Imagine yourself in a lifeboat with twenty other survivors from a storm that sank your ocean liner.
There is no hope of immediate rescue since the ship sunk without a radio message being sent out. Almost all travelers have been lost. The lifeboat is almost filled with other people. You know it will be several days or perhaps even much longer before help arrives.
There is drinking water and food for a week or two depending on the daily allotment agreed upon. You’re soaking wet. Though not freezing, the temperature has you huddling and uncomfortable. There is no overhead, and everyone is exposed to rain, wind and sun.
Think about the sacrifices you would be willing to make. Think about the psychological needs and desires and beliefs you would give up for physical survival and harmony with the needs of the group. Think about personal space and hygiene and the utter lack of privacy. Think about the danger of the sea and sun. Think about the reactions to stress of the others and how they might act in this dire situation. What might they do to you?
Daydream about this for five minutes.
Ask yourself,When I am projecting myself into this imagined scenario that is fraught with uncertainty, how do I feel? To what extent is my imagined travail a real stress for my nervous system to handle? If I felt-all day long-like I did during this exercise, what would be the long-term effects on me?
Why was this so easy for me to imagine? Just how creative am I?
To what extent do the problems I imagined having with the other survivors actually occur in my daily life when I deal with people? How many of these problems that I see in others are, to some degree-no matter how slightly-my personal problems too? Was this story somehow symbolic of my life?
If I were a saint, by my own definition, what would I then have imagined happening in the lifeboat?
How did I feel, morally, about “creating” all those other people, the challenging conditions, the behaviors? When daydreaming, as far as the characters in my dreams are concerned, am I God? How is my relationship with my “lifeboat universe” different from God’s relationship with the created universe I am in now?
If I could have “entered” my imagined lifeboat as “another character” and approached the “me character” within that dream, how would I go about explaining to that “me character” why “Everything’s okay. I’m the creator of all this. You don’t need to worry. I’m just having a fun little consciousness exercise, and after it’s over, you won’t even exist!”? How would I make the “me character” feel perfectly happy about this?
Why did I follow the rules of this exercise? Why didn’t I have another ship just happen upon the lifeboat within a few minutes?