Mother Earth

If you’re gonna have a relationship with God, you’re gonna need a way to relate to God, and most likely a way of envisioning God. I didn’t grow up with religion, so I don’t really have much of a preconceived religious-style image of God. I did watch a lot of TV and movies though. As a kid in the 80s, I used to see God portrayed by George Burns in the “Oh, God!” movies. But that’s not really my style, I’d rather picture something that aligns with my particular tastes.

I think I’d relate better to a gentle and caring motherly type. So to me, God is a mom that gave birth to the world — and the world is full of her children all running amok. She cares for them like a garden since she has so many to tend to. All the little sprouts have to deal with weeds and pests until she makes her rounds. We’re to grow independently within the garden, just as any plant would.

We mustn’t get too full of ourselves though, believing ourself a gardener, lest we get cast out. The good little plant maintains itself within the provided spot. And mamma nudges and cajoles when a plant grows off course. Some plants will fight their constraints and feel the strain of the support-stick propping them up. Sometimes a seed gets planted in the wrong place, and that’s fine, she knows this and loves her plants all the same. Hybrids are fine too.

Really, she just gardens for the sake of it. There’s no purpose behind it besides the joy of seeing little-ones grow and blossom. For example, I’ve seen life through a child’s eyes, the excitement and joy over simple things, it really can be a source of great amusement for the parent. She adores her garden and tenderly cares for it as a whole, as well as each little sprout. She enjoys the variety of sizes, scents, and colors.

I grew up with siblings, so I can relate to the fact that I often have to wait for attention — and that’s true with God too. But that’s a good thing, it gives the little plants time to try and work things out on their own. No one likes the pressure of constant attention. Plants grow better when left alone from time to time. But if she sees us struggling, she won’t hesitate to help, we just have to willingly accept it — we can be stubborn little sprouts.

Our bodies, firmly rooted in this world, bloom and grow under the devoted effort of God our gardener. But we are not just plants of course, for within us is the seed of God herself, forming a concurrent root system that reaches deeper than dirt, into a realm beyond earth. And from our seat of consciousness we watch and delight in all the ongoings of the garden — tiny sprouts aware of their own growth.

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Falling Trees

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

I was recently in Minecraft playing around with a homemade TNT cannon. It was such an effective cannon in fact, that the TNT “cannon ball” shot out of view. When I traveled over to inspect, there was no damage. Yet when I chased after the cannon-ball and actually observed its flight, there WAS damage done to the landscape. In other words, a tree is NOT destroyed if no one is around to observe it — in Minecraft at least.

I just completed some additional testing. Even if you have a solid line of redstone-dust coupled with redstone-repeaters going all the way to a distant block of TNT, it will NOT ignite when switched on UNLESS you travel over to the TNT and actually observe it. In fact, you can cycle the switch on and off, and as long as you leave it in the OFF position prior to observing, there will be no explosion.

Obviously Minecraft doesn’t bother rendering something until someone is there to observe it — which makes sense. It’s a more efficient use of resources. In other words, Minecraft adheres to the “Biocentric Universe” model in which the observer is actively creating the world he experiences — through exploration, the world renders in whichever path he travels. Stay still, and the world stays still — explore and new things are created as needed.

Therefore, if this world is a simulation, who’s to say the same thing doesn’t happen here. Perhaps situations and circumstances wouldn’t occur if we’re not there to witness them. Importantly then: whichever path we walk is the one that forms. What ideas are we focusing on, which details are we examining, what route are we on — we better be a bit more selective or else those avenues will form before our very eyes.

Does a negative interpretation of life actually result in an existence filled with negative circumstances? Does an interest in the worst aspects of life literally bring more of the same? And likewise, does a positive and hopeful attitude bring good things to pass? Does focusing on the best-of-life bring more of it? This line-of-thought helped to cure my anxiety by the way — I don’t dare think about worrisome or pessimistic thoughts anymore for fear of them coming true (I used fear to defeat fear).

Good God

Within this blog I’ve tried a bunch of experiments. Here’s another one. For the time being, I’m going to adopt a God-centric perspective. Having been raised in an atmosphere devoid of religion, I’m somewhat new to this concept. “God” doesn’t roll off my tongue for instance, it feels strange to say the word.

For most of my life, I would’ve identified with atheism and the supremacy of popular scientific ideas about existence. But after a few decades of living with that perspective, I found it too anxiety-inducing and abandoned it. Consequently I’ve been in search of something new. For the last few years I’ve been a big believer in “Simulation Theory”, and that’s done a good job of allowing me to develop a non-physical interpretation of life. For the most part, all of my worries went away.

But of course a simulation must have a programmer — and I suppose it’s time to delve deeper into that aspect of existence. This concept is already well established in religion obviously, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The programmer, is God. And from what I’ve seen, religious/spiritual folks have relationships with God. They often thank God, love God, speak about God, heck they even eat God if I’m not mistaken. So, that’s what I’m planning to do… develop a relationship with God. (Yes, that still sounds awkward to me).

