Youniverse

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It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us.
~Neil deGrasse Tyson

This week’s post is that kind of post that shows the reason why I started blogging. It’s my self-conversation put into written words, because I think better when I write (characteristic of INFP type personality). This post may read random, jumpy, and may not make sense. Continue with your own discretion.

Definition of ‘You’ and ‘Universe’ from dictionary:
You – used to refer to any person or to people in general
Universe – the totality of known or supposed objects and phenomena throughout space; the cosmos; macrocosm

A google search on ‘youniverse’ reveals that there aren’t a fixed definition of it yet. There are some apps and business using it as a brand, trendwatching.com named ‘youniverse’ as a trend, and R.C.W Ettinger published a book titled Youniverse.

My own thought behind ‘youniverse’ is that you, me, us, everyone, and the rest of creation, is the same, coming from the same source, and going back to the same source. There’s a saying “We are all made of stardust” – this goes well with ‘youniverse’.

I’m reminded of this anime Ghost In The Shell (1995). The story is set in the futuristic Japan, where robotics and cyborgs are deeply integrated into human life. The heroine, ‘Major’ Motoko Kusanagi, a squad leader of an all-guy special cyber law enforcement team, has a full cybernetic body except of her brain. Motoko wonders whether her “ghost”, or her soul, is real – whether she still have any humanity left. She thinks perhaps her memories of past human life is artificially generated, and she was never human at all, but purely synthetic.

A dialogue between Motoko and her second-in-command, Batou:
Motoko: “Maybe all full-replacement cyborgs like me start wondering this… that perhaps the real ‘me’ died a long time ago, and I’m a replicant made with a cyborg body and computer brain. Or maybe there never was a real ‘me’ to begin with.”
Batou: “You’ve got real brain matter in that titanium skull of yours. And you get treated like a real person, don’t you?”
Motoko: “Has anyone seen their own brain? My believe in my existence is only based on what my environment tells me.”
Batou: “Don’t you believe in your own ghost?”
Motoko: “And what if a computer brain could generate a ghost and harbor a soul? On what basis then do I believe in myself?”

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Motoko and Batou – Ghost in the Shell (1995)

It’s an interesting anime, makes one think about life and what defines human life. Here it is on youtube. DreamWorks will produce the feature film, scheduled to be released April 2017.

What’s the relation between an anime and the universe?

Like Motoko, along the journey of life, some of us at one point start to ask “Who am I? What am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?” Having these questions, and trying to find the answers, is a blessing in itself – that means we’re starting to see through the dark glass. We’re starting to wake up. The veil is thinning. The fog is less dense. The colorings are diminishing.

Alan Watts (1915-1973) answered these questions in this 4-minute video. See it, listen to what he was saying. Let it sink… and see it again, and again. Once is not enough.

I thought it’s best to put this into Q&A format.

Q: Who am I? or What am I?
A: You’re it. You are the universe. I am that. Tat tvam asi. Aham brahmasmi.

Q: Why am I here?
A: Because you are the universe. You are here to experience yourself.

Q: Where am I going?
A: Nowhere. There’s only here and now. And I just realized that ‘nowhere’ is made of not only ‘no’ and ‘where’ but also ‘now’ and ‘here’. Interesting hey.

Q: If we are the universe, why don’t we feel like we’re the universe?
A: Because we have delusion, like Arjun in Bhagavad Gita. We forgot, we don’t remember. We mistakenly identify ourself with this ‘I’, this body, this mind, and subsequently with the other things the ‘I’ is identified with (species, family, career, roles, gender, nationality, religion, etc). Our vision is covered with the veil of avidya (ignorance). We think we’re separated, while in reality we’re all one. The edges and boundaries (the skin, the ‘I’) are not separator, but rather a medium, a bridge, a connector, an interface between us and the rest of creation. It is this illusion of separateness that stops us from being here and now. It is this illusion of separateness that makes us think there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, that feeling of something is missing, and we think we have somewhere to go, something to achieve. And this stops us from being here and now.

Q: Why do we have illusion of separateness in the first place? Why not just stay in the one-ness?
A: In order to experience, there has to be: A. the experiencer, and B. the thing to be experienced. So, there’s the Subject, the experiencer, who experiences, and there’s the Object, the thing to be experienced. What happens is the experiencer is so caught up and busy experiencing that he forgets his true nature, he forgets he is not separate.

