Editing Complete for Waking Dream: Devlin

After a full day of editing, adjusting, formatting and various other things, I have completed the editing of the Waking Dream: Devlin book.  It will be submitted to the CreateSpace and various eBook outlets tomorrow, and it should be available for sale by Friday.

This is a full length novel, and the first of 9 about the Waking Dream Universe.  You can read a synopsis at this link.

You can also pre-order a signed copy of the book at this link.

The struggle for the control of reality has begun.

The Logos of the Weird — The Little Book of Dreams

The Logos of the Weird is are the guiding principles behind the Waking Dream.

The Little Book of Dreams

The entire Waking Dream Universe is a philosophy; the merging of all my studies of religion and philosophy.  In addition to the novels and short stories, I’ve begun a section of my blog called the Libellus Somnium, the little book of dreams.  It is meant to be the “bible” of the Dreamers in my universe.  If you are interested in a different perspective of our world, you can read it on my page.


Are you a Dreamer, a Sleeper or an Immortal?

The Need for Zen

Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes. – Alan Watts

Being Zen is probably the hardest and easiest thing one can do.  It is hard because we live in a world full of distractions;  we are distracted by people, gadgets, news, wants, needs and general chaos around us.  It is easy because Zen means just to be; don’t think about it, contemplate it, analyze it, or decompose it.  And Zen can just a moment, or your entire life.  It’s really up to you but its easy to just set aside a single moment a day to experience it.  Once you’ve done this, you’ll want to do it all the time. 

I have a few moments a day of Zen that I have now become accustomed to.  I’ve incorporated it into my day ritualistically, but not in a meaningless way.  Each day at around 4:45 I make dinner, I have always loved to cook, and it is dramatically different from what I am doing most of the day, which usually involves technology to some extent. 

Before I begin, I go to the grocery store and start at the produce aisle, looking for vegetables that look particularly appealing that day.  I especially like looking at the peppers because the shapes and colors are pleasing and soothing — bright reds, deep oranges or soothing greens.  Next, I head to the meat aisle, looking for what I’ve not had in a few days, what’s on sale.  I usually choose meat that goes with the day of the week.  Early week is chicken, mid-week is usually pork of some variety, and the weekend, especially Friday is steak day — though this is subject to change.

After I’ve chosen my meat, then the next crucial aspect of the meal is the wine selection.  I reserve my wine selection for the type of meat and spices I’ll be using that evening.  Since I am not at all fond of white wines, I choose among the reds: Pinot Noir for chicken, Old Vine Zin or Malbec for Pork and a Cabernet class for beef.  Again, this is subject to change depending on my mood.

Once I am back in the kitchen, the first thing I do is open the bottle of wine and pour it violently into a decanter so that it oxygenates quicker and let it set while I get the rest of the ingredients together.  I really enjoy choosing the herbs I want to use, usually fresh or recently dehydrated.  Prep work usually takes me about 20 minutes and once that is done, I have that first glass of wine and the cooking commences.  I usually have the pans going on the stove, and more often than not, the meat is cooked on my grill which I run all through the year.  Grilled meat as such amazing flavor and it is hard to get the same flavor from fried meats, depending on the recipe.  I spend my time just stirring, flipping and spicing, not really thinking about what I am doing, letting the food taste the way it wants to taste, with my gentle nudges in the right direction.

Then of course, the last part of the ritual is to finally eat what I prepared with my family, and watch their expressions as they taste what I’ve made, take feedback on what they do and do not like, and work to improve it.  There is nothing more satisfying that people enjoying what I have made, not from a sense of pride, but from the fact that I’ve shared my Zen moment with someone else, and in effect have given them their own Zen moment.  Cause and effect.

What is important to remember is that Zen is about you.  You cannot truly make someone Zen, they must want to be Zen.  Zen is not a lesson, it is an experience.  You can no more push Zen on someone than you can force them to remember something. It is something one attains through their own actions or non-action.  Zen is Zen.  But what does that mean exactly?  I find that my excursions into a Zen state of mind are usually not known to me until they have passed. While I am in a state of Zen, the last thing I am thinking about is “Hey! I’m Zen!”, it doesn’t work that way at all.

