“Mindfulness” means you aren’t wasting mental energy

Think of it in terms of a ratio: mental energy being spent on the task at hand vs. total mental energy presently being spent. Mindfulness means this ratio is close to unity, lacking inefficiency and waste. Focus is mindfulness combined with prolonged high energy expenditure.

Introverts’ brains tend to be overactive, using breaks in activity as opportunities to envision the future, make plans, worry, and speculate. Extraverts generally don’t have mindfulness problems because their focus is always on the present moment, and breaks between dopamine-seeking activities simply cause them anxiety. Extraverts suffer psychotic episodes in solitary confinement, whereas introverts become zen masters of mental focus. Many great books were inspired by prison sentences.

I just spent a week without speaking aloud to anyone. (My part-time overnight job doesn’t require it.) Between this, the ambient quiet, diet, and a lot of walking I was able to work through a ton of anxieties, worries, plans, etc., and then afterward…peace. Silence. My mind became whole again in spite of modern society.

Anxiety in particular wastes a lot of mental energy. That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to air it into the silent expanse of the natural world. Talking it out with a therapist may formalize it into a form you can get your head around, but then it becomes a social narrative and you feel like you need to respond to it as if it’s something tangible. That’s not the case- or rather not the whole story- what we need to do is coalesce these things into tightly packed bundles, and then let them go. The starry night sky is too big for our hopes and fears to make a dent as they drift away. It’s the ultimate heatsink for anxiety. In the silence you can get back to basics and learn what you are in the absence of social pressures to do or be this or that.

Imagine how your personality would change if you woke up in a strange country with amnesia about your life beforehand. Probably you’d be uncertain, but there’d be an angelic quality to your face because you’d lack the tension that comes from years of hoping, striving, fearing, and built-up feelings of guilt. This is the feeling of being mindful. Uncertainty, and just a sliver of tension and anxiety to focus on the next action.

It’s almost a return to innocence. Almost.

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About Aeoli Pera

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32 Responses to “Mindfulness” means you aren’t wasting mental energy

  1. Rime says:

    Your posts have been on point the past two weeks.

    The trick to using your therapist is using at as a ritual. It is a mental excisement of your self-sabotaging rationalizations. You go in, drop the bullshit and go right to work. Don’t hold back, don’t try to save face, don’t let the fear close your mouth. You’ve got to deal with as much of it as quickly as possible. When the session is over you forget about it and just let it sit in your subconcious.Then when you have a problem without any immediate answers you pretend you are in your therapist’s office and you talk it out. Find whatever it is that is causing you that stress over the course of the conversation. If possible deal with it. If not, make sure you deal with it at your next session.

    You’ll find the social anxiety, depression, whatever-your-struggle-is becomes much easier to deal with over time. You are training yourself to identify what it is that is holding you back and to take action to change that as quickly as possible. The trick is remembering that you always have theromunculus in your head to help you rip that crap out and throw it away. It can be hard to do this type of reset in moments of stress.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      >Your posts have been on point the past two weeks.

      Thank you! It always takes me around a month to adjust to a new living situation.

      >The trick to using your therapist is using at as a ritual.

      I don’t actually see a therapist, money’s far too short for health insurance and nobody pays for that shit straight-up. So I’ll take your advice as proverbial.

      >You’ll find the social anxiety, depression, whatever-your-struggle-is becomes much easier to deal with over time.

      Somewhat oversimplified, but true in the main. Problems fall into three categories:

      1. Pain gets better with time.
      2. Pain hovers around the same set point over time.
      3. Pain gets worse over time.

      The main thing is to stay out of bucket number three because negative spirals only last a short while, one way or another. The others might not be fun, but you can figure them out.

      A lot of things change with age, because your biology changes and this causes a shift in biological strategy. As you’d expect, this can be good or bad if your life trajectory is different from what your genetics are programmed for.

      • Rime says:

        I forget I’m around aspies and I need to be precise, certainly, my pain is the second, fairly constant, but something I’ve learned to walk with. That’s what I mean by “Getting better over time.” You will learn to walk with it, it is walk or die.

        ‘Are you in pain, Frodo?’ said Gandalf quietly as he rode by Frodo’s side.
        ‘Well, yes I am,’ said Frodo. ‘It’s my shoulder. The wound aches, and the memory of darkness is heavy on me. It was a year ago today.’
        ‘Alas! There are some wounds that cannot be wholly cured.’ said Gandalf.
        ‘I fear it may be so with mine,’ said Frodo. ‘There is no real going back. Though I may come to the Shire, it will not seem the same; for I shall not be the same. I am wounded with knife, sting, and tooth, and a long burden. Where shall I find rest?’
        Gandalf did not answer.”

