Dreams of Heaven and Hell

SERVICE WITH A SMITE! Not conductive to visiting Heaven at night, unfortunately. Or so I’ve recently discovered.

In the book “The Essence of Buddha”, Ryuho Okawa has a disturbing and thought-provoking idea. Disturbing because it is so plausible, based on the notion that Heaven and Hell are not “elsewhere” but inside us already in this life. (Christian readers may remember Jesus saying this too.) Okawa’s spiritual bomb is that you can get a good idea from your dreams about which realm you belong to.

If you dream about being happy together with other people in peaceful places, this may be a glimpse of Heaven. But if you dream of darkness, fear and violence, chances are this is what you will experience when you leave your body permanently as well. After all, your dreams are fetching their content from the depths of your own soul: It is not like you are dreaming someone else’s dream, after all. Well, unless you are the prophet Daniel, I guess.

This, regular readers will realize, is bad news for me if true. Probably. Because most of the dreams I remember from my adult life are about either a) being scared out of my skin, b) killing people in war or self-defense, or c) humiliating sexual harassment of other people. This reached its peak in my late twenties, though it continued into my journaling years to some degrees. At least there was no overlap between b and c. I would wake from a dream of grabbing someone’s breasts and feel a sense of joy that at least I had not killed anyone this night!

Over the last years I seem to dream less. This may be a sign that the hellishness is receding. You see, if I actually do dream of being happy and peaceful, I am unlikely to remember it. I wake up if I am terrified, or if extremely excited, and then it is hard to go back to sleep immediately. Therefore I will remember whatever I dreamed just before. But otherwise I tend to sleep until my sleep clock gently wakes me, and in that slow transition from sleep to wakefulness the dream fades out of reach. I may remember that I dreamed something, but not what, unless it made a great impression. This is even more so now that I spend 30-90 minutes in slow-wave brainwave entrainment in the morning. For a dream to still be remembered after this, it better be remarkable.

As it happens, I had such a remarkable dream this morning, causing me to wake up an hour before the clock. Unfortunately for your chance of hanging out with me in The Realm of the Good in some years, it was about war. I dreamed that there was a war of some kind, and we were beset by the enemies, but snatched victory from the jaws of defeat through my supernatural leadership abilities. Talk about mixed messages – but then, that is a pretty accurate representation of how I feel.

Again, it bears mention that I don’t believe any of this “because Master Okawa said so”. That would be an insult to his work, as he strives to explain logically why he thinks we can use dreams as spiritual informants. His argument goes basically: Once you accept that there is an afterlife, the law of causality ensures that it depends on this life. This law is known in Buddhism as karma, and in Christianity by the verse “as a man sows, so shall he harvest”. Unless science, Buddhism and Christianity are all wrong on the same point, the current status of your soul is a pretty good hint of where you are heading at the moment.

(Of course, a major point of religion is to be able to change your future destination, but it is unlikely to just change randomly or through applied ritual without personal transformation. What is the point of going to Heaven if you make it a Hell for yourself and all around you? And if you act and think completely differently in Heaven than here, is it really you who went to Heaven at all, or just someone else looking like you? Do souls even “look” at all, are they not defined by how they think and feel, their attitudes and the assumptions on which they habitually act? If you are bitter and suspicious here, and someone happy and grateful show up on the Other Shore, whatever happened to the real you?)

So yeah, I think the man from Venus is onto something here. Dreams can give us a chance to reflect on ourselves, dredging up feelings and memories that need to be held up toward the Light. But they are probably not representative, unless you have some method to rapidly wake you up at random times and then leave you with enough time to jot down your dreams.

Oh, and about that dream… City of Heroes‘ subscriber expansion number 17 came out yesterday, and I had fun roleplaying my new Lightwielding character, Lord Septim Silver, all evening until bedtime. We totally steamrolled the villains and had tons of fun doing it. SERVICE WITH A SMITE! So, I am not completely sure how representative that dream was…

Linux on a stick

This may not be as interesting as multidimensional spirituality, but it may be useful to some people for a few years. Of course, the world of computing changes so fast that this will have no lasting value. But then again few things have in this world.

