From Porn to Paintings- From Darkness into Light

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by discovery, Nov 27, 2019.

Which do you use the most to find inner peace?

  1. Physical exercise

  2. Religion/ Spirituality

  3. Meditation/ Visualization

  4. Connecting with friends/ family

  5. Hobbies/ Keeping a Diary/ Journal

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. discovery

    discovery Fapstronaut

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    Haha. Yeah, I just got a bit fancy and artistic there. Apologies. But this post will have a lot do with art, so just this one time, I'll let myself get away with it. And it's kinda long. Sorry about that.

    Today is 50 days porn-free for me, and I'd like to celebrate by sharing a method I developed that has worked. I call it Art Visualization.

    I'm sure that my story is the same as most others on this site regarding porn. Porn had always been more a means of self-medication than of being something watched out of pure desire. In the past, my primary method for avoiding porn was willpower, staying busy, and other ways. But nothing ever stuck for too long. I realize now that there is nothing wrong with self-medication. There is a stigma attached to the term, because we always hear it applied to drugs, alcohol, porn, gambling, etc. But the truth is that there are both healthy and unhealthy forms of self-medication. If you were a medical doctor and prescribed yourself some drugs to cure an illness, and then took them, would that be bad because it's self-medication? Of course not. Self-medicating properly is healing, whereas relying on willpower alone is draining.

    So in regards to porn, what exactly are we self-medicating? For me, as for the rest of us, it has been the spectrum of negative emotions, ranging from boredom, depression, anxiety, anger, confusion, lack of intimacy, loneliness, etc. Of course there's also the element of sexual desire. I have no issues with using porn for that alone. More power to the people out there who do it for only that reason. But it's none of us or otherwise we wouldn't be on this site.

    The truth is, it's wrong to avoid these issues. It's wrong to ignore that we feel these negative feelings and it's important to medicate them so that they go away or at least become reduced. But it needs to be done in a healthy way that heals and empowers us. What I have found is something that medicates even better than porn, but leaves me feeling refreshed, balanced and confident in the end. And I always turn to it every time I feel stressed, when I'm able to.

    I have always enjoyed art, but in recent years I have become more interested in it. Not really sure why. I travel a lot, and always try to hit the art museums when I'm in town. I feel very comfortable inside art museums. They are very soothing and peaceful. And I've noticed that when I'm standing in front of quality art, I get this subtle feeling of peace along with an appreciation of its beauty. (Not counting of course the times when there are distractions- people talking loudly, security guards chomping on their gum, people getting in your face, etc. - I always walk around with earphones in, these days)

    This summer, I was in Copenhagen and went to their famous art museum (SMK). Cost 30 bucks but that was fine. Saw the whole thing and went back a second time, dropping another 30 bucks just to recapture that sense of peace I got the first time. That was the only reason, as I had already seen all the artworks. I thought to myself, man, if there were only a way to get this feeling that was more practical. I already knew that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC had a large portion of their collection online, in high-resolution images not only available for free, but which could be legally downloaded for free as well. When I returned to the States, I chose two paintings and downloaded them. When all was quiet, I pulled one up, put it on full-screen and just stared at it for awhile. It was nice. I knew I was on to something. I decided then to develop a project where I could use art to get that feeling, to use anytime I was feeling stressed, bored, or feeling any of the negative emotions described above.

    My first task was to download the artwork. I have to admit that I got a bit obsessed with this. One of the things that had excited me about porn was The Quest. The search to find the perfect clip to get me off just right. The Quest is something very primal inside all of us. For hundreds of thousand of years, The Quest drove our prehistoric ancestors to find their prey and other sources of food, not to mention wood for fire, safe and functional habitations, etc. The Quest is also what causes some people to spend hours on Facebook, scrolling and scrolling, looking for updates. But I digress. I had already been in the middle of a no-PMO streak, and as such had not engaged in The Quest. So I got a bit carried away when downloading artwork. I downloaded about 800 pieces of art from the MET website, from a selection of thousands. It took a long time. And after that I found an even more amazing website with free downloads, and downloaded over 1,000 more. I have enough now to last me for years. From there I went about cropping the edges, and organizing them in such a way that if I went in a numbered order there would be a variety of themes throughout (as opposed to having three landscapes in a row, followed by three portraits, etc.). I did this all not knowing if this project would even work in the end. In retrospect, I would recommend others to download only 10-12 paintings, and then give it a chance. In the end, if you're finding it effective, go back and download more. If this whole thing hadn't worked out for me, I would have wasted all that time and effort.

