Why I started Intermittent Fasting

These days I have water for breakfast. Sometimes I’ll get a little fancy and boil the water. I won’t eat a bite of food until 1pm and will stop at 8pm. This leaves a 17 hour window of fasting. Which isn’t so bad considering I stop eating in the evening and the majority of fasting hours are spent sleeping.

I wouldn’t be sharing my experiences if I didn’t think you could benefit from it. It’s something more people are gravitating towards because it’s improving all aspects of health.

Today I will share:

  • Why I started intermittent fasting
  • Problems I encountered with intermittent fasting
  • Benefits I’ve gained from intermittent fasting
  • How to start + sources

Before I begin to share my experiences, it’s important to note that intermittent fasting can come off as rather extreme, but I assure you, it’s safe.

Intermittent fasting ( also referred to as “IF” ) is where you cycle between periods of fasting and eating.

I’d strongly encourage consulting a physician before trying it – even more so if you’re addicted to caffeine, have health problems, not eating a healthy diet already and/or taking medication.

I’m an advocate of fasting because it has given me great benefits but do understand our minds and bodies work differently.

Please proceed with caution.

Now that I’ve protected myself against any legal issues (I think), let me entertain you briefly with my past relationship with food.

Buckle up!

Back in the day

I’m not geometric by nature and don’t believe many of us are. Let me explain. Nature brings us peace while the concrete jungles of skyscrapers, mini-malls and paved roads brings us chaos. Just my opinion. I rebel against social norms and repudiate against the conformity that comes with our generalized society. Eating 3 meals a day is one of these generalizations I wanted to challenge. My intent was to see what I could learn about my mind and body if food were just a mechanism to sustain energy (imagine that) and not a psychological dysmorphic act of never-ending gluttony.

Whether it was the buttery aroma of a warm and crispy croissant or a rich and fatty cut of prime rib and everything in between, it’s safe to say that I “fucking” loved food!

I’ll go as far as saying it was an illness of the best kind!

I dined at the trendiest, expensive and most popular restaurants. Money was never an object when it came to eating out. I insisted on meeting chefs after a nice meal.

I was a full blown foodie, a student of french gastronomy and a pleasure seeker guided by the tongue. I’d read yelp reviews like I was studying for the MCAT’s.

Not only did I indulge at restaurants….oh no my friends..my passion stretched into my kitchen. I would by premium ingredients, cooked up a storm daily and exclusively watched food shows. Anthony Bourdain was a personal favorite! I also thought that vegans were the Hezbollah of the food industry.

I’d purchase the best smoked salmon money could buy. I had a relationship with my butcher. Not sexual relations mind you, I just bought my meat there (lol). I even had olive oils from specific vineyards.

I understood the complexities and subtle art behind wine. For example, how you’re suppose to let a glass of wine breathe so it can settle and deepen it’s flavor and open up different aromas, or how swirling the wine gives it legs around the mid rim of the glass showing us its age, clarity and body or better yet when tasting it and being able to pick out the tannins which gives wine its bitterness and complexity. Yes, I loved food and it loved me more.

My love for food was like one of those beautiful lifetime partnerships – like Dinero and Scorsese – but to my surprise it ended, and rather abruptly might I add.

Paradigm Shift

About 5 years ago a radical transformation occurred. I was introduced to the world of spirituality and mindfulness. Through a series of events – some as sad as torrential rainfall and some as blissful as an infants gaze, I changed.

I changed my diet to one without meat and started to contemplate my existence on this giant rock that’s spinning at 1000mph in the cosmos.

I retreated from the outward world for answers and came inwards. I became a voracious reader in the subjects of philosophy, psychology, metaphysics, science and spirituality.

I started to re-introduce the eastern wisdom that I negated and fought against as a child. The Bhagavad Gita became a father figure, Thoreau and J. Krishnamurti – my companions and the Greek Stoics became my mistresses.

I learned the art of meditation, experimented with drugs that society shunned (psychedelics) and used all my savings to become a student of life again.

However, I’m eternally grateful for my gluttonous past because it served as a barometer to compare my new found indifference for food.

For me, intermittent fasting was not just a change in eating behavior but more so an undying desire to understand what this world is, why we’re here and where we’ll go after we die (if anywhere).

Why I Started Intermittent Fasting

I wanted to see how the body would react if it was given just enough to function. I wanted to connect with my primal self. For the majority of the animal kingdom -excluding humans and domestic pets, food is survival. Although I’ll never know true starvation, a part of me was beckoning to understand what it means to go without food for long periods of time.

Intermittent fasting was a way for me to connect to our common ancestors.

I’ve also read and saw videos from celebrities, health advocates and YouTubers that had tremendous benefits from fasting. Terry Crews, for example has been doing it for about 5 years and the dude is ripped and aging gracefully. Check out what he said about intermittent fasting on business insider (<~~~link).

The science behind fasting can be comprehensive, but I’ll break it down as if you’re a second grader – not because I think you’re dumb, in fact you’re probably a genius, but I need it broken down in this way – so if it’s too simple for your Newtonian mind, then please have a bit of mercy, “aite” (aka alright)!

Our bodies constantly burn glycogen which is a fancy word for sugar. Everything we eat turns into sugar, and if we have an excess of it, the body stores it as fat. Also, our bodies are in constant survival mode so giving it 3 meals a day + snacks in between, during a 12-16 hour period makes it feel safe and sane.

When you practice intermittent fasting, the body panics because it’s used to getting a constant dose of glycogen, so after initially pleading and begging you to give it food in the form of hunger pains and headaches, it will eventually start eating stored fat. Can you say WEIGHT LOSS! 

In essence, intermittent fasting helps our body become a fat burning machine.

