Siren Call

I came in thinking that this was a harsh & brutal realm ruled by random chance in which only the strong survived and the lucky thrived. My relative weakness and lucklessness meant I was doomed to experience a brief and miserable life. I was shocked when I made it to young-adulthood. I had nothing planned since I was confident I wasn’t going to get that far.

Long-term plans are meaningless in a world in which accidents happen. I wasn’t going to waste my time working towards a goal only to have my preparations crumble beneath me. I was so certain that the world was a dangerous place filled with predators always watching for me to falter, ready to attack. Well, none of it happened!! I waited and waited with my back against the wall, ever vigilant of my surroundings, and NOTHING!! I simply got older.

I was wrong. I completely misjudged the world. It’s not what I assumed it was. BUT that leaves me with a bigger question that I’m still trying to figure out: what IS going on here?? I have a lingering suspicion that I’m being deceived by this world. Is it trying to lull me into a false sense of security, baiting me into complacency to fulfill some cruel intention? Am I an experiment that gained consciousness, made to live out an empty life in an artificial world? Or, are my suspicions simply wrong again?

I keep suspecting something nefarious — yet I was wrong the first time. So wrong in fact, that I caused myself to have a miserable experience. Perhaps this is why it’s not beneficial to focus on thoughts. Thoughts, it turns out, are a lot more unpleasant than the actual world. Had I not focused on thoughts, I would’ve had a better time. Every unpleasant experience was only made worse by the accompanying thoughts — thoughts that lingered long after the offending event.

In their meandering complexity, thoughts often masquerade as worthwhile plants in the garden of the mind. “Listen to me, and I’ll protect you from the dangers of this world”, they say. But these are seductive sirens’ calls, luring you to crash upon rocks. Masked in beguiling beauty, it can be difficult to figure-out if a sprout’s a weed that should be plucked. The simple test is this: does a thought fill you with hope and happiness or fear and despair? Only nourishing thoughts should be allowed to remain.

In short, “suspicious thoughts about the world” should go on the “things to avoid” list. And stop focusing on your thoughts in the first place!!! Geez. Just do whatever you’re doing WITHOUT the running commentary that has NOTHING to do with what you’re actually doing! Getting lost in thought is the siren’s call, avoid it. THIS is the reason you keep having a bad time, your physical life thus far has NOT been a punishing experience but your THOUGHTS about life have been a source of self-inflicted torture — stop it already. Oh and lighten-up for christ’s sake.

Finding a Foothold

I spent most of my life just trying to get a grasp on what’s happening here. I became conscious in the 80s and was freaked-out by all the high-hair, garish makeup, outlandish clothes, strange music, bizzare gyrations, unpalatable food, tedious routines, random violence, and cheesecake. I didn’t get it, was it cake in the form of a pie? And why cream-cheese!? That stuff belongs on bagels.

I honestly didn’t understand the setting I found myself in. I couldn’t deal with the life I was living. What am I supposed to do here!? I spent a lot of time watching TV, which didn’t really explain anything, in fact it probably made things worse. I would spend the next few decades completely lost, trying to get a foothold on ANYTHING. I was seeking solid truth, but I was in Wonderland.

Looking back, it’s painfully obvious that this is not an objective physical reality that I’m experiencing. This is in fact a highly subjective virtuality that I’m experiencing. I think the closest analogy would be a dream — and I’m the dreamer. And the things I think about and focus-on flow in and out of my experience. There’s a narrative for sure, but I’m the one telling it.

I’m at mid-game now and it’s about time I figured this out. I’ve been so unfocused that I’ve been seeing the most haphazardly slapped together world I could imagine. It’s truly embarrassing the stuff I’ve been giving all my attention to. Okay, no more of that nonsense, it’s on to bigger and better things. Everyday, and all throughout the day I’m now focusing on the stuff I actually WANT to experience.

Real Thought

I’ve been attempting to work with the “thoughts create your reality” philosophy for awhile now. It’s a bit embarrassing how long I’ve been trying to incorporate it into my way-of-thinking. This blog is basically a testament to it, but it hasn’t stuck yet. While I understand that my negativity is souring my experience of existence, those dumb thoughts just keep coming. And every-time I have an A-HA! moment of clarity, it quickly fizzles away.

I recently read The Law of Attraction (2006) book, and it’s essentially telling me the same stuff I discovered over and over during the past few years. But where I think it adds to the perspective, is this: I should be MUCH more proactive in imagining the life I want to experience. I’ve been taking a more reactive approach in which I diffuse negative thoughts instead of focusing on the stuff I want. In a sense, I’m still focused on negativity.

