The Ramblings of the Titanium Don

Explorations of Conscious Reality Creation and Other Matters

Month: January 2013

Pathwalking 57

Pathwalking may be a singular choice…but that does not mean we have to go it alone.

I have talked about people not understanding your path.  People not understanding the choices you make.  People trying to influence you as obstructions, not to help you.  But what I have not mentioned previously are the people along your path supporting you.

Human beings are not meant to be alone.  We are, science tells us, social creatures.  We need friends, family, loved ones, even random people around us.  We all have basic needs like food, water and air…and emotional needs that are far less tangible.

While many of the answers to life’s great questions and mysteries must begin from within, we still want to share those, and we still need to connect to others in order to do that.  As social creatures, we need and want to share what we learn, who we are, and how we grow.

For over a year I have been sharing my Pathwalking experience.  I frequently mention that I am mostly doing this for myself, but sharing it with you is part of the social element.  I don’t need to share this…I want to.  And if nobody reads these, that does not change or invalidate the action.

In addition to the validation we seek for who we are and what we do, we also need to share what we are learning; and as such perhaps to receive guidance.

We all have teachers.  First it’s your parents.  Then other relatives.  Then the educators you encounter while being schooled.  It is after formal schooling that this takes on a different tone.

For some, the informal education comes from “the streets”.  It comes from life lessons.  It is not sought, and for some not desired.  Some people do not like to learn.  They do not care about improving who and what they are, they just let life live them.  They are taught by television news anchors, pundits, clergy, coworkers, friends…or no one at all.  They are set in their way, and life simply happens.

For some, informal education is sought out.  We want to grow, to learn, to expand our minds and our perspectives and change things.  We read philosophies, we explore self-help and spiritual ideas and study to further our knowledge base.  This can take all kinds of forms, all sorts of directions, but it is part of the conscious effort to control our own destinies.

But guides are not always just unreachable celebrities and people like Paulo Coelho or the Dalai Lama or a dead philosopher like Socrates.  Some guides are far closer, far more personal…and really, in many respects, far more important.

While we may have people in our lives in opposition to the choices we make in Pathwalking, no doubt we have people in our lives in support.  They may simply be with us providing encouragement…they may serve an even greater place as a guide.  As important as it is to be Pathwalking to make your own choices, it is important to have these people along.

We all need sounding boards.  We all need someone to say ‘good job’ and ‘well done!’ and such.  Conversely, we need someone to gently nudge us, ‘you forgot this’ or ‘maybe you should consider this’ and similar.  Not just validation, but support and assistance.

It is good to have someone there when you need to ask questions aloud, whether or not you need them to give answers.  Having a person to voice concerns to, someone to ruminate with, someone to share new ideas with…this makes the path easier to tread, and adds to the overall worthwhile of the process.

These people are not the outside influences I talk about in Pathwalking 56, they do not seek to control you.  They are guides, sounding boards, assistants.  They are friends, family, lovers, mentors, students.  These are the person or persons who, while they may well be on their own path in life, walk along side you on yours as well, not obstructing or hindering your path.

And it is just as important that I be there for those on their own path.  Not because Pathwalking makes me any better than anyone else – but because there is experience I have and things I can share that might help someone else along the way.  This is why I share my own Path, to help you as you travel along your own, whether I show you not to take the way I have, or show you possibilities you have not considered on your own.

And it is a two way street.  Commentaries and conversations about this process have led to many of the topics covered in this series.  You are my companions on this path, as much as I hope I am a welcome companion on yours

Pathwalking is a lone course, but not a course that must be travelled alone.  I hope that all of us consciously making this choice help others to see it for the unlimited possibility it represents.

Who are your companions as you walk your path?

 

This is the fifty-seventh entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

A different perspective on the issue of guns

There is no short term solution to this problem.  Let’s just start right there.

You cannot take away all the guns.  Period.  And for all of you thinking this is what will happen – IT WILL NOT.  Period.  It may become harder to acquire guns, but no one will be coming into your home to take yours away.  Let’s just start there.

