Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Awakening: A Game for Two or More Players

english22 Every life-game we play has rules. Even infinite players are not immune to rules. However, infinite players have no serious intent to play by rules and so, can play with rules.

Infinite play is a ‘perspective’ through which one does not feel bound and gagged by rules and that is the chief difference between finite and infinite play.

Finite players believe rules must be strictly followed to bring the game to a conclusion and acquire an outcome or achieve the ‘reward. The rules of an infinite game are changed frequently to offset the very appearance of an outcome, or winner, so that the game can continually engage more players. For instance, here is one example of playing with rules in order to alter the nature of play and engage more players. 

Finite players feel compelled to play, as if there were NO choice (essentially, they don’t see themselves as "playing"), while infinite players play freely by choice in every game they play. Finite games have strict time parameters so that a winner(s) can be determined at the conclusion of the game. Infinite players play within time, but are not bounded by time restraints, since games do not conclude. Infinite players define infinite games, even though it often seems they are playing a finite game by other finite players. Infinite games have no limitations. Finite games are defined by limits.

An infinite game has no expectation of an outcome and if an outcome appears, the rules are changed. In other words, if a spiritual "path" asserts an expected outcome or reward, the finite player would adhere specifically to that path in order to achieve the expected outcome or extract the reward, while the infinite player might seek to alter the path by 'playing' with the rules. To play with the rules is to always keep the game in play and bring as many players as possible into the game (the number of players never ends). In fact, the more players, the greater the likelihood outcomes will NOT appear and the game can continue.

"If a player must play, he cannot play” (James Carse). This is because, once a player feels a game is necessary, it can no longer can be considered 'play' and games not considered ‘play’ are taken very seriously. Serious play is always finite because it is concerned with outcomes. Finite players do NOT engage in games unless they can expect a specific result. Infinite players have no expectation of a result and so are free to ‘play’ as long as they choose. Infinite players 'play,' because the expectation is that the game continue.

Finite players rarely examine the basis for rules, because they expect to win by following rules. Infinite players seek to be free of expectations by continuously examining the basis for rules. If the scriptures or the "ancient wisdom masters" set rules for "awakening," then those rules become unquestionably sacrosanct to finite players.

Expectations assert outcomes and outcomes are always predicted based on the rules of the game. For instance, in many modern spiritual circles “enlightenment” or “awakening” are often predicted (or claimed) to provide "bliss and joy.” Therefore, “bliss and joy” is an expectation of “enlightenment” or “awakening” to a finite player. NOT to experience "bliss and joy" would be indicative of NOT being "spiritually awakened.”

All expectations demand the rules be followed and one chief rule of achieving “enlightenment” or “awakening” is the rule of sacrifice. If one sacrifices long and hard enough, one can expect “awakening” (or “bliss and joy”) as an outcome or reward for playing the game. This makes “enlightenment” and “awakening” a finite game, because there is a specific expectation. You may experience “bliss and joy” by seriously following the rules. But, if no more than that is expected as reward for your sacrifice, then no more than that will be experienced and you will achieve serious “bliss and joy” (however, one must wonder…after all those years of sacrifice, how “blissful and joyous" can it be. Ha! But, who am I to question the rules)

Finite games are closed systems, not open to change. Infinite games are open to change and change as frequently as possible.

One of the reasons outcomes are not expected by infinite players is because outcomes must be accurately predicted in order to adequately prepare for achieving said outcome. Many have predicted “enlightenment” or “awakening” as an outcome and this demands a set of rules be devised in order to achieve the outcome predicted by those who have also played by the rules and claim to have achieved the outcome.

Prediction always impedes “surprise” because it demands you prepare specifically for what is predicted and nothing else. Infinite Surprise is a prediction of infinite players. However that prediction requires NO preparation, being free of all ideology and associated expectation and thus, free of ALL rules. In fact, Infinite Surprise is known by its ability to spontaneously arise without any preparation or prompting from a player.

Actually, Infinite players fully engage together to experience Infinite Surprise from that engagement.

Unfortunately (for an ego-self reliant on predictions) this means that you never know what will 'happen’ and so, are rarely disappointed. But you will be infinitely surprised.

However, if you're prepared for a specific result, outcome or reward, you may be disappointed....

...and finite players are often disappointed.
 (disappointment is a primary indicator of finite games)

Artwork by Ron English

Monday, March 22, 2010

Embracing Infinite Surprise

Although playing infinitely is easy, defining how to play infinitely is much more difficult (this too, is a game). One does not ‘become’ an infinite player, since becoming asserts an expected result or outcome and infinite games have no outcome and result in many things…

…but nothing expected.

You could not say “I am an infinite player,” (like some claim "I am awakened") since this assumes an outcome achieved at a specific point in time, thereby, asserting a past in which there was NOT infinite play. Nevertheless, this before/after, time-oriented claim is taken very seriously by other finite players.

