Liberation: A Spiritual Hypothesis

I see two extremes in religious beliefs. On the one hand, during dark times people flock to religion for the promise of something better after death, since they have lost hope for something better in this life. On the flip side, people ignore religion, or are too distracted to engage themselves spiritually, when their lives are going well.

The first extreme has people waiting, even wishing, for death, and in doing so, they fail to take anything meaningful from life. Life is suffering, seems to be the message, and you just have to wait it out, and be an okay person in the meantime. It may be positive to encourage people to do good, but this is more or a sticks and carrots, heaven or hell sort of incentive: be good or you will be damned for eternity. It is more of a functional religion, keeping people relatively peaceful and placated while they pass their miserable existence.

Instead of working on spiritual awakening adherents are worried about where their next meal is coming from, or what disease will kill them if they aren’t murdered first.

The second extreme shows up in advanced societies where the standard of living has reached a certain point. Ironically, this might be the point to thank God, Allah, or Gaia, but instead people forget, or are distracted by their earthly concerns. People have responsibilities, jobs, hobbies, and toys which take up most of their time. Then, if they ever need a “deeper” distraction, there is politics, and a culture that keeps them in the rat race. Religion becomes an appointment on Sunday morning, or as necessary to keeping up with the neighbors as the new car. Spirituality is hardly a thought on the mind.

Instead of striving for a perfect soul, people strive for more money, more power, and higher social status.

The Problem: Overwhelming Earthly Concerns

The problem is that people are too worried about their earthly concerns either out of necessity of survival, or out of distraction by unimportant goals.

When people are hungry, they will do crazy things for survival. In actual poverty, it is all but impossible to focus the mind on anything but somehow figuring out how to live through the next day: what you will eat, where you will sleep. There can hardly be a long term strategy for life, let alone trying to figure out the afterlife. People need a certain standard of living in order to seriously explore and engage in spirituality and religion.

When a culture elevates unimportant goals that have no end and are impossible to achieve, people never conclude their attempts to gain whatever they are striving for. If someone wants power, there will be no point where they sigh in satisfied relief and say, “I did it”. There is no end to who can have the best car, best house, or best looks. These are earthly goals with fleeting fulfillment. They will always leave something to be desired, even if you “win” at certain points. People cannot pursue truly religious goals if they are working 60 hour weeks to have the newest everything, or shallowly trying to keep face with their peers. People cannot be spiritual if they fill that void with elections, gadgets, or alcohol.

The Solution: Liberation

Earthly goals are not necessarily a bad thing. We are on this earth for some reason, so it makes sense to accomplish tangible earth things. And as I’ve mentioned, a certain level of disregard for earthly things like food and shelter can be just as spiritually distracting as pop culture.

What I propose is a two part solution for the individual, as for society, as each are a reflection of the other. Life should be lived in two phases; an earthly phase of real world accomplishment, and a spiritual phase of religious learning, soul searching, and acquiring inner peace. The two phases need not be purely separated necessarily, as each person’s journey will be unique. But generally speaking, first liberate your earthly self, then liberate your soul, eternal energy, or mind.

Liberation has just one tenet, and it is the golden rule found in many major religions and spiritual teachings. Treat others as you wish to be treated (unless you’re a masochist). Simply put, initiate no harm to others. Never be the aggressor.

Phase One: Liberate Your Earthy Self

Society: By truly accepting and adhering to the only tenet of liberation, you will set in motion the societal change which will bolster phase two. Liberation does not require social acceptance to work, but as I’ve said, society mirrors the individual, and vice versa. The more individuals who liberate themselves, the greater their reflection on society will be, thus creating more individual liberation. The growth of liberation could therefore be exponential which will assist the masses in their spiritual awakening–though any one individual can liberate themselves with or without the greater society.

For some it will be easier to liberate the earthly self than others, based on the luck of the circumstances they were born into. In a sense, these individuals have a greater responsibility to liberate themselves. The goal is to eventually raise the standard of living for every individual on earth to the point where they no longer need to worry about necessities, and can therefore follow liberation to a spiritual awakening.

There is no requirement on any individual following liberation to give their wealth away, or necessarily help others–though it is usually a good idea to do so. Rather what follows from personal liberation is advancement and wealth which raises the standard of living for all. When every individual is responsible for their actions, they will reap the rewards and suffer the consequences. This is liberation, and it can only be accomplished by individuals, not by edict.

Currently smart mobile devices in Africa are revolutionizing how money changes hands, so that people can produce and trade for the goods they need to survive, without worrying about getting robbed of all their earnings. Only because someone earlier, on a different continent, accomplished their goal of creating a smartphone, can essentially all of humanity currently use the devices to their individual benefit. The same has been the case with most inventions and technology throughout history; that it proliferates after initially only being available to a few. Therefore simply by liberating themselves, free people will create and trade, which will inevitably spread the wealth they create to the masses.

Charity can be a very useful tool, but it should never be required: forcing charitable contributions would break the only tenet of liberation. Therefore adherents to liberation who believe in charity must effectively convince others of their cause, or set the example in using charity effectively to advance the cause of liberation, and therefore the cause of humanity.

Eventually, as liberation philosophy progresses, the standard of living will be high enough so that no individual needs to worry about survival, and can therefore pursue a fulfilling earthly goal absent any financial and material considerations.

