Does Serious Meditation Practice Make You Happier? Answers From High Level Meditators

Over at the Dharma Overground, a forum of high level meditators..(none of whom are monks, all of whom are lay men, normal people like you and me except that they have spent hours upon hours of their free time to a dedicated meditation practice) a thread was started on happiness.

The question was, “Has serious meditation practice made you happier?”

 

Here are the responses..

Nick:

I would not trade one day of this for a 100 years of being pre-all these brain changes. The life of tense restless unsatisfactory self-contraction has been gladly left behind. I would recommend actual non-stop practice of certain approaches and techniques … I highly recommend the route I took. It is worth practicing like your hair is on fire.

Mario:

      Well, so incredibly much better, I would say.
However, much of the answer really depends on what you mean by “happiness”; if you mean just the feeling of joy in everyday life, I can easily tell that it’s much more common, but that’s really not the more important aspect of the thing, just the top of the iceberg, I would say.
I think that, in the end, in terms of what feelings are arising -so, here I’m not talking from a pure insight point of view-, what’s not there anymore (i.e. an incredible amount of stress and worries created by little triggers that are amplificated by the tendency to react) is much more relevant for the general sense of wellbeing than the amount of joy that you may or may not experience.

 

Change A:

The difference between now and the time when I first started meditating is the same as between almost pitch black and a bright sunny day.

 

Wylo:

 

Incredibly happier, and this is coming from someone that if asked in the past “Are you happy?” I probably would have said, “I suppose yea”.

The reason it makes people so happy is because we realize unhappiness is something we make up ourselves.

 

Jason B:

I was thinking about this the other day, and surprised myself to realize that I am happier than I’ve ever been in my life. It’s just an understated kind of happiness. As for milestones, most changes are kind of gradual. I remember working up to 1st path, just a couple months in, I started to notice that behavioral change was becoming a lot easier. I could drop some habits, like anger and frustration, just by being more mindful of them. After 1st path a lot changed, but maybe the most concrete thing that other people would actually notice about me is that I completely stopped worrying about money, which I used to do every minute of every day. And I noticed that the past doesn’t bother me nearly as much. I just can’t get worked up, or even interested, in bad things that happened. Maybe for a minute here and there, but not like before.

I don’t think it’s a naive question. I used to have the impression that people were downplaying the benefits. Some seemed disappointed in enlightenment. I wondered if it was worth the trouble. Now, only half-way there, I don’t have any of those doubts. It’s awesome. Like the man says, can’t explain it; highly recommended.

(Edit: I forgot to mention, depression and anxiety have pretty much dried up too. Details, details. 😉

 

Tommy M

I can attest that the practices engaged in on this site are all helpful in making an unconditional happiness more apparent in everyday experience. Due to serious meditation, specifically bare attentiveness a.k.a. insight practice, the way in which I experience the world nowadays is way beyond what I could have even imagined. It also continues to become more and more refined, don’t let anyone tell you that this is a one-off thing, you don’t just realize this stuff and then you’re unconditionally happy forever, it’s a process which isn’t always easy and can make it seem like you’re heading in the opposite direction.

 

 

Daniel Ingram  (who is an arahat- someone who has reached the highest stages of enlightenment)

Vastly happier…

I can sit at peace, at rest, clear and silent: hard to explain how good that is, simply that, not fancy at all, yet oh so worth it. There is a direct sensate clarity that is vastly better than reality filtered through some other way of processing things. There is a lack of time pressure that is such a load off. Because the thing does itself, that takes all the work out of it. So many questions answered: priceless. So many extremely interesting experiences, fresh and natural, rich and whole: worth everything it took and so much more. The integration of the field without boundaries or special aspects: truly remarkable.

Cliff Jumping: The Effects of Danger and Safety Reliance on Depth of Friendship

This is an imaginary experiment I came up with for a graduate school class. It  deals with the lack of danger, and hence lack of opportunities in modern society to form deep bonds..

 

Cliff Jumping: The Effects of Danger and Safety Reliance on Depth of Friendship

 

Me, jumping off a cliff

 ABSTRACT

This study examined the effects of danger and cooperative safety dependency on the quality of friendship amongst ten groups of three men.  The trio’s engaged in the highly dangerous activity of cliff jumping where they put their lives in danger and depended on each other in case of emergency.  The author hypothesized that the danger and safety reliance of the activity would strengthen their bonds of friendship.  The results of survey data confirmed the hypothesis.

