Racing Around

It seems like the most common feeling I experience is “irritation”. Wouldn’t it be better though, if instead of a constant state of annoyance, a more enjoyable sensation dominated my experience? Oh I dunno, maybe something like anticipation, delight, appreciation, and just an overall sense of satisfaction? That seems like a much better approach to life than finding reasons to be upset all the time.

But doesn’t life manipulate your feelings through external stimuli? I’m not so sure about that. Although I believe that life intentionally introduces “surprises”, I think my reaction to those surprises can be steered. Not perfectly controlled, but at least influenced. It seems like my internal attitude makes a significant difference in regards to external stimuli. It’s like driving a car: if you overreact or overcorrect, you’re going to have a bad time. It’s better to stay calm and stay the course.

Gentle turns, soft acceleration, light breaking, maintaining adequate distance – it’s not that difficult. The same goes with the human avatar. If you go nuts, you crash. Why wouldn’t you? Isn’t that obvious? If you get distracted, you miss a turn. Now you’re scrambling to get back to where you were going. There are consequences for being a bad driver – why shouldn’t there be? Gun the engine, strip your gears. Pay attention, or pay the toll.

My point is this: the human avatar is NOT a ride-car that’s safely and securely fastened to a track, whisking your consciousness around a preset stage of audio-animatronic characters programmed for your amusement. Think of this more like a car-driving game in which crashing IS an option. The benefit is that there’s an element of excitement and a greater sense of immersion. The downside is that you have to maintain proper focus at all times – you’re a player not a passenger.

Like in any video-game, there are aspects and cut-scenes that are scripted. For example, a car-driving game has a bunch of race-courses you have to carefully navigate. Games aren’t very open-ended, they provide a lot of structure for a character to follow. This leads to confusion about “free-will” – am I in control or not in control? Basically it’s both. Within the preset parameters of the game, you can control a limited aspect of the character.

What you actually control isn’t quite obvious here. It’s not the avatar directly. Think about “walking” while walking, and you’ll likely stumble. For the avatar to perform effectively, you essentially have to keep your consciousness from trying to micromanage. Like driving a car, you’re just nudging it from time to time, keeping everything steady, staying between the lines while the vehicle does the work rolling down the road.

The destination is already known, it’s the checkered finish-line. Your role is to sit in the driver’s seat with a first-class view, gently influencing the controls. And your primary mode of control is through focus and attitude. Focus on stuff you don’t like and you’ll drive right into it. Have a bad attitude while rip-roaring down the road, and you’ll likely crash. It’s a direct correlation, just simple arithmetic, nothing complicated.

Therefore, if the most common sensation you experience is “irritation”, then we can deduce that you’re not applying enough consideration to your role as driver. You’re likely just sitting there, gazing out the window as the side of your vehicle scrapes against the guardrail and the worn-out windshield wipers drag across dry glass. “Boy I wonder what all that noise is? It sure is annoying!”

Life in the Slow Lane

When in love, nothing changes except for the perception that she loves you too — and from there, the entire world alters before your eyes.

And just imagine if the signal you received was only a mistake, a misinterpretation on your part, suddenly the world darkens once again.

Interesting no? That an entire world brightens or darkens on such a simple thing. That’s all the proof you need: what you’re perceiving “out there” is nothing more than a fanciful fiction manipulated by your mood.

YOU create the world you inhabit, of this there can be no doubt. So induce a positive interpretation. Encourage feelings of love and satisfaction and triumph — and whatever else you enjoy.

You can always feel loved by a benevolent power that creates this world for your amusement. And in every face you see, you can interpret love. In every hint of warmth, you can feel a hug, love’s tender embrace.

This isn’t hard. On one hand you can allow your ceaseless thoughts to take you on a rudderless journey through an intensely turbulent world, while on the other hand you can purposefully direct your interpretations to perceive nothing but resplendent glory.

The entirety of freewill boils down to this decision: engage in the practice of discipline and direct your mind to see the glorious garden before you — or simply concede control to an erratic mind that takes you on a wild ride.