We all play life-games and life is ONLY experienced in relationship to the games we play along with other players. You can play the game of police officer, husband, homeowner, father, mother, employee, neighbor, intellectual, victimizer, soldier, blogger, sportsman, dreamer, criminal, middle aged, patient, collector, TV watcher, bum, internet forum participant, wife, meditater, mentally ill, divorced, stock broker, victim, guru, president, dying, truth seeker, etc, etc, etc. You could play all these games and more. Most of us engage in numerous games, however, we do not play infinitely, because ‘play’ denotes a lack of serious intent and, to the contrary, we take our games very seriously.

Your guru would never claim that he is ‘playing’ at being a guru. He is the “guru” and expects the audience (devotees) take that very seriously. 

Everything you do demands an outcome. You do nothing without a reason. Even play asserts an expectation of "fun," (or not "work") thereby, imposing an expectation as to what can be experienced by adopting a concept ("play") as the experience itself.

In this way, what you experience is conceptualized and can be no more than what you expect it to be. You will always have what you expect, but no more than that.

Outcomes and results unconsciously place finite parameters upon the mind, because expectations channel intention limiting the possibility of 'surprise.' All experiences are bounded by expectation and ALL expectation is the sum of past experiences. The egocentric mind is incarcerated by the past and all it's experiences must be defined from those boundaries. You will never seek other than what is expected and even the ego's concept of "surprise" is based on a repertoire of expectations through which it can claim to experience surprise.

Infinite players learn to be deeply and fully aware of their expectations and constantly move beyond them by never accepting what they expect.

To be infinitely surprised is beyond expectation...

So forget about it..

Artwork by Robert Craig - "What Would Jesus Drink"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Manufacturing Problems to Prove You Exist (but do "you"?)

The ego-self must go from one problem to the next and this is because an ego-self is defined by incompletion seeking to be complete.

Incompletion must always lack for something and, therefore, the ego must continually attempt to fill what it lacks in order to be complete. This is because the ego-self is always missing something and even though it is never sure what that ‘something’ is, its purpose is to fill that absence, nonetheless.

Therefore, the modus operandi of every ego-self is to find what it requires to attain completion. But an ego-self could never be complete and still ‘exist’ simply because an ego-self is defined specifically by this obscure incompletion.

This poses a problem for the ego. In fact, this poses many problems for the ego, so much so that solving problems has become the egos only function. Recall how often you have informed your ‘self’ that if only this problem could be solved, you could then be ‘happy.’ But, of course, your happiness is never consistent because consistent happiness would be indicative of completion and an ego-self could not exist as complete and still be, by definition, an ego-self.

Indeed, if you look close enough you’ll see that the ego is nothing more than a problem manufacturer, simply because, by definition, the ego could never be without problems and still be an ego-self. The ego actually loves to hate its problems because solving problems is a means of self-actualizing itself as “real.” No problems and reality for en ego-self must of necessity dissolve into nothingness. Note how great you feel every time you solve a problem, which merely frees you up to prepare for the next problem, because problems are always expected.

Imagine if you had no problems in your life? What would you do? What would you ever seek to prepare for? What would you need to predict? What point to "education" or "learning"? Do you ever wonder "why do I have so many problems in my life?" The answer is easy....you set it up that way, because this is how the ego experiences "life." Through problem solving you 'know' you exist.

The ego is defined specifically by its ability to solve problems through accurate prediction and associated preparations. The ego knows that if it can predict what problems will manifest, it can then be adequately prepared to solve the problem…and move on to the next. The ego actually manufactures its own problems for which to recognize its 'existence' by solving problems it creates.

Therefore, to recognize that all your problems have been solved is the ego's biggest problem of all.

But, of course, solve that one problem...

...and "you" just might disappear.


Arwork by Alejandro Barron - "The Escapist"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

IF THIS, THEN THAT: Are You Planning to One Day "Awaken"?

Do you meditate religiously? Do you attend spiritual conventions and retreats? Do you subscribe to “spiritual awakening” blogs and read all the most popular spiritual literature? Do you often employ spiritual terminology in conversations? Have you restricted most of your friends to those who believe the same spiritual concepts as you and avoid those who do not? Do you judge others based on "spiritual" standards? Do you often judge yourself harshly for thinking non-spiritual thoughts? Do you often envy those who claim to have experienced “enlightenment" or "awakening"? Does it sometimes seem that all other areas of your life been subordinated to your 'spirituality'? Do you seek to live a "spiritual" lifestyle?

Are you planning to one day "awaken"?

Spiritual fundamentalism is a powerful driving force that takes “spiritual awakening” very seriously. It's a finite game that seeks rewards for hard work and sacrifice. Ironically, the game that promises the reward of ego-transcendence, often results in the most rigid ego-fixation.

Do you believe there is a way to “awaken”? Do you become agitated with your ‘self’ when you fail to stay focused on your plan of awakening? Do you often change that plan when new information becomes available?

Make no mistake, within the ego’s self-concept is the goal of “awakening” to truth. It’s easy to recognize the ego’s plan for “awakening” by four simple words: “If this, then that.”

If you do this long enough and struggle hard enough, then that will cause you to “awaken.” Think only this, do only that, be only this, say only that....and you too will awaken to truth.

