Tag Archives: spirituality

Ten New Age Movies that Should be Made

Over at Elementary Politics I just completed a list of 10 films I think conservatives should make.  Now to balance out my beliefs, here are 10 films I think New Agers should make.   Why because, regrettably our ideas are not getting out there enough.  There is scientific proof that the afterlife exists (and not just for Christians but for everyone) and that reincarnation is a fact—evidence that it is our souls and our free will that dictate everything in our lives and that we are not the victims of fate or circumstance beyond our control…but so little of it gets out there.  There are the few good movies out there (What Dreams May Come, Dead Again, the early Shaymalan stuff) and there is some stuff that tries but fails at quality film making (The Celestine Prophecy comes to mind).  But there is so much out there that could be made that would help bring these ideas to public attention The MessengersT

he Messengers:  If you’re not familiar with this book you should go out and find a copy. The story of a man who through past life regression therapy finds out that he was Saul of Tarsus…better known as St. Paul.  And that he knew Jesus well before the road to Damascus.  As a film it has that thing Hollywood loves, parallel story lines (the modern story of the man finding out who he was and coming to terms with it, the ancient story of Jesus’ true teachings)—and both stories are compelling.  And while controversial (as if that never brings in box-office numbers) it tells a slightly more accurate story than most are familiar with. the_alchemist “What’s the world’s greatest lie?… It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.”

The Alchemist:  I will fully admit that previous attempts to bring Paulo Cohelo to the big screen have been less than spectacular (I actually enjoyed Veronica Decides To Die, but I realize that I’m one of the few people to actually see it and that if you hadn’t read the book it would have made little to no sense whatsoever).   But The Alchemist and its ideas that all of life has a purpose and is directed to that purpose whether you see it or not is a tale that should be brought to the screen. I’m not sure if it can be done without a healthy amount of voice over or narration to help the audience with some of the events and concepts (or at least quite a bit of exposition) but it can be done.

Waldo:  No not that one.  The short story by Robert Heinlein.  Not familiar with it?  Basically it’s The Secret if the secret were put into a futuristic sci-fi story.  Centered around a physically Waldodisabled, but mentally superior inventor named Waldo whose physical deformities mean that he has to live in the zero gravity environment or be just above a paraplegic. This handicap has caused him to be very estranged from others, living in space adds to it, and his extreme genius even further drives him apart from his fellow humans…and the jealousy, envy. And lack of empathy leads to Waldo becoming a misanthrope that puts Dr. Greg House to shame. But in amongst all of this, Waldo is presented with a problem that has to be fixed if the world economy is going to continue-the source for the world’s power seems to be failing. The answer Waldo discovers to this problem–that the science of the energy source is not the problem, but that thought creates reality, and it is the general misanthropy and cynicism/fear of the world that is causing the downturn/destruction block to infinite power. What follows is a recovery not just for the world but for Waldo himself. Quite frankly a story that puts the Law of Attraction in terms that most people understand is something that is desperately needed. Yes the name of the protagonist is going to have to be changed…we all know what you thought of when you saw the title, but aside from that this could be one of the most effective ways to bring the idea of the Law of Attraction to the general public.

Stranger in a Strange Land “Mike is our Prometheus — but that’s all. Mike keeps emphazing this. Thou art God, I am God, he is God — all that groks. Mike is a man like the rest of us. A superior man admittedly — a lesser man taught the things the Martians know, might have set himself up as a pipsqueak god. Mike is above that temptation. Prometheus… but that is all.”

Stranger in a Strange Land: Honestly how has this movie already not been made?  I realize that Hollywood has a terrible track record of actually appreciating Heinlein. But this is probably his most popular book. You would at least have thought the liberals of the 60’s would have done a poor job that showed they didn’t get anything out of it beyond the subtext of free love, but they didn’t (just as well, it would have been disappointing as that godawful Atlas Shrugged trilogy). But I still do not grok why it has never even been attempted. Am I the only one who can see Hugh Laurie playing the sharp tongued Jubal?

