Swift Struct All The Things

Should Swift Presenters Be Classes or Structs?

Swift structs aka Swift structures came into being and there was much excitement. Members of my own team back then were leaning heavily towards the idea of structs everywhere. As shared in Swift Protocols With Associated Types – PATs, “We were going to use structs and protocols wherever we could.”

Swift Struct All The Things

Should Struct All The Things?

The excitement is over, the dust has settled, and lessons have been learned. Now the question has been raised, should Presenters be classes or structs?

Stack Overflow Discussion and Unfortunate Answer Bias

Titled Why Choose Struct Over Class?, this Stack Overflow post’s chosen answer has been subtly framed in a way that reflects that initial excitement of leaning heavily towards creating Swift structs. It’s framed as if there is a contradiction between the WWDC 2015 talk Protocol Oriented Programming in Swift and Swift Programming Language documentation.

Based on what I and others can tell, there’s no contradiction. Also, the final line in the accepted answer is under scrutiny. Here’s the line under scrutiny:

Also, keep in mind that these concepts are always evolving and The Swift Programming Language documentation was written before the Protocol Oriented Programming talk was given.

As Dan Rosenstark rightfully pointed out:

Last line should say, “My personal advice is the opposite of the documentation:”… and then it’s a great answer!

That said, the content in the accepted answer copied from various sources is good and the post has had a lot of great interaction in it. This content and the Apple sources referenced clearly show when to use a class and when to use a struct.


First, let’s get something out of the way right away. Are our Presenters really Presenters in our CARFAX app architecture? As shared in A Hungry Reflection on “How to Isolate Client-Server Interaction Logic in iOS Applications”, there’s often a debate as to whether we’re set up more for a Model-view-presenter (MVP) architecture, versus Model View ViewModel (MVVM) architecture, versus a Presentation Model architecture. This kind of discussion has gone on for over a decade. Regardless of where you land in the debate, the things that hold our display logic are known as Presenters. For the purposes of this blog post, let’s call them Presenters.

Presenters – Class or Struct?

Presenters contain display logic. There is one instance of them created and they are hooked up to the View Controller classes. Their purpose in life is to contain display logic that is unit testable and help keep the View Controllers from being too big.

Copying or comparing instances of the presenters doesn’t make sense. Presenters don’t fall anywhere near the “Examples of good candidates for structures” list in the section titled “Choosing Between Classes and Structures” of the Swift documentation’s Classes and Structures page. The same is true for the “Classes and Structures” section of The Official raywenderlich.com Swift Style Guide which is a favorite of many teams.


Structs are awesome to use when passing around simple value objects, whose properties are value types, and are meant to be compared and/or copied. To use structs in other situations is an understandable mistake. In hindsight, our own team tried to make some things structs that should have been classes from the beginning. We fell slightly into the Golden Hammer Anti-Pattern trap. Using a struct for a Presenter or other things like Presenters isn’t upholding the semantic differences between a Swift struct and a Swift class.

Update: Added reference to the “Classes and Structures” section of The Official raywenderlich.com Swift Style Guide

Team Building Your Mind Through Meditation

Are you mentally tearing yourself apart, putting yourself down, fighting yourself, and getting in your own way? Do thoughts race through your mind about all the ways you might fail and be hurt? That’s common. Yet, it’s not useful.

Wouldn’t it be great if all of you coexisted in harmony? All the parts of your mind?

Instead of just raising concerns and dealing with them logically and with love, our minds can become a factory of panic. We panic and then sometimes panic about panicking.

Time Out! Time for a Mental Meeting
Team meetings and retreats happen all the time. Organizations sink a heavy amount of investment money into them. The importance of teams building and maintaining healthy and mutually beneficial relationships that function well together is highly treasured.

Can we think about the individual as a team? The individual has a team of cells that form larger human parts working together in harmony like notes in a beautiful song. Without harmony, the song collapses in chaos. The individual is no more. The brain also works well when in a harmonic state of flow.


When a fear is injected into consciousness by one part of the brain, how will the other part of the mind handle that? To get scientific, the amygdala can inject stuff into the system and the prefrontal cortex has to know how to handle that or you get mental chaos and stress. In response to raw fear getting dumped into your experience, what will you do?

As Oren J Sofer said in the 10% Happier meditation app recording titled Just Another Emotion, “This is the universal human experience of this emotion. Everyone feels this.” There’s no need to take your emotions personally. Your emotions are not reflections of you being a good or bad person. It’s a reflection of you being human.

