The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Can't Sleep? Try the world's BEST sleep technique--6000 year old "Warrior Sleep":

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Resolutions

Setting goals isn't is exploration. Setting an easy goal is like deciding to drive to the 7-11: no surprise if you make it. But a new, difficult goal? You are mapping the territory of your inner and outer life, measured in the resistance you experience. Your values, beliefs, perceptions, and positive/negative emotional anchors, all exposed. Striving and "failing" shows you where work needs to be done--becomes the finest teacher in the world, if only you will listen.

An awake, aware being would understand both his capacities and the territory to be traversed, would never set a goal he could not meet. Have no worldly needs or wants beyond the steady production of "chop wood, carry water." But the only way to reach this point (for most of us) is to learn our perceived limitations and steadily expand our boundaries at the same time we anchor our centers. It is a lifetime of work...but do you have something better to do?

New Year's Resolutions on Diamond Hour Show
Saturday, January 1, 2011 1:00 PM
(724) 444-7444

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One Million Breaths

"The beauty of your words, the charm in your actions, the allure of your movements all depend on the amount of silence you create within. Humans have the capacity to go deeper and deeper into that silence. The deeper you go, the closer you come to the Infinite."



Looking into the person I would like to be at the end of 2012, the path seemed to be one of greater commitment to the process of awakening. The best decision I could devise was a level of discipline that would demand near-daily excellence and focus for approximately an hour a day. That was the origin of the "Million breath" idea. There are qualities of mind and perception glimpsed only during my deepest meditations and flow states. Parallax between these and intense martial focuses, orgasmic states, ceremonial trances (sweat lodges, fasts, etc.), "Warrior sleep"-style trances and more implies a doorway to something beyond ordinary "creativity" or alignment. A million breaths over four years will give me the daily experience of slipping between my own breaths, between my heartbeats, into the silence.

While there are aspects of advancement I will not pursue (dissolution of the ego cocoon is...a little severe for someone with a six-year-old son) but this one is purifying without being destructive to my constructed self. It seems...a reasonable middle path. Yesterday I totaled about 550 by the time I went to bed. That included seated breathing, joint rotations, yoga, TacFit Warrior, martial arts motion, entering flow state, and finally pre-sleep preparation. Slept well and deep. Today and tomorrow are recovery days. I suspect that keeping track of my dreams would be informative.


Monday, December 27, 2010

My first public declaration of a New Years Resolution: one million conscious breaths by December 31, 2015. Got 400 today. Keep you posted.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

May you have the joy of Christmas which is hope
The spirit of Christmas which is peace
The heart of Christmas which is love.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Warrior Sleep

Questions from TACFIT Warriors!

Q: What is the scientific proof that the "Warrior Sleep" program provides rest more efficient than sleep?

A: the "Warrior Sleep" program is based, in large part, on the "Yoga Nidra" technique, considered to be one of the highest yogic practices. Thousands of years old, it is traditionally considered to be equivalent to three or four times its quantity of sleep. While I know of no specific scientific tests verifying this assertion, what CAN be said is that the deepest ordinary sleep state is Delta, dreaming sleep, when both psychological and physical tensions are discharged maximally. We wobble in and out of Delta--probably an atavistic protective mechanism left over from a time our ancestors needed to check the environment for nocturnal predators.

As you practice "Warrior Sleep" you are literally training your mind to discharge these tensions more effectively. My personal experience verifies that you can reach a point where your body is asleep, while your mind is awake--a truly amazing experience, and peaceful beyond belief. What lies beyond that? I've yet to discover. Exploration suggests that a 20-30 minute session of Warrior Sleep can DEFINITELY compensate for a night's short sleep. Advanced practitioners are said to use this technique to cut their sleep needs to less than three hours a night. While this has not been my personal experience, it seems within the realm of possibility.

What I can say, with total confidence, is that whether you call it "Warrior Sleep" or "Yoga Nidra", this is one of those secrets everyone should know. Everyone deserves a great night's sleep, every night.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seven Thoughts For Today

1) I can measure how much yoga I need by the way my body feels first thing in the morning. Cool, light, and flexible? A minimum. Heavy, stiff or sore? Add fifteen minutes on Yoga Days (Wednsday and Sunday)

2) Can feel that I'm a little off-balance. Handling the stress, but I'm not feeling a lot of emotional range--very focused. Have to go deeper, be more centered, give the Christmas season more time to kick in. Then again, the mid-way point between Thanksgiving and Christmas was when my Mom died. This time is always difficult.

