Practical guide for Planet Friendly, 21st Century beings


The Multiple Stages of Faith

CrossModBlog

I was pondering this issue the other day and discovered that if you drill down a ways, into the origins of this powerful emotion [if it is an emotion] there is a lot more going on than one would expect? Especially regarding the cultivation of faith in human beings as a process of maturation and faith as an instinct in the animal kingdom.

Faith in the animal kingdom: animals, not just human animals, also appear to practice faith on a daily basis to assist them in their day to day survival and interaction with their fellow animal species. In the case of wildebeest or antelope or any herding animals, they have faith that when a predator advances on them there will be a member of their herd to sound a warning thus allowing the rest of the herd to seek an escape route. Otherwise they would each have to be on guard every moment of every day and rely only on themselves to determine the level of danger and appropriate escape route? They follow their herd in whatever direction it takes them and have faith that they will escape and live to graze again. Schools of fish and dolphins practice the same kind of faith. Where do we go, what do we do and where is the food?

As human beings, most of us are born into a single family unit, completely helpless and in need of 24/7 care and protection, to be provided to us by our immediate family members (or guardians). They must satisfy our considerable, immediate needs in order for us to survive the day so, through the daily experiences of hunger and satiety, fear and consoling, cold and warmth, we first learn to have faith in the people taking care of us. We learn through these ‘experiences’ that the deeds of our guardians are mostly positive and in our best interests, thus our ‘Faith’ in them as providers is justified. This would be the first stage in our life long experience with faith and trust. [In the case of child abuse though, I expect the opposite would be true where we would learn that people can’t be trusted and therefore we would develop a ‘lack of faith’ in them and a faith only in ourselves].

The next phase begins when our family members ‘teach’ us to extend our established faith beyond the deeds and actions and learned experiences of our immediate family unit. This would then be our first ‘leap of faith’ that we would encounter as impressionable youngsters? They could teach us to have faith that the car won’t crash on the way to school because Mom is a careful driver or because traffic is usually light at that time so it shouldn’t be a problem or maybe that the rain won’t melt us if we get caught outside in it and that everything will be ok if we happen to fall down and skin our knees. We are taught to have faith that everything will usually turn out alright during and after these mundane, everyday life occurrences. After a while then, we accept these everyday experiences as just a part of life and add these truths to our list of truths, and as part of our faith. We also incorporate, into our expanding and existing faith, the belief that what our family members tell us regarding everyday events and problems, are ‘truths’ and need not be questioned. Once again, our faith has been built upon facts and experiences.

Then there is the ‘family tradition’ type of faith also, where generations, or possibly this particular generation, believes in a specific religious institution and the children of the family are therefore expected to believe in the same religion and have faith that their family members are correct, and by proxy, the specific religion and religious claims are also correct (e.g. truth). We are taught then, to have faith in the tenets and writings of this family religion and to consider the purveyor of these ‘truths’ (pastor, priest, rabbi, bible, torah etc.) to be as trustworthy as our own family and to regard what we are told by these writings and purveyors to be unquestionable truths as well. We have now reached the second leap of faith stage; that being the belief that what we have not experienced for ourselves is true because we are told that they are true and our own personal experiences are not necessary as proof or validation. Our latest lesson in faith is now to learn to have faith in the unknown by second hand knowledge, passed down by unknown and unseen authors of a religion they can’t verify or question. Their faith is now required to be unwavering and unquestioning.

This is the point in our lives where we separate the faith-ful from the faith-less. This is when we begin to choose whether to believe or to disbelieve. This is the point in every human beings’ life when we must decide whether to believe whatever we are told by our trusted sources or to question everything until we gain the necessary knowledge to make our own decisions. This is also the juncture where we are judged by the faith we have cultivated or have not cultivated. Faithful or Faithless? We must choose and choose wisely. This is where the politics of religion enters the picture.