And just because the government will likely make it harder to get guns – let’s be real.  If someone WANTS a gun, they will FIND a gun, whether by legal means or otherwise.

On the other side – you cannot simply arm everyone.  This would be messy, and problematic for all kinds of reasons.  Certainly you can argue that “an armed society is a polite society”.  But do you REALLY think arming everyone is the answer?  I know I can certainly think of PLENTY of people I NEVER want to see with a gun, how about you?

Placing armed police or soldiers in schools and street corners is NOT the answer.  We DO NOT, and WILL NOT live in such a police state.  That is not what this nation is about, and that is no solution to the problem, either.

SO – what IS the solution, then?  I believe that there is a two-fold solution, but it is NOT short term, and it is NOT a quick fix.

What is it?

Education and Health Care reforms.  This is where the answers lie.

We need an education system that is not politicized, compromised, and constantly been torn down and subjugated to arbitrary and uninformative tests.  We need our education system not be dictated by bureaucrats with no experience in the field.  We need to allow teachers to TEACH, and we need to have critical thinking and deductive reasoning be given more importance and respect.

Our political leaders, no matter how much they may claim to be for education reform, DO NOT WANT YOU EDUCATED!  Let’s start with that truth right off the bat, shall we?

An educated society would question their self-interest and inaction.  Educated people wouldn’t accept the spoon-feeding of their BS and personal agendas.  Educated people would not elect people based on fear-mongering and charisma alone.  Educated people might make better choices for themselves – and that would mean LESS laws and LESS rule by those “in power”.

Pessimistic?  No, I do not believe so.  Realistic.  All throughout history we see leaders hoarding the education for themselves, disempowering their people.  And we see teachers struggling against this – Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, and the like.  Keeping the people uninformed and uneducated serves those in power far more than having educated people who might question them and their actions.

How does this mix into the gun control issue?  Better educated individuals might think twice before resorting to an act of violence.  Better educated people might notice that someone is on the verge of a breakdown or notice another sign that someone is in distress that might be displayed.  Better education is about empowerment.

And let’s face another important fact here.  Gun violence is about power.  I have a gun – you do not.  But if there were other resources to empower people, it is possible that they will THINK CRITICALLY before resorting to violence.

And this leads into the second solution – Health care.  We have to examine the fact that our health care system is NOT the best.  Not even close.

We may have the best doctors, nurses and medical personnel in the world, but this is of little good to people if they have no access to care!  We do not focus on wellness care, we focus on sick care, and are suffering as such.  We have unbelievably high rates of disease that are proven to be stress-induced, and rather than work to alleviate the stress, we wait until the breaking point has been reached and passed, and then work to salve the bloodletting.

We do not encourage people to seek counseling until there is a problem, and we still stigmatize mental-health.  Worse, our primary solution is simply to prescribe drugs.  I know from personal experience that drugs without therapy are hardly effective.  Drugs allow therapy to actually work.  And while in some instances drugs alone can be an answer, they still require at least some support.

Almost every one of the people who has committed an atrocious crime with a gun would have benefitted from better medical care.  The system is not designed to help us be well, if it designed for fixing.  It is utterly reactive, and we are unable to acknowledge that what it needs to be is PROACTIVE.

Reform will not be effective until we take the insurance companies out of the equation.  Part of the problem is that these are FOR-PROFIT agencies in control of our health care system, and so long as they are making the rules, they will do all they can to keep the status quo, and their profit-margins up.

Both education and health care are large issues, and while they could be held separate from the gun control issue, I would postulate that they are directly related, and capable of providing an ACTUAL, useful solution to the problem.

So before you scream about gun control, for or against it, consider instead the greater problem at hand.  Then, let’s work together to do something about it instead.

Pathwalking 56

While Pathwalking is a personal, singular choice, this does not mean that outside forces are wholly invalid.

I often talk about not letting outside influences dissuade you from your path.  But sometimes those outside influences cannot be wholly ignored.

Oh great.  Another paradox.  This is true, it IS another paradox.  But it can’t be ignored either.  And yes, this can be a complication in matters…but let me explain the thought process.

