Your Most Beautiful Experience?

In Quest of What Excites You

Truth is so rare it is delightful to tell it.

—Emily Dickinson

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THE MOST BEAUTIFUL

What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen in your life? It's OK if you can't decide between the three or four most beautiful things. What's important is to keep visions of those amazements dancing in the back of your mind for the next two days.

Play with them in your imagination. Feel the feelings they rouse in you as you muse about the delights they have given you. Regard them as beacons that will attract other ravishing marvels into your sphere.

Now here's your second assignment: Be alert for and go hunting for a new "most beautiful thing."

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THE ART OF CHANGING YOUR MIND

Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

—George Bernard Shaw

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Sometimes, being true to yourself means changing your mind. Self changes, and you follow.

—Vera Nazarian

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The person who never alters their opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.

—William Blake

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The interesting thing is always to see if you can find a fact that will change your mind about something, to test and see if you can.

—Diane Sawyer

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Like all weak men, he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind.

—W. Somerset Maugham

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Almost all of my many passionate interests, and my many changes of mind, came through books.

—Annie Dillard

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The snake that can't cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.

—Friedrich Nietzsche

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 I wanted to be a ballerina. I changed my mind.

—Beverly Cleary

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A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Only the strongest people have the pluck to change their minds, and say so, if they see they have been wrong in their ideas.

—Enid Blyton

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Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large — I contain multitudes.

—Walt Whitman

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The willingness to change one’s mind in the light of new evidence is a sign of rationality not weakness.

―Stuart Sutherland

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 I came from a different mind-set growing up, and my mind has changed.

—Katy Perry

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Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise.

—Hannah Arendt

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There is no point in asking me general questions because I am always changing my mind.

—Michel Houellebecq

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You have the RIGHT to change your mind

—Oprah Winfrey

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A person is a fluid process, not a fixed and static entity; a flowing river of change, not a block of solid material; a continually changing constellation of potentialities, not a fixed quantity of traits.

— Carl Rogers

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We are the sum of our efforts to change who we are. Identity is no museum piece sitting stock-still in a display case, but rather the endlessly astonishing synthesis of the contradictions of everyday life.

—Eduardo Galeano

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MACHINE CONSCIOUSNESS

In my dream two nights ago, I told the mathematician-philosopher Ralph Abraham that what’s wrong with the world is that we are becoming embedded in machine consciousness.

More and more, we’re thinking like machines and expecting reality to be machine-like. This can be frustrating, because life is inherently non-machine-like.

I told Ralph that one cure is to spend more time in nature without a phone.

As a devoted dreamworker/player, I also regard the loving attention I give to my dreams as being essential in cultivating the alternative to machine consciousness.

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As David Byrne says, "The world might be more dreamlike, metaphorical, and poetic than we currently believe . . . I wouldn't be surprised if poetry—poetry in the broadest sense, in the sense of a world filled with metaphor, rhyme, and recurring patterns, shapes, and designs—is how the world works. The world isn't logical, it's a song."

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I have been listening closely to my dreams for decades. There's a lot to say about the subject, of course, and my upcoming book Lucky Storms will address the question in depth.

Simply, I think my dreams have loved me well because I approach them like a curious child more than as an exploitative entrepreneur looking for treasure to harvest and use in the waking realm.

I don't have any fundamental problem with looking in dreams for treasure that's useful in the waking world, and I have found great droves of it. But the attitude that predominates in me is the sense of wonder and innocence that loves to be amazed and surprised and mystified. I think that at least partially explains my modest success at being a dream listener.

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THE MORE SPECIFIC YOUR GOALS, THE BETTER

"Having very broad and abstract goals may maintain and exacerbate depression. Goals that are not specific are more ambiguous and, therefore, harder to visualize. If goals are hard to visualize it may result in reduced expectation of realizing them which in turn results in lower motivation to try and achieve them."

—Researchers at the institute of Health, Psychology, and Society

More: https://tinyurl.com/nv6jdqq

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THE ASSUMPTION OF CLAIRVOYANCE

A common obstruction to a vital intimate relationship is what I call the assumption of clairvoyance.

