If you’re up late some night, unable to sleep, and find your thoughts wandering, as mine often do, I’ll ask you to close your eyes and imagine yourself on a walk with me on a rural Missouri country road. We’ll talk about our lives, look up at the stars, and reflect on the big questions of the universe.
And just if you’re wondering, that really is me walking down a moonlit road not far from where I live. While the world sleeps, I do my best thinking under the stars. Special thanks to my friend Greg for taking the picture.
The establishment media is doing everything it can to discredit Edward Snowden and it’s not working. It seems the best they’re able to do is talk about where he went to middle school and that his girlfriend likes to pole dance. Really? That’s it? A whistleblower reveals a giant government program (PRISM) which is literally spying on everyone in the entire country, and the only “dirt” you can dig up is that he supports Ron Paul and has an attractive girlfriend?
John Oliver says it best in this next video.
“Snowden, of course, the NSA contractor who revealed the details of their classified PRISM program. Now that is a whistle that has caused problems, not just for the NSA, but for the media. They face a very difficult question. Do they prioritize the legal and ethical implications of an unprecedented government surveillance program, or do they go US Weekly on the messenger?”
– John Oliver, filling in for Jon Stewart on the Daily Show
Edward Snowden is a hero. He felt what his employer is doing is unlawful and he should be protected under federal whistleblower statutes. U.S. law specifically protects whistleblowers – Lloyd – La Follette Act of 1912. The Act states that “the right of employees… to furnish information to either House of Congress, or to a committee or Member thereof, may not be interfered with or denied.”
You can also tell he’s righteous by the establishment’s reaction. Every powerful politician and establishment puppet is on the television screen deriding him, calling him a “traitor”. They say he’s a defector running and hiding in China. Ridiculous.
And you guys want to know the worst thing? If you go on various mainstream websites covering this topic and read the comments, people are making this into a Republican vs Democrat issue. “Where were you when Bush was doing these same things?” UGH! What’s wrong with you people? It was bad when Bush did it, and when Obama extends and expands on these programs, that’s even worse! Come on! Get your head out of the sand. They’re both evil!
Last night I decided to relax and play video games and ended up spending some time talking with one of the players in an online game. I was actually taken back when she told me that thought necessarily leads to extreme depression and sometimes even suicidal feelings. I asked her why she thought that way, and she told me that when we reflect on our lives, we find our minds jumping back to all the painful events and many of us just can’t handle this world. It pushes us down and we never get up.
I wanted to jump through the computer screen, take her hand, and then ask her,
Have you ever flown through the moon’s shadow into the light?
As she stares at me, puzzled, I’d have her close her eyes and then gently touch her forehead, casting a magical spell allowing us to share thoughts. We’d then proceed.
As we moved over the surface of Earth, I’d keep saying,
“Further, higher! Above the horizon! Further, higher!”
We’d then end up on the moon, and from the lunar surface I’d thrust her into space until she was wrapped in a blanket of distant stars. Then I’d ask her,
Have you ever been listening to a speaker, a lecture, or reading a book and all of the sudden come across something so deep that you find yourself stopping, closing the book, and staring at the wall, simply pondering what you just heard? That happened to me today.
I was listening to the Eastern philosopher Alan Watts and heard an idea that totally shook me up inside. The quotation is found in this video.
You’ll hear him say this,
“Making plans for the future is of use only to people who are capable of living completely in the present.”
– Alan Watts
That is deep. Really deep. Maybe you already understand its meaning, I don’t know, but that little bit of information is something I’d been needing for a long time. It fired off a giant epiphany in my head. I found myself walking around the house exclaiming, “Of course! Of course! Why have I not realized this before?”
Unless someone knows how to engage in the world, enjoys the present, and can live in the moment, right here and now, they are completely incapable of making any decent future plans either for you, or for themselves.
I can give countless examples but let’s just examine a few. The most obvious would be two lovers. If the person can’t love you in the present moment, just as you are, right then and there, they’re incapable making future plans of you two together in some happy life. They can’t do it. They’re incapable.
Another example. If your teacher or adviser isn’t someone who is totally engaged in a subject, who isn’t passionate about it, who doesn’t feel that subject is the most fascinating thing on Earth, they’re incapable of helping you make career plans in that field. It doesn’t matter how knowledgeable they are. They’re not able to make any worthwhile plans for you.
Another example. Say you visit a life coach, social worker, or religious pastor who offers you counsel, yet as you talk with them, you realize their belief system focuses completely on the afterlife and distant plans. If their system doesn’t stress a mindset that helps you enjoy your life in the here and now, if it doesn’t help you fix immediate problems, if it doesn’t help you find something that is worthwhile in your life right now, and instead focuses entirely on the future, they’re incapable of helping you change your life.
Everything has to break down into actions you can take now. All that exists is now. That’s not to say you shouldn’t make plans for the future. No no no. I’m not saying to shut off thought and just blindly try to exist in the present. Alan Watts helped me realize that if you’re incapable of enjoying right here and now, you’re also incapable of making any worthwhile plans for the future. It’s useless. Don’t even bother. If you can learn to enjoy where you are now, then you’ll have a guide, a taste, of what you need to continue, expand, and work on. That enjoyment in the present gives you the seed which you can then water, fertilize, and make grow. Without it, you have nothing to go off of. No direction. You’re aimless, without a compass or guide.
Life is like a giant hallway with millions of doors. If you open one of those doors, you end up in other rooms, themselves filled with millions of doors. There are countless paths for you at any given time and we have nothing to go off of. So how do you make plans? How do you decide what you should do?
Wherever you are, right here, right now, with your current resources, with your current life, you have to find something you like. You must find something you’re passionate about. You have to find something that engages you and places you in the present and that very engagement is what takes you to the next door, and the next. Then and only then should you even consider making plans for yourself, in any capacity. If you think you’re just going to blindly guess where you need to go, out of all those millions of doors, you’re kidding yourself.
You don’t choose a career and then hope it goes well. You don’t choose some woman (or man) and then try to change her (or him) into something you like. You don’t try to change the world if you don’t even have your own passion and engagement in the world. You’re just wasting time.