Money is Greed & the Ultra-Rich are Criminals

In school I learned that humans are inherently evil. You know, Hobbes and Locke and stuff. That’s about as deep as that discussion typically goes: in the 17th century some philosophers reasoned that human nature is bent towards greed, and in all cases humans are meant to war with each other.

This philosophy is incorrect.

Hobbes and Locke lived in an era where currency was the controlling factor in society - not trade or physical braun as had been the norm since the dawn of humanity.

A man-made invention (currency) that could be accumulated or lost very briefly was dictating who was a god and who was a peasant. And so it would seem natural to view money as an extension of humanity… I mean, it’s our invention, right?

Those who participate in the money culture are greedy.

There is no arguing with that simple truth: questing for money is greed. You want some. You participate in the process of acquiring it for yourself. That is exactly what greed is.

Consider this: you are taking money away from someone else.

Wall Street has an adage that “there’s always someone on the other side of a trade”… meaning that when you buy a stock, someone is selling, and when you sell a stock, someone else is buying it. Pretty basic principal.

Let’s say you win the lottery. Congratulations, you’re rich! You’re probably thinking about everything you’re going to do with that money… how it’s going to change your life. What are you not thinking about? The millions of people whose money you just took. Sure, they spent that dollar trying to win the lottery just like you. But it doesn’t mean that they couldn’t use the money as much or more than you could.

Questing for money is greed.

Please don’t think I’m attacking those of us (myself included) who play by the rules in order to try to earn money to support ourselves and our families. It’s a very unfortunate consequence of living in our present day society that humans have no choice but to participate in capitalism.

It was recently mandated that every US citizen be required to purchase health insurance by law. While universal health care is a wonderful benefit of citizenship, this measure struck me as perhaps the first time it was legally required that every citizen spend money. Think about it: never before has it been a law that you have to spend money

The collective mass of humanity participating in currency exchange is perhaps the greatest scam ever perpetrated. The truth is that all humans are citizens of the world, and as such are entitled to its bounty. Yet we live in a twisted manipulation of reality where subservience to the industrial mechanisms is the only way to meet even your basic needs.

And it all just fuels the quest of the money hoarders.

We idolize the rich. We worship them in our media, allowing them to be the gods they portend to be. Billionaires and even trillionaires exist in our society, but for what purpose? What benefit do we get from allowing the ultra-rich? There’s literally no single thing that amount of wealth can buy. Frankly, there’s no purpose to owning that much money. After a certain point, you have to ask - what is the point?

Worse yet, these people are mass murderers.

Remember, there’s always someone on the other side of the trade.

Money hoarders are preventing hundreds of millions of deserving citizens of the world from being able to live the basic life they are entitled to.

You thought I was crazy for calling the ultra-rich mass murderers. Ponder it for a minute. That conclusion isn’t even a stretch. It’s reality.

How can you knowingly quest for endless wealth when you’re depriving the world of it’s natural bounty? How can you justify money as something you earned? A bank robber earns their money just as much as the CEO of a company earns theirs. 

And every person alive has earned the right to thrive just as much as you have, you greedy fucks.

Incorporating Practice Into Your Life

When I decided to start this site, it was my intention to write something every day. I thought I’d just write whatever was on my mind every morning, on any subject (you’re most likely thankful I didn’t continue that line of thinking, otherwise you’d be reading about indie rock music and offseason baseball transactions right now).

What amazed me was that this was what came out. 

It became evident after the first couple of posts that I had a clear internal mission, so I’ve stuck with it. But it came at the cost of doing it every day.

I’ll just admit: I flat out failed at writing each morning. I aspired to do it, and my life was just too busy to allow the necessary hour of clear-minded time. Excuses and distractions kept coming up. I know, I know, writing every day was supposed to be a part of un-cluttering your life.

But I realize now that the reason I didn’t write every day wasn’t because it was hard to fit in my schedule, it’s because I’m actually not designed to just start doing something new on a daily basis. I need practice.

Doing something daily is a ritual. Doing something regularly is a practice.

