Lightly Vexed

Dear Rich, I’m slightly annoyed at life right now because I’m not getting what I want.

Dear Reader, that’s great! It means you’ve been enticed. You’re like a little fishy nibbling after a sparkling lure — life is attempting to capture your attention. But this is a condition to be celebrated, not lamented.

Imagine never wanting anything, what a dull life that’d be. You’d just kinda sit there, not doing much at all. You know those times when you’re bored and can’t think of anything to do? It’d be like that, but you’d be perpetually unable think of something to do because you never want anything.

Or think of it this way, imagine you receive everything you want immediately. You’d just keep on moving to the next want. Want after want after want after want. Seems pretty hectic doesn’t it? Fulfilling a want has never ultimately satisfied you, has it? No, after every achievement the process begins anew.

So life has done something nice and you don’t even appreciate it. Life provides you with something interesting to think about in the form of a pursuit. Then life is thoughtful enough to set a relaxed pace for attainment. What’s your rush? If efficiency was life’s goal, we’d simply expire the day we’re born.

So relax, take a deep breath, and settle in for the long haul. Realize that anticipation is a pleasant feeling — if done right, it’s the most enjoyable part of the pursuit — it’s the time when you’re most excited and optimistic. So for enjoyment’s sake, just believe with certainty you’ll get what you want — and let those happy feelings flow.

Taking the Reins

If you’re fundamentally dissatisfied with life, it means autopilot isn’t working, therefore it’s time to take the wheel and start steering.

Step one: Realization. Realize and accept that you’ve been on autopilot this whole time. The life you’re living is being directed by your underdeveloped thoughts. Your dissatisfaction demonstrates that these immature ideas are a hindrance, and your course needs redirecting.

Immature thoughts are those that reject life, they’re usually based in fear or frustration, resulting in self-imposed limits which stall one’s progress through the world. Mature thoughts are those that help develop a satisfied outlook with life, these include such themes as appreciation and hopefulness. In a well-maintained mind, seeds of growth are planted while weeds of negativity are discarded.

Step two: Awareness. Maintain an awareness of the happenings within the mind. You can’t pluck the weeds if you never look for them. Meditation for instance, helps us observe the ongoings of the mind from a detached perspective. Once we’re mindful of our thoughts, we can evaluate their effects on our moods, separating the weeds from the seeds.

Step three: Positivity. As in, it’s time to plant positivity within your mind. The best way to maintain your mind-garden is to have overflowing crops of the variety you prefer. If you leave gaps, the weeds will grow, requiring constant upkeep. Begin by imagining the things you like, the ideal outcomes, think of the life that instills a sense of delight. When fear and doubt start to sprout, dismantle their ability to take root.

Step four: Fun. Gardening should be a lighthearted hobby. Part of the problem is an over-seriousness toward life. Just focus on your garden, the little patch in front of you. Regularly envision the harvest you dream of, placing no roof above, let it grow, unlimited. But stay detached, not overly involved, let roots strengthen and stems thicken as they naturally do. Appreciate the process while being ever hopeful in its bloom.

Underlying Existence

How do things get done if no one knows what they’re doing? Coworkers are useless, management is clueless, entire industries are held together by threads. Elections boil down to the worst possible options. Corruption infests wherever money pools. Future generations are locked within age-segregated retention centers.

Yet for some reason, mankind marches on. Despite his attempt to outright murder himself at times, humanity persists. So what’s going on here? How can the world and its inhabitants always seem to achieve the perfect balance on the scales of existence? How can we teeter on a perpetual precipice of disaster yet never fall?

It’s obvious when you think about it — but we rarely stop to consider the issue because this spectacle so completely captures our attention. But if you’re able to quiet your mind for a bit and simply observe, you’ll see it: the world as we know it is a complete and utter fabrication. This is a world composed of dreams not dirt, where material doesn’t really matter.

The evidence is all around us. But don’t feel tricked, this obfuscation endures for a reason. Play requires the suspension of disbelief, so immersion into this illusion requires obscuring its foundation. And even though the world may not always seem worth it, ultimately it serves the purpose it provides.

By realizing this dreamlike nature, our ability to influence increases. At first we better direct ourselves, blossoming into our idealized image. And when we finally shed our self-imposed limiting beliefs, the wonder of the world opens before us. Knowing we’re within a dream provides us the power to move mountains.

And Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do what I have done, but also if ye say unto this mountain, Take thyself away, and cast thyself into the sea, it shall be done. And whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, if ye believe, ye shall receive it.

Throughout time this message is repeated, but who will listen?

All Aboard

If you really stare at it, you’ll see that life is pretty lame. For instance, I spent yesterday morning on the phone talking about a dead dog with my mother while my friend drove an hour away to look at a landmark. After the phone call I spent a couple hours thinking and typing. I ate some left-over tacos for supper, played a video-game, then took a shower. And before heading off to bed I wrote what you’re reading now. This is the majesty of existence? Really?

Even the ideal life I imagine isn’t much different, it’s mainly an upgrade in scenery. So how does something so lame engage us so fully? Illusions and trickery of course. For one, we’re never allowed to stare too long. Our focus diverts, external events intrude, fatigue sets in. Even for someone so aware, life captures my attention all throughout the day. Life regularly entraps us with triggers that send us into autopilot, causing us to mindlessly act out responses.