‘Faithlessness’ as a definition of the absence faith is really only used in a religious context since no one really knows or cares about our extent of faith in any other context. No one is ostracized (except possibly on a local level) for their lack of faith in government or purity of food or future direction of the stock market? We are really only judged by our respective religious institutions and their practitioners on our ‘extent of faith’ and our perceived ‘loyalty to the faith’ or conversely, on our apparent lack of faith and hence, disloyalty to ‘the faith’. ‘Lack of faith’ seems to be a relatively local stigma regarding the lack of faith in a particular religion or ideological area. The exception would be during a time of war when our faith is called patriotism and we are judged on our extent of patriotism by our fellow citizens and expected to give our all to the war effort without question. Aside from a war effort, we are judged by our local religious institution for having a lack of faith in their religion and a stigma is placed upon us on a local level as ‘disbelievers’ or infidels but as we venture further from the source of this stigma, the effect tends to wear thin and we are not judged as harshly by others of a different religion as long as we don’t interact with them or their particular brand of religion. In anonymity, our faith is our own and we can begin to cultivate our own faith and our own beliefs or choose top believe in nothing if we wish?

If we say out loud in most circles that ‘we don’t believe in god’ or the prevailing religion, we are looked upon as some sort of godless beast. At this stage, to be ‘without a god’ is unheard of and sinister. “Are you an Atheist?” “Do you believe in the Devil?” In a lot of societies, the local religious institution has dirty words that they teach to their flocks in order to vilify the non-believers; Atheist, Devil Worshipper and Godless are but a few. Not to ‘believe’ and have faith in the prevailing religious sect is to be an outsider and untrustworthy. The “If you’re not with us you’re against us” attitude is prevalent. Both camps have chosen sides and we’re in one or the other. Faith in the Universe is unacceptable as an alternative to either side.

Also from the stage of religious faith, if we have gone with the program and believe what we are told, we are then taught to extend our faith well beyond even our own local religious institution and to have faith in our government and elected politicians; to have faith that the laws they legislate are just and in our best interests and long term welfare. At this stage, faith becomes a tool, not for us but for the purveyors of religion and politics. Our faith is counted upon to maintain the status of the religion, to re-elect a government and politicians and to believe what we are told so as to maintain the status quo of the present hierarchy. The more we question, the more of a liability and nuisance we tend become to them which is probably the reason for the practices of ostracization and scarlet letters seen through the centuries, possibly starting with the inception of the first human settlement?

So, we’ve learned to have faith, initially based on life experiences, then we were taught to extend our faith into areas outside of our own experiences. During these latter stages we each chose a path to take and are now living by the decisions we made and the faith we’ve accumulated or haven’t accumulated. One thing is for sure, the longer we stick around, the longer will be the list of people that are counting on our faith in them to maintain their status quo. Should we just ‘believe’ what we are told or should we just keep questioning until we find ‘truth’? Should we have ‘faith’ or do we even require ‘faith’? Is faith all-encompassing or is there still room for free-will somewhere? These are all questions we could ask ourselves ad infinitum or until we cease to exist on this planet and one more thing is also for sure; when our planet ceases to exist our religions and our faith will cease to exist as well. Is there an easy answer to all of this or does the truth lie in the unanswered questions? Someday we will all know, or not.

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Now that Blogging is dead – let me introduce ‘tweet-Blogging’

I thought I would start tweet-Blogging to keep up with the times. Short bursts of self-professed witicisms and observations will hold back the carpal tunnel monster and provide a forum for tweet-Blogging responses as well?

Let’s give it a try, shall we.

#1. Taking a wrong turn in life is a bitch. But, taking multiple wrong turns is even worse because, at some point the wrong turns taken can seem impossible to retrace and correct? And sometimes they are.