I should stop that and deliberately devise pleasant scenarios in my imagination instead. I should take time in the day to imagine an overall picture of the life I want to live AND I should consider what I want from each part of the day as I’m entering it. In the book, these activities are called the “Creative Workshop” and “Segment Intending”. I’m not supposed to simply react to whatever life throws at me, I’m supposed to intentionally create the experience I want.

I’ve been taking a VERY passive approach and it shows. It turns out that I AM supposed to be applying quite a bit of effort i.e. “hard work”. But instead of external action, I should be crafting internally, imagining scenes that evoke the best-feeling emotions I can muster — I should be doing this throughout the day. And if I’m not doing that, then THERE’S the source of my problems. Essentially, I’ve been expecting life to paint a pretty picture for me, but it doesn’t work that way apparently. I must paint the picture and life renders it.

Life renders whatever picture you’re crafting in your mind, but if you don’t intentionally set it, you’ll end up experiencing the sum of a mishmash of haphazard thoughts. Therefore, life will seem chaotic at times and stagnant at others. It’s a little bit of everything all mixed together, resulting in an unsatisfying flavor. That’s a bingo for me and why I’m trying to improve my experience.

Satisfying recipes have a few carefully selected ingredients specifically blended together in pleasing proportions, you don’t just throw whatever together. Same with music, it’s a few notes selected for their harmonic blend, you don’t just play every note in an indiscriminate arrangement. In life, it seems that thoughts are the basic building-blocks we have to work with and it’s in our best interest to deliberately arrange them in a manner we find most pleasing.

Hard Work

I’ve never had ANY inclination towards a professional career. Ever since I was a kid, people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up and I never had an answer, all I could say was “I don’t know”. It always made me uncomfortable that I didn’t have an answer. And a few decades later, guess what? I STILL don’t know what I should be doing with my time and efforts. I often wonder if I’ll stumble into some sort of career at some point.

I’ve primarily engaged in hobby-level activities. For example: tinkering with computers, writing essays (blogging), making digital art, watching YouTube, playing the tin-whistle & recorder, whittling wood, shooting Nerf & air-soft guns, flying toy drones, playing video-games. I did attempt to become a professional computer-guy & programmer for a few years and I was finally excited to answer the question “so, what do you do for a living?”. But that career was short-lived.

I often hear people praising the virtues of “hard work” and “working hard” and I kinda shrink up, feeling a bit embarrassed. They say things like “earning your keep” and “paving your own way” and a bunch of other stuff in honor of the Protestant Work Ethic. In one sense, I don’t have a desire to “work hard”, but in another sense I feel guilty about not grinding away at some laborious task. I do like hangin-out and passing time in frivolous ways — it just seems like I shouldn’t.

But why not!? Now that I’m starting to understand that life isn’t serious-business, that I’m not engaged in a constant struggle for survival amidst a harsh and brutal landscape, I’m starting to lose this self-imposed constraint. Of course I should be having fun, that’s the POINT!! If life’s a simulation, which I believe it is, the purpose of any game is to enjoy oneself — so if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

I’ve been plagued by these contradictory beliefs my whole life: on one hand, I lack the aspiration to participate in a professional career — on the other hand, I seem to believe that professionalism is a necessary component of self-worth and success i.e. if you’re not a “chef” or “engineer” or whatever, what are you? You can’t simply be “Rich”!? Well one of these contradictory beliefs has to give, and guess which one it’s gonna be?

Relatedly, I’m approaching a test, a deadline. So the question becomes: will I be able to maintain my frivolousness and prove myself worthy of a carefree lifestyle? As the deadline nears, all my external effort is invested in frivolity, tasks that lack utilitarian value. Whereas internally, I’m focusing my thoughts on the enjoyment of existence. There’s no going back now, nor would I want to. Onward! To the lighthearted life!

Imagination Station

Imagine a world in which everything is awesome — then pretty soon, everything becomes as awesome as you imagined. That’s the basis of the book The Law of Attraction (2006) by Esther and Jerry Hicks. I spent some time watching related videos and then read the book. I’ve been delving into the premise of thought being the ultimate controller of our experience on Earth.

Plenty of sources claim this to be the case, I just never believed them. So either these people are crackpots and liars or I’m an idiot for not grasping the fundamental nature of reality. Being that I’m as old as I am and I’ve been able to accomplish so little, I’m starting to believe that I must be a moron. I clearly don’t understand how the world works nor how to get things done. Therefore, I’m trying a new-to-me approach i.e. The Law of Attraction.

In a nutshell, this is my new belief-system: what’s happening right now, is a culmination of the thoughts I’ve been focusing-on and my prevalent attitude. If bad things are happening, it means I’ve been entertaining bad thoughts and maintaining a bad attitude. If it makes me feel bad, I shouldn’t focus on the scene I’m experiencing, because doing so will only create more of the same. I should find something enjoyable and focus on THAT. With a positive focus, I’ll generate new scenes filled with delight, replacing the dour ones.