 

The thunderous plodding of a woolly mammoth burrowing through the bush was contrasted by the quiet whispers of the fur clad cro-magnon.  “Olog voha mug.” With that Swift With Foot leapt out of his crouching spot and rushed toward the elephant, spear in hand.  The flint pierced the beast’s jogular. Letting out a gigantic grunt the animal bucked and knocked Swift With Foot to the ground.  It moved in for the kill, preparing to stomp the young hunter into the dirt. Flying Bear and West Wind moved quickly. They thrusted their spears into the elephants hide.  The mighty mammoth fell.

The three early humans let the scene engulf them in silence for a few moments before letting out rapturous screams and embracing each other feverously.  They were more than just friends, they were cousins who lived together in the same band of hunter gatherers.   Every day they risked their lives for each other and their success depended on their loving bond fostered through dangerous experiences.

People living under the relatively safe conditions of a modern urban society may suffer from a lack of deep friendships (Cosmides, 1996).  Because our environment rarely forces us to expose ourselves to dangerous situations with our friends, we may not feel the deep bond that can result from experience a high adrenaline situation with your friends. It also deprives us of situations in which we may need our friends to be there to ensure our survival.  Having a friend willing to step in and risk their own personal welfare to help you when the stuff hits the fan can create a deep bond amongst men (Buss, 2000).

The present studies aim is to examine the effects of two independent variables on the quality of male friendship.  For  the purposes of this study the author contrived two operational definitions. One called ‘danger’,  which is an activity with an inherent risk of injury. The other variable is called ‘safety reliance’, which is defined as having one’s safety dependent on others during a dangerous  activity.  This paper hypothesis  is that both variables, danger and safety reliance will have a positive effect on the dependent variable which is quality of friendship.

Method

Participants

Participants included 60 undergraduate male students from a large east coast university . They all volunteered to do the experiment through the acquisition of class credit. The students consisted of 20 separate groups of three friends.

Materials

A protruding rock face where cliff jumping into a deep river was popular was found.  A questionnaire was used to assess whether or not the experience had strengthened the bond between friends.

Procedure

A control group for the Danger variable of 10 trio’s of friends were taken to a local swimming pool and instructed to jump off a diving board on innocuous height. Ten trio’s of friends were taken to a local rock face 50 feet above a deep water river.  The boys were then given the instructions to jump off the cliff in order test the independent variable Danger.  Half of them were also instructed that if one of them should become injured during the fall, it was up to the other boys in the trio to save the wounded man and ensure his safety.  This was the IV group for Safety Reliance.  The 5 sets of boy in the control group for Safety Reliance were told that if something went wrong they would be saved by an EMT on hand.    Afterwards all participants were told to fill out a survey asking whether they felt their friendship had strengthened after the experience.   A follow up was done one month later to see if there were any lasting effects. The boys filled out the same survey. The survey included questions on a seven point scale ranging from  1 ‘highly disagree’ to 7 ‘strongly agree’ with statements such as ‘this experience has  made me feel closer to my friends’ and ‘I feel a stronger bond between my friends now after the experience.’

Results

Both hypothesis were confirmed by the results.  The ten trio’s of males in the Danger condition all reported to be closer friends after the cliff jumping experience and all five trio’s of friends in the Cooperative Safety  responded that the danger of the experience and the safety reliance cooperated towards this bond, both immediately after the jump and during the follow up one month later.

                                                        Discussion

It is a problem of modern society that you can never know who your true friends are. The whimsical nature of the modern friendship leaves people with a sense of insecurity. The purpose of this study was to see if events more closely simulating the danger and safety reliance of our ancestral times would deepen the bond of friendship amongst males.  The results of the studied showed overwhelming evidence that engaging in a dangerous experience with a group of friends that involves reliance on another for personal safety deepens a bond of friendship.

There were of course some limitations to the performance of this study. At first the IRB did not approve as the danger to the participants was perceived to be too risky. However, a small bribe in the form of a ‘donation’ was made to the right people that ensured the committee’s approval.  Also amongst the first groups of boys to jump from the cliff included a rather rotund boy weighing in excess of three hundred pounds.  It was feared that upon impact the gluttonous fellow might empty the river of its precious liquid. Luckily these concerns were unfounded and the boy merely had to be saved from drowning once it was discovered he was unable to swim.

REFERENCES

Buss, D. (2000). The Evolution of Happiness. American Psychologist , 15-23.

Cosmides, T. &. (1996). Friendship and the banker’s paradox: other pathways to the evolution of adaptations for altruism. Proceedings of the British Academy , 119-143.