Think about animals in the wild. Their bodies constantly burn fat because they are usually a meal away from starvation. Wild animals live for the day, but we humans don’t have that problem. We have Netflix and eclairs.

After I did a 10 day meditation stint in the woods I felt enormous confidence. Meditating in silence for 15 hours/day will do that to you. Fasting was another way to experience the limitless boundaries of the human potential.

The Problems I encountered with Intermittent Fasting

Fasting wasn’t all raindrops and roses. The Sound of Music would be terrible if Julie Andrews and those kids fasted. They wouldn’t be so happy and I’d probably find the sing along more amusing.

The first week was uncomfortable because I’ve been accustomed to eating three square meals a day. Some problems I encountered:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Hunger pains
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Crankiness
  • Mild headaches

Now you might be thinking, why the hell keep going on and putting myself through this torture. After-all, no one is putting a gun to my head and saying don’t eat. I continued because I’ve found that everything that’s good in life comes with sacrifice.

The problems were short lived. After a week, I started to feel the benefits.

The Benefits I’ve gained from Intermittent Fasting

More energy – This is the single biggest change in my life. I can’t sleep more than 5-6 hours a day. Although, 8 hours is the medical consensus, my eyes open bright and early and I have long and sustained energy throughout the day. I usually have to find ways to tire my brain out so I can get some rest. I’ve brought old math books out in my attempts to learn astrophysics. Wishful thinking perhaps, but I got dreams too! I try to do flips as well, but can’t seem to find my flexibility. I’ll let you know when it turns up.

Food tastes better – I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed food this much. A simple apple tastes like heaven. A boiled potato with a bit of salt is a damn near religious experience.

I don’t need as much food as I thought – I’ve grown up with the idea that you need 3 meals a day to function, but fasting has taught me that eating less and in a time restricted window is actually more. The food that I do eat is better utilized now.

I haven’t gotten sick – This could be purely coincidence, but it’s also common sense. Because I eat less, the body has more energy freed up to repair itself instead of constantly digesting a constant stream of food.

Mental Clarity – I’m retaining more information, feel more creative and am sharper! I’m finding my voice with writing and the words are flowing like crisco.

Stronger – I’m actually increasing the amount of weight I lift. I go to the gym in the mornings and feel energized and stronger. I’m increasing weight on every powerlifting exercise. Stamina has improved as well! A 6 mile run about 3-4 times a week is a breeze.

I get full faster – I feel more than satiated with small amounts of food. Somehow fasting has strengthened the communication that tells the brain when the stomach is full. Also, my stomach has shrunk to its normal size.

I feel lighter and more agile – I’m not over weight, yet I did lose some fat pounds. I’m not scientific or analytical by nature, but I’ll break out the calipers and update this article with some metrics on actual fat % in the future. It feels great to wake up to a trim and fit body.

Bowel movements have improved – I’m not trying to gross you out, but I’ve been told as you get older, a good bowel movement is like falling in love. Mine are quite beautiful. I hope you’re not in the middle of a meal while reading this 🙂

I appreciate eating out – I used to be a food snob. I was an elitist, ego-filled douchebag that didn’t have enough stomachs to fill my precious little pie hole, but that’s changed. Food is sustenance. Quality food that’s nutrient dense trumps everything. The occasional meal with family/friends is amazing because I don’t go out that often, so when anyone cooks for me it’s like the second coming of Christ!

I don’t worry about breakfast – It’s just one less thing to worry about. I’ll only have water until I break my fast. It turns out that even coffee or herbal tea takes away from the true fasting experience because the body uses its digestive enzymes for everything but water. ( See Dr. Rhonda Patrick and Time Restricted Eating video ). I’ll write about caffeine in another article. I’ve pretty much reduced my need for all caffeinated beverages. Last week I had decaf coffee and it gave me wings. That’s a red bull joke.

Tips on How to Start + Sources

Through my research, I’ve been told that my eating window is too small (7 hours), so you might want to increase yours to 8-10 hours.

Start Slow – I break my fast at 1pm and eat until 8pm. When I first started intermittent fasting I did it 3-5 times a week, but now am going strong 7 days a week. If you’re new to fasting I’d recommend trying it a few times a week and easing into it. 

Get it all in – Within that 7 hour time frame I make sure to get as much nutrients as possible within reason. I don’t have one single meal that is balanced, but I consume the needed fats, carbohydrates, and proteins throughout my eating window. Since my diet is almost primarily plants, I have to eat more than the typical omnivore because plants digest quicker than meat.

Foods that I consume regularly include potatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, lentils, beans, rice, and avocados. I use seasonings like cumin, turmeric, salt, coriander powder, and pepper to give flavor to my dishes. With the addition of garlic and onions, any meal can transform into awesome deliciousness. I still enjoy cooking but now cook healthy foods. My blog veganswamy.com has a bunch of recipes with more to come.

Prepare your foods – After you break your fast, you’re going to want to eat anything you can get your hands on. You’ll act like George Forman at McDonalds after a sparring session. Prepare or even cook what you’ll eat the night prior if possible. Pick foods that you can easily carry on the go. Eat plenty of fruits. If you work in an office setting then tupperware will become your new best friend. 

Eat Slow –This is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to people that are starting. You’ll feel ravenous during your eating window, but eat slowly because you have a huge window to get in your calories.

It’s all temporary – You will encounter hunger pains and it will be challenging, but this is a process to improve upon your mental dexterity. Also, those hunger pains are your bodies final cries for help until it has to start eating stored fat. The body is primed for an apocalypse at all times. Don’t worry too much because the benefits start to kick in within 1-2 weeks.

Have fun and don’t stress – Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s just eating less. It doesn’t come with the stresses of changing your entire kitchen wardrobe. Just make sure you add in more healthy stuff and indulge minimally.