Zen is not a religion, it is the act of being.  It is that state your mind enters, where you are focused only on the task at hand and you are simply experiencing it, feeling it, enjoying it, living it.  It is a state where all the other cares of the world leave you, allowing you to shrug the weight of the world, if only for a brief moment, and allow your soul to do what it enjoys doing. 

My hypothesis has always been that if everyone could find and recognize just one Zen activity that they enjoy, the world would be less stressed.  So many people I know are always on the go, and rarely find time to enjoy their lives. I know so many people who are always doing, but never experiencing what they are doing, more concerned with what other people think, what they do not have, what others have, their jobs and their wants.  We pile this stress upon ourselves, with little to no release until eventually everything explodes into something dreadful.  My Zen cooking each day allows me to shrug off the stress of my day, things that may have upset me on the ride home, and/or things I have to deal with in my personal life, such as home, finances, health and family.  My Zen moment is for me, my little gift to myself each day, reminding me there is more to my life than petty worries. 

Life is a struggle, there is no way around it.  If you have no money, you struggle to get more. If you have lots of money, you struggle to keep it.  If you are sick, you struggle to get well and if you are well, you struggle not to get sick.  This is what drives us to experience the world.  If life were not a struggle, we would all sit blissfully in a field staring at the sky wondering what the purpose is.  The purpose of life is to live.

So when your day seems particularly rough, and you go home at night, think to yourself what will take your mind off of it.  We as a race need Zen more now than ever before, but it does not need to be all-consuming in your life, or cause you to stop doing other things.  Zen is so elegant because it can be incorporated into any type of life and religion.

Zen is Zen.  And You are You.

A Programmer’s View of Religion and the Universe [Part 2]

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” – Hamlet I.v

In the first part of this post, I began by explaining the similarities between modern software programming and the fundamental design of the universe.  It is no coincidence that these similarities exist, because at the base of everything is the one unifying language — Mathematics.  All things can be discussed in terms of mathematics, and all things can be quantified, to some degree, using mathematics.  So in order to define the “design” we must look to mathematics.

From this we can draw the conclusion that the architect of the universe is most likely a mathematician, but this is not to say that the architect created mathematics.  Mathematics simply exists and does not require creation, just as the fundamental state of existence does not require creation.  Mathematics and existence simply “are”.  It is very difficult for us to grasp this concept, because everything we see around us was created in some form or fashion, or at least that is the way we see it. 

In software development, there arises a need before there is a plan.  A customer describes the need to solve a problem, and a program is architected, engineered and coded to meet the need.  In all my years as a programmer, I have never seen a program appear out of thin air to meet the need; someone must design it, create it and define its parameters.  If we look around us, we see any number of objects lying on the desk before us; pencil, monitor, keyboard, checkbook, house, building, car.  All these things we created to meet a need or serve a purpose, and we use them until they are broken or no longer needed.  We don’t usually keep things around us, or create things, that serve no purpose.  But what is purpose?

The word “purpose” is a very broad term because we can define it so many different ways in the context of day-to-day life.  For instance, look at the purpose of a fork as opposed to a work of art.  Some would say that a fork has a higher purpose than a work of art because art does not perform a necessary function.  We as humans assign purpose to everything, and if something has not collective purpose, we tend to disregard it.  So we should turn that discriminate eye on ourselves.  What purpose do we as humans serve?  This question is what has spurred the millenia long strife of religion.  We cannot truly assign a purpose to ourselves, as a result, God has become the purpose, as we identify ourselves as his children.  This is not to say that this is wrong, but we must then put ourselves in the same role with our own children.  At the base level, children are a drain on our existence.  Our time and resources are spent to care for them, to teach them, to prepare them to have their own children.  One could argue that a child is no more purposeful than the work of art I mentioned above.  However, with a different understanding of purpose, children and artwork provide some level of entertainment and joy.  They enrich our lives, allowing us to enjoy the act of existing.  But what is existence?

Existence, like mathematics, just “is”.  And that is all we know at this point since we cannot define, or unable to ever define, why something like the universe would exist at all.  According to everything we know about science, it would have been much easier had nothing ever existed at all — a universe of tranquility, energy in a perpetual state of oneness and still. Everything around us all the time is trying to return to this state of stillness, only instead of becoming more still, it becomes more chaotic and more disorganized.  And unfortunately, once you’ve disorganized something, in the perspective of space AND time, you cannot reorganize it.  Time disallows us to ever return something to its exact state.  How is this, you might ask?  That is the realm of entropy.

