Earthly Explanation

Okay so you’re alive, what have you gotten yourself into? First of all, welcome to Earth. Unfortunately, you’ll be unable to remember much of this explanation as your capacity to retain input has been greatly reduced for the duration of your visit. This is on purpose of course, or else the sensation of immersion would not feel as complete. Sorry for the late explanation, but that’s also by design (same reasoning). And as you’ve probably noticed, you regularly experience sleep, this also helps you forget and reset for the oncoming day. You have to be handicapped in certain ways so you’ll feel like you’re a part of this world.

If you haven’t caught on already, this world is a fabricated experience — but that’s a good thing. We’ve received many complaints about the world feeling “too real” and we tend to take those as compliments. Basically, none of what you’re experiencing actually exists, it’s more of a computer-simulation of sorts. So all that gloomy/gory stuff simply isn’t there, which is why we don’t bother adjusting the realness-factor. At the end of the day it’s just flickering-pixels. Yes, some participants become frightened beyond their comfort-levels, but for us, it’s immersion-first. We take pride in the creation of a ride so convincing that you actually feel like a genuine embodied being. Trust us, if we did it any other way, the world wouldn’t be believable and you’d be bored.

After all, that’s the entire point of Earth: the simulation of a limited life for your enjoyment. Things are supposed to die here, that’s something new you get to experience. And not only do you experience limitations on your lifespan, but on your knowledge and creative capacity as well. That’s right, you get to be an incapable dummy. Ha! Enjoy it while it lasts! Haha! But seriously, the reason I’ve contacted you today is to check-in and make sure things are to your liking. Again, we do get our share of complaints, but we try to rectify them when we can. Let me start by going over some general concepts and controls in case you haven’t figured them out already.

This is sort of a game/movie hybrid. The path your character is following is found swirling around in your thoughts. It’s a combination of all those meaningful feelings, impulses, and inspirational ideas that are spurring you to do some things while avoiding others. Again, because of the necessity for immersion, the roadmap isn’t obvious — you have to kinda decipher it on the fly. No big deal though, it’s self-correcting for the most part — you’ll get there.

And as far as the controls and the gaming aspect, it’s not really what you’re used to in terms of conventional video-games. It’d be kinda silly if you simply had to move your character along an XYZ-axis with a joystick and press a jump-button now and again. Essentially with any video-game, the actual mechanics boil down to a player aligning with the character by way of the controls. So what you actually control doesn’t matter as much as the ability to sync with the gameplay over time with repeated practice.

In other words, the player learns and adapts to the timing of the game. In a traditional video-game, when an obstacle arrives, the player moves into the appropriate position and presses the jump button. Through practice over time, the player aligns himself with the game until he’s able to navigate with relative ease. In short, the player learns to identify obstacles and react appropriately. And that brings us back to Earth, where you the player, must identify obstacles and react appropriately.

But in Earth, the obstacles aren’t so obvious. Like I mentioned, this game goes beyond the simple XYZ-axis stuff. Spoiler Alert: for the most part, your character is on auto-pilot. And like I also mentioned, the path you’re on is basically pre-programmed. So what do you, the player actually get to do? Haha. Well first, you get to experience the exciting spectacle that-is-life from a front-row seat, that’s pretty cool in and of itself of course. As for game mechanics, it kinda goes like this:

Buttons and switches are passe at this point — you can’t control anything directly or it would kill the sensation of immersion, plus you’re handicapped all the way down to complete-noob status — you wouldn’t know what you’re doing anyway. So everything you-the-player can do is mental — it’s all in the mind. It’s not the things your character does per se, it’s the way in which you react to what he does — that’s what you control. But make no mistake, you do have the power to impede your character’s progress on his path — you can definitely sabotage yourself if that suits your fancy.

To delve a little deeper into why you can’t simply steer your own character, just think of all the external circumstances that would need to coordinate amongst billions of beginner-level players attempting to manually control their characters — that’s insane to even contemplate — so of course things are primarily coordinated on everyone’s behalf. Just imagine all those cars on the roads — of course they’re on a system-controlled auto-pilot.

But anyways, I was discussing obstacles. Obstacles literally get in your way, and you’ll typically pump the brakes when they do. But if you hit those brakes, then you pause on your path. And although it seems logical to stop, that’s actually the wrong approach. The correct procedure is NOT to pump your brakes, you’re supposed to TRUST the path you’re on and follow it to fruition. Then why do you even have the option to brake? Well it comes back to immersion again (of course).

