Hope

 

Terence Mckenna was a writer, philosopher, public speaker, psychonautethnobotanist, art historian, and self-described anarchist, anti-materialist, environmentalist, Platonist and skeptic that passed away back in 2000. His words are truly inspirational to me and are probably a part of the reason why I decided to take up writing on a more public level. He could be one of the most insightful human beings to ever live and I encourage everyone to check out his writings and teachings. 

 

Hope could very well be my favorite word. It translates to so many things. The first time I came across this video on Youtube I didn’t actually know who Terence was. Sure enough, 2 years later he has attained the status of idol in my book. I felt like the more I listened and learned from him, the smarter I became. It is a simple equation really. The more you surround yourself with intelligent people, the more likely it will rub off onto you. The more you surround yourself with idiotic numb skulls, the more it will rub off on you.

I feel like I was about as sharp as a bowling ball until I started listening to Mckenna. Its like he’s the alarm clock that’s shouting trying to wake up your mind. Snap out of it! Culture has us in a trance sometimes and people like Mckenna remind us of this. I would say his overall message was that what’s most important in the world is your immediate universe. The relationships that we have with others in our lives are much more important than caring about external things that exist in the media. But this really doesn’t even scratch the surface of his ultimate message or general philosophy.

In the video he talks about hope. He talks about how hope is a runaway train. When you think about, don’t we all need some aspect of our lives to be completely out of control at all times? I think we do. Living a predictable life without any variance whatsoever would turn us all into complete drones. When you have no hopes or dreams for the future, what do you have? We can even play this idea on the winning side of things and it still makes sense. What if your a person who has already attained everything you want in your life, or have accomplished your biggest goal? Let’s say you envisioned owning your own successful company when you were young. Fast forward 30 years. Now you’re older and have that successful company up and running. Now what?

If you have fulfilled a lifelong dream like this, there’s really no need to stop setting new goals for yourself. Besides, already making a life long dream or operation like a self started company should only give you more confidence in setting out new goals and aspirations. Turning your dreams into reality is the most satisfying thing anyone could possibly ask for is it not? Even if you no longer have to work, if your work is your passion, why would you ever want to stop working? Say you’re that person that got that company up and running and has turned it into a successful business 30 years later. Just because your operation and your original hopes and dreams have been met doesn’t mean you can’t take things even further. Why not take things above and beyond. Your company could be a national supplier which is something more than you could have ever hoped for. But think of how you’d feel if it became internationally recognized. You see the bar can never be set too high.

Always giving yourself something new to hope for is a healthy state of mind. Mckenna really confirms this train of thought being positive although I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him actually say so directly. Living a life without any aspirations regardless if you’ve already met and achieved some would be an existence not worth living I’d say. And again, being successful and already having met certain goals shouldn’t be an excuse to not be hopeful or to set out to attain more goals for the future. Its a very progressive and productive way of thinking and living. Constantly setting up new projects and activities that are work related or not will give you a good sense of self pride and accomplishment.

For those that are out of shape and looking to lose weight but are struggling need understand that hope isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel. Hope gives us direction, but doesn’t have any answers for us. You need to put your heart and soul into something like getting back into shape. Going half speed with this will only frustrate you more because this will only slow the process. Let yourself become fully immersed into dieting techniques where you are learning ever single day. With your exercise, constant improvement should be meticulously tracked and sometimes even recorded to help give you a better sense of where you are, where your going, and how fast your going to get there.

When it comes to our health, having something like hope locked in the back of your mind is fine. Just don’t have hope as the front running word to represent your getting back into shape philosophy. Try words like relentlessness, fighter, productive, positive, or focused to be the representative word of choice. Nevertheless, we still need hope. Its things like having hope that keep us going. Its what helps us wake up in the morning and tackle every challenges head on in the day.

Culture and society can have such a pull and tug on who we are. In many cases its an inevitability. Sometimes its good to get away from it all and back off of the whole humanized realm of living. Nature is of course what I’m talking about here. Getting out and away, perhaps even alone sometimes can really change a general perspective on life almost instantaneously. The birds, the bees, the flowers, and the trees can indeed communicate to us, but the language isn’t based in words, its through feelings. Reconnecting with your spirituality can be an emotionally overwhelming thing; especially when you haven’t connected with it in a long time and are way overdue. Looking at yourself from an outside view is sometimes in order.

I used to go out like this a lot when I was a young kid. When I had a busy or hectic schedule with soccer, studying, camps, this and that, I needed time to slow it all down. The best way I found to do this was by going outside for a ride on my bike or jogging to a new place I’ve never been before. I would breath in deeply taking in the fresh air like I was fish pulling water through its gills. Sometimes I’d even go out late at night just because I needed a solitary get away. These kinds of things are something I think we all could benefit from in the long run. Its good to be a busy little bee that’s social, hard working, loving, proactive, and all that good stuff. But its also good to get back to you and connecting your mind with your spirit. I believe the best way to do this is by being alone for an extended amount of time depending on how much you need, for a certain amount of times per week.

So why hope Terence says. Its wonderfully ironic when he mentioned that it is completely out of control but who’s control is it out of? We need to depend on certain things to get us out of certain ditches that we fall into down the path of our lives. As Mckenna so eloquently put, human institutions like to claim that they have all the answers but the reality is none of them actually do. No one knows what’s really going on. How could one human or group know what this life is all about and why we are all here in this universe, in this galaxy, in this solar system, on this rocky little planet floating around a giant fireball?

Its better to embrace the fact that life is a massive mystery and enjoying the this simple fact alone should be the first step. Its exciting not to know if aliens will land on the White House lawn tomorrow. Its exciting not to know why the Mayan calendar ends this year (2012) and what that exactly will mean for us living in this time. Its exciting to know that technology has been rapidly improving at an exponential rate that we never could have anticipated before, and what this will mean for future humans.

Hope can also give us direction because it can relate to things like positivity. It can also fuel productivity because the more hope we have towards the arrival, finished product, or attained goal, the more we look forward to the celebration at the finish line. And I always say on here its always better to look forward than behind and this is a perfect example of why. You’ll only work harder at achieving success by being positive/hopeful, and constantly reminding yourself of how it would make you feel to live in that moment of crossing whatever finish line you put in front of yourself. And that my friends, is what hope is all about.

 

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