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.

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.

The Brain and Consciousness: Science and Spirituality

I have a lot of weird musings about the mind, dreams, and consciousness. What is awesome, is learning the science behind some of the things I discuss.

It’s not so much that I am “right” per say when I say that maybe life is just our souls playing video games, but the science leaves open the possibility. My sister and brother-in-law got me a book for Christmas called The Future of the Mind, by Micho Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics.

I started making some connections when I read a chapter about dreaming. In the past, I’ve wondered if perhaps earth is somewhat like a computer simulation, and that when we sleep, information is uploaded to “the heavens” or whatever dimension, and we view this jumbled upload as dreams.

But recently I was thinking, maybe dreams are just random noise most of the time, unless a message needs to be beamed into us. So usually dreams seem random because they are (just random signals in our brains), but that particular dreams could have meaning, not all of them.

This would mean there is essentially a two way radio in our heads if both theories are true, but at least a receiver. So when I read the following in The Future of the Mind, I was somewhat taken aback. Kaku was discussing how a large percentage of temporal lobe epileptics had deep religious experiences, and felt connections with God, Buddha, the universe, or whatever fit with their religious and world view. Dr. Ramachandran who studies these patients said:

“I sometimes wonder whether such patients who have temporal lobe epilepsy have access to another dimension of reality, a wormhole of sorts into a parallel universe. But I usually don’t say this to my colleagues, lest they doubt my sanity.”

Now atheists and theists alike use this information to claim victory in the existential debate. Since a particular section of the brain can be pinpointed that causes these close to God feelings, atheists might assert that it is proof our brain chemistry makes up the existence of God.

But those who are religious and spiritual have a different explanation. God, the universe, or whatever, included in the human design a receiver, in order to communicate. You know, sort of like where the video game controller might plug in. If in fact we are in a massive simulation to help our souls “come of age”, it would make sense that sometimes the signals get jumbled which could create a seizure, or allow us a glimpse into the true nature of existence.

Likewise, if we are not really individuals, but only split up while on earth to feel the loneliness of separation from the whole, pings of feedback from the greater energy could give our earthly forms a taste of heaven, or oneness. So could the temporal lobe simply be a receiver built into the simulation, included in the human design by God, or accessing  another more “real” dimension?

The same Godly effect epileptics sometimes feel can be simulated by a “God helmet” which sends magnetism into specific areas of the brain. Kaku described what happened when 15 Carmelite nuns agreed to try out the “God helmet”.

…the nuns concluded that God placed this “radio” in the brain so that we can communicate with Him.

Their conclusion was that God created humans to have this ability, so the brain has a divine antenna given to us by God so that we can feel his presence. David Biello concludes, “Although atheists might argue that finding spirituality in the brain implies that religion is nothing more than divine delusion, the nuns were thrilled by their brain scans for precisely the opposite reason: they seemed to provide confirmation of God’s interactions with them.”

And I’ve said similar things in the past. Based solely on the brain, you cannot conclude there either is, or is not a God, or afterlife, or eternal energy from whence we came and will return. If there is such higher life, it would be easy for God to create the human brain as such. Or in the simulation theory, if our souls are playing an intricate video game, our brains are simply programmed to work with the simulation, just like we program computers with certain rules in order to run the way we want it to run.

If a little computer chip gained consciousness, would it conclude that the electrical signals entering and exiting were simply an accident of nature, evident in the design of the chip, or would it consider its own programming a gift designed by a higher being? And if your initial reaction is to say, “So what, computer chips are not conscious,” does that not suggest a more intricate reason for our own ability of introspection?

Cherish Your Time as an Individual

Matter cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be manipulated and transferred. Every piece of us is as old as the universe, though the particular arrangement of matter in you does not even date back a year: each atom in our bodies is replaced every year. You undoubtedly have an atom that is part of your body that was part of someone else’s body at some point.

Perhaps we all started as one energy and will all coalesce into one energy again some day, where negativity will cease, and we will exist eternally as one in nirvana. (“Life is a waterfall, we’re one in the river and we’re one again after the fall.” -System of a Down)

In the grand scheme of things, our time on earth is short. Some people take this to mean it is insignificant. They say, we are all one, and being an individual is an illusion. And that may be true. But don’t you think there is a point of us being an individual, for however short it may be?

What I’m saying is, if we exist for the rest of eternity as one energy, then we should cherish this short opportunity to be an individual. It is a stress on our being, or our collective being to be an individual, but that makes me think there is much to gain.

Exercise is stress that makes us stronger. Trials and tribulations grow us. The pressure of academics makes us smarter. Could the stress of being an individual for 80 years make each one of us a stronger puzzle piece, so that when we all finally come together to form the puzzle, the entire puzzle is stronger?

So yes, if you hurt others you are just hurting yourself in a sense. But that does not mean you should be a slave to others either. Use this opportunity as an individual to see what can be accomplished by one specific piece of the universe. In the end, anything you gain individually will be gained by all of humanity.

