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  1. Hello. I am Stronkey Kong. I've been on NF for over eight years . I'm still fat and making the best of it. learning from my mistakes. 🤔 GOALS: MEDITATION+: Still practicing the Buddhism. Still on a meditation streak since March 21st. That's all fine and good, and is habit. Now I need to step it up and memorize the "King of Aspiration Prayers: Samantabhadra's Aspiration to Good Actions." The prayer/mantra itself is a guide to the essential meditation preliminary practices we do. It is also 259 lines long. But for the benefit of all sentient beings I will memorize it... in English at least. Then I'll start on the Tibetan. Settle in to the WIZARD TOWER: As some of you saw last challenge, I bought a house and moved in. While I'm almost done upacking, now is not the time to stop. So definitely want to get all that finished up this challenge. This weekend I got the bedroom in order by unpacking all the clothes, doing ALL THE LAUNDRY EVAR, and putting clothes away. There's one more box in there, then I need to get the office and kitchen done. MOVEMENT: Now that the house moving and all is tapering off to just regular chores, I need to start working out again. So I'll be lifting weights and following the Greyskull LP... M, W, F or S. It'd be great to get a little cardio and yoga on top of that, but that'll be a bonus. NOOM: Just showing up and getting it done. Weigh in, log food, read articles. I think that's all. I thought briefly about a writing goal, but maybe I'll add one when the office gets settled. And there will be pictures of and stories about this idiot...
  2. Stronkey Kong's Battle Log -- since 7/20/2021 Remember when parents and teachers would threaten us with "That's going on your permanent record." Then you grow up and realize no such thing really exists. Well now at least one does, but it only goes from 7/20/21 and on. I have been on the forums for 8 years and under almost as many names (Darwin's Demon, Curl Brogo, Brogo, Chris Tarly, and now Stronkey Kong). I started my journey at 270 lbs. I am currently 270 lbs, though I've been higher and lower. I started this battle log as Chris Tarly in Jan. 2020 -- you all know why it fell by the wayside. As of 7/20/21 I am: Buying a house Getting some weight loss traction using Noom Sitting on top of 50K words of a novel Practicing Tibetan Buddhism Realizing all my goals are becoming super long term, and I'd like to see a more permanent record With that I'm rebooting and rennovating this Battle log. More to come. BIG DISCLAIMER: To followers and would be commentors, in the spirit of keeping this battle log organized, please restrict comments to thoughtful questions, comments, or words of encouragement about the process on this thread. Please no funny gifs, shitposting, or offtopic/derail posts. You can do this stuff on my challenge threads which I will link from here and/or in my signature. I want this to be an organized record so I can find things later. When in doubt, do not post. Simply using the like buttons/emojis will be sufficient to show support. Victories (large and small): 1/9/2020 -- After little over 1 week in the NFA, my weight dropped 5 lbs. and my measurements all decreased by 0.25-0.5 inches.
  3. Hello. I am Stronkey Kong. I've been on NF over seven years -- it's getting close to 8 now. I'm still fat and making the best of it. Some days I'm not sure if I can even. I'm kind of winnowing down to what matters and that's having good health, a calm mind, good relationships with others, and being able to enjoy life better. Lately I've been really committing myself to practicing Buddhism, and studying through the Tibetan Gelug lineage (same as the Dalai Lama). So meditation and study has become a real focal point. I'm also no longer worried about losing weight or getting ripped/buff/jacked... or stronk even, I just want to have the flexibility, stability, and stamina to move through daily life with less effort and be able to endure through my meditation practice comfortably and not have a shitty back or diabetes and whatnot in a few years if it can be helped. Just so I can even. During the holidays I made a wishlist for this year to work on. Every challenge since I've come back to it and picked out a few things to work, made some amendments, etc. Then I make a challenge of it. Here is said list (with updates and shit): Goals: Shop and cook/prep smarter: Something that's bothering me is that I keep having to throw away good food at the end of every week. This is usually because I bought too much of something because I thought I needed it or wanted it when I didn't really need or want it at all. Then I'm hungry, I look in the fridge at all the things I don't want, and I'm like "Fuck it, I'm having pizza." I've actually been pretty good about not eating fuck loads of pizza lately, but this general area of picking foods better and wasting less needs work. Here's an example: I had three yellow squashes that are on the verge of going bad cuz they've sat all week. There are fresh carrots and celery that I snack on with PB. There's lettuce and tomatoes for quick salads. And while yellow squash in pasta or soup is fine, I'm not thrilled about mushy, bland summer squashes and didn't make any soup that called for them. So why the hell did I buy them? ... because I thought I needed another vegetable. Basically I need to be more mindful of why I'm buying something. I need to ask myself, before I put it in the cart: Do I really need it? -- Is it going in a recipe that I plan to make? Will