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.

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Program For a Good Day

//##########################################
//Program for a good day
//version 1.0

//##########################################
//This function is called by the system whenever 
//self-awareness activates - its contents can be customized.
//If this function is not called frequently enough,
//run meditation routine
func selfAware()
{
	//this is a good opportunity to poll the emotional state
	currentMood = getCurrentMood()
	if(currentMood != pleasant)
		improveMood()
}

//##########################################
//activeThoughts is a system-populated array
//containing all thoughts currently in mind
func improveMood()
{
	foreach(thought in activeThoughts)
	{
		emotionalIntensity = getEmotionalIntensity(thought)
		isPleasant = determineDelightfulness(thought)
		
		if(emotionalIntensity > 0 && !isPleasant)
			defuseThought(thought)
	}
			
	generatePleasantThoughts()
}

//##########################################
func getCurrentMood()
{
	currentMood = null
	
	if(stressLevel == high)
		currentMood = unpleasant
	else if(aggravationLevel == high)
		currentMood = unpleasant
	else if(mouth != smiling || mouth != neutral)
		currentMood = unpleasant
	else if(posture != relaxed)
		currentMood = unpleasant
	else
		currentMood = pleasant
		
	return currentMood
}

//##########################################
func getEmotionalIntensity(thought)
{
	intensity = 0
	
	if(body == tense)
		intensity++
	
	if(gaze == focused)
		intensity++
		
	return intensity
}

//##########################################
func determineDelightfulness(thought)
{
	if(mind + thought == delight)
		return pleasant
	else
		return unpleasant		
}

//##########################################
func defuseThought(thought)
{
	isEasilyDismissed = dismissThought(thought)
	while(!isEasilyDismissed)
	{
		hasFlaw = findFlaw(thought)
		if(!hasFlaw)	
			imaginePositiveAlternative()
	}	
}

//##########################################
func generatePleasantThoughts()
{
	goodThoughtsArray = recallPastPleasantThoughts(5)
	foreach thought in goodThoughtsArray
	{
		visualizeThought(thought)
	}
}

//##########################################

Conveyor of Thoughts

A conveyor belt of thought moves past our awareness. Our job is quality-control inspector, allowing only the highest quality thoughts to pass through to receive attention. If we direct our focus to what we don’t want, we inadvertently select those items. We therefore dare not be offended or outraged lest we feed our attention the very things we dislike.

These passing thoughts are mere suggestions, daydreams, inspiration for action, things to do — simply say yea or nay. We must focus on whatever pleases, matching our preferences while ignoring the rest. To get good at our job we must practice, ever evaluating the stream of thoughts. We know we slipped up when our mood sours, after which we can cleanse the contamination.

Then we use these mistakes to get better, pinpointing the thoughts that act as poison. To clean, we dismantle the unwelcome idea and overwrite with what’s wholesome. Over time we become more efficient in this process, recognition becomes automatic and we surgically pick apart the pollutant and sew up the wound without a trace.

Our role as quality-control inspector means we must examine whatever’s thrown onto our conveyor belt, we don’t get to choose what gets placed on the belt, we simply select the items we want to focus on. We must remember, complaining about the assortment of items is in effect selecting those very things we’d rather not send to our awareness.

Dreamer of Dreams

I’ve begun to think of life as a dream. I am therefore the creator as well as experiencer of my existence. My wandering mind sets the stage while introducing a cavalcade of characters. This is a lucid dream, one in which I’m aware and able to influence. Yet I’m more often lost to the narrative before me, allowing the story to meander as it will.

But this directionlessness isn’t always satisfying. My mind wants to be constantly entertained, so in a pinch it’ll select a cheap thrill to rouse itself, living by the motto: anything is better than boredom. My mind regrets these low-quality selections of course, getting the equivalent of a tummy-ache from the lack of nutritiousness.

What I need instead, is to fill my head with wholesomeness. One such mental-vegetable is the concept of oneness, the deconstruction of my sense-of-self, egolessness. It’s stepping back a bit from my character, seeing him as just part of the show, not some super fragile shell that needs constant protection from imagined calamity.

To perform this deconstruction, I’ll have to remove the border I perceive between myself and existence. I’ll need to reinforce the idea that “I” and everything are one. To tear down the wall of “me”, I can regularly imagine my body dispersing into particles, flowing through the aether, formless yet present, a costume to be discarded at will — for I am a dreamer of dreams.

Automatic Aggravation

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Daily Beacon.