If you can handle it, go right ahead and feel the thrill of such an unpredictable experience. But for those that prefer quiet-pools and kiddie-rides, there’s an option for you too. You haven’t been left out in the cold. Seek it, and hot-cocoa by the fireside awaits.

Life Level

What if there’s another level to life that you’re missing out on? And the way in which one enters said level, is through a cultivated perspective?

Consider this: You’re watching a man use his bare hands to violently rip apart the appendages of a defenseless life-form, what he tears off he inserts into his salivating mouth. Red liquid pours down his chin as his teeth cut and gnash. After swallowing, the man smiles in delight. He performs this act over and over, seemingly enjoying the brutality of it all.

Later on, you learn that the man was in a field of ripened strawberries. He was eating the freshly picked berries and loving every bite. He then invites you to join him and you experience the delight of munching strawberries right off the bush. All of a sudden, what seemed like a horrible travesty turned into a wonderful time for you and the man.

But what if you never accepted the benevolence of consuming strawberries? What if you insisted on the brutality of the situation? What if you remained sickened by what you saw: the violence and the sadistic delight of the man? Why couldn’t he leave those plump and juicy fruits alone? They had a right to exist, and he had no right to destroy them.

That’s life on two different levels. One is a harsh and brutal level in which creatures are fueled by violence and injustice. The other level is one in which fun-seeking beings frolic amidst fields, delighting in fruits offered forth from the Earth and nourished by the sun. And the free-will with which you’re equipped, allows you to choose the level you experience.

Implanted Dreams

What about wishing, manifesting, asking-prayer, goal-setting, etc? Isn’t that free-will?

Where does the inspiration to want come from? Why do you want that particular thing in the first place? The desire is implanted as a prelude for what’s to come. Life is leading you down a specific path by implanting these attractions.

Some dreams are so grand and change-inducing that they can overwhelm the dreamer, causing him to retract and disbelieve the dream. Without trust in life and faith in a grand narrative, he’ll sit stalled and unfulfilled.

The free-will we have is our consent to follow-through with each step along the path. We have no skill but that which is provided for our character-type, our vehicle does all the work, the consciousness mostly watches.

But at critical junctures, the consciousness must choose to move on, accepting each goal. Fear must be rejected and replaced with faith. Immature adherence to any ideals must also be rejected, as life moves on and circumstances broaden.

Your job in life (you the consciousness, the ever-present observer) is as an accepting audience member allowing the scenes to flow uninterrupted from one to the next. Yes, you can invoke manual-control, but try to leave the autopilot on, it makes things much smoother.

Virtual Free Will

If life is an RPG (role-playing game), what about free-will? Because it’s a game, there’s a bunch of preset missions customized for each character. And like a game, characters are of a particular type traveling an appropriate path. RPGs tend to lead characters to the correct checkpoints at the right times. Once at the checkpoint, the player can decide whether to cross or not — but if he doesn’t cross, he’s not allowed to do anything significant, he stalls and becomes depressed.

So as to maintain the illusion of control, life does allow mistakes to be made. In other words, if you try to break something, it’ll break. So yes, recklessness is possible and will likely cause your character to experience some unpleasantness. Manual-control provides the most immersive sensation possible and greatly amplifies the gaming experience — but the drawback is, you can derail your narrative.

But to remain on the rails, it’s not skill that’s necessary, it’s trust in your story — faith. Our character knows what he’s doing, it’s our consciousness that’s completely clueless. Characters are best on autopilot, it’s manual-control and mental-intervention that gets in the way, causing our character to trip over himself. It’s impossible to mentally control the complex process of existence.

Then were does free-will fit in? We enter with a preset personality and an appropriate set of goals that must be accomplished. But we do have consent in the sense that we can refuse to cross each finish-line. Our refusals come from fear or an immature devotion to an ideal. The game doesn’t force us into the next step if we’re not ready to handle it. But again, it’s not a skillset issue, it’s a trust issue — our character can handle it, it’s our consciousness that hinders.

