Tag Archives: Self

What Is the Meaning of Life? – Revisited

Updated July 9, 2021

When I was younger, I would ask this question whenever anyone, even a tour guide in a museum, asked me if I had any more questions.

The greatest thing you'll ever learn

Internally, it’s the question I asked myself multiple times a day all my life until I felt sure of the answer, which occurred sometime in my 30s.

The underlying question is “What is the meaning of ‘meaning’ in this context?”

The intent of the question is to understand what life is, what its purpose is (if any), what the universe is, what its purpose is (if any), why we are here, who we are, how we are to behave, what our relation is to one another, is there a God, and why are we compelled to consider any of this as relevant or meaningful to the second-to-second management of our personal business of existence.

One alternative to asking and answering this question to one’s own satisfaction is to go about life happily without caring about the question (which could be a Zen-like answer in itself, essentially filing the question away into the “Overthinking” file). Another alternative is to consider life meaningless, which many existentialists did in the last century.

Other than an intuition I had at age 12 that “I am God and so is everyone else”, which I tucked away as an interesting but unexplained aberration, the meaninglessness of life was my own position for the first 30-odd years of life. Around age 20, as I studied philosophy, I put reasoning around this earlier intuition, deciding that one took positions like this based solely on aesthetic preference, since knowability of the answer to What Is the Meaning of Life? was apparently beyond our scope.

In my 30s I had some unusual experiences that also reminded me of similar experiences in my childhood, at which point I felt as I do now — a very strong conviction that I actually know the answer.

The way I see it, all that exists is a single consciousness of such great computing power as to know everything that goes on within itself instantaneously at all times (though God or the One Self is above time). Since we don’t share this omniscience, God gets to play our roles with more drama and excitement. So the meaning of life must be to realize and enjoy this game as our true Original Self does, and thereby re-merge into the Original Consciousness.

I talk about this theory more in my book You Are The Universe: Imagine That.

From a practical standpoint, life becomes most meaningful for us to the extent that we realize our own unique gifts; we love doing the things inspired by those talents; we develop a life plan around sharing these things with others, and then we go forward with that plan without being attached to the outcome.

We then have a Purpose, a Mission, which satisfies the thinking mind of our own meaningfulness. Just as I go into meetings with awareness of my preferred outcomes, I set them aside at the last minute so I can go with the meeting flow, taking the standpoint of simply trying to help out everyone else in the meeting as best I can. Pragmatically and empirically, this appears to work best in balancing out the complexities of life as well.

So “What is the meaning of Life?” Enjoying it, loving it, loving all, and helping others to do the same.

“The greatest thing
You’ll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved
In return.”
— “Nature Boy”, by Nat King Cole

Pragmatically, one’s philosophy of life – i.e., one’s values – will tend to lead to the most rewarding outcomes, to the degree that it does not contain seeds of negativity. For example, if our worldview includes the tendency to sit in judgment of other people, this will create situations of unhappiness for ourselves in the long run. This realization is why Jesus said “Judge not, lest ye be judged”.

The founders of the great religions were, at minimum, seers, visionaries, who grasped the way things work in life, and shared these observations to help others.

The Perennial Philosophy is the synthesis of all this wisdom.

Game Theory leads one to recognize that in the game of life, one is always making bets. If one is betting that the universe is benevolent not accidental, one will live a happier, more fulfilling life. Pragmatically, that is the bet to make, according to Game Theory, whether or not the universe is an accident in reality.

At this time of great crisis in the world, what we all really need the most is the spirit of cooperation and sharing.

Ideologies we have become attached to, groups we have become identified with down to the core of our being, the deification of competition as a perfect Good, the Marxist dialectical materialist love affair with contradiction, mindless devotion to an authoritarian leader, lazy subscription to ideas of others rather than one’s own contemplation of personal empirical experience, are baggage which must be left behind in a deep mind cleanse and reset that is open to new learning from attentive worldly experience, the scientific method applied to life, rising up above the pettiness of one’s own robotical negativity to embrace higher states of being which come with pure unclouded observation as if seeing everything for the first time.

I propose that if you are not yet in that state, to allow it a try. If we all do it starting now, events will unfold that will take us away from the spiral of doom now seemingly at our doorstep.

Love,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers. Read my latest post.

We can each make a difference

Updated September 11, 2020

It’s 9/11. The 19th anniversary of that awful event. A salute then to the heroes of 911, New York’s cops and firemen and citizens who gave all, the honored dead and their families, the military and intelligence people who found and gave his fair due to the prime perpetrator of it all. How could there be terrorists capable of such demonic acts? How could hate and ignorance stir up such horrors?

Unfortunately we are seeing small samples of what may be the same roots springing up here in the land of the free. When a person is frustrated, and wants to do something, anything, to get even with forces that have limited him or her and their loved ones, they think of themselves as heroes and of their acts as justified by their intended end states.

The uneven distribution of wealth is certainly one of the causes because it justifies the spite and envy and ruthlessness, the refusal to compromise or admit any point to one who tries to reason with them. People want more than money, they also want respect, appreciation, and a place in the world they can feel good about. How can we as individuals do anything about this enormous precipice over which the human herd is rushing?

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In the year 2000, every member state of the United Nations agreed to wipe out extreme poverty in the world by 2015 through implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were inspired by the ideas of economist Jeffrey Sachs. The final MDG Report found that the 15-year effort has produced the most successful anti-poverty movement in history, though there is still work to be done.

There is evidence that the resources of the planet, properly stewarded, are more than enough to make everybody’s quality of life quite acceptable in terms of the basics. The fact that we have been squandering some or all of those resources of course creates a potential shortfall for some. But these are human actions and theoretically under our control.

In September 2015 global leaders met and finalized the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to continue the work to end poverty. Although many had valid issues and concerns about the UN, this organization is our greatest hope for a global communication strategy. The only way to bring everybody to the table for the highest possible good is an environment where every member state feels it has an equal voice.

Click here to read about the latest SDG report from the United Nations.

Let’s look at our own engagement with the world. For the highest most far-reaching results, I recommend we employ the concept of engaging relationships, where we all look at every relationship as an opportunity, whether we are enjoying it at the moment or not. We accept each relationship as a given, making the best of it that we can — drawing upon the wellsprings of unfamiliar creativity patterns in doing so, and pulling out all the stops. This creates the environment for making maximum improvements, optimizing all the issues together.

If not distorted by negative assumptions, we would realize how incredibly promising this could be for each and every one of us.  To do so on any scale, we’d have to decide to appreciate differences and challenges. We’d need to stop demonizing others and accept who he or she is, seeing that difficult relationships are a fine learning stimulus, and finding places in ourselves where we can make excellently productive fine tunings.

Let’s focus this week on seizing the day with all our relationships. Let’s remember to include the one we have with our self — which deserves some time allocation — and the relationship we have with the postulated One Self that is the Universe (or God, if you like), in which we are an aspect and the Whole at the same time. Each moment, let’s leave open at least the possibility that the Whole is aware of us.

We can each make a difference. With the critical mass of all of us changing our actions, we can make the 180-degree course changes that we all deep down inside want the planet to make.

We can start with engaging relationships, be mindful of our resources and our actions, and see how the ripples in the pond will spread to the ends of the Earth.

A song for today.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Click here to read my latest post.

The Power of Gratitude

Updated August 13th, 2020

One rainy day I was driving a little too fast plus the cruise control was on. I got onto I-84 East and as I reached the highway itself I must have hit an oily patch for the next thing I knew I was going backwards, staring straight at Eastbound traffic bearing down on me at high speed — a truck passing a car, both coming right at me with many cars and trucks behind them.

Reflexively I righted the car and pulled off on the grassy median just as the honking truck and cars rushed past, missing me. A car pulled off and drove up alongside to see if I was alright. He said he was a Navy fighter pilot and complimented me on my reflexes, then drove off while I sat for a minute breathing deeply.

