How to live your life to the fullest (a self-aware guide to the problems which prevent you from achieving your potential).

Everywhere I look today there are products handing out advice about how to improve our lives, relationships, how to help each person get what they want- money, career, the right guy, and so on. Well, it’s quite understandable why people would be in the market for buying advice. Unsurprisingly, as markets go- not only do these products pray on basic needs, they can never fully supply these needs- or else sales would come to a full screeching halt after a while. And in our markets this would be sinning to our lord and god, the invisible hand.

The main occupation of those bubble-dwellers amongst us today in self-improvement. To what end? It isn’t clear. It might be happiness, or achieving those Cinderella dreams Disney have portrayed in extravagant colouring.  Mostly it’s some undefined vague notion of our societies gods. Those Venuses 60 ft high and size -10 with superhuman capacity of having no discernible flaws. Those Apollos, 70 ft high with muscles for the sake of widening the eyes of us mere mortals without the capacity of using these muscles for anything remotely useful. And then there are these celebrities, who do nothing but be known and adored. All these portray to our unconscious the notion that they will never be expelled from society and have to survive without the support of the community, even though they are the first to be trashed and spat out. Handing out the promise that if we can be like them we will also never be lonely.

Even if we are convinced that we are not improving ourselves to be like them, the craze for self-improvement has penetrated most walks of lives. From high-street shopper trying to shed another pound even if there’s only bones to remove it from, to the nature loving hairy-lagged neo-hippy sure that the next meditation course will teach them how to keep  the nightmares from an abusive relationship at bay.

I will now proceed to the time-honoured tradition that follows each rant- finger pointing.  So who is to blame? Well, as the bast things in life, I will divide the blame to three- the obvious, the historical and the daft.

I blame… contraception! and the growing acceptance in recent decades of masturbation.  Our primal instinct as mature adults to create, to produce something completely original has become infertile. Sex, and sexual pleasure are an end of their own, where the primal point being irrelevant and unwanted (in the vast majority of cases). It is the same when it comes to these self-improvement, self-awareness, self- achievement products. They are an end of their own, the point is still there, but somehow became secondary to the self- pleasuring pursuit of the next ‘how to achieve your dreams for dummies’  read. We are, in short, a generation of wankers.

The obvious is to put the blame on the gods of profit,  Mammon and Lord Inv. Hand, who  pull the strings of the organically occurring free market. The need to keep profits growing springs the tactic to create a need where none exists, and sell products to accommodate that need.

Self obessesion can be traced back to the origins of psychology. Our unconsciousness deciding behaviour for us, programmed responses imprinted at childhood and complexes arising from mal-resolution of life-stage crisis. In the town where I live if I were to go out to the street and throw a beer can it will hit a psychologist or someone who spends a third of their wage on one (every other can would probably hit someone who applies to both categories).

People go to psychologists to solve ‘every-day neurosis’ and instead spend their time and money drilling into their minds and past with such verbosity that one can only think they imagine themselves a Saudi oil-shah. Let me hand out a piece of true-ism. Solving a problem means you no longer have to keep dwelling on it.

Parents live in fear that any wrong action would imprint their children with a life- deforming Issue, each parental action is now escorted by a series of books and advice of how to behave when a child wants a hug.  They dare not deny the child a product because all the other children have it and Gods save us if the child gets singled out in school! Well, this is a message to all parents striving to rise a socially-perfect child. What ever you do, your child will be socially-screwed-up. It is  impossible to be healthy in our society which grows and profits on un-satisfiable needs.

There is  a thin line between promoting self-awareness and fear mongering. Every-day psychology which started out as a useful solution for actual problems has become a fear-factor, self awareness is now an excuse to dwell in  deepening spirals which achieve nothing but give the illusion of progress.

On the topic of progress, let me quote one of my favourite characters ” progress for the sake of progress must be discouraged.” (Harry Potter, book 5, by J.K Rolling). Though I don’t endorse Umbrige’s world view, I do agree with her distinction between progress for the sake of progress and progress for the sake of actual, vital, results.

We are stuck in an out-dated world view where change is a linear process, where ‘moving forward’ is the same as improving, and where progress get us closer to our highest state. Well, life isn’t a set of stairs, change is multi-dimensional, chaotic and non-linear, and the only final result of progress is death.

Though self-awareness, self-actualization, self-improvement and self-achievement  do have their merits, one of the great flaws can be seen in the repeated word in these phrases- Self. There is a whole world out there, full with beauty and atrocities, life, suffering and experiences. How much time does one need to spend on self-improving before there’s permission to go out and actually live in this world?

