Monday, February 13, 2017

What I Learned About Myself By Furiously Scribbling on a Piece of Paper

As far as I can tell, I've got a pretty weird brain. Often, when I fall asleep, I "wake up" about 20 minutes later, but I'm not in the realm of reality as we know it. I'm in some sort of place where spirit and body meet. It's a jungle of unexplored consciousness. The colors are more vivid, emotions more intense. And the room is full of visible energetic patterns that I usually can't perceive in waking hours. On one of those nights that I "woke up" in this other-dimensional reality, I saw a strange orb-like structure hovering about 4 feet above me. I was alarmed at first, but that quickly melted into intrigue. The structure was unlike anything I have ever seen before. It was incredibly intricate, with crystallized patterns that can only be compared to a snowflake (although that comparison doesn't quite do it justice.) The crystals fanned out in every direction to create a three-dimensional spherical structure. Its beauty was unparalleled. I reached out to touch it, but as I did so, it moved to the corner of my room and faded into light. And then I fell asleep.

Months later, in "real" life, I was looking at a piece of white printer paper. And a pattern stared back at me. I scrambled to find the nearest pen so I could trace the pattern before it disappeared. At first, I traced little abstract shapes. Soon the entire paper was filled. And then! More layers appeared before my eyes. So I traced those as well. Some spots on the paper had denser patterns, others had looser, freer ones. Some spots had fluid lines, others had rigid ones. It didn't take me long to realize that the patterns I could see on the paper were reflections of my own consciousness.

And so the experience transformed into a bootcamp of self-discovery. I could see the spots where I had firm, unmoving beliefs. I could see the spots where my beliefs were in transition. I could see my past, and some of the darkness from it that still haunts me. But I could also see my future, and the joy that it brings. As I continued the frenzy of tracing the patterns, faces began to appear. I saw the faces of everybody I ever knew, and everybody I would ever know. I saw faces of people I hadn't met yet; I saw the face of my future child. And then the faces slowly transformed into words and phrases. I saw names, I saw messages of hope such as "all will be okay." All I could do was continue tracing.

Then- catastrophe! I made a mistake. I drew a line that looked out of place and was quite mismatched with the beautiful patterns surrounding it. What could I do? It was too late. I drew it with pen. It was there, unmoving. Stubborn as I am. And then it clicked. Mistakes are part of the big picture. I wouldn't be me without my flaws. In a sense, the imperfections are what make the whole perfect. I accepted the flaw on the paper, and in doing so, accepted the flaws within myself.

As I accepted who I am in my entirety, not just the best parts of myself, I felt a profound connection to my greatest potential, or higher self. The me without ego, without personality. The me that is just joy and love and pure energy. The me that just IS. I had never identified with the phrase "I AM" until that moment. As I surrendered my ego and my limited view to this higher self, my higher self took over as the most loving and understanding teacher that I can imagine. It taught me that no matter what happens, all will be okay. That I was exactly where I needed to be life. That I am worth loving no matter what. That I am consciousness; that I am life; that I am reality itself; that I am the universe.

I no longer felt connected to my body. I knew it was there and I accepted that as a perspective of me. I saw my personality structure and loved it and accepted it as a perspective of me. But I was also the room. I was the pen; I was the paper. I was the drawing. I recognized that my friends who were physically in the room with me were mirrors of me; that they were characters in this story of my life which I am authoring; that they are the actors in this dream of reality that I am dreaming. And I loved all of it.

The ancient Greeks used the word "genius" not to describe a person, but a sort of supernatural energy that enters human vessels who are prepared to let it enter. This waterfall of creation can induce a trance-like state where potential can be fully unleashed. In that moment, I let the genius flow through me and onto the paper. I wasn't moving my hands anymore; this energetic stream was doing all the work. It knew where the lines should go and how they should look.

