Just Give Up.

“There is nothing that you can do about life, nothing that you cannot do.” ~Alan Watts

These days, I find it incredibly challenging to stay away from the words of Alan Watts. I’ll find myself drifting from his wisdom only to be drawn right back. Most recently, I heard a clip of him talking about giving up, surrendering. It hit me in such a way that, despite a previous blog post on this same topic, I’ve decided to write another.

Our society is based strongly in polarities. Everything is separated into black and white, positive and negative, good and bad. These distinctions create a moral rubric for which we measure our successes and our failures. In these judgements we react emotionally. Often times this cycle is self-perpetuated in the sense that once it begins it continues to unfold. This emotional economy (if you will) is a system based on the fallacious concept of control.

We humans like the idea of control. It brings us security, comfort and degrees of happiness. It allows our lives a tolerability that would otherwise not exist. Control gives us a metric to measure the value of our lives. As mentioned previously, it is the leverage for which the system of the emotional economy is based upon. Without a sense of control, we would have nothing to claim as our own, stripping away our self-proclaimed ideas of value, leaving our emotions quite detached. Yet, this is not how life is.

Instead, control is key. Those who have it are set and those that do not are left out to dry. Being out of control is the height of societal stigmata. Those who are unable to control themselves, their finances or their future are cast out as psychotic, criminal or irresponsible. It would therefore stand that to willingly relinquish control would seem to be of the highest social treason.

However, this is the exact point Alan Watts is arguing against. In the song above, he talks about the moments in one’s life when control must be given up, when the pain of holding on is far too unbearable. These moments are usually extreme ones of life and death, inordinate amounts of stress or those spent in complete agony. He argues that in relinquishing the desire to control, the person is freed from the circumstance and experiences absolute effortlessness; a moment of enlightenment attained through surrender.

And dance we will.

These experiences do not have to be once in a life time moments. They are in fact a part of my daily life. Whenever I am under stress I realize it is because I am holding on to something that is not actually occurring. My expectation is not being fulfilled. I stub my toe on the bed and get angry because I did not want this to happen. I have lost control over my toe. This scenario can be played out in a million ways: traffic, school, work, yoga, meditation, cooking, eating, sports, singing, art.

Whenever we feel stress, it is because we are holding on to our personal idea of how the world should be.

To overcome this stress I simply give up. I let go of my expectations and let the reality of what’s happening occur without the friction I impose on it. Once I let the river flow in the direction it wants to go, I find that my life has become much easier. We are not in the business of building dams, we are in the pastime of sailing downstream. Riding the current is much more lucrative. It is pleasant. And although we feel that we have relinquished control, we have actually aligned with the highest form of control: that of the divine Self.

"Stop weaving and watch how the pattern improves." ~Rumi

Security, true happiness and bliss are all consequences of giving up our personal ideas of how things should be. Once we attune to the pattern that has existed for all eternity, we become enlightened.

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The Future that Never Comes

I’ve been on a heavy dose of Alan Watts lately and I think its been rearranging my existence…in a good way, that is.

One of his famous ideas is that the future is not real. And when you think about, it isn’t.

The future is a concept that never comes into fruition. Its very definition is elliptical in the sense that it must always remain just out of reach. It is the elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The future is never now. It cannot be by its very explanation as a temporal existence following the current state.

In this sense, the future is about as tangible as a unicorn. It is a magnificent idea, but will never come to my window offering me a magical ride through the night.

Good luck getting there.

If the future isn’t real, then why do we base everything we do around it?

This is a real problem. All of our lives are based in the future. Our very educational system is an achievement of perpetual preparation. We are always in a constant state of perennial planning. The goal of preschool is kindergarten. The goal of kindergarten is grade school. Grade school is for high school. Highschool for College. College, for those who have taken the bait (myself included), is for graduate school. And so on.

Yet it doesn’t end there. The mythical career is nothing more than a preparation for a better career. Increased pay, more responsibility, retirement. By the time we finally stop working, we’ve spent our entire life living in a false dimension (not to mention one is about ready to die by the time they retire these days). What kind of life is this?

When I was younger, I was a troublesome adolescent. I was sent away to a wilderness program where we learned the importance of understanding the present. A rule in this program was the elicit evocation of the “now” represented by two letters: F & I. These two extremely irritating letters stood for future information. Any time anyone asked about anything that had to deal with the future, a polite but annoying “No F.I.” was sounded. Besides making me want to pull my hair out, what this stubborn little tactic did was rather ingenious.

This was the only tape we got to listen to. And it was set on repeat at full blast.

Troubled youth often live in alternate realities. Whether it be the future, one of denial, or seen through an inflated ego, life is rarely lived in the now. These realities are essentially coping methods for dealing with the painful present. In the wilderness program, we were thrust into the ultimate present. We had only one worry: the task at hand.

The “No F.I.” rule helped me and many others situate ourselves in the now. In this reality, we were able to address issues that were troubling us (making us untroubled youth?). By coming back to the only “real” reality, we were able to connect with ourselves, our emotions, each other, and the greater community. This led to actual healing.

Now, what would the “No F.I.” rule do for society? Besides screwing up schedules and birthday parties, I think it would have a profound affect on stress levels. Almost all stress today is stationed in the future. If we were to greatly reduce the amount we lived in the future, we would lower our capacity to take on stress that—in all reality—doesn’t even exist.

