Conan The Philosopher

Steven Barnes
4 min readFeb 16, 2020

“If life is an illusion, then I am no less than an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content” — Conan the Barbarian

“Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?” — Brendon Burchard’s nightly questions.

Briefly, the. Experiment was a success. Pure Intermittent Fasting yesterday, and then meditation this morning. Weight was down to 181.6 (about three pounds in. the last week. A hair fast, but I’m not worried.) But most importantly, the meditation was VERY good.

Started with breathing into the root chakra. Slow until the rest of the world disappears. Personal survival energy. Without it I die.

Then I played with a few little sexual fantasies, until I felt my second chakra engage, and things felt slightly delicious.

Genetic survival energy. Without it, my ancestors and descendants die.

Then, finally, I checked in with the hunger. I’d emptied my bladder this morning, and there was a slight smell reminiscent of tuna. Over the course of time, I’ve recognized that as a marker that my body was entering ketosis, and nearing a catabolic state. Now my body is dealing with REAL hunger, or at least realer than the “I want Cheetos” variety. Good. I. went inside, looking for the hunger. It was a light in my belly, something feral and ancient. Excellent. Welcome, old friend.

The hunting-gathering-warrior energy. Without it, my family and tribe die.

Fully connected with the Belly Brain, the instincts were in sharp focus. A potential problem is that this is INCREDIBLY selfish energy. It simply wants what it wants — to fight, screw, eat. This energy knows no surrender, no regrets. It simply survives. Any time you lack motivation or feel depression, you have lost or broken this connection.

The solution to its downside, this feral, tunnel-visioned selfishness is simple: expand the sense of self. Specifically, open the heart. So that was the next step, to love self (which implies awareness of self. This is the beginning) and then expanding outward to those I love most: Nicki, Jason, Tananarive, Joyce, my nieces and nephews, my friends and mentors and students. A web, extending with finer and finer strands until it encompasses all the world.

Good. I found that light in each of these first four centers, and then lined them up. The light is what I call a “complex equivalent” — a simple…

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Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts. www.lifewritingpodcast.com.