———————————

Check out this great video from Dr. Josh Axe. He dives more in detail about the benefits, but in short you can expect the following:

  • Anti-aging
  • Promotes natural human growth hormone ( HGH )
  • Improved Sport Performance
  • Normalizes insulin sensitivity
  • Regulates gherlin levels which is your hunger hormones
  • Detoxification
  • Weight Loss

Check out these quotes from doctors who praise intermittent fasting! It’s the world’s most ancient and natural healing mechanism.

Now that you’ve heard my experiences and are more informed, I hope you give it a try! You have nothing to lose and much to gain.

Other than switching my diet to plant-based one and adopting a daily meditation practice, intermittent fasting has been one of best decisions I’ve made for my health and overall spiritual growth. I can’t see myself eating the way I used to.

I’d love to hear about your experiences and please message me or write a comment with any questions!

If you know anyone that would benefit from this article please share, tweet or forward via e-mail.

Sincerely,

Anand

Why You Should Fear NOTHING

It was early July 2015. Summer was in full swing, but in San Ramon, CA it felt like spring and fall were playing music together.

The sun felt like a warm blanket on a cool day, the leaves were multicolored and almost translucent. I picked one up and held it in front of the light for good measure and was in awe holding nature’s stained glass.

This was my first joint sales day with my new manager. I was nervous but excited because I respected his vision. He was someone that could help me become a better leader for this company.

I walked into the business complex, went to the 4th floor and buzzed the door-bell. My manager opened up with a look of worry and seriousness. He asked me to follow him into a room where another sales manager was seated.

I was asked to sit across from them and was handed a letter of termination.

The other manager who actually wanted me to work on his team looked at me with sincere eyes and said, “I’m sorry man.”

I was fired and my heart sank into knots.

I gave them my computer, phone and any pertinent company information and was asked to exit the premises.

I’ve never wrote about this until today and the thought of it still makes my heart sink and blood boil.

For 10 years I gave this company my everything. I cultivated strong relationships with colleagues. I eased the fears for my customers during our worst disasters and made them become fans of our company mantra “people, service, profit”. I used my ingenuity and went above and beyond my duties as an employee and closed business.

I liked what I did and was good at it. And now it was all being taken away.

I exited the building and walked to my car in tears, but a glimmer of hope overcame me as my manager ran to the parking lot.

I actually thought that he might re-consider my termination. Instead, he needed my company ID card. Employee number 642104 was nothing but a figment of my imagination. My soul felt deeper into an unknown abyss.

That day the world slowed down. I had a firm grip on the steering wheel to stop from shaking. I could feel a volcanic tornado forming inside of me only to be washed down by a thunderstorm.

No Sympathy

I reached out to my closest friends and family about the news. I was expecting some consoling words or gestures of good-will, but instead everyone that I hold dear said:

“This is the best thing that could have ever happened to you.”

I was a little shocked, but as the week progressed I started to understand why.

I’ve always loved to create. I had an eBay business in my early 20’s, found a wholesaler of a popular supplement company and sold protein powders to fellow college students, started blogs on finance, motivation, beagles (RIP Esha), mindfulness, food and marketing.

I got absolutely no sympathy from my loved ones because they saw much more in me.

Fast-Forward 2 Years

To tell you my entire story would take a book, but my setbacks did not end with getting fired.

I had just recovered from ankle surgery and learned how to conduct physical therapy on my own, my fathers cab business was taken over by Uber and had to help him financially as well as myself, family tensions where fragile as my parents divorced and I was still recovering from a break-up.

Nevertheless, the next few years was a time of self-exploration. I tried dabbing my foot into uncharted waters of ideas.

I continued to blog and fell in love with writing again, learned about affiliate marketing, started coding, producing videos, got into photography, learned the art of meditation and other mindful practices, explored the nature in California and felt something that I haven’t as a child.

Freedom.

I tapped into my savings and vanquished the idea of security because there is no such thing. I invested in myself and vowed to become a better person because its how I would be the best for others.

Today I work as a free-lance writer. My passion has become my livelihood.

I failed to see what others did at the time — that getting fired was the opportunity that was chasing me.

Why have NO Fear

I wanted to share my story with you not as a means to self-indulge in my misery and re-invented passion, but to tell you not to fear.

I was put in a situation where much of my life for the past 10 years was abruptly taken away. I felt naked, but it brought me to a realization that is obvious but its need to be repeated is crucial.

You are capable of much more than you think

Whether it’s being a better employee, a better partner to your spouse, finding love, reaching fitness goals, etc.. you are worthy of good things.

I’m not trying to preach as a motivational figure, but through everything I experienced the zeal for life has not escaped . I can confidently tell you — it’s possible to make what you desire happen.

The more audacious the idea the better!

We only have but a moment to live so instead of waiting for something drastic to happen like getting fired- I say DIE.

Die to the moment, die to your last breath and die to FEAR.

Let your intuition guide you because this scares fear.

Our trip here is short. Live with urgency.

Don’t wait until tomorrow to do what you love. If you work full time, have kids but are passionate about something — then work on what you love for 5 minutes! If you have a grudge with someone that you know you’ll miss if they died — Forgive them and tell them you LOVE them today!

By the way, I love you all. I love you for reading what I write. I love you because you let me be a part of your day, and I hope I make your day a little better.

We all have the tools within us to live the way we want. Be a child again and live life with possibility and optimism. Our world has enough bad news. We need more compassion, empathy and more folks that care.

Make it a point to contribute a different point of view- a better point of view.

Life is not about overcoming the wall of fear, it’s about realizing that it was never there to begin with.

The only thing stopping you is YOU. We are our biggest fan and critic.