Recently, the first reasonably fast USB memory sticks (memory keys) arrived. Before, it had been a handy but slow medium. And the capacity was not much to write home about either. Recently, we have got much bigger memory keys, and then we got a breakthrough in speed as well. The 16 GB Transcend JetFlash 600 dual-channel memory stick is noticeably faster, especially noticeable in writing speed, which is traditionally a bottleneck with flash storage. Actually, it is still a bottleneck, but it is a wider bottleneck than before. It is not all that useful to have a large memory that you have to leave overnight to finish writing.

With its speed and capacity, this was ideal for my experiment: To install Linux on a memory stick. I had already made a small (2GB is small these days!) boot key with Ubuntu 9.10, the most recent complete version. There is a new version in beta, it should be official any day now, but it was in beta while I tested this. Since it is still planned for release in April, it is called Ubuntu 10.04 (the format is year.month). I have tried both of these.

I started with 9.10. I already had this installed on one computer, and it includes a tool that lets you make bootable memory sticks. These work like boot CDs, except they don’t need a CD-ROM. This is handy with the new ultra-small computers, netbooks. (It won’t help with iPad, though, since it does not even have USB.)

So I first made a boot disk / installer on the small, slow key. Then I used that to install Ubuntu Linux, but to the Transcend instead of to the main hard disk. Both of the USB flash drives were on an Acer Aspire One, which is one of the earliest and weakest netbooks around. It does not even have a hard disk, only a flash disk, and a rather small one at that. Not having a hard disk or a CD-ROM saves a lot of battery power and weight, since there are no engines to spin, or moving parts at all. And since it already uses a flash disk, flash USB should not make that much of a difference.

It did not, at first. When I chose at startup to boot from the Transcend, it took a little longer to boot, but it was still tolerable. And once it was up and running, I could have a couple programs open simultaneously, like listening to music while surfing the web. The test seemed to be a success.

Seemed to. Having tested it with Ubuntu 9.10, I upgraded to Ubuntu 10.04. It was in alpha 2 at the time, a very early stage, even though the release was only weeks away. They sure have confidence. Of course, as with any large piece of software, it is sure to get a flurry of patches when a large number of people start using it for real purposes. With computer games, we call this phase “paid beta”, but Ubuntu (like most other Linux distributions) is actually free, despite the huge work that goes into it. Even so, if you are vaguely nervous around computers, you should wait 3-6 months after a new release before upgrading. With me it is the other way around, of course: I upgrade before it is even in beta.

It was fairly stable, although the new features related to social media crashed every day. This may have been because I ran it from a USB memory key on a machine that was weak even when it was first released to the market, but which I bought when it was already long in the tooth, and that again was a year or two ago. Ubuntu makes no pretense at being super fast – that’s its little brother Xubuntu. So it seems one of the programs was terminated when it did not load within a certain time, which had been decided by the programmers with no regard for extreme cases like my setup. This was later fixed, but there were still a couple related programs that crashed. Of course, the program was still not finished at the time. It is still not released as I write this, the final date is April 29.

Whatever the case, apart from having to start the gwibber (social media client) manually, it worked OK. Except that it grew slower and slower with each passing day. Then again each passing day saw me download perhaps a hundred or so updates to various and sundry programs and functions. I assume this was what slowed it down somehow, but I can think of no logical mechanism by which that would happen. Unlike a hard disk, fragmentation has no effect on flash drives. They don’t have a moving head – like the needle of an old gramophone – moving from place to place on the platter, like hard disks do. Solid state drives may write more slowly, but their read speed is unmatched. It probably reads as fast as the USB port and the processor can take it. Or should have.

I still don’t know. I know that when I took the stick to the HP Mini 2 (with 2GB RAM instead of 0.5 GB) it ran fast enough again. Unfortunately, after I installed that day’s updates, something went horribly wrong. It worked fine afterwards, but the next time I tried to start, it did not run on either the Acer or the HP. It did not even get so far that I could diagnose it and learn what was wrong. So I wiped it clear, installing 9.10 from start again.