Diets almost never work.  Limiting what you eat for a time might take off some weight.  But if you do not adjust your habits in a meaningful way, it’ll come back and bring more.  Exercise is good for you.  However, in excess, exercise can produce some harmful consequences to the body.  Finding a proper balance of diet and exercise is the perfect metaphor for finding balance in Pathwalking.

I constantly state that Pathwalking is about MY choices.  It is what I want to do with my life.  Rather than let life make the choices for me, I will make the choices for life.  I have railed against outside influences in previous posts.  However, they cannot be completely ignored, either.

The difference in outside influence to ignore versus outside influence to consider is a balancing act.  And what it comes down to is choice.  Have I chosen wisely?

Yes, this is a paradox.  In especial with all the times I have mentioned not letting outside influences sway your path.  But consider this:  What if the choice you are making might have a very negative consequence that you cannot see yourself?  What if the person trying to influence you is doing so for your best interests, and not in a manner that is trying to control you?

See, that’s one of the key reasons for Pathwalking – control.  Controlling MY choices, MY destiny, MY life.  I don’t want the choices made for me by others – I want to be the maker of the choices.  But sometimes I can only see part of the picture overall.  There is nearly always a facet not visible to my eye.

I have said for a long time now that Truth comes in three brands – Mine, Yours, and The Absolute.  Sometimes these are harmonious…and sometimes, not so much.  However, if Your brand of the truth is closer to The Absolute than My brand of truth, and I am willing to explore that, it might lead somewhere I need and want to be.

There are questions to consider.

Who is the outside influence?  Is it someone you love and/or trust and respect, or someone who holds no place in your life?  A friend, family member, mentor, peer…or an acquaintance, politician, random stranger?  (And by all means, if a random stranger is shouting at you to duck so as not to be hit by something, duck!)  But when it’s a matter of Pathwalking, how does this person relate to your life and your choices?

What is the motivation of the outside influence?  Are they trying to maintain control over you, or are they just showing care and concern?  Why are they trying to influence you?  Are they trying to help you, or stop you?  Are they genuinely trying to be helpful, or obstructionist?

How are they trying to influence you?  Are they making suggestions?  Demanding?  Cajoling?  Coercing?  Nagging?  Questioning?  Are they trying to get you to see their point of view, or a different facet of your own path?

And like all things in Pathwalking, you have to make a judgment call.  Explore the influence, or ignore it.

If an outside influence is trying to assist you, then it might be worth looking into it.  If that influence is trying to control you, in all probability it is not going to be helpful to you.  But it’s best not to completely ignore these without validating or invalidating them.

Yes, this adds a whole new layer of complexity to this philosophy, but Pathwalking in all its layers is still more worthwhile to me than letting life just pass me by.  I want to have control over how I live my life, and Pathwalking is a choice in favor of that.

Striking the balance and dealing with the paradoxes can seem a bit overwhelming.  But that, my friends, is life.  Life is full of paradox, full of uncertainty.  Pathwalking is about making your own order out of the chaos.  And I firmly believe it to be a worthwhile endeavor.

Is the outside influence a guide or a hindrance?

 

This is the fifty-sixth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

Being FOR the things you want in the world

Be FOR, not AGAINST, the things you want.

I have observed that in the United States, we always seem to be on the defensive against things.  We are against drugs, against guns, against drunk driving, against hunger, against war, against against against.

Why is this important?  Because consciousness creates reality.  Ergo, what you focus on is what you get.

What does “against” mean, anyhow?  Dictionary.com defines it thus:

a·gainst [uh-genst, uh-geynst]  (preposition)

1. in opposition to; contrary to; adverse or hostile to: twenty votes against ten; against reason.

2. in resistance to or defense from: protection against burglars.

3. in an opposite direction to: to ride against the wind.

4. into contact or collision with; toward; upon: The rain beat against the window.

5. in contact with: to lean against the wall.

Opposition.  Contrary to.  Adverse.  In resistance to.  Opposite direction.  Do these notions seem counter to or supportive of creation?  How can you create something if you are doing the opposite?

