Friday, May 8, 2009

The abundance of the universe

Did you ever feel, even for a moment, that the universe is a hostile place. That it gives nothing or very few things to you?

For some it's hard to identify with that question, for others it's easier, during our lifetime however we face many challenges, many difficult situations and a good part of these won't end up the way we like it. Heck, many people go into a state of depression because their life isn't working out the way they would want it to. And when they do get in a depressive state, they have that incredibly strong feeling that the universe is a hostile place, that there is nothing to live for nothing to appreciate.

If you ever were close to somebody who was really down and you suggested to them to appreciate a certain thing, they probably looked at you as if you were stupid, as if you just don't understand them.

Why is that? Why is it that we forget that the universe is an incredible place, filled with miracles, which we can't even begin to comprehend. How is it even possible to forget that?

Well this is what this post will try to uncover. What is the reason behind the fact that we slip into a state where we disconnect from the wonders of the world in such an intense way, that we begin looking at it as if it was a "bad place". And I'm not referring only to the extremes here, all of us, including myself, have periods when things don't work out as they should and we get so caught up in it that we lose focus, lose perspective.

WARNING: Topics mentioned in this post, might get a bit weird and sound crazy for some, so continue reading at your own risk

Is the world an abundant place filled with incredible events?

Some people might say yes to this, some might respond no, but it all comes down on whether you take the time to notice them or not.

Recently I've been experiencing something very interesting, or more correctly remembering it.

Do you recall when you were a little child, when everything was new, when every single experience was incredibly interesting, going just 2 blocks away from home was an adventure? Remember when you were still incredibly amazed by seeing the trees blossom in the spring, or when the first snow falls down in the winter?

That's what true appreciation is. Seeing something incredible, witnessing something that's way beyond of what your brain can comprehend.

Well we do get the same sensations even now when we are older. For some of us, it's when we arrive at the beach for the first time during the summer and we dive into the sea. For others by climbing a mountain and witnessing an amazing landscape. Or even more close to home when you fall in love, see a child's birth or gain a new friend.

All of these are natures miracles, the wonders that surround us on a day to day basis.

Don't believe me? look up at the sky and watch a bird fly, notice it's grace in the air, the way it's wings move, the freedom and the power that it has. Go out to the park on a sunny day and watch the children playing, see their innocents and happiness, their joy to be their, their smileys, their laughter and of course the tears when they fall down and themselves.

Unfortunately those of us who spend a good amount of time in our heads, rationalizing, thinking planning about tomorrow, or remembering yesterday, we miss out on these things. We miss out of the marvels of the present moment and the more we do this the more disconnected we get, the more we start to have a sensation of emptiness inside, a sensation of being lost.

And we don't like being lost, so we try to run after things, objects, events, money, power, cars, house, hot women etc. you name it. We try to find ourselves in them, we try to fix the sensation of being disconnected from the universe, with objects who's values exist mostly in our brain.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with these objects, but they can never compensate for the pure marvels of the universe. If you ever experienced the loss of a person who you really loved, you probably would give away your car, if it would bring him back to life. And of course this is an extreme example, but if you ever felt a deep connection to one of the wonders of the universe, you know that no material object can replace it.

Think about a really strong friendship, a deep, passionate and loving romantic relationship, a child playing in a park or a hatching of an egg. There is no material thing that can give us the same amount of deep value then these things can.

And still, we move away from them, we forget about them. When we look at a person we look at his car, wallet and clothes and ignore the inner beauty. When we look at birds we see that they crap all over the place and get pissed, instead of seeing how glamorous they are. When a child knocks over a drink and stains the table cloth, we get pissed at him, scold him, instead of realizing how innocent and pure he/she is.

We disconnect from these simple yet incredible thing.

How do we get so distant from all these wonders from time to time?

Well even though at a deep level most people can really appreciate these things, at a mental level things are different, since our brain LOVES to filter.

What do I mean by filtering? Well basically the brain tends to only absorb things that serve its immediate purpose. This is what's behind the Reticular Activation System as well, which is a phenomenal function of the brain in my opinion.

When you are focusing on getting a job, being promoted, putting food on the table or whatever else it might be, your mind will be an excellent tool in helping you achieve them and it will basically filter out all the things which do not serve this immediate purpose. And when you do it for an extended amount of time, your mind will start getting lost...

And this is how the breakage from the universe starts. You get lost in activities, in thoughts, in ideas and you start only noticing the bills, the money, the car which are your immediate objectives. The more you do this, the more empty you start to feel and the LESS you will appreciate anything, the harder it will be for anything to fulfill you and the more lost you will feel.

So what do you do? You try to get more money, another promotion, a better car or a hotter, younger girl/guy to cheat on your spouse with. And guess what this results in!?

Yes, you are correct! More disconnection from the "simple" things, a bigger emptiness and of course a stronger sensation of being lost. The more you go at this rate, the more miserable you will be and the more hostile the universe will seem to you, since it "never gives you anything", you can never fill the emptiness, with the objects you have thought so much for.

The objects, the material things can offer you a brief satisfaction, no doubt. I myself adore cruising in a convertible, with the top down during the summer. But I also know that there are much more deep places in me and in all of us, which will never be truly fulfilled with material objects, places which only budge when I take the time to pay attention to one of the gifts of this universe.

What can we do to get back in touch with the universe again?
This shall follow in a future post.

As always, you're comments are welcomed.
Thank you for reading this, I appreciate it.


  1. A bit over-dramatic towards the end, but I guess you were getting pretty excited right there :)

    We'll consider Reticular Activation System to be RAS for the rest of this reply.

    The Universe is as you choose to see it.

    You think it's hostile?
    RAS will do its job and focus on all the hostility in it.

    You think the Universe is a great place where opportunity is just around the corner? You will see that opportunity, because RAS is taking care of this.

    It's a matter of where your attention is, be it consciously or unconsciously.

    You will get what you choose to see, eventually.

    It's really weird, indeed. But I can say from experience, not thinking about it, that it is true.

    In my view, of course.

    I guess re-focusing the object of your attention is a way to change what the Universe is showing you.
    Paying attention to the birds, as you said, to little children, to the life that is all around us will show you a totally different face of the Universe.

    I am very grateful for that.

    Thank you for reminding me of this.

  2. Thank you for the comment :)

  3. So you were finally able to pronounce Reticular Activation System? :)

  4. Still a challenge, I go with RAS usually :)