the social chanting didn't intuitively feel like what I needed to open myself up again; am I mistaken? I also tried many guided meditations with buddhify, headspace, meditate.io and a dozen other apps to experiment without much progress back to any of the states I've previously described, but the reoccuring speech seemed to derail emotional experiences so I settled on insight timer for the simple programmable sounds, tracking features to keep myself on track, and the intention to manually connect it to some map. I have an overabundance of knowledge of psychology and neuroscience, the wisdom of how it applied to myself before all of these changes, but extreme ignorance in understanding the depths of buddhism and direction to take myself as I am right now; based on everything I've written here, does anyone have any sense of where I might be on any maps or should I make my own map if I'm in uncharted territories?

Never mind, I was probably just exploring embodied consciousness to an extent; but anyone's welcome to respond if need be. That certainly fits with my first experience of feeling freakishly anxiety free but much more biological and grounded in my body; now that I'm not in that state at the moment, the degree of what feels like background anxiety might just be an indirect garbled signal of what should be a constant emotionally intuitive awareness of biological signals rather than an ebb and flow. I suspect that means I should sift out the forms of meditation that overly focus the mind on narrow experiences of parts of the body, and experiment with ones that focus the mind on a more completely intuitive experience of embodied cognition.

You're in a most wonderful place, who cares where you are on a man-made map? 

Such a coincidence, I logged in to write a post asking dear Seth Tapper if he could detail his journey before getting to switching his world view of rubbishing most things and seeing what you just described and when he saw it beneficial to him to start treating mostly everything as nonsense. I think there is a crucial point of when that can/should happen. You seem to be building something that if successful, will release millions of people from suffering.

I, like the people you've faced frustrations with, fail to see how most of this is all nonsense, that I do not exist and am not a separate entity.

Many will appreciate your sharing of this methodology!

Wishing you more love... emoticon

Sorry, it seems like mapping matters to you. Describing your perception via the 5 senses will allow a ( pragmatic/perception-based/MCTB ) Arahant-(4th path on Theravadin map ) diagnose where you are. Eg. I look at my hands/the tree and I see... 

P.S. I am not for/against whatever models of enlightenment there are or that they are even different in the first place. Just know that this might irk some folks.

aloha francis,

   Two things I noticed. First, you appear to believe that self esteem is the goal of practice. Second, you consistently separate yourself into different "I"s - there is the I that craves non-craving, the I that wants to experiment with the experience, the I that evaluates experiences, the I that  prefers self-love to anxiety, and so forth. The I that laughs at craving non-craving.

   For many of us, one of the goals of practice is to slow thinking down, and embrace simplicity and humility. Perhaps a main goal is to eliminate dualisms from our thinking. A typical dualism is the idea that "I" can sort "I" out in some fashion. This sort of self directed experimentation on one's "self" only heightens the feeling of separation which causes the anxiety you are trying to dispel.

   The desire for self esteem also reinforces the sense of separate, individual self. Discovering that you don't need esteem for your "I" is liberating. For example, you may enjoy being recognized for your bright intelligence. At the same time, your intelligence may actually be an obstacle to realization. Simple truth does not require intelligence to be known. Honoring intelligence undermines respect for simple truth. Don't be impressed by cleverness. Get over it.

   If you could step back and re-examine - at length and in depth - the whole question of your own spiritual adventure in terms of "who am I really?" most of your concerns, whether enticing or anxious, may evaporate. When your racing thoughts and excitement abate and feelings of insight deepen into wordless appreciation and tacit understanding, peaces seeps in and soaks. In taoism, one is encouraged to "let the mud settle." If your thinking is precious and valuable, it will return; you won't lose anything important by letting it all go from time to time.


"Past has passed away.
Future has not arrived.
Present does not remain.
Nothing is reliable; everything must change.
You hold on to letters and names in vain,
forcing yourself to believe in them.
Stop chasing new knowledge.
Leave old views behind.
Study the essential
and then see through it.
When there is nothing left to see through,
then you will know your mistaken views.”

~ryokan



terry

terry:
If you could step back and re-examine - at length and in depth - the whole question of your own spiritual adventure in terms of "who am I really?" most of your concerns, whether enticing or anxious, may evaporate.

Thanks for the carefully worded responses, that happened about six months ago and currently oscillates between experimenting and examining for the time being; the original post is text spliced together from previous I's to save time/energy (in theory), but it might be worth starting from scratch to let the mud settle if the proof is in the pudding.