As admirable as your tenacity may be, you just can’t start doing something you aspire to at the ideal capacity. It would be like a motionless car instantaneously moving at 60 mph. The laws of physics won’t allow it.

Similarly, your body/energy/spirit seems to be regulated by similar forces. I aspire to be a world-class guitarist, and the most natural way to achieve that goal would be to play as much as possible until I reach the stage of skill I’m seeking. But human beings aren’t computers that can absorb data in one download; we have a much different pattern of intaking knowledge: integrating practice into our regular routines.

If you’re looking to start something new and daily is the frequency that works for you, then disregard this advice. However, stuff just comes up. Holidays, important events, travel and visitors can easily shake up even the most well-formed daily routine. 

We have many cycles in our lives. The sun rising and setting is perhaps the most obvious and frequent of them all. You’re destined to see it hundreds of thousands of times. The week, however, is a much more fascinating cycle. History credits the Babylonians in creating it to measure the lunar cycle (approximately 28 days, which is cleanly divisible by 7), however anyone familiar with Christianity is aware that the seven-day week has even deeper mystical origins. Who knows how any of this actually connects with spirit, but the reality is that we all live our lives on a seven-day cycle.

The week is an excellent cycle for any new practice you’d like to bring into your life.

A perfect example is a very challenging practice I’ve started in the past year: fasting. A little background: there is growing thought that fasting has rejuvenative properties for both your physical and mental health. Here is a pretty thorough compilation of those thoughts. Whether you agree is irregardless to the point: I desired to start the practice of fasting, which is extremely difficult when you tend to eat, I dunno, around 3 times a day.

A 24-hour fast is a highly recommended technique: you eat dinner, and then fast the following day up until dinner time. So you’re eating a full meal and getting the nutrients you need, but also allowing yourself time for your systems to do a little maintenance. If you’re not used to it, it also makes you ridiculously hungry, sleepy, and lethargic. It’s not an easy feat to accomplish, making it through a fasting day.

So naturally this is not something I should just start doing every day, only eating dinner and fasting the rest of the time. That would be amazingly brutal, especially for someone who is just starting out.

A much better way to practice is to try it out weekly.

For some reason I tend to like doing it on Fridays. Not sure why, but it’s worked out that way. I love the benefits of it, and in just a couple of weeks I became incredibly used to the effects. I find my fasting day to be spiritual, reflective, and a very good day for learning.

Integrating something challenging into my weekly routine was much more comfortable than interrupting my daily routine. And while each day of my life can be completely different from each other, it’s not likely that my weekly routine will be shaken up too much at any given point, even when I’m traveling or have a lot of work.

Over time, if I desire to increase my practice of anything, I have the freedom to do that. Life is about acquiring experiences, and improving the self can dramatically enhance both the quantity and the quality of those experiences.

Improving the self is fueled by practice.

Not Getting What You Want

I try listening closely to my instincts. I love that it’s completely undefinable where your “instincts” come from — is it programmed into your DNA? Is it your subconscious learning and growing from your experiences? Are you tapping into collective thought???

However it works, my instincts are incredible at telling me what I want and when I want it. Sure, the low-hanging fruit here is being hungry, sleepy, needing to use the bathroom, you know, the basics

But recently since I’ve been trying to tune into my instincts more and more, I realize that I’m getting additional messages about what I need. These are more along the lines of how I should be spending my time. Go for a run it says. Pick up the guitar and write a song. Sit down and write out the thoughts you’re having.

So beyond basic self-maintenance, it seems like I’m getting instructions on how to find clarity, happiness, and fulfillment as an individual. I know that I’m doing something right when my whole heart tells me that is the case. Lately there are many times I’m aware of this.

But we live in a physical reality shared with others, who have their own plans. Many times you’re getting a feeling about what you’d like, yet it contradicts what you’re “supposed” to be doing. 

This feeling causes great anguish inside of me. Right now as I write this, I’m thinking about some work that I need to get done. However, my instincts are telling me something different. It says that spending the entire day laboring over this report I need to create is not what I should be doing. It wants me to walk away altogether.

But there are people depending on me.