However, not having your mind working well together is selling your potential short.

Survival Is Not Enough

To really go all the way in life and thrive, the individual must team build their own mind. Emotional agility is the enabler of Powerfully Productive Happy Meditators. As they say, show up for yourself. Make the appointment to meditate and by doing so learn how to regulate your emotions, open up channels of creativity, and experience a positive peaceful mindset.

When you have a positive mindset, you can see solutions and opportunities that you would not see when you’re in survival mode. That is a scientific fact. When you are in survival mode, your cognitive abilities are impaired.

Meditate For Others Too

Seeking harmony of the mind through meditation helps those around you. You’re doing this for all those you interact with and the people they interact with. Relationships are the slender strands that tie together all of humanity.

I See Teams Everywhere

I encourage you to explore this notion of your mind being its own team. You’re a collection of mental parts striving towards harmony. See yourself as the constellation of stars in the night sky that make up you. Through Lovingkindness meditation and mindfulness meditation, you can harmonize all of your mental parts and your relationships with others.

Show Me Meditation

The snow fell hard as I approached the building. Ah! I saw a nice Show Me Dharma sign. I had arrived where they do Insight Meditation and Sunday morning service was about to begin. There’s a playground here too. Knowing that it’s a kid friendly area felt like a good sign.

Show Me Dharma Sign

Some young teenagers were gathering near the entrance. They looked excited and eager as a woman was gathering them up and doing a pre-entrance talk with them. It certainly feels like a field day!

By some strange coincidence, I ended up ahead of the woman letting in the youths. I smiled and mentioned that this was my first time there. In a soft friendly voice, she said “welcome!”


She explained to all that we take off our shoes here at the entrance. I said with a smile, “Just like at home. “

In an attempt to not get his feet wet, a young teenage boy gracefully leaped from the doorway and softly landed to the side. Impressive! Perhaps, I can do a similar feat and keep my socks dry too. I did a small side leap and landed in front of the wooden bench. Excellent!

With shoes off and feet dry, I thanked the young nimble youth with a smile and gave a thumbs up. He gave me an uncertain yet grateful thumbs up back not knowing what he did. I explained, “You showed me the way to keeping my socks dry. Thank you.”

The place had a familiar feeling to it. It was small yet clean and organized. There was a small library with books in their shelves. The place certainly felt established. It felt cozy yet homey.

Fragrance Free means one can breathe with ease

Staking Out My Territory

I walked up a short flight of stairs into a small room where there were meditation cushions that one could use. Nice! There were plenty in there. As someone who has bought a zafu in the last few years, I know zafus and zabutons don’t come cheap. I am impressed.

From their website, I know they have chairs. So, I continued on past the cushions. The soft-voiced woman said to me, “There are cushions available.” I politely shared that I am “pro-chair” and thanked her. On that note, there’s a good article on how to meditate in a chair.

I walk inside, see the meditation instructor sitting on a chair, and see the donation basket. I was ready for this basket. Here in my wallet was the money I had already decided I was going to place in the basket. That helped take the awkwardness out of it. I simply recognized that they have to pay the rent and yet so do I. I pulled out the money and placed it into the basket next to the five dollar bill there.

Chairs and Meditation Cushions are Available

With the donation done, I approached the front of the room. “Hmmm. Which chair do I want to sit on?” Ugh. All I could see were cold black metal chairs. The instructor offered that there are meditation cushions available if I want. I told her that I appreciated the offer, but would like to use a chair today.

Time to choose a chair! There’s a woman sitting to my left in the front. Since I wanted to respect her space, I sat across the aisle on the right. Whoops! Big mistake. The chair is right next to a wall. If I turn my head to the right, I am kissing the wall. Yuck.

I asked the woman if she mind if I sat next to her. With a welcome and friendly tone, she said to come on over. She started to move left one chair, but I told her she didn’t have to move. “I’m not territorial. Usually.”, I said with a grin.

We introduced ourselves. I told her I was Mike and she said her name was Julie. She seemed like a kind woman. She said the instructor is Linda. Looking around, I was one of two males in the room. There’s probably fifteen people that were there.

The Service Begins

The service began with the instructor ringing a bell. She said something like:

We usually start the service by doing a meditation walk.

“Oh really?”, I am thinking. Cold tiny frozen ice crystals aka snow is coming down. Brrr.

“However, since it’s nasty outside we will do something different.”, she said. “Thank you!” I said to her in my mind. I gave her a mental hug.

