Naked! Completely Naked!
I’m sitting here on a beautfiul Sunday morning, typing up this post, looking outside at the white, splotchy snow and listening to some Passion Pit. I just had a great breakfast – the usual green smoothie plus protein/oats shake and some almonds on the side. Oh, and I had an amazingly hot orange chili before I “ate” any of that. Now that’s the way to start off a morning, fellas.
Adding to the glory of my morning: I’m sitting here, completely naked, with my office/bedroom door open. Other people are in the house. They pass by and see me sitting here, typing away, in my PJ’s, then stop they do a huge double take. Upon further examination, though I may be fully clothed, I’m actually naked.
Sounds paradoxical, right?
I don’t mean naked in the sense of clothing, I mean naked in a more spiritual sense, even though I have no idea what is and what is not spiritual. For all I know, all this spirituality stuff could be some serious self-delusion, much like people trick themselves into believing existential myths via some serious abuse of the placebo effect.
So, to appeal to the more grounded ones among us, as well as to keep both feet on the ground, I’ll just say I’m being naked in identity. That is, I’m always projecting whatever my “true” identity is at that given moment – I’m using “identity” as a substitute for something like the “soul” or “core”. Identity, in this context, is actually not one that is assumed or is feigned – that realm belongs to the ego – but instead, is basically “who you are”. Your identity, essentially, is your self-concept (how you see yourself), your values, and your behaviors, rolled into one.
I would call this the “true identity”, as it is indeed possible to stack on a bunch of “false” identities and caricatures on top of yourself, but I prefer to call those things, collectively, the ego.
Moving On… No Mind
Now that I’ve established what exactly identity is, I can finally reveal how I was – and am, I think – completely naked, despite wearing a few pieces of clothing.
It’s having your identity on display at every second of the day. That’s what being naked is: it’s about showing the world – and yourself – exactly who you are at every single nanosecond of the day, and never compromising yourself for anything or anyone. Compromises like that, again, are the realm of the ego. One lesson I’ve learned, which never ceases to impress me, is this: never, ever, ever, compromise yourself or your values with the world. To do that is an instant identity-killer and a downer to your self-esteem.
I suppose the above paragraph didn’t really help you at all, since I’m speaking in euphemisms and random pseudo-intellectual jibber jabber. Time to get down to business.
I guess you want to know how to “unlock” your identity and rock your core self like it’s going out of style, every single day of your life, right?
Alright. Ask and ye shall receive.
Here’s how you do it: DON’T DO ANYTHING AT ALL. Or, rather, don’t think. Just let your life be one, flowing stream, rather than a bunch of bricks broken up into little sections.
I realize those are two different things. For distinction’s sake: if you want to really express your identity at any given moment, shut your brain off, then go from there. The first time you do this in conversation, it feels like magic, man. I still remember it to this day: in the car with my dad, coming back from an early morning hockey pick-up game. My dad asked me a question, and I wasn’t thinking anything at the time – I was locked into the moment – and whatever I said rolled out of me in such a natural, effortless way. It felt like someone had cast a spell on me. It was that awesome. I kept up the state of no-mind, and I was a master conversationalist and master-everything-else-I-touched for the rest of the day. I seriously felt like King Midas.
Because, by shutting my mind off – keep in mind that the mind is the ego’s favorite place to live – I just allowed my true identity to shine through. I did what I wanted, with full focus, just because that’s who I am. I do everything well, and pride myself on that. By shutting off my mind, everything I did flowed out of me effortlessly, even tasks I didn’t even feel like doing, because I removed a lot of the resistance that my mind would normally create.
If you’re looking to not think, then just pull your attention back to your breath at every moment. If you do that, then you will fall into the no-thinking state pretty easily, and the rest just flows. Another way to remain present is to focus on every action you make intently, so you’re doing everything “on purpose”. This pulls you into a nice state of moment-to-moment focusing on all of your actions, while cutting out unnecessary thoughts.
Consistency is Flow
So now that I covered that, time to tell what this “life as a flowing stream” concept is.
Most people tend to divide their lives up into little sections – such as “home” and “work” and “family” and “crazy drunken party times with the girls”. In each section, they change up their personalities – or their existing ego structures – a lot. Oftentimes, they only allow their identity to show in one of these sections (mostly crazy drunken party times…), and cover themselves up with 80 layers of clothing and ego everywhere else. They stifle themselves, trapped in their heads, trying to think of ways to build up their existing ego structure so no one will see the “true them” under the surface, that shiny, irresistible identity lurking and just waiting for a chance to come out. They shut him away and hope he doesn’t emerge… Until the night out in the club. Or with friends, out in the town.