    Once I got started, my intention was to pull up one painting on my computer at home and just stare at it for a while, for anywhere from 5-30 minutes, as a meditation. The more I did it, the more the process evolved into what it is today. I will now describe Art Visualization as I practice it at this moment.

    I am using binaural beats as part of the process. You put headphones or earphones in, and play specific sounds that stimulate different brainwaves. Theta wave binaural beats are the ones you want for this. They are the brainwaves we use during periods of deep relaxation. I use these in sound mixes, where the theta wave file is combined with a 'white noise' file. So for example, if I am looking at a Renaissance Dutch genre painting, I may play the 'medieval town' file combined with the theta wave file. If the painting is of a landscape, I may play a file of birds singing with the theta file, etc. I will explain how to do this later on. You MUST use headphones or earphones, otherwise the binaural beats won't work.

    So first, I will set my timer, with the timer sound being something peaceful. I usually go for 30 minutes, but it can be any amount of time really. I'd suggest going for shorter times when first starting out. I always add an extra 30 seconds, to give myself time to get settled in. So for example, I start at 30:30, and just after activating it I am making the painting full screen, moving around to get comfortable, scratching an itch, whatever, so that at 30:00 I am exactly where I want to be for my starting point. This really isn't that important, but it's what I do.

    Secondly, I will open my painting for my session. I like it to be a surprise. I am using my MET painting folder, which are numbered from 1-794. I view the folder using the 'list' layout, so that there is no visual preview. Once I'm finished with a painting, I rename it using a period, so that it serves as a bookmark for the next session. So for example, if I view number '7', once I am finished I will rename it '7.' This way I know to start at 8 for next time.

    Once I see the painting, I go and choose a sound/theta wave mix that will be a good match for it. With my earphones in and mix playing, I start the timer, and go full screen with the painting.

    Now it actually begins. The first minute or so is something of a meditation. I am observing the painting in full-screen. I let my eyes glide over the various parts of the surface. I notice the colors. The composition. The theme. The brushstrokes. After this first minute or so, I have achieved a baseline level of focus and calm where I can now take it further. This is where the visualization starts.

    There are various ways to visualize this, and I will shift in and out of them throughout the session.
    • I will imagine that the scene is subtly moving. Leaves are moving on the trees. Clouds slowly moving. People moving around, etc.
    • I am there, in the scene. Walking around a landscape. Swimming in the water. Interacting with the people. Exploring. Discovering. Making myself super tiny and sitting on a leaf. Turning into a ball of energy and flying in the sky.
    • I will visualize the scene from a different viewpoint. For example, there's a house in the background, with the front door and windows facing the viewer. I will imagine that I am looking out one of those windows, and see in my mind what I would see if I were looking in the opposite direction of the viewer.
    • I will introduce new elements into the painting. If I am walking around a landscape, I may be doing it with my mom's cat Patches who died a few years ago, as I listen to a mix with a cat purring through my earphones. Or sitting under a tree with a beautiful woman I knew some years back who is amazing, whom I will call Mary, but is out of my life now except for on Facebook.
    • I will imagine myself touching everything, and feeling it. The rough bark of a tree. The smooth silk of Mary's garments. Patches' soft white fur. The cool water of the stream.
    • Even though I have sounds coming in from my earphones, I will imagine the sounds of the scene.
    • I will imagine myself having simple conversations with the people and talking to the animals. It must stay simple though, because if it gets too in-depth it will hurt or break my relaxed state. At some point, they will tell me 'Let go.' or 'Relax'. or 'Go deeper'. Once you are in a very relaxed state, you are in a state of hypnosis, and very open to suggestion. These kinds of things work very well, and when someone in the painting tells me to 'go deeper,' well I go deeper. This is also a time that you can give yourself affirmations. You will be much more receptive to them in this state.
    • Imagining that I am the painter, painting the painting. Slowly following the lines and broader strokes of the painting with my eyes, as I paint it.
    • Imagining that I am one of the subjects in the painting. I generally don't do this though. I like being me.
    Zooming in. This is a big part of it. After taking in the entire painting for a little while at first, I will start to zoom in. Remember, these are high-resolution images. In them, you can zoom into a small portion of the overall painting and still see this part pretty well defined. I may 'take a walk' through a country road by zooming closely in on one part, and then scrolling my way down the road. Here's a good example (painting below). I did this one on an Amtrak (train) trip recently. It was the most relaxed Amtrak ride I had ever taken because of it. Because of the zoom, I was able to do a lot here. I actually ended up spending about an hour on this one. My timer went off at 30 minutes and I turned it off and just stayed with it because I just didn't want to leave.