Really though, it’s like I’ve been invited to a party and I’ve been ignoring the host the entire time. How rude is that? Obviously I should head over and thank him for everything and tell him how great this is. But instead I’ve been hiding in a corner, complaining about everything and lamenting my invitation. Well, it’s time to suck it up and do the right thing.

Hey God, it’s me Rich. Awesome party you’ve got here — quite the spectacle. Hey if you need me to help out with anything, don’t hesitate to ask. Sorry I’ve kept to myself for so long, I guess I was a bit overwhelmed. I mean you gotta admit, things can get pretty crazy around here! Ha! Haha! ha…. Well anyways, thanks for the invite, I appreciate it, I mean what else would I be doing with my time? Heh. So… yeah I’m going to checkout the food table, outstanding selection by the way. If there’s something I can get you, lemme know. Thanks again!

Greatest Commandment

When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, he replied “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”

Now that’s a difficult concept for me to grasp. First, how do I effectively love something. Second, to whom or to what am I actually directing this love. Third, what exactly is the interplay between the heart, soul, and mind — I’m not sure what those divisions are or how to love with each particular portion.

Jesus actually continued his answer and said, “This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Aha! So, I think a logical conclusion is that this world and its inhabitants are a manifestation of God himself — and by loving the world and its inhabitants, we can love God.

The heart is of-the-body, and our body is firmly rooted in this world. Therefore, to delight in the sensations of this world, is to love God through the heart. It’s all the stuff we see, smell, hear, taste and touch — the physical things and people of the world — we can love God by loving the works-of-art he so lovingly created.

The soul is beyond the body, a part of us that’s not confined by this world. Therefore, to love God with our soul, we must meditate or pray or whatever it is that connects us with that portion outside ourselves. We demonstrate love with our focus and attention, so we must take time to focus on God and give Him our attention through meditative means.

The mind is the observer tying it all together, the consciousness that watches. In the mind we can paint pictures that inspire feelings of love and appreciation. With the mind we can devise logical conclusions based on lighthearted hopefulness (e.g. did this happen for a good reason? Yes, because God loves me!) The mind can be used as a tool to adjust our perspective, allowing us to see God and His creations in the best light possible.

So, by appreciating the spectacle of this world and all within it, meditating/praying, and deliberately imagining life as a pleasant experience, we can follow a practical approach to loving God with our heart, soul, and mind. But, Jesus said ALL our heart, ALL our soul, and ALL our mind — what about that? How do you effectively apply the entirety of your heart, soul, and mind? And for that matter, what exactly is love again?

In life, oftentimes we tend to feel love, and our actions align accordingly — yet, we often hurt the ones we love, so that’s not always true. If observing a scene, we know one character loves another by their focused attention, their tender treatment, and the level of respect shown. But of course, actions without feelings aren’t necessarily love. In love, we don’t choose our feelings, they simply appear within us. BUT, many stories do tell the tale of a cultivated love that develops over time following a period of intense focus (“Beauty and the Beast”, for example — or even “Stockholm Syndrome” in general for that matter).

So, we can in fact cultivate the feeling of love for God by maintaining a focus on God while seeing him as our provider and caretaker. And logically, this is pretty straightforward. For example: Despite my ignorance and lack of ability, there’s been a power maintaining my existence this entire time. It’s certainly not my “survival skills”. Life just tends to work out — but why? Clearly there’s an external force guiding me along a narrative, helping me to make it through.

Now, to apply ALL our heart, soul, and mind we’re going to have to use God as the foundational reason underlying EVERYTHING we encounter. For example, although we tend to love individual people, it’s really God’s manifestation we’re loving — and in a sense, God himself. And that delicious apple pie you just ate? Thank God! It was He that made the apple, He that made the farmer, He that inspired the baker, and He that developed the taste. Amazing! Thanks again, God!

Thinking about it, I suppose it’s not that difficult of a concept to grasp. The question then becomes, do you therefore dare to follow the greatest commandment? It’s like Morpheus and the Matrix — which pill do you choose? Really though, what’s there to lose? A pessimistic carnal existence filled with fear, uncertainty, and doubt — in favor of a life of hopefulness and love, a genuine heaven on Earth, a true communion with your creator…?

You have the ability to select either path — it’s upon this question that you ultimately exercise your free-will. So which will it be?

Rational Realization

Take a look at me for instance. Do I look like I know what I’m doing? Of course not! But that’s the good news. If I don’t know what I’m doing, yet I’m still doing it after all these years, then life isn’t a problem to solve, there’s no difficulty here. It seems like ya just have to drift, and life carries you along. Easy peasy.

Let’s compare regular life with a game of Minecraft on survival-mode for instance. In Minecraft you have to worry about hostile mobs hunting and attacking you, night itself and the dangers it brings, falling, holes in the ground and caves, food procurement, attaining adequate shelter, and a few other things.

Now realize, when I’m describing regular life, I’m talking about my own personal experiences, not things I’ve seen happen to others — only things that’ve actually happened to me. I’ve never been attacked by a hostile enemy, never had a bad experience at night, never fell from a high height (I did willingly jump and accidentally broke my wrist), I’ve never stumbled into a random hole in the ground or even a dangerous cave, and I never had to worry about appropriate shelter or starvation.

