relax

Today we ask you to relax.

Most people want to relax.  There are many professions, even industries, dedicated to helping people relax, not to mention many drugs that serve this purpose.

And yet people are still not at all relaxed.  If anything, people are more stressed and tightly wound than ever.

Why is this so?

People believe they have no choice in the matter.   Life is stressful.   Their jobs are stressful, their relationships are stressful, the world is stressful.  It would be nice to relax, of course, but they can’t afford it.   Even if they can, they’re far too busy.

So that is what people think.  They wish they could relax.  Who doesn’t want to relax?  But external circumstances always prevent them from doing so.

In truth, people do not relax because they do not believe in relaxation.  They do not value it. It is not a priority.  Because of this, many modern humans have all but lost the ability to relax.

People may want to relax.  But they have been taught, since childhood, that resting is a sign of laziness.  If they are awake, they ought to be doing something productive.  And they should be awake more.  Modern humans on average sleep less than any generation in human history.  Forgoing sleep is considered a mark of productivity and virtue.

If people believe that relaxation is lazy, unproductive, and a sign that they’re weak and worthless, they won’t do it — no matter how much they may fantasize about it.

Moreover, modern humans are addicted to continuous stimulation.  Their eyes are always on a screen, always checking, always alert, always taking in new information.  Never have humans been so restless.

People have no idea how detrimental all of this is to their health.

It is no exaggeration to say that the vast majority of physical and mental illness in developed  countries is caused, quite simply, by chronic lack of adequate sleep and rest, accumulated over many years.

This really is true.

Relaxation and sleep are just as important to human health as exercise and a good diet.  A human cannot be truly healthy unless he is capable of frequent deep relaxation.

And this will not happen if he believes that relaxation is lazy and unproductive.

People know that eating well and exercising is good for them, even if they don’t do it.

But people don’t really believe that rest and relaxation is actually good for them.  They may know they want it, but they don’t understand that it is absolutely necessary for their mental and physical health.

So please understand this.

Rest, relaxation, and sleep are absolutely necessary for your mental and physical health.

Human beings thrive on a minimum — a minimum — of eight hours of sleep at night, plus short daytime naps.  If one sleeps less at night, more daytime napping is necessary to make up for the deficit.  These naps can be brief — even ten to twenty minutes can help immensely — but they are essential.  

If this were truly understood, society and business would promote sleep, napping, and relaxation in order to massively increase productivity and efficiency.

This measure would also radically address your overburdened health care systems.  All major diseases associated with developed countries — cancer, heart disease, and diabetes — are strongly impacted by sleep and rest, and the lack thereof.  Mental health is also powerfully affected by sleep and rest.

If you replaced the belief that “relaxation is a sign of laziness” with the belief that “relaxation is absolutely vital to your health,” it is far more likely that you would create more space in your life for sleep and relaxation.  You would also be more likely to help your children learn good sleeping habits.

Of course, this is only true if you are someone who values your health.  Most people think they value their health, but often there are other things they value more — like money, achievement, proving they are worth something, or even just being stimulated and entertained.  When health is not a true priority in your life, this will be reflected in your experience.

That said, if you do honestly value your health, learn how to rest.  If you have forgotten how, you must relearn how to do this.  Shut off your screens, for a start.  Take a true break.

Is it possible for you to have a guilt-free day of rest?  A “lazy day”?

Would it relieve your guilt if you knew that every “lazy day” you give yourself measurably increases your health, well-being, and productivity?  That every nap you take, that every moment of true unwinding you grant yourself actively reduces the agents of physical and mental disease in your body?

So please.  Take a rest.  Guilt-free.  It’s good for you!

scared

Today we ask that you not allow your life to be ruled by other people’s fears.

Do not be ruled by other people’s fears.

What does this mean?

Much of the fear people experience in life really isn’t even their own fear.

They are fears taken in from other people, the way you might catch a cold, or the flu.

You read things on the internet, you watch TV, you talk to people.  Through this, you are exposed to a lot of stories about things you should be afraid of.

The vast majority of these fearful stories are things you will never directly experience in your lifetime.

Most of you will never directly experience a terrorist attack, the kidnapping of a child, or losing all your possessions in a natural disaster.  You will not be brutally murdered by a maniac, or have a loved one killed in such a way.