I have upgraded it again, which took several hours as almost every part of the operating system was modified, or so it seemed. After this it runs fine again. I mean, it runs really well for a machine that is just barely more than a toy. Right now I have Opera running with 3 tabs, one of which plays streaming music. I also have a Terminal window open (same as a dos prompt in Windows) and the Ubuntu Software center where you can download innumerable programs for free. I am also in editing mode in an OpenOffice Writer document (roughly equivalent to Microsoft Word) and have open a movie player that has finished playing an Xvid movie that is stored on an external hard disk on my old Xubuntu machine. So that machine streams it over the local network to the USB stick on the netbook, which plays it. I played the movie with all these same programs open, except I did of course not stream music in Opera while playing the movie. There were a few cases of stuttering now and then through the movie when played in fullscreen mode, but not enough to make it unwatchable by any means.

The one thing I can’t do with it is install new programs in the background while working. But this is most likely due to the weak processor. In conclusion, it works quite well – as long as it does not suddenly crash forever, like it did last time. You should not overload it with a large number of open programs on a machine with little memory though. Writing to flash memory is much slower than reading, and if the system needs to swap memory to the stick constantly it will slow down, even with a Transcend JetFlash.

Alone or allone?

“Wow… I’m part of ‘everyone’…” From the family-friendly and encouraging anime “Kimi ni Todoke”, which probably means “reaching you”. It really is heartwarming, and no, it is not made by Happy Science. It is still good though.

For a number of years, I have spent more and more time alone, to the point where I finally even played alone in the multiplayer game I played. It has been a very slow and gradual change. When I started writing this journal, I still had friends in the 3-dimensional world, although not many, and although I did not meet with them often. But gradually I lost contact with people, and I did not miss them. I enjoyed being alone. I also felt that it was a good thing, morally and spiritually speaking.

I have never disputed the gospel of Jesus Christ, that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. But the way I interpreted it was more along the observation by Socrates, that a god needs nothing, therefore to need less is to be closer to the divine. I thought that the less I received from others, the better. Which in a certain sense is true, since we tend to start out with an abundance of wants regarding what others should do for us. When Sartre could say that “Hell is other people”, it was in this sense. If people with conflicting wants are placed together, they will naturally create the conditions of hell, each inside himself by resenting the others.

But while I was doing a great job of curbing my wants regarding other people – although in truth it is more like the wants gradually withered – I forgot the positive dimension. I was fairly happy even by my own standards, very happy compared to the overwhelming majority of people. And I thought “this is as good as it gets”. It did not occur to me, not needing others, that they might need me.

In a sense, it is right and necessary to work on oneself, forgetting all others for the time being, to refine certain qualities of oneself. But at some point one should remember the purpose of this work: To be able to add to the total of brightness, happiness, hope and courage in this world. Because we are a part of “everyone”, even our thoughts count. But eventually we must begin to radiate these qualities of brightness, otherwise I must question whether they are there at all. A city on a mountain cannot be hidden, as my hero Jesus Christ pointed out.

I do not know how far this change will take me. After all, I am naturally introverted. Even as a child I had a hermit streak, although I made up for it with incessant talking and grabbing attention when I was with others. And there are so few now who share even one of my interests, that just “hanging out with the guys” is unthinkable. At least I still have my work. And various online activities, with the benefit that people tend to be more open online than in the physical world.

So let us see where this takes us. I will probably always be a hermit, but there are degrees of hermeticism too. More about this sometime, perhaps. Now, sleep, in the sincere hope of doing a decent job tomorrow, Light willing.

Not quite a parrot

Sometimes I may be biting over more than I can swallow, but I try to only share what I have at least tasted, if not digested.

There is something I want you to know.  It may seem that I have been on a “Happy Science” spree since last summer, more or less, and there are other people also that inspire me but who you probably find distasteful. This cannot be helped.  You have to understand that I don’t believe anything, much less convey it to others, “because Master Okawa said so”, or because Robert Godwin said so, or Huston Smith, or Wilber or Schuon or Kierkegaard or, Light help us all, Mouravieff.  I may possibly bring forward something because Jesus Christ said so, but probably not anymore.  Rather, if I quote them or (more likely) paraphrase them, it is because my heart said so.

Okawa at least is bound to be happy if he finds out that, because he says repeatedly that you have not understood anything he says until you can tell it in your own words, and do so for five minutes or an hour depending on the needs of those who listen to you.  And that is exactly how I see it too.  So, sorry if we agree, but we did so before I had even heard of him, so there is no helping it!

