A short digression from delusions of freedom

In retrospect, it would be an exercise of denial to claim to be without limits. There are infinite limits. They would make a boring list. The one on my mind is the limitation on access to land–the violent prohibition on occupation of wild lands by our governments. I should say ‘their’ governments. They aren’t mine. If they were, it would be feasible legally to become a nomadic settler in the vast unoccupied territories.

In capitalist democracy, it’s possible to ‘buy’ land. But this is a trap. There is no ownership that can co-exist with property taxes, and more damningly with the finitude of identity itself. There is not enough time to reasonably earn the amount it takes to pay for real estate in the current scheme. To borrow at any interest rate is to be complicit in the enslavement of the labor class. To state an opinion: while it’s possible given enough time to repay these loans via labor, it isn’t worth it–given the pricelessness of time.

Accepting this deep self-imposed limitation on residency, referring to the self in the collective sense–our entire self-enslaving species, one might agree to performing the labor, receiving it’s modest rewards, while rejecting the debt.

I have no doubt that universal rejection of debt from a generation or two would send real estate prices back to the ground where they belong. I doubt this could actually happen though, considering the diverse array of opinions on the validity of debt economy. I myself having been allowed the token freedom to reject the debt, do my part as though in some way I’m making a difference. It definitely makes a difference for me as an individual. Sacrificing the utility of ownership in exchange for the value of time.

We generally have no trouble intellectually attaching currency values to time in exchange for labor. But it seems uncommon for most people to behold the opportunity-cost of time.

Opportunity-cost is constantly mentioned in economics with reference to profit and loss potential, but it doesn’t serve the gears of the system to value gain-of-time through declination of labor and its monetary rewards. That is because we are deeply attached to the comforts that purchasing power brings, and our culture has lost sight of the value of free time. We trade it off for purchasing power without hesitation. It is an illusion we suffer from that purchasing goods feels easy. We separate our labor from the moment of enjoyment enough that we forget about the connection between the two; we fall down the tunnel of spending in seconds what takes hours to earn, and minutes to enjoy. It turns out that we accumulate enjoyment-debt, agreeing to decades of labor for years of enjoyment.

Taking the longview would mean re-attaching enjoyment to labor and time, and detaching it from purchasing power. Enjoyment of the labor itself and it’s immediate reward, rather than the illusion of luxurious purchasing of all things.

Now, I KNOW some great economist philosophers have exhausted this topic somewhere. But I don’t have the time to read it all and I’ll bet the majority of my socio-economic class doesn’t either. If it sounds Marxist, I’m fine with that but I have zero hope or intention to convert anyone to socialism. To reiterate, the time itself is too valuable to an individual to spend it trying to change the world. So, our challenge is to find a way to live freely within a machine that is threshing us as we speak. If that means falling out of the mill to lay on the ground until the broom sweeps us away with the rest of the dust, to be discarded outside, reunited with Earth, then so be it, please. We are far too compliant to break the millstone; that opportunity has passed.

When I come back to this topic, I’ll try to express that there are ways to exist in time that have greater value than exchange for cash. I know that may seem ridiculous to some but also that it is clear and obvious to others. But which of them will read this? Maybe none. And that’s why it’s best to keep these short* with minimal editing.


Challenged to non-duel

I thought that if I succeeded in cooling my mind and finding peace by living in the moment and quietly forgiving offenses that all would be well. That if I unlocked the secret of contentment independent of material gain, then I would be free. I thought the way to do this while avoiding unnecessary scrutiny would be to keep quiet and not talk about it. No teaching.

The outcome was an insular peace and happiness in solitude that was short lived because I neglected an important factor. I drifted into dualism without understanding it. I had heard of non-dualism before in terms of interaction with the physical world, and learned to channel that idea into an ability to find physical comfort in challenging environments and situations. But I hadn’t learned to apply non-dualism to my interactions with other people. I tenaciously held on to my perception of myself as an individual distinct from the others; that there are others.

It seemed that there are separate units of consciousness in the form of other beings that are not me. It still seems that way really, but something very unexpected happened as a result of neglecting to communicate my experience to you. As I was discovering the power to find contentment in every episode, including the ones others might find very undesirable, I avoided explaining to anyone what I was doing. And without going into needless detail, I can say that this mistake led to a breakdown in understanding between me and many others.

As they increasingly expressed concern for my wellbeing, I increasingly withdrew from them. It felt as though my significant progress was being misinterpreted as failure. My late attempts to explain the project were not sufficient in the midst of a new hostility.

This was all a result of missing a core aspect of the concept of dualism. I believed that while everyone was responsible for themselves and overwhelmingly concerned with those selves, I was free to experiment with alternative approaches to experience without explanation. Dualistic in a sense that I thought I could acheive freedom from the manipulating elements of this realm without having to talk about it. I had what seemed to be legitimate reasoning behind the avoidance of discussing dharma.

