40 minutes | Aug 29th 2020

Creating space with The Headless Way and sharpening the imagination spectrum.

Practice Session #27

Thanks for checking out my show notes! I’ll be utilizing this to clarify and elaborate on points that I didn’t convey as well as I would’ve liked to. I’ll also provide links to further information and resources.

We record these weekly sessions on Sundays. Please note that I try to publish episodes the day after recording: Mondays. I generally will have the transcript and initial notes published on Mondays as well. From there, I may continue adding and modifying the show notes throughout the week.

I’ll be interspersing all my notes with the transcription from the audio, which will be displayed like this:


CK: Alright, here we go.

Pam: Um, your… There

CK: go.

Pam: I go.

I was like uh.. am I having a stroke?

CK: Weird… now, you got louder too.

Okay whatever. Here we go.

Heyo! I’m CK, and you’re listening to Practice.

I’m your functional systems integrator,and this is my podcast where practice is not just the theme of the show, but the whole purpose behind it. I’m using this platform to practice podcasting as well as speaking in general, while espousing, half-thoughts and providing unsolicited advice.

As always, I’m fortunate to be joined by my practice partner and partner in life, Pam.

Pam: Hey that’s me.

CK: Pam is also my pattern awareness manager. And every Sunday we reflect on the past week. So every Sunday we reflect on the past week and my progress with this practice along with other lifestyle practices. as well as theories and ideas behind the virtues of practice itself, we’re doing this on the fly.

So don’t hold me responsible for what I say here. Make sure to check out my show notes where I’ll provide some fact-checking, self-psychoanalysis, and commentary on things I could’ve done better. You may find this and more information about this project at ForcesOfEqual.com/Practice.

Today, we are recording on Sunday, August 30th of 2020. This is our 27th practice session.

And we will start off with a quote and this comes from stoicism again. And actually I have two quotes today. They’re both from Stoic philosopher, Epictetus, who is one of the big three Stoics that I mentioned last week. If you remember, from last week, I quoted Seneca today as Epictetus and the third big philosopher is Marcus Aurelius.

So what I remember about Epictetus that’s interesting is that he was a slave. And he came across stoicism as a slave and under the control of his owner. And so it’s really interesting to have this big stoic philosopher come out of that scenario. It’s interesting to me. And so. His, a lot of his principles are based around things that you can control.

So as a slave, obviously there’s a lot of things that he couldn’t control. So he focused a lot on those things that he can. And this reminds me of the serenity prayer from alcoholics anonymous, which I- I attended a few AA meetings because I was having some issues with self-medicating and stuff like that a few years ago when I was under a lot of anxiety and maybe some low level of depression and really couldn’t figure out what was going on.

I’ve had issues with alcohol since college, I would say. And prior to college, I didn’t drink at all. So I kind of went crazy in college and that’s when issues, my issues with alcohol began, but I don’t think I’m an alcoholic. But along the same lines, I see everything on a spectrum, so I do notice some alcoholic tendencies that I have.

And so I attended AA meetings, one, because they were required because I got a DUI. But, two – a lot of people that are required to attend AA for DUIs, just cheat, they just.forge the signature themselves and turn that in.

Pam: Really

CK: Oh yeah. No- no one- I mean, a small percentage from what I’ve observed actually attend these AA meetings, but yeah, I went to every single one that I was required to, and I actually found a lot of benefit from it.

And so the pray in paraphrasing the serenity prayer, um, first of all, I’m not religious in that sense, but in the prayer, the words in the prayer have a lot of meaning. So in prayer- paraphrasing that it says something like, uh, “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things that I can.”

And so this goes hand in hand with Epictetus and his principle of just focusing on what’s in your control. And then another principle of his is that. You want to basically walk the talk and set an example and just, it act, basically actions speak louder than words, instead of just saying things, do them, or instead of just, even instead of just philosophizing, you know, do the things that are virtuous and.

On that same note, a third principle of his is basically just don’t fall into bad habits and know what your values and your virtues are, and kind of use that as what I would refer to as like your North star, use that to guide the direction you’re going into. So with all that said, the quotes that I have for this week, the first one is.:

“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by, his imagined anxieties about real problems.”

