c 2010 Jim BlakeIntroduction This book focuses on achieving elevated consciousness through diet and how expanded consciousness multiplies creating an enlightened population. A higher state of collective wisdom referred to in this text as The Bliss Engine. An engine is our entire cumulative thought and action - our culture. We are now living in The Big Engine. It is the end product of The Enlightenment Project that has run a marvelous, awesome and brutal course but is currently wrecking the planet and oppressing eighty percent of its population give or take a billion. Parts of The Big Engine are: global capitalism, rogue financial institutions and insurance companies, the corporatocracy, the military-industrial complex, global media, fast food, box retail, corporate farming, big cars, mean people, obesity, pollution in all its forms, exploitation, etc. This essay proposes the next kinder, gentler engine, The Bliss Engine. An epoch of a civilization, usually three to five hundred years, is an engine. The current epoch is The Big Engine. The Big Engine is actually an extension of the Renaissance-Enlightenment epoch referred to by Ken Wilbur as “The Descended Grid“. This Grid has been skewed by Picasso, Einstein, Schoenberg and Joyce among others. It has been further skewed by our growing awareness of its lethal qualities, as well as by its demise as its fuel of choice, petroleum, is exhausted. The Big Engine will be replaced within fifty years as the last of our proven oil reserves are depleted. The Big Engine can be replaced by The Bliss Engine. The Bliss Engine is a culture in which we minimize living at cross purposes. We minimize our cannibalization of each other’s fortunes. We search for and institute Bliss Engine systems that enhance rather than destroy the participants in our culture. We align our collective energy more efficiently. The Bliss Diet focuses on how one may regularly experience a better self through diet. This text will focus on how a higher state of consciousness might be manifest and harnessed in the service of the Bliss Engine. A key precept in my exploration is that democracy is a powerful agent of change and each individual, is vastly important to the success of our shared enterprise. *** I first became conscious of the powerful link between food and emotion when my mother, who had grown up in poverty during the depression, would get annoyed at my three sisters and me for eating the last of a particular leftover. If she went to the refrigerator for a bite after an evening of beer drinking, smoking and railing against the people on her shit list and found that the food object of her desire, usually a piece of chicken or a glop of tuna casserole was not there, she would launch a tirade “Who in the hell ate my chicken!?” Who is the greedy little monster who ate the last of ‘her’ food without offering it to her or asking for permission to eat it. These outbursts are mildly humorous in retrospect but were not funny at the time. Food was never taken for granted when surrounded by such drama. After those eight years of food madness, I have never eaten a meal in my life without a dollop of guilt, without my reptilian brain inquiring as to whether the food I was eating actually belonged to someone else. As a sixty-year-old ex-intercollegiate oarsman and lifelong jogger, food has a powerful effect on my sense of well-being, my emotional state, my closeness to or distance from a flow state, the zone or state of bliss. If I eat too much, I feel guilty. If I eat meat, I feel tired. If I drink a glass of wine or scotch I feel depressed for at least a day. I am an architect, an artist, a writer and a songwriter. When I am doing creative work, I am often in a bliss state - in the zone. This term has a variety of definitions that border on new-age –South Asian enlightenment. For me it means that I can concentrate for many hours at a high level of intensity for many months. My best work is created in a bliss state. If I don’t have access to that state of mind, I try not to be demanding of myself for new creative conceptual material. I have phased into and out of bliss states for over thirty-five years. Sometimes it lasts for months, sometimes for minutes. Sometimes the zone is inaccessible for weeks at a time due to life circumstances, mundane commitments that do not require bliss for their performance. Looking back over these years it is clear that food and drink are powerful determinants of my ability to achieve a bliss state. If I’m in the zone, then eating meat will end the bliss, as will drinking wine or liquor beyond half a shot. Being even slightly bloated from a meal is a bliss-killer. Bliss is fragile. It must be tended, respected and nourished properly. It must be carefully cultivated. It is our most sensitive, perceptive, soulful selves speaking. I developed The Bliss Diet by accident at a time my finances dwindled from desperate to chilling. I was accustomed to a thrifty