Pavlina+

Newsletters and Podcast Transcripts


Life, the Universe, and Everything

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 by Steve Pavlina

Download MP3: life.mp3

This is the first time I'm doing a completely unplanned podcast. I'm just sitting down and recording off the cuff whatever thoughts come to mind, and I'm not preplanning or outlining in advance what I'm going to say. Just sort of doing this as an experiment to see what happens.

Let's ponder the subject of death for a moment, shall we? See, death is one of those ultimate certainties in life. The idea that our physical existence will at some point end. We can look around and see that whenever someone dies, their physical body remains behind. All their possessions remain behind. Anything they've really built up in the physical universe stays here. So if any part of them progresses onward, it can't be anything that's rooted to the physical universe, because we can see all that stays here.

Consequently, if we center our lives around anything of a physical nature, anything rooted to this physical reality—such as money or career development, or our possessions, our homes, land, property of any nature, even human relationships, anything rooted in our connections with anything else of a physical nature—eventually dies.

That's an interesting thing to ponder, and I think few people really accept that that's true. They get it intellectually, but I don't think they really truly, accept it on a deep, philosophical, and emotional level. I don't think they really get to the point of living their lives congruent with that fact—knowing that everything that you build or create in your life of a physical nature will eventually die. It will eventually be gone. That all of it is temporary; it's impermanent.

And so if you live your life, or if you center you life around the pursuit of anything rooted in physicality, you're essentially going to lose all that in the end. You're going to throw all of that away. And, in a way, you could say that your life is wasted. More accurately, I would say that your life was misdirected—that what you were aiming for was not really the most valid pursuit. It was not really consistent with the nature of reality. You made some errors in judgment, let's just say.

So if everything of a physical nature is impermanent—including our own bodies and everything we build in our physical lives—then what's really the point? What's the point of this physical existence? Why are we even here?

Well, let's look at it from the perspective of what might survive this physical reality. See, really the only thing that can survive is your consciousness, your awareness. Now, some people would say that even your consciousness is rooted in physicality—that somehow your physical brain gives rise to that. But no one has really demonstrated that clearly. Even if they did, it's still called into question because you could even have that kind of experience in a dream world, and that would not constitute proof. Let's say you're asleep at night, and you have a dream, and in your dream, these brilliant scientists prove conclusively that, yes, your consciousness rises out of the physicality of your brain. Would you take that conclusion seriously? Well, you can't take the conclusions of those dream scientists seriously if you know you're dreaming, can you? Because anything that happens within the context of the dream world is basically a projection or an illusion of your own thoughts. So whatever you expected to happen basically happened. It's all a construct of your consciousness, of your dreaming mind. Any proof they show you is going to be presented within the physicality of the dream universe within those constructs. You can't escape those constructs when you're viewing them from within the context of the dream itself.

So even though the dream scientists may present you the most conclusive, logical, structured proof, it means absolutely nothing, because all you have to do is take one step back and say, 'Well, if this is a dream, then all bets are off. I can dream anything I want. Anything is possible in a dream.'

Similarly, in physical reality, it doesn't matter what proof you see that seems to be of any kind of objective nature because all you have to do is take one step back and say, 'Well, if this is a dream then all bets are off. Anything is possible. If this is all happening within the contents of my own consciousness, then it doesn't make any sense to talk about objective proof,' because that's just something you're dreaming up. So whether you dream up the proof of consciousness arising from your physical brain, or you don't do that, is utterly meaningless. It doesn't prove anything really, from the larger stand-point. From the larger view-point, that consciousness may be the container of all—that really physical reality is simply a projection, a simulation of what's really occuring within your conscious thoughts, or within your awareness.

So we still have remain open to the possibility that the only thing that can survive your physical death is your consciousness. Now, I'm not saying that it does survive physical death—I can't say that conclusively, I haven't died yet, I'll let you know afterwards—but it does stand to reason that the only part of us that can survive is some degree of consciousness or awareness.

Now, that may also be altered from the state and the level and the form of awareness we have when we're focused on the physical universe, and maybe more like a dream level of awareness. But the idea is that if some part of you is going to survive death at all, that part of you must be non-physical.

Now the interesting thing is that when you think about what to live for, you have two choices really: You can live for that which is physical, and temporary, knowing with certainty that you will eventually lose all of it—that it will eventually be gone and be destroyed. It is only a matter of time. Even if you think in terms of leaving a legacy, to the human race let's say, the human race will not exist forever. Even the physical universe may not exist forever. Even if in some period of advanced technology, where we are capable of transferring ourselves into android bodies and uploading our consciousness into some form of machine where we can backups of ourselves indefinitely, even that's no guarantee.

You see, because against the backdrop of infinite time, all it takes is one accident, and the probability of an accident is basically 100 percent when you have infinite time and any non-zero probability of it happening. It doesn't matter if you think you can live a hundred years, a thousand years, a billion years, whatever. Eventually it all ends, and it's still just one little spec against the timeline of eternity. So you have that one option of centering your life around that which is temporary. The development of your physical reality, that's really the focus, it's what you make a priority in your life. You have that choice to make physical structures and things that result from physical structures, and things that are centered and rooted in the physical universe—you have the option of making those things a priority in you life.

Alternatively, your second choice is to see through the temporary nature of physical reality. Not so much to regard it as total illusion, but simply to realize and recognize that it is temporary, and to fully and completely accept that. And then to consider the possibility that there may be some part of you that exists beyond this temporary experience of physicality. And if that is so, then eventually you are going to reach the point where you no longer have this physical existence and yet you still exist in some way, as some form of consciousness or awareness. Now what is your experience of reality going to be like? You may suffer tremendous loss if you were centering your whole life around building something in the physical universe, looking back and seeing it all basically gone.

Well you may not be particular happy if looking back after you've died, you think about your temporary physical universe goals and realize that they are all gone, and that everything you have built will eventually, over time, crumble and disappear and be forgotten. All the human relationships you've had have been disconnected, at least in their physical forms, and yet there is something that may still hold meaning. There are some things from that physical existence that may still feel good to you, still feel important, still feel worthwhile. Not feel like they were a total waste. But I'll bet you that they were not things that were really entirely physical pursuits. I'll bet you these were the pursuits that, on some level, shifted and developed your consciousness. It's the growth you experienced.