Humanity is a Puzzle, and We are the Pieces

In my humble opinion, a good analogy to describe humanity is a puzzle. When put together, a puzzle becomes one; it forms an image that cannot be gathered from any individual piece of the puzzle. The end goal of course is to have one complete puzzle, but what makes it a puzzle? If it were a photograph or a painting, it would be one cohesive entity. The unique thing about a puzzle is that it is made up of individual pieces that must fit together in order to form the larger image.

And that makes us, each individual, a puzzle piece. As pieces, we are not whole when the puzzle lies apart, deconstructed. We desire to fit in seamlessly with the pieces around us. But we need not host the entire image, we are only each a small piece that makes up the entire image. Do not confuse being an individual piece, however, with being expendable.

You see, every puzzle piece is unique. No other piece can take its place and still form the proper larger image. A puzzle is incomplete if even one of the pieces is lost or destroyed. This makes the individual pieces as important as the larger image. The larger image cannot exist without the individuals that make it up.

The reason I am explaining this is that some seem to view individuals as unimportant and worthless. I wholeheartedly disagree. Without individuals, there is no humanity, so how can you say that the pieces which make up the whole are unimportant? What many mean is that any one piece is not important for the larger structure to come together.

Again, I disagree. Something will be missing in the larger picture if we do not treat each individual as the important, unique puzzle piece they are. We are all connected, or at least the potential for us to all be connected exists. As individual puzzle pieces, our ultimate desire is to become one.

This is akin to what many religions believe happens after death. The reason we cannot imagine paradise, heaven, or perpetual bliss is because we are coming from the perspective of a puzzle piece, and the ultimate reward is to exist as a puzzle, all put together with no missing pieces.

I see this as the source of hate, jealousy, fear, regret, doubt, and insecurity. We are uncomfortable existing as puzzle pieces when we know our ultimate and complete state is as one puzzle. But we are comforted when we connect to other puzzle pieces around us. It feels right to love. It feels right to be connected to those people around you with whom you fit.

We desire to be part of a group, but the group needs the right pieces in order to exist. The parts must not be random, there are specific pieces that fit into other pieces. This is what our lives are about, understanding our own shape as a puzzle piece so that we may find the pieces with which we seemlessly fit, doing our part to complete the puzzle, and become whole.

And when you are a part of a group, a loving family, a tight knit cluster of friends, you feel a glimpse of that joy that comes from being whole. Of course the entire puzzle may not be constructed, but we relax and feel in control when our own section starts to form. And darkness overcomes us when we try to force two pieces to fit together, when they are not meant to.

So remember, do not destroy or damage other pieces, as the whole picture will then be unable to come together. Each puzzle piece is important, including yourself. Connect with those that you fit with, but do not force a connection when it is wrong. In time you will all be one, but the puzzle must be naturally constructed.

And when all the pieces fall tightly into place and we exist as a puzzle, as one, we will all forget what it felt like to be a piece of a puzzle, and live on endlessly as one, unfathomably content because we are complete.

Sleeping and Dreaming: Does it fit with my Soul Playing Video Game theory?

Sleep is weird. I ended up getting out of bed at 2:30am the other day to jot down some thoughts that were running through my head—I couldn’t really sleep which is abnormal for me.

But I was thinking about sleep… what happens while we are sleeping? I get that we are recharged and have dreams, organize our thoughts and fix our bodies. But I got to thinking about why 1/3 of each of our lives is supposed to be spent sleeping. That just seems like a long charge and a quick drain. I’ve always thought about how much I could get done if I only had to sleep say, 2 hours per night. Can you imagine 6 extra hours per day to write, read, work out, or just watch movies?

So browsing in the book store, I came across a book in which one section claimed to have a method of only sleeping 2 hours per day, and being fully rested and healthy. I am a skeptic… certain things I want to believe… but really? 2 hours?

The kicker was that all the sleep wouldn’t be at the same time. The two hours is supposed to be split into 6 parts throughout the day: a 20 minute nap at 10am, 20 minute nap at 2pm, same at 6pm, 10pm, 2am and 4am. But don’t oversleep, the book warns, or you will throw off your system, and possibly turn into a gremlin. I was left wondering how the hell anyone can just immediately go to sleep for 20 minutes, and then immediately get up. And obviously this schedule presents certain problems for anyone with a normal job, kids, or like, a life.

As I said I don’t believe everything I read, it has got to make sense to me. But then I thought about how I’ve heard that certain types of batteries want to be charged long before they are depleted, and that this actually gives the battery a longer life. What if humans are shortening their lives by depleting their batteries every day before we charge them? Could it be that taking the time to charge ourselves when we get down to 50%, or even 70% will make our batteries last longer?

