1. Modulate what you measured
Don’t do something exactly the same under every circumstance by default.
According to time, location, health conditions, situation, there are different optimal strategies.
Things that you modulate:
1. how many repetitions you do
2. the speed of what you do
3. the intensity
4. frequency, how many times a day, per hour, per month, etc.
example: on a cold day at noon, even though you’re usually warmed up at this time of day and ready to do certain exercises, because it’s cold do some extra gentle exercises to warm up and measure yourself to make sure things are warm and soft before you proceed.
measure before you modulate
don’t go in blind, actually be lucid and aware of the situation, don’t just modulate carelessly.
this is why V&V💭
are so important in all activities.
'measure’ only works if vicara and sampajano are doing their job (as a proxy for right view, right discernment, etc.)
don’t get stuck into thinking everything should be modulated by moderating the quantity of it, namely reducing it.
The principle of diminishing returns applies, but some things you shouldn’t moderate.
For example, 7🐘
sati “mindfulness”, should be and can be done all the time. You don’t want to moderate that.
can be done most of the time, even doing exercises you can maintain a partial jhana.
Some things, rather than thinking about diminishing returns and moderating/reducing that activity, you should be instead thinking, how can I exploit the hell out of this and do it even more?
1.1 measure: gorilla buffet of bite size samplers
first, note that “measure” is an extra ‘m’ I stuck into the 4 M’s of the 4 gorilla truths.
'measure’ corresponds to pañña/wisdom, the sampajano in S&S🐘💭
, the ‘lucid-discerning’ that rides shot gun with sati/remembering always.
The gorilla buffet principle, is that you should do a few reps, just taking a few seconds, of all the moves in your arsensal and taste it, try it out to determine how many and how long you should do that move. If you have an injury and need to do a certain move more, do more of it. If you’ve gotten strong in another area and don’t need to do as much to maintain that strong area, you can lessen that exercise.
The same principle works with eating. If you’re at a buffet, take a bit size sample of everything, then taste the sample (“measure”). How good that tastes, tells you how much your body needs those nutrients. If you need more, eat more. If you don’t need it, it won’t taste good.
mentally sample the buffet
You can also just mentally imagine tasting a sample of food to ascertain whether you need those nutrients.
You can mentally try out an exercise , your gorilla intuition will tell you if you need to do more
gorilla buffet principle trains the sati faculty!
This is important. Even you don’t plan to sample everything the buffet, mentally go through everything once a day, or once a week, frequently enough to keep that item in your memory.
If you don’t remember something, then you can’t use it.
If you remember it, it’s a weapon in your arsenal AN 7.67
1.2 don’t fall into binary thinking
It’s not either you’re a superhero or you’re a failure, either do or don’t do. There’s an infinite continuum of possibilities, using ‘modulate the measured’ principle.
like fad diets, binging and purging. People think either you have to be on a painful diet that you hate, or you have a happy unhealthy diet. If you ‘modulate and measure’, it’s a kind of middle path that can attain a sustainable a healthy diet that also tastes great.
instead, measure and modulate, to create a sustainable healthy habit
1.3 foot in the door momentum: bully the bully
this one works closely with the “1.2 binary thinking”.
sometimes people won’t commit to attaining a goal, such as first jhana j1🌘
, because they don’t want to be someone who can’t keep a promise or vow.
what you should do instead, is commit to something attainable, like 5 minutes a day attempting first jhana.
then you find that it’s such a pleasant and valuable experience with so many benefits, you naturally increase the amount of time.
you got your foot in the door, and you use the momentum to build on it.
if you had been discouraged to even commit to trying to attain first jhana, you would have failed because you never even made the attempt.
bully the bully, turnabout is fair play
this is a mental trick to help with your motivation to commit to self improvement projects.
for countless lifetime, mara has been using the ‘foot in the door’ principle to lure you into developing wrong bad habits.
example: “I’m just going to watch a few minutes of t.v. and then do the project I committed to.”
what actually happens? You channel surf a few minutes, something catches your interest and then hours are wasted.
mara got his foot in your door and lured you into his trap..