This will always be the case. Your heart will tell you what to do, and pretty much all the time it’s going to be a clear contradiction to what society tells you to do. Case in point - does your heart tell you to put on business attire, commute downtown and push paper around all day every day? 

It seems like our society is in direct contrast to human nature. And as a result, frequently you are not going to get what you want.

"That’s life" they say.

Actually, that’s your life. 

I certainly aspire to be a productive cog in the human society machine. But my path to that production doesn’t take the route it’s “supposed” to.

To start, it looks a lot like me waking up every morning and spending time on myself: yoga, meditation, exercise, writing…

But the way things are right now, there definitely isn’t time for all — or frequently any — of that. I wake up with work and making money on my mind.

This weekend I aspired to do all that stuff, so I could get what I needed in preparation for a week of just giving myself over to work. Didn’t happen. Instead, my wife needed my help cleaning out our guest room to be ready for a guest we can coming in a few weeks.

I told her what I needed, but she was stressed about the situation and I agreed to help. It ate about 2-3 hours from my day, and as a result I wasn’t able to exercise or spend any time on meaningful inward-focused thought.

Not getting what you want is hard, and even worse, it produces negative emotions.

There was this one ridiculous time a year or two ago when I really desired a cheeseburger but couldn’t get it. That’s silly, right? Who would be upset that they couldn’t eat exactly what they wanted? I felt like a child having a tantrum. I tried to keep it inside because it was pretty embarrassing. I was genuinely feeling complex emotions. But I had to face the situation: I was irrationally upset because I wasn’t getting what I wanted.

Sadly, there is no solution (that I’m aware of) for getting what you want all the time. No, being rich doesn’t solve the problem. Likewise, quitting your job and just doing what you feel like all day, while it sounds attractive, is also not a solution.

We are destined to miss getting what we want constantly. It would  simply be mathematically impossible for everyone to get what they want all the time… there would be no balance in it. One person getting what they want has repercussions… namely someone else not getting what they want.

It seems like half the time, you’re not going to get what you want. If you were to make a chart of this, it would probably look something like this:

image

This is one of the ultimate lessons in life: enjoy your bliss, come to terms with your disappointment, and understand that even when you don’t get what you want, there is an important balance at work.

Some refer to it as karma

Know that your anguish will soon become joy, and vice versa. Understand that getting what you want will soon become lacking what you need. 

Once you can see things from this perspective, it becomes incredibly easy to rationalize not getting what you want, even the things you want deep down inside.

Realize that in all situations you are getting what you want: you’re alive. For now.

Infectious Energy

One morning I woke up in a horrible mood for pretty much no reason. I remembered going to sleep feeling pleased, and I didn’t have any bad dreams from what I could tell.

Yet I felt miserable! I literally wanted to punch something; I was upset, sad, and angry.

It was only when I opened the curtains that I realized what was going on. I lived in a first-floor apartment in Brooklyn, and at this moment there was a tremendous amount of people in a close proximity to me.

The sky had opened up and rain was pouring down like it was a monsoon. The subway must have been out, because there were hundreds of people scurrying down the street, only a few with umbrellas, many with newspapers covering their heads in a futile attempt to stay dry. Everyone looked miserable.

This was my first live demonstration of the physical effects of other people’s energy. I was clearly swept up in the emotions these people were feeling at that moment.

Energy is contagious, and it seems like everywhere we go in society, someone is effecting ours.

Realize that you are constantly getting swept up in other people’s energy. It’s why everyone laughs at a comedy club, why everyone runs in terror from a disaster, and why you feel miserable when going through airport security. It’s also why human beings are capable of feeling sympathy. Pretty important.

But there are also many times that people try to purposefully effect your energy. 

No example of this is more obvious than the relationship between a manager and their employees. Millions of fortunate, deluded people mistakenly think that a job title gives them power over another person. And as a population we’ve all bought into the perception, so it manifests itself as reality. Your boss sees their social status as truth when it’s merely a charade, yet because of this belief they are able to project some insane energy towards those they feel are subordinate. 

I’m not suggesting that your boss is a sorcerer — rather that the things they say and their physical behavior originates from a subconscious place with the intention to modify the way you think and act.

