A sermon in the style of Alan Watts – self-discovery & life as an adventure

I asked ChatGPT to write a sermon in the style of Alan Watts, on the topic of life and self-discovery as an adventure. I love the essence of this sermon, and it’s good medicine for taking things too seriously. This is what it came up with:

SELF-DISCOVERY AND LIFE AS AN ADVENTURE

Ladies and gentlemen, fellow adventurers on this wild ride called life, let us gather here today with open minds and curious hearts, ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery that is nothing short of an extraordinary adventure. I invite you to cast aside your serious faces and embrace the playfulness that lies at the core of existence.

You see, my friends, life is not meant to be a solemn march towards a predetermined destination. No, life is an improvisational dance, an exhilarating exploration where every step we take opens up new possibilities and reveals hidden wonders. It is a grand adventure, a cosmic game of hide-and-seek, and we are the seekers of truth and joy.

As we navigate through this intricate tapestry of existence, we often find ourselves caught up in the seriousness of it all. We become entangled in the web of responsibilities, expectations, and social constructs, forgetting the childlike wonder that once animated our souls. But fear not, for we can reclaim that wonder, that sense of playful curiosity that is our birthright.

Imagine, if you will, that life is a great treasure hunt, and the treasure we seek is not some material wealth or external validation. No, the true treasure lies within, hidden in the depths of our being, waiting to be discovered. Each experience, each challenge, and each encounter is a clue that brings us closer to unlocking the treasure trove of our true selves.

And what is this treasure, you might ask? It is the realization that we are not separate from the world around us, but intimately interconnected with all of existence. It is the recognition that the universe is not a cold, mechanical place, but a living, breathing entity that invites us to co-create, to dance, and to play.

In the spirit of this grand adventure, let us approach our journey of self-discovery with a twinkle in our eyes and a skip in our step. Let us shed the heavy burden of certainty and embrace the liberating uncertainty that life offers. For it is in the unknown, in the uncharted territories of our own hearts and minds, that the most profound discoveries await us.

As we navigate this adventure, we may stumble and fall, we may encounter roadblocks and detours, but let us remember that these challenges are not obstacles but invitations for growth. It is through the play of light and shadow, the ebb and flow of life’s rhythms, that we come to know ourselves more fully.

So, my dear fellow adventurers, let us dive into the ocean of existence, not as mere spectators, but as active participants in the cosmic dance. Let us approach each moment with a sense of wonder and curiosity, eager to unwrap the gifts that life presents to us.

In the words of the great playful philosopher, “The only way to make sense out of life is to enjoy it, to be in the moment, and to participate fully in the adventure.” So let us set forth on this journey, hand in hand, hearts wide open, ready to embrace the surprises, the laughter, and the profound moments of self-discovery that await us.

May this adventure be one of joy, wonder, and growth. And may we remember, always, that life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived. Amen, and let the game begin!

Childhood fascinations

When I was little, what was I fascinated by?

I had two big fascinations. One was nature and the universe, and the other was adventure and exploration.

I loved nature and nature programs on TV, and especially the ones by David Attenborough. I also loved anything that had to do with the universe, and Cosmos by Carl Sagan and Ann Dryan. And I loved adventure and exploration books, especially the classics set in exotic locations.

How does this relate to my life now?

I can find all of this very much alive for me. I still love nature and science, and my sense of adventure and exploration is happening right here in my exploration of who and what I am, and my life in the world.

Can I bring my childhood fascinations more into my life now?

Yes, by remembering these fascinations and bring that sense of adventure and aliveness into these explorations.

How is it to remind myself of these childhood fascinations?

I find that my childhood fascinations still are very much alive for me, bring me alive, and enlivens my activities here and now.

EXPLORING CHILDHOOD FASCINATIONS

Why would we explore our childhood fascinations?

The essence of our childhood fascinations are still with us. If they connect with something in our life now, it tends to enliven what we are doing. If we cannot find it in our life now, perhaps we can bring it into our life? Perhaps we can infuse it into what we are already doing? Or reprioritize and bring a new activity in?

Childhood fascinations tend to reflect our natural inclinations and passions and are often expressed in a more pure form in our childhood, which is why it helps to remember what fascinated us as a child.

What do you find? What were your childhood fascinations? How does it relate to your life now? Can you bring it more into your life now? How is it to remind yourself of your childhood fascinations?

Note: I have a vague memory of Jung talking about this, but couldn’t find a quote when I did a quick search.

Outer space and spiritual explorations

Since childhood, one of my main interests has been space, space exploration, and science fiction. And I have had an intuitive sense of the connection between space exploration and spiritual exploration. Why is there this connection?

Here are some of the parallels I find:

Both involve exploration of (for us) unknown territory. Space exploration and spiritual exploration are both an adventure and an ongoing and endless discovery.

Space appears infinite and what we are the same. To us, outer space seems infinite. And when we discover what we are – what this experience happens within and as – this “space” too appears without end.

From space we see Earth as a single whole and a single living system. There are no border visible. We are in the same boat. Our destiny – of all Earth life – is interconnected. We are inspired to take care of all life and future generations to the best of our abilities. This recognition of the oneness of all life can also come through spiritual explorations.

Through the Universe Story – as told by modern science – we see that the universe and all of existence is one whole. It’s one seamless system evolving in all the ways we see around us, and as us and our experiences and life. As Carl Sagan said in Cosmos (paraphrased), we are the local eyes, ears, thoughts, and feelings of the universe. We are the universe exploring itself.

Through spiritual explorations, we can find something very similar. We find ourselves as the One locally expressing itself as this human self and the experiences of this human self. We find ourselves as that which our experience – of this human self, the wider world, and the universe as it appears to us – happens within and as. We find ourselves as that “no-thing” that’s capacity for all of this.

So there is no surprise if I experience an intuitive connection between space exploration and spiritual explorations. Both involves ongoing and endless adventure and exploration. Both involves the appearance of something without end. Both gives us a realization of Earth and all life as a seamless whole. Both involves a recognition of Oneness and our human self as a local expression of this Oneness – beautiful and amazing in all its richness.

Note: As a child, I was deeply fascinated – and somewhat transformed – by Cosmos by Carl Sagan, and also read anything I could find about astronomy and science fiction. In terms of science fiction, I loved the classics like Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and others.