So now you’re going to use mara’s trick on him, and use “foot in the door” method to develop healthy sustainable habits for self improvement.
Bullying the bully.
instead of being mara’s victim, now you can derive joy knowing you’re the one bullying mara everytime you use ‘foot in the door’ to develop a new wholesome habit.
that’s bullying the bully, and what a lovely motivating perception to give you rapturous joy (4😁
Example 1: Jogging is stupid, or so I thought
I hated jogging most of life. I used to think it was stupid and only for sadistic masochists. But 10 years ago, I realized I needed some of aerobic cardio health benefits. So I committed to doing 10 minutes a day of slow to moderate jogging.
gradually, over time, I increased it over time because I saw the benefits, and now I do 30min a day or more (meeting RDA of health experts).
I got my foot in the door, and built on it. Most people would just fall into binary thinking, either do it and give up, or just don’t even try.
I used to hate jogging, thinking it was the most pointless activity ever.
But after a few years, when my cardio vascular system strengthened, and light jogging was no longer a painful activity, then I began to appreciate the health benefits, and began to experience occasionally the endorphins and runners high people talk about. (actually those bliss factors are the same as Pīti😁
of jhana 4j🌕
Using the ‘foot in the door momentum’ principle, I turned one the most hated thing into a valuable ally and a beloved friend 🏃👨🍳🥧
that I spend 60 minutes a day with.
Example 2: When in doubt, do jhana
I used the ‘foot in the door’ principle to make sure I meet daily quotas of jhana practice.
I tell myself, “even though you’re really busy and need to do X, just sit down do do 5 minutes of jhana, or 5 minutes of taiiji, then do that chore X.”
What happens is once I commit to 5 minutes, it always stretches into 30 minutes or 60 minutes. It’s hard to ever do less than 20 minutes because jhana is blissful and really easy to do if you make a daily lifelong practice of it.
Once you feel the bliss, and can see and think clearly, it’s very easy to see, ok, chore X is not so important and can wait 5 minutes...or 45 minutes.
So my typical day, I commit myself to 8 sessions at minimum 5 minutes each, of either sitting meditaiton or taiji/qigong related standing/walking equivalent exercise.
That’s 40 minutes total which is easy to make a firm commitment that I’ll do.
But because those activities are so inherently blissful once you gain competence, what I actually end up doing is a minimum of 4-6 hours a day. That may sound like a lot of time, but when you charge your jhana batter for 4-6 hours, then you need 3-5 less hours of sleep.
That’s the power of the ‘foot in the door’ principle. I make a commitment of 40 minutes, and I reap much greater rewards because it’s a positive slippery slope and gateway drug.
3. Multipurpose matchmaking and multiplexing
feeding two birds with one scone
Cutting 3 carrots with one slice
Getting 5 things for the price of one
Examples of what to do:
1. while waiting 10 minutes for pressure cooker to finish (gorilla truth #4, maximum efficiency of energy and gas to cook food, fastest also),
do shake and bake 🏃👨🍳🥧
which accomplishes cardio and aerobic strenghthening, tap and slap accupressure on feet , and chant some pali suttas.
So in 10 minutes of time, you’ve accomplished 5 important necessary things to do that don’t interfere with each other. That is, you don’t compromise quality by matchmaking and multiplexing those activities together.
2. while lying on back in sleeping bag or bed, can do wrist circle exercises, ankle circles, neck circles, all at the same time.
3. while doing a standing forward bend, dumbell rows. The weights even increase the stretch of the forward bend, while the rowing dumbells strengthens neck, shoulder, back muscles.
Examples of what not to do:
1. read an important book or article while your coworker is telling you something important.
You’ll miss pieces of what you’re reading or what you’re hearing. You’ve just compromised quality and integrity
2. driving and doing something on your cel phone at the same time.
This isn’t multi tasking, it’s about to be multi crashing in every sense of the word.
3. crossing the street and staring at your cel phone at the same time instead of observing road conditions for people running stop signs and traffic lights.
many people have died from doing this.