Living a Meaningful Life

Some people die at age 25 but aren’t buried until they’re 75” –Benjamin Franklin

Destination: Earth!
Destination: Earth!

If you’re married and have small children, I know you’ve heard them complain, “Dad, I’m bored. There’s nothing to do!”

I can understand such feelings and comments coming from young children. After all, they’re still quite new to life on earth and depend heavily on their parents for almost everything, including instilling meaning and purpose into their lives, but it really is the problem when you hear adults complain that life is boring?

For me, even as a kid, I was seldom bored. My whole life has been an exciting adventure! I’m a senior-senior now, and know that soon it will be time for me to “return home.” But I’ll go with satisfaction, with no regrets or remorse, knowing that I’ve lived my life to the maximum without malice or harm to any of God’s creatures, including man.

I am blessed with a great imagination—maybe that’s why I love the craft of writing: writing allows me to creatively visit exotic places and do exotic things that normal finances or physical ability wouldn’t allow me to do. I’ve always been that way. As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.”

Sometimes, in my more serious moments, I wonder, “Why am I hear? Is there a purpose to my life?” In order to find an answer, I have to go back to the beginning … way back … pre-earth beginning. In my mind I envision myself being bored, living somewhere in the spirit world: a place we call home. My problem in this ‘home’ is, I’m bored, doing nothing all day but float around on clouds—at least, that’s how many of us envision life at ‘home’—or also referred to as heaven! To overcome my boredom, I visit my favorite spiritual Travel Agency. Actually, I suspect this guy’s my Soul, assigned to me as a Nanny by The Boss, while I playfully, and even irresponsibly, wander through creation until maturity. My Nanny can be a little blunt and abrupt at times, but then, there are times when my actions deserve such treatment. After all, I’m not the easiest guy in the world to get along with.

“I want to go on another holiday,” I tell my Soul. “A nice holiday this time, not like that plaque infested, volcanic lump of hot sand you sent me to last time!”

“Serves you right for being so egotistic and hot-headed! Hope you learned some manners while there,” he smirks, then takes me to his massive, almost endless vault of tourist and holiday files and pauses at the shelf titled “Best Spots” and begins searching … and searching … endless searching. I become impatient.

“Why don’t you digitize all these files?” I ask. “It would be a lot easier for you to find things.”

He doesn’t reply, but keeps searching. Finally, he stops, points his scrawny little index finger to some sparsely populated area on the outer fringe of the galaxy.

“There! Earth!” He exclaims. “Best planet in this galaxy, where I only send my best friends!”

“And I only want to be born to the best parents!” I demand another condition. “Not like that three-eyed toad with the long nose you ported me through on Java-Hava-Ho way back when I was still young and more trusting.”

At that remark, my soul laughs hysterically. I never heard him laugh that hard before.

“You think that was funny?” I got a little peeved. “I nearly committed suicide over that prank of yours!

“O.k., o.k., I admit, that was a bit of a joke I played on you that time,” he wipes the tears of laughter from his eyes. “But you shouldn’t be so gullible and think for yourself once in a while instead of having me do all your thinking for you.” Being satisfied that he found the best place for me, he closes the near endless rows of tourist information points and turns to me.

“Tell you what. To make up for it, I’ll port you through the best, most decent parents available on earth during this cycle.”

“Well … it better be good this time!” I hesitantly agree, pouting a little to show my disfavor for having ported me to some of those previous, more nasty places. “When do I leave?”

“You have to wait nine months. You can’t go sooner because you first have to make a few adjustments to your personality. Not my fault you still have problems with women!”

Nine months!” I exclaim. “I’ll get all mouldy if I have to live in those damp clouds for that long—”

“Nine months, no sooner!” my Soul insists. “Boss’s orders! Just because your royal stock doesn’t mean you can just go traipsing, willy-nilly, through the universe having a jolly old time without also learning a few things—and maturing in the process. You know you’re going to be a god yourself some day, so you better start taking that role seriously, and I’m offering you a chance, while on earth, to become more serious.”