Portrait of Jennie: This was a great movie.  The story of true love separated by a fluke of Potrait of Jennietime and fate that the universe tries to atone for by ignoring the laws of time.  And it is actually one of those rare movies that was superior to the book.  So why does it need to be remade?  Two reasons.  The first is while it is a great movie with a New Age sensibility of time and destiny, and that love is a force that transcends all other limitations, it was a message that was not made particularly clear and only made sense to those who already understood what it was saying.  And I feel a very skilled writer could help make some of these ideas more accessible while not sacrificing any of the depth.  The second reason is that while Jennifer Jones does an Oscar worthy performance as Jennie         , the movie is actually about artist Eben Adams played by Joseph Cotton, an actor so inept, stiff and lifeless you’d think he walked out of an Ayn Rand novel*. It’s a testament to the power of the movie that it still shines when its lead actor who is in every scene is a man who makes Keanu Reeves look like Laurence Olivier.  I would love to see the power of the film with a competent actor at the helm of the narrative.

Lost HorizonLost Horizon: The story of Shangri-La, a mystical realm of peace and understanding hidden in the Himalayas.  Another great New Age tale that already has a film.  But the existing film has two problems.  One is that the early days of film had the problem that film decayed and Hollywood only discovered this part after many films had been lost. Lost Horizon is one of those films which could not be completely saved, as such there are several parts of the film that are missing. The second problem is that director Frank Capra decided that instead of just telling the story from a great book, he would insert his own political beliefs into the film.  This is bad enough, but the supreme irony is that his politics in this case is an argument for complete pacifism in a movie made one year before Hitler decided to acquire Polish real estate.  It doesn’t belong in the film in the first place, but in context it makes the rest of the film and its message look naive and foolish which it is not.

Just then Joshua (Jesus) stumbled through the gate and crashed into us. We were able to catch ourselves and him before anyone fell. The Messiah was holding the little girl’s bunny, hugging it to his cheek with the big back feet swinging free. He was gloriously drunk. “Know what?” Josh said. “I love bunnies. They toil not, neither do they bark. Henceforth and from now on, I decree that whenever something bad happens to me, there be bunnies around. So it shall be written. Go ahead Biff, write it down.”–Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore, the wedding in Canna scene

LambLamb the Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal:  If you have not read this book you need to.  It is one of the most hilarious stories ever told.  The story of Christ’s life from someone who was actually there, Levi bar Levi, known to his friends as Biff.  Biff is Jesus’s (in the book called Josh**) devout friend and protector as they grow up together and then leave Judea so that Josh can learn to be the Messiah.  So, while searching out wise men in modern day Afghanistan, China and India, Josh learns the balance in Taoism, the serenity in Buddhism, and the wisdom of Hinduism…while Biff learns to blow things up with alchemy, martial arts, and the wisdom of the Kama Sutra.  The book is one of those rare works that can balance humor and grace.  And besides being so funny it needs a movie, it is a movie that shows that most of the world’s religions share more in common than they have separating them. Illusions Bach

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.”

Illusions: while I prefer Bach’s novella Jonathan Livingston Seagull I seriously do not see any way to turn that into a movie.  Even with CGI it still won’t work. So history of a barnstorming Messiah and his handbook of advice for how to be Messiah is the second best option.

Autobiography of a Yogi:  I am not usually in favor of biopics.  They’re so incredibly hit and miss that they turn me off for the Autobiography of a Yogimost part, and the better ones are often the ones that play fast and loose with the facts and don’t let them get in the way of a good story.  That said, the life of Yogananda and his message of the unity of religions and God is one that I feel people should be more familiar with.

Life before Life: This is a book that I think offers a lot of room to work with for a film. Life after LifeObviously there would have to be a lot of composite characters, but you could do well with a tale of single research looking into one case after another of children who have memories of their past lives. If the more close minded are going to put out made up tripe like Heaven if for Real (honestly I believe in near death experiences but have no faith in that kid or his family’s story) then a movie with actual research into what happens in the afterlife is something that should be out there. Now certainly there are other stories that depict the principles we hold so near and dear, but I think these 10 would be an excellent place to start. *It’s no shock that he’s the star of the few screenplays Rand wrote in her brief Hollywood career. **It does correctly describe how the Aramaic name Yeshua become Jesus if you translate into Greek then English, but Joshua when you go straight from Aramaic to English.