Because of my belief in Simulation Theory, this perspective makes perfect sense to me. Since there’s no keyboard or game-controller, the controls for this game are our thoughts. We think, then those scenes we imagine render before us. A pretty simple and straightforward concept actually. Things get complicated when we think two opposing thoughts obviously — which unfortunately happens a lot.

Looking back through this blog, I can see that I’ve had these types of ideas before — but I haven’t been able to completely adopt them and fully let go of my previous belief-system. So this particular book and system-of-thought are just more tools and reminders to help me along my way of ultimately ridding myself of a tendency towards negativity.

Manifestation Station

Manifestation is the process of bringing specific circumstances into being. It’s like setting a goal and seeing it fulfilled without obvious external effort on your part. For example: you want something, you internally prepare yourself to accept it, the stars align, and voila there it is. In a sense, it’s magic. Whereas in a more conventional approach, you would’ve performed some sort of external effort to physically move yourself closer to the goal.

Because I believe in Simulation Theory and a dreamlike experience of existence, the concept of manifestation is a no-brainer. Of course you can summon whatever you want out of thin-air, it’s all pixels anyway. You simply reference a pre-existing object and update its xyz coordinates OR create a new object and place it into memory — no big deal. When I believed in a concrete chance-based reality, the idea of manifestation didn’t make any sense to me.

And now that I’m more tuned to the process, I’m seeing it everywhere. For example, I thought I lost a bunch of stuff from the last time we moved, I couldn’t find it anywhere — I recently found that stuff in a box two-feet from where I’m sitting. Or another example, I went out but forgot to put “AAA batteries” on the shopping list — a truck literally turned in front of me with the words “AAA Batteries” on its side (referring to the car service and car batteries). Another example: my wife lost her wallet and searched everywhere to no avail — I suggested a location and there it was. Coincidence!??

If life is a dream, then it only makes sense that everything I experience is based on my attitude and focus. When I was a wholly negative person, of course I manifested the worst stuff possible. And now that I’m actively attempting to cut negativity out of my life, of course I’m seeing helpful things happen. In that sense, manifestation isn’t simply a wish-granted, it’s what’s happening in every moment. It’s the narrative unfolding in front of me according to the theme I maintain in my mind. Therefore, I best maintain the merriest thoughts I can muster.

Dream-Jitsu

Dream-Jitsu (or dream-technique) is the art and method of living life as if it were a dream. As martial-arts comprises various techniques of overcoming opposition through physical manipulations, Dream-Jitsu seeks to overcome opposition through the development of a dreamlike perspective. Instead of manipulating opponents through joint-locks and strikes, Dream-Jitsu manipulates the practitioner’s own mind through concepts that paint reality as infinitely malleable.

Where a non-practitioner sees a brick-wall, a student of Dream-Jitsu sees a mirage manifested by his own mind. The brick-wall is surmounted not by physical effort, but by overcoming a belief in solidity. But does it work? By utilizing Dream-Jitsu, the relevance of the brick-wall in the student’s life rapidly approaches zero. As he no longer focuses on the brick-wall, it’s as good as gone — whether it’s truly gone doesn’t even matter.

But make no mistake, to the practitioner, the brick-wall IS gone. The student alters his perspective until life is but a dream. Furthermore, the practitioner trains his focus so that he can specifically manipulate this dream. Without focus, he knows his dream will run rampant and take him on a wild ride. But with focus, he can rein-in this dream and direct it in a manner that results in an enjoyable experience. For that is the ultimate goal of Dream-Jitsu: to facilitate a delightful life.

Like the martial-arts, Dream-Jitsu uses repetitive practices to reinforce its teachings. But unlike the martial-arts, the only opponent a student ever faces is himself. A student must thoroughly smash his belief in a concrete reality, and replace it with fleeting illusion. From an illusory perspective, the practitioner is able to proceed through life without fear or frustration, without lack or limitation, and with an ever-present confidence and comfort in the power of his practice.

Starting Point

What’s your starting point for the day? Do you begin by scanning your body for aches and pains? Do you try and recall yesterday’s details? Or do you analyze a mental calendar, wondering which deadlines are finally due? Maybe you think about potentially unpleasant circumstances that await? In other words, are you simply a mechanical body rooted in a material world, subject to the whims and ways of random chance? If that is your starting point, good luck with that! It’s a sure-fire recipe for a miserable experience.

