Dream-Jitsu

Dream-Jitsu (or dream-technique) is the art and method of living life as if it were a dream. As martial-arts comprises various techniques of overcoming opposition through physical manipulations, Dream-Jitsu seeks to overcome opposition through the development of a dreamlike perspective. Instead of manipulating opponents through joint-locks and strikes, Dream-Jitsu manipulates the practitioner’s own mind through concepts that paint reality as infinitely malleable.

Where a non-practitioner sees a brick-wall, a student of Dream-Jitsu sees a mirage manifested by his own mind. The brick-wall is surmounted not by physical effort, but by overcoming a belief in solidity. But does it work? By utilizing Dream-Jitsu, the relevance of the brick-wall in the student’s life rapidly approaches zero. As he no longer focuses on the brick-wall, it’s as good as gone — whether it’s truly gone doesn’t even matter.

But make no mistake, to the practitioner, the brick-wall IS gone. The student alters his perspective until life is but a dream. Furthermore, the practitioner trains his focus so that he can specifically manipulate this dream. Without focus, he knows his dream will run rampant and take him on a wild ride. But with focus, he can rein-in this dream and direct it in a manner that results in an enjoyable experience. For that is the ultimate goal of Dream-Jitsu: to facilitate a delightful life.

Like the martial-arts, Dream-Jitsu uses repetitive practices to reinforce its teachings. But unlike the martial-arts, the only opponent a student ever faces is himself. A student must thoroughly smash his belief in a concrete reality, and replace it with fleeting illusion. From an illusory perspective, the practitioner is able to proceed through life without fear or frustration, without lack or limitation, and with an ever-present confidence and comfort in the power of his practice.

Starting Point

What’s your starting point for the day? Do you begin by scanning your body for aches and pains? Do you try and recall yesterday’s details? Or do you analyze a mental calendar, wondering which deadlines are finally due? Maybe you think about potentially unpleasant circumstances that await? In other words, are you simply a mechanical body rooted in a material world, subject to the whims and ways of random chance? If that is your starting point, good luck with that! It’s a sure-fire recipe for a miserable experience.

A better starting point for the day is this: I haven’t woken up from a dream, I’ve ENTERED a dream. This world IS the dream. And the theme of this dream depends wholly on my focus and attitude. Therefore, I am filled with faith in a delightful day that will unfold before me. I am ready to experience the best of what life has to offer. I will walk through this realm lightheartedly, ever-merry because I only focus on what I love. All my efforts will go towards appreciating this wondrous dreamworld.

Try THAT as a starting point and see if your life doesn’t drastically improve. Spoiler Alert! It will. Think about it this way… If I bathe myself in thoughts of suspicion and betrayal, and someone comes up to me and says: “Hey Rich, here’s some coffee”, I’m bound to think they’re up to something and I’ll respond: “WHAT!? No, it’s probably poisoned!”. Whereas if I bathe myself in thoughts of love, I’d likely respond with: “Oh! Thanks so much! Wow, what a treat!”

The way in which you achieve “the good life” is through the practice of keeping your mind focused on good stuff. And relatedly, don’t sabotage yourself by taking detours into the land-of-negativity. It’s not complicated stuff, the formula is simple: inviting only the best thoughts into your mind will result in the best life possible — whereas allowing the worst thoughts to remain in your mind will result in a miserable life. That’s IT.

Positive Context

What’s happening depends on the context it’s placed within. Always and without exception, context matters. Part of my negativity-free diet, is placing EVERYTHING within a positive context. Did something bad just happen? The answer is always: NO. Something GOOD just happened, and here’s why….

Hey Rich, the money in your savings account is getting substantially smaller, that’s bad right? NO! It’s GOOD because it means something literally life-changing is about to happen!! How amazing is that gonna be!? I’m not sure what form the change will take, but a new adventure is coming my way! Cool!

Hey Rich, a headache is certainly bad, right? NO! It’s GOOD because it lets me know that I must’ve let my thoughts drift into negativity. The pain serves as an early-warning indicator telling me to improve my mental focus. The “pain” also provides an opportunity to re-contextualize the sensation into a mild pressure that no longer captivates my attention.

Hey Rich, a hard-to-reach lightbulb just burnt-out, that’s annoying right? NO! It’s GOOD because I have an opportunity to use my ladder and feel like a real handyman. “Everyone, please remain calm. Your lighting will be restored momentarily.” Okay, how about when your mini-helicopter broke, that’s gotta be bad? NO! It’s GOOD because I get to fly my drone more.

Bad things aren’t bad, they’re just different. And different isn’t bad, it’s just my character experiencing a new scene. Life is a movie made for my amusement. One scene follows the next and I appreciate the ever-changing narrative that keeps me enthralled. Plus, my focus shapes the story-arc: if I focus on dark stuff, dreariness increases — whereas if I focus on lighthearted stuff, delight increases.

