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Let Your Heart Be Light

 

It’s Christmas, and I want you to be present. 

 

 

You know what they say about assumptions.

You and me and most people we are likely to meet have long standing habits of assuming the worst in situations as a form of preemptive protection from harm. There are a few things wrong with this.


  1. It doesn’t actually protect us.


The mind is an incredible storyteller, and once given a few variables it can create an entire believable world based on an imagined scenario that feels real. This waking dream has tangible effects. Our bodies respond the same to fictional stress as they do to true threats. When we allow ourselves to perseverate and expect these worst case scenarios, the wear and tear of this stress response goes on without resolution because what we anticipate never actually arrives. Our bodies are dutifully keeping us ready for it for the long haul, but we’re finite and we eventually get drained. In the end, the harm we expect comes from our own delusions. What a tacky twist ending!


  1. We are usually lousy at predicting what’s going to happen.


Go back and watch every movie from your childhood that took place in an imagined future. Count the flying cars. Now count the smartphones. See what I mean? Apple and Google have pretty much all the money in the world, but they didn’t edit iPhones and Androids out of Back the Future. We just didn’t anticipate that these little glowing rectangles would take over the world.


In the same way, we tend to imagine that things will either go unrealistically good or unrealistically bad, depending on our own self image. Everyone has or is that friend who lives in denial of their limits or skills. We either project the ideal of perfection regardless of performance (all politics and most rap music) or guaranteed defeat in spite of talent (that A-student who is always sure they’re about to be expelled).


We can’t really be trusted to predict anything. We’re just relatively smart animals navigating a complex chaos that we made mostly by screwing around with a preciously self-balancing world. We’re going to come back into balance eventually too, we’re just taking a long detour because we saw a few shiny things in a ditch.


  1. Assumption of harm leads directly to blame.


We buy in on our ridiculous internal ghost-stories and treat other people as if they actually already did something we just think they might do. This is normalized and glossed over but it causes an incredible amount of avoidable friction. What’s more, this friction is profitable for certain industries who have massive influence in media, so outrage is an industry now. If we aren’t careful, those glowing rectangles will control us as easily as sirens and school bells already do.


  1. Assumption is reversible.


What if (and stay with me here because it’s gonna get uncommonly sane for a moment) we accept that we’re prone to assumption as part of the eons-old overclocked security system we know as ego or interior narration? What if we can’t get rid of assumption, but can use it another way? It’s not impossible to make use of this dirty old trick. All we have to do is switch the polarity.


  1. Try it now.


Imagine you’re in a mad scientist’s laboratory in a massive winding castle. Huge sparks flash between huge metal rods, ozone fills the air, and the sound is loud enough to make your arm hair shake. You look around and see a body twitching erratically on a slab. You are afraid to lift the sheet, but you know it’s your face under there. Those rods are trying to catch lightning and bring you back from this zombified state. But you’ll have to do one more thing first.


There’s a massive switch on the wall. It will take both arms, both legs, and all the power of your trunk to flip it, but you’ve got to do it or you’re going to croak on that slab. The storm outside has broken the windows and each step you take is against frigid wind, but you make it. You can finally read the inscriptions on the switch as you take hold of the massive handle.


Really see this. All of it. Notice that the switch is stuck pointing downward, toward a panel that reads “DEFAULT (And in tiny print: limitations, fears, avoidant behavior).” It is clamped in place by rusty spring steel, slightly corroded from all the voltage and current over the years. There’s another panel, on the top end of the switch. This one is almost blank, but in the center, there’s a tiny bold question mark. An arc of electricity reflects off it as you look at it, and you know what you need to do.


Imagine yourself getting into a wide, staggered stance, letting determination build as you dig in your heels. Grab that handle. Ignore the sparks, and don’t let go even if they arc across your hands. Ready? Call on your power, and PULL. Again, and again, as you wedge it free from years of inactivity. You hear a pop so loud it crosses your eyes for a moment, and then you notice: silence, and darkness.