The greatest value you will get from your life will be the gains that you can retain after you die. Not the ones you must leave behind. For example, let's say you make a lot of money, and you give it all away in your will when you die, and it goes all to a bunch of good causes that you believe in. It was not the acquisition of money that was the important pursuit. It was the development of your compassion, your caring, your sense of connectedness to other beings, and these are qualities you can retain. What you gain is the way in which you developed your consciousness while you're here, that is the real value you gain from your human physical existence. That is what you are able to retain.

What does it mean to develop your consciousness? If that's what we are really here to do then, if that is the only pursuit that has any meaning then why play it out in the physical universe? Well imagine you are just conscious entity and you have no physicality, no persistent structures. It will be very hard to conduct any form of self examination in a focused way, because the contents of your consciousness maybe so complicated that you simply can't look at it all at once, so you have to look at it in pieces, and you have to have that ability to focus on it, to focus on different aspects of it without having it fade.

Imagine just trying to sit with your eyes closed and examine and understand all your own thoughts from within your own mind. It is very, very difficult, but what if you could project aspects of your mind, aspects of your thoughts into a physical form, a form that would persist for awhile—giving you a chance to examine it, explore it, experience it, to look at it from different angles. Ah, now you have the opportunity for tremendous self-understanding. You can look at different aspects of yourself and see how they all fit together. You would learn a great deal more about yourself. You would increase your awareness tremendously. This is the whole point of physical reality.

Now, some teachers or gurus suggest that the goal of life, or the ultimate aim in life, is to see through the illusion of reality and transcend it. I see that as a good step to see through the illusion of reality, and maybe transcend it to a certain extent, that's good, but I don't think the reason that you're here is to simply checkout from the game of life. To say, 'Oh, I see it is just an illusion. It is a dream world so I am just going to end it and I am going to see it for the illusion it is and not participate,'' kind of defeats the purpose, there is a reason you are here.

You are not put here just so you can realize it is an illusion and transcend it. That would be rather pointless. I mean I am not saying it is a bad step. It is an important step to realize that what you are dealing with is an illusion. I prefer the term because I wouldn't say as an illusion in the sense of like being delusional or just completely made up fictional fantasy, something like that. It does serve its purpose. You can see meaning in physical reality if you look for it. If you look at it from the perspective that everything that you are perceiving is part of the contents of your own consciousness.

So what is it like to live in a physical universe with the mindset that it's all projection and that the real reason you are here is to develop your own consciousness? Well this is a pursuit that really interested me. I decided to basically write a book about what it means to develop your consciousness because that was a very complicated question, I thought. It's basically answering the question what it is personal growth, and the book I wrote was called, Personal Development for Smart People.

I've realized that the development of consciousness is something we can do through interacting with physical reality, while at the same time realizing that it's all a projection, and not getting sucked up in centering our lives around things that are temporary that we are going to lose anyway, but working for real solid long-term gains that we have the potential to retain even after death, and that we have the potential to continue to build upon and to continue to develop pretty much indefinitely, regardless of whatever realms of reality we are currently experiencing or exploring.

It really just comes down to three basic fundamental principles. If you understand these principles, then essentially you have a compass for how to live your life in a way that will allow you to grow and to be, to be honest, quite happy—and the three principles are simply: Truth, love, and power. Now the words themselves are not that important, what's important is the concepts behind them.

The principle of truth basically comes down to accepting what is. Everything you perceive in your reality exists, so accept it.

It is so easy to fall into a pattern of denial. We look at our bodies and we deny that we are overweight and out of shape. We look at our finances and we deny that we are in debt. We hope it will go away. We pretend it isn't happening. We look at our relationships and we pretend that they are better than they are. Some people pretend that things are worst than they are.

Your alignment with truth basically comes down to first and foremost accurate perception and acceptance of what you perceive, and as far as the time bound nature of reality is concerned, perception becomes prediction, and the point here is to predict as accurately as you can, what consequences will happen if you are to take certain actions in physical reality.

Now you've been learning to predict what will happen here for many years probably from a young age. You pick up a glass and you predict what it's going to feel like, the texture and the shape. If that were to suddenly violate your predictions you would be very surprised. Picked up a glass and it felt like wood, something would be very, very off. Also that the better your ability to accept what you are perceiving is, the better your predictive ability is. The more you understand current conditions, the better you are able to predict future conditions.

For example, if you have a good awareness of your financial situation then you can reasonably predict where you will end up a month from now—assuming you take or don't take certain actions. So truth is a really straightforward, simple principle. The more aligned you are with truth, the greater your potential for conscious development becomes. The more you turn your back on truth, or succumb to falsehood and denial, the more you hamper your own growth, and usually that happens because you get too sucked up in working on temporary things.

You focus on things like money, or career success, or some type of physical world accomplishment as the ‘end-all and be-all' of your life, that becomes your central pursuit and then everything else falls by the wayside—the more important pursuits, such as your alignment with the truth. That's when you start to succumbing to falsehood too much. You start doing things that you're eventually going to lose when you die and it really don't matter that much against the backdrop of eternal time.

The more you can accept, really accept, what is, what you're perceiving, the faster you will grow. Now ultimately the growth aspect of truth is to perceive reality itself as accurately as possible. The more you can understand the true nature of reality, the faster you will grow.So on one level, that means understanding physical reality from within the perspective of the physical universe—that is where you learn to do things like walk and talk, and read and ride a bike, and learn certain career skills, learn how to generate income, you might learn about the laws of physics and learn how to play a musical instrument.

There you are learning truths within the scope of physical reality, but then there is another level of truth where you have to look at physical reality itself, understand the nature of it. What is its purpose? Why does it exist? Why are you even here? What is the most logical perspective for looking at that? Why would you have a consciousness?

See one of the things that always seemed like a piece that didn't fit the puzzle of a purely physical objective universe was in the notion of consciousness. I thought all right if there's these laws of physics and such and they work in certain ways and all this particles combined and eventually they form proteins and eventually those form cells and eventually we have human beings walking around at some point, and somehow that gives rise to consciousness and our bodies, our brains, wherever, and we become self aware—just by some basic laws of physics all combining this together to make this happen.

That seems a bit ridiculous to me, just from a logical point of view. It seems rather silly and farfetched. My left brain basically just says, “No, not quite.” Even more unlikely is the idea of each of us having individual identities. Now why on earth would I have this awareness attached to one particular physical body and not to any others? How does that make any sense whatsoever? It makes absolutely no sense to me at all, that a physical universe could give rise to something like that.