I asked a close friend a while ago if I’m cut out to be a writer to which he replied, “do you write,” I said, “Yes.” Then he said, “You’re a writer.”

Maybe life is as simple as doing what you intend on doing. Maybe there is no magical formula or 10 steps to success. Maybe it just happens because you want it to and put efforts towards it everyday. Maybe fear is the road-block we create but it’s also the one we can destroy.

Do our evolved brains fail to see what is so primitive? Can it really be that easy?

I think it can. I think you can make happen whatever you wish.

I will continue to progress and hope you do as well.

Sincerely,

Anand

Setting Goals Is Not Enough

Goals Vs. Systems – Which is more important?

We live in an interesting time. It’s never been easier to get noticed and make something of yourself. At the same time, it’s one of the most difficult times because everyone is trying to.

Genius is something we all have. The only thing that separates those with tremendous success in life is that they’ve found their inner genius and exploited it. Sometimes it takes longer for some to find it, but it’s worth it. I’m on the search myself. Continue reading “Setting Goals Is Not Enough”

Morning Routine

5:45am and I am up as the alarm sings tunes from the King of Pop. I grew up during a time where his music prowess was unprecedented, flawless, and life giving. I decided to stay in bed for another 5-10 minutes and opened the window next to me. The sun comes out earlier in the months of April so it doesn’t seem like I’m up that early, but the beautiful chirping melodies from the many birds accompanied with the silence of the city is a reminder that I am. After a few minutes of being utterly transfixed and inspired by the new day I started my daily routine of rituals.

I’ve developed different rituals to cleanse the spirit mind, mental mind, and physical mind daily. When I say rituals I don’t mean it in the conventional sense where it is tied with religion or culture, but rather a routine set of practices where I can be the best version of myself for I know this is how I can contribute something meaningful to the world.

There are many things that can happen in the course of our day making us lose sight of our true self. When I say “true self,” I’m referring to our true essence which is the reason our family members and friends love us. It rarely happens to me, but if I encounter a person who is rude to me, it’s difficult to exhibit an emotional response because deep down in my heart I know that this person, no matter how conflicted with temporary anger,  is loved by someone and they carry something special within them.

At times, external situations can affect our moods and attitudes and this pours into our work and relationships. We are allotted a limited amount of energy so I deem it particularly important to harness this energy.

There is not a huge emphasis in our society about taking care of the inner-self, probably because you can’t accurately measure it and even if you could the data would be inconclusive and haphazard because love, awareness, consciousness, spirituality and mindfulness speak to all of us differently, as it should. Below are six  rituals I do daily. The benefits have paid off in dividends because my field of awareness, creativity and love expand as the universe does.

1.Cleanse the Spirit – I start the morning with a meditation practice.  I have a place in my room where I sit down Indian style. I close my eyes and take deep inhales and exhales until my breathing becomes slower. Once this happens I start to breathe in and out through my nose. During this time I will focus on my current environment. This may be the things I hear, the smells, the tingles in my body, etc. After a few minutes of total awareness I will meditate on love and gratitude. Silently, I speak to my higher self and say, “No matter what situation occurs I will bring love into it.”  I then envision all the things I’m grateful for in my life. I have a list in my notebook handy and I make it a point to recite everything on it. I believe in affirmations and recite everything that I want to accomplish as if it has already happened. Putting your dreams on paper and in present tense is the first step to making it real.

2.Cleanse the Mind – After I meditate I clean my room. Have you ever had a long day at work only to come to a bedroom that wasn’t clean? How did it make you feel? Maybe you felt nothing, but after I’ve been making it a practice to be cleaner, it’s satisfying coming to your personal sanctuary with less clutter. The after effect of a clean room is great, but so is the process of cleaning it. Being fully aware and present when you are making your bed, sweeping the floor or dusting can be an experience in of itself. This can only happen when you forgo memory (past thinking) and the false notion of the future. When you are fully engaged in the process of what you are doing, any experience can elicit a heightened sense of awareness and the cessation of time.

3.Cleanse the Body – It’s hard for me to get to the gym everyday because I have to drive or take a 30 minute bus ride. Instead I will do a quick workout in my apartment or go for a run. 15-20 minutes a day is all it takes to do something for your physical body. I call it cleansing, because exercise cleans out toxins by speeding up your metabolism, helps burn fat, builds stamina, improves the love life, makes you more creative, etc. Often I will use a mobile app which puts together a series of exercises at high intensity called the 12 Minute Athlete. Highly recommended.

4.Clean the Body – Even if you don’t take showers in the morning, you will still be washing your face and brushing your teeth. While you take part in these daily rituals be extremely aware of the water as it touches your fingers and how it splashes on your face. Feel the texture of the bristles as you gently brush your teeth and gums. When you are fully present and aware any task can become a great experience.

5.Nourish the Body – After I get ready, I finally nourish my body with sustenance. For the most part I will usually eat something raw and high in fiber like a green juice smoothie, or a banana . I have a recipe for a green smoothie that has been working for me this year called the Rejuvenating Ninja, check it out.  The more in-tune with my body I become the more I realize how little food I need to feel nourished. Bring awareness into the food you eat. In the West we have lost our connection with food for a long time, but I see a reemergence of sorts taking place. Understand that the food you eat plays a vital role not only for the body, but also the mind and spirit.

6.Nourish the Mind  – I will nourish my mind by listening to something insightful on YouTube. Sometimes I’ll read a few chapters from a book or listen to one. I refuse to listen to news in the morning. I’ll save current events for later in the day because while it’s important to know what’s happening in the world, it’s not as important as me feeling 100%. Plus most news is negative and I don’t think it wise to start your day that way.  Below I have listed a few videos on the subjects of personal development, writing, spirituality and mindfulness that I have seen in the past.

