A Story of the Light at the End of the Tunnel.

Look at it. It’s almost a speck it’s so small. Looking down the tunnel, I think about how long it was since I started.

I look over my shoulder, the other side looks just as far. I’ve come a long way since the start; I can’t tell which side I’m closer to anymore. I keep trekking on towards the unconquered end.

The narrow path I’m walking on seems to be comforting at this point. It must be at least a couple feet wide, but with the wall to my right and the edge to my left, balance is important. I must keep focused on the task at hand; reaching my destination.

I run my knuckles along the wall to keep me on the path to the light. The darkness has become soothing. Letting me think, my mind wanders.

I know why they call it the Paw Paw tunnel now. You just have to put one paw in front of the other, and keep going. Well, feet in my case, since I’m not a dog, or a bear, or some other animal with paws. Cats, lions, mice. Wait, mice don’t have paws…

I can hear the whispering of mice behind the wall.

They probably don’t ever get to see the light. Living in this darkness. How do they do it?

With curiosity, I wonder what a life without the light would be like. The light gives me a sense of direction, even though I can’t see the path. I use it to guide me, to stay on my course, to keep me going…

The mice don’t have a direction, but do they need one? Clearly, they’ve gotten to a point where they can survive behind the walls. They get their necessities I assume: food, water, a cozy brick to lie up against. That’s what these mice need.

I need more though. Reaching the light is a fuel for me, a desire. My passion. It’s always said that it’s more about the journey than where you end up. Well I know that where I end up will be the reminder of where I came from.

I stop for a moment to light a cigarette with one of the last matches I have. The spark flares, beaming red then quickly toning down to a vibrant orange. I just watch it for a second.

Almost forgetting why I light the match, I inhale. I wait until the last moment before throwing the match to the canal.

That moment was inspiring. For the first time since I entered, I could see the arched ceiling above me. Some sort of moss or something was growing, I couldn’t tell what it was. I was too busy admiring it’s pattern that seemed so organized, yet so random.

Who knew there could be such beautiful life where there is no light.

The last thing I saw before the match hit the water was a dead mouse floating in the water. Maybe it was one of the lucky ones to escape being trapped behind the wall. But it wasn’t able to survive. Maybe the mice inside the wall were the smarter ones; they were content enough to survive.

Hmm. Funny.

I found that both mice had lessons to be learned. The mouse who drowned was ambitious; he wanted to do better, he wanted more, just like me. He ventured along until he found his escape from the wall. Having been on one side of the wall his whole life, he had no idea what to expect. He was used to the dark, but not used to the edge apparently. His ambition took over, got the best of him, and lead him to his own demise.

On the other hand, the mouse inside the wall was content. He figured he has everything he needs, why ask for more. He never had even the slightest thought of what was on the other side of the wall, because he was content. But he would end up living and dying in the same place. In a way, being content lead him to his demise as well.

For content mouse, that might work, but not for me. I, like the drowned mouse, am ambitious. But, I am content with the darkness. I have embraced it, a growing appreciation for it, because I know without the darkness, I can’t find the light.

Who knew some mice could teach me about life on some path in a tunnel. Was this part of the journey I’m supposed to have through the tunnel?

I thought again about the path that I was on, how narrow it was. If I didn’t keep my balance, I could fall towards the canal or hit my head against the wall. I could fall either way, so I need to watch myself.

Like the mice, I need to make sure I don’t fall into my ambitions or my contentness. I must find my balance to be able to continue along the path, literally and metaphorically.

The lesson I took from the mice was as follows.

::::::::To be content in life means that you could be fine sleeping against a brick wall. To be ambitious in life means that you could wander off to where no one has been. But, without finding a balance between the two, you will lead yourself to your own demise::::::::

As I approach the light at the end of the tunnel, the darkness starts to turn to light. I can see all the moss on the ceiling again, which is still awe-striking to me. My ambition is making my heart beat out of my chest. But I make sure to not be over ambitious though. So I stop, and pause for a moment.

