Miserable Mess

The bad news is: you are living in a miserable reality. But the good news is: you created this mess — and as its creator, you have the power to change it.

First: entering into existence is a tumultuous affair, no doubt — who could blame you for being a bit sensitive towards the spectacle of light and sound flashing before you. But that initial anxiousness made you imagine everything as potentially dangerous. You took life much too seriously and literally believed yourself to be a fragile creature struggling for survival. And since then, things have spiraled out of control to the point that you’re wracked with fear and you’re having an unpleasant time.

What you’ve got, is a negative attitude: no matter what life presents you, you twist it into something nefarious. This then frames you and life as opponents: life is trying to kill you, while you’re simply trying to survive. The way out of that hole is to surrender to life, to say:

Ya know what, Life? I understand that if you really wanted to kill me, you could’ve done it quite easily by now, but you haven’t. In fact, you’ve been sustaining me this entire time. I’m sorry for disparaging you every chance I could. I realize that the horrible things I’ve experienced were due to my confusion and pessimism. After considering things, I want to live happily, I want the best of what you have to offer, I don’t want to think of you as my enemy, but as my provider. Thank you Life for what I’ve been provided, and I will strive everyday to consume these gifts with appreciation.

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Scary School

When I was a kid in school, we were told to be afraid of drugs and drug dealers. It seems like every generation is provided with something specific to be scared of — some boogeyman that will steal your life away. I remember seeing the old “Duck and Cover” films of the 1950s that were about nuclear attacks for instance. And before that I believe there was polio and other childhood diseases. I think my mother was most afraid of abductions by strangers. Then there were political and philosophical ideologies out to get you. Heck, you could even get drafted by your own government and sent off to die in war.

But what’s the point? If there’s a constant reoccurring narrative, it’s an obvious sign of an artificial reality. How can EVERY generation get some unique form of fear? That’s ridiculous — it’s a conspicuous pattern. And what’s even more ridiculous, is the helplessness that surrounds the source of fear. Surely SOMETHING could be done?! “Nah, it’s just the way things are….” Or at least when I was in school, you could try saying “No!” to drugs, but they didn’t always listen.

So we all grow up with a boogyman that can’t be stopped — and the details change in order to mask the repetition. Oops! Spoiler Alert! My bad.

But you know what? It’s probably not Life’s fault. Life is not a torture-chamber designed to scare little children — it’s a fun-factory that makes dreams come true. So the society-wide boogymen we experience, are likely due to mass-hysteria brought about by all the pessimists among us. (Being a former pessimist, I would like to apologize for my contribution to any mass-hysteria I was a part of.)

And the reason nothing can ever be done to stop the source of fear, is because the boogyman isn’t real. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his inaugural address: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror.” It is literally FEAR that must be stopped — that’s the only way to end the cycle.

Having been a child when Freddy Krueger came to prominence, and subsequently scared shitless by those movies, I don’t find the concept of battling the demons-of-our-dreams too absurd. And like in Freddy’s world, our nightmares can kill us.

In summation: to end the nightmare, stop being afraid.

Habitual Negativity

For me it started early. I guess like any other kid I got bored easily. But instead of finding something lighthearted to do, I went down a darker path — I turned to pessimism. It started innocently enough, just some complaints and a few criticisms. But pretty soon it got out of control, pretty soon I found fault with EVERYTHING. I couldn’t live a normal life. It was now the worst life I could imagine. I had the worst parents, the worst siblings, went to the worst school, ate the worst food, and had the worst time doing anything.

Then I started hitting the hard-stuff: fear. Not only was everything the worst, but now everything was out to get me. Dyes in my stuffed animals. Additives in my food. Salt itself. The rays of the sun. Strangers everywhere. Roving bands of marauders. Phantasms from alternate planes of existence. People I knew. My own family. ESPECIALLY my own family!! Essentially I was afraid of everything outside my house and everything inside my house — no place was safe.

For decades I lived under the dark shadow of pessimism and fear. Everything sucked, and what didn’t suck, was scary. Of course it affected my life! I didn’t dare do anything!! All roads led to certain doom. But as it happens, I hit rock-bottom. I just couldn’t maintain my sh*tty belief-system any longer. I was too tired to be frightened, too tired to complain. I needed to quit, I wanted to quit. But let me tell ya, those surges of anxiety and outrage are tough to give up.

Whew! What a combo! When you need a quick-fix for existential-boredom, anxiety and outrage can do the trick. But they’re cheap thrills at best, the junk-food of how-to-spend-your-time. They are without substance or nutrition. They cannot serve as foundation for a worthwhile life. For that you need trust and appreciation, you need an outlook that seeks the best in everything. How can life be turned from a miserable experience into an enjoyable one? It starts by saying no to negativity.