Picture this, you’re playing an old-fashioned video-game in which your car is driving straight down an endless road. You can wiggle the steering-wheel back-and-forth and press a brake-pedal. If not for that wiggle-room and the ability to brake, you wouldn’t feel as though you’re playing a game, it’d be a read-only video instead. In other words, having a little wiggle-room and the ability to brake turns your life into a game that provides the sensation of being in control — which ultimately, you do have control of — unfortunately, that control is in the form of a kill-switch.

So let’s examine a braking example. Imagine that you have an innate desire to go down a particular path. Someone comes along and says “Hey, don’t go that way!” and then you start thinking, “Oh? Okay I won’t! Whew! That was a close one.” In this scenario, you met an obstacle and you pumped the brakes. Oops — you were supposed to continue along your merry way despite the obstacle. That’s the game mechanics you’re trying to sync with: something will happen and your reaction should be to keep on truckin’.

Here’s a less obvious example. Imagine someone says, “Hey let’s go do this activity that you don’t wanna do!” and then you start thinking, “Huh, this feels wrong to me, but my buddy really wants me to do it, maybe I should. You know what, I’ll do it! I’ll force myself if I have to!” In this scenario, you pumped the brakes on your path again. By going against your innate feelings (your roadmap), you halted your progression. Again, you were supposed to jump the hurdle and proceed on your path.

Don’t worry though, you’ll get it. What game worth playing doesn’t take repeated practice to get right? And now that you know a bit more about what’s going on here, perhaps things will go smoother for ya. Always keep in mind that this game was designed with your amusement in mind, not to scare or punish or any nonsense like that. Hey and when you’re done, don’t forget to rate and leave a review. We’re really proud of what we’ve put together here and your kind words go a long way.

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Objective Perspective

I should try analyzing the world from a more objective perspective. It’s certainly better than my current strategy of interpreting my surroundings based on my fear-laced childhood beliefs. I keep seeing myself as a scared little bunny struggling for survival amidst a chance-based physical reality upon a giant rock hurtling around an even bigger fireball within a vast and endless nothingness.

So here’s a more objective analysis:

1. I’ve been alive for several decades. This fact is significant because of my utter incompetence and inability to do anything, as well as my complete ignorance of physical-survival and social-norms. How am I still here and doing relatively well? Obviously something external is maintaining my existence — because it sure as hell ain’t me doin it.

2. People successfully engage in seemingly dangerous activities all the time. This must mean that I’m incorrectly interpreting these activities as dangerous. Life is much safer than I assumed.

3. There are people that actually live-out their lives along complete story arcs. This demonstrates that lives are of a fictional nature. If there are obvious narratives, then random-chance isn’t a thing. This also implies that death is not a random occurrence.

4. Inspirations and ideas enter everyone’s minds. Where do these seemingly novel thoughts originate? This implies that physical reality isn’t all there is. There’s something influencing and guiding our thoughts — which means we’re connected to something greater than our individual human self.

5. People successfully achieve goals. This implies that wishes actually come true. People have desires that eventually manifest within their physical reality. Even the most fantastical ideas have come true: flying-ships, rocket-ships, space-travel, video-phones, touch-based computer-tablets, voice-based computing, etc. This further implies that it’s improper to apply limitations on what can be achieved within this world.

6. I’ve been proven wrong many times — my theories about life are therefore unreliable. Because of my sheer ignorance when it comes to the concept of existence, I’ve no basis by which to be worried about anything — I simply don’t understand enough. How could I even know whether one outcome is better than another. By this logic, I should really approach life from an open-minded perspective and simply accept it is-as.

Of course it makes me feel like a big dummy to analyze the world from a more objective perspective and see that it’s so far off from my belief system. It’s even weirder when such analysis doesn’t automatically lead to a corrected set of beliefs. If I’m obviously wrong, why don’t I simply accept it and move-on instead of continuing along with my lame beliefs?

It’s possible that the world is purposefully being deceptive and really wants me to believe in a chance-based physical reality. In a video-game or movie for instance, we’re supposed to get lost within the storylines and see ourselves as characters within the world we’re watching. But the counter-argument to that, is there’s tons of people that don’t believe in a chance-based physical reality. There’s a lot of spiritual folks that can’t relate to my perspective.

One possible explanation is that the world really is being deceptive in the sense that it’s trying to portray an actual world in which we’re embodied inhabitants. In order to feel the full sensation of immersion, we’re tricked into believing that we’re born here as physical creatures of-the-Earth. And that’s fine, why not — it’s just movies/video-games taken to the next level — cool.