Now, a human heart is not infallible, quite the opposite.  So when I talk about my heart here, I am not referring to the joy one feels when hearing that there is an easier way and you are allowed to do what you want. The world today is full of easy ways in religion.  Eastern faiths in particular are plagued with sects that say you only need to chant a particular text repeatedly to be saved or enlightened. And there are plenty of Christian churches that have followed the times so if you do the same as the majority of people, neither better nor worse, you’ll fit right in.

What I talk about is something else.  It is finding pieces to the puzzle that is life.  I have told repeatedly that my world is not made up of separate rooms:  Rather, it is as if I stand under one enormous dome, on the walls and ceiling of which are all the world’s sciences, seamlessly merging with their neighbors.  Cosmology gradually changes into astronomy on one side and subatomic physics on the other.  Medicine is inseparable from biochemistry and psychiatry, physics and chemistry fit together.  In this world, my whole world is one single entity, though smaller pieces are missing and the picture blurs when I get close enough to one of the walls. It is finding such pieces that fit the picture, it is the joy of finding those that makes my heart resonate, even if they come from a heretic or a madman.

Nor is this unique to me.  Johan Oscar Smith, founder of the Christian Church colloquially known as “Smith’s Friends”, supposedly said that he would learn even from a drunk man in the street. This is probably a good idea, because that is one of the few cases where people will say something that is not already said in mass media.  When sober and watching one’s reputation, it is common to only say what is already accepted by the group one belongs to.

In any case, I do test what I hear and hold it up against the Light.  If it is not shining brightly, I am wary.  I may refer to it in terms that make it clear that “this is what they say, not what I say”.  Or most commonly I just put it aside. If it seems dangerous, I may warn against it.  But my main interest is in that which I can sense is infused with Light.  That which increases love, hope, courage, peace, and depth in me personally or helps me radiate these things to others. If some people repeatedly give me these experiences, I am willing to live with the fact that they seem to balance between heresy and sheer lunacy, with a dash of blasphemy in the extreme cases.

So what I say is what I believe at the moment.  I may be wrong, and I change my mind from time to time.  But it is what resonates in my heart, and I strive to say it in my own words (unless it is already said perfectly).  After all, apart from keeping my friends updated on my trivial human life, the main reason for this journal is to say all the words that should be spoken, before they are lost forever.  Whether those words resonate with your heart or not, is entirely up to the Light.  I cannot choose it, and neither can you.  Hopefully someone, somewhere, sometime will get a little help from something I said.  Or if not, at least sometimes I do.

Hectic game calms the heart

In the foreground Itlandsen the Peacebringer.  Does playing a superhero improve your physical body?  My tentative experience so far is, yes, slightly. This seems unlikely, but what is the alternative?

It happened again. I came home from work and almost immediately hopped on the exercise bike. I stopped after a few minutes though, because my pulse was almost 20 beats above my norm for the warm-up. This is usually a sign that the body is busy fighting an infection, although it also happens the day after a particularly hard exercise or physical work.

So I got off the bike and also cancelled the long walk I was planning afterwards. I made a light dinner, read and wrote a little, and logged on City of Heroes, the superheroic online multiplayer game. I logged on with my Peacebringer character, as is good and proper, since this is an archetype whose powers are all based on light.  ^_^ It is also very team-friendly. My character can transform into a giant space lobster that can draw enemy fire away from more vulnerable team mates. I joined a team with 4 other random players, we spent two hours saving the imaginary city from imaginary evil cyborgs.

After this I checked my pulse again, and it was back to normal. Now, doing this task force is pretty hectic, since I am not responsible only for myself so I cannot take breaks or slow down. Despite this, my body had somehow regenerated during the evening. OK, perhaps it was the dinner rather than the game, but that is not much more credible. (I was not so hungry as to be anxious or anything, I am not really prone to hunger weakness etc, I eat when my stomach gnaws or occasionally because I have good leftovers.) And this is the second time I notice this, although the first time I was duoing at a more relaxed pace. More testing is in order!

(Oh, and I spent a long time looking for the earlier entry about the same topic. I did not find it, but I read a whole lot of other interesting entries. Well, interesting to me. I sure have written a lot!)

