Becoming Childlike

It is written: We must become as little children.

Have you ever seen the sheer delight on a child’s face at the mere mention of a simple treat? Or have you ever witnessed the unflinching forgiveness and fearlessness a child has toward a parent. “You’re my mommy and I love you!” — nothing gets between that sentiment.

So here’s the deal. You grow up. You get jaded. A treat just isn’t going to cut it anymore. And now you’re scared — you’ve been hurt too many times to forgive. Now it’s “Leave me alone! I hate you!”

So what happened? Is your creator a wicked monster that beat the love and wonder out of you? Or, did you just get spooked and run away to hide in the darkest dingiest hole you could find?

Let’s analyze this for a second. Either your creator is a horrible sadist hell-bent on torturing you… or, you were a bit overwhelmed and had a bad reaction. Have you ever seen how some teenagers overreact to perfectly reasonable parents?

Listen, you’ve got to settle down and stop acting like an angsty teen. Your creator is not trying to ruin your life, your creator has your best interests in mind, your creator loves you now and always. You misunderstood and were frightened, no big deal.

Now get back to delight and appreciation, return to forgiveness and fearlessness. Reach out and feel the love of a creator that wants nothing more than to give you the gift of existence. Show your smile, say thanks, maybe “I love you too”.

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Dramatic Analysis

Last we left things, I had just mentioned the dramatic-overlay I placed upon a simple task I was required to perform. In other words, I had to do something pretty easy, and through my creative imagination, it became so much more. Instead of a boring job, suddenly it was the most exciting thing I did all day — maybe all week!

Unfortunately though, I picked the “hardship” interpretation instead of the “lighthearted” interpretation. If you ask me, I’d never admit to enjoying the “hardship” option, but why do I keep selecting it!!?? Does that mean I secretly enjoy it? Honestly, it’s probably just the easier, lazy option. For example, if you want to get someone’s heart beating fast, just jump out and scare them — it’s the cheap and uncreative option, but it works.

So if I want to stave off boredom, I can simply scare myself. A random noise now becomes cause for alarm. How exciting! Otherwise, I have to come up with some other means to amuse myself. But what can compete with fear when it comes to intensity? Yet if I’m sick and tired of hardship-based entertainment, what am I to do…?

I suppose I need to find a way to create dramatic-overlays that are exciting yet appropriate for my temperament — you know, enjoyable. And we can’t live life without dramatic-overlays by the way, otherwise we’re just automatons. No, life implies that we’re to make mountains out of molehills within our imagination — that’s the game of pretend we’re all playing.

I think what I’m missing is the grand narrative, the “why” that underlies my existence. Why am I here? I don’t have a good answer. My default answer was: I’m a fragile creature born by chance attempting to survive within a harsh environment — my only goal is to avoid dying in an uncomfortable manner. As a grand narrative, that sucks and obviously leads to high-anxiety.

So, a better “why” it must be — a purpose. Hmm. Hold on, I’m thinking. Well fundamentally, the underlying purpose of any game is to experience enjoyment. We play in order to have fun. Okay, so, why am I here? I’m the manifestation of an infinite being attempting to navigate an embodied existence — my only goal is to extract the delight out of life.

P.S. I could probably say: extract the “significance” or “greatness” out of life — but for my temperament, I think delight is more apt.

Holy Water

Today I went outside to scrub the exterior of the mobile-home (it’s a prerequisite for selling). I used a small brush on the end of a long pole. It was raining, so mother-nature helped with the rinsing. If you think mosquitos don’t go out in the rain… you’re WRONG. Not only don’t they care about the many droplets falling down, they’re so stimulated by them that they’ll attack your face!

A simple activity right? Walk outside — scrub, scrub, scrub — walk inside — done. And it WAS a simple activity. But that’s not what happened internally — oh no! Not even close!!! When I was first informed that I’d have to go out and clean the exterior, I wasn’t pleased, I felt like a victim, WHY ME!?? I thought: that’s not my problem, find someone else to do your dirty work.

Because it’s not just that, I also have to stain the deck now. Again, those activities aren’t that hard for me, and I have time to kill. But oh no, I have to see EVERYTHING as a personal slight — every little invitation to get involved with life is an attack upon my serenity. And who knows, perhaps my disturbed mind even manifested that horde of blood-thirsty mosquitos.

Oh and of course we all know that mosquitos can carry disease — I was risking my life out there!! And for what!!?? Just to clean a bit of green stuff off of the vinyl siding? But while I was out there, I tried to stay mindful of myself, just a guy out workin’ in the rain. I like the rain. Eventually I was trying to see the positive aspects of my labor — I like working with tools, I’m just waiting around twiddling-my-thumbs until the closing-date anyway, and it’s nice to be in nature once in awhile.

