Too Far

Striving for enlightenment might be taking things a bit too far. Instead of overcoming a single challenge, it’s the idea of overcoming challenge itself — thus eliminating ALL challenges in one fell swoop. It’s like sitting in the middle of an arcade and not playing any of the games because you conquered the desire to engage — but the point of a game is to play!!

Imagine exiting the arcade and explaining to the game developers that you didn’t play their games. They ask why. You respond: “Well, after losing a few times I got frustrated and stopped playing. Then I got bored and played some more but kept losing. This led to even more frustration so I proceeded to train my mind to ignore those enticing demo-screens and to ignore the sensation of boredom while sitting still.”

Exasperated, the developers explain that the games are specifically designed to be unwinnable. Winning and losing result in the same outcome: “Game Over”, therefore the games are designed to string players along in an endless series of challenges that are ultimately insurmountable. It’s only a game they say, you shouldn’t get so bent-out-of-shape over it — you’re taking things much too seriously — an arcade is meant to be fun.

So in a sense, the initial quest for enlightenment might be a bad-attitude in which a person wants to give-up on the game and sit quietly until it ends. BUT, if you sit silently long enough, you’ll ultimately come to this conclusion: play the game and have some fun (i.e. lighten-up). You’ll also conclude that you shouldn’t attempt to play every game in the arcade — it’s better to focus on the ones you find most enjoyable.

Manual Appreciation

I was watching some interviews recently and left dismayed each time. Basically, the interviewees had so much luck that their lives turned out great. Life essentially intervened at every point and made sure these people experienced charmed-lives. There was no planning on their part, life took care of everything — they were at the right places at the right times. They’re successful in all regards, top of their field, admired by others, working with who they themselves admire, and having an overall great experience that they fondly remember. WHAT THE F**K!!?

I can think of many times in which life could’ve intervened within my experience, but didn’t. It coulda provided awesome parents and siblings. It coulda had random kids come-up to make me laugh just for the challenge of it. It coulda made my programming interests align with the dot-com era. It coulda made my stock-picks soar. It coulda made my YouTube or blogging endeavors successful. But no, NOTHING.

Uh-oh. I just realized that I’m a do-it-yourself type guy. What if I flipped every switch to “manual” and said “eh, I’ll figure it out”. F**K!! I’ve literally done that in a bunch of games. For example, I’ll often flip off “auto-fire” or “aim-assist”. But which switches can even be flipped?? I know “survival” is on automatic-mode or else I’d be long-dead by now. Luck? Appreciation? “Luck” must be the process of life assisting with the fulfillment of your narrative. “Appreciation” must be the functionality of automatic enjoyment. I don’t think I have either of those on automatic. My narrative sucks and I don’t tend to like stuff. Oh and “sleep” seems to be on manual as well, which has been difficult.

Relatively recently, I’ve been working on “manual” appreciation where I’ve been attempting to specifically focus on aspects of life I prefer. I think in some ways this seems to work, but it’s slow-going and it’s like sorting through the trash. As far as the narrative situation, I’m simply trying to do the little things I prefer — it’s nothing grand of course, just a way to pass the time.

Yet in the scope of things, maybe the grandest of accomplishments mean little to me. Perhaps I wouldn’t care about the “trophies” I received — quickly moving on to the next thing as soon as I won the current thing. So instead of ticking off accomplishments, perhaps I chose to focus on manual effort? And instead of something basic like “survival”, it’s something a bit more esoteric like “appreciation” — ha, that sounds like something I’d do. What a dick.

What an emo, hipster, gourmand, wannabe, dummy that couldn’t simply take the pre-planned narrative and experience a fulfilling life. I had to showoff what a boss I was and bite off more than I could chew and choke my way through existence. Stupid. Well if it helps, I’d like to call this little experiment a failure and recommend that all automatic switches be turned ON. It’s not worth the effort. Thanks.

In-Game Reward

As I was doing something a bit daring, a thought occurred to me: the end of this game isn’t worth NOT taking risks. In other words, there’s nothing to receive at life’s conclusion but “Game Over” — therefore, the ONLY reward to be had is in-game. So if you’re not maximizing enjoyment while on Earth, why not!? But of course, that gets us right back to where we started: a constant quandary about what constitutes a good time, including short-term vs long-term reward and the effects on others, etc.

