Take the Red Pill

Remember The Matrix?  The scene where Morpheus tells Neo that he can take either the red pill or the blue pill?  The red pill will open his eyes to what reality truly is and the blue pill will keep him living the way he is now, but never knowing the real truth.  I find this to be a great metaphor for conscious living vs. unconscious living.  Some people prefer to live in denial and ignorance (the blue pill), while the  others choose to expand their minds and their consciousness by taking what I’ll refer to as the red pill.  Which would you prefer?  Which would give you the best results?  Is it better to be blissfully ignorant or consciously aware?  I would personally say the latter, but the choice is entirely up to you.

The truth is that most people swallow the blue pill because it is simply easier and requires less effort.  It may give you subpar results, but at least you don’t have to work so hard for them.  You don’t have to grow if you don’t want to because you are running the same patterns over and over, with similar results, what I would call a stagnating life.  You don’t question your reality, you simply accept it and keep living as so.  That hardly sounds inspiring, and it is probably rather boring to keep your life in such a small box that it doesn’t seem to change a whole lot over decades.

Taking the red pill is a risk.  It is not based in security, but rather curiosity.  It is like taking an adventure.  You’ll learn things about yourself and your reality that simply cannot be learned from the perspective of the blue pill.  It is the path of growth, where you are constantly expanding your mind, consciousness, and sense of self.  It is the way of conscious evolution.  You are constantly growing, constantly learning new things to aid you in your pursuit of growth.  You become stronger and more intelligent through this process.  You become more of a human being and realize the true greatness within all of us.  This seems quite inspired, now doesn’t it?  But it is far more difficult than just staying in “normal” mode.  It requires courage, self-discipline, willpower, persistence, and a whole host of other qualities that will take time and effort to develop.

You can choose to take reality at face value, or you can choose to actively participate in the creation of your reality.  What seems more intelligent to you?  What is a better predictor of success in whatever field you find yourself in?  To let the tides of life throw you around or to take control of the ship and start directing your course?  Imagine if in The Matrix, Neo took the blue pill and the rest of the movie was him working in a cubicle for the rest of his tired, wretched life.  What kind of movie would that have been?  A lousy one at best.  He would have been like an NPC in a role playing game, just sleeping through life, not really making a difference.

When you work in conjunction with the universe to manifest your goals, they will be easier to manifest.  Doesn’t that make sense?  Logically and intuitively?  If you either don’t work at all or work against the universe in manifesting your goals, wouldn’t you imagine you’d have a much harder time getting to where it is you want to be?  But what about going with the flow?  That works great for water, but lousy for humans.  If you ever want to accomplish anything in your life, you will need to create your own flow and work with it, not the flow of social conditioning, which is suboptimal at best and self-destructive at worst.  The big question is:  Which flow are you going with right now?  And how can you create your own flow?

You create your own flow by going with what you are passionate about.  It is easier to do something you love than to do something you don’t like.  Even if the work is harder on the love side, it will be intrinsically rewarding as well as extrinsically rewarding if you become successful at it.  Even if you are extrinsically successful at something you do not like, there is no intrinsic motivation to keep doing it because it is not something you are passionate about.  It is better to fail at something you love than to succeed at something you hate.  Succeeding at something you hate is not truly a success.  It is more of a tedious waste of time.  Why devote yourself to something you hate?  You will be working against the flow of your passion, so it will be many times more difficult to succeed, and it will be less rewarding.  Why paddle upstream when you can ride the currents of your passion?

Taking the red pill is consciously following your passion, being committed to it, becoming it.  You live, breathe, and eat your passion.  You do what it is you have to do to become what it is you wish to be.  You ride the flow of passion and inspiration, combined with willpower and self-discipline.  You may not be where you need to be in terms of success yet, but the sheer joy of doing the work you love makes success irrelevant, as you are enjoying the journey, and not just the destination.  You are no longer attached to outcomes, even if you are successful, because it is simply a continuation of the wonderful journey that you are on.  And the more you do the things you love, the better at them you become, and success is all but guaranteed.  As long as you follow your self-created flow, you will get to where it is you wish to be.