it be harmful to my diet to not eat this, and is there no other substitute for it? Do I want it? -- If it's not part of a bigger tastier recipe, will I eat it on it's own? Is it good? If I buy this do I have something to pair it with that is good? If I have to buy another thing to make this thing edible is it worth it? Also: Do I need to buy/make that much of it? How long will it hold up in the fridge and can I freeze it for later? Daily Movement: Work on one of the following for at least 20 min daily Ruck: Walk with backpack with 25 lbs. weight Yoga: Go back and re-read/study Yoga for the Inflexible Male and work on the poses and routines therein. Qigong: For when yoga gets boring and I still want to work on being flowey and breathing and stuff. Quarterstaff: Not sure yet, but if I start working on this again it will be acceptable movement Write Get crackin' on that novel. I was supposed to come up with 5000 words last challenge to get to the end of part 1. FFS, why not try to finish the thing? Do at least one 15 min writing sprint daily Study: All my Buddhist classwork, readings, and language study, also taking breaks to read other things. I typically do some Tibetan study in the morning, and study a text at night. Then lighter filler material when I'm bored on the weekends. Tibetan Main goal: Memorize writing and reading the conjunct characters -- I can do this before the end of this challenge. Stretch goal: transcribe and memorize the Prajana Paramita Sutra in Tibetan -- I might be able to start this before the end of this challenge. Nagarjuna: Mulamadhyamakakarika -- keep going Lighter stuff: take a break from study and read for recreation, but keep reading things People: I have to start peopling again. What? How? I'm getting my first covid shot on Wed. May 5. We're getting toward the end of all the hardest social distancing stuff. I haven't been totally cut off from family and work, but I haven't been meeting new people, or only rarely. And by the end of this challenge, my Buddhist Center will likely open back up so I can hang out with those people and attend classes in person. I'm not sure what the goals should be, but something to do with getting out of the house and peopling again. Idk. Meetups? Dating? Going to new shops/restaurants? Learn a couple Dad jokes? I've got until I get my second shot (+ 10 days I think) to figure out a plan for how to people again. Oh! And now I'm sober... how do I even? Camping: I am going camping sometime around the end of this challenge. At least an overnight trip. My zero week goal will be to research and make arrangements for said trip... i.e. pick a park and site, and purchase passes/reservations as needed... Probably gonna hike in somewhere on the Tecumseh trail and do it backwoods style but car camping will remain an option. However, I am on night shift and will likely be getting somewhere in the evening and staying up all night meditating and reading. Could be weird, but it's still time outdoors.
  4. Hello. I am Stronkey Kong. Umm... Been on NF over seven years. I'm still fat and making the best of it. Which means I'm tempering my goals, accepting what is and what is not (feasibly and sustainably) possible. I eat as healthy as I can while enjoying my food. I move as often as I can while enjoying movement. I think. I create. I devise elaborate plans for challenges and eschew all rules as soon as convenience dictates. <sigh> This challenge is inspired by a recent dream I had. This is one of my stress dreams. It came after spending a week switching to day shift, rather abruptly, after having been on night shift for over a year, going to a training course across town, then coming back to work to find out that someone more senior than me, and training/guiding me at work is leaving in another week and then I'm pretty much on my own kinda. Idk. This is gonna get tough. I suppose the point/meaning of this dream, if they do have meanings, is that I need to avoid quick fixes and work on my coping mechanisms ahead of stressors. Then there's the fact that I'm turning my attention back to mindfulness and my Buddhist practice. I have dabbled and practiced with varying degrees of seriousness in Zen. I'm currently learning about Tibetan Buddhism and reading and meditating on Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva, and am planning to get back into my meditation routine. If you've never heard the term, Bodhisattvas are beings who have attained enlightenment, but rather than pursuing full Buddhahood (where you get to just chill out in Nirvana for eternity, free from suffering) they choose to return to Samsara (the eternal cycle of life, suffering, death, and rebirth) to guide other beings on the path to enlightenment. Hence, they are good examples to follow for freeing oneself from suffering and helping others. I could go on on this topic, but I'll leave it there for now. I just thought I'd let you know why I named my challenge as I did. And then there's the Big List... which I made during the Holiday challenge as a set of goals to pursue long term. From this list I usually create a goal or two from something on the list to work toward, and lately I usually focus on Intuitive Eating, Exercise, Creativity, and buying a home. My goals are listed in order of general priority. I'm putting the TL;DR up front and spoilering the details to tidy things up here: TL;DR Mindfulness: daily meditation with increasing session times Lotus Position: stretch to improve lotus posture during meditation Nourishment: Eat mindfully and watch out for GERD symptoms Movement: Qigong Abode: spring cleaning Creativity: Knit a Beanie or Finish part one of my fantasy novel Wisdom: Study The Way of the Bodhisattva Knowledge: study Tibetan language