If you haven't noticed, I really want some cake.

The future is the enemy. It steals from the present and robs from the blind? Well it does one of those things (or maybe both…). Okay, in all seriousness, living in the future is like planning a wedding that never happens. You can get all excited about it and order all the cake you want, but in the end, you’re never going to celebrate and no one’s getting married. It would be better to just kiss the one your with now and enjoy the moment.

For the moment is all we have.

I’ll end this rare and quirky, very strange post of mine with a quote from Erwin Schrödinger, a Nobel Prize winning Physicist. I seem to have fall in love with it

The present is the only thing with no end.

Wise minds are always smiling

The Glove that Fits the Hand

“The true crime is that you will not admit you are god.” ~ Alan Watts

A couple posts ago I linked you guys to an Alan Watts youtube video entitled Suffering for Enlightenment.  At the time I wanted only to post the video with a few short questions.  I wanted to let the information sink in, for it had a tremendous impact on how I view things.  A lot of what he verbalized rests inside of me, dormant and hidden.  I’ve only had a few experiences where I have come face to face with the dilemma he speaks of and the video was the first time I heard it outside of myself. What he had to say was simple.

The idea that we are all pretending not to be god is the capstone of life.

It's all about patterns

Back in my younger days, I used to experiment with altered states of reality.  Well in all truthfulness, I am still experiencing altered states of reality but through yoga and meditation.  However, back in my youth I was obviously not using such sustainable enterprises as I do today.  A lot of my journeys were basically informational overload.  With constant bombardments of raw data, I had a light-speed glimpse of what life was all about.  From what I could coherently piece together, life was a charade.  It was play of dynamic possibilities in an otherwise static existence.

Experience was the game and it was a game we played as humans.

What I took away from my experiences was the notion that I was part of a greater whole. This whole was everything that could possibly exist. In my time afloat, I learned that I could reach degrees of realization of just how complete—or for that matter separated—I truly was.  This is also an echo of my spiritual practice today. Through meditation and yoga, I experience different levels of connectivity.  Albeit for shorter durations and with much more dedication, I am able to experience certain levels of awareness.

Between these vastly different experiences, there has always existed a common thread, almost like a tiny voice.  One that has been spoken over its entire existence. It speaks softly and steadily but goes unnoticed. It carries a message worth all the conquests of man, yet its simplicity is blazingly self-evident. It is the secret of the universe.

What was that?

It reminds us of the unthinkable crime we continuously commit.

This intuitive feeling will continue speaking until you listen to it. It will never change its simple message: the idea that you are god.

This loaded statement has already scared off half of my readers.  One half flees to the anti-Christian bench while the other to the psyche-ward offensive.  But before you start calling me crazy, take a moment to see this statement with new eyes.

Use the eye between your eyes, your mind's eye.

We are god. Well what is god? For starters, it is not God.  This capitalized version I will coin the Catholic/Christian/Muslim/Jewish/etc. religious figure.  By now, we understand there is no man in the clouds watching over our every move, waiting to send us into the depths of hell to suffer for eternity.  What I mean by god is better explained through ground-breaking frontier science than it is by modern religion (although this is not to discredit religious origins, as in their purest forms they understood what god truly was).  When I speak of god, I mean energy.  And by energy I mean everything that exists, seen and unseen.

With this viewpoint, it is easier to understand that we are all be god.  Think of a ripple.  As it expands through a pond, it bounces off of rocks, misshapen edges, protruding reeds, and also itself.  Each of these ripples came from the same source, but they have taken on many different, complex forms.  Eventually, they will all return to the stillness from which they came.

This is what we are.  We are ripples of physical energy that have been shot out into the universe.  We bounce around, creating this and thinking that.  One day we will return to stillness, and then again we will form.  It is an energetic pattern of creation.

The common thread between all of this is that we are pretending not to know who we really are.

Here is a great analogy from a documentary I saw: We have designed a theme park. It has huge roller coasters, amazing games, and tons of fun activities.  As the creators of the park, we know every aspect of every attraction.  All the curves, all the surprises, all the outcomes.  We’ve made a wonderful place, but we want to experience it.  If we go on the rides with all of our knowledge, we will certainly not be a fulfilled.  In order to truly experience our creation, we must forget that we created it and begin anew; from a blank canvas.  We decide to do something about this. We are now children who enter the park for the first time.  Not knowing anything about the park, nor our role in its creation, we can experience the park to the fullest extent of its offerings.

This is our experience on Earth.  We have chosen to forget we are god so that we may experience life unadulterated and raw.

Facets of the same feature

I have had this picture in my head lately. It is a hand—the hand of god—that has put on the glove of life.  Each finger has become a person and everyone is talking to each other.  They all introduce themselves and say nice pleasantries, unknowing that they are all fingers of the same hand.  This is our life.  It is our comedy; our play.

Suffering for Enlightenment

Alan Watts speaks eloquent truth in this video. I’d like nothing more to share it with you.  It picks up on a post I had made that was focused on Mooji’s ideas of enlightenment.

I’d rather not say too much on this post as I think the video says it much better than I can.  All I’d like to include is a question:  How much do you make yourself suffer to obtain that which you already have?  That which you have always been capable of being?

“The real crime is that you won’t admit you are god.” ~ Alan Watts