Category: books

Chasing Unicorns: Chapter 7, On the Path of Unicorns, Part 2

Tap cover, to read.

This is the latest installation of a 27-part series, featuring my book, Chasing Unicorns. To read the previous installation, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next post in this series, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. To read the entire book at once, tap the book cover. Thanks for reading!

RECAP: Yesterday you learned that the path of unicorns involves meditation. There are two aspects to this path, which I have named Unikonics and Unicorniks. Unikonics was covered in Chapters 2 through 5, and is the theory behind the path. Unicorniks is the practice of actually catching unicorns (unique experiences), and has been mainly covered in these final two chapters. The most effective way to catch unicorns is through meditation, which leads you on a path that goes straight to their source. Which is the mind.

On the Path of Unicorns, Part 2

Mindfulness

The way to go straight to the mind is through something called “mindfulness.” You’ve probably already heard of this, as it’s become quite popular in our New Age world. Everyone seems to have hopped on the bandwagon, when it comes to mindfulness.

They parrot hackneyed slogans that we’ve become boringly familiar with, such as: “Wake up! Pay attention! Find yourself! Look within! Live in the moment! Be mindful! Be present! Just be!”

And yet, the world remains as nutty as ever. You’d think with all the mindfulness going on, everyone would have conquered their crazy minds by now, and we’d all be living in a utopia. But so far, mindfulness has not cured the world of very many ills.

The problem is that the practice of mindfulness is much easier said than done. Mindfulness is fucking hard! And most people, including me, are fucking lazy. So few people stick with mindfulness long enough to enjoy most of its benefits.

But it works, for those who do stick with it. Lazy as I am, I have persisted and persisted with the practice of mindfulness, for decades, and have reaped its harvests over and over again.

It hasn’t transfigured me into a virtuous citizen, nor a saint, nor a perfectly enlightened Buddha. No, mindfulness doesn’t do that. That’s the job of purity. Those who want to be virtuous should forget about mindfulness and practice purity, instead.

Purity is practiced by putting on a fake smile, and claiming to be mindful all the time. Then you do good works in full view of everyone, and always have a smarmy comment on hand for anyone who doubts your pure intentions.

Purity is for winning social status within your workplace, community, church, temple, or wherever the hell you’re trying to be elevated to sainthood.

Those who are truly mindful tend to keep quiet about it. This is because as difficult as it is to practice, it’s ten times more difficult to describe. Just what the hell is mindfulness? For those who’ve experienced it over protracted periods of time, it’s something mystical and magical that defies explanation.

All things come from the mind. So when you direct your mind onto the mind, you’re pointing it at the raw material of the universe. This material can only be sensed. It cannot be properly described with words. Words can never come close.

Perhaps I’m slow-witted, but it seems from my experience, that you become aware of this raw material slowly. It dawns upon you gradually, over time, and never right away, all at once. And maybe this is why the world hasn’t been helped much by mindfulness. I think most people don’t stick with it long enough to develop such awareness.

It’s a profound awareness. It’s so profound, that once it occurs to you, you’re hooked. It’s too late. You can never be unmindful again. Now you are chained like a slave to the arduous task of inward-looking, self-awareness.

It’s worse than being a heroin addict. You can quit heroin, with some effort, but you can never quit mindfulness, once you reach the point of no return. But unlike heroin, you’re not hooked right from the start. No, the addiction develops gradually, until finally it has gained so much steam, trying to stop it would be like trying to push back a runaway Union Pacific freight train.

You might wonder how long it takes to become so addicted. I don’t know. Perhaps it differs from person to person. For me, I’d say it was at least one year, and perhaps as many as five or ten. I can’t pinpoint the exact date the addiction took me over.

If you practice mindfulness long term, I believe you’ll become addicted, just like me. I just can’t guarantee the time frame. But one day you’ll wake up and realize that you’re stuck with this habit. And your life will never be the same. Sometime between the time you begin the practice, and the time you realize you’re hooked to it, your life will transform permanently.

So just what is mindfulness? As I’ve averred to before, I don’t know. I can’t explain it. I can’t describe it. It goes well beyond words. Words don’t do it justice.

But I can describe the practice. I can tell you what to do, to be mindful and catch lots of unicorns, and then it will be up to you to try it, and keep doing it. And if you keep doing it, you will learn, in due time, just exactly what mindfulness really is.

[Tomorrow I’ll introduce the practice of mindfulness to you. And then if you’re of a mind, you can mindfully practice mindfulness.]

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Chasing Unicorns: Chapter 7, On the Path of Unicorns, Part 1

Tap cover, to read.

This is the latest installation of a 27-part series, featuring my book, Chasing Unicorns. To read the previous installation, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next post in this series, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. To read the entire book at once, tap the book cover. Thanks for reading!

RECAP: In the last chapter, you learned how to chase unicorns. Chasing unicorns involves conventional techniques that include keeping an open mind, being on the lookout for camouflaged unicorns, and learning new things. Even more importantly, it includes being trustworthy. But this chapter will involve a technique that is far from conventional. It allows you to corral unicorns before you have to chase them.

