The future is now

This is my final post for the year two thousand and thirteen. My thoughts are turned to all that has transpired over this past year but also to what is yet to come. It is a time of reflection but also prediction. But above all, it is my last chance, in fact my one and only chance to be in this absolutely unique, one of a kind, irreplaceable moment. What I write today could only be written today. It would have been impossible for me to write it yesterday for the me of today was not born yet and by tomorrow it will be too late for I will be dead.

Wow… that sounds deep and really heavy. My inclination would be to call bullshit but at it’s core what I’m saying is true. In my quest for the truth I have hit so many dead ends that I have questioned if anything is true. Still, I’m willing to go with that one. I’m willing to stand my ground and proclaim without reservation that THIS MOMENT is all we have; this moment, everlasting, ever changing. This moment is simultaneously both infinitely insignificant and absolutely everything.

The same is true of me… and of you. Each one of us is absolutely unique and indispensable to the whole. Each one of us is simultaneously both amazingly beautiful and a total piece of shit. Each one of us is the center or our own universe, in essence a god, but also merely a speck of dust on a grain of sand on the back of an ant. We are everything and nothing… well next to nothing but that is something. What that something is? I don’t know, and anyone who claims to is full of shit. The answer, as small as it may be, is bigger than anything any of us can wrap our brains around.

That is the truth.

When I look at the past year of my life it has great significance. Many amazing things have happened. Some I call good, some I call bad. In this past year I have done some things that I have never done before… and have succeeded. I’ve done some things and failed miserably. In both cases, my success or failure has seemed like everything, and it is. Except it’s not. It is a matter of perspective, in this case,  my perspective. Our inclination is to believe that the truth lies somewhere in the middle but that is a myth. There is no absolute truth because the truth is absolutely everything.

Well, that was a whole lotta nothin, huh? I really hoped that I had something more helpful to give. After all this is the most important post I am making in this moment. But that is the problem with seeking the truth. The fact is, the truth, at least in any comprehendible form, only exists is chunks, in the connections we make to the exclusion of everything else.

So let me break off a chunk here and see if I can get to a point. Let me limit my scope to the planet earth. Let me limit my concern to the human race. Let me focus on this exact point in time. Let me say that we have come a long way baby, but if we keep going the way that we are going we are all totally fucked.

But hey, I’m an optimist and I know that there is no way in hell that we will keep going the way that we have. Change is inevitable and change is happening. For those who resist change, this must be a really scary time but I’m here to tell you, you are not alone. For those who embrace change, this is a scary time as well.  We are now, as always, but perhaps now more than ever, all in this together. Our ability to accept that simple unwavering fact will define our future.

The Twentieth century is over and if the human race survives long enough it may become but a footnote in history. Still, there is one thing that happened during the past one hundred years or so which will change things forever.  We have become ONE WORLD. Growing up in the Twentieth century I heard both apocalyptic and utopian tales of what a one world order would mean. Well we don’t have to wonder any longer. This is it!

Yeah, I know. I expected jet packs too.

Oh well, that’s the way these things go. Best laid plans and all…

Anyway, the only question now is do we come together? or do we break it apart? As I look around I see everything we need to go either way. We have enough resources, enough ideas, enough technology and enough love, compassion and understanding to care for everyone on this planet.  We also have enough to destroy it all . We need to make a choice because we have reached the tipping point. Unless you are expecting salvation in the afterlife or aliens to come and rescue us, this is all we’ve got. Frankly, I’m not banking on either of those options so I ask you, my one and only savior, “what do you want to do?”

We can continue to divide and conquer, but where will it end? Does it ends with all our resources exhausted and the winner standing all alone? I don’t think any of us would consider that acceptable, including the winner.

We now know that we are one world; miraculous and abundant yet fragile and limited. Can we also realize that we are one people; divine and diverse, independent and indispensable. Can we accept that we are alone through the knowledge that we are infinitely connected?

I say that it is time we come together… not as Hindus and Christians, not as Democrats and Republicans, not as rich and poor, not as educated and ignorant, not as healthy and sick, not as young and old, not as black and white, not as gay and straight, not as good or bad; not by any of the labels we have imposed upon others or have allowed to define us, but in the only way that really matters… as individuals.

It’s time that we started thinking for ourselves for in doing so we are thinking for everyone. History is over. Culture, ideology, political movements, economic systems, race, religion, nationality, gender and sexual orientation are all remnants of the past. The future is now and all we have is us.

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Are ideas really dangerous?

In a post I made last week I stated that “ideas are dangerous”. Even as I wrote it I had doubts about whether I actually believed it. It has been the number one question on my mind for the past week as I have been spending a lot of time reading, watching and listening to other people’s ideas. I love learning what other people think. I’m a huge fan of the Aspen Ideas Festival and TED Talks – Ideas worth spreading. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend checking them out.