The power’s disconnected. Circumstances are in limbo. The handle is still in your hands. Now switch your grip, and PUSH. Push until you hear that new sound, that fresh little bell-tone as the switch locks into the realm of new possibility. Take a breath, and take a look around.


The arcs have calmed into a steady blue humming glow. You glance at the slab, and the body is breathing. Walk over now, and loosen those straps. As you do, the greyed, relaxing face turns to meet yours as color returns to its cheeks. The eyes, once clenched as tight as that switch, gently and carefully open. They’re yours.


You’ve never looked into your own eyes before. Mirrors freaked you out. This time, you look deeply. A shock of understanding shivers through you. The  other you, the one who’s taken all your years of suppressed pain, smiles at you. It struggles to speak, and then smiles again. “You didn’t know. I forgive you,” it whispers gently as it reaches for your hand.


You follow, not knowing what to expect. The first few steps are awkward as the other you finds its gait but you see it straighten and strengthen. It glows faintly in the blue light. “Here.” Its hand reaches for a candleholder mounted on the wall. It motions for you to help it, and together your hands turn the candleholder, which you have just realized was a hidden switch.


You hear the deep scraping sounds of moving stone. The wall is becoming a door, and in the cracks you see the brightest light of your life. You stand shocked, but your other self takes your hand again and pulls gently for you to come. As you step into the light, your mirror self fades into you, and together, you walk into the unknown, restored and reborn, with all the wisdom given by the pain of the past without any of its weight to hold you back.

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What If?

What if this entire media mesmerism circus exists because the human mind is the most powerful and immediate means of reality construction? What if all this sudden onset worldwide hyperactive attention deficit disorder is by design? What if the divide and conquer dog and pony show is there specifically to steal not our electrochemical energy but our creative energy?

What if the world we’re in is someone else’s ideal situation, at our expense, discussed and disguised as an inescapable mess? 

What if they made it all up? 

What if we let go of the rat race?

What if we just stop cooperating?

What if the world has more to do with your mind than you thought? Wouldn’t it be worth it to find out? 

 

Epitaph

Discovered someday too distant for any of us to imagine in dunes of radioactive dust by curious interplanetary explorers on what once was Earth, a single stone monument broke the endless sands and piles of tangled synthetic artifacts. The monolith’s sun-bleached surface was scribed with a simple message in dozens of languages. From what could be pieced together out of faint subaspace echoes of electromagnetic communication and odd bits of print (mostly on yellowed drink containers), the visitors’ portable devices were able to get the gist of the inscription. 

“You had to be there.”

 

Stop Buying In

Capitalism is so entrenched that we honestly believe it’s a means of expressing love, which predates money and requires nothing but itself. Unconditional love is reserved for the gods and new mothers. We forgot that we can all do it.

We aren’t encouraged to remember.

In our collective fatigue under what amounts to elective mental slavery we are too spent to see past the trap into the world we left behind for false security. We have lost touch with the human connection to the point where we offer each other symbols of our affections instead of ourselves.

We sell our real time to chase semi-real money (a symbol itself)  to buy these hollow placeholders. Eventually, only the symbol is there and the meaning is lost. The symbols fade into the background and we forget them.

The yearning for the love they’re meant to represent haunts us, but we stop knowing what it is or how to satiate it.

We are lost, desperate, and frenetic beneath a veneer of false connection so convincing that we have sworn allegiance to it and have forgotten it was a charade.

But enough lamentation. What do we do?

Stop giving presents. Start giving presence. Allow yourself to see and feel your wounds and do what you must to heal them. You owe it to yourself and everyone you care about to let yourself out of the prison of habit.

In time and with work your capacity for real love will return and become natural again. This time it will be inexhaustible because it comes from you and you won’t need the hollow-gram or the people you’ve given authority to, who dole out conditional approval in exchange for your compliance.

Because you’re becoming a producer instead of a consumer, you’ll be able to give of yourself without giving yourself away. Your love will be renewable and free in every sense. As intended.

That’s the true gift. Try it this season. Try it this moment. If you need help, get help. You deserve it and the people who really love you won’t see you as less than a champion for fighting to empower yourself.