Why do all this

It’s important to be balanced in life. This balance starts in the mind. Our mind can be our biggest ally or biggest enemy. It needs to be trained so it can work efficiently. All the rituals I described are simply tools for attaining higher reasoning, understanding, and truly relishing in the beauty that is life. At times our work, personal issues, and situations can bring us down. It’s important to adopt preventative measures so when these things happen we have a mechanism to rely on to get us back on track to higher thinking. The rituals I have outlined will help but I implore you to create your own rituals that speak specifically to you. Make sure to stick to them consistently and notice how your mind shifts to more present modes of thinking.

Everything can become Meditative

Meditation is not reserved only for the monks residing in the deep and desolate Himalayan Mountains, but also for you. It is available all the time. Meditation is simply cultivating awareness of your surroundings. It’s being in a state of attentiveness for all that is around you. When listening is not restricted to just the ears, but includes the eyes, heart and mind then you can be in a state of meditation or perpetual bliss all the time. The rituals I perform in the morning are all meditative and this can transcend to your work life and personal relationships.  When the Dalai Lama was asked what is the most important thing in your life, he replied, “What I am doing now.”

In the Chan Meditation Hall @ the Buddha Gate Monastery in Lafayette, CA where I spent a few hours every week last year, on the wall, it read the words that still resonate with me today:

“When in action, perfect all actions, when at rest, rest all thoughts.”

Develop some new morning rituals, make them consistent and see your mind, body and spirit reach new levels of awareness.

Written with Love by Anand Swamy

Mindful Morning Practice

5:45am and I am up as the alarm sings tunes from the King of Pop. I grew up during a time where his music prowess was unprecedented, flawless, and life giving. I decided to stay in bed for another 5-10 minutes and opened the window next to me. The sun comes out earlier in the months of April so it doesn’t seem like I’m up that early, but the beautiful chirping melodies from the many birds accompanied with the silence of the city is a reminder that I am. After a few minutes of being utterly transfixed and inspired by the new day I started my daily routine of rituals.

I’ve developed different rituals to cleanse the spirit mind, mental mind, and physical mind daily. When I say rituals I don’t mean it in the conventional sense where it is tied with religion or culture, but rather a routine set of practices where I can be the best version of myself for I know this is how I can contribute something meaningful to the world.

There are many things that can happen in the course of our day making us lose sight of our true self. When I say “true self,” I’m referring to our true essence which is the reason our family members and friends love us. It rarely happens to me, but if I encounter a person who is rude to me, it’s difficult to exhibit an emotional response because deep down in my heart I know that this person, no matter how conflicted with temporary anger,  is loved by someone and they carry something special within them.

At times, external situations can affect our moods and attitudes and this pours into our work and relationships. We are allotted a limited amount of energy so I deem it particularly important to harness this energy.

There is not a huge emphasis in our society about taking care of the inner-self, probably because you can’t accurately measure it and even if you could the data would be inconclusive and haphazard because love, awareness, consciousness, spirituality and mindfulness speak to all of us differently, as it should. Below are six  rituals I do daily. The benefits have paid off in dividends because my field of awareness, creativity and love expand as the universe does.

1.Cleanse the Spirit – I start the morning with a meditation practice.  I have a place in my room where I sit down Indian style. I close my eyes and take deep inhales and exhales until my breathing becomes slower. Once this happens I start to breathe in and out through my nose. During this time I will focus on my current environment. This may be the things I hear, the smells, the tingles in my body, etc. After a few minutes of total awareness I will meditate on love and gratitude. Silently, I speak to my higher self and say, “No matter what situation occurs I will bring love into it.”  I then envision all the things I’m grateful for in my life. I have a list in my notebook handy and I make it a point to recite everything on it. I believe in affirmations and recite everything that I want to accomplish as if it has already happened. Putting your dreams on paper and in present tense is the first step to making it real.

2.Cleanse the Mind – After I meditate I clean my room. Have you ever had a long day at work only to come to a bedroom that wasn’t clean? How did it make you feel? Maybe you felt nothing, but after I’ve been making it a practice to be cleaner, it’s satisfying coming to your personal sanctuary with less clutter. The after effect of a clean room is great, but so is the process of cleaning it. Being fully aware and present when you are making your bed, sweeping the floor or dusting can be an experience in of itself. This can only happen when you forgo memory (past thinking) and the false notion of the future. When you are fully engaged in the process of what you are doing, any experience can elicit a heightened sense of awareness and the cessation of time.

3.Cleanse the Body – It’s hard for me to get to the gym everyday because I have to drive or take a 30 minute bus ride. Instead I will do a quick workout in my apartment or go for a run. 15-20 minutes a day is all it takes to do something for your physical body. I call it cleansing, because exercise cleans out toxins by speeding up your metabolism, helps burn fat, builds stamina, improves the love life, makes you more creative, etc. Often I will use a mobile app which puts together a series of exercises at high intensity called the 12 Minute Athlete. Highly recommended.

4.Clean the Body – Even if you don’t take showers in the morning, you will still be washing your face and brushing your teeth. While you take part in these daily rituals be extremely aware of the water as it touches your fingers and how it splashes on your face. Feel the texture of the bristles as you gently brush your teeth and gums. When you are fully present and aware any task can become a great experience.

5.Nourish the Body – After I get ready, I finally nourish my body with sustenance. For the most part I will usually eat something raw and high in fiber like a green juice smoothie, or a banana . I have a recipe for a green smoothie that has been working for me this year called the Rejuvenating Ninja, check it out.  The more in-tune with my body I become the more I realize how little food I need to feel nourished. Bring awareness into the food you eat. In the West we have lost our connection with food for a long time, but I see a reemergence of sorts taking place. Understand that the food you eat plays a vital role not only for the body, but also the mind and spirit.

