Life Without Religion

“Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents. Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a god, but never without a belief in a devil.” ― Eric Hoffer,

Many people, especially North Americans, pride themselves in their non-religious beliefs. Too many of us believe that religion has caused more social damage than good, therefore it cannot have had, is having, or will have a positive influence on human relationships.

Nothing could be farther from the truth!

A superficial glance at religion, both present-day and ancient, they appear superstitious and practices that defy reason … that is until we apply the initial purpose of ritual to many religious practices.

Since I profess to be a practicing Christian, I’ll use Biblical and Christian-oriented examples in my reasoning. However, they can equally be used in any religious practice to understand the reason behind the ritual.

The ritual of Christian baptism is one example. Without going into the deeper meaning behind the ritual of baptism, there is no magic in the ritual itself, other than it denotes the person being baptized is now a member of that specific religious belief, and is expected to follow its rules, and appreciate its many benefits like receiving guidance from the Holy Spirit, special study groups to help one become more spiritual, strength in group prayer, and more.

Liken it unto a person joining a co-op grocery store. The initial fee could represent the baptism: becoming a member, and the ‘baptism’ would include a briefing, or explaining—and involve the member’s acceptance — the rules governing his new membership. Upon accepting the regulations governing The Co-op, the recent member would now have access to the benefits of special bargains, unique products, and other savings. Like discounts on travel or hotel lodgings.

Another advantage of belonging to a religious group is the power in numbers that it can influence on our society at large. However, this power is a two-edged sword: it can literally benefit the community at large, or it can be a detriment, and this is where the great debate comes in—and probably the biggest reason so many people renounce any belief in God—and sadly, are missing out on wonderful opportunities that conscientious religious organizations can offer a person.

The history of religion is old, its roots forming some time when we, Homo sapiens, first established their superiority over the rest of the Homo crowd. And, yes, many wars and much cruelty has been committed in the name of religion. But, one reason we even rose to the top of the food chain is, that “Tolerance is not a Sapiens trademark.”[i] In short, most times, we fought our way to the top, so violence is in our basic nature—and this is where religion comes in: it can help us become more spiritual, more compassionate, and more loving to each other. Here are a few examples. But, remember, it’s your choice. We can accept the spiritual aspects of religious benefit into our lives, or we can revert to our ancestral ways of getting what we want through violence. Don’t blame religion. Blame our genes!

One last point before deciding about accepting religion. Don’t pay any attention to all the negative stories you hear about religion. Think of any institute in our society: the police, our school system, our legal system. Do any of them have a hundred percent flawless record? No person is perfect—and even then, what is the definition of perfect? Criticism isn’t a positive way to view society. It’s actually a copout, an excuse for some to do nothing. Here are a few positive points to help you get started.

  • Helps in spiritual growth. You’ve heard the expression, “I’m a spiritual person, not a religious person.” Well, here’s your chance to become both spiritual and religious.
  • Accepting good morals can improve honesty.
  • Strengthens family ties.
  • Faith reduces fear and promotes mental health.
  • Improves creative skills. Art has its roots in religion.
  • Helps you become more compassionate.

A great article in Philosophy Talk, titled “How Can Smart People Still Believe in God?[ii] written by Kenneth Taylor can be an excellent start to becoming a more religious person and put meaning into your life. You’ll be glad you read it!

[i] Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari, p.19

[ii] How Can Smart People Still Believe in God?”  https://www.philosophytalk.org/blog/how-can-smart-people-still-believe-god

You’re Old Enough, Now. Learn to do it Yourself!

 

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.  — Jimi Hendrix

See the source imageIn this article I’m going to talk about spiritual guides; not the popular sham ‘guides’ that take you for your money, but the real, honest-to-goodness genuine spiritual guides that you can count on for help. Yes, the universe is full of compassionate spirit guides, angels and benign beings who are quite willing to help you. You just have to know how to unlearn old bad habits and take positive steps to make yourself aware of their presence … and, of course, the big question: how and where these spirit beings can help, and where they have to leave you learn to walk your own path alone.

And, in these latter-day, troubled times, when the world seems to be throwing just too many events at us in too short a time to handle, what could be more welcome than a powerful, compassionate Spirit Guide?