The immortals will find you

Mood-setting screenshot from the mostly unrelated anime 07 Ghost, where a song says (approximately): “You must cross over thousands of years worth of time.” Luckily, being immortal does not require you not to die. You just have to live eternally while you are alive, but that is more than hard enough. At least you don’t need to do it alone.

I distinctly remember writing this before, but I cannot find it with the in-journal search function, Google web or Google desktop. So just in case, I will say all the words that should be spoken, before they are lost forever.

I have earlier said that spiritual practice (such as meditation, deep prayer, chanting, lectio divina, keeping the Sabbath etc) all cause expansion of the Now. Obviously we all live only in the now, since we cannot move our bodies in the past or the future with all our willpower. But at the same time, our mind is constantly visiting the past and the future; and more than that, many alternate pasts and futures. This is useful but also dangerous, as we get spread so thin that the actual, real Now may get too little attention.

The expansion of the Now is of course utterly subjective. We still have only 24 hours a day, no matter what. The difference is how we experience those hours and what we accomplish during those hours. So if you define science as something that can be measured with instruments, then this is not scientific at all. But it is scientific in the sense that it is repeatable and can be peer-reviewed. If you do roughly the same thing, you will get roughly the same results.

One aspect of what I call “spiritual aperture science” is that when the Now is dilated (expanded, made wider, giving more room) it becomes filled with eternity, which flows into time through the opening that is Now. Again, you don’t need to believe this. All you need to do is never set aside any serious time for any kind of spiritual practice, and you are almost guaranteed to never experience any of this. In fact, it will look utterly insane to you, probably. This is as it should be. You have chosen to have no part in eternity in this life. I will not predict what happens when this life is over. I don’t remember anything of the afterlife or the beforelife. What I know about eternity is from this life. And in this life, eternity is only present in the Now. The deeper and wider the Now, the more eternity flows into it.

This, of course, is analogous to the influx of Light in my Lightwielder stories. It depends on practice and the absence of that which is contrary to it. But the real thing has another aspect again. This is the other people who lived in eternity before you. They are still there, because eternity never ends.

The words of ancient saints and sages may seem almost fossilized to those who live the fleeting moment, where the Now is just a pinprick in time. But once you start carrying around a small bubble of Now (which is also a small bubble of eternity), you may meet these words again and something unprecedented may happen. They come to life. Because you and they now live in the same dimension, the timeless Now, they can reach you in a whole new way. As Lao-Tzu said: “When you are ready, the Immortals will find you.”

Did he really say that? I am not sure. I have looked for it on Google, but found no trace of it. I remember it quite clearly, and how similar it was to the famous proverb “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” (Also: “When the disciple is ready, the Master will appear” and any combination of these two.) Perhaps I dreamed it, or perhaps I saw it in the MMORPG which is based on Daoist legend. I know that whether I actually read those words or not, they had a big impact on my life. Not so much as once, more like one of those depth charges that sink down and then go BOOM a while later.

But that is the thing with me and Lao-Tzu. Even if he never said that while alive (and I am still not sure he didn’t), he certainly said it to me. And I have still only a quite small bubble of Now / Eternity, but evidently enough that I can verify by experience that the immortals (eternals) are still there and present in a much more direct way than from the surface of fleeting time.

Also, they will find you. You cannot decide who will speak to you, well at least not in the beginning, I am not sure later. But at first they will find you. The place where I imagine I read that particular quote compared the immortals to angels. (I know that this was before I had heard of Kofuku-no-Kagaku and their tendency to use the words “angel” and “bodhisattva” interchangeably, whereas the obvious translation of “bodhisattva” would be “saint”.) In fact, the veneration of saints in Catholic tradition is clearly related to this effect. It is not a worship (although it will be if you have no idea what is going on and just try to pray to saints as if they were pagan demigods). Rather, at some point one of the saints will come alive to you, to the point where you may well have conversations, or at least certainly know how they felt.

There are no doubt specific rules, or laws of nature in the timeless domain, that decide which nonlocal operators are taking your calls. I don’t know those rules. If I ever find out, I will tell, unless I am ordered not to. Probably I won’t be ordered that way, however. The secret protects itself. Even now, if you read this and you have not dilated your Now, you won’t make heads or tails of it.