lifestyle but it was the shift to penury that revealed a path to dietary enlightenment. I went from eating in restaurants and pubs every night to eating canned soup and crackers, to eating oatmeal with raisins and walnuts, to just plain oatmeal. When I stopped eating at the pubs and restaurants, I stopped drinking alcohol and Italian coffee, I could no longer afford my daily double-latte that would boost me at three p.m. from the lingering lethargy of mild wine or beer hangovers. At a time when I should have been feeling anxious and desperate from lack of money, I felt energized and optimistic. I began to radiate positive energy instead of being an energy sink - a karmic void. I’m guilty about singling out my mother for chronic food issues when my father contributed his share of suitcases to my food baggage train. He was a champion heavyweight boxer in the Navy during WWII and was obsessed all of his life with being in good enough condition to “lower the boom on some cock-knocker.” He regularly taunted my slightly overweight eldest sister and made scathing, barely audible remarks about people who were not “in condition” anytime they appeared in his field of vision. He believed that being overweight showed a lack of character. My mother made me afraid to eat and my father made me afraid of fat - an effective combo for staying trim and neurotic! Acknowledging the scope of my own hang-ups around food, I have discovered a powerful relationship between food and drink and the bliss state in which I do my finest work. The Bliss Diet is as follows: Mornings - plain oatmeal, lunch - oatmeal with raisins, dinner - oatmeal with raisins and walnuts. Coffee as required. Take vitamin supplements as needed. This foundation Bliss Diet, due to its lack of protein should only be used for fifteen days at a time and not more than six times a year. It is an effective tool for generating ideas, breaking out of writer’s block and clearing the head during times of stress. The Bliss Diet takes your mind and body away from food and redirects psychic energy to art, job, tasks, and your loved ones. It removes you from the destructive alcohol/caffeine cycle. It draws you away from fat, sugar, cholesterol and the unknown pharmaceuticals in meat to a simple, nourishing fare that enables weight loss, spiritual and emotional cleansing and a high level of creative performance. This diet is designed for people in relatively sedentary jobs. It is not for coal miners, steel workers or construction workers. It is a diet that is light in protein so not recommended for those burning many calories every day. It is a diet for architects, attorneys, businessmen, artists, writers, poets, teachers. You are all working very hard, but you are not burning many calories at work. The oarsman and the iron worker achieve bliss from neurochemicals released during hard labor. Your bliss, however, must be coaxed from your body and mind and tended carefully. It is fragile and easily replaced by anxiety, stress, anger and worry. Control your food, know your food, nurture your bliss state. It is a refuge from despair, burn-out, that empty feeling. The Bliss Diet is very simple. It is not a joke, nor is it as simple as it seems. If the notion of dealing with your bliss state frightens you as it does most people or if the reality of losing five pounds per week and one quarter of an inch per week from your waist disturbs you, then read no further. The principle of this regimen is that either your stomach or your brain is governing each waking moment in your life. If you spend the bulk of each day thinking about your next snack or meal, eating the snack or meal then putting your mind on pause while your body digests the food and drink then little time remains to work and play on matters that make you happy and advance your reputation for excellence. Most of us are suckers for seduction. To be seduced is to be removed from the pleasure of the spirit and to fall victim to the pleasure of the eyeball, the stomach or erotic realms of the brain manifest as sex, cars and or rock and roll. Americans are inexorably drawn to shiny stuff, loud stuff, sexy stuff. Food is a vehicle for seduction. Shiny cars, exposed midriffs, pretty colors, sexy voices, soft fabrics are agents of seduction. Americans invite and embrace seduction. A fine cabernet loosens your self-control for those sauce-slathered medallions of pork, the roasted baby potatoes, the eight dollar combo of green stuff saturated with water – the salad, the key lime pie, the port, the espresso, the sexy glance from your date, then the bill! Who cares! Pay the man – you have been seduced. It is of interest that the boom in fast food consumption as well as the upswing in the use of carbonated soft drinks and fat-laden processed food has coincided with the sale of massive packages of bulk toilet paper. It takes three times the yardage of Charmin to wipe your butt. Obese Americans use far more forest products