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Filed under Movies, New Age, New Age Movies

Another look at “Heaven is for Real”, Calvinism, and Reality

 

 

Okay so this is going to be even more ranty than usual posts…but the ideas I’m about to deal with are so abhorrent that they do not even deserve treatment as valid points that need to be refuted by logic…but they seem to be held by far too many. This is going to get a little disjointed compared my usual posts, but the work I am commenting on wasn’t particularly well ordered to begin with.

 

So if you may recall my review of Heaven is For Real. I complained that the movie wasn’t very good as a movie or as a defense of near-death experiences (NDE). Now ignoring the flaws as a movie, the problems with the film as a representation of an NDE were numerous. The first was despite there being thousands of examples of NDE this film seemed to have none of the typical trademarks.

 

Some of these trademarks include the tunnel of light. Being often, but not always met by a being of light as a guide through the tunnel. A review of your life. And being given a choice whether or not to go back. (As I said in the previous review, I did not read the book and this film and what I have seen on TV from interviews makes me doubt this story in general).

 

Further, another problem I had was how Christian Heaven appeared in this film. What was depicted with a disturbingly pale Jesus (no Jew from the first century who walked everywhere by foot in the Israeli desert would look anywhere near as pale as they showed him in this film), clouds, gates and other various tropes of a children’s Bible depiction of Heaven.

 

God

And the evidence of NDE’s back me up on this opinion.

From the wealth of NDE’s out there Heaven is more intellectual and less physical than a place of pearly gates and clouds.   Also while the occasional saint, angel and ascended master does occasionally pop up the reality is that most people are not greeted by Jesus. Oh, and most importantly, this typical story is told by Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus,
Buddhists, Taoists, Atheists, and any and all other groups you can think of. God doesn’t care about what name you call him by as much as most religions would like you to think. There are lots of books that prove this point, if want to see the evidence for yourself I would start with Evidence of the Afterlife and Life After Life.

 

But you know, the movie and the book were out to make money so skewing the story to their intended Christian audience can maybe be forgiven in the name of rational capitalism.

 

But then I see an article that makes the following brain dead statement:

 

“The book [Heaven is for Real] places the accounts of heaven in a firm Biblical context, with frequent references to scriptural passages. The film does not follow this practice. In addition to quite fanciful descriptions of heaven, there is the suggestion that everyone is going to end up there. There is no mention anywhere of hell or the last judgment.”

 

So the problems with the movie are the parts that actually match up to known facts about NDEs.

 

Any longtime reader of this blog knows I take a particular glee in pointing out what idiots Atheists are. And Atheists are idiots. They hold an article of faith to the point of absolute nihilistic insanity despite the fact that logic, experience and evidence points to a simple undeniable fact that there is a God. The problem however is that this does not seem to be a flaw limited to atheists.

 

So in the light of facts about NDEs:

That people from all religions seem to go to Heaven.

 

That there is a consistency in these stories across culture, generation, and religion (which suggests it’s not just people making up stories).

 

The fact that the people who report these stories have often been brain dead, i.e., their brain was incapable of encoding new memories during this time; ergo it couldn’t have been a hallucination.

 

That the incredibly rare stories of punishment or torment are virtually always included by points like ‘well they flat lined but they weren’t brain dead for more than a second’ or heavy use of drugs were involved in their being near death in the first place (or other things that a legitimate skeptic could use to throw the case out).

 

That no one has ever felt judged during their NDE, even people who lived terrible lives beforehand (most in this category have felt transformed by the love they felt and lived better lives since).

 

So these are facts about NDEs. And what do religious people complain about…it didn’t conform to my interpretation of the Bible!

 

You know I could at least respect the religious people taking the data head on and trying to prove that all these NDE’s are faulty, but they don’t do that, they would rather just shove up their Bible and act like the cast of Inherit the Wind* ignoring all evidence and simply saying they “do not think about things they do not think about” and defer to only the Bible for answers (conveniently missing the numerous times reason and logic are praised in both the Old and New Testaments).

 

But you know, if that the only stupid thing said in this article, “Popular ReligionHeaven For Everyone?”. I might have just ignored it…but not only does the article getworse, much worse, but while attempting to portray itself as an impartial reporting of the debate about the afterlife (strangely the only sides in this debate appear to be the ones who only want to use very limited interpretations of the Bible) but it frighteningly seemed to be a synthesis of numerous articles I’ve been seeing on issues such as heaven, sin, Calvinism and God. All in one place I found most of the incorrect beliefs about faith, God, the soul, and life I’ve been seeing pop up here and there with more and more regularity as this abomination of New Calvinism seems to gain force…to see them in one place was such a gift it had to be taken up and refuted.

