Frolicking Fragments

Think of a child playing with his action-figures. The child imagines a scene in which these characters are in conflict. Some figures are grouped in the background without much to say, often victims of circumstance. The main-characters trick and surprise one another even though the puppeteer knows full-well the underlying plans of each. The child artfully compartmentalizes the minds of characters, making sure they don’t mix.

Through suspension of belief, the child perceives himself as these individuals, maintaining appropriate actions for each. Yet, if the child’s least favorite character gets a leg up on his champion, a sudden change in narrative will save the day. The child plays as the hapless individual, but he’s ultimately the story’s author, capable of rewriting narratives on the fly. The child is also the front-row audience observing the overall action, an audience cheering for its preferred ending.

These action-figures are regularly presented with dilemmas to be solved. Easy answers are often thwarted as the child enjoys extending his playtime. The characters therefore struggle to overcome an obstacle, attempting to solve its riddle through repeated trial and error. Eventually, creative solutions leak in from the puppeteer who knows the way out. Things begin to fall into place and external pressures lessen. The goal is reached and the scene comes to a close.

This is how a creator can play amongst his parts. Although this description summarizes my observation of an actual child at play, it can be applied to the wider world. Life consists of characters in costume acting out dramatic scenes on a daily basis. There’s an underlying coordination that steers these players into coherent circumstances while creative solutions pop into their minds as necessary. A consistent barrage of obstacles provide fodder for these characters to wrestle with. When objectives are achieved, those chapters come to a close and new ones begin.

Child at Play

A child at play perfectly encapsulates the experience of existence. No supernatural understanding is necessary to see the compartmentalized minds of characters engaged in a world of pretend. Panda acts autonomously, not knowing what’s wrong with crying Kitty, yet deep down Panda does know what’s wrong since they share a puppeteer.

While in-character we suspend belief. Yet answers to problems come readily because we already know them. Creativity flows from a singular source. We even witness miraculous circumstances manifesting before our eyes as the puppeteer strives to fulfill a particular narrative. No Panda, you belong over here. Kitty, let’s forget about the problem you had, you’re now a doctor.

But mind you, we are not at the mercy of some childish brute banging toys together, we are the child — a trinity of author, actor, and audience. Just as a child effortlessly maintains different planes of awareness for each character, we too perceive different levels. Yet we are most often lost in life, playing our character with full devotion.

If at any time we frighten ourselves from the intensity of our dedication, we can remember it’s only a benevolent game. It’s possible to perceive the puppeteer pulling the strings. With a still mind, quietly observing, we can realize our roots. We can know the purpose of our play is to have fun — focusing on whatever evokes delight while living life lightheartedly.

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.

Modern Metaphor

A metaphor only works when we can relate to what’s being compared. This is why many of us in the modern world can’t relate to ancient spiritual teachings. The messages may be true, but the metaphors are meaningless. This was my problem until I stumbled onto an updated metaphor, simulation-theory, that says existence is comprised of a computer program in which everything is mere flickering pixels. For me at least, this modern metaphor makes sense.

People that propose simulation-theory don’t always tout it as a spiritual idea, but at its core, it most certainly is. Like any religion, it can provide a comforting backstory for our earthly existence, it can explain different phenomena in our surroundings, and it can be used to construct meaning for ourselves, allowing us to find fulfilling roles within an otherwise meaningless world.

The funny thing is, once I began to embrace the concept of virtuality, all the ancient spiritual stuff started making sense. I now have a working metaphor by which I can relate to what they were saying. Aha! As someone that could not previously grasp spirituality in any form, I can tell you that the before and after is remarkable. The answers were there, I just didn’t get it.

What all these teachings are trying to say, from ancient to new-age, is to be your authentic self, play the role of you but without the fear. The “you” shrouded in anxiety is a selfish beast that feels besieged by danger, thus ready to lash out. But the actual you is a character in a game that’s here to fulfill his role with dignity and grace. The role of you has already been written, just play along.

A game without obstacles isn’t worth playing. So in life, we really do want problems to solve. The trick is in embracing those problems, not lamenting their existence. Furthermore, we get to pick from a menu of options. Whatever issue we focus on becomes ours. We don’t necessarily have to accept every problem that crosses our path — we can pick some while ignoring others, or at least focus on the aspects we prefer.

Now, do unenlightened anxious people distort religion due to their fear and feelings of lack? Yes. There’s no limit to what a confused mind might manifest. So religion can certainly suffer from corruption, which is why it might be good to start anew every once in awhile. Religions are simply collections of ideas that remind us we have nothing to fear. With an appropriate religion tailored to our tastes, our minds are able to rest upon answers that satisfy our existential angst.

Dawn of Enlightenment

Jagged edges distort my view.
Thus I polish roughness with repetition.
As I shine, my source beams through.

A creator playing amongst his parts.
Trinity of author, actor, and audience.
Power surges from regular remembrance.

While in character, forgetfulness reigns.
Self-imposed fog blinds and binds.
Roots buried beneath a mirage.

Only when pausing, do I perceive.
I am no pawn to be played.
I am the programmer.

Shining Through

Jagged edges distort my view,
so I polish the roughness with repetition.
The more I shine, the more light beams through.

I see my source, the designer within —
a creator playing amongst pieces of myself.
Power surges from frequent realization.

What a marvelous world I’ve made,
a playground given to me by me.
Nothing is, but what I willed it to be.

Self-imposed fog keeps me blinded,
my roots tucked below a superficial surface.
While performing in character, I readily forget.

Upon stilling my mind, I remember —
I am no mere pawn to be played, but the programmer.
I only realize when I pause to perceive.

There is no frailty ‘cept that which I playfully portray.
I am the definer of strength — both author and audience.
Swimming amidst shallows, I need only stand.

Evoking Power

Alone atop a self-made world, an infinite being sat.
For the fun of it, he split himself into near-infinite shards,
each one reflecting a particular perspective.

I am one such perspective, a broken jagged-edged piece.
My roughness distorts whatever I see.
So I polish the pitted surface which is me.

The more I shine, the brighter I become.
I see the light which lies before me.
I sense the source from which I came.

Power surges from frequent realization of my origin.
I am the creator playing amongst parts of myself.
What a marvelous world I’ve made.

Within this playground for the pieces of me,
I laugh at all the silly things I’ve spawned.
Nothing is but what I willed it to be.

I even trick myself not to see beyond the mirage.
Roots tucked below a superficial surface.
While performing in character, I readily forget.

Upon stilling my mind, I remember.
I am not a mere pawn to be played, but the programmer.
So skilled I only realize when I pause to perceive.

Life is a gift given to me by me for my own amusement.
There is no weakness ‘cept that which I playfully portray.
I am the definer of strength itself.

This is my narrative to silence fear and frailty.
I am both art and artist, audience and author.
Swimming amidst shallows, I need only stand.