On Personal Development
March 29, 2010, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Articles of Interest, New age, Philosophy, Universe Mind

GrnEye

To me, the advent of the Personal Development field is absolutely the greatest thing to hit the humanist scene since the concept of Free Will. Here’s why …

One day you’re sitting in your office cube, or in the middle of digging your last ditch of the day when a little light suddenly flicks on in your mind, illuminating the words ‘DEAD END’ (or ‘LOSER’ which is not a nice thing to call yourself, but more on that at a later date). Well, this little light is actually you telling yourself that you’ve made some wrong choices somewhere along the road of life and now is the time to make some better informed decisions concerning your life’s direction. It’s an epiphany that’s long overdue. It’s also a gift since you now know that something has gone terribly wrong and all you need to do now is find out where, when and how it happened and how you can fix it.

This is the self discovery phase when you begin to examine your current mindset and find out how it has led you to this present reality. Many have had this epiphany as they were toiling away one day in a dirty, noisy factory or languishing in an office cubicle at a dead end job. This moment of self truth is a very powerful motivating tool for turning a life of self imposed mediocrity into a self fulfilling life experience. It can keep on working for us too, as long as we keep it fresh in our minds and guard it jealously from errant negativity (our own thoughts). This initial experience can also be very daunting as well as we suddenly see our mistakes amplified and focused upon in our minds. It can shock us into a depression or even make us angry at ourselves for being so blind to our previous errors in judgment. Instead of hating ourselves though, for getting into this mess in the first place or getting depressed about the impending doom ahead, there is a path that we can all take to effect the change of lifestyle which has now become both imminent and imperative? This path would lead straight to the field of Personal Development.

Personal development shows us that when it comes time to make drastic changes in our lives, the first logical place to start is by looking inward to our own cause and effect paradigm. It also provides a list of questions to ask ourselves and makes our introspection a more positive and fruitful endeavor rather than a self loathing and self deprecating experience. The list of questions one can ask themselves is endless and as customizable as any program ever implemented as the choices are as boundless as our imaginations and just as powerful.

It illuminates a reality that is self driven and self guided. It also enlightens us to our past foibles and future pitfalls. As it turns out, we were not meant to follow the paths of others as these paths often lead to mediocrity and wasted lives. We were meant to step out of line and carve our own destinies using our minds and our thoughts as road maps and compasses for our own life adventures. We can see the results of these types of thoughts and actions every day if we open our eyes and pay attention. Think about how many ex-Generals or ex-Colonels from the military who are sitting in a cubicle in your office or working on the production line at the factory? How many business moguls do you know of that have worked the same job for the last twenty years? How many owners of successful businesses do you know that have worked beside you for any extended period of time within the last ten or twenty years?

The common thread among them appears to be a matter of mindset and the ability to construct and shape their own destinies. Anyone who has personally experienced the self discovery phase knows that gaining control of thoughts and actions is the first and most arduous step in the process towards a new self guided destiny. It’s a matter of watching what you say and think, and learning to see our world from the new perspective of an enlightened being. Personal development is the key to a healthy happy life experience and is definitely here to stay. If we all make use of our own powers of self-persuasion and self guided destiny the world will be a much nicer place to be. Next time ‘Self talk’ will be examined as it is the key to convincing ourselves of our own inherent powers.



Nothingness (revisited)

milkyway_infrared2

Nothingness or Everything-ness (oneness)? Human beings think if they can’t touch or feel something, hear or see something, or smell something – then it doesn’t exist. The box has nothing in it so it is empty, there is no box so there is ‘nothing’. When our bodies (vessels) expire we descend into nothingness? The flipside to this way of thinking (philosophy) would actually be the opposite of popular opinion, in fact. If one thinks about it long enough and examines the facts, one would realize that ‘nothingness’ could in in fact be ‘oneness’.

It’s not a new idea, I realize, except that it has been used before almost strictly in the context of religion, philosophy and that oxymoron of all oxymorons ‘religious philosophy’. I would pragmatically agree that in the context of universal beingship (no ism’s attached) nothingness would be the oneness with everything (everything-ness). In our sentient vessels we are detached from everything around us and cannot comprehend the existence of anything outside of our own thoughts without the interaction of our senses. Our animal senses are separated into individual sensations or functions thereby causing us to think that we are somehow ‘supposed to be’ separated from the fabric of our universe as individual beings, not thinking that the universe surrounds us all like water in a bathtub or like a ‘universe suit’ or energy soup. It touches our skin but we can’t ‘feel’ it, it is our unseen second skin yet we dismiss it as non-existent because our senses aren’t tuned to it’s frequencies and our minds can’t resolve the concept.

