My Life Philosophy as a Story

Overall, one experiences their life philosophy in a series of policies carried out over time. Like a story read one word at a time, I perceive my life as I would the story of a hero’s journey.

In visual perception, I feel I have clarity only on that to which I’m attending right now. The future and past are vague visions of what lay beyond a certain point of clarity I call NOW. I can only make clear that which I focus on now – all else is vague.

I’ve been writing and reading my story to this point. I’ve written and read some of it. I’m writing and reading it now. And, based on what I’ve read so far, I can imagine where the story will go in a vague future, though with a sense of certainty because I’m imagining it in what I read now.

I imagine past words must support the current words by supplying a vague sense of premise, motive, background, and direction. I imagine future words must support the current words by supplying perceptions of danger, anticipation, and anxiety. As the vague past meets the vague future in the clarity of now, I get a paradox in the confluence – like reading through turbulent water.

Back to my story!

There may be plot twists like those I’ve already read that give the future some interest to me and so I read on. How exciting! So interesting I can’t lay the book down! My curiosity drives me onward – to learn what happens to the protagonist (me) as he deals with all the antagonists along his way. Because I care, I want my hero to succeed in his quest. With dangers laying along the path, opportunities for interesting plot twists abound.

Every element of my story must fit within certain parameters. Every element must:

  • Obey the setting of the story. These are the basic laws and conditions under which every element of the story must work.
  • Cause and effect must be observed. I must account for every situation with a reason, logic, or feeling.
  • As the protagonist, I and those I care about must win in the end.

A good storyteller is one that during and after reading, I want to read more. Perhaps this explains depression in which the story begins to lose the interest of the reader. Maybe it’s just then that a surprise plot twist might rekindle that interest.

The reason a plot twist engages the reader is because s/he didn’t see it coming. Surprise! When I feel depressed, I let my mind wonder to, “What might happen next? I hope it’s delicious!”, and, “Something amazing is about to happen!” I can’t wait to read on!!!

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Beating Fear with Math (pt 2)

When I feel afraid, I tend to narrow my attention onto JUST the object of my fear and the outcomes I fear will happen if I don’t apply appropriate action – maybe very soon. “If I don’t pay this fine, I’ll go to jail! I can’t have that!” I’ve narrowed my all-outcomes set to a tiny selection set of acceptable outcomes – what I “can have.”

Fear narrows the odds of an acceptable outcome – like buying only one lottery ticket. It also significantly increases the odds that I’ll experience an outcome I don’t like – like realizing you’d just bought a losing lottery ticket.

When I expand my selection set of acceptable outcomes, I increase the odds of experiencing an acceptable outcome and decrease the odds of an outcome I can’t live with.

How does one expand their selection set of acceptable outcomes?

By allowing less-than-optimum outcomes into your selection set, you significantly increase your odds of winning a lesser, though still acceptable outcome. Expanding your allowed-into-the-selection-set criteria, you build a larger selection set, which lessens the impact of a less than optimum outcome. By expanding your allowed set to the size of the all-outcomes set increases the odds of winning to 100% – and lessens the odds of losing to zero.

“Well, that would mean accepting any outcome as acceptable!” – Why, yes, I think it would. That is the essence of trust – expanding the selection set to the size of the all-outcomes set. All for one and one for all.

“Wait a minute! If I accept any outcome, won’t I sometimes get outcomes I don’t like?” Probably. At first. Until you realize that you can expand your “what I like” selection set to the size of the all-outcomes set – by allowing your “don’t likes” into your “likes” selection set.

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
― Abraham Lincoln

A simple imagery exercise can get you started. Relax and clear your mind. Imagine a ball the size of your fist. Fill the ball with light of any color you like. Put the ball in a box. Now put another ball into the box. Then another ball and another. Until the box is full. Let it spill out as you continue to add balls to the box. Soon the box disappears as the entire room fills with light in the shape of colored balls. Fill the house… the neighborhood… the town… the whole earth… the universe. Expand… expand… expand… light everywhere.

Your selection set of one ball has expanded to include all balls everywhere – the all-outcome set.

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Who’s Reading My Story?

Endless Attention

Within my bubble, my attention is held tightly to what validates my personal identity, my precious premise – my truth. My attention gives value to my story, which is based on my premise. That premise is – I must succeed by EARNING wholeness through righteous endeavor. I must HAVE something to DO something to BE something.

I fight for and defend anything that validates the usefulness of my cause in gaining wholeness. The cause inspires me to write on the pages of my memory the nobleness, the purity of purpose, and the rightness of reason of that cause. No story of heroism can surpass the glorious adulation one feels in pursuit of the greatest cause of all – the quest for wholeness. I use this sales pitch to convince myself to keep going.

Because I’ve bought my sales pitch, my choice-supportive bias kicks in to justify my purchase. My confirmation bias confirms and supports my justification.

Whatever threatens and/or validates my sacred cause gets the full attention of my biases. I’m now becoming aware of the demand for constant alertness and defense my story places on my attention and awareness. I’ve developed such strong patterns of judging, analyzing, and proving the rightness of my premise, that I don’t have a life for anything else.