And yet all day long people sit around imagining all these horrible things they hear about from other people.  And as they imagine these things, they feel real fear and tension in their bodies.  This tension can make them quite sick and anxious — even though nothing bad is actually happening to them!   They are sitting at home or in an office, worried sick because of some story about something terrible happening to someone else, something that they will never directly experience.  

It is a terrible energy drain.  There are a million better things to do than to obsess over fearful stories about other people.

Yet consider how much time you might spend doing precisely this.  How much time do you spend imagining horrible scenarios, prompted by stories you hear from others.

Usually the argument for this activity is that sitting around anticipating dreadful things that might happen to you allows you to protect yourself and your loved ones from harm.

While it is wise, for example, to make some preparation for earthquakes if you live in an area prone to earthquakes, or make preparations for tornadoes if you live in an area prone to tornadoes, in truth this should not take very much of your time.  

But most of the fearful stories people take in drive people into a state of feeling helpless and powerless.  There is no useful action to take, no preparation you can make.  Your mind just races with groundless anxiety and misery.  You aren’t protecting yourself or anyone else.  If anything, you’re making everything worse for yourself and your loved ones, with all of your worries.

So be discerning.  Be discerning about the sources of the fearful stories you take in.  Where are these stories coming from?  And is it truly useful for you to spend time taking in these stories?

You may know that you cannot believe everything you read, you cannot believe everything other people tell you.  And yet when the mind sees something in official-looking print, or when an authoritative voice says something — there is a tendency to believe.

So question.  Discern.

All these things other people say you should be afraid of — how much of it really has to do with you, personally?

There is enough fear in life without taking on everyone else’s fear.

How much of your fear really belongs to your parents, your partner, or the voices on the internet?

If you are afraid of spiders, or flying in airplanes, fine.  That is your personal fear.  That is something you can work on. 

But what if you’ve always been basically unafraid around spiders, and then so-and-so tells you some nightmarish story about some person suffering from a horrible spider bite.  Suddenly you start thinking, “I should be more afraid of spiders than I am.”  

This is what it means to take on other people’s fears.  Deep down, you are really not all that afraid of spiders.  You are probably intelligent enough not to fool around with a poisonous spider.  So this fearful story isn’t helping you.  It’s just adding unnecessary, useless fear to your life. 

A lot of fear is like this.

When you are obsessing over some fearful thing, check in with yourself.  Ask yourself if this fear is really your fear, or someone else’s fear.  Ask yourself how likely it is that this fearful thing could happen to you.  

If you really do an inventory, you may find that the majority of the things you fear are “other people’s fears,” that you have taken in.  Let them go.  They’re not protecting you from anything.

 

 

how will you use your power?

Today we ask that you focus your energy and attention not on what you wish to destroy, but what you wish to create.

If you could do this one thing, it would radically improve your whole life experience.

Focus your energy and attention not on what you wish to destroy, but rather on what you wish to create.

What does this mean?

The majority of humans are more oriented toward what they want to destroy, instead of creating.

For example, in life most people go around focusing on what they dislike.  Really, these are things they would like to wish out of existence: the fat around the belly, the traffic jam, the despised politician, the credit card bill.

You may not think of it this way, but you are wishing for these things to be destroyed.  Often, when you are angry at another person, there is a part of you that wishes to destroy their current identity.  This is not to say you wish physical harm on someone you dislike — although some people do.  But what you wish is to destroy their current identity, the way their minds work, what they believe, etc.  You want to remake them into someone more pleasing to you.

You wish to destroy the personality you perceive as flawed and problematic, and replace it with a persona you like better.

You wish these politicians did not exist in their present form.  They are ruining everything.  You want to wave a magic wand, and change them into different people.

In the same way, you want to destroy the fat around your belly.  You want to wave a magic wand and wish it out of existence.

Perhaps you wish that some part of your past had never happened.  You want to wave a magic wand and change things, give yourself a different past.

And so you see that most humans are very fixated upon all these things they would like to wish out of existence — to destroy.

It is a great waste of energy.

And ultimately the destructive urge does in fact lead to acts of violence and war.  These include, but are not limited to, acts of terrorism, murder, and of course the great wars that slaughter millions.

If you look inside many average households, you will see humans locked in chronic warfare.  Husbands and wives are at war with each other.  Parents and children are at war.  Neighbors war with neighbors.  Offices are full of people at war.  Everyone is at war — mostly with themselves, of course.

