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Reflect Out Loud

"The unexamined life is not worth living." – Socrates

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growth

Knowledge Over Time

I’m back. To complain.

Wanna know something else that annoys me?

The fact that over time facts change. I spend hours and hours learning a new concept but as time unfolds new information cancels out the old information. So I spent all this time learning this bullshit only to have to learn new bullshit because the old bullshit became irrelevant, outdated news.

FML.

That is all for today.

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Movement

Everything is moving. Always.

I’ve arrived at this interesting realization that no matter what I do or don’t do there is a greater force operating on me that wouldn’t allow me (even if I wanted) to just be still. To not have to move forward with time.

It appears that life goes on no matter what.

It doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do because life will go on.

Of course it matters in the sense that depending on what I do or don’t do the quality of my experience will vary. Like if I choose to sell all my posessions and go live on the beach as a bum or if I choose to work a corporate job in New York City the quality of my experiences will surely be different. But removing this aspect of quality aside, what I’ve noticed is that even if choose to do nothing – meaning, I sit in a corner and I simply allow time to make choices for me then I will enevitably keep moving.

The best way for me to describe this is comparing it to the game of Sims. Have you ever played it?

Well. In the game, if you don’t actively make choices for your sims they will go on auto pilot doing their own actions. You must actively take control and direct their actions to control them. Sometimes my Sim might want to cook but I think it should go learn the piano instead. So I must actively cancel out their choice and direct them towards the piano. If I don’t actively make them do what I want they’ll just auto pilot their way through time.

In some ways I feel like reality is like this. I am here. I exist. I notice there is a force acting on me that keeps moving me forward even if I don’t want to. I have choice. Or at least I think I do. (But this is also a subject to further discuss later). Through choice I can have some control over the quality of my experiences.

But the point that I’m really making is that it doesn’t fucking matter what I ultimately do because it appears that reality is embedded with a formula that figures itself out.

In other words, even if I don’t know what to do in this moment, it doesn’t matter because the formula of time is going to figure it out for me. Time is going to push me forward whether I know what to do next or not. There is something operating within reality that is already deciding what’s going to be next even if I don’t know what’s next.

How much influence and power do I really have over my future? Over my destiny?

What the fuck is destiny anyway?

I can tell you what I want.

I want to feel good about myself. I want to own a home by the beach. I want to have a million dollars in my bank account. I want to be in love with you and have you be in love with me. I want to travel the world. I want there to be peace within me and in the world for those who choose it.

Is it going to happen? I don’t fucking know. But I want it to. I want to do my part in making it happen. But it’s not all me.

Also… getting to that moment is a journey. And it’s a silly ass fucking journey. Because you do alllllll this shit to get there only to have it all slip away.

We work so hard to build treasures and in the end we just die. In the end it all fades. And nothing lasts forever. Time takes it all away.

What bullshit.

So I guess the real way to live is not as so to acquire but perhaps to simply experience. Perhaps to simply enjoy the temporary ride.

 

Wack.

 

Okay. I’m being cynical.

But it’s kind of annoying to build it all to lose it all. Don’t you think?

Climbing

What a dance its been to find balance. To manage being okay with where I am compared to where I want to be.

I don’t want to miss the journey in an attempt to get somewhere in the future. 

I’ve been looking back at how much of life I’ve already missed in wanting to escape to some future moment. All the fun I could have had if only I wasn’t trying to wish my way out of the present moment.

I went to a bonfire at the beach last night. While in conversation it was said to me, “Be happy where you are.” 

That is the secret. To be happy now while we journey, while we climb.

*image credit to google images

Passenger

I am only a passenger in this ride called life.

I was sitting here thinking about where I see myself in 6 years.

I imagined the wear and tear of time painted across my face. The mature look in my eyes. The wrinkles on my forehead more pronounced.

As I conjured up an image of my future self in my mind’s eye I wondered — am I making a conscious effort to really enjoy my experience here in this life?