Negative Influence

I’m currently on a negativity-free diet, and as such, I’m doing all I can to eliminate negativity as a lifestyle. I no longer want to engage in pessimism, dissatisfaction, lack & limitation, fear, and frustration as a way of life. To that end, I’ve adopted a strict viewpoint about “why bad things happen”:

ALL unpleasantness I experience is a DIRECT result of my own tendency to drift into negativity. If there’s pain in my body, my negativity caused it. If anyone tells me some bad news, my negativity created the circumstance. If something of value breaks, my negativity manifested it. Even if I see one stranger speaking harshly to another stranger, MY negativity is causing that scene to occur. In other words, my attitude is influencing the world I’m experiencing.

Basically, I think of life as a dream. If I’m negative, bad things will appear before me, conjured by my gloominess. Whereas if I maintain a positive attitude, pleasant narratives will come into being. Anything bad that happens simply serves as proof that I need to work harder at removing negativity from my thoughts. Life does NOT treat me poorly in ANY way, I’m simply inexperienced at reining-in my negativity.

I’ve used this way of thinking in the past, so I know it works. The only difference now, is that I’m going full-steam ahead with it — there will be no alternative I’ll entertain. Diets can be strict and often enforce unusual conditions, this is simply one of those constraints. I’m tired of being a sloppy mess, bloated by pessimism and fear. Be gone, dour days! Let only the good-life remain!

Cosmic Accident

Dear Rich, are humans a cosmic accident?

Well dear reader, if you want a thrill-filled and ultimately miserable experience, then yes. But if you want to enjoy your time here, then no. I’ve held both positions at different times in my life, and I can tell you that option-one produces a lot of angst whereas option-two produces a much higher degree of comfort and satisfaction overall.

Option-one, that humans ARE a cosmic accident, entails a belief in a perpetual struggle for survival. It means my ancestors fought and clawed their way into modernity and I am the result of that competitive exertion. And I too must continue this endeavor lest I fall prey to those forces that are stronger than I. And to that end, I am prone to worry so that I’m not caught with my guard down.

Option-two, that humans are NOT a cosmic accident, entails a belief in a world created to take-care of its inhabitants. A cozier idea don’t you think? It takes all the pressure off. I can feel myself relaxing as I contemplate the concept. And guess what? I’m still alive, even thriving, despite the fact that I’ve completely let my guard down. I don’t worry about anything anymore and life chugs-along just fine.

And believe me dear reader, I was a stalwart adherent of option-one. I was so committed in-fact, that I eventually broke under the strain. I became a believer in option-two not because it appealed to me, but because I was beaten into submission by my belief in a cold cruel world. I couldn’t handle it anymore and finally dumped the idea. What filled the void was option-two.

And once I adopted option-two, the obviousness of it was everywhere. I had only imagined the necessity of struggle, when in actuality, none was needed. Sure, I felt like a big dummy for scaring myself silly with a fearful fantasy throughout all those years, but I got over it. Life in general got a lot easier when I stopped imagining the worst. Nowadays, I simply trust that my existence isn’t an accident and it’s made all the difference.

Life is a LOT more enjoyable when you no longer believe in a harsh and uncaring world where vigilance is the only thing keeping you alive. Give up that idea dear reader, and you’ll see a vast improvement in your experience of existence.

Negativity Free

I recently started a negativity-free diet. What’s negativity? Negativity is whatever makes for a poor experience. The breeding ground for negativity begins with the thoughts I focus on. If allowed to grow unchecked, those negativity-weeds will flourish and infiltrate my everyday life. Therefore I must pluck them whenever found. To aid in the identification of such weeds, I’ve compiled a list of what to look-out for (negativity comes in many forms):

Pessimism, expecting the worst.
Ex: Whatever I’m about to experience is going to be horrible.

Skepticism, doubtfulness.
Ex: That awesome outcome you’re describing is impossible! Don’t waste your time! Give up now!

Complaining, criticism, disgust.
Ex: Ugh! What a horrible day! Ew, that’s nasty! Gah, this is gross!

Mockery, making fun of individuals or life itself.
Ex: Ha, you’re actually trying! Life is so lame, don’t bother!

Bad-mouthing others.
Ex: He is SO dumb! Did you SEE what she was wearing!? What’s with his weird face!?

Fear, worry, panic, hoplessness.
Ex: OMG! Something could go wrong at any moment! We’re all gonna die!

Anger, outrage, frustration, irritation, annoyance.
Ex: GAH! Screw you! This sucks! I hate everything! This doesn’t work! Hulk SMASH!

Resentment, offense, bitterness; feeling victimized, persecuted, or threatened.
Ex: I can’t believe what she did to me!! I’ll never forgive her! Why is everyone laughing at me!? Why is life out to get me!?

Lack & limitation.
Ex: I can’t have that. I’ll never be able to do that! Things will never improve.

