Living Subjectively

July 29th, 2010 by Steve Pavlina

Apparently there’s a lot of interest in this 30-day inspiration trial. My various e-inboxes have been surging with messages expressing support and curiosity. Many of them have to do with the subjective reality aspect of this trial, so that’s what I’ll address in this Day 6 update.

Inception

Let me get this out of the way first. I finally saw the movie Inception last night. Honestly I thought it was good but not up to all the hype surrounding it.

I thought it would have been cooler if the dreams were like real lucid dreams, such that the conscious characters could wield more control over their environments, as in The Matrix but even more so.

I thought there were some interesting elements to it, like the totems, but I was a bit restless during some of the action sequences. Overall I’d give it a B+.

Death and Subjective Reality

After seeing Inception, several people asked me about the risk of committing suicide in connection with a subjective belief system. If you believe that reality is a dream world, will you want to kill yourself at some point in order to awaken from the dream?

Death may be the ultimate revealer of truth. But it may also be the ultimate false barrier. There’s no guarantee that after death, truth is revealed. The dream may simply continue on in a different form.

I’ve had nighttime dreams where I died and woke up, but it was a false awakening. The dream continued on, with me dreaming that I woke up in my bed, realized I’d been dreaming, and went on about my day. But then I woke up again for real…

Or did I? ;)

Objectively speaking, death is inevitable, and it’s apparently a serious transition. Subjectively speaking, death is simply another belief border. It’s an unknown where one’s own beliefs must create the experience.

In the subjective sense, dying is like visiting a city you’ve never been to. Before this summer, I’d never visited Montreal. As I got closer to taking that trip, my beliefs filled in more and more of the details, so when I arrived there, the city manifested itself as a projection consistent with my beliefs. I never saw the whole city of course, only a small window into it, one which could simply have been a thought projection. I rather liked the simulation of Montreal. It was a cool place to dream up. I might dream it up again someday and flesh out more of the details.

Death is like visiting a new city. Your beliefs will fill in the details, and you’ll see something largely consistent with your expectations.

My reality includes many people who approach death slowly and cautiously. Instead of crossing over suddenly, they take years to cross that border. This part of my reality is a projection of my belief that death isn’t something I understand well enough to jump into haphazardly, so I must creep up on it very slowly. Hence lots of people in my reality take many years to transition, and they usually don’t want to go because they don’t feel ready to die yet. I don’t feel ready to die yet either.

If I were to shift my beliefs about death, such that dying quickly at my own hands appeared to be a wise choice, then my dream world would most likely manifest a major increase in suicides (or some other form of swift transitions), and people in general would take less time to cross over. But as long as my reality is largely doing the opposite, with so many people slowly creeping up on that border crossing, it’s because I’m still projecting my own cautious attitude towards death, and it would be very unlikely for me to dive into it impulsively.

So keep an eye out for an increase in mass suicides in this dream world. Until that happens there’s no cause for concern. ;)

eBay Auction

After sharing yesterday that eBay delisted my consultation auction before it had a chance to finish, a number of people offered me alternative suggestions, most of which were ways I could work around eBay’s rules and essentially try again.

Objectively speaking, all of those are good suggestions, and I appreciate that people took the time to share them. But I have to decline those ideas because I’m on the subjective side now, and on that side, my interpretation of these events leads me down a different path.

Why did eBay delist my auction for a 60-minute consultation? Well, basically someone must have reported it as inappropriate, even though there are many similar auctions listed on the site. eBay then took it down because they’re playing it safe. Apparently they consider it too risky to list intangible items, but they only seem to take action when someone actively reports it.

As I interpret this reality as a dream world, a projection of my own thoughts, I have to ask what thoughts gave rise to these dream events. To me that’s rather obvious. This event tells me that some part of me is concerned about the path I’m going down. It feels I should play it safe. And if I don’t do so, it’s going to turn me in, so to speak, meaning that it may sabotage my progress and keep me from moving forward. In other words, it’s going to cut my 30-day trial short if it feels I’m going too far into the realm of the intangible and not staying grounded enough. This is the part of me that trusts the physical but not the intangible.

Now look at the proposed solutions that people suggested. Many of those solutions are ways of doing essentially the same thing and attempting to bypass the problem by working around eBay’s rules, sometimes in a sneaky way. I have to reject such solutions because objectively speaking, eBay has the right to set its own policy, and I’m not going to try to play games with them or jump through hoops to work with them. If they don’t want me to do business with them in the manner I’d prefer, that’s their choice, and I’ll honor that. No tricks or games.