 

“There is now a considerable controversy about the film in the Evangelical world. Grossman quotes another pastor, Tim Challies, who criticizes the film ‘that celebrates the heaven we want, not the Jesus we’ve really got who is worthy of worship and won’t allow ungodliness in heaven’”

 

Oh wow. Again I love how no one wants to actually turn to what real evidence there is, only to argue points of theology based on one badly translated book. I also love how they make no bones about the fact that mankind and any non-Christian beliefs are unholy (but let’s be honest here, it’s even more narrow than that, because this vision of God caring deeply about your denomination and if you’re in the wrong one, to Hell with you). But that’s right because we all have original sin. A guy a few thousand years ago broke a rule, ate an apple and we all have to suffer. If you went and shot the great-grandson of a Nazi because the sins of the father carry to the son so forth and so on, you would be called crazy and immoral…but apparently when God does it for all generations to the end of time, that’s a God “who is worthy of worship.” I fail to see why the worst and most immoral aspects of humanity coupled with tyrannical power is worthy of worship.

 

“Other critics have accused the film of failing to emphasize that there is no way to heaven except through faith in Jesus.”

 

Actually the film is quite biased towards Christianity…it’s the facts of NDEs that show that God doesn’t care what religion you follow. These are facts. I’m sorry if you are more comforted by believing you’re sinful and need to be redeemed. But the FACTS say otherwise.

 

 

“The debate over this film reflects a broader split among Evangelicals, which pits the vision of four-year old Colton over that of proto-Evangelical Jonathan Edwards[…]Most contemporary Evangelicals are very much in the middle between these two extremes”

 

This is the point that the article stops being just a bad discussion and becomes more of a trip through evil. But I would like to point out that the two “extremes” this author believes in are on the one hand you have Protestant Christianity and on the other hand you have Protestant Christianity and in the middle you have Protestant Christianity. I fully realize that the site I found this on probably only writes for that audience, and I realize it’s my own damn fault for trying to read other opinions and should just recognize that this is a preaching to the choir moment. But I’m not going to. I may believe that capitalism is the only system that works, and that the only rational argument is between mixed-economy conservatives (like current Republican leadership) and libertarians (like Rand Paul or John Stossel) with capitalists (like Hayek and Friedman) in the middle…but just because I believe these are the only rational options I’m not anywhere stupid enough to think that these are the extremes. There is socialism and communism and fascism on one side and there is monarchism and anarchy on the other. Those are extremes. And to call the extremes all set within a Protestant framework suggests such a limited way of looking at the world that it has challenged and shown to be the bullshit it is, even if no one who read that article ever reads this one. Ideas have power, and dangerous ones like the author of this one must be confronted.

 

Okay let’s get back to this article.

 

god's wrath

The Calvinist vision of God only belongs in Far Side cartoon…in reality it’s too preposterous to be taken seriously.

“But then there still are those who hold on to the old-time religion of fire and brimstone—and those, who having lost it, want to go back to it. The so-called New Calvinists are an interesting case in point; not suprisingly, they have made Jonathan Edwards one of their mentors.”

 

Some people have wondered why I have serious problems with Calvinism and new and vile incarnation…it’s statements like this. Why?

 

Well keep reading:

 

“He was a highly educated theologian and a stern Calvinist—the entire Calvinist package—“total depravity” (all of humanity sunk in sin), “double predestination” (God has decided from the beginning of time who will be saved and who damned), “selective salvation” (Jesus did not die for all men, only for the pre-determined elect). He preached against the Arminians, who modified Calvinism by, among other things, insisting that those who go to hell should have done something to deserve that fate.”

