From January – December 2012, I have been distracting myself with an eSports programming project called The Spawn Room and its associated YouTube content. This work has kept me busy and focused, drawing much of my attention away from introspection and reflection. But over the last couple months I’ve begun to spend more time thinking and I wanted to share my current state of mind as it pertains to enlightenment.
First, everything is constantly in perspective. This viewpoint matured over the past year as I worked to implement it and has now become persistent in my thinking. When I observe people or analyze their world, it’s as if there is a notification that is constantly reminding me that the universe doesn’t care about petty human affairs. It’s like holding a marble to a bowling ball. The universe carries much more weight and pulls your attention to it. As such, it has created a state of mind where everything is of equal value. Whether comparing a lazy couch potato to a powerful leader, it all seems like comparing the Earth to the Moon when looking at the sun. They are mere dots in a much grander universe, and most of what us humans do seem only to validate our existence, nothing more. The resulting effect from this point of view is what I call “psychological invulnerability”. It is the consequence of being unfazed by almost nothing. It is the realization that all there is, appears to be irrelevant and thus should be treated with little regard. For instance, I’ve found when interacting with people, I view the content of their words as a dog barking. And if they insult me, it is just another bark. Only a fool would interpret it any other way.
With these changes, I’ve withdrawn socially. Most company and their conversation is of little importance to me. I recently read a Buddhist quote saying, “Let him travel alone, Rather than with a fool for company.” This reflects much of how I feel around most people. Their lives revolve around trivial affairs, they complain about many things, they’re unaware of the world around them, and rarely say anything of value. As a result, I spend most of my time alone, reading and watching lectures on YouTube. It is a quiet lifestyle that I do not consider a consequence or a benefit, it simply is.
When I do interact with people I find it difficult to raise the energy to explain things and loath the question “what do you do?” (a popular question among my age group). I’ve found it incredibly difficult to express exactly what it is I do and why. There just doesn’t seem to be an effective way of explaining enlightenment without talking for hours. And even then, it would be a miracle if they actually understood. Often times I simply just sputter whatever comes to mind, regardless of how poorly articulated, and leave it at that. Ultimately, it matters not. This is especially apparent when I obverse an argument between two people. Their adherence to opinion and belief, clouds their judgement, and they engage in meaningless bickering, all while a rational conclusion could be reached. It tires me to even think of it.
I also have this looming concern that I am trapped on a planet full of unpredictable animals that wield immense power. The people around me appear less human than ever before because they are simply acting out the stimuli given to them, rather than ruminating on its meaning and coming to thought out conclusions (an ability we were graciously gifted to by this universe, and one few people ever bother using). The more you become aware of this reality, the more dangerous it seems. I cannot trust the system or the people in it, because they cannot trust themselves to think properly. I fear they may destroy me, or worse, lock me up somewhere.
Lastly, I feel lost. But what’s odd, is that admitting it, feels like a step forward. With the distractions of materialism and contemporary pseudo-success pulled away, I’ve come to realize that we’re all lost among thorn bushes. And it is only recently that I’ve pulled myself away and ventured into the vast labyrinth of reality. It reminds me of the famous quote, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1853). Without awareness, without stripping away the distractions, you cannot hope to ever free yourself from the slavery of being lost. And it is this recognition and acceptance that has allowed me to see more clearly, to wake up. Unfortunately, it also appears that most fail to achieve this, and thus the path, to what I call enlightenment, is a lonesome journey. I have no teacher or guide, only disparate bits of enigmatic information that I must rearrange to complete the puzzle. Everyone is lost. Everyone is scared. I have accepted these truths and begun looking for answers.
Update: I would like to add that this realization was profound. It happened when I was driving awhile back. I was wondering why I felt so lost and depressed, even with all the intellectual progress I had been making. And then it suddenly dawned on me that I had never encountered this in my entire life. I had always had people to look up to, to take advice from. To receive direction, purpose, and quests from. It had suddenly crumbled away and left me alone to decide my destiny. While this was incredibly liberating, it was not a comforting experience.
So, if you’ve read this far, you may be alarmed and think I sound incredibly depressed, antisocial, suicidal, etc. But there are some key benefits to pursuing this line of thinking. It is not all darkness. And I should probably assure any readers that, no, I am not suicidal or even that depressed anymore. I think all of these realizations simply come with the territory and must be conquered to receive their reward.
The first major benefit is clarity. I have reached a point where my absorption of information is pure and unadulterated. This means that my belief system (or lack there of), no longer interferes with my interpretation of reality. I can freely move about any perspective without manipulating it. I also see strategy, sense social cues, read body language, and understand more of situational awareness than ever before. I can appreciate anything and rarely form judgement, biases, or opinions, regardless of how controversial the topic. Even the discomfort of cognitive dissonance, which previously seemed very prominent, has subsided as my mind seemingly adjusts to this belief in nothing. It is as if a veil or filter has been removed from my vision and the world is more clear and understandable than ever before.