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Beliefs and Context

I’m really looking to ramp this blog up.  By that, I mean seriously working much harder on it.  By that, I mean putting in conscious effort to create meaningful and lasting content that truly makes an impact.  I like where I’ve taken this blog in the last couple of months, and I wish to continue that trend, only with more focus and intensity.  I feel that blogging is a real contribution I can make to this world by expanding people’s minds and hearts to new ideas that may or may not be outside their comfort zones.  I really want to make a difference in people’s lives.  That is my main motivation.  I want to challenge people to think outside their box and to move beyond close-mindedness into a new way of thinking that allows for multiple perspectives.  This will, in turn, create a field of perspectives from which to make decisions more accurately, rather than relying on one context alone.  Challenging?  Yes.  Impossible?  Certainly not.

There are so many perspectives you can take when looking at reality.  There has to be millions if not billions.  Your perspective, or context, is what defines how you approach certain situations.  For example, if you are a Christian, you may believe that everything that happens in this life is a result of God’s will or other divine being.  So you surrender your life to a higher power and live knowing that whatever happens, some greater intelligence meant for it to happen.  How would that affect your life?  I would say that it would absolve you of some personal responsibility and make you feel good inside, but at the same time it would make you feel that you are not in control of your own life, that some super-intelligent being is.  A super-intelligent being you’ve never seen or heard from (unless of course you have).  Another part of Christianity is the concept of Hell.  That if you do certain things, after you die, you will be placed into a place with torture, pain, suffering, and the likes until the end of time.  How loving of our compassionate God, huh?  Using fear to control the masses.  Sounds more like human planning, not divine.  But if it works for you, adopt it.

On the other end of the spectrum, you could adopt a perspective that says that there is no God, no afterlife, and that this life is all we have.  Another fear-based context, but a valid one nonetheless.  If you never know when you are going to die and this is the only life you have, it would make sense to try to prolong it as long as possible as long as you are enjoying yourself.  Otherwise, it would be best just to put an end to this awful nightmare.  Because there will be no suffering beyond life, ending it is a guaranteed way to end suffering.  At least from this perspective.  Another thing is that there will be no consequences after death for your actions on Earth.  It may feel liberating, but deep down most of us still have a moral code and would not harm others just because we feel that after we’re dead, nobody can hurt us.

There are beliefs that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively.  That there is no such thing as death.  That life is nothing but a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves.  That it is simply just a  ride that is fun, for awhile.  That one day, when we supposedly “die,” we will finally see the true nature of our existence.  We will still exist, in some spiritual form and still be able to develop our consciousness even after our “avatar,” or physical body, dies.  This perspective seems to be very popular in the spirituality movements and creates the notion that we are all one and that we should cooperate instead of fight, that life should be enjoyable for all, because we are all the same, all together in this experience.  And what a wonderful experience it is.  It gives us a feeling of unconditional security, meaning that no matter what happens, we are safe.  It is a very empowering belief system that definitely benefits humanity, rather than detract from  it.

There are tons of belief systems, and tons of times when each one will work better than another.  Practice makes perfect in these areas.  What’s better for a certain situation will be up to you to decide.  But calibrating your decisions over a long period of time will eventually lead to becoming an expert on which context to use in which situation to the best effectiveness that you can perceive.  It is really an  experiential procedure that takes a lot of trial and error.  Of course, you may find one belief system works for most of the situations in your life and that only on rare occasions do you have to step outside that box and into another.  And that’s great.  It’s all about living to be the people we want to be.  But being aware of all the other belief systems is important because you never know when they will come in handy.

I’d like to say you should do this process gradually.  Don’t try out 10 belief systems in one month.  Take your time to really absorb each one and take the good and leave the bad.  That is, take what resonates with you, and drop what doesn’t.  There are no rules that dictate what you must believe.  But it is better to believe things that you actually feel are true than to try and convince yourself of something you feel to be untrue.  And you have to immerse yourself in new  beliefs.  You have to truly feel that  you believe them, otherwise, you will just know of them, but not truly understand them.  I have to say that no belief system is entirely wrong, but no one belief system is entirely right either.  Reality is perceived through filters (i.e. our senses, our beliefs).  It all depends which filters you are using that determines what kind of reality you will experience.  Of course, we all live in the same reality, but our differing beliefs create for an interesting variety that makes the world different in every being’s eyes.  And that can make for some pretty interesting conversations.  And wars, but hopefully one day we’ll get past all that.  I believe it.