 

The fact that anyone can speak of Jonathan Edwards in even remotely positive terms defies reason…the fact that this author could later go as far to say that “Edwards was an intellectual” is simply preposterous. Unstable sociopath I can buy–intellectual, not so much. But this article is quite sympathetic to Edwards and his beliefs—as it seems he is to most of New Calvinism. Does it only bother me that the belief that all people are sunk in depravity because of someone a few thousand years ago breaking a rule that reason would put up there with “don’t walk on the grass,” that there is no free will and no ability to change our fate, making us not only depraved but mere automatons of a lunatic tyrant. Worse the article is very insulting to what it calls “Vanilla Evangelicals” who might have a problem with this image of God as a raving lunatic. (But then again this article also seems dismissive in one part of Thomas Aquinas for believing that babies who had not been baptized would not suffer in hell, quoting a theologian who makes it clear if you’re not baptized you burn for all eternity.) Of course one my favorite parts has to be the line “there can be no doubt that both Testaments proposed a day of judgment that would segregate the blessed from the damned”—which I’m sure comes as a shock to most Jewish philosophers for the last 2,000 years who take no opinion on the afterlife, let alone a day of Judgment; I guess the Jews just don’t know how to read the Old Testaments in this author’s mind.

 

The article even tries to portray the following piece of Edward’s philosophy as valid:

“Edwards proposes that the latter, looking down from heaven to the torments of hell, will not only do so with equanimity but with joy at the working of God’s justice. To leave no room for any misplaced sympathy, he insists that the righteous will not be moved even if among the sufferers in hell are individuals that once were loved—parents, children, spouses.”

 

There are no words of condemnation for this in the article and that is horrifying. The idea that in Heaven everyone has become a sadistic psychopath who revels in suffering of others (often for crimes such as not calling God by the right name despite living an otherwise moral life) is beyond any rational interpretation of God. If this is what Heaven is and how God behaves, then I will enjoy Hell because this sick, perverted God is no better than some of the more disturbing ancient Pagan deities. In fact, morally this vision of God is on par with Ba’al, the ancient Phoenician God whose worshippers sacrificed live infants to.

 

Thankfully I do not have a God that is this disturbed. God is not like this. Facts of NDEs and miracles and life show that God is not, and cannot be this evil; life is full of signs that are evident for anyone who would like to put to the test of reason (which the Bible actually praises)—and it tells that these that are shallowly called faith have no basis. But let’s return to one of the article’s original lines that complained about Heaven is for Real because it “celebrates the heaven we want, not the Jesus we’ve really got who is worthy of worship and won’t allow unholiness in heaven.” A God who punishes for no legitimate reason, and trust me original sin is not a legitimate reason, is not worthy of worship. Only a rational loving God is worthy of worship. What Calvinism, in all its forms, shows is not a God of reason and not a God of love. It is a sick butcher who revels in the suffering of others. And that thing which is passed off as an image of God is certainly not worthy of worship.

 

Now I’m sure someone could point out that this article which I have taken to task, only brings up the two sides and never actually says which side the author comes down on, thus I’m being overly critical, and unjustifiably so. But, that’s not a valid argument. The article is always positive, even if subtly so, of the Calvinist side and dismissive or insulting of every other viewpoint. This author may have wanted to appear neutral, but he is in no way neutral. You can’t discuss ideas this vile dispassionately because they are not worthy of even a prima facie treatment as valid ideas. And if you find them more comforting than a God that actually does love all his children, then you have issues.

 

One final point. The article closes with:

 

“But I had no intention of diverting attention from the fact that questions about heaven and hell raise serious issues for religious faith, especially for any version of monotheism. The presence of evil in the world created by God is intolerable unless there is an ultimate judgment against it. In the words of the Quran, there will be that day of judgment when every man will stand alone before God.”

 

Ignoring that there are answers to the problem of evil other than damnation, the fact that this Calvinist author sees no problem in finding comparisons between his beliefs and the Koran is abhorrent. If there is one book in all of existence that God had nothing to do with in its writing, it’s the Koran, a book of hate and violence, and the most perverted view of God around…and that Calvinism so easily finds a parallel between their view and the God of hate in the Koran, should give everyone pause given that it does appear to be on the rise.

Now, again, you could claim that this author and his bias is not symptomatic of a larger growing movement.  That would certainly be an argument against me getting this upset, but, at least personally I am seeing these terrible ideas of Calvinism begin to spread ever so slightly, and this is something I would rather over react to than be silent and let it progress unchallenged.