                                                                  Image by Xander John Dacyon

I bet you know what I was feeling because we have all felt it at one time or another — grateful for being alive. Life was suddenly so sweet. Every second was precious. The average workday that lay ahead was now an exciting prospect filled with interesting possibilities. The rain hitting the windshield was beautiful and I could see rainbows in each drop. The air tasted delicious.

Authentic gratitude is a very healthy emotion that I strongly suspect increases immune response and is conducive to Flow state. As I grow older and hopefully wiser I find myself more often being grateful simply for this life, for life itself and especially for the interesting and fun life I have had so far. But any life is better than the alternative of never having existed. Even a life of pain is more interesting than eternal unconsciousness, never having a sense of self, never having even one experience.

As long as one is alive, there is the chance to fix or accept anything that is disturbing. That’s what creativity is for. Troubles can be overcome in a flash of inspiration. Life is filled with endless possibilities.

Over time I’ve noted that when I am feeling the most gratitude, my luck runs high. Could it be that being truly grateful results in receiving even more to be grateful for? Continue reading

Mindfulness

Updated May 1st, 2020

image by Erin Buonocore

In last week’s post we talked about how distracted we have become, and in conclusion we mentioned Mindfulness as one way we can counter the distractions of modern life. Therefore in this post we shall investigate the nature of Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a form of attention control.

The need to be master of one’s own attention has gotten progressively greater over the centuries as a result of information overload and its distractive effects. We have given this condition the name Acceleritis™, the vast increase in the amount of information needing to be processed by our brains each day. ADD, ADHD, and a fairly obvious reduction in the general population’s ability to stay focused on one problem long enough to solve it, have been the result.

Watch a video about the cure for Acceleritis.

The need for Mindfulness has never been greater.

The Vedas, some of the earliest writings on the planet, recommend three yogic mental/ emotional methods to achieve the conscious and willful control of our attention.

  • Concentration is the focus of the mind on a single object.
  • Contemplation is the focus of the mind on a single subject.
  • Meditation is the contemplation of the Self.

What then is Mindfulness?

We define Mindfulness as the optimal allocation of attention for maximum effectiveness. When one is mindful, attention optimally allocates both inwardly and outwardly at the same time. This helps us understand our own motivations in the moment, to consider not only our needs but the needs and probable responses of others, and to greatly improve what fighter pilots call situational awareness. This is in sharp distinction from our typical behavior, which is to allocate virtually all attention outwardly whenever the eyes are open.

It takes attention and effort to be mindful, but practicing persistent Mindfulness not only allows us to be more present in each moment, it also allows us to shift into a higher state of consciousness to reach the Observer state more often and launch into the Zone or Flow state, the highest known state of consciousness in which right actions seem to do themselves effortlessly.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking with a solution orientation — overleaping the focus on the problem once it is defined and going right to the focus on the solution — are the cornerstones of what I practice to achieve superior decisions, highest effectiveness, and creative innovation in all aspects of my life. Try this approach for yourself to see if it works for you.

Best to all,

Bill

Read the latest post at my media blog, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com

If You Aren’t Enjoying Your Self, Something’s Wrong, Especially Now!

Originally posted February 3, 2015

Life must still be enjoyed second to second, otherwise what’s the point of wellness and longevity? The advice below stands despite and especially during the pandemic.

Assume that if you are in a bad mood or feel a negative physical symptom, this is a direct internal communication to you. Your subconscious is trying to tell you something! This is an autonomic alarm system we all have.

If for example your current activities are not in alignment with your goals, or if you have set a goal that is not in alignment with your core values, parts of your mind will try to bring this to your conscious attention any way they can, and often the signaling will involve feelings of distress or something not quite right.