This means… not allowing stress to get the best of me. This means doing more of what truly makes me happy. Eating foods that I enjoy. Going on more walks. Engaging in local activities. Having intellectual conversations with people who “get” me. Traveling. Being truly myself without fear of rejection. Enjoying the feeling of being comfortable in my own skin.  Being comfortable with expressing my own opinions. Trusting my intuition. Telling more people I love them. Connecting with
positive people. Listening to more music. Going to more shows.  Taking care of my body.
Treating myself with kindness, love, and unconditional positive regard.

YAAAAS to all the above and more!

One of my biggest stressors right now is my job.  Boy does that place know how to run me thin. I can either change jobs or change how I approach my job (I’mma do both).

As I sit here thinking about it I realize that I can’t let myself get sucked into external pressure or self imposed pressure. This is my life. I have the power to dictate its flavor.

I no longer want to let small things bother me.
I no longer want to spend time judging myself negatively.

The decree is in… I’m fabulous. The end.

I want to take ownership of my experience.
Not let worry, fear, or stress consume me.

I want to trust that at every moment I’ll know exactly what to do.

Fuck the bullshit.

I want to enjoy the ride.

Because when the time comes when life flashes before my eyes I wanna see some awesome shit. I wanna see a film that is PACKED with laughter, fun, adventure, coffee, love, friendship, health, music, and all the great memories I’ve consciously created along this passage.

Ya with me?

Break Free

“Dream on little dreamer.
Follow all of your signs.
You gotta gather up what you need,
You gotta choose a direction.
And when the moment is right for you,
You gotta go. You gotta keep your ideals high. You got to know that the sky belongs to no one. You know you got to go.” – Above & Beyond

It’s both frightening and beautiful when you begin to break free of the shackles holding you back from being whole. When you begin to shed old skin and birth anew.

When you begin to recognize your value and embrace the courage to speak up and soar above those who consciously or unconsciously tried to pull you down. And many times that person was yourself. But not any longer. Today is the day to break free.

 

Transition

It’s as if parts of me are being violently ripped apart to make room for new flesh to grow. The old operating system doesn’t seem to be working anymore. I need an upgrade, but because I haven’t expanded enough I can’t seem to find the fitting program to help me glide into my new self.
It’s that awkward in between stage – where you’re not quite who you were and haven’t yet become who you’re meant to be.

Self Reflection – I am Still Learning

I thought I had this “enlightenment” path going pretty darn well for me – then I spent a week with my mom.

I learned a lot about myself and the world.
I learned that I am still pretty impatient and can get easily ticked off when the right buttons are pushed. I became rapidly irritated with my mother’s lack of understanding of herself and her constant fears of the world, throwing much of my inner peace work out of the window for a moment. I became critical of her and sometimes even embarrassed to be related to her.

I still have a whole laundry list of internal issues to figure out, overcome and improve on.

I still often walk around with a commentary voice in my head – comparing, judging, projecting fears, blaming. I realize also that when I make snobby little internal comments like “Oh, this person is so not present” that I am ALSO not present. It’s so easy to judge others and not see where I am at fault.

I had a friend once say, “When you point ONE finger, you also have 3 others pointing right back you.” pointing
This is so true. It’s similar to what Jesus said, “Take the wood from your own eye before trying to take the spec from your brother’s eye.” Ouch. Burn.

Yet even with all my shortcomings, I must not blame myself for being as I am currently in time. I know that I am evolving and on the way to becoming my best self, so there is no reason to beat myself up because I am still crawling and not yet walking. This alone is a huge step for me, especially since I have been master of Karate chopping myself up for not getting it all “right.”

Each day and each challenge offers me new opportunities for growth. I am excited for my evolutionary process, though it is not an easy journey. It varies, really. Some days are easy, some days are hard, some days are in between. I notice that depending on the state of mind I approach my day with, the better or worse it turns out. I am a major advocate for inside out living because I know that my internal emotional state is something I always have the ability to control. When I feel good and my mind is clear, my day feels brighter and more meaningful. When I am gloomy and feel unmotivated, my day also feels foggy and without purpose. The outside world is a major reflection of my inner world.

Let’s keep on climbing, keep on expanding! The view is going to be phenomenal!

Life is my best teacher – our best teacher.

Becoming The Change

Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi

I sometimes get caught up in trying to change the world and forget that the change needs to happen in me. Sometimes I worry too much thinking I must teach kindness and teach love and teach peace, all the while forgetting that I must first BE kind, BE loving and BE at peace (or whatever else I wish to see) and then the rest will follow.