You imagine, perhaps unconsciously, that your partner or friend is somehow magically psychic when it comes to you—so much so that he or she should unfailingly intuit exactly what you need, even if you don't ask for it.

This fantasy may seem romantic, but it can undermine the most promising alliances.

To counteract any tendencies you might have to indulge in the assumption of clairvoyance, practice stating your desires aloud.

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F*CK THE WORLD

The mantra "Fuck the world" sums up one of my favorite moods: rebellion against everything everywhere. It's beyond anarchy and nihilism. It's my utopian yearning to subvert and vanquish every facet of humdrum reality and replace it with soulful beauty. Fuck the world!

But wait! "Fuck the world" also sums up my favorite ambition: to revel in full-blast omnidirectional intimacy. Empathy and compassion, yes yes yes, but even more: never-ending ecstatic connection with all of creation. Being in unconditional lusty love with everything everywhere.

Are these two meanings of "fuck the world" contradictory? Maybe. Maybe not. I don't care. I love them bundled together.

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My current project is to become more like this guy. Not for the sake of the person in the car ahead of me or behind me, but for my own sake.

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THE CENTER OF THE WORLD

Some of us may have imagined, from time to time, that we are living in the hippest, coolest, most happening place in the world. New York? London? Berlin? Montreal? Shanghai? Barcelona? I can recall having delusions like that myself.

But the truth is, as far as I can tell, that everywhere is the center of the world.

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The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask.

—Alan Watts

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A LIMITLESS RANGE OF AWARENESS

"Accept the possibility that there is a limitless range of awareness for which we now have no words; that awareness can expand beyond range of your ego, your self, your familiar identity, beyond everything you have learned, beyond your notions of space and time, beyond the differences which usually separate people from each other and from the world around them."

—Walter Evans-Wentz, The Tibetan Book of The Dead

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GIFTS

If you'd like to donate to my well-being:

1. Visit my Gift Page and donate: https://tinyurl.com/DonationsForRob

2. You can also contribute by buying the Expanded Audio Horoscopes I create every week. These forecasts are different from the written horoscopes I provide here.

They're my four- to five-minute-long ruminations about the current chapter of your life story. They're available at https://RealAstrology.com

3. I also write daily horoscopes, available as text messages sent to your phone. They're shorter than the weekly 'scopes, but more frequent. You can get these regular bursts of inspiration for 67 cents a day if you sign up for a subscription.

Go to https://RealAstrology.com . Register or log in. On the new page, click on "Subscribe / Renew" under "Daily Text Message Horoscopes" in the right-hand column.

4 Commit to offering me a regular donation through my Patreon page at https://Patreon.com/FreeWillAstrology

5. Send checks or cash to me at P.O. Box 4400, San Rafael, CA 94913.

6. Finally, I have made it possible for subscribers to my newsletter to pay a subscription fee to me for my newsletter, BUT ONLY IF THEY WANT TO AND CAN AFFORD TO!

I have offered my astrology newsletter free of charge for the past 20 years, and I will continue to do so for the next 20 years at least.

If, however, you are sufficiently prosperous and feel comfortable about donating money to me, I welcome it. Please know, though: I am TOTALLY FINE if you don't donate.

Sign up here: Newsletter.FreeWillAstrology.com

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P.S.: No pressure, though! I understand that some of you don't have enough money yourself, and it wouldn't make sense for you to give some to me.

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MORE PRONOIA RESOURCES:

Is Your Goal to Walk 10,000 Steps? Science Shows We Need A Lot Fewer. https://tinyurl.com/hrrfkp3w

Poets in Europe Are Writing Tributes For the Lonely Funerals of Society’s ‘Unclaimed’ Citizens. https://tinyurl.com/mmf842j6

French Beekeeper Invents a Trap to Take on Asian Hornets Decimating Bee Populations in Europe. https://tinyurl.com/dmabubfy

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For a lot more pronoiac resources and ideas, read my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings

Available at Bookshop.org: https://tinyurl.com/548hp8y8

Available at Powells: https://bit.ly/PowellsPronoia

Available at Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/PronoiaBN

Available at Amazon: https://bit.ly/Pronoia

A free preview of the book is available here: https://tinyurl.com/PronoiaPreview

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Please tell me your own nominations for PRONOIA RESOURCES: Truthrooster@gmail.com.