Instead, my actual problems in life have been needless-worry and boredom. As it turns out, I’ve only been imagining a fearsome and dangerous world — I have no actual first-hand experiences to backup my assertion. I’ve certainly heard some gruesome tales, but I haven’t actually witnessed any. So why do I live my life as if they’re constant occurrences? Consequently, life has been very boring. If I shut myself up in a small room and rarely leave, of course I’m going to experience boredom!!! Duh!

Therefore, if I’m a follower of logic and sound reasoning, I must cease and desist believing and behaving as if the world is a hostile environment hell-bent on my destruction. Yes, scary stories exist, but to me they must remain stories as I lack definitive proof to confirm them. After several decades, all the horrible things I assumed to be true never manifested — I should be considered the weakest of thinkers if I continue believing that life wishes me harm.

And not only is life not attempting to hurt me, but life has kept me chugging along despite my best attempts to sabotage my experience with constant complaints and a bad attitude. My creator clearly loves me and exudes infinite patience. Apparently I am a welcomed guest in this world — logic dictates that I must accept this invitation with an open-mind and with as much gratitude as I can muster. Thank you, and I apologize for my earlier negativity. Now, I look forward to the fun and the lighthearted adventure that awaits.

Changing Channels

I did not select the well-defined career-path option. I don’t have an innate drive to do anything in particular. This obviously leaves me with a lot of free-time, which I fill by contemplating existence and analyzing stuff. Boredom for me is lacking something interesting to think about. And the external world, is what provides this fodder for thought — a place filled with situations and circumstances, an idea generator providing topics to ponder.

In one sense, I’m aloof — seeing the world and all within it as a TV full of channels and shows — I’m constantly flipping, looking for whatever catches my attention in the moment. When I tire of a show, I flip it. I don’t care about it anymore, I move on to something new. In another sense, I find myself overly investing in “The Fragile Self Show”, I’m constantly flipping back, it keeps me on the edge of my seat. “Lemme check again!! I hope nothing bad happens to him!”

Funny enough, nothing bad really happens, it’s just the thought that it might. All this time I mistakenly believed I was watching a suspenseful horror movie, but it turned out to be an unremarkable guy’s unremarkable life. Every time he left the house I was like, “Oh man! He’s gonna get it this time!” But nothing happened. I assumed the tension was building, that the narrative was lulling the audience into a false sense of security before the doom-hammer fell. Nope. Oops.

So now what? If I’m tired of watching “The Fragile Self Show” and quit tuning-in, what am I supposed to entertain myself with? How can anything live up to the level of intensity that show provided!? Well lately, I’ve been watching a relatively new show called “Your Son”. I love the main-character and it’s been pretty entertaining. In addition to that, one of those summer-only shows just started, a realty/moving show — so far so good, the main-characters are busy coordinating and packing, I guess a bit of travel next.

And not long after that, a show about life in a new location. We’ll see how that goes. So I guess there’s plenty to keep me entertained. Of course there’s always “Conquering the Self”, a show about refining attitudes and perspectives. It’s kinda boring and difficult to stay focused on, but it’s always there — like a 24-hour shopping channel — but more like educational TV in that I feel like I should be watching it, but I can only handle it in small doses.

Collective Data Corruption

In memory management, when the last reference is severed, the object is trashed. This is one method of keeping a computer’s memory from getting bogged down with instructions or data that’s no longer needed.

In our collective memory, we all hold references to certain ideas. When there’s nobody left that remembers a particular topic, it’s gone — poof. From a logical and practical standpoint, this is true. Old ways of doing things are long forgotten. Ancient languages and the manner in which they were vocalized are zapped from memory.

But are irrelevant items truly gone or are they simply written off onto long-term storage? Can certain topics be recalled, albeit at a significantly slower rate as they’re read from outdated storage media? Yet sometimes old media weakens with age, and the stored data becomes corrupted — resulting in inconsistent output.

My friend was talking to me about the Mandela Effect (or collective false memories) — and like usual, I was quick to dismiss it. But then I framed it within the context of Simulation Theory, and it started to make more sense. I think it’s possible that inactive topics are frequently flushed out of our memory when there are no current references left.

But when a topic re-surfaces sometime in the future, we have to go into the archives and retrieve the relevant data. But of course this is stored in a lower quality format, making it prone to corruption errors. And for that reason, clusters of people have varying ideas about certain long-term remembrances.

Although I suppose it could all be just a dream, where fact isn’t any different from fiction. Where one minute you’re holding a glass of lemonade and the next it’s a bumblebee flying from your hand. Where any backstory is simply manufactured on the spot. Where our commingling imaginations ebb and flow and some visions take precedence over others at varying times.

Who knows. The one thing I know is the unknowableness of life. Whenever you strive for the answer… poof… it’s gone. Life brings you back, envelops you in the spectacle of bright lights and distracting sounds. You become overwhelmed by the sensations that surround. You’re no longer an ethereal thinker floating through lofty spaces, but a creature of this world, grounded by gravity.