More, including talk about the movie Iron Man
I love compelling stories. Stories that resonate with me, that speak to me, take me to deeper understandings of myself, others, and the world. They help me/ show me/ make me more alive. They help me become a better person. Better not only for me, myself, and I, but also better for the world at large.
The stories can, and do, come from all over the place. From all sorts of sources. From history, popular culture; movies, novels, television shows, songs; from the Bible and other religious/ belief-system texts; from science; from other people and their life experiences, from me and what I say to myself about my own. Everybody is a story and everybody has a story. Some are more interesting, some more developed than others, no doubt. The questions, it seems to me, are: what is my individual life story about? And, perhaps more importantly, what is it that I want my story to be about?
Of the stories widely dispersed in popular culture these days, I find those in science fiction and science fantasy among the most engaging. They are both fun to watch and grapple with the big who-am-I and what-am-I-going-to-do-in-life questions. Good, entertaining, and meaty stuff.
One such story is Marvel's Iron Man, starring Robert Downey, Jr. This movie, released in 2008, started the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I am going to reveal part of its plot in the following paragraphs. If you have not seen it, and are inclined to do so, you may want to watch it and then come back.
Okay. I am now going to assume I am not spoiling the movie for you.
In an early scene, Downey's character realizes that the man who saved his life by giving him a new mechanical heart, and then subsequently helped him build a better, longer-lasting heart at great personal risk to himself, is about to die. He thanks the man for saving him. The man responds with his last words: "Don't waste it. Don't waste your life." (38:23) Breathes two last gasps, and dies.
It is a turning point in the plot (maybe the turning point). Downey's character is then freed from, understands the prison of, only living his life for himself, for his own desires. He grows/ transforms into a greater understanding: he has abilities in order to use them for the aid of others as well as himself. (The same, I would say, is also true of us. We have abilities in order to use them for the aid of others as well as ourselves.) I use the word greater in two ways: to mean greater as in bigger, more, and greater as in better. More meaningful. Longer affecting. Substantial. Important. Downey's character, Tony Stark, sees greater that he did before. Despite the odds, he has another chance at life.
I have had a few close calls with death. Possibly so have you. Having them is not recommend, necessarily. We can experience close calls, and other awakening moments, vicariously from/ through stories. It is, when we have the option, the smarter way to go.
I once had a job where one of my bosses said, "you only learn from your mistakes." I disagree. She was implying that we humans can only learn through our direct, personal, physical experience. I do not think so. One, you, I do not need to repeat all the errors, the bad decisions made throughout history; we can learn and grow from them through stories of them. Iron Man can teach us to see beyond only ourselves, to see the abilities and skills we have to help others and ourselves.
If we are willing to learn.
Near-death experiences, whether experienced in the flesh and personally or through stories, can provide a great benefit: clarity. They can give us the opportunity, if we let them, to check in with ourselves, to actually ask ourselves the big questions: what is the point? What is the point of Life, of my life? Am I living it and using it well; or am I wasting it?
We are all going to die. We do not have to go through a near death, a near death physically, emotionally, or psychologically, to ask ourselves, to sincerely ask ourselves, these questions. Or answer them.
Let me make it clear: though I talk about, and use examples from, specific belief systems in metaphysics, stories, and science in LukeyoutheU, none of these belief systems are required for a good life well spent. Not in my opinion. I talk about these because these belief systems work for me. Because they are the best ones I have yet found.
By metaphysics I mean the belief/ understanding that, to a large extent, we not only create our own realities but also live in them.
In stories, I point to the Bible, Christianity, and, in particular, Jesus' story and his stories (parables). I know, and believe in, them; arguably, they undergird much of Western thought. I have also gained extraordinarily from learning about other beliefs including Islam. Additionally, I reflect on the belief systems expressed in popular culture and literature.
By science I recognize and appreciate on a daily basis the good that can be known from the study and practice of the usual, observable, and repeatable.
You have your own beliefs and belief systems. No matter what your particular beliefs are or later become (belief in "nothing' is itself a belief), I hope they lead you to better. That they lead you to knowing that you are individually important and loved (connected with the Universe); part of the greater living body which includes the whole of humanity and all living species; and that you can, are able to, do good things now and for the future.
The content of the LyU website changes.To find out when a particular page was last significantly revised see the footer. LyU podcasts, essays, and books are more fixed. They reflect my thinking, and that of my cohosts in the case of the podcasts, at the time of recording.
Respectful comments or questions are welcome. If you have them, please contact me.
Thank you for looking in.
You are an investigator, a finder-outer. Good on you!
Why good? Because there is always more. The universe, Life, continues to expand, and we are a part of that expansion. We can, if we choose, be a bigger part, a good part, of that increase.
In LukeyoutheU, I am asking you to actively become more. To become more of your greater self. Namely, to assemble and make, to find and create, and to imagine and cause to be. The word LukeyoutheU parallels the time frames in which LyU works: the past, the now, and the future.
Assemble and make. Assemble, and make more of, the good that existed in your personal past, and from our collective past. Remember the things you have learned from you own experience; add to your personal knowledge the experience of others that work for and help you. Not only those that help you alone but that help others also. Bring that knowledge forward into your consciousness; practice the good things in it until they become habits. Until they move from habits and what you do into who you are.
Find and create. Find and create what is useful and good from that which currently exists in your life. From what is in the world already, right now. Concentrate, focus mostly on those things. Work toward, give mental time and physical energy to them. Do not deny the bad or difficult or wrong; instead, receive them as gifts and learn from them. Find, but, more importantly, decide, the good even (perhaps especially) in unwanted situations. Do not try to escape the wonder and good of your physical reality on this earth. Take up the responsibility and power you have, you this minute have. Grow into greater responsibility, power, and love to bring more.
The good that exists now includes you, your being alive today.
You have good within you, and an ability to add to the world. I ask you to use it.
See that what exists now is real. Understand that the physical world is very real. It is real and meaningful, the result of the greater mind, including human ones, from days and centuries and millennia and eons past. This mind, this Life, of which we are a part and contributor, got us to where we are right now.
Know, at the same time, that all that is physical will pass. Eventually or soon. Every mountain range of it. The continual process of change does not make it or you or me an illusion or, necessarily, insignificant. It makes it, us, the now.
Imagine and cause to be. The now serves as a blasting off point, is the lifting off place for the what-will-be. Seek and find the helpful, useful, and good; actively create, evolve it, and yourself, into the what-will-be. Imagine it and you in your mind. Believe in it, and yourself. Believe in it with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Make it a full-bodied, your fully embodied belief. Start with mental assent, internal agreement; add to it, bring life to it with your actions and work. Understand and use your individual power and ability to shape your world, the world, and bring good.
You are being asked, I am asking you, dear reader, to do nothing less than to make more Life. To bring more and better Life into your individual life, and to Life itself; to feel, experience, and know the connection of being in accord with the universe.