Show Me Dharma Building Back

Show Me Dharma

She said we would instead do a practice where one person asks the other “Who are you?” and the other listens deeply. Both are to set aside their typical narratives / stories and completely be in the present moment.

“Ah! Free word association. I presume they prefer us to respond in a safe-for-work manner. Ha ha!”, I thought and gave her a big grin. I wonder if she knew what I was thinking?

Rae, my online meditation instructor from the 10% Happier meditation app, says that’s known as an inquiry practice. Good to know.

Who Are You?

We began. Since neither Julie nor I had a preference, I playfully pretended to flip a coin up into the air. Catching the invisible coin and flipping it onto the back of my hand, the invisible coin landed showing heads. In that way, I became the first “speaker.”

Inwardly, I said to myself, “Just dive in deep. Just go for it. Open my heart and see what happens.”

Whoops! Oh! I instantly felt an opening up sensation and tears of happiness, love, and joy were beginning to twinkle in my eyes. As shared in “Good” Meditation Growth Then Tears Flowed, this emotional response to mentally opening my heart is not new to me.

“Who are you?”,Julie asked. I said, “I am the one who tears easily.” OK. She’s been warned. I don’t actually cry often. However, she deserved a fair warning  and I answered truthfully in the context it was asked.

Julie: Who are you?

Mike (me): I am the snowflake on the hill.

Julie: Who are you?

Mike: I am the … (oops stopping myself). I explain I was going to say I was the enlightened one. However, that didn’t seem proper.

Julie: Who are you?

Mike: The sleepy one. (Daylight Saving just happened.)

Julie: Who are you?

Mike: A gentle breeze in the wind.

Julie: Who are you?

Mike: A writer

Julie: Who are you?

Mike: I am the snowman on a hill.

Julie: Who are you?

Mike: I am love.

My eyes open. Our eyes meet. It’s an interesting sensation to do a meditative practice while your eyes are meeting another’s eyes.

Julie: Who are you?

Mike: Curious

Next we switched. Out of respect, I will leave her responses out. However, I will share one thing. She seeks enlightenment. No surprise there. I thought to myself the following:

Oh Julie, my new found friend. Seeking enlightenment is like trying to grab a floating ballon by poking it with a finger. Strongly seeking enlightenment will push it away. Through the practice, you should just allow enlightenment to open you to life and to all you meet.

Someday, I may get to tell her.


The inquiry practice was followed up with a discussion about discomfort. Lynn asked if anyone wanted to share about the discomfort they experienced while doing the practice. No one said anything for awhile. So, I half raised my hand and got a head nod to proceed.

I shared that one of the moments of discomfort involved crying. (Ha ha! I got two of the youths glancing back at me and doing a double take. Welcome to a truly open discussion, my young friends.) I shared:

When opening your heart without reservation, tears can flow. I’ve learned that it’s best just to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Another person shared her awesome insights into vulnerability and then the instructor spoke. She spoke of suffering. In Meditating on Suffering From Unawareness, I go into suffering from the perspective of life being intrinsically dissatisfying due to continual change and how to handle that. However, Lynn was sharing something more tangible. She shared her own physical suffering from extreme back pain. Ouch! It was a great dharma talk about the importance of opening up to the experience of suffering in all its forms when you can. Beyond other benefits, you’ll experience more life that way.

After the dharma talk, we began the thirty minute meditation. During this silent meditation there was the obligatory stomach growling from one of the youths there. I wanted to support them by saying “Hey. Stomach noises are natural. Experienced meditators have heard much worse. Believe me. It doesn’t matter to the meditation pros what biological noises you make.”

Announcements and Community Outreach

After the thirty minute silent meditation, announcements were made. They have a “Caring Committee” and one of their activities is the Donate for Puerto Rico. Using the donated money, they order lamps at a discount and send the lamps to the people in Puerto Rico who are are still suffering from Hurricane Maria. As you may know, a lack of power there is still an issue. As shared in Rebuilding Puerto Rico’s Power Grid:

But U.S. officials were saying that remote areas in “challenging terrains” would not get service until the end of May.

That threw a little more light on how Show Me Dharma contributes back to the global community. Well done!

Bowing to the Buddha Statue is Optional

Service Completed

Service ended with a lowering of the head and hands in prayer. I lowered my head and briefly held my hands up as in prayer. This time though, I decided not to bow to the Buddha statue. To be clear, holding up my hands and bowing is optional and not a form of worship for me. After a nice chat with Julie about how I first got interested in meditation and she in Buddhism, it was time to go. Making my way back to the wooden bench, I started to put my shoes on. Wouldn’t you know it? Julie’s shoes were right behind my legs where I was sitting. What were the odds of that happening?