Individuals: Liberation of the earthly self will come in many forms, as we are vastly different individuals with different interests and goals. Keep in mind that unlike the corrupting goals mentioned earlier which cannot be accomplished or executed (i.e. more power, more wealth, “the best” clothes or gadgets), the goals set forth in phase one of liberation must be attainable, with a specific end.

“Become rich,” would not be a good goal, because it is not well defined what rich means, and could always lead to wanting more. “Building a million dollar company,” would be a better goal, because it has a finite ending. Still though, if you want a million dollar company so that you can buy a nice car, this is a fleeting goal. If you want a million dollar company because you believe in the product or service you are selling, this is a meaningful goal.

Really you want your goals for liberating yourself to reflect what you will need for a high enough standard of living to successfully complete phase two–though as liberation progresses and the standard of living rises, this will be of less concern. But you also want your phase one goals to be about the accomplishment in itself, and not necessarily for what you can do with the fruits of the accomplishment. Do what makes you feel most free, as long as it does not harm anyone.

For example, my phase one goal might be a self sufficient homestead. This will give me a place to live during phase two, for little cost, while giving me the opportunity to produce passive income, which makes me feel more secure if I were to need money in a pinch. A homestead would also put me in an environment that feels natural to me where I can truly be myself, and live happily and healthily. I want the life that the homestead can give me, but the homestead itself also makes me happy.

Currently phase one can still be rather stressful, as it is hard enough saving for retirement, let alone somehow shaping your life to perfectly suit you in phase two, where you ideally do not need to work, and can devote yourself to spirituality. But having specific tangible goals can help. Most people go through life being prescribed their goals: a mortgage, a good job, a nice car, etc. But many of the things we waste our money, and therefore our time and labor on, do not contribute to long term happiness or spiritual growth.

For someone who craves security, phase two might not start until retirement, when enough has been saved to live comfortably. For the adventurous sort, phase two might start at age 25 after they have saved up enough for a van to travel the country. Some might feel truly themselves at work, and therefore can move onto phase two while still happily employed. Cut whatever societal chains which keep you in slavery.

The point of phase one is to use the material earthly world to accomplish something that is freeing in and of itself, but that will also help you remain free in stage two. This need not necessarily be wealth either; mentally speaking, having helped orphans or provided food for the homeless might be the only accomplishment necessary to move onto phase two. Having created a successful business might be less about if it made you wealthy, and more about the confidence in your own abilities the experience gave you. Perhaps skills you gain in phase one will make you more liberated for whatever path you choose to follow in stage two.

And those who feel they cannot do what they wish to do because of the current unjust power structure must find ways to peacefully undermine those forces. If you are adhering to the one tenet, the golden rule that you will not initiate harm on anyone, then you are doing nothing wrong. You are morally superior to those who wish to curtail your peaceful activities, and should find solace and accomplishment in subverting them. Their failure to enslave is your liberation.

We all have different comfort levels with risk, and different desires, which is why it is impossible to prescribe a specific phase one path for everyone. In that sense, the spiritual journey starts in phase one with trying to figure out what earthly goals are calling you, and what will truly free you. But just make sure phase one accomplishments are not something you must suffer through. Accomplishment is not always fun, but it should be a rewarding, liberating, process.

Phase Two: Liberate Your Eternal Being

Society: It is true that some who are not adherents to liberation will attempt to harm you. These are the same entities which keep those with a high standard of living focused on shallow earthly desires like possessions and power. When people are afraid to lose their possessions, and competing for power, they accept violations of the golden rule based on the belief that it will help their earthly self. It is a sad irony that the earthly individual would have a higher standard of living if everyone adhered to the tenet of liberation, and would therefore have the chance to focus truly on more than the earthly self.

But remember, there is hope! As more people participate in phase one of liberation, the more society will reflect the philosophy, and therefore attacks on liberated individuals will wane. This means the power structure will erode and crumble, leaving no method of manipulating the masses towards materialistic goals, and aggression.

As society begins to follow the golden rule, the one tenet of liberation, it will add yet another level of security to be able to live out phase two in peace. Rejection of harming, threatening, and forcing others will grow with liberation, and soon the tiny minority who have always initiated and wielded violence will disperse in fear of the liberated masses. Liberation in both phases one and two helps to subvert the unjust and evil power these individuals currently exercise. Of course hope is not lost for those who currently do evil; they may yet repent, and liberate themselves as well.

Everyone within phase two will have already completed their earthly goals of liberation, showing the younger generations that it can be done, and encouraging them to do whatever necessary to liberate themselves. The “authorities” and their coercion will soon become an afterthought, a small hurdle before they become extinct. If living the liberated peaceful life you want to live is rebellion of the system, then let’s all be rebels. Help those who may be in harm’s way, simply because they are rightfully liberating themselves.

Individuals: People have surely been reaching phase two of liberation since the dawn of time, without labeling it as such, and have practiced the philosophy without society’s acceptance or approval. It simply takes a person who can rise above the judgement of their peers. Compete with yourself to become happier every day, to get one step closer to ultimate liberation of the soul.

Liberation is an umbrella philosophy which encourages individuals to find their spiritual way by considering numerous possibilities. A person may well decide that the religion they grew up with is the best fit for them, but they should not do this without first exploring various religions and spiritual teachings. What most people will probably find is that melding different religious philosophies gives a deeper spiritual awareness.

If you want to truly know as much as possible about a historical event, you can’t just read one account and assume it to be fact. The best way to understand history is to triangulate the perspectives of various historians, first hand documents, science surrounding artifacts, and events leading up to, and coming after the historical event. The search for truth in liberating the spirit, mind, or soul should be similar, in that you come at the issue of the afterlife, being, or ultimate truth from multiple angles.

