Friday, 23 September 2016

Reflections on Desires and Dreams


     What are our dreams made of?

     By dreams, I mean those states of existence we aspire to achieve; dreams of things we want to own, places we want to go, the people we want to be.

     I once read about something called the Scanner Personality, the Renaissance Soul, and I connected with that and felt that finally I found a slot into which I can categorize myself rather than feeling adrift and lost and out of place. Whether this personality or soul is a correct and accurate and valid definition or not is not of importance here. What is important that I tell you that for all my life I have jumped from liking things, wanting things and dreaming about things like a rabbit; I hop from one topic, one idea, one dream to another, pursue fiercely and with gusto, dissecting it, learning it, internalizing it. And then dropping it. When I latch onto a new hobby or interest, I see myself doing it for life, for a living, defining myself by it, and after reaching some kind of point of critical mass, it's out of system. Things lose momentum too fast for me to comprehend.

     The concept of the Scanner Personality or the Renaissance Soul helped me understand that this is supposed to be normal and that for such kind of a person it's not a matter of mastering something or taking it to the extent of where that road would lead, but more about achieving something that your heart needed; simply getting it out of your system.

     With every interest I have pursued something has always stayed with me. Sometimes those interests remained and became a big part of my life and who I am. That's mainly the only way that I know how one thing or the other means more to me.

     So, now you have that background, this brings me to the topic I am tackling now, what are our dreams made of? In other words, when we want something so bad, how do we know that this is REAL? That this is our TRUTH? And not just some transient, temporary infatuation?

     This question is so much more difficult to answer with people who are like myself and are characterized by the description I laid out above, because for us we believe so strongly in one things and in our desire to pursue it and at the time it feels so real, so right. But there is always a good chance that at some point, when one hits that elusive critical mass, it's out of one's system, and it would have been a very bad idea to invest too much time or money pursuing that direction; pursuing that dream.

     But what is a "very bad idea"? If one just lives life as it comes, and deals with the feelings, desires, and dreams as they come, is that such a "very bad idea"? I'll postpone tackling that question for a while just now. Before that, let me return to the point of what our dreams are made of. We shed some light on the confusion about the nature and authenticity of the dreams and desires of a "scanner personality", but want about the other types, the so-called "normal" people?

     In my experience their lives are both much easier but in my opinion also sad. Because these people are not confused by how fast their minds and hearts shift from one direction to the other, they mostly concentrate on one thing or a few specific things that they pursue for the entirety of their lives. Achieving those things or not is not the point, but things are clear for them. Relatively clearer at least.

     The reason I feel sad for them, is that since their desires and dreams are few and specific and they remain as such for most of their lives, they do not get the urge to question the origin of those desires. How did they get them in the first place? Why do they want these things and not something else? Usually when asked, they are quick to give answers that are logical and rational and make perfect sense to them, and to most people. But if one listens closely, one will begin to find, hidden inside those answers, echoes of the desires of those people's parents and families, friends and colleagues. Also, most of the time, their desires lie close by, just out of reach to make them a challenge but close enough that achieving them, one day seizing them, is not such an absurd outlandish dream.

     People usually want things that make sense but still make for a good chase, a good challenge.

     Now, here we come to the next important point to tackle. For the scanner type, what happens is that he or she gets exposed to something and that something ignites a desire to ingest and internalize as much as possible of that thing, following the path all the way to its conclusion; of turing that thing into a profession, or moving to live somewhere for example. These kind of flash ignitions of the heart and mind happen so frequently that that type of person, such as myself, starts to question the authenticity of everything. For a more normal personality, the dreams and desires that remain constant for most of their lives, even if influenced by society, peers and families, probably are still rooted in some old experiences that created that same ignition in their hearts and minds. The difference is that in these cases, in most of the cases, these instances are more subtle rather than flashes of passion, and happen at a younger age, that they embed themselves into one's psyche and years later he or she believes that these are his or hers true desires and dreams.

     To attempt to reach a conclusion, I will now address the next logical point; from all the rationale already detailed, no matter what type of personality one is, desires and dreams come from moments when one thing rather than another, embeds itself in your mind and heart and moves you to want to acquire it, be it, live it. That moment can be very frequent and always changing and the desire it creates is burning, or it can be subtle and creeps into your mind and soul and clings their for the rest of your life. Now the point is, why would that type of moment not be considered REAL or AUTHENTIC? What are we if not the collective effects of different moments and experiences that we have passed through? If one would eliminate all the consequences or effects of all special moments in one's life, what would he be left with?

     In the end we should differentiate between a few things. For any person, one should make sure that what he or she wants is the result of a true experience lived and not the attempts of others to get one to conform to their own ideals; not to live out other people's dreams, but one's own. If a desire or dream is a result of an experience, one of those special moments, that embed themselves in our heart, then by all means pursue it. But if that "moment", that "experience" is no more than a time when fathers, mothers, families, friends, peers, were just spilling their own beliefs into your head, then it is up to you to choose to make that your own or refuse it. That of course will all depend on the fact that you can remove yourself enough out of the picture to be able to see it for what it truly was.