The thought crossed my mind of "what if this drawing never matters to anyone?" I laughed at my ego fighting so hard to surface and regain control. Of course it didn't matter if the drawing matters to anyone. It was everything to me; it WAS me; and that is enough. The greatest success one can ever have it to be as authentic as possible. It doesn't matter one bit whether other people agree that you're successful or accomplished.

After tracing the patterns for three hours, I wondered when I would stop. Could I ever stop? Would I stop when the pen ran out of ink? Would I stop when my arm muscles were too fatigued to go on? I realized that I could trace the patterns forever. There will always be more to discover about myself. That's why we live; to learn and grow and progress. There is nothing to fear because all you can ever find is more of yourself.

At one point, however, I just stopped. I looked at the paper full of patterns and lines and faces and words and signatures and decided it was enough for that night. Now, I have the picture framed in my bedroom. It's my background on my computer and on my phone. I have it everywhere to remind me that I am the universe and the master of my reality. To this day, I count my creation of the drawing as the single most spiritual experience of my life.

I often stare deeply into it to peer into myself. Recently, I've been doing all that I can to stay on a spiritual wavelength. Most days I'm feeling overwhelmed with joy and love, but on other days I am confronted with the darkness that will forever abide within the construct of my personality. For years, I pushed away the darkest parts of myself, the parts I didn't want to look at. I imprisoned them in the deepest abyss of my soul, the Tartarus of my consciousness. And I thought that took care of the problem. But much like the Titans (who were the prisoners of Tartarus), the darkness was unleashed. This time, however, I'm using the darkness to discover more about myself. I was sucker-punched with the realization that without darkness, I could not have ever created my drawing. I drew with black pen on a white paper. The patterns could not be seen if I had drawn with white. It took darkness to create the image. Now, as I battle the darkness that lives within me, I will not sentence it to a dungeon. I will use it to reveal more about myself; it is an integral part of the journey that is my life.

In the moment that I created my drawing, I recognized that strange orb that hovered above my bed so long ago. The drawing is a splicing of that crystalline structure. The orb-- and the drawing -- is what my consciousness looks like. It is me.

And though it has imperfections, it is perfect.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Why the Science of Hunting Doesn't Check Out

Humans are really great at creating balance in nature. Right? Ha, no. Very wrong. Let's cite some examples. Humans have greatly amplified earth's natural warming cycle. We're using natural resources at unsustainable levels. We've driven many animals to extinction. Some that are now extinct because of hunting and loss of habitat include the West African black rhinoceros, Pyrenean ibex, passenger pigeon, quagga, Caribbean monk seal, sea mink, Tasmanian tiger, tecopa pupfish, Javan tiger, great auk, and bubal hartebeest. Bottom line: we humans really suck at "wildlife management!"

Here's the thing: we've created the term "wildlife management" to make ourselves feel better about killing animals. Nature, by its very nature (ha), always balances out. Animal populations naturally fluctuate very subtly. They gradually increase and gradually decrease over periods of time, which is called a population cycle. 

Hunters very commonly argue that hunting is necessary to keep animal populations down. This is based on very faulty logic. Hunting actually causes animal populations to rise artificially. Let me explain why. When animals are killed during hunts each year, the population does decrease temporarily. This means that less individuals within that animal population share resources. In other words, resources become more plentiful for each animal because not as many animals are competing for food, water, and shelter. This results in greater fertility, which leads to increased reproduction and a population explosion. And guess what? This causes hunters to argue that the population is too large and that hunting is needed to balance out nature. It's a very destructive cycle. Animal populations would be so much better off if we left them alone. Let's look at how animal population cycles look without hunting vs. with hunting:

Which do you think is more natural?

Many hunters also think that it's okay to hunt because they are performing a function similar to what natural predators do. That's also totally false. Remember that smart guy named Charles Darwin? His most famous theory is called natural selection. For those that don't remember what they were taught in grade school, natural selection basically means that the weakest animals in an animal population are the ones that do not survive to reproduce. Thus, over time, the traits that lead to survival are the ones that get passed down over time. This is called survival of the fittest. When natural predators hunt, they eliminate the weakest or sickest members of animal populations. The strongest animals survive to reproduction, creating more robust animal populations over time. Natural predation actually helps not only the predator because he/she needs food, but it also helps the prey's population over time! Wow! Nature!

