What is the nature of this universe we live in? How do we surrender to its current yet chart our own course? This guide thus far has dealt with these questions in detail and now, it is time to take things one step further. You see, to fully commit yourself to the way things ought to be and to extract everything that life has to offer, we need to delve into a few more fundamentals.
Things such as belief and faith, feedback loops from the universe, the power of patience, and lastly dispelling your fear of yourself will be discussed in this module.
Faith and Belief
Anyone who has ever undertaken a trip to the other side of the world, usually places like Indonesia, Thailand, India, etc., has encountered all forms of spiritual awareness. Some of these actually work and are not some elaborate hoax. Spirituality has a religious angle to it, and indeed, every religion seems to start off as a bunch of spiritual beliefs which then get warped into something else entirely, and call for faith.
The call for faith is an interesting phenomenon since in reality, what a lot of religions and people who cling onto dogma demand is belief, not faith. Beliefs are statements that are held as truth and are not allowed to be questioned. Think of how strongly you hold onto your own beliefs about the world and feel uncomfortable every time they are challenged or questioned.
Belief requires you to adopt a narrow mindset of things and stick to a narrow path — a path that hinders growth and expansion. Anything outside this path is simply deemed irrational and wrong. Ironically, a person who believes the most claims to have the highest degree of faith. This is categorically untrue. Faith is the exact opposite of belief. Faith requires you to open your mind and consider a variety of options and to be comfortable with ambiguity, with not knowing which one is right.
While belief demands that you hold onto something — an outcome, a fundamental system, an answer — and never let go, faith demands no such thing. Instead, faith merely asks that you keep an open mind and evaluate things based on your understanding of the truth — an objective truth. An analysis of any religious text will result in this sort of philosophy. However, this doesn’t serve the needs of narrow-minded spiritual leaders, and hence, belief and faith are often switched around. Faith is needed at the start of any spiritual practice but should never morph into belief.
This would simply be adopting a position of imbalance in the universe, which, to your own detriment, would soon be corrected and brought to equilibrium thanks to the natural forces of energetic balance. The conflict between science and religion often reflects the misunderstanding that occurs when you have two sides clinging to their own beliefs. No one really wins in such cases since beliefs are self-affirming and are immune to attack, unless the individual who holds these beliefs wishes to change them.
Given that these people have adopted an extremist view, it is unlikely they wish for change, and thus the cycle continues. The truth is that everything is one, and everything exists in one large feedback loop. To say that science is against spirituality is to argue that your leg is against your arm.
The rate of change that is currently occurring in our society on a global level requires us to adopt an attitude of faith. Faith is the willingness to accept whatever comes, no matter what the truth will be. Faith is believing in an abundant universe and in the justification for everything to exist. This is what enables us to live life to the fullest and interact with our environments successfully.
Both our environment and us exist in a feedback loop that impacts us on a daily basis. Given the rate at which our environments are changing, it is natural that we should feel a sense of imbalance, which is only made worse by trying to cling onto beliefs. Let us examine this feedback loop a bit more.
Ontological design is a fancy way of saying that the way our world is designed affects us and that we, in turn, affect the way our world is designed. It goes beyond saying that our environments affect us or that our socio-cultural values, beliefs, and norms affect us. Ontological design takes into account that the feedback loop exists, whereas these latter statements don’t.
Taking the example of language, we are born into a particular language and use it to think and to express ourselves. Our ability to enunciate our thoughts depends directly on the language and our beliefs are formed by it as well. In turn, we also modify the language and thus reinforce the feedback loop. A good example of this is how new words come into being to describe phenomena that have sprung into the environment recently.
Prime examples of this are “fake news” and “alternative facts.” Both these phrases warp the original meaning of the terms they describe but do a very good job of describing the current information cycle. There are simply too many sources of news to monitor, and there’s no way of knowing immediately which one is right and which one is wrong.