The Bible has a nice quote that says: “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.” (Titus 1:15). You can interpret this is many ways. The way I like to interpret it is: If my intentions are pure and if my perceptions and actions stem from a place of innocence, then all that I see/perceive/intake/experience/observe/feel/etc, will consequently be pure because the lens through which I observe and engage with the world is not a lens of malice but a lens of innocence. I must be like a child – despite having developed the physical form of an adult and having undergone numerous life experiences, I must continue carrying an innocent heart, becoming a living testament of purity despite my moments of flaws. As long as I am human I am subject to failure — and that’s ok because infallibility is not a property of humanity. It is not my perfect acts that will make me pure at heart (because I can do everything right in action yet in my heart I may hide my intention of doing right for mere approval or for the desire of praise or for whatever other motive) — a pure heart is pure because in it abides no malicious intentions — but should such intentions creep in (and believe me, they do all the time), our good and faithful friend, the mind, can help the heart be guided back to its pure, innocent state.

It’s only natural for the heart to be presented with what exists – all the possibilities for good and all the possibilities for bad. It is then up to me, a conscious and aware being, to ultimately decide what I will harbor within me.

AS OF THIS MOMENT, I AM NO SO CALLED “SAINT” LIVING IN SO CALLED “HEAVEN.” I AM A SO CALLED “HUMAN” LIVING ON SO CALLED “EARTH.” 

Sometimes I can be judgmental as hell.
I say or think things like:
“People are rude and need to change.”
“Some people are so disrespectful, boy, I tell ya! I just want to smack some sense into them!”
“Look at these freaking hypocrites, man, no morals.”
“Ugh, I can’t stand these damn politicians, so crooked.”

I even judge myself at times.
“I am so irresponsible! I am constantly late to work.”
“I can never do anything right.”
“I am so out of shape. I have to be more disciplined.”
“I am so dumb. I will never get anywhere in this life.”

All these thoughts, all these mean, condemning words I have allowed to abide in me have become basis for my perception. I have allowed my mind to be receptive to and my heart to feel that these negative words and thoughts I profess are real and true. I have allowed my inner space to be infiltrated by negative conclusions. (I am using the word “negative” here for lack of a better word… I can’t think of a more appropriate word right now to refer to the “yuckiness” I have allowed to abide in the space of my being).

I must be the change. If the change does not happen within me, even if everyone else in the world has already changed, I will not see it or realize it because the filter of my perception is set to the channel of malice and not the channel of innocence. The moment that I change my perception, inevitably my world will change. But it can’t be a half-assed change – it has to be fully real.
I can fool my spectators and become like an actor in the theater who plays the role of a hero, but I cannot deceive myself in thinking I am truly the hero I know I am pretending to be.
I must truly embody that which I wish be.

If I want peace – I must be in tune with peace.
If I want patience – I must be in tune with patience.
If I want kindness – I must be in tune with kindness.
If I want understanding – I must be in tune with understanding.
If I want innocence, I must be in tune with innocence.

How could I experience peace if I am in tune with war?
How could I experience understanding if I am in tune with ignorance?

I must channel my experience.

I must be that which I wish to see.

Once I am that which I wish to see, it will not matter if someone says to me: “Psst. Hey. Look. See that rude, greedy, lustful, prideful, cheating, lying, phony, unworthy person? Look how terrible he or she is!”  Because the moment I am what I wish to see, when I look out at the world I will not see rude, greedy, lustful, prideful, cheating, lying, phony, unworthy, terrible people. Instead, I will see kindness, sharing, sincerity, humility, honesty, truth, reality, worthiness, wonderful, people. Additionally, I will see love. I will see friendship. I will see compassion. I will see forgiveness. I will see understanding. I will see beauty. I will see life. I will see perfection.
I could then respond saying. “Hm. I hear what you are saying. I do not deny the existence of your claims but I do not see it as you see it because in the space of my being I have made the conscious choice to abide in perception of the good, the beautiful, and the blameless, because that is how I wish my world be.”