If that isn’t self-sabotage, I don’t know what is.
Being able to strip down so you’re naked requires a few simple, big shifts.
You must shed that “nice guy” persona you have at work. You know, the one that sucks up to your boss, is incapable of smiling anywhere but at board meetings, the one that whines about the workload or the new guy in cubicle 43A (that’s the one in front of yours), the one that stalks twitter and facebook when you should be working on a project, and the one that secretly hates all of your coworkers.
You must shed the “nice family guy” persona you have at home. Love your family with all your heart, but stay away from the problems after making a nice attempt at fixing them. Don’t compromise anything for a family get-together, ever, and don’t let them guilt trip you into doing anything you wouldn’t do for a good friend. Learn to distinguish between things that are your responsibility for the family and your family’s responsibilities that are being shoved onto your back.
You must shed every single persona and ego structure that you’ve built for yourself. This means that you can’t be a different person when you’re with different people – you can show them different angles of your personality, but you can’t be a different person. Consistency must become the rule. If you’re a positive person – and most people are at heart – then you must be one at all times, in all places. If you have core values (more on these later), you must stick to them everywhere you go.
If you change who you are to fit someone’s mold at any time, you are reacting to them. If you react to anyone, you are allowing them to define you and you are giving your power away. Moreover, continued (unwitting) reaction gives birth to a persona that you assume when you are around that person or group of person; you get away from who you are at the core. This creates cognitive dissonance, as you are supposed to be yourself, but are assuming another persona. As the dissonance increases, interference in your life increases proportionally – you start to unwittingly hurt yourself as you suck yourself into a black hole of social feedback.
Living in a life of reaction is not good. Your moods will constantly be at the mercy of other people. You will be a slave, constantly switching up which ego structure you adopt so you will please whoever you are around at any given time. You will be juggling multiple personas and will be afraid to let any of the people you hang around know that you have any other personas other than the one you adopt around them. You’ll be afraid of letting people getting to know all sides of your personality, and you will constantly be an actor or even a puppet, dancing for them in order to please them, forever playing a role.
To be you, you must be completely consistent at all times. You cannot react to other people; you can only respond. The former is an adaptation, the other is simply an action that you perform automatically. If someone asks you if your car is the blue BMW outside, and that’s really your boss’s, how would you respond to their question? “No.” It’s simple, and requires absolutely no thought at all. All responses should be like this. If you’re responding to a situation, then you’ll do it automatically, on-the-fly, in real-time. You don’t need to think about it, all you need to do is trust in yourself to come up with an appropriate response, and it will come.
Reactivity is borne of the subconscious belief that whatever you are isn’t enough. That is, you don’t believe that people will like you as you are, so you decide to be reactive to other peoples’ desires and form ego structures to compensate for that. Responsiveness, on the other hand, is borne of the total conviction that you are enough, that people can and will like you for who you are. Or, rather – your happiness isn’t dependent on what others think of you; as long as you are being who you are, you’ll be happy. You are all you need to be happy – your happiness isn’t determined by anything else, like if you’re adored or hated, or if you’re a “good man” or a “bad man”. Of course, being congruent to your values is essential to the belief that you are enough, but that’s a whole ‘nother post, folks.
But being naked and living truly authentically is totally different.
You’re going to wake up in the morning and your first thought should be, “Today, I am going to lay my soul bare,” and mean every single bit of it. You have to give of yourself every single bit of energy that you have in your body and soul, or else you’ll never reach your potential.
Most people save that soul baring moment for some defining moment in their life, like creating an artistic masterpiece, or competing in the biggest athletic event of their life.
Living naked is different. You’re going to lay your soul bare, every single day. You have to give 110% effort in everything you do, and lay yourself out there for all to see. You’re going to make public all of your deepest desires, all your major flaws, every last one of your fears, all your regrets, and everything that makes your heart sing. You will do that through completely authentic self-expression – and you won’t care who knows. (There is something to be said as to the tastefulness of laying your soul bare though – don’t just go around telling people about your deepest desires and whatnot; you’ll just look like a crazy person)
You’ve got nothing to hide, no energy to save, and nothing to lose. You have to expend every last bit of energy you have in order to live naked – for you will truly give everything of yourself. And the world will give you back what you give. So why should you waste your gifts?
You’re fighting against the worst possible odds when you’re doing this, as all heroes do. You will be under immense pressure to get lazy and not give everything of yourself – all of society practically lives this way. They try to reap the best rewards while giving the least possible amount of effort. And that’s just because they’re following their evolutionary programming – we are hardwired to be conserve energy, as we used to live in times of scarcity. Now, in modern society, even in a time of prosperity never-before-seen in the world (yes, this is the best time to be alive, ever. I’m a firm believer in that), we still stick to the old evolutionary rules and expend as little energy as we have to in order to get by.