And I should’ve asked you, Pam, if you could re- recall or recite that off the top of your head, because we used that quote for a lot of our microphone- microphone testing that we’ve done.

Pam: Is that the same quote?

Yeah, “Man is not worried about real problems so much as by as imagined anxieties about real problems.”

That’s not the quote that we’ve been using.

CK: Oh, is it not?

Pam: The quote that we’ve been using is he who indulges in imaginary fears earns himself real fears.

CK: Oh, you’re so right! Okay. Nice! Nice work. So, uh, and that’s actually from Seneca. So yeah, my mistake, I thought I had Epictetus down here, but that was Seneca.

Maybe we’ll touch upon that in a future episode,

Pam: I mean, they’re very similar quotes. The essence is the same.

CK: Yeah, exactly. So again, that was, “Man is not worried by real problems so much as by, as imagined anxieties about real problems.”

And the second quote I have for today is:

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”

So these quotes have a lot of meaning to me, especially this week. I couldn’t settle on one because I’ve been going through a lot of different thoughts and creative processes over the past week. And my creative ideation is going off the charts again. And I think this is maybe a factor of; one, I began journaling about a week or so ago. And this is journaling pen to paper, which I think I probably touched on here and there – that I couldn’t get into the actual practice of writing pen to paper, even though I’ve tried a couple of times and I understand the benefits and the science behind it.

But I finally got into it about a week and a half ago, and I’ve been doing it every day and it’s been easy and awesome. And I kind of have been finding myself, wanting to do it more and more, and just not having the time or not being able to find the time to do it more. So…

Pam: Yeah, You’re doing it at quite a bit. I walked past the office and I see you laying in there looking like a teenager writing in your diary.

CK: But yeah, I mean, it’s- it’s so fun and I’m getting so much stuff out and it’s just another step – another iteration off of this self-reflection process that I’ve been focusing on since starting this practice. And so it’s been great, and I’ve been loving it, and I think that’s been helping me.

And on that note, I’ve been able to clear off my whiteboard and start regenerating the mind-mapping that I had on there before. And that kind of goes back to the concept of pedal Morphosis, where I just kept building up and building up the mind-map and the whiteboard was just getting filled up and it was getting pretty crazy. And there were lines going all over the place.

And it was useful for me to refer to, but it had gotten to the point where it became too specific, I guess, with the stuff that I ended up writing down towards the end of the mapping process. And then those things towards end didn’t necessarily line up perfectly with what I started out with. And so I had to go paedomorphic with it, and draw back, and go back to a more juvenile state, per se, and get back to the foundation of what I started out with. And then build back the specifics that I ended up on that I felt comfortable with with that notion.

And just kind of, kind of basically starting over. Not necessarily from a blank slate, but with the foundation and the additional information that I learned, but kind of reorganizing it in a more efficient and effective format, if that makes sense.

Pam: it does. It’s editing.

CK: Yeah, I mean…

Pam: Our- well, our superfan, Daryl, has his first fiction novel coming out in October. And so I’ve been watching him going through the editing process on that book and learning about how, you know, the editor came back and was like, “you should just chop out these four chapters,” like, an entire section of the book to make it flow better and make it simpler. And so that, and, like, “move this chapter over here.”

And like, you’re- you’re like cutting things out and getting back to the basics of the- of the, um, core of what you’re trying to do and like getting rid of the fluff. So it’s an editing process.

CK: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I guess that’s a very much more simple way of putting paedomorphosis. But I like to complicate things as…

Pam: Yes, you do.

CK: …you should know, by now. But anyway, I’m kind of struggling a little bit to- to figure out what to talk about this week, because I have so many things running through my mind. So I am just kind of going to try to go with the flow and see what pops up.

But before we get into things, let’s kind of reflect on our week and catch up with ourselves and maybe our moods and our physical feelings.

Uh, where’d my brain thesaurus go?

So, uh, I’ll come right out and get it started and say that I am in an awesome mood now because of how productive my week was and everything is starting to come together and all the work and all the troubleshooting I was doing is all coming together and paying off.

And so it’s been fun for all that to begin happening now. And I feel like it’s just going to continue happening.

