Spiritual Sensei

Without control of your thoughts, you’re lost. Your turbulent mind is going to take you on a wild ride that you won’t soon forget. If you can’t shut your thoughts down or can’t differentiate between worthwhile ones and worthless ones, you’re going to have a hard time. If you think you can handle that level of difficulty, which maybe you can, have fun. But for those of you having an unpleasant time with existence, there’s a less intense route through this funhouse.

It’s called spirituality. The purpose of spirituality is to ease your journey through life — that’s it. Spirituality is a way of looking at the world that allows you to comfortably navigate through it. You CAN look at life as a struggle, and it’ll be every bit as hard as you imagine. But you CAN look at life as an enjoyable adventure, and it will be.

“But Sensei Rich, reality is what it is, life is cruel and hard, I’ve seen it!”

Then why are some people having a great time? Reality is relative or else everyone would be having a tough time. Everyone has obstacles, yes, but the difference is that they enjoy the experience. They see the game-like nature of life and have fun while completing the provided challenges. But it’s even better than that, once you get in the right frame of mind, you get to pick the problems you want to solve.

And this ability to appreciate life begins with spirituality. Step one, is to get your thoughts under control. Step two, is to redefine reality into something you can handle. Step three, is to enjoy. Not so bad right? Then what are you waiting for? Your options are these: keep doing what you’re doing and continue having a rough time OR pursue spirituality and start having a great time. Seems like an easy choice, yes?

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Foggy Start

Oh man, what a morning. Ugh, and last-night too. Not the best. I won’t bore you with the details, but it was rough. My first thought and interpretation was: “this is definitely not going to be my day today, bad-day here I come.” But do you know what interpretation I settled on instead? “Witness my power, ye mighty, and despair!”

Through my ability to manifest the world I experience, I created a tsunami of unpleasant scenes. The sky itself was overcast while the streets were masked in fog. That’s true power right there. Of course it’s a dumb way to wield my creativity, but at least it demonstrates my ability to shape the life I’m living. If I want a horrible time, then so be it! It is done! Voila!

No, I didn’t specifically wish for a bad time — but that’s the problem. I didn’t specifically wish for a good time either — and the turbulent mind, when left on its own, undisciplined, will take you on a wild ride filled with dips and dunks. And boy, did I let my messy mind lead the way. Unpleasantness was the product of my unconsciousness.

Later that morning was a lot better, I had a fine time walking my son to school, then met up with my wife and we walked around town for about an hour. It was great. I couldn’t have planned it better and the temperature was just right. And the fundamental thing that changed was my attitude: from helpless pawn of life’s cruel game to absolute creator of my own reality.

Ideal Imaginings 2018

I’m not very creative, so if I had to imagine an ideal life, it’ll be very simplistic. For whatever reason (I don’t care), there’s a large sum of money in my bank account. I refer to it as my fun-funds. I’d live exactly where I’m living now but spruce the place up a bit. New floors, more furniture, wall-decorations, nothing too extreme. New car obviously (Tesla?! hehe). I’d get an all new round of iDevices, Apple Watch, a laptop, some gaming consoles, and a TV.

One major figure in my life has always been Santa Claus, so I would like to be as Santa, giving well-thought-out gifts to folks I know. I’d also like to support online creators I happen across — perhaps through Patreon or whatever. I’ll go out to restaurants more and tip the staff well, maybe tack on an extra $50 at least. I’ll actually use the services of a florist and have fresh flowers for the house.

I’ll get into collecting too. Maybe hand-tools for one. Disney trading pins perhaps? Well, finding things to collect will be part of the fun. Oh and I’ll plan little get-aways to the Disney Resorts, we can walk right over to the Boulangerie-Patisserie from the Beach Club after a meal at Beaches & Cream for instance.

I’ll get an electric scooter (the cool kind) for scootin’ around town, just for some variety. And whenever new technology comes out, I’d be an early adopter. I’d probably have a prominent account on Amazon, leaving lots of reviews. I’ll be a positive guy too, not critical of life or its artifacts. People would just look at me oddly if I ever mentioned what a misanthropic pessimist I was, they couldn’t fathom it.

In many ways, the story of my life will be like A Christmas Carol, with me as the miser Ebenezer Scrooge. A changed, formerly dour fellow, that now has cheer in his heart and a giving spirit. “You there! Boy! What day is it!? Why, it’s not too late! I haven’t missed it!”. And those around me will feel blessed by my presence (and presents). And my own Tiny Jim will grow up to admire his dad and wanna be just like him. God bless us! Every one!

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.

Say your Prayers

I just read the Bhagavad Gita again, which in essence, is a distraught man’s conversation with God. It’s about a guy having a tough time with life, and so God-incarnate talks him through it. “Hey bro, life’s not as miserable as you’re making it seem — I mean yeah, it can look a little gruesome, but so what. A cake is an unappetizing mess until it’s cooked too — but the process is still worth it. So ya know what? Have some fun, get rowdy, and break some shit brah!” In the end, the archer gets it and does what he needs to do — which in this case, is to fight in a bloody feud against members of his beloved family.