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We Are Meant To Live

If I’ve learned anything from life, I would have to say the most important thing is that we are truly meant to live.  Our bodies fight infections when they come and we feel better when we are living to our true potential and not in someone else’s shadow.  We crave the flow state, where we are as creative as we can be, and where time stops and we just become whatever it is we are doing.  This is the very definition of living.  It might not be in Mariam-Webster, but they probably have some definition like, “Having a pulse.”  You’ve heard the expression, “Do what you love and the money will come.”  That’s not entirely accurate, but it does speak certain truths.  I would rephrase it as, “Do what you love and abundance will flow through you.”  It won’t just be money or status.  It will be an abundance of everything.  And if you love doing something, why not keep doing it?  Why not make a career out of it?  It would be a hell of a lot more fun than a timeshare salesman or a insurance claims investigator.

I’m quite certain that most people dislike their job.  But they have to pay the bills.  Other people don’t dislike their job, but they are not overly enthusiastic about going there 5 times a week.  Then there are the small percentage of people who love their job/career and truly feel fulfilled in the work they are doing.  They can see the impact their work is having on others and it is rewarding to know that you are contributing to the world in what you perceive to be a good way.  You experience abundance on all levels: financially, spiritually, emotionally, etc.  It is a congruent life that flows so effortlessly because the work in itself is play.  Words can’t do this justice, but I hope I painted a semi-coherent description of what it is like to really live.

It is not easy to progress beyond the state I would call “normal.”  It requires courage, inner strength, willpower, persistence, self-discipline, intelligence, and a whole host of other qualities that most people would think of as good.  To truly follow your dreams to fulfillment is something very few people do.  Why?  Because there are obstacles that knock you back.  But no obstacle is too much to overcome.  You just have to either intelligently navigate around the obstacle or find another path to where it is your goals and dreams may take you.  If you truly want your goals or dreams to come true, you have to be 100% committed.  None of this half-assed attempts at becoming a writer or whatever it is you truly enjoy.  You need to dive in head-first and immerse yourself into where it is you wish to go.  For truly committed people, obstacles are just more challenges to overcome.

We aren’t meant to spend our time in boring cubicles rearranging spreadsheets.  We are meant to be doing activities that stir our soul and create a deep feeling of connection and passion.  We are meant to be the best human beings we can possibly be.  Whatever that means for you.  I mean, just doing things you love will raise your vibration or emotional state.  The happier you are, the more motivated you will be to contribute.  If you are contributing, but hate what you are doing to contribute, then find something else do to that creates a “happy feedback loop,” where you are both giving and receiving and both are just as rewarding.  What sense does it make to do something you hate just so that you can pay the bills?  And let’s not forget how quickly one can lose their job in this slow economy.

For those who spend hours and hours doing what they love, they will become proficient enough at it that they actually have value to share.  Becoming an expert at whatever you love to do is a huge advantage when creating a career out of that passion.  And since all the “hard work” will really just be you enjoying yourself while learning about your favorite subjects, then it is almost completely painless to become an expert.  Sure, it will not be easy, but it will be a rewarding experience that will help you help others, which will come back around to you in one form or another.

The more value you have to share, the more value you will receive in  return.  Just don’t block it.  Don’t think you are unworthy.  If you are truly providing strong value and delivering it to people, which you worked for and became an expert at, then why deny the value you are getting from sharing what you have learned?  Don’t become a starving artist, become a wealthy and abundant altruist.  When the money or other abundance arrives, be thankful for it.  Know that we live in amazing times where if you truly have something valuable to contribute, society will pay you handsomely for it.  Just remember that it has to have some sort of social value or demand.