Conversely, when I read people who have this experience, even if I don’t agree with them in everything, even if I disagree strongly with them on some things, I can recognize them as soon as I catch a glimpse of this happening to them. They may express it in completely different ways, of course. It will be misunderstood in different ways depending on how you express it. But it will be understood rightly in only one way, because the Now of eternity is one.

To summarize:
-Most people have minds that run all over time, including imaginary time.
-Traditional spiritual practices cause subjective time to change, expanding the timeless Now.
-This causes a subjective experience of eternity that fills this Now. This has a number of effects.
-One effect is a heightened awareness of others who live the same way.
-Many of those people are long dead.
-To the extent that they lived in the eternal Now while alive, they still remain there.

Is that clear? Or should I just write about the weather again?

Ash cloud days

Not exactly apocalyptic cloud.

“I am disappointed in the ash cloud” twittered an old friend. “I had expected something more apocalyptic.”

I certainly wasn’t disappointed, but I understood the part about it not being very apocalyptic. In fact, it looked like normal summer clouds, white and varying from gauzy to cottony.  I would not have known that they were made of ash (actually pulverized stone) if I had not happened to read the news.

Despite their innocent looks, these clouds can destroy the engine of planes that fly through them. Even where the ash is so thin as to be invisible when seen close up, it can still damage engines, so all planes were grounded yesterday, and most of them most of today. This will likely continue on and off through the next days as well, depending on the movement of the ash clouds. The eruption is only intensifying so far.

Our prime minister got stranded in New York and managed the country from his new iPad.  Now that’s what I call “small government”.  (That was a joke. The iPad story was true though and Apple is likely to use it for all it is worth. It will be extremely hard for Microsoft to disparage the iPad as a toy after this. Of course, I could have managed Norway from my HTC Hero. Norway is a very well-behaved country.)

According to the latest projections I have seen, a thicker ash cloud should hit us in the evening or night of Monday 19th. The World Health Organization has recommended to stay indoors if it rains, but the Norwegian government says there is no reason for that.  It will rain tomorrow here. On the west coast of Norway, it will rain very much, according to meteorologists.  (At least it is not raining meteors, despite their title.)

Norway is a very long country, made up mostly of mountains and fjords. Planes are essential for society to work normally.  In addition to people (especially from northern Norway, which does not have railroads) planes also carry most of our mail. Luckily most people use email now, so physical mail is mostly used for mail-order and some bills.

And of course our connection to the rest of the world is greatly slowed. Not that I care, since Norway is the world’s best country and I am already here. And I have enough dried plums to continue regular life for weeks yet.

Unexpected weight loss

This morning, I once again took the opportunity to step on the bathroom scales before getting dressed. I was mildly surprised to see that I had lost another pound. I am now definitely in weight territory where I have not been since I fully recovered from the Purgatory Weeks of 2005, when I could hardly digest any food at all.  I still have a long way to go to the lowest point, so the weight in itself is not a worry.  I just don’t know why I continue to lose weight.  As far as I know, I eat as much as before, I work as much as before, and I sleep as much as before.

I don’t know whether this bodes well or ill. Historians of the future will be able to look at the headline of this entry and say: “Of course!”.  But I don’t even know my own future.  I truly am human, albeit a weird one.

Review: “Tips to Find Happiness”

Suitable illustration picture from the animated movie “The Laws of Eternity”, also by Ryuho Okawa. Florence Nightingale points out that it’s up to us to become the force of love. This book applies this to the family, for those who have that.

I already finished reading through the book “Tips to Find Happiness” by Ryuho Okawa. It is fairly short, and quite a page turner, so it did not take me long to finish it.

Like several of his books, this one is mostly down to earth. There is no way to guess from the book itself that the author is worshiped as a living Buddha and divine savior of all mankind by thousands of Japanese. Sure, he does recommend his own books and recordings of his lectures to help drive away negative spiritual influences, but then again he hardly consider these “stray spirits” a worthy adversary: He compares them to roaches. Clean up your soul and keep it bright, and they won’t appear.

