Lost in Darkness

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Wandering Monk.

When I think of the Garden of Eden, I don’t think of man’s expulsion as physical, but perception based. In other words, man remained in the general proximity but began interpreting his surroundings as unpleasant, seeing the good as gross. And likewise, man’s entrance into Heaven is the realignment of his perception, seeing only good.

Biblically then, the teachings of Jesus are the light by which man finds his way back to paradise. By abandoning brutish negativity and adopting limitless forgiveness, man releases his grip on darkness and opens his heart to the light. Eden surrounds, but man can only appreciate this when he’s open to receive.

There are those that walk a resplendent earth with an open heart and those that crawl upon a desolate rock, closed-off to the beauty. Heaven is here, but so is Hell. We choose our experience by the love and acceptance we maintain within.

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Stuck on Start

It’s odd that self-exploration is a thing. We literally explore every aspect of ourselves. What’s it like to be human? How does this feel? Why does it feel that way? How do I control this crazy contraption? Why am I thinking these thoughts? How do I better align with my circumstances?

We’re not immersed in the game of life, we’re still stuck staring at the piece we’re playing as. Why is it this color? Why this shape? What moves can I make? What effect do other players’ pieces have? Is it my turn? Can I go yet? It’s strange to feel like you’re still on start, waiting for the opportunity to begin.

But we don’t want to mess up, do we? We have to find our groove though. Just move forward and let the chips fall where they may. Yet we’ve no idea what to do with ourself, no direction in which to head. Although, a game is a simple affair, just rolling dice and proceeding on a preset path. Just take your turn, move forward one space at a time.

I suppose that’s all we can do, move ahead one step at a time. But it’s not enough to mechanically move, we must lose ourself in the game’s narrative, pretending we’ve got a vested interest in our progress. It’s just a lighthearted investment though, like any game of pretend, we simply perform as our character.

P.S. Yet who’s to say humanness isn’t a path in and of itself? Traveling the far reaches of the globe or traveling the far reaches of the mind, it’s all exploration, an activity to occupy our attention. All this time you’ve imagined yourself stuck on start, but you’ve been playing all along, the inner mystery is just part of the fun.

Health Standards

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Alien on Earth.

From generation to generation, culture to culture, what constitutes a healthy diet varies — yet all these groups lived normal relatively healthy lives. The common factor is not what they ate, not the actual ingredients, but only the belief in the nutritiousness of what they consumed. Therefore, healthfulness is a state maintained in the mind.

Even within my own lifetime, dietary fashion changed drastically. What I consumed as a child, I’d consider straight-up poisonous today. But who’s to say what I eat today won’t be considered unhealthy by the time I’m elderly. Exercise is another activity that follows trends, as types and vigorousness change with the times.

The point being, that we should not seek to mold ourselves to the latest “healthy” fashions, feeling inadequate when we can’t keep up — we should instead set the bar at a standard we can meet and believe ourself healthy when we do. There are cigarette smokers for instance, that believed it a curative substance, and you know what? They did just fine.

Persuade one of these smokers that what they’re doing is harmful? Boom, some will quit and die soon after, convinced they poisoned themselves. We do no service to anyone by convincing them they’re engaged in self-harm. We’re not helping by forcing a lifestyle that doesn’t fit. And we’re ignoring history to believe ourselves knowers of absolute truth.

Universal Sum

Nothingness can’t create somethingness. There was at least some potentiality, some force that existed prior to the universe. So either the universe eternally existed in its current form or it was formed from some creative power. This means that something has always existed – a force powerful enough to create or perpetually sustain this world has always been present.

And this force isn’t quite balanced, or else nothing would bother to manifest. There’s a tilt toward the positive – a foundation exists and remains in a constant state of creation. Randomness is a ridiculous assumption since we can plainly perceive an underlying conveyer belt of production churning out well-structured forms.

So the interesting bit to consider, is that it appears something is creating all of this on purpose. And again, not randomly, as the entities being created fit neatly within a narrative of sorts. What gives the artificiality away, is the manufactured drama, it’s too obvious once perceived. Little troupes of players acting out their little skits.

But why? Well why does anyone play? To have fun of course, to entertain oneself. A force powerful enough to create and sustain a universe has no need to learn. Boredom is the universal enemy of every child, so to stave it off he plays. He creates grand worlds full of characters with all sorts of roles and narratives.

And while engaged in play, he suspends belief, every figurine provided a unique personality. Some fight, some get along, yet all autonomous, separated by a compartmentalized imagination. But in actuality, all stem from a single source – at their core, every character draws from the common-knowledge of the puppeteer.

Elevated Thought

Dear Rich, how can I tell if my thoughts are from the higher self or of the lower sort?

The devil deals in divisiveness whereas God works with oneness. Whatever separates into lesser, or judges by value, is base. Whereas whatever brings together, building bonds of unity, is exalted. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Be careful not to categorize for the purpose of better-ness, for its fruit is bitterness. Work not to build barriers but to dismantle them. Thoughts that support this foundation of wholeness are the holy type we welcome — whereas thoughts that fractionalize and minimize, we must dismiss.