And it got me thinking about what I’ve been writing in this blog for the last six and a half years. What IS this? I suppose you could say it’s a distraught man’s conversation with God. I seem to be the primary audience here, I read and re-read posts all the time — I find them super insightful. I’m the one always asking questions and receiving helpful answers — I don’t know where those answers come from, they’re certainly not from my everyday-self or I wouldn’t ask the questions in the first place. And anyone that wanders upon this blog is simply witnessing the conversation taking place.

Perhaps this is a form of prayer, a dialog with God in the form of a diary. Prayer is often portrayed as one-sided, but I’ve certainly heard of two-sided prayer in which God responds in one way or another. And apparently, the easiest way to interface with me, is through succinctly written entries. For the most part, this is where I come to get in touch with my “higher self”, the part of me that’s beyond the scared little creature I often revert to. This is where I come to make sense of the world going on around me. Are You There God? It’s Me, Richard.

As far as I’m aware, I never had a personal relationship with God. I didn’t go for that nonsense, it didn’t resonate with me. “Um hey big-guy, so I know you’re busy maintaining the universe and all — but if ya could, my team really needs a win this Saturday. Whaddya say?” Well that’s how a relationship with God was portrayed in pop-culture anyway. But considering it now, it seems that I’ve established a relationship with God through this blog. Just a decade earlier I was writing atheistic, I’m-too-smart-for-this-world type posts in my previous blog — I guess I’ve gone 180 degrees in some ways.

I dunno man, I suppose we’re all trying to figure things out. Even with God by our side, this stuff is tough. No offense, but a game requiring this much hand-holding might be a tad too complicated. Or maybe those of us that need extended-help just suck at this game — I can see that. From an external perspective, it looks like I’m not even trying. But I interpret everything so intensely, that I barely have to do anything and I feel overwhelmed for the day. I recognize that I’m overreacting to the world’s stimuli, but it just happens to be my default. “AH! What was that! Oh, it was nothing. AH! I’m being attacked!! Oh, oops, no it’s fine.”

If a cosmic bystander simply observed my reactions to the world, he would assume Earth was a prison-planet in which inhabitants were regularly tortured for the sadistic pleasure of a malevolent creator. Whereas if the same cosmic bystander observed what I actually did all day, he’d wonder why I sat still for so long, and he’d wonder why I randomly freaked out for no apparent reason. Objectively, the physical portion of my life has never been difficult — but the mental aspect has been off the charts. And the only reason the mental part is so hard, is because of my tendency to overreact. If I’d simply stop imagining the worst, things would be easy.

And that’s where spirituality and this blog come into play. These entries are helping me to understand that life is not out to get me. For six and a half years I’ve been trying to rewire my defaults. I think I’m getting better — really. Yes, I oftentimes react as if I’m afraid, but underneath I don’t feel anxious, I quickly dismiss my scaredy-cat responses. Yes, I’m still presented with classic pessimistic reactions to many things that come my way, but I usually laugh at the silliness of such a perspective. And if someone attempts to sell me a pessimistic idea, my mind readily counters it with positivity.

So that’s the message I received this time around while re-reading the Bhagavad Gita.

Over-examined Life

Dear Rich, if I’m so smart, why am I so miserable? Shouldn’t I be able to think my way out of this?

Why dear reader, the very source of your misery IS your thinking. It’s your over-analyzing that is robbing you of so much fun. Thinking and analyzing doesn’t make you smart — if anything, such dull diversion makes you dumb. How is it smart to preoccupy yourself with blathering nonsense while engaged in the great extravaganza of existence?

Happy people are such, because they don’t think — they experience. My apologies dear reader, in regards to your stupidity, but it’s the greatest folly to believe yourself smart when in actuality you couldn’t be any dumber. You need this blow to your ego for it has set you up for failure in the highest regard. Like a con-artist, your thoughts have fooled you into believing in their preeminence.

Yet nothing could be further from the truth. You’re an ignorant idiot. But luckily for you dear reader, you have just heard the truth. Now you can finally get to work on shutting down that mental chatter and start living the good life! Congratulations! Why to finally have that mental blockage out of the way — the good-times are surely coming your way.

Can you believe it? Those ever-present thoughts have been slowly poisoning your experience this entire time. But through the power of discipline, you will now shut them down, turning off the spout that’s been spreading toxicity. Now is the time to demonstrate your superior ability and outwit those mischievous musings — that is, if you’re up to the challenge.

Brownie the Christmas Elf

Poor Richard, always turning every color into gray.

But Richard, surely this cake will make you gay?
Nay, I must think of tooth decay!
But Richard, the sun shines bright today!
Ah, it shall burn my skin, until it flay!
But Richard, exciting news I have to say!
Oh no, what could it be, surely I will pay!

And so she came one night, when the moon shone bright,
just a little sprite, an elf known as Brownie.

Hello to you good sir! I’m but a tiny fairy, not so scary,
I’ve a core of cheer and my shell is sweet — it is nice to meet!
Richard bit the hook, that’s all it took.

Caught, but not willing to surrender.
He fought and fought, until his heart grew tender.
Brownie loved the challenge, sparkling in all her splendor.

She knew he’d falter, she never worried.
The decades past, she never hurried.
And upon his birthday she gave a gift,
A little boy whose spirits could lift.

Brownie, said Richard, I think you’ve won.
I surrender to you, I’m ready for fun.