The book is available on Amazon at this page.
(15 August, 2015)
What is a Real Life? is complete. Its final length is 60,200 words, which take up 132 pages on Microsoft
Word (Amazon regards this as 201 print pages, as books are usually smaller than
normal sheets of paper).
The book came a long way from its 26,000 word first draft. Initially I wanted to be done right there. I’m glad I waited: I would have missed out on a lot. It was all the upcoming hours of editing that added those other 34,200 words and really brought the book to life. In long-form content made over a long period of time, editing is king.
I reached a point that I have never come to in writing before, or, really, in anything. In most things I do, I always felt I could have added something more or tried something different. But in this book I feel that I have said what I needed to say. My mind has gone from shooting out ideas to being fairly quiet. Any ideas that did come up had to be responded to with, “That’s already in the book. I’ve got ya covered.” If I can go running or read other material without getting any ideas I think I should add, I can consider myself done. Really and truly done is a strange place to be, though there is more I still need to do for the book outside of actually writing it.
What I want to do here is share the Table of Contents of the book, and then explain a little more about the chapters as well as how the book is set up.
So, here it is. The page numbers indicate which page each chapter and section starts on in Microsoft Word. While you won't see these page numbers in the digital version of the book (unless a pdf is released) they can give you an idea of how long each section is.
Also, you may notice that some of the section titles are links. However, they don't actually do anything. Don't worry about it. :P
Table of Contents
i. Preface. 4
ii. Introduction. 9
1. What is Conscious Growth?. 13
2. Polarity. 14
3. Subjectivity and Objectivity. 15
4. Levels of Consciousness. 15
5. Truth-Love-Power. 15
II. Polarity. 23
1. Heroes vs. Villains.25
1. Quit Yer Thinkin’!. 43
2. Solipsism.. 43
3. To Avoid Blending, Focus On What You Can Know.. 47
1. The Role of Randomness. 49
2. Responsibility. 50
3. The Belief-Observation Cycle. 51
4. The Statistical Nature of Beliefs. 52
1. Authority (and, the Importance of Biology). 54
2. Intuition. 55
3. How Different Are They?. 56
1. Communication. 61
1. Shock-Learning. 69
2. Direct Request. 70
3. Immersion. 70
4. Removing Beliefs. 73
1. Love. 83
1. Make No Mistake. 87
2. A Bad Reputation. 89
3. Cause and Effect. 90
1. The List of Levels. 100
2. Non-Linear Growth. 104
3. Advancing in Awareness. 108
4. Another Game Analogy. 109
5. Whose Reality?. 110
VII. My Story. 114
As you might guess, the chapters are the titles that have Roman numerals (I, V, X) placed in front of them. Sections within chapters have capital letters (A, B, C), and sub-sections have Arabic numbers (0-9). There are “sub-sub-sections” in the book but they are not listed here. The Preface and Introduction have lowercase Roman numerals (i, ii). For “Respect for the Objects” under “Using Subjective Reality” I skipped the letter I and went to J to avoid confusion.
The first part of the Introduction is meant to push your buttons and make your head spin a little bit. Try not to get discouraged, though if you do the rest of the book might not be such a walk in the park, either (particularly the chapters on objective and subjective reality). The essential question asked is, “What is real?” (which is derived from the section title, “What shall we live for?”). The second part of the Introduction discusses what it means to grow consciously and why it is important. Different ways of approaching conscious growth (the “Four Models of Conscious Growth”) are introduced.
The first chapter is “Feeling and Emotion; Inspiration and Impulse.” This chapter is all about using feelings as a guide for action. It outlines the differences between feelings you should pay attention to (which I label as “feelings” and “inspiration”) and feelings you can largely ignore (which I label as “emotion” and “impulse”).
The second chapter is “Polarity.” This is one of the Four Models of Conscious Growth I list in the Introduction. In short, this chapter is about becoming a powerful, highly motivated person. It emphasizes the importance of finding which type of motivation is right for you and committing fully to it. To get far in life you must decide whether you want to give to and serve others, or take from and dominate them. You also will choose whether you will focus on creating joy or reducing pain (sorrow). These aren’t choices you force yourself into; if made correctly, you will find that they bring out who you truly are and what you really want to do with your life.
The next three chapters should be marked off as their own part of the book (I was originally going to divide the book into parts. I would have called this one, “Down the Rabbit Hole”). These three chapters are all about objective and subjective reality—how they work, how they use them, and how not to use them. This is the second model of conscious growth listed in the Introduction.
At one point I almost went a little wild working on this part: I did have to go down the rabbit hole myself, y’know. But I kept what I said simply to what needed to be said.
Chapter three, the first chapter on this topic, is “Subjectivity and Objectivity.” This chapter describes each model of reality and how not to use them. The basic rules are (1) Do not blend the two, and (2) Do not assume reality revolves around you and only you (in other words, do not use solipsism).