When you want to destroy the fat on your body or any physical feature you dislike, you are at war with yourself.

When you beat yourself up because of something you did or didn’t do, you are at war with yourself.

What if it didn’t have to be like this?

What would life look like if humans weren’t oriented toward destruction, but rather creation?

Consider what happens when you wrest your attention away from all these things you are angry about and want to wish out of existence, and instead focus on creating something new, that feels good to you.

So, for example, instead of attacking yourself for being physically out of shape, you focus your energy and attention on this question: how can I create a healthy body, and feel good doing so?

This may seem subtle, but the difference is vast.

Because, you see, the person who is oriented toward destroying his fat, ugly body will not create lasting health.  Even if he binge diets and exhausts himself working out, he will inevitably fall out of shape again, and return to the pattern of hating and attacking his ugly body.

Whereas the person who is oriented toward feeling good as he creates a healthy, happy body will, over time, succeed.

Some people define this phenomenon as “The Law of Attraction,” but this is a wildly misunderstood thing.  It is not just about wishing what you want into existence — manifesting the car, the soul mate, the dream job.

It goes much deeper than this.  It is also much simpler.  It is about changing your whole energetic orientation away from negative destruction, and toward positive creation.

If you want to create healthy and harmonious change in your life, you must at the same time completely release your compulsion to destroy.

In practice, this means a deep acceptance of reality as it is.  It means making peace with reality, and not being at war with it.

This means ceasing to attack things, situations, and people — even in your mind.  Especially in your mind.

This is no small matter, obviously.  The destructive urge is habitual, and to a large degree innate.  Animals and pre-verbal children can and do act violently out of jealousy, the desire to control and dominate, etc.

But humans, unlike animals, possess the ability to completely reshape their minds and consciousness through focused effort.  This is the purpose of meditative practice — to calm and focus the wild animal mind that cannot control its impulses and compulsions, and create a peaceful consciousness.

You do not, however, have to be a monk in meditative retreat in order to do this.

Anyone can do this, anywhere, right now.

Just recognize when you are in “destroy” mode.  It happens when you are complaining and judging.  It happens when you wish something out of existence.

Catch yourself when you are doing this, and ask yourself: “What do I really want to create here?”

For example: when you are in conflict with another person, generally your actions are working toward destroying the relationship.  If you are attacking the person in your mind, wishing they were someone else, this will be reflected in your behavior and actions.  

But often, that is not what you really want.  Usually what people really want is to create a healthier relationship with the person they are in conflict with — even if it means severing the relationship.  

So if this is really what you want, ask: how can I create this?  How can I create a healthier relationship with this person?  How can I create peace around this situation?

And then just wait and see.  There will be an answer, so long as you release the need to continue attacking and destroying this person in your mind, gossiping negatively about this person with others, etc.

This holds true in any situation.

If you are unhappy with your life experience, do an inventory.

Over the course of a day, pay attention to how much time you spend in “destroy/attack” mode — negatively judging and wishing things out of existence.  Also pay attention to how much time you spend in positive creation — creating in a way that feels good to you.

If you want to enjoy your life experience more, it is simple: decrease the amount of time you spend in “destroy/attack mode”, and increase the amount of time spent in “feel-good creation.”

You do not have to be a monk to increase peace in your life, and the world.  Anyone can do this.

Just ask yourself: would you rather use your power, time, and energy to destroy, or would you rather use your power, time, and energy to create?

It is your choice.

But if you choose “destroy,” you will increase disharmonious energy in your life experience.  You will be at war, and war is an unpleasant, draining state of being.

It is much wiser to create than to destroy.

 

feet

Today we ask that you do what feels right for your individual energy.

Every living thing is totally unique.  Every living thing has a one-of-a-kind energy signature.  There is no one else like you anywhere in the universe.  And the number of living things in the universe is beyond counting, beyond reckoning, beyond comprehension.

Even so, every single life form is utterly unique.

While all human beings share a common pattern, every human born is completely singular.  There is no one else quite like you, and there has never been anyone else like you in all human history.

This being the case, there is no “one size fits all” approach to a good life.

Everyone must find his or her own way in the world.  

