The Basis for Happiness

I discovered this the other night. I was watching a well presented video on weight training which cited scientific papers on the subject.

There is only one scientifically supported way of gaining muscle mass; 6 to 35 reps to failure!
Now that is a large number spread; one would traditionally think that it should be more specific, however the research says no; anything between 6-35 reps with a weight that will cause failure to lift more in that range will result in muscle growth.

So, I did it. 35 reps it turned out with 6 kg of lateral raises. (After a warm up set with 4kg to 20 reps).

2 sets later, 35 reps of 6kg to failure, and the next day it had obviously worked! There was an obvious increase in muscle size.

This flys in the face of decades of effort. Lifting much heavier weight, doing far more sets, and otherwise following the advice that pushing heavy weights to “near failure” was enough.

Nope. It’s failure.

@jamesjjoo I wonder if you can add something here? You mentioned that you have been enjoying and appreciating each moment again recently.

I know you wrote that the new drug played a part in the shift, was there anything else that played a role?

If yes then was it a ‘specific thing’ as per the above posts, some adjustment to the way you apply the method or was it that you simply committed to enjoying and appreciating?

My point being, there is evidence, and there is tradition and belief.

This wasn’t the first time I had good results from lifting weights, but it was the first time such a small amount of correctly performed lifting was so plainly obvious.

Back to the topic though.

Well, not quite, but almost back to the topic; what beliefs are a part of the actualism mindset which do not produce the results?

Let’s be very honest here; actualism has a lot of premises. Lots of things which are held to be facts. I wonder what is a solid “basis for happiness”?

What is actually the “science” of what works?

Surely, there is something (like the OPs presentation) which is universal.

Like the science of growing muscle.

Hey @Paul thats an awesome post! And it makes so much sense, how can I expect to be unconditionally happy and harmless if I continue to place conditions on it haha.

But that is the fact of the matter, as in right now I have placed a condition which (for whatever reason) I hold as more important than happiness and harmlessness, so be it! I get what I want, which is to suffer :joy:

But the takeaway here is that it is impossible to continue applying the method and not to get changed by it. If ‘I’ am the bar which has been set to whatever level then either happiness and harmlessness is blocked or the bar is removed.

This is a very sincere way of looking at it, I like it! The insincere way is to expect happiness and harmlessness whilst at the same time being unwilling to change myself, it is me who has set the condition after all, my values are the bar.

It seems from this insincere position I am then more likely to split myself and try to intellectualise a solution, then it’s off to the various recipes which never work because I don’t want them to work, I have already decided to suffer.

So I don’t get to have my cake and eat it after all. I don’t get to remain completely the same and still get to be happy and harmless. This is very useful for me because I have been trying specifically to accomplish this feat lol.

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I think the answer you are looking for is not going to be found in either belief or science, it’s the experiential aspect which is key. Looking for peer-reviewed articles on the basis of happiness would be just as far removed from this experiential aspect as is belief in a god granting happiness.

@Andrew so going back to lifting, there is a Olympic weightlifting coach named John Broz who put it in this way :

If someone locked you in a cell and told you that you have a month to increase your squat by 100kg or your family is kaput. Would you be following the latest scientific advice on the best ways to increase strength. Something along the lines of 5 sets of 5 reps and 2/3 times a week or would you be squatting heavy all day every day.

Richard seems like he was John Broz’s lifter but actual freedom was the goal.


A wonderful first post!

Hey @Kub933, thanks. I’m glad it struck a chord.

One of the things I found nice about this is it takes a lot of the seriousness out of my feelings once I see the absudity of my own conditions that keep them in place. It’s a nice way to be able to have a good laugh at yourself while still being totally sincere about it. Seeing the big picture while being in the midst of it, seeing my own contribution to it.

Like, there are a million situations that fit into the category of “I am the kind of person who won’t feel good until other people stop being irrational, unreasonable or unfair”. I can get really hung up on the specifics of a situation, but it’s going to keep on happening. There’ll be at least few thousand fresh instances of the same basic pattern this year. Am I going to make my well-being dependent on that not happening? Might as well slit my wrists now!