But that last bit illustrates an important point: don’t over-think it. It seems best to flow with life, finding the fun in every moment. Whereas turbulence is a condition that should be avoided. Imagine sitting in a small boat on a river spending all day in a single spot because you’re attempting to paddle upstream — frustration builds as you’re thrashing and splashing with your oar to fight the flow. But, you could simply hoist your oar and let your boat flow downstream — yes, the familiar no longer lingers as the scenery rapidly changes, but that’s life. Fighting to maintain the familiar is a poor strategy.

Welcome the change. Imagine watching a movie where the actors never leave the scene and nothing ever differs — that’s a bad movie. Life too becomes drudgery if you never allow the scenes to flip from one to the next. Drastic change is what SHOULD happen, that’s what turns the doldrums into a thrilling adventure. If you’re not receiving a bit of thrill, you’re not really riding the roller-coaster, you’re sitting on the sidelines wondering why everything’s so dull. You’re what’s dull!! So take the risk and let life sharpen your edges as you flow through it.

At the end of your time, your character’s dead either way. There’s no bonus points for remaining the quietest, having less bruises, the least failures, or for longevity. The points are cashed in-game only — so spend them now. Live life NOW. The game keeps sending me this message: align with life and there is no struggle. In other words, the stress and strain I experience is all self-induced. Let go of the rope that ties you to the static shore, the dynamic journey awaits.

Grit Rushing

When you’re using sandpaper to smooth a surface, you start with lower/rougher grits and move your way up through higher and finer grits. For example, I might start with 150 grit to flatten out rough spots, but that leaves the surface a bit fuzzy feeling, so then I move up to 320 for a finer finish. If I want to get closer to an eggshell shine, I’ll follow that with 600 grit. And sometimes for the fun of it, I’ll go up to 1000 or even 2000 grit — the wood I use won’t really attain that level of sheen but I try anyway.

Okay, so what happens when you get impatient and rush through the grits? Maybe you’re sanding some wood or sharpening a knife or glossing up epoxy-resin. Well, if you switch to a higher grit too soon, the deep scratches from the courser grits won’t disappear, you’ll just get some shiny spots alongside the gashes. But you’re so anxious to see your reflection that you rush through the grits!

In life, I think I rushed through the grits. In many ways, I never got past pre-K. Just basic things like sleeping and using the toilet are actual challenges for me on a regular basis. I obviously have some deep gaps in knowledge. I suppose I skipped some early grits and wanted to get right to the final polishing. In gaming vernacular, you could call it a “speedrun”. Just get to the end!! Screw the build-up process and the prerequisites! I’m ready to graduate NOW!!

Thankfully, life isn’t an experience in which one must struggle for survival amidst a harsh and unforgiving landscape. I’ll be fine. Despite continually ignoring the basics, I’ve made it this far. That really says something about the degree to which life is willing to support and encourage my existence. It makes for an abrupt and disjointed narrative, but I don’t care. Life catches me struggling and says “Oops! You should be here by now sweetie!” and places me there anyway.

Not sure I’ll be getting high-score on this round guys….

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.

Effortless Attainment

In Dream-Jitsu, we strive to develop and maintain the precept that life is but a dream. Therefore, NOTHING is attained or achieved through physical means — you can’t manually move yourself closer to a desired end. You must tune your thoughts and attitude until they align with whatever you want. If you’re straining and struggling, you can be sure you’re doing it wrong AND you’re moving further from the goal.

Even the simplest goal, like grabbing a glass of water, requires tuning to its frequency — otherwise you could knock it over and spill its contents everywhere. If you’re not tuned to walking, you could trip and fall. If something isn’t easy and effortless, you’re not aligned with it. Difficulty doesn’t mean you should strain harder, it means you should calm down and get yourself into a receptive mental state — you need to remove your resistance.

In a dream, nothing requires great effort. You wish it, it manifests. So don’t entertain thoughts that have struggle as their theme. Whenever you think “it’s not supposed to be easy”, dismiss that idea. You certainly CAN impose obstacles, but why bother, they’re not necessary. Complete what you want, appreciate it, then move on to the next course. Don’t drag something out just because you’re afraid of what’s to come — in a dream, every meal ends with a delicious dessert.

When you’re receptive to receiving your wish, it comes. Whereas if your mind is full of “logical” limitations and feelings of lack, that resistance will obviously keep your wish away. When flooded with negative thoughts, practice not thinking those thoughts: meditate. When the mind is calmed, do something you enjoy to repopulate your mental biome with delight. You must develop the feelings of accomplishment and attainment FIRST, THEN the actual manifestation happens.