Additionally, my emotions are almost entirely within my control. I rarely ever feel anger, frustration, annoyance, or sadness. I do feel depression. I still get choked up by heavily emotional content (I’ve always been an emotional person). I feel happy some of the time, but it seems diminished overall. My emotions are mostly dominated by a “neutralness”. It’s neither happy nor sad, nor angry or frustrated. It’s just a calm, relaxed observation of reality. There is a theory I once heard about emotions being interconnected through dualism. Where feeling less sad and angry consequently means you also feel less happy and content because you must compare the two to measure them (or even realize they exist!). As of late, this seems very likely.
Along with controlling emotion, I have greatly increased my willpower. Through understanding and exploiting activation energy I have efficiently redesigned my life to take advantage of its power. It has resulted in improved physical and mental health. My body is becoming trim and fit, I avoid sugar and fat with no longing for its flavor, my mind is sharp and memory improved. I have better balance and reflexes, enjoy going to the gym and working out 3-4 times a week, and stretching and practicing yoga every morning at 7am. This path towards enlightenment has left my body and parts of my mind feeling like a powerful, and polished machine. And the best part is there is no resistance. I can do all these things and feel excited for them. Eating healthy has become a problem I enjoy solving. Exercise has become a natural part of my morning routine that wakes me up and energizes me for the day.
Through all of this, I feel more in control of my life than ever before, and I live by the tenet, “do what is right, no matter what.” With this, I only pursue what makes sense, not what I am “supposed to do”. It is an amazing feeling to confront the world with this doctrine and makes you realize how little you managed your previous life. I am under the suspicion that free will runs in degrees and that most people have a far smaller degree than they may think. Go to school, learn these things, get a degree, get a job, get a spouse, have a family, etc. These simply reflect an outdated formula from a system demanding obedience. Submit and assimilate, that is the sacrifice expected of you. Only when you wander outside your pen do you realize an entire world of opportunity, happiness, and wonderment exist. Of course there are consequences to this lifestyle and I cannot suggest anyone follow my lead. It is a dark and mysterious path, and at this time, I do not know where it will lead.
There are a few lingering questions I have regarding all these changes. First, how do I interpret modern civilization? While I consider much of it poorly designed (and inadvertently dumbing down and killing off its constituents), it has also produced many wonderful things. I truly appreciate technological advancements, wonderful communities of like-minded people, fun YouTube videos, the quirky cultures, the brilliant minds doing brilliant things, and much, much more, but I often wonder if it outweighs all the negativity. I mean, there must be a better way to handle all of this. And when you take someone like me, who is going through what I believe to be enlightenment, where do I fit in? How can I coexist within or among the system and still remain happy and content? Or is it better to live away from it, and work on other things? I suppose these questions have been asked by many people over the centuries. How can I be happy? I hope there is an answer…
Well I suppose I should wrap this up. There is much more I could say, and perhaps I will, but for now this generally covers my current state of mind. I am working on being more positive as a result of a recent realization. It would appear that value and purpose in life is entirely determined on your own. And as such, it’s just as pointless to feel depressed and hopeless as it is content and happy, regardless of the outlook. So why feel like shit all the time if you can simply choose to feel happy? Although I sympathize with anyone feeling negative because it strikes at me constantly. When everything looks so dark, how is it we can find light? What I feel I’d like most right now is to simply escape to a more natural environment, rich with vegetation and animals. Somewhere I could meditate and learn without the disruptions of modern society. Of course I also consider that perhaps upon getting there I would hate it, but you never know until you try. I must remain in Wisconsin until October for one of my best friends weddings and then after that I may leave.
Update: Here are some other tidbits I didn’t go into but reflect some of who I am right now:
- I fear death and view life much differently than I used to. Duality helps explain the importance of comparisons, and as such, deaths seems just as necessary as life. Although I still think humanity will outgrow death eventually.
- My inner self (identity) is fading as I work to minimize my ego. I picture the last remnant, a difficult little orb, that is no longer surrounded by all the various selfish traits it used to. But how do I perceive without it? It’s hard to imagine.
- One thing I fear is that I may stumble upon a state of mind that is quite advanced, but alters me in such a way that I cannot remember my past state of mind and am thus trapped there. Although considering how slowly and subtly the mind changes, it’s probably not a problem.
- I feel more an observer of humanity than a participant. Quietly watching and learning.
- Sometimes I feel as if people like me are becoming sane among a world of insane people. That my potentially eccentric views may appear crazy to someone, but it’s actually sanity that they are witnessing. This argument seems strengthened when you consider I may have a heightened state of awareness and clarity. But this is just conjecture.