3) Working on "Devil's Wake" after Tananarive took her run-through is interesting. We have some different takes on characters and situations. Nothing too extreme, but it needs full attention.

4) And full attention is hard to come by because of the TACFIT Warrior launch. I've been doing this exercise for the last month, and conclude that it works superbly as a stand-alone exercise system, but even better (for me) as part of an overall program. Because the emphasis is enhanced neurological efficiency, the motion becomes pretty darned complex at the higher levels (the basic levels are pretty easy). For those of us who are already flexible, balanced, and strong, you can get through the first three exercises (of six) with a smile. Then...the horror hits. Wow. When cumulative fatigue enters as a factor, "breezing" through the last three exercises is a mournful fantasy. This is serious work. And the guided coaching auditory track--I love and HATE that guy. Yeah, it's me. And I can hear myself curse at me, in my head. I remember back twenty-odd years ago when the "Firm" videos came out, and Toni and I used to curse the "Nazi bitch" who barked orders at us and hinted that we were lilly-livered couch potatoes. Fun to hear the voices in your head rebel against the idea that you are stronger and more powerful than you think. You think we'd EMBRACE the idea of our own excellence. Sadly, that simply isn't as true as it could be.

5) Doing five pages a day on the TWELVE DAYS screenplay. I'm following one character through the story at a time, just seeing what each character knows about the situation. And the situation in this story is pretty grave, threatening the stability of the entire world. Fun to create a story with that kind of sweep, but also a LOT of intimacy: most of the story is told through the eyes of the mother of an autistic child, an ex-military man on the edge of dishonor, and a spunky and perceptive reporter. We'll see if I can keep the circle tight.

6) Tananarive is teaching at Antioch University this week. More pressure, for all of us. Must remember to breathe, and keep a sense of humor about it all. There is so much to celebrate in life...and so easy to get swamped in the minutia. Big Picture time.

7) I'm reading "Henry V" now. Just finished "Hamlet." Reading one scene of Shakespeare aloud every day is a tremendous ritual. I don't have the time to read everything I'd like, but at the very least I can ensure that a chunk of my input is the highest possible quality. I do believe you could combine Shakespeare with the bestselling writer of your choice (say, Stephen King) and have a pretty good foundation for a writing career.

Such rituals are critical to building what I refer to as "the machine" or "the garden". This is the automatic, ritual-driven aspect of our writing, the actions engrained to the point of unconscious competence.

The pieces are

1) Input. Reading. Read ten times as much as you write, and a level UP from your intended result.

2) Output. A story a week, or every other week, until you are published regularly. THEN it is permissible to work on longer projects., to the tune of 2-5 pages a day.

3) Flow State. Improving the ability to enter flow deeply and swiftly.

All of this can be implemented in the Diamond Hour. Fifteen minutes of Shakespeare, thirty minutes of writing, maybe fifteen minutes of joint rotations or yoga. That's sixty minutes of bliss, work, and health. Not bad.

And the beautiful thing is that if I just do nothing but this, at the end of a year I'll be healthy and will have produced two books. That's not bad for an hour a day!

How can YOU plan a "perfect hour" to move you toward your goals?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Diamond Hour and Dexter

Diamond Hour and Dexter

Had a great "Diamond Hour" show on Saturday. We were talking about a concept related to mastery, "I.D.E.A."--Instinctive Designation of Energy and Attention (I love XXX, don't you?).


The approach I take to developing this skill (everyone has moments of it. The greatest among us seem to live in that space) is to have balanced goals, to breathe consciously five times a day, to seek elegance in thought and action, to break the goals down into small enough chunks that we are evaluating feedback multiple times per week (at least) or per day (preferably.)

I'm going to enjoy doing the show even more once TACFIT Warrior comes out. Until now, the best I could do in telling people to seek an efficient physical discipline is make suggestions like "The Five Tibetans" plus (for instance) the "Kettlebell Interval Training for Women" DVD put out by Maureen Martone, as hyper-efficient and effective fitness products. It was never fun to send people to a bunch of different places to get the basic pieces they needed. Now, for the first time, there is ONE place I can send them that has all the foundation they need. Customizing the program will require additional research, study, mentors, etc. But...that's life. There's a big world out there, with six billion people who have different histories, personal realities, and goals. All a general teacher can provide are the basics.

The foundation would be Mental-emotional health. The feeling of being comfortable in one's skin. Waking up in the morning happy to be you. Going to bed at night grateful for the day. Being able to love and be loved. There are practices that are quite productive on this level: meditation, journaling, prayer, therapy, flow-state activities and more.