For some this will mean travelling the world to immerse themselves in every religious tradition they can find. For others it might mean becoming more involved in their local church they have always belonged to, and reaching out to other individuals, in order to learn. Some may look for spiritual answers in science, history, or mathematics. Others may look for spiritual guidance from hallucinogens–though a word of caution is in order that drugs should never be used to permanently attain a higher spiritual level, but rather give one an example for a useful mindset for looking at humanity and spirituality.

The goal is that after years of study, exploration, critical thought, meditation, and whatever else it takes, an individual arrives at a religious or spiritual philosophy that works for them to happily complete their life cycle. Some may settle on a specific religion, others a melded philosophy of spirituality and religions. Some may follow their own unique path, or start traditions that help them and their friends find peace. One person may believe that we reincarnate until we live the perfect life, and find ultimate peace within. Another may conclude that we are all higher beings in a complex simulation that is testing our fortitude in a material world.

Some may decide when all is said and done that this is simply a material world without a higher anything; but that too is fine, as long as it brings the individual what they need. Liberation is still a philosophy that encourages a happy, fruitful human existence, so even if one is an atheist after stage two, they should be able to look back at their life with satisfaction, knowing that they accomplished a meaningful goal, and followed their desires without harming others, enjoying what life has to offer, and always striving for the deepest truth possible.

Liberation encourages living a fruitful life, striving for higher meaning, and passing on in peace, liberated.

Synergy

Don’t misconstrue the two phases to mean you cannot be religious, or explore spirituality in phase one. Pursue the ultimate knowledge whenever you get the urge and have the time! My only point in breaking liberation into two phases is that you do not need to forgo the material world in order to properly experience spiritual growth. We are here on this earth for a reason, and only by experiencing what earth has to offer can we grow from that experience.

In general, spirituality and religion is less on the mind when young and full of energy. Harness this energy, and pursue those earthly goals, as long as they are not ultimately destructive. Chances are your early earthly experiences will greatly set the tone for your later spiritual journey. But the phases are just one way of thinking about liberation, and could conceivably (and certainly will at points) be mixed up, reversed, mingled, and intertwined.

The main thing to take away is that liberation is absolutely crucial to a healthy earthly existence, and completely necessary for any considerations of an eternal soul or being. Your human body must be used for what is was intended, and that is to live a fruitful life on earth free to do anything that does not hurt others. And your soul must be explored for what is was intended, and the journey to spiritual liberation will be an exciting one.

Think of the young in poverty, with no opportunity to make something of their lives, which skews the perspective on what may lie beyond. Think of the youth in advanced society, with no direction, no desire, and no motivation. They are pushed this way and that by the power structure, used as pawns, and left empty and bitter by the coercion they feel dictating their every move.

This will end with liberation. Individuals will reclaim their youth for the exciting, invigorating journey of creation and accomplishment it was always meant to be! No more dead end jobs, no more broken promises, smashed dreams, or stolen opportunities. When we liberate ourselves, there is no height to which individuals cannot take this world.

Think of the elderly in poverty, waiting to die to stop burdening their families who already have so little. Think of the elderly with high living standards, waiting to die because they don’t know what else to do, and have forgotten what it means to have otherworldly goals.

This will be no more in liberation. Under liberation the seasoned, the accomplished, will reclaim their position as spiritual elders whose purpose is to guide the younger generations in their life phases with knowledge, experience and example. There will be no end of life regrets, but instead the dying will pass on satisfied, surrounded by those they love, knowing that whoever is left behind will have an equally glorious life.

The whole will become greater than the sum of its parts. Society will see a spiritual awakening brought on by individuals who decide to liberate themselves. It requires no evangelizing, as simply seeing free people stokes the desire to become liberated. It is a movement that has already begun, and cannot be stopped. Already individuals are living the lives they want to live, regardless of what the sick sad system has to say. These individuals will become the spiritual leaders of the next great awakening on earth. The spiritual renaissance is upon us.

Start Today

Begin pursuing phase one of liberation today. You might already know what that is: the business you want to start, the skill you want to gain, the group you want to help, the book you want to write, or whatever else will make you independent and fruitful. You want to be in control of your own destiny, and let go of the things you cannot control.

Liberate yourself! Let go of the fear the controllers of society shove down your throat. Become as free as possible; in doing so not only will your own life be drastically improved, but your positive energy will infect those around you. Let go of the burdens society has foisted upon you without your consent. Take control of your life and set it up the way you want it.

Liberate your soul! Dissolve the distractions and take a journey with your spirit. Become more connected with others, with yourself, and with a higher realm. Seek ultimate truth, being honest with yourself, and those around you.

Join me, in liberation!

Creating Worlds in Ourselves

Suppose we are really all just one being, as various religions have suggested. Perhaps we all reconnect when we die, and live blissfully as one. In fact, what if we, as one, only split ourselves into billions of different people in order to improve ourselves. Perhaps we will never become one again unless we all learn to love ourselves and one another.

Because that is what we all struggle to do, isn’t it? Finally be happy with ourselves, and be happy in our own company. We seek out others to fulfill us, and they can help because we are all just different pieces of a larger whole. But they can also be a detriment to self love because we all have flaws and some play out more in certain ways in certain people.

