Saturday, July 30, 2011

Between Rage and Serenity

I'm guessing that I probably gave a few readers a scare last night. First thing I want to say is that I'm doing better now. Had time to calm down and talk to some people, namely family and friends. After I calmed down I sort of realized something regarding responsibility. It's an important lesson I need to do better in remembering.

That lesson is: there's a difference between being responsible for one's own actions...and expecting oneself to be perfect. Last blog post I think I was expecting myself to be perfect as opposed to responsible.

I have flaws. This I know. Somehow I keep expecting something to miraculously happen to get rid of them. I know that won't happen, even though my heart keeps wanting it. I know there's no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to character flaws.

Still, though, I think I may have set my standards too high when it comes to myself, and in so doing I was priming myself for self-destruction. I know no one else will "cure" me of my character flaws. But you know what? They don't need to be instantly "cured." Just worked on. I know I shouldn't set my standards too low either. However, setting them too high can have the same debilitating effects as too low.

I guess I was too hard on myself. I still have to learn not to be too soft, but again, it doesn't have to be right this moment. To quote the movie X-Men: First Class: "true power lies somewhere between rage and serenity."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Limitless? (And I Don't Mean the Movie, Folks)

Freelance writing work for me has been slowly mounting over the past few weeks. While the piece I submitted for Elephant Journal (as elaborated on in this blog post) isn't live as of the time of writing this entry, I've been getting other assignments as well. Some of these assignments earn me a little cash; other assignments free stuff (as long as I review said free stuff). All in all things are looking up in small ways, and it's all good.

Still, some of my friends keep telling me that this "is just the beginning." And furthermore that I have "immense potential." Maybe I've written about this before, but I still want to emphasize this sort of aura of...mystery, for lack of a better term, that my life has taken on as of late. Just what exactly is this potential I have? What is this the beginning of?

I know I said in the post title I wasn't talking about the movie Limitless, but that movie comes to mind for me nonetheless. But while the protagonist in that movie uncovers his potential through a newly discovered (and very dangerous) drug...I don't know how my potential is getting unearthed. And I guess it is sort of comparing apples to oranges, since the drug in Limitless is to the brain what nitrous oxide is to a car (i.e. pushing it to work but damaging it in the process), but the good things that have happened in my life are the direct result of...I don't know.

Maybe it is God/Ganesha/whatever name you like to call the force of the Universe. In fact I'm almost certain of it. But it brings up the age-old question again - what is it that I'm doing right that's earning God's favor/grace/etc.? And what is it that I'm doing wrong that is holding me back from getting more?

Okay, I realize I'm kind of repeating myself in these blog posts. I said this in as many words before a couple of posts back. But I wouldn't keep asking these questions if they weren't important to me. I promise I'll try to come up with some better material for this blog, folks. Just bear with me as I try to have my brain adjust to these new circumstances.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Anyone See the License Plate of That Karma?

These past few days have been weird. How so? They seem to have the extremes of positivity and negativity in them...and I can't seem to figure out if I am doing something right, wrong, or both, or if it's just stuff happening. There are supposedly no coincidences, as karma is constantly in play, or so I've heard. But right now I can't figure out what I'm doing that's causing what.

First, there is the punishment side...and mainly it's been in the form of being under the weather the past few days. I won't get into the gory details, but my feeling like crud has been the reason I haven't felt like doing any meditation or pranayama (breathing techniques that I learned from that Art of Living course) routines as of late. Thing is, health-wise I haven't done anything out of the ordinary. Sure, my diet hasn't been ideal but it's not like I was binge-eating or doing anything else absurd like that. Maybe I just got sick off of something? Hard to tell.

However, there have been blessings as well. My writing seems to be going places! With any luck, hopefully one of my blog posts will show up on yoga/lifestyle website Elephant Journal sometime soon. (Which is kind of amazing in light of the fact of my chanting a Ganesha mantra during meditation! Surely it's a blessing from Ganesha? Elephant Journal doesn't seem like a coincidence there...) I've been getting more freelance newspaper work as well. And I even felt inspired enough to dip my big toe into the world of independent video game development. (More on that in a future post.)

It's all very strange to me - strange in the sense that there would be these pleasures fused with this pain. I'm aware of the concept of karma, but oftentimes karma doesn't line up with my expectations. Sure, I know how to learn, but when it's not spelled out for me how am I supposed to learn it? How am I supposed to figure out what I'm doing right or wrong if I'm not hit over the head with the result (figuratively speaking)? That is, how can I learn if I can't figure out which action led to which result?