Maybe it starts out one day as a bad mood you don’t even realize you are in, and then escalate as the signal strength is gradually increased in an attempt to finally get your attention. If this persists long enough it can turn into physical symptoms. It is all about communication — in this case, internal communication.

taken by Martin Noren

The highest priority then is to decode the message and thereby reverse the emotional or physical quandary. Don’t get lost in the suffering and forget to decipher first, ahead of anything else. Act as if you deserve to be happy at all times, whatever the circumstances.

Getting lost in the suffering is what most of us do at most times, and this is a life-threatening waste of time. It also blocks your quality. There’s no point in soldiering on in a bad mood because whatever you do in that state will not be in the range of high quality / high effectiveness. Better to let the work fall even farther behind while you figure out what is bugging you and dispel it by taking the action required.

How can you find your way into Flow State?

One of the primary characteristics of Flow state (aka the Zone) is that the individual is doing something s/he loves to do, fully immersed in the playing of that game as a game, without over-motivation to win or over-concern of failure — and above all that, free of attachment. This mood is a clue that you are in the process of moving into higher effectiveness, you just go with the flow, enjoying it — and if you don’t distract yourself by subtly gloating over it, you go all the way into the Zone.

If something is bringing you down, that is going to block the Zone. Set aside your work, get yourself somewhere where you are uninterruptible, and see inside yourself to detect the source of the bad mood or sick feeling.

Are you attached to something that you fear not getting? Or are you attached to something not happening that some part of you expects will be happening anyway? What could it be?

You might find that taking notes helps, especially if you let the pen just write, without editing, because different neuron clusters become engaged when you go from just pondering to also writing notes. Shifting modalities like this is like sweeping a searchlight around inside your psyche.

Another way to shift modalities and bring different neurons into play is to turn aside from actively thinking about the question and instead just cultivate emptiness inside while paying sharp attention. This is a powerful shift of neurons, known to many writers. For example, adman James Webb Young’s 1960 classic A Technique For Producing Ideas speaks about a need to set aside all thought about a project after studying and thinking deeply about it, and sure enough flashes of inspiration will appear out of nowhere (usually within three days in this writer’s experience, frequently within hours nowadays after decades of practice).

A more common experience we’ve all had is when trying to think of a word or name. It is on the tip of our tongue and we keep trying the same file drawer in our mind, certain that with enough effort we will remember it. But we don’t remember it until we give up and then it easily pops into our head a short while later. Same principle.

You deserve to be happy.

Remain open to the existence of all possibilities where you have not proven — with evidence that would stand up in court and to scientific public scrutiny — that some possibility does not in fact exist. Do not tolerate bad moods or sickly symptoms in oneself without seeking out the root causes and taking effective action to remove those causes.

Banish negativity as ineffective time-wasting! Rechannel your energy into a stimulus to discern the root sources — and then plan and implement effective actions to remove those root causes of the negativity. And remember to respect yourself and everyone and everything else. Disrespect blocks solutions and creates new problems.

Our purpose steadfastly remains to improve the creative effectiveness of our readers thus improving decision making. Test this method over the next week or lifetime and see if it works for you. There is no downside risk in the test — it can only help you, or at the worst change nothing.

Best to all,

Bill

Read my media blog “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers.  Read my latest media post.

Releasing Negativity

Release Negativity

Any time you notice you are not in your best self — making mistakes, losing your temper, feeling lousy or scared, whatever it is — re-set your mind by erasing everything. “Clear the mechanism” as Kevin Costner’s character says to himself in the movie “Love of the Game” (a film that shows what Flow state feels like to a baseball pitcher, as good friend Bob DeSena points out).

Assume that any sense of dilemma is a lack of clarity, that if you were thinking straight you would be accepting what is and dealing with it effectively, without negative emotion. The one thing you want is to take whatever life hands you and deal with it as best you can, and anything short of that is rejected out of your mind and body instantly.

At first you will find yourself re-setting again and again as you slip back into the old time-worn ways of mental hand-wringing, but over time your mental muscles will get stronger. Just stick with it and your positivity will become indomitable.

Best to all,
Bill

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post.