On the Path of Unicorns, Part 1

The Path of Unicorns is a meditative path. That’s why I call it a “path.” It seems any practice involving meditation is touted as some sort of path.

People get very religious about meditation. They treat this exercise of the mind as if it was sacred, and must be regarded with an air of reverence. And so they claim that when you meditate, you are following a path. And apparently, this path leads to a holy destination, which they refer to as Enlightenment, Xanadu, Nirvana, or even, Heaven.

But don’t worry, I won’t be getting all holier-than-thou on you. Nor do I expect meditation to be sacralized, by anyone. So you won’t have to join a religion, or quit your current faith.

I’ll admit though, that meditation has a numinous quality to it, that lends toward metaphysical reflections. So if you want to get all spiritual about it, I completely understand. Go ahead and dig out your incense, mala beads, and bodhisattva statue, and have a blast!

And if you really want meditation to be sacralized, I don’t mind. In fact, I’ll help out by suggesting a religious sounding name for this path. How about Unicorniks? I think that’s a fitting name, since I’m using unicorns as symbols of unique experiences, and since the goal of this path is to increase our unique experiences.

This is fun, naming things, so now I’m going to get carried away and name something else. I’m going to call all the theories I presented in Chapters 2 through 4, Unikonics. This distinguishes theory from practice. Unikonics discusses the mechanics of our minds, with regard to how our minds produce uniqueness and happiness. But Unicorniks involves putting the theory into practice, by chasing unicorns, and by meditating.

And so we have Unikonics and Unicorniks. I’ve already presented Unikonics, in this book, up to Chapter 4, as well as much of Unicorniks, beginning with Chapter 5. But I’m not done with Unicorniks yet. Because we haven’t discussed the most important part of the practice. And that is, meditation.

Chasing unicorns, as discussed in the last chapter, can be very beneficial. But by itself, it is not meditative. It can augment the meditative practice, and thus be part of the Path of Unicorns, and I highly recommend it for that purpose. But nothing beats actual meditation for producing unique experiences and happiness. No, nothing even comes close.

That’s because meditation goes straight to the source of unicorns.

The Source

I assume that all things ultimately come from Mind. By “Mind” (with a capital “M”) I mean, any and all minds, including yours, mine, and that of all other living creatures. And this is because I’m paranoid. I’m scared to death of death. I love life and want it to go on forever. So I like to think this mind of mine, and that mind of yours, and all other minds, have been around forever, and will last forever. They are the creators and keepers of this universe.

I can’t say that I believe in eternal life, because I haven’t seen enough scientific proof to honestly assert that. But there’s no scientific proof against it, either. So I like to assume that we all live forever, while covering my ass and acknowledging that my assumption is just an assumption. To me it’s depressing to think that this Earthly life is all there is, and that after we physically die our minds are permanently annihilated.

It could be true, who knows? But damn, it’s just so frigging depressing to make that assumption. And so I prefer to assume the opposite. I assume that our minds somehow continue on, after our bodies kick the bucket. Either way is an assumption, but I like my assumption best. I could be living in a Fool’s Paradise by making this assumption, but I’d rather be a happy fool than a depressed genius.

Now, when I assume all things come from Mind, that includes unicorns. I assume our minds collectively created this universe, and thus created all the unique things found within it. Don’t ask me how to explain the physics behind this creation, because I don’t know. I never was good at Physics. Besides, it’s just an assumption. I could very well be wrong. (Notice the ass-covering here?)

But play along with me and I’ll try to make all this metaphysical maundering interesting, even if you’re a big, fat skeptic.

Consider that if all unique things come from our minds, then if we want to add uniqueness to our lives, and become happier than we currently are, we must travel the path that leads to Mind. After all, Mind is the source.

I call this, walking the Path of Unicorns. Or, Unicorniks.

When I want something, I’ve always been an advocate of going straight to the source. That’s why I was once a government employee. I needed money. The government prints money. So I went straight to the source, and applied for a government job.

Now, after 27 years of dedicated federal service, I’m retired and shower in money every day. Yep, one of my favorite pastimes is sitting in my walk-in vault, counting out 10,000 dollars, and then tossing it over my head, in a glorious green shower.

I used to do that with my gold coins, but damn, those things hurt when they clink off the top of my skull. So now I just use soft, lightweight, Ben Franklins. No more golden showers for me.

The point I’m trying to make is that going to the source of something tends to be where most of it is at. And I believe when we go straight to our minds, we can find more unicorns frolicking around than we’ll ever be able to find and catch elsewhere. Because unicorns, or that is, unique experiences, are ultimately inspired and generated by our minds. Mind is their point of conception and birth.

[Tomorrow we’ll consult your GPS and find the best route to go straight to your mind.]

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Chasing Unicorns: Chapter 6, Chasing Unicorns, Part 2

Tap cover, to read.

