Confundus Charm

We are purposefully confounded by life. Isn’t that how every new game or story starts? You’re thrust into the middle of the action and have to decode what’s happening and find out who’s who. That’s part of the fun, to get dropped into a maze and figure your way out. The trick though, is not to panic. Yes you’re lost, but so what?

You panic when you believe yourself to be a fragile little creature fighting for survival within a big harsh world that doesn’t care about your existence. Step one is to appreciate all the things you haven’t done to ensure your own survival — in other words, your cunning hasn’t been what’s keeping you alive. The game itself maintains your existence.

Number two, is to realize it’s actually not that big. If you pay attention, you keep seeing the same people over and over. Oftentimes it’s the same actual people, other times it’s the same faces, expressions, and mannerisms — personality types tend to repeat pretty regularly. People behave similarly no matter where you go.

Number three: don’t stress about it. If life placed you in a quandary, it will also help you through it. It’s more of a guided game. You couldn’t really figure it out on your own — you have to let life happen. The feeling of free-will and control allows for the most immersive experience — but life will keep you on the correct path if you allow it to — just don’t fight it.

And like every game or story, you not only have to figure out the plot, but the main character’s role within it takes some digging and mystery solving. Who are you? What can you do here? Explore, try things out, it will be revealed as you go. Be true to your character by allowing him to act in accordance with his nature.

You have the ability to apply the brakes, but why would you? It stalls your journey and you get all angsty. When the fear comes, ignore it, it’s not there to protect you, it’s simply the thrill of total-immersion coming through. This is an exciting game with hyper-realistic graphics and unpredictable storylines — ya you’re gonna feel it. But don’t be scared, ride the ride and appreciate the fun.

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Hitting Targets

Just for the fun of target-practice, I have a dart-board as well as some Nerf and Airsoft guns. Something I’ve noticed is: the more accurate the gun, the lesser the fun. What’s the point if I hit the bullseye every time the trigger’s pulled? It’s the intermittent reward that seems most rewarding.

For me, the activity with the most longevity in terms of target-practice has been darts. This is probably because it’s the most inaccurate. I can be off by a lot, only to get two darts in a row within the bullseye on the very next round. It feels like a real accomplishment when I get a double-bulls-eye — I’ve never gotten all three in the bullseye within a single round for instance.

The point being, whatever we attempt in life, we should expect to miss. What adds fun to our activites, is the inaccuracy of our aim. We’re supposed to be clumsy clods meandering our way through life. There’s even a Twilight Zone episode called “A Nice Place to Visit” (S01, E28) in which the main-character is provided everything he wants, in fact he can’t lose no matter what he tries — every spin’s a winner. Spoiler Alert! It turns out he was in Hell.

The outcomes of games are meaningless — there’s no actual prize at the end, it’s “Game Over” for everyone. The only significance to playing is whether you enjoy yourself while doing it. And the only way to enjoy yourself is to lose a lot, creating some tension, building-up anticipation for winning.

If you ever find yourself feeling like a loser, it means you’re taking things way too seriously and lacking perspective. Complete mastery is not something you want — you want to be able to lose, you want to stumble on your way to the finish-line feeling like you might not make it — it’s the only way to feel the thrill of triumph.

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.

Spirituality To-Do, Item 10

Putting the Bhagavad Gita into practice.

Perform as my character, fearlessly following my nature.

It’s pretty obvious that we come with a set of foundational preferences that shape our overall personality. It’s as if we browse a dossier of attributes in the spiritual-realm, selecting the stats we want for our physical-world character. My character definitely has a certain set of skills in some areas while lacking in others. That’s another reason why we can tell this is a virtual realm by the way, that people’s skills are distributed in such a clearcut manner.

The funny part is, that we the possessors of particular skills don’t always know we have them, we have to figure out what we’re good at along the way. That makes sense though, because to us, our specific skill is easy, it doesn’t seem like an ability that others would lack. Sometimes we don’t know what we can do until others point out how good we are at something. Although, I suppose the primary indicator of what we should do, is the feeling of fulfillment we feel while performing a particular activity.

Whatever my character’s nature is, I must follow it. The only caveat being: don’t adhere to fear. If I really want to paint pictures for example, then I must, regardless of whatever consequences I might imagine — there are worse consequences for not performing as my nature suggests. But don’t be fooled! Life doesn’t let you off that easy… sometimes the time to act isn’t now. And sometimes one attribute overrides another. So you gotta play it by ear, adjusting as you go. Life likes to keep it interesting, keeps you guessing (in a fun and playful way).

To be clear: for those of us filled with fear, we have to filter that out first in order to reach our essence. “Scared little creature” is not an option here. And to remove that fear, we require spirituality to bolster our perspective. We have to feel safe and supported upon our path, confident in its progression. Through spirituality, we obtain hopefulness for what’s to come and gratitude for what we’ve received.

Therefore, to fully engage with this adventure-realm known as Earth and express my appreciation for the gift I’ve been given, I must perform as my character, fearlessly following my nature.

Practice Refined

Putting the Bhagavad Gita into practice.

We must convince ourself that we’re not a fragile creature struggling for survival within a chance-based physical reality.