 

 

 

*It should be noticed that the play/movie Inherit the Wind which shows Scopes Trial to take place in a town of backward hicks and prosecuted by a zealot who knew nothing about anything and differs greatly from the real Scopes Trial where the town was somewhere between indifferent and supportive of Scopes, and the real prosecutor was against evolution not because he didn’t understand science but because at the time, the 1920’s, evolution and eugenics went hand in hand in all teachings…and he, strangely enough, had a real moral problem with eugenics—can’t imagine why.

 

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Why I’m A New Ager

So the other day I was asked by a friend “what does a New Ager believe?”. And I gave my usual piss-poor answer of “It’s kind of hard to explain. It’s a mix of a lot different beliefs.” And while this is true, it’s still not a great answer. Not that other religions are easy to explain, they’re not, every religion is complex and difficult to understand…however, those other religions have these useful books or pre-vetted collections of belief or maybe one or two major beliefs. “What does a Buddhist believe?” You have an answer “The teachings of Buddha and reincarnation and the releasing of karma.” “What does a Christian believe?” “The teaching of Christ as reported in the New Testament, love and forgiveness for all.” Now different denominations have variations, but those variations can be summed up in a sentence or two.

I’ve tried explaining my beliefs before to people, but have often come up to immediate challenges. There have been a lot of challenges involved with this before I even answered: If I didn’t believe in the Christian God how did I explain the problem of evil? If you believed in a more active God than eastern traditions why didn’t God just wake us up from this nightmare that is reality? If I wasn’t a Christian how come I still talk about the father, son, and Holy Spirit? How can I believe in any of the things I do since it was all contradictory? As you can see I do not always run into friendly audiences. So, I realize that as very few are going to initially agree with this interpretation, but before you raise

Who are you?  What do you believe in?

objections, read the whole thing.

So here goes trying to describe my beliefs of what it is to be a New Ager (and I fully acknowledge that other New Agers out there may have different takes on this). Now if you know me I would say the most important distinction of religion is the acts of the its followers, but since in the broad strokes almost all religions advocate for the pretty much the same external actions (with only minimal differences–and I’m excluding the act of fanatics here)–thus the ethical differences between New Age belief and more traditional beliefs is probably not the most efficient way to distinguish New Age belief. So let me go to the more useful metaphysical relationship of God to Mankind.

The first is if you were a parent and your small child was having a nightmare so powerful that they couldn’t wake up, you have two options. Either (1) you can slap your screaming crying child to wake them up or (2) you can hold them, rock them, and speak to them soothingly hoping that your voice will lead them out of their nightmare. Now most parents will probably choose option 2. Option 1 might be faster, but it certainly isn’t all that humane.

The second thing I want you to consider is that in dreams time and identity doesn’t quite work in the traditional sense. I think it’s probably safe to say we’ve all had a dream that seemed to last for days, maybe even weeks, but our perception of time was only part of the dream. A dream that lasts ten minutes in the physical world seemed to drag on in our mind for days. Also we’ve probably all had a dream were there is more than just ourselves in the dream. Our dreams often have a quite large cast, but really all of those people in our dreams are nothing but images of us taking a different form. Some of us may even have had a dream where we perceive the actions of two characters in our dreams at once.

The third idea I would like you to hold in your mind is the Christian relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If you live in the Western world you should be familiar with this relationship…and since I don’t think I have too many readers in Outer Mongolia I’m going to just assume you already know this idea.

Now with those three ideas in mind let me tell you a story. God created the Son. You know this story up to this point. But then the Son had this terrible idea…God might not love him. This is a preposterous idea because God is an infinite being contemplating and giving love. But where the Son should have laughed at such a strange idea, the Son instead fell into a deep sleep (or the equivalent on an infinite non material universal scale). Now in this nightmare that the Son slipped into a whole universe was created with the pieces of the this infinite consciousness of the Son splitting apart into billions of pieces. Just as we may perceive more than one role in our own dreams, the infinite mind of the Son was able to perceive from billions of perspectives. The problem was that this fear that God does not love us latched onto each and everyone of those pieces and formed what New Agers call the ego. The ego is an embodiment of that base fear that we are separated from God, and it is attached to each piece of the Son’s consciousness, what we call the soul. This world is nothing but a nightmare in the mind of the Son (kind of like the Hindu belief that this world is a dream of the Brahman).