     And for those, who like myself, experience these moments time and again, with that flash of passion that may soon fade. I want to believe that these moments are still what make us who we are, and eliminating them or their effects and consequences would be refusing to accept who we really are. But the challenge always is that life, family, jobs and what have you, rarely move at the same pace; the world as we live it in the twenty first century doesn't always keep up, and we are usually forced to choose to pursue one dream and drop another.

Friday, 13 May 2016

A Life in Pieces

A life in pieces

Birth. Screaming. Washed. Suckling for the first time.
Tiny outfits. Small bathtub. Small bed. Small everything.
Colours. Sounds. Faces. Mum and Dad.
Tongue. Tastes. Hands grabbing. Legs kicking. All fours, crawling.
Standing up. Cheering. Falling down. Laughter. Hugs. Happiness. Safety.

Noises. Repeated. Repeated. Repeated.
Same noises. Copied, imitated. Mum happy. Dad proud.
Little plastic humans. Little plastic animals. Little plastic everything. A miniature life.
Stuffed cartoon people. Stuffed cartoon animals. Stuffed cartoon everything. A soft life.
“Stop!”, “Don’t!”, “Watch out!”. A safe life.

Uniforms. Desks. Boards.
Books. Pencils. Tests.
Parents. Teachers. Coaches.
“Don’t!”, “Stop!”, “Watch out!”. A proper life.

Shouting. Crying. Sulking. Shouting. Banging. Screaming. Sulking. Talking, talking, talking.
Heart quickening. Stomach twisting. Life brightening.
Heart breaking. Stomach retching. Life over.

Choose. Decide. Produce.
Make money. Make a family. Make up your mind.
Married. Single. Tied. Free. Job. No job. Career. No career.
Confusion. Envy. Not happy.
Birth. Screaming. Tired. Holding your baby the first time.
Happiness, hope, the future.
Family. Responsibility.
Safety. Security.
Blood pressure. Cholesterol. No salt.

Counting. Waiting. Looking back.
Tired. Weak. Exhausted.
Tongue, not tasting. Hands, twisted. Legs not moving.
People gathering. Blanket pulled up. Crying
Gently. Being respectful.
Silence. Blackness. Space.
Seeing? Hearing? Sensing?
Here, or not? Gone, or not?

What is this?

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

The Secret: The Law of Attraction

Update: Please read this and keep it mind as you read the original post, then link it to the NOTE I left at the bottom.

 "اعقلها وتوكل"
muslims know what this means and for non-muslims or non-Arabic speakers it is translated roughly into, (prepare and then have faith.)

I'm writing this and I trust it will find its way to the right people who either need to read it or will help me understand it more.

The first time I read the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne I was not a fan. In fact I hated it. I now realize that I was not ready to for it yet. My impulse at this moment is to tell you that this post will contain talk of things that you could deem to mushy and touchy-feely but I will not say it. Then again, I just did. Anyway, if you feel compelled to continue reading, know that I too, in this moment, am feeling compelled to write for you. And here is my question:

If our thoughts are the starting point of manifesting anything and everything into physical existence, then what do we do about books and TV? And by TV I mean movies, good movies, the artistic, really deep and thought-provoking type, and also TV series. These two buckets of...stuff, I really like and consume a lot of, but now I am thinking, if I want to read a really good book but that is kind of depressing, how can I stop other depressing events from manifesting in my day?

Now that I write it I guess it sounds kind of lame surrendering your whole existence to your thoughts and that feeling of being powerless just doesn't feel right. Then gain, it's the belief in the strength of this Law of Attraction that got me, and maybe you too, here in the first place. And according to those who have spoken on this topic before, and I believe them now, the Law is in effect anyway whether we believe it or not.

I feel myself slowing down and starting to intellectualize things too much, so I'll try to get myself back in the zone that started me on this post.

Our thoughts are the seed, the starting point of manifesting our very lives around us.
Control our thoughts and hold onto and focus on positive thoughts, the thoughts of what we want our lives to be and we shall have it.
How to enjoy great art, that could provoke undesirable thoughts, or bring to the forefront of our minds images of things we do not want in our actual lives?
The answer I am thinking of is that those, and i hope I can count myself one of them, who have the fortitude of mind to hold onto their desirable thoughts in a conscious manner, should be able, through that same power of mind, to enjoy art, assimilate it, and distill it and transform the experience of that art, even it at the moment it was not in line with their desirable thoughts and translate that experience in and of itself into something that fits with their own narrative.

I trust that if you were supposed to read this and if it arrived in your life at the right time that you will take away from it what you need.