This is the part people don’t understand.  To oppose what you actually want will not make it go away.  You can’t stamp it out.  And focusing on it, even when you want its opposite, will bring IT into sharper focus.

But I do not want this!  I am consciously saying I do not want this.

If, as I postulate to you, consciousness creates reality, then how can you create from a thought of destruction?  You cannot create when your thought is on taking something apart.

How do you create ending this thing you are against?  Simple.  Create it’s opposite.  Be FOR, rather than AGAINST.

Be for alternatives to drugs.  Be for alternatives to guns.  Be for sober driving.  Be for plenty of food for all.  Be for peace.

Positive thinking alone doesn’t do jack.  This is true.  As I have said before, thought must be mated to feeling for effectiveness.  But further than that, let me ask you this: How does all the negativity of the “againsts” make you feel?

How do you feel when you read the news and see that Celebrity So-and-so is against ‘x’, Senator Bigshot is against ‘y’, Generic Activist Group is against ‘z’, and everyone but a small crowd of lunatics are against ‘a’.  Negative news, drawing more negative news, drawing more negative emotions from everyone.  The message is spread and reinforced, and yet we all wonder why things seem bad?  Because we get focused on all those, we draw them and more like them to us.

Standing against things may seem to work, but not in the same manner as standing FOR things.  (Perfect example – Prohibition.)  Taking a positive position and a positive attitude is FAR more powerful than taking a negative one.

Think about all the times you really focused your energy, your thought, your emotion on something you wanted.  And when you got that something, how did you feel?  Now how many times have you focused on something you did NOT want, tried to make it not happen, gave it tons of focus and energy and thought and emotion…and got it anyhow?  How did THAT make you feel?

Taking a position ‘against’ will not stop the thing you do not want.  And while taking the position ‘for’ its opposite may not produce an immediate response either, doesn’t it feel better to think positively than to think negatively?

I know there are people out there who seem to relish their depression.  They love a dim cloudy day.  But most of the people I have encountered in this life seek to be happy, and happy is a positive emotion, not a negative one.  Most people prefer pleasure to pain, praise over scorn.  Positives.

It is so very easy to get caught in the trap of negativity.  We’re inundated by it rather constantly.  Messages from the media about this terrible thing or that awful war or that criminal act meet us at every turn.  If, like me, you want to stay informed, no matter how much you minimize media exposure, it is difficult to not get swept up in the downer messages.

So – we have to start on our own.  We can’t expect this to change from without, so like most things, it needs to change from within.  Start choosing things to be FOR, rather than things to be AGAINST.  Consciously make a choice to find the positive spin, rather than the negative.  Feel the emotions being produced in you, and make conscious choices FOR rather than AGAINST.

The next time you find yourself in opposition to something…can you find something instead to be in support of?

Pathwalking 55

What about branching paths? How do you figure out if the branches are worth walking or need pruning off of your life paths?

This was an excellent question asked following Pathwalking 53.  The answer is both extremely simple and potentially complex.

As you walk your path, you will come across forks, branches, crossroads, and various and sundry obstacles.  How can you tell a diversion from a proper path?  How do you choose which is the way to go?

Let’s break this down into steps.  And remember – the answer will not always be simple nor straightforward.  Different branches will present different issues/problems/opportunities, and thus different solutions.

What path am I on?  This is an important question to ask, because it may explain why you reached this branch/fork/what-have-you.  Were you straying?  Did you lose your way?  Is there an aspect of the path you have been walking that alters your course?

What options are in front of me?  Does the alternative to the path you are on present a problem, an opportunity, an utterly unknown variable?  Is it simply a matter of turn left versus turn right?  Zig or zag?  Which leads to the next question:

What are the consequences of the choices of path before me?  Will there be any major ramifications from one choice over another?  Am I making a mountain out of a molehill debating my options?

Feel out each path.  I cannot stress enough the importance of this step.  Analysis is all well and good, and very important – but if you do not feel your way forward, if you do not have a sense of good versus neutral versus bad with regards to the choices, then you will not likely be able to make the right choice.