Meanwhile, there are a lot of people who want to tell you how you ought to live your life.  People with very strong opinions about the “right” way to live and do things.

And sometimes people have good and useful advice.  Usually this occurs because there is a harmony between your energy pattern and the energy pattern of the person giving the advice, in that specific situation.

Other times, people’s advice is not useful at all, and potentially harmful.  That is because there is a disharmony, a discord, in the energy patterns.  

While that person’s way of doing things may work perfectly well for that person’s unique energy, it simply does not match your energy.  It will clash — the way certain colors clash, or musical notes sound discordant.

And you will know this because trying to live your life according to this advice does not feel good.  It is like wearing clothing that is too tight, or does not match your body.  

Sometimes you cannot know whether advice is harmonious or disharmonious until you “try it on,” the way you try on clothing, or try on a pair of shoes.

The problem is, while you may have no difficulty identifying clothing that is wrong for you, or shoes that are too tight, many people live out their whole lives following guidance or belief systems that are totally disharmonious for their energy pattern.

Imagine if you were always wearing a pair of tight shoes.  You would constantly be irritable, and in pain.

That is what it is like to follow disharmonious guidance.  It is like wearing a pair of too-tight shoes.  Only instead of removing the shoes, you think there must be something wrong with your feet.  

You believe that the problem is not that the shoes are too tight, but rather that your feet are too big.

This is especially true if you have been wearing these tight shoes your whole life, since childhood — because your parents or teachers put those shoes on your feet, and told you they ought to fit even if they didn’t.  They may have criticized you for having big feet and insisted that you wear the shoes anyway.

Does this make sense?

So look at the areas in your life where you feel pain and constriction.  Ask yourself, whose advice am I listening to here?  Is it harmonious with who I really am?  Is this who I really am?

Maybe if you took off those tight shoes, you would truly relax and feel comfortable.  You could spread out your toes, and feel the earth beneath your feet.

You are completely unique.  Though you may share common features with your parents, your family, your race and your culture, you may also be utterly different from them.  The shoes that have fit your family and been passed down for generations may be a complete mismatch for your particular feet.  And yet you have been hobbling around, in pain, thinking the problem is with you — not the shoes.

Parents, honor your children as the totally unique beings they are.  Encourage them not to be little versions of you, not to do what you want or fulfill your ambitions, but to do what is truly best for their unique energy.  Even if it is difficult at times for you to understand them, even if the clothes and shoes they try on seem disharmonious to you — let them explore.  Let them find their own way.

Honor yourself in this way.  Do what is right for you.  It does not matter what anyone else thinks.  People are always going to judge anyway, even when you try to please them.  In fact, the more you try to please them, the more they will judge you and find you lacking.  You can hobble around in those tight shoes your whole life, trying to please them, and they will still judge you.

So why not take off those shoes and feel good, for a change?  Why not do what feels right for you, as an individual, no matter what anyone else has to say about it?

Follow advice that is harmonious for you, as you wear a pair of shoes that fits you well.

As for the rest — cast it off.  If it causes you pain and stress and makes you miserable — cast it off.

Do what is right for you.  That is the best thing you can do for anyone else in your life, whether they understand it ir not.

Because the happier and more fulfilled you are, the more harmonious you will be for other beings in this world.

Do what is right for you.  It is never selfish, no matter what anyone else may say.  It is the wisest thing to do.  Only a fool would hobble around in tight shoes because he thinks it will please others.

the ticking clock

Today we ask that you look at your relationship with time.

Most humans have an unhealthy relationship with time.

Time is the enemy.  You never have enough of it.  You are always in a rush, running late, fighting against the “ticking clock.”

Or else you are bored, and the ticking clock is ticking too slowly.  You are stuck somewhere, impatient.   You keep checking the clock, and this only increases your frustration.  The more you look at it, the more upset you get.

Or else you are angry at the aging process.  You believe you are too old.  Time is corroding your health, your body.  Women live in fear of their biological clocks.  You do not have enough time left.

Of course, children and teenagers are angry at time, too, because they cannot wait to be adults.  

Nothing frustrates people like delays, cancellations, and the sense that whatever is happening should be happening much faster.

And yet in a modern world where everything does appear to happen faster — packages delivered overnight, information and messages delivered instantaneously — there is a sense of awful, oppressive “overwhelm.”  Too much is happening all at once!