Ultimately the game wants us to win — win in the sense that we engage enjoyably with the world we’re in. If at anytime we derail our narrative, the game is always patient and graciously waits to welcome us back. Our acceptance comes in the form of active-pursuit of the goal. We must head in its direction, doing whatever we’re inspired to do, not filled with doubt and trepidation.

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.

Working with Wishes

A lot of people advocate for the power of wishing. Some call it law-of-attraction, some call it affirmations, some call it goal-setting, some call it prayer — essentially though, we have an imagined outcome that we want to come true, and for that to happen, components both internal and external must align.

The fundamental issue with wishing though, is where does the underlying inspiration come from? Our desires come from somewhere beyond our everyday inner-dialog. In other words, we seem to have no say in the matter, we suddenly want something and fantasize about it coming to fruition.

Therefore, I think the process of wishing is simply preparing us to receive what we were already destined to get. It’s a way of avoiding imposter-syndrome, feeling like we don’t belong or deserve what we eventually attain. If I wish for something wholeheartedly and finally get it, then I’m appreciative and satisfied. Whereas if something wonderful just landed in my lap, I’d be a bit confused and feel undeserving. In other words we need a little romance, some build-up before the big present is presented.

There’s clearly a narrative going on here and we have no idea how to improve it — how could we? Actual working wishes would only screw up the synchronization. But daydreaming isn’t a waste, it’s a means to generate delightful anticipation, a great feeling to have. So we can keep on wishing, we just mustn’t fret over the outcome. Our role is to experience the story unfolding.

Certain Uncertainty

Some people believe that life is pre-planned while others believe we make our own way through. These are opposing viewpoints and frankly I’m not sure which is right. In life though, I’ve found that when given two plausible answers, the truth is likely to be a combination of both.

But are both options plausible? Let’s think about it for a bit. If we believe life is pre-planned, then we believe that something beyond this realm already thought things through on our behalf, and now we’re just living out a script. If instead we believe we’re figuring-out our way through this world on our own, then it’s via practical application of skills — or wishes.

There is a large segment of the population that believes in wishing. It can be known as prayer or the “law of attraction” for instance. In my own dealings with life, I’ve certainly thought long and hard about certain things and received them, but then there’s the many things I haven’t received. And what is rarely discussed by these adherents: from where do our wishes originate, what inspires these thoughts in the first place?

As far as the practical application of skill goes, I know my talents have not been keeping me alive. I sit around most of the day thinking philosophical thoughts yet I’ve survived several decades with relative ease. Something outside of myself has ensured my continual existence, that’s a fact. Yet something tells me that I could derail my life if I really tried.

So what I’m sensing is that life certainly does plan our path to some extent. Just look at how we’re born within certain surroundings and influenced accordingly, plus we come pre-packed with all sorts of preferences that are difficult to ignore. Perhaps the wishes we want are just part of the pre-programming.

But do we personally bring fulfillment into being or does it manifest via external means? Perhaps wishers aren’t that far from the mark — perhaps we must trigger the manifestation of predetermined outcomes whenever we’re ready to receive, and we signal by some physical mechanism. Or if fulfillment is externally produced, they’ll arrive no matter what we do.

Perhaps fulfillment is purposefully delayed to induce a feeling of anticipation and heighten the drama. Life is a obviously a show of some sort — we’re consciousness, watchers within observing a character experiencing life. But what we can do is hope — hope is a belief in the ultimate fruition of our want. Whereas hopelessness can make us miserable.

The game therefore, is not in attaining what we want, but in maintaining anticipation and hope for what we want. To win we must hold steadfast to the belief that we will grasp the object of our desire despite doubt. External manifestation is beyond our immediate control, so only our thoughts surrounding such manifestation are within our power.

To summarize, our life appears preplanned to an extent, we can simply look at our innate preferences for proof. We can attempt to deny these preferences, but doing so will lead to severe discontent. We can also see that our survival skills, or lack thereof, are not what’s keeping us alive — we’re guided, our hand held. Unfulfilled desires seem to be the part of our preferences that are purposefully delayed for dramatic effect.