Frankly, I see it an one of the worst epidemics facing humanity today. How crazy is it that billions around the world are imprisoned behind a thought?

The epidemic certainly ins’t limited to the workplace. People put out all different kinds of energies. There’s a common theme to all of the negative ones, though, a clear message being putting out.

It says I am better than you.

You know about it. The message is laced in every interaction you have with certain people. It can come from a friend of a friend who doesn’t like you (but maybe acts like they do). That rival you have who is just as skilled as you (maybe even better). People you don’t know but come into contact with randomly. Another driver who is frustrated because you’re only going 10mph over the speed limit. People in your everyday commercial interactions.

You are constantly in contact with people who are sharing negative or controlling energy with you. 

The term energy is a pretty generic misnomer for the phenomenon where there appears to be an unseen connection between independent objects. Magnetism is probably more appropriate. Either way, it can be nearly impossible to prevent yourself from participating in other people’s emotional magnetism.

My philosophy on combatting it is — don’t. You can’t. 

The only thing you can control is your own energy, and what you’re putting out to everyone else. If you’re in love with every moment, it’s going to be difficult for someone to negatively influence your energy. And of course it’s a two-way street: you’re going to effect their energy

Try focusing your positive energy on that person who is negatively influencing yours. Show them you’re an enlightened spirit and get their attention with how much love you’re directing at them.

Yes, even your asshole boss.

Heisenberg’s principal: the observer influences the observed just by looking. 

It’s real - energy is infectious. Spread some.

Could You Represent Humanity?

It’s disturbing how many people would answer no to that question and be comfortable with it.

It is fortunate then, (or unfortunate, depending on how you see it) that we don’t have a pressing need for anyone to actually represent us to another intelligent species. 

This may be a trifle of a thought, but I find it to be critical in taking stock of how I am doing as a human being. Asking if I’d be a model human isn’t about being the best human in the sense of a physical specimen. Rather, it’s about how I am living my life and whether I possess the very best qualities of an enlightened human.

I am far from passing this test, but it provides a great list of aspirations:

- Love everyone and everything unconditionally

- Compassion for others who operate out of fear, anger or hate

- Hunger for deeper understanding of the universe

- Clear-minded, unhindered by past experiences

- Takes great care of the body, eats well, exercises, meditates

- Consistently working to help others and improve life on a wide scale

- True selflessness

Ponder these qualities. Initially when I raised the idea of a person representing humanity, you probably thought about someone who has achieved great success, is an acclaimed thinker, or is a genuinely nice person. My very first thought went to Elon Musk, a man who appears to be accomplishing more physical change for good than whole civilizations have managed to in their entire existence. But Musk is able to reach his dreams because of his limitless wealth.

Only a truly accomplished person could achieve all the attributes listed above. Given the way our lives are shaped by our society and the present-day human condition, much of those qualities are nearly impossible to attain. Very few in all of human history could claim all of them.

Kinda re-adjusts your perception of success, no?

Many would read this, disagree, and then return to their ignorant bliss, plugging right back into our society where individualism and greed is rewarded.

They would scoff at the notion of themselves as a representative of humanity, and on the surface, they would be okay with it. Deep inside, however, they are incomplete, simply enjoying temporary comforts while the sands flow down the hourglass towards their departure from our shared experience.

Is there a point to life? Yes. 

Is the point to seek perfection? Yes.

Are you working on it?

There Is No Physical Success

I realized last night, for the first time in my life, that I am wildly successful. This has been a complete revelation for me, especially since I have been stressing pretty hard about getting my failing startup company to take off, and to secure a decently-paying job close to where I live — both with little luck so far.

Ever since I graduated from college and started my career, there have been rare occasions where I’ve felt successful. The rest of the time, I’ve been drowning in my own disappointment at being a failure.

It saddens me that many other people must feel this way, when none of this is important at all.

Sure, there is no fixed measure of success. However, our society is built around individual achievement in the physical realm such as doing something noteworthy or getting a great job. 

So let’s just cut the crap, what our society is really based around is how much money you can generate.

Almost everyone in the world lusts after money. It is the answer to their problems. It can buy you anything.

