Four Days of On Call – 1

Process safety engineers have to be on-call? I guess so since I am for the whole of the holidays. It doesn\’t really matter. I don\’t participate in Christmas.

This morning, my meditation was from Lesson 121-123:
Forgiveness is perceiving light in others.
Sink into happiness. Smile on all.
I hold this joy consciously all day.
I thank my Father for His gifts to me.

And I thought of many people. Not just the annoying ones but the authority figures and the friends. All are the same. All ask to be seen in light. I could do this very easy. An advantage to the elliptical or the Nordic Track is that I can shut my eyes and ponder my lessons while riding them. I wholly realized that my Father\’s gifts were these people  I was thinking about in light.

Yesterday, the builder installed a brand new kitchen faucet as a warranty item, even though my warranty has run out. After I got to work today, I got a recognition award: GOLD level. That is on top of the silver I received earlier this week. The notice brought a dopamine reward experience: I felt good. But later, after I got the details of what for, I realized I wasn\’t special. Then the opposite of a dopamine reward cropped up.

Until you return to the idea that everything, I mean everything, comes from God. The recognition is a symbol. And also, a way for the universe to take care of me.

The awards are redeemable for cheap consumables or gift cards. I think I\’ll redeem mine for some hotel dollars.

I came home early today. I was here a couple of hours before I remembered Silence, and the gift of 4 days. Peace descended on me. I became drenched. I feel good.

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Anti-Dopamine

This evening, I\’m going to go against the grain of society and of my mental programming. This will produce an anti-dopamine experience: where the ego howls and viciously threatens me with the dire consequences of not-going-along. Yes, I am foregoing the fuzzy wuzzy feel goods of a dopamine reward cycle for the opposite. I live outside the pale and that where I want to stay.  As of today, I\’m willing to stand in this truth.

But this is the only way that I\’ll be free of the ego thought prison.I fully believe that the universe supports my inner conviction and I will grow to spiritual freedom.

So, I ran 20 miles this morning. I ran 15.8 miles on the flat trails. Then I switched shoes and finished on the steep grassy mounds, getting a nice quad workout.

I spent the first 3 hours listening to a massive quantity of sirens. At first I thought there was some terrible wreck on the main highway. But after awhile, I realized it couldn\’t be that. Then I remembered, and took a picture of source of the noise:

Yep, Santa was riding around town on a firetruck.

Not Going Along

I first worshipped \”not-going-along\” after I left the monastery and read Heidegger. Today, I didn\’t turn on NPR in my car at the top of the hour to catch news/weather/traffic for 10 minutes on my way to work. I don\’t want to hear about any conventions or hear speeches from the people who routinely steal my money and give it to themselves. I\’m not going along with America on the election journey.

I seem depressed more frequently than many people because I also restrict my participation in the massive dopamine reward cycle which we call society. Almost everything that causes good feelings is due to a dopamine reward. To be neutral is not good enough for most of us. We continually seek thrills. I look at the reward campaigns at work and see it. I look at how I feel about various relationships I have at work each day. I can clearly see physical chemical changes in my body during dopamine experiences. I think dopamine is why humans are alive at all; and perhaps we owe our very existence to this addiction. Inner peace does not produce thrills. We can\’t stand it.

Not-going-along produces the opposite of the dopamine reward. Not only does my brain react with fear, but other people behave in ways which cause my brain to produce guilt. Like, admitting you don\’t vote causes most people to lecture me about the freedom of our nation and all the people who died for me.

I had a good day at work yesterday. It started off with a dopamine reward experice from my boss. And, I was able to find errors in my colleagues work. My brain loved that. And, I got this big strong man to fix something on my golf cart. It occurs to me that I sometimes go to online communities just to get people to positively respond to me so I can get the dopamine without having the actual person around.

Being Somebody. Having a Life. Dopamine.

Solitude. Anonymity. Nothing.

The Yoke of God

There are people who decide to put their lives in service of religion, whether secular or monastic. As a result of taking up these responsibilities, they receive the approval of the religious community and the belief that God is also happy with them. As they carry out their religious role and responsibility, they also have engaged certain chemical functions in the brain called the dopamine reward cycle.

So the result of religion is a steady drip of dopamine which provides a sense of well being. Like any addict, the person will defend their religious practices to the death; maybe not even knowing that they are defending an addiction, not anything that really has to do with God.

Wait a second! What did I just say? \”…not anything that has to do with God?\”

Yep, either God is every where and equally FOR everyone no matter what, or God is a selfish angry bastard which I want nothing to do with. All religions think they are special to god. The bible describes the angry version of god. I studied the bible in various venues from Roman Catholic Seminary to atheist publications to scholars in Ivy League universities. I no longer believe it is 100% true or sacred. While beautiful and containing wisdom, there are plenty of other documents which are beautiful too.

It is very difficult to leave a belief system because you lose the dopamine reward it was providing. To do without the approval and the dopamine is very frightening and depressing. But, to think different thoughts than the main stream of people, you have to step out of the stream. It is difficult to dare to be different. It is difficult to brave the disapproval of the group.

If there is one monastic practice I\’ve kept strongly, it is renunciation of the world. But I live here, so I renounce by taking myself out of the mainstream. There are numerous ways to not-go-along with the group. When you add them up, it produces a different out look on life. To have different thoughts, you have to get away from the main stream thoughts.period.

I don\’t want my life to be one dopamine reward cycle after another. I don\’t want my God to be a function of dopamine. In not-going-along, I lose my dopamine rewards. So happiness and life satisfaction has to come some other way. God has to have some other basis for being.

I do study some spiritual material, but it is not an evangelical matter. I can\’t even explain it here. The text has to be studied and digested. It\’s thesis is not at all what is taught to most people.

800th Post – Finally Wisdom

I\’ll keep it short and sweet. My quest is to find a different basis for the joy of living than the dopamine reward cycle.

I\’m certain that most people seek happiness in the ongoing pursuit of dopamine.

I\’m certain that true spiritual connection has nothing to do with dopamine.

So my quest is for truth.

The truth is within. It is not of this world. I want to identify with and have my being in truth, not the approval of the people in the world. If I seem depressed, it is just withdrawal symptoms as I seek freedom from addiction to dopamine.