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FREE WILL ASTROLOGY

Week beginning October 28

Copyright 2021 by Rob Brezsny

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Mardi Gras is a boisterous festival that happens every February all over the planet. One hotspot is New Orleans. The streets there are filled with costumed revelers who enjoy acting in ways that diverge from their customary behavior. If you want to ride on a float in the parade that snakes down Royal Street, you must, by law, wear a festive mask. I invite all of you Scorpios to engage in similar festivities for the next three weeks—even if you're not doing much socializing or partying. It's a favorable time to experiment with a variety of alternate identities. Would you consider adopting a different persona or two? How could you have fun playing around with your self-image?

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Jungian psychotherapist and storyteller Clarissa Pinkola Estés reminds us, "In fairy tales, tears change people, remind them of what is important, and save their very souls." I hope you're open to the possibility of crying epic, cathartic, catalytic tears in the coming weeks, Sagittarius. According to my analysis, you have a prime opportunity to benefit from therapeutic weeping. It could chase your fears and cure your angst and revivify your soul. So please take advantage of this gift from life. Be like a superhero whose superpower is to generate healing by crying.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Filmmaker Wim Wenders said, "Any film that supports the idea that things can be changed is a great film in my eyes." I'll expand upon that: "Any experience, situation, influence, or person that supports the idea that things can be changed is great." This is a useful and potentially inspiring theme for you to work with right now, Capricorn. In accordance with astrological rhythms, I hope you will be a connoisseur and instigator of beneficial, beautiful transformations.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Fitness buff Jack LaLanne was still doing his daily workout when he was 95. He was also famous for performing arduous feats. At age 65, for example, he swam a mile through Japan's Lake Ashinoko while towing 65 boats filled with 6,500 pounds of wood pulp. I think you're currently capable of a metaphorically comparable effort, Aquarius. One way to do it is by mastering a psychological challenge that has previously seemed overwhelming. So meditate on where your extra strength would be best directed, and use it wisely! If you can do Halloween without risk from COVID-19, here are costume suggestions: fitness buff, bodybuilder, marathon runner, yoga master.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): When birdwatchers describe a bird, they speak of its "jizz." This term refers to the distinctive character of its habitual movements, flying style, posture, vocal mannerisms, and coloring. One aficionado defines jizz as the bird's "indefinable quality," or the "vibe it gives off." I've got a theory that right now you're as bird-like as you've ever been. You seem lighter and freer than usual, less bound to gravity and solemnity, and more likely to break into song. Your fears are subsiding because you have the confidence to leave any situation that's weighing you down. If you can do Halloween without risk from COVID-19, here's a costume suggestion: the bird that has your favorite kind of jizz.

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EXTRA BONUS SUPPORT

Factual information and reasonable thinking alone are not sufficient to guide you through life’s labyrinthine tests. You need and deserve regular deliveries of uncanny revelation.

One of your inalienable rights as a human being should therefore be to receive mysteriously useful omens on a regular basis. In this spirit, I offer you the free weekly horoscopes you read here.

If you ever want more, and think it's worth paying for, try my EXPANDED AUDIO HOROSCOPES. They're four-to-five-minute meditations on the current state of your destiny and where you're headed.

To listen to your Expanded Audio Horoscope online, go to https://RealAstrology.com

Register and/or log in through the main page.

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The cost is $6 per sign online. (Discounts are available for bulk purchases.)

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"Your Expanded Audio Horoscopes provide me with the Rest of the Story. I'm not necessarily a believer in the scientific accuracy of astrology, but I do think you've got a lot of practical wisdom to impart."

—M. Tennenbaum, New York

"No one knows more about me than me. But you're right up there near the top of the list of people who do understand something about how I tick. How is that possible?"