6.Nourish the Mind  – I will nourish my mind by listening to something insightful on YouTube. Sometimes I’ll read a few chapters from a book or listen to one. I refuse to listen to news in the morning. I’ll save current events for later in the day because while it’s important to know what’s happening in the world, it’s not as important as me feeling 100%. Plus most news is negative and I don’t think it wise to start your day that way.  Below I have listed a few videos on the subjects of personal development, writing, spirituality and mindfulness that I have seen in the past. I share these types of videos and insightful articles often for my subscribers. Sign up for my Newsletter here so I can share with you other cool stuff I stumble upon.

Why do all this

It’s important to be balanced in life. This balance starts in the mind. Our mind can be our biggest ally or biggest enemy. It needs to be trained so it can work efficiently. All the rituals I described are simply tools for attaining higher reasoning, understanding, and truly relishing in the beauty that is life. At times our work, personal issues, and situations can bring us down. It’s important to adopt preventative measures so when these things happen we have a mechanism to rely on to get us back on track to higher thinking. The rituals I have outlined will help but I implore you to create your own rituals that speak specifically to you. Make sure to stick to them consistently and notice how your mind shifts to more present modes of thinking.

Everything can become Meditative

Meditation is not reserved only for the monks residing in the deep and desolate Himalayan Mountains, but also for you. It is available all the time. Meditation is simply cultivating awareness of your surroundings. It’s being in a state of attentiveness for all that is around you. When listening is not restricted to just the ears, but includes the eyes, heart and mind then you can be in a state of meditation or perpetual bliss all the time. The rituals I perform in the morning are all meditative and this can transcend to your work life and personal relationships.  When the Dalai Lama was asked what is the most important thing in your life, he replied, “What I am doing now.”

In the Chan Meditation Hall @ the Buddha Gate Monastery in Lafayette, CA where I spent a few hours every week last year, on the wall, it read the words that still resonate with me today:

“When in action, perfect all actions, when at rest, rest all thoughts.”

Develop some new morning rituals, make them consistent and see your mind, body and spirit reach new levels of awareness.

Written with Love by Anand Swamy

Morning Rituals — Gateway to Clear Thinking

Getting up Early is key to a great day!

I wake up between 5–5:30 am most mornings. I never thought I would adopt a morning ritual, but it has proved to be very beneficial.

I’ve always been an early riser. I fucking love the mornings. I’m in a clear state of mind and looking forward to the new day. When most of the Pacific Northwest is asleep, I simply get shit done. Continue reading “Morning Rituals — Gateway to Clear Thinking”

Practical Fucking Spiritual Development

In Your Face Spirituality 

I’m a saint and I’m a hell-bent heathen. I’m Dr. Jekyll and Mr. fucking Hyde. A few of favorite books include Walden by T-Dub, the Upanishads, Freedom from the Known by Jkish and Meditations by Marcus A. The term spirituality has conjured up terms of hippiedom, but I assure you it’s not.

I love listening to Pac, Beethoven, Dylan, Sade, Marley, Maxwell and Bhangra and will sometimes listen to them in succession while working out (think Metallica meets the philharmonic).

I meditate, take walks along the beach, try to play hoop like I’m at the Rucker, have a habit of laughing uncontrollably at my own jokes and c-walk whenever I hear California Love.

I’m a walking contradiction, but fuck it, aren’t we all at times?

I don’t give advice because people are gonna do whatever the fuck they want anyway, so why waste energy.

I believe we all live in a great world but the obstacles that we’ve created for ourselves prohibits us from seeing that greatness. There are no good nor bad moments in life, there’s just moments.

Today I wanted to give you a dose of unadulterated, in your face, no bullshit spirituality.

A view on Spirituality

If life was a circus, spirituality is having the awareness and foresight to get yourself out of the fucking madness by climbing a mountain to see the circus from a birds eye view.

Spirituality is having the ability to take a step back to realize that you are a witness to life.

You are playing the part of yourself, but also looking at yourself-playing the part.

Spirituality is harnessing this awareness in you at all times. The more prevalent it becomes the less problems you encounter.

Below I have 9 Practical “No Bullshit” Lessons in Spirituality. If they work for you, GREAT! If they don’t, fuck it…create your own.

If my abrasive vernacular offends you, then please understand that they are just fucking words and if words hurt your feelings then you need a lot more help than I can offer. So hear me out for fucks sake!

The word fuck, or…

any other word perceived as “bad” for that matter isn’t actually so. The word “fuck” can be used in many different connotations, and if you were an adventurous fucker at least once in your life, then the phrases below are nothing new.

  • I fucking love you – Sometimes just loving someone isn’t enough. This is expressing that next level of love.
  • I fucking hate you – Sometimes just hating someone isn’t enough. This is expressing that next level of hate.
  • He/she was a good fuck last night – He or She was very talented in the bedroom
  • It’s fucking beautiful outside – This is expressing how joyous and happy someone is about the weather. 
  • That’s fucked up – This is expressing a rather unpleasant situation.

It’s how you use words that matter. Some words are bad because long ago one person decided it so. Fuck that guy.

Needless to say, I will use the word fuck a lot in this article. I may say bitch also.

 1. Presence is my Default Setting

The future offers us anxiety, and the past offers us remorse and regret. I say, fuck the future and past and just live now.

There’s nothing esoteric about living in the present moment. When you are aware of this moment you don’t think about the future and past, which means you aren’t thinking!

Presence = Not Fucking Thinking

Thinking takes energy. What happens when we’re present? WE HAVE MORE FUCKING ENERGY.

Thinking about the future elicits feelings that hasn’t come yet, and thinking about the past makes us a walking corpse.