Note: After I finished writing the original post and as I was googling a picture (the one I used at the top here) to add to my post (I hope this is not infringement or anything) I came across a YouTube video that talks about why The Secret aka The Law of Attraction is bullshit. First, for me, I believe that the fact that I found that video before I publish this post and how it drove me to add this note and the update above speaks more in favour of The Secret than anything else. The video and probably anyone else who argues that this is "bullshit" in my opinion has understood it in not quite the right way. It's not about ignoring your problems or burying your head in the sand or not going to a doctor because you can think your way into better health. No, it's just like the saying of Prophet Mohamed that I quoted at the top "Prepare and then have faith". I really don't think I can make it any clearer so I'll stop right here.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Nothing Exceeds Like Excess

     Why do we like pushing ourselves to the limit?

     If we crave adventure, why is the more dangerous the better?
     If we like horror, why is the scarier the better?
     If, if, if, if.

     Why is excess a good thing?

     I know that our first impulse, our defensive conscious minds, our neo cortex, would jump out and indignantly deny that accusation. Who ever said excess is a good thing?! How dare you include us in what is apparently the desires of a tired disturbed mind in the late hours after midnight?!

     Well, if you really think that we, collectively, humans and inhabitants of the modern world, do not crave excess, of everything, then close this page and move on.

     However, if you are still reading, then first allow me to applaud you for having the courage to confront yourself with me. Come stand by my side, and let's look ourselves in the mirror.

     As I write these sentences I realize that this may be too big a topic to tackle in one post. I am actively considering saving this post and using it later as a starter for a bigger essay. I even admit right now that these past few sentences are like fillers so I can get a chance to think of what I'm going to do with this topic. But fear not, I shall not abandon you my courageous reader who has come this far.

     I've been moved to write this piece by a feeling I have had over the past few weeks of wanting to do more of anything just to push myself to a limit. I also realize now that when people read this, those who know me might start getting some wrong ideas about what I was pushing myself to do. To those I say, first, "Hi, how are you?" and second, do not worry, I still have the same defensive conscious mind and neo cortex that conforms to society and prevents me from following my baser instincts. At least stops me from anything deemed by society to be too stupid. But hey, you've read this far, so you probably know what I am talking about. So don't judge me. Just continue reading and reflect.

     The urge I have been having is to push my limits. Stay up as late as I can, work out as hard as I can, continuously read for as long as I can. Reading back, I can see that my limits are pretty nerdy, but you get the point.

     People inflict pain on themselves, do drugs, drink alcohol, gamble, all within limits. Until they go over the limits.

     I can pop open another window on this computer and search for "different ways people push their limits", but I won't do that because a) this isn't about presenting well-researched facts, if you call using Google research. b) I would come up with too many examples to include here, and c) you, my target audience, probably already know what I'm talking about.

     We all want to do something out of and over the ordinary, the ordinary being what we've been used to all our lives and what is considered within normal limits by society. I notice how many times I have used the word "Society". Note to self: Gotta check that out. We all want to see how far we could go. Is it only a matter of testing ourselves or does it give us some gratification? From my nerdy urges, I'd say there's gratification we seek.

     Another reason I believe that pushing the limits makes us feel good, is how much we like to watch bad guys on screen. If what we see on the movies is shown to us on the evening news, we cringe, we feel sick, pray that the guy/girl get what they deserve. I agree with that, we are not animals, and we need maintain our civility to survive, progress and not get swept away by chaos. But that's the thing, all the movies and TV shows show us that when push comes to shove and the apocalypse comes (floods, fire, nuclear, zombies or otherwise), Man will be the most dangerous thing out there. I mean just watch The Walking Dead.

     The same things that we see on the news and condemn, are the things we pay money to see in the movies. We watch with our eyes fixed on the screen and although our neo cortex tells us to feel happy that the bad guy got what he deserved in the end, between point A at the beginning of the movie and point B where the guy/gal goes to jail/dies there's a whole lot of dead bodies, blood, explosions, torture, tricks, cheating, stealing, drug dealing, drug using and a whole spectrum of "wrong" things that we pay and sit to see. And enjoy.

     I mean, millions of people have tuned in to watch The Sopranos every week for years, and that's just one example because it's an example I like. We watch to see what's going to happen, will Tony Soprano (or any other villain of your choice) receive their Karmic justice? But let's admit it, we still liked Tony Soprano, he was entertaining, he was cool. We liked Don Corleone and his son Michael. And yes, I like Mafia stories. We still liked Tony Montana, Walter White, Colonel Hans Landa and Jules Winnfield.

     In the end, I don't have an answer as to why we like excess? Why do we like to push ourselves? And why do we like the fictional characters who can do it and look cool? I just know we do. I know that deep down we are animals operating on instinct and that if our neo cortex, our conscious minds, our societal rules fall apart or get put on hold for a moment, it will be a moment where we will run free to see how far our limits go. And it won't be pretty.

Or is it just me?