Looking down, I see that the sun is shining right in front of my feet while I stand still in the shadow. Embracing the darkness for one last time, I turn around.

The light at the end of the tunnel looks so far away. I have reached the other side though. Taking a deep breath, soaking the darkness in one last time. I turn and let the light blind me. I must now become content with the light, and not too ambitious for the darkness once again.

Define Life.

“He who has a ‘why’ to live, can bear almost any ‘how’.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

This quote of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche considers what defines one’s life. It debates what the focus of one’s life should be, what they define their meaning as. It has been subject to a moral, internal debate for ages. Is it more important the actions you take, or your intent behind those actions? (Maybe there’s not a right answer….)

Life could be the single hardest thing to define. By the Big Bang theory (very roughly), one moment there was a grand collision, and then the next, a planet started to live. When looking at microbiology, a cell is the moment where everything connects to make life, but only when all parts are accounted for and in working condition. Life is what makes death so fearful, for in death, the miraculous spark suddenly disappears into thin air.

I bring these examples up to show that through the years, many scientists and philosophers alike have attempted to answer these very questions: what is life and what is the meaning of it? Clearly it is no easy task to accomplish, but I believe everyone has their own, definable meaning of what life is. That is, the meaning of their own existence, as well as the meaning of the existence of us all.

Contemplating these questions myself has made me think in ways I didn’t expect. I found empathy to be a key teacher in what to learn from the world.

An old friend of mine taught me to look at a situation with a clear set of eyes from a new angle. I started to imagine how someone else’s ordeal felt to them, reflecting on my past experiences to recall feelings of loneliness and helplessness.

There are moments in my life when I felt like no one could understand me. While I was young and naïve, it was very real to me that I thought no one could help. Using those feelings, knowing what that feels like, I appreciate someone else’s situation if they are having similar feelings. While I might not know exactly where they are, I have been in a comparable place, therefore I can empathize with them.

How would I have wanted to be treated, what would I have wanted? These are the kinds of questions you should ask when trying to empathize with someone. Maybe there was some truth in the Golden Rule they taught us back in pre-school.

Like in my life, there are moments everyone goes through that they feel as if no one can understand how they feel. I tend to think of the relationship between a parent and child; the unexplainable connection a mother has when first holding her child in her arms, the tears that fall from a father’s eyes when he hears his child’s first cry. There’s a look in their eyes that says it all; it conveys their undeniable compassion. I don’t know this feeling, but I have seen family members and friends go through it.

That’s why, I can only imagine the feeling of parents who lose their child. Watching your child pass away must be unbearable. One day they are right there in your arms, and the next they are gone. The amount of strength it must take, the kind of strength to push on, to know it’s okay to live again. I can only imagine.

Anyone who has had a loved one pass away will be able to empathize with this. Death is as much a mystery as life. With death, there has to be life, so with life, there has to be death.

I was recently asked “How do you explain people who die sooner than they should have?” Well there is a lesson someone else must learn through that death, even if they don’t know it right away. But more importantly, it is an opinion that the death was too soon, for the purpose of their passing was to help teach someone, to help someone else live the life they are supposed to. Their purpose was to change one person’s life for the better. The beauty in having such a profound purpose to one person is awe inspiring.

So this leads into another layer of defining life: purpose, the meaning of life, whether it be a single life, or our collective existence.

A meaning to life, in my eyes, comes from a multitude of perspectives (hence the emphasis on empathy). As a collective, the meaning for human life is to experience, to love, to feel, to be. This means the good and the bad, the feasting and the starving, the luxurious and the simple, the elegant and the miserable.

But what does this mean for me? What’s my meaning? Well, by the given description, it means to me what it does to anyone. Life is about living the experience and learning from it. The what is irrelevant, for the actions you take determine your true nature, and your meaning is found within. Whether you can see the meaning in your actions and understand your influence on the world is left to be judged by your own conscience.