And on another note, I also re-instituted my summer napping schedule.

Pam: Take two.

CK: Yeah. Um, I got off it because I was, excuse me, I was kind of looking back at my patterns of my sleeping- my sleeping patterns from before.

And I am very conscious of my sleeping patterns because I’ve had a lot of issues with sleep and insomnia. I think I’ve mentioned that before. But now I’m- I’m sleeping so well. And my cycles seem to be lined up. And I mean, I have some instances where I fall out, but I can fall right back in and I have no problem with that.

And now I’m finally realizing that it’s been about two years now, I think, since I finally got everything back on track and I went through some treatment processes and a lot of mindfulness and a lot of implementing my own practices to solve my issues with sleep.

And so I’ve always, since then, I’ve kind of been, I guess, anxious, somewhat, still about sleeping well, because I know how important it is.

Pam: Nervous about it. I get nervous about it when you sleep in later than you normally do now, I’m like, “Oh my God,” you know, “did he not sleep well? Is this the start of a problem?”

CK: But now I’m getting comfortable with the fact that it’s not really that much of a problem for me anymore. And if I don’t sleep well on one night, I’ll get right back in. And my patterns and cycles have developed to the point where. I’m in the sweet spot of that sleeping momentum wave, per se.

So I don’t have as much variance with my sleep and I’m not hitting those peaks and valleys as much. I’ve moved them closer together, and the wave is not as volatile, and I’m just riding the flow of the momentum. So that and my productivity with everything else is just coming together.

And everything just seems awesome, and there’s actually another factor that just popped into my mind that Pam, you actually kind of asked me about last week and I didn’t think of it – I couldn’t come up with it, but it’s. Um, if you can remind me in a bit or try to remember, I’ll put a note here real quick and I’ll try to remember to mention it in a bit, but before we get into that, Pam let’s catch up with you.

And how has your week been going

Pam: Um, it was good. To stay in line with the productivity theme, um, Darryl, our superfan that I mentioned earlier, introduced me to a project management software called Click Up and it is amazing. Um, so I’m getting my entire life organized in there.

And, you know, I have tried Trello and Wrike and Asana and Notion… And like- like, I’ve tried so many different tools and this one just is easy and it makes sense. And it has everything.

So we’re getting all of the podcast production organized in there, um, all of my regular work tasks. Like, just organizing everything in my life in Click Up. And it’s really, really exciting.

We had a great team meeting this weekend, so we’re getting all of that, um, lined up. So I’m really excited for what we can do in Q4 with, um, being aligned there.

CK: Yeah, definitely.

Pam: Um, other than that, um, I went out for my run this morning and…

CK: Yeah, how’d that go?

Pam: Well, I’m still recovering from my hip flexor issue. So I just went for a mile.

I’m not doing a lot of mileage right now, so I just went for a mile and felt pretty good. Didn’t have any pain or anything during the first half. So I was like, “Okay, you know what? I’m going to go for time. I’m going to beat my fastest time. Let’s see if I can do that.”

And so 8:54 was the fastest time that I was trying to beat and I killed it in the second half and I finished at 8:53. So I beat the fastest time that I was try to beat, right? Only by one second, but I beat it and I was really excited.

And then I got back and I went to record my run and discovered that my fastest time was actually 8:52. So my, uh, my takeaway for you here is that if you are, um, shooting for a goal, make sure that the goal that you’re shooting for is actually what you want, because that is what you’re going to get. And if you aren’t shooting for the thing that you actually want, you’re going to be disappointed with the results.

Yeah. That’s funny, but that’s the M in smart goal planning. Right? Measurable.

Oh, I mean, it was measurable. I just had the wrong measurement.

CK: True. True.

Pam: So, yeah.

CK: Well, that’s funny, but I mean, uh, one factor that you forgot to mention is that you did it without me, so…

Pam: That’s true. I did not have a pace car

CK: Yeah, you almost hit your personal best on your own.

Pam: I could have- I could have shaved off two more seconds, but

CK: That’s funny.

Pam: Yeah.

CK: That’s interesting though, uh, that may go back to one of the quotes for this week where man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems.