Sure, it would be nice if we could all make money easily and just doing what we love.  But we have to tailor our “work” to an audience.  We have to have people interested in what it is we are contributing.  Otherwise, you’ll just have a pile of your work with nothing to show for it except the work itself.  What people want is dictated by society.  There are millions of fields that have high demand and your passion most likely does intersect somewhere in those fields.  For example, if you want to create works of art for a living because that is what you are most passionate about.  Well, just make sure that you have people who are willing to buy your artwork because otherwise, you’ll just have  a stack of paintings hanging out in your home.  There has to be someone who wants whatever it is you wish to do.  Otherwise, your passion may be intrinsically rewarding, but it certainly isn’t creating abundance on all levels, leading to an imbalance in the force.

Finally, there is an easy way and a hard way to pursue your passion.  The easy way has been done to death.  So many people take the easy path because it requires so much less effort.  It’s easier to create a video game just like another one, but immensely challenging to create a truly original game that people still play 20 years later.  In order to succeed in any field, willpower is essential.  You have to be willing to do the things that others will not.  Otherwise, you’re in a sea of many who are doing essentially the same things as you, so you are providing value that is weak, because it is not very creative and is just too similar to everyone else in the field.  Going the extra mile sets you apart from the competition and allows for you to experience the value of truly being committed to being your best self when it comes to creating whatever it is you wish to create.  Hard work is not so hard when it is something you love, but going the extra mile is a challenge, but one that won’t completely destroy you.

No matter how hard things get, at least it is something that you enjoy.  Instead of looking at a snag in your plans as a problem, you view it as an interesting challenge.  Because if you really want to pursue something, you will put in the effort because, frankly, it would be such a shame if you didn’t get to experience success in a field you love.  It is better to commit fully to what it is you love than to put one foot in each world, working for the man or doing uninspiring work and then pursuing your passions on the side.  If your side work, or play, is so much more rewarding then your uninspiring work, then maybe you’ve got things backwards, or even better, just dump the uninspiring work and pursue your love, your passion, full time.  It will be well worth it and the journey is enjoyable.  So, what’s holding you back?

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Inception Review:

What is the deal with all the buzz surrounding the movie Inception?  Was it really that great?  Why are people so enamored with it?  It kind of reminded me of The Matrix, only with dreams.  I didn’t like the base concept that you could actually implant a thought into someone’s mind if you deep enough into their dream worlds.  I can’t see how that would even be possible, not to mention that you can even invade people’s dreams.  Not only that, the whole notion that Leonardo DiCaprio’s character was helping some cutthroat businessman gain a monopoly just so he could go home and see his children was not very enlightened in the least and seemed rather immoral.  What he was being “paid” to do was go into the head of the heir to another company that was a rival of this Japanese guy’s company and implant the idea to gut the company now that his father is dead.  That would leave Mr. Japanese with a complete monopoly or at least close to it.

There were a lot of stupid rules in this film.  They took some kind of sedative where now if they died in the dream, they would get stuck in what they called “limbo,” which is 4 levels down from what I understand.  Why?  I don’t know.  There was no reasoning given for this.  We all know that no matter how deep in levels we dream, if you die in a dream, you simply wake up, even if you’ve taken whatever sedative ingested.  Not only that, but they were in this guy’s dreams.  They were asleep as well, but they were invading his dreams somehow in order to persuade him into changing his mind about his father’s company.  There were tons of dream rules that had no basis in reality or even dream reality, but there were some that could  be possible in a dream.

One such example is that the deeper you go in levels (i.e. dreams within dreams), the more time passes in relation to real time.  I can see that as being possible.  The fact that you can manipulate dreams to fit what you want is also possible through lucid dreaming.  But it wasn’t even their dream to be shaping.  That is probably why they couldn’t change the physics when they went into that guy’s dream.  I just want to say that it was an interesting concept, but it left too many holes in it.  It was a decent movie, but it was way too convoluted and fast-paced to truly leave a mark on me.  People have said you have to see it multiple times to really get it, but it seems like I wouldn’t need to do that because a good portion of the movie just didn’t make sense to me.  I’ve been a longtime admirer of Christopher Nolan and his works, Memento and The Dark Knight being two of my favorite movies.  But this one just didn’t live up to the hype.