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Life is not something that can simply be conveyed, finding words to properly represent my ideas was a challenge as I expected. I intended to leave you with some sort of unique knowledge that not many people could offer you. This comes back to my personal meaning in life, which I have found to be writing. It is both my hobby and my desire, a sort of emotional release for me.

Through my writing, I like to start conversations, discussions that can create new thoughts in someone else. I want to help people, through helping others you get the most satisfaction. But I want to help bring people to look at things in a sort of light they’ve never seen before.

So, to close, a personal life lesson that life itself taught me (rather harshly, I should add). You must be selfish. At the end of the day, when you close your eyes, you are the only one you truly will have. Love your family and friends, appreciate how every person influences your life, but never forget that they are not you.

When you make decision, it is kind to consider your loved ones, but if someone truly loves you, they will back you up on your choice. There’s no need to make it harder to decide. LIVE YOUR LIFE. Don’t take no for an answer, pursue your passions. When someone tries to stop you, remember you are the one who knows what is best for you. When you have a gut feeling, you must follow it. Your intuition holds more truth than most people lead on to believe, and failing to follow it is one of the biggest mistakes.

Love yourself. Be your own best friend. Learn how to spend time by yourself, one day you might be the only one left for yourself. You are the most amazing person in your life; learn how to see yourself in this light and never forget it. I believe in you, and your best reminder is your smile.

Remember to always smile.

Living Simple.

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Minimalism, the idea of having less, only the things you need. Get rid of your wants, empty desires, and get back to what it means to be alive, full of life.

While I have always had an appreciation for minimalism, it was only recently when I decided to make it a part of my life. Now as a 20-something college student, some would say I already live in minimalism. It takes on a completely different meaning when you make the conscious choice to live with less though.

A lot of people hoard more objects than they think; they will either still use it sometime or it has some valuable memory attached to it. In no way do I think people should get rid of their favorite possessions in the name of minimalism, the exact opposite actually. When you rid your life of all the clutter, you will gain a greater appreciation for those items you already love.

That favorite sweater of yours, that pair of shoes that perfectly fits your feet, or any of your other favorite possessions: imagine loving and appreciating them even more. When you simplify your life, you are able to use the appreciation from the things that might have been clutter to apply to the relationships and events that mean more to you. Your friends, family, experiencing something new, trying new food, listening to music, traveling, living life. Forgetting about the things that shouldn’t mean as much to you, that’s what I use my appreciation for.

When I look at my life, I want to see love, appreciation, and happiness. This starts with me, I need to organize my priorities to align with the vision I have of my life. To bring those in, I need to exercise my ability to do so. That’s the reason why I decided to have less stuff. If I don’t waste my ability on excess material items, I get to use it when it matters.

I realize myself slip sometimes though. I see myself receding back to old habits, wanting a new phone or jacket or thinking about how someone else might view the things I own and use. These habits create bad thoughts, therefore bad vibes. No one wants bad vibes in their life!

Having an awareness as to when you slip is the best way to create a new habit. Say you want to eat healthy: when you realize that you haven’t eaten well the past few days, make a plan as to how to eat healthy for today and tomorrow, then apply to future. Taking small steps at a time is the best way to get something done.

So when I embarked on my journey of minimalism, I knew I would have a greater appreciation for the things I already loved. What I didn’t realize would happen is that I began to appreciate things I might not have even noticed before.

I truly believe that everything in life can be appreciated in one way or another; a simple change of perspective might be all you need.

As John Legend sings in his song, All of Me, “love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections.”

This idea of a perfect imperfection is fascinating. It’s like that favorite pair of shoes that you decide to keep; all worn, torn, and rugged, yet loved. How? The soles are almost falling apart, barely staying together, the laces have been replaced twice, but there’s an attachment that you can’t separate from them.

Empathize with that, learn to appreciate the things that might immediately seem like flaws. There lies the beauty in everything.

The Wonders of Chaos.

What do you think of when you hear the word chaos?

Maybe a hectic time in your life, a scramble of not knowing what to do, a scene from a movie with a lot of bad guys and explosions?

