Mike Slavin 4 min read

Unwrap The Gift

Random + Awesome Newsletter

Unwrap The Gift

⚡️ Enlightening Bolts

Can’t miss gems of the weird and wonderful

🎅 The Psychedelic Origins of Santa Claus: This video explains the shamanic roots of Santa. Watch it here.

🌅 The Wonder Child: An essay exploring the value of viewing new knowledge as a doorway into greater mystery. Read it here.

👤 Shadow Art: Surprising sidewalk paintings that give a whimsical twist to the shadows of everyday urban objects. See them here.

📺 Your Personal Holographic Display: The Looking Glass Portrait is a new tool for holographic exploration that has already raised over $2 million on Kickstarter. Learn more here.

Date Night Questions: A free online tool prompting interesting questions to get to know friends and lovers better with a seasonal “Holiday” edition as well. Use it here.

🎇 Image of The Week

A volcano in Guatemala erupts as the great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter twinkle in the distance. You can see the planets above the tree-line appearing as unusually bright stars. This is the first time in nearly 800 years they have been this visibly close together (from Earth’s perspective). Taken by Francisco Sojuel.

🎁 Unwrap The Gift

We are in the season of gift giving so I encourage all of us to take note of the present we’ve all be given. As Master Oogway tells us in Kung Fu Panda, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift… that’s why they call it present.”

This is a gift that too few know how to truly appreciate. Alan Watts knew this well:

“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infintesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.”

Our fixations on a past we cannot alter paired with a future ripe with uncertainty cause us to miss the blooming beauty of the present moment we find ourselves living in.

This is not to say that memories of bygone events and the possibilities on the horizon do not matter. But it’s to place them in the appropriate context: they are all arising in the living present moment. Your ability to appreciate the here and now is a skill of attention.

When the future you anticipate arrives it will likely look quite different from what you imagine anyway. It calls to mind a quote of unknown origin: “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

So many dramatic animations in thoughtspace never happen and yet they peel away our precious attention from what’s here now. This causes us to live “out of touch with reality” as Alan stated above.

And even if our desired future arrives someday, if we’ve not cultivated our ability to be absorbed in the now, we will not be capable of fully appreciating that which we’ve yearned for on the day it emerges into existence. To call on the wisdom of Alan Watts once again:

“For unless one is able to live fully in the present, the future is a hoax. There is no point whatever in making plans for a future which you will never be able to enjoy. When your plans mature, you will still be living for some other future beyond. You will never, never be able to sit back with full contentment and say, “Now, I’ve arrived!'”

So let’s practice continually arriving so we can unwrap the gift in front of us: this moment.

🌚 Sweet Darkness

A poem from the incomparable David Whyte:

“When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your home

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.”

🤓 Learn This Word

Kintsugi: The Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

⏳ From The Archives

A hand-picked classic HighExistence article

10 Timeless Reasons Why Your Life Matters

“If the world has ever attempted to lasso your soul and pull you into a pit of nihilistic hopelessness, consider this a memo from the universe zapping you with an electrical current of meaning.

There is an inextinguishable significance to your life. Yes, specifically YOUR life. This significance does not exist purely because you wish it into existence. It is not a matter of make-believe. It is real and there are timeless reasons for it.

My hope is that reading this will plant the seeds to help you feel your significance in your bones. That it might burn so vividly that others can see it shining in your eyes. And, who knows, they might even catch a glimpse of their own significance reflected in your gaze.”

[Keep Reading]

We hope you enjoyed this issue of Down The Rabbit Hole. Feel free to reply and tell us what you think.

With Wonder,

Mike Slavin & The HighExistence Team

P.S. Did a friend forward you this email? Read previous issues and sign-up to receive future issues here: https://highexistence.com/rabbithole

Mike Slavin

Mike Slavin

Mike is a magician and poet telling tales from the intersection of attention, deception, and wonder.

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