Negativity. No. And never.

Well-wishing World

If you attempt to get through the world as if it’s a purely physical place, you’ll tend to think of yourself as an only slightly evolved animal. But when we think of animals in their natural habitats (whether true or not), we tend to think of them on high-alert. Either they need to escape predation, or defend against rivals, or scour for a source of food. The world doesn’t care about them — each animal must fend for itself within a harsh and brutal landscape. And similarly, when we think of ourselves as human animals, we tend to go on high-alert.

Another name for high-alert is high-anxiety — we worry ourselves to death thinking about all that could go wrong in the world. But here’s the thing: not everyone is on high-alert — and they’re no worse off than those that are — in fact, they’re prospering and enjoying life. What this evidence demonstrates is: as humans, we are NOT living within a harsh and brutal landscape. And those that believe themselves to be, are confused. And unfortunately, high-anxiety is a symptom of this confusion.

The remedy to confusion is enlightenment. And enlightenment is the realization that everything is okay. You could say the point of spirituality is this: Be calm and trust that the world wants you well. Worry won’t protect you — if the world was truly a random affair, it could end you a million different ways before you ever realized what was coming. The only power that worry provides is the ability to make your experience of existence unpleasant. It’s a stupid power to utilize.

But if it’s already on, you’ll have to turn it off. And the way to do that, is to undermine it. Anxiety is built on a foundation of fearful beliefs — these must be dismantled and replaced with beliefs that instill calm and trust. Fear is not a protector, just a trickster that gets your heart racing. Perhaps you’ve even developed a nasty addiction to the thrill fear provides and refuse to see past the hole you’ve hidden yourself within. To move forward: trust there’s a way out when you look for the light.

Wild Ride

What would happen if you gave a razor-blade to a baby? Potentially bad things. What happens when you give the power of creation to a fragment of God? You give the potential for chaos. What happens when you give the power of wish-fulfillment to a young wizard? You get the potential for some unpleasant manifestations.

What’s my point? If we are truly entities that design the world we see (either as spiritual beings or sprites in a simulation), then there’s a decent chance that we’re going to whip-up some nasty stuff when we first enter the world. For instance, when a class full of kids is left alone without the teacher, oftentimes tumult ensues.

Of course not every kid or noob is going to go nuts, but some will lose control and get crazy. And once we get scary stuff in our minds, we keep thinking about it, creating even more as we go. All of a sudden the world seems like a nightmare-realm full of monsters. Yet these were monsters of our own immature-fragment-of-god creation.

For me at least, the spiraling negativity didn’t end until I scared myself into such a state-of-fear that I finally lacked even the drive to scare myself anymore. I was done, the wild ride was over. And although I was able to leave the downward spiral, old habits die hard and I still have a tendency to scare myself.

If ever I remember the horrible happenings in my past, I wonder: if this is such a great world, why did so many bad things happen? The comforting answer I came up with was that my inexperience as a creative-being manifested them all. At least from that perspective, I had creative control. But I was a noob that went nuts and flung sh*t everywhere.

Now I’m stuck cleaning up the mess I made. Oops, sorry me. Whenever I find traces of the smeared darkened hues, I have to scrub them out or paint over ’em with brighter colors. I covered so much of life with negativity — there’s a lot to undo. But no big deal really, painting is a perfectly fine past-time. And the more I do, the more resplendent everything gets.

Fear Dismantling 101 – Day 8

Okay, this is the one. This is the day upon which I reveal the ULTIMATE method of destroying fear where it stands. Essentially what you’ll need to develop is a belief system so comforting, that fear doesn’t even make sense anymore. With the right set of beliefs, you won’t be afraid of anything — not death, not disease, not disaster, not relationship woes, not the unknown, not the future — nothing. You’re more than welcome to devise your own set of comforting beliefs, but as an example I’ll share with you what I came up with.

My person belief system is of course Simulation Theory, the idea that there is no physical reality, merely flickering pixels programmed to captivate players as they navigate the adventure of a lifetime. This is a challenging game in which an eternal being gets to forget himself for a short while and see if he can handle existence as an embodied being. If a character dies in this world, so what, respawn is just a click away. And like any game, the only goal is fun — there are no other objectives.

