Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Purpose of Life is __________.


Fill in the blank. Some say that the purpose of life is to be happy.  That sounds nice, but it has this simplistic answer "be happy." Already that creates a goal to be grasped at.  That answer seems like one of those smarmy inspirational posters.  No.

Some say the purpose of life is to serve God. This makes no sense.  Serve God what? What do you get the God who has everything? If God exists, He/She/It is all-powerful and can take care of Him/Her/Itself. If God is everywhere and is everything, what could one possibly serve to God?  So no.

Here's my stab at it, and I cheat a little:

The word "purpose" is like the word "unicorn."  It is a word in our language.  It has a definition.  But in this case (when applied to "life" itself) it is one of those extra words that aren't attached to anything real.  There is no "purpose" to figure out the meaning of.  The sentence,

"The purpose of life is __________."

makes about as much sense as

"The color of unicorn is ___________."

And even the word "life," as used in this meaningless question is an oversimplification.

Life can be enjoyed, and it can be full of meaning.  But it has no particular purpose.  Let go of looking for that, because it isn't there.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stop Hitting My Knee!

If all human activity is reflex action, then we need a reflex action called "observation" to observe our reflex actions and thoughts so we can act instead of reacting.

Our brains react to outside stimuli, be it sounds, sights, or ideas.  It reacts to news and information.  Why do our brains act this way?  In its "normal" state, the brain grasps at things that it imagines secures and strengthens (our physical well being, our security within society, the perpetuation of our beliefs and ideas) and rejects things that it imagines are threats.

Our physical body "flinches" at loud noises.  The knee straightens when the doctor taps it with that little hammer to "test our reflexes."

That normal state of reacting to outside things is "normal" for a cat or a squirrel, and also for a human.  But we humans are not exactly "normal" because we have this echo chamber called consciousness.  We are aware that we exist.  We are too aware of possible futures.  A brain too big for its own good.  We reflect and think about things, and our brain reacts to THOSE inputs as well.  Round and round it goes.

In order to calm down, we need to practice stepping out of this echo chamber with awareness.  The Self churns and reacts.  Our awareness observes this and says, "Calm down, you're in a loop."

A dog freaks out over thunder because it doesn't understand thunder.  A human freaks out over change because it doesn't understand change. A human freaks out over its own thoughts because it doesn't understand that it's own thoughts are just thoughts.  Understand that your life is one long change.  Observe the various ups and downs and don't get caught up in them through reaction.

Act.  Don't react.


Friday, July 20, 2012

High-Five the Void


What is the meaning of meaning? The reason no one can find the meaning of life (beyond pre-packaged dogma) is that a separate "meaning" that must be sought after, worked toward, and "discovered" does not exist.

There is no "meaning" out there to find. Your life, exactly as it is now, in this dumb "modern" age, is the only meaning there is, and the only meaning you need. (Meaning is for sissies. Look into the meaningless void and give it a big high-five.)

As "screwed up" as you think your life might be, with disappointments, physical flaws, relationship problems, bad habits, vices, secrets, insecurities, or anything else, as screwed up as you think your life might be, it is perfect.

But that does not mean life is "meaningless."  It has all the meaning you will ever need.  Just look around.  It's right there, and it is fantastic.  Just open your eyes and open your mind.  Breath deep that deeper meaning.

Or not.  Whatever.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Clare Torry


"Great Gig In The Sky"
Greatest rock vocals ever
Sung without a word.

Monday, July 16, 2012

World On Your Shoulders (NOT!)


There is nothing more than this Present Moment.  There is nothing else to search for, no "enlightenment," no "Nirvana," no progress to be made, no goal to achieve, no future endpoint, none of that.

In fact, your entire life has led up to you reading this sentence.

Most human activity is complete nonsense, especially the stuff we seem to care about the most.

The goals that have been set for us, if they consume us, consume us.  Most human behavior is nonsense, and if we can realize that these labels, material goods, roles, expectations, achievements and failures have nothing to do with what we are, then we can act without clinging to results.

Paying attention is all one has to do, if one even has to do that. Let go of the looking, the seeking for an "answer," the thinking there is a problem in the first place.  That nagging feeling that you should be doing more, or accomplishing something, or being productive?  That's Worry, one of the Five Hindrances.