I think many things mirror each other, and most thing are replicated on a smaller and larger scale. In that way, doesn’t it make sense that we would emulate the larger in what we replicate as smaller? What I mean is, if the larger “one being” created the microcosm of earth to grow itself, as a game of sorts, it would make sense that there is the same desire in each of us.

Creating Worlds

We do this through movies, games, books, and dreams. And the worlds we create in dreams are especially interesting to me; I have been thinking about that a lot lately.

It is hard to do, but very possible to lucid dream. That means be aware that you are dreaming, and therefore control what happens in the dream. Personally, I rarely become aware that I am dreaming, and have even said in a dream, “I know I am not dreaming”. But there are a handful of times I remember becoming aware that I was dreaming, but still not really committing to that fact in order to shape the dream.

Once, relatively recently, I realized I was in a dream, and took the opportunity to fly. I always loved flying dreams, and though I had tried in a previous lucid dream to fly, it hadn’t worked. This time it did, and though at first it was touch and go, I managed to take off and fly some laps around a rocky island with a church on it.

Anyway back to the point; dreams are creations by our brains that may be used for organizing thought, planning, experimenting, or running tests. There are certain things about our unconscious that we can gather from dreams.

Now suppose that life was very similar to a dream, in that our greater consciousness was organizing its thoughts, or discovering something about itself through living a life. The dream of life would just be a way to organize that exercise. The world we live in could be a workshop for the larger being to recgonize and address its inner demons.

Help Yourself

I think many of us have the tendency to think others need more work than ourselves, I have certainly been victim to this train of thought. But probably the most important part of becoming a stronger whole is to start with yourself. We can’t become perfect, but once we are sufficiently happy with ourselves, trustworthy, and good, it will be easier to emanate those positive vibes in order to help others.

If we all stemmed from one being, it says to me that the one being was not totally comfortable with being alone. So that being created many different beings, but since they are all really just one, we each feel the same loneliness at the core. Other people can be a welcome distraction, but at the center of it all, we need to be happy when we are alone, and love our own company.

We can still find things that we love in other people that we may lack ourselves, but should not process this with envy or self loathing. Instead realize what it is you love about others, and take it all in. When the universe comes to a close, we may all end up as one being again, and at that point we will be a happy one, not lonely, and loving of ourselves, having gone through this exercise we call life.

Mini-Farming in Florida!

Alright, three months later, and I am back! 2015 was a year filled with excitement, happiness, and new experiences! To top it off, in early November I moved from Massachusetts to the panhandle of Florida!

My sister bought ten acres in the suburbs of Pensacola, and I moved down here with her and her fiance to start a “mini-farm”.

She named it Prickly Pear Plantation, because of these little cacti called prickly pears, which are actually edible… in theory. I have yet to get more than a couple nibbles out of the center, because they must be cooked to the point where all the bristles, and small bristly hairs are gone. But by this point they have shrunk and shriveled so much, that it is nearly impossible to get any meat out of them. What I usually end up with is tiny hairy bristles stuck in my tongue and lips. I think some grow much larger than the ones on our property though, so hopefully I can find a better specimen to try.

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We will be growing vegetables, and started double digging out garden plots which we will plant in February. We will be keeping chickens for eggs as well; we got seven baby chicks three weeks ago and already built the chicken coop.

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They grow up so fast!

We have also cleaned up the property, built a shed, planted a few fruit trees, built/ repaired fences, and built a “catititat” (habitat for cats) all in just about six weeks!

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Don’t worry, there’s a shelf for them to jump back through the window if they want to go inside.

Everything is going great so far, and we are getting a lot accomplished. We keep moving towards ours goals, and even though some days are slower than others, we can already look back over the two months and see tremendous progress! For instance, the piles of trash the previous owners left all around the yard have been cleaned up.

Pensacola is a beautiful coastal city with a nice little strip of bars and restaurants. We have been to the Wednesday night runs at the World of Beer a few times, where after a three mile run the bar provided runners some complimentary food and beer specials.

The dogs are enjoying the large property as well, pouring seemingly endless amounts of energy into sprinting around the fields and roughhousing with each other. When I arrived a week after my sister and her fiance moved into the house, I surprised her with Leo, her cat who I had been looking after in Massachusetts while she moved.

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Well… I guess they tire themselves out sooner or later.

It all feels like a dream come true. The work we are putting in is already starting to show, but we also have lots of toil ahead of us. That is okay though, it is just part of building something to be proud of. Getting down here was a big step, and now we just need to keep the momentum going to keep building (and growing) our dreams. And with beautiful warm weather, it is easy to stay in high spirits!

And it gets to be a little harder to pull myself away from the outdoors and plunk myself down on a computer. But hey, that’s a good problem to have!

Be sure to follow Steph’s blog, “Steph Matt Stella Become Southern”!

A Day Mirrors a Life: Use This Life for a Better “Tomorrow”

Many things mirror each other. A brain cell looks curiously similar to the universe, and atoms look like they belong magnified floating in space alongside solar systems. So wouldn’t it make sense if other things mirrored large events on a small scale?

I am talking about a day. We wake up groggy, sometimes forgetting where we are or what we have to do, confused by our fleeting dreams. But energy soon returns, we gain focus, and set out with purpose to conquer the day’s activities. Sometimes it is a good day, sometimes bad, sometimes boring, sometimes exciting! Hopefully we don’t waste too much time, but still have fun! It is good to accomplish some goals, but not be too stressed out or uptight. You have to enjoy the present, but not to the extent that it makes tomorrow harder. And then each night we start to grow tired again, we realize there is only so much more we can do with the time we have, and eventually we go to sleep.

