Persistent Focus

Picture a lack of persistent focus this way: You want to thread a needle in order to sew something up. You focus very intently on the end-of-the-thread and the eye-of-the-needle, lining them up about a half-inch away from one another. You can see with just a bit of forward movement the thread will easily enter the eye. The goal is so close and the conclusion is obvious. Now on to something new! You look out the window at the rustling leaves on the nearest tree. Your hand with the thread moves in the direction of the needle and it misses.

With whatever you want in life, you can’t simply “set it and forget it”. You have to see it through, keeping your focus on it the entire time. This isn’t “babysitting” it, you’re engaging with it. You WANT to watch it happen, seeing it unfold before you — that’s the point of doing it. When you watch a movie for example, you’re not simply skipping to the end, you’re watching the events progress and conclude. In the same way, don’t just devise a goal and wish for it’s hasty conclusion, maintain your focus in an interested way.

If you’re not showing interest, why bother finishing it — right? It’s like playing a game on your phone in the middle of a movie, who cares how the movie ends, you’re obviously not interested anymore — stop the movie and move on. Similarly, if you’re not following your goals along and taking daily interest, why bother seeing them through to the end, you’re not that interested. This is why you need persistent focus in order to get results. If you simply say: “I want a better life!” and then you do what you usually do, it’s not gonna work obviously.

You have to maintain a persistent focus on this goal of yours. You have to delve into it. What would you actually change? What parts need improvement? Is anything already good as-is? What’s the better stuff you’d want to experience? Can you provide some details, perhaps dig-up some examples? What would your improved daily schedule be like? In other words, you should focus so much and so often that the details of your goal become ingrained in your thoughts. With this level of considered attention aimed at your goal, you’ll surely thread the needle.

Effortless Attainment

In Dream-Jitsu, we strive to develop and maintain the precept that life is but a dream. Therefore, NOTHING is attained or achieved through physical means — you can’t manually move yourself closer to a desired end. You must tune your thoughts and attitude until they align with whatever you want. If you’re straining and struggling, you can be sure you’re doing it wrong AND you’re moving further from the goal.

Even the simplest goal, like grabbing a glass of water, requires tuning to its frequency — otherwise you could knock it over and spill its contents everywhere. If you’re not tuned to walking, you could trip and fall. If something isn’t easy and effortless, you’re not aligned with it. Difficulty doesn’t mean you should strain harder, it means you should calm down and get yourself into a receptive mental state — you need to remove your resistance.

In a dream, nothing requires great effort. You wish it, it manifests. So don’t entertain thoughts that have struggle as their theme. Whenever you think “it’s not supposed to be easy”, dismiss that idea. You certainly CAN impose obstacles, but why bother, they’re not necessary. Complete what you want, appreciate it, then move on to the next course. Don’t drag something out just because you’re afraid of what’s to come — in a dream, every meal ends with a delicious dessert.

When you’re receptive to receiving your wish, it comes. Whereas if your mind is full of “logical” limitations and feelings of lack, that resistance will obviously keep your wish away. When flooded with negative thoughts, practice not thinking those thoughts: meditate. When the mind is calmed, do something you enjoy to repopulate your mental biome with delight. You must develop the feelings of accomplishment and attainment FIRST, THEN the actual manifestation happens.

Fluid Flight

I’ve been playing with small remote-controlled flying-things lately. These are indoor-caliber devices with mini propellers that are relatively safe to crash. It’s a fun hobby. So fun in fact, that I’m even watching videos about larger drones and actual helicopters and regular full-sized airplanes. I guess I’m a bit obsessed by flight right now. But so what, what’s my point?

What’s the difference between the first day you fly a tiny helicopter and the seventh day? It flys a lot smoother, it’s more nimble. Why? Because you’re lighter on the controls. Instead of hard jerks to the limits of the lever, it’s a slight and delicate movement to the left. Gentle and easy-does-it becomes easier to do. You’re no longer over-correcting and sending the aircraft in every direction.

Essentially, you stop being overly cautious and just fly. Fear is what makes you grip the controls too tightly, not allowing for nuance. THIS WAY! NO! THAT WAY! AHH! IT’S GONNA CRASH!! But after you practice a bit and crash a few times, you start to loosen up. So on day-one you’re too tense and on day-seven you’re more relaxed — that’s the significant difference that improves your overall piloting performance.

On day-one, you’re over-thinking, trying to mentally move the controls this way and that. But thought-out movement is too slow and clumsy. Whereas on day-seven, your hands know what to do, they effortlessly move the craft away from the walls with automatic reactions. Or at least until you realize how well you’re doing, and start analyzing the action. Once you begin over-thinking again, your reactions slowdown. CRASH!!

Doing something well, is the act of getting out of your own way. What that means is: allowing the body to do its thing while not allowing the consciousness to “help”. It’s a dance — you can’t mentally move in a graceful way, your body has to be unencumbered by conscious interference. What you, the consciousness, needs to repeatedly remind yourself is this: “Shhh! The body is performing, please be respectful and remain quiet. Simply watch and enjoy the show.”

Successful Failure

If you wanted to program an android to act like a human, you’d have to introduce erratic behavior into its actions. The android should perform haphazardly, having one mishap after another. Instead of a quick and precise path, the android would need to take a slow and sloppy route. The completion of objectives would become uncertain and prolonged.

But with this change, the android’s actions suddenly become a lot more exciting to observers. “Can he do it!!?? He was so close last time!!” Fast and efficient action that’s always successful is boring. Sports, games, gambling — these events are only fun when the outcome isn’t certain AND we invest some time into them.

Because we’re always traversing a slow and sloppy path toward our selected objectives, we can deduce that existence is a manufactured experience. We’re obliged to take the slow and sloppy route — it’s by design. And it’s this very condition that entertains the consciousness, the observer within watching it all go down.

