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Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.

      --Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin

While we wander around in our respective pity parties trying to push our fear, pride, guilt and other bad feelings into each other and experiencing the bloody results, let me just say that life's purpose is not about fixing ourselves or each other. Life is a long, infinitely long, dream. There's ultimately nothing that can be done with an infinitely long dream except to explore it.

Infinitely long? Does that mean eternal life?

Well not exactly. It means that life is an illusion. It means that death is an illusion. We see death happening to others and assume it will happen to ourselves. It won't. It happens to others because we just run out of them, it's like running out of beer. We ourselves just keep on going like the weather, and our reality adjusts to the situation when one storm plays itself out and another one starts to build. As for eternal life, eternity is not about time and extending life is not about clinging to something. What we really need is to pay better Attention if we still think that eternal life is anything to be concerned about. Every Moment is an eternity, it's just that in the Earthville version, eternity is spread out into dimensionality, distance, and details. Eternity is the Moment, and the ever-dancing Moment has nothing to do with time.

I don't know what your purpose is for existing, but like weather, I expect my purpose will keep expanding and contracting, moving this way and that, getting into things, moving things around, messing things up, playing nice and playing naughty, and in the end I might as well just get used to it and use never-ending, uncontrollable change as an opportunity to explore wherever I happen to find myself. When exploring a mountain or desert or ocean, one does not try to control the mountain or desert or ocean. And if one is wandering around crying about being somewhere, then one is not exploring, but lost.

We get the idea that the human form is unique in some way. We have big brains, opposable thumbs, we walk upright so we can use our hands as tools or to operate tools. Despite appearances, we are what we appear to be: portals through which infinite possibilities can flow. In goes pure awareness, out comes perceived reality. But to make it more interesting, we have to do things in a certain order, here in the human version, where a broken arm hurts for weeks. Whereas in the Unworld at large, such a thing could be cured in seconds. Whoever came up with the idea that hurting for weeks is smarter than hurting for seconds, I would like to do that idiot a big favor and break his stinkin' arm for him.

Even though one's most capable aspect has access to infinite intelligence and possibilities, the human form has built-in limitations too. It's as if oneness had been broken into pieces and we're each infinitely just a piece. There is this ever-present, gnawing feeling, which I call Narxing, the feeling that we're supposed to be putting Humpty Dumpty back together again but will never figure out how, because here in Earthville where everything matters too much, things always have to be done in the right order, but someone conveniently threw out the instructions when they opened the box. We aim for heaven on earth and instead we get infinite difficulties. This is because we're already infinite, and we just refuse to get used to it. We're trying to put butter on cheese and the result tastes like ruined cheese so we add more butter.

This whole merry-go-round has to be accepted. The transformation religion, like all religions, was created to make money, to elevate its principal leaders into positions of power and influence. That's their problem, not mine; who needs the responsibility that comes with upholding mass delusion?

What do we do when we get really disgusted with ourselves, really discouraged, really depressed? We look for a better way. Off to the self-help section, the vision quest, the new diet, the next divorce, whatever it takes to get that new feeling, the feeling of new ground being broken, the feeling of progress, the joy of discovery. There's nothing wrong with this, but it's a merry-go-round. Merry-go-rounds are fun, but who wants to live on one?

Based on personal experience, the roller coaster lifestyle of trying to change oneself into someone else is just a faster, scarier merry-go-round than the similar experience of trying to sleep till you're dead. Seriously, boys and girls, there is Nowhere to go. Sit down and look around. Here is it. It aches, it never stops being scary, but dealing with here is the right challenge. It would be nice if someone else's storm were our problem, but unfortunately the storm that's raging right here and now is the one that has to be dealt with. Why? Because it's not gonna kill us. So not dealing with it can get kinda old because we don't die when one storm dies down, we just sit around waiting for the next storm, lying to ourselves: that was the last storm. Yeah right.

You can't sleep yourself to death, so don't bother trying. You can get squeezed out into some pretty dark back alleys, and I suppose there's a hope of getting recycled before that gets infinitely weird, but to be perfectly honest, I don't think there's any such thing as subjectively experienced death. The trap is permanent, it can't be dissolved by squeezing your eyes shut a little longer. Fortunately, there is a way out of the trap. It isn't death, because there is no death; the escape is the Unworld at large. The never-ending trap of the human form can't be fixed, but it can be left behind. It's just another skill a person can learn, and presumably once it's learned well, a person might not want to come back.

As youngsters we can't wait to be adults and have all this supposed freedom. No one telling you when to go to bed, when to get married, when to stop flipping burgers at McDonalds and get a real job, no one telling you when, ever. Of course kids are just guessing. They have no idea the hell that's in store for them when time turns into a thousand-headed soul-sucking beast we could never have imagined as spoiled middle-class children of overpaid hoverparents who've fastidiously avoided opening their eyes and looking around ever since they can remember. Then, when we get old, it's that old feeling, gotta get back to how great it was when we had lots of energy and the world was fresh and new, blah blah blah. There are infinite ways to lie to oneself, so go for it.