Chapter four, the second chapter on this topic, is “Objective Truth and Functioning.” Though it is dangerous to blend the two, objective reality and subjective reality are not inseparable: we are always using both. What matters is which one we are primarily using. The first part of this chapter explains how objective reality works when it is used within subjective reality—that is, when subjective reality is the primary perspective. The second part of this chapter focuses on the primary use of objective reality. It briefly discusses the scientific method and how we normally draw conclusions and establish facts (“objective truth”).
Chapter five, the third and final chapter on this topic, is “Using Subjective Reality.” This chapter discusses what the point of using subjective reality is, how we are able to function properly and even at our best through using a subjective lens, how to experiment with your beliefs, and how things that we may think are so important either don’t matter in subjective reality or are transformed into something that does matter. There is a section in this chapter called “Follow the Feelings,” which is basically a follow-up of the first chapter of the book. The final section leaves this chapter with some goodwill toward objective reality (“Respect for the Objects”). This is my favorite chapter of the three on objective and subjective reality.
Chapter six, “What is Real? – Part Two,” does not mark the second part of the book: rather, this is the second time I ask the question, “What is Real?” The first time was in the introduction. However, I think this would appropriately be considered as the second part of the book as well.
Chapter six focuses on how reality (that is, the experience and quality of life) changes as we do. It explains how Heaven and Hell (joy and immense suffering) exist right here on Earth, and are accessible by us all. Why we live in either Heaven or Hell and how we get from one place to the other is discussed in the section, “Levels of Consciousness,” which is the third model of conscious growth. This chapter is truly eye-opening: it even was to write. It discusses what a “Dark night of the soul” is and what happens when our level of consciousness changes. This chapter shines a light on the meaning behind suffering.
Chapter seven is “My Story.” This chapter tells the story of how I went from struggling emotionally and being deeply depressed to having a love for being alive. I use the four models of conscious growth to demonstrate how I got to a place of struggle and how I moved past it.
“Focus on What Lasts” is really more of an Afterword than a chapter: it is very brief. This part of the book wraps up the point that what is real is what is lasting, and what is real is consciousness. Thus, it is consciousness that is worth living for.
At the end of the book there is a bibliography and there are footnotes which became endnotes. I won’t post the whole bibliography here but I will share links to some of the resources. Consuming the resources I used in writing this book can help you to understand the contents my book better, and it can give you an idea of whether the book will be right for you (but, of course, the book is complete on its own).
Kimwrate.com-- My blog articles:
stevepavlina.com. A number of blog articles are referenced in the book, including:
Recreate Your Life:
http://www.recreateyourlife.com/free/ Tutorials by Morty Lefkoe on how to eliminate negative beliefs
The Rich Roll Podcast: There are several episodes I reference, including:
The Joe Rogan Experience: I reference two episodes:
Books: A few of the books I used (and these five are probably the most important):
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Personal Development for Smart People by Steve Pavlina
Getting Real by Susan Campbell
Power vs. Force by David R. Hawkins
Lastly, I think it would be appropriate to leave you with the beginning—the Preface. I will let it speak for itself.
I have written this book with the perception that the mass of people live that which is not life, though the feat of turning this situation around is not impossible for them. I have written this book because my own life was once filled with angst, confusion, frustration, and misery. I was plagued by an aching desire to find that which is real yet trapped with a flailing inability to come upon anything. I have written this book because that is not my life any longer.
Okay, you could say that’s why I’ve written this book, but that’s not really accurate. I have written this book with the perception that to be alive is simply amazing. I have written this book because my life is now filled with energy, drive, joy, and love: I am infected with an aching desire to cultivate these things ever more. I have written this book to share this joy and this love with others.
As we each are unique individuals, no two people go about change in the same ways. While I have presented my own story of transformation in this book it is not my expectation or even my desire that you attempt to emulate me step for step, even if you find yourself in depths of life similar to where I was. Rather, the very broad, detail-deprived message of this book is that Improvement is possible. If you stop reading now, or get nothing out else out of this book, at least take that with you.
If there are only two things you get out of this book, let the second one be that Life is worth living. I must clarify that this is not a guide on how to move from depression to feeling okay, though this may help you to do that if that’s what you need. The purpose of this book, in truth, is to discern what is real and how to pursue what is real. If you would like a spoiler, this book has as its aim to determine truth and to help you to grow consciously, as these are essential tasks to living a life that can be called real.
What I present here are the most important, powerful, and general lessons I have learned in the last two years regarding personal development. Though I cannot guarantee that all I have written here will remain true for all time, I believe that the importance of living consciously will. I have no doubt that this is what life is all about.
In this moment you find yourself in good hands, my friend. This small book has been a labor of love—one of absolute necessity. I have found the learning and creating of this material, as it is written here, to be the best possible use of my time. This is so that I can clarify these lessons for myself and simultaneously share them with you, teaching and inspiring each one of us. It is in trusting and returning to what inspires us that the world changes.
Now I will say no more, except that I am excited for you to enter this point on your journey. If you are learning these things for the first time, you will find this a time to treasure. I trust that, through this book, I will be able to pass my strength on to you, and you shall pass it onward thus.
May you awaken to the intelligence, beauty, strength, and pure awesomeness that resides within you.
To living a real life,
29 July, 2015