In a life, we are born confused and crying. There is no recollection before birth, except for a few special people here and there that seem to remember details of a past life. As our lives go on, we grow, gain focus on what we want to do with that life. We have ups and downs, as every life has, and some lives could be categorized as overall good, or overall bad, overall mundane, or overall stimulating. We have goals large and small that we attempt to accomplish, and some people get caught up in planning for the future without really enjoying the moments of their lives. Others fulfill momentary hedonistic urges, which puts their future happiness in jeopardy. In the end it comes to a close, the sun begins to set, and our energy fades. We die and go to sleep.

But when we sleep we wake again. And where we wake up depends entirely on where we went to sleep the night before. The obstacles facing us the next day could have been increased by the previous days activities, or eased. Sometimes we wake up hungover, and what we did yesterday makes the entire new day more difficult. Sometimes we drank a glass of water before bed, said our prayers or meditated, and wake up refreshed, ready to start the day off with an energizing run, or watch the sun rise with a cup of coffee.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead attempts to help people transition from earth to the in-between and then back to earth again, unless ultimate enlightenment is achieved. What you do in one life effects where you will start the next life. I don’t personally know what type of life will put you where, but using the microcosm of a day, I think it is a safe bet to say living a good day makes a better tomorrow that much more likely. Therefore living a better life will make the next life that much better.

In a lifetime, I would imagine the ultimate goal is to die happy, surrounded by those you love, at peace. This could be compared to ultimate enlightenment. Did you improve others’ lives? Did you help create and grow healthy humans who will radiate their energy positively towards others? Did you bring people joy, help people grow, and increase the combined positive energy of the world or environment you inhabited?

Tibetan Buddhism even suggests practicing the transition from the earth self to the in between self by attempting to remain cognizant while falling asleep, and lucid while dreaming. This mirrors what will happen when we die, so it is a way to practice. It is a way to carry all the positive energy from one life into the next, the way we are able (though we don’t always do it) to carry positive energy from one day to the next.

And this all means we should live each day like a mini lifetime. After all, each day, all combined, is what will make up our life. Each atom, all combined, is what makes up the universe. Perhaps each lifetime, all combined, will determine the ultimate health and state of our souls.

Fewer Posts, but More Experiences

What’s Going On Here, Where Am I At?

When I started this blog, I said that a long absence from posting could mean one of two things:

…it probably means I am failing. Or it could mean I am accomplishing my goal so well that something crazy and unexpected has hampered my posting, like a spontaneous visit to the Yanomamö tribe of Brazil to participate in their ash eating ritual of cremated relatives. But hopefully my experiences will be somewhere in between and I’ll post regularly.

The truth is I have been doing tons of fun stuff, and truly enjoying my life, which made this blog take a back seat. Why stop in the middle of an excellent adventure to tell the internet, who is probably not even listening, about it? I’ve found myself thinking less about trying to make money or promote blogs, and more about enjoying the moment.

In that sense, this blog fulfilled its purpose. It started as a catalyst to get me to have more fun, move out of my shell, promote happiness and positivity, and live a life that is not mundane! As my posts have taken a steep nose dive in number, I have also noticed that the energy I felt when I first started this blog did not go away, it was just transferred into my daily life.

Pretty much, I faked it until I maked it. Well I was never really faking it. But sometimes it is hard to be positive, accomplish things, and keep things interesting. When I couldn’t do it in the outside world, I would turn to this blog for help. And help it did! This blog served as a foundation, which I am now building a structure on top of that I call my life. Surely there will still be updates and the spreading of that positivity that I have been able to capture. But I also want to make sure this project doesn’t become a stressor.

Partially motivated by this blog, I will be moving south this winter. I think not having a bitter-cold environment where I am essentially cooped up indoors for six months will greatly contribute to my happiness. Also, this is my first real opportunity to see how much I can produce on my own, working the land, and being as self sufficient as possible. I’m sure the move and the new project of homesteading will give me plenty of fodder for Explaining It All moving forward.

Year in Review

I started this blog almost 14 months ago. It has been with me as I published my first book, which was a huge accomplishment for me, helped along, undoubtedly, by this blog. I posted about pursuing those sorts of dreams, turning off the flow of negativity from certain people around us, and taking steps, large or small towards your goals. I wasn’t writing from a high horse, for the readers’ benefit, so much as I was writing while in the pursuit, planning my future, and encouraging myself to keep going.

I am still very much in the pursuit of many things. Publishing a book is cool, by it is not synonymous with selling a book. That remains on the forefront of my goals.

Buy “Anarchy in New England” now! LOL

But life is always a balance between properly planning to make the future great, and ensuring the present is great as well. In addition to career/ self sufficiency progress, I did a lot of having fun/ enjoying life, including a trip to Florida, a cruise, PorcFest (where I met some AMAZING new friends), camping, the Cape, and finally, Iceland!

So enjoy these pictures of Iceland! I will be making a better effort to post more regularly!

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Blue Lagoon, the required stop for tourists. How did I get the whole pool to myself? Went straight from the airport at 8am when they open!

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A waterfall of which I don’t know how to say the name. It was big though. See the tiny dots in the background over my left shoulder? People.

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Stopped on the side of the road when I saw this awesome hill and rock. Jumped the barbed wire fence, and gave it a good climb.

