Infusing Life with Meaning

Originally posted September 29, 2015

In the absence of knowing, I’ve found a way to arrive at decisions that works extremely well for me. I call it Game Theory.

With Game Theory, when I don’t know what the outcome will be, I list possible outcomes and then see which ones I like, and what end result I want to create. Then see if I can make decisions that will get me moving in one of those preferred directions.

How much meaning do I want to see in life, in my every day, second-to-second life? If I want there to be rich meaning abounding, then I can choose to use a lens that gives me that view — a lens that makes things more explainable and understandable.

For example, in terms of the nature of reality, there are really only two clusters of lenses to choose from. One says there is something like a God, and the other says there is nothing like a God.

Through the lenses that say there is something like a God, there may appear to be an abundance of meaning in our lives. In the other cluster of lenses, there may appear to be a dearth of meaning — much happens that makes no sense, nor do we expect it to make sense.

I was in this lens for many years. It came from being so impressed by science as a kid. I can testify that there are good things about this lens. For one thing, it makes us feel terrifically autonomous, as independent thinkers, since most of the world is viewing things from the other stance. It sometimes strips away so many considerations that we quickly look at situations and see the barest of elements, the quintessence. There is a certain minimalist “cleanliness” if not clarity to this view.

Emotionally, the lens of being alone in an unbenevolent universe can be toughening, allowing us to more easily become fatalistic and to shed many of our attachments. We don’t make assumptions but are very common sense and down to earth: very empirical. We don’t lean on illusions or faith or anyone else to define reality. All of which can be good.

Another viewpoint, which I have dubbed the “Something like God exists” lens, affords meaning to everything.

Imagine Everything is a gift from the universe.

If you yearn to have more meaning in your life, I suggest using this lens without believing it to be the truth or disbelieving it. This way, you will always see the meanings you ascribe as tentative, without becoming locked into them or attached to your view. You may also see a wealth of value in using this lens, imbuing more meaning in your life.

Pope Francis’ recent visit to the US offers a great example of the utility of wearing the “Something like God exists” lens. Regardless of the religious beliefs you hold (or not), it’s difficult at best to not acknowledge the palpable message of love, hope and caring for one another that emanated so powerfully from the Pope’s presence even more than from his words, which were also so beautifully spoken.

None of us, not even Pope Francis, really knows the meaning of life. It is all a wonderfully thrilling awesome unknown, which makes life interesting, mysterious-mystical, immense, awe-inspiring. Wouldn’t we be missing something if we did know everything?

Since God or a universal intelligence of some kind* cannot be ruled out, wearing the “Something like God exists” lens allows you to start seeing possible reasons why certain things have happened — as if the universe is trying to help you by putting certain training obstacles in your path. I call this noia — being the opposite of paranoia.

By seeing things as possible gifts from the universe even if they are not, and even if they don’t feel like gifts at the time, we gain some leverage from being able to see how to use the event constructively.

Best to all,

Bill

* For a deeper dive into universal intelligence, see my book You Are The Universe: Imagine That.

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Originally posted 2015-09-29 09:45:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Savor the Moment

Originally posted September 15, 2017

Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.— Rumi, from “The Guest House”

Imagine if we were to fully believe this and felt grateful for and loved whoever we’re with at any given moment in time.

Now imagine seeing that person as highly sentient like ourselves, each with his or her own story, knowing that we are interacting with each other now for reasons that may not be obvious in this moment. And then realize that there are undoubtedly layers of additional opportunity in this moment — allowing our interest to swell by being in the moment with this interaction, at this time, fully engaged, fully open and also being a studious observer.

How can we become more engaged in the moment?

Be engaged in this moment

This is much more difficult if our day is packed and we are just trying to manage a sense of constant chaos and distraction.

If our days are filled with scheduled meetings and phone calls, we might be just getting on with a conversation or meeting so we can move on to something we more look forward to doing. We’re checking off our to-do list, which affects the quality of each of our interactions.

A better strategy is to engage in each interaction with our full attention. It helps to schedule time in our calendar for meetings with ourselves, to use as we like best in the moment. It might be to launch into a high-opportunity project that has been waiting. It might be to take a break and a mental vacation, where we may find creative ideas popping of their own volition. It might be to sort out the latest incoming chaos and to calendar it for handling at a future date.