As I put on my shoes, I ended up in a nice conversation with a young woman and another woman about genealogy. Without going into the whole conversation, there was a nice idea that came out it.

Knowing our ancestors faced terrible trials can give us strength. This inspires us to overcome our own challenges.

After that, I gave a farewell and mindfully walked to the car with gratefulness in my heart.

Update: After speaking with Julie and getting her permission, I changed the name used in this blog post from Jan to Julie. (Thank you, Julie. Your support and understanding is appreciated.) I also changed the instructor’s name to her true name of Linda. All the names of the teachers for Show Me Dharma are publicly available.

Second Update: Images of the inside were inserted and a link to bowing not being a form of worship was added. Thanks goes to Joe McCormack for his help in taking the inside images.

Brainy Brain Rain and Meditation

When sadness starts to cover you like a cold and wet towel, naturally you will feel like ripping the feeling right out of your brain. You hate feeling that way.

The trouble is that the harder you try to pull it off the bigger and heavier it gets. “What if that feeling is with me forever?”, you wonder in fear.

The smart move in this case is to feel what you need to feel and then let the feeling be. Let go of your grip on it. Don’t push it away or pull it in closer. I wrote this to capture this valuable concept:

Oh brainy brain. It’s ok to rain. It’s ok to not be happy. The drops of emotion falling on down will eventually all drain away.

This approach is the same approach as described in Bowl Bottom Centered. Let the sadness slip away. Allow harmony, goodness, peace, tranquility, and focus take its place. Keep on keeping on.

Powerfully Productive Happy Meditators

People want to get things done in life. Our To-Do lists haunt us and we sometimes have energy “the size of a dinner mint”. If happiness is offered, you might say “Forget this. I have stuff to do!” The implied question is being asked, “If I am happy, will I get anything useful done?”

It’s OK to be Happy

From “Will Meditation Kill My Edge?” in the 10% Happier app Dan says:

I think a lot of people confuse complacency with happiness.

Often, people think that unhappiness is the only way to motivate action. Although unhappiness can get you moving, it doesn’t provide a direction to move towards. There’s no target. Without a purposeful target, you will mindlessly leap out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Aspire Towards a Target

If you want a target to move towards and the energy to hit that tricky target, glance at Resilience and Optimism where I discuss having a mission and the right positive attitude toward humanity through agape, an unconditional love for humans.

With a mission as your target and the right positive attitude, you’re like a happy and fast moving boat in the sea. Your mission is your north star and your agape (love) keeps you afloat, energized, and connected with others.

Paddle Hard To Move Your Boat?

No. Pushing yourself hard to be the best mindfulness meditator merely creates mental cramps. As George Mumford said in the 10% Happier app, “Dude, you’re making this way too hard.”

If you’re a Star Trek Next Generation fan, I would tell you that you have to make the counter intuitive move of dropping your shields in the face of danger as described in STNG Hero Worship.


The paradox is that the harder you try to be great at meditating, the more likely you are going to struggle. As I share in the Wrong Effort By George Mumford section in Meditation Brain Headbands And Wrong Effort, trying to get immediate results creates its own obstacle.

There’s a great podcast episode [NSFW: cussing] of The Joe Rogan Experience (#1062) titled Dan Harris & Jeff Warren where at the 23 minute 43 second mark, Dan describes what it’s like to have doubt in the progress of your meditation practice. To make progress in your meditation practice, you have to:

Surrender.. Just let the practice do its thing. ..We’ve been doing this for a millennia.. Just do the practice. Stop worrying about it [your progress].

He then goes on in a fun way to describe how it’s like a video game. “You can’t move forward if you want to move forward.”

In boat terms, just raise the sail. Let the wind push you forward. In meditation speak, observe whatever it is that comes up into your awareness like watching a cloud in the sky. Don’t try to push or pull the cloud. You’ll get lost in the cloud of thought and be in the storm of mindlessness again.

Comparing Mind

So, here we have a target, energy, and a tactical plan for how to progress. To completely progress in an effective manner, beware of the comparing mind. This is especially true when in a highly competitive environment.

As George Mumford points out in the 10% Happier app in What’s Success, you can’t control others. He says, “You can only be who you are. So why not be good at that?” Live your best. You can’t directly control what others are doing so focus on your own progress.

Sharon Salzburg in Mindful Magazine’s Be Kind to Yourself—Right Now covers the energy drain that comes from constantly reviewing the past and measuring how you stack up compared to others. My advice is to let those unwholesome thoughts go. Apply the Handy Tip For Focusing on such thoughts. Let the clenched fist in your mind fall open. Turn your attention on to your own progress and sail on towards your target.

Continue To Up Your Game With Emotional Agility

Now that you have an effective way to progress in your meditation practice and feel safe that you’ll still get things done, it’s time to end this with a final tip: continue to up your game. Expand your horizons. Continue to deepen your growth in ways you haven’t considered. For example, consider your “emotional agility” as Oren Jay Sofer puts it.

Even though the happiness and balance you acquire from mindfulness meditation are highly useful, there is certainly more to be had by learning “emotional agility.” As Oren Jay Sofer points out with some hesitation in “Calmest Person of the Room” of the 10% Happier app:

Not only can it [emotional agility] make you the calmest person in the room, but it can make you the most powerful person in the room.

Managing your emotions well lets you flexibly respond to life’s challenges. Simply through being grounded, you can see clearly what effective response to an adverse situation will serve best.

Aim True

I sympathize with Oren’s hesitation. Mindfulness and “emotional agility” are powerful and with that comes great responsibility. If you aim yourself towards a wholesome target and apply what is shared above, you will get out of your own way, get things done, have a richer life, and move like the wind.

Resilience and Optimism

Someone that I admire and enjoy being around with at CARFAX where I work shared two words with me, optimism and resilience. This got me thinking about deeper questions such as:

  • How do you keep going when your plans never work out quite the way you want?
  • How can you tap into an ever-flowing fountain of energy and optimism?

Shared in here are the key concepts. Although you may have heard of these concepts before, just know that the concepts are available in the 10% Happier meditation app. The people mentioned here actually teach these concepts in that app. Here’s one concept:

There’s no such thing as failure, just feedback. – George Mumford

Putting yourself down after failing to achieve something doesn’t serve anyone. Let it go. Instead, look at the results of your efforts as just feedback for you, a dynamic and wonderfully adaptable human being.

Aspiration vs Expectation

Aspiration is great. As Joseph Goldstein shares, that’s what motivates us towards action. Expectation is an unhealthy attachment to results. Expectation doesn’t serve. The smart move is to aspire towards achieving goals and then use the results of your efforts as feedback towards the next move you make.

Loving All aka Agape

When it comes to optimism and resilience, a wonderful and powerful way to tap into optimism and resilience is by connecting with your love / agape for your fellow human being. Especially after driving in heavy traffic, it’s possible you don’t feel like you have any agape for your fellow human. As Sharon Salzberg shares, there are ways to train your mind towards acknowledging and experiencing such a connection.

“What’s in it for me?”, you might ask. As George Mumford says, “Humans are wired for altruism.” We are wired to work together as a whole team. What gets in the way are the way we organize ourselves and the way we frame our look on life.

This connection gives us energy, helps you to connect with others, and fosters a more productive environment. In short, you get more done and you will feel good doing it.


Just as powerful as tapping into your agape for humanity is living your life according to a mission. My personal mission statement is to help make paradise on earth. Maximizing human flourishing is the goal. This serves everyone, even me. This tweet sums it up nicely:

Enjoy and Share

There you have it. As I said in Gamification Journey of FinneyCanHelp, we have evolved such that we need each other. Our support of others through teamwork and how we organize is our collective strength. If each of us use our talents to their fullest and support human flourishing, we can truly make paradise on earth.

Now, please share the concepts. Share the source of those concepts such as this article or mention the 10% Happier app. Most importantly, share your success and support others in their success. We’re all in this together. As Sharon Salzberg put it, we’re going to sink or swim together. Together, we win.

Lucid Dreaming Killed The Chronic Nightmares

Do you have nightmares that you’re sick of? Are you an explorer by nature? If so, let’s talk about lucid dreaming.

When it comes to lucid dreaming, some typical questions that I hear are: “What is lucid dreaming?”, “Why did you try it?”, “How did I do it?”, and “Who else is doing it now?”

What is Lucid Dreaming?

From my past teenager’s point of view, lucid dreaming is the sword to conquer nightmares. Seriously, lucid dreaming was part of how I conquered the dark and powerful demon who gave continuous birth to nightmares. Literally shaking my entire dream world through unspeakable terror, there was an evil overlord ruling my night. While everything around me shook, the last thing I would hear was horrible and evil laughter.

More than once, I asked myself: Could this be Satan? No, it wasn’t. Whatever it was, lucid dreaming was one key to conquering this nighttime evil.

Besides lucid dreaming, the second key to conquering my nighttime terrors was imagining a glowing positive energy shining from me in every direction fueled through a Lovingkindness chant.

Instead of just screaming in fear, this chant gave me courage and a positive direction to orient my mind towards. To see the specific Lovingkindness meditation technique I used back then, see the “My Words” section in Meditating and Coming Across Colder Than Ice. In my dreams, the chant and my wholehearted belief in the power of love (Agape) assured me victory.

No Really. What Is Lucid Dreaming?

Lucid dreaming is knowing that you’re dreaming while you’re dreaming. Since knowledge is power, this also leads to a path towards control of your dreams and mental exploration. While you’re doing lucid dreaming, you can do all kinds of things, think about things, and enjoy the most erotic dreams.

What Do Others Say About Lucid Dreaming?

If you like TEDx talks, here’s Lucid dreaming: Tim Post at TEDxTwenteU:

The video goes deep into how lucid dreaming is real and the science that shows that. For me, it’s already a no-kidding moment. Having lucid dreamed many times, I know that lucid dreaming is real. Since the talk is limited to less than 15 minutes, all it had time for was to talk about how lucid dreaming is real and its potential use. It doesn’t answer the question: How does one start to lucid dream?

How To Lucid Dream?

In regards to how to lucid dream, here’s a quote from Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s episode, Waking Moments:

He will do so by remembering a visual cue – such as Earth’s moon – to remind him that he is dreaming.

That’s the right idea. You need a cue. Yet, having something visual was not good enough for me. I needed something more physical.

When my feet left the ground and I swam up into the air, I knew I was dreaming. My cue was being able to swim-fly. To ensure that I could clearly feel the difference between being asleep and being awake, I hopped up and down acting like I’m trying to swim in the air during the day.

To lock in success, I would write too. “Remember”, “Remember”, “Remember” was written down right before I went to sleep. I wanted it in my mind and ready to go before I shifted into dreamland.

Lucid Dreaming Success..?

Initially, success was not letting fear rule every night of my life. As they say in games, achievement unlocked. Success!

Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself

Once I conquered the nightmares, I tried what a typical young man might do. I went for the sexual dreams.

“Ya! Sex dreams!”, I said out loud. “Let’s do this!” I was pretty excited about the potential. However… Like most things, the anticipation was more fun than the experience.

Although some of the erotic dreams were sensual and quite fun, I realized there’s no substitute for the real thing. Although the visual was there, the sense of touch was not as pronounced as one can get in real life.

After that realization, I tinkered around with creating entire dream landscapes and fantasy worlds. I could literally move mountains. I would also conjure up things to explore.

Beautiful landscape with green grass, a circle of water, and a mountain in the background

In my dreams, I could create my own landscapes.

When I woke up, I would write down what I could remember as if the contents of the dream were sacred clues that can unlock the secrets of the universe itself! Having that kind of urgency about it trained the mind to remember more from the dreams.

However, what I wrote down was merely a shadow of what I experienced. In other words, “boring” became the new chant. This all started to get really dull. Whatever utility I got from lucid dreaming, my daily meditation practice gave me so much more.

Is Control Still Useful?

Since everything was now under my control, I wondered if I was missing out on something. Was complete control useful anymore?

After sharing my concerns with another, he suggested: “Why don’t you let go? Let go of controlling everything.” In a playful and friendly way, I should see what happens. It made sense. All the parts of my mind had made peace and I was less likely to terrorize myself.

So, I completely let go of control…conditionally. If things ever got out of hand, I would just say nope and wake myself up. I’m not letting anyone bully me, not even my creative yet mischievous mind.

Want To Play a Game?

One thing I never had but was shared with me recently was a community around lucid dreaming. Dream Views Lucid Dreaming is a well organized forum board community. Specifically, they have fun tasks to try while you are lucid dreaming. If you succeed with the tasks for the month and year, they give out badges. Sounds like fun to me!

Friends together on a hill, locked arm in arm, and watching the sun.

To Sum Up

Lucid dreaming is real. Through the power of neuroplasticity, you can train your mind to know that you’re dreaming and exert control over your dreams. Coupled with Lovingkindness meditation, I’ve used lucid dreaming to conquer the scariest of chronic nightmares and create my very own dream landscapes.

If you explore lucid dreaming and would like to share your experiences, please feel free to comment below. Multiple people read these posts and would be interested in whatever insights you have to share.