So you can see, people really do have a poor relationship with time.

People feel like victims of time.  They’re in a “no-win” situation with time.  

Yet what is time?

Yes, it can be quantified, broken down into units and measured.  But what is it?

The length of a minute, an hour, a day, a month, a year — these things can seem to go by in the blink of an eye, or they can seem to be interminable and take forever.  

Why?

Because of your perception.

Time moves quickly or slowly according to your perception of it.  

And the human perception of time is extremely unreliable.

Without a clock to measure it, you would really have a much vaguer sense of time.  You could perceive the passage of day and night, track the movement of the sun.  You could follow the seasons and the cycle of the year.  You would notice that children grow into adults and that adults age — although some people age much faster than others.

But without that ticking clock constantly in view, your conception of time would be much fuzzier.  

The truth is, it is your perception of time that determines your experience of time.  

And although you may think your perception of time is based on external markers, like clocks, in fact your perception of time is internal.  It is based on your beliefs.

If you believe that “There is never enough time,” this will be your experience of time.  You will always feel behind no matter how much you rush about and do.  No matter how much you get done, it isn’t enough.

If you believe that you are “Wasting your time,” that will be your experience of time.  You will feel chronically frustrated in your days.  

If you believe that you are “Too old,” everything will remind you that you are too old.  Time will always seem to be slipping through your aging fingers.

If you believe that “I should be further along in life by now!” then this will be your constant experience.  Wherever you are, you should be further along.  You can never catch up.   You hate the clock, because it always reminds you of this.

But it is possible to have an altogether different relationship with time.

Time and space are one, you see.  Physicists understand this, and refer to it as “space-time.”

Here is a simple thing:

When you create space in your life, you also create time. 

This will seem totally counterintuitive.

But the more you slow down, relax, and let yourself breathe, the more time you will have.

If you are someone who simply believes that there is always plenty of time, this will in fact become your experience of time.

This will appear, at first, to go against all the evidence of your senses.  It will go against what everyone else is always telling you about time.

But it is absolutely true.

If you start repeating to yourself that you always have plenty of time, this will eventually become your experience of time.

It may not happen overnight, but if you make it a consistent practice, it will happen.

Also, whenever possible, minimize the checking of clocks.

Of course when you are scheduled to do something or be somewhere at a particular time, you must consult a clock.

But you probably do not need to check the clock nearly as much as you do.

Chronic clock-checking just makes people tense about time.

When you are feeling impatient about something, checking the clock is the worst thing you can do.  It’s like pouring lighter fluid on the flame of your irritation.

If you have a healthy relationship with time, clocks are no problem.  They are just a useful tool.

But if you have an unhealthy relationship with time, clocks will work against you.

The point of this is:

How you feel about time is not arbitrary.  You are not a helpless victim of the ticking clock.

Your experience of time is almost entirely based on your perception of time, which is in turn influenced by your beliefs about time.

Change your beliefs about time, and you change your perception of time.

Believe it or not, you really do have plenty of time.

If you desire more time, give yourself more space.

Time can actually be a good friend.  If you approach time as a friend, time will begin to seem friendly.

And what you will discover, sooner or later, is that everything in this reality happens in perfect timing.

It’s okay if you do not believe this.  It’s just something to play with.

sw_luke_yoda

Today we ask that you look at the way you think about victims and victimhood.

This is a very charged subject for people.  Nothing inspires outrage like questioning one’s concepts around victimhood.

Usually, when one begins to question concepts around victimhood, the defensive “how dare you” response focuses on extreme cases, such as innocent children who are brutalized or killed.  For the sake of conversation, let’s not focus on extreme cases.

Let’s instead focus on garden variety, everyday victimhood.

The victimhood of the despised job, the long commute, the chores of parenthood, the trials of marriage, the burden of bills and taxes.

If there is a universal language on Earth, it is the language of victimhood.  One might call it “Complainese.”  It is the common tongue of all men.  You could take two very different people from far-flung places around the globe — but get them complaining to each other about their jobs, mates, or children, and they’d find common ground.

In fact, if you listen to ordinary human conversation, most of it is in “Complainese.”  Ask someone how they are doing, and generally you will hear about their problems and how they feel like victims today.  It doesn’t matter if they are rich or poor, male or female, black or white.  Everyone on Earth has something to complain about.