  5. Welcome back for another episode of the exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. Upon my return, I have decided to revisit some of my challenge themes to turn them into lessons as I had been doing more recently. I feel it is a good way to reflect on my own learning and progress to write about and share these lessons, but I also have another objective. I am cataloging these lessons in a document which is now up to 136 pages. The plan is to use this document as a reference for my personal Jedi training and to pass on for my Padawan training. It isn't just my Nerd Fitness challenges. It includes every Jedi-related writing I have done, training I have worked through, and documents I have collected (which are not protected but have sources noted). Challenge Lesson: "You must unlearn what you have learned." - Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back Chinese Scholar Tokusan, who was full of knowledge and opinions about the dharma, came to Chinese Zen Master Ryutan and asked about Zen. At one point Ryutan re-filled his guest's teacup, but did not stop pouring when the cup was full. Tea spilled out and ran over the table. "Stop! The cup is full!" said Tokusan. "Exactly," said Master Ryutan. "You are like this cup; you are full of ideas. You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full; I can't put anything in. Before I can teach you, you'll have to empty your cup." In Jedi training, it is important to let go of lessons learned in the past to learn to see the world in a new way. During my Jedi Training at the IJRS in 2012, I took a course on the Force with lessons analyzing my use of intuition. I found that I typically ignore my intuition when I shouldn't. I rely on logic, which is fine as long as you have all the facts. When my intuition and logic do not align, it is because I do not have all the critical information to make a decision. To rely more on my intuition requires that I take a leap of faith, which I am not in the habit of doing. Listening to the wise words of Yoda, I am relying on my intuition more and more. Since 2012, I have discovered my intuition can be remarkably accurate in pushing me in a positive direction before I "know" the desired information to make an informed decision. In my Toastmasters training, I have found that my initial practice and preparation techniques for speaking in front of others was all wrong for my confidence and self esteem. I used to write out the entire speech and choreograph the entire speech. I'd rehearse until I could do it by heart. It worked great... for practice. As soon as I was in front of an audience, I had to be perfect. If I goofed anything, it made me sweat and it threw the entire speech off track. I take a much more casual approach to speech writing now. I jot down some notes about what I want to talk about, maybe work out a line or two which will be the take away for the speech, then I just speak the speech over and over. I get to know the points I want to make and discover how I naturally say them and look for better ways to say them just working on my natural abilities. This allows me to be more comfortable in front of the audience, since there is no strict scripture. I just have to know my material forward and back which allows me to think on my feet better and focus on connecting with the audience. My goal for public speaking is to make an impact on the audience, give them something to walk away with, and influence lives. When I started Toastmasters, my goal was just to not be horrible and fearful of public speaking. I am beyond that and actually enjoy public speaking. It has given me leadership opportunities which I thought would always be out of reach, because I was a chicken. Well, this chicken crossed the road and became a confident rooster. For my fitness training, I always believed that running for the sake of running is boring. I had a hard time finding ways to make running interesting or a priority. After the Zombie, Run! app didn't work, I thought I'd give up on distance and focus on sprinting, since I enjoy being fast. Unfortunately, unless someone is chasing me like in playing football and rugby or there is a team I am competing with, I don't really enjoy sprinting enough to push myself to new heights. I discovered this summer that I just needed the right motivation. I now run with Pokémon Go. The longer I run, the further I go, the more Pokémon I catch and the more I progress in the game. The gyms are always just difficult enough to present a challenge and push me to keep improving. I fear that once I dominate gyms with my superior Pokémon, that I might not enjoy the game as much. I've noticed that some players have created a second account to help them hold down gyms, getting them to level 2 or 3. I kind of think of that as cheating, since the game really wants you to team up with other players. If the game starts to get boring, then I have these two options to make it more interesting. Starting from scratch with a second account or finding players to team up with on my morning runs, gym battles, etc. Those morning runs will always be important in progressing to the next level in the game, so I don't really see that part getting boring. I might just need to change the setting for my runs to discover different Pokémon. There are lots of areas where we fill up our minds with knowledge and opinions, but to truly grow you need to look past what you already know or think, see things from different perspectives, try different approaches, and experience new things. To continue to do things the same way, you will only get the same results. Change is growth. Empty the cup. Unlearn what you have unlearned to properly prepare yourself to be enlightened. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no boss level in Jedi training, there is only tomorrow. World 2 Level 5 Challenge: FITNESS: Work Up a Sweat - 600 minutes of conditioning training for the entire challenge. DEX +2, STA +3 The weekly plan is a minimum of three 45 minute tabata runs with Pokémon Go, plus plenty of walking, hiking, or other activities. I crushed my goal last challenge, but my family tends to throw a wrench in all plans I make for evenings and weekends. The minimum won't get me to my goal. I have to go above the minimum for at least 60 minutes. Stretch and Strengthen - 600 minutes of exercises and stretches for the entire challenge. STR +2, DEX +1 The weekly plan includes 10 minutes of regular stretching each day, two 20 minute sessions of physical therapy exercises and 30 minutes of other strength training each week. The minimum leaves 40 minutes to make up by the end of the challenge. DIET: Weight Control - Lose 2 lbs by end of challenge. Never weigh more than 163 lbs. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 4. The last part of this challenge is that I want to minimize how many times I have the thought, "I ate too much". I will count and report on each time I have that thought to identify how I can avoid the pitfall in the future. CON +3 Going to eat salad and veggies as much as possible with apples and dark chocolate as my sugary snacks. Avoid soda, ice cream, and potato chips. Minimize cheese and nuts. Most importantly, I have to watch my portions. I cannot ever have two "large" meals in one day. LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 28 Tasks or Projects from any of the following areas: Toastmasters Communication Practice, Toastmasters Leadership Practice, Webmaster Work, Jedi Training, Job Work, Charity Work, House Work, Yard Work, Home Renovation, Auto Maintenance, Family Activities (to keep it diverse, no more than 4 from any one category) WIS +2, CHA +2 I'm still procrastinating, deciding to do the fun stuff first and delay the less fun stuff. Jedi Training is definitely something that is not getting any focus. I added more areas to the list to track (I don't want to not do something just because it doesn't make the list) and increased to 28 total (7 a week, or 1 a day). Incorporating a reward and consequence has been really helpful, so I'll keep doing that. My wife identified that we may be playing too much in our free time together and not getting to the bigger projects. She works weekends, so we have very little time where we can tackle a project together. The focus has been on smaller projects where single parenting is easier. When we are together, we usually have plans for something fun. I am having trouble motivating the kids to be useful with weekly chores, as well. I think I have a viable solution. REWARD: For each week I don't procrastinate undesirable tasks (where I think "I'll do it later") where I overcome procrastination and do it or at least work on it, I'll reward myself with one game of Madden Saturday morning. CONSEQUENCE: If I procrastinated at all, then I have to give up my morning to working on something I procrastinated. This plan won't influence my goal grade, but it will give me incentive to do all the things, instead of just the fun ones. Some might look at my reward scheme and think, "why not have a reward and consequence for the other goals", and my response is that I do. A healthier, muscular, sexy body is all the reward I need. ;-)
  6. "After 4 months of pointless loot grinding at work, finally the summer ended and this Vegan Monk has time and power to train and develop." Goal 1: (Soul) Start the day in a positive way. Wake up at 7AM sharp. Glass of water. Stretch for a few minutes. Meditate for half an hour. Goal 2: (Mind) The mind is a tool - to expand it is cool. Read and highlight 4 books. Goal 3: (Body) Train 5 times per week. This includes Muay Thai, Yoga, Running, Cycling and Calisthenics. Life Goal: Money - an illusion made by human hand, yet to live without it - you know I can't. Earn some cash by doing what you love. I like training. Maybe someone wants to pay me to make him train with me, as a coach and motivator? I like Dungeons and Dragons and kids. Maybe someone wants to pay me to play DnD with his children, as a babysitter? I like cycling. Maybe I could deliver things around the city, part time? I like running/walking outside. Maybe I could take out people's dogs for a few hours/day?
  7. I was born Jacob, but I keep writing Golana on character sheets. I have characters other than my ranger, but I don't let them guide my real life actions. I'm a 30 year old professional motorist. I live in Green Bay, but work in Chicago. I have a shamanic world view, that is to say that I believe everything has a spirit and all humans have a varying ability to interface. I bring a kettle bell to work, that seems to alarm most people. The fat bike is a little too bulky, I save that as a weekend treat. It's exceedingly rare that my bike rides don't result in at least a little blood loss. I started meditating when I was 6. My imaginary friend taught me; just putting that out there. None my of my friends share my commitment to fitness, which brings me here.