The author has become the story.

Sometimes, when I’m able to sneak in a controversial thought like, “I wonder if I’m right about this!” I feel there might just be another way to see my questionable premise.

Questioning My Premise

I fear, and so defend against, learning I’m wrong. This fear binds me to my belief in unwholeness. Thus, I feel I must forever pursue my premise.

The book is not the story nor its author. The book can only be a book, the story can only be a story, while the author IS all of these and more. I’m not only the bubble I perceive I’m in. I am not only the limitation I perceive controls my experience. As the author of my story, I am all of these and more.

I’m Also The One Reading My Story!

I’ve enjoyed reading many books including those written by J.R.R. Tolkien. I wished I had had him here with me to answer my endless questions that left me wondering what he meant and imagining what I thought he imagined.

Though I can’t ask Tolkien, I can question the author of my story. Funny how seldom I look to the author of my story when I have a question about it. Questioning my questionable premises has lead me to investigate beyond my basal premise.

Who Is Beyond?

Beyond the bubble of limited awareness, my intention is to fully account for my authorship. From this perspective I understand and appreciate all my experiences based on a new premise – I AM whole already. I AM therefore I DO and therefore I HAVE.

This way of thinking opened up my limited awareness bubble and invited my authorship to write my story in a new way.

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Reality Confusion to Dream a New You

Sometimes I confuse my dreams with the remembered events from which my dreams derived their emotional elements. Due to confusion in attribution, I sometimes believe I am remembering real events when those memories are actually my remembrances of dreams instead.

For example, an event of the day results in me feeling overpowered by my boss. That night, I dream I am being chased by a bear. Upon awakening in the morning, I imagine my partner is acting abusively toward me. In this case, the attribution of the emotion of powerlessness travels from boss to dream bear to partner.

Out of Attribution Confusion

Knowing that memories are fallible and subject to errors in attribution, I reconfirm that I can manipulate memories – through dreams molded to help support how I want to feel today. Maybe you can change the details of your memories to support a new you.

What if you chose to restructure your dreams from a perspective of gratitude rather than victim-hood?

“How do I do that?” you might reasonably ask. I can control a dream using lucid dreaming in which I realize I’m dreaming while I’m dreaming. This is a very powerful imagery because it includes full sensory engagement – a real experience. That’s one way to manipulate emotionally charged memories.

Comes a New You

Another method is to perform a simple bedtime exercise. As you find yourself drifting off to sleep…

  1. Recall a negative emotion-charged memory of an experience you had that day. Just let it flash across the stage of your soon-to-be dreaming mind.
  2. Resist the temptation to ruminate over the memory and how you feel about it. This is NOT about fixing a problem – it’s about confusing attribution.
  3. Then, immediately after recalling the negative event, recall a memory of ANY TIME in your life that supports how you’d rather feel. It’s important that the last memory you entertain before slipping off to sleep is one where you feel strong, capable, happy, and grateful.
  4. Then, let the dreams come.

The idea is to set gratitude as the last emotion just before dropping off to sleep. The dream-attribution mechanism  then presents stories from a baseline perspective of gratitude. That may affect your dream stories and memories of the day. It could also change your overall perspective.

You may not recall your dreams the next morning – that’s okay. The confusion just as you fell asleep may be just enough to confound your dream-attribution mechanism. You may view your emotionally-charged memory of the previous day in a new way. Perhaps you’ll solve a problem associated with that memory or suddenly experience a flash of inspiration concerning it. Who knows?

Practicing this simple exercise just before sleep might just create a new you.

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Measuring Imagination

I live in a bubble of my own imagination in which I seek to measure everything. How is that even possible?

It seems paradoxical to measure by assigning values to what can’t be measured in value. It’s like holding conflicting realities simultaneously knowing they are an illusion. All the while defending those illusions of value and projecting them as truth.

Measuring Imagination

I like measuring, “How could I/you/they do better?” I call these “‘fonly” measurements – “If only I/you/they would have… [done something different than I/you/they did]… things would be better.” If better, how much better? It’s an impossible measurement because I’m basically measuring my limited perspective.

Is there anything in this universe that I’m aware of that does not exist as a concept within my mind? Does everything in my sensual perception belong to that subjective universe because it’s in my mind? Is objective reality a figment of my [subjective] imagination?

Perhaps creative imagination exists only where the concepts of diversity and contrast separate aspects of one concept.

I Question That

Let’s consider some useful questions in this regard:

  1. WHAT is separate? By separate I mean perceiving a unit apart or by itself. For example, I distinguish you from me, and etc.
  2. HOW and HOW MUCH is this separate from that? Judgments allow me to measure the poles of a concept – the maximums and minimums – and apply a comparison to those poles. “How light or dark is it?” (compared to the max/min light or dark). Perhaps what we think are opposites are actually compatible complements that validate one another as separate.
  3. WHY is it necessary to measure separation? By measuring that which I perceive as separate, I get a nuanced experience that validates a sense of being separate.
  4. WHO is doing the separation? When I focus on me, I can feel whole as one person and I can shift focus to separation mode. One person, many creative perspectives, where imagination is the virtual game board – life.
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