Light of Heart

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Lighthearted.

Like a city upon a hill whose brightness cannot be hid, we shine our light into a dark world. From our heart blazes forth a beacon beckoning the lost. Lest there be any doubt, we are indeed the very definition of elitist, professing powers beyond that of mortal man. We have no susceptibility to fear, to ill health, to even death, for there is no expiration of an eternal spirit. Although the mortal frame decays, our essence forever carries on, pure and unpolluted.

This world is our holy temple, every thing sacred, and every one a parishioner — lest they know it or not. We recognize the material as imagined, the spiritual as substantive. We know existence as a fictional tale filled with fleeting narratives designed to delight the insatiable senses. We appreciate this gift of merriment. And we are swept up in life’s drama only as much as we allow ourselves, ever mindful of maintaining our enjoyment.

The story of life continues in perpetuity, and we its audience endlessly observe. But we are patient and peaceful spectators, we seek not to incite calamity, we are satisfied with what we obtain through cooperation, never conquest or coercion. Although this world is dreamlike, we must not contribute to the generation of nightmares, we should instead seek to sooth those that suffer them.

As our radiance combines, we the lighthearted seek to overwhelm the somber gloom wherever it be found. As there is no good cause for the maintenance of pessimism, we seek to illuminate the shady recesses of the human mind. Through dedicated practice we cultivate the thoughts within our minds, ever pruning weeds that if left unchecked would blot out the light. We strive to help, never hurt, yet we remain distant from the fray, as the sun too enlightens from afar.

We the lighthearted seek to celebrate life, making the best of what it has to offer. But as this world is mere imagination, we shall not limit ourselves by boundaries. We believe in the betterment of humankind through unity, and the disintegration of beliefs or structures that serve to separate some from others. We ourselves seek not to exclude but include the entirety of the world within our fold.

Our message said succinctly is this: smile and seek to incite delight in all others. Do not describe the world with dreary definitions. Dwell not on the end of the journey nor its pitfalls, but look to what pleases, applauding as it passes out of view. What is focused on and its interpretation determines one’s enjoyment with life. Earth is a funhouse filled with all manner of amusements, and we the lighthearted strive always to see it as such.

Take it Easy

The various forms of media are rife with messages such as “You must struggle for success”, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, “Strive to survive”, “You gotta grind to get there” — and other forms of the same sentiment. In some ways this concept helps people cope by reframing stressors as stepping stones. Yet as a spectator of life for several decades, I find this perspective lacks longterm merit.

There are other interpretations of life that provide a more enjoyable longterm outlook. The philosophies of hard-core competitive people tend to be readily available due to their insistent nature whereas laid-back folks tend not to be so outspoken. Luckily for me I met a laid-back person and learned her ways after years of observation. The core of her outlook is this: life doesn’t have to be hard and life readily provides whatever’s needed.

And from what I’ve experienced, life really does get easier by adopting unmitigated optimism. Whether things magically work-out or it’s pure perspective doesn’t really matter. Even if my surroundings don’t physically change, a hopeful attitude is much more enjoyable than the gloom-and-doom attitude I had for the first part of life. Did my struggle with life make me into the person I am today? To that I say: what struggle?

Struggle implies that it’s me against life. Yet life has been in charge from day one. I don’t take my next breath without life allowing it. I have no goals but those inspired by life — life provides both the desire and the drive. I need only show up and life does the rest. There are no difficulties but those I define, no adversity except that which I imagine. There was nothing to overcome but my own pessimism.

What I learned is that life doesn’t have to be hard, I can just as easily choose to live a lighthearted life.

Serendipitous Life

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Wandering Monk.

No, I’m serious. Think about it. You think all this happens by chance? Come on. You’re implying that serendipity is the basis for not only our individual existence, but the formation of the society in which we live, as well as every circumstance that occurs on this gigantic rock that’s hurtling around a flaming ball of gas? One thing goes wrong and the entire system spins out of control, yet for however long it’s been, everything has gone perfectly right? That’s ludicrous.