I have said over and over through the course of Pathwalking that feeling is of the utmost importance.  And when you reach a branch, or fork, or whatever, you have to feel out your answer.  If your gut sinks at the thought of one option, but you start feeling energized and excited about another, which do you think you should choose?

Now what happens if your head is in conflict with your heart?  Ask yourself why.  Are they in conflict for any logical reason, or is it fear?  Have you over-analyzed, and that is what is producing the conflict?  Is there an outside influence causing the conflict?

Once you have worked on getting the head and the heart on the same page, the final step:

Choose a path.  Which branch/fork/alternative do you take?  Don’t stand too long at the precipice – make your choice and go with it.

What if I choose wrong?  In all probability you will realize rather quickly if you’ve picked the wrong branch to walk.  However, like all aspects of Pathwalking, even a wrong choice may lead you somewhere you need to be.

Pathwalking is about choosing a path, and walking a path, and whatever adventures happen along the way.  But rather than walk along your life aimlessly or blindly, you are choosing what life might bring you.  Life does not live you – you live your life.

These answers are extremely open ended.  That’s true.  And that is because what is right for me is not going to be right for you, or anyone else.  But the various and sundry bits and pieces along the way will be similar.  The steps may change order, and some may even be skippable, but they are going to help you make your choices.  And this is true whether you are just starting your path, or already walking along it.

No matter whether your path is straight, bumpy, simple, complex, branched, forked, or what-have-you – the key to it all is choice.  Pathwalking is about choosing for yourself life as you wish it to be.  But what you find along the journey might be greater and more life-altering than your wildest dreams ever conceived.

Let me conclude this by asking a different question.  Why choose your own path, rather than let your path choose you?  My answer is this – because I want to control my destiny.  I want to live MY life, as I want to live it, so that when I inevitably reach the end, rather than full of regret for what might have been, I will look back at all the wondrous experiences of my life fondly.

What will YOU do when your path branches?

 

This is the fifty-fifth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

Pathwalking 54

Do you know yourself?

I have encountered far more people for whom the answer to that question is No, rather than Yes.

What does that even mean?

As a society, we have become extremely complacent about our lives.  I say over and over again that people too often just let life live them.  Get up in the morning, go to work, go home, veg in front of the TV a couple hours, go to bed.  Rinse, repeat.  We look to deflect blame or find quick fixes more easily than looking to ourselves for the answers.

It is far easier to allow yourself to be distracted.  It is easier to blame your job, the clock, the kids, the pets, the co-workers, the friends, the family, the weather…take your pick.  And casting about all that blame and finding all those excuses drives us further and further away from ourselves.

Who am I?

It’s not my name, my job, or my relationships that define this.  It is who I see myself as when I look deep.  And I a thinker or a feeler?  A doer or a dreamer?  Blind or clear sighted?  It is knowing that the answer is seldom black and white, and that it is always changing that begs the reason to ask the question rather often.

This might seem like a lot of work.  What’s the point of asking myself who I am if the answer is always changing?  The more you ask the question, the smaller and more subtle the changes will be.  The wider the gap between times you ask the question, the more change will have occurred.

I have been over this theme before.  Life is constantly changing.  Pathwalking is about having some control and direction over those changes.  But if I do not know who I am as I start down this path, I am not going to get the result I want.

Do you REALLY know yourself, or do you know only an aspect of yourself?  “Well we all have a face that we hide away forever, and we take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone.”  This line from Billy Joel’s The Stranger perfectly defines this.  People put on different masks for different occasions.

Do you show the same person to your family as to your friends?  How about coworkers?  Do you show the same person to a random stranger on the street that you show your most intimate companion?  In what ways do you change your facial expressions, tone, body language – depending on whom you are with?  How does your thought process and reactions change?

If you can look at this and see that you make very few to no changes for different people you may be associating with, then the answer to the question is yes.  But if you find that you put on a different mask depending on what group or person or persons you are with, the answer is clearly no.