It is a totally asymmetrical development that there could be billions of people in this world, none of whom my consciousness is attached to. But for some reason, this particular body that I inhabit gave rise to my particular consciousness, the only one of which I can access. Hm, then we have the dream world, oh in the dream world I may experience structures that seem similar to physical reality, but now I am to assume that all those characters walking around the dream are projections of my own consciousness. They are projections of my mind, but I am not to make that assumption while I am away, that seems rather arbitrary to me.

It doesn't add up. It doesn't satisfy logic. It doesn't satisfy the principle of truth. I don't buy it so I have to reject it. So what is more plausible explanation for the nature of reality? As I see it a much simpler model is to consider that reality is all a projection of consciousness itself. To start with what we actually perceive, we have this fixed perspective during our waking hours where you see through the perspective of the eyes of some kind of biological being. We walk around this physical universe, but at any one time we are not perceiving the totality of this universe that we imagine to exist. We are just perceiving a very, very small segment of it.

Perhaps that's all that really does exist in physical form at this point. Perhaps it's really just an illusion. Perhaps if you're sitting listening to this in the room right now with the doors and windows closed that nothing outside that room actually exists. Perhaps I don't actually exist as a physical being in your reality. I am just a disembodied voice right now that you are conjuring up, much like you would do in a dream. The point is that you can't really know that, so why assume that some extraneous physical material exists while you are not even perceiving it.

That is quite a leap of faith isn't it? That's imagination. You imagine the world beyond your senses to exist, but why? Do you do the same thing when you are dreaming? Do you imagine that you are mind simulates everything that you are not even seeing? If you imagine you're having a little experience in a certain city in your mind that your mind is simulating the entire planet, the entire physical universe, hm, why? I think it is best not to make that assumption. Consider that physical reality maybe simply a more persistent, more solid-feeling form of a typical dream world.

If you've had the experience of astral projecting—and the experience really defies description to anyone who hasn't had it, so I can't really even describe it accurately to someone who hasn't done it—it's really something of an experiential nature. It's like trying to explain a dream to someone who claims they never had a dream. How would you even describe that? Well, let's say you have had a dream to explain astral projection, it's basically another level of dreaming in a way. It's another way for your consciousness to experience alternate forms of reality to explore them and interact with them.

I think a simpler model of reality is to consider that dreams and our waking world are really two forms of the same phenomenon. That physical reality is simply a dream realm that is denser, is more persistent. It moves a little more slowly, changes more slowly. Another way of looking at reality is from the perspective of consciousness itself, and thinking, okay so let's say I am a conscious being, why would I choose to enter this physical reality? What is the point of being here? Does it serve a purpose at all?

If you ask that question, you can see that yes, indeed it does serve quite a purpose, that through interacting with physical reality you can actually make major strides in the development of your consciousness. By learning to fully accept what you perceive in the physical universe, in other words, by aligning yourself with truth here in the physical universe, you can retain those gains, such that when you find yourself a nonphysical conscious being at some point after your death, you have a much greater alignment with truth than you did before.You are able to accept more of yourself, more aspects of your being instead of being in denial of them or just being ignorant of them.

Physical reality tests you in various ways. It will test you to see, ah, how brave are you? How creative are you? How compassionate are you? How generous are you? This is knowledge that you can retain after your death when you look back on your physical life and say, “Hmm, how did I do?” You will have those answers. How you live your physical life here reveals who you are, reveals what kind of conscious being you really are.

Are you honest? Are you loving? Are you courageous? Well, just live your life and you will find out soon enough. That's great information for any conscious being to have—self- awareness, self-knowledge. That's one of the things you gain here because that is the principle of truth.

Now let's talk about the second fundamental principle of conscious development, which is the principle of love—and again the word is not as important as the concept here. You probably already have a lot of associations to this word, but I do think it is an appropriate word under the circumstances. Love in this case simply means to connect with various aspects of your reality, to engage with them, to move towards them, to interact with them—such as you do when you are in a loving relationship.

Okay, when you are in love with a person, you really engage with that person on a deep level. You get to know that person inside and out. You interact with that person, you communicate with that person, you eventually commune with that person. Almost to the point of becoming one with them.

Now you can do this with other things than people. You can do this with places, like a certain place you really feel a certain kinship towards and you decide to go live there. You can have it with a certain concept. Something that is very important to you and you send your life around the certain concept for awhile, like an idea or a principle or a value, something that is very important to you. You can do it with experiences. Like let's say you really love music and you want to learn to play a musical instrument. You can do that. That is really the principle of love and action. It is active engagement with your physical reality rather than checking out and withdrawing.

Now there is another form of love in which case you can connect with various aspects within yourself. That is not withdrawal from reality, that's just an internal form of engagement. But that is also an activity, something you actively do, such as turn within and meditate or tune and connect with yourself, or do it through journaling, or introspection.

Now, why is love so important? The principle of love is very important because this is the means through which you discover new truths about yourself. See when you were align yourself with love, you help to align yourself with truth as well. If you withdraw from reality you are not going to learn very much. There is a reason you are here in this physical universe. It's not to just sit on a stump and check out and let the world pass you by.

Everything your reality is standing out as a potential engagement point. You can just look around physical reality right now. Any object you see in front of you, you can pick up and interact with. You can touch it. You can feel it, smell it, taste it and so on and in the broader sense of your reality anything you think about, anything that grabs your attention, you have the opportunity to ignore it, or you can think about it from a distance, or you can go pursue it, actively engage with it.

Now how do you decide what to engage with and what not to engage with, because obviously you have a limited focus here so you can't engage with everything all at once, so how do you decide? Well, in truth, there is really no right or wrong answer to this. However, there are answers that will accelerate your growth and others that will slow your growth. And the basic idea is to be guided by your feelings, and see, what you engage with should really be decided by the degree of emotion you feel towards it, how drawn you are to it, how much your thoughts keep coming back to it. How much it grabs your attention.

Does it feel right to you? Does it feel like something that you want to pursue? Does it feel like something you want to experience? Ultimately you're the one here who gets to decide. Again, there is no right or wrong choice here, but if you decide to pursue and engage with what you have some active interest in, what you feel drawn to, what you have some degree of passion about, that is going to create a much more vivid and interesting interaction than if you pursue something that you are indifferent about.