But Rich, just what are you trying to say? I’m telling you quite frankly that life is a contrived experience. It isn’t even remotely genuine. There is no natural world. And don’t worry, if you’re having a great time here this idea won’t even make sense. But if you’re truly distressed to the core, then realize this world is nothing more than flickering pixels. What you’re worried about doesn’t actually exist. If you’re anxious, there’s no need to be.

Traveling for instance, is simply the updating of an x,y,z coordinate. Additionally, life reacts to whatever you’re able to maintain in your mind. If you regularly think about something, whether positively or negatively, life will make sure you have more of it. So be careful what you contemplate lest it manifest before your eyes. The closest analogy to life is a dream. Before sleep, infuse your mind with the best of thoughts or else you’ll buy a ticket to the nightmare train.

Unknown Awareness

An interesting metric of existence, is how captivated we are by our personal interpretation of life. In other words, to what degree are we aware of our own shortsighted perspective. To hold a rigid understanding of life is to close off our awareness of the underlying nature of existence, which is unknowableness.

Yet saying we can’t explain life is not equivalent to saying we’re confused. We simply don’t know what’s going on here, not in a confused way — we confidently accept our ignorance. We realize that we entered existence in the middle of a free-for-all, yet it’s our perspective alone that determines whether we’re amidst chaos or a concert.

Do we pleasantly accept the unknowableness of existence or do we oppose it with strict dogmatic belief, strangulating ourselves with certainty? Fear and frustration, sadness and seriousness, these are products of certainty. But through awareness of unknowableness, there’s nothing to be afraid of, no deadlines to meet, no loss to be found, no protocols to follow.

The more confident we are in the unknowableness underlying existence, the more open-minded we become. There are no rules to follow, yet this doesn’t lead to pandemonium but to lightheartedness. And by no longer trusting in our faulty and ever-changing point-of-view, we’re left to trust in life itself, finally free of our false beliefs.

Ideal Log

An imaginary log of my daily ideal.

I wake up and walk out to an area overlooking an enchanting view. I inhale deeply, my body filling with vitalizing air. A faint aroma of food wafts through, breakfast time. I greet my family, happy to see them after a night’s rest. I partake of the morning meal, a familiar routine that contrasts with the variety of dinner. We chat about life, listening and learning.

I retreat to an area of scenic solitude to contemplate and write. At times I walk, thinking to myself of the mysteries of life and how best to express ideas. I scan through many of the good things people have to say, the ways in which their lives are improving. I answer a question or two, spreading light amid darkness.

It’s the late afternoon and time to eat, the sun’s shining and my appetite’s revved up. Dinner is a sumptuous affair, I’m surrounded by delectable treats ready to eat. Hours pass as I dine into the early evening while watching tonight’s entertainment. Laughter and cheer are a familiar pair, honored guests as always.

Still bright we stroll near the water, we speak of our days, engaging in lighthearted gossip and pontificating about this and that. As darkness sets in I find a serene place to sit while watching shows and winding down my day. A thought pops up and I write it down for tomorrow. It’s soon time for sleep, I saunter into the bedroom to drift effortlessly off to dreamland.

Up a Hill

I’m in darkness at the base of a mountain. I see a flickering light above me and decide to climb. There are thorns everywhere as well as rocky parts that scrape as I slip. I lose sight of the flickering light and feel lost. I sit still, there’s no where to go. I curse my situation. But then I smell it, the mouth-watering scent of good-cooking. “Hello, anyone there?” I yell.

And I hear it, a reply. I continue up, frantically searching for that pleasant aroma. “Go around,” I hear someone say. But I’m too determined to go the way I’m going. I lost it, the smell, I sit still, I’m not sure where to go. “Go around!” I hear it again. In my stillness I finally wonder what it means. I should go around.

So instead of up, I go around, and there it is, a simple incline that reaches all the way up to a pleasant little dwelling on the mountain. I walk the path and enter into an abode filled with sweet and savory treats. I sit and chat and eat. I’m satisfied. But outside I hear the scrambling of others attempting to reach this place of satisfaction.

I construct beacons of light for others to follow, yet I’m perplexed when my signals fail to guide. Too busy struggling, no one discerns their meaning, in fact they’re probably more confused. But as a fisherman fishes despite the lack of nibbles, I keep at it, fishing for those I hope to assist.

But who am I to presume I can help? I was until recently lost myself. And who’s to say I’m not lost still? Perhaps this shack is simply a distraction from a goal farther up. Am I paving the wrong way with my good intentions? At that moment I notice my companion quietly cooking, subtly smiling, humming a lighthearted tune.

Without even trying she shines her light into the world, carelessly sharing her joy. I don’t have her ease so I turn to engineering, to logic, to brute-forced illumination. Like a mad inventor I attempt to build unambiguous beacons. For years I toil in my lab, driven by an obsession to craft the switch that flips on enlightenment.

There’s an air of futility to it all. We live, we die, doing whatever in-between. But as a cat’s eye is drawn to the twitching tail of a mouse, my attention is turned toward the flickering light. I stare unsure why, while its brilliance permeates through my thoughts. So I continue placing lanterns in the dark, and by this effort I find my duty fulfilled.