This is why most people are mediocre (even though I love them). They don’t push themselves to reach greater heights, so they stagnate, forever stuck at mediocrity.
To break through and be exceptional – and acquire that glow – you’re going to have to lay your soul bare. And when I say your soul, I mean it. It’s work, but, strangely, you’ll love it. It’s almost paradoxical, but I love that feeling of pouring all my energy into something I’m working on (like this post, for instance). It just feels so good, and almost pure. This is what you have to do when you do anything.
And you can’t look to other people for help – not in this situation. This movement is all of your own making. I can help get the ball rolling, but the onus is on you in order to carry the load. And, really, it’s a lot of fun to do so.
It’s still incredibly difficult to live up to these high expectations every day. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve even fulfilled 40% of my potential yet… And, instead of looking at it like I’m a failure, I look at it the other way: I have the potential to be one incredible human being. If this is what <40% of me feels like, then I can’t wait to see what happens when I’m really making some remarkable growth. I’ll be unstoppable. And, you know what, you can be too. It just takes a lot of persistence and dedication… All I know is that my potential is nearly unlimited – there’s no way I’ll ever reach my “full potential” because such a thing doesn’t exist. It’s just a limit. And that’s alright with me.
So What’s This Glowing Stuff You’re Talking About?
If you’re living “ideally” – living in the present and assuming your identity, otherwise known as living “naked” – then you’ll start to see a glow around your person, or at least you’ll swear you’re glowing, because it feels that good. It’s crazy – everything seems to go right, you feel immensely powerful and energetic, and life is the best it has ever been. You feel like a demigod, ready to conquer anything that life throws at you.
That’s the best that I can describe this state – and that’s only when your energy is dialed really high, like during physical activity or just plain ol’ socializing. In other portions of your day, I’ve found you can maintain the feeling of “perfection” without the ridiculously high energy – that is, you maintain your glow, all on your own. I’ve found that sometimes, when I get in the super-high energy perfection state, my energy feeds off of others’ energy, and eventually dies down a little when I’m on my own, but the glow still remains.
After taking a look back at my best days, I found some unifying characteristics in how I approached those days.
The first, and most obvious, is getting enough sleep. This is so critical that I can’t emphasize it enough – you need sleep in order to function at your best. Sometimes, I can get around 6 hours (and even as low as 4 hours) of sleep and still perform at my best for 80% of the day, but towards the end of it, I go into free fall and become completely glow-free. When I consistently get 8 hours of sleep, I feel really good. Thing is, you can’t freak out about your sleeping patterns either – don’t fret if you get less sleep if you need to. Oftentimes, I’ve found that if you worry that not getting enough sleep will ruin your day, it will drag your state down. Accept however much sleep you get, but do everything in your power to get what you’ve determined to be “enough”. For me, 8 hours is vital, since I am extremely active. Also – one thing I’ve heard is that your best hours of sleep come between 10 PM and midnight, so try and get to bed before then.
The second is meditation. On days where I get enough sleep and about 45 minutes of meditation in the day before, I feel absolutely unstoppable. High energy, very positive, no negative thoughts, full range of expression and overall just having a ton of fun. Those days are how life should be lived. Man, I wish every day could be like that. But, looking back on my best days, these were the two essential ingredients. 30 minutes of meditation gives me a regular old “good day” (which is why I never have bad days anymore. Anything above 30 makes my days even better, and over an hour makes things great, independent of how much sleep I get. Throw in enough sleep, and… BOOM! I feel like Superman and Batman, rolled into one. It’s crazy. However, it means nothing if…
You don’t eat right. Eating right must be a giant priority if you’re ever going to reach your full potential. Basically, this boils down to the following:
-Getting your body enough fluids, and
-Getting your body the right building blocks (macromolecules like carbs/protein/fats as well as vitamins and minerals)
Getting your body enough fluids is easy. Rule of thumb: don’t drink anything that’s not water, unless you’ve made it yourself with water as the only liquid. This might not make sense to you, but I’ll clarify.
Every morning I make myself a green smoothie plus a protein and oats shake. In my green smoothies, I mix a couple of pieces of fruit (often pear and banana) and some organic baby spinach (gotta get my greens!). I throw in some frozen berries (blueberries are fantastic), add 3 cups of water, and blend. There, I know everything is healthy, and the only liquid component was water. Even though the smoothie itself isn’t just water, since I put other foods I could eat independently of the smoothie in it, it’s fine to drink.