I can’t be myself in front of my coworkers.  I don’t want my lover to see my dark side.  If I don’t play the clown, my friends won’t like me.  All of these are masks we wear, and I would postulate we wear them more for ourselves than those around us.

If I know myself, then I do not need to put on a mask for anyone.  Why?  Because in knowing who I am, I know what I want and need.  I also know that I do not need approval or validation from an outside source, and as such do not need to mask my appearance from one group to the next.

“This above all: to thine own self be true.”  – Polonius in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  A fictional character, to be sure, but the meaning of the statement is not diminished by that.  Pathwalking is about choice.  But to make choices and walk paths, to make the life I want for myself, who but myself must I be true to in order to succeed?

Everything comes from within.  Success, satisfaction, happiness.  Doesn’t matter, if it is real, it has come from within.  The outside world can give you signs that you may be on the wrong path, as well as validation that you are on the right path.  But you and you alone know if you are being true to yourself.  And in order to be true to you, you have to know yourself.

If you do not ask the question because you do not think you will like the answer, it is imperative that you ask.  If you are not content with the answer, guess who is the only person capable of changing it?

Do you know yourself?

 

This is the fifty-fourth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

 

 

 

Pathwalking 53

How do I find a path to choose in the first place?

Pathwalking requires a path.  Sometimes, it is not just a matter of choosing a path…it is a matter of finding a path to choose.

This is sometimes simple, sometimes seemingly impossible.  But everyone has the ability to make choices, and as such anyone can find a path to choose.

But how do I find the path?  Where do I look for a path?

This is not something that can be found without.  This, like most things in life, will come from within.

What is it you want from your life?  Who do you want to be?  What do you want to do?  What is your bliss, your passion, your desire?  Who are you?

These are the questions that will show you a path.  Any one or combination of these questions will open the door, and reveal a variety of choices.

This is why there is always more than one path.  Because different paths represent different aspects of various questions.  Asking the questions is the beginning.  Answering them will lead to the journey.

Too simple?  Perhaps.  But let’s look at something rather closely here.  How often do we really, truly, ask these questions?  Not facetiously, not half-seriously, but for real, ask: What is it I want from my life?  Who do I want to be?  What do I want to do?  What is my bliss, my passion, my desire?  Who am I?

This is one of the reasons I have been composing these posts over the past year.  When I started to ask myself these questions, for real, I found that I wanted the answers.  And when I started to seek those answers, I found paths before me.

These questions are seldom answered easily.  They require time, they require exploration.  These questions may not produce static answers, either.  What is it you want from your life?  The answer when you are a high school student is probably different from the answer when you are a thirty-something, or the answer when you are a senior citizen.

And this is why there are always multiple paths, and why there are never truly endings to Pathwalking.  Because the answers will change, because change is inevitable.  Because the paths are seldom straight, and the answers to the questions always shifting, there is never just a single choice.

This should not be overwhelming, or intimidating, or scary.  It is exciting.  It is a world of open possibilities.  Finding a path should encourage walking the path.

If the notion of walking along a given path you have found does not thrill you, does not excite and inspire you, I don’t advise choosing that path.  Pathwalking is about finding what you want to do and be, it is about finding happiness.  So if the process of walking a prospective path fills you with dread or dis-ease, or frankly anything other than excitement and joy, seek another.

Ask the questions.  When you find your paths, you choose which path you wish to walk.  When one path ends, another begins.

This is not an endless cycle in any negative sense.  It is choice without end.  This should not be something that makes you unhappy…having choices in our lives keeps them interesting.  Having choices and the ability to choose between them is what sets us apart from the other animals on this island Earth.

Rather than do the easy thing, and let life live you, or let choices choose you…choose for yourself.  That is the idea of Pathwalking.  Once the path is found, the real fun begins.

How do I find a path to choose in the first place?  Ask yourself all the questions, and find which you want to answer.  With that choice, you have found your path.  Examine it, get a feel for it.  And then, walk it.

An idea both simple and complex, all at the same time.  But that is why we choose Pathwalking.  Because Life is both simple and complex.

Which questions do you ask to find your paths?

 

This is the fifty-third entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

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