A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
- Max Planck
I just read an incredible article about how a guy used his password to change his life. You should read it and come back. I’ll wait.
Pretty cool, eh?
There’s this idea of “manifestation.” I’m not sure where I first read about it, but I seem to remember it was something that the cartoonist Scott Adams ( of Dilbert fame ) wrote. He’s an engineer by trade, and he was saying that he’d stumbled upon the most ridiculous facet of life – that if he focused on an intention, repeated it, saw it in his minds eye, and kept reviewing it as if it had already happened, a foregone conclusion, then the thing almost always happened. Definitely not the same as wishing on a star; more like just expecting it to happen, and letting the Universe know what you’d like to have happen.
It sounds silly. It’s sounds crazy. Life and the universe doesn’t just simply bend to your will, does it? If I close my eyes and say “I want a mai tai!” this doesn’t mean a drink with a little umbrella will just magically appear. That’d be crazy.
What Adams was saying was that if you do it in a very particular way, phrasing and attitude being important, that he believed reality could be “hacked.” That is, the system of reality and our universe seemed to have some interesting aspects – if you focused a certain way, you could bring about specific changes. Big or small. Ones that on first blush you have no idea how they’d work.
The password article above is a great little example of this manifesting practice at work. If you’re in a position where you repeat your password several times a day, then using these little moments to bring about change in your attitude ( an thus the world around you ) seems like a perfect little exercise.
Try it. Think of something you’re struggling with, something you desire, and change your password to that. See if your life changes towards that focus before too long. I suspect it will.
I was first introduced to the concept of Summerland while reading Richard Matheson’s compelling novel What Dreams May Come. In the novel the protagonist Chris experiences physical death, and he awakes in a state of confusion in a beautiful place. He has an awareness of his body, but he learns that his identity has endured his death almost beyond his ability to grasp. Further, he learns this is the way it is for all people. There’s no external judgement after the physical life comes to an end, at least in Matheson’s telling; rather someone who passes on from physical life moves on to inhabit a realm that’s an expression of who they are. If you have beauty and peace inside of you, at the core of who you are, then that expresses all around you, becomes your world. This is Summerland.
While it might not always be sunny in Summerland, it’s always beautiful, peaceful. The denizens are full of compassion, and while not completely free of the baggage they accumulated in life, their new perspective and context allow for letting go of a lot of things that caused pain.
Matheson based his Summerland on meticulous research with a variety of sources – people claiming near-death experiences or contact from the other side. The story also features places not-so-pleasant, pools of consensus where people gather ( or go in solitude ) that are expressions of broken or darker minds. Where you wind up between lives is not a matter of external judgement or imposition, simply a product of who you are and being present in an environment that responds immediately to that. If your life in the physical is hateful, filled with fear and spite and selfishness and drama, so too will be your post-mortem existence. The stuff of that “plane” or level will wrap itself around you and manifest around you.
If your heart is open, if compassion and kindness and attention to beauty and elegance are defining for you, that’s what this next place will be like, forming around you. You carry with you what you are, at all times. The environment in the next realm is merely more directly responsive than the stuff of this world.
This idea resonates with me, quite a bit.
I’d never really conceptualized “Heaven” or the afterlife until I started reading and researching along these lines. These ideas as I’ve outlined make much more intuitive sense to me than the well-meaning definitions and teachings I’ve received from an early and thorough Catholic education. Life seems to be what we make of it, shaped by our outlooks and attitudes and how we strive, or not. Why shouldn’t what comes next be different?
This brings me to Kauai.
It seems like this little garden paradise is a pretty good physical-world analog for Summerland. Certainly life has complications everywhere, even here. And of course life can be amazing in places not-Kauai. But if only in the spirit of branding, there is something special about this place as a destination, as a place one can wish for or lay some claim to. Also, in many very real ways this place is different than places not-here: people are mostly safe, mostly casual. Very few locked doors, violent crimes. Most people are chill, adopting that overall spirit of peace, compassion, kindness. Aloha.
So living and existing here is a kind of different state, a sort of Kindergarden for the Summerland of the next life, I think. At least that’s how it seems to form in my mind. Truly Heaven on Earth.
The name of this blog was chosen with some flexibility in mind – I wanted to talk about life on Kauai, how it seems different, separate, and more rarefied in some ways than other places I’ve lived. But I also wanted to use those metaphors and experience to say something about great spirituality. I’ve always been fascinated by how we touch, or don’t touch, the transcendental and preternatural that seeps into all our lives. As I get older, as I develop more of an awareness of the principles of attraction, visualization, manifesting, and their quantum underpinnings, it seems like talking about all of this becomes more important.
“Life in Summerland” is part narrative about the day to day in this special Earthly place, but also part dream diary, part musing and part research project where I pursue the truer nature of our world, and where we’re headed.