  2. Rime says:

    Can you (or someone who KNOWS) explain Meyers-Brigg personality types to me? I have not been able to find anything on the internet that makes me trust this test, it all sounds horoscopey to me. Everyone tests as this or that rare type and the tend to use vague descriptors that could be applied to anything.

    I have tested as an INFJ, but I have a feeling that this is wrong. Statistically INFJ males don’t exist (except they are everywhere that MBTI is discussed).

    The extroverts get bitter when an introvert dominates… if you beat them at their own game they will see it as open season and will whack you when you aren’t in the context of social dominance. If you’re not careful you’re left in the cold holding your dick, while the rest of the group permanently outgroups you. Watch for midwits holding a grudge, especially when they have power. Happened to me a few times. Not a good feeling the first time you see the fickle nature of saps. “I thought everyone was my friend,” thought first-grade Neanderthal

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      The tests are only useful insofar as people self-report accurately, which (annoyingly) varies with personality type. However, the archetypes are very useful.

      I learned the system by reading these archetypes and their functional analyses over and over again on this site: http://typelogic.com/

      It’s not horoscopey (i.e. completely random cold reading), it’s more like Vox’s SSMV or describing people as “jocks”, “nerds”, “preps”, and “goths”. There are attributes that tend to cluster together.

      >Everyone tests as this or that rare type and the tend to use vague descriptors that could be applied to anything.
      >I have tested as an INFJ, but I have a feeling that this is wrong. Statistically INFJ males don’t exist (except they are everywhere that MBTI is discussed).

      Selection bias. People who are really into MBTI tend to be INxx types. Thallish types, essentially. It’s like you’re saying “everyone I run into online seems to be a little bit autistic”. Well, yeah, the internet is where autistic people end up. We’re all either IT professionals or non-starters.

      >The extroverts get bitter when an introvert dominates… if you beat them at their own game they will see it as open season and will whack you when you aren’t in the context of social dominance. If you’re not careful you’re left in the cold holding your dick, while the rest of the group permanently outgroups you.

      Hrm, I hadn’t thought of that one. Good point.

    • Rime says:

      Thank you both.

    • TE says:

      I know a lot about it, probably should start writing on it myself. But in the meantime some good resources:

      -This youtube channel’s good– it’s from an INTJ too so it might click with y’alls mindset since many of you are that: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZwKuMhHmncQKEoqrtUr1mw

      -Socionics is a parallel system that’s good in some ways but some of it’s commie bs and some of it is very much more how each type would tend to act in Russian/former Soviet countries. This page is very good though, in general, you can take each function and arrange it in the proper order for the type to get a pretty good picture: http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin/content.php/193-Aspects-in-the-Valued-Functions-Dmitry-Golihov

      -This forum post (OP and follow up posts by OP especially) is really, really good– it describes how each dominant function generally sees reality:
      http://www.the16types.info/vbulletin/showthread.php/7305-Te-views-of-reality-as-perceived-by-the-types

      -this channel’s also good, from an INFP so might not click with y’all as much but otoh it’s objectively good: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwDMHnX27nKBmmbD1V_7gwQ

      -and this one’s good from an INFJ:
      https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmDcT_Pujk8vOcxk_IcnxtQ

      -and one more from an ENTJ:
      https://www.youtube.com/user/CCrandall0518

      That page Aeoli posted is pretty darn good too. I’ve gathered a bunch of info from all over and have more but the stuff I posted is what I think instinctually might resonate with a lot of y’all. I’d say in general the system is really good– but it can be tricky to learn, especially because there’s so much misinfo it’s hard to tell what’s whut– but the good stuff is good.

      IMO you’ve got to actually build a personal understanding of what the functions ARE by actually experiencing them, plus getting IRL experience by talking to lots of folks and testing your knowledge.

      You can be seriously misled by lotsa stuff and for a while I thought I was some sort of introvert intuitive, but found I’m actually an ESTP; a lot of folks really don’t understand so many of the types– and I would caution y’all against underestimating the sensors and extroverts as INTJs especially, but lots of intuitive intros are wont to do.

