Repetitious Redemption

Society throughout the historic narrative, as well as each individual comprising it, seems to experience a constant cycle of redemption. Through ignorance, man errs. And upon learning of his mistake, man strives to make amends. The prevalence of redemption within the human narrative demonstrates life’s fictional nature.

Man as a creature must be made inept lest he lack the ability to falter. And the consciousness within must witness this ongoing incompetence. From a far-off vantage-point we typically laugh at the clumsiness of others — yet when we are the subject, our smile often falls, turning to frown.

This lamentable situation of dissatisfaction with existence arises when we are too attached to the character we’re watching, when we believe his stumbles are our own. But by adjusting perspective, we can see we are not him, and we are perfectly welcome to delight in his shortcomings.

These characters we inhabit are not designed for perfection, the flaws create the fun. Stories are created for the amusement of an audience — the watcher within. Understanding this is what brings satisfaction with life. Despite our inherent nearsightedness, practice allows us to retain some mindfulness of our situation — this is the insight known as enlightenment.

Heavenly Health

While investigating the idea of a dream-like reality, I stumbled across a belief-system known as “Christian Science”. Intrigued, I read the book that lays out its foundation — it was the last edition the author published, but the content seemed a little off-kilter. It turned out that the material in the book changed somewhat significantly throughout the different editions. So, I recently decided to read the 1881 third edition of Science and Health by Mary B. Glover Eddy (as she was known in that edition). The first two editions had substantial publishing errors, so that’s why the third edition was selected. I found the third edition much more suitable than the final edition I previously read.

The two primary sources for Christian Science are the Bible and Science and Health. I found the underlying concept interesting, that material existence is a fiction formed in our mind. And because of this, we are the sole cause of our suffering because sickness stems from an error in belief about the nature of reality. It is therefore within our power to heal the sick (including ourselves) by convincing the mind of its error and establishing within it a foundation of truth (that all things manifest based on belief alone). The ideas in the book overlapped well with my own developing philosophy concerning the dream-like nature of existence.

Whether true or not, I find the concept of willful health helpful in generating feelings of hopefulness. Am I sick? I am sick only if I believe it so — those so-called symptoms are manifesting from a misunderstanding. There is no intelligence, no life in matter as all that I experience here is generated by my mind. Popular opinion says we must rely on chance to determine our health, combined with a series of hygienic rituals, but in this scenario I simply trust in the goodness of life while fostering a positive attitude. Our story ends either way, why not select the most pleasant path?

I should also note that there might be some misconception that Christian Science entails praying over people — this is not true according to the primary source material. According to the book, health is established through the understanding that sickness is an error in belief — that’s it. And either it works for those in need — or it doesn’t. Either the belief in sickness is demolished and replaced with a belief in well-being or it’s not. If we believe ourselves sick, then by all means we should follow the practices prescribed by modern medicine.

As far as children are concerned, the author states that sickness manifests within them based on the beliefs of their parents — so if a child shows signs of illness, it’s the parents that contain the error. Under this belief system it seems reasonable then, that if a child is sick, the family must utilize conventional medicine as the parents proved themselves unable to prevent their error from transferring to the child. Likewise, because of the long-standing cultural tradition of vaccines and the widespread belief concerning their effectiveness, it seems reasonable to administer them to children as is currently prescribed.

In regards to the name “Christian Science”, it did seem odd when I first heard it, but makes sense to me now. The primary demonstration of Christian Science deals with healing the sick, and Jesus is known as a miraculous healer — the model by which to heal, unencumbered by physical limitations. And science is the systematic study of our world. The author actively experimented with healing until she developed a methodology that for her and adherents increased quality of life. The author also observed weaknesses within the accepted worldview of her time and found immaterial idealism to be a better fit.

And again, these are just my impressions after reading a particular book. But I do think such ideas about health are useful mental-constructs for ending health-related anxiety and for developing an optimistic attitude about the world we’re in. For our own serenity, we don’t have to believe ourselves subject to the whims of disease, we can instead believe in our power to achieve well-being through thought alone.

Enlightened Expectations

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Daily Beacon.

Dear Rich, because you’re into enlightenment and that kinda stuff, your life must be fantastically awesome, is that true?

Dear reader, not quite.

I like to use the examples of Arjuna, Buddha, and Jesus all the time, so I’ll continue that trend here. After his talk with Krishna, Arjuna had to continue with the bloody battle before him. Following his enlightenment, the Buddha traveled around as a monk for the rest of his life. And I’ll assume you know what fate befell Jesus. In other words, the physical life we lead won’t necessarily manifest as retirement to the Garden of Eden.

But is my life better than it was? Yes, better in the sense that I’m much more comfortable with existence. And importantly, I practice hopefulness: I maintain the belief that things will always turn out for the better. Nowadays my anxiety and fear evaporate soon after they appear.

