Fully Being

Winner: 2016’s Blog of the Year #7

Depression is when you feel a long way away from your greatest self. Feeling great is when you feel in strong alignment with experience and sensation. The rewarding feelings happen when you are so busy taking in the world and offering your nature within it that you simply have no leftover life energy to put into thinking an ego-identity into existence.

911 Relax and Succeed - Follow your blissWe are not musicians in this metaphor. There is no gap between player and playing. Rather than thinking you’re struggling with broken strings or no instrument at all; we are all like musical chords floating through space, the quality of our tuning always depending on what parts of the universe we’re exposed to at that time.

It’s important to remember that the musical scales are born out of cultures just like our thinking is. That’s why music from some parts of the world will sometimes appear off-key to you. It’s not, it’s just your frame of reference; as though you’re looking to divide an inch down into quarter-inches but you only have a ruler with millimetres and centimetres. Nothing’s wrong, you just can’t divide reality up to match someone else’s perception. This is why things like understanding tend to help cultures relate and why the more people know a culture the more they’ll be comfortable with it.

Despite all of this there are some humans who can travel far and wide and like Buddhas they are understood everywhere they go. It’s as though their language is universal. They can relate to any scale you play. They are open, and playful and they are both meeting and leading you simultaneously because for them there is no you and them, there is only being. What people see as impressive is really simply someone Fully Being.

911 Relax and Succeed - You look ridiculousTwo excellent examples of this were David Bowie and Prince. I’ve written about them both before because their fame and lengthy success was directly tied to a special kind of spiritual success. Their drive to do what they did was them carefully listening to and acting upon that inner voice that we all have. It does not mean they avoided failures or challenges or hassles. But it does mean they lived fully, adding a great deal to the book of humanity.

If they thought up an outfit they made it or had it made. If they thought of a dance move they performed it in front of huge audiences. If they thought of a new song they presumed it had value and they pursued and developed it with the zeal of a palaeontologist, removing everything unnecessary until they were left with only the truth of the universe.

If they felt out of tune they sought out collaborators like themselves–people open and free who would meet them in that strange place outside society’s current thoughts. And any human can see that they are fully and thoroughly engaged in what they’re doing. Despite having enormous fame, that fame was always a result of their passions rather than being generated by going off track due to things like ego.

911 Relax and Succeed - Let yourself beThe strange thing is that you know people who do this very close to your life. Maybe they parent with the zeal, enthusiasm and heart of Prince. Maybe they do their job as well as Bowie did his. Maybe they’re a fantastic friend that seems both more helpful and less needy than any others. Maybe you feel that way about math, or architecture, or cement, or carpentry, or cooking, or even learning something bizarre and minor. Maybe you travel with that light in you. And it never matters how many people harmonise at any given time–it’s only about how pure that connection is.

You have dance moves you save for when you’re alone. Your singing voice is loudest when you’re in the car by yourself. You have ideas you’re too scared to share. You have aspects of yourself you keep hidden. You have fears about judgment. And so rather than living with the zeal of your heroes, instead you are like a religious person who worships someone else’s journey rather than taking your own.

You deny the divine qualities in yourself. You’re life isn’t unsatisfying because of failures or a lack of ability, you’re life is unsatisfying because you aren’t living yourself out large. You’re living in corrals and fences of words and ideas and because you believe in them you are hemmed in, constrained, confined and committed to stay in line.

911 Relax and Succeed - If you limit your choicesIt’s important to remember those fences are made of thought. Bowie ignored them. Prince ignored them. And you can too. They walked right through them and toward their real life. Yes, they got famous and we all know them. But what we recognise in them is our own greatest self, and so if we’re to pay homage to these inspiring souls, then the best way to do it would be to immediately become bold about your own life.

Forget the need to align yourself with others or society. You can still do that after you’re fully realised. But society will always make room when it recognises greatness, whether that person is a famous musician or just a kid who says they want to be an astronaut. So start asking yourself about your actual dreams. And once you remember them, forget your ego’s concerns about judgment and you’ll stop creating a fearful, tired, unsatisfied you and that will leave you free to live your life in full.

You don’t have to be on stage and famous to lead an inspired and exciting life. Whether you’re writing a letter, collecting stamps or raising your kid, you simply need to trust yourself and act on what you truly know. Are you ready? Let’s go.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Artificial Intelligence

There are justifiable moral and ethical concerns over the rapid development of artificial intelligence. Even the world’s experts agree that there is a lot that is unknown and yet progress plows forward regardless. I find the whole comparison of humans and computers fascinating.

679 Relax and Succeed - I think therefore I amBy the time computers came into my life I had been studying the human brain for 20 years for over 10 hours a day, so when people suggested that computers would be smarter than people by the late 90’s I knew they were grossly underestimating the incredibly complex permutations and combinations that are created by the fantastic network in our brain. As computers got better so did brain scans and now the brain seems much more like the fantastic instrument of deduction that it is, and yet there is a lot of speculation about when/whether or not a computer will ever match the human mind. But a computer won’t be able to do that. But there is another factor.

That factor is the internet. And I don’t mean the web—not the surface part of it that you use every day. I mean the big machine underneath all of that. The thing that makes the web possible. Anything with an IP address is a part of this giant worldwide system. It goes into space and and it goes underground. It moves and it sits still. Most of the world carries it around in their pocket every single day. Now we’re talking about something that can rival a human mind. Because it essentially would be a humanesque “mind” but one with near-flawless memory and a recollection of things from even before it was born. This challenges our idea of what it is to be conscious.