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.

Earth Tips

Dear Rich, I’m having a tough time here on Earth, any tips?

Sure thing dear reader. But keep in mind that I’m not very good at this game, I’ve just been around for awhile, intently observing, trying to figure this stuff out.

First, things are much easier to understand when you think of Earth as a simulation or even a dream. You’re in control here and the control-mechanism is your mental focus. But the controls aren’t very responsive, there’s some lag involved. Essentially though, the thoughts you focus on are the ones that’ll tend to render before your eyes. In short: focus on crap and you’ll have a crappy life — focus on good things and you’ll have a delightful life.

Relatedly: unless you WANT to increase your difficulty, do NOT think of yourself as a fragile creature struggling for survival amidst a harsh & brutal landscape. “Survival” isn’t necessary here — if you leave well enough alone, the body and its circumstances are self-sustaining. You don’t need to “protect” or “defend” yourself. If life really wanted you dead, you’d be dead — no amount of “vigilance” is going to help.

Think of yourself as an invited guest at a party. Be gracious and appreciative of your surroundings — give thanks to the host perhaps. See others as fellow invited guests, they’re here to enjoy themselves same as you. Some folks get rowdy, but that’s fine, it’s all in good fun. Find some folks you can relate to and hang with them instead. This party has a buffet, simply pass-by the things you don’t prefer and select the things you DO prefer.

The trick to acclimating here, is to appreciate the interaction between your focus and your experience. DO NOT disregard this concept, don’t think that external events shape your life — the OPPOSITE is true. Your attitude and attention DIRECTLY influence your external experience. This is what every noob gets wrong (including me). Develop a good attitude FIRST, then a great life follows.

If you start with a pissy attitude and expect an awesome adventure, you’re in for a world of hurt. Believe me, I tried that approach — it doesn’t work. Remember: by your attitude and focus, you control the life you live. A great time begins with a great attitude. Stop with the complaints, the pessimism, the mockery, and the worry. As soon as you adjust your focus away from negativity, things will sort themselves out. Honestly, you only need a little effort to keep your focus on the delightful aspects of life.

Again, don’t concern yourself with struggling through life, you’ll only get in your own way. Your body is like an avatar that’s programmed to take your consciousness on an adventure around Earth — it knows what to do. You don’t consciously place one foot in front of the other while walking do you? YOUR primary job as the conscious observer, is to be a respectful audience-member — simply watch the story unfold and refrain from hurling insults or acting unappreciative.

There you go dear reader, follow these tips and your situation is sure to improve. It certainly worked for me — I’m having a much better time nowadays. I had previously believed life sucked, but it turned out that I had a bad attitude — I was so intensely negative, that it soured my experience. When I finally cut out the negativity, the world changed before my eyes. Yes, it’s really that easy and it’s fully within your power — try it, what do you have to lose?

Temporary Truth

If it was possible to observe an absolute objective reality, wouldn’t we all see it and never have a single disagreement? And wouldn’t people throughout the historic narrative share a similar outlook? And as we personally age, our own interpretation of reality often shifts. Being that it’s so difficult to determine, we can deduce that it’s impossible to define an absolute objective reality.

This means it would be a futile effort to search for an absolute objective reality OR defend a particular interpretation. In other words, it’s opinions all the way down. Therefore, ANY description of an absolute objective reality is simply not true — it’s a personal perspective that’s only applicable in the exact moment it’s described. A description of this so-called reality can, and often does, change.

So who’s to say what’s what? Well, nobody. You simply can’t do it. It’s not a functionality we’re provided as part of our existence. We can only experience a subjective world that’s more dreamlike than concrete. And that’s a good thing because a dreamlike world is malleable. We’re not stuck in an unchanging reality bound by stark rules of engagement. We live in a world of artists, gamers, and pop-stars.

Nothing needs to get done here, it’s a dream. So instead of survival, we snap photos of sumptuous meals. Instead of self-defense, we master the game-controller and upload videos of our gameplay. Instead of learning the ways of our people, practices handed-down from generation to generation, we do “whatever”. Finding our place in society and determining our career is a nebulous affair because that’s the type of world we’re in — it really doesn’t matter.

If you ARE concerned with the mundane trivialities of life on Earth, WHY!? That’s NOT what THIS is! THIS is where dreams come to fruition. This world is SO malleable that ALL of your wishes can come true if you simply follow them through. There is no “can’t” within a dream unless YOU are its speaker. “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams…”