 

 

If You Could Have Any Wish in the World Granted, What Would it Be?

*The following story is my adaptation of a buddhist tale of the thai forest tradition

Five kids were playing in the woods. Picking up sticks, throwing rocks, looking at flowers and pretending they were Indians. All of a sudden a little man in a green coat bounded out from behind some bushes. Startled at the site of the children, he pranced off in the opposite direction. But those kids were fast! They chased after him and soon had him surrounded.

“Aye! You’ve caught me”, yelled the tiny man with the Irish accent.

“Are you a leprechaun?” asked one of the children.

“Why that I am my child. Will you please let me go now? I must be on my way.”

“You are a leprechaun and we’ve caught you! That means you must grant us a wish before we let you go!” piped a second child.

“Ah. This is true. I may grant you one wish. But only one of you.”

“But all of us caught you! We should each get a wish!” said a child.

“I can only grant one wish. The way this will work is that each of you children will tell me a wish. Whoever has the most clever wish will be the winner and I will make that wish come true! Now who is first to tell me their wish!”

The first child said, “If I had a wish I would wish for a brand new slingshot!” Since he was terrible at throwing rocks and hadn’t hit anything all day long.

The second child said,”If I had a wish, I would wish to own a Toys R Us. Then I can have a sling shot and an XBOX and all the other toys I want!” The first child became sad, realizing how silly he was to wish for only a single toy while the other child’s wish was so much better.

The third child said, “My wish is for a billion dollars. With a billion bucks, I can buy my own Toys R Us, a candy store and whatever else I want! Maybe even my own house too, that way I’ll be able to play video games and eat chocolate all day and my Mom won’t be able to stop me!” Now the second child felt dumb, clearly this third child had the superior wish and was much smarter than he. How silly it was of him to wish for a Toys R Us when he could have wished for a billion dollars.

The fourth child was a girl, and a very sharp one at that. “If I had a wish,” she said, “Then I would wish for three more wishes! With my first wish I’d get my Toys R Us, with my second wish I’d ask for a billion dollars, and for my third wish I’d ask for three more wishes! That way I can go on wishing forever!” Now even the child who had wished for a billion dollars felt sad. The girl was clearly a genius.

The four children then looked over to the last remaining child standing there quietly. Surely there was no chance of him to win, for what could possibly top an infinity of wishes?

But the fifth child proved to be the most clever of them all. He said, “If I had a wish, I would wish that I was so content that I would never need any more wishes!”

With that the leprechaun smiled, and granted the last boy his wish, and he became enlightened.

Tribal Men Steal Food From Pack of Lions *Video*

Video Breakdown:

0:05- Rikita: “My heart is pounding, my body is tense”. This is how people in modern day describe things like speaking in public and watching horror films. Not taking food from 15 wild lions! Rikita is 65 years old by the way. Not in bad shape for a senior citizen eh?

0:35- “They make their move. Self confidence is everything.” I tell myself the same thing while walking pass large dogs.

0:55 – Holy Sh!t, I can’t believe this is working. Who was the first person that ever tried this? Seriously, how hungry must they have been? And did it work the very first time? Or did it have to be perfected? Were there a few human sacrifices before people figured out how to do it right?

1:23- Faster! C’mon man, the lions are coming back!

1:35- Like a boss.

2:25- “Some people don’t fight lions, they are cowards”.

Woah. Really? That’s the bar for cowardice? Fighting lions with nothing more than a spear? I might think someone is a coward if they are afraid bugs. That’s my bar for cowardice.

“Look at that bug, it’s tiny, just step on it. What are you so afraid of?”

“Looks it’s just 15 man-eating starving lions. Go up and steal the food they just killed. Quit being a sissy.”

Totally different realities.

2:44- That Wildebeest looks delicious. I bet food has never tasted so good. There’s got to be something said about having food hanging over a fire in a cave. It’s so primal. Food automatically tastes 50% when cooked in such a state.

Stress Check App For Your Phone

I just downloaded a pretty cool app called Stress Check by Azumio. This app measures your levels of stress by taking what is called a Heart Rate Variability measurement. By putting your finger near the lens of your phone, the app is able to measure your heart beat. Physiological stress levels are then calculated by taking your heart rate and analyzing the variability between your heart beats. Apparently while under greater stress your heart beats will show less variance.