While it’s true that I have less than I’d like, I’m actually pretty free and unencumbered. I do what I want with what I have. I love my tiny family, they’re an endless source of joy and companionship. And my character experiences life’s drama like everyone else, but I maintain a certain detachment from the fray.

Yet sometimes I get so captivated by the flashing lights and sounds that I believe the spectacle to be real, but soon enough I realize my error. This is mindfulness, an awareness that allows me to alter my attitude. So dear reader, while my physical existence is pretty unremarkable, my ability to extract enjoyment from this particular life has increased significantly.

Growing Up

Do we say a child has a differing opinion or do we say his worldview is underdeveloped? Is it raw age, or an ever expanding perspective that makes for maturity?

How do we characterize immaturity? The immature are easily frightened. The immature are insular. The immature see only from their own eyes. The immature reject what they don’t immediately understand. The immature must always win else tantrums flair.

How would we characterize maturity? The mature lack unfounded fears. The mature are inclusive of outliers. The mature attempt to see what others see. The mature seek to understand underlying complexity. The mature accept loss with grace.

While immature ideas are not valid opinions, the feelings producing them are real. In this way, seek to validate the feelings of those harboring such thought, let them know their dissatisfaction is recognized.

And once a connection is established, help them understand their myopia. Shine a light on the shadows that scare them. Show them the humanity they share with others. Introduce them to expansive ideas. Encourage them to trust in life’s goodness.

Universal Broadcast

The ideas I share through my writing are authentic, not rehashed from commentary I’ve read. In fact I’m not much of a reader. I simply watch thoughts passing through my gaze, then pluck the most interesting and transcribe them here.

What it seems like, is that there’s an everlasting stream of broadcasted ideas flowing through a receiver in my mind. My consciousness observes the broadcast with great interest.

This is a common signal going out to all of us. The things I think have all been thought before. I often hear people talking about an author’s or philosopher’s ideas and notice how much they resemble my own thoughts.

But each of us is only tuned into a specific set of channels. My interest happens to be in philosophical matters so that’s the station I’m currently attuned to. If someone is into wood-carving, he’s tuned to that station instead.

People have uncanny abilities in their field of interest, a talent that’s untaught. People are regularly updated with inspiration and ideas that seem to come from a place beyond themselves.

It’s important though, that we not evaluate the individual worth of each station — we must see all as equally deserving the attention of an audience. And it is the duty of each listener to make use of what he hears, sharing with his surrounding world.

Dream-based Economy

It’s dreams we sell to one another. No matter the product, dreams are the bottomline. Those millions of bottles of supplements are filled with fantasy. Politicians peddle pie-in-the-sky not prudent policy. When the Hulkster stood in front of capacity crowds in the middle of Madison Square Garden, he was the sandman sprinkling 24-inch pythons in the eyes of every onlooker.

A box of snacks from across the globe has an adventure in every bite! Such delectables are not constructed of wheat and sugar but of dreams. The clothes we wear are costumes representing a characteristic we wish to portray. Products in our hands evoke feelings far beyond what their constituents suggest. This is a world comprised of commingling imaginations.

Therefore, to seek success, look not to practicality. The things we sell represent grander ideas, actual artifacts don’t matter — it’s not trinkets that move mankind. It’s the story behind the antique watch, not the metal and springs giving it value. Gold then cash then credit all represent a worth we collectively accept, there is no inherent value in the material aspects of money.

In dreams man reaches beyond his immediate grasp. The ultra successful fulfilled their fantasies, they were not grounded, nor were they impeded by naysayers. In every transaction the seller sows the seed of inspiration within the buyer. This is where success is found, in the bartering of dreams. Now, package and ship the fantastical product produced within you.

Happiness in Hope

There’s a cruel lie we often tell ourselves, that hopefulness will ultimately fail in its fruition and the resulting disappointment will cause all sorts of misery. Additionally, we’d better brace for not getting what we want, or do ourselves the favor of not imagining the outcomes we desire in the first place. But hopefulness, whether fulfilled or not, is a source of happiness.

For example, “Rich, one day you’ll live in a place you prefer surrounded by all the things you love.” The cruel lie would say, “You idiot, that can’t happen, you’re stuck right where you are — and stop thinking about all the things you’ll never have because it’ll only make you sad — keep those fantasies locked away.”

The better option is to relish the wish, to not only allow it to circulate through thought, but encourage it. Daydreaming is like watching a pleasant scene soaked in warm hues of the summer sun on a lazy afternoon. We often delight in scenarios we never expect to manifest, we witness them all the time in books and movies.

So who cares if it comes true, we can enjoy the dream itself — and if it does materialize, that’s great too. In every instance, always choose hope over despair — it’s the choice of happiness over sadness. As is said: if surrounded by darkness, should we not seek the light? But if brightness is not to be found, at least we can imagine a well-lit mind.