Seeking Appreciation

I’ve heard it said that “God loves you”. But what does that mean? It seems a bit abstract. Am I supposed to love this being back? How do I love an abstract entity? I can’t hug God or do any favors for him, right? And what if I find this world unpleasant, how do I love a creator of such miserable conditions? Why should I love something that’s only provided me with a piss-poor time?

Okay, some decent questions. Now let me ask you this: is there ANYTHING that you enjoy here on Earth?

Hm, well there are a lot of shows I’ve watched over the years that I’ve really enjoyed. I don’t particularly enjoy living life, but I do like watching it.

Okay, so you’re saying that your status as an embodied-being has at least provided you with an ability to appreciate shows about being human. Otherwise, if you were merely a conscious-cloud-of-gas, you probably couldn’t relate to human comedies or dramas, right? It’d be like watching a fish tank for example, it’d get real-old real-fast — whereas you can watch TV for hours everyday, year after year.

So if some entity created this world just to provide you with a means to enjoy shows about humans, that’s a pretty good gift, right? Maybe some aspects of the world were rushed and are not-so-perfect, but the storytelling-aspect is top-notch. So based on your enjoyment of shows/videos/movies/etc, you’d probably say it’s an impressive gift, correct?

I suppose if you put it that way, with all the shows and movies and stories I’ve enjoyed over the years, this world has been worth the price of admission. It’s like having a life-time pass to a cineplex or Netflix or something. I have to put up with a bunch of inconveniences, but the overall storytelling aspect is pretty great.

So with that in mind, imagine that God is the buddy that put all this together for you. It’s like he built the theater, the movie-projector, put in the seats, stocked the refreshments, wrote all the movies, had the actors do their stuff, and put in the special effects — in other words, he created a planet and everything on it just so you could enjoy an endless supply of entertainment. And all you ever have to do is sit there and enjoy it.

Are you telling me that you can’t find any love in your heart for a buddy like that? Again, maybe the seats are a little uncomfortable, maybe some people talk during the show, and maybe the popcorn could be warmer, but overall this is an impressive setup don’t you think? And correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve done nothing to deserve this gift, it’s simply been given to you.

I mean yeah, I suppose I didn’t do anything to deserve it. But it’s certainly not perfect.

Well if someone gave you a sweater as a gift, would you wear it in the summer? Probably not — but if you did, you’d get too hot and probably hate the sweater after a few hours. So in other words, if you’re not enjoying a gift, it might be because you’re not using it correctly. Is it possible that the world is better than you think, and you’re just using it incorrectly?

Hm, I suppose that could be true because I find the whole thing kinda confusing. I honestly don’t know what I’m doing, so it’s very possible that I could be doing something wrong.

So let’s get back to your original questions. In terms of God loving you: all this was created for your enjoyment — why else is there a world filled with so much orchestrated drama just sitting in the middle of nowhere? God isn’t abstract if you think of him as the buddy that designed and manufactured all this. And in that sense, everything you interact with is just a piece of God — so yeah you hug God whenever you hug anything within this world. And if you find this place unpleasant, it’s likely that you’re doing something wrong, like wearing a sweater in the summer. At the very least, and as the most simplest set of instructions: just focus on the stuff you do like and your experience on Earth will vastly improve.

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Lighten Up

A part of the Overcoming Negativity series.

Lest you think this is a new or unique problem, far from it. It’s been a central theme of existence since the beginning. The message of Jesus is basically this: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” i.e. “Give-up your bad-attitude because paradise is right here and now, enjoy it!” If you read the book of Matthew, you’ll see a guy that’s increasingly frustrated by the negativity and stubbornness surrounding him. So much so, that he eventually rage-quits the game in the form of suicide-by-cop.

The take-away from the plight of Jesus should be this: Don’t be a passionate pessimist like those that surrounded him — the world God created isn’t a shit-hole that’s made to frighten inhabitants. It’s a wonderland meant to be enjoyed. And you’re being a total dick by constantly criticizing it and not even trying to have fun. Those people took life way too seriously, and Jesus essentially told them to lighten up — now, we can do what they refused to do, we can choose to lighten up.

Jesus simply walked up to the sick and said: “Hey, cut it out. Stop already, you’re going to be okay. Existence is a great experience that you should be celebrating, not lamenting.” And you know what? Those people that could only imagine their bodies as sources of pain-and-suffering wised-up and went along their merry way. But so few listened, they were so sure of themselves and their pessimistic perspective: “Life sucks, and then you die!”

It’s such a simple message too: lighten up. Stop interpreting everything in such a dark and dire way. What divine being would create a nightmare-world designed to torture inhabitants? Spoiler Alert: None, because that’d be dumb. Yet for whatever reason, inhabitants insist on imagining the worst. And being that God is giving, those inhabitants always find what they seek. But what a mockery we make of our wondrous world if that’s what we ask for. So lighten up for Christ’s sake!