It could be said that victimhood is the great human pastime and addiction.  Indeed, there is nothing more seductive and addictive to humans than the Victim Identity. 

The Victim Identity is to humans what the Venus Fly Trap is to flies.  People don’t like the experience of victimhood, yet they are powerfully drawn toward the Victim Identity.  It is irresistibly alluring.  And yet once you take the bait, you are stuck in a very uncomfortable place.  You struggle to get out, but your struggles only tighten the trap.  Many people spend their whole lives deeply in the snare of the Victim Identity, and are consumed by it.

Victim Identity is alluring because it is such a strong identity.  It allows people to feel very self-righteous, noble, and special.  After all, they are victims.  Whatever their problems may be, it is always someone or something else that is to blame.  The government, evil corporations, their parents, their genes, that they weren’t born rich.  As victims, they share an instant social bond with other victims who feel victimized by the same things.  Women who hate their husbands, for example, always have plenty to talk/complain about.

So there are many “benefits” to being in the Victim Club.  

But there is also a huge downside.

For anyone who spends his life trapped in the snare of Victim Identity will, in general, be miserable, anxious, and depressed most of the time.  And the more he dwells on his individual victimhood, or victimhood in general, the more severe this will be.  

And yet as miserable, anxious and depressed as people caught in Victim Identity are, the idea that there could be any other way to live is unthinkable and often horribly offensive.  First of all, they are victims!  They had no choice in the matter.  Maybe you have had some kind of easy life, but obviously you do not know what real victimhood is if you’d ever dare to question it.  

And that is okay.  There is actually nothing helpful or useful in attempting to talk someone who is strongly rooted in Victim Identity out of being a victim.  In truth, it cannot be done.

However, for some people, there comes a time in life when they are very weary of being miserable, anxious and depressed.  They are weary of the “human condition,” and long for something better.  Though the Victim Identity may be very familiar and even comforting in some ways, they are sick and tired of it.

Such people will begin to search for another way of being.  This message is for those people.

Here is something you can pay attention to:

When you spend a lot of time being exposed to Victim Stories — in the news, on the internet, or talking to people you know — how do you generally feel afterward?

If you pay attention, you will notice that exposure to Victim Stories usually increases your own level of anxiety, paranoia, and depression.

Even if the Victim Story has nothing to do with you personally, it will trigger your own sense of victimhood in regard to your personal issues.  When you hear about other people’s tragedies, you begin to feel more fearful and defensive about your own life — so as to ward off such tragedy befalling you.  

Just watch for this pattern.  Once you notice it, it’s hard to miss.

When you think of other people as being “victims,” always simultaneously, often unconsciously, you are affirming your own capacity for victimhood — and thus increasing levels of anxiety, depression, and unhappiness that go hand in hand with this state.

The way out of this trap — and this may sound unthinkable and outrageous — is simply to stop thinking of people as “victims” altogether.

Do not focus on the extreme cases right now.  Focus on the garden variety, everyday victims you encounter in daily life.

What is being asked is that you stop thinking of these people as victims, no matter what they believe about themselves and no matter what they tell you.

If you look at all human myth and drama, the theme of victimhood is ubiquitous.  Every hero in every myth endures a state of victimhood.  Think of Cinderella, think of Luke Skywalker, think of Harry Potter.  Terrible things befall these characters early on in their stories.  They are “victims.”

But they do not stay there.  In the course of the story, such characters always move from a state of Victimhood to a state of Mastery.  

Almost all human dramas show this progression, from Victim to Master.

“Master” here just means someone who is deeply comfortable and at home in this world, because he is deeply comfortable and at home in himself.  Though external adversity may still beset him, he does not fall to pieces with anxiety or despair over it.

Characters like Obi  Wan Kenobi and Yoda are “Masters.”  These beings are anything but insecure.  Even if they are in danger, even if they are attacked — no one would ever think of them as “Victims.”

All “Victims” in this reality — all of them — are on their way to becoming “Masters.”  It may not happen over the course of one lifetime, but gaining this kind of mastery is, quite simply, what beings do here.  

You are not a Victim.  You are a Master-in-Training.

You are not a Victim because of the people and circumstances in your life.

You are a Master-in-Training because of the people and circumstances in your life.  

