Upcoming 2020

It’s not about luck or external alignment, a happy new year begins within. Can I maintain my focus on that which is delightful and OFF that which is dour? THAT is the ONLY question that determines the happiness of this upcoming year. The game to be played is this: to keep my attitude and attention on a lighthearted path — to laugh instead of wince.

And so this year I will maintain focus. Watching for when my mind drifts towards the unpleasant, directing it back to what’s pleasing. As I look out the window this morning and experience the dawning of a new day, seeing darkness gradually become light, I witness golden hues atop the trees against a light-blue sky.

In contrast, I also notice a mild headache, a slight pain — perhaps I should focus on that instead? But why would I follow the invitation of pain, a sensation that captivates my attention by making me believe that the body is a mechanical structure subject to wear & tear. By playing that stupid game, I win the prize of discomfort.

Pain is an antidote for boredom — that’s the trade-off. Even though it’s mild, I’m transfixed by the sensation. It provides an activity to pursue: dissipate the pain. Poke it, attempt to ignore it, try and talk myself out of it, take some medicine. Hm, I’m already failing at my new year’s focusing. Ha. Not so easy is it?

So that’s my starting point. Out-gunned by years of practice in pessimism. A negative attitude so honed, it draws blood instantly. Wretched thoughts will come, hordes of them, but I will not succumb. This is the apocalyptic battle between good and evil that determines the fate of the world I live within.

And all it takes is an easy choice: reject the negativity and embrace the lighthearted life. Heaven is at hand, but to the undisciplined mind it becomes hell. A disciplined mind is one that is supervised and steered, ever kept on the merry path. With a firm resolve, I grab the reins. “Onward! To VICTORY!!”

Coincidental Calamity

Nothing’s going right right-now. Look at that opening sentence for example!! “right right”?!! COINCIDENCE!? Three, yes THREE different activities that I typically enjoy crashed and burned today. Wait, make that FOUR activities now that my opening sentence sucks. What’s going on!? Are the forces of physics and chance aligned against me!?

But if they’re aligning in such an obvious way, then a chance-based physical reality isn’t real. Something else is going on here. If EVERY place smells like poop, it’s time to check your own shoe. Okay, gotta get back to basics — gotta get calm. These were just simple activities we’re talking about, yet for whatever reason they went extremely wrong.

Uh-oh. You know what went “right” today? I was really enthralled by the Netflix show Lost in Space (season 2). And you know what happens in EVERY episode? Something goes drastically wrong!!! “Danger, Will Robinson!” What if I’ve been feeding my mind a diet of calamity, and consequently it’s introducing that theme into my everyday life!

My mind’s like: “Oh, you’re entertained when things go wrong? Well here’s more of the same! Yay!” Such a helpful and dutiful mind, right? So sweet. I remember watching a dark-themed show a few weeks ago and noticing a dour cloud around me then too. Hm, I guess that’s not a coincidence. What goes in, is what comes out.

Hm, does that mean I have to completely cut-out shows that showcase disaster, even if they have upbeat endings? Is it like stuffing yourself with a bunch of junk-food and getting a tummy ache? Or, does my awareness of this circumstance help to negate the effects? Can it be consumed in moderation?

Hm, I only have a few episodes to go, I’ll try to keep my awareness high and monitor the situation. I’ll report back…

Rich, out.

Mechanical Man

Is man mechanical? A mechanical man is subject to defects, wear & tear, environmental conditions, and requires regular maintenance. Is it true though? Fortunately, it’s false. The mechanical-man myth is just another story we tell ourselves to inflict fear through the concept of solidity. By believing ourselves mechanical, we can worry ourselves into an exhilarating tizzy. But really, it’s just another form of masochism.

“Oh no, I’m getting older and the environment is so harsh! Things don’t run as well as they used to! I better perform regular maintenance or my body will never last!” The obvious falseness lies in the fact that not everyone adheres to the mechanical-man theory — yet miraculously, they live long full lives. Mechanical-man believers simply chalk it up to “good genetics” or “luck”, but they’re full of crap.

