I used to conduct my life in a set of patterns I had no idea I was partaking in. Changes never seemed to take, and everything would go from great to worse on a yearly, sometimes daily basis. Then I discovered the truth that took the blindfold off and I began to really see progress. But first…
I’m going to show you how to draw a perfect tree. If you are an artist, you may say to yourself, “So easy. So simple. Really?” Maybe it is simple for an artist. But I guarantee you that you might not have ever learned to do it in this way. If you are not an artist, you might think, “I have tried, and my trees never look right to me. I cannot draw at all.” That’s about to change. Forever.
So let’s try it. On a blank piece of paper, draw a capital Y. Depending on your penmanship (mine is not so great), it should look something like this:
Now what I want you to do is to add another set of “Ys” connected to the first, in any order that feels right. Here’s a tip: Try to vary each Y as you imagine a tree in your mind. As you do the exercise, you will see that regardless of the size, or the perfection of each added Y, the branches of a tree is being formed. You may end up with something that resembles mine…
And there you are. A tree you can draw forever. Or maybe a leaf. Or even a nervous system. I ask you, did you ever notice that everything is made up of repeating patterns that shape our reality into what it is? We call this a Fractal. Here’s another version of the simple Y pattern…
This is not a new discovery by any means. And while you may not have thought of fractal patterns before, I do hope you will notice them now. I invite you to take a look all around today and pick up on these patterns for yourself. It’s fun to notice them, and they will coax your curiosity.
You might ask, are we pixels? Are we designed? Is everything part of some natural process of nature? What is nature? What does the idea of a fractal pattern mean to you and I with regards to life? Questions like this will arise as you study these patterns. Questions are good, believe me (if you want to).
Now take a look at the form I drew below. In this form, I began to add ‘S’ like figures at the end of the Ys. The Y patterns are still there, but I have introduced a new form into the first. But it is still a tree (sort of). New pattern, but the overall pattern is still the same.
So. Are you wondering why the hell I just gave you this rudimentary art/mathematics lesson? What’s the point I’m making here? I think that life moves in these fractal patterns too. Because we cannot see the patterns in action as we can with these drawings and nature, it seems difficult to prove. I can accept that arguement. Now take a look at this last drawing (for now).
The Y is there, as is the S, but something clearly changed. It’s not a tree anymore. It’s not a leaf. Not a nervous system. Now it is something entirely different. This is a real change. The earlier patterns are there (I left the Y in blue on purpose), but they have been rearranged into a new set.
Which now brings us back to the blindfold that came off (funny how I had one on in the Living In Oblivion video at the time, isn’t it). I lived without seeing my own patterns, and whenever I made changes they didn’t stick. I would start a diet, but then ultimately go back to my old habit. I would embark on doing exercises or set time aside for working on art, and inevitably the changes would not stick.
Do you know why? Because I am part of a fractal pattern too. So when I introduce a change, or “S” into my pattern, the overall system makes it part of itself, and thus the change I introduced does not stick. It’s absorbed. A tree stays a tree. But nature does generate different types of trees. It takes the patterns and rearranges them into very interesting shapes, living beings, and amazingly different formations in stone, water, and even galaxies. So how can we do that, too?
The secret is to introduce a set of variables to the program that is radically different than the overall system. If you never draw, you should. Instead of starting a diet, you should plan a vacation day that involves foraging for your own food. Or feed someone who is hungry. Go 360 on something about you. Go 360 when you hit a fork in the road and you feel safe with the right turn. Go left.
360 on something that can be added to the overall, but will ultimately change it means a radical departure from our norm. A diet is not enough. A walk is not enough. Waking up early is not enough. I tried all of this, and it wasn’t enough. What has started to be enough is saying ‘good morning’ to the person that scowls at me in the mirror or on the street. What is different is meditating on a rock, and chanting AUM even if people laugh at me.
What is different is doing my art when I don’t feel like it. What is different is thanking the creator, the universe, God, Yah, whatever you choose to call it, every morning for the miracle of being alive, now. What is different is admitting to being afraid of something, and choosing to face it head-on. What is different is writing out my flaws on paper and asking myself, ‘What is really a flaw versus a device for being who I am?’.
I am not perfect. Believe me. Far from it. But I want to be. I want to strive for it, not in an over-achiever kind of way, but in a way where I can look in the mirror and say, “You are changing, man. You really are!” with a smile on my face. I want to become a new set of patterns that creates that inner smile.
And you? Who do you want to become?