“Creativity is allowing oneself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”  –  Scott Adams

Well, that wasn’t exactly a word-for-word conversation that I had with my Soul on that fateful day when plans were made to port me through to earth for another interesting holiday, but you get the idea that my time here has been, as I said earlier, quite an adventurous holiday! I’d sort of like to stay here a few more years, but I don’t know exactly when my “school year” will be over. My Soul—Nanny—wouldn’t reveal that info to me. “Depends on how well you behave yourself,” is all he muttered then pretended to dismiss me by turning his back to me. But I hope you get the idea from all this talk that, for all of us, much of our time on earth has been pre-planned, and we, ourselves, had a lot to say under what conditions we’d come here. I like to think of it like entering school here on earth. The School Board, your teacher, and all others involved in your education (angels, spirit guides) have a loving, pre-planned course laid out for you. It’s all to your best interest. However, how well you do, depends on you, personally!

Our time on earth can be a nightmare, or it can be an adventurous holiday like mine has been so far. Because of our royal status, we do, individually, have a lot of say if we wish to learn and mature or not. That’s always a choice open to us! I would just like to offer a final remember: we are of royal blood, and predestined to co-rule with our Father and Mother in an Infinite Universe.

Don’t screw it up!

A Sunday Chat with Myself—Satan Never Lies to You!”

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” —Oscar Wilde

I’ve often heard people make a comment, then close that comment with, “and that’s the truth.” I don’t doubt that what they’ve just said they believe to be the truth—for them! But is it universally true, and will their statement—their truth—stand the test of time?

There are over seven billion people living on earth at this time, each with our own particular beliefs, and an estimated 4,200 belief systems. I also maintain that the word, “religion” doesn’t necessarily mean belonging to a religious organization. Although there are those who will vigorously deny it, every person is religious, whether they belong to a ‘religious’ organization or not. You may believe that having lots of money is the single source of happiness. Fine! That’s your belief; your religion!

Personally, as a practicing Christian, I believe in certain principles and follow certain dogmas. On the other hand, Muslim’s beliefs, although similar in most areas to Christianity, has its differences from my religion, yet we both claim to believe in the same God who created both of us, and is our salvation.

Even in Christianity itself there are diverse beliefs and ‘authoritative’ interpreters of what Jesus claimed to have said, so my question is, who heard Jesus correctly, and who understood Jesus correctly—and is my interpretation and understanding the only right one?

I often envision Jesus tuning in on his diverse followers and shaking his head in disbelief: “how can some of my acclaimed followers misquote and misinterpret me so badly from what I had originally said? I taught love and forgiveness, not hate and war!

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –Plato

Then there is the matter of faith. According to Wikibooks, “Faith is the basic ingredient to begin a relationship with God. Faith is the assurance that the things revealed and promised in the Word are true, even though unseen, and gives the believer a conviction that what he expects in faith, will come to pass.” Sounds so simple and beautiful, but it is exactly that element in our nature that also causes more wars and anguish than anything else.

I often envision an army, drummed into full, passionate hate, getting ready for battle against their assumed foe. In the last act before actually engaging the ‘enemy,’ they’re blessed by their ‘God-appointed’ Padres and assured that “God is on our side,” while at the same time, our assumed enemy’s Padres are also blessing their troops and told that “God is on their side.” Now they feel most energized to mercilessly slaughter one another, all in the name of the same loving God who created all humans! There’s something wrong with that scenario!

I can’t help but think that there is also something very wrong when I hear both our religious leaders and politicians excite crowds into states of separation, hate and violence against the ‘chosen foe.’ To me, these ‘rabble rousers’—politicians and preachers—are the real Satans—the Lucifers of the world mentioned in Scripture, who use religious texts, twist the contents ever so slightly, then have us believe that what they speak—the twisted truth, is actually the real truth!