But where it goes wrong for some of us, is we take it waaaaay too seriously. “OH SH*T!!!! I could die at any second!!! AHHH!!!” And we develop warped beliefs about what’s happening here (beliefs that are unsubstantiated by the way — we get an off-idea and just run with it). Whereas some folks “get it” — to them it’s simply a game, which it is.

And the punchline to our misfortunate misunderstanding is this: we finally collapse from the intensity of the stress we’ve been inflicting on ourselves throughout the decades, and from that standpoint we finally kinda “get it”. We then become “spiritual” and take THAT too seriously as well. Gah. That’s why enlightenment is like walking a razor’s edge. You fall off the path if you go too far in either direction.

Into the Deep

I gotta tell ya, I am just not in the mood today. Tired. Sick and tired. Drained. On my last nerve.

But you know what? When you reach the end of the road, there’s nothing left but unexplored territory. So that’s where I’m going today — into the wilderness.

I was just listening to a fella on TV talk about faith and belief. And today, that resonates with me. Screw what my senses say, I’m gonna go by what I believe, period. I’ve always been an autodidact do-it-yourself-er, and I’m sick of my senses telling me what’s what — dictating what I’m supposed to believe in.

No sir, now it’s going to go the other way. Belief first, senses second. Think of the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Indy has to take a “leap of faith” across a ravine. THAT’S how it works. You step and suddenly find yourself supported. “But Rich, that’s crazy talk!”

If you’ve lived a cloistered unsuccessful life like I have, then yeah that’s crazy talk. Whereas if you actually do stuff in the world, then no, you’ll find that the physical realm manifests according to your wishes. How the F*UCK are people flying at 500mph in aluminum tubes above my head right now!!?? That’s INSANE if we lived in a physical-world ruled by random chance. It’s absolutely bonkers that anyone would attempt such a daring feat. But not only do they do it, they do it casually, incorporating it into their schedule like it’s no big deal. HUH!?

My senses are lying to me day and night, tricking me into thinking this is a physical world. I hate liars, so f*ck you, senses. I know, I know, it’s not their fault, I’m just confused and wrongly blaming my senses. The senses are just perceiving what I believe — so it’s actually my beliefs that are screwed-up, causing stupid sh*t to be projected out of every orifice.

Okay, so I really need to stop pretending that I’m a scared little animal randomly placed on a rock hurtling around a gigantic fireball. I must have an addiction to fear-laced beliefs, I keep coming back like a junkie lookin for his next fix of fear. But you get comfortable, thinkin everything is great, easy, maybe even too easy, then all of a sudden you start getting bored — and you can’t have THAT — anything but that!!! So the anxiety starts, oh yeah, feeling good already, I could die at any second… ooh baby, scare me some more. NO!!! No more!!

It really comes down to an addiction to anxiety — it’s just so easy to rely on fear as a means to alleviate boredom. It’s a quick-fix to any situation that’s startin to slow down. But you have to fill your time with something… why not let it be a little thrill…. NO! Destruction is the easy route — just stain some walls with graffiti or smash ’em down. No, the more respectable path is creation. Even if it’s just a better belief system — construct something. Start with yourself if that’s the only building-material you can muster.

I gotta say, I’ve always felt like the smartest guy in the room, but it just shows how delusional I was. I didn’t have everything figured out, I simply held tight to a tiny set of ideas and outright denied everything that wasn’t contained within my clenched fists. Oh well, you live, you learn.

My Mid90s

Mid-90s for me was late high school. I could sense my sentence coming to an end. I began to isolate myself. I quit band and lacrosse and barely socialized at lunch. Even though it was almost over, it wasn’t relief I felt. What was I going to do now? At least in school I had a set-place to go, assigned things to do, I had acquaintances.

But f*ck school, man. Just a piece of sh*t prison by another name. Well that’s how I felt anyway, a suburban kid in an upper-middle-class town near Boston. On the outside, this is an uninteresting story — it reflects a boring motionless time — but on the inside, an intense adventure raged on.

I was visited by the triptych of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. And on top of that, more loneliness than I ever felt. My time was spent wrestling with those feelings and the dour images they inspired. I ended up continuing school in the form of college. To belabor the prison analogy, I was sentenced with a combination of house-arrest and probation for the next few years.

In college, I knew no one. There was no time to form acquaintanceships. But do you know what happened in the mid-90s? Windows 95 was released. And do you know what happened not long after that? An explosion in the popularity of personal-computers — the PC era was born. And do you know what followed that? An explosion in the popularity of online-services (AOL, Prodigy, CompuServe). And you obviously know what happened next? THIS. The Internet became a global phenomenon.