Hunting, by contrast, performs a function that is the exact opposite of natural predators. Hunters don't kill the weakest or sickest members of the population; they choose the ones that will look best on their wall. They're looking for a trophy. Killing the healthiest individuals in an animal population leaves the weaker animals to reproduce, which harms animal populations over time. 

I've heard many hunters justify hunting by saying that they are providing for their family. Ha! Stop! That is so silly! It's a complete rationalization. That would mean that you and your family would die if you didn't eat that elk or deer or whatever else you think you need to shoot. If you have access to a grocery store, you don't get to use the excuse that you need wildlife meat to feed your family. The money that you would spend on a hunt could actually buy way more food that your children would like a heck of a lot more than elk meat or venison. 

So there you go. Science once again proves the fallacy of human thought. And please please PLEASE understand that scientific fact is FACT. Just because you don't agree with its implications does not mean that you get to ignore fact. 

Let's stop hunting today. It's time! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Why It's a Good Sign that People are Outraged Over Cecil the Lion's Death

The massive response to Cecil the Lion being killed is an event that I think will change the world for the better. People around the world are now saying that we're not okay with humans killing animals just because they want to. In the words of Twisted Sister, "we're not gonna take it, no we ain't gonna take it. We're not gonna take it anymore!" Here's a link to the video if you would like some music to set the mood:

I cannot and will not sit by and let animals get killed for human pleasure anymore. I'm so sick of it. I'm getting really tired of people arguing that we shouldn't care about Cecil being killed. Let me demystify all of the arguments that I've seen about why it should be a non-issue.

Argument #1: Lions kill people, so their population has to be maintained. 
Yes, everybody knows that lions can and do kill people. Of course they do. But it's not only predators that kill people. Elephants trample people to death. Cows kill people. Horses kill people. If your argument is that animals that kill humans should be killed, what say you about the fact that humans are the ones that kill the most humans by far?

The argument that we should kill animals that kill people really does not hold up at all. We would have to kill every single lion to prevent lions from killing people. We would have to kill almost all animal life on our planet if we wanted to prevent humans from being killed by animals.

Humans are extremely bad at balancing out nature. Just look at what we're doing to our planet. We're amplifying climate change. We're using natural resources at irresponsible levels. Our population growth is unsustainable. And, bringing it all back to African lion, our "management" of this species is driving them to the brink of extinction. They will probably be extinct by 2050 if we keep up our behavior. That's not "wildlife management." That's human arrogance at its finest.

Argument #2: What the dentist did was legal
Nope, wrong. For one thing, the dentist used a crossbow to conceal the hunt so rangers wouldn't be alerted to his plans. The dentist had to lure Cecil off of the animal sanctuary that he lived on before killing him. As if that isn't already sketchy enough, the landowner whose land Cecil was killed on didn't have a permit for killing lions. Zimbabwe wants the dentist extradited so they can deal with him in their courts since he violated their laws.

Argument #3: Animals are meant to be used by humans
A lot of people seem to think that since animals don't fit our scientific definition of "intelligent life" they can be killed. That's pretty messed up, in my opinion. But that's another discussion entirely.

I will not disagree that there are still some cultures around the world in which it is necessary to kill animals for survival, whether that means they need to kill animals for food or because the animals are actively trying to kill them to make them their food. But neither of those scenarios were in play for Cecil's death. The dentist killed Cecil as a trophy. Just because he wanted to. And that's what people are not okay with.