Never stop trying.

The infant dreams, the Tannoy screams*

When you’re a kid you can believe anything. You can create any world you want. Society calls that pretending, and it’s fine. We celebrate the imagination of children and their right to play, to dream. We pretend we think it’s sacred, and we know beneath thought that it is.

At our best maybe we even defend their right. We tend to let marketing entities creep into their imaginations via entertainment because we’re all trying to do everything always and sacrifices are made. Screens are the demons of the age. We know better, we pull back, we minimize exposure and put them in dirt and water and what passes for wilderness in the terrarium we call a planet now. But the point is to try, to let discovery exist and inspire.

Then a kid gets to a certain age, and society decides it’s time to commandeer the imagination. “Ok, kid, you’re a master of hallucination. Now pretend we’re right. Pretend we know more than you and you have to do what we do or else you’re crazy.” We do what was done to us, without knowing.

And the order goes on. “Pretend all this is normal and ideal and worth the pain. Pretend your worth comes from the degree to which you can normalize a way of life contrary to your needs and instincts. Now forget how to pretend anything else. And don’t ever stop believing in the story we tell you, or you’re cut off. Play our game or you don’t get to play at all.”

We’re in an abusive relationship with ourselves and each other. All of us. We sign up for this and we cooperate. We synchronize to the slave drum and we wait our turn at both ends of the whip, vigilant against weaknesses in the chains. We slowly acquiesce, giving away our magic and wonder and gratitude and power. We grey and wilt.

We have been told it’s necessary, that we’ll be safe if we go along to get along. Exhausted, we go to sleep under that trance and live out a nightmare punctuated by dreams we don’t allow ourselves to indulge. And some people realize they’re asleep, and learn to dream on purpose.

We need those people right now. The kids greeting the world in this moment and those to come need them so they’ll have something to grow into. You got this far, so I know you are one. So the question I have for you is: What’s it going to be? Will you keep polishing the nightmare with your tears or will you let a little of your blood rebuild the soil in which we once grew dreams?

If you feel invisible,

1. These feelings are normal and more common than they may appear when you are in the grip of them. Social isolation is one of the oldest and deepest fears, and it triggers a prolonged “fight or flight” response that diminishes physical and mental health.

2. Above all, the human being is capable of transforming experience via small choices that develop into big ones. Do something good for yourself, something simple. Then when you can, do something good and simple for someone else. You may be surprised what comes of this.

3. “Invisibility” can be fun, once you learn to modulate it. And you can, and you will. It’s mostly mental. The most powerful 3 words are:

I

AM

_______.

..and then whatever you fill the blank with.

So be careful what you wish for. 

It ain’t rocket science, but it might help you escape gravity.

 

Life is crazy. This is A Strange Moment. A vital time of change as one world falls away under its own putrefaction and another rises (in potential) to replace it. Want to be part of the sequel instead of hating the endless remake? Work on you, and ripple out. Get your mind right so you aren’t flying blind or whistling past the graveyard.

Meditation doesn’t have to be a martial art or a a holy ordeal. Those are the tricks that keep us locked into obsession with the thoughts. It’s how ego keeps you on house arrest.

They aren’t evil, you aren’t crazy, you aren’t failing at being good. They’re just thoughts, mostly automatic. Ants after sugar, nothing more. You can spend your life at war with them or brush them away and keep 

You aren’t your tummy rumbles, your itches, your half asleep stumbling pisses or your sleep-farts. Likewise, you aren’t your thoughts.

It’s the reaction that counts, everywhere and always. Your relationship with life comes down to your choice of reaction. 

Carve out a slice of timespace for yourself. Sit down. Hush. And “watch the weather change.” Keep going until it doesn’t piss you off. It’ll take eventually. You’re never done. But you’ll get more ready, and you’ll start to duck before the bullets.

May you find peace, even if it’s just half a second today. It’s a start. The rest is just loving yourself enough to practice. I trust you to do that. For you, and the better world to come.