Now at the same time you pursue something actively, you also have to disengage from things that would stand in your way, or that you are simply not as interested in. One of the worst things you can do with your life is to put yourself in a position where you are stuck constantly engaging with something that isn't really providing you with new truths, new value, a deep sense of connection, really inspired new information and awareness that is developing your consciousness.

If you are stuck in a situation that is keeping you away from those benefits, it's time to leave, because you are really just wasting your life. All you are doing is whittling away your time until death, and even then when you die you are going to look back and go why did I waste all that time? I wasn't even using it productively. What was I doing? I was here to learn and grow to develop my consciousness and all I was doing is sitting in a cubicle doing paperwork that didn't need to be done anyway because it is all temporary so physical existence is temporary.

Who would have a lucid dream, you know a lucid dream where you can choose whatever you want to do, and choose to be an accountant? I don't think too many would do that if they were aware that they were dreaming, they would go, “Oh I'm going to go do some tax paper work. That sounds like fun.” No, why don't they stop doing the boring stuff and disconnect from that and connect with the fun stuff. You want more money you can certainly make plenty of money doing something you enjoy and that you love.

The fact is that it's a lot easier to make money doing what you love than just to make money doing something you feel disconnected from. You don't even have to motivate yourself much. Get up, do what you love, and it pays. What could be better than that? So this principle of love is one of the more active principles because it's basically telling you go out and engage. Go out and connect. Make connections with what you see in your reality. Go out and connect with people. Go out and connect with places. Explore this physical reality. Go out and connect with certain experiences. If you want to learn to play a musical instrument, go do so. If you want to start your own business for the experience of it, go do so. If you want to have a relationship, go get one.

But you will find that those things in and of themselves are not the primary pursuit. They are the tools through which you can develop your own consciousness. See I have built a couple of businesses, and they were okay. My first business no longer exists, I shut it down in 2006. It was a computer game development company. Does that mean it was a mistake? Absolutely not. It was a wonderful opportunity for growth. I learned a lot from it. I developed myself tremendously through that pursuit, but I know that the creation of the business itself, the creation of a bunch of computer games, that wasn't the point.

In fact, it was even exacerbated by the idea that the computer games I was developing were technology dependent, that as soon as they were released they were on their way out because they were going obsolete due to the aging technology they were based on. That just made me more keenly aware that the whole point of developing the business was the development of consciousness; it was the conscious growth of everyone involved, and that was definitely a win. That was definitely major gains. I learned a lot of things from running that business.

I learned even more from running my current personal development business. But the business itself will not exist forever, it will eventually die. I am totally accepting of that. I am okay with that. I understand that this is temporary. I understand that no matter what I do, no matter how I try to set things up, all that I've created cannot possibly endure and that is okay. It is not meant to. Nothing of physical form is meant to endure.

But the gains in conscious development created by this pursuit, those can endure. Some of the examples of things and ways in which you can develop your consciousness by running a business include: building your courage; building your ability to face and overcome fear; building your ability to face up to facts, to align yourself with the truth, to get consistent with reality, otherwise reality knocks you back pretty quick, avoiding self delusional thinking.

You also learn how to align yourself with the principle of love. You learn to go out and make new connections, contacts you might call them. You know, creating a customer base and sales about going out and creating connections. You learn to get in touch with your creativity, to innovate, create something new that hasn't existed before. All these things are very exciting. It's a wonderful development to expand your consciousness in this way because these gains are permanent. These gains you get to retain. To the extent you develop your creativity here, you get to keep that after you die. You are not going to keep much else.

One of the biggest pointers, in fact, to what is important for you to connect with, is that what you fear. Some people think that fear is a warning sign of what you should avoid—maybe on a biological fight or flight level, that's one way of interpreting it, being the type of fear that just signals the end of your physical existence. But I'm talking about a more low-level fear. The things you avoid where there is really no real serious danger of death or dismemberment, but you just avoid it for some seeming psychological reason.

A good example is for fear of public speaking—getting up on the stage in front of people and talking, scary isn't it? Standing on a platform in front of people and using your words. How frightening is that? Why should it be frightening at all? Would you be afraid to do that in a dream? Some people actually are afraid to do that in a dream, that's funny, but the truth is that that, you know having a fear like, that is one of the great pointers to where you still need to develop your consciousness.

See fear, especially an irrationale fear, is where you still need to develop. Even fear of death is technically an irrational fear. That's one that we can eventually develop beyond as well. But start with the milder fears. Start with the fears where you go, okay, I know this is really an irrational fear, like I know if I go up to a stranger in the street and I just say, “Hi” and try to start up a conversation that there is no real danger there per se, but I am still afraid to do it.

See what does that point to? That points to a deficiency in the development of your consciousness. It points to an area where you still have to work on yourself. See that's a fear that if you have this fear in your physical life, you are still going to have this fear after you die. If you re-incarnate, you are going to take that fear right with you, then you die again, you will have that fear still. You might as well rid yourself off of it now. What irrational fears do you have? That points to an area that you need to develop your consciousness, that points to an area you need to go and connect with.

Don't see this is a bad thing though, see this as a positive thing. Your awareness of this presents an opportunity for growth. Whenever you identify a fear, you've identified a new pathway for your continued expansion of consciousness, for your continued growth. So whenever you perceive any kind of irrational fear, that's your call to move toward it and this will help bring you in line with truth as well. So doing something like public speaking allows you to face an irrationale fear of it and to work through it. That will uncover some other limiting beliefs that you may not have realized you had—beliefs about the nature of other human beings, about other people about what a threat to you really is.

I mean is it really that damaging to you if you get up and say a few words in front of a group and somebody afterwards comes up to you and says in a really mean way, “Boy, you really tanked tonight”? No, it doesn't have to damage you, it's just feedback. So use the principle of love to go out and make these connections with what scares you. Start small,work your way up. You don't have to tackle it in the biggest way possible. Do a little presentation four or five people. Build it from there. In truth, if you can communicate with one person in the conversation, you can give a speech. It's the same process you are just getting up and talking.

It's just that mentally, in our minds, we make it into something much bigger than it needs to be. We frame it in such a way that disempowers us.

This brings us to the third of the three primary principles of conscious development, which is the principle of power (so we covered truth and love so far).