Argument #4: The money that the dentist paid to fund the hunt helped Zimbabwe's economy
The money only helped two people, the other hunter and the landowner. Animals being alive is what really dumps money into Zimbabwe's economy. Zimbabwe has a massive ecotourism industry. Zimbabwe may lose $5 million in the final quarter of 2015 because of Cecil's death. Cecil being alive would have had much more drastic effect on Zimbabwe's economy.

Argument #5: Americans shouldn't worry about Cecil because there are plenty of other issues to worry about
I don't really have much to say on this because it's kind of ridiculous. People have the capability to worry about more than one thing at a time.

Argument #6: Americans don't understand what life is really like in Zimbabwe, so we shouldn't care about Cecil being killed
It is absolutely true that most Americans can't comprehend the daily lives of people in Zimbabwe. Cecil's death may not be something that most people from Zimbabwe cry over. But that doesn't mean that the rest of us can't be upset that humans still want to kill animals purely for fun.

Our ancestors lived very different lives from us. They had to work hard all day, every day to ensure their survival. As Americans, we live in a new era where we don't have to wake up each morning and worry about not having enough shelter, food, and water to survive the day. We have much more leisure time than ever before. Our lives are now full of conveniences that give us the time to reflect on world events that make us upset or inspired. I would argue that our new leisure time is giving us the chance to make social changes that we want to see in our ideal world. Our American lifestyle is giving us the opportunity to fight for changes that we want to better humanity. Is that such a bad thing? I think it's pretty incredible.

Argument #7: People saying that they want the dentist to suffer the same fate as Cecil are being too dramatic
It is extreme to wish death upon another human being. However, I think the people who are calling for his punishment are really just expressing their belief that animal lives are just as valuable as human lives. Throughout history, murder was punished by death. I think it's pretty profound that people are, for once in human history, demanding that animal lives be treated with the same dignity and respect as human lives.

I think it's quite funny how most people talk about how they want a better world or a "heaven on earth," but aren't willing to make the changes in their own personal lives to create that Utopian world. I think most of us would agree that there would be no killing in a perfect world. Why don't we start now?

Cecil's death may be a tragedy in many people's eyes, but it can be used to make positive change. His death is causing the attitudes of people around the world to change. Take a moment to internalize this situation. You always have the freedom to believe what you want. Do you want to join humanity in saying that animal lives are worth being treated with respect? What do you see in your ideal world? What beliefs and attitudes will you need to adopt or drop to make that world a reality?

I just want to take the opportunity to share my burning passion for protecting the lives of animals. The other day, I was on a hike and noticed that there was a deer hanging out by us. I quietly followed her into the woods, where she chose a spot to lay down. I was able to get about 20 feet away from her. We just looked into each other's eyes for a couple of minutes. She didn't appear to be afraid of me in any way. I believe that by looking into an animal's eyes, you are looking into the soul of the Earth. And that's worth protecting.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What Feminism Really Is -- And What It Isn't

What do you think of when you think of feminism? Do you think of bra-less women in pantsuits singing angsty rock songs about sticking it to "the men" or how they haven't shaved their legs in years? I'm sure these women are probably wonderful people with good intentions, but are misunderstood. People seem to respond badly to this form of feminism, and it gives them a bad taste in their mouth about the feminist movement in general.

Since feminism is immensely misunderstood, I'd like to set the record straight about what feminism is and what it isn't. 

Feminism is, at its core, about feminine qualities being as equally valued as masculine qualities. Feminine traits are widely described as: 
  • emotional 
  • sensitive 
  • graceful
  • nurturing
  • patient
  • compassionate
  • empathetic 
By contrast, masculine traits are:
  • non-emotional
  • aggressive
  • competitive
  • strong
  • logical
  • direct
  • confident
Many women think that by acting like a man, they are achieving equality. Nothing could be further from the truth! Feminism is about achieving equality by changing society so that feminine qualities are regarded as important as masculine qualities. Think about it: which women do we regard as "heroes" in our pop culture? Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lara Croft, Wonder Woman, Black Widow, and Sarah Connor from Terminator come to mind. Think about how they solve problems: through violence and aggression. They aren't examples of feminism at all. A true feminist would solve problems like Pocahontas did: through compassion and understanding, and a willingness to sacrifice her own life to save another's.