than other cultures. This is in addition to massive amounts of fecal waste generated by diets high in meat products and grease-laden carbohydrates, wine and rich desserts that strain our waste management facilities. Now that Kitty Litter is dumped into toilets, our fat pets are exacerbating the problem. Cat feces also pollutes the ocean with bacteria that kills sea otters. We rage, rail and sing to stop the cutting of the world’s rain forests while our own northern stands of trees are sucked into a vortex of over-eaters and blown through our waste management facilities and out into the ocean. Is it possible to make toilet paper out of soft drink bottles? Little paid work, art or athletic achievement is created when your stomach rules your consciousness. Anything you can do to shift your psychic presence to your brain is a good thing - unless you are suffering and your brain is an unhappy place. One is ultimately happier and far more productive when the mind and not the stomach is the governor of your mood. The Bliss Diet ensures a shift from stomach to mind, enabling the bliss state . This diet will sell itself in ten days. It will need no further explanation. At that point you will be ready for Julia Cameron, Eckert Tolle or Yoga class. When deprived of your seductive diet you will savor smaller increments of pleasure, nature‘s more sublime gifts. The Bliss Diet deprives you at first and then rewards you on a scale that enables bliss as well as the bonus of weight loss. The pleasures of fine wine and gourmet food are fleeting and destructive of bliss. They are fattening and require further drugging, more stomach abuse the morning after, then again at noon. A life ruled by one’s stomach is dominated by a vicious cycle disguised by seduction. It is a spirit-deprived existence. It is a soul-killing treadmill that breeds mediocrity and reduces the good things of life. Americans get seduced all day long. We are bombarded by seduction, with shiny things. To allow yourself the pleasures of seduction more than once a week is to invite spiritual dissolution. The Puritans, with all of their bleakness, may have had a few good ideas. Food is politics. Politics is food. The American diet kills bliss dead. Dead bliss produces aggression, susceptibility to seduction, dependence on pharmaceuticals, heart disease, lung disease, stroke, child abuse, elder abuse, road rage, selfishness, cancer, fear, loathing and Las Vegas. America exports its diet, its seductions: shiny cars, big, colorful, noisy, violent movies – its darkness. America should be cleaning up at home and exporting more oatmeal, not wine, wars, and genetically engineered seeds. The corn dog is a bliss killer on a stick. It is filled with ground offal that can be tracked to the ten million gallon lake of pig shit on the factory hog farm in North Carolina. Can anything this disgusting produce anything of real value? No! Track oatmeal – it is innocent. The sins of your father stop at your steaming bowl of oats. You are forgiven. In order to fully understand the value of The Bliss Diet it helps to understand the concept of the additive negative. It is as follows: Two wrongs not only do not make a right but create a reality that is worse than the sum effect of two isolated wrongs. There is a synergy of dissolution, negatives are additive. Civilization is a great reciprocating engine whose mechanism is the storm of opposing synergies both positive and negative. An individual can easily lose control of geometrically multiplying negatives they inherit, assume or pursue. This loss of control initiates nervous collapse and may lead to over-eating. Additive negative meltdown may lead to psychic convulsion and projectile ejection of whole cultures from the surface of the earth. The state of bliss is heavily affected by additive negatives. Bliss is binary. You are either in a state of bliss or you are out. Out prevails and is the default condition in our culture. Bliss must be actively pursued, cultivated and protected or one easily ends up out – in a state of blah. Blah is the absence of bliss There are a million combinations of normal food and drink that will kill your bliss and keep it dead and these effects are additive. A little bit of meat may be alright. A glass of wine may be OK but together they are guaranteed to destroy a bliss state. You don’t deserve bliss? You get anxious when you’re happy. You drink bliss-killing alcohol to celebrate a blissful achievement. Your ancestors replaced an indigenous civilization. Your grandfather built radar towers in Argentina for the CIA or drilled for oil in the Amazon displacing still another indigenous population. You just do not deserve to be happy. Two thousand people around the world starved to death today. Your bliss is the only thing that could have saved them. Your guilt and reluctance to be happy is a knife in their heart. The sins of your father stop at the steaming bowl of oatmeal. You are forgiven!