This is another example of what I mean when I say we have accepted certain men and women in our lives to lead us, and often that truth gets twisted to suit their agenda, not Jesus’ agenda for us. In John 13:34 Jesus is reported to have said, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Do you see any room here for isolation of a neighbor, separation of loved ones or hate because they didn’t follow our particular wish, or reason to hate someone enough to go to war with them and kill them? And remember, Jesus didn’t just wish that we would love one another: He gave us a commandment to love one another. That truth is direct and straight forward. Pretty hard to change facts and their meaning—or is it?

So, how would Lucifer twist Jesus’ command to love one another to suit his own purpose? Simple! Lucifer would stand on his podium and piously agree with the truth that Jesus spoke: “love one another,” but in a quieter moment, he’d simply add, “as long as people repent and do what I tell them to do!” And, in just that simple, innocent-sounding short addition, he’s completely turned love into hate, and given you your ‘righteous’ excuse to go to war with your neighbor!

Another example. I wake up one morning and find that my house has been broken into, and my money stolen. Immediately, in a great fanfare of emotion that an-injustice-has-been-committed-against-me,  I call the police—and the news media, eternally seeking for that dramatic moment in one’s life (especially if their cameras can capture a tear or two in my eye. That would help), is hard on the heals of the police, looking for that dramatic cry of ‘injustice’, and, I-need-to-be-avenged, while shaking my fist and declare in rightousness that the perpetrator be justly punished.

Lucifer, and his band of dedicated followers, feed on hate and intolerance of this kind. That’s their food! War is a banquet to them.

Back to my story. Instead of getting all hyper and vengeful, why not stop and ask—as Jesus would certainly do—why did that person go to all the trouble of breaking into my house and robbing me? Maybe he has been unemployed for some time and he and his family are having trouble meeting their bills. He needs money. Where can I help? Maybe he has an addiction problem and his sense of morals have been perverted. Again, where can I help? Or, could it be that the guy is simply a sociopath and doesn’t know any better, thus needs more than my help: he needs professional help.

Jail is a punishment invented by man, not The Christ! Jail is not compassion!

In either case, when the man is brought before the judge for trial, am I there to help decide a compassionate solution to his problem? Admittedly, the man does have a problem because a normal, balanced person is not going to deliberately commit a crime against his fellow man. And that is a truth!

Sometimes, when I look at the world and see all the cruelty, suffering and hate that we foist on each other, I have to wonder just how far—if at all—we have evolved from the primitive savage that our anthropologists and archaeologists tell us we supposedly came from.

I also look up at the stars and think, is there intelligent life out there? If there is, why haven’t they contacted us? Could it be that they are patiently waiting for us to grow up: to throw off our primitive habits and become kinder, and more honest with each other; to evolve to a point where we are intelligent and spiritual enough so that Satan no longer has the power to twist the truth to his morbid pleasure and our suffering?

I believe that only then, when we’ve outgrown our weakness to accept“twisted truth,” will we be formally visited by Extraterrestrials and invited to join the Cosmic Community!

A Sunday Chat with Myself: Are we an Advanced Society?

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” —Søren Kierkesgaard

This morning I sat myself comfortably into my office chair, leaned back, took a deep breath, held it for a moment, then slowly exhaled.

I was totally Relaxed and free of all the ‘happenings’ of the past week.

Sunday morning—it was that time of week for me to escape from the world and think metaphysically: to reflect on how the past week had impacted my life. For me, gratitude is the first thought that comes to mind, like being forever grateful for my overall health, income security, a nice, comfortable home, specialized, well-trained police that shield me reasonably well from predators … even our weather has been quite normal, compared to some of the storms, floods, forest fires and heat waves that are plaguing the rest of the country. It is such a joy to feel how lucky a person I am!

Our advanced society has given me many comforts, safety and protection that other nations, especially less developed ones, don’t enjoy. For example, the desperate “boat people” we hear about who sell everything they have and give it to a risky and mostly dubious “helper,” then, shoves them onto overcrowded boats where they must gamble their very lives to come to my country where they hope for a better life: a way of life I take for granted almost daily.

However, as I continued in my “grateful reverie,” my Super Self started challenging my good feelings. Sure, I had a lot of things in my life that brought me pleasure and comfort—I lack from nothing, physically—but how am I doing in my spiritual evolution? After all, I did come from somewhere other than this earthly, physical world—and for a reason, and I’m sure it wasn’t to just see how much worldly stuff I could collect!

“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” — Charles Dickens

According to Zecharia Sitchin’s view (he’s renowned for his translations of early Sumerian writings into English), the Adamic race had its origin “quite suddenly”—over a period of just a few thousand years, evolutionarily-speaking—in this fertile region some 6,000 years ago. That 6,000 years, has given us enough time to evolve physically to a modest degree, but what about our spiritual evolution? Sure, as I said earlier, we have a lot of nice, modern things in our lives—homes, TV, wireless communications, good health plans, etc.— but in some other ways, spiritually, we’re still as barbaric as we were in our beginning! Envy, hate, greed, lust, cheating, lying—I still can’t leave my home without locking my doors due to the risk of home invasion: do you see change?

On the other hand, I subscribe to several charitable and meditation groups and we do a tremendous amount of good in helping to raise the level of human consciousness. My Church, alone, sponsors several charities to help individuals improve their lives, like food and clothing banks, disaster relief, educational foundations and research funding.

The bottom line is, we are moving forward, both in physical technologies, and in spiritual growth and compassion. It’s simply a matter of what side of the fence we focus our thoughts on as we analyse the world. Personally, I’ll take the cheerful, compassionate, grateful side, and leave the negative, fearful stuff up to the subscribers of the evening news media!

“When the light is imminent, the darkness gets agitated.” —Dr. Barbara De Angelis, Gaia TV

A Sunday Chat with Myself—More on Gratitude

“Gratitude  is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” — Cicero

At my age I need a little more rest than a younger man might need, so I frequently retire during the day for a short nap. We have a large long-haired grey cat who, as soon as he sees me heading towards the bedroom, follows and snuggles up against my chest. I comment to other family members that we (the cat and I) are enjoying some “quality time” together: he is enjoying my company, and I am enjoying his company.

I have no problem believing that I can have ‘quality time’ with a cat because I believe that there is only life—consciousness—in the universe. The cat, in consciousness, is equal to my consciousness. Conscious awareness is like living in an infinite cosmic ocean of self-awareness that I—and my cat—are all part of. I look at it this way: take a cup of water out of the ocean. That cup of water, although briefly separated from the ocean, is still “ocean.” So, there is no difference between my consciousness and the cat’s consciousness. We’re all … uh, consciousness!

… But yet, there is something different between me and my cat. Although we share similarities – consciousness – we have different destinies: different callings. For the cat, as long as it is fed and watered, and receives its share of love and comfort in my home, it is quite content to live out its days with me as being … well, just a cat!

On the other hand, I need more in my life. I need physical and intellectual challenges. I need more than the simple ‘animalistic’ need to love and to be loved. I need recognition of being of some importance in life! So, what is it in me that makes me crave love, affection, learning, etc., while my cat is quite content to live a simple life? And, more importantly, how do I go about fulfilling these cravings that I have?

Through self awareness, I realize that if I do something nice for a person I get a really good feeling for my effort. That seems to be my reward: if I do something nice to a person, I am rewarded by feeling good, so there is truth to the Biblical saying, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If I do something that makes another person feel good, I feel good in return.

On the flip side, if I do something mean to another person, the result can leave me with some uncomfortable, guilty feelings; or, if another person does something mean to me, I can feel hurt and angry. Furthermore, I have a choice in how I wish to treat the world, or choose how I wish to react to how the world treats me.

And that’s what makes me—my self—different from that of my cat: I have a broader range of choice of how I choose to react to the world around me.

Desire, “the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state,” also comes into play here. As far as I know, my cat has basic animal survival instincts that can only be related to desire—it needs shelter, food and an assurance of safety, but I can, through my more evolved attributes of desires, actually manipulate what I wish to accomplish, or not accomplish through my desires. In other words, I feel that I can accomplish, through my extra God-given gifts of choice and desire, much more in life than my cat can.

I have so much more to be grateful for than my cat has!

Or do I?

On second thought, maybe it’s my cat, not me, that has been given a God-given gift of simplicity that I don’t yet understand, and through that simplicity, has gained more reason to be thankful than I do through my complexities in life. So, when the cat and I snuggle up on our bed to enjoy our “quality time,” I feel that both of us are silently, each in our individual way, giving prayerful thanks and appreciation for all that our Creator has blessed us with.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”  — Epicurus

A Sunday Chat with Myself—Freedom of Religion

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”—Albert Einstein

Some people can get quite upset when the topic of religion comes up, claiming it to be the biggest superstition that has ever plagued us. I can’t blame them, because I’ve also had some bad experience with so-call “religious” people, so I know how they feel. But in all fairness to the topic, there is—or can be—a world of difference between religion and spirituality, and the various opinions between the both. An incident in my life where I had a run-in with a “religious” person comes to mind.

My first wife and I were considering divorce. My wife’s local Bishop called us in to see if there was a chance at reconciliation. My wife went first into the Bishop’s office, I was standing in the hallway, waiting for my turn to see him. Oh, I should mention that, at the time, I considered myself a devout atheist, and I certainly was not a member of my wife’s church.

While I was standing in the hallway, waiting my turn to see the Bishop, a member of that congregation approached me and started spouting off the advantages of being a Christian—of his faith, in particular. As I kept showing my increased resistance to his claimed “advantages,” he kept getting more forceful in his demands that I needed to “repent” and follow his Jesus: that his religion was the only true religion, and if I didn’t get baptized and confess all my sins before his God, God would punish me, just like he will punish all the other wicked sinners in the world who don’t get baptized into his faith—by throwing me into a pit of hellish-hot fire to which I would be doomed to  for all eternity!

The guy wasn’t aware that I was still in the military at the time, physically quite fit, and certainly not averse to a good fight! Had not some other members of his congregation come and led him away from me, that little runt was rapidly coming “that close” to receiving a very bloody nose for his “missionary” efforts!

“It is one thing to have a ZEAL for God and another thing to have a SEAL from God” ―George Ifeanyi 

Sadly, it is this kind of religious attitude that too many people with feelings of exclusionist zeal have to anyone who is not of their faith, and it is this kind of zeal that not only separates them from the rest of humanity, but also from the true Gospel that Jesus the Christ tried to bring to the world.

I think Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees’ question, as to which the greatest commandment is, quite aptly replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God … and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love they neighbour as thyself.” (see Matthew 22:35-39). And as if to finalize his point, Jesus added, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:40). In other words, if what you are doing does not comply with the first two commandments, you’re not teaching,  nor living, the Gospel.

Mankind has been visited by true prophets, under the guise of many names, from very ancient times to more modern understanding that we have towards religion and spirituality. Unfortunately, with the exception of the most historical prophets, they have been stoned, crucified, or burned at the stake!

What is it with people: they refuse to accept happiness—and, in really, that’s what true spirituality is about: happiness. Happiness’ only religion is that physical organization that administers compassion, love, charity and understanding—in other words, joy, to mankind. All other religions are false religions!

“I care how I feel and it is my desire to feel good.” —Abraham Hicks

Happiness is manifested spirituality. When a person finally finds happiness, they instinctively will kneel to its dictates because of their positiveness. Only happiness can grant to its adherents the power to embrace a lonely person and tell them, compassionately, that they are not alone: that they are loved and cherished, like all of God’s creatures are loved.

Hell, and damnation. What a primitive, barbaric concept!

Only those who have found Happiness have the power to lay down their guns and embrace all cultures and beliefs of the world: that all of us are equal in the eyes of God.

