Do Bad Drawings

For the last few days I’ve been feeling negative thoughts about my drawing progress. I’ve only just started drawing and I know it takes time to get good at anything, but for some reason, sometimes I start getting impatient. I try to draw something completely from imagination without using any reference and it completely sucks and I feel bad about it.

I think that’s still okay but then I go ahead and use those bad feelings to get discouraged and stop drawing all together. That’s the stupidest thing to do!

You have to do a certain number of bad drawings in order to get good. That’s just how it is. Everybody has to do it. If you stop drawing because you’re not good at it, then you’re just delaying how soon you can finish those initial bad drawings.

So if you feel like you’re not good at drawing yet, you should be drawing all the time. Get those bad drawings out of the way as quickly as you can. So if you’re a beginner like me, then do bad drawings.

3 Day Fast Failed!

No experiment is a failure. That’s what I’m telling myself.

I started my 72 hour fast on 9pm, 7 September. And I broke it 42 hours later on 3pm, 9 September. Still it’s the longest I’ve fasted. Here’s what I experienced:

Day 1

I have done a 36 hour fast and on that time, I didn’t feel anything different. No thoughts about eating came to my mind. It was super easy. That’s why I jumped into the 3 day fast.

But this time, things were a little different. Maybe because I knew that I would not be eating for 3 whole days. Psychologically, it makes a big difference. So on day 1 I was noticing a strange feeling in my torso. Like a light weight was pressing on it. It was just my stomach being empty. I don’t think I felt hunger. I felt dizzy once when I got up quickly.

The big difference was that I wasn’t feeling like working. It was Sunday so I decided to take a day off and spent most of the day lying in bed. Which might not have been such a good idea because not being busy meant that I thought about food a lot. I was already planning all the things I would eat once my fast was over.

Day 2

On day 2 I went for a walk in the morning and didn’t feel any weakness. In the morning I wasn’t feeling that strange feeling in my torso either. But when it came time to begin the work day, I again felt lazy. I guess, it’s just the way I am. I’m not used to working consistently and doing this fast meant that that part of my brain got an excuse to not want to work and I gave into it.

I again just tried to sleep or read a book (Norwegian Wood by Murakami) or watch YouTube videos. Then I started feeling, what’s the use of such a fast if I can’t work on these days. Then the thoughts of food came rushing in. I was again planning how to break the fast and all the things I’d eat that day. I was half way through and I wanted to continue but once you sow a seed of doubt in your mind, it starts to grow.

I started thinking that this fast is a stupid idea. I started rationalizing. Looking back at it, I could have forced myself to ignore these thoughts and completed the fast. It’s obviously not physically impossible. But that’s not what I did. I rationalized that it was a good attempt at a 3 day fast but now it was time to break the fast.

So that’s what I did. I had muesli with milk. Then went out and had a few more things. I weighed myself later that night and I had lost 0.3 kg in 42 hours.

Right after I made up my mind to break the fast, I started feeling very hungry. I started sweating lightly and felt a little faint. I’m sure this was because my brain had sent the signal to my body that food is available now and it was only then that my body started sending signals to make me eat.

Results

Overall, I’m happy with the result. It was an important experience to have because fasting is something I’m going to do more and more now. I’ve learned that it’s important to control your thoughts. It’s also important to stay busy.

Another lesson might be (I’m not sure if this is a lesson or not) that I should set a longer time limit. So if I try to do a 7 day fast, I might be able to do 3 days easily. It’s just a thought. From what I’ve researched so far, the first 3 days are the hardest, no matter how long you are fasting for. So maybe the first 3 days will still be hard even if I aim for 7 days.

Anyways, no more fast for this month at least. I’ll try to do another long fast in October.

It’s Always Right Now

What time is it? It’s right now. What time was it three years, four months, seven days, twenty hours and fifty three minutes ago? It was right now. What time will it be one million years from now? It will be right now.

It’s always right now. There is no time like right now because there is no time except for this moment right now. Are you here right now? Or are you somewhere else? Somewhere in the past maybe? Reliving old memories. Or somewhere in the future? Living in your dreams.

Being in the moment is a concept that has always flabbergasted me. I just couldn’t imagine how anyone could try to live in the moment at every moment. I just couldn’t imagine how it could be possible. This concept actually drove me away from new age spiritual mysticism. Which was a good thing, but now this concept has come back in a slightly different form, having discarded it’s shiny spiritual robe, and it makes complete sense. It has, in fact, changed me from my very core.