  8. Cobaltsword's Journey: The Battle Log I need a break from the challenges for a while, maybe i'll just sit this one out. I need some rest. But i'll continue on my quest to becoming a true assassin. My training regimen so far after two years with Nerd Fitness (woot!) Monday: Spartacus workout + mace training + bo staff trianing Tuesday: Parkour + running Wednesday: Spartacus Workout + mace training + bo staf training Thursday: rest Friday: Parkour + running Saturday: Spartacus Workout + mace Training + bo staff training Sunday: Parkour + running So just a small head's up: yesterday i finally achieved a speed vault and what i dubbed a side kong vault. The true kong vault is within reach but not just yet. I need the mental strength to attempt it. But i also improved my stride jumps, my cat walk, and climbed a new building a few days ago (abandonned train station) i did not go al the way up for my grip strength is not quite there yet. But it's encouraging to see how far i've come anyway, a big woot to me for now
  9. Just started listening to a Podcast that promotes a morning ritual, called the Morning Miracle. I love my morning rituals and they set up my entire day. School starts at 9:20 except on Thursday when it starts at 8am. Thursday might be my off day. Wake Up 6AM Hygiene stuff and dress in Karate Gi Meditation 20 minutes Happy Light 30 minutes (Diet Dew Infusion, HB Eggs) Mantra- Three Jewels 30 Front Kick 30 Side Kick 25 Front Punch Taka Hyung 1 Pinan 1 Pinan 2 Pinan 3 Two Step 1 Two Step 2 Two Step 3 Two Step 4 Two Step 5 By the end of my six weeks I want to have learned all 10 of the two steps and the next kata called Punjung 1, which is kinda hard. Also I will have added more to the kicking and punching, but I will go by how my arthritis feels. Right now I have no pain, but with movement things change. My three things are all rolled up in this one morning ritual. I kept on this schedule (except the karate) for the past 3 months, but on this school break I have fallen to the dark side. School starts on the 5th and so does the challenge!
  10. This is a fantastic translation of one of the foundation texts of Indian meditation. It is also just the bare bones of the Sutra without all the commentary. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Translation by BonGiovanni Part One on Contemplations Part One Now, instruction in Union. Union is restraining the thought-streams natural to the mind. Then the seer dwells in his own nature. Otherwise he is of the same form as the thought-streams. The thought-streams are five-fold, painful and not painful. Right knowledge, wrong knowledge, fancy, sleep and memory. Right knowledge is inference, tradition and genuine cognition. Wrong knowledge is false, illusory, erroneous beliefs or notions. Fancy is following after word-knowledge empty of substance. Deep sleep is the modification of the mind which has for its substratum nothingness. Memory is not allowing mental impressions to escape. These thought-streams are controlled by practice and non-attachment. Practice is the effort to secure steadiness. This practice becomes well-grounded when continued with reverent devotion and without interruption over a long period of time. Desirelessness towards the seen and the unseen gives the consciousness of mastery. This is signified by an indifference to the three attributes, due to knowledge of the Indweller. Cognitive meditation is accompanied by reasoning, discrimination, bliss and the sense of 'I am.' There is another meditation which is attained by the practice of alert mental suspension until only subtle impressions remain. For those beings who are formless and for those beings who are merged in unitive consciousness, the world is the cause. For others, clarity is preceded by faith, energy, memory and equal-minded contemplation. Equal-minded contemplation is nearest to those whose desire is most ardent. There is further distinction on account of the mild, moderate or intense means employed. Or by surrender to God. God is a particular yet universal indweller, untouched by afflictions, actions, impressions and their results. In God, the seed of omniscience is unsurpassed. Not being conditioned by time, God is the teacher of even the ancients. God's voice is Om. The repetition of Om should be made with an understanding of its meaning. From that is gained introspection and also the disappearance of obstacles. Disease, inertia, doubt, lack of enthusiasm, laziness, sensuality, mind-wandering, missing the point, instability- these distractions of the mind are the obstacles. Pain, despair, nervousness, and disordered inspiration and expiration are co-existent with these obstacles. For the prevention of the obstacles, one truth should be practiced constantly. By cultivating friendliness towards happiness and compassion towards misery, gladness towards virtue and indifference towards vice, the mind becomes pure. Optionally, mental equanimity may be gained by the even expulsion and retention of energy. Or activity of the higher senses causes mental steadiness. Or the state of sorrowless Light. Or the mind taking as an object of concentration those who are freed of compulsion. Or depending on the knowledge of dreams and sleep. Or by meditation as desired. The mastery of one in Union extends from the finest atomic particle to the greatest infinity. When the agitations of the mind are under control, the mind becomes like a transparent crystal and has the power of becoming whatever form is presented. knower, act of knowing, or what is known. The argumentative condition is the confused mixing of the word, its right meaning, and knowledge. When the memory is purified and the mind shines forth as the object alone, it is called non-argumentative. In this way the meditative and the ultra-meditative having the subtle for their objects are also described. The province of the subtle terminates with pure matter that has no pattern or distinguishing mark. These constitute seeded contemplations. On attaining the purity of the ultra-meditative state there is the pure flow of spiritual consciousness. Therein is the faculty of supreme wisdom. The wisdom obtained in the higher states of consciousness is different from that obtained by inference and testimony as it refers to particulars. The habitual pattern of thought stands in the way of other impressions. With the suppression of even that through the suspension of all modifications of the mind, contemplation without seed is attained. Part Two