What I have learned is that not all ideas are equal. Some are really good; some not so much. Some ideas are just downright stupid. Still, are any of them dangerous unto themselves? Robbing a bank is dangerous but so is shooting a manned rocket into space. Both of these dangerous acts began with an idea so perhaps it is fair to say that ideas are dangerous.  However, when I made that statement these were not the examples I was thinking about.

I wasn’t thinking about how an idea can lead to an action that is dangerous. I was actually thinking about how thinking can cause harm. I was thinking about how my ideas may conflict with other peoples ideas, or even my own ideas, and cause discomfort. Well, as unpleasant as discomfort may feel, it is not dangerous.  Experiencing discomfort can actually be very enlightening. In fact I’m hard pressed to find an example of how one can find enlightenment without discomfort or the more often used term; suffering.

Still, I did not start this blog to cause suffering, nor did I start it to find enlightenment. These are merely byproducts of documenting my journey.  As for enlightenment, while I have certainly found it, I see no evidence that it is a final destination. It is but merely a flower upon an endless path. The upside is that suffering is but a stone upon that path. Perhaps it’s the stone that you tripped on that caused you to notice the flower.

As for danger, all I can say is that life is dangerous. It’s probably a good idea to wear a helmet.

Maybe I should just get stoned

My body hates me but I don’t blame it. My body has good reason to be pissed off. Ever since I brought it back from Mexico I have forced it to live in a climate of sub-freezing temperature. I’ve tried to be nice and keep it indoors where it can find heat but that is not what it wants. It wants to be outside.

I wish it could just accept reality and make the most of it. I wish that it could be grateful for what it has and appreciate this time as a time to relax. Instead it’s being a selfish little prick and deciding to go on strike. That’s fine. It has every right to do that but it’s actually just making the situation worse for everyone.

I just spent two days in bed battling some virus or bacteria that I know my body is capable of handling. It just decided that it didn’t want to deal with it. It refused to eat which I know damn well it loves to do. If I tried to make it eat, it would just reject it in the most foul and disgusting manner. It’s cutting off it’s own energy source and leaving me with no options for productivity.

I guess this has really pissed of the brain part of my body as well because it has started to retaliate. I’m still confused as to the purpose of Fibromyalgia but the best I can figure out is that it some sort of alert system to let me know that something is wrong; as if I wasn’t aware of that already. It’s like an alarm going off to alert you that you have just been in a car accident. Like no fucking kidding! Accept in this case it’s not an alarm but more like dental pain radiating throughout my body.  Okay, I got the message. Now can you just shut up! I’m trying to think.

The only part of me that has been working is my mind but it keeps having to battle with everything else to get anything done. I need my body, my brain and my mind all working together. Seriously, can’t we all just get along?

The truth hurts

“Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don’t have time for all that.” – George Carlin

At my core I want nothing more than to be happy and for those around me to find happiness as well. So why do I ask “why” knowing that it is a sure fire way to destroy happiness? To have a job, to have work to do, to find purpose in one’s occupation is a far better path to happiness.

So why do I do what I do? The simple answer is because I can’t not do it. Perhaps it is a form of insanity. All I know is that I have an insatiable thirst for the truth. I am on a quest and I refuse to give up regardless of how difficult or painful it may be. This is my path and I have chosen to accept it.

What troubles me is why I am inflicting it on you. It doesn’t seem fair or kind.  People have asked if I think that I am driven to do this out of ego. I’m sure that there is some of that but I don’t think it’s the driving force. I don’t think this blog is terrible self aggrandizing. I haven’t put that much work into promoting myself or building readership. I’m really just giving what I have to give but am I kidding myself by thinking that this is somehow a gift? I like to look at everything as a gift but that is not a philosophy everybody subscribes to. It’s a philosophy that is pretty difficult for me at times.

Last nights post did not feel like much of a gift. It was actually quite painful. After writing it I felt broken and completely alone.  I never want to read it again and am feeling guilty for having subjected you to it. It was a devastating realization, the realization that my happiest days are over. They lasted two weeks and I’m grateful for that but that may be it.

Today I am done feeling sorry for myself. Today I am just thinking about you. Knowing how painful some of my posts are for me I can’t help but wonder if they are causing harm to others as well. Ideas are dangerous and I don’t want to be so callous about sharing mine. I’m not really. I have plenty of radical ideas that I haven’t dared share but some still slip out.