Life keeps us so preoccupied that we’re not allowed even two minutes to consider this oddity. Again, that’s not a coincidence. Try and sit still to ponder it and even your mind betrays you. But for whatever reason, I can sit still, I’ve done it. Combined with the years I practiced quieting and directing my thoughts, I’ve sat still. And in the quiet of the mind I’ve come to know the fictional nature of existence. And after experiencing that, I can tell that others know it too.

It’s like some spiritual playbook we’re all reading from, it overlaps too often to be chance. Of course this isn’t real. But so what — that’s the good news. When you realize a dream is only a dream, the tension fades rapidly. The intensity of a movie melts when you remind yourself it’s nothing but blinking lights on a screen. That’s not your body — did you select it off a rack, did you pay for it, where are the instructions? Don’t worry about it, it’s only a concept, a vehicle transporting you through fantasy.

So don’t be scared anymore, release the fear and anxiety. Embrace the fiction. Be thankful for the action-packed immersion. Trust in the story and focus on the parts you most enjoy. I’ve been in your position. I believed in chance, I believed that danger lurked around every corner, that I had to be cautious to survive. But it just isn’t so. You don’t make your heart beat, life does that. You don’t ultimately provide the sustenance you need to survive, life does that. Trust life, you really have no choice — life has taken you this far hasn’t it?

Spectator Expectations

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Diary of an Introvert..

I don’t usually enjoy direct participation. I don’t mind watching, I like passively observing the ongoings of life on Earth. But I’ve always tried to avoid getting too involved — my goal is to simply seek a more comfortable seat from which to view. I don’t like when life provides me with “busy work” or “challenges”. It’s like being in class trying not to be noticed and suddenly the teacher calls my name, “Rich, can you give us the answer?” Ugh, really?

To me, life is like being thrown into the middle of some unknown game, and a ball keeps flying at my head. I don’t understand the rules and I don’t seem very good at it, plus the other players keep fighting and yelling a lot. So I keep creeping farther and farther away, inching toward the sidelines until I can get far enough that the ball hits me less and less. Eventually I’d like to just hide behind the bleachers, peeking through.

The nice part about being a spectator is that I can see the entirety of the game more so than someone constantly pelted in the face. I don’t really get better at playing, but at least I understand more facets and nuances. It’s like being a mega-sports-fan who understands the game’s intricacies better than actual players, yet will always lack the stature, dexterity, and endurance required to excel in the sport.

And make no mistake, the more insulated I’ve kept myself, the more enjoyable life became. I participate as needed, and I do maintain a couple of important relationships. Despite what my mother long insisted, there was no shell I needed to break free from. It’s like a 275 pound, nearly 7 foot guy telling you how easy football is — some people were built for sweating and others for sitting.

I like the shallow-end of the pool, I like low-speed locomotion, I like slow meandering rides, I like being an audience member, I like sitting quietly, I like following rules and guidelines and reading instructions, I like logical assessments and carefully considered responses. But my qualities and abilities tend not to match the pace of my surroundings. And so I retreat to the stands, watching the games go by.

And I do not lament this state of affairs, dear diary — no not one bit. One cannot learn to swim while feeling the sensation of drowning. During my school years, class-time was wasted on me, as I always preferred learning in quiet solitude, studying at my own pace — and it was in this way I excelled. And so in life, it has been through semi-reclusion that I found peace, relieved of the stressors and strains of society’s churn.

Pixelated Planet

The world can be a gruesome place. That is, until you realize it’s all pixels.
Projected pictures — images formed from little colored squares of varying shades.
Within this mosaic, borders are defined by contrasting colors, lacking true separation.
A frame-rate simulates movement as points update on a coordinate plane.

Tints of skin slide along a gradient of hexadecimal values. Blood is just #FF0000.
Pain is a response to the perceived injury of paint — to shifting values in variables.
Fear is the belief that pixels are more than saturated hue. Yet there is only light.
Witness life’s radiant glow, the spectacle unfolding, appreciating the artistry of existence.