Unfortunately, even in these enlightened times, people who claim to have psychic or other spiritual abilities are still considered to be a little ‘off-centre:’ someone that we ‘forget’ to invite to our social functions. Mind you, knowledgeable folks who are even somewhat familiar with these ‘psychics’ have good reason—probably from personal experience, to show that, much of channelling, card reading, fortune telling and astrology readings are fake! But, other than to caution you that most of these “readers” are fakes, these scammers aren’t the subject of my article, but I will add the reason these scams are so popular is because people—probably due to our own insecurity—will go to great lengths to want to know what’s going to happen to them in the future.

I have an upcoming article where I’ll write specifically about our insecurities and why so many of us turn to spiritual help (different from religious help) for answers, but for now, be very cautious about accepting the advice of one of these ‘psychic’ scammers. Do some diligent research first before engaging an honest fortune teller/prognosticator. Good, honest psychic readers are out there, but the cleverness of scammers makes it very difficult for the uninitiate to tell the difference between an honest and dishonest psychic. It’s something like the old saying of a wolf disguising himself as a sheep in order to catch the unwary sheep. These scamming sociopaths are very professional, and not unlike these computer phone scammers that are so popular now, these guys have the right questions and right answers for the gullible to make you believe that what they’re telling you are ‘facts’ coming through to them from ‘the other side!’

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”  Saint Francis de Sales

O.k., having finished now with the precautionary introductions as to what I really want to talk about, I’ll leave the topic of psychic healers/helpers and talk about personal spiritual experiences that people, themselves, have had, ranging anywhere from near-death experience, a ‘visitation,’ a vision, or a very powerful, meaningful dream that contained a message for you—and you alone that has helped you, personally, deal with some particular troublesome problem in your life.

The difference here is that, instead of seeking spiritual help from the outside world, the genuine spirits are coming to you and offering their assistance through your own conscious self. One nice thing about the spirits coming to you, instead of you seeking outside of yourself for them is that, unless you’ve created some negative situation to rouse the interests of the ‘dark’ side, your experiences should be positive and reliable.

First of all, you should know that you’re not alone or unique in having—or have had—a spiritual experience. This is not a rare phenomenon. Many thousands of people over the years, going centuries back in time, have had quite dramatic experiences. The problem is, because going public and talking about them is still not a social norm here in the Americas, people tend to just keep such experiences to themselves.

Since we’ve entered the New Age—the age of Aquarius that was supposed to have taken place around December 22, 2012, it’s becoming increasingly more common for people to have spiritual experiences that go well beyond worldly, physical limits, and thus become hard to describe to a friend. Often, the difficulty in describing your experience is not so much fear of being labeled ‘odd,’ but how do you effectively describe such an experience that has no physical, third density, comparison?

My solution is, if I’m talking to another person about one of my spiritual experiences and the person I’m talking to has also had a similar experience, that person will understand. If the person I’m talking to has not had a similar personal experience, then all the describing in the world isn’t going to fully explain the same thoughts and feelings that I experienced.

Here are just two of my spiritual experiences, and how they helped me cope with the frustrations and uncertainties of my life. By describing them to you, hopefully it will help you feel more comfortable in talking about your own experience.

I was one of those kids who, as far back into my childhood as I can remember, I had quite regular ‘visitations’ from the spirit world. One of my first, and most dramatic experience takes me back to my childhood, circa 1930s. One night, when I was about four years old, my deceased oldest sister, Ilona, come to me and announce that she will be my Guardian Angel! Ilona had died even before I was born so, being the third child in our family, I never did get to know her in a physical sense, but over the years since her dramatic spiritual appearance and announcement, I’ve come to feel her comforting presence—and protection, on many occasions. There is no room in this short article to give examples, but I just want to assure you that not just me, or a few thousand others out there have Guardian Angels, but every living person has a Guardian Angel, be it a deceased family member, or a commitment we may have made with another soul in a previous life to ‘guard’ each other as we travel through many earthly dangers.

Why don’t more people report the presence of a Guardian Angel in their life? Our Western society with its materialistic outlook on life is mostly responsible! “It’s all in your mind,” we’re trained to think, so eventually, we begin to believe that erroneous information and miss out on the experiences of a wonderful companionship that we could have had!