If you believe that last sentence, please stop reading this and seek real help.

I find it humorous that money is the end goal for most people. Are we that ignorant as a population? (The answer is yes.)

Imagine a whole room full of money, enough for you to dive in like a swimming pool. How much money is that? More than you can count or spend.

Pretend it’s yours. Does that feel like the goal? Did you achieve success?

Let’s take stock here. So far, you have a room full of paper. Can you eat it? Probably wouldn’t taste so great. Is it fun? Well, that Duck Tales-esque swim you took would probably get old after a few minutes. Will it love you? It’s just fucking paper, of course it doesn’t have emotions.

Money has nothing to offer you. It’s not the end goal. I’m amazed people don’t realize this.

Say you’re lusting after a really nice car. That’s a goal. Money is the currency you use to procure that car. See what I’m saying here - earning money is not success. Getting what you desire is.

Okay, you’re saying, but money puts a roof over my head and groceries on the table. I need it to live.

I didn’t say that money isn’t useful. I said that it’s not a measure of success, and it’s certainly not the end goal.

In fact, it’s quite possible to live your life without a need for money at all. Take a read through human history, and you’ll realize that currency has only been a part of our species’ story for a small fraction of our time on Earth. In the past, we worked together as a society to make sure everyone got what they needed. We traded goods. Along the line, some bankers, aristocrats, and kings decided that we should trade objects that have no inherent value so that it could be possible to amass great wealth.

Think about that. In a world where goods are goods and money has actual value (ie a gold coin, which is worth its weight) it would be very difficult to hoard all the world’s wealth. It would take vast armies and empires to physically accumulate all that wealth.

Today, a bunch of people who hate themselves put on a suit and go down to the stock exchange to do the very same activity. We’ve built a society around individual greed.

But that doesn’t mean that you and I and everyone in the world needs to play that game in order to survive. Sadly, people think this way and it leads to depression, desperation, and a lot of grief and violence.

Take a look at this family in Australia whose mission is to travel across the country, eating well, sleeping in beautiful places each night… without spending a single dollar.

Okay, I’m skeptical too about my own ability to live without the need for money. It’s 2014 in America, and I need gas in my car and groceries from the store. I can’t go foraging around my town for tonight’s dinner.

But the realization of this brings me something I’ve been seeking for years: a feeling of success.

By the most random of circumstances, I met the perfect partner for me. I identified the opportunity and I went for it. She brings me joy on a scale that money can barely emulate: no tangible good can bring me that much happiness.

I live exactly where I want to live. Even though we don’t have or spend much money, we eat well and have a nice place. Thanks to the internet, we can access any piece of music or filmed entertainment ever recorded.

The sun shines, my heart beats, and there are no obstacles in our way.

Now tell me, is this success? Or are those lifeless suits on Wall Street the successful ones because there are a lot of zeros in their bank account balance?

I am the most accomplished person I know. Let my failures in the physical world be part of my journey towards the real success: spiritual peace and enlightenment.

Time Only Gets Faster

When I was a kid, sitting through something I thought was boring felt like it took an interminable amount of time. Just half an hour of nothingness seemed like an eternity.

Now I’m 30, and it feels like I can blink and half an hour has gone by.

Time is cruel in that way: your perception of its passing speeds up as time goes on, yet as you get older, slowing down time is exactly what you desire.

I can’t believe the rate at which time flies. It’s daunting to me, thinking about what I’d like to accomplish in a day. 12 hours of waking day seems like a wealth of time for any task, yet rarely do I find myself feeling great about all the work I did at the end of a day.

I realize that I’ve lost control of time because my life is far too full. 

Sure I have an increasing number of little tasks that steal time away from my days, but that’s not exactly the problem.

My mind is too full. I am letting in far too much information, and my conscience spends all day processing it.

I’m simply unaware of all the work my mind is doing in the background, and it leads to time evaporating before my eyes. There’s so much I’m unaware that I’m thinking about: processing what happened yesterday, rationalizing what’s planned for today, how I’m feeling, the things I just read on Twitter or Facebook, the news, the environmental sights and sounds around me, oh look there’s a text I didn’t see from last night…

In our connected world we intake a lot of information on a daily basis, more than someone alive 100 years ago came in contact with in their entire lifetime.