And yes, in my time of need, surrounded by pestilence, I even remembered to reach out to Almighty God (maintaining a God-centric perspective is a current experiment of mine). And you know what, I think it helped. How comforting it is to simply trust that life is looking out for you. Life was just providing an activity for me, a simple one at that. But I had to infuse it with a ridiculous amount of melodrama.

I apologize to that-which-provides for the lack of faith I demonstrated today. I wasn’t attacked by nature, but by my own dour attitude. If I can’t appreciate the little things, how will I ever appreciate the bigger things. It is a constant appreciation I must strive to attain. Life is good, God is great — Oh, ha, I just realized the significance of being out in the rain and baptism and that sorta stuff, ha.

Mother Earth

If you’re gonna have a relationship with God, you’re gonna need a way to relate to God, and most likely a way of envisioning God. I didn’t grow up with religion, so I don’t really have much of a preconceived religious-style image of God. I did watch a lot of TV and movies though. As a kid in the 80s, I used to see God portrayed by George Burns in the “Oh, God!” movies. But that’s not really my style, I’d rather picture something that aligns with my particular tastes.

I think I’d relate better to a gentle and caring motherly type. So to me, God is a mom that gave birth to the world — and the world is full of her children all running amok. She cares for them like a garden since she has so many to tend to. All the little sprouts have to deal with weeds and pests until she makes her rounds. We’re to grow independently within the garden, just as any plant would.

We mustn’t get too full of ourselves though, believing ourself a gardener, lest we get cast out. The good little plant maintains itself within the provided spot. And mamma nudges and cajoles when a plant grows off course. Some plants will fight their constraints and feel the strain of the support-stick propping them up. Sometimes a seed gets planted in the wrong place, and that’s fine, she knows this and loves her plants all the same. Hybrids are fine too.

Really, she just gardens for the sake of it. There’s no purpose behind it besides the joy of seeing little-ones grow and blossom. For example, I’ve seen life through a child’s eyes, the excitement and joy over simple things, it really can be a source of great amusement for the parent. She adores her garden and tenderly cares for it as a whole, as well as each little sprout. She enjoys the variety of sizes, scents, and colors.

I grew up with siblings, so I can relate to the fact that I often have to wait for attention — and that’s true with God too. But that’s a good thing, it gives the little plants time to try and work things out on their own. No one likes the pressure of constant attention. Plants grow better when left alone from time to time. But if she sees us struggling, she won’t hesitate to help, we just have to willingly accept it — we can be stubborn little sprouts.

Our bodies, firmly rooted in this world, bloom and grow under the devoted effort of God our gardener. But we are not just plants of course, for within us is the seed of God herself, forming a concurrent root system that reaches deeper than dirt, into a realm beyond earth. And from our seat of consciousness we watch and delight in all the ongoings of the garden — tiny sprouts aware of their own growth.

Good God

Within this blog I’ve tried a bunch of experiments. Here’s another one. For the time being, I’m going to adopt a God-centric perspective. Having been raised in an atmosphere devoid of religion, I’m somewhat new to this concept. “God” doesn’t roll off my tongue for instance, it feels strange to say the word.

For most of my life, I would’ve identified with atheism and the supremacy of popular scientific ideas about existence. But after a few decades of living with that perspective, I found it too anxiety-inducing and abandoned it. Consequently I’ve been in search of something new. For the last few years I’ve been a big believer in “Simulation Theory”, and that’s done a good job of allowing me to develop a non-physical interpretation of life. For the most part, all of my worries went away.

But of course a simulation must have a programmer — and I suppose it’s time to delve deeper into that aspect of existence. This concept is already well established in religion obviously, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The programmer, is God. And from what I’ve seen, religious/spiritual folks have relationships with God. They often thank God, love God, speak about God, heck they even eat God if I’m not mistaken. So, that’s what I’m planning to do… develop a relationship with God. (Yes, that still sounds awkward to me).

Really though, it’s like I’ve been invited to a party and I’ve been ignoring the host the entire time. How rude is that? Obviously I should head over and thank him for everything and tell him how great this is. But instead I’ve been hiding in a corner, complaining about everything and lamenting my invitation. Well, it’s time to suck it up and do the right thing.

Hey God, it’s me Rich. Awesome party you’ve got here — quite the spectacle. Hey if you need me to help out with anything, don’t hesitate to ask. Sorry I’ve kept to myself for so long, I guess I was a bit overwhelmed. I mean you gotta admit, things can get pretty crazy around here! Ha! Haha! ha…. Well anyways, thanks for the invite, I appreciate it, I mean what else would I be doing with my time? Heh. So… yeah I’m going to checkout the food table, outstanding selection by the way. If there’s something I can get you, lemme know. Thanks again!

Greatest Commandment

When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, he replied “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”

Now that’s a difficult concept for me to grasp. First, how do I effectively love something. Second, to whom or to what am I actually directing this love. Third, what exactly is the interplay between the heart, soul, and mind — I’m not sure what those divisions are or how to love with each particular portion.