Most of the book consists of practical advice in different situations of life, with focus on the family. It is clear that Master Okawa favors traditional gender roles, which are still common in Japan. Here in Scandinavia a woman is just as likely to work outside the home if her husband is rich as if he is poor, whereas in Japan it seems to still be a bit of a shame to need your wife to work to pay the bills. In any case, workplace stress is seen as a common reason for disturbances in the family, and the home is seen as a place to unwind in a constructive manner. Parents are encouraged to spend time with their children, and spouses to be accepting of each other’s faults and rather work on their own.

There are also other themes, like how to live with elderly relatives, and how elderly relatives should live out their life. An intriguing advice (also found in another of his English books) is to assume a lifespan of 120 years. If you are called home before that, so be it, but it would be a shame to end up finishing your life while still alive and have to just sit down and die for lack of reason to live.

(Master Okawa does not mention this, but life expectancy in the developed world is still increasing with approximately 5 hours a day. Yes, despite getting fatter, we are still living longer. So it is not entirely impossible that Japanese in particular, already a long-lived people, may actually live to see 120. A few people already do. I guess it would suck to spend the last 40 of those just tossing and turning in bed! But most old people die quickly when they no longer have anything to live for. This may well be a mercy.)

Overall, the small book, based on questions from his readers, is an easy read and quite practical. It will appeal only to conservatives and preferably those at least a bit religious though. I cannot imagine a liberal feeling happy about reading this book.

There is some reincarnation stuff, about how the spirits of future children match up with their parents and such. This makes up only a small part of the book though, and Christian readers can safely ignore this. Of course, Christianity also includes some degree of reincarnation (of the spirit, not the soul) but it is a fringe part of the religion and most Christians barely even know about it. Most of the rest of the book should be familiar to the western reader though.

A little each day

Like watching a turtle race…  I guess my life looks a bit like that.

Easter here in Norway is almost like a small vacation for me and most workers: From Wednesday mid-day till Tuesday morning. For me, this had an effect I did not intend: Because I normally do my daily brainwave entrainment / meditation before work, I skipped it for almost a week. And my day rhythm began sliding again.

I have chronic Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome. Basically my day is 25 hours. This is the normal human condition when living in caves, but in normal humans it is reset by daylight. (And yes, I do see daylight each day, unlike unemployed otaku.) So untreated I fall asleep one hour later each night, until I would fall asleep during work hours. For that period, things are pretty rough, but then I sleep in the afternoon for a while, then evening, then night, and morning again. Or that is how it used to be. With brainwave entrainment I can get enough slow-wave sleep even if I go to sleep and wake up at normal time for society.

But I have to do it daily, or nearly so. Even after months, I am not cured, and perhaps will never be. I can skip a weekend and catch up, but clearly not a week. Then again, it really is a computer-assisted meditation, and meditation should be daily anyway.

This made me think about other things that are best done daily. For instance physical exercise. If I make sure to do a certain minimum amount of exercise even when I don’t have time or energy for a workout, my body will know that it is still in use and maintain itself accordingly. (But not today. Today I am tired and my stomach hurts. Tomorrow, tomorrow… perhaps.)

I should do the same thing with my voice, now that my throat has recovered from the mysterious infection. If I speak each day until I am just about to get sore, perhaps my body will adapt to speaking again. (Based on the theory that not speaking really was the reason why I can only speak a few minutes a day now. It is hard to say; almost no human voluntarily shuts up for years just because they have nothing important to say.)

And then there are exercises that are not for the body but the soul. I already mentioned meditation. Prayer is called the breath of the Christian, so naturally that happens throughout the day, but how about setting aside time for quality time with God? In a successful family there is regularly set time aside for being together, so a child of God should also have some such time, I imagine. The problem with this is that my Heavenly Father tends to ask about my homework.

These days I am fairly steady with the daily habit of reading books of the Truth. I have several tomes of timeless wisdom, some acquired in my youth and some quite recently. I also got two new Happy Science book in the mail yesterday:  “Love, Nurture and Forgive” which is pretty much what you’d think.  If only all the world’s cults had that as their main theme, there would be less poison gas in the subways.

The other book is “Tips to Find Happiness”, but its subtitle is “Creating a Harmonious Home for Your Spouse, Your Children, and Yourself.”  I should probably not read that one every day…