I'm not at all arguing that some women don't possess some masculine qualities. Physical gender is not necessarily a manifestation of a person's dominant gender energetically. There are, of course, very masculine females in the world just as there are very feminine males. There's nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is that many women think they won't be valued or achieve greatness unless they adopt masculine traits.

The vast majority of us are not 100% masculine or 100% feminine; we have a mixture of these qualities. For example, I am very logical while making big decision. I make charts, spreadsheets, and perform statistical tests before coming to conclusions. However, I am also extremely empathetic. That duality of feminine and masculine qualities is present within all of us!

Thus, feminism is not just for women. It's for everyone. Think about how the world would change if everyone embraced their feminine qualities just as society adores the masculine qualities. The entire world balance would shift completely. For too long, we have been stuck in a patriarchal system because masculine qualities have forced their way onto a pedestal while feminine qualities have been belittled and beaten down. If we all accepted that our feminine traits are just as important as our masculine ones, we would truly achieve gender equality once and for all. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Society's Biggest Lie

In my opinion, the biggest lie society has ever concocted is that beauty matters. We are constantly
bombarded by photoshopped models, airbrushed celebrities, makeup commercials, plastic surgery advertisements, etc. We even enter our toddlers into beauty pageants, teaching them from an early age that they should be judged by how they look. The beauty industry makes millions of dollars because of our belief in the lie that our worth is defined by our appearance.

Not only have beauty standards changed drastically over time, but beauty standards widely differ in
various parts of the world right now . For example, here in the United States, we are constantly craving that "perfect tan." We destroy our bodies by exposing them to dangerous UV rays without properly protecting ourselves for the sake of having a darker skin tone. By contrast, on the opposite side of the world, many people in Asian countries spend money to bleach their skin.

The fact that beauty is subjective is not only proven by the varying beauty standards, but also because we are now fully aware that we are capable of perceiving very different things, as illustrated by "the dress." Many people thought the dress was blue and black, white and gold, blue and gold, etc. even though they were looking at the exact same image! Our eyes and brains tell us different things about images we see; thus, beauty is truly in the "eye of the beholder."

Your body's worth is not in its beauty, but in its accomplishments. Our bodies are simply the vehicles
that carry us through life and allow us to achieve our goals. Your body can do amazing things. It can help you climb the tallest mountains or dive in deep waters. It can help you paint masterpieces or build machines. It can even bring new life into the world. That's pretty incredible. Your body carries your brain, which can solve difficult problems and grasp abstract philosophical concepts. Your body also is home to your heart, which allows you to feel emotions. And you can do all of these things no matter how "beautiful" you are.

Since our bodies are the vehicles in which we experience reality, we need to take care of them just like we would with a nice car. Like a car, our bodies need to be consistently maintained and properly fueled. We need to perform regular maintenance on our bodies by ensuring that we get enough sleep every night and exercising every day. We need to maintain our brain function by keeping it active, not letting it be idle most of the day. Like a car, our bodies need the proper fuel to carry us through the day. If you have a car that uses standard fuel, it would be crazy to put diesel in it. Putting the improper fuel in your car would lead to some serious issues. Likewise, putting bad food in our bodies will cause major problems in the short and long terms. Of course, your body won't last forever, but you are in control of how healthy it will be until then.

Think of how much money and time you spend trying to make yourself "beautiful." You are literally buying into the lie that beauty determines your worth. All life is beautiful simply because it is life. You are already beautiful just the way you are simply because you are you. Love your body just the way it is, and take good care of it so you can enjoy life to the fullest.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

9 Beliefs that are Preventing Humans from Evolving

I love Star Trek. But before you let that scare you off from reading this, hear me out. One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from the character Q, an omnipotent god. In the last episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, he says to Captain Picard, "The exploration that awaits you [is] not mapping stars and studying nebulae, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence." Many people think that since we have some advanced technology, we have evolved as humans. Nope. I don't think we've evolved at all since the emergence of the homo sapien. The genius technological minds of a rare few do not make humanity, as a whole, more progressed in a truly meaningful way.