In terms of pure consciousness, power is really the ability to choose your thoughts and to hold certain thoughts. Think of it as mental discipline. If you are constantly distracted, if you can't seem to get anything done, if you can't seem to focus, if you set goals and they keep falling apart on you because you drop the ball, you lack power. A finely developed consciousness is one that is very strong, is one that is very powerful, is one that has a certain piece of mind where thoughts are not chaotic and racing. Thoughts are organized, highly developed consciously chosen. You are able to hold and harbour thoughts of your own choosing and to dismiss thoughts that would otherwise distract you. You're able to stay focused on what you choose to focus on.

Now in the physical universe, power takes the form of your ability to, not only direct your thoughts, but also to direct your actions, so you can get things done. Power allows you to perform that act of love, that act of connecting, going out and engaging with different aspects of your reality.

For example, you can identify that, oh you know I would love to learn to play a musical instrument that is something that really resonates with me. I know that deep down if you learn to play a musical instrument you would discover new truths about your reality, especially if you learn to compose music. It would be a tremendous creative outlet for you. It would teach you a lot of things. It would help you to develop your consciousness and some wonderful ways, but if you lack discipline to follow through on that, you can't get any results from it. You'll keep starting and stopping and you will have the intention and it will fall by the wayside. You won't be able to hold yourself in a state of continuous action needed to get results. But with sufficient power, it's a done deal, you'll make it happen. You'll learn whatever instrument you set your mind to.

Okay, this is not power over other people, this is power over yourself—and by that I mean your consciousness, your thoughts, your feelings. So it's not power over your physical body necessarily, although that is the side effect of this. Now because physical reality itself is a projection of consciousness, power gives you, essentially, much greater ability to create the reality you want to experience. A key aspect of power is responsibility. You cannot achieve any serious degree of power unless you take full and complete responsibility, for not only your own thoughts, but also everything that's arising in your physical reality. To accept responsibility for it doesn't mean to say that you caused it per se, it just means to fully and completely accept it as it is and to note that you have to deal with it on those terms.

Power is to look at physical reality from the stand point that if you demand that anything must change, then you must be the one to change it. Get passed the idea that there is such a thing as 50 percent, or 80 percent, or 99 percent responsibility—all of that is delusion. If you were having a lucid dream it would make no sense to blame your dream characters for the state of the dream, would it? Now you might not have consciously and deliberately created every element of that dream, but you at least must accept responsibility that if anything there is going to change it is up to you to change it.

Now you can do that through direct action of your own. You can do that through interaction with the other dream characters. You could do that by changing your thoughts, but ultimately it is your power that must manifest that change. Similarly, in your physical reality, don't disempower your self by casting your power onto others, because all you are doing then is denying your own power. When you deny responsibility you weaken yourself.

A good example, I hear about this often, is when people say to me, usually men, almost always men, in fact, “You know, Steve I would love to start my own business, but my wife won't let me.” My wife won't let me, okay. But really all they are doing is making an excuse for not facing up to fears of their own. I never met anyone who is strongly aligned with power who would ever use an excuse like that.

Okay, so suffice it to say you are very much out of alignment with the principle of power if you are using any kind of excuse like, 'I can't get what I want because somebody else or something else won't let me, or because circumstances won't allow it, because I don't have the money, because I don't have the time, I don't have the resources, I don't have the education. I don't have the skills...' If you need the money, you can get it if you need more time, you have the same time as everyone else. You need more resources, you can choose to get that too. It's all a matter of power. Where do you think all this money and resources, supportive relationships come form? They come from people wielding their power to create that kind of thing in their reality.

It's a lack of power to begin with that creates situations of continued weakness like a lack of resources, lack of money, time scarcity, unsupportive relationships, fear and insecurity. It's a lack of power that manifest all those things. The reason you have this kinds of problems in your life is to make sure they continue being a nagging thorn in your side, until you decide to deal with them. Until you decide to say, 'I'm tired of this weakness, it disgusts me. I am not meant to be living this way. This is not the kind of reality I want to experience. This is not how I want my consciousness to be. I don't want to be this timid wimpy being that is afraid of his own shadow. I want to be strong. I want to be a creator. I want to be able to change what I don't like about my reality. I want to be able to create what I do want and I am going to develop the ability to do that whatever it takes.'

In the long run, that's a much better approach than sitting on the sidelines and complaining about what you don't want. One approach generates results, the other one just generates continued suffering. It's really a no brainer in terms of which choice you should make. So there are many problems in your life which will reveal your lack of alignment with power. Anywhere you feel like you're trapped in a weak position, lacking in some way, experiencing some form of scarcity, having to deal with a lack of support—all those are really power problems. Because if you were to simply stick someone stronger in your position with this exact same situation, that person would fix all those problems very quickly—or at least would begin taking action immediately to deal with him or not sitting around complaining, blaming others, hoping for it to become better.

Now, looking at the principles of truth, love, and power, as a whole, our physical lives will reflect our degree of alignment with each of these principles. When you just consider how your life is turning out right now, it's going to reveal gaps in your alignment with truth, with love, and with power.

Look at truth for example. Are you in situations where you seem to keep getting bitten by things that surprise you? Where what you predict is going to happen doesn't happen, doesn't seem to work out, the opposite ends up happening? If you are getting surprised, especially in a bad way, by a lot of things in your reality, you are not very well aligned with truth. If you find that your perceptions often turn out to be wrong in the long run, you are not in alignment with truth. If you are in a situation where you are often in denial and it comes back to haunt you later and you keep realizing, 'Gosh I've been in denial about this for so long,' you are not in alignment with truth. These problems are going to keep popping up in your life and it is not the problems themselves so much that need to be solved, it's the fact that by tackling and addressing these problems you will help to bring yourself in a greater alignment with truth.

If you try to dismiss these problems or avoid them, they are just going to pop up in other ways. So if you see that you have this long-term pattern of an issue of aligning yourself with the truth, that you tend to keep turning your back on truth—for example you end up in an abusive relationship and you fall out of one abusive relationship and you end up in another one, and you tell yourself you will never end up with that kind of relationship again and you do it all over again. You end up with a string of bad relationships repeating the same patterns over and over again, and you seem oblivious to it. Meanwhile, all your friends are telling you this person is no good for you, can't you see it? and you are blind to it.