Q: Why some experiences are ‘good’, and some experiences are ‘bad’?
A: In order for something to be experienced, there’s gotta be a gradation of different qualities attached to it. This qualities have two far ends, two polarities, like a magnetic field has north and south poles. And here comes duality: yin yang, light dark, hot cold, dry wet, up down, something nothing… it’s the foundation of an experience. Because in order for the Subject to experience light, there has to be darkness, because if it’s all light, without anything other than light to compare it with, the experiencer couldn’t tell that it’s light, there’s no difference, no point of reference. However, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is only our perception. In reality there’s no good and bad; the experience is just is.

Q: Why does the universe wants to experience itself?
A: Universe is playing the eternal game of Hide and Seek with itself. It’s Lila, the divine play.

Q: You’re not making sense.
A: I’m trying my best to put this into words. I’m forever learning and may not be skillful enough yet to write this down. Feel free to accept or reject it.

For the benefit of those who didn’t watch the youtube above, here is Alan Watt’s words. I posted it before here along with a quote by John Hagelin, a particle physicist, and he used scientific terms but the meaning is the same.

You are something the whole universe is doing, the same way as a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing.
~Alan Watts

Image from http://www.nasa.gov

Pass it on

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The purpose of life is to discover your gift; the work of life is to develop it; the meaning of life is to give the gift away.
~ David Viscott

Lucky are those who knew their gift from early on, like Mozart, and spent the rest of his lifetime doing it.

Don’t despair – some people discovered it relatively late in their life. Check out this cool infographic about Late Bloomers from fundersandfounders.com.

How to discover our gift?

The philosopher Alan Watts (1915-1973) posed the question “What if money is no object? What do you desire?” to get people to start thinking and finding their gifts. If there’s something you really enjoy doing, so much so that if you don’t have to work for money you’ll be doing that most of the time, be it climbing trees, riding horse, playing musical instrument, painting, making people laugh, etc, there’s a very good chance that the particular activity may be something close to your gift.

Here’s the comic version of the same subject by the talented Gavin Aung Than at zenpencils.com

But what if we don’t have a clue? Years of conditioning by education and society makes us lose touch with ourself. We’re so brainwashed with the mindset of success equals material gain, or status, or fame, and secure future. And thus we run along the familiar rat race, bogged down in the routine: wake up, go to work (more often something we don’t really like doing), go home, sleep, repeat. And so on. Until one day we question – is that all there is? Work for money, and splurge the money for a new gadget/car/home/etc or a 2-weeks lavish vacation to new destination?

Is that all there is? Why spend 50 weeks doing something we don’t like in order to be able to have 2 weeks dream vacation? What if we can do what we like in the 50 weeks, wouldn’t that be better? Of course we still have to pay the bills, so that thing we like to do ideally able to generate us some income. In order to do that we’ll have to be good at it, we have to be expert in it. And to become an expert in something is to spend more time doing it.

If we don’t know what is our gift yet, start with experiencing many things. Not closing door to anything. Take every opportunity to try new things. Meet new people. Learn new skills. Read various books. Travel to new places. If we found something we really like to do, spend more time doing that, so we get better and become good at it. When we are good at something, there’ll be opportunity to give the gift away – to pass it on.

If we try something new and it doesn’t stick, that’s okay. Now we know. And can move on trying other things. The most important thing here is to do something; not just stay in our own comfort zone and moaning that we don’t know what our gifts are.

Often I hear people say “But I’m too old/weak/stiff/etc” or “But I’m not smart/pretty/rich/etc enough”. Or the other one I often hear is “But I don’t have time/money/resources/etc”. Or “But I don’t know anything else besides what I do”. I’m sorry to break this news – if you think that way, then that’s how it’s gonna be. Like Henry Ford said:

Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.

The good news is, if we think we can, somehow there’ll be a way. Universe will arrange something, and it’s up to us to be open enough to grace to notice it, and to take action on it.

Here’s something for new year motivation – from the fine folks at holstee.com

holstee-download-manifesto-white-ipad

Hand & heart image by mylittlebluesky photography