What I’m saying is that you process the world very systematically. That is the logic of your psyche. Your psych-ology. You feed in experiences and you process it a certain way and you get a fairly consistent result—sometimes known as our habits, or even so far as to say our personality. For instance some people pass almost everything through their anger circuit, others barely turn it on. But people say that creativity is the real difference between humans and machines. But these ideas are actually mythical if we look at the creative process 679 Relax and Succeed - The unreal is more powerfulextremely closely. Our world is constructed using laws that work differently at each level (subatomic, Newtonian etc.). So when we think, we think in channels much like computers. We can only travel down paths already charted in principle.

When it comes to getting something from nothing—even in the deepest depths of creativity humans don’t actually go and get shiny brand new new ideas from nowhere. We process the world to get them. Creative people float above the circuits in their brain. They light up a bunch of unrelated areas and wait for a spark. Even the most amazing human idea was still built entirely on the Buddhist idea of causality. Without a bunch of other people inventing a language for you to think your thoughts in, or the people who created the computers where you do your work, or for other artists to have inspired you with their work—those things are all inside the artist and they are inevitably an aspect of the result. The “creation” is really a mixed-breed cross-pollination of a variety of ideas rather than something unpredictably new. For Mozart to express his genius he needed the people that chose those 12 notes, the people that invented the rules that go with them, the people who invented the instruments…all of those people participated in Mozart’s genius. There was no guarantee who would make what discovery, but the composition itself is guaranteed to exist in the infinite nature of the universe.

Like an individual human mind does, when the internet knows enough and its artificial intelligence is sophisticated enough, it will eventually sense that there is potential in testing various mixtures of unrelated knowledge. And the more it does it the better it will get at it, just like a human artist or scientist. It will develop new ideas based on what it knows. At that point it’s essentially doing what our brain does and so it will do what we did when we were babies. Eventually it will calculate enough that it will become aware of the choice to be self-aware. And at that point the baby will suddenly see itself in the mirror and the internet 679 Relax and Succeed - Ask a cloudwill suddenly realize that it’s studying itself and that its creations come from within itself. At that point we could then say it had become conscious. At that point there is no way to define where the internet even begins and ends.

That’s actually pretty cool—that we create a giant brain for us to live inside. Then again, maybe it all goes bad and it’s like the movie The Matrix. 😀 Ha! You never know. We could hit the big red nuke button before that happens so it’s not like we’re currently less dangerous than some future Artificial Intelligence Overlord. But it’s happening regardless, so it’s worthwhile keeping your eye on how it develops. It could end up being the most important thing in our entire lives. We may just be constructing our new ruler. Or worse, our executioner. At the same time, creating consciousness is quite an achievement for the human race. Maybe we’ll have given birth to our saviour—that it’ll be a Conscious Internet that uses its NASA and ESA eyeballs to peer out into space and to save itself—the Earth—from asteroids. Or that the internet somehow values us enough to map out diseases and create cures before the disease even exists. It could go either way. Or both ways. Like it always has. 😉

This all feels tremendously inevitable, so fasten your seat belts ladies and gentlemen. Who knows what direction it will go, but one thing’s for sure: consciousness is a motion not a thing and that means this is going to get a lot weirder than even science fiction could imagine. This should be interesting. Don’t forget to have fun.

Have an awesome day.

peace. s

Artistic Archeology

Creativity and artistry are fascinating manifestations of where we notice holes in our idea of how the universe works. Whether it’s political theatre, a protest song, an eco-movie like Wall-E, or a painting of Gurnica, artists are the people who see past the theatre of belief to the underlying truth. In psychology or propaganda or politics they can see some glimmer of the 458 Relax and Succeed - creativity is the ability tosubtle influences at work. Their artworks are expositions of their discoveries.

This is why artists really don’t have to worry about creative block. Because we’re not building these pieces out of nothing. It’s more like we’re excavating the idea we have stumbled upon. Maybe it’s an idea others have had before and we are retelling it, or maybe it is a new idea that will change the discourse of humanity. But it is not something our ego needs to be invested in. We are not creating beauty, we are exposing truth. (And yes, that truth can include the fact that sometimes frivolous beauty has its place.)

So the way to be creative is to carefully sift through every idea you can. Look at anything that in any way relates to your premise through some form of proximity, be that direct, chronological, or even metaphorical. Turn the idea over in your own imagination. Look for surprising things. Find ways to show us the magic of sharing in your discovery. That is what art is. Remove everything that is not the art and then assemble it in a logical structure that can be understood by others, even if the sensation is more feeling than concept. Connect people by exposing some of their barriers as false and ephemeral.

When you’re looking for ideas you don’t get snobby about where they come from. So throw every crazy idea you can at something and get a different part of your brain involved. And then when you feel like you’ve got it by the tail, start digging around where the central idea is buried. Eventually you’ll expose enough that the art will begin to take on shape and meaning to outside viewers. They will see it as your creation. You will see is as: you removed all the extraneous material from view and you 458 Relax and Succeed - The way to get good ideasthereby allowed creation itself to be visible. But that is what you do as an artist. You expose truths. You are philosophers. Without you, the world would never have moved forward.

Take great pride in your profession. There is a reason that you are the first people that despotic leaders lock up. You are dangerous with your original ideas. So don’t ever feel you are insignificant in this world. To the contrary, creativity is the only reason that mankind has moved forward at all. That’s about as important as it gets.

When you’re young you want first drafts to be as good as your hero’s work. That’s nuts. What you can’t see is that your heroes still do multiple drafts that you will never know existed. Those could be called failures. Or they could be called how you find your work. So relax. Throw anything at it. Follow impulses. See where they lead. You can always start again. But don’t try to create perfect work. You’ll drive yourself insane. Instead, try to love creating your work as much as possible. It doesn’t have to be happy work—it can be tragic. But it nevertheless needs to be passionate.

Be bold with your art and your choices. Let your creativity expand your life and our world. We welcome your input. Much love.

peace. s