Sure, the past comes in handy with lessons learned, and it’s important to to plan for tomorrow, but how much of these events take precedence in our lives?

Be present, save energy, stop stressing and enjoy the fuck out of life.

2. Sometimes you just have to say, “Fuck the Internet.”

Don’t you find it a little odd that we have become a culture with our heads looking down at a little device for most of the day?

We derive gratification by over-sharing our life with the illusion that people actually give two fucks because they click like.

There is a thin line between spirituality and cynicism and I cross it all the time.

Social Media is just bad news, literally. The world can be a fucked up place, but I question why cruel shit needs to be shared over and over again.? Is this really raising social awareness or just trying to fuck the world with depression?

Sometimes its kinda nice to not know what’s happening with my friends and family at all times. Sometimes it’s calming and therapeutic to sit down at a coffee shop and read the paper.

My solution – I leave my phone at home a lot more and limit my internet usage. If I have to work I will set times where I check my e-mail messages. The world isn’t going to stop fucking moving if I don’t check my messages around the clock. I check my social media outlets once a day for 10 minutes. I don’t take my phone to bed with me anymore.

This can be hard at first, but assess the value of what you are doing when online.

I’ve come to the peaceful sentiment that most people have fucking boring lives like me and that makes me feel awesome.

I hack less. I live in San Francisco, CA, the land where every remedial task has an app assigned to it.

Sometimes it’s nice to read the paper, use a map and get lost, talk to a friend and family member fully engaged in conversation, and just hike without the need to capture everything on camera.

Below I have a great video here on life hacking from Rich Roll.

The internet is a powerful tool so we must question when we are deriving value from it and when not.

With Great Power comes Great Responsibility – Voltaire (for all you spider-man fans)

2. Accept the Jackass in everyone

Everyone is fucked up in some way. None of us are perfect. Why would we want to be? Face it, when you dig deep, the “jackassery” (actual word..lol) traits of our loved ones are why we LOVE them.

I can’t change anyone so I don’t try. Not only do I accept the way people are, but I embrace it. Everyone is on a journey through this fucked up maze we call LIFE!

I’m just a squirrel trying to get a nut, no pun intended. 

My solution – Love your-self, and those that love you will always be by your side. It’s simple in theory, but lots of us try to be something else because we’re afraid of what others think.

NEWSFLASH – You’re not that important. This truth hurts the Ego, but when you lose your sense of importance, its hard to get your feelings hurt by anything.

The sooner you accept this, the more happier your life will become.

I know I’m a jackass at times and by coming to peace with this I’ve naturally accepted others as they are. 

Self-Love is a good thing, but Self-awareness is more important – Louis CK

3. Shut Up and Meditate

You heard me! Find a quiet room, turn off the lights, light some incense, learn some pranayama breathing techniques (deep breathing), close your eyes, sit down, cross your legs, shut the fuck up and enjoy that shit.

Meditation is the ultimate gateway drug into the word of consciousness (awareness).

Forget LSD, shrooms, molly, reefer or alcohol. Although all these mind-altering substances offer temporary euphoria, they fail in comparison to Meditation. 

You don’t need to be over the age of 21 or have a drug dealer. Meditation is available all the time.

I’ll let you look up the studies because it’s overwhelming and a waste of fucking energy for me because it works.

I googled benefits of mediation if you still need convincing.

Most people think the Monks of the East are peaceful and joyous people who have forgone material earthly needs. This is true to some extent but these people are probably blissed out of their fucking mind and getting high of their own supply of consciousness.

I’ve gotten a natural high from Meditation and it’s quite sublime. It’s helped me with creativity, sleep, patience, happiness and reducing stress. 

My solution — I use techniques I learned at a Zen-Buddhist Monastery.

  1. I find a quiet place and meditate first thing in the AM.
  2. I sit down indian style, close my eyes, place my hands on my lap and make sure my back is straight.
  3. I take 3–5 deep breaths from my mouth
  4. Then I start to breath deeply through my nose for the duration of my practice.
  5. For next 5 minutes or so I’ll focus on my surroundings. (smells, sounds, and body sensations)
  6. Then I start to sit in silence for 10-15 minutes (tip-If random thoughts come in, I see them as clouds that come and go. I don’t suppress the thoughts).
  7. The rest, I will let you figure out because it’s your fucking practice, but if you need a starting guide check out the video below.

It’s usually the simple experiences in life that have the most profound effects on us. Watch this video on meditation to go over the basics.

4. Don’t Expect Shit

Expectation is predicated on some future occurrence. Creating an expectation negates happiness and peace.

When you expect anything, you are in-fact expecting the outcome of an event as it meets your needs. In essence you’re in a delusional fucking fantasy. You can’t control how others will act so let go of thinking it.

Thinking about what you can’t control only wastes energy and creates it’s own enemy – Worf (StarTrek Next Generation)

My solution – Just surrender to life. Put effort when appropriate but lose attachment to the outcomes because you never had control in the first place.

You just might become happier. 

 5. Most people suck

Let me rephrase that, they’re probably good people, but they suck away precious energy from your life and you’re constantly stuck in situations that aren’t healthy for the mind.

Energy is our most precious commodity.

As I’ve gotten older, my circle of friends has gotten smaller. I prefer it this way. When I have conversations they are a deep meaningful exchange.  

The people who cause us the most strife and grief can be those close to us. It used to be hard to separate myself because I felt obligated to help, but I knew I needed to step away.

My solution –  It’s not your job to fix anybody. If you want to live this life to its fullest potential, then you have to slowly remove yourself from those that cause you negativity. It’s a choice and a rather difficult one to make (I know from experience).

6. Fuck Vegans

Who cares what you eat! Food is about sustenance.

Who cares about vegans and their latest statistics on how much CO2 emissions the factory farming industry is responsible for? Who cares that not eating meat can save enough water to wash Donald Trumps Ego.

I don’t even like animals. I hate deer. They just stand there like a bunch of pricks. Sometimes I’m trying to get into the interstate and they won’t move!! What the fuck deer!

Food is about the body. If you’ve eaten shit that’s gotten you constipated and lethargic, perhaps it’s wise not to eat that shit.

Sounds simple enough.

Discipline with our food choices is born when we put forth awareness in our decisions.

There’s a direct correlation between what you eat and how you see and feel about the world. We have an abundance of choice when it comes to food, but with this comes responsibility. Choose wisely.

My solution — Simply be aware of what you put in your body. Eat more raw food, but ultimately do your own research for you are the scientist of your vessel.

By the way did I mention I was vegan. It’s not the right nor best diet for everyone, but after eating meat for 26–27 years of my life, I’ve found something that works. Even if it’s not for you, I’m sure your ass can benefit from more raw fruits and veggies.

I post recipes and videos on healthy and fucking delicious meals on my website veganswamy. Check me out.

 

 7. Don’t be an Ungrateful Prick

Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population — more than 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty — less than $1.25 a day. 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.

Have you gone without shelter today? Did you exhibit hunger pains today? Did you experience extreme cold to the point that it was life threatening?

If you said no, then you are one lucky fucking prick.

Sure, we all appreciate these things from time to time, but then we forget and become unhappy because we seek the illusion of more.

I have a list that I read from every morning that has all that I’m grateful for. I wrote an article called Gratitude is a practice if you want more insight.

Make it a practice to appreciate what you have every fucking day.

8. Fuck the labels

I was born a boy in America. My parents migrated here from the Islands of Fiji and our ancestral background comes from India, but I could have been born a girl in South America brought up in Germany by Chinese parents. Who the fuck knows why I was born? Nonetheless, I’m grateful, but thinking this way let’s me look at the circus of life differently.

With every breath out, I’m closer to death so wasting energy on nationalistic pride, religion, race, gender, and political affiliation just doesn’t vibe with me.

I wrote an article on how I’m divorced from identity. Take a read if time permits.

My solution — Identity exists on paper and it’s not going away, but it doesn’t have to exist in my soul and it doesn’t have to be a representation of how I see my world.

The outer shells that people carry doesn’t begin to describe the true beauty and potential they contain.

On my death bed I will not be thinking about stupid labels that have been conjured up that derive false meaning.

If labels don’t matter when I die, why should they matter now? This is an excellent segway to my last and final lesson.

9. We’re fucking dying!

What if today was your last day? How would you feel? What would you do? How would you act? I encourage you to think about this more often.

We know that we will all die soon, but act like times this isn’t the case.

Whenever I’m faced with a problem I ask myself, “ If I were to die today, would this bother me?” The answer is usually no, so I quickly move on.

You will die. I will die. Your wife, husband, kids, parents, friends, family, dog and every person you ever saw since the beginning of your life will die, decompose and rot. If not, they will be cremated and turned into ash.

If I die, I want it to be in India, because they incinerate the dead with clarified butter. YUM!

Death is imminent. It’s happening right now. With every breath out, you are closer to being” knocked the fuck out” (Chris Tucker voice).

Death is a relative term, and for me death is now. I enjoy time with friends and family a lot more. I sip my tea slower and enjoy my food more. I take my time when in nature and breathe in the nutrient rich oxogen.

FINAL POINT AND THE REASON FOR THIS POST

All the spiritual stuff I’ve been reading about over the years has lead me to one truth and one only.

When faced with death only two variables come to mind. Love and Fear. One is an illusion and the other is a reality.

LOVE is the only thing available in the face of death and Love is all there ever was and ever will be. 

If you live as though you will die, you only have love. You only have time to smile and enjoy this temporary paradise.

A smile is your souls resume, so smile more.

Closing

Perhaps you can relate to some of the shit I spewed out today, and maybe not.

Develop your own philosophy (fancy word for the love of wisdom) and what will help you best.

My advice is to keep an open mind and look at all of life as a tool so you can understand yourself better.

Death is going to happen so stop being a fucking douche and allow love and joy to unfold and put to rest the problems that aren’t important.

I choose to live like I’m dying all the time.

This is the only way I know how to enjoy the fucking circus we call….LIFE.

(btw, I didn’t use the word bitch)

With fucking Love,

Anand


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5 BOOKS THAT HAVE HELPED ME TO NOT BE A DOUCHE……….ALL THE TIME.

  1. Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
  2. Freedom from the Known by Jiddu Krishnamurti
  3. The Upanishads (Penguin Classic) by Juan Mascaro
  4. Walden by Henry David Thoreau 
  5. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Goals Vs. Systems

Goals Vs. Systems – Which is more important?

We live in an interesting time. It’s never been easier to get noticed and make something of yourself. At the same time, it’s one of the most difficult times because everyone is trying to.

Genius is something we all have. The only thing that separates those with tremendous success in life is that they’ve found their inner genius and exploited it. Sometimes it takes longer for some to find it, but it’s worth it. I’m on the search myself. Continue reading “Goals Vs. Systems”

Stop Being a Douche – 9 Fucking Practical “No Bullshit” Lessons in Spirituality (12 minute read)

In Your Face Spirituality 

I’m a saint and I’m a hell-bent heathen. I’m Dr. Jekyll and Mr. fucking Hyde. A few of favorite books include Walden by T-Dub, the Upanishads, Freedom from the Known by Jkish and Meditations by Marcus A. The term spirituality has conjured up terms of hippiedom, but I assure you it’s not.

Continue reading “Stop Being a Douche – 9 Fucking Practical “No Bullshit” Lessons in Spirituality (12 minute read)”