My second ‘visitation’ experience occurred when I was a bit older—I think I was six years old at the time—I had the distinct pleasure of meeting one of my closest Spiritual Guides! He just stood there at the side of my bed for several moments, arms folded, and gave me the nicest, friendliest smile. He didn’t speak, but I certainly knew from his smile and loving eyes that he was assigned to be my trusted friend for life.

Unfortunately, most of my youth and adulthood was spent in living and believing ‘the way of the world,’ so, in general, I dismissed—and even forgot—about my Spiritual Guide. It wasn’t until I lived well into my senior years that I again thought about my good friend. Up to now, I hadn’t even bothered to give him a name (spirits really don’t have names, but don’t mind if we assign them names if it helps you identify with them), but now, as I really came to value my Spirit Guide, I felt that I just had to give him a name: I named him “My Yoda,” named after the famous Yoda of Star Wars fame who was quoted to have said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Only difference being, My Yoda was even more cryptic and positive in his advice to me: “Do! There is no try!”

Since there is no sense of time or space in the spirit world, Spirit Guides and Guardian Angels can have (fortunately for us) infinite patience with us.

Of course, as I began to rely more and more on My Yoda to answer my problems, even trivial little things, in hindsight, I could see that I was getting into the habit of not doing much thinking for myself. My Yoda also noticed this. So, My Yoda patiently took the time to demonstrate to me by just remaining silent at times when I asked trivial questions. My Yoda’s spiritual silence spoke volumes! Through his ‘silence,’ I became aware of how important it was for me to be responsible for my own decisions and not rely so heavily on others to do my thinking for me. Relying too heavily on other people to do my thinking does nothing to improve my spiritual growth!

Relying too heavily on other people to do my thinking does nothing to improve my spiritual growth!

All this brings me back to my opening thought about psychics and the spirit world and what we should or should not allow to enter our minds. Right from the beginning of time, God made us whole and complete in every sense. Although it is wise to harken to good advice, the best advice that you can possibly ever receive comes from within you, be it from your own Self, your Guardian Angel, or your Spiritual Guide. Much of society’s problems stem from the fact that we’ve been condition, even from childhood, that we are nothing: Your stupid! Grow up! Act your age! You’ll never amount to anything! Your sister can do it, so why can’t you? It is no wonder that, when crisis strikes—and crisis does visit every one of us at some time or another—we seek outside help instead of relying on the most accurate help that we could ever hope to get: from inside of our own Being!

Because of the way some of us have been conditioned in life; to disrespect our God-given wholeness in which we’ve been created, we live our lives in fear of the unknown; conditioned to believe that we have no control of our circumstances. Nothing can be farther from the truth of who you really are! You are created in the image of the Almighty God Himself! You, personally, are a god-in-the-making! And, like any person of royalty, you have been assigned a host of loyal servants and friends to help you through life’ journey. Begin each morning in gratitude and remembrance of your Guardian Angel and your Spiritual Guide. Be determined to cultivate their presence in your life and you will never be without trusted friends!

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Wayne Dyer

Gratitude

Do you remember, as a kid, running up to your Dad and asking him to give you a portion of your allowance? With a smile, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a dollar and gave it to you. Quick as a bouncing rabbit, you took off to the store to meet friends who were already there waiting for you—

“Hey, didn’t you forget something?” Your Dad called after you before you even reached the door. You stopped in your tracks … Oh yes! You ran back to your Dad, gave him a big hug and said, “Thank you, Dad!” … Then you ran off to the store to meet with your friends.

That might have been your first lesson in learning gratitude.