The temptation is to delete the whole blog but that doesn’t seem right. Legally it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want with it but since I have put it out there I don’t consider it mine alone. This is art and art is meant to be shared. These are shared words. Taking it down would not be an act of healing but an act of destruction.

So I’m going to keep writing because I can’t not write. I’m going to keep posting because I believe it is meant to be shared. If you keep reading, that’s on you. Just know that you may very well be reading the ramblings of a madman. If you take it seriously that’s not my fault.

“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Nightingale and the Rose

Why ask why?

I’ve been writing this blog for nearly a year. It was born out of a dream, a vision, a plan but in truth I had no idea what it would become. I just knew that there was only one way to find out. It has carried me through many changes, many ups and downs, many successes and failures to land me at a place of contentment. That was not my dream or my vision but to be honest, I never really followed my plan. The truth is I’m much better at making plans than following through on them. Still, not a bad place to wind up. Being content is not the worst thing in the world. If you are looking for a road map to contentment, then feel free to follow my example. It works.

When I chose the name for this blog I really didn’t know what it meant. I just liked the way it sounded and felt like it captured my state of mind and outlook on the world. Now, after treating it like a daily affirmation, it has taken on a more specific meaning for me. It is a call for awareness and acceptance. These are the core principles of my philosophy. They are rooted in embracing the present moment and letting go of suffering.  They allow me to see the world as it is without judgement or expectation. They have lead me to hold beliefs like, “in life all things have purpose” and “love is all you need”. They allow me to treat every experience as a gift and to benefit from the lessons they teach. They allow me to roll with the punches, to forgive and find peace.

All of these things are fine and I am grateful to have found myself in this land of tranquility. It’s pretty easy for me to look at my life today and see how much better it is than a year ago. I am finally at peace…

… but I’m not at the end so clearly there is something more.

I’ve gotten to a place where everything is okay. I’ve found balance. I am surviving. I have enough and life is good. So what am I missing?

Mutherfucker! That’s exactly how it happens. I get to the point where I have everything I need, I’m safe and comfortable yet I’m still seeking something more. That’s when the questions start.

Awareness is clearly a good thing and acceptance is without a doubt the path to contentment. The problem is that some things aren’t acceptable. Awareness without acceptance will lead to discontent. Acceptance is merely the ability to not ask why.

I’m not sure I have that ability. I’m not sure I want that ability. Our ability to ask “why” is behind every scientific discovery we have ever made. It is the driving force behind every religion. It is probably our greatest evolutionary trait and the cause of our unprecedented progress.

It is also the primary cause of our discontent.

So why as why?

Because I am aware? Because it is in my nature? Because I am not content? Because I know that there is more? Because somethings don’t make sense? Because intuition is not enough? Because the rules don’t work?

Actually the answers are infinite yet none may be satisfactory. That may be the only thing there is to accept.

Because I cannot accept injustice.

I cannot accept poverty.

I cannot accept destruction of the environment.

I cannot accept war.

I cannot accept feeling alone.

I cannot accept feeling like I have nothing to give.

I cannot accept wanting to die or my friends wanting to die.

I cannot accept denial.

I cannot accept deceit.

I cannot accept lying.

I cannot accept contentment when I am aware that life still sucks.

So… what does that mean? Only tomorrow knows.

Why relationships fail

I just spent the weekend with someone that I have been friends with for nearly 30 years so I feel like I know a thing or two about how to make relationships last… but I don’t. I do however know a thing or two about how to make relationships fail. I’m been sitting on this knowledge for a while because I’ve been thinking, “Who the fuck am I to be giving relationship advice?”

I really thought it would be a great post. I even had a great title, “The Three C’s of Relationship Failure”. But then, today, I learned of another C and decided I might as well put this out there now before I get any smarter and it becomes too much to write about. Relationships are way too complicated to put in a blog post anyway. By the way, complicated is not one of the C’s that I had thought of.  To me that is not an issue, that should just be a given if you plan on getting into a relationship.

So here are my three C’s: Communication, Compatibility and Control.

I’m going to take on Compatibility first because it’s the easiest. Some people are just not meant to be together. You want different things, you believe different things, you want to do different things; maybe you want to be with different people. That’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that either of you are bad people. It just may mean that you don’t want to be with each other… at least not in that way. So don’t. If you do work in another way then do that. Not everybody can be everything to everybody but everyone has something to give.

I know that there are many relationships that survive between people who never talk but they are probable between people that never should have been together in the first place. Sorry, some relationships suck even if they stay together. Communication is key to any relationship and communication is not easy. Read my post Lost In Translation. I think that more relationships end because of problems with communication than anything else. I’m sure that there are other problems but the problems wouldn’t seem so big if we could just understand each other. People just want to be heard, to be seen, to matter and if there is bad communication, that is not happening.