Thus, every single fact has now been opened up for questioning, and by doing this, there is a growing movement of irrationality. The flat earth movement is such an example. By simply covering the existence of such people, the movement gains more followers.
Please note that I’m toning down a lot of the heavy philosophy on this topic. If you’re interested in this, you can refer to the academic paper written by Anne- Marie Willis. The really interesting bit is to figure out what all of this means. Well, in short, it means that the process of effecting change has transformed.
While change previously was a bottom-up phenomenon, perhaps moving forward, the best way to induce change is to start from within. This form of change starts with a trigger from our environment. In turn, the change, when it manifests, affects our environment and thus the feedback loop perpetuates.
This has significant implications for the design of technology, which has transformed human behavior to an extent never seen before. However, from a more personal standpoint, it means that to manifest a change in your future, you need to interact with your environment and start things in motion. Once this motion begins, your environment will act back upon you, and thus, you will end up realizing your vision.
This is in contrast to the typical advice about manifesting, which proposes that visualization and positivity are all you need and that the universe will bring it to you. Nothing is farther from the truth. You need to go out and engage with your environment and gain feedback in order to move forward.
Thus, when designing your vision for the future, don’t start with what sort of an environment you want. Instead, begin with what sort of a person you wish to be and work from there. What sort of qualities do you wish to develop in yourself? How do you wish to interact with the world? By designing your future self, you will end up designing your environment.
In turn, this environment will give you feedback, and as both of you interact with one another, both change and thus, your future self and vision are realized. How soon will this future be realized? Well, the universe works in its own ways and remember, time is not real. We tend to measure everything by clock time and make the mistake of thinking of everything in these terms.
To fully manifest your visions, it is essential for you to adopt faith and to accept whatever comes, while still taking action from an intentional, purposeful place. The key quality to all of this is thus, patience.
The hardest part of anything is the wait. Time once again plays tricks on us and reminds us of how it isn’t real when we’re forced to wait for something we want desperately. When you were a kid, waiting to unwrap your presents for the following Christmas morning was intolerable. You couldn’t wait for night to be over and wake up the next morning to open up your gifts from under the tree. Odds are, this was the only day you managed to wake up early as well.
The same pattern plays out when you make your choice and then wait for it to manifest. You focus on your intention and carry out the tasks that will take you toward your goals. Then a month goes by. Then another. And nothing changes. You’re still in the same place, dealing with the same things and putting up with the same crap that you wish to get away from in the first place.
So what’s going on here? Well, first off, when making a choice, a lot of people stumble and choose things they wish to avoid. In other words, instead of wishing to become wealthy, for example, they wish to be “not poor.” Choices don’t work like that. You see, by choosing the opposite of something, while your language implies a desire to move away from it, your attention is doing the exact opposite.
Think of it this way. When running away from say, a bear in the wilderness, your attention is focused on the bear despite the fact that you’re running away from it. This is out of necessity since you need to know where it is and how close it is to you, especially if it’s chasing you. However, in situations that are not life-threatening and when dealing with metaphysical realities, focusing your attention on what you don’t want doesn’t save you from it. It only puts you in a pattern of constantly avoiding it, narrowly.
This is why you should focus on the positive aspect of anything rather than the negative. Avoiding some discomfort is still focusing on the discomfort, and instead of directing that energy toward your solution, you are paying more energy to your obstacle and hence encountering more of that. To illustrate the correct approach, let’s use the example of a race car driver.
A fundamental instruction that competitive racers receive is that when the vehicle slides out of control, instead of looking at where the vehicle is headed, look to where you want the vehicle to go instead. Thus, when a car loses grip in a corner and begins to slide towards the wall, you’ll always see the driver looking at the corner and not the barrier.
Similarly, when taking a corner, you’ll notice that racers never look at the corner but always a few feet ahead of it, at the path they wish to guide their vehicle along. Use the same principle in your life. Always look at where you want to go instead of what you wish to avoid.