An American Beginning

An excerpt from the fictional tales of An Imagined History of America.

It all began one day in England when Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim were attempting to worship the Almighty Creator in their own special way. You see, they liked to sacrifice fowls and roast them on an open spit right in front of the king’s castle. But one day the king himself, on his way for a morning walk, saw this practice and was to have none of it.

“See hear! What on earth are you doing!?”, shouted the king.
“Why we’re giving burnt offerings to the Lord, your majesty,” said Mrs. Pilgrim.
“But why here and why now!?”, inquired the king.
“To worship the true King of men and give thanks for all His blessings of course, your majesty,” replied Mr. Pilgrim.
“Guards, get these fools away from here! Immediately!”, shouted the king.

Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim were ushered away and their offerings were disposed of by the king’s men. The reason they chose the doorstep of the king as their place of worship was actually a slight bit of defiance you see. Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim believed that the true king of man resided in heaven. They thought of the earthly king as a charlatan and fraud — a blasphemer and usurper that put himself in the place of Almighty God.

“You know what Martha, I believe we should leave this unholy land and start a new life elsewhere, in a place free of blasphemy — in a land ruled by God himself, God’s Country,” said Jonathan.
“Why Jonathan, your boldness and passion enflame my heart. Yet we are mere townsfolk, where are we to go, how are we to make-do for ourselves?” replied Martha.
“But Martha, we are children of God and He shall provide. And I’ve heard talk of a new land, they call it America. A veritable Garden of Eden that the Almighty created for those that worship Him with all their heart, all their soul, and all their mind,” replied Jonathan.
“Oh Jonathan! I shall not doubt His ways! Truly we must travel to that land He provideth!”, said Martha excitedly.

And so it was that Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim found themselves determined to travel to God’s own country. Within their small circle of friends, they convinced others to make the journey with them — all simple townsfolk lacking the knowhow to survive in an untamed wilderness. But by their ignorance, their faith was emboldened!
“Surely God will make safe passage and provide the provisions we need!”, they’d say.

Then came the day upon which Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim, and their friends, boarded a ship that would set sail for the Promised Land. It was a long and arduous journey, something the simple townsfolk weren’t used to. The winds and waves rocked their tiny ship and many of the landlubbers amongst them lost their lunch overboard. But what nourishment did they truly need, but the word of God — and so they read their Holy Bible day-in and day-out as they sailed abroad.

Finally, after so long at sea, they landed. But it was cold, so frigid in fact that Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim lost half their party due to a lack of faith in the Lord. Woe to he that doth not trust in Him to provideth. For truly, some were superficial in their belief whereas others came with the seed of God sown deep within. The day of reckoning had come where wheat was separated from chaff.

And after those first frigid days, the party ventured deeper into the new world. God had not forgotten those that had brought faith instead of knowledge. No, for he sent to them a native-guide that miraculously spoke their own very language. A native that had been taken from his home years earlier, trained in the king’s English, and returned. Even an unoccupied native-village awaited their arrival. God provideth!

Once Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim and their friends settled into their new life in God’s country, they set about to give thanks to the Almighty for the blessings received. After finding the largest fowl they could, a turkey, they set it as the centerpiece of a magnificent feast filled with all kinds of local farm-to-table goodies. This great dinner would be known as Thanksgiving in the years to come.

And with the Pilgrim’s example, many other religious zealots also made their way to the New World. Of course, when you get a lot of opinionated people together that share a penchant for disregarding mortal authority, there’s bound to be some underlying friction. And so it was that many separate colonies were created, each with their own ideas of how to run things. This was America’s beginning: a land given to the faithful by God.

Devil in Disguise

What if there really is a devil in disguise? A hidden tempter trying to sway you? Whose only purpose: to keep you from reaching Heaven.

Think about it: would a creator really design a cruel world in which inhabitants were forced to struggle for survival OR would a creator design a wondrous world to delight and amuse its inhabitants?

So the world truly is a paradise, but due to the dark veil before you, you simply can’t perceive it. The prince of darkness casts this veil, infusing you with doubt and despair. But why would a creator include such a character in his world?

He wouldn’t. He gave you the free-will to interpret the world however you pleased. If you see devilish circumstances: YOU are the devil. And to defeat this devil, you deny him: “Get behind me satan!”

Satan (or really you), will be infusing obstacles in the form of pessimism and lack into your perception. You won’t merely perceive an apple, you’ll see rot and taste decay. But your job is to deny these dour expectations.

Seek and ye shall find. Seek the worst, you’ll find it. Seek the best, you’ll find it. The truth, the reality you experience, is an interpretation. The kingdom of Heaven, paradise, is at hand — seek it and you’ll find it.

The Good Life

What is it that one must do to live the good life? Hard work? Doing what exactly? Which path leads to the good life? What even is “the good life”?