A better starting point for the day is this: I haven’t woken up from a dream, I’ve ENTERED a dream. This world IS the dream. And the theme of this dream depends wholly on my focus and attitude. Therefore, I am filled with faith in a delightful day that will unfold before me. I am ready to experience the best of what life has to offer. I will walk through this realm lightheartedly, ever-merry because I only focus on what I love. All my efforts will go towards appreciating this wondrous dreamworld.

Try THAT as a starting point and see if your life doesn’t drastically improve. Spoiler Alert! It will. Think about it this way… If I bathe myself in thoughts of suspicion and betrayal, and someone comes up to me and says: “Hey Rich, here’s some coffee”, I’m bound to think they’re up to something and I’ll respond: “WHAT!? No, it’s probably poisoned!”. Whereas if I bathe myself in thoughts of love, I’d likely respond with: “Oh! Thanks so much! Wow, what a treat!”

The way in which you achieve “the good life” is through the practice of keeping your mind focused on good stuff. And relatedly, don’t sabotage yourself by taking detours into the land-of-negativity. It’s not complicated stuff, the formula is simple: inviting only the best thoughts into your mind will result in the best life possible — whereas allowing the worst thoughts to remain in your mind will result in a miserable life. That’s IT.

Cosmic Accident

Dear Rich, are humans a cosmic accident?

Well dear reader, if you want a thrill-filled and ultimately miserable experience, then yes. But if you want to enjoy your time here, then no. I’ve held both positions at different times in my life, and I can tell you that option-one produces a lot of angst whereas option-two produces a much higher degree of comfort and satisfaction overall.

Option-one, that humans ARE a cosmic accident, entails a belief in a perpetual struggle for survival. It means my ancestors fought and clawed their way into modernity and I am the result of that competitive exertion. And I too must continue this endeavor lest I fall prey to those forces that are stronger than I. And to that end, I am prone to worry so that I’m not caught with my guard down.

Option-two, that humans are NOT a cosmic accident, entails a belief in a world created to take-care of its inhabitants. A cozier idea don’t you think? It takes all the pressure off. I can feel myself relaxing as I contemplate the concept. And guess what? I’m still alive, even thriving, despite the fact that I’ve completely let my guard down. I don’t worry about anything anymore and life chugs-along just fine.

And believe me dear reader, I was a stalwart adherent of option-one. I was so committed in-fact, that I eventually broke under the strain. I became a believer in option-two not because it appealed to me, but because I was beaten into submission by my belief in a cold cruel world. I couldn’t handle it anymore and finally dumped the idea. What filled the void was option-two.

And once I adopted option-two, the obviousness of it was everywhere. I had only imagined the necessity of struggle, when in actuality, none was needed. Sure, I felt like a big dummy for scaring myself silly with a fearful fantasy throughout all those years, but I got over it. Life in general got a lot easier when I stopped imagining the worst. Nowadays, I simply trust that my existence isn’t an accident and it’s made all the difference.

Life is a LOT more enjoyable when you no longer believe in a harsh and uncaring world where vigilance is the only thing keeping you alive. Give up that idea dear reader, and you’ll see a vast improvement in your experience of existence.

Incremental Improvement

Dear Rich, why can’t I improve my life instantly? In other words, why can’t I have a single enlightening realization and be done with it? Instead, it’s year after year of trying to get better bit by bit. How about an aha-moment that sticks?

Well dear reader, as you know, life is improved through the cessation of negativity. But the problem is this: the consciousness that is focusing on negativity is the SAME mechanism that’s in charge of managing focus. For example: in a business, what if an embezzling manager is the same guy in charge of policing embezzlement at his company? Basically, you have the classic case of the fox guarding the hen-house.

On one hand, your consciousness is running rampant and grabbing every negative thing it can. But on the other hand, your consciousness DOES recognize that it’s having a bad time. The problem SHOULD fix itself once the consciousness realizes that its focus-on-negativity is the EXACT reason it’s having such an unpleasant experience. But unfortunately, your consciousness insists that external events are to blame.

On one level, your consciousness can’t fathom blaming itself, so you’re stuck in this ongoing cycle of trying to convince it otherwise. It’s a strange situation right? But if you’re caught in such a silly trap, what does that tell you about the nature of reality? Perhaps the ongoings of this world aren’t as serious as you imagined them to be?

This silly game continues year after year simply because you’re engaging in it. You’re so enthralled by the idea that you’re a physical being living a life on planet Earth. You COULD take a step back, but you don’t want to. YOU are the creator of the game AND the player. You’re pretending to trap yourself AND you’re pretending to be caught.

THAT is the ultimate answer to your question dear reader: you could end your frivolous game at any moment, but you don’t want to. You apparently enjoy stress-testing your character. But if you truly want an improved experience, simply cut-out ALL negativity. This is just a dreamworld after-all, it’s malleable, so shape it in the most enjoyable form you can imagine — play THAT game instead.