When you get tired of chasing new feelings, tired of chasing old feelings, tired of blaming yourself for everything, tired of blaming everybody else for everything, then there's always the option to sit down, shut up, and breathe. It's just weather. It will never stop. There's nothing to be done about it.

Upon the transformational path--er--merry-go-round--there's this tendency to want to train the mind. We sense that our thoughts are always getting us into trouble. This is true, but as usual we overrreact and try to fix ourselves. Instead, it's a good idea to accept the fact that the mind is an untrainable chattering monkey. Resisting the inner chatter just inflates it, gives it power. The conscious mind has infinite ability to sustain itself, it's like a dog that can survive its whole life eating nothing but trash.

What do you want to do, kill the mind for making you miserable and apt to do and say silly things? I tried killing my mind as a young man, and this book is the result. You don't want to turn out like me, do you?

But at the age of 45 or so, after a lifetime of melodrama and dissatisfaction, I put my whole life story, in as much gruesome detail as possible, into book form. Having gotten these thoughts that had been plaguing me into a single, discrete yet indiscreet 585-page package tied with a pretty pink ribbon, the next thing that occurred to me was that there was nothing to fix. There was no self-analysis involved in arriving at this decision, somehow it just happened. I'm not saying that I trained the monkey or caged it or did anything else to it. The monkey still chatters almost incessantly... between bouts of breathing.

But what did happen when I stopped trying to fix myself? I won't bore you--or jinx myself--with the details, so let's just say, it was better than a double lobotomy. Hint: Castaneda called it 'recapitulation'. He thought it had something to do with reclaiming your energy from everything that had ever happened to you and everyone you had ever met. Sounds good to me.

But really, you don't want to know what a huge difference it made when I stopped chasing the monkey's tail in tight, dizzy little circles and got into the habit of saying, "Hey monkey! This is who I am right now! Get used to it!" And the money I saved, not buying fix-me books anymore... I single-handedly put the local new age bookstore out of business by staying away. The owner of that place had to get a job from me, delivering pizza.

Having a mind often comes in handy, so it's best to not amputate it like a withered useless limb, even though it can be counted on to reach around and poke you in the eye from time to time. Accept the monkey for what it is: an idiot who believes that its merit badges mean something. What are spiritual merit badges good for? Doesn't anyone know that the Boy Scouts organization only exists to sell us uniforms?

I learned a trick as a junior idiot involving treating unwanted thoughts as if they were external to myself, with me like a lizard waiting for bugs to fly past my face. Thoughts and feelings are not mine. They are bugs flying past my face. I can be a silly, greedy, self-indulgent lizard and eat every bug that flies past my face, then spend half my time with a bad taste in my mouth. Or I can be a smart lizard and let the icky bugs fly right on by. Just because I see the thing doesn't mean I have to slurp it right up. With experience I learn to taste with my eyes, and a thought or emotion that's going to be annoying or distasteful can just keep going.

Attaching myself to this thought or that emotion is done in habitual patterns which we then mistake for our very being. But in fact, our very being is pure awareness. It's easy to become habituated to seeking out certain sensations which we learn to enjoy somehow, despite the deliterious effect that some of them have after endless repetition. Who wants their whole life to revolve around that daily box of donuts? Forcing a change of habits does not amount to transformation; we do not become someone else. We can't become someone else, because each of us is an exact copy of infinity. It's just that different parts are lit up brighter between you and me so you and I can pretend we're both somebody else besides unbounded infinity. Awareness doesn't need any help continuing to exist; it can't be killed.

When it comes to getting off the emotional merry-go-round, what really helps more than anything... is to stop resisting what you seem to be. What you seem to be is due to whatever filters you and others such as parents, bosses, friends and teachers have applied to you--the helplessly immortal portal for pure awareness--over the years. If you did manage to get to the top of the mountain, where would you go from there? Who can you even talk to up there? Other idiots who think they can live on the top of a mountain?

It all boils down to one thing: sit down, shut up, and breathe. No, that is not three things, it's one thing. You decide which synonym you like best.

I learned early on that the proper way to make a total ass of yourself is to embrace someone else's beliefs as your own. In fact I tried to master this, embracing belief system after belief system until someone suggested I was just addicted to believing stuff. Well, we all gotta have something to believe in, right? The trick is to believe in something that doesn't leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Currently I believe that we do not die. And that if we breathed more, and kept at it long enough, this world would gradually dissolve. Maybe that's why we breathe so little. We're addicted to the struggle. The struggle that grows out of thinking that the universe is broken and it's up to little ole me to fix it.

Like hell it is.

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