Like Q, I don't think that the spark for human evolution is technology. While technology may help, human progression will happen when we can overcome the age-old human tendencies and rise to a new level of consciousness. I believe that a major shift to a world of love, happiness, and spirituality is underway, but we need to ride the wave. In order to do so, we need to shed belief systems that are not compatible with the new world that we want. Here are a few:

1. Killing and hurting each other

Enough is enough. Why can people not just stop it already? We've been killing each other for thousands of years. I can see the side of people who want to kill and hurt fellow humans. But I certainly don't understand it. Honestly, I don't think there is any logical reason to kill somebody. I suppose if you're defending yourself or your children, it's more understandable (but then again, why can't you just incapacitate the offender?) We are all made of stars. We all bleed red blood. We all laugh, cry, and smile. If we are all the same in these important ways, can't we get over the desire to kill somebody so similar to you?

2. Comparison to others
This is a habit as old as time. It's so easy to compare yourself to others, and with that comes judgment about others and yourself. It's not healthy, productive, or kind. In all honesty, how can we even compare ourselves to other people? Each of us is so unique that it's literally impossible to make an accurate comparison. To evolve, we need to accept that each of us are different, not better or worse.

3. Deciding that life is hard
You hear it all the time. But, while I do not disagree that life is full of -perhaps- frustrating moments, it is the way you define life that makes all the difference. I like to think of life as just being beautiful. I recognize that, before I was incarnated on this planet, I chose many learning opportunities that I would have to encounter in order to progress. That's all that happens: learning opportunities. You can interpret certain situations as "bad", but that only makes them harder to bear. If we want to progress, we need to recognize that we have a purpose and that everything that happens is essential to our progression.

4. Focusing on the negative
This goes along with #3. There is only one thing that can determine how happy or miserable you can be, and that thing is between your ears. You decide what you experience. Nothing else is to blame for your unhappiness. Sure, things might not go your way. But that's the point, isn't it? Take accountability for your happiness. Choose to see only the positive. You might be thinking, but that's easier said than done! But guess what? It's as easy as you let it be.

5. Being complacent

Some say that the modern world is full of smart phones and dumb people. In a sense, that may be true. In order to evolve, we need to challenge and expand our minds. We cannot sit idly by and watch life happen. We need to study philosophy, engage in friendly debates, and discuss ideas to progress. Insta-face-tweet-chatting about celebrities, what we had for breakfast, what we wore to a funeral etc. is not going to help humanity may, in fact, be taking a step in the wrong direction.

6. Having fear-based motivations
Traditionally, humans have only been called to action out of fear. For example: "Get a good job because otherwise you won't be able to buy food and you will DIE AND YOUR BABIES WILL DIE AND THERE'S NOT ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE SO RUN AND GET A JOB BEFORE THE OTHERS GET YOUR FOOD!!!" Another example: "Do not sin because God will strike you down!" The truth of it all is that there is no need to fear anything. Guess what? It will all work out exactly the way it's supposed to. We should only act out of love, compassion, and gratitude. In the new era of peace, there will be no room for fear or other negative emotions.

7. Waiting for the end
I think it's funny when people justify their actions or lack of action by "It doesn't matter, because Jesus will come to save us" or something equivalent. The only time you really have is NOW. You can't change the past, and you don't know how much of a future you have, so be the best you can be NOW. People think they have time to change their habits because "the Second Coming won't be for a while." Chew on this: do you think the Second Coming/world peace/whatever you want to call it will happen at a set time, or when we prove that we are ready? Do you not think that you need to become a person who is already compatible with a perfectly peaceful, loving world?