For today, I leave you with these words to ponder, and I would love to hear comments or observations.

A Programmer’s View of Religion and the Universe [Part 1]

“Far away, across the field, the tolling of the iron bell, calls the faithful to their knees to hear the softly spoken magic spells”- Pink Floyd

Religion has been a source of tension in our world since we first looked up at the sky and declared the sun and the moon to be gods.  We have all struggled with the search for purpose, wondering why we are here and who put us here.  Its amazing to me that we have come to the point we have in our world, where we are so disjointed in our belief systems, that we have resorted to death and violence in the name of God.  Does anyone else see this as a fundamental problem?

I must be clear that I am not in any way, shape or form proselytizing.  My own religious beliefs are exactly that — my own.  Being human, I think it is necessary for me to impart my own personal findings, as I reach mid-life.  I have spent a great deal of time studying other religions, and will continue to do so, because finding a common religion that we can all accept is the only true way we will reach global peace.  We all know this to be true, because we are constantly trying to get others to believe in the same thing we do.  World peace has become a cliche, or philosophical chimera — which is really quite sad.

I dont’ really need to speak about any religion in particular.  Each religion exists for a purpose, and obviously people who follow a particular faith have found their own purpose within that faith.  We do need to understand the importance of coexistence.  Without coexistence, we never have a hope of overcoming the disparity of thought surrounding the creation and purpose of the universe.  We must overcome our urge to disparage someone else’s belief system, because if you really think about it, every religion has its imperfections.  Imperfections exist because we are all human, and if we were perfect we wouldn’t have any issues in the world.  So obviously we are not perfect, and no religion is perfect if it does not appeal to everyone equally so. 

So I have come to several personal conclusions that I would like to share, perhaps helping you in your own explorations of the mysteries of the universe.  There are so many things that I cannot comprehend.  The vastness of the universe is overwhelming and we are just a tiny, beautiful jewel floating around a luminescent ball of pure undulating energy — one star among trillions of other stars.  It sustains everything that exists on our planet.  There is not one creature, big or small that does not get its nourishment and life from the sun; directly or indirectly.  Without the sun, there is only darkness and cold, which makes me think that the sun and others like it, are a significant aspect of existence.  A significant part of the design. 

I have approached this problem the only way I know.  I have been programming software solutions since the mid 1990s.  Object Oriented Programming shares a striking resemblance to the way that our universe functions.  What is strange is that when you really think about it, the universe really is very similar to the Matrix.  It all begins with the fundamental equations and constants.  We have constants in programming and in the universe — Gravity, Speed of Light, Planks Constant.  We have variables: mass, energy, acceleration.  We have a toolbox of elementary particles, or objects, to build from: strings, quarks, nucleus, protons, electrons.  We have functions assigned to each of the objects we build: attract, repel, fuse.

As a programmer and software architect, it would be silly for me to think if I just throw a bunch of code together it will just work.  There must always be a design.  Even the simplest life-form, or program, is a symphony of interactions that allow the life-form to exist.  Then the question becomes, “Who’s design?”

If you strip away the layers of dogma we’ve created for ourselves, it comes down to two simple concepts: Either there is a design, or there isn’t.  The “intelligent design” we have assigned to God, because we as humans must anthropomorphize  that which we revere.  With the multitudes of possibilities of configuration, it would be silly for me to say that the design comes from something that has been humanized.  God, in my opinion, is most likely something we cannot at all comprehend, because we are very limited in our experience and understanding of the universe.  The entirety of human history hasn’t even been a twinkle in the eye of the Universe.  We are only just getting started.

Looking back to the sun we see that its function is not only to provide use with the energy we need to survive, but through complex interactions, its creates the very stuff we are made of.  This one fact is something that a great many people simply do not understand.  Every thing you are made of came as the result of the fusion happening in stars, and stars that have long since died.  The carbon, the iron, the oxygen we breathe, all came from the death of a star.  Even new stars are formed from the death of other stars.  But the sun is not god, as we learned long ago.  So where do we even start to look for the design?

That is an enormous amount of information to grock in one sitting.  I will continue this article, after the holidays.  I hope you return to read the rest, and provide critique of my conclusions.