“Gratitude turns what you have into enough” — anonymous

Your second lesson in gratitude may have come when you attended Sunday School and learned that Jesus also preached the power and importance of giving gratitude in the example of His Parable of the Talents: “For unto every one that hath [gratitude] shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not [gratitude] shall be taken away even that which he hath.” – Matthew 25:29

But, as we grew up and became lost in a material world of self-gain, we forgot these lessons. Here’s an example of what I mean: we all love honey. We know that millions of busy little bees work all summer to store up their winter’s supply of honey, so what do we do? We steal it from them! Mind you, I’m not saying that this practice of … uh … ‘helping ourselves’ to the bee’s honey is wrong; not even morally wrong. Creation is so designed that every creature, be it human, animal, reptile, insect, bird, plant or tree, are both preyed upon, and/or are prey to something else in Nature. However, the truth is that all these amenities we ‘take’ for granted (pun intended), including life itself, are gifts from a divine Parent and showing gratitude goes a long way in ensuring the continuation of these gifts. Still staying on the topic of our honeybees, here’s a bad example of selfishness, with a lack of gratitude.

we’ve all read news articles of how farmers are (in some cases, quite indiscriminately) using poisonous chemicals on their grain crops for weed control, but in the process, destroying the bee population, threatening to wipe them out completely. Are we concerned? Some of us are, but it still seems, with our politicians, money talks louder than concern for the survival of the bee. Gratitude for the honeybee’s contribution to our welfare isn’t even on the table!

Are we ever going to be held accountable for our lack of gratitude for all the wonderful things we enjoy on this planet? Go back to your youth when you asked your Dad for some allowance. What would have happened if you stubbornly, and consistently refused to thank him for your allowance?

Methodist minister, John Wesley, said: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all he times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can!” That’s being grateful! Don’t be like the servant, in Matthew, who had “even what he had” taken from him for lack of giving gratitude!

“What you are is God’s gift to you. What you become is your gift to god.”

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

 

 

A Sunday Chat with Myself—the importance of Music in My life

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”  —Friedrich Nietzsche

Here’s my (added) version of Genesis: sometime after the “Sixth Day,” when God saw that all His creation was good, He did note that mankind easily fell into negative states of being. Man could become frustrated and make himself sick from worrying. Man could procrastinate and not mind some of the necessary chores in life. Man could also experience fits of disgruntlement, impatience and have just an every day lackluster day that didn’t let him enjoy the wonderful creation around him.

So, in order to let man enjoy his life again, God gave man the ability to appreciate music!

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Music has always played a big role in my life. If I had a rather difficult day and need to escape  for a a while, I put on my headphones, escape to my bedroom and spend an hour listening to such favorites as Mozart’s Requiem. It’s deep, it’s heavy, and requires full concentration to appreciate it. That’s what I need to forget my worldly cares!

On the other hand, if I feel more like just letting my mind relax a bit and re energize myself, I might try Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

But, classical music isn’t my only like in music. When I exercise, there’s nothing as fitting as Indi Pop music, or a Latin beat to get me moving energetically . In other words, I’m quite eclectic in my music taste and I like that because, in my life, there’s music for every state of mind I’m in.

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” —Friedrich Nietzsche

Music can also feed my nostalgia. As I’ve said in some of my previous posts, when I was a kid living on a Saskatchewan farm, my only ambition was to be a cowboy, and I was completely—without reservation—involved in cowboy music. Even today, nothing can make me stop working and turn me into a nostalgic dreamer faster than listening to some scratchy old vinyl records by Wilf Carter,  like, “There’s a Bluebird on Your Windowsill,” or “Red River Valley Blues.”

Music can also be healing. It is a known  fact that some ‘out-of-sorts‘ feelings can be made to completely vanish by listening to appropriate music. With so much quality—and free—music available on the Internet—Youtube comes to mind as a good source of free music. It is so easy to chose some quiet, healing music—Reiki music is my favorite, put on my headphones, get comfortable in my recliner or lay on my bed, and wake up an hour later feeling much refreshed.

There are other benefits that music can provide. For example,

  • music can ease pain. Music can distract me from my pain and let my body naturally heal itself and keep me from getting too negatively attached to my pain.
  • It can motivate me. A bit of lively jazz can get me up and out of my lethargy and free me to do  some of the things I’ve meant to do all morning, but was just procrastinating.
  • Improve sleep quality. When I’ve had a busy or frustrating day I really look forward to getting into my pajamas and relaxing in my easychair for a bit, turn on some classical piece of music and before long, my frustrations are history, and I’m ready for a sound sleep.
  • Music is also great for relieving depression. A lively bit of jazz or pop and I’m feeling much better.

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”  —Maya Angelou