The test lasts about two minutes and you are instructed to remain still during the reading. Unfortunately for me a bug landed on my face about 30 seconds in. I tried to remain still and hoped it was just a fly. Of course I was wrong and it was a mosquito and as soon as I felt the itch I coolly crushed it with my right hand while keep my left hand still holding the phone.

My reading showed I had a stress level of 14%. Which according to Azumio is very low and reflects a restorative state of relaxation and calm.

Pretty cool App as far as I’m concerned. I just wish I didn’t have this huge red mosquito bite on my face.

Edit: just took it again. No mosquito interference. 0%..

Took it a third time while stuck in traffic on the way home. 0%.

Guess I’m pretty calm these days.

 

Download the App and tell me your readings!

 

People With Down Syndrome Are Happier Than Normal People

My Down Syndrome cousin Cody

If you wanted to be born into an ideal situation to live a happy life, would you rather be born

A) Good looking, intelligent and to a wealthy family

or

B) With mental retardation, stunted growth and a slew of abnormal facial characteristics advertising that you have down syndrome?

I’m sure it took you all of half a second to choose option A.

My Down Syndrome Cousin Cody, relaxed and content on Lake Placid

But you would be wrong..

A slew of recent studies has shown that people with Down Syndrome report happier lives than us ‘normal’ folk. Even happier than rich, good looking and intelligent people.

Talk about counter-intuitive, huh?

Findings from a study published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics surveyed 284 people with Down syndrome ..the results were as follows..

The average age was 23, and 84 percent were living with one or both parents/guardians. The findings:

  • 99 percent said they were happy with their lives
  • 97 percent liked who they are
  • 96 percent liked how they look
  • 86 percent indicated they could make friends easily
  • 4 percent expressed sadness about their life.

 

I spent 2 years studying the relationship between money and happiness in a grad school laboratory and I can guarantee you that wealthy, intelligent, good looking people don’t report anything close to those numbers. Those numbers are absolutely remarkable.

And it’s not just that a larger percentage of people with Down’s are happier than average, but people with DS experience a sense of joy and contentment with life above that of even normal happy people as this study showed.

 

The Big Question..Why are people with Down Syndrome so happy?

If I had to guess I would offer the following two hypothesis..

1) People with down syndrome are loved and cared for. Studies show that 79% of parents with those with down syndrome said their outlook on life had improved since having their child and that 94% of siblings of those with down children were proud of their DS brother or sister.

2) People with down syndrome don’t overthink. With the absence of stress caused by excessive rumination, people with down syndrome live more in the present moment and are able to enjoy life.  They aren’t bugged by the constant worries that plague the mind of the average person.

Not that DS people don’t have their troubles, they obviously do. But the degree to which their moment-to-moment consciousness is filled up with worries about traffic, bills, being late to work, getting everything done in time, imaginary conversations with people, etc etc, is likely less than of a normal person.

This would lead further evidence to my hypothesis that happiness is the default state of the human mind, it is only with the unnatural stress of modern life that our minds become overactive and we become unhappy.  People with Down Syndrome, by way of their cognitive disability, have protection from these burdens..

I have a cousin with down syndrome, and I can tell you he has few scruples about what people think of him, a sort of freedom that I envy.

Of course, things aren’t always perfect for those with down syndrome, life still has it’s challenges, like when your kayak overflows with water and begins to sink….

 

And then struggle to get back on..

 

 

A Day in the Life of the Hunter-Gatherer Typee Islanders

Today Herman Melville is best known as the author of the literary classic “Moby Dick.” During his life, however, he was known as the man who lived amongst the cannibals. Melville was filled with wanderlust and an independent streak from a young age. Wanting to be free of family support and make a life for himself that included adventure and traveling a 20 year old Melville signed up to be a crew member on the Acushnet, a whaling ship that would go on an 18th month journey through the Pacific Ocean before Melville, sick of the long trip and the unfair treatment he thought the workers received, decided to escape the ship while it was docked in the Marquesas Islands of the South Pacific.

Island of Nuku Hiva, where Melville escaped and lived amongst the cannibals.

 

He and a fellow ship mate made their daring escape from the boat and headed for the hills of the tropical Island.  They underestimated their ability to survive on their own in the wild though and after a few days found themselves hungry and without reliable shelter to protect them from the heavy rainfall.  What they needed to do was to seek refuge amongst the Island’s natives. This was potentially problematic however, of the two main tribes that inhabited that Island there was the Happar, known for being friendly and cordial and then there was the Typee, by reputation a group of cannibals who would surely feast on the Americans white flesh if they so happened to run into them.  There was no way of knowing which of the tribes they would encounter first, it was a life or death coin flip as far as they were concerned, but starving and cold they had no choice but to follow a beaten path through the forest that would inevitably take them to the village of either the Happar or Typee.

