Entrance Fee

Having recently revisited my favorite spiritual texts (The Bhagavad Gita, The Dhammapada, and the Bible’s Matthew), I can see a common thread that I wasn’t previously focused on. And that is: when the Almighty Creator calls you back, you can’t just walk-in and sit-down next to him. You have to earn this coveted spot. There’s no free pass. The Creator doesn’t want some inept slug sitting at his table.

For example, reincarnation isn’t a reward. It means you didn’t cleanse yourself enough before arriving at the Almighty’s house. But don’t worry, you have plenty of chances to try again in your next lives. As for Jesus, he was asked who the greatest in heaven was (Matthew 18), he replied: “Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” And in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25), the master punished the servant that didn’t return the master’s money with interest.

In other words, you arrive upon this Earth as an unfinished lump of clay. The Almighty Creator does NOT want that unfinished clay back. He expects YOU to improve upon it and shape it throughout the course of your existence.

At your ultimate arrival, you can’t show-up empty-handed. But what can you give a Being that has everything? Cultivating your consciousness as a gift to the Almighty Creator is about all you can do. You’re returning your soul with interest.

Isn’t it rude to assume the Almighty wants you back in an unfinished state? Therefore, refine yourself into something worthy of entrance. Does your Creator love you? Sure, but He’s a Tiger-Mom that demands achievement.

I tried the “God loves and accepts me as I am” approach. But I quickly noticed an endless supply of external circumstances pecking at me – there was nowhere to hide. Something is ALWAYS pushing me towards the refinement of consciousness. I’m not good enough as-is, something wants me to improve.

When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, he replied “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” And that’s what I assume he meant by becoming childlike. It’s to love unconditionally, to be eager and full of delight, lacking cynicism, approaching the world optimistically, appreciative of whatever’s provided. In other words, be the good-kid God knows you can be.

Tranquility and Joy

I adopted a dreamlike perspective in order to zoom-out a bit. I didn’t want that perspective per se, I was using it as a means to an end. I theorized that a zoomed-out perspective would lower the overall intensity of my experience. I stuck to it for about a month and noticed that the perspective was relatively easy to achieve – but I’m not sure the result aligns with my ultimate goal. What I really want is tranquility and joy. So perhaps I should dedicate a month to pushing THAT as a perspective.

Instead of “you’re not a human, you’re a whimsical dream”, it becomes “you’re not suffering or dissatisfied, you’re tranquil and full of joy”. I don’t know if that will be as easy to adopt, but might as well try. To be tranquil is to experience calm, gentleness, peace, serenity. To be joyful is to experience happiness, cheerfulness, delight, satisfaction. Ultimately, that’s what I’d like to experience.

Imagine you were to create tranquility and joy – what would that look like? First, you need the opposite for contrast. For example, what’s bright if everything is already at maximum brightness? Yet within the darkness, “brightness” can exist. So for tranquility and joy to exist, disorder and distress must exist. Do I know anxiousness and discomfort? I know them very well. Therefore, the stage has been set.

What am I? Perhaps I am the very embodiment of tranquility and joy. Maybe I am the cosmic reference that’s checked when consciousness considers those concepts. Tranquility and joy aren’t static, their definitions require demonstration. Perhaps my task is to display the totality of the concept. Well, now that the foundation’s been laid, let the tranquility and joy begin!

Hurricane Alley

Ha, and then a hurricane happens. Now THAT’S how a boss begins Round 2. Okay player, let’s see how this pans out.

It’s been almost 20 years since a hurricane came through this particular area. Such obvious external circumstances only reinforce my perspective: it’s a dream through and through.

A “helpless loser bullied by life” – boy, if this doesn’t seem to be true right now. Well, let’s see if I can keep up.

To Intervene

Would a creator create creatures that are fully autonomous or ones that require his help? In other words: does a creator want to be needed, happily intervening when asked – or does he want to sit-back while proudly observing the self-sustaining system he launched?

In one sense, a self-sustaining system might make him feel powerless as flaws reveal themselves and suffering ensues. Would he fix some things along the way or just let the system devolve until it destroys itself? But in another sense, there’s a thrill in seeing whether your creation can sustain or not.