I have had, and still have trouble with the idea that we are ‘all-one’ in consciousness, which is one of the ways non-dualism is often defined. Conceptually I can visualize it, but find it close to impossible to make use of it in practice–interacting with actual people. But I am realizing one practical use of the idea that is not a complete merging of minds, but perhaps a partial one, which is communication.

Today I have a new understanding of the importance of communicating the thoughts behind any new, radical, or sudden lifestyle changes. I understand that objections are more likely a result of love and concern, not the attack on competence that they can feel like. While I’m aware that attacks on character and capability are still a possibility, I think I now have a sharper eye for the distinction.

I hope this has been clear. I might use this space to share more of the discoveries I’ve made in a manner that conveys the intention behind some of my actions and lifestyle choices. It is never my intention to change you, but clearly there are some who may benefit from understanding my reason for changing me.

A treatise for limitation

There is a lot of discussion in metaphysical literature about surpassing the limits, and in fact denying that the limits exist. Going beyond literature there are even practitioners of these ideas who can prove anecdotally that it works. Ignoring the perception of barriers can actually accomplish the desired effect of eradicating them. I agree with this.

Then why say publicly that “I have limits”?

Because. It isn’t that the limits are imposed on me by outside unwanted factors. It is that I ‘have’ limits that I now put in place myself. The limits are actually there to limit you, the other, from taking control of my efforts, my energy, and my reason for being. I direct myself as a free agent, and my creative powers are fully under my own control.

And this is how we can all achieve maximum freedom through limitation. These could also rightly be called personal and professional boundaries–putting the self at the center as the locus of control. Much as relativity defines laws of physics that take effect everywhere in the universe, the truth of self agency can be applied by anyone with the will to do it for themselves. I believe anyone can accomplish this but I have a special interest in accomplishing it myself. And the key here being that I take interest in accomplishing that which is in the realm of my interest, not yours. Therefore whatever your interest is that seems to be the most important, cutting edge, or premier pursuit is in the majority of instances not the same as mine. The ‘instances’ are all you other people around the planet doing what you think is most important. I trust you to do it, and to achieve it well and healthily–but I’ll be here doing mine. With happiness, contentment, and fully in my own way.

What this means is that my ability to work can no longer be harnessed by others with conflicting goals and ideas. Only those that harmonize will even be considered. Even then I might still say no. Coupled in my NO is also a cheerful wish for your success, but without my fingers on your buttons and levers, as I have my own that require my full attention at all times.

What shall be done, and how often?

It seems obvious to me that most people don’t know what to do next. There is a lot of confusion regarding how and why we should proceed as individuals and communities. Sure, if you ask around, or look online, there seems to be a lot of certainty about what is right, or what constitutes progress. We sound sure of our investments, our systems, our plans, and while our futures aren’t collectively assured, there is a rising sentiment that the status quo will suffice. You grit your teeth, hold on to your seat and enjoy the ride.

I think the dominant belief is that with enough money, we’ll be ok. With everyone else being on their own. It does sometimes appear that the rich have better chances than the poor, and the attractive will win out over the ugly.

But I’m going to challenge all of you, to stop for a minute and look at yourself. Get real for a moment. How confident are you in it all? Stop listening to whomever is making noise in whatever room you’re in. Maybe it’s a human, or the TV, someone talking at you on youtube. Turn it off or just stop processing the language. Listen to the hum. Listen to the vibration of the world. Is everything alright?

How you feel when you do this will tell a lot about your chances of survival in the next moment. Never mind the stretch of time that will encapsulate the rest of your life. Listen up! For a minute or two. What concerns you? If the immediate realization is that you need to pee, go do it and start over. Your spirit will tell you what’s important. I’m not asking you to read a book, a blog, or a newspaper. No great song or poem will really convey the truth that your own awareness can do.

What worries you? Is it a lack of money? Maybe you’ve got plenty, but are afraid of losing it. Do you need somewhere to hide it? Do you need somewhere to hide? Maybe it’s hunger. Can you afford to buy the food, and if not, do you know where you can get some anyway? Where would you find it? What would you need to kill to satisfy your need?

Maybe things aren’t so dire. Do you need love? Or the love you had is leaving? Is someone dying? Is it you or someone else? Do you fear for the lives of children?

There are a lot of things that go unsolved moment to moment. And when we quell these fears, the hunger and the wish for love, they always come back. Spend some time underwater. Give it a whole minute. Most of us can’t do it. The thirst for consciousness itself will send us thrashing and fighting for the surface.

What shall be done?

There is a technique in the battle against addiction that some call ‘urge surfing.’ The idea is when we crave the relief something can bring, which we’re avoiding, we lean in to the urge. We feel the feeling of wanting and ride it like a wave. A wave can be scary when it’s coming for you. It can easily take you under and turn you upside down, filling your pockets with sand and your eyes with salt. But if you get ahead of it and go with it, you can ride it.