Thoughts are energy, and that energy has to go somewhere. And it feels like all those thoughts are clogging up my brain, leaving little room for the important thoughts that need some space up there.

Frequently for the first hour or two of the day, I need time to be quiet and try to process everything. I feel overwhelmed, and I’m trying to get a grip on my thoughts and clear up some head space for the day. My wife seems to get a burst of energy once she’s awake and always wants to talk with me about what’s on her mind. As you can imagine, I’m not very receptive, and what she’s saying just ends up going straight into the graveyard of thoughts in the bowels of my mind.

I need to find ways to clear out my thoughts. I imagine this is what meditation brings to the table (for the record - I am still unable to meditate, but I’ll keep working at it).

But it’s getting critical. My days are flying by. I am losing money and happiness by not performing at my peak. I feel dissatisfied with my daily output and how I am spending my time.

It even bleeds into my relaxation. Right now it’s a long holiday weekend, but I have a militaristic feeling about how I’m spending my time. Only 36 hours of free time left! Better get busy, and cram in all those things I wanted to do!

I think the important first step is to breathe. Seriously. I’m just going to sit here and breathe for a couple minutes.

Literally as I did that, I could feel my heart racing. I am just sitting here writing, not exactly an aerobic exercise. My body is stressed. I imagine yours is too, even if you feel like “things are great.”

We are getting bombarded with stresses all the time.

Let’s defy this paradigm. Your health and well-being is what’s important. Not what’s on Twitter, and not what your boss just e-mailed you. The point of life is living.

And if time feels like it’s speeding by out of control, you might not be living it the way your body wants.

That’s certainly the case for me. 

Harboring Resentment

One of the hardest challenges I face is to rise above resentment.

It’s probably harder than almost every other facet of my everyday life because it’s present all around me. Resentment for people who have done me wrong. Resentment towards people whom I love dearly, but have let me down in some way. Resentment and jealousy towards those who have accomplished what I desire, and it seemed to come easy to them.

Sadly, I am full of resentment. It’s the biggest impediment blocking me from a sense of true joy and fulfillment.

Resentment is deeper and more powerful than an emotion, it sticks with you, clings to your bones and puts its mark on every ounce of your being. Every thought and sentence that comes out of your mouth is laced with the context of the negative experiences you can’t help but hold on to, the ones that adhere to your soul.

It doesn’t need to be this way. I am determined to expel my resentment, and confident I will succeed with the proper effort. So where to begin?

The very first step is to realize that you are resentful and to locate it. Most people are blissfully unaware that they are harboring resentment deep within themselves, and are happy to just let it manifest itself accordingly into their personality. It’s not hard to see this playing itself out in many people, especially those who routinely display arrogance or disapproval of others.

I didn’t realize I was holding onto so much resentment until it occurred to me recently. Sure, I was aware of the ways I felt people did me wrong: my girlfriend who cheated on me and then didn’t come clean for years, my friends who knew about it and didn’t tell me; my father who started a new family as soon as I left the house and made me feel abandoned/alienated, the partners in my business venture that promised me support and then bailed as soon as we ran up against adversity, the HR person hiring a dream position that I was perfect for but they hired someone else instead…

And that’s just the top-level stuff. What’s even deeper down inside is minutiae from my childhood that I can’t even recollect. And even worse, I realize I’m resentful towards myself. I am disappointed and mad that I couldn’t accomplish my ambitions — I have let myself down on many occasions.

While this all sounds like a deep dive into some truly negative feelings and emotions, coming to terms with all this resentment is actually quite freeing. Try it out. Start with your resentment towards yourself. Surely everyone possesses it in some form: at its most basic, resentment for not looking the way you want, not being skinny, strong, or talented the way you desire. The more you put conscious energy into it, the more you realize that shit, our society does nothing but promote resentment towards ourselves and each other.