Whereas if a creator chooses to be needed, the creatures would have to be placed in losing-positions. For him to fix anything, problems need to exist. And the more intense the suffering, the more significant the repair (and the greater the gratitude). Stepping-in with deus-ex-machina solutions would surely inspire a creator to feel godlike.

Or perhaps there could be a dual-mode mechanic where those that ask, receive – and those that don’t ask, muddle through on their own accord. Maybe there’s a safety-net in place for those afraid to fall. To intervene, or NOT to intervene – that is the question. Must we suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? Or can we summon the open-arms of a creator to end our woe? Not with death of course, but with divine intervention – our prayers answered?

Component Status

Let’s do a systems-check and see where I’m at in terms of the components that must be managed.

In terms of belief, I dedicated much time and effort towards the process of coercing myself into accepting and adopting a non-physical understanding of reality. In short, “life is but a dream”. Overall, I think this helped tremendously, to the point of eradicating my anxiety.

For attitude, that’s been a bit of a struggle. My mind is full of ideal images depicting how things should be, yet my senses perceive scenes that don’t match up. Therefore, my experiences tend to feel subpar, allowing room for pessimism and cynicism and ungreatfulness. But perhaps the key to this is a lighthearted attitude. Things are supposed to go wrong in a sitcom for example – that’s what makes it funny. So, I’m still working on this.

For calmness, I dedicated myself to becoming calm and applied tons of effort. For instance, I inflicted actual physical punishment anytime I overreacted (holding my breath until it was uncomfortable). As a result, I’ve noticed I’m much calmer. I’ve also noticed that when you’re calm, the overall intensity of life lessens. Therefore, cultivating calmness seems to be worth the effort.

As far as lightheartedness, I’m working on it. I tend to take everything too seriously. And as mentioned, I think lightening-up would help with my attitude.

For focus, I’ve put in a lot of effort here too. I actively ignore things I don’t prefer. I’ve had enough practice from meditation to be able to change my focus quickly when I notice my attention’s on something unpleasant. This has been worthwhile – I tend to see less of what I dislike nowadays and more of what I like.

As for feelings, I previously didn’t put any effort into this, but it’s on my radar now. Essentially, I’m trying to cultivate the feelings I prefer.

With thoughts, I’ve been watching them for a very long time – so it’s made me see what a dumpster-fire they are. I tried playing-nice, but overall I’ve found they’re just toxic-waste polluting my experience. Nowadays they go straight to the spam-folder.

In terms of perspective, I’m way too zoomed-in on myself. Most of my problems are so minuscule that they’d be imperceptible if I wasn’t so close-up. This needs work.

I assumed I could eliminate “bad days” by doing everything right. Yet no matter how well I was doing, “bad days” still happened. Because of that, I thought my overall efforts were worthless (i.e. I might as well give-up on self-improvement). But it seems like “bad days” simply exist – and I have to get out of the rain, get cozy, and wait through the storm. I’m actively working on this.

In this context, “recipes” are the regular things that must be done in the physical-space to keep the body comfortable. First, the concept seems contradictory to my non-physical belief-system. But maybe it’s just a built-in mechanism to encourage participation – providing reason to explore and experiment. Recipe examples: the foods that nourish, the activities that envigorate, the potions that provide optimal energy. These recipes might even change over time – what suits at one point might become caustic later on.

I haven’t figured-out much in terms of recipes – I’m still working on it. For example, it was only a few years ago I realized my body reacted negatively to the consumption of pasteurized milk. Whereas my body behaves better when I eat bread. And my body requires at least a bare-minimum fitness regimen. And despite years of avoiding them, it turns out that coffee and caffeine actually improve my day.

Managing the Experience

At this point, I don’t think there’s a catch-all component that controls the experience of existence. I think there’s a bunch of aspects that require scrutiny and supervision. In no particular order:

Belief. Cultivate a set of beliefs that explain life in a palatable way.

Attitude. Dump pessimism and cynicism, adopt hopefulness and appreciation.

Calmness. In all circumstances, remain calm.

Lightheartedness. Don’t take yourself (or life) seriously, lighten up, have fun.

Focus. Don’t focus on what you don’t like, steer focus to what you DO like.

Feelings. When you feel bad, imagine a scene that inspires you to feel good.

Thoughts. Ignore your thoughts, they’re a waste-product of consciousness.

Perspective. Zoom out, lessen the intensity of life by stepping back a bit.