Not that specific situations don’t deserve attention sometimes, but it’s good to see it as a instance of a generic pattern.

Right now I’m dealing with a very concentrated form of this. I’m caring for a relative with dementia. If I got bogged down in the specifics of every unreasonable word or argument, I’d soon be as crazy as they are, but worse. I wouldn’t forget everything that’s been said five minutes later. Being the intelligent one in the situation, I’d stew on it and wrestle with my feelings. “Shouldn’t feel bad. Yeah, but she said… and I…” :smile:

What’s human intelligence for if it can’t see through repetitive patterns and keeps falling for the same thing again and again? It’s much easier to figure out my contribution to it than it is to deal with a million separate but similar instances, wrestling with the feelings in each specific instance as if they’re new and important. Recognising that “I am the kind of person who won’t feel good until people with dementia stop being unreasonable and forgetful” gets right to the heart of it. Better have a good laugh at myself instead.

It’s only an exaggerated form of a universal occurrence. People aren’t always reasonable. We/they won’t ever be. If I make my well-being dependent on them being so, I’m signing away my well-being right there. The same principle extends indefinitely outward in all directions.

Can’t ever expect to be happy if I won’t agree to it because “I am the kind of person who…”


Awesome, so much good content here that I would have to comment on every little bit! This simple (and sincere) seeing of what is silly/sensible is what I am missing often, I think I have made things waaaaay too complex :joy:

Will definitely take some time to re-read your two posts.

OK so I wasn’t gonna write more but this is too good! What I found just now is that if I can put it to myself in the way that you mentioned @Paul, I get this birds-eye view of myself. Normally when I am stuck in some pattern I am looking from inside, it is ‘me’ looking at ‘myself’ and just going around in circles, like you mentioned, getting bogged down on every little detail and using emotion to fight emotion.

Whereas this way of looking I am looking at the facts, it is not ‘my’ emotional interpretation of the situation, it is like ‘oh yeah I am really the kind of person who gets sour cos my friends cancelled their plans on me’, it is a fact, I cannot deny it.

And seeing the facts in this way it is indeed kind of humorous, to acknowledge that really I am like this. It reminds of me what Srinath mentioned a while ago that good investigation is like finding myself unexpectedly laughing at a joke. The facts are seen, I cannot deny that I am being silly and the weight drops, this is sincerity.

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What I really like about this is that it puts the focus exactly where it properly ought to be: what “kind of person” am ‘I’?

That’s all any resistance to being happy and harmless ultimately comes down to. Not wanting to change the “kind of person” that I am. ‘I’ hold who ‘I’ am more dearly than enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive.

This phrasing makes that crystal clear!


I remember a while ago we had a zoom chat with Geoffrey and one of the other guys was explaining some drama that he had going on and that the method was not working in resolving it.

I remember Geoffrey suggesting this very approach, essentially asking them - look at what you are doing, is it not silly wasting your opportunity to feel good now by doing X?

I remember thinking, this seems too obvious/simple to work, like c’mon Geoffrey surely you have more tricks up your sleeve!

But this is exactly it, this is all that is needed.

It’s not about ever finding a solve for whatever drama, it is about seeing that getting involved with it in the first place is silly and the reason it is silly is because I am wasting an opportunity to feel good now.


It’s quite amusing that this thread is titled ‘the basis for happiness’ and although the direction of the discussion has shifted from the initial posts I think we have actually arrived at the genuine basis for happiness.

Which is the fact that nothing is actually worth loosing enjoyment and appreciation over. And the key is to sincerely see this each moment again. This is somewhat similar to @rick’s post about nothing mattering in the long run because all ends but more naive/direct?


Yes, and the conditions I actively impose on my well-being from moment to moment are an accessible but influential layer of ‘me’, so it’s a direct way to effect those changes.