The sliver of difference between being in the moment and it’s always right now is that the first one is too hard, impossible even, for us humans. On top of that, being in the moment, every moment, would be highly impractical. It would be like being in a meditative trance for the rest of your life. And if you are in a trance, your life won’t be very long because you’ll be so busy in the moment that you will not be able to think of the immediate future and the food that you’ll need to survive. You might eat what you have in your home, and you might go out to eat when your home is dry, doing all of this while being in the moment, but eventually you’ll run out of money. And since you were in the moment, you won’t be thinking about money till it’s absence makes itself known in the present moment. You could try to go back to your job in the moment but your boss won’t like your new in-the-moment attitude. Even if you get your job back, since you are out of food and money and the first paycheck doesn’t arrive till the end of the week, you’ll starve in the moment before you can earn enough money to buy more food. Sure, you’ll be really blissful during your short life since you get into the meditative trance of being in the moment, but it will be super short.

It’s always right now points to a slightly different understanding of the same concept. It reminds you to bring your focus back to the present. It doesn’t tell you that you must not think about the past or future at all. You can do that. Sometimes in the present you have to remember the past and sometimes you have to plan the future. You can do both, but once you have done that, you need to bring your focus back to the present. Right now, is where life is happening. Right now, the person sitting in front of you is the life form you are interacting with. Right now, the emotions you are feeling are the emotions of life. Feel them. Don’t avoid them. Don’t hide from them. Don’t try to hold on to them. Feel them and let them go. Because by then the right now has changed. It’s never a little while ago and it’s never a little later. It’s always right now.

This is not about meditation and about completely avoiding thoughts of past and future. It’s just a reminder to remember that the past is gone and the future is uncertain. Nothing you can do about either of them. The only thing you can do anything about, is the present. Do something about it. Live it the way you want to live your life. That’s it.

It’s always right now. There are many implications of this phrase.

First is to focus on the present as I already said. Second is to let go of emotions, good or bad. Third is to learn to be with the person you are with. This means to focus on one person at a time. If you are talking to someone, don’t chat with a few others on your phone. If you are chatting with someone on your phone, don’t engage with someone near you till you are ready for them. When you are in a group, don’t jump from one person to the other in an attempt to listen to all of them. They’ll all want to get your attention at the same time because they haven’t understood this phrase, but you have. So tackle them one by one. One person right now. Always.

Fourth implication is to be easy on yourself. A lot of us are too hard on ourselves. We keep thinking about all the little mistakes we’ve made in the past. The opportunity we didn’t go after, the social blunder we made at that party, the time when we were in the mall and didn’t realize we had something stuck between our teeth. We keep beating ourselves for being such clumsy fools, idiots, losers. But remember that all of that is in the past. Right now, you are who you are. Focus on right now.

A corollary to this is that you can’t take yourself too seriously either. People have big plans for themselves. They want to do things, achieve success, be a winner. They make plans and set goals and try to get as close to perfection as they can. But all of this is in the future, another time frame that isn’t real. Forget about it. Focus on right now. The reason people are never happy with themselves is because it’s really easy to imagine a perfect version of yourself in the future. You think if you can achieve these goals, maybe lose some weight, put on some muscles, get some tattoos, learn the guitar, earn this much money, do some adventure sports, get that promotion; if you can achieve this vision of perfection in the future, then you’ll be happy with yourself. You’ll be satisfied. This is what drives you forward. But the vision will always be better than the present. Because you’ll never be perfect, you’ll always find something to be unhappy about, in the right now. So stop comparing your present self to this insane vision of yourself in the future. It’s self torture. Accept yourself as the idiot you are right now. Focus on the right now. Be happy right now. So what if you are a little fat or if you don’t have any money or if you just blew that interview. So what? It doesn’t matter. It’s you. You are you right now and you’ll always be you right now. Stop judging yourself. Judgment comes when the focus shifts from the right now. In the right now, there is no room for judgment.

And that brings me to the fifth implication: stop judging others, while you are at it. They too are just who they are. Imperfect. Losers. Egoistic jerks. Self centered. Whatever. Let them be who they are. Don’t judge them. Don’t add to their self judgment. If someone says something mean, just let it go. You don’t like them right now, go away from them. Maybe you’ll like them when you meet them in some later right now. Don’t count on it. Don’t hope for it. Focus on the right now and move on. Be with the people you like right now.

The sixth implication is that we also need to stop judging human society. It is what it is. It can’t be perfect. And the present always seems horrible because we keep imagining a better future. Capitalism, consumerism, communism, whatever “ism” you hate, it doesn’t matter. It’s just what the society is right now. Sure, try to make it better by being a better member of it right now. But don’t focus entirely on the past and the future of society. That judgment only brings pain to you. Let the society be what it is. You be who you are. Maybe if everybody was who they truly are, we would have a much better society. But that once again is a future focused thought. Don’t focus too much on it. Be who you are. That’s it.