Now many complain that a loving god would not allow his Son to experience such a nightmare. But remember, as I pointed out in my first idea, a loving parent doesn’t just smack their child until they wake up. They hold them and speak to them, hoping that voice will bring their child out of their nightmare. In this case that voice appears in this nightmare as what is common called the Holy Spirit. Further as I pointed out time can get awfully fuzzy in a nightmare–What appears as thousand of years here is barely a moment in the reality of true existence. From God’s perspective this nightmare lasted barely a moment in eternity.

At this point the I think most people will understand when I say each of these pieces of consciousness, i.e. humans, are trying to free themselves of their egos and fear and reach a level of Enlightenment a la Hinduism or Buddhism. Ideally, of course the ultimate goal is for everyone to shed their ego/fears and return to the level of being an awakened Son of God. This might engender a idea that we must think collectively and put our own well being second to the good of the whole and others as our goal cannot be reached until all beings reach enlightenment…but that’s actually a false line of logic, as you can’t help anyone else until you yourself reach enlightenment. As such New Age belief requires not only the follower to not give into fear (i.e. you absolutely can’t be a “God-fearing” person as other religions might ask of you) nor can you ascetically withdraw from the world and condemn all the world’s pleasures as sin because that is also giving into the ego’s false belief that sin exists. What you say, of course sin exists! Not really, if this world is only an illusion there can’t actually be anything that God condemns us for, because to God doesn’t admit this world exists, thus there is nothing to condemn and nothing for God to forgive. Yes there are terrible things that happen in this world, but it’s acts of violence against ourselves, or actually against illusions we have created, certainly not against God or God’s laws. But the ego uses your guilt to keep your soul tied to it. I could go on, but to cut this short (and give me future blogs to deal with) the New Age belief is that Enlightenment will only be achieved through the full expression of ourselves and realizing that we are the Son of God and have a infinite power and nothing to feel guilty about because God loves us and anything contrary to that though (fear, guilt, uncertainty) is what keeps us in this nightmare.

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Monthly Meditation: Long Term Goals

Looking to goal

It is the long term goals that should hold your attention.

 

So it has been a while since I’ve put up a meditation.  I’m sorry, but nothing has been coming to me on this front and I feel nothing is better than something that is halfhearted and forced out.  So I’m now going to title these monthly meditations, and hopefully will have something come to me at least once a month.

 

However, something has come to me at last.

 

There is an expression by the Dalai Lama:

“If there is no solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it.”

 

This is an excellent thought and a variation in sentiment on the Serenity Prayer.

 

However, this or the serenity prayer isn’t always appropriate because sometimes, regrettably, we don’t always have the wisdom to know whether something can or cannot be done.

 

For instance a few years ago I was unsure if I should focus on my writing or use my time to find a new job as I was very unhappy in my job at the time.  Or should I split my free time between the two? At the time I made the correct choice and focused on writing, although at the time I probably didn’t consciously realize why that was correct decision.   But it was the correct decision because it focused on the long term problem and not the short term.

 

There have been other instances in my life that were like this, and when I reflect on them, when I focused on the long term problems and working to resolve those things tended to work out (as they did with my job…although admittedly not in the way I would have planned).  And when I focused on the short term problems, problems just kept piling up.

 

And suddenly in the last week I have realized that it is always the long term issues that need to be focused on.  Always.  It’s not enough to look toward the future, you have to look to an actual long term goal.

 

It’s ironic that I didn’t see this sooner as this has been my complaint about politics for so long, that our elected officials only see the immediate problems and their immediate solutions to an immediate problem which in turn only causes long term issues.  But this is true of personal lives and problems as well as in politics.

 

You need to focus on the long term issues, the long term problems and the long term goals first.

 

If you are directed toward the long term goals, the small things work themselves out either because you don’t focus on them as much or because God (or whatever name you want to use) tends to help you get over the small crap of the short term issues.

 

So the thing to focus on for this meditation is, as I’ve suggested before, make a list of what you really want in life.  Now prioritize them—what you want the most at the top, the lesser things at the bottom. (Hint: Happiness should be at the top, and the next few should be exactly what you need to have Happiness)   Now circle the top five or six.  And now forget about the rest.  Focus on those. Figure out what you need to do to get those, figure out what you need to learn, to find, to create to achieve those top three (four if you count Happiness, which your other things should all lead to).  Forget about everything else.  Every free moment you have should be focused on those things.