You aren't carrying the world on your shoulders.  That's just your brain bugging the crap out of you.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Your Particular Brain


You are the meaning of your own life. There is no supernatural being separate from you, no dogma, or scripture to follow. There is just you, experiencing the world right now, always now, This Moment.

There will be no enlightenment, great reward, afterlife, punishment, or self fulfillment somewhere down the line. All you can do is the best you can with the circumstances that exist right now. Every change, cause, and effect has led you up to this moment.  This one. You are complete Right Now. 

Your "messed up" view of the world isn't messed up at all; your particular brain is the one you use to see the world. How could it not be perfect, when it came from the very universe it observes?

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Sweet Lovin' of Thousands of Generations


Not only is there nothing to seek, there is also nothing to escape. You are one with the universe, corny as it sounds. Nothing mystical or spiritual about it. Through the sweet lovin' of thousands of generations, we spring from this frail nameless planet, live in it and on it and with it and eventually return to it. We are also part of the solar system and everything beyond, spinning along on this rock with all the other silly humans.

What is there to seek, and what is there to escape from when you are already one with everything?


Friday, July 6, 2012

Goals and Other Games of Chance

Practicing Zen and being comfortable with "things as they are" does not mean you sit and do nothing. The body "you" happen to be riding around in needs certain things, and it likes certain comforts. You are not defined by this particular human you inhabit, nor are you separate from it. So go ahead: "improve" your lot in life if that's the game you want to play. If the game you choose includes money and creature comforts, then that is the game you choose, and there is certainly nothing "wrong" with that.

But while you play whatever game you play, remember that you are already complete. Your brain sprung from the universe, it is part of the universe, and it is all you have to work with.  Of course you are the way you are.  How could you be any other way? Your ambition is perfect, if that is what your brain likes to do. But observe it from a "higher" level. Observe your own behavior, detached and unconcerned with results.

You must remember that while the goals you have seem like choices you made, you made those choices with your brain, but you didn't get to choose your brain, nor did you choose the circumstances that led up to that particular brain existing as it does. The very "thought out" and "deliberate" choices you make are made with a brain you ended up with completely by chance.

No matter what goal is in your brain, what is happening right now, right now, is all that really matters.  There may be a goal in your head, but it is there right now.  It is also part of the Present Moment.

Flow toward your goals, like water seeking the path it must follow. Don't let the goal lock you into a certain course. Don't let your goals become your masters. Make sure your game isn't forced. If you aren't having fun, you aren't necessarily doing it "wrong" but you could probably accomplish whatever you are accomplishing, and have fun at the same time, if only you did it a little different, and you wouldn't force things. Have fun if getting and spending is what you like to do, and remember that it does not define you. You are beyond definition. Yes, You, Dear Reader reading this paragraph. Now go have fun.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Little Something From What I'm Working On Now


"Trying to describe reality with words has about as much chance of success as trying to draw the Mona Lisa on a glass vase with a jackhammer." 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Winner of the July 4th Book Giveaway

Congrats to Danny R for winning the July 4th Book Giveaway!

He went to my page at facebook.com/danmanningbooks and did the comment, and now he won a free book! For Freedom!

There will be another givaway during one of the next holidays, whenever.  Happy 4th everyone! For Freedom!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Minnie Pearl's Hat


Everything you think you are is false.  You are not a Christian, Muslim, American, European, Atheist, Cynic, Believer, Skeptic, Accountant, Fireman, Temp, Laborer, Chef, Cook, Busboy, Waitress, Taxpayer, Consumer, Citizen, Viewer, User, Payee, Soldier, Sailor, Father, Mother, Child, Adult, Octogenarian, Vegan, Republican, Democrat, Skeptic, Prisoner, Millionaire, Bankrupt, Success, or Failure.

The label isn't there, like a price tag.  A price tag puts an arbitrary value on something. You are a collection of thoughts that thinks it is this or that, but you are none of those things. You are simply an expression of the Moment.

You have no label. You are simply part of the universe.  You are part of and one with the Present Moment, which is all that exists.

Be responsible.  Fulfill your role, because despite metaphysical ramblings on a blog, you must function within society to survive.  Don't be defined by these artificial roles you have in society; remember that "society" is just the shared delusion of around 7 billion confused sentient beings.

Let go of these illusions, no matter where they came from.  They are false.  Let go and embrace the Present Moment.  That's all you are.