on Spiritual Disciplines Austerity, the study of sacred texts, and the dedication of action to God constitute the discipline of Mystic Union. This discipline is practiced for the purpose of acquiring fixity of mind on the Lord, free from all impurities and agitations, or on One's Own Reality, and for attenuating the afflictions. The five afflictions are ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion, and the desire to cling to life. Ignorance is the breeding place for all the others whether they are dormant or attenuated, partially overcome or fully operative. Ignorance is taking the non-eternal for the eternal, the impure for the pure, evil for good and non-self as self. Egoism is the identification of the power that knows with the instruments of knowing. Attachment is that magnetic pattern which clusters in pleasure and pulls one towards such experience. Aversion is the magnetic pattern which clusters in misery and pushes one from such experience. Flowing by its own energy, established even in the wise and in the foolish, is the unending desire for life. These patterns when subtle may be removed by developing their contraries. Their active afflictions are to be destroyed by meditation. The impressions of works have their roots in afflictions and arise as experience in the present and the future births. When the root exists, its fruition is birth, life and experience. They have pleasure or pain as their fruit, according as their cause be virtue or vice. All is misery to the wise because of the pains of change, anxiety, and purificatory acts. The grief which has not yet come may be avoided. The cause of the avoidable is the superimposition of the external world onto the unseen world. The experienced world consists of the elements and the senses in play. It is of the nature of cognition, activity and rest, and is for the purpose of experience and realization. The stages of the attributes effecting the experienced world are the specialized and the unspecialized, the differentiated and the undifferentiated. The indweller is pure consciousness only, which though pure, sees through the mind and is identified by ego as being only the mind. The very existence of the seen is for the sake of the seer. Although Creation is discerned as not real for the one who has achieved the goal, it is yet real in that Creation remains the common experience to others. The association of the seer with Creation is for the distinct recognition of the objective world, as well as for the recognition of the distinct nature of the seer. The cause of the association is ignorance. Liberation of the seer is the result of the disassociation of the seer and the seen, with the disappearance of ignorance. The continuous practice of discrimination is the means of attaining liberation. Steady wisdom manifests in seven stages. On the destruction of impurity by the sustained practice of the limbs of Union, the light of knowledge reveals the faculty of discrimination. The eight limbs of Union are self-restraint in actions, fixed observance, posture, regulation of energy, mind-control in sense engagements, concentration, meditation, and realization. Self-restraint in actions includes abstention from violence, from falsehoods, from stealing, from sexual engagements, and from acceptance of gifts. These five willing abstentions are not limited by rank, place, time or circumstance and constitute the Great Vow. The fixed observances are cleanliness, contentment, austerity, study and persevering devotion to God. When improper thoughts disturb the mind, there should be constant pondering over the opposites. Improper thoughts and emotions such as those of violence- whether done, caused to be done, or even approved of- indeed, any thought originating in desire, anger or delusion, whether mild medium or intense- do all result in endless pain and misery. Overcome such distractions by pondering on the opposites. When one is confirmed in non-violence, hostility ceases in his presence. When one is firmly established in speaking truth, the fruits of action become subservient to him. All jewels approach him who is confirmed in honesty. When one is confirmed in celibacy, spiritual vigor is gained. When one is confirmed in non-possessiveness, the knowledge of the why and how of existence is attained. From purity follows a withdrawal from enchantment over one's own body as well as a cessation of desire for physical contact with others. As a result of contentment there is purity of mind, one-pointedness, control of the senses, and fitness for the vision of the self. Supreme happiness is gained via contentment. Through sanctification and the removal of impurities, there arise special powers in the body and senses. By study comes communion with the Lord in the Form most admired. Realization is experienced by making the Lord the motive of all actions. The posture should be steady and comfortable. In effortless relaxation, dwell mentally on the Endless with utter attention. From that there is no disturbance from the dualities. When that exists, control of incoming and outgoing energies is next. It may be external, internal, or midway, regulated by time, place, or number, and of brief or long duration. Energy-control which goes beyond the sphere of external and internal is the fourth level- the vital. In this way, that which covers the light is destroyed. Thus the mind becomes fit for concentration. When the mind maintains awareness, yet does not mingle with the senses, nor the senses with sense impressions, then self-awareness blossoms. In this way comes mastery over the senses. Part Three