    I imagined myself here with Mary. She was dressed in traditional Islamic dress (she is a liberal Muslim in real life, and has posted Facebook pics of herself wearing this on special occasions). We spent a lot of time together here as I zoomed in on each detail. We went up and said hi to the guys with the horses. Then we started petting them. The one guy even let her get up and sit on one. Then she got down, and we went over to the birds and watched them. I picked one up and held it, and then passed it to Mary. She held it, and we petted it together. We went to the leopards. I sat between the paws of one and looked up while it nuzzled against my face. Mary laughed as she petted the other one. We decided to go upstairs, and on the way the guy there started fanning Mary and smiled. We all smiled cuz she was a little embarrassed. We went upstairs and looked out the window onto the scene below. One of the leopards was rolling around on its back like a dog in freshly cut grass. We went downstairs, turned right, and examined the plant. We went the other way and there was a guy playing a harp. He let Mary sit down and gave her a lesson on it. She loved it and was all smiles.

    40..jpg
    When I finally came out of the session, I felt like I had entered another world. A paradise that I never wanted to leave. I went to the cafe car to get a coffee, and the attendant was a bit rude, acting like I was bothering him by wanting something. Normally I get quite annoyed at rude service. But I was surprised at my reaction. I found this guy mildly amusing instead. I was in a dream-like state, and I found him just funny. This experience just wouldn't have been the same without the zoom function.

    Frequency of paintings.
    I think it's important to keep things fresh, meaning a new painting for each session. It's just not the same the second time around. Think about some tourist sites you've visited in the past. If you've been to the Eiffel Tower, would it be as amazing the second time you went? No. The Great Wall of China? The second time back to the same section? No. I think it's the same here. I will only reuse paintings to get to sleep, or possibly on the go. But not for a full session. There are enough free and legal high resolution downloads out there to last you a lifetime.

    Types of paintings.

    • Maybe it should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway. It's important to choose paintings you like. If you see something and it's just not your style, don't choose it.
    • It's important that the painting has enough detail to work with. I had to delete a few that I had originally downloaded because there just wasn't enough there to work with. Very simplistic designs that were hard to immerse myself into. Great paintings in and of themselves. The simplicity is part of what made that art great. But for this purpose, it just doesn't work.
    • Themes.
    • Be careful of themes that may negatively effect your relaxation state. I avoid anything at all that depicts violence. There is a lot of wonderful artwork out there that depicts violence. But that is not going to help you when you're trying to reach a deep state of relaxation. I had downloaded one painting that was a great piece of art in and of itself. There was a commander on a horse surveying some captured enemy soldiers. The painting itself was quite peaceful. But when I tried to immerse myself in that one, I became very aware of the bloodshed that led to that point. It was no good and I had to delete it.
    • Potentially triggering themes. There are many portraits out there of attractive people. Not to mention all the Renaissance nudes. You need to be careful with this. I have downloaded many portraits of beautiful women. When I engage myself in these paintings, I imagine myself being intimate with them, but in a non-sexual way. I am touching and smelling their hair, pressing my cheek to their cheeks, looking them deeply in the eyes, having all these special moments with them. It's great. I love it. It leaves me feeling very satisfied in the end. However, I see how this may be an issue for some. If you are worried about getting triggered, just avoid these types of paintings. There are plenty of 100% innocent paintings out there to keep you busy for a lifetime.
    Getting drowsy. When one becomes hypnotized, (and yes, you will most definitely go into hypnosis) it is very easy to start feeling drowsy. It is very important to have yourself in a body position where you won't just doze off. This is one reason why it works so well when you're using it for sleep. It is also very common for your eyes to start closing into little slants, where your range of vision is limited. This is fine. Just make sure you don't drift off to sleep. This happens all the time with me and I have noticed in fact that having my vision limited like that even helps enhance the visualization.