I am not denying the existence of the bad, the ugly and the guilty.
Let what IS – BE.

I accept all that IS, and as a conscious, aware being, I choose to embrace, be, perceive and act through that which is good.  May in goodness I abide and be.
_____________________________________________________________

BUT TO RAP UP THIS DISCUSSION FOR NOW….

I am not saying “Let’s be passive about everything and ignore and PRETEND there ISN’T any bad out there.” What I am saying is: If you are conscious and aware, choose the good and cast away the bad. If harboring condemning ideas in your mind such as “people are rude” make you see the world as a bad place, consciously make the effort to harbor loving-kind ideas such as “if there is such a thing as rude people, let ME BE KIND, that there be one less rude person in the world.”

I will embrace and cultivate tools such as patience, perseverance, kindness, forgiveness, understanding or any other helpful tool that will enable me to be the change. Will I succeed 100% of the time? Hmm…Given my human circumstances probably not. So if and when I do not succeed, I must be 100% merciful with myself during my moments of shortcomings, acknowledging that I have limitations but not allowing my limitations to stop me from persevering.

There’s a line in the 1997 Disney movie, Flash, where a boy fights to be able to keep and care for a horse he falls in love with and when told “you’ll never make it” the boy responds saying, “Then I won’t make it. But it won’t be because I gave up.”

I may never be perfect, “but it won’t be because I gave up.” I must undoubtedly believe in myself as well as believe in my dreams, utilizing my belief as fuel for transforming my dream into reality by actually living that which I wish would be.

I cannot completely change my world through force or through demand. There’s billions of us out there and it’d be humanly impossible (or perhaps tremendously unlikely and would require an unfathomable amount of effort) for me to externally transform the world to fit the very real and possible utopia that for now exists only as an imagination in me.

I cannot make or demand a person be kind.
I cannot make or demand a person be respectful.
I cannot make or demand a person be loving.
I cannot make or demand a person be in peace.
I cannot make or demand a person be good.

I can only make these things be true for myself and in making it true for myself I can hopefully inspire you to do the same for yourself.

If together, we call forth the good, I promise, our world will be good because all the conscious and aware beings abiding in it have willingly chosen to make it so.

To end this post…

To end this post, I just have to say this about all of the above I just said:

1. All this is just a bunch of words, and words are only symbols. So don’t take everything I said here TOO literal.

2. In the end all that matters is that: YOU ARE THAT WHICH YOU ARE, and not I, not anyone, or anything, could ever define you because only your very essence defines you, and your essence does not depend, and does not require any words.

A Few Words on Conditioning

And so you’re born. Welcome.

You are given a name.
You are placed in the care of people.
These people also have names. They have beliefs, ideas, language, culture, tradition, a level of education, possessions, habits, behaviors and their interpretation of the world.
They teach you the world as it is known to them.
They will teach you how to use your mouth to refer to objects.

Say, “Mama.” 
-Mama
Say, “Dada.”
-Dada.
Say, “Cup”
-Cup.

Next thing you know you can use your biologically developed vocal chords to produce sounds to represent externally perceived objects.
As you age your concepts become more complex.
“My mama is in the market.”
“My dada is reading the newspaper.”
“The cup is on the table.”

You are taught the ideas of the people raising you.
“No! It’s not nice to use your hands to eat. Use the spoon.”
“You have to pray before eating your food, God is watching you.”

You begin to be shaped by the information given to you by those who raised you.

Then you go out into the world. You perceive new people. New places.
These new people have different ideas from those who have raised you.
“What do you mean you have to pray before you eat? There is no such thing as God!”
“Yes there is. My moma and dada told me there is so. I believe them. They wouldn’t lie to me.”

Now you have conflicting ideas.
You are exposed to more modes of thinking. You are exposed to new experiences which you never thought possible.

Everything you engage with at any time is molding you. Changing you. Making you.

Then you realize that you are more than your experiences.
“My mama told me that I am Tom. But is that really who I am?”

You might have a name that was given to you. But that’s just a sound. A sound in which we use to communicate among ourselves in order to reference points in space.
You are not your name.
You are not your beliefs.
You are not the voices in your head.
You are not a label.

You are life.
You are breath.
You are consciousness.

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