Subjectively speaking, I’m saying that it doesn’t make sense for me to try to sneak past my own subconscious doubts. My subconscious has every right to object.

So I listen to this objection and say, “Yes, I hear you. There may be unforeseen risks ahead. Please continue to remain alert and watch out for them.”

On the objective side, I accept eBay’s warning, thank them for it, and let it go. This incident was simply the manifestation of a part of me that’s telling me to be cautious. It is a message to hear, not a problem to be solved.

This was a warning sign but not a roadblock, a yellow light but not a red one. The eBay listing didn’t cost me any money, and I actually saw a boost in web traffic due to the extra publicity over this event. Yesterday was my highest-traffic day in nearly 2 months. So despite the apparent setback, I actually came out ahead. I also like that this experiment has stimulated some cool discussion and many interesting suggestions, and I’ll bet that down the road we’ll see a number of people doing further experiments along these lines.

The objective world “problem” here is a solvable one. There are many workable solutions, such as using a different auction platform or finding another way to list the auction that would satisfy eBay’s requirements. So the message here is that there is a way to move forward without triggering any alarms; I just need to be careful about it.

Another aspect here is that I was perhaps a bit ignorant in listing my consultation on eBay. I hadn’t used eBay in almost a decade. If I’d been more savvy, I might have done the listing differently and made it work the first time. This part of the message tells me that there may be a learning curve here. The reason for caution is that I’m not that subjectively savvy yet, so I’m bound to make some mistakes.

Our dream eBay is right too. I’m entering new territory, leaving behind the solidity of what I know and entering into a world of intangible possibilities. There may be unforeseen challenges ahead, so it’s best to take it slow at first.

On the objective side, it would make sense to find a way to restart the auction. But this was a subjective experiment, not an objective one. In this case it’s all about the meaning of the events, not the events themselves. I see no strong subjective reason to restart the auction, so I’m not planning to do so. I believe I’ve received the message, and now the dream can proceed in some other direction.

Emotional Healing

The past few days have been very healing for me. I’ve been doing a lot of emotional processing on my own, and today I shared these experiences with Rachelle. I’m so very grateful for her love and support. I’m lucky to have such an angel in my life.

I expect to share much of this publicly soon. I feel emotionally ready to do that now, but my tanks are a bit empty, so I need to recharge first. It’s been taking me a while to make sense of all of this, what it all means, and in what form it would make sense to share it.

Subjectively speaking, there’s no need to share anything for the benefit of others. The reason to share is because it’s part of the healing process for the one doing the sharing. For me, writing can be an intensely cathartic experience. And the feedback on that writing can be very revealing as well.

Subjective Communication

One side effect I’m noticing with this experiment is that my communication is becoming much clearer. I’ve felt that lately, I’ve been doing a much better job of expressing the real me, and I’m doing a better job of listening to others.

In the objective world, we’re all separate and distinct individuals, but in the subjective world, we’re all a part of the same whole.

When I communicate from the subjective frame, I know that I’m really talking to myself. There are no separate and distinct individuals in the dream world. The notion of privacy in your own dream world is pure self-delusion. So I’m less inclined to hold back because I figure that the projections in my dream world with whom I communicate already know everything there is to know about me. Consequently, the only person I can possibly delude is myself.

Hence when I communicate, I monitor what’s coming out of me, and I ask myself, “Am I really speaking my truth?” Sometimes I catch myself succumbing to self-delusion.

You may have noticed a shift in my writing within the past week. That’s due to this experiment. I’m writing as if I’m talking to myself, and you already know everything there is to know about me because you’re a character within my dream world. I can’t hide anything from you, so what’s the point in trying?

Even on the objective side, I considered myself to be very open and honest. I don’t intentionally lie or mislead people. But the subjective side is peeling away layers where I may have been misleading myself without realizing it. It is causing me to be more truthful with myself first and foremost. It is the difference between writing an article for publication and writing in my own journal. I am no longer writing for the public; now I am simply journaling. And interestingly, my dream characters really seem to like that since the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive lately. Hmmm…

Also, I’m paying a lot more attention to the reactions my communications receive. On the objective side, it’s easy to give myself permission to dismiss certain reactions. If I don’t like a piece of feedback, I can say something like, “Well, that’s your opinion, but I don’t agree.” I don’t even have to respond at all; I can simply ignore it if I wish.