Our minds and senses are the only instruments we have to detect the universe but unless we train them to think outside the senses, we will remain completely blind to the obvious. A veritable brick wall standing directly in front of our faces. If evolution is kind to us and the rest of our fellow earth beings it will allow us to ultimately grow into our ‘universe suits’ and become extinct as meat puppets. Our senses can then combine into one energy sense and we will see everything as it is which, is everything all at once, as it really is all the time, forever and beyond.

On the subject of ‘death’. Death is a word feard by humans as the END of all things. The END of existence. We get hung up on endings and think that everything we know and love should go on forever when we really don’t ‘know’ what forever ‘is’ ? Is there possibly an eventual end to ‘forever’ like maybe, when we’re done with this universe? When we expire, our senses would really have no other place to go other than back to their origins which is ‘everything’. They (we) have no choice but to reconnect with the universe on an elemental energy level in the ‘end’?



Everything is Energy, Energy is Everything PART II
Energy Seeker painting by DEFryer

'Energy Seeker'

Question: What happens to energy beings when they no longer hold a place in our physical world?

Another question would be; why don’t they come back after they’ve left? To say Hi? To comfort family? To say goodbye to children who didn’t get to say goodbye ?

What happens when our energy selves are no longer occupying the same time-space that our physical selves once occupied?

When our physical bodies are no longer alive due to the absence of our energy/life force does our energy self go somewhere else, perhaps to a place now incomprehensible to physical sentient beings?

These are all questions that we should ask ourselves if we are to truly understand the difference between physical life and universal energy life? We can really only comprehend one side of the mystery as sentient beings but we can postulate answers if we try hard enough to comprehend a universal energy life. All we have at the moment though, are a lot of question marks, as in this article. When physical beings no longer occupy a physical vehicle in our world do they (we) simply disperse into the universe to a place, beyond which, our limited senses can even fathom? Do they become the energy that surrounds our every atom once they shed their physical senses which they once relied upon? Do they no longer see us?

Maybe they become part of an alternate reality and are therefore unable to pass back through the previous reality that no longer exists to them?

I wonder if we could begin to see the eventual, imminent reality awaiting us all if we just closed our eyes and plugged our ears and put a clothes pin on our nose (a comfortable one, of course)? When we shut off the sentient part of our being then all we can see is blackness. All we hear is muted silence and the sound of our bodies pumping blood through our brains. All we can smell is our own nostrils. We can see flashes of light, most likely a product of our retina, and a graininess that resembles a black and white picture taken with super high speed film. Lots of little specks of white light.

What is all this stuff we are left with when we turn of our animal senses and can it tell us anything about our future?

As energy beings we will no longer have meaty eyes or meaty ears or a prominent proboscus to guide us along, just the blackness that we see when we shut down the senses. Could it be that after we’ve gone, our heretofore unknown energy senses turn on automatically like a beacon in the night and if we look back to see where we were then we are no longer able to see or recognize the assemblages of atoms in the same way that we once did when we associated them with our fellow energy beings-trapped in sentient casings?

Maybe we just can’t feel anymore either since feeling is associated with nerve endings and brainwaves and meat?

When we no longer have a use for our physical senses what kind of thought will cross our energy minds and if we are all a part of the universal mind then we should, in theory be able to see ALL thoughts and know ALL that is to be known, including where in the universe our fellow energy beings are located with whom we once had an emotional energy bond?

There are a lot of maybes and what ifs when it comes to energy but the underlying theory still remains that we are all made of it and from it and will return to it.