Absolutely, I’m jealous of others who have succeeded in things I tried but failed. As much as I want to have no part of these feelings or emotions, it’s nearly impossible to see an wealthy person enjoying the spoils of their affluence and not wish that you possessed that as well.

But this is good, being aware of this ever-present resentment is excellent! The rest of the world will continue to live their lives with hatred, fear and jealousy, not fully conscious of how these poisons bubble up to the surface and blend together with their behaviors.

But you and I, we have taken the first step and come to terms with the fact that human beings are jealous and petty, and that we’re mad at the people who have hurt us, done us wrong, or have more than we do. 

These emotions need to be felt. And processed. Once they’re at the forefront of your mind, you can decide what to do with it.

I am seeking to rid myself of resentment, so when I’ve uncovered one of these feelings I will try to find a conclusion if possible.

I realize that in many cases where someone has hurt me, an apology would go a long way. If you’re reading this and you’re one of the people I mentioned earlier in the post, consider this. Apologizing to me isn’t about right versus wrong and admitting culpability. It’s not about feeling bad for causing some hurt, or even clearing your conscience. It is about giving me the opportunity to find a conclusion for my resentment; the simple understanding that you acknowledge your actions caused pain is enough for me to subconsciously begin to question whether this pain is worth hanging on to.

Obviously, eliciting an apology from everyone that has done you wrong is not exactly within the realm of possibility. I’m sure in most cases you never want to interact with that person again. It could be easy to just try to forget them and move on with your life. But it won’t cure your resentment.

Face it. Understand it. Seek a conclusion as best you can. Can’t talk to the person directly? Write about it or talk with a friend about it. Get it out of your system.

I see holding on to resentment as parasites feeding on a host. There is a point where too much of it can completely overcome you.

There is no concrete answer to how to cleanse yourself of resentment. But there is a concrete answer to what would happen if you do.

You could accomplish anything.

Never Thought I’d Be Into Praying

Since as long as I can remember, I have been the least religious person I know. In fact, it would be safe to say that most of my life I’ve been anti-religious

So it’s somewhat shocking that I’ve felt very drawn to prayer lately.

If you’re agnostic, who are you praying to? Great question. I am not praying to an interventionist god with hopes that he/she/it grants me what I am praying for. Not to ridicule those who do that particular activity, mind you. In fact, I find so much value in praying as a means of focusing your energy, that I implore everyone to spend some time praying — even if your beliefs are lunacy based on terribly-translated ancient works of fiction.

Praying is a great activity, very reminiscent of conscious meditation. Instead of trying to tune everything out, you are instead trying to tune into just one thing and focus on it with everything you’ve got. This can be incredibly powerful. Granted, I am not advocating prayer as a means of manifesting the things you desire, or curing an ailment. Instead, those benefits could be side effects of your focused energy.

Advances in quantum physics has brought us a great mystery of existence: nothing is actually there. At the molecular level, we can watch particles appear and disappear. Quite literally, a sub-atomic particle is present and then not present. (Here’s an interesting discussion about this) Where does it go? And how do we perceive everything we see as solid when in fact it is a bunch of atoms dancing to the same frequency?

Do the things we can’t perceive with our senses — thoughts & emotions — also have a physical manifestation in reality?

Many people believe that they do. I am undecided, however my prayer routine draws largely from this theory. Called the “law of attraction,” the notion that thoughts are energy has become popularized by the successful documentary The Secret, which I have not actually seen. However, I’ve read some very interesting stuff on the subject and I am open to the postulation that not only are thoughts made of tangible energy, but that thought can be used to attract other energy.

It doesn’t take a quantum physicist to tell you that much of this theory is true. Take, for example, a child who grows up within a very wealthy family. Growing up, he never struggles with having the means to accomplish his goals. And when he is an adult and financially independent, he is likely to accomplish his own wealth and career success. Why? Because he possesses the confidence to do so. All his experience has told him that he can achieve whatever he wants, and so even without the safety net of his family’s wealth, that child is likely to achieve. Sadly, this seems true of people without much wealth: their mindset is that it is incredibly difficult to achieve.