If you believe external factors are beyond your control, then you can stop right there. How can you fulfill something that’s outside your influence? Luck? Are you feeling particularly lucky?

Either the good life is a gift you can willingly accept or it doesn’t exist. You can’t get there from any perspective except pure acceptance and appreciation. It’s the salvation the Bible talks about — an undeserved gift given to you by a loving Creator.

The good life is literally right here, right now. The entrance is opened by your willingness to perceive it. In the Bible, they couldn’t see it, they literally witnessed the son-of-God being murdered by man. He tried to tell them that Heaven is at hand, but they just couldn’t grasp it.

So will you learn the lesson? Will you choose to seek the goodness God wrought? Will you drop the veil of darkness that separates you from the light? A commitment is all it takes: to disregard pessimism with all your might.

That’s the hard work in which you must invest. Without trust in life, all bets are off anyway. For whatever reason, you’re tempted to see the worst — but have faith in the best, and you’ll receive it.

Now – Chapter 5

This is my interpretation of the book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.

Chapter 5

Presence isn’t something you can think about, it’s the opposite of thinking, it’s the state of full-awareness of right-now. Be a predator whose prey is thoughts. When thoughts are allowed to flow freely, they’ll take you on a reckless ride downstream into unconsciousness. Keep your focus on right-now and you can’t get lost in thought.

How can you experience existence from an unconscious state? Obviously the ideal way to experience existence is from a conscious state while fully aware of what’s happening in front of you. If you’re too busy thinking about perceived problems, concocted pasts, and speculated futures, how can you appreciate actual life?

Consciousness increases as the span between an experience and its related commentary increases. Commenting on an experience is not the same as actual experiencing. For example, saying something is delicious isn’t the same as literally experiencing the sensations related to deliciousness. You should focus on the experiencing and skip the commentary.

Consider this perspective: what if the world is a dream, and everything in this dream originates from a single source: the dreamer. Every rock, every plant, every animal, every person, forms out of the dreamer’s consciousness. And the dreamer’s consciousness underlies every character’s consciousness — so there’s no genuine separateness, just a manufactured division for dramatic purposes. Characters come and go but it doesn’t matter — every part is played by a persona of the dreamer.

Now consider that the dreamer crafts each character so well and so elaborately, that a character believes himself a true individual living his own unique life. Believing himself separate and alone and subject to death, the character suffers. When he suffers enough, he finally rejects his fragility and realizes the underlying truth that he (along with everything else) is a manifestation of the dreamer.

Through this process, the dreamer is becoming aware of the dream through the awakening of characters. These very words are the dreamer’s. And you are a character in the dreamer’s dream. In essence, every interaction is the dreamer interacting with the dreamer. Some characters are simply more present and conscious than others — though ultimately, there is but one dreamer.

Coma Theory

Dear Rich, spirituality-stuff just doesn’t gel with me. I don’t get the god-stuff nor the fragment-of-god stuff. I’m not technology-oriented so Simulation Theory isn’t helping. I don’t understand vibrations or frequencies or lightwaves or whatever. And the lucid-dream analogy isn’t quite workin’ for me. Ya got anything else?

Okay dear reader, try this one on for size. You had an accident and you’re in a coma, your body is currently lying in a hospital-bed. The world you’re experiencing right now is occurring in your imagination. The higher-intelligence that designed your imaginary world, is you. You pretty much based it on the physical world that your body resides in, but there’s a few key differences.

For one, it’s completely non-physical. Because it’s formed in your imagination, you can make drastic changes at-will. If you don’t like how the story is going, you can just blip something into existence. For example: Is the nightly news a little boring? Ha, now look what you did! It’s crazy out there! Or did a character get hurt in your coma-world? Look, they’re miraculously healed!

Second, you’re now a helpful higher-power. In other words, little-you can appeal to big-you for help. For example: little-you finds himself in a bad situation and doesn’t like where things are headed. Little-you says, “Dear Creator Big-Me, please fix this mess!”. Big-you obviously hears this plea because you’re the one creating the story. You take pity on little-you and craft a better outcome with a happier-ending.

Third, time isn’t a thing. Because the world is taking place in your imagination, time is fluid — events slow-down or speed-up as necessary based on however you want to add detail or speed through uninteresting parts. And death comes whenever the story calls for it — it’s not random in any sense.

Fourth, technological limitations aren’t a thing. There are no limits in a non-physical imagined world. Do you want commercialized space-travel to happen? Sure, no problem. Robotic self-driving cars? Yep. Video-phoning across the globe? Sure. How about wishing things into existence? Yeah you can do that too.

Oh, and you know what else dear reader? You might even get bored while imagining a mundane story. You might purposefully add a bit of drama and chaos to your tale — just to make it thrilling.

So there you go dear reader, a different, more physical way to approach spirituality.