on Divine Powers One-pointedness is steadfastness of the mind. Unbroken continuation of that mental ability is meditation. That same meditation when there is only consciousness of the object of meditation and not of the mind is realization. The three appearing together are self-control. By mastery comes wisdom. The application of mastery is by stages. The three are more efficacious than the restraints. Even that is external to the seedless realization. The significant aspect is the union of the mind with the moment of absorption, when the outgoing thought disappears and the absorptive experience appears. From sublimation of this union comes the peaceful flow of unbroken unitive cognition. The contemplative transformation of this is equal-mindedness, witnessing the rise and destruction of distraction as well as one-pointedness itself. The mind becomes one-pointed when the subsiding and rising thought-waves are exactly similar. In this state, it passes beyond the changes of inherent characteristics, properties and the conditional modifications of object or sensory recognition. The object is that which preserves the latent characteristic, the rising characteristic or the yet-to-be-named characteristic that establishes one entity as specific. The succession of these changes in that entity is the cause of its modification. By self-control over these three-fold changes (of property, character and condition), knowledge of the past and the future arises. The sound of a word, the idea behind the word, and the object the idea signifies are often taken as being one thing and may be mistaken for one another. By self-control over their distinctions, understanding of all languages of all creatures arises. By self-control on the perception of mental impressions, knowledge of previous lives arises. By self-control on any mark of a body, the wisdom of the mind activating that body arises. By self-control on the form of a body, by suspending perceptibility and separating effulgence therefrom, there arises invisibility and inaudibilty. Action is of two kinds, dormant and fruitful. By self-control on such action, one portends the time of death. By performing self-control on friendliness, the strength to grant joy arises. By self-control over any kind of strength, such as that of the elephant, that very strength arises. By self-control on the primal activator comes knowledge of the hidden, the subtle, and the distant. By self-control on the Sun comes knowledge of spatial specificities. By self-control on the Moon comes knowledge of the heavens. By self-control on the Polestar arises knowledge of orbits. By self-control on the navel arises knowledge of the constitution of the body. By self-control on the pit of the throat one subdues hunger and thirst. By self-control on the tube within the chest one acquires absolute steadiness. By self-control on the light in the head one envisions perfected beings. There is knowledge of everything from intuition. Self-control on the heart brings knowledge of the mental entity. Experience arises due to the inability of discerning the attributes of vitality from the indweller, even though they are indeed distinct from one another. Self-control brings true knowledge of the indweller by itself. This spontaneous enlightenment results in intuitional perception of hearing, touching, seeing and smelling. To the outward turned mind, the sensory organs are perfections, but are obstacles to realization. When the bonds of the mind caused by action have been loosened, one may enter the body of another by knowledge of how the nerve-currents function. By self-control of the nerve-currents utilizing the life-breath, one may levitate, walk on water, swamps, thorns, or the like. By self-control over the maintenance of breath, one may radiate light. By self-control on the relation of the ear to the ether one gains distant hearing. By self-control over the relation of the body to the ether, and maintaining at the same time the thought of the lightness of cotton, one is able to pass through space. By self-control on the mind when it is separated from the body- the state known as the Great Transcorporeal- all coverings are removed from the Light. Mastery over the elements arises when their gross and subtle forms,as well as their essential characteristics, and the inherent attributes and experiences they produce, is examined in self-control. Thereby one may become as tiny as an atom as well as having many other abilities, such as perfection of the body, and non-resistence to duty. Perfection of the body consists in beauty, grace, strength and adamantine hardness. By self-control on the changes that the sense-organs endure when contacting objects, and on the power of the sense of identity, and of the influence of the attributes, and the experience all these produce- one masters the senses. From that come swiftness of mind, independence of perception, and mastery over primordial matter. To one who recognizes the distinctive relation between vitality and indweller comes omnipotence and omniscience. Even for the destruction of the seed of bondage by desirelessness there comes absolute independence. When invited by invisible beings one should be neither flattered nor satisfied, for there is yet a possibility of ignorance rising up. By self-control over single moments and their succession there is wisdom born of discrimination. From that there is recognition of two similars when that difference cannot be distinguished by class, characteristic or position. Intuition, which is the entire discriminative knowledge, relates to all objects at all times, and is without succession. Liberation is attained when there is equal purity between vitality and the indweller. Part Four
on Realizations Psychic powers arise by birth, drugs, incantations, purificatory acts or concentrated insight. Transformation into another state is by the directed flow of creative nature. Creative nature is not moved into action by any incidental cause, but by the removal of obstacles, as in the case of a farmer clearing his field of stones for irrigation. Created minds arise from egoism alone. There being difference of interest, one mind is the director of many minds. Of these, the mind born of concentrated insight is free from the impressions. The impressions of unitive cognition are neither good nor bad. In the case of the others, there are three kinds of impressions. From them proceed the development of the tendencies which bring about the fruition of actions. Because of the magnetic qualities of habitual mental patterns and memory, a relationship of cause and effect clings even though there may be a change of embodiment by class, space and time. The desire