This is the latest installation of a 27-part series, featuring my book, Chasing Unicorns. To read the previous installation, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next post in this series, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. To read the entire book at once, tap the book cover. Thanks for reading!

RECAP: Yesterday you learned three fun and handy techniques for chasing and catching unicorns, which are: Keeping an open mind, being on the lookout for camouflaged unicorns, and learning new things. But wait, there’s one more thing . . .

Chasing Unicorns, Part 2

Be Trustworthy

There’s one more strategy I’d like to point out. It’s not as obvious as the others I’ve described, but I hope it will be obvious enough, once I point it out.

This is the strategy of being trustworthy.

Every human being we encounter possesses a treasure trove of uniqueness. Everyone has a different background from ourselves. They have different interests, different abilities, different viewpoints, and are different in a multitude of other ways. No two human beings are exactly alike. Not even Siamese twins.

Sometimes people don’t appreciate how unique they are, but that’s only because they live with themselves all the time. Imagine having to live with yourself all the time. How boring would that be?

We are all much more unique to others, than to ourselves. Therefore, we all have much to offer each other, whether we realize it or not. This makes us all unicorns.

There are different ways to catch human unicorns. One way is to hogtie him or her. Make this person your captive. Your slave. Hold the person against your will, and mulct all the uniqueness you can out of this unicorn.

That’s not as far-fetched as it may sound. Slavery has been around, in one form or another, since human beings have walked the Earth. The classic form of whip and chain slavery went mostly extinct back in the 19th century. Well, except for with those who indulge in certain sexual proclivities, but that’s a whole different kind of unicorn.

But other forms of “slavery” persist. For instance, spouses often become enslaved in their marriages, where the manipulations, threats, or pressure from their partners makes it difficult for them to end the relationship.

Many jobs pay what is known as a “slave wage,” where employees barely earn enough to stay alive.

And thefts, burglaries, fraud, and other crimes are common in our world. This to me is a form of slavery. After all, we have to work hard for the money and possessions we come to own. So when somebody steals from us, it’s as if we’ve worked for the thief, for free. That’s slavery, by any other name.

The problem with slavery, is that it can be hard to make slaves cooperate. After all, what is their incentive? And so, the master has to work hard, to make the slave work hard.

Slaves are also not likely to share much of themselves with those who exploit them. That would just leave them vulnerable to more exploitation. And so, when you try to force uniqueness from others, through slavery, you end up with far less uniqueness than they are capable of sharing with you.

When faced with tyranny, people tend to clam up, close up, and dry up, and make their best effort to passively rebel. If they don’t actively rebel. This leaves the tyrant a lonely person. Tyrants miss out on the wonderful variety of qualities that make each and every one of us fascinating, unique beings. Unicorns, in fact.

So if you want to catch a lot of unicorns, try being trustworthy. Be harmless to others. And honor their freedom. Freedom is the most precious right that humans and any other being can possess. We must have freedom so we can pursue unicorns, untrammeled, and find our happiness.

When you avoid harming and enslaving others, and when you honor their freedom, you make it possible to win their trust. And when you’re trustworthy, they’re most likely to share themselves with you. They’ll share the things that make them so unique. And in this way, you’ll capture a unicorn.

Which must sound kind of ironic, because you have to allow unicorns to be free, before you can catch them. And the way you hold onto them, is by continuing to allow their freedom.

Trustworthiness is won in other ways also. For instance, when you take care of yourself in a competent way, you free others from the burden of taking care of you. So the more independent you are, or at least try to be, the more likely you are to win the trust of others.

Being competent in what you do for a living is also a good way to win trust. Nobody has to cover for you. And your employer or customers receive quality for the money they pay you.

Quietly and anonymously helping others can also win trust. The way this works is by the way it affects your demeanor. People can sense untrustworthiness. It shows up in the little things we may do. It displays in many ways that we have no control over, including in the way we fidget, or the way we express ourselves, and in the things we pay attention to.

Often our demeanor is displayed in such subtle ways, it registers in the subconscious of others. They get a feeling about you, that they can’t quite put their finger on. But that feeling may lead them to either trust you or not trust you.

So if you’ve been quietly cheating and thieving from others without ever getting caught, it will still show up in your demeanor, and lead to being distrusted. Nobody ever gets away with anything.

And neither can you get away with quietly and anonymously helping others. This too will show up in your demeanor. While you are being all modest and secretive, your demeanor will be inadvertently announcing to the world just how trustworthy you are.

And that little trick will help you to catch unicorns, even when you’re not even trying to catch them.

I hope I’ve passed trustworthiness off as an obvious and conventional way to catch unicorns and enrich your life with unique experiences. And I hope it makes sense.

But the next hunting technique is a whole different ballgame. There’s nothing conventional about it, nor anything obvious. And it’s hard to make sense of it. It’s a secret weapon you can use, to corral unicorns before you have to chase them.

And those unicorns are waiting for you right now, with heads raised, ears perked, and nostrils flared. Over in the next chapter.

###

Marie Lamba, author

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