What a wonderful world this would be if we would forget our pride and personal grievances, and kneel, in humble submission, to the true Spirituality of the Universe:  Happiness, and make that Spirituality our Religion!

“My path is about joy!” —Abraham-Hicks

A Sunday Chat with Myself—”Stay in School!”

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”  –Albert Einstein

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(I like the above quote by Einstein. I hope I know my topic well enough so that not only six-year-olds, but also my other, mature readers can understand what I’m trying to say)

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Suicide is so prevalent in our society that it’s become a real issue. I believe the reason is because society—and in particular, we here in a socially developed country—have completely lost our way, morally, and have abandoned the positive attributes that have once allowed previous societies in historical times to flourish. We’ve become so preoccupied with our “freedom to be ourselves,” that we’ve totally forgotten that freedom—and it’s true, humans are the only creatures on our planet who have been given the ability to understand and exercise total freedom—but freedom carries with it an equal amount of responsibility, and that responsibility is relevant to the freedom we express, and I feel that our society has completely forgotten, or ignored this important fact.

To quote science, “every action has its opposite and equal reaction.” In short, if I’m careless and create only a small cut my finger, a simple band aid could easily repair the reaction to my cut finger. However, if I suddenly have a feel “liberated—feeling free to do as I please,” moment, and have a few drinks of alcohol, then get behind the wheel of a car and have an accident and seriously injure myself, the reaction to my cause can be much more serious, even life threatening. In other words, as Einstein would say, “It’s all relative.” Action and reaction. These are the two universal laws that I feel our Western society has completely ignored, and is, beyond doubt, at the root of our problems. We’ve abandoned the common sense that allowed our ancestors not only to survive, but to thrive in an often-hostile environment.

“Wise people learn when then can. Fools learn when they must.” —Duke of Wellington

The problems we face in life—and why we have problems—have, for a long time been a puzzle and a mystery to me, until it was explained to me this way: life is a school!

At one time, in our very far distant past—long before we even came here to Earth—our “Parents” sat down with us and discussed our future growth. I believe that our “Parents” loved us very much and wanted only the best possible “education” that they and the Universe could provide for us. In searching the Cosmos for the “best school,” they finally found a special school for us, in our case—Earth—and “hired” a special Teacher that had all the qualifications: the wisdom and ability to guide and direct us to the ultimate fulfillment of our souls.

In my case, the Teacher’s name they “hired” was called “Jesus.” For you, it may have been “Mohammed,” or the “Dalai Lama,” or any one of the many other great philosophers/masters that were cosmically available—and fully qualified to educate us. Some “Teachers” had different methods, but the ultimate goal was the same for all of us: for us to reach spiritual perfection.

All the schools were uniformly, cosmically designed and based on the principal of cause and effect, broken down into “right” versus “wrong,” or “good” versus “evil,” or “love” versus “hate.”

When we were in “Grade One” in this “Earthly School,” our assignments were simple: to learn the basics of life; love brings better results than hate; honesty is better than distrust, and so on.

In “Grade Two” we might have learned that if we do a kind deed to someone, we make friends. Besides, learning to be kind also made us feel happier than if we were cruel to another person.

In Grade Three” we might have learned compassion and to start thinking about walking a “Ministering” path ourselves because of the love we are starting to develop for our fellow feeling of compassion to man.

Unfortunately, like the person contemplating suicide, when we lose our directive as to why we’re here. Escape seems like a logical solution to our overwhelming problem. That is why it is so vital to our own survival—and the survival of all of us—that, if you have matured enough to have “graduated” in life to at least “Grade Three,” or beyond, to gently put our protective arms around such a “lost” person and gently help them back “into the classroom.”

A suicide is not just a failure on the part of one person—one soul—it is a failure and a blemish on all of society! From “Grade Three” and beyond in our “Earth-School,” we learn that we are all one family: we are responsible for each other! No “Sin” is too small or too great that communal love and empathy can’t help heal!

One Day, or Day One. It’s your decision.” –Anon