It’s sometimes hard to let go of a feeling, but it’s quite easy to let go of the conditions I place on life that sustain those feelings once I see how impossible or absurd they are. “I can’t/won’t be happy unless/until…” It’s not going to work. I see I’m signing myself up for failure. It’s me who’s doing that. If I see that, I can let go of the conditions (if I want to), and the feelings follow.

It’s not like I’m trying to become someone else, struggling to live up to a new image of myself, or forcing myself to feel a different way about life. It’s a clear seeing of what I’m bringing to the situation that makes it literally impossible to feel good in a huge range of circumstances. It’s an easy way to “see the silliness” of that. I’m not forced to act on that if I don’t want to. But I can, it’s a choice. The ball is in my court.


Interesting that letting go of the conditions is a way towards an unconditional happiness and harmlessness, this makes sense in a very obvious way. I always had it the other way around, that an unconditional happiness and harmlessness would persist despite the conditions placed upon it, which the more I think about the less it makes any sense lol.

It’s like you say asking for the impossible, like a paradox, essentially I am saying I want to be happy and harmless each moment again but only if A,B,C happens at the same time, so which one is it then? :joy:

There is such an obvious simplicity to this, if I want to be happy and harmless 24/7 then my happiness and harmlessness cannot have conditions, otherwise it’s simply a contradiction.

It seems the only way to accomplish the absurdity of an ongoing conditional happiness would be to invoke some kind of spiritual fantasy world, where I get to be god and have everything my way, then I have my ‘unconditional happiness’, by changing the entire universe instead of myself.


Yea and I find when life is living me at its best, I experience myself as more like myself, as I ought to have been the whole time! As opposed to less like myself. It is being closer to that which I already have been being anyway. The startling clarity of the simple facticity of life blows any seriousness out of the water. Grimness & glumness is banished, nowhere to be seen. Nothing stands in the way of perennial enjoyment & appreciation of being alive!


Interesting because this is the experience I had yesterday. I was driving to training and having awesome success with this simple and sincere looking that we’ve been discussing. It was exposing things right left and centre in this very sincere way.

It was so successful that I began to experience something interesting, I was beginning to experience myself as an individual again, it’s like I found the person that was underneath all the BS this whole time? It’s tricky to describe this but it was such a precious and freeing experience that I had tears in my eyes!


In fact there has been so many answers to this question (and genuine ones too) of seeing that ‘I am the kind of person that X, that I have found like I am actually getting to know myself? And the answers have been accompanied by this sincere humour at seeing the silliness of what I have been involved in. Also this sense of ‘how could I have not seen this before when it was right in front of me’ I was being that kind of person the whole time, but somehow blindly, lost in the maze.

There’s been some surprising ones that actually made me giggle a little bit, I could write a list!

For example leaving the house yesterday I noticed I am the kind of person who can’t leave the house without feeling bad that my dog will be upset, how little and how silly but it was there :joy: It disappeared the second I saw it for what it was, but how many moments I gave up happiness and harmlessness for that specific reason!

Other one that I noticed was also so slight but having such negative consequences. I noticed that I am the kind of person that withdraws intimacy from my partner because of a fear of rejection. It was wonderful to notice this because then I immediately found a closeness and ease around Sonya that has been missing.


It does seem that there is something here to seeing the general pattern, like @Paul said with specific instances I can always make an excuse, “oh this time I am being jealous because I have good reason to” etc

But once the general pattern is seen for what it is then I can’t explain it away anymore, it is right there in my face, I am the kind of person who is wasting this moment of being alive on being jealous. Then there is no way to maintain this jealousy at the cost of enjoyment and appreciation any longer.
Unless as mentioned it is something that I still take as too precious for whatever reason, but the ball is indeed in my court. Now isn’t that something that Richard said haha that it is up to me how I experience this moment of being alive, there is no-one stopping me from feeling good but myself, and like @Paul mentioned if I decide to place this condition here then I get what I want, to suffer over it until I have had enough.

That’s really great to hear, @Kub933. I like how you’ve picked up on the clarity and the gentle amusement that comes from seeing ‘me’ this way. Really nice.

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