Chosen

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It seems to me that everyone wants to be chosen. Fantasizing about being a super-hero, or to be chosen to be loved by a super-hero, chosen for a mission, chosen for a job… What ever it is – people want to be chosen. No one seems to be the one not-chosen, standing awkward in the middle of the field, begging to be good enough for someone to choose you.
Everyone seems to want to feel they are so good at something only they can do it. That their environment (work, social etc) cannot make do without  them. That they are vital for the proceedings. Isn’t that a part of wanting to be loved? To have at least one person (apart from you mother) who wants you, specifically you, and noone else? Maybe that’s why monogamy is so prevalent.
The current spiritual movements, raging from neo-paganism, core shamanism and the like (in second thought, this includes other spiritual movements, including those which tell us god has a plan for us all), all emphasize that each person has a Gift, a Medicine, a Priesthood. Each were chosen for a destiny, for a role in this world.
The thing is, once you are chosen for something, not everything becomes roses and glitter. You actually have to put in the work, prove yourself, be actually worthy of someone else’s choice. Being chosen, as desirable as it may seem, is a pain in the arse.
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Say you have a Tarot reading. Say you get the Death card. Whoever is doing the reading will reassure you- death doesn’t mean literal death, only a passing of something from this world, transformation (if this isn’t the definition of death than fuck knows what is) at the end of which you will be re-born. The reassurance is to let people know it’s not the body which dies, but something else. This is supposed to be soothing. We are so scared of the body dying, we don’t notice that death of any kind is just as painful, maybe even more so- we’re still around to experience it, and we have to live through it.

People throw the word ‘initiation’ around a lot. Initiation is a rite of passage, a change, a transformation from one state of being into another. People seek out initiations. They call them trials, and neglect an important part of what trials are- sometimes you fail. Sometimes, you don’t pass. In old times (a vague term used to hide the fact that I have no direct reference to a time or a culture which practiced the following, yet I have some knowledge that these practices where held somewhere, at some time) youths were sent out into the woods to survive on their own and come back grown ups. It’s not a nice stroll in the woods that makes a person grow up- it’s facing something downright scary and dangerous and behaving in ways children wouldn’t, doing those ugly deeds that must be done in order to survive. In the story of these initiations, the ones who don’t come back are not spoken of.

People who give advice often tell people (who take advice) to face their fears. Probably they are basing their advice on the theory that there is nothing to fear but fear itself, or that what the person is running away from isn’t so bad and can be dealt with. Sometimes they are wrong. Sometimes, the best course of action is to run away. Sometimes, facing your fears leads to loosing to the monster. Standing upright and fighting sounds good in stories, and mostly ends well in stories, but in life it at times lead to a bloody defeat.

Having something die in your life, be it relationship, aspects of yourself or anything else of importance feels like shit. It’s hard and painful, it’s loss, it’s gut-wrenching sad. Being re-born might even be worse. It’s tearing away, it’s gasping for air, it’s being lost in a new state and having to learn everything from the beginning. It doesn’t have to be this way, but mostly it is.
Going through initiation is terrifying, it’s hell. Moreover, it’s having to find your way out of hell. It’s killing parts of yourself, and painfully growing new ones. It’s unveiling the worst in the world, and discovering the worst of yourself. Not only the worst, sometimes you find better things- but the worst is always there.
Facing your fears is chilling. It’s immersing yourself in terror, hoping that you can find the way out while petrified to the core. It’s knowing that you might loose everything you hold close to yourself, anything you love.

Being chosen means all these things.
Initiation, death, transformation, fighting fears, facing daemons. Most of all- it means surrendering to whoever and what ever did the choosing. It means going through all the above knowing that you had a choice, and you gave it up in order to be chosen.

Photo from: http://www.arthursussmangallery.com/initiation.htm

Enjoying the pain.

This is an oxymoron, yet still- it isn’t.
Joy and pain are opposites, and as such they are the same thing, or, at least, come from the same source and diverge into two streams, each with its own implications, meaning and behaviour. Note that implication, meaning and behaviour are all ‘higher’* aspects of ourselves. Pain and pleasure come from a ‘deeper’ source, moving their way up into consciousness and unfolding as they go along.
So what makes some experiences pleasurable, and others painful?
I argue that it is their meaning, which is superimposed on experience, that catalogs it as ‘pain’ or ‘pleasure’. Take away the meaning, and all that’s left is experience.
Once the meaning is gone, what is left can be experience as sensation alone, a glowing star in the dark, unconnected and unique. Or, it can be carved into a new set of meanings, creating a new constellation according to Will.
For example. when submerging yourself into cold river water the sensation of coldness can be very unpleasant. Why is that so? Because your mind interprets the sensation coming from your body as danger, and imposes the meaning of ‘pain’ causing the behaviour of removing pain (in this case- removing body from cold water).
If the sensation is disconnected from its interpretation, the experience of cold can be extremely pleasant. Extreme sensations of pain can be thus turned into extreme sensations of pleasure, or just extreme sensations devout of meaning otherwise known as ecstasy.

How to disconnect meaning from sensations.
Pick a word, any word. Now say it many many times. Play with the vowels, roll it around long enough, and it looses it’s meaning. The word turns into sounds, movements, void of meaning. Now take a sensation, any sensation, sense it long, play around with it, experience it wordlessly and mindlessly, until the sensation stands alone, disconnected. From here you can either impose a new meaning to the sensation (‘the sinking of my toes in the mud  is my roots growing into the earth’) or go even deeper into the sensation until it fills every aspect of existence, where no borders exist and the world dissolves into a glowing beat of ecstasy.
The more overpowering the sensation, the easier it is to immerse in it. The more fear you have attached to the sensation, the harder it becomes to separate it from it’s meaning (which is a good thing, because using this technique on ‘hand in fire’ is pretty dumb).