We must choose to see ourself as a character performing on a stage amongst equal parts divided from a single source (a benevolent creator sustaining every player upon their own captivating path).

This world is so engrossing that our origin is difficult to remember. But by stilling the mind through meditation (the practice of not holding onto thoughts as they pass through our thought-stream), by rejecting ideas that keep us bound to a limiting perspective, and by keeping the idea of a benevolent all-pervading creator within our considerations at all times, we end our struggling.

From this broadened perspective we are no longer desperate or worried within a stressful environment, we can relax and enjoy the show. We can be kind and gentle towards others, giving and receiving along the way.

And finally, we must harmonize with who we are, playing as our character within this world. Although imperfectly, we simply do as our nature compels, unafraid to be who we are. And by this performance, we align with the world and its creator.

This is how we come to know tranquility.

Strategy Guide

Imagine you’re trying your hardest to play a particular video-game but failing at every turn — you keep going back but nothing seems to work. This is life for those of us attempting to manually control our character despite the fact that we have no clue about what’s going on or how things actually work. We don’t know what the rules are, we’re ignorant of the controls, we’re clueless noobs hell-bent on our own destruction. We can’t win.

So now what? Where’s the older-brother that can get us through the tougher levels? Or where’s the tutorial we can watch? Well it turns out, it’s even easier than that. You just stop trying to control things, you let go. In actuality, you’ve been on a track the entire time and you’ve been attempting to steer off the rails with your “manual-controlling”. And boy have you been effective, getting in your own way as the cart attempts to take you on an entertaining thrill ride. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

But why have the power to derail yourself in the first place? Well, at your core you’re a creator — but you’ve been deliberately restrained in order to enjoy this little story. But of course the binding only works to a certain extent, you can actively fight it — you shouldn’t, but you can. And the restraints can’t be too tight or else consciousness couldn’t come through. It’s this awareness that allows you to be such an engaged audience member. There’s drawbacks to be sure, in the form of wanting to take the reins and control every aspect — but that’s not what you’re supposed to do here, you’re only hurting yourself.

The successful strategy is to accept your powerlessness (Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth). Be a good listener and stop interrupting the storyteller. By doing so, your vehicle continues unencumbered upon its track while showing you a good time. All those goals and aspirations entering your thoughts are coming from a source behind the scenes, it’s foreshadowing, a way to build anticipation, getting you prepared and excited for what’s to come.

Consider this, if life was out to get you, it could and it would, there’d be no contest — but there’s literally nothing you need worry about, life’s on your side, you’ve been coddled this entire time. And for goodness sake, show some appreciation for this grand spectacle taking place before you. What else would you do with your time? Sit around in silent non-existence?

No Whammies

I have that common conundrum of trying to figure out just who I am. The simplistic answer is: just be yourself and react naturally to life’s stimuli as stuff continually parades before you. But the problem with “being myself”, is that I very easily assume the role of a pessimistic hater, regularly predicting disaster and criticizing everything. That guy lives in a hopeless world where everything sucks — yuck. Because I don’t like the results of that attitude, I had to develop mindfulness, an awareness of what I was thinking and saying — so now when I catch myself being “that guy”, I stop.

But if I cut out a major portion of my personality, what am I left with? Who am I? I was very much motivated by fear, now what am I supposed to be driven by? I’m not sure what my ambitions are. I do have some ideas of how I’d like to live but I have no inspiration for how to proceed. It feels like I’m hanging out in a waiting room, in line to collect my lottery winnings — I know all the stuff I want to buy and the things I’d do with my time, but I’m just waiting for the check. A path by which I perform some physical act to attain those things isn’t appearing in my imagination.

So as I sit, I’m keeping busy, engaging in some hobbies with the limited resources I have. For instance, I’ve spent the last couple months building some small wood working projects and buying some relatively inexpensive tools. Beyond that, I browse real estate sites, shop for the things I’d buy when the money rolls in, and make “vision boards”. If you told me ten years ago that I’d be making a vision-board, I’d’ve called you an idiot. Now I’m “that guy” who dreams of ideal days and creates slide-show-based vision-boards of where I want to live.

I wouldn’t mind winning the actual lottery. I want to win the Lucky for Life lottery so I can tell people my job is “breathing”. The longer I live, the more I’m paid. I used to say, “there’s no reward for longevity” — now there really would be. That amuses me. Some people need assigned activities to keep busy — not me though. I’ve always been about autodidacticism and entertaining myself. It takes a certain personality to be able to live a life of leisure. My friend is quite capable of living a life-of-leisure too which is why we live in a mobile-home in a trailer-park I suppose.

But you know who wins the lottery? Trailer-park folk, that’s who. We’re just fulfilling the prophesy. “Oh, Patron Saint of the Lottery, I have fulfilled thy covenant by residing within the sacred single-wide. Now I pray thee to grant me thine fruits of triple cherries. Let thy coinage flow from thine silver vomiting orifice. May my pockets be ever widening as I humbly accept the gift I do not deserve yet receive with abundant appreciation. And may all who request such luck receive the jackpot they so desire.” I don’t consider myself lucky, perhaps I’ve just been saving it all for this one moment.

Hm, this feels like a Saturday post. Checking calendar… yep. I always write the strangest posts on Saturdays….