Dear Rich, if I’m constantly struck by annoyances, how can I deal with this? Sometimes I smell nasty things or I get injured or I find myself surrounded by idiots — how do I get away from this conveyor-belt of aggravation?

If you’re emotionally activated whenever a certain condition arises — energized, hyper-focused, moved to action — then it will keep happening — you’ll be caught in a loop. For instance, if you’re activated by disgust, you’re sure to find something objectionable.

You must face these initially annoying circumstances with dispassion. No anger or frustration, no sadness or despair, just do whatever the situation calls for and move on. And if afterwards, related images or ideas dance through your mind, kick them out, finding something else to focus on.

We should ever be directing our thoughts to entertain items that evoke enthusiasm and amusement rather than exhaustion and dissatisfaction. It is much more preferable to be in a positive loop than a negative one. And so we must practice molding our mind to receive the things we enjoy.

As we watch ourselves, signs of annoyance often appear, and with repetition we can quickly recognize their presence by heightened emotion. Catch it, call it out and shine the light, but be forgiving, gentle, and send it on its way. Then look to fill the void with something lighthearted. In this way dear reader, your habit of annoyance will fade.

While Loop

While (condition equals true)
  do something.

Life sends stimuli intending to capture our attention. Life introduces whatever it can until it notices we’re energized by a particular circumstance. Once we take the bait, life has no reservation sending the same bait over and over. Life doesn’t mind being repetitive with what energizes us. So in a sense we’ll remain in a loop powered by a particular stimulus until it no longer energizes.

The source can be positive or negative, it doesn’t matter, whatever incites our emotions — enthusiasm or anxiety. For example, if spiders make us recoil in fear, we’ll see a constant stream of eight-legged intruders. To break out of a loop, we must become bored by the stimulus. The loop repeatedly asks the question: are you energized by this? If yes, continue. If no, break out of the loop and continue to the next one. Life doesn’t seem to care whether we enjoy the stimulus or not, just whether it energizes us.

While spiders make me jump,
  send more spiders.

So if I’m susceptible to freaking-out whenever a certain condition arises, extremely energized by it, hyper-focused, and moved to action, then it will keep happening. I’ll be stuck in a rut. Life will have no need to offer something new if I get enough stimulation right where I am. Yet if I’m not enjoying a particular loop, and want to move on to a more pleasant stimulus, I must become disinterested in the undesirable stimulus.

And once disinterested, life has no choice but to end that loop and move to a new one. To indicate which loop we want next, we should cultivate the necessary mindset for our preferred condition. For instance, if I’m not grateful for any gifts that life currently provides, why should life send more presents my way? I’m obviously not energized by them. Or if I’m activated by disgust, life will surely send something objectionable. So we must practice, ever molding our mind to energetically receive the things we enjoy.

Dimension of Mind

Dear Rich, I want to immerse myself in the unreality of reality, any suggestions?

Sure dear reader, in fact I was just doing this very thing by watching a bunch of episodes from the Twilight Zone. It’s a fantastic TV series from the early 1960s. I don’t recommend the scary episodes, but here’s some others that’ll get you questioning the very nature of reality. And although they’re listed here in chronological order, be aware that episodes can and should be watched in any order, they’re not interconnected in any way.

S1E23 A World of Difference. Is it real or imagined?
S1E24 Long Live Walter Jameson. Questioning the value of longevity.
S1E34 The After Hours. A mysterious existence.
S1E36 A World of His Own. Life born of imagination.
S2E2 Man in the Bottle. Sometimes nothing is better than something.
S2E19 Mr. Dingle, the Strong. Martians giveth and they taketh away.
S2E27 The Mind and the Matter. Careful what you wish for.
S2E28 Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up. Things aren’t always as they seem.
S3E15 Nothing in the Dark. Challenging the fearfulness of death.
S3E31 The Trade-Ins. A thought on growing old.
S3E37 Cavender is Coming. Sometimes what’s broken doesn’t need fixing.

And here are some social-commentary oriented episodes:
S1E22 The Monsters are Due on Maple Street. A warning about paranoia.
S2E6 Eye of the Beholder. The subjectiveness of beauty.
S3E24 To Serve Man. A warning about trusting those that promise too much.
S3E29 The Little People. The dangers of little minds.
S3E30 Four O’Clock. Another warning about paranoia.
S5E33 The Brain Center at Whipple’s. Automation in the workplace.

Notation Note: S5E33 means Season 5, Episode 33