    Ending a session. When the timer goes off, it's important to have a good transition back into the real world. Otherwise it's almost like someone shaking you out of a wonderful dream. I will slowly zoom back out into full screen, and visualize saying goodbye to whomever I just spent the time with. I will then go back to what I did in the first minute- just taking in the overall scene without visualization. Just spending 10 or 20 seconds looking at it. And then I'll end it.

    Other variations.
    • Using it for sleep. I will use a random number generator app (or sometimes just pick a number) to choose a painting I had already done (one that's numbered with a period at the end) and just start with it, comfortably nestled under the covers, without using a timer. I may or may not use binaural beats, but if I do, it will be with delta wave sounds which are what our brains use for deep sleep. Sometimes, all I need is 20 seconds, at other times it could be over 5 minutes. But sooner than later all I want to do is close my eyes, and I will shut the lid of my laptop, put it aside with the earphones, and fall asleep. It hasn't always worked, but it usually does.
    • Using it on the go. Everything I just wrote, I wrote from the frame of doing it from a laptop/tablet, while at home or in some situation where you have a decent amount of time and privacy. But it can also be done on the go. I have used it while riding the subway, city bus, waiting in the doctor's office, standing on the street while waiting for someone, in a restaurant while waiting for food, on line at the supermarket, etc. I will do it from my phone. It's not quite the same, and much harder to get the maximum effect. But it has relaxed me and made me feel more balanced while going through the manic motions of modern life. I don't think it would work so well without having done it the other way first. Once the relaxation response becomes more engrained, it becomes easier to have an effect from a phone screen while in the middle of life's distractions. I didn't start doing it from my phone until I had already done it a bit the other way.
    • Using it without using it. Sometimes not even using it on the go is an option. In these cases, especially when things are getting stressful, I just pause for a moment and think of a recent painting that I have experienced. I remember how I visualized it and go back to that place in my head. I feel myself instantly relax. It still works even with my eyes open, and at the same time interrupts my racing thoughts for a needed break. It can be just enough to get me back on balance to get through my current situation.
    Tools of the Trade.
    • Websites for downloads.
    • Athenaeum. Home to a quarter of a million artworks. There is really no reason to go anywhere else. If I had known about this when I first started, I would have only used this. You can search by artist, museum, genre, etc. It's amazing. Be careful though, as they are not all public domain. Check it first before anything else. If it says 'Copyrighted,' you are only allowed to download a thumbnail version, which is pointless. http://www.the-athenaeum.org/
    • There are other museums that have many works from their collections online. A google search will help you find them. Plus, doing google searches for high-resolution artwork in and of themselves will yield results. Make sure you click 'images'. I would choose this option only if I were looking for something specific that I couldn't find on Athenaeum.
    • Binaural beats and 'white noise'. I use one of the paid versions of TMSoft's 'White Noise' app, available for android, ios, mac, etc. I play it through my phone, but it can also be used on other platforms. They have 3 versions- lite, full and pro. Lite is free. The others cost just a couple bucks. I have the full version, but I'm not sure exactly what the differences are between them. But on my version at least, you can custom make mixes which combine 2-5 sounds. So I have gone through and made mixes combining the theta wave sound with a variety of sounds that I like, and also use the delta wave to help get to sleep.
    • For the phone, on the go. I use the paid version of the Daily Art app, by Moiseum. In this version, you can go through the archives and compile a customized favorites list. I'll then use that list when I'm on the go. You can also download any of the art to your phone. Alternatively, if you would rather use the same art that you use for your laptop/tablet at home, you can email art to yourself and then open it on your phone so you have it there.
    • Zooming and scrolling. I have found that zooming and scrolling via the keyboard touch pad is the best way. If you use a tablet without a keyboard, I recommend getting a keyboard. I've tried zooming and scrolling by using the tablet screen, and found that in that deep state of relaxation, it feels like too much work to reach all the way over there lol. What a hassle! Not to mention dirtying up the screen with your fingerprints. That's another thing- make sure you're keeping your screens clean.
    Well, I think that's it. Since doing this, my temptation for porn has either been at zero or near zero. In the past 50 days, I have MO'd 9 times. 7 of those times were out of pure sexual desire, and the other two out of a combination of desire and stress. I cannot make the claim that Art Visualization will help you overcome masturbation due to horniness. But I can make the claim that it can completely replace porn in your life. Granted, everything I'm saying at the 50 day mark is not the same as saying it after a year or two. But I do not want to sit on it while so many here are suffering. It works. I've done it enough to know. I wish you luck. And if you attempt this, I would love to hear your feedback on it, here on this thread.