Lots of times, it seems like Kauai has two types of people, broadly speaking. the people who grew up here, and those who moved here.
I have not conducted science-based researchers with sociologists or anthropologists, but it’s my anecdotal observation that lots and lots of the people who’ve moved here are broken, a little.
Mistfit toys, on an island.
Emotional refugees, looking to escape someone or something, and doing it here where the weather is nice, and the beaches are beautiful.
There’s nothing wrong with this, and I believe there’s a lot that’s right with it. Mostly it’s just an observation, mostly. Almost everyone I know who has moved here has come on the heels of some quest for a better life than the one they had elsewhere. They’re searching, here. Or at least taking the last load off.
That sounds like the perfect thing to do in Summerland. Although people lead real lives here every day, this place has a quality of not being quite “real,” maybe in the same way that lots of people don’t consider life at school ( even as an academic ) as participatory in the real world.
A few things that seem obvious, about this place:
you have to work at acceptance
acceptance is easier when there is a strong diversity in the group
in a diverse group where acceptance in the norm, life is pretty sweet
I’m sure there’s more to it than this, but as a basic idea, this holds up pretty well. Are you looking for a little peace in your life? Try seeking out a place of diversity, populated by peeps who have seen some shit. Some nice weather also wouldn’t hurt. Probably the act of travel figures in there too, in a good way.
Having a quest, a purpose, can make your life better.
This is the central tenant of the book “The Happiness of Pursuit” by Chris Guillebeau. A pretty straightforward idea that rings true for me as it does for him.
In my life, I’ve had occasion to work with some amazing people. I’ve seen some great things – acts of caring and mentoring, demonstrations of craft, and been party to some amazing work families over the years. But something I’ve never done – I’ve never worked for an org that I could put my heart into that work. I’ve never felt like I had a great purpose, ever.
Growing up, a lot of my friends and relatives served. You know, engaged in the good works thing. Cops, nurses, clergy, whatever. I had this idea that to be a good person, to actually make good of time spent here on earth, you have to work to make it a better place.
As I got older, my views expanded a little bit. You didn’t have to directly help, like a doctor or a cop. You could accomplish good works in any field, by treating it as art. By infusing what you did with passion and soul, whatever it was. By being your best person at that thing. I did this, continue to refine this. But I’m still kind of wondering what it’s like to do something… that is worthwhile by virtue of what it is, not simply by how it’s done.
At the moment I live an almost charmed existence, by most definitions in my current field of UX/tech. I work remotely from a tropical island with the blessing of a boss I respect, who gives me interesting work and pays me well for my efforts. Living the dream, in most ways.
But while I am solving interesting problems, working with great and intelligent people, paid well for my efforts and making use of my expensive education… I’m still not really making the world a better place. It’s a job. A job I love, but it’s not really a quest. A mission. An avocation.
It’s not easy, and I love the benefits I have, believe me. I’ve taken a corporate situation and made it about as sweet as it can get, at the high-end practitioner’s level.
I’m not really helping, or doing good works. Not directly.
So I read this book, and I was inspired. And I had an “oh, duh” moment. One way of doing good works is to get a job doing it, but in an embarrassing oversight that’s in line with advice I’ve given scores of people in various contexts, you can also create your own.
You can decide what your avocation will be, one that will fill up your soul and give you purpose. You don’t need an org to do this for you.
Putting the words together like this, I feel a little dumb. Of course it works this way, right? But maybe not so easy to see, given how we occlude good potentials in our lives, sometimes. Not see the forest, for the trees.
So I thought about it, and I think I’ve settled on a quest – an avocation of how to spend my time and effort, something to work towards, a measurable thing with SMART goals ( ha ) that will give my moments here a bit more purpose for a while.
Something that may help make the world a better place.
The story about the apostle Paul was that he was knocked off a horse by a blinding light, and received direction on his new life that way. I expect this doesn’t happen to many of us.
The rest of us might need to define this ourselves. (^_^
Alan Kay said that “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” I love this quote, and I think I’m going to follow the advice and make my own future, my own quest.
Stay tuned, and I’ll write about how this goes.
I watched the tragedy in Paris on November 13 unfold in a live Reddit feed.
I lived in Paris for a while when I was younger. I don’t remember too much, but the images i have were of beauty, kindness, and wonder. I have always felt an affinity for the French language, and I respect the ties my contry and France seems tohave in surprising places – France was our very first and oldest ally. All of this doesn’t stack up to much, I know. But for some reason, I felt a connection, a sorrow beyond my ability to rationalize it as I read and watched about events, tonight.
But for all the horror, something stood our like a shining ray of warmth amidst the horror. Someone, and I pray they find out who at some point and reward this person, started the social media hastag “PorteOuverte” on Twitter, followed closely by other social media sites.