The path led to the Typee village. 

Miraculously, he was received by the locals with open arms. The duo were given food to eat, a thatched roof to sleep under and even a personal assistant. A man named Kory Kory helped Herman adjust to the leisurely life of those in the valley. One of Kory Kory’s duties was to carry Melville, who had injured his leg during his escape through the jungle on his back wherever he went. In fact, Melville was treated so well that he worried that the Typee might be fattening him up for better eating!

In reality Melville would spend three weeks living amongst the Typee before leaving the valley to return on the sea life upon another whaling ship. While he may have taken a few creative liberties in turning his adventure into the semi-autobiographical “Typee,” the work that he was most known for his during lifetime there can be little doubt that his description of the Typee people and their way of life is accurate. His account is corroborated by his fellow shipmate as being truthful and the descriptions of that Natives match those given by other explorers who had visited the Marquesas Islands.

Melville described the average day in the life of the Typee, which he said “Nothing can be more uniform and undiversified than the life of the Typees; one tranquil day of ease and happiness follows another in quiet succession.” The Typee were not early risers and would wake up well after the sun had risen.  The first thing they would do is head on down to the stream and bath in the cool waters and fresh air, frolicking about for 30 minutes or so before heading back to the house for breakfast, which was a light affair consisting of fruit and coconuts. The residents of the house would sit around on the mats and engage in cheerful conversation as they ate.  After this pipes were lighted and the tobacco smoke was passed around, although each person only took a few puffs.

From there people went their own way, some would go back to sleep, others would head out into the groves to collect fruit or fibres of bark. Some of the girls would spend time adorning themselves with flowers and lathering their bodies with oils.  Men could use this time to sharpen their spears or carve some wooden design.  After the morning’s light work, the afternoon was a time for a glorious siesta in which everyone partook.  This usually last about an hour and a half before rising, and then another smoke before preparations for the largest meal of the day.  Melville would often eat his afternoon lunch with the rest of the bachelors in a place called the “Ti” which was reserved for men only, the ‘savage’ version of a boys only club where he dined on roasted pork. “The Ti was a right jovial place. It did my heart well, as well as my body, good to visit it. Secure from female intrusion, there was no restraint upon the hilarity of the warriors, who, like gentlemen of Europe after the cloth is draw and the ladies retire, freely indulged their mirth.”

As evening approached Melville would take a canoe out on the lake with a pretty young native lady that he fancied or bath again in the waters stream with the others.  When the sun went down, torches were lit  and the natives gathered to engage in chanting, stories were told and ‘all sorts of social festivities served to while away the time. The young girls very often danced by the moonlight in front of their dwellings.” Finally, everyone would retire to the house where they slept, doze for a bit, before waking to eat the final meal of the day, pass around the tobacco pipe on more time before collapsing into a deep sleep. “The Native strength of their constitution is in no way shown more emphatically than in the quantity of sleep they can endure. To many of them, indeed, life is little else and an often interrupted and luxurious nap.”

1 Mile Kettlebell Walk Challenge

I’m having a difficult time writing this blog post, my forearms are on fire.  Let me explain why..

 

My brother Dylan came up with an interesting exercise challenge. Grab your 55 pound Kettlebell and walk with it for a mile. I immediately realized how ancestral this exercise was.

Our hunter-gatherer forefathers were constantly carrying heavy stones great distances.   Whether it was to make a fire pit, add strength to a hut or build some crazy monument, our ancestors had to be strong enough to pick up a heavy stone and have the conditioning necessary to walk with it.

 

So I grabbed my kettlebell and went for a stroll.The first thing you’ll notice when you do this is….just how the heck should you carry this thing? Hold it out in front of you with two hands? Put it in the lock position? Heave it on to your shoulder?

You’ll end up doing all of the above. For any position begins to burn too much before you move it around, and then switch to the other shoulder, and then back to a new position and start the cycle all over again.

Whatever works for you..do it. Just carry the damn thing.

After the first 1/4 mile I was fine. I could feel the workout in my back and legs. This isn’t so bad, I’ll make it. At the halfway point my hands and forearms were starting to burn, a small seed of doubt began to creep in.

At 3/4 of the mile I thought about quitting. ” I don’t know if I’m going to make it, my hands are sweaty, my fingers can barely hold this grip. Just rest for a while”.

But then another part of my brain said “Shut up you ******, you are going to make it or fall down trying.”

So I went the whole mile.

It really is a total body work out.  Your arms are worked from holding and gripping the kettlebell in various positions, your back and core are constantly under strain to keep your torso erect and your legs are obviously doing all the walking.

Overall, a great exercise. So grab your Kettlebell and get walking!

 

 

How to Eat Paleo at Chipotle

 

Does starting the Paleo Diet mean you have to give up eating at Chipotle? Certainly not.  Here’s how to do it.

 

 

 

1. Order the salad

2. Tell them you don’t want any rice or beans, but please give me lots of fajitas!

3. Pick out your choice of meat

4. Go for the tomato salsa

5. No cheese thanks

6. Add some Guacamole

7. And you are done. A relatively inexpensive quick Paleo meal at Chipotle.

Top Ten Tribal Principles

 

 

Here are the Top Ten principles of the Tribal Way in order to live a life endowed with a sense of vitality and well-being.

 

 

 

1.  Foster Close Social Bonds.

Our ancestors grew up in small bands of people who counted on each other for their survival. Contemporary studies on well-being show that what separates very happy people from the rest of us is the strength of their social and romantic relationships.

2.  Be Physically Active.

The daily grind on the African Savanna involved walking great distances in search of food, carrying heavy buckets of water back and forth from the stream to the campsite, fetching firewood, and the occasional fight or flight with a dangerous animal.

3. Eat Healthy

Hunter-Gatherer’s ate a diet consisting of fresh, whole natural foods such as game meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts. There was no processed food to go around back then and consequently they enjoyed a robust health unimaginable by today’s average person.

4. Sleep

Sleep comes in a variety of different ways around the world, especially outside of western culture.  Whether you have to get your sleep all in one go, like taking an afternoon siesta, enjoy polyphasic or even sporadic sleep like some hunter-gather cultures, the important thing is to get plenty of it. While those of us in the West are often sleep deprived, hunter-gatherer’s chief complaint was sleeping too much!

5. Get Out In Nature

A variety of studies have shown the benefits of being immersed in nature range from improved health to a calm mind and better concentration. Our ancestors lived amongst the flora and fauna like a wild animal. Flowers, trees, landscapes, camp-fires, sunsets…soak it all up.

 

 

 

6. Calm Your Mind

According the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA the average person thinks 70,000 thoughts per day. Constantly wrapped up in this tornado of worries, thoughts of the future and past is stressful and exhausting. Hunter-Gatherers in contrast lived almost entirely in the present moment and had a remarkable lack of worry or stress.  Hunter-Gather’s are said to be the first meditators, staring at the flames of a burning fire and letting their thoughts drift away. Meditation, Yoga, and relaxation techniques such as slow breathing should be used daily.

7. Less Work, More Leisure

Meaningful work, not too much. That is the key to a happy profession. Hunter-Gather’s spent 20 hours a week or less foraging for food. Most of their day was spent in abundant leisure activity, playing games, singing songs, gossiping with friends and family and taking naps. Figuring out how to accomplish this in our workaholic modern world is the big challenge. If you have any ideas please write them in comments section below!

8. LIve Adventurously!

In the Maasai tribe of Africa, a boy is not considered a man until he has killed his first lion. With a spear….

Can you even fathom the amount of courage this takes? Nietzsche famously said “Whatever does not kill you, makes you stronger”.  The Tribal Way doesn’t recommend you becoming adrenaline junkies, but occasionally pushing your boundaries, taking risks, and exploring new horizons can imbue one with a sense of competence and confidence.

9. Enjoy Art

Tribal societies regularly engaged in community dances and rituals. They sang songs, painted their bodies, wore masks, adorned themselves with jewelry and had a great sense of fashion.

 

10. Explore the Occasional Altered State of Consciousness

The happiest people to ever walk the face of this planet are the Shaman’s of hunter-gatherer societies and the enlightened monks and yogi’s from East.  While the safest way to reach these higher states is through advanced meditation techniques, this also takes the longest. Psychoactive plants such as magic mushrooms, peyote, Kava, and marijuana have a long history of use in tribal societies. The more intense psychedelic trips should be only explored under the supervision of an experienced user as they are in these tribal cultures. If done right and safely, these trips can create a life changing glimpse into the magic of reality. The high doesn’t last however, and that is why we here at the tribal way recommend hardcore meditation so as to be able to achieve these amazing states of mind safely and on command.