Jujitsu of the Mind

Jujitsu is a means of countering and controlling one’s opponent. The opponent in this case is the unruliness of the mind.

For instance, how can you counter and control a scary thought? The first step is distance management — try not to engage the thought, don’t grab, just ignore its presence. If it’s too persistent and closes the distance, use a counter belief. For these beliefs, go big or go home, make them powerful to dominate the opponent from the start.

Example of an unruly thought: I just heard a loud noise in the house, some intruder must be here to murder me.

Example counter thought: I believe in the benevolence of life, and the power that sustains my existence put me here to experience joy and fulfillment — I completely trust this power to continue carrying me for as long as I choose. Showing fear is an act of rudeness on my part, it’s a form of distrust — I apologize and admit my mistake. Dearest Host, thank you for this wonderful party, I’m happy for the invitation and the opportunity to experience this mortal form.

Fear comes from a pessimistic certainty. “The world is dangerous and I know it!” This is a toxic belief that allows an unruly mind to obtain and maintain a dominant position, administering choke holds galore. Admit this mistake every time you make it, then muster up some appreciation for the fact that life has thanklessly upheld its end of the bargain despite your baseless timidity and repeated disrespect. Life isn’t out to get you, if it was you’d be “d”, “e”, “a”, “d” right now and there’s not a damn thing you could do about it.

Example of an unruly thought: This person is annoying me, I’m getting very mad right now.

Example counter thought: I’m upset and projecting my agitation onto an innocent person. My bad attitude is manifesting and I must change it, it’s not fair to imagine the person in-front of me is the source when it’s really my own mood causing the problem. Besides, what am I saving my patience for, it gains no value when stored, it’s available only now, and only grows when given. Dearest person before me, forgive my immaturity, my anger is a direct reflection of my lack of practice in taming my mind — I’ll try harder.

Anger comes from a certainty that you’re in the right and the other person is an idiot hell-bent on ruining your life. If you have an angry attitude, everything you see will be distorted by that viewpoint. You have to strive to interpret life in a cheerful and friendly way. When you’re angry, it’s your fault — admit your mistake and move on.

In jujitsu of the mind, we regularly practice our craft through the art of meditation. In meditation, we sit quietly and observe the mind. When thoughts come in, instead of grabbing we let them pass unmolested. Through this repetition we get used to ignoring thoughts. When disruptive thoughts enter we can now practice distance management and refrain from entanglements. Meditation also develops a mindfulness that allows us to quickly identify these unruly thoughts.

Should a thought become too obtrusive, we readily recognize this condition and engage. During engagement we apply belief after belief until the unruly thought is subdued. Just as jujitsu has a catalog of moves and techniques, we must maintain a catalog of beliefs that provide a sense of comfort. In those times when our defenses fail and we’re overcome by unruly thoughts, it typically means our belief system is lacking, we need something stronger, a set of beliefs so positive and reassuring that we could face the devil himself and not flinch.

We find these powerful beliefs by looking around, researching, and testing what works for us. We don’t get better by doing nothing, obviously. We get better through exploration and practice. We have to constantly apply this jujitsu in our everyday life, a routine that gets easier and more automatic over time.

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Origins of Reality

From where does reality originate? From outside-in or inside-out? Are we but ignorant creatures exploring a mysterious world that gradually reveals its truths as we laboriously decipher them? Or are we literally creating our reality as we live it, a dreamlike experience that manifests for our ever-observing consciousness?

If an external reality existed, we’d expect our observations to align with those of every other observer — yet they don’t — interpretations of life often vary. Are our senses so flawed that they allow for analyses that are so different? Therefore, even if an external reality exists, we clearly lack the mechanism to accurately analyze it.

We can reason then, that even if an external reality exists, we’re incapable of obtaining a factual picture of it. Instead, everything we experience is an interpretation based on limited and likely-flawed data. So even from a physical-world standpoint, the reality we know essentially originates from the inside-out.

But is it more than that? Could it be that reality actually begins within the consciousness and projects outward onto a canvas we call the world? The concept isn’t so far fetched of course, as we regularly experience something similar in the form of sleep-based dreams. Yet who’s to say that what we perceive while awake isn’t also a dreamlike experience?

The point being, how much does our attitude and what we project affect the world we see? Does a turbulent mind cause us to experience turbulent circumstances? Do we always find exactly what we seek? And if we tame the turbulence, do the stormy seas subside, allowing us to smoothly walk upon the still water?

Role Playing Game

At this stage, life seems most like a role-playing game (RPG), where I’m playing as a particular character-type within a specific narrative. Disclaimer: I don’t have a lot of experience with actual RPGs. There’s a bunch of preset goals that must be accomplished — and the game will lead me to those points the best it can. I think there’s time between the checkpoints where I can screw around and do whatever, but eventually the time comes to cross each finish-line.