    I will leave you with this, to get you started. We can all make it to the tops of our mountains. http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=58460

    Happy Holidays, and to all a 2020 for the record books!

    Discovery

    TLDR: Look at paintings on your computer instead of porn. It's much better.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  2. mxmn

    mxmn Fapstronaut

    Hey, thanks for sharing. That is really really cool! I love to indulge myself into art (especially paintings) as well. Did you every try to create (paint) yourself? Maybe that's even more fulfilling?
     
  3. discovery

    discovery Fapstronaut

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    Thanks man! Very happy to get the feedback. Yes, I would love to take art lessons at some point. My aunt was an excellent painter, and my sister has limited talent. But based on the stuff I did in high school art class, I was maybe on a nine year old level lol. My mom always said it was good, so that's something :emoji_yum: For now I'll just stick to the art appreciation, I know I'm much better at that lol
     
  4. Finalito

    Finalito Fapstronaut

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    Love this.
    Thank you!
    Sounds awesome, I'll definitely give it a try. I also use daily art app as well :)
     
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  5. discovery

    discovery Fapstronaut

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    Excellent! That is awesome. Definitely let us know how it goes!

    I am staying at an Airbnb right now in a foreign country, and the internet hasn't worked since yesterday afternoon. The Airbnb host had to come over this morning and try to get it working while communicating with the internet company. It got very, very, frustrating as they put him in customer service hell and lasted for a few hours. In the end, still no internet (using data hotspot right now). He was screaming at them through the phone. This normally should have been a very stressful situation for me. But... while he was doing that, I was sitting on the couch staring at a Daily Art painting, and really enjoying it. I just had to be careful that he didn't see that I was actually feeling good lol. Daily Art is amazing. I am a big fan. If I'm ever in Warsaw I will shake all of their hands :emoji_raised_hands: (that's where they are based).
     
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  6. Finalito

    Finalito Fapstronaut

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    QUICK NOTE ABOIT DAILY ART APP (DISCOUNT):
    Hey everyone. Just noticed that the daily art app has slightly reduced the price for the full version - it is a one off payment. It was normally 6eur, but now (probably due to black Friday) it is only 2 EUR.

    That's a great deal - if I was you I'd buy it :)
     
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  7. discovery

    discovery Fapstronaut

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    Yes, on my version at least, they specifically do say that it is for Black Friday and the offer is good till Dec. 2nd.
     
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  8. When it's not anymore in the middle of the night with me totally tired I'll come back to read all that. This could be something for me.
     
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  9. discovery

    discovery Fapstronaut

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    It has done wonders for me. I hope you give it a chance!
     
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  10. Yes, I will. Congrats on 50 days!!! I'll be back
     
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  11. discovery

    discovery Fapstronaut

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    Thanks!
     
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  12. Fishn1

    Fishn1 Fapstronaut

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    Very interesting, art can be very relaxing and evoke different emotional responses inside. My father was a painter and I went to art school and draw very well, but don't do it anymore. Music is my thing, but viewing this art may give me inspiration. Thanks for sharing and good luck on your journey!
     
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  13. discovery

    discovery Fapstronaut

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    Thank you! It has been very successful for me. I hope it can be for you too.
     
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  14. Di.Do.555

    Di.Do.555 Fapstronaut

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    Excellent post. thanks mate.
     
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  15. discovery

    discovery Fapstronaut

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    Thanks. I hope it works for you.
     
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  16. Today I did the first step. I downloaded 40 beautiflul paintings.
    It made me emotionally and I don't know why. I can only say: I already love this thing!
    Can't wait to test out "the method" when it's the right time.

    I also went to a local gallery. But they had only modern art and no paintings. It was interesting but not quite fitting. Well, there are many other places for me to go to. There's so much to explore ...
     