“Bad day” response. Bad days come and go like stormy weather. They’re not the new-normal, just get cozy and wait for brighter days.

Recipes. Activities, foods, medicinal potions – there’s a personal puzzle to piece together for keeping your physical form comfortable.

All these components influence each other and your job is to manage them like an orchestra conductor.


I don’t like the term, but perhaps that’ll encourage me to avoid engaging in it: self-indulgent introspection. I don’t typically seek attention from others, yet I’m constantly focused on myself. Maybe that’s why I don’t seek it, I already receive too much scrutiny from my own consciousness. “How am I feeling, what am I thinking, what’s my reaction to this or that…”

Enough already! My character is bland and unexciting, he doesn’t warrant all the attention I give him. He simply serves as a vessel of consciousness (no offense). If he had entertainment value, he’d have demonstrated it by now – instead, he literally just sits there. Think of him as a bolted-down chair in a movie-theater.

Sometimes your theater-seat has food remnants on it, maybe the arm-rests are a bit sticky – but who cares, that’s not why you go to a movie-theater. Why would you analyze the squeak in the folding seat? Why would you attempt to discern which beverage was spilled by your feet. Why would you make guesses as to which food the crumbs came from?

The point of the theater experience is to watch a movie, you’re not there to examine the theater itself. Yeah maybe the seats suck, yeah the people in front are chatting, yeah it’s a little too cold – but the less you focus on the immediate setting, the more you can invest yourself in the movie.

Here’s what we know:
#1, you’ve been overly-focused on yourself for several decades.
#2, you’ve had a pretty unpleasant experience.
#3, you’ve witnessed how the feeling of dissatisfaction is relative, and doesn’t dissipate when external conditions improve.

Are these points related? Maybe not, but what if they are? I think there’s enough probable-cause to warrant a direct and immediate ban on all navel-gazing activities.

To that end, I declare these statements to be true for the time-being:
#1, I will stop staring at the bugs accumulating on my windshield and focus only on what’s beyond my vehicle.
#2, I don’t care how my vehicle performs, whether it can be optimized, nor how it compares with others on the road. I’ll simply ride around until it goes kaput.
#3, I’ll keep it washed and vacuumed but that’s it.
#4, My car isn’t entered into ANY races, there’s no rush to go anywhere or do anything in particular. This baby is set to “cruise” and I’m just loungin’.
#5, I will NOT return this vehicle in the condition it was received. As a matter of fact, it’ll be dinged-up and run into the ground.

Well, we’ll see how that goes….

Disciplined Belief

In order to deal with life, we often rely on a set of beliefs to provide a sense of comfort. In other words, if we can explain why things happen, we don’t necessarily feel like helpless leaves adrift on an ocean. For example: if you’re good, you’re rewarded – if you’re bad, you’re punished.

For many years, I believed in the concept of random-chance. Unfortunately, believing in that concept resulted in a lot of anxiety. I could be crushed by a small meteor hurtling from space at anytime – why not, life is random. After many years of fear, I dumped that belief and adopted a more deterministic belief-system i.e. things happen for a reason and randomness doesn’t exist.

Essentially, I used “mental discipline” as the foundation of “why things happen”. Did something bad happen today? “Well, I musta let my mind wander into dank areas and got what I asked for. If I want good things, I must cultivate my mental-garden and prune my mind of all negativity.” That worked well for awhile and allowed me to tidy up my mind a bit.

And I must concede: on an absolute-scale, my life improved after I began focusing on mental discipline. BUT, “dissatisfaction” is a relative beast. Instead of being satisfied with okay-conditions, I found myself chasing intricate details and higher levels of precision. For example, are my very-painful headaches gone? Well yeah, but sometimes I have minor aches and it’s TOTALLY ANNOYING!!! “Nothing should go wrong, ever! Everything should be perfect at all times!!”

Because I kept feeling irritated, I started losing faith in my belief of “mental discipline” as the ultimate foundation of existence. No matter how hard I tried, it seemed like situations designed for maximum-annoyance kept entering my experience. And the more “aware” I became through mental discipline, the more obvious these unpleasant intrusions became. I felt specifically targeted, like this wasn’t a friendly place – and if life was purposefully making things difficult, why should I bother trying if I’m only gonna get dumped-on.