—R. Goren, Albuquerque

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ARIES (March 21-April 19): Aries philosopher Emil Cioran wrote, "When I meet friends or people I know who are going through a difficult period, I usually have this advice for them: 'Spend 20 minutes in a cemetery, and you'll see that, though your worry won’t disappear, you'll almost forget about it and you'll feel better.'" I don't think you're weathering a terribly difficult phase right now, Aries, but you may be dealing with more riddles and doubts and perplexities than you're comfortable with. You could be feeling a bit darker and heavier than usual. And I think Cioran's advice would provide you with the proper stimulation to transform your riddles and doubts and perplexities into clarity and grace and aplomb. If you can do Halloween without risk from COVID-19, here's a costume suggestion: the spirit of a dead ancestor.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): According to some spiritual teachers, desire interferes with our quest for illumination. It diverts us from what's real and important. I know gurus who even go so far as to say that our yearnings deprive us of freedom; they entrap us and diminish us. I strongly disagree with all those ideas. I regard my longing as a primary fuel that energizes my drive to free myself from pain and nonsense. How about you, Taurus? In alignment with astrological omens, I authorize you to deepen and refine and celebrate the yearning in your heart. Your title/nickname could be: 1. Yearning Champion. 2. Desire Virtuoso. 3. Connoisseur of Longing.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Author Jessamyn West confessed, "I am always jumping into the sausage grinder and deciding, even before I’m half ground, that I don’t want to be a sausage after all." I offer her testimony as a cautionary tale, Gemini. There's no astrological reason, no cosmic necessity, that decrees you must become like a sausage anytime soon. Such a fate can be easily avoided. All you must do is commit yourself to not jumping into the sausage grinder. Also: In every way you can imagine, don't be like a sausage. (To meditate on sausage-ness, read the Wikipedia entry: https://tinyurl.com/SausageMetaphor)

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Our fellow Cancerian, author Franz Kafka, told us, "It is often safer to be in chains than to be free." And yes, some of us Crabs go through phases when we crave safety so much that we tolerate, even welcome, being in chains. But the fact is that you're far more likely to be safe if you are free, not in chains. And according to my reading of the astrological omens, that's extra true for you now. If you can celebrate Halloween without risk from COVID-19, here are costume suggestions: runaway prisoner, escape artist, freedom fighter.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Some of us yearn for allies who can act like saviors: rescue us from our demons and free us from our burdensome pasts and transform us into the beauties we want to become. On the other hand, some of us do all this hard work by ourselves: rescue ourselves from our demons and free ourselves from our burdensome pasts and transform ourselves into the beauties we want to become. I highly recommend the latter approach for you in the coming weeks, Leo. If you can do Halloween without risk from COVID-19, here is a costume suggestion: your own personal savior.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): "One of the reasons people are so unhappy is they don’t talk to themselves," says author Elizabeth Gilbert. "You have to keep a conversation going with yourself throughout your life," she continues, "to see how you’re doing, to keep your focus, to remain your own friend." Now is a favorable time to try such an experiment, Virgo. And if you already have skill in the art of carrying on a vibrant dialog with yourself, now is a perfect moment to upgrade and refine it. Try this experiment: Imagine having a conversation with the Future You.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): "In the absence of willpower, the most complete collection of virtues and talents is worthless." Libran occultist Aleister Crowley wrote that, and I agree. But let's phrase his idea more positively: To make full use of your virtues and talents, you must develop a strong willpower. And here's the good news, Libra: The coming weeks will be a favorable time to cultivate your willpower, along with the assets that bolster it, like discipline, self-control, and concentration. If you can do Halloween without risk from COVID-19, here are accessories I recommend for you to carry with you, no matter what your costume is: a wand, a symbolic lightning bolt, an ankh, an arrow, a Shiva lingam stone or crystal.

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Homework. Tell me what worked for you when all else failed. https://Newsletter.FreeWillAstrology.com      

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Submissions sent to Rob Brezsny's Astrology Newsletter or in response to "homework assignments" may be published in a variety of formats at Rob Brezsny's discretion, including but not limited to newsletters, books, the Free Will Astrology column, and Free Will Astrology website. We reserve the right to edit submissions for length, style, and content.

Requests for anonymity will be honored. We are not responsible for unsolicited submission of any creative material.

Contents of the Free Will Astrology Newsletter are Copyright 2021 Rob Brezsny

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