I can’t suggest every possible craving one might suffer. But they’re all versions of the same thing. Something you think you need in the next moment to get ahead of the dread, fear, sadness, thirst. What if you rode the wave of thirst? Go thirstier than you thought was possible. You can’t fast forever. Especially when dealing with water, air and food. Food is earth if you noticed these were basic elements. How would you fast from fire?

I don’t know but fire is something so enticing to some it can create a mania. The urge to burn the burnable can become so strong that the guy wants to burn it all. I’ve seen it. They’ll build elaborate temples and towering effigies only to burn them down, satisfying their death wish. A bold attempt at satisfaction through simulating self-annihilation.

I don’t know anything about the fire-death-wish. I got sidetracked. I’m just saying that there is a form of satisfaction that comes from self-denial. Not disagreeing-with-yourself, but the denial of satisfying the urge. Surfing the urge. Like letting the cannibanoids and the alcohols purge from the body, and experiencing the resultant clarity. Going without money for a time and seeing the miracle first-hand: that it is not needed. Sleeping on the cold ground, and having the best night’s sleep of your life. These are just a few examples of the possibilities. Another one is to forgo that high speed jet or train, and walk.

You’ve heard that the universe is made of rhythm and vibration, yeah? It’s all energy pulsing and creating the effect of hardness, softness, liquidness, and such? I don’t claim to understand the math, but I know the theory that time is relative, that acceleration affects the duration of time to the observer and the accelerated mind. Well, I’ll add that this can be experienced at speeds much slower than light-speed, which is convenient because we have access to a lot of lower speeds. If you walk one-hundred miles your perception of time will shift dramatically. The slower speed heightens perception. If you look out the window of a train, things go by fast. And if you focus on your own reflection in the window, the world outside becomes a blur while your reflection seems to be still for as long as you look. You could stick your tongue out at yourself and pretend to be Einstein.

But if you walk, or crawl, the opposite of that blurry world happens. It comes into sharp temporal focus. You don’t miss details that you would from the train. You might notice a snail in your path, experiencing the world in even slower more acute detail. I think this is sufficient.

We’re all addicted to different things as humans. I’ve got the things that I like, and you’ve got yours. What is it that makes addictions destructive? A lot. But I think I’m on to something here where I want to put focus. It’s the frequency. The high frequency of exposure limits our attention and appreciation for the details. If I drink 24 beers a day, it’s like staring at myself in the window of the train. The world becomes a blur. Many things of value are missed. If I have one beer per year, a much slower rate, than I catch a lot more details in the world around me. My appreciation for those things increases.

Forget alcohol. I ‘never’ touch the stuff. Or one might say I’ve dramatically reduced my rate of intake to zero per several years. How about air? If I’m at thirty breaths per minute, I’m having a pretty steady supply. The world is passing by at a comfortable pace. But if I slowed down? Ten breaths per minute. One breath per minute. The world gets slower, and more precious. The urge to breath increases. I want to live. Desperately. Nothing else matters. Just one more breath of sweet consciousness is all I want. Synonymous with life. The purity and clarity of the moment sets in. The background of this experiment becomes the most beautiful sight imaginable, mundane as it may be during normal breathing time.

As a person, you’ve got some control over the frequency and speed with which you take in experience. I don’t know that wealth, fears, or desires are ‘bad.’ But I have a growing awareness that frequency of intake affects the experience of life itself. And perhaps this is why ancient and modern humans have spoken disparagingly of ‘greed.’ The desire for more, and sooner. We don’t like when we see greed in others. It’s difficult to place exactly why. Does the greedy person’s high rate of consumption decrease access for ourselves? It seems so, but that isn’t always the case.

What it is, maybe, is the contrast between the high level of appreciation in the slow partaker versus the dissatisfaction of the high frequency partaker. It’s quite observable that the rich, the fat, the drunk, the socially and sexually satiated can be somewhat annoying in what we often perceive as smugness, or self-satisfaction. They seem to have it all, yet there is a discernible scorn toward the rest of the world that doesn’t sit well with the others. There is stratification in our social hierarchies and they aren’t as simple as “haves & have nots.” That is some of it, but there is something else. There is also “appreciates and appreciates not.”

When you take a breath, or a walk, or a dive into the unknown, do you appreciate, or appreciate not? Is the frequency of your action putting reality into greater focus and clarity, or do things get more distorted? I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to this. Maybe the motion blur in the side window is your reason for living. Fine. Just remember, there are those taking it slow all around. They like the focus of low frequency. Don’t go smashing into them as you push closer to light speed.