I think this RPG does a lot of hand-holding and leads me through without much effort or necessary knowledge on my part. The resources just show up when needed, ideas just form in my head, and any skills I perform are released at the appropriate time for my character. Easy peasy. Like any game though, the most difficult part is syncing with the rhythm of the action (e.g. pressing JUMP at the right time, etc).

But in this game, in which I’m supposed to be on autopilot most of the time, “syncing” has to do with not getting in my own way. In other words, my character functions fine without mental intervention. When I attempt to manually-control and think my way through a task, I trip over myself. The game allows manual-control because that provides the most immersive sensation possible — otherwise it’d feel too much like a scripted movie.

Yet I seem to be taking the game too seriously — the total-immersion scares the heck outta me. I really feel like a fragile little creature crawling around a big rock attempting to survive while surrounded by impending doom — it’s a bit overwhelming. Because of that, I find it very difficult to trust and let go. And even though it’s impossible to mentally control such a complex process, I keep trying to do so.

Relatedly, I think I’m required to actively and purposefully cross each checkpoint. I can stall all I want — I shouldn’t, but I can. This is probably where people typically screwup their narratives — by resisting their story due to fear or an immature devotion to an ideal. If you’re not prepared for the next step, why would the game force it on you — so you’re stuck right where you are, stalled and depressed.

I suppose acceptance comes in the form of active-pursuit of the goal. I must head in its direction, doing whatever I’m inspired to do, not filled with doubt and trepidation. I have to have faith in my story. When I do stall, I think the game often forces a change in perspective by applying so much negative pressure that I’m basically forced to give up and let go. I could continue denying the change, but at my detriment of course.

Video-games are most fun when they stretch our abilities yet allow us to win in the end. I think this game really wants me to win. I was confused and overwhelmed at first, caught off-guard by the intensity, but as my perspective broadens, I can see the underlying entertainment-value of it all.

Choosing Density

There are two primary competing theories of existence: physical versus ethereal.

In one theory, humans are fragile creatures struggling for survival within a chance-based physical reality. The things we see and touch are real — our senses regularly revealing reality to us as we explore through the ever-expanding fog-of-war. But watch out! Who knows what monsters lie within the darkness! Lucky is he that makes his way through the danger. And lucky is he that finds worthy companions amidst such happenstance. And lucky is he that dies a death quick, sans suffering.

In the other theory, humans are but characters within a grand spectacle of light and sound, creations of a creator that designs for the amusement of an eternal audience. Narratives abound as players interact and follow-through their varied stories. Oh monsters do exist, but only for those that summon them. Every possible dramatic element is included as storylines play out in parallel. What we see is created as we think it — the root of reality is within, and projects outwardly.

In one, reality is outside ourselves, our imagination mere fiction — whereas in the other, reality is on the inside, only illusion exists beyond the realm of thought. Choose! In choosing the concrete sets — or dissipates into dreams.

Wishlist 2018

If life is a computer-simulation, what changes would you like to see implemented?

From my particular perspective, I would like these aspects altered:
A good night’s sleep every night.
A perfectly functioning physical body.
Increased resources.
Upgraded dwelling.
Light easy travel with family.

In general I’d like to see:
An abundance of safe well-functioning advanced technology.
Worry-free transportation.
Clothing designed to fit flawlessly.
A stable basically futuristic/utopian political climate.

Society-wise, I’d like to see all medical/legal/political and even relationship drama come to a close. Instead of heavy dramatic stuff, I think challenges and competition should come in the form of ever-advancing technology, philosophy, art, athletics, and just creativity in general. There can be exploration of not only space and uncharted regions of the planet, but consciousness and the underlying foundation of existence itself. People often overlook that the Internet was (and still is) a new frontier to be explored and conquered.

P.S. Yes, I do like Star Trek.

Tested Faith

An excerpt from the fictional non-fiction tales of Man’s Journey: A Love Story about Life.

I always vacillate between whether life is a movie or a video-game. I know it’s fiction, I’m just not sure which type. To help me ponder this dichotomy apparently, I was recently struck down by a minor illness. Cold, flu, who knows, who cares. First it hit my friend. I laughed a little, secure in my ability to manipulate space-time and all things spiritual while feeling sorry for her lack of faith.

In my view, sickness is preceded by sadness or stress. So in that sense, illness stems from a common source whether your primary foundation of existence lies in a mechanical or spiritual belief system. So either your physical body is worn down and susceptible to disease or your spiritual fortitude is weak and welcomes negative energy into your life.

We can plainly see that not everyone gets sick even when exposed to the same environmental conditions. Why do some get sick while others don’t? There’s something beyond the simplicity of “germs” and “viruses” and exposure. But what? Plus, people’s recovery times vastly vary — but why?