    • TE says:

      Oh yeah, one thing to remember– since I posted Socionics stuff: in socionics the letter code is different for the introverts, but same for extraverts. In socion you’ve got to switch the j and p for intros, so MBTI INTJ= Socionics INTp; MBTI ISFj= Socion ISFp etc. (and Socion ESTp= MBTI ESTP, etc.)

      Might as well run off a few things: I think Mycroft is right about his ENTJ type; Edenist Whackjob has gotta be an ENTP– I can’t be sure since it’s hard to know online, and in person interactions are better, but everything about how he seems to think points to ENTP– I think Polymath is INTP, and Legionairre though he thought he was ENTP was probably actually ESTP, though I’m not sure– the TP types can be pretty hard to tell apart online but with these e.g.’s you can see some diffs. Sometimes I think Koanic is ENTJ instead of INTJ, but probably he just has really well developed Te, and I would lean toward actual INTJ. I think Spirit Bear is INFP probly. Sometimes I think Glenn is ISTP, but in any case seems to use Ti pretty heavily at least. Doompony likely ENFP or ESFP, hard to tell.

      (and without knowing someone in person I’m especially skeptical of my own typing, but otoh I’m probly better’n most at writeprint mbti typing)

      Lastly, it can be really, really hard to type yourself if you’re depressed or have other mental issues, so since that’s common in Edenosphere you might have people acting like other types or mistyping themselves like I did. It’s also possible to “sort of” become another type, like I was focused on Ni for much of my forum posts, but really my natural state ain’t like that.

      I actually think if you learn MBTI typing well it’s darn good, it’s just hard to learn really well– but way better’n Edenic face reading imo, though I do still use bits and pieces of face reading.

    • Rime says:

      I was typed shortly after the onset of my most difficult depression, one which I am still at war with. Although I may have been an INFJ at the time, I doubt that it is my “natural” type. Male INFJs struck me as faggy flabby losers; incapable and inchoate. Seemed to me that they suffered from r-environment trauma, rampant SJWism and feels before reals. Kind of what I was like while I was most depressed.

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        >Seemed to me that they suffered from r-environment trauma, rampant SJWism and feels before reals.

        Do ya know, I only have two data points for INFJ and they both fit that pattern. One is my sister in law (not male, I know), and the other is Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade (my typing of him).

    • Edenist whackjob says:

      I’ve had a dramatic increase in rationality, decrease in anxiety, and (I believe) an increase in test. Feel (ewww) much more INTJ these days. 2015 EW was a dissociated manic spazz with a lot of half baked ideas and problems with impulse control :)

    • Edenist whackjob says:

      Feels before reals. Keeping that one!

    • “Any ideas about why that transition occurred”

      Confronting several of my existential “axioms”, and choosing to go in a different direction. Choosing a more masculine, rational, objective worldview. In essence, I previously believed my thinking was unique like a special snowflake. Also, I didn’t much like pain.

      Choosing to 1) think like everyone else (not in a conformist sense, but more in a A = A sense) and 2) accepting that life includes pain (more specifically, rational pain seems to require more energy and thus some effort than my previous mode) seemed to do the trick. I’m much less schizophrenic and able to deal with survival problems as a result.

      That, and I’ve been avoiding porn for a while (with some breakdowns of will, but still). I feel myself getting hornier and more aggressive.

    • TE says:

      Also, if anyone’s into MMA, some types, off the top of my head that I’m fairly confident in:

      ESTP: Dominic Cruz (really exemplary ESTP mindset if you see his recent interviews), Nick Diaz, Kazushi Sakuraba, BJ Penn
      ESFP: Wanderlei Silva, Jason Miller, Quinton Jackson, Dana White
      ISTP: Fedor Emelianenko, Randy Couture
      ISTJ: Mirko Crocop Filipovich
      ESTJ: Matt Hughs, Chael Sonnen,
      ENTJ: Connor MacGregor

    • Rime says:

      Thanks TE, when I have some time this weekend to contemplate I will dig in and start reading your links.

      At EW: Avoiding porn has helped me, but it is difficult to do for long periods of time. If you are religious please pray for me. Therapy is helpful, a good therapist can point out patterns, neurosis(es?), stressors, etc and how to overcome them. A bad therapist will insist you try a different pill each week. Anti-depressants put me in the psychward, would not recommend. But then consider my atypical response to psycho-actives it would not surprise me if I am an outlier, anti-depressants have helped some of my friends. Getting a good amount of morning sunlight helps, the earlier the better. Beginning the day shortly before sunrise is ideal, luckily my job has me doing that 3 days a week. Cut out sugar, eat more muscle, fat and organs , work out. Also, stop hanging out with losers, people with terribad habits and jagoffs that steal energy without returning any.