Although, what we receive tends to be the result of commingling imaginations. We’re regularly influenced by others — for instance we often want what’s popular. Circumstances are out of our control but we have hope. It doesn’t hurt to hope, in fact it feels pretty good — but despair does hurt, bringing dissatisfaction and suffering.

In the navigation of this world therefore, the practical application of skill has nothing to do with physical ability, it has to do with cultivating a mindset of unyielding hope. In that sense, perhaps wishers are merely misunderstood, they’re simply practicing hopefulness. And that’s why it seems such a futile practice to outsiders until its depths are understood.

To those of us with a pessimist’s mind it seems to make little sense, but beyond the superficial, we can understand it very well. Instead of anticipating the worst like we do, we must expect the best. Expectation is not something new for us, its just a rotation of focus, from negative to positive. And it’s not about receiving a particular outcome, but maintaining a belief about its benevolence.

Existence is not a physical challenge, it’s a mental one. The circumstances don’t matter, it’s all in the mindset. Obstacles regularly arrive and we overcome them with hope, by maintaining trust in the goodness of life. Stay in the car at all times, riding along the preset path. Laugh at and enjoy the surprises. Always seek to discern the goodness in life.

Persuasive Passenger

If I define myself by this body and its actions, then I’m apt to get upset or offended. For instance, if something happens to this body then I’ll likely lament the injury, wishing it never happened as I linger in pain. If someone insults this body, then I’ll likely suffer from the indignity.

To mitigate those effects then, I must not believe that I am defined by a body (including its actions). I must see myself as the observer, not the doer. I am not the driver of this mortal frame, but a passenger along for the ride, sightseeing through the window. But it’s a little more complicated than pure passivity.

As a passenger, I still have control over what I focus on. I still have control over whether I listen to the internal dialog occurring within the vehicle. I still have control over how I interpret all this incoming data. But of course, I may not realize that I have this control or realize the way in which to use it.

But if at some point I do realize my power, then perhaps I can influence the driver into steering toward the direction I most prefer. Perhaps through incessant suggestion the driver will succumb. But whether I ultimately influence the path or not, it’ll be best if I try to appreciate the overall journey. After-all, it can be nice to get out and experience existence.

Manufactured Conversation

Why aren’t we told that life is an artificial construct?

Explaining an illusion tends to spoil the illusion, therefore life’s underlying nature remains forever obfuscated. Imagine watching a movie in which the special effects are obtrusively fake, it takes us out of the story. Or think of a game whose outcome is obviously predetermined, we lose the feeling of chance and surprise. And for some, solving the mystery of life is part of the amusement.

If it’s fake, why don’t we live a perfect life?

From movies watched and games played, we can easily see that perfection does not tell an interesting tale. We’re more interested in what goes wrong and the struggle to fix it. We don’t live a perfect life simply because it’s not engaging enough.

If not perfect, why can’t we have a great life at least?

The world is artificial, so our eyes aren’t seeing what’s real — therefore nothing is inherently great, it’s just flickering pixels. A great life comes from a positive attitude, not external circumstances. Additionally, we are provided the free-will to accept or reject our situation. If we reject life, refusing to play along, then it will not be great. But if we accept life, our particular path will be one we ultimately enjoy.

Why would anyone reject their life?

Due to a misunderstanding. Consequently, they’re hindered by fear and disillusionment. They see the world as oppressively real and are scared of outcomes, which stops their progression.

Can someone eventually accept a life previously rejected?

Once they realize their gloomy ideas are based on a misunderstanding, they’ll be able to proceed on their path. They’ll overcome their fear and realize that life can be great when given the chance. They’ll trust in the goodness of life and focus on what they enjoy.

That seems like a lot of rigmarole.

Well again, there’s nothing of great importance going on here, just fodder for captivating drama. And really, the search for happiness is a valid path in and of itself, it’s an adventure same as any other.

Wait, are you violating a rule by exposing the illusion?

Life is too fast-paced and too engaging for such philosophical chatter to matter. Plus there’s a daily amnesia that sets in after sleep that will degrade any such realizations.

Is this a pointless conversation then?

It’s just a quick reminder of something you already know.