The funny thing is, that is what chaos is, but it isn’t at the same time. According to Merriam-Webster, chaos is “complete confusion and disorder; a state in which behavior and events are not controlled by anything.” I like to think of chaos in terms of the chaos theory though.

The chaos theory states (in a very simple definition) that randomness in events has an underlying order that can’t be fully predicted. The double pendulum is a great example of chaotic motion. Check out this clip.

Now the really interesting thing is when you take two double pendulums and drop them from two points that can be infinitely close to each other, without being the same. The motion starts to be very similar, I mean they do have the exact same structure and similar initial conditions. But then there becomes a point in time when they start going on different paths, almost acting like aren’t similar to each other. This is chaos.

Okay, now to explain this is a real world sense, since we aren’t double pendulums. The chaos theory is why people get anxious over doing a simple thing wrong even in the slightest way. We have intuition telling us that this could go very wrong if we don’t get it right, it could turn out chaotic.

We let that idea consume us. We have to get it perfect, we need to know the order of events, it needs to go as planned or I will create chaos (perfectionists will know exactly what I’m talking about).

Did you ever stop to think about how beautiful chaos is though?

The path of a double pendulum appears to be completely random, swinging in every direction without any visible course. But there is, you just don’t know it.

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The path of your life appears to be completely random, heading in every direction without any visible course. But there is, you just don’t know it.

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Life has a predetermined path, and we think changing a single condition of it, in the slightest, will change the entire outcome. We classically forget that our pendulum was dropped from the initial condition already. There is no changing the path, it is already set.

New things start to occur in our lives, don’t mistake those for a new initial condition, they are just the pendulum changing directions again. As you saw, the pendulum can change rather rapidly at times. But that’s not a new start, at least for the motion as a whole. It is however a new start to the motion in a new direction.

Isn’t that beautiful?!

Do you feel that sigh of relief? You can’t control any of the events, but eventually they will swing back and start anew. So there is nothing to worry about! Just watch the beauty of your life unfold.

Go with whatever your life brings. Certain people are brought into your life, without any warning, welcome them. Events can be presented to you to be involved in, take advantage of them. Don’t regret not going for it, because you were worried about what it might cause. Find the joy and happiness in what appears to be random.

There’s no understanding of what is to come. People are corrupt, unhappy, greedy, but in no means does that mean you shouldn’t go for something.

Everyone is the protagonist in the story of their life. You could learn a lot from trying to see the world how they do. Don’t sit and judge someone before you’ve tried to look at their perspective.

An event that causes you to question everything you ever knew? I can see how that could scare you. We like following scripts, taking the quickest path. Why not take the scenic route though? You’ll get to see a lot more out of it, and you might not have many chances to see it again.

We have this fatal flaw of the human condition. It’s hard for us to just be, to just let things take there course. But when you are able to accomplish that, oh the benefits you will reap.

Now just imagine if everyone in the world started to try and accomplish that. That’s thinking big, and who knows the wonders we could achieve. And that starts with you.

Each initial condition of the double pendulum that is ever so slightly different is each person in this world. We all have our own beautiful path to let be.

So you tell me, how wonderful can chaos be?

Vibes.

The world around us is run on vibrations. When you radiate with positive vibes, only good will come to you. This is an application of the law of attraction, on some level.

As I’m writing this article, I’m jamming (and have been for the past half hour) to this song by Bondax.

Give it a listen while you are reading the rest of this article. Or after, just listen to the good vibes.

The song is mostly about love and searching for a love that will last, giving it your all. Blah, blah, blah. Forget the words and listen to what the song is telling you, not the words.

I hear doing what you’ve got to do, not what people are trying to push on you. Give it your all to be you, because you’re the best you out there.

Posi-vibes.

Be submerged by the power that music has. Music is the only thing, I believe, that humans were meant to create. It gives you a certain feeling, running through your body, of goodness and energy, happiness unexplained.