      At Aeoli: When I first read Koanic’s explanation of r-trauma and k-trauma on thals I knew that it has high explanatory potential for my own life and others.

  3. dominic colours says:

    yeah but how the hell do u do mindfulness?

  4. s/rational pain/rational thought/

    • s/thus some effort/thus some pain/

    • Edenist whackjob says:

      Regexp. Means substitute first part for second. For typos and such.

    • TE says:

      EW: Do you ever listen to Joe Rogan’s podcast? I actually think he has a lot stoopid moral beliefs and get annoyed with his heckin’ atheism… but he is an example of a super masculine, hardcore, not-over-scatterbrained ENTP– he actually almost seems ESTPish in some ways with his physicality but def ENTP imo. So if I am heckin’ right about you being ENTP then ya could look on his advice and stuff if you wanna increase yoiur toughness ‘n stuff ENTP style (heck even if not ENTP you could learn stuff from him, I do).

      That Sam Hyde dude’s another ENTP who’s figured out how to get himself a sooper-toughnin’-up ENTP style.

    • TE: yeah, I’m very familiar with his work. Don’t really think I’m that similar – I’m much more introvert and asocial. Ie my day job is software development, not standup comedy and fight commentating.

      What toughness lessons could I learn from him, in your opinion? Always good to learn.

    • If we accept Dario Nardi’s explanation of Jungian functions mapping to actual areas of the brain, then it would seem to me that a label of ENTP really unpacks to something like “this guy’s typical wiring goes from here [Ne center] to here [Ti center], with the most common secondary path being here [Fe center]”.

      So, your MBTI archetype is really a 4-bit hash of your most used neuropsychological habit-print.

      But compressing anything down to 4-bit hash – of course it’s going to be extremely lossy. And that’s assuming that habitualness is all that important: MBTI seems to assume that “usually” means “always”. But that’s just an theoretical stipulation, with no actual evidence to back it up.

      Imagine that you could slot any chess-master into one of 16 chess-prints. Maybe it would give you some indication of what’s going on, but that master could still be very capable of breaking the pattern, especially if there was an incentive to doing so. MBTI seems to assume that people are these unconscious automatons, completely unable to understand others or transcend themselves. At best, you can pair with another archetype that complements yours. But it’s never possible for you to type-shift on command.

      Personally, what makes me interested in MBTI is the promise of learning new ways of using my brain. If it serves as a map of my blind spots, and lets me train in new areas, THAT is very useful. Then, the 16 archetypes simply become a short-hand for “some common neural habit-prints that exist in the wild”. Kind of like looking up a book on baseball plays in order to expand your repertoire.

      On the other, if the system simply reduces me down to a 4-bit value and ossifies my identity (as I see with a lot of these MBTI fans), then it’s useless.

      I’m hesitant to seek out an Asperger’s diagnosis, for the same reason.

      Re: teaching weaker functions: http://www.amazon.com/Functions-Type-Activities-Developing-Jungian/dp/0974375160

      I have the book, and it’s a good read (if a tad short).

      TE: does this strike you as an ENTP comment? Just curious :)

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        >If we accept Dario Nardi’s explanation of Jungian functions mapping to actual areas of the brain…

        I do. His claims are pretty cautious and nuanced, and follow immediately from observation. Nothing he says tends to be more speculative than “sunny days tend to have fewer clouds”.

        >And that’s assuming that habitualness is all that important: MBTI seems to assume that “usually” means “always”.

        Habit is extremely important, but it doesn’t mean “always”.

        >Imagine that you could slot any chess-master into one of 16 chess-prints….

        Excellent analogy.

        >Personally, what makes me interested in MBTI is the promise of learning new ways of using my brain.

        Not me. I’ve never been interested in role-playing either, for some reason. This seems to be a common enjoyment for high-IQ types, but I’ve always preferred characters as close to my own looks, personality, and abilities as possible.

        >I’m hesitant to seek out an Asperger’s diagnosis, for the same reason…TE: does this strike you as an ENTP comment? Just curious :)

        In my experience, ENTPs enjoy the INTJ vice for rapidly labeling things even if it’s lossy. (I’m of the opinion that a vague label is better than no label, because you can always add qualifiers.)