The term is French for “open door” and was meant as a beacon, a buoy light in the stormy seas of violence and chaos of Paris tonight. If you had a safe place, if your flat or your business or whatever was open to those stranded, displaced, trapped, scarred, or scared and adrift… you put up this tag. If you needed help, needed a safe place, needed a ride… you put up this tag, and people found you. People helped you.
This arose in the moment. No one who woke up today thought “today I’m going to participate in a disaster relief effort, and make a huge difference.” No one knew they were going to manage it, spread the word, or take to the streets looking for people to help. But so many people did just this.
Tonight was a showcase of some of the worst things human beings are capable of. But also I’m heartened by the idea that it was also a time for some people to shine, some to be at their best. Maybe someone is a louse most of the time, but tonight I bet people like that shone like the sun. Even if they didn’t have anyone come to their place, or find anyone wandering the street bloody who needed a lift to the hospital, or their hostel, they were out looking, available, with care in their hearts.
It doesn’t need to be disaster time to help, of course. But when push comes to shove, I’m glad those people are out there.
This makes me smile.
I like that the song was out this last year, but seriously sounds like it’d fit right into Casey Kasam’s countdown in the 80s when I was a kid. Writing, designing, or expressing in a style different than the prevailing, and doing it masterfully, is delightful. That’s the song.
But for me, whomever put this video together pieced bits of joy from a hundred different sources to make something new, a tapestry that involves sight, sound, and those parts outside and in that move when we dance. The timing, the mood of each scene paired with the moment in the music… art. Pure and simple.
The person who made this video didn’t write the song, and didn’t have a thing to do with any of the movies that make up the video; they simply took things laying around, applied a little love over hours ( video editing is anyone’s idea of hard work ) and made something artful. “I can’t dance” and “I can’t play music” were not barriers to creating an amazing dance video.
Lots to love, here.
Today I had occasion to be thinking about the afterlife. I was trying to imagine how to explain the reality of existing in a more “real” way, having a “higher self” or an awareness on a more complete level but a the same time focusing on a much more limited existence, sometimes thinking this limited existence was all there was to my identity.
I feel like that’s a pretty good description of what’s going on, here on Earth – that at this moment we are physical, inhabiting a physical space that is ( mostly ) rigid and ( mostly ) consensual for the purpose of having some very specific experiences. Learning some lessons, going through rough times and awesome times with friends, learning to focus our thoughts a bit. When we die, we’re not in this place anymore. We’re every bit the person we were on Earth, in the physical. More, even. There’s a jump up in fidelity; after we pass from the physical world our awareness is in a new place where “real” is much more “full.” More colors, more potential, more in just about every sense of the word.
I might not be different at all, in this other world. In fact I believe I’ll still have the same issues and hangups. I won’t suddenly be enlightened, I won’t suddenly like brussel sprouts, as my mom has always hoped. But with luck I’ll at least be aware of this different environment, and I’ll be around people who can help.
But about the “movement” from one world to another, what could I compare that to?
If you’ve never had occasion to play a a good video game, I’m sorry for that.
It can be a really amazing experience. If you have played, you’d know that it’s totally possible to “lose” yourself in the game. At least for the time you’re playing, and maybe a little afterwards. When you’re playing, your world becomes the world of the game character. Maybe that’s running through a jungle jumping on crocodile heads, maybe clearing the corridors of a space station with an assault rifle, or whatever. But while you’re playing, you’re immersed. You’re “in” the game. Your senses, your feeling for direction, your awareness of friend and foe, all of these things are projected into the “world” of the video game. Sometimes when you get killed in the game, you re-spawn, cycling right back again for another shot at the goal you were working on.
What I’m saying is that when you’re done with the video game and you stop playing, that’s like dying in the physical, and becoming more aware of a more real existence.
You can love the game. You can be amaze-balls at it. You can have a feeling of freedom and superiority, accomplishment, or you can struggle with it and not level up much at all. But that moment you pull out and ( once again ) put your senses in “the real world,” you have a much wider awareness. All your friends here, your job, your hobbies, love, and so on. All these things are waiting for you here. There may be parallels of these things in your video game; some games enable contact with friends and that means that all social stuff can happen. While playing an online game you can meet someone and fall in love. You can be heartbroken when they start playing with someone else. The two worlds can get entwined. But sometimes it’s time to stop playing; sometimes there are more pressing things in “the real world” and you have to step away. Maybe you’ve beaten the game, or learned all you have. Or maybe the draw of something here is just more powerful than the draw of anything in there.
I believe that the level of difference of fidelity/richness/real-ness going from a video game to the physical world where I can run on the beach and bodyboard and smooch someone I love is analogous to the difference between experiencing life in the physical, then going on after I pass into that more-real place of the afterlife.
I think that point of view, that afterlife, the not-here-in-the-physical-world point of view is more real and meaningful and rich and affecting.
Einstein said that reality was an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. This also sounds like a great video game.