I’ve driven this belief system home to the point where it’s my default. That took some time, but it paid off. Now when unpleasant questions arise, I can easily answer them away with Simulation Theory. For example:

Me: What should I be doing with my life?
Also me: Enjoying yourself.
Me: What happens when I die?
Also me: Like any game, just play it again.
Me: I’m getting a little worried about [fill-in-the-blank].
Also me: Nah, it’s like one of those heavily scripted games, it’ll all work out.
Me: I’m not sure how good I’m doing at this life stuff.
Also me: Don’t worry, the AI has been helping you along the entire time — you’re fine. Think of it like an amusement park ride, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
Me: I’m feeling a bit unloved.
Also me: WHAT!? This whole world is a gift lovingly created for your entertainment! Your existence is an expression of love itself! And the only expectation you need fulfill is to enjoy this gift so graciously given.

I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but it fits with my personality and I find it comforting. Since adopting this belief system, I’ve been able to short-circuit fear whenever it manifests. I no longer experience stress or worry. I still experience frustration from time to time because I want the game to proceed in a certain way — I guess I get impatient and want everything right now. I can still get a little sad if I focus on sentimental stuff — but that’s not really my thing, although I know some people seem to enjoy crying.

I can get bored sometimes, but I really try to keep myself busy with something. As a motivator, I maintain the belief that boredom signals the game to introduce external obstacles. In other words, if I don’t entertain myself, the game is going to step in and make sure my time is occupied with something “interesting”. And the game doesn’t care what it is, as long I’m engaged — so if I want something I prefer, I better pick it myself

If you want to eliminate fear, you need a belief system in which fear becomes meaningless. From experience, I can tell you it works. My previous beliefs put fear front-and-center — but once I replaced them, everything got better. In my previous belief system, I was my body, just a tiny inconsequential animal crawling on a big rock hurtling around a fireball, a hapless victim of random chance. That was intense — now I’m relaxed.

So your goal for today is to develop a comforting belief system. The easiest thing to do is adopt a pre-existing set of beliefs and customize per your preferences. And the good news is that fear will help you by presenting challenges and objections, causing you to fill-in the blanks and fine-tune as necessary. Aren’t you due for a change anyway? Well here is an opportunity to turn your whole life around and change the world before your very eyes.

This is nothing short of magic — so let me be the first to welcome you into this wizarding world — a realm whose presence I bet you could always sense. But for whatever reason, you’ve been denying yourself entrance. Well deny no more! Step right in! If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know, perhaps I can answer them. Do have a great time — and welcome home!

Fear Dismantling 101 – Day 7

Let’s sum up so far. On day one you discovered that the only thing standing between you and the enjoyment-of-life is fear. On day two, you named Fear as an enemy that must be denied and defeated. On day three, you realized all that fear you’ve been feeding yourself results in a scary interpretation of your everyday life. On day four, you learned how detrimental the idea of random-chance is to your well-being. On day five, you learned to fight fear with fear by scaring yourself into better behavior. And on day six, you stopped thinking of yourself as afraid — you have preferences instead.

What we are developing here is a stable platform of beliefs amidst a turbulent ocean of thoughts. Fear may be a feeling but its foundation is rooted in untamed thoughts. Scary thoughts are just the meaningless musings of your mind — the problem starts when you invite those unpleasant thoughts in to stay awhile.

Your responsibility is like that of a gardener. What kind of seeds will do well in your soil? In other words, what interests you — what delights you? Plant those seeds. Uh-oh, with exposed soil comes weeds. Better plant those seeds fast. Get something in the ground already!! Just select something you like and focus on it. You can switch things up later if the results are unsatisfactory.

Okay, your sprouts are still small, so weeds remain an issue. Weeds are the thoughts that don’t belong in your garden, they’re nuisance plants that take resources from the plants you prefer. Pluck them, dismantle them, then tend to the sprouts and thoughts you care about. Why would you ever water weeds and let them grow in your garden? Keep those unpleasant thoughts outta there!

Within a well-pruned mind, fear cannot run rampant. And here’s a little exercise you can do to make the pruning process easier. Start by breathing — which hopefully you’re doing already… in… out…. Keep breathing… in… out…. Now, as you exhale, mentally say the word “om” (I usually pronounce it like “home” but without the “h”). Why silently say a word? Just to help you maintain focus — because eventually you’ll notice that you’re not saying the word anymore. When that happens, simply start saying it again.

It’s a little game you’re playing: Maintain the Om. One part of your mind will want to wander everywhere else but Om. But another part of your mind is trying to keep Om at the forefront. Eventually you’ll get better. And if you do this for twenty minutes everyday, you’ll get some good practice ignoring your thoughts and focusing your mind.