That’s where I’m at right now, trying to piece some new beliefs together and pivot. So far, I’m thinking that I’ve been navel-gazing too much. My character is at the forefront of my thoughts, and he shouldn’t be. It’s like a car that gets you from point-A to point-B – who cares if the engine makes a funny noise or the window’s cracked. You just run the thing till it conks-out.

As far as mental discipline goes, I’m not quite sure how it fits in. I was putting in too much effort and dedication while receiving diminishing-returns. Any more, and I’d basically be a monk. Can’t a happy-medium be found, a balance between discipline and delight? I don’t know yet – the quest continues….

Solving for X

I suppose you could say it’s my mission to solve the riddle of this world. I suspect though, that the world actively and deliberately thwarts any attempt to be figured-out. Therefore, this situation is a game by definition. Why must I decipher it? I don’t know, but there’s not much else I’m driven to do. My consciousness has been placed in this predicament and wants to find its way out – like a maze.

People have been trying to reach God since humanity began. I suppose my efforts are similar in this regard. So, how does one get to heaven? The pathway seems to be by way of mental discipline. Through proper focus, steered by discipline, one can arrive at the intended destination. But life will place many obstacles, in the form of distractions, along the route.

This is a very silly world, so engaging in earnest is a poor strategy. To take this world seriously, is to lose from the outset. Games are for fun after-all. Being a game, losing is an option. Due to many in-game hints, it seems that death is not an actual end, it’s just a respawn, the game continues until it’s ultimately won. Fundamentally, the game wants to be won, or it wouldn’t bother to provide a winning option.

Ultimately, I think the mind must be made to perceive existence as a lighthearted illusion – a dream basically. With that mindset, one’s experience within this dreamworld can be influenced by deliberate focus. By utilizing mental-discipline to maintain focus, one’s circumstance of existence is hammered and shaped into a key – a key that unlocks the maze. And with that, the goal is reached, the game won.

Problematic Solutions

Fixing one problem can reveal or exacerbate another problem. I think that’s what’s happening here. Early on, my primary focus was fear and hostility. I was an anxiety-ridden mess, always worried about something and suspicious of everything. I fixed that problem through a major alteration of perspective. In short, I dumped my belief in a physical-reality ruled by random-chance. I replaced it with a belief in a simulated (or dreamlike) reality in which random-chance doesn’t exist.

It took a few years of dedication, but eventually the new perspective took hold. I truly believe that I exist within a simulation/dream. Because of that, my anxiety and hostility are gone, there’s literally nothing to fear and nothing to fight – it’s all flickering pixels. But now that fear and hostility are gone, so is my primary hobby: worrying and arguing.

With time on my hands, I started focusing on the good-things in life – I finally have the capacity for appreciation. But here’s the problem: if life is a dream, why can’t I have everything I want? Previously, I figured chance wasn’t in my favor, I was lucky to have what little I had. I was fine hiding away from the world, remaining unnoticed. But if this is a simulation, and random-chance doesn’t exist, what’s keeping my wishes from coming true?

Therefore, I’m getting a bit frustrated. Fixing one bug caused another: frustration has become my new hobby. Apparently, I have a tendency to pick dumb ways to occupy my time. So now what? Obviously I have to fix this problem while maintaining the previous fix – I need a comprehensive solution that doesn’t introduce more issues.

One option is to completely renounce the physical world, seeing attainment as an exercise in futility. But this seems wrong. Why exist within a world that offers so much stuff? Purely as an exercise in denial and self-restraint? That seems rude. Hey, here’s this vast and wondrous world to engage with! “Um, no thanks, I’m good – I’ll just sit here facing the corner.”

Another option might be believing in benevolent constraints. Essentially, rules for your own good. “You’ll spoil your supper if you eat dessert first!” Or maybe to keep the narrative more engaging: there’s no story to tell if you already have everything. Or maybe it’s like a Christmas Wishlist: Santa might bring something you asked for, or he might not – be grateful either way.

Although I’ve looked, I’ve yet to find an effective algorithm for attainment. In my experience, success seems haphazard. But in my belief-system, it can’t be chance-based – there has to be some underlying principle. I don’t have to discover the true fundamental nature of reality, I just need a convincing non-contradictory explanation that I can believe in. An adequate answer to the question: how do I get what I want, and why don’t I always get what I want?