If the universe is supposed to make sense...I need that sense knocked into me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It Is What It Is

Tonight I'm going to discuss a rather serious topic, albeit one that's been tread down before: the topic of why bad things happen to good people. Not only that, but why some people seem to be born with a predilection to do bad things...or are assumed to be that way, at any rate.

If you're wondering what brought this on, I read a blog post recently titled Schrodinger's Rapist, which basically deals with the threat of sexual assault women have to deal with every day. Beyond that I will not summarize further; please read the link so you can have a grasp of what I'm talking about.

Read the article? Good. Now I will proceed.

It's dealing with facts like that, that make me question the motives of God; the article does bring up a valid point, that even if men like myself don't ever picture ourselves sexually assaulting any woman, due to the very nature of the Y chromosome we carry we are still capable of doing it, whether we like that fact or not. The mere fact that because of my gender that I'm instantly associated with the ones of my gender who do carry out such evil (and there are sadly too many of them) is at times more than I can bear.

It's not just mere association that brings me down - it's the physiological differences between men and women, right down to how their brains function, that really drives it all home for me. Because of such documented differences, it really drives home the point that even if I can't associate myself with the evil members of my gender, it's because of the fact that the Y chromosome is what it is that makes it possible for me to commit such acts of cruelty. Believe me, I wish I could think like a woman all the time. I wish I could be a woman sometimes...if only to get rid of this stigma.

This brings me to the motives of God: why would God put me in a male body? If God didn't want me to commit such evil, why put me in a body that's capable of it? If God is supposedly omniscient, then God surely would've known of my tendencies to so easily deprecate myself for being who I why put me in a body that would facilitate such feelings? Since I can be so easily ashamed of being male, due to the evil other males do, why put me in a male body?

After reading the article in question, I express such feelings over Twitter, and one of the people I followed said I should relax, and that I don't need to take it all on. It was that statement that at least brought me some peace on the matter; indeed, the questions I asked before are not ones that I need to answer myself, or have answered right now. The universe is what it is, and God designed it that much as I want to question its design, I realize that it's not my place to do so, since it's not within my power to change the fundamental nature of the human male. (I suppose if I was a geneticist with mad scientist-like plans of world-shaking, I could do something about it, but I'm not, so...) It's God's responsibility for how the universe is, not mine.

I'm not saying one should be complacent in light of such evil as the threats women face every day. It's important to fight evil, of course. This brings us to what I've learned about the fundamental nature of happiness: one is not happy in the absence of suffering. One can only be truly happy by overcoming suffering. So in my case, I suppose what I can do is to not only be different from the males who do commit evil acts against women (which I already am different from them, as far as I'm concerned), but try to fight against it whenever and however I can. As I am not a superhero I can't fly around the city beating up every rapist that exists, but I can speak out against it and try to stop it if I do see it.

I suppose that's why the universe is what it is...because if it were perfect already, there would be no incentive for dynamism, for change, for movement. And what good is a universe in a perpetual steady-state? Maybe the reason I'm a male who feels the way I do is because if I do manage to encounter my soulmate out there, that my shame would go away and the rewards would be that much sweeter.

Besides, I feel God and the universe are starting to become kinder to me Ganesha mantra-chanting and meditation seem to be paying off in unforeseen ways. I feel Ganesha has started to bless me. More on that in another post, though.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Little Things

They say it's the little things that make you happy. This I've come to know to be true. The opposite can be true as well - it can be the little things that bring you down as well, especially if they pile up.

However, for me recently, little things have been piling up in a good way. That is, lots of good little things have been happening in my life: things like getting a surprise discount at a Chipotle restaurant I went to. Winning a contest for a free video game over Twitter. Getting a couple of extra Timbits when I order a small box at Tim Hortons (hey, the secret to any diet is controlled cheating ;) ). Getting some surprise food and money from my parents...and in one case a friend of my mother's.

Lots of these little things have happened recently. I guess I shouldn't question it. But still, curiosity demands to know why this may be happening. I figure if I don't know the answer it wouldn't matter too much, but still, I want to figure out what I'm doing right, or what wrong things I'm not doing.

Is it the mantra chanting? Is it the meditation? Is it the things I've done at large recently (like the article I wrote)? Am I getting a karma boost of some sort? Is the universe just plain throwing me a bone? Or is this all completely random? I don't know...but I guess it would be nice to know.