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A glacial lagoon! Saw some seals swimming around.

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I was trying to pose like Leif Eriksson, but I didn’t have my longsword and giant ax with me.

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Perpetual Energy Loops and Fire Beams: Feeding Off Others’ Energy Without Stealing It

Think of every person as a perpetual energy machine. Imagine a ring of energy inside each of us, and if the flow is not broken, the loop persists indefinitely. The unbroken ring of energy is the state of being happy, whole, complete, satisfied, and at peace. We each have ultimate control over our own perpetual energy ring.

What leads to all the social problems in the world, is the breaking of that perpetual ring of energy in order to either give some of yours, or take some from another. If you break your energy loop to dish out energy, you will eventually need to break someone else’s loop and take energy from them. If you take someone’s energy, thus damaging their perpetual loop, they will eventually have to steal energy from someone else’s perpetual energy machine. It is a domino effect of negatively affecting others’ energy.

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This rudimentary diagram depicts the perpetual energy cycles being broken. Notice the center man is giving energy to one, and taking energy from another. None of the loops can thus be completed, meaning no fire beam of energy off which all could feed emanates above.

This absolutely does not mean we cannot help other people out. But there is a very specific way we need to handle interacting with others in order to preserve our own perpetual energy creation, because otherwise our imbalance will turn into someone else’s imbalance. Imagine a beam of fire that shoots up above your perpetual energy loop. It only does so when your loop is in tact. This energy, others can feed off of without leaving you any less.

This rudimentary diagram depicts three individuals with complete energy loops, not giving energy to, or taking energy from another. Because of there complete loops without theft or self deprivation, they are able to create a fire beam of energy, which can be linked to grow with each complete person, with an in tact loop of energy.

This rudimentary diagram depicts three individuals with complete energy loops, not giving energy to, or taking energy from another. Because of their complete loops without theft or self deprivation, they are able to create a fire beam of energy, which can be linked to grow with each complete person, who has an in tact loop of energy.

Jumpstarting a car takes power from the good battery, and transfers it into the bad battery, decreasing each battery’s overall share of energy (until they are recharged). Combining two candle flames makes the single flame twice as large.

Example: Your friends want to go out to a bar, but you are not really feeling it. If you go out anyway, but are bitter that your friends “forced” you out, you allowed them to steal your energy, and are now reciprocating the theft by bringing down the mood at the bar, or tucking away the resentment for future theft. Either way, you have allowed your energy to be thrown off, and will seek to make up for that (probably subconsciously). If you roll your eyes at the conversations at the bar, you are stealing your friend’s energy that they were putting into the story, because you feel they stole your energy by “making” you go out. Their energy is now lessened, because they are insecure about the story, or confused about or dwelling on why their friend is mad at them.

The actual decision to go out or not will not effect your ring of energy, but rather how you react to it. Perhaps staying in would have elicited a negative reaction from your friends, which also has the potential to disrupt your energy level, and make you want to steal their energy the next time they don’t want to go out when it is your idea.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, and energy theft for energy theft makes the whole world bereft.

So the way to deal instead is to maintain your own energy loop. If what you truly want to do is stay home, you have got to make that decision, and then not allow your friends to get at your energy loop. You have to make the decision, and then be done, instead of worrying about your friends’ reactions. You cannot control others, and seeking to control them is a form of energy theft as well, even if derived from true concern. If you text them nervously hoping to abridge any dissatisfaction with your decision, your insecurity is voluntarily handing over energy from your loop. If you text them out of the pure desire to wish them a fun night, you have instead allowed them to feed off of your fire, without disrupting your energy loop.

But perhaps it is your friend’s birthday, and it would actually be in poor taste to just be like, “meh, I feel like staying in.” This all depends on how you handle the obligation. If you go out bitterly, you will steal energy. But if you look inside, balance your energy loop, and realize that sometimes what having friends is about is doing something for them even when you don’t necessarily want to, you can keep your loop in tact. You will actually be happy when you go out, because your friend is happy, because you are not making snarky comments out of bitterness, nor sullenly dwelling on the other things your would rather be doing.

You make the best out of it, realizing you were not forced into the situation, but rather forced to make a choice involving the situation. This then grows your fire beam that extends upward from your energy loop, and allows your friend the opportunity to grow theirs even more, because they do not have to seek energy to steal, since your never broke their energy loop to begin with. You can now both combine your resulting beams, which doubles both of your beam energy, instead of spreading the loop energy, and thus decreasing each individual’s energy in the loop.

Balance

We are in fact thrown into situations which are troublesome, so how do we make sure these situations do not throw off our own energy loops? This involves recognizing what you can and cannot control. Risky behavior of your friends might make you nervous, but attempting to control that behavior can lead to the stealing of their energy, or the giving of your own. Your nervousness at their actions is taking your energy. Your insistence on the way they act is stealing their energy. Do not control, and do not allow yourself to be controlled. Sometimes, walking away is the only way to preserve your own energy ring, as well as stop yourself from throwing off another’s energy loop. But strike a balance: walking away must be of pure intentions, and not aimed at influencing the behavior of your friends.

But what if what I really want to do is run naked through the streets? We can recognize consequences, and adjust our behavior rationally without throwing off our energy loops. Recognize that it is aggravating that we are in a sense beholden to society, but do not take it out on society. Do not get bent out of shape, and angry, because then society has stolen your energy. Instead, internalize the balancing of your own energy, and accept that not everything is in our control. Our own actions are still in our control however, and we can still do what we want, but we cannot force others around us to react in a particular way.