I have limits

I am limited. Limited in the number of skills I can acquire. Limited in the amount of work I can take on, and produce. Limited in the amount of money I can earn. I can not be an endless supply of inspiration, nor can I be a perfect example. I am limited in the amount of criticism I can absorb. I don’t have to accept an endless stream of judgement and analysis in order to be “good.” I am limited in the number of critics I can accept into my life.

I’m limited in my threshold for constant comparison, and endless competition. I am only one person, I’ll do what I can and nothing more. For those who can’t and will not accept these limitations of mine, move on.

The Angelic Sun

And sometimes they don’t

It has been said, and reiterated here, that “when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.” But the unpleasant truth is that, sometimes they don’t. What does this mean? Why would I affirm a hundred year old lie on the internet?

It needs to be understood that all things are relative, and none absolute. There is no pure light, because without shadow, there is no vision. There is no perfect darkness because even the dimmest eye emits light of its own. Therefore if you want to experience the best of your fellows, you’re going to encounter some opposition.

We’ve all been there. We’re in to it. We’re stoked. We’re in the zone. We’re grooving. And someone in the crowd, or across the desk in the open plan office doesn’t like it. You can see it in their expression, and you can feel it in their criticism. This can be derailing, though it would be better to move forward. How do you move ahead of it?

I don’t know. I’m actually just asking here. Does anybody know? How do you overcome the nay sayers when they are often the key choosers and decision makers? How can you get them to share your vision when their eyes seem shut tight to your enthusiasm?

I want to break through and find the portal to the happy community that we see glimmers of in our collective fantasies.

My hypothesis is that you can look beyond the objections to find the evidence that you’re on the right path. When you’re on to something good, and know humans are in a sure competition for resources and survival, a bit of resistance means you’re moving in the right direction. There is a game called push-pull. You push a little, and when you stop pushing you create a sort of pull by removing resistance. You don’t want to push too hard or you can more easily be pulled by surprise. And if you stop pushing, you get pushed. The resistance we feel from others might be a sign that we are a something of a threat, and that’s not a bad thing. It means you’re on your way to contending for something worthwhile.

Sometimes we get pushed and we want to let go. We don’t like being resisted. But, maybe, the secret is pushing back a little, and actually, yeah, to “keep on smiling” through it. It’s a game. Games are a little competitive but they can be fun. I’m not talking shoot-stab here; that’s not a good game. It’s push-pull. Nobody gets hurt but everybody gets stronger. Get it?

But…war IS real!

Before any of my dear readers are led to think that I’ve denied the existence of war itself, or any particular wars past or present, I submit: of course not. Anyone who has lived through actual physical warfare knows that it’s consequences are very real.

According to worldpopulationreview.com there are 32 countries currently at war in 2022. Yes, they are real, and they are real tragedies. I’m not in denial of that.

So allow me to explain when I say that “the war isn’t really real.” Often, the reasons for war that are offered to the public are not real. Each side needs its citizens, or members, to believe that they are on the right side of the war. Often God is invoked to seal the deal that war is righteous, because its victims are supposedly evil. This is an ancient and wrong justification for violence. Going deeper in to what it means that war isn’t real: it’s the war in the mind.

The war in the mind is the inner conflict that each of us feel on different occasions. Some of us manage the inner conflict better than others, expressing our views in reasonable ways, such as peaceful discourse and forensics. Some of us feel that we are forbidden to express the conflict we feel, peacefully or not. The misunderstanding, the feelings of disenfranchisement, and the desire to be right can fester in our hearts, becoming hatred. An enemy forms in the mind, that is also not real. It is possible to hold symbols in our psyche of enemies that want to hurt us. It seems as though they want to prevent us from succeeding, or kill us altogether. It’s easy to begin to feel extremely persecuted by people who may not have any knowledge that we even exist.

Sometimes we become willing to fight these enemies. Launching bullets and missiles into the air, hoping to strike them. Most often, these projectiles only hurt innocent people. And we can recall a broad variety of horrific ways that we, as humans, attack our fellows that go beyond literal arms. Physical violence and rhetoric have done equal damage in the destruction of our relationships.

The WAR that is not real is everything that leads up to the violence. But, should we defend ourselves? Absolutely. Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the Times person of the year for 2022. We’re often reminded that this title isn’t bestowed, necessarily, on the basis of goodness, but on influence. And he is highly influential for his role in the self-defense in Ukraine. Would I say to this man that his war isn’t real? Of course not.

But what about the rest of us? Are we justified in retaliating over every offense? Should the availability of weapons justify their use? Some do think so. But it is up to each of us to cultivate the honesty, and self analysis of our views; to check our offended minds for our role in the conflicts we find ourselves in. Are we always right? If so, this is suspect and a good time to evaluate our thinking. Is someone else in our lives always wrong, by virtue of their gender, color, bank balance, neighborhood, political leaning, their position, their power, their wealth or poverty, their disagreement?

I will assert that nobody is wrong all the time and if it seems so, it may be time for a reality check.