When we are really living our life, it feels different than just going along for the ride. It has greater joys and deeper sorrows, and we know that this life matters, and that we matter. Nothing in our life is meaningless when we live consciously, mindfully, heartfully, and honestly. We are all seeking life and learning, and the way we learn is through experiences.

But because Life can sometimes be painful, or difficult, or hard work, and always carries some degree of uncertainty, many of us have turned to artificial experiencing instead. More than ever before in human history, our movies, our TV shows, our games, our music, and even commercials, are all about fantasies and extreme violence, absurdly reckless driving, and lots of things exploding in flames. We say it’s entertainment; it’s exciting, and it’s certainly easier and more convenient than living an aware and conscious life. So we enjoy these things vicariously, in an attempt to feel more alive.

“It’s not real” we say, “So it doesn’t matter.” But when you peel away all the layers of excuses and psychological patterns, the bottom line is clear: addiction. We are choosing something else instead of life.

These external, artificial ways of experiencing life are empty of value and meaning, yet they have power we may not be aware of. Many of us perhaps unknowingly are programming ourselves and our kids like robots to accept the violent acts we see as the every-day normal - the way it is. Then when our real emotions overwhelm us, even if we have not been consciously violent individuals, we commit acts of meanness, aggression, or violence spontaneously, because we have been programmed that way - day after day for years.

In our world and times, more and more people are responding to their emotion with violence as a first resort. The young are especially vulnerable to this. And this way of thinking becomes a way of Being, which fans out into the wider world in crimes and wars and genocide. It does matter.

Reality check: do we really want this for ourselves? And for our children who are still too young to consciously choose? In a few weeks it will be Christmas and there’s already of flood of new toys and games, heavily advertised on TV to make both children and adults want them. What will you choose for your child? What will you choose for yourself? To set the ongoing background input for your life?

I have often have asked myself “How did it all get to be this way?” The obvious answer is, What the mediais showing in prime-time, is what we have chosen, with our watching and our buying. We can say “It’s not real, so it doesn’t matter.” But when we know (and sooner or later our life shows us) that “thoughts held in mind produce after their own kind” we realize that it does matter, profoundly.

Whatever we allow and accept creates the violent world we live in, and even though we may enjoy the stories on TV, most of us do not really want that in our own life. If that’s not what you truly want, in your life and your world, now is the time to get real, get awake and aware, and choose differently.

Each time I see another new horror on the nightly news, I ask myself, how could anyone do that? And the answer is crystal clear: they are either trying to feel alive, or trying NOT to. That's how addictions work. Plain and simple.

Every kind and level of addiction is simply a path of seeking escape from living your life. No more and no less. All addictions, whether the “clean“ ones like TV and video game violence, workaholism, perfectionism, or the “dirty ones” like drugs, alcohol, self neglect, gang violence, or personal cruelty. All of these are ways to do something else, instead of living the life you have, and building upon it.

They don’t work though - we are still alive, even if only marginally, and we have only made ourselves sick and miserable, suffering the consequences of our choices. So then we begin to want to make others around us unhappy too. The addict always resents and blames something else for their own predicament - God, or bad luck, or some person, or society. But it is not anything outside of us that creates the life we have; it is ourselves.

If I am an addict (of any kind or level) I have done it, and nobody else. Consciously or not-consciously, it was my choice. Nothing outside of me made it happen, and nothing outside of me can change it. It’s up to me to decide, change my choices, and commit to those new choices with as much energy and belief as I have held for the old choices.

Even though all of us will make our own share of blunders and mistakes, each one of us has the same God-given power by birthright, to choose and create our lives. When we refuse to take responsibility for our choices, this creative power, which is a universal law, still functions just the same. TV's “Dr. Phil” McGraw says “When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences.” As he is right about that.

But even more powerfully, what a great many people may not realize is, when you choose the thought, you are already choosing the outcome. Your own power of thought attracts it into your Life. The more you hold and give energy to the thought, the more it attracts the consequence, good or bad. Please consider this: Every day you should ask your deepest heart what its real desires are, and try to remember what your childhood’s early dreams were. Give them a few minutes of your full attention. They will tell you what you really want. And when you know what you want, step out, and start the changes. God the Universe is waiting for you to ask, and stands ready to deliver.

It’s hard to imagine that God really wants us, or needs us, for companionship or for any other reason. And yet there is experiential evidence to strongly suggest that God does. We are a bigger part of the universal life process than we know.

God is all that is, and all that is, is God expressing. Our world, ourselves, the galaxies, the universe, the sparrow. We have been given a privileged place in God’s universe. We think, discover, and create. We are given free will and choice, and the power of the universal law is working for us every minute, everywhere. We do create our lives and circumstances either consciously and aware, or unconsciously by habit.

There is nothing we cannot have, do, or be, and there’s nothing we cannot change if we choose to, and then walk forth in faith to do it. The only hard part is the faith - to believe in spite of what people say, in spite of our history, in spite of what we see on TV, in spite of what we may have believed before.

Whatever your choice is, as soon as you believe in it, the energy of the whole universe literally falls into place behind it, and in time creates it as your physical reality. If your life now is laboring under a load of something else “instead of life,” choose again, and begin again. You have nothing of value to lose, and you have the life that you love, to gain.

this Month's New Thought Essay, Poetry, and Blog. Darkhorse Press New Poets