For now though, we can only postulate and form fantastic theories about our energy selves but maybe, just maybe, one among us will someday be able to prove it? Won’t that be a great day in the universal neighborhood!

More later as I rest my thinking cap for now …..



Religious Philosophy; an Oxymoron?

socratesBlu

Today, I Googled the definition of ‘philosophy’ which yielded the strangest results, from a philosophical perspective. Among them, three definitions stood out above all the rest.

They are as follows :

doctrine: a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school

the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics

The term philosophy derives from a combination of the Greek words philos meaning love and sophia meaning wisdom.

I then decided to look up the definition of religion, which yielded the following results;

a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny.

generally a belief in a deity and practice of worship, action, and/or thought related to that deity. Loosely, any specific system of code of ethics, values, and belief.

It struck me as being very strange, or odd, that the terms ‘doctrine’, ‘rational investigation’ and ‘love of wisdom’ could all be used together to define a common word like philosophy?

When we think of philosophy, we think of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Sartre and many others throughout history burning the midnight oil, postulating the meaning of life and existence, as it pertained to our universe and our place in it. They pondered the role that our ‘animal senses’ play in our view of the universe, as sentient beings, and whether or not we actually even ‘exist’ in the first place or whether we were simply ‘viewing’ a sort of vision projected by our minds which was being interpreted as our ‘existence‘? They pondered a lot, postulated and conjectured about everything they saw, felt, smelled and heard. They also pondered good and evil and human morality. Still, the main point to all of it was to keep the discussion and exploration an open ended and boundless (without borders) theoretical system. To keep the discussion open, as it were, until a final answer emerged.

Then came ‘religion‘.

Religion took bits and pieces of all the open ended philosophies, of all the great thinkers throught history, put them in a box, closed the lid and called it a doctrine (name of their choosing). They constructed tenets and moral guidelines, claiming absolute knowledge, without proof, of the existence of the ultimate deity and after life destination and how we were to conduct ourselves in order to reach this specific after-life to the exclusion of all unbelievers. They enforced their doctrine by force, intimidation and fear mongering. They basically came along one day and ordered an end to the discussion.

While Philosophers spoke of postulations and possibilities, the religions spoke of absolutes and consequences.

At some point the two, now separate, teachings had become divergent to the point of becoming polar opposites, from a literal standpoint, but yet somehow still maintain the same definition in our languages?

If someone is being ‘philosophical’ on an issue is he thinking of all the rules he must obey or is he expanding his possibilities?

Is Transcendentalism or Existentialism the same thing as Judaism or Christianity?

The latter two profess Answers, Gods, Consequences and Rules and are therefore considered ‘doctrines‘ by philosophers but philosophies by ‘believers‘.

At some point the issue needs to be clarified and definitions decided upon, lest the two be linked together forever as an eternal oxymoron leading to confusion and deception.

The box is either ‘open’ (philosophy) or it is ‘closed’ (doctrine). The two practices, in literal terms, cannot exist in the same placeholder as the same thing.

Or can they?



Right Here, Right Now You Have Arrived

VisionOfRealityDEF

At this very moment, in your ever changing googolplex of past, present and future moments, and at the very time of this reading you have now officially arrived at the exact point (or instance) in the universe that you have worked so hard to get to.

You may not like it or you may choose to deny it but at this very moment you are exactly where you should be according to the course you set and the thoughts and actions you chose to implement a long time ago (or maybe just yesterday). It’s strictly a cause and effect paradigm that we all fall into without thinking or even noticing. As our speck of dust planet hurtles and spins through the cosmos toward the edge of our known universe, our physical place is ever changing but our thoughts and actions still determine where we are in our little motion picture type existence we call reality.

Our thoughts influence our actions and our actions determine where we go, who we meet, how we get there and what we do once we’ve arrived. Whether we like what we’ve done or not can only be realized after the fact and can be either astonishing or disturbing. If we like what we see when we get here we can congratulate ourselves on making the right moves and strive for a loftier goal. If we don’t like what we’ve done so far then it’s time to look inward, listen to our thoughts, analyze our actions, then formulate a plan of attack against the negative thoughts and energies that are, as we speak, steering us away from our ideal conscious destiny.