Jesus actually continued his answer and said, “This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Aha! So, I think a logical conclusion is that this world and its inhabitants are a manifestation of God himself — and by loving the world and its inhabitants, we can love God.

The heart is of-the-body, and our body is firmly rooted in this world. Therefore, to delight in the sensations of this world, is to love God through the heart. It’s all the stuff we see, smell, hear, taste and touch — the physical things and people of the world — we can love God by loving the works-of-art he so lovingly created.

The soul is beyond the body, a part of us that’s not confined by this world. Therefore, to love God with our soul, we must meditate or pray or whatever it is that connects us with that portion outside ourselves. We demonstrate love with our focus and attention, so we must take time to focus on God and give Him our attention through meditative means.

The mind is the observer tying it all together, the consciousness that watches. In the mind we can paint pictures that inspire feelings of love and appreciation. With the mind we can devise logical conclusions based on lighthearted hopefulness (e.g. did this happen for a good reason? Yes, because God loves me!) The mind can be used as a tool to adjust our perspective, allowing us to see God and His creations in the best light possible.

So, by appreciating the spectacle of this world and all within it, meditating/praying, and deliberately imagining life as a pleasant experience, we can follow a practical approach to loving God with our heart, soul, and mind. But, Jesus said ALL our heart, ALL our soul, and ALL our mind — what about that? How do you effectively apply the entirety of your heart, soul, and mind? And for that matter, what exactly is love again?

In life, oftentimes we tend to feel love, and our actions align accordingly — yet, we often hurt the ones we love, so that’s not always true. If observing a scene, we know one character loves another by their focused attention, their tender treatment, and the level of respect shown. But of course, actions without feelings aren’t necessarily love. In love, we don’t choose our feelings, they simply appear within us. BUT, many stories do tell the tale of a cultivated love that develops over time following a period of intense focus (“Beauty and the Beast”, for example — or even “Stockholm Syndrome” in general for that matter).

So, we can in fact cultivate the feeling of love for God by maintaining a focus on God while seeing him as our provider and caretaker. And logically, this is pretty straightforward. For example: Despite my ignorance and lack of ability, there’s been a power maintaining my existence this entire time. It’s certainly not my “survival skills”. Life just tends to work out — but why? Clearly there’s an external force guiding me along a narrative, helping me to make it through.

Now, to apply ALL our heart, soul, and mind we’re going to have to use God as the foundational reason underlying EVERYTHING we encounter. For example, although we tend to love individual people, it’s really God’s manifestation we’re loving — and in a sense, God himself. And that delicious apple pie you just ate? Thank God! It was He that made the apple, He that made the farmer, He that inspired the baker, and He that developed the taste. Amazing! Thanks again, God!

Thinking about it, I suppose it’s not that difficult of a concept to grasp. The question then becomes, do you therefore dare to follow the greatest commandment? It’s like Morpheus and the Matrix — which pill do you choose? Really though, what’s there to lose? A pessimistic carnal existence filled with fear, uncertainty, and doubt — in favor of a life of hopefulness and love, a genuine heaven on Earth, a true communion with your creator…?

You have the ability to select either path — it’s upon this question that you ultimately exercise your free-will. So which will it be?

End of Attraction Test

I’m not saying the Law of Attraction stuff is bogus, I’m simply saying the typical way in which I went about it isn’t for me. I engaged in a somewhat rigorous experiment to see if I could manifest something, and it didn’t seem to work. Yes, it does appear to work for some people — I’ve seen my friend’s wishes come true for example, and she delights in it. But for me, it’s just not a process I particularly enjoy. She’s got a great imagination and naturally sees abundance in the world.

I know what I don’t like, I’m ready to complain all the time. But as far as what I like, I think I enjoy it more when things come as a surprise. I don’t like to plan out my fun. My friend would love to plan her own party, but I just want to show up to some awesome event that’s perfectly suited to my tastes. In that regard, I’m not taking any responsibility for my fun. I’m just like: hey life… amuse me…. Although I’m not sure if that’s the right way to go about it.

But I’m also not receptive to the fun. Life might very-well accept my demand, but I’m too busy complaining to notice. At the very least I have to enter the event ready and willing to be entertained. It’s like showing up at a feast already full — none of the food is appetizing, in fact it’s kinda gross to see all the overflowing plates. Instead, I have to show-up ready to chow-down. To be fair, the first things I tried were nasty, but I was wrong to assume the entire buffet was as unappealing.

So for me, I don’t think I need to work on my wishing. Delightful surprise is what I wish for. What I need to work on is my willingness to accept what I’m given. Life is a fun-house tasked with providing endless entertainment. What dazzling spectacle is waiting around the next corner!!?? Who knows!!! I shouldn’t be looking to lock-down life by forcing it to manifest my mundane wishes. I should be open, anticipating wondrous amusements that far exceed anything I could ever imagine.