The strategy of pre-planning our days to include these meetings with ourselves at reasonable intervals, and pre-dream the other meetings, calls and other activities (which we can do in the shower or even in bed in the morning or the night before) allows us to arrange things so we can focus 100% on one thing at a time, in the moment — the Now.

As interruptions arise or even fresh thoughts relevant to the conversation or the meeting we are in, it may help to note them on paper or on your tablet so you don’t lose them; this helps to relieve our mind of worrying that we’ll forget them. I create a place for these notes until I can sort them into the appropriate file, which allows me to be more in the moment and not overwhelmed.

If we allow ourselves to remember how much can be accomplished in a few minutes when we are patiently engaged, we can really listen and be more absorbed in the moment — feeling the feelings inherent in the conversation and being grateful for this present opportunity whether we understand its greater meaning right now or not.

Our attention is divided into the Now, the past and the future. All we really have at our grasp is this moment, the Now. The past and future are concepts, abstractions, ways our mind has of organizing experience so it seems to make sense.

What is always real is the Now, this moment.

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-09-15 08:49:40. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Which voices do you listen to?

Originally posted September 8, 2015

Volume 5, Issue 27

Most of the time, we are not aware of the layers of louder and softer voices constantly going on within our mind. Most of us have found that the subtlest part of our mind speaks in the softest voice, while the most negative part of our mind speaks in the loudest voice.

Quiet the mind - let the softer voices be heard

By being in the moment, we can actually choose which stream to switch our attention to. We can actively choose at any moment to switch to a subtle channel or to a negative channel. One reason we switch to a negative channel more often is that the negative channels are essentially screaming at us and typically contain a much higher emotional content than the subtle ones whispering under that din.

Not all of the voices in our head are equally smart. When we take action based on a screaming voice, we are less likely to take effective action than when we act based on the quiet voice.

If we listen to the small quiet voices, we find them to be ethical in nature, disciplined, courageous, having good judgment, honest, and somewhat detached from outcomes. The small quiet voices do not have a powerful emotive component.

The accumulated knowledge about brain function related to structure gives at least some reason to infer that the soft and loud voices are playing upon different parts of the brain in different ways. All of the other parts of the brain chorus might also be chiming in, filling in the chords below the melody perhaps.

How do we more often tune into the sound of our softer voice?

We all have experienced quieting down for a moment and suddenly having a deep inner realization that’s been trying to make itself heard for ages. By quieting down the screaming voices, the softer ones can be heard.

To listen in more closely I have found that a regular meditation practice serves me well. The benefits are bountiful, many stemming from getting in touch with the wisest part of our self.

This meditative process of listening to the subtler voices can be practiced during the hubbub of our daily life experience and not just in get-away moments. The benefit to the human race would be enormous if everyone on the planet started meditating for at least a half-hour every day. This is where cultivating a meditative process begins, with a single step, followed by another and another.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post, “A House Divided Cannot Stand.”

Listen to this new podcast in which Nate Rackiewicz interviews me about the common ground just discovered that could heal the rift between pro- and anti-Trump (first 5 minutes summarizes the later portion). Go to podcast.

Originally posted 2015-09-08 05:58:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What Is the Meaning of Life? – Revisited

Originally posted September 1, 2015

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

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-09-01 11:34:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

We can each make a difference

Originally posted August 25, 2015

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.

This is true no matter the challenge or the setting. 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.

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-08-25 13:57:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Getting to Flow by Living in the Moment

Originally posted August 18, 2015

Rise to this moment

My first experiences of Flow state were at the Brickman Resort when as a young child my parents, Ned and Sandy, put me onstage. The height of stage fright got my attention. I was pulled out of my mind by the sheer challenge of dealing with it. I had no time to dawdle or stay in my head. This seemed as close to a life-threatening experience as I could imagine, although I did not have the time or ability (as a child) to put it into those words. I couldn’t even distract myself by paying attention to my fear! I was totally absorbed in handling the immense challenge of the moment.

This and other experiences when I was young made me keenly aware of the existence of Flow, although I had no name for it then and didn’t think about it consciously. I also noticed there were other incidents in which I was more like Hamlet, overthinking a problem while the time to move had long since passed. Continue reading

Originally posted 2015-08-18 10:56:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter