Category Archives: Prayer

Heaven is for Real…but this movie won’t even begin to convince you of that fact

Heavenreal

 

Shallow. Unmoving. Poor support of the point it was trying to make. Oh let me tell you how much I just loved Heaven is for Real.

 

In a world where there are thousands of Near Death Experiences where people who have been blind from birth can tell you what color the doctors in the OR were wearing while they had flat lined, where people come back with messages from dead loved ones with information that they could have no way of knowing beforehand, or where the person having the NDE goes completely brain dead so there is no way their brain could have just been hallucinating…we bring you a movie about a kid who never actually died and came back with information that any skeptic could tear holes in. Oh, then the movie just sucked on any standard of film making as well.

 

Let’s first deal with how bad the movie is.

 

The film follows a family, the Burpos, as they deal with the fact that their son nearly died and claims to have gone to Heaven. They deal with their own crises of faith and with being somewhat shunned by the community as others deal with their own crises of faith.

 

Well first off there are the numerous financial and personal problems the family in this film had to deal with (beside the kid almost dying). None of them get resolved

The entire film seems to be about everyone, the family, the parish, the community having a hard time accepting the concept of life after death—this does little more than to portray most Christians as shallow people who cling to the church out of fear, which I personally don’t think applies to all Christians, yeah we’ve all met some people like that…but it’s everybody in this film. It’s a little bizarre that this is what is being hyped as a faith based film given that it shows most church going folk to be hypocrites when you just scratch the surface. Yeah, real inspiring.
Also I felt that the writers didn’t even recognize their own hypocrisy in the final sermon in the film (which I’m guessing was supposed to offer some kind of catharsis, though I didn’t get any) among other things chided people for pride…even though it came from a guy who throughout much of the movie refused help from a friend even though he’s $20,000+ in debt and there was no resolution to this (except maybe the paycheck they got from writing the book but I’m trying not to confuse the movie with reality).

 

But the real problem is that none of it is all that moving. From the actors I recognized I have seen them all give better performances, and none of the crises of faith I see anyone go through in this film ever seems to fully make sense to me (I don’t get how all these people who are so active in a church can all be so full of doubts and disbelief…I understand individuals having a crisis of faith, I don’t understand a seemingly entire congregation becoming hostile to what should seemingly confirm their beliefs). No single character’s story ever seems to be dealt with in detail in the film and it just is all half-assed through the run time.

 

Oh and there’s some girl in Lithuania painting pictures…I never really got the point of this and could ponder for eons what possessed the director to put this random and pointless part in.

 

Now a lot of this could be due to the fact that as an NDE goes, this kid’s story isn’t what I’d call ironclad. He never died, his story isn’t particularly consistent, and none of the information he gives is beyond all doubt that he never heard it from other people. I believe in NDE’s the soul actually does touch the afterlife and see Heaven…but I also happen to know from research that there are cases that leave no logical explanation other than a person’s soul actually did leave their body and touch the other side. There is no such certainty here. I’m not saying the kid didn’t experience exactly what he describes (or at least as well as the movie relays it) but there are so many logical ways one could also be skeptical that the movie is only going to affect people who already believe (and in my case, not even that).  I actually am a little annoyed as you can only get so many movies with a theme like this made and distrusted to a general audience…and if you really want to get people to believe in the truth that there is an afterlife, I would not put a movie with such weak backing.  Also I’m just a tad annoyed that one of the most important facts about NDE’s: that everyone goes to Heaven, Christians, Jews, Pagans, Muslims, atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, everyone (because God doesn’t care about that sort of thing) seemed to get lost in a lot of talk of Jesus (I have no problem with Jesus or what he taught, but this film veered a little too much to the you only get into Heaven through Christianity bend for my tastes given that serious research into NDE’s shows exactly the opposite).

 

I have not read the book, and this movie certainly doesn’t convince me I should.
If you want a good movie that is actually moving about the life after death go watch Hereafter. If you want good well researched material about proof of life after this one I would suggest starting with Life before Life–Children’s Memories of Previous Lives or Evidence of the Afterlife.

 

 

Final Grade D-

5 Comments

Filed under Faith, God, Love, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality

Bi Weekly Meditation: Fear, Emotions, Choice and Control

After Earth Stupid statements

And let’s also ignore all those times that fear is present when danger isn’t real…a common habit among people. It’s a terrible sign when you can spot more than a dozen errors about human nature on a poster that contains less than a dozen words.

I know I’ve covered fear before, but after months of seeing that stupid After Earth poster it seemed time to deal with it again.  What am I referring to?  Why the dumbest line I have ever seen on a movie poster or in a trailer:

Fear is a choice.

I’m sorry but this is perhaps one of the dumbest things I have ever seen Hollywood say.

Fear, is an emotion.  All emotions are real.  They are our subconscious’ way of telling us about the trillion and one pieces of information it took in and doesn’t have time to tell you about all the information and all the calculations, so it gives you a quick assessment in the form an emotion.

If danger is real and you don’t feel fear you are either too stupid to not see the danger or insane.  Fear is not a choice.  How we choose to react to that fear is a choice.  How much we choose to let that emotion have control is a choice.  But to act as if our emotions themselves are a choice is wrong.  To act as if we should in someway shut off our emotions like fear (or any and all other emotions as it appears everyone has in that movie from the trailer). Further this is endorsing insanity.  It’s saying you shouldn’t have a natural reaction to danger.  Courage isn’t not feeling fear (again that’s called insanity); courage is feeling fear and choosing to go forward.  By saying fear, or sadness, or any emotion is a choice will eventually lead to problems because people will feel inherently inferior because they can’t control their emotions. *

Emotions are in and of themselves not necessarily positive or negative.  Even anger, hate, and rage are seen in saintly figures. The question is not what emotion you feel, but are you feeling the right emotion because you understand the situation and value the right things, and are you letting the emotion take control of you to the right degree.  Yes fear is not something we should usually let take hold of us…unless you’re being chased by a rabid dog, then, I suggest giving into fight or flight, because only the adrenaline that comes from the fear is going to save you.  Or as Aristotle put it:

For in everything it is no easy task to find the middle, e.g. to find the middle of a circle is not for every one but for him who knows; so, too, any one can get angry–that is easy–or give or spend money; but to do this to the right person, to the right extent, at the right time, with the right motive, and in the right way, that is not for every one, nor is it easy; wherefore goodness is both rare and laudable and noble.

Nicomachean EthicsBook II, Chapter 9 1109a26-29 [Italics Added]

Emotions are neither good nor bad except when they are not in the proper degree.  The degree is your choice, the emotion itself is not.  Now all too often we give into certain emotions more readily (fear, anger, rage, desire) than we should.

Yes fear can be more destructive than most emotions when you give into it too much, which is why I have spoken about it before and why it must almost always be quelled when it comes up, hence the older statement that “fear is the mind killer”…but the quote comes with the point “I will face my fear” not I will simply not fear as if fear is a choice, but rather treating fear as a real thing which can be faced, dealt with, and not given into.  Fear is real and isn’t a choice.  The choice comes in how we deal with it.
But don’t we often say Happiness is a choice?

Yes, but we’re not referring to the temporary emotion of being happy, we’re referring to the culmination of all life worth living, Happiness with a capital H.  It is part of a slipshod way of speaking that people are all too fond of.  When people say we choose happiness it’s not because we choose one emotion or another, it’s because we choose thoughts and actions that cause the emotion we want over thoughts and actions that cause emotions we don’t want…but we can’t just change our emotions…we can train our brain to see certain things, and we can train it to feel certain ways, but we cannot just turn emotions off and on.

You can choose the thoughts you focus on, the situations you put yourself in and how you choose to act in those situations. But you cannot just choose how you feel.

So why is this a mediation?

Because all too often that annoying Ego of ours, our mis-creation that keeps trying to keep us from returning to God, using our propensity for emotions in the wrong degree against us. When in a frustrating situation it whispers to us to focus on the anger, when we are in a situation it nudges us to be centered on the fear, when under stress it tells us to focus on desires we don’t necessarily need (like stress eating).  The emotions themselves are not creations of the Ego, but the Ego wants us to focus on them because by focusing on these emotions at the wrong place and at the wrong time to the wrong degree keeps us from being centered and attaining Happiness.  And then as a coup de grâce the Ego tells you it was all your fault because fear is a choice, which just makes you feel even worse about yourself.

Litany Against Fear--I must not fear, fear is the mind killer

The proper way to handle fear…acknowledge it, deal with it, don’t dwell on it.

So for the next two weeks I want you to analyze your emotions at least once a day (If you can find three or four times a day to do a review even better).  Ask yourself if during every incident if you focused on the right emotion for the situation and to the right degree.  Was there an emotion you felt that you didn’t focus on, but would have resulted in a more positive outcome?  Did you focus on the right emotion but too little or too much?  The first step to changing how you react to your emotions is recognize when and where you’re making a misstep, it’s a long process, even a lifetime isn’t enough to perfect it.  But the first step is to look at your emotions and see if you are reacting properly.  And that is your mediation for the next two weeks.

*I could probably insult another work of science fiction here for depicting a race without emotions…but I’ve beat up on that franchise enough lately, and will say that at least they gave the excuse that this particular race’s emotions are typically so powerful and erratic that it was the choice between suppressing them entirely or giving into the chaos.  Not a great excuse, but at least it’s better than “Fear is a choice.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Fear, Free Will, God, Meditation, New Age, Prayer, Spirituality

The Importance of Religious Pluralism in the Journey of the Soul

Not sure why, but I’m seeing an upsurge in the frequency of people becoming more hostile about their religion being right and everyone else being wrong (and even for the people who aren’t making a big deal out of it, there is a certain ‘my religion is better than your religion’ arrogance in lots of groups, and it just feels like its getting worse).  And I’m not just talking about the psycho-fringe here (or I’m really underestimating the size of said “fringe”).  I always find this a puzzling concept.  Sure there are a few really insane beliefs out there–mostly the ones that dictate ‘my way or else I’ll kill you!’–but for the most part, most religions all have the same core values and differ only in forms, names, and rituals.  And quibbling over these relatively minor issues is pointless. First off most of these people who want to scream for their own religion and no others seem politically motivated (I’ve seen all sides engage in this religious idiocy) given that it only alienates people away from your political causes.  Further, reason doesn’t hold this up?   I mean, do you seriously believe that God, a being of supposed infinite love, compassion, understanding and wisdom, cares about what ritual you use to get closer to him, rather than if you actually get closer to him or not?

And it’s not just implicit in reason, recent scientific research into reincarnation and near-death experience also demonstrate this. Scientific studies have shown that reincarnation is a fact and that you change from religion to religion based on your life—if that’s the case it can’t be that God loves one religion and hates all others.  Similar studies have also shown that during near death experiences everybody goes to heaven, doesn’t matter what their religion is…it’s almost as if God doesn’t give a shit what name you call him by.

potala palace lhasa

The Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet…it seemed like a place both remote and spiritual enough to serve as the starting place for the soul.

So does this mean that all religions are worthless?  That there is just God and his children and it doesn’t matter what you believe…not exactly.   Now, with that knowledge of near death experiences and reincarnation studies, it seems to be that the majority of religions are correct, that life is a series of rebirths, a progression of lessons and stages of learning all leading to Enlightenment…but that still doesn’t invalidate the idea that you should follow the religion you feel called to. If the soul is on a journey toward Enlightenment, let’s think of it as a journey.   For the sake of metaphor let’s say all souls start out standing in the Potala Palace in Lhasa.  High in the Himalayas, disconnected from the rest of the world.  And you know you have to get somewhere (Enlightenment) you have had it roughly described to you, but you don’t quite know where you are going or exactly how to get there.

How you get there would be comparable to the mode of transportation you take.  Some ways like Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, New Age belief and modern Paganism might be equivalent to walking, taking a bike, a boat, a car or a plane*, other religions maybe more like trying a unicycle with a flat tire, spinning in a circle believing you will magically teleport, digging through the center of the earth using a rusty spoon or launching yourself into orbit using high explosives and hoping you land in the right place. ** While in the minority there are religions that are all but useless in all cases…however most religions are more dependent on where you are in your journey. In this example if one religion is equivalent to riding in a car and you’ve hit the Pacific Ocean, it may have gotten you to this point but you need a different mode of transportation (a different belief system) to advance on the next stage of your journey.

Devil’s Bridge, Sedona, Arizona

Now for the sake of argument in this travel metaphor let’s say that Enlightenment exists at the Devil’s Bridge in Northern Arizona (chosen for the fact that it is beautiful, and the irony was just too good to pass up).

Now to get from our stating place in Tibet and ending place in Arizona there is no way a single mode of transportation is going to cut it the whole way.  You are at best going to have to walk part of the way, either take a boat or plane part of the way, and probably have to travel in some other forms of transportation for part of the journey.

The Journey of the Soul Metaphor

If only the journey of the soul was this short a distance.

Let’s add to the fact that you’re not always sure where you’re headed.  Granted as long as you’re moving you may be getting closer, or at least have a better chance to learn where the right place is as opposed to the stupidity of staying still, but that still doesn’t always mean you’re moving in the right direction (as some religions that could be used to progress can be misused to put you further away from God…Westboro come to mind).

You could use this metaphor for a lot of things, and show it flawed in numerous other ways.  I just want to show that even on a journey you may use different modes of transportation, as different religions may serve different souls on their journey to Enlightenment.

And my overall point here is that reason tells you God is too perfect a being to care what name you call him by or what rituals you go through to honor him, it’s silly to think that one religion is the right one and all others are false.  Yes there are some blindingly stupid beliefs out there, and there may be beliefs that are wrong for you in your life (take a car when you’re on the ocean) but just because your religious beliefs work for you don’t assume they would work for everyone. The most you can do is ask if you find that your beliefs are leading you to God (if they are, bully for you) and if someone else’s beliefs could never in any way, shape, or form lead a person to God (a religion that calls for stoning people in the 21st century for instance) and oppose those vile beliefs will all your heart and soul.

So even if you aren’t decrying that your religion is better than all others, it might also be best to not always believe that (I know some will think I’m only critiquing Christians here, but really this my religion is better than your religion arrogance can be found in almost every religion)…your beliefs may be exactly what you personally need in your journey right now, but don’t believe that your beliefs will work for everyone at every time.

sedona rainbow

you can never have too many random pictures of Sedona

*Try not to match those up, the religions are in more or less chronological order and the modes of transportation are more or less random.

** I may or may not have had Scientology, Atheism, Keynesianism (it denies basic reality so much and requires so much be taken on faith it’s pretty much a cult) come to mind here…oh and I can’t think what religion I had in mind when I mentioned strapping high explosives to yourself…certainly not a religion of peace.  Not everyone following those beliefs is stuck at a stand still, it’s just highly, highly unlikely they’re going to be making a major push forward in that life.  And this is the balance to an acceptance of other beliefs, admitting that there are some really dumb beliefs out there.

Leave a comment

Filed under Arizona, Books for New Agers, Faith, Free Will, God, Individualism, Love, New Age, philosophy, Prayer, Reincarnation, Religion, Spirituality, virtue

Bi Weekly Meditation: Focus on the Present

 

 

I should probably do a meditation on not taking on too much…but that would rather hypocritical and something I’m just not ready to do in my own life…so this week we’ll be covering

But in lieu of that you can at least focus on dealing with the problems at hand.

Tao Te Ching

 

Focus on the following quote for 5-10 minutes every morning.  And repeat as necessary if anything comes up that stresses you out.  All you have control over right now is your own actions.  Planning for the future is important, and that’s sometimes something you should be doing, but make the plan, account for the most likely contingencies and then only worry about what you can do in the present…why because the best common sense will tell you even the best plans are going are to fall apart in the moment, so you don’t have to worry about them.  Do what you can now and roll with punches.

As for the past, if you’re analyzing it looking for mistakes and how not to make them again, that’s one thing and a valuable thing…but it’s also detached.  It shouldn’t cause a negative emotional reaction, and if it is you’re not doing anything productive. Those are the times you most need to focus on what you can do in the present.

And as anxiety and depression come up during the day repeat this quote and then move onto to doing something in the present.  I’ll admit this seems so common sense and obvious to be bordering on trite, but those are often the lessons we most often forget and don’t practice when we should.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Long Term Thinking, Meditation, New Age, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality

BiWeekly Meditation–Looking for the Win-Win Solution

“[Adam] Smith noted that in all transactions, both parties come out better for it.”–Republicans And Reincarnation 

Weekly Meditation: The Sixth Chakra.


Okay, first let me say that I’m switching to bi weekly mediations.  I’ve been doing this for two year and (taking the few weeks I skipped) that’s about 100 meditations, (That’s a lot of meditations) if you need something to focus on to center your mind, it’s not like they have a shelf life and go bad after two weeks.  So rather than keep coming up with stuff every week, I’m going to switch to doing these every other week.

And I think that works out best for everyone, it allows me to take more time to plan these, and you more time to get something out of every meditations.

It’s a win-win.  Which happens to be the theme of this meditation.

As many of my more loyal readers know, I am a huge fan of capitalism.  And besides the fact that it’s the only system that works and is sustainable, there are all the ethical reasons I support capitalism.  One of them is that capitalism is the only system that allows for a win-win scenario. Every honest transaction in capitalism benefits both the seller and the buyer–you both get something you want and you both make your lives better for it.  It’s why this system is the only one that creates prosperity, creates wealth, creates ideas and innovation, and creates a better society.  It’s a system where no one has to lose.  Every other system there HAS TO BE a loser, with liberty and true capitalism the only losers are the ones who don’t engage in the system of free exchange and try to be the most virtuous person they can.  It is the system that models the growth of our souls to enlightenment, everyone can get there, but it is only by choice, work and will power they will.*

But one of the reasons I think so many people are opposed to it is because they are stuck in a win-lose mind set.  They think that every situation has to have a winner and a loser.  If you’re doing better I’m doing worse.  In reality this isn’t so.  With the exception of the artificial nature of sports, life doesn’t have to be about winners and losers.  If one company does well it doesn’t mean its competition must fail, it only means that its competition must adapt, possibly by improving their product, possibly by going in a new direction…and the consumer benefits from both (Microsoft AND Apple seem to be doing well, as well as they myriad of companies that benefit because they do well and the chain of thought goes on and on). Just because you get a promotion doesn’t mean I lost, I now have further opportunities to shine, and I don’t have to feel pressured by the comparison (or a thousand other ways to look at it…a lot of situations come down to how we choose to interpret them and react to them.  If you look at most situations as opportunities, you will seldom find a loss).

But let’s be honest, since there are people with the win-lose attitude instead of the win-win attitude, it does spill into our lives whether we want it or not.  So we have to show people that there are win-win solutions where we can find them.  We have to look for them, we have to propose them to those around us, and we have to convince people.  But the first part of this is that we have to look for them.  So I would recommend either in the evening to spend ten to twenty minutes reviewing all the situations you had during the day that devolved into win-lose situations (or the morning to look back on the previous day).  Look for the ways that they could have been win-win solutions for all involved.  Run it through your mind for to see if there were multiple ways it could have been a win-win.  And do this not with guilt or self-recrimination.  You’re looking at this to get you mind in the habit of looking for win-win opportunities, not to chide yourself for not seeing them at the time they occurred.  The only way you’re going to be being to see them as they occur is if your review previous encounters and see what other possibilities were open that you did not see at the time. And, like so many of these meditations, isn’t something you’re not going to pick up immediately.  It’s a skill that needs to be nurtured, refined, and practiced before you get really good at it.

Now, I do need to point out that just because you can see the win-win solution it does not mean you can convince others.  I remember a time I tried to help someone with a project at work and they incredibly behind on.  This person at first attacked me because they saw my attempt to help them get through the project faster as an insult and responded rather angrily with comments like “I said I’ll get it done and I’ll get it done” (even though they were past the deadline) and then told me “if you want to do this all, fine, I would rather be doing something else.”  This person saw only the win-lose, either they did all the work, or I did all the work, only one person gets free time (yes this had bled into working on the weekend).  It became clear that the win-win of if we both do this we’d both get out of here quickly wasn’t open to this person.  So I shut down my computer, went home, and finished the project later that night when the portion I was waiting on was finished.  If it’s going to be win-lose, I have no intention of being the loser.  And it is at this point that you need to understand if someone makes it clear that there is only a win-lose situation, you should not act like a martyr and think that you should be the one to lose.  Like the Constitution, spiritual enlightenment, is not a suicide pact.  If it’s going to be win-lose, and you’re tried to make an attempt to show any win-win opportunities you can think of, if it is the other person choosing the losing philosophy don’t let yourself be harmed by it.

 

So for the next two weeks look for the win-win opportunities and see you can reduce the stress and increase the moments of peace (and maybe even enlightenment) in your life.

*Okay there might be divine grace in there too, but that has no parallel in any economic system…unless we want to get into voluntary charity, which again is a liberty/capitalism thing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Capitalism, Charity, Faith, Free Will, God, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, Love, Meditation, New Age, philosophy, politics, Prayer, Purpose of Life, Religion, Republicans and Reincarnation, Spirituality, virtue

Weekly Meditation: Finding yourself in the silence part I

As we continue from last week in our attempt to weaken the ego’s hold on you I am reminded by another line from my favorite musician’s music:

“Don’t believe the things you tell yourself so late at

You are your own worst enemy, you’ll never win the fight.”–Ingrid Michaelson, “Parachute”

The ego whispers in your ear a thousand and one fears and insecurities and makes you believe that they are your fears and your insecurities.  It distracts you with a myriad of false desire to distract you from what you really want. It keep you from knowing how great you really are and focusing on what you really want.

And while we need to replace these false ideas that the ego is putting into your head with correct ones, we first need to ignore the ego. So this week we’re going back to the the old favorite of clearing your mind.  Five minutes, three times a day of thinking of nothing.  Lotus position if you can is the best as it allow for the spine to be straight and the breath to be deep.

Clear you mind.  It takes practice, and the ego will be trying to distract you, so no worries if a random thought intrudes.  Just keep trying to let your mind be blank.

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, God, Love, Meditation, New Age, philosophy, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality

Weekly Meditation: Kill the Buddha

Last week I pulled a line from the Tao Te Ching…for this week’s meditation I will pull from Buddhism.

 

Kill your idols.

There is an old Buddhist saying:

 

“If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.”

 

No I’m not advocating killing holy people, calm down.

 

The point of the statement is that idols, prophets, wise men, philosopher are all in many ways more dangerous than they are useful to those that relinquish their mind/soul to another.  The message of the Buddhas, Krishna, Christ, Lao-Tzu, saints, and all legitimate prophets has been, without exception, that God and the truth is in you and your soul—that you are capable of discovering and knowing the truth because it is already in you.

 

This line is important because we often forget that the truth is within in us.  Forgetting it we look to outside sources to give us the truth.  We look to holy books, and philosophers and priests and books and systems of belief to give us the truth.  Ummmm…it’s not there.  And using one book, one idea, one philosopher or saint as your guiding star makes you a fool because you are following someone expecting them to give you the truth when you should be looking within your own mind and your own soul.  The truth can only be discovered it cannot be given.  Thus, when you meet a Buddha, kill him (i.e., that you don’t get so wrapped up in what he has to say that you begin to follow him, and kill any instinct you have to blindly follow) and trust your own mind and soul.

 

Does this mean you should ignore what others have to say?  No.  Use the words and ideas of others to supplement your own thinking to give you ideas and to show you doors you did not know existed before.   But always use your own mind/reasoning and soul to judge those ideas.  It is the mind and soul of God; it’s more than qualified to judge things on its own if you let it.  Just don’t get so wrapped up in what they have to say.  Obviously I trust no single Holy Book as superior to another.  For instance anyone who reads the political side of this blog knows I love Aristotle and Aquinas as philosophers…but I could tell you off the top of my head 50 major places Aristotle was dead wrong and twice that for Aquinas.  Equally anyone who reads the political side knows I love the economics of Hayek, Friedman, and Sowell, but I can list numerous places where I think they don’t have all the answers too.  (Some idiot recently even tried to say I march lockstep to Rand, which is funny given how much I critique her very limited vision…she’s fun to quote and has some of the broad strokes down, but that woman was a little crazy).  My point is, probably even the wisest people don’t get it right 100% of the time…and that more often than not the prophets, philosophers, and leaders people follow so blindly are not worth following.

 

Now, what this means is you should judge everything you hear and ask “Does it make sense?”  “Is it logical?” “Is it true?”  and if not to discard it.  Now we all get into the habits of disregarding information from known idiots and paying more attention to people with better track records, and that’s fine, just so long as you are open to idiots being the proverbial monkey at a typewriters who can occasionally say something correct and for those you trust to be occasionally wrong and willing to judge what they say by its merits not by who said it.  And you need to trust that you are a divine being…are you capable of making mistakes? Yes.  But it should not be your preset belief that everything you believe is wrong or that you cannot know the truth. You are more than capable of knowing the truth, at some level you already know it, you must trust you can know the truth, trust that you do know it and act on it.  Yes be open to being proven wrong, look for the contradictions, look for evidence, listen to REASONABLE doubts, but you must assume that in lieu of those, you know the truth and must act on it.  Are you probably going to be wrong on some stuff, yes.   But you will never find out what until you act on it.   One of the major points of life is learning and learning cannot occur if you don’t act on what you believe.  The pretentious and fearful like to pontificate skepticism, relativisms, and existentialism—that you can’t know the truth, that there is no truth, that there are many truths—but guess what there is one truth in existence, it exists and your mind and soul are capable of knowing it.  And the only way you will find it is to use logic, use reason, use your mind and act on your beliefs with the conviction that until you are proven wrong you are right.  Be open to being proven wrong, look for the evidence that would prove you wrong in fact, but default belief must be that you are right.   And judge for yourself!  Do not let others dictate for you; kill the Buddha if you meet him on the road of life.

 

So this week’s meditation, sorry for taking so long to get here, it’s a dense quote (and I really haven’t even touched upon all it’s meanings) is to question your beliefs.  Question why do I believe this?  Is it logical?  Is it in line with everything else I know?

 

I know this is a variation on last week’s meditation, but this is an important concept.  You need to learn to trust your own thoughts and think for yourself if you are going to learn and find happiness…and if you can’t learn to trust your thoughts, what is the point of learning to control them through meditation?

5 Comments

Filed under Faith, God, Individualism, Long Term Thinking, Meditation, New Age, philosophy, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality

Weekly Meditation: Words of Wisdom

I still really like this as an all encompassing New Age symbol

As a New Ager I find truth in most of the religions in the world.  And while I love to quote from A Course In Miracles(and could probably do so for years going at the pace of one passage a week) it has occurred to me that I should, in true New Age fashion, pull a selection of quotes from other holy books.  Before anyone gets offended it is meant as a compliment, I’m not trying to insult your religion.

This week I thought I would pull a quote from the Tao Te Ching, the central text of Taoism.  Written by Lao-Tzu before departing China to escape it’s superficial and corrupt life, he left a short book of his wisdom for the people of China (yes I realize that there is a lot of myth tied to that story, I still like it). The book is probably the shortest holy text in the world (unless you want to count individual books of the Old, New, and Gnostic Testaments of the Bible).  Written as a series of 81 short poems, the Tao Te Ching (The Book of Virtues of the Way), the book is often a series of double and triple meanings crammed into short, cryptic phrases.  (Given that Chinese is also a language that poorly translates into English, poetry especially, it is always best to read three or four translations if you’re going to try to read the book.)

For this week I’m going to go with a quote from the 19th poem in the Tao.  (I’m just going to go with my favorite translation).

“Give up kindness, renounce morality.

And men will rediscover piety and love.”–Lao Tzu

So what does this mean?  That you should give up being kind and moral?  No, silly.  It means that you should stop doing things because you are supposed to them because they’re rules or codes or values you’re supposed to hold.  Things you’ve been taught to follow.  Ideals society wants you to do.  Why? Because when you force people to do things you breed resentment, hostility, rebellion.  You should do things because you want to, because your personal reason dictates it, because it makes you feel good…not because someone says you should.

 

Why is this the weekly meditation?  This week I want you to ask yourself if you’re doing something because you want to and it makes sense…or because you’re expected to.  Reason and your heart are fine things to follow, and they will often agree with society’s rules, but make sure they are before you act.  I promise you you will be more in tune with yourself and the universe if you do what you want and think is right more than what is only expected of you…even if it’s the same thing, the intent and the reason make a huge difference.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under A Course in Miracles, Books, Books for New Agers, Charity, Faith, Free Will, God, Happiness, Long Term Thinking, Love, Meditation, New Age, philosophy, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality, Tao Te Ching

What’s in a name?

In my recent interview on The Conservative Pagan show on PaganRadio.net the issues of the terms New Ager vs. Pagan was brought up.  And for whatever reason we have this whole group of terms for a large spiritual movement that includes such titles as:

Pagan

Wiccan

New Ager

Druid

Earth Based Religion

Neo-Pagan

Alternative Spirituality

I even found a web page for Jewish Wiccans…who knew?

It’s a mess.

And it doesn’t necessarily have to be.  As all of these groups have some core beliefs.

We agree on personal responsibility and connection to God (or whatever term we’re using).

We all believe in some kind of single God to which all religions are directed toward.  (Or almost all, there are some belief systems out there that are insulting to human nature with every precept they have).

We all believe in an interconnectedness of existence.  Some focus on how it manifests in nature, some in society, some in the individual, but I think we all agree that all life at all levels is connected—that where I end and you begin isn’t as obvious as the material world would make it appear.

We agree that while we have our individual beliefs, and while other religions have their beliefs, no set of beliefs is perfect that we are all heading to some divine truth.  And I think this is what defines us best, while we all have our own way of communicating with the divine, we would agree that’s a personal issue.  We would never tell a Christian that Christianity will never lead to God; it’s just not going to work for us in this life time.  Hinduism can easily let someone become one with the eternal, but it is not the path that is for me right now.  And while Eastern beliefs might agree with us that all paths can lead to God, I have to say until you get to the upper levels of Lamas and rishis there is still a certain pretentiousness in Eastern beliefs that add, “but my religion is the best way to reach God.”  I think what unites the New Age/Pagan/Wiccan/Pick the term of your choice group the most is that most of us simply argue that this path is best for me in this life time, it by no means is necessarily the best path for everyone.  At most all we ask is that everyone ask themselves if the path they are on is the right one for them, other than that we’re usually (there are always exceptions) not that pushy or tied to our belief as superior to others.

Yet that really doesn’t seem to unite us all that much.

And it gets worse when you have a person who identifies with one term and gets offended when you refer to them by another.  Pagans hate being called New Agers because they think it means they’re a bunch of ditzy hippies who don’t have any depth to their beliefs.  New Agers dislike being called Pagan because they don’t reject a lot of Christian beliefs, as the term Pagan suggest, they simply believe it’s been misinterpreted.  People who just know they’re spiritual but don’t want to be called Wiccans because that is a very specific belief system.  It’s almost enough to make you think we were all different religions and had nothing to do with one another.

But try this.  Read that paragraph but substitute in the words Lutheran, Catholic and Jehovah’s Witness.  It still more or less would makes sense.  And despite the massive gulf in belief they all have a nice overarching term: Christianity.   And that’s kind of the problem we don’t have an overarching term.

Now I go with New Ager more often than not (I also use Pagan from time to time when I’m feeling lazy because I think people have a better understanding of the term Pagan, describing the term New Age can be difficult, as shown here and here) for a few reasons.  The first is I have some problems with Pagan because whenever I use it the English teacher in me screams at the rest of me that it’s a Christian term meant to describe anyone who isn’t part of the Judeo-Christian heritage and technically encompasses Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Greek mythology, and a whole host of other beliefs.  The correct use of the word merely means non-Christian…or believing in multiple gods.  And one thing I do know about all of these groups that I’m a part of is that we are monotheists—we may believe that God wears many different masks at many times, and we have a whole mess of ascended masters and angels we call upon for help,  but we do believe in one single divine source.  I don’t use Wiccan because that a very, very specific branch of this belief I belong to, with very specific rituals and custom…that I don’t practice.  I generally go with New Age because I do believe we are on the cusp of a major transition in human history…and, sad to say, because it appears easiest catch all term when you look at any store (especially book stores) the section is called New Age.  But while I don’t have a problem with the term, I understand why others do.  Earth based religions also seem to me to be a limited way of looking at it, as the interconnectedness that the name suggests I believe goes far beyond the mere physical manifestation of this planet and its environment.

So the fact is that we need a new term.  A catch all phrase that separates us from the other main spiritual groups of the world, but still lets us have our denominations under that banner heading.

I have no ideas…but I’m open to suggestions.

I've always liked this as it represent what I find to be a key tenet of New Age belief, the idea that all religions have truth in them. And before anyone complains, that's a Jain/Hindu/Buddhist symbol in the lower lefthand part.

3 Comments

Filed under Faith, God, New Age, philosophy, Prayer, Republicans and Reincarnation, Spirituality

A final word on Christmas Charity Part II of II—New Age Charity

 

Okay, so in the last blog I think I’ve shown all the idiots who claim Christmas is a time for redistribution are without basis.  Why?  Because Christmas is a time of charity, and taking money by force is not charity.

 

Charity is not blind altruism and denial of self.

Charity is not government redistribution of income.

Charity is not welfare or entitlements handed out by the state.

 

But just tearing down bad philosophy is only half the job.  You need to show what charity should be.  And as a New Ager I have a tendency to look to all the world’s spiritual teachings (not just one book but many) for insight into truth.  So don’t take my word for it…but let’s start with that one book most in the West turn to…

 

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. “

Proverbs 11:24-25

Clear and simple.  Charity is a virtue.  But notice that it is not given as an order but advice that it benefits the giver.  Odd it doesn’t seem to mention anything about “fair shares” or “moral duty” or “adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth.”  No, it seems to be personal charity and personal charity alone that is praised and rewarded here.

 

“Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. “

Matthew 6:1-4

 

Seems to me that this is saying that charity and generosity are supposed to be private acts done by individuals.  And the closest thing to welfare and government entitlements at the time (the synagogues) is condemned as the work of hypocrites because it is done neither for the spiritual good of the giver or the desire to help the receiver…only for the vain attention that the public act of giving brings.  How much more despicable and ethically reprehensible it must be to demand that others give but that you don’t have to.  

 

Or we could turn to the East…

“Give up kindness, renounce morality,
 And men will rediscover piety and love.–Tao Te Ching 19

 

We have this in amongst the Tao numerous libertarian statements we have this one which suggests when you no longer demand altruism and rigid standards of morality and duty that people are once again allowed to deal with each other like human beings and then will treat others as such.

 

Or we could go to one of my favorites…

 

“Charity given for the sake of righteousness, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness. But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion. And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance.”—Bhagavad-Gita  Ch17. 20-22

 

Notice how all conceptions of income redistribution and welfare seem to meet more the definition of “mode of ignorance”…and really it’s only called ignorance because I think Krishna thought “shit-for-brains” lacked the poetic nature that the rest of his words in the Gita had.

 

All of these quotes seem to be saying that charity and generosity should be personal, not a massive more by society.  They seem to be saying it should be done to improve the soul of the giver…not all that concerned with improving the state of receiver because you have no way to control the free will they have (although both the Gita and Christ seem to imply you should not give indiscriminately, but rather choose the object of your generosity to be a person worthy of such a gift).  All of these seem to suggest the amount to be given is a personal choice not some concept of what your fair share is as determined by society.  All of these are concerned with your soul, not with ending poverty (in fact I think Christ said something about there always being poor and you should worry more about personal connections with loved ones than with the poor…but then again, unlike many liberals who say they’re Christians, I’ve actually read the Bible).

 

So be charitable.  But because it feels good, not because you have any duty to do it.

 

And I’ll leave you with this from my favorite book, A Course in Miracles.

 

 

“The teacher of God is generous out of Self interest.”  A Course in Miracles Manual For Teachers Chapter 4 Part VII

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under A Course in Miracles, Capitalism, Charity, Conservative, Economics, Equality, Evils of Liberalism, Faith, Free Will, God, Happiness, Individualism, Karma, liberal arrogance, Long Term Thinking, Love, New Age, People Are Stupid, philosophy, politics, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality, Tao Te Ching, Welfare

Why Atheists really annoy me…a Conservative New Ager’s opinion

So through various personal encounters and stories in the news (here here and here just as a for instance, sadly it’s only the tip of the iceberg) in the last week or so I’ve been meaning to write another blog on my rather deep seated dislike of militant atheists. What do I mean by militant atheists, I mean those people who want all the crosses at memorials taken down, all the nativity scenes taken away, freak-out about the words “In God We Trust” as the national motto?  The people who feel that the mere existence of other religions is somehow a threat to their life, the ones who have the same attitude as wacky Christians who think gays marrying somehow affects their lives. Who need to insult every expression of faith at the drop of a hat with the zealousness of a member of the Westboro Baptist church talking about gays.

This behavior by atheists all strikes me as beyond petty.  I’m a New Ager, a pagan, and I don’t find signs of other people’s religions offensive (unless it’s a religion that is dedicated to tyranny, suffering, and the denial of reason).  I don’t believe in the absolute truth of the 10 Commandments (that idols thing is silly in some ways and the parents thing ignores that there are some people who don’t deserve to be parents)…but I’m not offended by their display.  I don’t demand that images of pentangles be placed everywhere so that I feel included.  So the fact that this attitude is what defines militant atheists is utterly perplexing and annoying to me.

First I think we need to establish a simple fact that is often overlooked.  Atheism is a religion.    A religion is a belief system based on an article of faithThe idea that there is no God is an article faith—it can’t be proven, and to base your beliefs off of that idea that can’t be proven makes the entire philosophy of atheism a religion.  If you’re going to go with pure reason then you have to go with agnosticism—but since being an agnostic in practice prevents you from having any practical beliefs in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics or politics, it’s a useless system. You have to make a leap of faith one way or the other.  And it is bad philosophy and rank arrogance to say that in my leap of faith that there isn’t a God is better than your leap of faith that there is a God (especially since there is evidence that suggests there is a God and really atheists only have the weak argument of the Problem of evil .)  And one really just has to look at the rabid proselytizing that atheists do and then compare that with the equally insane passion of some evangelicals to see that it’s not reason driving these people, it’s faith (and an irrational one at that).
It is a religion.  In fact I recommend you not refer to it as atheism anymore, always refer to it as the “religion of atheism” and when the whiny atheists start saying that they’re not a religion ask them for their impossible to refute argument that there is no God.  And if they fall for that trap they’re not only a whiner, they’re an idiot.

And it’s a vicious religion when you look at the way it is being dealt with in courts.  It’s a religion that says we don’t like any other religions and demands that all evidence of those religions be removed.  They demand that crosses placed in honor of fallen soldiers and police be removed.  They demand that references to the majority belief in God (you know the belief that actually has some evidence behind it) be removed because it offends us.  And if you’re a very special sort of asshole, militant atheists might even demand that the military stop offering chaplain services to the people who want religious counsel while putting their lives on the line so that you have the freedom to believe that there isn’t a God (despite the absolute lack of any evidence to justify that conclusion).

As it is a religion removing things because it insults atheists is actually favoring one religion over another in clear violation of the establishment clause.   Slippery slope arguments are flawed by their very nature of being extreme and taking things to the worst case scenario but we use them because every so often the slippery slope does yield a Soviet Russia, a Nazi Germany, San Francisco.  So if you begin to enforce the religion of atheism as the law of the land, what happens when atheism literally becomes the law, when all expressions of religion are outlawed? Well, off the top of my head I can think of only five countries that have outlawed every religion except atheism—those five would be France under the Terror, Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Communist China, and Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.  Beside legally enforced atheism, what do those five have in common?  Blood and genocide.  I know of no atheistic nation in the history of the world that wasn’t genocidal.  It’s as if when you deny the divinity of human life, human life becomes cheap and expendable.  But this is an extreme argument.  After all, other nations have legally enforced one religion to the exclusion of all others.  However this is revealing point.  Governments that enforce one religion pretty much fall into two camps, Christian and Muslim (the East has had smatterings of enforced religion but these are policies that tended to be on paper more than in practice, and in the West this kind of single religion is not the entire norm).  Now Muslim countries (which interestingly enough also deny the divinity of the human soul) are also shit holes, although even these countries don’t usually meet that mechanical killing people by the millions in a systematic way that atheist nations seem to have refined to an art.  Christian nations that have outlawed all of the opposing religions historically do not have the kind of atrocity in such a sweeping nature.  Yes the Spanish in history are unjustifiable villains, but the English, the Italians, Germans, and French during the same period of time were able to still be relatively humane and still create advancements for civilization.  Can you show me an atheist nation in history that did not commit genocide or that advanced civilization in any, way shape or form?

Now most atheists will say it’s entirely unfair to use the slippery slope argument and compare them to Nazis.  But keep in mind that these are the same people who go to court and demand that every cross and nativity scene be taken down…why?  Because of their slippery slope argument that it could lead to a theocracy.  So much like their leap of faith being so much better than everyone else’s leap of faith, their slippery slope arguments are so much more valid than everyone else’s slippery slope arguments.   Illogical stances like that can only be held by people who fervently believe in their religion to exclusion of all others, so don’t tell me that atheism isn’t a religion.

By now any reasonable person is realizing that most atheist arguments that displays or this or that emblem endorsing religion are kind of stupid, as removing them at the behest of another religion is simply endorsing that religion (in this case the stupid one that doesn’t even have anecdotal evidence to back it up). These court rulings always endorse one religion over another.  There is no way to avoid that because siding with the atheists is siding with a religion.

So let me suggest some compromises.

First the question needs to be does the display hurt anyone?  For 99% of these cases that’s a no.  And I mean really hurt.  Not your stupid feelings were hurt.  If you’re upset that there are signs and displays out there of ideas you don’t agree with, this is so incredibly not the country for you.  We have freedom of expression around here and what comes with that is the freedom to be absolutely offended by what others say or do…but not the freedom to stop them from saying what they believe.

Second, on the issue of public money.  Has the money already been spent?  If not, then no, of course you don’t want to erect new religious symbols, but if the damage is already done then be a grown up and get over it.  Especially for symbols that have been up for years.  Atheists, you too can be big boys and girls and not take every single word against you with all the maturity of a bratty 2 year old (I’ve yet to see it in practice, but I’m willing to be astounded by seeing it for the first time).  If a community votes to take down a time honored symbol, fine, but the courts have no right to tell people to take down symbols of their faith that have been there for years.

As for memorials like crosses put out for fallen police officers or soldiers.  It’s more of a question of what did the people we wish to honor believe.  If they were Christians a cross is the appropriate way to honor them, and if you’re offended by someone putting up a memorial to honor a person who gave their life to protect yours…you’re an asshole.  You have a first amendment right to be one, but I have a First Amendment right to call you (in fact I have an ethical duty to point it out).  If members of other religions have problems with that symbol, and someone from their religion is among the ranks of those being honored, then just put up a symbol of that faith as well…taking it down is just insulting to everyone as it has the mentality of “If I can’t have my symbol all by itself, then no one can have a symbol” (which only benefits the religion of atheism).

Everyone should have the right to express their religion.

Some of this came out of my post of on the worship site for Pagans at the Air Force Academy.   I don’t begrudge them their meeting place, as members of the armed services they are more than entitled to worship, and I have no problem that it’s on our dime as it’s being beyond a heartless creature to say that those who risk their lives for us shouldn’t have the right to worship as they choose.  I was complaining how a $5,000 project cost $80,000.  And I was complaining that Pagans who are always trying to gain some good PR weren’t too bright to let themselves be attached to this boondoggle of government waste.  But they’re entitled to the worship as they see fit.

Which also bring up the atheist who wants a chaplain  in the military.  Is he entitled to one and should we provide one?  Yes, that way we’re treating all religions fairly.  Is this guy a complete ass who is just trying to mock other religions? Yes he is and then some…but he’s putting his life on the line for us so I say we give this complete asshole what he wants.

All religions need to be treated equally and this BS about secularism and removing religious display isn’t doing that.  It’s favoring one religion over another.  The fact that it’s a religion that has even less proof behind it than most and the fact that is in the running for most vicious religion in history should also give one pause.

3 Comments

Filed under Atheism, Civil Liberties, Constitution, Faith, Fear, God, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Individualism, New Age, philosophy, politics, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality

Pagans are not doing themselves any favors…

So there is a new site for pagans, witches, druids, and other “Earth-based” religions to worship at at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.

I have no problem with this.  I personally don’t see the need for a particular place to worship as I find God to be everywhere equally, but I understand how some need a church, synagogue, temple or outdoor “worship center” and prefer a particular place to practice their spirituality.

I do however have a problem with the L.A. Times stating that pagans are “followers of an ancient religion that generally does not worship a single god.”  Depends on your Pagan.  However, most of those who worship multiple deities by name would probably argue that there is a central single force behind all of those gods.  Judeo-Christians call them angels, Pagans call them gods.  You say to-may-to I say to-mah-to.  But the L.A. Times has often been a paper full of idiots, so this isn’t a major point.

What I do find a major point is that it cost $80,000.  Are you insane?  Look at it.

I could have a house with more square-footage built for $80,000

It’s some stones and concrete.  A few bricks.  They’re in goddamn Colorado the whole thing is nothing but stone.  That means they should only have had to pay for the concrete and the bricks.  That’s maybe a $1,000.  And then there’s the work hours.  First off, the pagan students at the Air Force Academy should have volunteered their weekends to put this together…and the more open-minded Christians should have helped.  But if you have to get outside workers, low bid the thing.  That’s maybe a couple thousand more if you do it right.  That’s maybe another 4 grand…20 if you have to hire useless union workers.   It should not have cost more than $5,000 to put something like that together…and even with all the absolute bullshit and waste of government spending that should not have cost more than $40,000….but look at that.  Eighty Thousand.  Are you kidding me.

This isn’t a story about pagans, if it was it would be very boring.  This is a story about government waste.  And the pagan students are not doing themselves any favors by allowing themselves to be tied to this travesty.

11 Comments

Filed under Budget, Capitalism, Debt, Economics, Faith, First Amendment, Government is useless, New Age, politics, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality, Taxes, Unions

Meditation of the Week: The Fifth Chakra


Someone pointed out that while I tied the first three chakras to the psychological outlook of certain psychologists (First Chakra—Adler, Second Chakra—Freud, Third Chakra—Jung) I had not done this with the 4th and 5th.  This was partly because I was waiting to get to the 5th because the only psychologist who I know of who covers these two is Abraham Maslow…also he is the last psychologist we’ll be dealing with because as there are so few people in the world rooted in the sixth and seventh chakras no one has yet to come up with a psychological make-up of saints and enlightened beings (although A Course in Miracles does come close).

