The purpose of this blog is to share some of the life lessons that I have learned over the years as well as those of others that I found useful. I will be writing new entries as I work through personal goals.
One of the more interesting subjects for me in personal development is finding the things, ideas and lifestyle traits that bring the most happiness. I see in others and myself blocks or bad habits that keep us from having a better life. It can be easy to get lost in routine and forget what truly makes us fulfilled but when you see a glimpse of it you know there is no substitute.
The direction you take in life makes just as much difference to where you end up as how hard you work at it. If you achieve all of your goals only to discover afterwards that you would actually have been happier doing something else, then I would like to know that now instead of later. So this is what I’m interested in, learning new skills that move me closer to my goals, faster and also becoming more clear about who I am and where I want to go.
If we are capable of achieving happiness then why not just do that? Of course it’s not easy. When it is easy it’s great but there is always a part of ourselves that wants to explore new uncharted areas. Making big changes requires a big step outside of our comfort zone.
Some of the topics that I will write about include work and a fulfilling way to earn an income, relationships with friends partners and meeting new people, hobbies/recreation and enjoying life just to start this list.
A big influence on me has been the work of a guy named Steve Pavlina, who has a blog at http://stevepavlina.com. Steve’s blog has a huge collection of free articles and in one of them talks about this idea of subjective reality as a perspective on life. This article had such a big impact on me that I named this site based on it.
Steve explains that it is important to understand the nature of reality accurately because it allows us to achieve better results with increased happiness and less wasted effort. If we have false beliefs about the way the world works we could unknowingly walk into conflict or counteract our own efforts without even knowing it. A lot of the beliefs we hold are layered on top of others and affect us subconsciously so they can be pervasive and difficult to identify.
In a quest to understand reality accurately we have to evaluate everything and consider that what we think we know might not actually be so. What can we say we know about reality for certain? Starting with the basics I know for certain that I am aware and conscious. Some people might say that the universe is deterministic and what you think of as free will is just an illusion and everything happens because of predestined causality of physics and brain chemistry. You will have to make up your own mind but even if that were the case you still have the experience of being a conscious thinking being and the experience itself is what I am referring to.
Now that I have established that consciousness is real what can we say about all of the physical things on this planet including the ground we walk on, our bodies that get us around, other people we meet, the food we eat and everything else we have ever touched, tasted, smelled or seen? That all must exist as a physical reality right? after all it’s always been there. But what if it’s not. What if all physical objects only exist when you’re experiencing them and disappear when you’re not. How would you know. You can’t possibly, without stepping outside of your own consciousness, something that doesn’t even make sense as a concept.
A common perspective of an objective reality is that things exist independently of you and will continue to exist with or without you. But that is an assumption I can’t accept as a given if I have to be honest with myself.
Subjective reality can be summarized by the idea that only consciousness exists, that you who is reading this are that consciousness and that everything you experience is a reflection of your thoughts.
If you can entertain the idea that this might be a more accurate way of describing how the world works, then you can open up your receptivity to new results and experiment with life with curiosity and wonder.
When was the last time you experienced something you believed to be impossible. Never? Is that because impossible things never happen or is it because the mechanism that forms the fundamental nature of reality only shows you what you believe.
What if someone told you that the way you think about the world changes the way you experience it in a physical way. Would you dismiss them because you think that can’t be possible or would you say to yourself the only way to find out is to try it for yourself and experience it from the inside out.
Subjective reality is a perspective, it doesn’t necessarily mean that objects don’t exist but it does make you take a hard look at everything in your life and rationally evaluate things will all available information. It also allows you to explore new areas of your life based on results outside of any boundaries of social convention.
I will be writing later on about some experiences that I have had relating to this. The world is an amazing place without any obvious limits to its variety and detail. It can be very good and very bad and that entirely depends on how you think.
The way I found Steve Pavlina and a particular article on his ideas of subjective reality was meaningful to me because it marked a major transition point in my life. After starting on a journey of learning and exploring new ideas my goals and motivations changed and I experienced many new things I couldn’t possibly have imagined were possible before.
I was driving to work about a decade ago and thinking to myself that I want to know the truth about the universe first and foremost regardless of how unpleasant the result might make me feel. For example what happens when we die? does our consciousness cease to exist or does something else happen? There are many stories and explanations for one or the other but at this moment in my car I remember a distinct focus putting top priority on finding truth first and accepting the result.
If you feel uncomfortable about the possible results of something you are investigating it can subtly or overtly alter the way you approach and commit. If the thought of an afterlife is ridiculous to you how thoroughly are you going to research accounts of it? If the idea of life ending with your body makes you uncomfortable how likely are you to research the works of scientists that study the brain? Afterlife is just an example to illustrate how the fear of an outcome alters our actions, choices and interests.
I remember feeling a little bit uncomfortable with the idea but I put a lot of energy into it as if to say to myself that I am going to follow through and make a commitment to searching and accepting what I found not knowing if I would ever find anything. Later that day on lunch break I was surfing the internet and came across Steve’s blog and it blew me away. I really liked his thinking and the ideas he described because they were practical, common sense but non traditional, seemed to be effective and I could see how I would apply it to my life. I couldn’t get enough and read everything I could from his site.
Synchronicity hits. The next day I was driving into work with a coworker and as I entered the building I was ready to walk over to a security panel to enter my code and disable the alarm. Each employee had a unique code to arm and disarm the system. Before I get within five meters of the alarm it beeps to signal it’s not armed after being triggered by the front door closing. Later the bosses came in and I said casually that the way the alarm wasn’t set last night because it wasn’t armed. The boss left and came back into the room five minutes later to say the log shows my code was used to disarm the system at the time I did in fact arrive. My co-worker is my witness that I never touched that panel and I did check the space to confirm that I was the first one in that day. Impossible, I took that as the universe saying hello. The fact that it was a secured door had some symbolism to me and that marked the beginning of some experiences on a journey to date that have been amazing.
You may be thinking, thats retarded, you’re wrong, it was a glitch, or you should get your head checked. That is why I described this subjective reality idea thingy earlier. How do you know it didn’t happen? In the end all anyone has is their experience of reality. The only thing that exists is your awareness, so play with the universe and see what happens. Some people may be familiar with the concept of synchronicity. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea and think it’s wrong I have a challenge and an accompanying prize for you. Can you prove the universe is objective or subjective? Nope, so instead of saying that synchronicity can’t happen the best you could possibly do is say maybe it happens? If you say it’s impossible without proving it that is the same in my mind as saying it definitely works because of magical fairy dust without proving it. If you can prove to me that synchronicity doesn’t exist or that the universe is objective, i.e. things exist independently of you then I will give you a prize.
Obviously this is meant in jest and no one believing in an objective reality would want to prove such a thing. It is just meant to make you think about things in a different way. That being said if you can convince me otherwise I really will give you a prize and a good one too.