Sweet Release

There’s a role we’re assigned to play and we know this because we each have preset preferences guiding our path. Our job is to be this character, following his inclinations at each fork. Where we get tripped up, is when we don’t trust the script and we’re too afraid to follow the prescribed path.

When we lack trust, we get anxious, we get irritable, we freeze, and sometimes we lash out from feeling cornered. We also become terribly selfish, grabbing and hoarding whatever we can for fear of losing it. Yet this nervous beast is not our authentic self, it’s merely the result of resisting our preferences.

Imagine needing to use the toilet really badly, but you hold it in. You’re obviously going to have an uncomfortable time at whatever event you’re attending. You’ll be preoccupied with pee or poop, fecally fixated, everything underlined with urine. But the moment you obtain sweet release upon that golden throne, you’re okay, it’s back to the buffet.

So in life, we must release the pent-up fear we’re harboring. We must respect and align with the path before us. To do this, we must develop a belief system that supports fearlessness. We must believe that life has our best interests at heart. We must reject any idea of randomness, replacing it with a pattern of positivity. We must see life as a party in which we’re all honored guests.

Path Finding

I sometimes hear, “Follow your fear”. But words are messy. I think it should be: Embark on your adventure. In other words, follow a path that fills you with trepidation at first, yet has the potential for greatness. For instance, I’m afraid of heights, but this doesn’t mean my destiny deals with hot-air balloons — that’s not a win-win payoff for me. So instead think, what’s the best-case scenario down this somewhat scary path — does it sound awesome? No? — then that’s not your path. Would the ideal outcome fill me with delight? Yes? — then that’s your path.

The only way we know we care about something is if it stirs something inside us. When following our path, we should use nervousness as evidence that we’re heading in the right direction. It means we care about the topic. We mustn’t use it as an excuse to retreat, but as confirmation to continue. And again, we’ll know it’s the right path because the optimal result is something we really want. If we can’t imagine an optimal result, then we won’t appreciate that path and should pursue another instead.

How do we know the outcome will work out in the end? To put it plainly, life is a fulfillment generator. It’s a video-game/movie/simulation. We know this because people’s dreams readily do come true — we can simply look around. The world contains global super-stars, the rich and famous, YouTube celebrities, renowned TV chefs, professional-gaming champions, great inventors, heroes of all sorts, titans of industry, and lovers with their love-stories. And just think about how little we’ve done to ensure our own survival or success — there’s obviously something outside ourselves that maintains the narrative.

Is it mere luck we’re still alive? How have we personally avoided countless diseases, random accidents, murderous crimes, global catastrophes, violent weather, deadly drowning, etc, etc? By our training, preparation, and diligence? Ha. We’ve never been solely responsible for our own survival. But what about all those people that die everyday!? That’s their path, not ours. We must concentrate on our own path — if it happens to include the welfare of all humanity, that’s great — but if it doesn’t, that’s great too.

Logical Magic

Even though I now believe in magic, I’m still bound by logic. And to remain logically consistent, I must see the world in a way that allows for magical manifestation. Being technologically-minded, simulation-theory was the easiest entry point. If the world is only a simulation, a virtual experience, then magic is perfectly possible. Sprites can blip in and out of scenes while coordinates can be instantly updated.

Focus and intent are the interface to this app. Whatever we wish, good or bad, comes into our life. The program may offer suggestions in the form of stimuli, yet it’s our reaction that determines an ultimate form. For example: is it a passing pain, or a deadly disease. Is the sound something scary or merely the melodic wind.

Yet the best games aren’t easy to figure out — they take time and practice. It’s not as simple as saying “I wish…”. Life reads our dominating thoughts and sends us whatever evokes the most excitement within. Life doesn’t care if the thought is positive or negative, just whether it alleviates our boredom, immersing us deeper into the game.

With any video-game, it often takes effort to align with the timing of the action and master the controller. But the consensus on attainment seems to be this: focus and believe. For example, if I focus on health-issues and believe wholeheartedly in their manifestation, then I’ll be as sick as I imagined. Or if I focus on getting a nice house and sincerely believe in its certainty, then I’ll soon be there.

The game aspect we must master, is maintaining only what we want within our minds. For one, we must recognize and ignore cheap-thrills as they pass through our thoughts as stimuli. For example, being startled by sights or sounds is excitement inducing and staves off boredom — but it leaves us in a state of immersive anxiety. We can do better than that, we can instead turn our gaze to whatever inspires delight.

And like any sport, we must practice repetitiously, drilling until it becomes automatic — a habit. We must bathe in the daydreams of joy and satisfaction. We must regularly monitor our garden of thoughts, discarding weeds that attempt to crowd-out the fruits we’ve planted. And from this work, by maintaining this discipline, we’ll have an entertaining experience — which after-all, is the point of every game.

Conveyor of Obstacles

When we load up a video-game, we’re essentially saying: please throw shit in my face while I repeatedly attempt to wipe it off. And if you haven’t picked up on it yet, that’s what life is: an obstacle course — life presents a series of hurdles for us to leap over. And really, it doesn’t matter what the particular obstacles are, the point is to keep jumping.

Picture it this way: there’s a field full of obstacles before us, it’s a bit of mess with different paths of hurdles strewn all about. If we find ourselves overwhelmed by a particular set of obstacles, then we should evaluate our course and readjust as necessary. We can change our focus and alter our perspective in order to design the most palatable path.

Again, the point is to remain active and interested — specific obstacles don’t matter, there will always be more obstacles. In a video-game, the overall goal is to have fun — each game comes with artificial obstacles that keep us amused for the time being. And just like a video-game, life is for entertainment purposes only, mere flickering pixels that shouldn’t be taken more seriously than warranted.