In other words, you’re not supposed to instantaneously have everything you want. You’re supposed to take a winding route fraught with uncertainty — that’s where the fun comes from. A successful life is not one in which you achieve arbitrary goals — it’s one in which you enjoy the epic adventure you’re experiencing, the slow and sloppy route to nowhere in particular.

At the Top

Sometimes I sit and stare at successful people. You know, like watch interviews and such. Some do just fine at the top whereas others stumble and fall, even to their death. Is life at the top THAT precarious? But of course, people die at the bottom too, probably much more so. And isn’t it better to die in a mansion than a cardboard box? If you gotta go, might as well go in style.

From those that survived falling from the top, they said their success was ultimately unfulfilling i.e. it didn’t solve their problems, so they had no place to go but down. And down they went. In other words, they had their wish granted but they didn’t feel satisfied — and with nothing left to attain, their lives felt empty. It seems that if you get what you want without an ability to appreciate it, you’re going to have a really bad time.

Typically these people are young, and rocket to success while lacking practice in appreciation. If you’re going to have fun at the top, you need an ability to appreciate it. You can’t be paranoid that you’ll lose it, you can’t be suspicious of everyone around you, and you have to embrace the lifestyle and trust that life wants you well. Otherwise, you might freak-out and literally jump off.

And I admit, it wasn’t that long ago that I imagined walling myself away from the world. In Minecraft for example, I used to build underground bunkers to protect myself from the harsh and brutal mobs. I would have full food supplies and whatever else I needed alongside extensive tunnels and air-lock style door systems. Zombies weren’t gonna catch me slippin. So if I had early success, I would’ve likely done something similar.

But nowadays I see the futility in “protecting” yourself from life. If life wants you dead, ain’t nuthin you can do. What determines your fate is a good attitude, that’s it. Believe in the goodness of life and you’ll receive it. Whereas if you believe in the bad, you’ll get exactly what you asked for. That’s the conclusion I reached after watching all those successful people. That’s the common thread that determines whether you enjoy your time at the top, and whether you remain there.

Today’s lesson: learn to appreciate. If you can’t do that, there’s no sense in getting to the top.

Simulated Success

Take my experience in Stardew Valley for example, where I lived an entire life over the course of a few weeks. As a single-fella that showed up in town, I created a rather successful farm, went on several adventures, and courted my wife Emily (with whom I had a couple kids). Of course I can’t forget about my faithful companion Brownie, my horse that carried me wherever I wanted to go.

My point is: I’m not incompetent when it comes to making a successful life for myself. I pursued and achieved my goals. The only reason I stopped playing, was because there was no growth potential left — my farm produced tons of income and I had lots of savings, but the farm-work was getting tedious, and I couldn’t simply hire farm-hands to take over. Essentially there were no upgrades left, nothing else to buy.

Stardew Valley is somewhat open-ended too. I specifically chose to build up a very profitable farm and start a family. Yet it vexes me in this life that such financial success eludes me. To be fair, my in-game character inherited his farm — which provided a starting point. But in this life, I’ve been more of a rudderless boat, adrift and anxious over my lack of resources and direction.

And Stardew Valley is no isolated incident by the way, there are plenty of games in which I’ve built up slowly yet purposefully, becoming a dominant figure over time. It’s not that I spend a lot of time playing games either, these are just occasional tangents. Am I incredibly bad at THIS game? Is the difficulty setting simply TOO high? I don’t know but I don’t like it. Therefore, although I am loath to do so, I give this game ONE star. Enough of this lobby-level B.S.

Myth of Productivity

My work of late has consisted of trying to develop a better attitude. And one thing holding me back is valuing the concept of grueling-work. “Why do that the easy way, when there’s a much harder way to do it!!!” See? That’s stupid. Yet that’s what my attitude boils down to: “Work harder, not smarter! And how dare you enjoy yourself!!!” That’s masochism, plain and simple.

I believed that frivolous activity was worth less than “productive” activity. Yet, I’ve noticed that the less “productive” I am, the easier life gets. It turns out that life is NOT a struggle unless YOU struggle against it. Productivity is a myth because you can’t actually produce anything of value. In other words, if everything’s pixels, ALL activity is frivolous.

In addition: either life gives it to you, or you don’t get it. Effort doesn’t guarantee outcomes i.e. planting seeds won’t always result in bountiful harvests. There’s a certain combination of conditions that must be met or else your fields won’t yield. You could work sun-up to sun-down and still get nothing. In order to receive what life provides, you have to play the game correctly.

In fact, “working hard” displays a fundamental misunderstanding of life. You’re assuming your tiny efforts amount to something significant. Yet you’re completely missing the point of how much life is doing for you while deluding yourself into believing YOU did it. But the most you can do is appreciatively accept what’s already provided.

Imagine you’re at a party. You walk over to the buffet-table and pile tons of food onto your plate. It gets so heavy that you’re starting to break a sweat. You struggle to maintain your balance as you find a seat — plus it’s a bit crowded so it takes a couple minutes. You sit down to eat and proceed to stuff yourself. Then you sit there gloating and boasting about how much effort and work you put-in to obtain and consume all that food. THAT is what patting yourself on the back for “all your hard work” is like. You simply partook of what was already there!! You did NOTHING.

So the better attitude is this: Thank you life for this amazing party. Wow, it really has everything I could want. There’s people to interact with, food to eat, chocolate cake especially, heck there’s even a pool to swim in! There’s tons of activities to keep me busy. I’m actually overwhelmed by the many choices. But don’t worry, I’ll try my hardest to have fun! I understand that my duty as a guest is to enjoy my time here. I also understand that I should focus on the activities I derive the most delight from. Thanks again!