I didn’t even go see The Dark Knight when it came out, even though people were raving about it.  When I finally did see it, I was blown away.  In 2004, I saw Memento for the first time and was enamored and captivated by the unique presentation and story.  Even Nolan’s The Prestige was an excellent movie about 2 rival magicians in the 1800s.  He’s had blockbuster hits and the majority of his movies are well-received and unique, as was Inception.  But for some reason, it just didn’t seem as fantastic as some of his other movies.  I don’t know.  It just didn’t resonate with me in the same way as Memento did.  Memento had the subtlety and was very psychological in nature, as was The Dark Knight.  I didn’t find Leonardo DiCaprio’s acting to be in any way interesting enough to play the part of lead role in this movie.  To me, it was your typical summer action movie with a dream twist.  Maybe I just don’t like movies anymore.  I don’t know.  I’m just not into them, unless they are my type of movie.

It seems stupid to devote a whole blog post to a movie review because movies are nothing more than idle entertainment for the most part.  There have been some movies that have changed me, but not many.  For the most part, they are forgetful and just another way to waste away our lives.  Even when I see movies that are supposedly considered the best of all time, at the end I’m thinking, “”That was it?  That was it?”  Not to say that I don’t have my favorites.  But most movies just fall drastically short.  Here’s an incomplete list of some of my favorite movies and I’ll see if I can find a common theme:

  • Memento
  • The Dark Knight
  • Fight Club
  • American Beauty
  • Seven
  • The Usual Suspects
  • Office Space
  • Dumb and Dumber
  • The Prestige
  • Catch Me if You Can
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • American Psycho
  • Frequency
  • Departed
  • Mystic River
  • The Hangover
  • Identity
  • Runaway Jury
  • National Treasure

This is by no means a complete list.  But these are some of the movies that I enjoyed.  If that gives a clue to the kind of movies I enjoy, then so be it.  I just like movies that are either truly funny and witty, or movies that truly make me think.  Inception made me think, but think that the plot was ridiculous.  I’m sorry, but that’s just how it is.  I would rather watch a movie in which this reality is a dream then watch a movie where people have adventures in their dreams so that they can go see their kids in real life.  Come on, people.  And it never even tells us if the heir to that company guts it.  It doesn’t prove success or failure, except in the dream.  And how many people believe their dreams three levels deep?  And I’m willing to bet if the subconscious is down there, it is at least 100 levels deep, or more, so it just did not resonate with me.  Here I go again, critiquing the movie everyone seems to love.

In case you didn’t know, they are making The Hangover 2.  I don’t think it will be as good, but I think I’ll go and see that, if only because of my love for the comedian Zach Galifiniakis.  Funny, funny guy.  I’ve been watching him for years.  I guess what I learned from seeing this movie is that most movies that everyone likes I probably won’t like as much and the undiscovered gems that do poorly at the box office and later become cult classics are the movies I most enjoy.  There are exceptions to these rules, but for the most part, I’ll stick with the more interesting and obscure movies that are truly trying to make a profound statement, unless I get an intuitive ping to go see a blockbuster hit.  Anyway, have a nice day and I hope you enjoyed that movie more than I did.  Not to say that it was horrible, just that it wasn’t as captivating as I thought it was going to be.  And that’s okay.

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Brain Tumor Experiences and Inspiration

Brain cancer sure takes a lot out of you.  I’ve been cured for seven years and I still can’t exercise without having to take pain medication afterwards.  My eyes and head flare up at the first sign of cardiovascular activity.  That is what happened today.  I figured I would go for a walk for about 30 minutes.  I hadn’t gone for a long walk in awhile, but I just wanted to see if I had progressed at all in the exercise field.  Sure enough, about halfway through my walk, which was not a brisk walk, just a garden-variety walk, I noticed pressure behind my eyes and a general overall headache.  I had to keep walking or I wouldn’t get back home.  So I kept walking and now my eyes feel really stiff and strained.  I guess I should really get to accepting my limitations.  But I want so badly to be able to exercise.  It seems we have a catch-22 here.  I don’t have problems if I walk a short distance slowly, but any strenuous activity puts me feeling much worse.  I guess it is the price I paid for having brain cancer and this has been a constant for seven years.

