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.
For years leading up to 2012, spiritual-types who were sick of the way the world was heading could take comfort in the promise of a new era that was predicted to begin on December 21 of that year. The Mayans, known for their astronomical expertise had supposedly predicted it. In addition, St. Malachy’s famous Prophecy of the Popes, which predicts when the world as we know it would end, also correlates to about the same time period. The Hopi tribe, Edgar Cayce, a book attributed to Nostradamus, hell, even The History Channel’s countless specials all pointed towards 12/21/12 as the beginning of the end times. The details differed, but whether you believed that Earth was due for a major cataclysm, a spiritual awakening, a religious reckoning and rapture, an alien visitation, a new dimension, or just an enlightened age, most people seemed somewhat excited that a major event was on the horizon. When the day finally arrived, we instead got something that came as a shock to many: absolutely nothing. Or so it would seem.
I’m very excited about a new app coming out that is completely ahead of its time. It’s called GoogleFuture and it’s amazing. Applying the process of quantum computing, the app enables you to Google search anything, from any time period—including the future. And not just the future of your current timeline, but any possible future. Imagine being able to do a search on yourself to see what becomes of you based on certain choices and decisions—which job brought more success, which partner brought a more lasting relationship, which path brought the most fulfillment. With GoogleFuture there will be no more uncertainty, and really, no need for this article. Truth be told however, there actually are no plans for GoogleFuture, or anything similar, anytime soon as far as I know. But being able to figure out your destiny is really just as easy. Maybe, even easier.
Ever since Darwin published his infamous On the Origin of the Species in 1859, science and theology have been at war over the theory of evolution. The irony is that evolution and all its aspects—natural selection, survival of the fittest, genetic mutations—all appear in the Bible as clear as day. In fact, even the missing link of the explanation that science has still not uncovered appears in there as well. Is it found in some lost book, obscure passage, cryptic verse, or esoteric translation? No, it appears in an entire story that everyone knows—the story of Noah’s Ark. And once I point out the metaphoric meaning of the story, you’ll wonder how on earth you never noticed it before. How? The church didn’t want you to notice. Because the truth takes power away from them and puts it where it rightfully belongs—to you.
When I was a kid, someone pointed out that the shape of the inside of your ear was similar to the shape of how you looked as a fetus. At the time, I chalked it up to one of those fantastical things kids say to exaggerate a correlation. But years later in advertising school, one of my professors had us gather the leaves from a lemon tree and then look at how it compared to the shape of the tree itself. Amazingly, the veins of the leaf seemed to match the branches of the tree, and the leaf’s shape was similar to the tree’s overall shape. Could it be possible that the parts of a living object represent the whole? And if so, how far back could we go to see similarities of ourselves as a society—to the lines in our palms, the DNA in our genes, or even the atoms in our bodies?
Supposedly, nobody ever said life was fair. Well, I’m saying it right now. Maybe I’m a nobody so the adage still works but I’ve come to believe that life is absolutely fair. Yes, there are selfish jerks who seem to be rewarded while truly good, hardworking, selfless people seem to be punished. There are people who’ve lived like there’s no tomorrow that live long, healthy lives while people who ate healthy, exercised and did everything right have died young. There are innocent children who suffer with terminal illness while evil dictators enjoy the good life. So how is it that I can possibly believe that life is fair? Because most people only see life on a superficial level, but it’s time that we dig a little deeper.
“We’re all connected.” It’s the ubiquitous mantra of new-agey types. Chances are if you’ve ever watched Oprah, were a fan of the TV show Lost, or have read just about anything I’ve written, you are very familiar with this concept. Along with its close cousin “everything happens for a reason,” it’s pretty much become a cliché that isn’t really given much thought. Yet, how exactly are we all connected? Sure, we’re all made of the same elements, live on the same planet, and are plugged into the same Internet, but the phrase usually refers to the idea that all of our minds are somehow connected, that our lives are intertwined, that actions taken by you, now, could somehow affect a struggling shoe salesman living in Uzbekistan. I think it’s about time we explored this concept and saved it from the nether regions of trite, hackneyed banality. After all, if the idea that “we’re all connected” is a given, why doesn’t anyone (with the possible exception of Oprah herself) really believe it?
Those who move in spiritual circles often talk about how we are all connected, that our thoughts create our future reality, and that the universe provides us with clues about our direction in life. Personally, I look at spiritual principles as scientific rules that we just don’t understand yet. Not too long ago, the idea that people could get sick from tiny bugs they couldn’t see or that invisible waves could carry images or music was thought to be magical thinking, until science proved it to be true. So if these spiritual principles are indeed a rule of our universe, there should be a way to test and predict their occurrence. Doing this on an individual scale might prove challenging though, since one person’s thoughts may not have enough energy to make something manifest in a testable way. But what if there were an event that millions of people were focusing on, and this event inspired heated, emotionally charged thoughts that could result in only one of two possible outcomes? If only we had such an event, why, we just might be able to predict the future on a grand scale!
Back in June 2009, I wrote an article titled “Proof That We’re Living a Life of Illusion.” In it, I provided what I felt was overwhelming evidence that we all live in some kind of computer simulation. I also offered some simple explanations as to why I thought we did. At the time, the people who are open to believing in such fantastical theories excitedly agreed with the premise, while those who rely on hard-core scientific proof, did not. Well, a funny thing’s happened in the years since I wrote that article. Scientists are beginning to see the evidence that the non-believers require. The question now is, whether those skeptics will decide to take the blue pill or the red pill?