But back to online-services. Within those silly-little text-boxes, I was able to chat with people from around the country. I could finally interact with people in a way that felt comfortable. And I did just that, for a few years at least. It was at the end of the mid-90s when I met my friend (on an online-service, in a chat-room of course).

So the narrative I experienced in the mid-90s can be summed-up as this:
1. Self-isolation and the resulting loneliness.
2. Discovery of a new platform of communication.
3. Awakening as a communicative being.
4. The foundation of a lifelong friendship.

That’s a tidy little narrative don’t you think? How can something like that happen within a physical-world based on random-chance? Sounds a little too coincidental, no? My character’s lack fulfilled by a deus-ex-machina-level intervention? Hmm. But I appreciate it, without doubt. My life after meeting my friend was much improved.

Belief Trust Action

Let’s say you invite me out for a meal one day, let’s make it around 2pm for lunch at Chefs de France next Sunday. Now, I believe we just made plans. In fact I trust in those plans so much that I’m arranging my schedule around that date and time — I’m even feeling the delight of anticipation as I imagine the upcoming day. And on the day-of, I show up, you show up, and we have a fine time dining. Great.

A few months ago, after living in our house for seven years, my friend told me that she wanted to move. I said, “okay”. And unlike my typical pattern of fear, uncertainty, and doubt — I believed, trusted, and acted as if I was certain it would happen. It did happen, and I’m currently over a thousand miles away from where I was (physically AND mentally).

If you’ve been paying attention to life, you’d have notice that it’s a magical fairytale-land where dreams come true. But the problem is: ALL your dreams come true — positive AND negative. If you have a piss-poor attitude, you WILL see that negativity manifesting before your eyes. You program this dreamworld through your intentions — whatever you intend to happen, will. The path might be a bit sloppy, but you’ll get there (don’t blame life, your intentions aren’t exactly crystal clear).

So if you’re having a bad time with life, who’s to blame? Ding, ding, ding! That’s right, it’s you! The teachings of Krishna, Buddha, and Jesus all boil down to this: you can improve your experience of existence by training your mind to see the world with a better perspective. In other words, if life looks like sh*t, it’s because you have sh*t tinted glasses on. Take those glasses off and replace them with a more pleasing tint, then all of a sudden life looks great.

Jesus said: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. In other words: paradise is within your grasp if you stop denying it. The good life is HERE right NOW if only you accept it (spoiler alert: people didn’t accept it). And YOU don’t accept it either, do you. You’re too busy being scared, sad, and angry — but why?

Well that’s what the Buddha wanted you to ask yourself — in big bold letters the Buddha was trying to get your attention by proclaming that life is suffering — he wanted to make you aware of the unnecessary strain you were self-inflicting. In other words: “Hey dummy, stop hitting yourself!” And by no longer hitting yourself, your life improves.

And then Krishna came in and was like: “Bro, why are taking this dreamworld so seriously? It’s just a prank! LOL! Chillax and take it easy. Nothing major is goin’ down, it’s a story, a fantasy, just have fun and enjoy the ride. Sheesh”. Have you ever witnessed someone taking a game too seriously? They’re not enjoying themselves and the consequences are dire — if they’d only take a step back and see the game for what it was: an opportunity to have a bit of fun.

So what did we learn here today? We learned that life sucks when we take it too seriously. And unfortunately, we’re stuck in that negative state UNTIL we receive a wake-up call. Once aware, we eventually understand that life is pretty-neat and so we start playing our part in the grand narrative we find ourselves within. And in order to successfully fulfill our role, we have to follow the script as laid out by our intuition. We have to believe, trust, and act as if everything will work out according to our intention.

Rich, is all this crazy-talk even true? Yes, but even if it wasn’t it’s still a successful strategy for enjoying life. Those who believe it are much more satisfied with life than those that believe in a harsh random physical reality.

Greatest Commandment v2

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

The heart is of-the-body, a thing firmly rooted in this world. Therefore, to love God with our heart, we should delight in the sensations of his creation: the world and all its wonders, ever appreciating the gift we’ve been given. The people, the scenery, the music, the movement, the foods — it’s all a work-of-art to be admired and consumed by the senes.

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

The mind writes narratives, paints pictures, and devises logical conclusions — concoctions that form our feelings. Therefore, to love God with our mind we should use it to set our perspective to one that perceives God and His creations in the best possible way. We should foster the feeling of lighthearted hopefulness and trust, deliberately imagining life as a pleasant experience no matter what the senses seem to say.