However, on the subjective side, I can’t get away with that. Every piece of feedback is a part of me expressing itself, so all of it matters, and none of it can be insignificant. If I dismiss something, it could mean that I’m suppressing a part of myself, which isn’t a healthy thing to do. I have to listen, listen, listen.

This has led me to feel much more responsible for the entire process of communication. I’ve especially seen this when I communicate with Rachelle. In the past few days, she and I have reached a deeper level of intimacy than ever before. There have been tears on both sides, but it has been amazing and beautiful. I am so in love with her that I don’t think I could go back to the objective way of communicating. I no longer doubt that she’s a part of me.

This is beginning to spread to other connections as well. Everything is going deeper, and it’s happened very quickly, so quickly that I’m stunned by it all. I expect that by the end of the 30 days, all of my relationships will be radically transformed — for the better I believe.

This might seem counter-intuitive at first glance. You might think that if you saw everyone as a dream character, you’d be less inclined to communicate at all. But I’m experiencing the opposite. Since everyone I see is a part of me, I’m becoming intensely curious about everyone.

As I walk around in public, I can really feel that I’m walking around in my own subconscious dream world. I keep staring at people and thinking, I wonder what part of me you represent. It’s an awesome experience to be at that level of awareness where there are no strangers. Everyone in my world is so beautiful and radiant.

When I converse with someone, even someone who appears to be a stranger at first glance, it’s possible to go very deep very quickly. I’m realizing that all the NPCs in this reality have some amazing depth to them, if only I care to look.

Getting to Know Your NPCs

When I was on the plane flying back from Santa Fe on Monday, I ended up sitting next to a 67-year old man. My initial thought was to greet him in a friendly manner as I always do with my seat mates; then maybe I’d do some reading or work on an article. That’s probably what I would have done if I’d been seeing reality through the objective lens. But since I was on the subjective side, my reaction was one of curiosity. Who is this dream character? What part of me does he represent? Why is he seated next to me on this dream flight? What can I learn from him?

As I sat down, he asked me, “So where’s home for you?” I told him that I was returning to Las Vegas. I asked him, “How about you?” He said he was traveling to Portland.

I could have easily allowed the polite chit chat to die down and pulled out a book to read, but instead I let my curiosity lead me. After settling into my seat, I decided I wanted to learn more about this dream man and what he could teach me about myself. So I initiated a conversation with him. I started by asking what he did for a living.

He was a retired teacher but currently doing TV programming in Hong Kong. He also shared that he was a Seventh Day Adventist. For the entire flight we remained immersed in one-on-one conversation, interrupted only by the drink service. It definitely wasn’t a shallow conversation. I asked him all about his religious beliefs and practices, his values, and more. We talked about his relationship with his son, his recent financial challenges, and all sorts of topics.

I listened to him intently because in truth I was listening to a part of myself. I could not judge him in any way. When he talked of certain struggles, my objective reaction would have been to offer solutions or assistance. But this time I listened compassionately and tried to understand how and why I manifested this particular character, and in my mind I was saying to myself, “I’m sorry. I love you.”

I never asked him his name, nor did I give him mine. Do such labels even matter in a dream world? Not to me.

After the plane landed and we went our separate ways, I thought about how all of his thoughts and values and beliefs are all within me, and I learned some new truths about myself in the process. For example, I asked him about the connection between vegetarianism and Seventh Day Adventism, and I realized that the values he was expressing were my own. Yes, I value my health because I’m expressing a desire to become a clearer channel for the divine; I can see that. He was vegan too. Was that just a coincidence?

What I found most fascinating is that during our conversation, he’d occasionally begin some of his sentences with assumptions about my own beliefs and values, as if I were a Christian like him. And yet I never told him that I had any religion at all, nor did I express any particular beliefs.

At one point he asked if I was married, and at first I cringed, assuming that within his belief system, my current situation would have to be met with harsh judgment of some sort, especially after he told me that he and his wife get up at 4am and read the Bible for an hour every single day. Or maybe it would stop our pleasant conversation cold, and he’d freeze up. But I told him the truth about my situation, and I was amazed that it didn’t phase him at all.

I know that I haven’t fully crossed over to the subjective side. My thoughts and my language keep shifting back and forth between the subjective and objective lenses. It reminds me of when I spoke Franglais in Montreal. I’m still such a newbie at this. It may take a while for me to become competent on the subjective side. In the meantime I shall continue doing the best I can. Immersion is an excellent teacher.

This is an utterly fascinating experience. Thank you for sharing this dream world with me. I’m grateful for your presence here. I have so much to learn from you. :)


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