I know all about the mechanical-man theory because I used to be a believer. My body existed on borrowed time, it was decaying since the day I was born, the sun damaged my skin any chance it could while toxins snuck in from impurities in my food and water. Everything was poisonous! And germs! Don’t forget about the germs that lied in wait until my immune system entered into a weakened state.

But all of my vigilance was for naught. It was delusion, a fantasy of mechanization. To think that my meager efforts at maintenance were actually effective is laughable. I would pick and choose which parts required service and perform strange rituals of repair in hopes that they’d be beneficial.

And these rituals-of-repair regularly change with the fashion of the day. I had to eat a certain way, exert effort in a certain way, and deflect illness in a certain way — but every few years the current methods become out-dated and new methods take their place. Even location matters, as different regions practice different regimens.

As you can see, the mechanical-man myth effectively puts perfection out of reach. And if you do manage to fix one problem, there’s sure to be another following along. What a clever game to keep our attention so captivated by an endless stream of preventative-maintenance and repair. “Another ache! I’m so concerned! What could it be!? I better take action!”

Personally, I’ve chosen not to participate in that game anymore. There are better ways to entertain myself. And would you believe it? I’m still alive! My cunning and vigilance weren’t really keeping me safe. I’m not mechanical after-all! And without the threat of constant mechanical failure, I’m no longer plagued by worry and I’m much happier.

Imperfect Experience

Existence is the experience of imperfection. Imperfection provides reason for action. Whereas if something is in a state of perfection, nothing needs to be done. Therefore, we are constantly striving towards a perfection we hope we never achieve. Imperfection makes things fun.

If you’re not good at something, great! That’s the point! Games, for example, get boring the moment you master them. Excitement emerges when things don’t go as planned. Variety springs forth from imperfect implementations. Sameness is tediousness.

To extract enjoyment, we must accept and appreciate a playful approach towards perfection. We can’t allow ourselves to feel frustrated by a lack of perfection because we truly don’t want to get there. We WANT the condition of imperfection to inspire our efforts.

It’s a game like any other: we should be sincere in our pursuit but not solemnly so. We should genuinely engage in an activity, but not too seriously. We shouldn’t feel disdain for imperfection, but embrace it on an impossible path towards perfection.

Unknowable Truth

The ultimate truth of life, is that absolute truth isn’t knowable. Reality is only ever experienced from a particular perspective. When observed from different positions or at different times, what seemed true no longer is. We can easily witness this phenomenon as we age, yet we rarely regard its significance. Instead of acknowledging the truth of unknowableness, we pick a few “facts” and cling to them as long as we can, telling ourselves that they represent absolute truth.

We play this truth-game for as long as we can. Because these ideas aren’t actually true, they readily collapse whenever we fail to maintain our delusion. We’ll struggle for a bit until we pick a new “truth” to believe in. And on and on we go, attempting to make our leaky boat float, patching it wherever we find weakness. It’s a futile effort of course, but it’s a game we apparently like to play.

For playing this stupid game, we win the stupid prize of a flimsy foundation upon which our life rests. Our life never feels secure because it isn’t. But playing pretend isn’t the problem, the problem lies with trying to extract an absolute truth from these games. Within this world, we can only play: the characters we meet and the circumstances we experience are forms of fiction, not fact.

The things of this world are fictional and fleeting. And because nothing is of substance, it’s all frivolity. In other words: the temporary tales that constitute our experience reveal that it’s all for fun. Solid unchanging facts can be taken seriously, fleeting fiction cannot. Therefore, we purposefully play the truth-game in order to add solemnity and solidity to life.

The opposite is also true. If at any point we find life too intense, we can simply stop playing the truth-game. In other words, we can stop believing in the sources of fear and woe. Monsters disappear when we no longer believe in them. Once we stop fantasizing about the solidity of the world, there is no foundation upon which woe and worry can rest. By accepting and appreciating the ultimate truth of unknowableness, we cease in scaring ourselves — life turns from nasty nightmare into delightful dream.

Earth Tips

Dear Rich, I’m having a tough time here on Earth, any tips?

Sure thing dear reader. But keep in mind that I’m not very good at this game, I’ve just been around for awhile, intently observing, trying to figure this stuff out.