Pam: I’m not worried by it. It is definitely an imagined problem. It was more funny.

CK: Cool. Cool. Well, okay, so let’s see, where should we go from here? Should okay. Let’s try to get back to what I was talking about before, where last week Pam asked me, what was it? We were talking about how I was. More able to be in the present moment and create more space in the moment. And we were talking about this in regard to how much fun we had with our photo shoot last week. And I really couldn’t come up with this at the time. First of all, because it’s kind of new and I’m still going through the process, but. Last week. I just said that, you know, it’s, uh, I’m not sure. It’s just kind of how I’ve been growing into these mindfulness processes and practices, and maybe it’s just kind of happening.

Uh, I guess I kind of took a Taoistic stance in that respect, but then I remembered that I began going more into this. Mindfulness practice per se. And this is through Sam Harris’s waking up app so I’ve been using Sam Harris waking up meditations for the past about two years, I think between a year and a half and two years, and waking up has been the most beneficial.mindfulness practice for me so far. And I’ve been meditating and practicing mindfulness pretty much every single day, since about 2012. So about eight or so years now. And I just started with waking up about two years ago and it’s been so profound. It’s been by far the best practice for me in terms of getting my head.

Around the practice and where I’m supposed to go with it basically. And Sam Harris has a way with words and metaphors that makes it a lot easier for me to understand where I’m supposed to be going. So with waking up, I was making big strides with my mindfulness. And through the app, Sam’s been bringing on a lot of other mindfulness and meditation practitioners and he’s doing interviews with them.

And with some of them, he has other lessons and courses for different methodologies. And the one that I’ve been. Trying out for the past week and a half is called- Oh, shoot. I forget the name of it. I think it’s called The Headless Way, and it’s by Richard Lang who uses the principles from Douglas Harding.

And I haven’t really looked in to this stuff. On its own very deeply. So I’m, I don’t know too much about it. I’ve just been going through the practices and they’re kind of presented more like experiments. So it’s not necessarily,

can you hear that? What is that? I don’t know something just made a noise. I think it’s my phone. Okay. Anyway, I don’t know what’s going on here right now, but yeah, my phone just said our address. I don’t know. Yeah. Let me check.

Pam: That’s creepy.

CK: Yes. Siri turned on somehow and there’s no mention of it, so I don’t know what happened. Okay.

Pam: That’s weird.

CK: I know. Anyway.

Pam: Get back to your mindfulness.

CK: Yeah.

Pam: Get present.

CK: So with The Headless Way, the general principle is that you’re meditating on having no head. So it’s an open-eye Uh, the practices that I’m going through on more of an open-eye meditation or mindfulness.

And when you’re looking out, the general idea is that you don’t see yourself and you can’t look at yourself. And when you try to look at where you’re looking out of, or kind of try to look back, there’s nothing there. You can’t see anything like you can’t see your own head and it’s building upon that principle.

And then realizing that the essence of you is basically just space and your s You are space for everything that is that you’re observing. So what do you see. Is what you are space for. And I’m, it’s, it’s kind of hard to put this into words in Sam Harris and Douglas Harding and Richmond Lang They do a much better job and I’m just doing this.

I’m just kind of saying what’s on my mind and doing this on the fly, but I mean, does that kinda make sense, Pam? Do you- did…

Pam: Yeah. Is it that through perception, you are a container for everything that you’re experiencing.

CK: Yeah. And it’s hard to put actual words to this practice or mindset because in the end, it’s all about this duality that I’ve been trying to articulate before. Where, you know, obviously there’s you, and, but at the same time, you’re a connected to everything and everything’s connected and you’re not only you, but you’re space for everything else and all this is connected.

It’s all one. So you’re, it’s it relates to. holons and complex systems where with holon you are a system as well as part of a system. And while you can categorize the two things, it’s also part of the same thing. So it’s that duality. So It’s I think a lot of this is understanding the oneness of duality, which makes no sense it’s paradoxical, but that’s, I mean, that’s kind of how I feel like it is.