Always, remind yourself of what time it is. It’s always right now.

Superhero Ganesha

Ganesha sticks the superhero landing!

Since it was Lord Ganesha’s birthday yesterday, I wanted to draw him (despite being an atheist {yes atheists can like gods too}) but in a different way. Then I thought of him doing a superhero pose and drew this.

I have a lot of trouble drawing feet and I just couldn’t get them right so I decided to improvise and add some water splashing as he lands, conveniently hiding his feet. I was going to do the water in water color initially and it would have been much better but I wanted to try some sketchpens that I had. The sketchpens weren’t that good, or I didn’t know how to use them properly. In the end the water looks like a stack of blue wood that he broke with his punch.

I started coloring his body in this dark blue but then realized it completely hides the black lines which meant that if I had used it on his head, it would have completely hidden all the details. So I decided to go for a skin color. Since Ganesha is supposed to be a boy with an elephant’s head, it’s okay to have a different color to his body but it would have made more sense if his body was skin colored and the head was blue. Anyways, live and learn!

The Present Moment

Imagine a canvas, the right half painted black and the left half full of all the colors in the world, highly saturated near the center of the canvas and getting more pastel like towards the left edge.

That’s time. The black side is the future. We can’t see anything in the future. We can only imagine. The colorful side is the past. Full of memories, fading away into the distance. It’s just in our head. Its existence is just as much imaginary as that of the future.

The present moment is the border between the two sides. The razor edge on which we exist. But we are never here, are we. We are always either lost in the past or the future. Lost in our own head. We live in an imaginary world.

What did he say to me last week? What will I eat tonight? I can’t believe what happened to me when I was young. Will I be happy when I get old?

Always either lost in the past or wondering about the future, but never right here, right now.

Why?

Because it’s hard. The present moment is fleeting; hard to grasp; even harder to hold on to. Some philosophers think that it might even be impossible for us to live in the exact present because by the time our senses observe the world and the signals travel to our brain and our brain makes sense out of them, that moment has already passed. It’s like the light of far away stars that we can see even though in the present moment they’re already dead.

But sometimes you can find yourself in the present moment by accident. Like when playing a musical instrument or playing a sport. You can be in the moment, in the flow, in the zone. And when that happens, time stops. You can’t feel time anymore. What feels like an eternity has only been a few milliseconds and what feels like a few seconds is actually multiple minutes.

It’s a wonderful experience, but hard to replicate, especially in day to day life. I think that’s what enlightenment means; to be in the zone while just living your day to day life; breathing in the zone, eating in the zone, pooping in the zone!

So what I’m saying is, if you want to become enlightened, try to get in the zone while pooping. Play Eye of the Tiger whenever you have to go the toilet.

Industriousness

About a few years ago I took the personality test on Jordan Peterson’s Understandmyself.com. It’s a Big Five Personality test but it’s different from what you can get for free online.

The five traits are Agreeableness, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness to Experience. Each trait is divided into two aspects. Agreeableness into Compassion and Politeness, Extraversion into Enthusiasm and Assertiveness, Conscientiousness into Orderliness and Industriousness, Neuroticism into Withdrawal and Volatility and Openness to Experience into Openness and Intellect.

I rank somewhere in the middle in Conscientiousness but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Actually I’m very high in Orderliness and very low in Industriousness which brings the average in the middle. But what this means is that I like to make a lot of plans but I don’t have the industriousness to execute these plans.

So in reality I’m much more like someone who’s low in Conscientiousness. Not because I can’t make plans, but because I can’t execute them. And unfortunately, Conscientiousness is the best predictor of success out of all the traits.

I’m happy with all the other results. I’m low in compassion but high in politeness, which means that I’m an ass on the inside but I’m always nice to others. I’m low in enthusiasm and moderately low in assertiveness but that’s fine. I’m an introvert and that’s just that. I’m low in volatility and about average in withdrawal, which is mostly because of depression. And I’m high in both openness and intellect which is why a creative career is best for me.

The only thing that I need to work on is industriousness. Industriousness means the ability to sit down and get things done. I love making plans, I love starting new projects, both of these things excite me. But when it comes down to the slog of completing the project or executing the plans on a day to day basis, I get bored and lose interest. That’s what I need to change.

So how am I going to do that? For now I’m doing two things: I’m limiting the amount of continuous time I work on anything to 1 hour. After that I take a 15 minute break. Also, I can use high orderliness to help with industriousness. I like procedures and routines. So I’m trying to build a routine for sitting down and starting work and then doing it for as long as I can stay focused.

Let’s see how this goes and I’ll update the results of this yet another experiment here.

P.S. I recommend the understandmyself.com test to everyone. It’s about $10 but it’s worth it if you want to better understand yourself.