Those kinds of patterns are going to keep recurring—maybe not necessarily in the area of relationships, maybe in other areas of your life like your career development, your finances, your health, and so on—until you can get this greater alignment with truth, until you can get that down. And this is not an easy pursuit, this is not something that happens overnight. This could very well take many, many lifetimes to workout and really something that can be developed, I think, to an infinite extent. We always have new truths to discover. It is not a game you finish instantly. But if you are aware of what is really happening here, if you are aware of these patterns, and you can see that the big issue here is not this little problems they keep arising but it is the greater pattern of a lack of alignment with truth, then you can start working on them a little bit more intelligently—in fact, a lot more intelligently. And you'll realize that it's not the specifics of the problem that are important, it's the greater issue of your alignment with truth, of your consciousness' ability to discern and recognize truth from falsehood. That's a very powerful pursuit.

Now, in the area of love, problems here that can rise, generally of two forms: One is having too many connections in your life to what you don't want. Feeling your life is busy and filled with a lot of activity and energy and things. You go to work, you have relationships with people, and so on, but you feel disconnected from at least some of those things. They don't really feel right to you. Okay, you go to a job that feels wrong to you and you come home to relationship that feels off. You pursue hobbies that seem a little boring. You are going through the motions. You have a lot of connections, but they are not the right kinds. This is going to continue, and it will gradually get worse, and the reason it has to get worse is that life has to point out you lack alignment with the principle of love. You lack the ability to consciously connect with what you want and to disconnect from what you don't want, and as long as you continue to be deficient in that area, you are going to continue to suffer the consequences. Not so much suffer but rather attract those consequences. It is not a punishment per se—it's just a reflection of your current state of consciousness, your lack of development in this area. Reality has no choice really but to reflect that which you are.

One way to think of yourself here is simply you're a God in training—think of physical reality as that, it's helping you to fully develop into your potential for Godhood. A more human way of saying that would be, it's helping you just live up to your full potential. If you are filling your life with connections to things you don't want and that don't inspire you, well that is not going to feel right to you, and those negative feelings can be very motivating once they get strong enough.

Someone with a very well developed consciousness in the principle of love will begin to notice subtle sensations when something is off. When something feels disconnected, the intuition will kick in and go, 'Oh, this doesn't quite feel right.' You know everything on the surface may look okay and that person says no to it. Someone with a very poorly developed consciousness in the area of love will constantly succumb to making connections with things that seemed good at first glance, but in retrospect, turned out to be a bad idea. Making a lot of bad connections, a lot of bad decisions—not so much in terms of a predictive sense because that is more of the principal of truth there, more in a sense that you should have known that really wasn't what you wanted. You chose something for the wrong reasons. You chose a job that you convinced yourself would make you happy but it really didn't because you really didn't love it in the first place. You took it because you thought you had to, not because you really wanted to. Or you entered a relationship out of the sense of desperation, rather than a sense of genuine caring and a desire to connect.

When you have a really well developed sense of love in your life you will begin to fill your life with more and more and more of what you want, and you will just look around your life and you will feel tremendous joy and gratitude. You will be like, 'Oh, this is awesome, this is exactly what I want.' You will get really good at attracting and drawing into your life more of what you want too.

Now I mentioned earlier that there were two areas, or two ways, people generally fall out of the alignment with the principle of love and attract problems in life. And the first one we talked about already. That was the area of connecting with what you don't want. The second way this happens is that you disconnect completely, too much. You don't form any connections. You hold off and you remain disconnected. For example, you don't create any new relationships. You try to live as an island unto yourself. There is nothing wrong with spending a period of time alone. That can be wonderful, if you are choosing it to actively connect with what you want.

Ok now, generally, people when they connecting with what they don't want, they often feel emotions like anger or frustration or irritation. When they are feeling disconnected from everything, it's often more a sense of sadness, depression, loneliness, or apathy.

These aren't perfect hard lines here. There is definitely some individual variation but these are fairly general patterns that do apply most of the time. See generally when people are connected with a lot of things in their life they don't want, it bothers them, it upsets them. When people are disconnected from everything, it's like they're not getting fed negative energy. They are getting fed no energy, so it robs them and cuts them off. This tends to make them feel depressed and disconnected. So on one side with the connected what we don't want, you end up with more a stress reaction. On the side of not connecting with anyone, you end up with more of a depression—a depressed reaction.

In terms of being disconnected from everything, this may not be, you know, a blanket problem across all years of your life. It may just be that you are disconnected in certain areas but not in others. Like you have a very successful career you're happy about, but your personal life is not so great, you just kind of spend your time watching TV or playing videogames, or something, and those don't really matter to you that much. And you're not really taking the time to identify what you would rather have in your personal life, like relationships, new experiences, hobbies, activities, social outlets, and so on.

So what's going to happen in this case is that basically things will get worse. Your sadness or depression will deepen. Your feeling of apathy and disconnection will intensify. You will feel a little more and more disconnected and isolated because basically—and you will see this manifest in your physical reality—it will seem like almost like everything is pulling away from you, or you are losing things that you used to matter to you. Friends are disconnecting from you, you know people are treating you coldly without much caring or concern. You might even start having suicidal thoughts and I get in a pattern here is that reality is simply highlighting the deficiency in your conscious development.

If you really get depressed and commit suicide, that is not going to help at all that is just going to cause you to have to continue to work on this, and you will probably just make it harder on yourself next time. I Don't recommend suicide as an out, it defeats the whole purpose. As things get harder, it is important to recognize to you're creating this, rather the state of your own consciousness is creating this. Physical reality is simply reflecting who you are. It's pointing out that you're suffering here because you lack alignment with the principle of love. You're not going out and connecting with what you want. It is an active thing you must do. As soon as you start connecting with something you want, something you desire, identifying what you desire, turning towards your fears and facing them, well the negative feeing start to dissipate. You start feeling better and better.

Now, don't expect perfection overnight here, because if you lack alignment with the principle of love you are probably not all that good yet at connecting with what you want and your first attempts may even backfire. You may make some bad connections and you will connect with more of what you don't want. The principle of love is really all about discernment. Okay, and it does require a lot of trial and error. You have to go out and make some connections to find out how they affect you. Does this connection resonate with me? Is this a good connection I want? How does this feel to me? What does my intuition say about this? and that is a connection you want to learn to retain and hold on to.

Any connections you make in a physical universe will of course be lost, but what you will gain is that ability to create and hold on to those connections. Sort of like saying that once you learn to build a business, it's not that hard to build another business. Once you learn to write computer software in one computer language, it's really not that hard to learn in another computer language, okay, because a lot of the knowledge and principles carry over. Okay, so where you're going here is general purpose development of your consciousness, something that you can retain with you.