That’s kind of the best way I can explain it right now. It’s the oneness of duality. So, can you, does that make sense? Can you think of any better explanation

Pam: Um, uh, I’m not sure. My, my brain wasn’t really looking for explanations. I was laughing because, uh, if I remember correctly today, mercury is squaring, Neptune, and mercury is the, uh, The planet of communication and thought and intellect and Neptune is, um, oneness and the like collective. So it’s funny that you are like trying to put words to the idea of oneness.

CK: Huh? That’s interesting.

Pam: that was really funny. Um, but I think the idea is that while there’s duality in everything, there’s also collective and oneness and everything. So even though there’s duality, they exist together. They literally can’t exist without each other.

CK: yeah, exactly.

Pam: So the duality is the oneness

CK: Right

Yeah. I like how you put that. And I think that makes a lot of sense. And so I guess along those same lines, I can relate this back to one of the quotes for today, which says if you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid, and I’ve been getting a lot more comfortable with this notion lately.

Because I’ve been pretty tied up with my own intelligence and intellectualism throughout my life. And the thing is like, well, I guess the whole reason I started this podcast is to become better at articulating my thoughts because I don’t want to be misunderstood, but now I’m just more comfortable with going with the flow and.

Saying what’s on my mind. And I think this whole practice, it’s basically a exposure therapy that I self-exposure therapy that I instituted.

Pam: yeah.

CK: you know, it’s a cog a subset of cognitive behavioral therapy and that whole premise is kind of stoic in itself. You know, you overcome your fears by putting yourself out there and.

Being in the moment instead of our first quote, man is not worried by real problems. So much as by, his imagined anxieties about real problems. So before where I was imagining how I’m coming off and how I may be misunderstood now, I’m not worried about that as much. I’m not worried about what I think is going to happen.

I’m just more focused on what’s happening. And so I’m becoming a lot more comfortable with saying what’s on my mind. And I’m realizing that it’s for the most part, it’s accurate. Like last week I was talking about how our emotions are built in to our primit primitive brain wiring. And I was talking about the limbic system and the paralymbic system and three different.

Proposed categorizations of brain function. And I listened back and I’m like, Holy cow, I actually know what I’m talking about. And at the, at the moment while I was talking about it, I was a little more free than I would have been before in talking about it. But I still had a little hint of anxiety.

there like, is this right? Am I going in the right order? And like, after like right after I was talking about it, I was, I kind of. Had doubts about what I said and if what I said was right, but then listening back, it was pretty accurate. So it’s that imagined perception that you don’t want to fall. Privy to, or fall victim of or I don’t know what my thesaurus brain thesaurus isn’t working. Right. today But yeah, I mean, there’s a spectrum, like reality is on the spectrum of imagination. So on one side is imagination and on the other side is reality, but all the way up to reality, there’s still some imagination as part of it.

Pam: And Also what is reality?

CK: Right. Exactly.

Pam: It’s all imagination really,

CK: Yeah reality is like a collective imagination, basically. So yeah, there’s a lot there that you can work with, but there’s this notion of being in the present moment and just being which falls in line with the Taoism philosophy. And so on that note, I’m finding like a yin and yang between Taoism and stoicism with, and being more of being with the flow or going with the flow and being in the moment and being in the moment with the flow and stoicism being more logical in having that, uh, having the reasoning.

In there. And so, yeah, it all goes back to the quote, if you want to improve, be content to be thoughtful and stupid. And so I like the whole, like this even goes back to my relationship with my own intelligence. Like the thing is I’ve never thought that I was, I mean, I know that I have intelligence.

And I don’t like, I still don’t like talking about it, but there’s okay. So fact I am a member of Mensa, so obviously there’s a level of intelligence there that I have to exhibit, but I don’t feel like I earned that intelligence or there’s an External locus of control that I have in terms of this inhibiting, this intelligence.

Pam: that’s one of your things. You only appreciate things that you have to work really hard for,

CK: Yeah. And it

Pam: So

you didn’t for it. So you feel like it. Isn’t as good as it actually is.

CK: Yeah. And I mean, it’s not like I hadn’t I haven’t worked to become smarter or more knowledgeable, but. There’s this feeling that I feel like everybody should be at this certain level of intelligence.