Okay, so back to prayer. I don’t like asking for things when I pray - it feels like it’s defeating the purpose. I am not praying in order to receive everything that I desire. Rather, I pray the same way a battery uses a charger. I am storing up focused energy in order to fill myself with the thoughts and emotions I need to accomplish my goals.

Remember: they call it the “law of attraction.” Successful thoughts can bring success. With this logic, begging or wishing for things to happen will bring… more wishing.

I focus on gratitude. There is nothing else I do when I pray. I fold my hands in the stereotypical way because it lets it be known to myself and anyone else who is watching — yep, I’m praying. And then I try to open up a connection with the Isness, similar to meditation. Everything in the universe is operating at the same frequency, and I do my best to attune to it. I don’t speak, and I try my hardest not to think with language. I’m not saying inside my head “Dear Isness, thank you for bringing me such amazing opportunities,” but rather I am connecting with the energy of the exact things for which I am grateful by thinking of them. Remember, thought is energy (perhaps!).

There is no forethought to my prayer, it just kinda happens. I’m always thankful for my wife and for having the greatest partnership imaginable. I think about our comforts, the amazing part of the world we get to live in and explore. The tricky part is dealing with the parts of my life that need to improve. At the moment, I am stuck in a dead end with my career and searching for the right opportunity to get back on track. It’s been very challenging, especially since I moved away from a “top tier” city a couple years ago, and there is a lack of opportunity where I live for my chosen profession. Yet, I am still grateful. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had already, I’m grateful for my skills and my knowledge… and I’m grateful for being able to experience the fun mystery of not knowing what will come next. That’s the only way to look at it. Right now I don’t have the job I desire. Tomorrow, perhaps I will. Getting to that point will be fun, and not knowing right at this moment is part of that fun (or at least it will seem fun later when looking back). Either way I am grateful. Why?

Because feeling gratitude for the things I presently have can attract more gratitude.

I realize something even deeper: what I long for in life isn’t exactly money, or a great career, or even physical things. It’s gratitude! The byproduct of happiness.

I’ve been praying regularly (once or twice a week for about 10 minutes) for a couple of weeks. I like to do it at a particular spot I feel has some powerful energy, on top of a small mountain where I go hiking regularly.

I’ll check back in after a while and let you know if it’s worked out or not…

Dogs Have No Goal

My wife and I recently adopted a dog, which has led me to an unprecedented amount of time spent at the dog park. Watching dogs play is a fascinating glimpse into the shared reality of a lower level of consciousness. 

It struck me yesterday as my dog was chasing two shepherds in a large circle, running around and around endlessly: there is no goal when dogs play

Now I’m jealous. Of dogs. Besides the obvious ways in which their life is superior to a human’s — sleeping all day, getting taken care of with no responsibility to provide — they also don’t have any goals, long or short-term.

What a mistake us humans make by thinking the opposite way. We strive every day of our lives towards a goal. If you’re poor, your goal is likely to get rich. The sick want to be healthy, the ugly want to be beautiful, and deep down all of us aspire to something beyond the simple enjoyment of here and now. What a terrible curse!

It seems in many ways that we’re programmed to desire. Is it just a condition of operating at our level of consciousness, much higher than a dog or any other animal on Earth? Or have we been programmed as a society with an inability to take immense satisfaction from the present moment?

When my dog gets to the dog park, she immediately runs off to start playing with the closest dog she can find. Watching her intently move from dog to dog, trying to find some action, it’s easy to realize that there’s not much she’s thinking about. Every ounce of her focus is on what’s happening now. There are no nagging sub-thoughts being processed in her mind throughout the day… did I leave my favorite toy under the couch?  I’m scared my owner will find out that I knocked over the water bowl…   What if he takes off without me and I’m abandoned here?  The dog isn’t thinking any of these things. But placed in the same situation, a human would. 

The dogs bare their teeth and pounce on each other in a playful back-and-forth that has no rules. There is no end game, no winner crowned by being the best fighter. There is nothing to achieve. Sure, the bigger, more aggressive dogs assert their dominance, but not with winning a game in mind.

Animals are free from the bonds of responsibility, worry about the future, and having goals.

Lucky dog.