Being a brain cancer survivor comes with positives and negatives.  There are things I probably will never be able to do again.  And there is wisdom that I have gained from this experience.  I no longer sweat the small stuff.  The small stuff is inconsequential to me.  It has made me into more of a big picture type of guy.  It has made me think all the questions of why we are here and what consciousness itself is.  I’ve had a lot of time to think about so many things concerning the nature of this reality.  I’ve been able to read online via ReadPlease2003 (to prevent any further eyestrain) thousands of articles about a variety of topics that I have an interest in.  While it is extremely difficult for me to read pages of a book without experiencing pain and eye strain, I have the whole Internet at my disposal.  Life has not been easy, but there is always some way to adapt.  I’ve heard stories of blind people using the Internet using a program called Jaws.

I’ve maintained a full-time job for about a year now.  I have benefits and vacation time.  I work the night shift, mostly because it is easier for me on so many levels and I don’t always have to be 100%.  It’s easy to fix up shelving and take care of the occasional customer even if I’m not feeling my best.  It is a job that I can do with the conditions that I have and it has worked out very nicely for me.  I always get great reviews from my boss and supervisors.  I am even en route to becoming a supervisor.  So, I’m making decent money and working full-time, which is a hell of a lot better than I thought my life would turn out after all the problems I’ve had after cancer.

I have had periods of months where I was in severe pain in my eyes and head 24 hours a day with no relief in sight.  I have been discouraged, depressed, and frustrated to no end.  But I always seem to come out of those periods to a functional existence.  If I push myself too hard, I will pay for it for at least a couple of days with severe headaches.  My tumor is gone, but for some reason, my brain never healed completely.  I have a dural leak in my brain that is very vulnerable to opening after any strenuous activity.  Life has not been easy for me these past 8 years.  But I’m still standing.  I’m still strong.  This has to be the best year I’ve had since I was 15, which is saying quite a lot.  That was before I had the tumor.

Now that I’ve got all this positive momentum going, a lot of times I want to push myself harder, but every time I do, I pay for it.  So I just ride the wave I’m riding.  I wish I could do more, but unfortunately, unless I want to totally destroy what I’ve got, I need to play it safe when it comes to doing things.  I need ample time for relaxation.  I need to get good sleep.  If I don’t, the same rules apply as when I overwork myself.  I feel kind of fragile for someone so young (24).  But, like I’ve said, I can’t change what happened to me and it has afforded me benefits as well.  I inspire others by my actions.  I overcame something that was potentially fatal to become a productive member of society.

I just thought I would write something that shows how I live after brain cancer.  It may not be all roses, but at least I still have my mind and for the most part, my overall health.  I could have had a relapse and more radiation or even chemotherapy.  I can say that for what happened to me, I’m pretty damn lucky.  I could have ended up in a nursing home if they botched my 9 hour surgery.  The surgery where they actually separated both halves of my brain to get to the pineal gland to extract a piece of the tumor.  My headache seems to be subsiding now due to Fioricet.  Thank the Lord for that.

I think somewhere down the road I’d like to become some sort of motivation speaker for cancer patients.  Of course, being humorous in my speeches is second nature for me.  I’ve got plenty of material.  I want to show people that yes, there is life after cancer, even if it isn’t always easy.  The fact is that you survived.  You beat the odds.  You are living proof that cancer can be contained.  It may be hard to eradicate cancer, but the rewards are timeless.  Your perspective will change dramatically.  If you’ve beaten this, what else can you overcome.  What else can you accomplish?  Your fear should no longer hold you back.  If it isn’t life threatening, then what are you so afraid of?  You’ve beaten cancer, so you can do anything.

My speeches would go somewhere along those lines.  I know that my calling is to raise people’s awareness and allow them to become who they feel inspired to become.  It may not always be possible to become what you most want to, but to not even make the attempt is foolish and cowardly.  I know that we all could become greater than we are just by committing to becoming a better person each day.  Small steps or large steps, you decide.  We can all move away from fear and towards love just by deciding to.  And what an amazing world we will have once everyone is on the love side.  Imagine a world without fear.  Imagine how wonderful such a world would be.  That is my ultimate goal.  It would be paradise.

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