Now let's move on to the principle of power. The problems you will attract here: Just as there are two basic types of problems or lack of alignment with love, there are also two basic problems with the lack of alignment with power.

The first one would be basically using your power in the wrong way. You ironically use your power to create things that disempower you kind of like using your own muscles to beat yourself up, or to rip your body apart or, something like that. Imagine you are using your physical muscles, okay, you can actually use your muscles to beat yourself up, and rip yourself apart, and hurt yourself. Okay, you can actually use your body to weaken itself, or you can use your body to strengthen itself, say through some structured weight training. So the idea of power has to do with learning to use your power wisely, using it intelligently to create an increase in power, to create a continued growth in your power. Okay. Just as you can increase your physical strength by weight training whereby you're using your existing muscle to build new muscle, you can do the same thing with power. You can effectively use what power you have, and we will have some, to further develop your power.

The basic form of the problems here is either; you are using your power unwisely and incorrectly—which means you are using your power to actually tear yourself down, and actually weaken yourself. You are doing this that are self destructive. You are taking actions that are going to produce negative results for you. Okay, I am sure we have all met people who have gone through a self-destructive period. Maybe you have been one. I have at one point. And, you know, that is a poor alignment with power, you have lot of energy you are pouring into it but you are not channeling it very intelligently. So power is about energy and direction, okay, think of it like you know you are focusing a laser beam, you have got a lot of energy you're directing here and you want to channel it with good effect. Okay so that first problem is you are channeling all that power but you are basically using it to hurt yourself, burning yourself out or you are destroying when you should be creating.

Second problem with power is, maybe you have it focused in the right direction but there is no energy flowing through it. The beam is not turned on. Okay, this is basically a problem when your power is weak and essentially what you need to do here is simply train up. It's like if you are physical body is trying to lift a weight that is too heavy for it to lift, your muscles just aren't strong enough. The solution is not to try to keep budging that weight that's too heavy, it's to start with lighter weights and build yourself up. So if you are facing a situation where your power just seems inadequate to the task, back off a bit, start with something simpler, something smaller and so if you are facing a situation where your power seems inadequate to the task back off a bit. Start with something simpler, something smaller and build up from there. Okay, no need to burn yourself out.

Now with these two types of power problems, you'll just keep attracting the situations like this into your life until you learn how to develop your power properly. You may continue to self-destruct if you are using your power unwisely and you are channeling a lot of energy through it until you hit rock bottom, or until you wise up and realize this is just a wrong path to be on, and that, ''I am not using this power correctly.' Then you might back off on using your power for a little bit. That's what I did after I went through that period. I really pulled back from using my power at all and I put myself in a position of basically just sort of a low-power maintenance mode for my life, and said, 'Okay, wait a minute, you know I can't trust what I am doing here,' and then I had to work on my alignment really all three principles to make sure that when I started living my life at full power again, where I was really doing my very best, that it was channeled in a positive direction. That made a big difference for me. Then when I flip that switch back on it was wonderful.

You know, just to be specific, the period when I was really self- destructive was when I was at my late teens and just doing things like a lot of shoplifting, getting arrested multiple times, and just, you know, my life going pretty much downhill and then I went into this low-power mode where I basically got just a $6.00-an hour retail sales job, you know, living below the radar, just keeping my life really simple back then, hanging out with a few close friends, that was it, really not stretching in any major areas and not really trying to learn and grow much, just sort of holding my own and thinking about my life a little bit, being a little more cautious and careful.

And then going back to school, going back to college and setting some more truth, love, and power align goals, and deciding to graduate from college in three semesters, and boom, you know going through that with lots and lots of power and energy, and that worked very well of course. So you are learning to regulate the usage of your power in a positive way—very, very important.

Now if you lack alignment with power in terms of just overall weakness, like you are just not able to channel that much energy, that much power through your life, you just can't motivate yourself to do anything and just can't seem to get going, you can't seem to get anything done, that's when you start small. You know, you back up and you build up a little bit. Start with very small, simple goals, but make sure you are also aligned with truth and love. You know, we have to work on these simultaneously. It's hard to take any one in isolation and work on just that.

So you can develop your power faster if you are setting goals that you feel very connected with, that you really have a strong love alignment with, and that you predict a positive outcome from so you got a good strong truth alignment there too. In those situations you will tend to get much faster results. It's sort of like saying that you'll grow stronger in weight training if you really, really love weight training. You will get better as a runner if you really love running, you will get better as a cyclist if you really love cycling. Whatever you connect with that you really love, that you really feel a strong connection to, that will really help to accelerate your growth.

Now, taken as a whole, these principles of truth, love, and power, basically serve as a framework for thinking about how to consciously develop ourselves. Now the benefit of understanding these principles of truth, love, and power is that they give you the means to more effectively develop your consciousness, whether you are here rooted in physical reality or not. See these principles can apply basically regardless of the nature of reality.

You can even apply them in a dream world if you are lucid—in other words, if you are aware that you are dreaming—you know, you can look at your dream and say, 'Hmm, what is the nature of this dream? What is the truth about it? What do I want to connect with in this dream? What would I love to do while I am here? and then, how can I use my power to make that happen?' The funny thing is that if you've done lucid dreaming you'll realize that these principles all really do apply it there. There are things to be discovered, new truths to be learned in your lucid dreams.There are some fascinating new things to connect with, new things to explore, to create... and there are whole new ways which you can develop your power in a dream world, superpowers, and do things like learn to fly, and so on. And those actually are not things you can instantly up and do necessarily, they take practice. They're skills you have to develop over time.

So the cool thing about these principles of truth, love, and power is that they are indeed universal. They apply regardless of what type of projection your consciousness is currently experiencing, whether it's a solid physical reality, or something a little bit more flexible like a dream world, or if you are off having some kind of strange astral experience, or if your having any kind of new experience and you don't know what to make of it. You can always look at it through the lens of how is this a pointer to where I need to improve my alignment with truth, love, and/or power. And once you understand truth, love, and power, you can use them as guiding principles for your human life. You will see that your existence here really does have a purpose, it really does have some meaning. You're here to develop your consciousness, to expand it, to increase its alignment with truth, to increase its alignment with love, to increase its alignment with power.

You are here to increase your understanding of who and what you are, of what the nature of reality is. You're here to have experiences, to connect, to learn from those connections, to learn to discern the difference between what you want and what you don't want—what resonates with you and what doesn't. By doing so, you learn to discover new truths about yourself. You're here to grow stronger, to train up, to develop your power.