If you’re doing this properly and you find that the thing you desire still isn’t manifesting, then you simply need to wait. Remember that you do not have the full body of knowledge in your sights. You don’t know what the universe has planned for you along the path you have chosen, and it is simply a matter of time before you find out.
Your choice is like planting a seed in the soil. Digging up the seed after a week or a month because it is doing nothing, despite you watering and caring for it, is the height of irrationality. Yet, we do this so often in our own lives.
Make your choice and nurture it consistently by maintaining discipline and visualizing your goals. Carry out all your tasks with the right intention, and you’ll find that you’ll manifest your vision before you know it. The key is to maintain your attention on the journey and not on the goal for the most part. Remain in journey mode and focus on where you wish to go within the next few steps.
This way, you’ll cultivate patience automatically and live a purposeful life.
The Jonah Complex
The story of Jonah from the Bible is one of running away from one’s true destiny and the repercussions of that. Now, I’m not pushing a religious angle here, just that it’s a great story with a good nugget of wisdom. In case you aren’t familiar with it, this is how it goes. God delivers a message to Jonah, a prophet.
The message is that Jonah needs to travel to the city of Nineveh and deliver a prophecy of doom should its inhabitants continue along their current path of excess.
Jonah, who abhors Nineveh and considers its doom predestined, resists providing Nineveh’s citizens this warning because he wishes to guarantee what he thinks ought to happen. He sails away on a ship to avoid his task, but soon a storm strikes and Jonah is thrown overboard, willingly by his shipmates. He’s swallowed by a whale and is transported to dry land where he delivers his prophecy. Much to his surprise, the Ninevites repent and escape destruction.
There are a lot of lessons here but for the purposes of our discussion, let’s focus on the ignorance of divine calling and its futility. No matter how much Jonah resists, he is pulled back toward his purpose, and when he does carry it out, he finds greater wisdom than he originally supposed.
Your purpose and you have a similar relationship. A lot of us are afraid or unwilling to carry it out and journey toward it thanks to presupposed ideas often held by those around us. Abraham Maslow observed this effect and mentioned in his works that human beings are often afraid of their own potential. How many of you reading this have it in you to compose the most beautiful musical symphonies? How many of you can change the world and eradicate poverty from it?
Answering ‘yes’ to those questions in the moment is one thing. Constantly believing in it is another. Doubts will creep up, the inner voice will ask “Who, you?” in response to your goals and slowly, but surely, we’ll downsize our goals to something more palatable and believable. We’ll begin seeking security and comfort which stems from conformity and satisfy ourselves with attaining exactly what everyone else around us wants — what they think is possible for us, what they believe is possible for us — what they themselves desire.
There’s nothing wrong in wanting what everyone else desires. Things such as money, comfort, a soul mate, children, and so on. However, these are things that the universe provides to you as long as you set your intentions toward them.
Your purpose is usually a very different beast. It scares you because of how grand it is and when you glimpse it, even if for a brief moment, you stand in awe of how inspiring and motivating it is.
That same awe also works in the other direction, pushing you down once the initial feeling subsides because none of us see ourselves as anything close to perfect. We often compare our flaws to other people’s perfections. Hence, when we even dare to get a glimpse of the perfect nature of our purpose, we can’t help but highlight our flaws. How can someone who barely understands music rival Beethoven, who managed to compose ethereally beautiful and life-changing musical symphonies despite being deaf?
Opening yourself up to your purpose is simply bringing yourself closer to divine energy — an energy we cannot comprehend. You have been placed in the scheme of things with a mission. A mission in which you distribute your gift to the world. Your gift is simply the realization of your purpose. Thus, you owe it to yourself and to the world to pursue it.
So, stop running away from what you were meant to do and who you were meant to be. Go ahead and engage with life to the fullest. Ironically, this is when you’ll be the most alive and in greatest touch with who you truly are.
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