Nothing has meaning. Not really. We only impose meaning on events so we can carry on with our lives. Without meaning, things seem, well, meaning less.  At some point someone started to ask why, and an answer must be found. Why? cannot stand alone unanswered. ‘just because’ is not an answer. So we say ‘ Because blah blah something that affirms my life choices blah’. Strip away the answer, stop asking the question, and all that is left is this- moments of experience, naked and raw, glowing for a moment longer before dying out, making room for a new experience. Pleasure or pain, it doesn’t matter, let them surge through you and experience them fully. This, eventually, is all we have, all we ever had.
Disconnection of experience from meaning and cognitive thought processes has a name. It has it’s own disorder- dp/dr. Depersonalization and derealization. While I, the carrier of the Golden Apples, thrive on disorder of any kind, one should be cautious. Sanity, safety and consent are guide rules for those playing.
For those who live- Wakeful Surrender is the only advice worth taking. **

*higher, lower, moving upwards or downwards have no implication what so ever about moral quality. they are just directions, used here to direct a point.
** I take no responsibility for your stupidity, failures or incompetence.

How to become successful in one simple step.

At some point in our lives either we are on the fast route for success,  or we’re not. Either we become successful, or we don’t. There are those moments of clarity, where we view ourselves and judge our success, or lack thereof.
At those points come those like myself, advice givers. Because giving advice makes us feel like we know what we’re doing, and sometimes it even brings in an income! But we need YOU! to take it. So here is my advice for becoming successful in one seemingly simple step (which will break down to loads and loads of steps which none of them are actually simple):

Want to become successful? Change you’re definition of success to what ever it is you’re doing at the moment. And Hurray! you’re a successful individual.

Why this advice is crap:
Well, for one thing, changing one’s definition of something socially oriented and deeply implanted by education, society and habits of thought is anything bus simple. It’s probably easier to actually go out and try your luck in the stock-market. When it comes to success, it’s not precisely us who define it for ourselves. we don’t just want to become successful, we want others to view us as such. We rely on the reactions of others  in defining our position in the social scale. Some do have the ability to define their own brand of ‘what is success’, and we see them working hard on explaining to others why it is legitimate, and eventually using social resources such as holy scriptures, social values, ancient civilizations and great thinkers to help fixate in other’s minds that what they see as success is valid socially.

So, how do we move out of this mess and still get what we want?
Getting what we want is a complicated yet simple problem. Complicated because it takes time to explain and make coherent, simple because once one understands it seems so obvious and simple it’s almost like magick.
For the moment I’ll untangle the knot of wanting to be successful with a question which can untangle everything into infinity-
Why?
Why do you want to become successful?
If you can find a good enough reason, then hard work, creativity and dedication to what ever field you chose will eventually be enough. If you can’t find a good enough reason, and soul searching comes up with ’cause my mother told me I need to be successful so I can get a good woman’ or the likes- I’d advise you to face your desire to become successful, tell it to go screw itself (instead of screwing you) and go on to lead a slightly more satisfied life doing what you love regardless of societies definition of success.

Spread the WORD-

Wondering Oddity Randomly Defying
anything you thought was true.

Cause holding on to truths is like holding on to a shark so you won’t drown.
Best case scenario – the shark doesn’t notice you and you can continue getting dragged where ever the shark pleases.
God is much like this kind of shark- the type not to notice and obliviously carry on without realizing he has been branded a savior.
Those with some talent latch on to a shark which they can steer. Truth then becomes a leaning-stick which doubles as a sward. Manipulating the shark, collecting followers and fending off other sharks claiming they are false sharks which lead, most likely, to a pending doom is all very jolly, but beware! Make the wrong move and the shark might not like you anymore. Falling on your own sward may be an honourable way to die, but shark’s/truth’s bites are a bloody mess; Which also call on other sharks you pissed off along the way to come and finish the job of devouring you.
Those with some sense try to get to know the shark they latch on to. This might be a version of Stockholm syndrome, it might also be the sensible thing to do. If you’re holding on to a  shark in an ocean of unknowns, study the shark, get to know him.
This way any warning signs of aggression or dangerous maneuvers can be foretold and dealt with.
A clever truth-rider asks the right questions and calls it science. Yet, weariness is still needed. You know the saying ‘you can’t handle the truth’? Well, it’s doubly dangerous with truth-sharks.
What ever the truth-rider’s choice is, he must always be aware that another shark (which one might deny the existence of, making it a massive blind spot) might sneak up and bite him in the arse.
Then there are those who have learnt to swim, in this ocean of unknowables filled with truth-sharks and truth-riders. These swimmers must learn  to stand (swim) their own ground. This is the great mystery of the origins of the truth-sharks. For they were once people about to drown. They have learnt to swim, they have learnt to fight, they make their own way while others attempt to ride them.

One last point to tell all you swimmers, riders and sharks, before fingers get sticky and teeth bared-

Metaphors are not truths.