        Aversion to labeling seems to be mostly an xxFP thing, except for INTPs (who oppose everything out of perfectionism).

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  6. TE says:

    Oop, shoulda replied to EW’s earlier but forgot.

    “TE: does this strike you as an ENTP comment? Just curious :)”

    It does because it’s further abstracting, logical, and following multiple tangents… but only take that for what it’s worth, which may not be much, who knows.

    “On the other, if the system simply reduces me down to a 4-bit value and ossifies my identity (as I see with a lot of these MBTI fans), then it’s useless.”

    For me, my approach to it is this:

    A lot of the things you mention make sense. But what it boils down to is taking MBTI to mean more than it is. It’s not a total understanding of a person, and people are still people, and quite more complex than a four letter type code can describe.

    My approach to it is to actually practice it. Meaning I figure out what the function mindsets are, and figure out what they do by using them– then figuring out which I use best and which I have shortcomings in, etc. etc.

    In practice this means, for just one function, Si– take deep breaths, take a drink of something and feel it go into your body, try to consciously be aware of internal bodily sensations like actually feeling your bones, the blood pumping through your veins, heartbeat, and feeling in internal organs, etc. Be aware of your surroundings, but allow yourself to feel them subjectively– i.e. instead of focusing on what is there, or what possibilities excited, or logically classifying it, or detaching from it, focus on it, and with the focus being “how am I effected by these things around me?” Seek for a sense of internal homeostasis (it’s actually both mental and physical homeostasis btw.)

    This is the reverse focus of Se which is “how could I effect these things around me?” And for which to experience you simply get in the moment, have no subjective barriers between you and your environment, allow yourself to simply feel whatever impulse arises (not necessarily give into). For Se I think the best way would be to go on a random joyride in a car with windows down, feel “one” with the car and with all the passing scenery, don’t think about where your going, and just drive somewhere on instinct maybe. Then get out and walk somewhere– try to feel a certain “psychic pressure” from every object you perceive– like it is infringing on your space sort of… but not necessarily in a bad way– think about what sorts of pressures (meant in a very general way) you could put on these objects in the moment. Go into a mall or coffee shop and just take in the raw data of all the people– not classifying or thinking about them, or having any subjective barrier of any sort– see if maybe you can feel all sorts of “pressures” and forces and general… almost sorta “auras” radiating– and let yourself just think of whatever random “how could I push back” ideas that pop into your head– maybe “I could talk to them; I could punch them in the face; I could smile at them” and even subtle things like “I could change my posture or gait….” (naturally of course, don’t actually do any of the wilder things like “punch them in the face” but try subtler things and observe)

    See if you can actually get to– NOT lawlike generalizations or theories about how these pressures work– but an innate understanding similar to how you just know where a tennis ball will go if you throw it with X force.

    …actually scratch that (maybe, or just give it a try), that’s more advanced Se that’d probably. Maybe first try it out with just simple athletics or playing around with various material stuff.

    For Ni I find it easier to get to after intentionally focusing on Si, because of my type, but what I do is focus on my breathing, sort of detach from the moment and the environment, think about “permanence” of things and their end trajectory– what they are now is “real” but not really, detach from their now and focus on where they’re going. When I do this I start seeing things I need to change, or if around the house I’ll see items whose most likely trajectory is to just sit there and not be used, and think “okay, lets throw that away.” Or potential actions I’ve thought of will suddenly be “that’s fruitless” or “that’s nice in the moment but leading you to nowhere in the end.”

    Socionics “information metabolism” approach is pretty good in a way. The basic idea is that these functions metabolize different sorts of information, and each type is more naturally adept at metabolizing different sorts.

    But yeah, the way I use the system you’re not limited by your type, except to the extent you actually are– and it works for me. This is actually an Se way of understanding things (and would probably have a lot of value for Si), but all types could make some degree of use of it I think.
    —-

    “TE: yeah, I’m very familiar with his work. Don’t really think I’m that similar – I’m much more introvert and asocial. Ie my day job is software development, not standup comedy and fight commentating.
    What toughness lessons could I learn from him, in your opinion? Always good to learn.”

    Well you really might not be that similar in many many ways; even if you are the same MBTI type since type ain’t the end all be all.

    Gosh, it’s been so long since I’ve seen his show. But I do remember one with of all people, Andy Dick (not the best rolemodel there eh.)– I remember him talking a lot about his workouts and all sorts of stuff. Just adopting a certain framework.

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