Boredom.
Ex: Hmm, there’s nothing interesting to do. My life is SO boring!

Pain, captivated by ailments.
Ex: Ouch, my head hurts! (Proceeds to poke head) Yep! It still hurts! Ow, my elbow hurts! (Proceeds to bend elbow repeatedly) Ow!!

Existential dread, death fixation.
Ex: Nothing matters! I don’t matter! Whatever I do is futile! Life is meaningless! Oh no, I’m going die!

Problems of the world.
Ex: A global catastrophe is around the corner! The environment is collapsing! Economic crash! Pandemics! War!

Misunderstood, rejection, loneliness, unloved.
Ex: Psh, no one truly understands me. No one wants to be my friend. I am truly alone in this world.

Shyness, timidity, unworthiness.
Ex: Well, he’s probably busy and doesn’t have time for me. He probably wouldn’t want to talk to me anyway. I can just sit quietly and hope that I’m acknowledged eventually.

Distrust, suspicion.
Ex: That’s too good to be true! Oh, you’re gonna do something nice for me!? Yeah right!! I bet you will! Hm, what is that guy up to? NO WAY am I doing that! It’s a trap!

Comparison to others, covetousness, jealousy.
Ex: Psh, look at all that awesome stuff he has. If he’d only give me some! Ugh, he has intelligence, good-looks, and succeeds at EVERYTHING!

Embarrassed.
Ex: I messed up big-time! Now nobody’s gonna respect me. Why do I have to be so awkward!

Disappointed, dissatisfied, unappreciative.
Ex: Hm, could be better. Well THAT wasn’t what I expected! That was completely worthless!

Regret, second-guessing.
Ex: Why did I do THAT! I could’ve done better. I should’ve picked the other one! From that one wrong decision, EVERYTHING will go awry.

Gloominess, sadness, misery.
Ex: Dark forces are looming. I can sense bad things about to happen. Woe is me, for I was born in a dark and dreary world.

Powerless.
Ex: I can’t do anything within this giant world. I’m merely a bug on a rock waiting to get squashed.

Mechanical malfunction.
Ex: This thing doesn’t work anymore, it’s dead — it had a limited lifespan anyway, it was bound to break sooner or later. I guess the service is down, maybe it’ll return one day.

Know thy enemy, and thy enemy is negativity. This is not an exhaustive list but it should provide a decent indicator of what shouldn’t be allowed to take root in the garden of the mind.

I’ve also noticed that the entertainment I consume greatly influences my thoughts. Therefore, I must be selective and cut-out all forms of entertainment that derive their allure from negativity. This includes scary stuff, anything too intense, the news, anything political, legal, or medical related, stuff that portrays life as fundamentally flawed, anything that makes a mockery of life, and basically anything that leaves a bitter aftertaste.

A diet by its nature is about restricting yourself from certain things in order to get into a better state of being. In this case, I’m restricting myself from engaging with negativity in the hopes of improving my overall experience of existence.

Half Confused

Should one simply accept negativity as half of the whole (the other half being positivity)? In other words, is life truly a balance between light and dark, hot and cold, pleasant and unpleasant, pleasure and pain? And therefore: are anger, misery, and worry fundamental aspects of the human experience that we should honor?

No, negativity has no merit. Here’s an example: if wretched things are meant to be honored, then vomit your first meal of the day into a cup and drink it back up. Take some time to honor “disgust” today. Oh? You don’t want to do that? So there’s a line you won’t cross? Then draw the line further: put fear and frustration and all other forms of negativity beyond that line as well.

If there are aspects of negativity that you won’t do, why do any of it? Lashing out in anger. Constantly complaining. Being perpetually pessimistic. The negative aspects of the human experience are NOT fundamental activities that we should perform, they are the manifestation of a mistaken perspective.

If you believe that negativity is something you should practice, you’re confused, and you’re attempting to justify your bewilderment by pretending it’s an inherent part of life. It’s not. Imagine you’re trying to operate a forklift but you don’t know how it works, so you wing-it. From that point on, you assume that whatever you did is how it’s done. When someone finally attempts to explain the correct operation of the forklift, you belligerently tell them that you already know how it works. BUT, it turns out that frequent crashing and dropping boxes is NOT a necessary part of forklift operation.

In the same way, you entered life in a state of complete ignorance. From there, you managed to scrape together a strategy to navigate through the world. But the so-called strategy you devised sucks, and results in a LOT of crashing. Thankfully, it turns out that negativity is NOT a necessary part of life. You don’t need anger, outrage, frustration, regret, fear, worry, misery, pain, or anything else that results in a poor experience.

Life is better than that. YOU are better than that. So stop swilling your own vomit and cut out the negativity. Living life “right” simply begins with NOT purposefully hurting yourself. Life is NOT a struggle unless you make it one. You’re in a shallow pool flailing around like a madman: stop and stand up. Be still for a bit, listen to the quiet, examine the mechanism of existence.