Yet, what the ego stubbornly refuses to see is that truth is infinite. There is NO point at which one will have it, in contrast to NOT having it. Truth does NOT contrast or compare, but egos do quite often.  Therefore, all your plans of acquisition, or 'getting,' truth are useless. However, you will get "spiritual" (for whatever good that does)

The ego-self is a sacrificial concept that is real, but NOT true. Indeed, even the ego realizes this, because it’s life is nothing but a struggle to be TRUE. Infinite truth requires no struggle or sacrifice.

However, the ego will have none of that. It’s plans must always involve sacrifice and this is why it believes truth can be found, but only through hard work and sacrifice.

The one thing the ego will never accept is that it cannot have truth, like it has stuff. There is nothing you need do to have truth. There is nothing you could think that would help you ‘know’ truth and there is certainly no one you need listen to in order to learn truth.

You cannot plan for truth.

So now what?


Artwork by Scot Olsen - "untitled"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Do You Resonate with Bullshit?

maya-kulenovic-4Gotta love the hopeful ones and all their catchy phrases and soulful slogans that make us all warm and fuzzy inside. They keep us from wasting time between birth and death. They keep providing purpose to live as if it were a "to-do" list. Just follow the instructions.

Too bad it's ALL bullshit. 

There is nothing here, because there was never anything there, particularly when you shake off all the pithy slogans and really look. The past holds nothing of value for the future and this makes the future as empty as the past...it’s null… nada… nil….nothing.

Oh wait…was there something you were looking for?

There's NO reason for "hope" because there's NO purpose to your existence and therefore nothing to hope for...there's NO reason for your being and you have NO friggin’ function.

Sorry...but you are pointless (always running around hither-dither seeking a point, Ha!)

Yet because this causes such a deep sense of suffering...you demand a script. You want to MEAN something and the world has the scripts to make that happen. You demand to know “The Secret” to increase your importance, something profound to define your 'self' by and feel all 'special.' 

You want to BE somebody, dammit!

Does your favorite guru have a script you can use to feel purposeful? Sure go ahead and play that out. How about Eckhart Tolle? Or maybe "Integral Theory" and Adi Da or why not Ken Wilber's script? Or Nisargadatta or maybe Longchenpa, Wei Wu Wei or Lao Tzu, Ramana Maharshi, Yogananda…. or maybe the Dalai Lama? What about Osho? He’s still got a great gig goin' on. Or maybe Wayne Dyer or Deepak Chopra, or Byron Katie or maybe just some anonymous Zen Guy's script? How about non-dualism? (man those cat’s can swing the conceptual shit, no foolin’!).

Wow, so many profound scripts to choose from! In fact, to hell with all those lightweights, lets go with the Buddhist script or how about Christ and the scripts somebody wrote for him?

And ahhhhhhh...once you got a firm grip on your script, and “know” your new purpose, for a while you feel grand… all snug up in your comfy beliefs. Now you got MEANING, Yo!! 

Now you can engage in your mind-numbing, mundane existence with that old time spiritual “joy", because you've found “The Way” to “The Truth.” Oh sure, you don’t have “The Truth” yet…and you’re still breathlessly following “The Way,”  but just wait. This time you “know” it’s a sure thing. 

Unfortunately, one day you will discover the truth that...

… it's all bullshit...

Maybe....when you give up all your grand plans and high ideals and all your profound meanings, maps, functions, paths and goals...when you finally kiss goodbye your space cadet "spirituality" and all your practices, methods, approaches, skills, techniques, strategies, and ideologies...maybe one day...

... you'll finally get it.

and until then, all you got is bullshit (to resonate with and call your own)

(but don’t ask me what “it” is, all I know is bullshit)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

“YOU” are Scripted

michael-hussar-20 Do you you revel and rejoice in your unique individuality? Are you ‘special’? Do you seek attention by pressing your “unique” attributes against your experience of a ‘world’? Does your ‘self’ shrivel when ignored or negated? Do you find the need to compare and contrast your ‘ego-self’ against other egos in your experience of a ‘world’? Do you have an ‘ideal’ of what a well-developed ‘self’ really is and thus, seek to make it 'real'?

Well, rest assured my friend, this need not be. You are a fully scripted “individual” with as much uniqueness as a grain of sand.

There is NO unique individuality and every role you play has an attached script that you follow to the letter. 

Closely examine all the spiritual blogs you love so much and you will see scripts being wonderfully adhered to in order to present a spiritual ‘self’ to the world. Note that all egocentric interactions are nothing more than scripted engagements.

Recognize that even my identification of scripts is itself scripted.

Ah…but note also how this grates against your ego-self, that demands its uniqueness be glorified as “you.” Note how you follow the script of anger and resentment that I would have the audacity to deny your unique individuality. Note the scripts your immediately choose to contradict my assertion.

Will you protest? Scripted! Will you ignore and avoid? That’s scripted too. There is not much you really have to choose from and attempting to become unscripted has its own script as well.

Whew!…isn’t it a relief not to have to struggle and sacrifice to uphold your “uniqueness” anymore. Isn’t it wonderful to be free of all the stress that comes from demanding your individuality be recognized as “you” Ha!

Now that’s freedom!
(of course, your “freedom” is also scripted..... sorry)

Artwork by Michael Hussar - “White Rooster”