Tale of the Gun

Recently I’ve been playing a MMOFPS (massively multiplayer online first-person shooter) game. It counts as research into virtuality and helps me to conceptualize certain real-world topics with game-world simplicity. A first-person shooter is a genre in which you blast other players with projectiles, and in this case you compete against other players from around the globe in real-time battles. I don’t have too much experience with MMOFPS games, but I’d liken the concept to a game of tag, except everyone is “it”, so everyone tries to tag everyone else (unless it’s team mode, then two teams attempt to tag one another).

This particular game was a struggle at the start because the controls were cumbersome and took me awhile to get used to. I was getting blasted left and right. But once you get blasted, you respawn within the same game and just keep at it. I struggled at the lower levels for awhile and often leveled-up by using more non-confrontational methods such as entering arenas against slow-moving NPC (non-player character) enemies. But eventually I got better and was able to hold my own against other real-time players, if not dominate in certain circumstances.

Again, I’m explaining all this because I’ll be using it as a foundation to discuss real-world concepts using game-world simplicity. For instance, I don’t enjoy matches that are too easy, I now appreciate my opponents and the close battles. And I also wouldn’t be relishing my current dominance if I hadn’t been repeatedly squashed like a bug so many times before. The game makes it apparent that actual existence cannot be too easy or else we simply wouldn’t enjoy it, we’re only satisfied through struggle. Not in a masochistic sense, but just a perspective sense, we need to see the bottom to fully appreciate the top.

During several unsuccessful periods in the game, I wanted to quit, never to return. I hated it, yet I was pulled back and stuck it out. Eventually I found a groove and started having fun. In actual existence I don’t feel like I’ve found that groove yet, but I’d say my gaming experience helps me to understand the totality of the path. A game without obstacles is not entertaining. And the games that provide the fullest most immersive experiences are the ones that keep us on the precipice of defeat. But once mastery kicks in, we can sit back a bit and appreciate the game in a different way.

When our skill-attributes are to their max, it can be fun to turn the tide of battle with a mere flick of the wrist. Or, help newcomers that wouldn’t fare well without a guiding hand. Or, purposefully limit ourselves to weaker tools and master new ways of doing things. But it takes a self-discipline to design and maintain our own fun I think. The easier route is to lose yourself to the game and let a narrative lead the way — but this can get too intense. I tend to get too wrapped up in narratives so I’m constantly reminding myself not to take things too seriously.

For the rest of my real-world gaming experience, I think I’d like to level-up to mastery-mode. Where whatever I do just works. Where resources flow freely. Where my presence is appreciated. Where teammates always have my back. I’ve been on the losing team long enough I think. I get it. I can clearly conceptualize a broken world. I can quite easily imagine tales of lack and suffering and injustice, but now I want my thoughts filled with fellowship and fun, experiencing the greatness of what life has to offer.

Virtual Games

My favorite video-games are the ones I initially suck at, where I struggle to achieve even the smallest victory. I’m lost and confused and overwhelmed. I figure I should quit but for whatever reason I don’t, I can’t. I just grind away with little perceptible progress. But then the switch flips, Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds. I am the living incarnation of power and my opponent lives by my will alone. But after that initial feeling of triumph and mastery I mellow out and go through the motions for awhile until I move on to something new and different.

It’s probably not a coincidence that when entering this life I was lost, confused, and overwhelmed. Yet I didn’t quit, I kept going, experiencing only the tiniest of victories. But underlying my path was a sense of power. A power I could never focus. At this midpoint of life, I wonder if the turning point is near, when I might be ready to wield that power.

Every game needs a quest or opponent, and perhaps my nemesis in this world is Maya/Mara the Tempter — not in a bad way, just a playful way. So I’ve been busily setting up booby-traps to catch life when it attempts to ensnare my attention. Now whenever something goes awry, I identify it immediately as one of life’s little funhouse tricks.

Yet I’m leaving the door wide-open if life would like to captivate me in pleasant ways. I don’t question good feelings and just soak in the warmth. After all, this could just be an open-ended game with no point whatsoever — where the only goal is to have fun. Maybe that’s the riddle I’m to solve, who knows.

Virtual Drama

Picture it, Madison Square Garden, sometime in the 80s. Before a capacity crowd, Hulk Hogan, the World Wrestling Federation Champion of the World was down and out, seemingly lifeless. The referee picked up his limp hand and dropped it, checking for consciousness. The arm just flopped down to the mat. The ref tried again, the arm fell again. The ref tried once more, but this time the arm stayed in the air, this time there was a visible vibration in that 24-inch python. Not only was there life left in that body, but the energy flowing from thousands of Hulkamaniacs coursed through its veins.

Now on his feet, the Hulkster let loose the pythons. His opponent was dumbstruck, Hogan was relentless, a swing into the ropes, a clothesline, another trip across the ring, a boot to the chest, a body slam, a suplex, pandemonium had broken loose, the crowd was on their feet. And with his opponent down, Hogan climbed to the top rope… and jumped… BOOM a flying leg drop! One! Two! Three! Ding! Ding! Ding! The match was over. The Hulkster put his hand to his ear as the crowd shouted their praise. The ring-announcer then proclaimed, “And still Champion of the World… Hulk Hogan!”

We must drill it in, that life’s purpose is to present a compelling narrative. We’re here to be captivated, entertained by a story. Every epic tale features the protagonist toiling toward his goal. Every video-game throws obstacles in the character’s path. We’re supposed to believe the main-character might lose. We’re supposed to say “Oh no! He might not make it! Nooo!”

Look closely and we can observe this obvious pattern repeated endlessly. The most exhilarating situation we can experience in life is wavering on the edge of victory. Will we make it!? Oh no, knocked down again! Ha, we’re up! This time we’ll do it! Boom! And we’re down again! Wait, we’re up! But this time it’s different! And maybe this time it is.