to live is eternal, and the thought-clusters prompting a sense of identity are beginningless. Being held together by cause and effect, substratum and object- the tendencies themselves disappear on the dissolution of these bases. The past and the future exist in the object itself as form and expression, there being difference in the conditions of the properties. Whether manifested or unmanifested they are of the nature of the attributes. Things assume reality because of the unity maintained within that modification. Even though the external object is the same, there is a difference of cognition in regard to the object because of the difference in mentality. And if an object known only to a single mind were not cognized by that mind, would it then exist? An object is known or not known by the mind, depending on whether or not the mind is colored by the object. The mutations of awareness are always known on account of the changelessness of its Lord, the indweller. Nor is the mind self-luminous, as it can be known. It is not possible for the mind to be both the perceived and the perceiver simultaneously. In the case of cognition of one mind by another, we would have to assume cognition of cognition, and there would be confusion of memories. Consciousness appears to the mind itself as intellect when in that form in which it does not pass from place to place. The mind is said to perceive when it reflects both the indweller (the knower) and the objects of perception (the known). Though variegated by innumerable tendencies, the mind acts not for itself but for another, for the mind is of compound substance. For one who sees the distinction, there is no further confusing of the mind with the self. Then the awareness begins to discriminate, and gravitates towards liberation. Distractions arise from habitual thought patterns when practice is intermittent. The removal of the habitual thought patterns is similar to that of the afflictions already described. To one who remains undistracted in even the highest intellection there comes the equal-minded realization known as The Cloud of Virtue. This is a result of discriminative discernment. From this there follows freedom from cause and effect and afflictions. The infinity of knowledge available to such a mind freed of all obscuration and property makes the universe of sensory perception seem small. Then the sequence of change in the three attributes comes to an end, for they have fulfilled their function. The sequence of mutation occurs in every second, yet is comprehensible only at the end of a series. When the attributes cease mutative association with awarenessness, they resolve into dormancy in Nature, and the indweller shines forth as pure consciousness. This is absolute freedom. The end of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
  11. So my local Sangha has recently moved to a location very near my house and I've been giving the Sunday service a shot for the past few weeks. So far I'm loving it, there's just one problem... My left leg keeps going completely numb after ten minutes (each set is 25 min). I have tried every form or cross-legged sitting I can think of with the same results. I always end up with said leg straight out in front of me, which is great for blood flow but not so much for my back. Sitting on my knees with a cushion or bench yields similar results almost immediately. The advice I've got from others there is to sit in a chair or use more cushioning. I sit all day for school, so I don't really want to use a chair and cushions don't seem to help much. Is there some trick I'm not seeing here? Is there some part of my body I can focus on strengthening that would help? Any tips for improving circulation in general? Suggestions would be very much appreciated!
  12. Here goes... I have attached my starting picture, taken last weekend 7/27/13 at the Bronx Zoo. I'm the lady, the cutie is my husband. I don't have many pictures of just myself lately because it's embarrassing. Race and Class: I am 30 years old, 5'3'' tall and weigh 175 pounds. I've decided to be a Dwarf Ranger. I've been doing cross-fit style activities daily (and I do mean every single day) for nearly 8 months now, and eating clean (with varying degrees of success) for five months. I'm down 15 pounds since December and am currently fitter than I have ever been in my life, so I'm already on my way. Main Quest: Fit into a size 12 pant. I'm 14-16 right now, depending on the pant. Three Goals: 1. Walk 10,000 steps a day minimum. (+1 Stamina) 2. Have at least 1 vegetable snack a day (I already eat veggies with lunch and dinner, so I'm trying to sneak more in.) (+1 Constitution) 3. Remember. To. Stretch. I skip this step a lot after my workouts, and I'm going to pay for it if I don't change the habit.(+1 Dexterity) Motivation: I'll tell you right now, it's not vanity or insecurity with how I look. That ship has sailed. My main motivation is not feeling like a 70 year old woman whenever I move around. I have back and knee problems and general aches and pains that make me feel ancient. This is ridiculous. Since starting work with a virtual coach/buddy of mine my pain has lessened considerably, but there is so much further to go. Then there's the high cholesterol thing and not wanting to die when I'm 50. Side Quest: Find a new job. I believe I am about to succeed at this in a major way, which would be awesome. I write grants for a living and raise money for non-profits. It's the best work ever. The only problem with my current job is that due to restructuring my position is being eliminated. Yay development! (+1 Charisma) Loot: Battle Gear. I had to add this idea once I saw it. Who doesn't like rewards? My Loot will be this custom made t-shirt. I need more t-shirts now that the old ones are getting too big! Nerd Cred: Science fiction (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, If you don't know about Buggalo you should go watch Futurama.) RPGs (loving Diablo 3 right now) Comic books (old school X-men + current titles ''X-Factor'', ''Wolverine and the X-Men'', ''X-Men Volume 4.'' Board Games - Munchkin, Marvel Legendary, Settlers, etc. General love of knowledge So that's it, I guess. That's where I begin.
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