In the past, I would take flight out of soberness with no rhyme or reason.
“Sure, I’ll drink 4 IPAs on a weeknight.” 🤤
“I would love to put 80% THC concentrate in this blunt before I ‘go to bed’.” 😳
“Let’s go without all drugs except coffee for 3 months.” 😬
My relationship to altered states was a toss-up between intuition and impulse.
It was either too hard with no brakes or too pure with no breaks.
Luckily, Jamie Wheal’s idea of Hedonic Engineering gave me the rhythm and all the reason to start scheduling my state-shifts.
Jamie Wheal is a best-selling author and Executive Director of the Flow Genome Project. He’s an important critic of the altered states economy, the roughly 4 trillion dollars spent per year on altering our state of consciousness, and a leader for transformation culture, the community of people looking to enhance their lives with peak experiences.
Jamie regularly and poetically points out the flaws and blind spots while taking off the rose-colored glasses so many in the space have. He actively brings solutions to the table, my favorite of which is what he calls Hedonic Engineering - using neuroscience & optimal psychology to create an annualized plan for peak experiences.
The norm nowadays is to be tired & wired with a constantly fried nervous system. This doesn’t do you or the world any good, let alone further your goals & aims sustainably.
When you get into peak experiences like flow, you feel more alive, have a deeper sense of meaning, and have a higher level of life satisfaction. The more peak experiences you have, the more fulfilling your life will be.
The more flow, the more whoa.
There’s one problem: you don’t have the time for it. Who does?
There’s no secret. You have to make time. Pull up your calendar and schedule it in because feeling more alive has never been so crucial.
The purpose of scheduling your state-shifts is to become a better person.
Approach Hedonic Engineering with humility, knowledge, and good intentions.
You define what practices you do on each level of the calendar, but here are the bare bones:
As an example of what this looks like, what I’ve got on the books:
It won’t go perfectly as planned because things come up, but it’s so helpful to have this mapped out ahead of time.
You will have to make adjustments regardless.
As this calendar is implemented and used, you will always be trying to get the balance right.
If you seem to be going too hard and not integrating fully, slow it down & space it out.
If you are feeling crushed by the day-to-day and aren’t connecting to the bigger picture, increase the tempo or potency.
The goal with Hedonic Engineering is to establish a metronome for your soul and stay centered between the mundane & the sacred.
Turns out there can be a lot of overlap between building design and building a life. John Ruskin (unknowingly perhaps) tells us how to live life better.
It's never too late to stumble upon an underlying principle of reality. (Especially one that can be put to use immediately)