We all have problems, which can be like rocks clogging up a pipe. We can either remove said obstructions, or flow around them. Preferably, you use some combination of these: seeking self knowledge, then using that information to remove obstructions. Or being fluid and flexible enough to move over, under, around the problems. This often requires a "shrinking" of the ego self, a lack of Self-awareness, and a control of negative emotions.

This is also necessary to move forward against the inevitable criticisms. No one ever makes substantial progress in their lives without running into people who try to tear them down, doubt their decisions, question their ethics, and more. And that simply has to be all right with you. If you take ANY action that has the chance of leading to greater than average results, you are violating social rules. Common wisdom leads to common results. This is just the price you have to pay.

If I define several steps along the path of growth: from Adulthood (taking responsibility for our actions and emotions) to Awakening (responsibility for the experience of life, bringing unconscious value structures and beliefs up to conscious awareness), then the potion called "self-love" is just wonderfully valuable. It not only gives you the strength to move forward (why should you take special efforts to improve your life unless you just flat love you?), to accept and give love to others, and to resist venom from spectators. Of course, there are levels beyond this, but it is a darned fine start. Most people who display negative beliefs and actions in their lives display cognitive and emotional dissonance if asked the simple question: "do you love yourself?"

I'd say that people who cannot exercise an hour a week, can't focus on transformative goals, or are not in loving relationships most commonly draw a blank when asked a question like this. Oh, they can work hard, until their backs hurt or their brain turns to mush, but can't put conscious care into realigning their spines or generating a healthy, controlled sweat. They can be good friends, but not learn the rules of exchange that lead to love and sensuality. Often it seems that they are afraid that if they really knew themselves, they wouldn't like what they found. This extends to believing that if others really saw them for who they are, they'd run screaming.

Last night's Dexter touched on this. Won't go into it too deeply, but this season has been about Dex exploring his humanity, the meaning of his monstrosity, the desire for connection and family, his ability to give and receive love. And the fact that people he cares about, and respects, see more of him than he ever intended for them to see...and find him human. Yes, an extreme portion of the human spectrum, but human. "One of us" as they said in Todd Browning's immortal Freaks.

Most of us don't have to go as far, as deep, as Dex has to go to make contact with something uncorrupted. At one point he makes one of the most touching declarations of love I've ever heard, promising to keep another's "darkness" with his own. I almost lost it. Wonderful, wonderful moment.

There is something beneath that darkness, Dexter. There is light. And beyond that, there is a non-dualistic state that is not-light, and not-darkness. For Dex, unless he finds an extraordinary balance, this would be spiraling into an endless void. Light will be enough.

For most of us, Light is heaven. Great season.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I.D.E.A.: Instinctive Designation of Energy and Attention
Sat., December 11, 1:00 PM pst
(724) 444-7444

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Life is 99% Action and 1% theory.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

When writing, I like using Adobe Buzzword, or a Word/Dropbox combo--that way I can switch computers, and there is automatic backup.

Today is a fasting day...

Today is a fasting day...

Every other day. I was asked how I maintain focus despite the blood sugar crashes, and so forth. The answer is that I don't get them. Oh, it used to happen, but that was when my body was primarily a sugar-burning machine. Now it has been trained to burn fat, and the difference is wonderful.

Here are some points:

1) Ease into the I.F. slowly, if necessary. Speak to your doctor and/or health care support team.

2) Try the 101 if I.F. is too tough for you. That is: every other day, eat nothing but fresh fruit and vegetables. This change can save your life.

3) Aerobic exercise. Especially Tabata-protocol (twenty seconds of sprint work, ten seconds of rest) trains the body to burn fat efficiently. 15-20 minutes of this three-four times a week can change your life.

4) Visualize. Think of your body as an automobile. Food that is not burned as fuel is stored like gasoline-filled bladders hanging off your car. Imagine that. Now think of the absurdity of feeling that you need to fill up your tank when there are hundreds of gallons flopping around the outside!

You are fighting for your life, health, and happiness. It isn't easy...but there is nothing more worthwhile.


Today is a fasting day. I'm gonna be irritable. I'm also going to get hella work done. And feel kinda prowly. It's a good trade.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The three most important things in life:
1) Be kind
2) Be kind
3) Be kind

--Mother Teresa

Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Go HERE to get your free copy of TACFIT Warrior Challenge WorkOut videos, a glimpse of the future.