The Video Game Analogy

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Stale out of college, it has been high time for too long now that I “leave the nest.” As I stand on its precipice about to take flight I find myself paralyzed with fear. For I know my personal standard- that I could not live with myself having attempted anything less than my full potential. And as my dream lies in a line of work so outrageous and foreign as shamanism, I am intimidated to inertia. So rather than take the plunge, this more-than-baby bird has been known to piddle around performing jobs like bartending, pot-pie selling, and trivia hosting. But I had an insight a while ago that has been following me around ever since I thought of it, and I thought was worthy of sharing with you. It is in regards to detaching from our less-than-challenging salary-earning jobs that we cling to out of fear of going broke and hungry, and taking the first steps towards manifesting our dreams. Because our dreams are more accessible than we think they are, they are not what we imagine them to be, and fear is our most debilitating obstacle:

Once we recognize some self-destructive habit pattern within ourselves, and resolve to reform it, we get down to the matter of how to do so. At first the notion of remodeling our lives seem so impossible, because we yet lack the survival skills to survive in that alternative environment. But what we would find if we were to throw ourselves into the void is that we adapt very quickly. We would locate other modalities of survival and reservoirs of beauty… In fact, perhaps ones that resonate more naturally with us.

By trusting our intuition and instigating the corresponding change we rearrange the matrix of our problem-solving model, acquire new strategies, and thereby break out of the shackles of our problems.

In the case that we discontinue destructive behavior, we derail ourselves from a negative feedback circuit and release ourselves into an infinity of inspiration. As I heard comedian and podcaster Duncan Trussell state in a conversation with his mother, “ True paths will self-destruct because when you get into it, you realize that’s not what you want.” We find that we experience life like a videogame with levels (of enlightenment). And the procedure to advance to the next level is to go for your dream and unlock the code to manifest it. And doing so will often render the dream (as you imagined it before you tried it) obsolete… but therein you may find that the real meaning you were seeking lies in something just alongside it.

For example, there was a time last winter when I was resolved to moving to the Peruvian Amazon to apprentice with an Ayahuasca shaman. I made all the arrangements to do so- I quit my jobs, bought my pane ticket, packed my suitcase, and said goodbye to my loved ones. The “realness” of this procedure launched me into a close-range view of what this life path actually entailed: a cutting of the umbilical chord with my family and friends, language, and culture, incubating myself with a man who I did not entirely know or trust, in a state of psychosis, and monetarily bound to him. With the emotional devastation of my family, just like in a near-death experience, the significance of every aspect of my life became vividly clear to me. Finally the anxiety was too unbearable. I stopped resisting all the elements that were situated against me, let the dam wall fall, and fell into flow with nature. It was only when the stakes we so high (and I did, on a subconscious level, think I might die in Peru) that I was able to see the corruption inherent in this man’s practice and admit to myself that it was not the right path for me. But it took that commitment for me to realize not just intellectually, but profoundly from first-hand experience the pitfalls of psychedelics as a primary means of divine communication. I also learned a valuable lesson about taking heed of pseudo-spiritualism that sadly pervades Iquitos and much of the world. If I had not attempted this dream, I would have still upheld this man as an idol and in that vein, still been trumped by the least-worthy among us. I feel like this experience waged a permanent reconstruction of my brain: Some passageways opened while others closed, taking into account my new insights and ultimately forming a new, more evolved paradigm with which to tackle future obstacles.

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These kinds of insights we cannot come to without deciphering and attempting our original dreams. And therefore the model of the matrix itself changes as we evolve, accommodating each epiphany. So that we do not know the layout of truth when we start out. The only way to know it is to traverse. Because it will change depending on whether or not we traverse, and how we do so. And only if we do not attempt it for fear or failing will it stay static and imagined, and we will remain defeated by our illusory dreams of the least complex level of the videogame. And how pathetic that seems when we think about it.

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