Getting your body the right building blocks is a lot tougher. I’ve found that multivitamins don’t do the trick because of absorption problems (you think your body can absorb all of the nutrients found in that relatively tiny pill?), so I take as many single-vitamin/mineral supplements as possible. It’s actually a little more cost effective, even if you do have to swallow more pills. Plus, you can tailor your supplementation to your own preferences. Right now, I only supplement with an ACES (vitamins A, C, E, plus Selenium) supplement, a B-Complex, and fish oil (which I recently added). I’m thinking of adding calcium, magnesium, zinc, and a few others in the near future.
Even though you can cover slight nutritional deficiencies with supplements, you still need to eat healthy. That means as few grains as possible (though oats/brown rice/quinoa/etc. are all great), no processed foods, no desserts, no cookies/ice cream, and so on. Maximize things that were living, like fruits, meat, and green, cruciferous vegetables. In particular, adding greens to my diet makes me feel like I have more energy and vitality – I highly recommend it, even if you hate the taste.
Which reminds me – you don’t eat for taste, you eat for performance. Keep that in mind, and eating right shouldn’t be a problem.
(I know I haven’t covered things as in-depth as I could, but I’ll save that for a big-giant health post)
If you take care of your body, meditate, and sleep right, you can unlock an amazing life, right from inside you. Notice how it’s all in your hands.
You control how much sleep you get.
You control what you eat.
And you control how often or how long you meditate for.
Doing all those things will make you shine. You’ll have this glow about you that will make people stop and look at you, and wonder, “Damn, why is this guy/gal so happy?!”
Except you won’t even notice all the onlookers – you’ll just be so swept up in your own life and just doing what makes you feel best that they’ll fade far into the background while you go out and have a ball. You just love everything a bit more, nothing fazes you, everything turns into a joke, but yet, you are able to be the most productive you’ve ever been. Everything flows out of your mouth effortlessly, and smiling becomes your default expression.
This is what an amazing default state is. This is what you can feel like nearly all the time if you have the consistency and determination needed in order to pull it off.
I can’t waste any more time describing it – it doesn’t do it justice.
The Final Frontier
This is truly the final frontier for most people – a nearly permanent state of what I’ve deemed to be bliss.
Actually, come to think of it, it’s just an experience of true, pure life. The golden, glowing state of nakedness
But it’s not permanent at all – like all things, it goes in cycles and is constantly in flux. Once you taste it once, you’ll expect it to keep coming back again and again, no matter what you do.
That’s wrong, holmes. This golden state is entirely dependent on the process.
You’ve gotta pay the cost to be the boss, and this is no exception. You have to meditate, eat well, sleep well, and give everything of yourself every single day if you’re going to experience this.
But this is no salvation. Yes, your days become great, partly because, in some ways, you start lowering your expectations. You stop taking the people around you for granted and cherish every moment you have with them. You become grateful for the time you have to do anything you enjoy, and you make a point to enjoy everything you do in some way. Maybe your days objectively don’t improve, but your perception of the things that happen during those days becomes incredibly positive.
And, honestly, I believe this is 100% worth the cost. These things started coming together for me about 3 months ago, and, I really think that this is what it is to be truly living.
I strongly believe people die unhappily because they never feel as though they’ve lived. This is what they’ve been missing out on – the feeling of pure awesomeness with every word that I write, with every breath that I take, and with nearly every muscle I move. Everything feels beautiful… But it requires constant presence (ironically, I kind of left that out of my secret ingredients list to golden state). Intense focus and effort is needed, but the rewards are great – you feel alive.
When you let go of everything that used to define you and live from your core, you feel secure, yet, when you wake up every morning, you think to yourself, “Man, today’s going to be a good day… I wonder what’s going to happen.”
And you’ll begin to surprise yourself, and the people around you will begin to surprise you in ways that you can’t imagine. Crazy coincidences and opportunities will fall in your lap, and it’ll be up to you to take them and run with them.
Trust me on this: your life will begin to take turns in ways you wouldn’t have ever guessed before.
But, at first, most of your days will be just “good”, and not the mind-blowingly amazing experience I’ve hyped up this state to be in this post.
That’s OK. Most of my days are just “good” too, since, honestly, doing all of these things is really hard. With my time constraints, it’s nearly impossible for me to get enough sleep/meditation in a given night. That certainly effects the quality of my days.
But if you can step it up, and claim your potential like I believe you and I can, you’ll see: there are many, many great days ahead of you. I’ve experienced a lot of them lately, and they are something to be cherished in abundance.
And, really, you’ll start living, with a glow about you.
Shine like the brightest light the world has ever seen, and nothing can stop you.