Maslow’s psychology, based around his hierarchy of needs, actually coverers all the chakras.  The first level covers the needs and issues of the first two chakras, the second level the 2nd and third chakras, the third level which deals with companionship, friendship and love clearly deals with the 4th chakra, and his 4th level, esteem needs, covers the fifth or throat chakra.  The esteem needs are those, according to Maslow deal with self-esteem, achievement, and confidence.  We need to know our place and purpose in the world and embrace it with passion and vigor.  This is often why the fifth chakra is associated with artistic pursuits, because it is often through art that many people best express who they are and what they believe.  However one could just as easily do this through being an inventor, being a great businessman or manager…as long as you are doing what your are really good at and really enjoy you are in line with your 5th chakra and meeting the esteem requirements…granted not all of us have found that…that’s why we still have to do these little things, these small actions to spark the creative juices to help you connect you to what you should be doing.

So this week we’re back to silent meditation.  I want you to sit for at least 15 minutes each day (I’d prefer 15 straight minutes, but if you have to break it up into three five-minute periods that is okay) and while sitting  (lotus position if possible)  focus on your fifth chakra, the spinning blue circle in your throat and see it blindingly bright with light.  Then ask the universe “What am I meant to do?”  then clear your mind and listen carefully for an answer.  Try to keep your mind clear but notice what thoughts do come to you over the course of your meditation, they may be the answer you’re looking for.  If you can do this twice a day, once in the morning before you start your day (giving the universe a chance to answer you through some sign in your day) and once at night (giving the universe a chance to answer you in your dreams) so much the better. 

1 Comment

Filed under 4th Chakra, 5th Chakra, A Course in Miracles, Art, Chakra, Faith, Fifth Chakra, God, Happiness, Love, New Age, Prayer, Purpose of Life, Religion, Spirituality, Throat Chakra

More Misconceptions of the New Age: Crystals, incense and the rest


So when I asked my friends what they thought of when they heard the phrase New Age I got a lot of responses regarding crystals, incense, and music. I was looking for misconceptions about the New Age, but this really isn’t a misconception…New Agers really do go for all of that…but I think it’s misunderstood as to why we do it.

New Agers believe, not entirely without basis, that everything in existence is really just energy vibrating at different levels (don’t roll your eyes this is one of the more popular theories of quantum mechanics). And with this we find that certain objects have certain vibrations that correspond to certain patterns of thought. That certain sounds and even certain stimuli (like scent) can also help raise the vibration level of the person using them.

Now do New Ager’s believe that just by putting a crystal in our hands we suddenly are lifted to a higher level of enlightenment? No. It’s something we use to focus, to help us remember and concentrate. You know like crosses, stars of David, rosary beads, mandalas, formulaic prayers, water in a baptism, and the Eucharist. Few of us believe in the full power of these things when we’re not of the faith that uses them, but we do understand their uses. They’re tools to help us control our thoughts. We just have quite a few more than most religions because we tend to draw items from every religion because we believe that almost all religions can be a way to truth. If a crystal works for you in helping you raise your thoughts, use it. If it doesn’t, don’t. If a crucifix does the same thing use that.

So yes, we do have all those things that make New Age stores so profitable, but understand, in that aspect we’re not really different from any other religion…we all have our tools for helping our thought focus more on God. You have yours. We don’t insult yours when they don’t work for us…

Leave a comment

Filed under Chakra, Faith, God, Happiness, Individualism, Karma, Meditation, New Age, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality

Misconceptions about New Agers: That we believe in a lot of gods

So apparently some people believe New Agers believe in no God (which I dealt with). We do. Some people believe we worship Satan (which I’m not even going to dignify with a full blog). We don’t. And then some people believe New Agers are a bunch of polytheists worshiping an insane number of gods. This is incorrect…but at least I understand where they get this from.

Let me start with a comparison. Catholics worship only one God. That is a given. But they pray to a whole mess of Angels and Saints. Why? Because if you believe in angels,  archangels and saints, you believe that God does use intermediaries that can specialize in certain skills for certain needs and certain problems. Why? Because sometimes grasping the infinite concept of God is a bit much for our brain, especially when we’re under stress…i.e., when we’re praying for help. It is a great help to be able to see an intermediary, someone that looks more human, is more relatable and can be more understanding of what our problems are. Yes, we can pray directly to God, and should, but should you need something more relatable in a time of need you have saints and angels to pray to. (And I apologize if I didn’t get the exact details of Catholic dogma, I did try to be correct in the broad strokes).

Now over to New Agers. Pretty much the same thing with us. We believe in angels and saints. We believe that a Saint from any religion can help us because they have reached a level of enlightenment much higher than the average person at present and will not care about such petty things as what name you attribute to God. If you call on them they will come, be you Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, agnostic or New Ager. It doesn’t matter, you called for help they will come and do what they can (understand however it’s more of a whispering in your ear to see the opportunities to earn what you want or to get out of the situation you want to get out of, or at least to calm or strengthen you as the situation and request may call for). (More along the lines of what you saw in the movie City of Angels than in It’s A Wonderful Life).

However, New Agers don’t just call on saints and angels. We tend to have a much wider base of enlightened souls to call upon. And I don’t just mean Buddha, Krishna, Christ and Lao-Tzu. No we tend to take a lot of the old Pagan deities as well. Do we actually believe in the stories of Mount Olympus or of the Vedas? Not really. But we do believe that there was likely some enlightened soul behind that story, a truth that gave birth to the myth, and that is the person we’re calling upon. Further, I know some New Agers call up figures who were clearly fictional (I’m not going to name names so as not to embarrass anyone). Are they asking for help from no one and getting no help because they didn’t use the right name? No. New Agers tend to believe that the Heaven and all its beings are bright enough to know what we’re asking for even if we get the name wrong. There really was no Saint Christopher in history, but I’m sure some angel or enlightened being who did specialize in helping those in need of protection or guidance during journeys responded to all the calls for Saint Christopher…and if this enlightened being ever needed to reveal itself to someone (an exceedingly rare experience, but moments of revelation are not completely unheard of) it might even identify itself with that name just so as to help the person it was coming to understand what it was there for.   Now in a lot of cases we do refer to the enlightened souls as deities or gods, but more out of respect for the other religions we took them from, not because we really equate them with God.  Although you might hear a New Ager use the term Ascended Master as a catch all for all of these enlightened souls.

So do we call upon a lot of saints, angels, and gods (lower case g…who were likely just enlightened souls from very long ago) for help, and pray to them? Yes we do. But we don’t worship them. No. We understand that they are intermediaries who can better understand our problems and what me may need (although honestly angels are a bit detached as well—absolutely no understanding of how time works, if you’re praying to angels for help be sure to be very specific in terms of when and where). I think it’s safe to say that most New Agers believe there is only one God who uses a very large task force of intermediaries to help us.

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, God, Happiness, New Age, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality