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Written by Swami Lego Ver, exclusively for Anxiety Culture
It's a cliché that what you put in your head affects how you feel. If you're in idyllic surroundings whilst your head replays an argument or worries about the rent, you won't feel idyllic.
"Stress-reduction" is another cliché: picture idyllic scenes when you're stressed. Not bad advice, except it doesn't go far enough. Rather than using respectable "visualisation techniques", why not try hedonistic wishful-thinking excess?
This may seem "infantile" to some people, but the point is to generate pleasure. Then again, it might increase stress. No promises are made.
Treat yourself to your favourite food (chocolate ice cream, doughnuts, coffee, popcorn, etc). Then lie down. Start with the usual "stress-reduction" cliché-thing (imagining pleasant scenes, etc) but don't strain yourself. Try a run-of-the-mill wish-fulfilment daydream (eg winning the lottery). Then remove the respectable, ethical, puritanical constraints
You've won the lottery unlimited leisure, luxury and fun. But you can still get ill, old, etc. And what about Third World starvation and the environment? This is wish-fulfilment, so none of that responsibility-guilt applies all problems have been solved. You can have, and be, anything you want. Sex (text censored by the Committee for Natural Morals) which you can do with anyone you like, even Cate Blanchett's funnier identical twin.
Picture the most pleasurable deluxe dream-scenario imaginable without effort. No doubt there's a good "adult" rationale for doing this, but it's too boring to think about. Don't exert yourself this is the opposite of "developing" an "ability". The point is to see how far realms of pleasure/happiness exist away from the usual demands/burdens of responsibility and obligations in the "real" world.
Different kinds of happiness
If we were to believe the conventional wisdom that true happiness comes only from meeting challenges and productively exerting ourselves towards responsible goals (etc), then we should conclude that young children are never truly happy, and we should develop work-schedules for infants to prevent the misery and degenerate idleness that must result from all that pointless play, infantile wishful thinking, daydreaming and sucking on a nipple.
Your brain was designed for pleasure it says so in the operating manual. But the scaremongers, guilt-merchants and responsibility-crazed would like to convince you otherwise; the social reality they've created will infect your internal world, unless you deny it access.
Swami Lego Ver is a "Spiritual Adviser" to the rich and famous. He lives in Hollywood.
This document is a print version of www.anxietyculture.com/instant.htm.