Shout out to Michael Reichenbach from the Octalysis Prime mastermind group for sharing the Dream Views Lucid Dreaming‘s fun tasks to try link and the link to the TEDx talk.

Girl with diary

Stop, Drop, and Meditate

It was the tail end of the Thanksgiving holiday and my mind was on fire. My brain flooded with a million things to do before Christmas. I could see a feeling of anxiousness begin to boil and rise to the surface of my mind. What to do?

Fortunately, I’ve seen mind fires like this before. Just like that old fire safety technique of stop, drop, and roll, I stop, drop, and meditate.


With pen and paper at my side, I stopped everything, dropped down, and meditated. To start, I focused on the sensations in my head. Usually, it’s a sensation of buzzing or heat. Anything that comes up in my mind, I write down. Anything. Grammar doesn’t matter. Spelling errors are allowed.

“Need more bread”, the brain said. So, I wrote it down. “Write about meditation.” So without hesitation, I wrote it down. After the initial flood of thoughts, I set a timer and switched to an open awareness meditation.

A few more lingering thoughts popped up. “Have fun”, the brain said. So, I wrote “fun” down. The timer went off. I took a deep breath and let my shoulders relax.

Girl with diary

Looking at the words on the paper, I circled the important ones. This fed my to-do list of the week.

The practice of Stop Drop and Meditate helps me see things more clearly. I never would have thought of some of the important yet non-urgent thoughts if it had not been for my Stop, Drop, and Meditate practice clearing the flames of fear out of the way. If you see potential value in this, feel free to give it a try. However, I suggest trying it before you need it.

Fire-drills work for more than just fires. If you practice the Stop, Drop, and Meditate now, you will be ready to put out your own mental fires.

This technique helps one see things more clearly, have faith in the order of the universe, and feel a stronger sense of freedom. Enjoy!



Beyond This Storm Lies The Gates of Hell

Something About Nothing

Back in my college years, some thought I had psychic powers. I blame mindfulness meditation. Due to my mindfulness meditation practice, my ability to pick up subtle details was quite acute. I think I even sometimes picked up these details subconsciously!


Since I was still investigating the available evidence on psychic phenomenon, I was open to the possibility of having psychic powers. As a result, I would sometimes get called on by others to use my psychic powers to help them combat evil. To my current embarrassment, sometimes this meant I was running around in the woods with others trying to sense “evil hotspots” and sometimes I would get emergency phone calls.

Woods with Fog


One day, I got an out of town phone call from a distressed group of people. They felt a friend was being attacked psychically by a former member of their group. They requested my help. The importance of this was stressed quite heavily!

“Sure! I’ll help.”, I said. At this stage, I was starting to doubt the validity of psychic powers and interacting with this group. However, I knew nothing but good could come from me doing my meditation practices. What did I have to lose? It turns out, I was about to get quite a fright!

Man reaches out with his hand

Mentally Lending a Hand

So, I laid down on my bed in my college dorm and began to meditate. By this time, I had done many years of meditation. So, I slipped quickly into a meditative state.

I used one of my favorite meditation techniques. It’s a combination of focus and lovingkindness meditation. I focused on my breath and then shifted to focusing on a mental image of a bright loving light shining from the center of my being. Through this, I was wishing good fortune on the person who was suffering.

Since no news is often good news and it seemed like lots of time had passed, I figured the person was okay. Since I was already meditating, I tried something new I had been playing with. I tried what I now call becoming Bowl Bottom Centered.

Bowl by Rebecca Siegel

Back then, I imagined myself sinking into the bed and letting myself mentally go. I would drop all and allow myself to freefall mentally. It was like letting myself mentally fall into a bottomless pit.

Surrendering myself to this meditative experience had me experience something that I had never experienced before. Although the description is inadequate and will strike you as strange, I became the bottom of the bottomless pit.

I will describe this experience through imagery and with the help of your imagination. Imagine that you are a star filled night sky. It’s all you’ve ever known. It’s your reality. The stars have always been shining. It has always been night. As far as you’re concerned, the stars will shine forever. There is no other reality. Now, poof! The stars are gone. There is nothing. There’s not even a night. It’s darkness without the concept of light.

“Yikes! What was that?” was my first thought after the experience. Since I grew up on stories which introduced hell as a real thing and read books that described hell as a cold lifeless void of nothing, I was quite concerned. “Had I visited hell itself?”, I asked myself in alarm.