The nice thing about physical reality is that because it's temporary for all of us, it's a relatively safe training ground. You're not going to accidentally rip the universe to shreds by some errant thought of the God-like being you are. Most of us here are not the most developed beings in the Universe. We recognize that we can be much more than we are now. We recognize that we are not really living up to our full potential, and surely within your own life, you recognize that you could be aware of many more truths than you are now. You don't know everything there is to know, about the nature of reality. You recognize that you could experience more love in your life, certainly. You could experience more joy and more happiness than you are now. A lot more experiences you would like to have that you haven't had yet, so much more you like to go, see, do. And also, in the grand scheme of things, you realize that you are a little bit weak; There's things you try to do and you just can't really seem to pull off, or you try to get a certain result and it backfires on you—you get the opposite result. So recognize that you are here for a reason. None of the mistakes you made here are going to be permanent. Since the nature of this environment is temporary, it's a safe place to experiment.

And I realize for most people just may be a rather odd way of thinking about life, and truth is a much simpler way of thinking about life, one that provides much greater clarity. To me it makes a lot more sense to think about your entire human existence in terms of how to increase your alignment with truth, love, and power, and seeing those patterns play out in all areas of your life; seeing the beautiful elegance these simple principles play as they weave themselves through all parts of your life, watching them crop up again and again in different guises.These principles are everywhere. They're undeniable. You will see them just all throughout your life if you just pause to consider them.

You will see the problems of lack of alignment with truth, love, and/or power popping up again and again, and you are constantly presented with opportunities to rise to the challenge and to develop yourself in those areas. That's where you have a choice. You can choose to develop yourself or you can choose to stagnate. As you choose to develop yourself, you eventually transcend to the problems that you are currently experiencing and you go on to attract new challenges.

See, the problems in your life are not a bad thing, they're simply challenges. They're weights to use in training yourself. So don't bemoan your problems, just accept them as they are and go, okay, this is my current level of training. These are the problems, these are the challenges I must deal with now so that I can increase my alignment with these principles. Accept what comes to you, it's all good. It doesn't matter if the problems you attract seem to be personal, communal, or global. Ultimately, it is all part of your reality. It's all part of you. Okay, the challenge of losing weight is no more less valid than the challenge of achieving world peace.

Conscious development is a fascinating way to live. Everyday I am just in awe of it, seeing these patterns play out—truth, love, and power just everywhere, over and over again, in my life, in everyone else's lives. It greatly simplifies how you look at life. It provides a motivation and a reason for doing anything. Your purpose in life is not just to do some kind of busy work, save up for retirement, and then basically, quietly, and uneventfully die, pass away, not having built or achieved anything of enduring value. Ultimately, whatever endures is what you've changed in your consciousness while you were here. How much did you improve your alignment with truth? How much did you improve your alignment with love and how much did you improve your alignment with power?

See, when we begin here in this human realm, let's just say most of us are pretty low on the awareness scale. We have a long way to go. We were probablyin a pretty sorry state of alignment with truth, love, and power, and it's going to take us a long time to develop those, but simply by interacting with life, bit by bit, we will make progress. We may have to come back again and again, but we will eventually figure it out. We will eventually get there. It is only a matter of time.

Let a conscious desire to increase your alignment with these principles guide your every action if possible. Let yourself be inspired by the idea of expanding your own consciousness and developing it, watching it unfold. Isn't it fascinating to you to look back on your childhood and realize how limited your consciousness was back then? How limited your understanding of truth was? Your lack of knowledge, your lack of comprehension of the way reality worked? Consider how bad you were at being able to connect with what you want, you know, ending up with situations that frustrated you. On the other hand, maybe you strayed from that, maybe you were better at connecting with what you want when you were a child, and you got more and more disconnected from it as you got to be an adult, a whole new kind of challenge to create for yourself, upping the bar, so to speak.

Think about how relatively powerless you were as a child—limited in your ability to create realities you chose too, having to just deal with and accept what was doled out to you. As an adult, however, hopefully you've grown stronger. You have more options available to you now, more possibilities. Don't let that development of your consciousness since childhood end. This should continue throughout your entire life.

Okay, when you are 30, you should look back on your 20-year-old self, much like you're 20-year-old self would look back on your 10-year-old self thinking, 'Oh what a goofball I was back then.' Okay same thing goes when you are 70 looking back on your 60-year-old self. Allow your conscious development to continue throughout your life. Accept these challenges as they present themselves to you, accept the problems that arise. See them as opportunities. They're here to help you. They cannot be otherwise.

Choose a career that will help you increase your alignment with truth, love, and power.Choose relationships that will help you increase your alignment with truth, love, and power. Choose experiences that will help you increase your alignment with truth, love, and power. If you lack truth, go after knowledge. Acquire more education, conduct your own trial and error experiments, learn. If you're lacking the area of love, go out and connect, have a lot of experiences. Connect with the people, socialize a lot, with a lot of different kinds of people too. Go and see more of the world. Get into a relationship with someone else who really good at connecting. That is what I did.

If you lack alignment with power, go out and do things that scare you. Turn towards your fear, build your power. Do things that will help you grow stronger, help you build some courage, help you be less afraid and help you be more capable, more creative, more expressive. Okay, you can do these things deliberately, you can work with this process consciously. You will be able to make much more rapid progress that way if you cooperate with this process instead of constantly fighting against and resisting it and misinterpreting it. Seeing it through a lens in which problems are a bad thing, like a curse or something, then all you will see in life when you look around is unfairness and difficulty. You will turn your back on truth, love and power. You will stagnate. You will be stuck with those problems for a very long time.

Aligning yourself with truth, love, and power is precisely what it means to live consciously. This is what it means to grow, to really grow. To grow in a way that stands a chance of becoming a permanent gain, not a temporary one you'll have to throw away when you die. How would you like to know that what you are doing here in your human life has a permanent effect on who you are and who you are becoming?

That idea gives meaning to everything you do here. It means you're not wasting your time here. It means that your life has value. You are becoming something wondrous, something amazing. Do I know what that is? Nope. But it's really exciting to find out. If you work to align yourself with truth, love, and power as you live, each passing year you become something greater than you were before. You become more conscious, more aware, wiser, stronger, more connected, happier. Where this will lead, I don't know. Do you? Why don't we find out together?

Until next time, live consciously.