Engineering Roadmap

This is an unusual guide for fixing your mental health and gaining willpower. You won’t experience emotional pain once you’ve worked through the skills in Parts I, II and III. Parts IV and V are optional. The whole thing takes an hour to read, and is best read in order. Here’s the progression:

1. Emotional processing: resolving emotional pain

2. Resilience: reducing future emotional pain

3. Subagents: mediating incompatible desires

First post: On embodiment

2 thoughts on “Engineering Roadmap”

  1. I need to do a post, or maybe a few, on embodiment. It’s apparently a hard (e.g. non-optional) prerequisite to being able to do any part of emotional processing or trauma processing via mindfulness or vipassana, and I hadn’t been realizing this, as I was reasonably well embodied going into it.

    What do I mean by embodiment? Here are examples of skills you’d have if fairly well embodied:
    -can get your “I am a shape in the world” software to turn on at will
    -can suddenly know about emotions you’re having by noticing body sensations
    -focusing on the breath results in pain being perma-resolved
    backups of those pages:

    another example:
    > “””Bearing all this in mind, I once seemingly managed to get my, “I am a shape in the world” software to turn on, in a state of having just woken up and not yet having turned on a certain direct awareness of my (actual) body. It felt intensely whole and fitting. “Holy shit, I have a body”. The projection of the indescribable into memory I’m left with is, “it felt like being made of white fire, which no god could snuff” (hence my profile pic). Come to think of it, that state of waking up but not yet taking on the load of my body is a repeatedly useful one for mental tech for me.”””

    another example:
    > “””So i started out doing a normal body scan,
    The result was pretty normal.. although I had Bad Dysphoria inspecting my face
    After that I did body scan for relaxation like we did at your house
    It was difficult.. my neck kept tensing up again when I wasn’t paying attention
    But after i was pretty relaxed I did breath monitoring
    And I think the results were more in line with your experience.
    Although Storm definitely gets more strong embodied emotions…
    We thought a bit about how we’re meeting Adora tomorrow
    And there was the thought ‘Adora will die’ and the image of her turning into leaves and blowing away
    And a sinking feeling in my gut
    And the sensation of being devoured by something huge and toothy
    And continued thinking Ash will die.. Edo will die.. everyone will die
    Felt very located in our gut
    Storm thought: ‘we have to stop it’
    Which felt like tension in the throat
    And then simultaneously ‘we can’t stop it’
    And we went back to our breathing”””

    It seems like the authors of both of these examples above normally don’t have embodiment abilities, but that they got embodiment to turn on temporarily. Here are some ways to get embodiment to turn on. Note that I suspect it’s way easier to get it to turn on again if you’ve turned it on intentionally before, and generally harder to turn it on for the first time. Like, if you go into a vipassana retreat being able to be embodied at least some of the time, you’ll learn a fair amount (eg process a fair amount of trauma), and if you go into it having been embodied never, or maybe once or twice by accident but not more that that, you’ll probably not do much other than work through some intellectual problems. (if you go to a retreat and *get bored* despite still having unprocessed trauma, that’s a very strong indicator that you’re being pwned by being stuck in your head, eg by not being embodied). okay, things that work:

    funnily, doesn’t actually help with turning on embodiment, even though it’s an embodied skill. Note that the muscle relaxation thing got a person who had never turned on embodiment before to be able to turn it on the second time they did a long session, so I’m really enthusiastic about it!
    -just visualizing what your True Body would look like seems pretty promising, even though I haven’t heard of successes from this. E.g. I know of a couple people who see their true body as a being of light that’s inhabiting and steering a flesh body and who wouldn’t care less if dropped into another body, “it’s just a tool”. These people have trouble connecting with their bodies, and it seems plausible they’d have luck becoming embodied by visualizing their true bodies.
    -I suspect hatha yoga (a decent one for beginners) is good. Instructions written for a friend:
    > “””don’t really “do” poses just to do them, just let your body (esp your RH) pick poses she likes
    and, in any pose
    do like.
    1 get into the pose
    2 once in the pose, do three slow/deep breaths
    while breathing, try to feel your body
    not like body scan just
    just whatever comes to the attention I guess?
    if theres something good the pose is stretching or something painful etc
    respond to the good or bad thing by, if you can, changing stuff up to satisfy your body more
    unless its a good kind of bad, eg something needs to be stretched but like “ah fuckkk that muscle”
    but, yeah!
    and then, just let me know like your holistic sense of how useful it was.”””
    -there are other activities which are very embodied (sex, exercise), though I’m not sure which of these are as good for *getting your sense of embodiment to start turning on in the first place* if it’s never turned on. I’ve listed the best stuff I know of above for that. I suspect that just attending to the breath/breath monitoring meditation is one of the best ways to build embodiment skills, once you’ve gotten your embodiment thing to turn on ~5ish times. e.g.

    Good luck!

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