All Boiled Down

In essence, we must analyze our intentions, and stop ourselves when we are at risk of becoming energy vampires. Will what I am saying or doing actually increase the happiness of me and others? Is this just a shallow attempt to make myself feel better at the expense of others? Will this theft of their energy require them to make up for what I have taken, by victimizing another?

We all know when we are trying to negatively affect a person, even if we think it is justified. But we must also realize that their negativity will likewise affect others, whether it is due to a bad mood, insecurity, or the blatant transferal of your negative energy which was directed at them, then being directed at others.

We must also analyze our intentions, and stop ourselves if we are at risk of becoming a victim of energy theft. Is the energy you are giving away disrupting your own, or simply feeding the other? Does the energy the other gets take from your own loop, or simply use the excess fire your loop has created in order to invigorate their own loop? Will the energy you give turn to bitterness, resentment, or anger, causing the de facto theft of others’ (perhaps not easily identified victims) energy because of your negative feelings?

We are able to tell the difference between pure intentions of giving to others for the sake of giving, versus feeling forced into a scenario, or playing martyr. If you view what you have given as a sacrifice, this will most likely throw off your energy loop. If you view what you are giving as a gift, this will most likely keep your energy loop in tact, and grow the fire beam which is built on the perpetual energy loop.

When we all have in tact energy loops, not stealing from others, nor allowing ourselves to be stolen from, the fire beams of energy will combine exponentially to form a peaceful loving existence. The magnitude of these beams we cannot yet imagine, but have felt when in the presence of pure intentioned individuals with the security to emanate fire beams that combine energy with others’ beams, without leaving any less in their beam.

Reset Button Hit!

RESET! I just got back from Porcupine Freedom Festival in New Hampshire. At first I was worried that with such high expectations, with how amazing of an experience it was the last two years, that I would be setting myself up for a let down. Such was not the case. In three years, it has gotten better every year!

I didn’t use the internet from Monday through Saturday of last week–not at all! That is the first level of reset. In fact on the radio on my way home from the event I heard that we may all be constantly overstimulated by the internet, and can benefit from periodical internet fasts. Being surrounded by wonderful people in this little microcosm of freedom was all I needed.

This is like my yearly injection of positivity and energy, which I hope to replicate in the future to a year round lifetime of love and joy. It is a goal to strive for. It shows me how good things could be, and the power of individuals and voluntary groups to affect the type of change we want to see in the world. It starts with the individual.

That is the biggest thing I took away from this year’s event. Instead of focusing on everyone else–you should do this, they should do that, “we” should (when we really means you)–it is beneficial to first be the change you want to see in the world. That is sort of a cliche phrase, but for how often we may hear it, I am not sure people much think about what it means.

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At PorcFest, we all value freedom. But everyone has a different idea of freedom. The people who want marijuana to be legal are not always the same people who value gun ownership, or the same people who seek equality when it comes to gay marriage and such. At this event, everyone that I met and saw realized that their preferred freedoms are not the only ones that matter. Everyone should be free to do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. So there were gays, stoners, gun lovers, Muslims, Jews, Christians, rednecks, executives, rich, poor, black, white, Asian, free range children, and on and on. This was true diversity. This was the live and let live philosophy brought to its logical conclusion for one week in a microcosm of New Hampshire.

Being the change we want to be for those of us at PorcFest meant tolerating things we are not necessarily comfortable with, because we realize those things do not affect us directly. I’m sure not everyone was comfortable with people doing mushrooms, and I am sure not everyone was comfortable with the guy driving around on his ATV flying a confederate flag. Some might have been less than excited about guns, and some might have never been around gay guys cuddling by the fire before. But it didn’t matter, because the people at PorcFest walk the walk: do whatever you want, until it starts to negatively affect me, then we’ll talk.
And I think that is why I feel so mentally refreshed after the weeks I spend at PorcFest. I see my philosophy on life working without contradictions. But we aren’t all as lucky as I am, to have a specific event tailored for my worldview; and one that actually is what it claims to be.

I also have my setbacks. Writing a book, Anarchy in New England, was a huge step towards being who I want to be. But there are many more. I am an amateur forager, but the next step is seeing how self sufficient I can be. At PorcFest I attended a talk on beekeeping, and also a talk on soap making. When I move down south before this winter these are two things I would like to try my hand at, as well as growing vegetables, and raising chickens for laying eggs.

I criticize the government a lot, and something I need to continue to strive for is setting up my life so that the government is unnecessary, as I often preach. I need to be the change I want to see: I need to set up a self sufficient town where everything from trade, to currency, to conflict resolution are handled privately, in order to practice what I preach.

And after seeing things work so well for one week without government at PorcFest, it is time to expand the microcosm, and attempt to set up a full time version. This seems like the natural progression; it has been tested for a week as best as we are allowed within the confines of current government. Now we need to test it more permanently, in order to move beyond theory.

A Stranger in Your Own Town

I have a challenge for everyone. Find a new, amazing, beautiful, or interesting spot in your town that you have never been to.

My home town is approximately 10 square miles, with a population of 6,000 so don’t give me the whole, “my town’s too small, I know every inch of it,” excuse! I am moving south by November, and through my omnipresent attempts to not take things for granted, found myself stumbling around an awesome little section of my town that I have never really explored before.