Pam: but it also comes easily to you. You, you love learning new topics, you are able to retain information, you learn things easily. So that comes easy to you, even though you do put in a lot of time, you’re not struggling. To earn the intelligence.

CK: Right. And, but the thing is, there’s a lot of different definitions of intelligence. And, uh, even in science, there’s a lot of ways that scientists are slicing intelligence into different categories. For example, there’s Gardner’s theory of intelligence, I believe where. It’s split up into like eight or nine different categories of intelligence, like logical intelligence, mathematical intelligence, musical intelligence, emotional intelligence.

Uh, I’m not sure if those are the actual categories, but just to give you the idea. And then there’s the idea of G which stands for general intelligence. And so there’s a lot of different theories floating around, but what I’m starting to become more comfortable with is intelligence. In the frame of perspective.

So I look at perspective as intelligence and when looking at it that way, I’m more comfortable in. In my, my intelligence, because I’m looking at it as perspective. So I’m comfortable in saying, or even believing in myself in having a broad perspective of things and even trying to increase my perspective and level of awareness.

So in terms of being thought of as foolish and stupid, I like, that’s fine with me now. And because it increases my perspective and I get to learn. And so I guess I’m just more comfortable. That’s making me more comfortable in saying what’s on my mind and not necessarily getting so anxious about being right or accurate or being misunderstood.

So, yeah, that’s what I have to say about that.

Pam: I was thinking about something very similar to that. Not knowing that you are going to use that quote today, but I was journaling this morning and I was thinking about how, the way we interact has changed over the last few years. And you know, we’re both. Highly intelligent, um, you know, high performers.

And I would say that for a number of years in our relationship, our communication wasn’t very good because we were both like, we didn’t want to say the wrong thing or come across in a certain way. Or, um, you know, we, we didn’t have a lot of vulnerability and a lot of collaboration in our communication.

And I know for me, I never wanted to be wrong or, you know, A number of things I didn’t want to be, but through this practice of accepting that, you know, you are going to look foolish sometimes, and that not only is that okay, but it’s good and accepting your own, um, you know, foolishness, you allow the people around you to become comfortable with their own foolishness.

CK: right. And you offer that space for that to happen

Pam: Exactly without judgment.

CK: yeah. Yeah. And that, that goes back to the headless way for me. So now I’m able to think of that. Like having no head, like when I in the present. Uh, like for example, when we go on our walks multiple times a day, I’m I can bring up that notion of having no head and immediately the world just kind of comes into view.

And I see, like, I see everything more clearly and more vibrantly. And that’s just kind of a metaphor for everything else that that could relate to, like in conversation or any interaction. Like once I create that space, I just see more of everything. My perspective widens

Pam: and along that same line, when we go on those walks, I know that if I share something with you or I’m like, I’m having this problem, or I went through this, this situation today. You are more likely to respond and say, I’m also having a problem. Or I went through that issue So by opening up and showing you I’m, I’m dealing with this thing that isn’t perfect.

Or I did this dumb thing today, or this happened you then have the space and the freedom to come back to me. I also had that happen or, um, or I’m going through the same kind of thing. So it allows both of us, um, Better communication and better connection through having that, that space to, you know, to look foolish or to be, you know, potentially be judged, but know that you won’t be.

CK: Right, right. Yeah. Being vulnerable. So yeah, I think this was a great discussion this week. And so we’ve been going a little longer than usual, so we’ll start closing up here. Pam, did you have anything else that you can think of that you want to add?

Pam: No, I think that’s it.

CK: You already got some of your astrology in so…

Pam: I did.

CK: Yeah. So we’ll just leave it there for this week.

And I hope you guys are enjoying this little adjusted format. I’m having fun with it, and I think we’re just gonna keep getting better and better with the discussion – the back and forth discussion. And I’m liking it. I’m having fun and enjoying it.

So we’ll leave it there for this week. And before we leave off real quick, Pam, where can people find you?

Pam: You can find me on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund. And if you do, say “hi!”

And then you might be able to find me on Twitter @cKdisco.

And yeah, thanks for joining us again this week. And Pam, thank you for joining me again, of course, as always. And I hope you come back and join us next week and keep on practicing.


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