First, things are much easier to understand when you think of Earth as a simulation or even a dream. You’re in control here and the control-mechanism is your mental focus. But the controls aren’t very responsive, there’s some lag involved. Essentially though, the thoughts you focus on are the ones that’ll tend to render before your eyes. In short: focus on crap and you’ll have a crappy life — focus on good things and you’ll have a delightful life.

Relatedly: unless you WANT to increase your difficulty, do NOT think of yourself as a fragile creature struggling for survival amidst a harsh & brutal landscape. “Survival” isn’t necessary here — if you leave well enough alone, the body and its circumstances are self-sustaining. You don’t need to “protect” or “defend” yourself. If life really wanted you dead, you’d be dead — no amount of “vigilance” is going to help.

Think of yourself as an invited guest at a party. Be gracious and appreciative of your surroundings — give thanks to the host perhaps. See others as fellow invited guests, they’re here to enjoy themselves same as you. Some folks get rowdy, but that’s fine, it’s all in good fun. Find some folks you can relate to and hang with them instead. This party has a buffet, simply pass-by the things you don’t prefer and select the things you DO prefer.

The trick to acclimating here, is to appreciate the interaction between your focus and your experience. DO NOT disregard this concept, don’t think that external events shape your life — the OPPOSITE is true. Your attitude and attention DIRECTLY influence your external experience. This is what every noob gets wrong (including me). Develop a good attitude FIRST, then a great life follows.

If you start with a pissy attitude and expect an awesome adventure, you’re in for a world of hurt. Believe me, I tried that approach — it doesn’t work. Remember: by your attitude and focus, you control the life you live. A great time begins with a great attitude. Stop with the complaints, the pessimism, the mockery, and the worry. As soon as you adjust your focus away from negativity, things will sort themselves out. Honestly, you only need a little effort to keep your focus on the delightful aspects of life.

Again, don’t concern yourself with struggling through life, you’ll only get in your own way. Your body is like an avatar that’s programmed to take your consciousness on an adventure around Earth — it knows what to do. You don’t consciously place one foot in front of the other while walking do you? YOUR primary job as the conscious observer, is to be a respectful audience-member — simply watch the story unfold and refrain from hurling insults or acting unappreciative.

There you go dear reader, follow these tips and your situation is sure to improve. It certainly worked for me — I’m having a much better time nowadays. I had previously believed life sucked, but it turned out that I had a bad attitude — I was so intensely negative, that it soured my experience. When I finally cut out the negativity, the world changed before my eyes. Yes, it’s really that easy and it’s fully within your power — try it, what do you have to lose?

Introductory Dreams

You pine for a simple and clear message of what’s going on here… yet nightly dreams ARE the simple everyday reminder of what’s going on here! You dismiss them as strange and useless phenomena, but they’re the tutorial that preludes each day. Dreams serve to say: Here’s a mini-version of what you’re about to experience.

Nightly dreams are influenced by what we focus on throughout the day. For example: watch a scary movie, have a nightmare. The SAME is true for life. Focus on frightening stuff, live a fear-filled life. And just like you don’t have to watch scary movies, you don’t have to focus on ANY scary stuff. You’re in a dream, EVERYTHING is an illusion.

All that stuff in the news? It’s content generated to incite outrage and worry. Whenever you WANT to get upset, consume it. It’s like adding spicy sauce to your food — sometimes you wanna feel the heat. But if you’re sick of sweating after each bite, stop using it. None of that sensationalist stuff matters, this is a dream.

Every dream comes to an end and then it’s quickly forgotten. We have new dreams all the time, no big deal. Silly stuff happens in dreams and silly stuff happens here too. Strange coincidences, twists and turns, absurd plot-lines, dreams demonstrate what we should expect. In dreams, details don’t matter, things just manifest whenever we expect them.

Attempting to live life as if it’s not a dream creates a lot of confusion. There are no clearcut guides to getting by in this world because they’re simply not necessary. It’s a dream, so getting from point-A to point-B doesn’t follow a logically progressive path. A world full of celebrities is not logical in a solid-world — but in a dream, it makes the most sense.