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There is a gigantic abandoned building that used to be the Draper Mill in my town, Hopedale. I may see it everyday, but it isn’t everyday I see the structure from the back side. Indeed I had to cross over to the other side of the tracks–literally–in order to view it. A friend and I walked across the street from his house where an abandoned parking lot hosts an abandoned ramp that used to lead to a large bridge, built to go over the railroad but long since dismantled.

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I knew of all these places, and never gave them much thought. But leave it to the inspiration of a couple beers, and these places warranted some exploring! The abandoned building made me think of something I have seen in Russia, and the view from the “bridge” made Hopedale look like a village nestled somewhere in Europe. I have always had an affinity for abandoned places; I don’t know what it is about grass and shrubs forcing their way through cracks in the pavement that strikes my artistic sensibilities.

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The abandoned bridge entrance was my favorite part. There was actually a pretty decent view from the top; over that concrete block is a good 20 foot drop. It could actually be a nice little attraction if not for the big fence telling you to keep out. So I guess it will remain an attraction for those with enough will to get there, and just a little rebelliousness.

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And you always need a selfie or else it didn’t happen.

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Go out and find a new place just minutes from where you live! Appreciate the scenery, architecture, or new perspective! Find a new place to meditate, or sneak off to. You might find yourself a mini-adventure, and you might just take the place you call home a little less for-granted.

Making “Normal” the New “Awesome”

Sunday was a beautiful day outside. I slept a little late, I spent some time on the porch, and made plans to go for a hike with a couple of friends.

We went for the hike up to the top of Peppercorn Hill with a nice view, checked out a little cave in the woods, and went back to my friend’s house. His family had just finished cleaning the pool (good timing) so we went for a swim, caught up with his dad and bros, and threw the frisbee around. Finally we finished with some deliciously grilled cheeseburgers.

And that day felt normal. I was happy the whole time, in a good mood, having fun. When it was drawing to a close, my friend’s brother said, “I am officially considering this the first summer fun day,” or something to that effect, which probably sounded less cheesy.

So that was when I thought back on the day, and was like, wow, this was an awesome day! Nothing went wrong, I did some of my favorite activities with friends, and it was all around a fun, essentially prototype kind of day.

It felt like a normal day. How lucky am I that a day like that is normal for me? I could think of a few things that would have made it even better, and I can think of a million things that would have made it a lot worse. So why do I just consider that a normal day?

I decided, why not re-label normal, awesome? Instead of essentially taking a normal day for granted, I could appreciate an awesome day, and have gratitude that something so perfect can seem normal to me.

That’s what I was doing when I started this blog, but it is so easy to fall back into a mundane attitude. I even had a couple of restarts, that never seemed to stick as much as that initial push that sparked this site.

PorcFest is only a month away, so it is tempting to wait and recapture those sentiments once at the event that makes me feel like my true self. But that is a cop-out! I need to kick it into gear, and re-label every normal day awesome.

That way, a “bad day” can become a “normal day”, and I have effectively dragged my median mood towards the “awesome” side!

Anarchy in New England, a novel by Joe Jarvis

It’s been a little slow around this blog lately, and I am sorry for the lull, but that should change! It is so exciting that fewer than six months into 2015, which I dubbed the year of writing, my first fiction novel is being published, Anarchy in New England.

Anarchy in New England Cover (FINAL)

The story is a thought experiment, in many ways, and offers an interesting perspective. The novel takes place in a stateless society, but not a lawless world. A hundred years in the future, New England has rebounded from a global meltdown, and leads the world in technology. There are still rules, there are still consequences for your actions, and for all intents and purposes, “authority”. But the rules are not centrally mandated, but instead worked out through the market.

But the CEO of one of the largest security companies in New England has an idea to revive the old system. With no government, he can’t get a bailout for his fading security company, so Mr. Drake decides to try to form a new government, which he would run.

Reporter Molly Metis is onto him though. Despite attempts to stop her, she continues to dig deeper into recent events surrounding Drake and his associates. She is sure she can expose the dark plot, but will anybody care? And what will be the cost?

It should be an interesting read that gets you to consider topics you may never have though about, much like I try to do with this blog. How would certain things play-out in a society without government? Anarchy usually is taken to mean chaos, but could order rise without centralized control?

Anyway, that is what I have been up to, as well as working on a prequel, that goes into more detail about the actual collapse in the 2020’s. I’m excited to get out there and promote, and at the same time I know the process will give me plenty of material for JoeJarvisExplainsItAll.

I’m going through the process of trying to live my dreams, and I feel like I am settling into a nice trajectory. I am at the very beginning of my journey still, and there will surely be countless more ups and downs. But the ride is what it is all about, and as long as I use the downs to gain momentum, they can’t be considered all that negative.

This is a scary point to be at in following your dreams, because the book is only going to start being read in the next couple of days. I am braced for the first wave of feedback, including someone with a popular podcast who is currently reading Anarchy in New England, to see if it is good enough for him to have me on his show. So naturally, the left brain and right brain are having it out, trying to balance the optimism with the pessimism. In reality, I just need to wait and see what happens, since at this point, I can not affect the outcome.

But since going into things with a generally positive, energetic attitude seems to work out, that is what I plan to do! The first phase of promotion is going to be focused on New England, because of the name of the novel and because that is where I live. If anyone wants to suggest events, media, or even a book club for me to visit with, I am open for all the possibilities!

Get in touch with me here, by contacting me through my other blog JoeJarvis.me.

Click here to order the novel on Amazon!