Doing good is doing as God. We must forgive as He forgives. Give to all as He gives to all. We are to be gracious and grateful guests at this gathering granted to all. We arrive late and empty-handed to a party in full-swing, the higher self shows appreciation for the invite and pitches in to make sure everyone is having a good time.

Untainted by Paint

In the MMOFPS game I recently started playing, I regularly and purposefully select to be brutally murdered by a horde of unrepentant killers — and I enjoy it. I don’t enjoy brutality per se, I just like the tag-you’re-it, defend-the-base style of gameplay. Yet I do find the violent way in which it’s depicted a bit amusing, there’s a dark humor to it.

So it makes me think about this world, you know? If this world is just a simulation, then why wouldn’t the gameplay be similar? Some people are just gonna tear sh*t up, blastin’ with guns blazin’ — right? But the neat part of this world, I’m guessing, is that players are segregated into different themes of play. Some do relationship-drama, some peacefully farm, some strive for objectives, some holler an’ fight, and some spectate, watching it all go down (what good is a trick if no one sees you do it, right?).

There’s probably a bunch of categories that people are assigned to. And sometimes we worry we might cross into other categories, but I’m thinking we can’t. So if you’re on the peaceful track, then you’re good, no need to worry about violence. But since this world is virtual, I bet a lot more people than you’d think have the brutality option checked. After-all, it’s fun to experiment with video-game characters we control, pushing them to their limits, testing their mettle.

If people cared, the world would be a safer, less-savage place — yet we don’t care. We regularly ignore the ceaseless violence, recklessness, and abuse that goes on around us in order to focus on our mundane daily lives. Why is that? It must be that we’re not meant to care or interfere — we’re each having our own little dream, but our roommates just happen to be freaks (no judgement, they’re just into some really freaky stuff — macabre themes, sadomasochism, restraints, choking — all of it).

Some might see this viewpoint as a form of existential victim-blaming, which it is. It’s implying that individuals are experiencing the world exactly as they themselves intended, brutality and all. It’s as if at some point prior to existence, we each browsed a dossier of details and selected our character’s traits and the approximate path he’d take. But to keep it interesting, we signed-off on the introduction of unknown challenges and other surprises.

In the MMOFPS game I’ve been playing, I’ll often charge into a group of opponents, blasting away, not caring a whit whether I’ll survive because it just doesn’t matter. We’re all just pretending to be painted pixels. The underlying player remains untainted by the splattering paint of the virtual world. And that might be true of this world as well. Perhaps there’s an underlying player that remains untainted by the splatter, unrepentantly enjoying the spectacle of existence.

Guilty Pleasures

We must stop punishing ourself for every perceived transgression while assuming pain is the necessary payment. To say “this” is a natural consequence of “that” is a horrible sentence we impose upon ourself. Counter examples exist of others not receiving the same results for similar efforts. So is it luck? Well if random chance rules, then all hope is lost anyway as any accident may befall us — no precaution can keep us safe from everything. We’ll stew in anxiety as we wait for an eventual disaster to mark our doom. We must therefore assume that consequences are not written in stone, unwavering in their dissemination.

It may very well be that we invariably receive the exact outcomes we expect. Our primary discomforts in life might just stem from self-immolation. I did wrong, so I must be punished. I ate like a little piggy, so I must start resembling one. I consumed sugary treats, so my body must experience dental decay. I exposed my fair skin to the burning sun, now delicate flesh must burn. I’ve treated this person without due consideration, now I am cursed by karma. I embarrassed myself, so now I must suffer endless ridicule. My efforts were weak, so I deserve nothingness.

O ye of little faith. Why should we engage in constant persecution of ourself? What a wicked way to spend our day. It’s as if we sickly derive pleasure from regularly accusing ourself of wrongdoing while savoring the punishment we mete out against this hapless victim — a self-sadomasochism of sorts. No, find a new hobby, a new outlet. We’ve no right to be judge, jury, and executioner over even ourself. Forgiveness is not a charity we arbitrarily grant, but the law itself. We are to freely forgive because all that we receive is freely given to us — no earth-bound effort can pay for the life we’re granted.

Is it not better to accept this gift we’ve been given without complaint? How rude it is to pick out every flaw of something we’ve received. Truly, in this way we create our own calamity. About the sweater from Santa, we should not scoff and lament the bike we lack. But by seeking to appreciate every aspect of the life we’re living, we receive the fruit of gratitude. Existence is a force far beyond our power to comprehend so we must simply accept this world and look kindly toward the character we temporarily play. And so in this way we may apologize:

Dear fellow, I am sorry for the many harsh judgements I’ve rendered against you — please feel free to live the life most likely to facilitate your happiness. I will endeavor to refrain from constant criticism and no longer seek out cruel sentences for perceived abuses. It is impolite of me to imagine the worst outcomes possible and impose them upon you. We are of course connected but I am not your master as I had inconsiderately assumed. Let me cheer you on as you travel your path. I, your faithful fan.