To love God with ALL our heart, ALL our soul, and ALL our mind, we should see God as our provider and caretaker, the guiding source of power maintaining and illuminating our path. We are not skilled in the practice of existence, not even close, thus we are led by a loving shepherd. God is the foundation of all we encounter. All that we are and all that we experience is merely a manifestation of God the creator.

Crafting Intentions

Cultivating a good attitude by composing a list of enjoyable reasons underlying the things I experience.

Waking Up

Bad: I wake up because I have to. I’m tired, sleepy, and I just wanna stay in bed all day.

Good: I wake up everyday in order to experience the delightful surprises that spring forth from existence. What will happen next!? I enjoy it when long-suspected secrets are revealed as well as when brand-new things pop into my radar. I also wake up in order to spend time with my family, to see what they’re up to and have some fun. And of course I wake up to enjoy delicious treats to eat — yum!

Running

Bad: Running is a burdensome chore that’s necessary for making my flabby body less flabby.

Good: Running is as an early morning adventure, a chance to see the streets from a different angle, unpopulated and dawn-lit. Through running, I’m playing my part as a suburban dad, I’m having fun with fitness, and I’m setting the tone for the day: an early-bird ready to catch the worm.

Breakfast

Bad: I eat breakfast while feeling like a filthy little piggy stuffing my fat face.

Good: I eat breakfast with the attitude that I’m starting my day off right, I feel as though I’m consuming wholesome ingredients, the building-blocks for my body (a vehicle that’s now well-prepared for traveling through its daily journey). Plus, I love the savory flavors that dance across my palate each morning.

Showering

Bad: I shower everyday to wash the filth from my dirty body.

Good: Every morning I ritualistically prepare myself, rinsing away the previous day to start anew — a baptism to purify, regenerate, and initiate into the sacred experience of existence. Afterwards, I’m fresh and ready to explore the unfolding narrative of today.

Writing

Bad: I write to pass the time, what else am I gonna do.

Good: Writing is the means by which I effortlessly express myself. Every artist has his medium, his method of expressing creativity, and mine is the written word. Words flow from my thoughts into my fingers and onto a screen — imagination made manifest. But it’s even more than that: the ideas that swim as thoughts through my mind seem to originate from a source beyond me — I sense a connection to a greater well-of-knowledge from which I merely transcribe. And by this connection, I derive comfort, power, and a sense of belonging.

Aches and pains

Bad: I guess this is it — I’m a goner. Goodbye cruel world.

Good: The distrust I still harbor towards life is manifesting again. I don’t like when I’m so untrusting, so I’m going to reject this feeling of pain. It’s not a sign of something nefarious, simply my fearful immaturity flaring up. On the plus side, it serves as a simple reminder for me to love and appreciate life, like the pulsating beep of an alarm clock. I’ve been asleep, unloving and unappreciative, but now I’m aware.

Meditation

Bad: I need something to fix myself, so I meditate to calm my anxious mind.

Good: Through meditation, I still my surface thoughts, allowing me to connect to the deeper part of who I am. When I return I’m centered, in the middle, balanced between the superficiality of the physical world and the spiritual depths that lie beyond.

Difficulties in relationships

Bad: I’m having a difficult moment in my relationship: my companion is mean. What a jerk.

Good: What I experience throughout life is based on my perception and frame-of-mind. If I allow negative thoughts to swirl within my head, I develop a bad mood, I see the world pessimistically, I behave poorly, I contribute negativity and therefore receive the appropriate result: the sum of all this negativity. I will use this moment as an opportunity to remove the weeds that are clearly overrunning my mental garden. In addition, I’ll apply focus to the thoughts and ideas that produce delight.

Hangin’ out

Bad: I’m going clothes-shopping with my friend — a waste of time that’s cutting into my oh-so-important schedule, plus it’s just an exercise in wasteful consumerism.

Good: I’m going clothes-shopping with my friend — it’ll be a fine opportunity to experience the feeling of togetherness with my delightful pal, plus it’s a chance to get out and engage with the world in a lighthearted way.

Sleeping

Bad: I sleep because I eventually pass out, that’s pretty much the only option I’m offered.

Good: I rest to reset for each upcoming day. It’s like a break between shows, a chance to begin each day’s narrative like it’s new. For instance, even though I eat everyday, it’s like a completely new experience as I consume a different meal, as if I’ve never eaten before. All these fresh feelings are possible because of the nightly gap that resets the stage.