An early influence in my philosophy about life, the zoologist Desmond Morris mentioned in his book The Naked Ape how he believed many forms of sickness to be related to our underlying primate grooming needs. In other words, humans subconsciously use ailments as a means to connect with fellow humans. If someone gets a cold for instance, it’s because he requires comfort and the sickness invites others to take care of him.

I’ve used my current belief for quite awhile to explain sickness, and so far it holds up to the limited scrutiny I’ve applied. The primary reason I maintain this belief is because it helps me to feel as though I’m in control of illness. As long as I’m not sad or stressed, I’ll be fine. If I do get sick, then I know I caused it with my lack of appropriate mental maintenance — something I can work on. Another benefit is that it scares me into keeping a positive attitude — I dare not concentrate on things that sadden or stress lest I get sick.

As it happens, my friend was actually feeling a bit stressed and sad — so her recent illness fits neatly within my model. Under my theory, proper mindfulness could have prevented her sickness once she realized her sad/stressed state. She could have said, “hmm, I notice I’m out-of-sorts, I better adjust my attitude and focus on the great things life has to offer rather than the worst aspects I can imagine — or else I’ll likely induce some sort of physical ailment upon myself.”

Could my friend have played the game better? Or was she scripted to receive her uncomfortable condition? Was an unstoppable wave of negativity coming her way, causing her initial stress and sadness, and then her subsequent physical ailment? Could mindfulness have helped? Is every stimulus mere potentiality, our reactions forming scenes and situations based around our thoughts and emotions? The question becoming, should we accept our fate or fight for the path we prefer?

Well as it turns out, I started feeling a bit off-kilter. Did the stress of my friend’s condition put upon me the impetus to get sick myself? Am I just a wannabe follower forever treading in my friend’s footsteps? Must I simply resign myself to the narrative before me? Could I utilize mindfulness to talk myself out of sickness? Is it my duty to fight against such forces?

Christian Science for instance says that the belief in sickness is my error, God simply doesn’t create such things — I do, through my confusion. My other takeaway from Science and Health, is that we don’t exist within a physical reality, it’s simply a simulation of sorts, thus we’re not limited by the material realm — we create the world through thought.

Even if this is true though, I must be mindful and well-disciplined enough to accept and practice this belief. Do I have that ability? Can I ignore the stimuli that says otherwise? The slight chills creeping down my limbs, the little aches appearing around my body? The tiredness clouding over my mind?

Long story short, I did not have the ability to manipulate space-time and all things spiritual. I had a high temperature and low energy, really bad headache, and couldn’t sleep due to discomfort.

I remember back when I was younger, there was an incident in which I was overcome with sickness. Nothing major, but I was very uncomfortable. Eventually, I got so sick of that sickness that I marched out of my room and into the garage — and closed the door behind me. It was go-time, I was about to get down and dirty. I don’t quite remember the specifics, but I got a bit rough and sickness left after that.

But having just thought about that story, I realize that I have a long history of quarreling with sickness. What this tells me is that I’m “energized” by illness, it’s a problem to solve, a challenge to overcome. So by engaging with sickness, I’m inviting its presence. To remove sickness therefore, I would have to pay it no mind — not ready myself for battle.

I tend to see sickness as a game every time it pops up, a game of can-I-overcome-it? I always refuse medicinal-aids based on that premise: that I will defeat this by my mind alone. One obvious flaw in the game is that if I avoid illness from the start, I can’t win, there’s nothing to play. I’d have to get slightly symptomatic to prove its presence, then dismiss it from there — then I’d win. But that never happens — whenever I get symptoms, I get lost to the illness, focusing only on the ride it takes me on, the total takeover of my physical being.

I’ll admit this other aspect too: in a group, when you’re the one that’s well, a lot of responsibility gets put on your shoulders. Suddenly you go from a dude that just shows up whenever the dinner-bell rings, to a dude that has to fend for himself or even a dude that has to start taking care of others. Yikes. I’ll further admit that I shrink from responsibility, it’s just my nature. So did I feel a sense of relief when I transformed from being the only healthy adult to a poor sickly patient, umm….

And so ladies and gentlemen, I think we have our answer. It was not germs or improper hygiene, nor even a lack of faith that caused illness to manifest within me. No, I was sick simply because it was lonely at the top. It was the shortest route to resigning from a leadership position. It turns out that I am the lazy-good-for-nothing that my friend always accused me of being. But on the plus side, that means I truly do have influence over illness…. Faith restored!

Dreamlike Days

Every day is a brand new day.
Imagination paints in the details.
Focusing on a particular fills in its blanks.

Continuity comes from chosen themes.

Ignore vague remembrances,
develop a preferred theme,
focus on details that delight.

Make each day the one you want.
Inspiration suggests a course,
but customize the path to please the palate.