8. Disharmony with nature
I don't know if there's anything I'm more passionate about than respect for nature. So many people think that the earth belongs to us and that we can do whatever we want to it. Are we not made from the earth? Are we not buried in the earth when we die? Is it not us, then, that belong to the earth? Hippie moment: I fully believe that Mother Earth is a real entity, and that she is crying for what we, her children, are doing to her. We need to recognize that we are responsible for respecting the wonderful planet that brings us life, shelter, food, and beauty.

[Bonus paragraph for this important topic.] Those who know me well know that I detest, above all else, the killing of animals. Humans have also been killing animals since the beginning of time. Is it not logical, then, that we should overcome this barbaric tendency in order for us to evolve? Mormons believe that after the Second Coming of Christ, the "lion will lay down with the lamb." Do you think that this will happen on its own? No way. Animals will never live in harmony each other or with humans as long as they have something to fear.

9. Denying the existence of extraterrestrials 
Back to the Star Trek theme. Ha HA! You thought I would forget, didn't you? Alright, it's just a plain ol' fact that intelligent life out there exists. It denies all science and probability to think that it doesn't. Every ancient society knew extraterrestrials exist. The Founding Fathers of America knew they exist. Why do we try to deny the obvious? Perhaps extraterrestrials are waiting for us to accept their existence before they make first contact. But you're worried: won't they be bad? Won't they destroy us? Once again, that's an example of a fearful mindset :) To put your mind at rest, don't you think that if they had the superior technology to know of our existence, wouldn't they also to have the technology to have destroyed us already?

I have all confidence that the extraterrestrials are more advanced technologically and spiritually, and they are eager to make contact with us. In all likelihood, they are highly evolved beings living in a perfectly loving, happy, and peaceful world. And if that's the case, wouldn't they want to share that with us? I have high hopes for humanity and our ability to evolve into people who love unconditionally and realize their true nature.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Power of Definitions- And How They Can Change Your Life

I like to say that the world cannot be seen in black in white because it is actually in full color. By this, I mean that we are conditioned to define things as "good" and "bad", "beautiful" and "ugly", "righteous" and "evil." But, in reality, nothing has an inherent meaning. We choose how we look at things, and this can ruin or improve our lives.

Every thing does not have an inherent meaning or definition; it is neutral. Things only have power once you assign them a meaning. Think about it: when you are a baby, everything is wonderful and awe-inspiring. You don't see any thing or experience as good or bad, you only see opportunities to learn. But, somehow on the path between childhood and adulthood, you start adopting definitions for things.

Let's explore this concept of neutrality further. Take a look at this tree. You may say it's a good-looking tree,
but I may say that it's ugly. Is either one of us right? No, because the tree just is. It's simply a part of Creation, a part of all that is. It's not inherently good-looking or ugly, but once we assign one of those definitions to it, the definitions start having power. For example, if I think it's an ugly tree, when I see it out in nature, it will annoy me or ruin my mood a little bit. By contrast, if you say it's a beautiful tree, it will brighten your day just a little bit every time you see one like it.

Here's another example: the activity of hiking is not inherently assigned a definition as being "fun" or "boring." It just is, and then we choose to assign certain definitions to it. The person who thinks that hiking is always fun will always have a good time hiking. However, the person who thinks that hiking is boring will hate going. Which person would you rather be?

Perhaps now you are seeing how definitions can change your life. If you want to be happy in life, change
your definitions. If you hate going to work, change how you think about going to work. Instead of saying "work is awful", say "work gives me the opportunity to provide for my family. I am thankful for that." Instead of saying "my boss is terrible to me," say "I love my boss even if they have done things that once made me upset." Instead of saying "my co-workers are mean," say "my co-workers are potential friends if I put in the effort." Tell yourself that you love going to work, and you will start believing that.

So, if you are miserable in life, or are simply not happy with the situations you are in, just change your definitions.