The other one is Control and this one is big. We have control over ourselves but when we try to control others, problems are guaranteed to happen. Believe me, I get it. Shit is out of control and so the natural response is to try and control it. It just doesn’t actually make things better. Well, it may make things better for you, but this is a relationship which means it’s not all about you! You can’t MAKE a relationship work. You need to step back and LET a relationship work. I’m sorry if that’s a little Zen for you but it’s true. There are a lot of things that you can make work but a relationship is not one of them.

Okay, and then today I learned about another reason and it really makes sense to me. I call this one Competition. I know that historically relationships have been held between people of unequal status with defined roles. I think that is a totally fucked up concept but it doesn’t matter what I think; that shit just doesn’t fly these days. But competition can still occur in a relationship between equals especially if you are in the same field. In the example that I heard today they were both competing to be the best parent. Yeah, I can totally see that a being a problem. Seriously people, if you both are trying to do your best to care for a child that should be a good thing. Don’t let competition screw it up!

As I’ve been thinking about this subject I’ve come to the realization that there is another issue that is probably bigger than all the others combined. We all mess up in these areas. None of use are perfectly compatible with each other. We all struggle at communication and we all have control issues. It is in our nature to be competitive. If we want to make it work we need to learn to accept our faults and the faults of our partner. I’m not saying that every couple should just suck it up and deal but if you have found someone that you really love… then work on it.

If you have compatibility issues then work on them.

If you have communication issues them work on them.

If you have control issues then work on them.

If you have competition issues then work on them.

Love is worth it!

Cold is the absence of heat

When I woke up yesterday morning it was 10 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale. That is 80 degrees Fahrenheit colder than it was for me a week ago. That’s not cool! Not cool at all. It is down right sucky! I’ve been thinking a lot about the cold lately. It’s kind of hard to think about anything else, but then I remembered, there is no such thing as cold!

No! Seriously, cold is not really a thing. I’m not talking in an existential sense or in some new-agey mind over matter way of thinking. I’m talking science. I’m talking fact and the fact is that cold does not exist. The world which we have created in our minds is a dualistic world of good against evil but in this case there is no duality. What we perceive as cold is not really cold at all, it is merely the existence of less heat than our bodies would like.

Heat is real. Heat is thermal energy. With more thermal energy, temperature rises; with less thermal energy, temperature falls. At the temperature of −459.67° Fahrenheit or −273.15° Celsius there is no thermal energy. This is called absolute zero and it cannot get any cooler. Icecubes and refrigerators do not cool things by adding “cold energy”, they merely displace heat lowering the temperature.

The same is true for light and dark. There is no such thing as dark, it is merely the absence of light. This is not just a semantic argument. I know what people mean when they say, “It’s really dark in here.”, but that doesn’t make it any more true. We walk around everyday, going about our business, happy as clams believing in this thing called darkness but it is not real. It’s a delusion. And people call me crazy!

But enough fun and games; how about something a little more serious?  What about life and death? I’m not asking a spiritual question about life after death where we are united with all our friends and family who have gone before us and everything is beautiful with clouds and angels and cherubs with harps. I’m asking a real world fact based question with spiritual and philosophical implications.

That fact is, there is no such thing as death. What we call death is merely the absence of life. There is no “death force” to fight against. We can’t fight death because death does not exist. We talk about dying like it is a real thing but the fact is no one dies, we simply lose our life and this is coming from someone who very nearly lost his on multiple occasions. Life is really all we have. We can have more of it or less of it but if we seek death or fight death we are wasting our life energy because death does not exist. Death, like cold or dark is a figment of our delusional minds.

So how about that spiritual question? What about the ultimate duality of good versus evil? As we look around the world it is pretty easy to find examples of evil, but what if this too is a delusion? What if what we perceive as evil is really just the absence of good?

I don’t think that there is a way to definitively answer this question. I don’t think that there is any way to prove the existence or nonexistence of evil, and I don’t see many scientists out there testing the theory. This really is a spiritual question but spiritually we can find an answer. What if we assume that there is no such thing as evil, how would life be different? What if we dealt with what we call evil the same way we deal with what we call cold or dark? What if the only way to  eradicate evil was by providing and protecting good? What if we stopped fighting hate with more hate and accepted that love is the only power we have?

I’m not claiming to have the answer to whether evil exists or not but when I look at the world as it is and try to understand it in the absence of evil, I come up with better solutions. Life is better when I stop expending energy trying to fight evil and focus on doing good. Just as it is when I stop expending energy trying to fight the cold as instead seek heat or when I stop fighting the darkness and instead seek light. Life cannot be lived by fighting death, only by seeking life.

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