All the talk about charging batteries got me thinking about my post, What if Life is Just our Souls Playing Video GamesAha now this whole weird sleeping thing makes a bit more sense. We need to save the game so that our data isn’t lost! Perhaps dreams are simply our soul’s experiences being uploaded to “heaven” each night, and we see those experiences all jumbled together because it happens so quickly, we only get glimpses of this and that. Maybe in dreams our friends end up in a setting they were never in, or we experience something we only saw on TV, or do something waking us wants to do. It’s just all jumbled together being uploaded, and our video game self is confused at the apparent glitch, while our souls totally get it.

But you only dream during REM sleep… which just so happens to be about 2 hours per night. See where I’m going with this? Is REM sleep the only kind of sleep that revives us, and therefore the only part we need? Are the other 6 hours wasted laying there? Perhaps there is something to the idea that we only need 2 hours of sleep per day, as long as it’s the right type of sleep. And furthermore, this makes us seem more like our phones with batteries, and if we are more like our phones than ourselves, then what is controlling that phone? In this idea, it would be our “souls” controlling the “phone” (our human bodies), the phone connecting us to “heaven”/”the afterlife” whatever you want to call it.

Maybe video game controller would be a better analogy than phone, but same idea. If our video-game-playing soul is connecting to (the game) earth through our bodies, that would mean we are simply the device. And if our souls don’t save the game often enough, things can go awry. People go crazy when they don’t get enough sleep; does our soul forget it is in a video game, or our bodies get too far separated from our souls, without the chance to upload and organize the experiences of “the game”? And in that way, uploading or saving 6 times a day could keep our bodies even more organized, and increase our battery life.

But then again I wouldn’t be so quick to discount those 6 hours “wasted” every night, when we are not dreaming in REM sleep. Maybe that time is a chance for our souls to disconnect from the game of life, and do what they need to do in whatever realm they live in.

What if Life is Just our Souls Playing a Video Game?

boatHuman beings lack perspective, literally, as in, we only view the world from our eyes. I’m not trying to be all high and mighty; we can look at pictures and videos from other perspectives, but we are still doing that with just our eyes and other senses, mostly based out of our heads. Then we process that with our brains which are pretty much basing the new material off of old stuff we processed and inventoried before. It works for us on earth, but it does make me wonder why there is such a willingness to say we know what happens after earth. There is only so much information we have to go off of, so to say there is nothing, or to say there is something quite specific confuses me… I’ve always been a skeptic, which I think is a healthy way to not be hoodwinked.

So the idea I’m about to present also lacks perspective I realize, but it takes that lack of perspective into account. Have you ever played video games for a long time, and then perhaps you got busted in Grand Theft Auto so you snap out of it, look around and are like, “Woah I’ve been playing video games for like 5 hours”? What if earth is just our souls playing a video game?

Maybe its a coming of age type thing for our souls to spend a lifetime on earth, and see what we can get out of it. Or maybe there is no limit to how many earth lives you can live, and you got to keep going around until you finally get it right. The other souls will laugh, “Ha, it took you 230 lifetimes to move beyond earth! I did it in 46”.

And as soon as we die we look around and are like, “Damn, how did I forget I was playing a video game that whole time?” And then all the souls sit around and have a beer (or whatever body-less souls drink for a good time, because I don’t want to imagine an eternity without a good beverage) and talk about what they learned on earth.

“Can you believe I beat that old lady and stole her wallet, just to buy some vodka?” What a silly thing for a soul to do, but the person was coming from a very particular perspective of being a poor drunk who’s past stimuli didn’t teach him that he shouldn’t beat old ladies and take their money. (For the record I am anti-old-lady-beating, don’t use your infinite soul as an excuse!)

Could that be it? That we are put into a simulator and forget about what happened before life, and have no idea what will happen after? Coming into this world was pretty dream like: you just wake up all of the sudden—can’t even really pinpoint when and where—and you’re here, without any perspective on where you came from, and just have to be like, “Okay, lets see what happens”. But in a dream you completely forget that you were ever awake. It feels so different, dreams and reality, yet from the perspective of a dream, it seems like that is all there is. It’s a dream within a dream! Maybe Inception was onto something.

The perspective is much more omniscient from the soul. Imagine entire ideas and feelings transferred in a fraction of a second, with no room for confusion. And I feel quite limited, like I can see so little from inside my skull, and have to express all my brain-stuffs in words—which is so primitive. I have to look in one direction, and can only look at one place at each time. How limited 5 senses are! There should be infinite stimuli that we process in a vacuum (think of all the wavelengths we just recently, or have yet to discover), not just a few, that get mixed up with so much emotion in there! But we are after all still humans, and have got to learn these things.

What if I totally just cut down the amount of human lives you have to live before you move on, awaken from this coming of age test, and join the universe as one once more? Now you don’t have to die on the battlefield of WWIII in your next life, because you can use this life to finish up your earthly, coming of soul age lessons! Okay, now I’m getting cocky… I don’t want to set myself back ten lifetimes.