Perhaps nothing to come out of the human mind has so fascinated, inspired, and confused us quite like dreams. There have been many theories as to what they are: the by-product of the mind categorizing memories as it organizes a day’s worth of data; the result of the brain trying to make sense of random neurotransmitter misfirings; how conscious thought delicately deals with subconscious stress; the communication of the soul with the brain; frequencies our brainwaves pick up from our future selves, the collective consciousness, aliens, or powerful forces with mind-manipulating technology; and on and on. There may be some truth to any of these theories, but for me, the explanation that makes the most sense not only explains the science of what dreams are, but also explains how they are often able to foretell the future, particularly, our individual and collective destiny.
Enlightenment. The moment we consciously connect to eternal truth. It’s when we see through the veil of this illusionary world, rising above ego, time, materialism, and our own emotions to see the bigger picture—that we are all one. It’s what all gurus, spiritualists, yogis, Buddhists, monks, meditators, shamans, artists, writers, and religious leaders strive for. It’s the state Neo reached at the end of The Matrix, the level Dorothy attained so she could surpass time and space and return home, and the brief moment you get a taste of, usually in the shower, when your brain skips a beat on the record of reality, resulting in a little inspiration in line with your true self. But is there any way to speed up the process or at least know how close you are to the fully enlightened experience? I believe there is. And it’s something so unbelievably simple, you’ll be able to master it shortly after reading this blog posts.
When you’ve seen as many movies as I have, you begin to see that they all follow a certain pattern. This is true not just of movies, but of all great stories ranging from those found in classic mythology and literature to modern TV series and video games. Joseph Campbell called it the monomyth or hero’s journey. It’s basically a series of steps that the protagonist must go through during the course of his or her adventure. In addition to this, there are also a number of spiritual principles that often find their way into storytelling. By combining these principles with the monomyth, you can pretty much figure out where just about any story is headed. While this skill has proven to be incredibly annoying to my wife, it’s come in very handy for me. Not because I’ve continually annoyed her with my usually correct movie and TV show predictions, but because I’ve noticed that these storytelling rules apply to more than just fictitious stories. They also apply to real life.
Ah, the enlightened life! A life where the superficial trappings of the material world have lost their luster. Where greasy, fried, and fatty foods are no longer tempting. Where meditation, sharing, and an appreciation of the beauty of nature provide all the fulfillment one needs for true happiness. And yet, considering how healthy, content, and self-fulfilled spiritual people claim to be, why are they plagued with so many health, wealth, and happiness issues? Is poverty a requirement of enlightenment? Is self-indulgence selfish? Is self-love a sign of an inflated ego? The irony is that most spiritual people are just as egotistical as materialistic people—perhaps even more so since they believe themselves to be so far above everyone else. Sacrifice and ascetic behavior do not make one spiritual. Denying the material for the sake of the spirit misses the big picture. To be truly fulfilled, one needs to embrace both of these worlds, creating more than a holy life, but a wholly life.
In this Layman’s Answers to Baby Care episode, the Layman demonstrates best practices for changing your baby’s diaper along with some fascinating mythological and spiritual fun-filled facts thrown in! Learn the simple trick that makes diaper changing super-quick, what NOT to use on your baby that was likely used on you, and the hidden truth about Disney princesses that makes their likeness perfect for disposable changing sheets!