We all carry baggage from our days of youthful ignorance when, as fresh vessels, we innocently allowed the thoughts and actions of others to burn into our (sub)consciousness, our belief systems and opinions of ourselves that truly had no bearing on our own personal realities. Unless you were one of the rare children who were ‘their own person’ at a young age [and there actually are a few of them] then you were rife for influence and most likely took away from childhood more than a few opinions and beliefs ‘not of your own’. Do you think you’re fat? Stupid? Ugly? Unimportant? Not good at (whatever)? Not as good as (whoever)?

Well, if any of the aforementioned descriptions fit then the good news is (in the popular vernacular) “You ‘aint to blame for this crap [swill, garbagio, head junk etc]. Someone else [i.e. other that you] fed you this nonsense right along with your physical nourishment and the only mistake [as in mis-take, not a bad thing] you made was to let it into your head as fact. We all have more mind trash neatly tucked away and securely stored in our heads [minds] than any race of being needs to destroy itself and we all require some form of leverage in order to access it, shred it, burn it, purge it then ship it away to some soon-to-be-forgotten hell hole that can never be rediscovered by man nor beast. Mind you, this isn’t the scientific or academic spin on the issue, it’s the emotional version and since emotion is what stirs the human soul it is probably the more efficient way of eliciting a very personal call to action.

I can relate to you a personal account in which this power of emotion once stirred me to a call to action in order to save the quality of my life. It went a little something like this; One day I was working at a dead end job (as most jobs are) as a draftsman. I didn’t make much money and my expenses far outpaced my hourly pay. I also was a smoker; 2 packs a day minimum for twenty years. I had a smoker’s cough and not enough money to go out to dinner with my wife [on a weekend even after payday]. Well, as fate would have it, one day I was watching a TV news magazine show and a segment came on chronicling the lives of the tobacco moguls and their families. It described, in great detail, how the Morris and Reynolds tobacco families were rich beyond normal understanding and how their children’s grandchildren (and beyond) would never have to work a day in their lives with the fortunes their families had built for them. They owned villas throughout Europe, personal jets and a future guaranteed to be prosperous and carefree.

Well, about a week after watching the episode, as I was sitting at my desk smoking a cig, the realization suddenly hit me square in the gut. “This is unacceptable” I cursed to myself. “What the hell am I doing”?! All of their wealth, All of their quality of life, All of it was (is) built upon the graves and hospital beds and wasted futures of all the poor souls who had ever chosen to buy their poisonous products and all those who had wasted away their lives in ill health and poverty as they spent their last dollar on a pack of smokes to get them through the evening (of which I was one).

I became both incensed and self loathing as I finally realized (knew) what I had done to myself and what I was doing for them and to my family. I then looked at the side of the cigarette pack which proudly stated the tobacco family’s name right alongside the ‘Caution, this product can cause cancer’ warning and that was the final straw, the emotion I needed to change my life forever. I would NOT make the ultra rich richer and I would not be another statistic in a cancer ward. The end result; not a single cigarette since and it’s been over twenty years. The power of emotion combined with understanding (knowledge) triumphs over belief systems (addiction). I also forgave myself for previously ill-informed choices then moved on.

The point of the matter being, I chose to smoke, I chose to continue coughing up a lung and spending my family’s future on poison, I chose to be where I was and I was exactly where I chose to be BUT when the reality of the situation finally caught a ride on the coat tails of my emotions I was able to transform a certain defeat into a life changing victory. I call it the power of Knowing [when your being is infused with certain knowledge that your mind can’t ignore and thus must act upon].

All sorts of life changing victories are possible for anyone who is willing to tap into their own inner power and resolve, and combine their emotions with their knowledge wherein they will transform their lives as they choose.

This is power, this is happiness, and this is life as it’s supposed to be. This is how we choose to live. The only way.