Beyond This Storm Lies The Gates of Hell

The Nothing

In reality, I may have had a taste of the Jhāna stage known as the Dimension of Nothingness. Since at that time I didn’t have anyone to turn to, I had not known that such a meditation stage was possible.

That night I had a nightmare about a shapeless monster of darkness. It was so intense that after I woke up I briefly saw the outline of the thing still in my room before it gently faded away. Apparently, seeing things before or after being fully asleep is considered normal and is known as being in a state of hypnagogia.

Absent a meditation teacher to guide me and assure me that I hadn’t seen hell, I had my imagination producing nightmares about the undead for a long time after. This leads us to a few lessons to share.

A Cemetery

Dreaming About The Undead

The first is that science is your friend. If people are making wild claims without a shred of science to back it up, don’t waste any time on those claims. The burden of proof is on them. Even if something is remotely possible and yet maybe not reliably reproducible, I’ve learned it’s not useful.

The second is applicable if you’re going to do any meditating beyond the equivalent of the morning jog. If you are going to sit for hours meditating and go deep into seeing what meditation has to offer, it is essential to have an experienced and trusted meditation teacher / coach. You would be surprised what wild experiences you can have while meditating. It’s good to have someone to talk to who has already experienced them and can assure you that it’s normal.

All that said, it’s worth deeply exploring your mind. You can discover things you didn’t know about your own mind as well as reap the fruits of meditation. Enjoy the journey!

Sunny Countryside

Explore the Beauty of Your Mind

Meditation, Neopagans, and Sex

People have a natural inclination to make superheroes out of mere humans. In the United States, we throw around the titles of guru, wizard, and other titles all the time. Be wary of people putting you up on a pedestal!

I will never forget when I was teaching a group of people how to do lovingkindness meditation, as described in the My Words section in Meditating and Coming Across Colder Than Ice. During my journey of trying to explore the limits of mental abilities and investigations into psychic claims, I came across a group of practicing neopagans that were true believers in psychic phenomena. They were interested in my meditation practice. So, I taught them my practice of unconditional-love / lovingkindness meditation.

After I led them through a meditation session, one gentleman exclaimed with genuine surprise “My fever broke!” This surprise was shared by me on a few levels. One, I never claimed I could cure the sick. The other is that I hadn’t known I was meditating with someone who was sick!

From what everyone was saying, these people were experiencing positive results. Meditation made quite a strong impression on them! Since it was part of their religious practice to visualize images in their minds and they were open minded, it was particularly easy for this group of people to do well in this particular practice of meditation. This meditation practice included imagining a white loving light within oneself. Conjuring up such an image and focusing on it was quite easy for them.

This group often met at a particular person’s house. Let’s call her Sarah. It’s safe to say that if I had to pick one person who was the leader of this group, it would have been Sarah. However, there was no formal leader. At the same time, there was talk about forming a formal church.

During my visits, I inquired about psychic powers and other related powers that the Neopagans believed in. It turned out that the psychic powers were all things that could easily be explained away. As one of Sarah’s younger kids put it, “I was really hoping to see someone fly.” No flying and no scientifically measurable psychic powers like telekinesis were to be seen.

Book glowing as if magical

One time Sarah had her twelve year old daughter share a drawing that the daughter had made about me. It was a stick figure with seven colored circles on various parts of the stick figure’s body. There was also a purple ring on the stick figure’s forehead. Sarah said she hadn’t asked her daughter to make the drawing.

“But, look!”, Sarah said. “This chakra there on the picture is associated with the libido and it looks blocked!”, she says with a mischievous grin. “Out of the mouths of babes! I can help you with that.”

Now this is interesting, I thought to myself. A twelve year old did a chakra diagnosis on me and her mom says my libido needs to be unblocked. Awkward! I learned soon later that the mom wanted to have sex with me. I also learned that the purple ring on the forehead signified me as a spiritual leader. Other members also shared that they wanted me to lead them as part of their new church.

I graciously declined the honor of leading their church as well as having sexual intercourse with Sarah. Although I believed their sincerity, I knew that it would not be good to be a leader of something I did not believe in. Also, I’ve heard how cults can go sour quickly.

To be clear, it’s totally possible Sarah and the others believed in what they said. If one believes something strong enough, it is the reality that they are working from. Plus, there is real power in meditation. There are tangible gains to be had by practicing it. All that combined can be a powerful punch to the mind and boom! As a result, you might get requested to be the next spiritual leader.

With such power, comes great responsibility. Sometimes, the responsible thing is to say, “No, thank you.”