The people you see who are most strongly rooted in the Victim Identity are also Masters-in-Training.

Don’t tell them that, because it will make no sense to them.  

But you have the capacity to perceive them that way.  And this shift in perception can profoundly affect your life experience and the substance of reality itself.

So just play with this.

The next time you are getting caught up in all the tragic victim stories, notice how you are feeling.

Try reframing the story in your mind, to perceive people not as “Victims,” but as “Masters-in-Training.”

Sometimes the most tragic victims are, in fact, hidden Masters.  For this reality is not all there is, and death is not the end of anyone.

And it is okay if you do not believe this.  It is just something to play with.

how to play the game of life

Today we ask that you consider the possibility that life, as you know it, is like a game.

But not in the way most people think of “the game of life” — as a competition, in which “he who dies with the most toys, wins.”

Life is not a game won by accruing possessions or status and passing this wealth and status on to your genetic offspring.  It is not the game of “survival of the fittest.”

Nor is it the game of accruing “virtue points” so that you can to go Heaven when you die, while the immoral masses are damned to Hell.  That is not the game, either.

In fact, there are no “points” involved with this game.  No money points, no status points, no virtue points.  It is not about proving that you are worth more than other human beings.  There is no competition, in this game.

The game of life is similar, on a rudimentary level, to a game like a solitaire — a game that is about the joy of playing, not about winning.

It is also similar to playing a game of chess against a supercomputer.  Such a game is not about winning, it is about playing.  It is virtually impossible to win such a game.  Even when a chess master defeats a supercomputer, it is only a matter of time before an even faster supercomputer is created that defeats the chess master.

So, in general, one does not play chess against a complex computer in order to win.  One plays against a computer in order to play, and to learn.  It is purely for the joy of playing and the honing of skill, without the expectation of winning.

Only instead of a game of solitaire or a computer chess game, the life game immerses you in a reality of vast, magnificent, and nearly infinite complexity.

Within this game, just like in the computer chess game, there is an opponent.

There are many ways of looking at this opponent, but one way to look at the opponent is to see it as the force of entropy.

Entropy is the force that breaks down things that are beautiful, harmonious, and complex into simpler forms.

All living things die in your reality.  No matter how beautiful, intelligent, or successful you may be, your body will eventually decay.  No matter how great your achievements, you will eventually be forgotten.  That is entropy.

Entropy is the mildew in your bathroom, the clutter on your desk, the bug that freezes your computer.  It is the traffic jam, the power failure, the mix-up with the bill payment.  There is no escaping it.  You face it every day.

Most humans strongly dislike entropy and take its existence in their lives very personally.

But it is not your enemy, in a personal way.  It affects everyone.  Everyone will experience physical death; there is no avoiding it.

So one could say that “entropy always wins,” just like the supercomputer always eventually wins the chess game.

In fact, entropy is very similar to the supercomputer in a chess game.  Although the supercomputer may seem conscious and “out to get you,” in fact it is quite unconscious and mindless.  The computer is not conscious, and entropy is not conscious.

When you play against a computer, you do so for enjoyment — to hone your skill, to grow, to play, to gain mastery.  If you are playing against a highly complex computer that is set to win, you know that you will lose.  But winning is not the point.

It is the same with life.  You came here, to this reality, to grow and play.  When the game finishes, you will leave.  That is to say, you will continue after your physical death, after “game over.”

All of you have chosen to play this game, even if you have forgotten that it is a game.  The forgetting is an intrinsic part of the game.

And you may believe this is all nonsense.  That is okay.

But if you understand this, then it is possible for you to play the game with greater joy.  This happens when you stop taking entropy personally and seeing it as your enemy.  Entropy manifests as an opponent, but it is an opponent with a good underlying purpose.  It is not cruel, senseless, or evil, even if it may at times appear to be so.

Notions that life is a game of points, a game for winning, a game of accruing wealth or status, of “getting into Heaven” — all of these beliefs are clever ruses in the game, meant to distract you from the fundamental truths of existence.

Only in a totally loving reality could such a game exist.

And it is okay if you don’t believe any of this.

The simple message is:

Life is not a game that you play to win.

Life is a game that you play to play.

If you believe that you are supposed to win at the game of life, you will be endlessly frustrated.

If, however, you play just to play, then you will know peace, joy, and fulfillment.

 

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