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  17. discovery

    discovery Fapstronaut

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    That is excellent! I am so happy to hear this icebreaker. I have heard a bit of feedback from others saying it looks like a great idea, but no one until you just now has said that they've made the first steps to actually doing it. I guess it just seems like too much work for most people.

    I have a few friends in real life who have some really serious life problems (one dying of terminal cancer, another with a serious psychological disorder) and went and reworked that post specifically for them, with removing the PMO aspect of the post. I sent it to them, and know they can really benefit from it. It is free and something they can do from home to find relief. But so far they haven't shown much interest. It is frustrating.

    I told myself while I was writing it, that if even only one person took it seriously and it helped them, that I wasn't wasting my time and that it would be worth it. I am so excited that you're giving it a chance. Please let me know how it goes! And if you have any questions about the process, please ask.
     
  18. I'm sorry to hear about your friends! Indeed, helping others is difficult.

    About your method: when I first read it, I thought, this is worth gold! I hadn't heard of what you call Art Visualisation in any way before. Visualisation itself is an interesting topic and worth to explore in practice (but also difficult).
    I like to go into museums sometimes, I like seeing Art. But I'm far from being a connaisseur or something. But maybe my mistake was that I took it for granted, that I come and go as a mere visitor, without an intrinsic motivation to explore. I think I lost that motivation in general or most of it - with the years.
    But I'll give it a second try!

    About the binaurals .. I'm not sure yet. I'm a bit sceptical here ...

    It makes also sense what you tell about The Quest. Yes, this could be a good replacement for the rituals that belongs to pmo. I think this will be quite rewarding for myself! And not only short-term and with a revenge, like how it is with porn.
    The only challenge is to not switch from painting to painting, on a endless quest, but really take time for indulging into ONE painting. This is something new. Meditative, increases concentration - you name it. But very good for the porn addict!

    Not only your method but also what you told about yourself was very inspiring! I mean, you do it yourself, you travel, visit museums, you indulge into and visualize Art.
    Somehow it feels as if there's also a component of melancholia in it. Am I right?

    I have one question at the moment: are you also interested in the names and lifes of the Artists? The history behind it? Maybe in Art Theory? Or is it mostly about the paintings and experiencing them?
     
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  19. discovery

    discovery Fapstronaut

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    Thanks icebreaker! I've got a lot to say in reply, so I'll break it down piece by piece lol
    Yes, it is. Well now one of them is saying he'll try it next week, when he has more time. So some hope there.
    Thanks! To be honest, these kinds of exercises were never my thing. In fact, if someone else had made this post, I'm not sure I would have paid any attention to it. It's almost as if the process discovered me, not me trying to discover it. It's like it's something that just unfolded on its own.

    I was never a connaiseur either. I originally went to art museums because I traveled a lot, and hey, they were there and were something to see. And the reason I began to like them and keep going was because of the way the artwork made me feel. But I still didn't know anything about art really. Anyone can stand in front of a painting and give it some time to truly let it speak to you, without having any idea about its background.

    No worries. For the first month or two I wasn't using them either. I never even thought to have an audio component. I first started using them as a way to block out distracting noise, and not for the benefit of the theta wave noises. That too just sort of evolved on its own. So feel free to go without them, and if you're up for it, give it a try at a later time.

    Actually, when I wrote the post what I had in mind when I mentioned the quest was more of a warning not to get carried away downloading paintings lol. But.. yes, someone else mentioned the same as you in that it could be a behavior replacement for the porn quest. That makes sense. But even so, that would only be in the preparation, when you are first finding your paintings. Once you start the visualization, it is all just one painting at a time.

    Thank you! Yes, I am very lucky to have the lifestyle that I do. But no, there is no component of melancholia. In fact, it relieves feelings of melancholia (as well as other negative feelings). If it made me sad, I wouldn't do it, and certainly wouldn't be suggesting it on this board.
    Yes I am! But it is only something that came later on. At first it was just seeing the paintings and enjoying them, without really knowing anything about them. It was like that for a long time. But now, I have also become interested in what I'm looking at, and have learned, and continue to learn, a lot about the history of art and great artists.

    Thanks again for taking such an interest! Definitely keep us updated on your progress.

    Thanks control your life, and thanks for reading!
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
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