Remember when you would lay in your room back in sixth grade and think about how bad it was that your crush wasn’t interested in you in the slightest. The only thing you felt like you had was that one song that gave you a good cry into your pillow. You needed that good cry.

Then somehow it would go away. Your mom would call for dinner, and you’d have this song stuck in your head and now you’re just jamming while eating your pasta and garlic bread.

Music has the power to control your mood, through the vibrations it gives off. Movies have some of the best applications of using music to set a mood. I always give Disney the most credit because they do such an incredible job of writing the perfect melody to fit the scene.

Different styles of music give different vibes to certain people. Vibrations resonate at a different frequencies. You have to find yours, but I recommend using a playlist of good vibes to start your day right. On your way to work, stuck in traffic, the best thing to do is jam to the tunes that hit home for you. It accomplishes two things: getting you through the traffic with the least amount of road rage and preventing the traffic from ruining your day.

Here’s a video that I ran across this morning about vibrations and the frequency they give off.

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2013/06/the-visual-patterns-of-audio-frequencies-seen-through-vibrating-sand/

There is some unknown force that creates geometric patterns with the sand particles at certain frequencies. At the higher the frequency, the more complex the pattern. I’ve come across this a couple times now and I find it fascinating.

If we look at the vibrations our body gives off in correspondence with the emotions we have, this is what we find. Emotions that derive from fear (like anger, sadness, envy, etc.) resonate at a low frequency. On the other hand, emotions from love (like happy, excited, etc.) resonate at a high frequency.

If you’ve ever tried to play the trumpet or any musical instrument, you know that it’s harder to create higher notes because you need more control and experience. This is the exact same thing with the vibrations our bodies give off. It is easier for people to give off a low vibration, so they settle. We give in to greed, depression, and anxiety because creating a higher frequency vibration isn’t always easy.

That’s where the music comes into play. And music is just one example of ways to increase your inner vibes. You have to find what works the best for you. Your happiness can’t be sacrificed though. It is, above all else, the most important thing.

Take a long walk, go splurg at the mall, go out to eat, explore where you live, get out and do something.

Set yourself up for success, always radiate positive vibes.

Starting New.

Hi there.

I’m Zach and today I decided to start a blog. I have a lot of things that run around in my head, so I thought “why not start writing them down?” And ta-da, Through My Eyes started about 10 mins later.

I decided on the name because it had a certain ring to it; it resonated with me. I like it.

The theme that will be going throughout this blog is how I see and interact with things in the world. The corruptness, happiness, struggle, success, emotions, and thoughts that are around us.

I will go into my background in depth in a later article, but as a psychology major, the mind is my interest. So you will see that come up a lot.

Let me start with something that was on my mind earlier.

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Change is one of the most brilliant things this world has to offer us. It comes when we least expect, need it most, don’t want it at all, and can’t stand where we are. Consistent is fun, but change gives us a little bit of natural entertainment.

People hate it, dread it, even try to avoid it. The universe has it’s odd way of working that none of understand, so why try to make something work in (what you think is) your favor.

Accept it. Embrace it. Love it.

We only have so much time in this world. We can’t get caught up and lost in what could have or should have been. Accepting is sometimes the hardest obstacle to overcome. We don’t want to accept heartbreak, or a family member passing away, or any number of negative things.

But we welcome our new lover in with open arms, or our new born cousin. Why is there so much of a difference in our approach to accepting change? At an objective view, it is all the same. Change is change. We need to learn to accept all of it.

This reminds me of a quote I once heard (long ago enough that I know the wording is wrong), that goes something like this.

“React the same whether you win or lose.”

My interpretation of this is staying controlled enough to not overreact, keeping your emotions in line. Change and emotions go hand-in-hand. People react to change. There is a certain amount of control it takes to embrace that change without it showing in your emotions.

Whether it is a win or a loss, you should keep a smile on your face. Smile for the good you just gained, or the good you still have. But the fact that you can smile is enough of a reason to smile.

No matter what changes, just smile. It looks good on you 🙂