 

All the other small stuff will take care of itself, just keep focused on the long term goals.

 

The meditation for this month will be in training your mind to ignore all the smaller issues and stay focused on the major things.  Have a little faith, that if you are directed toward your ultimate goals, everything else will sort itself out to help you reach those goals.

 

 

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Bi Weekly Meditation: Calm

Okay, so very quickly, here is this week’s meditation.

Rather than do something of my own I found a wonderful site you may not be aware of.  Calm.com.

It offers 2, 10, and 20 minutes guided meditations.

You can pick the nature scene with that is accompanied by the matching background noise and for a few minutes just relax.

Calm 1

There are others but I felt this gives you an idea of the kind of backgrounds they have.

Listening to 2 minutes of this is better than a 15 minute break.

The discovery of this site has been a godsend to me, trust me, use it a couple times during your work day, you’ll find your stress level goes down, your productivity goes up, you’ll leave work happier, you get more done in the day.

It’s a nice reminder to just occasionally clear out from all your troubles.

calm 3

The other nice thing is that even when the meditation is over the sound of the scene will continue and you can just leave it on as relaxing white noise.

Works wonders for trying to get to sleep too.

So this week I would recommend that you just try out this site and see if it helps you regain some quiet and control in your life. calm 2

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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.

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Bi Weekly Meditation: Thou art God

 

 

So, for some reason (I think fear) I’m seeing a rise in the religiously zealous (and I meant that in the most insulting form of zealotry).  I am seeing far more people claim such preposterous things such as “True humility is inspired by a knowledge that we are less than God, and will always remain so.”  Yeah some psycho wack-job felt the need to tell me that.  First off this is just stupid because true humility comes from acknowledging not only your strengths and potential but that of everyone around you, it recognizes that you are not necessarily better than others, but that you are worthy of pride, hence the phrase “Don’t be so humble, you’re not that great.”  To just say that you are inferior isn’t humility, it’s self-loathing.

 

Second of all is this idiotic concept that we are less than God.  Why would a perfect being create anything that wasn’t perfect?  Why would a being of love create something only to worship it?  Why would an all knowing being create something that could only sin and make mistakes?  Unlike some people, I don’t believe God is stupid or psychotic, nor does he bear any of the personality disorders we see in people.  God would have no reason to create something inferior to himself. Just because we’re caught in the bad dream that is this world, doesn’t mean that in reality we are inferior to our creator.  If we were, God would be the worst parent in existence because it would mean he intentionally wanted his children to be inferior to him.  A true/good parent only loves and wishes the best for their children and only want to be loved and respected back from their children.  Only a sick person would want worship from anyone.

Creation of Adam

To believe you are inferior to God means you believe he couldn’t or wouldn’t create something perfect…which kind of violates the very concept of God.

“You have not only been fully created, but have also been created perfect.” –A Course in Miracles, Text, Chapter 2, I:1:3

 

You, your soul, are a creation of God, it is perfect, and it is divine. There are only three belief systems that fully deny this divinity. Atheism, Islam (except for the Sufi’s), and close-minded Christianity which doesn’t know how to properly read their own book.  (And remind me of all the problems those belief systems cause?)

 

Don’t believe me?

 

Let’s look at some of the texts throughout the world.

 

“An eternal part of Myself [God], manifesting as a living soul in the world of being”  Bhagavad Gita 15:7

“It is God, and God alone, who has encased Himself as the soul in the many human beings He has created.”—Paramahansa Yogananda, God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita

Lesson 35 from the Workbook for Student of A Course in Miracles

My mind is part of God’s.  I am very holy.

 

Even the Buddhists who are agnostic as to the nature of the soul and God, and believe that every living thing has a soul, still recognize the special place the human soul has in creation as the most perfect opportunity to reach enlightenment.

 

Imagine a wide ocean with a golden yoke adrift upon it. In the depths of ocean swims a single blind turtle, who surfaces for air once every hundred years. How rare would it be for the turtle to surface with its head through the hole in the yoke? The Buddha said that attaining a precious human rebirth is rarer than that.—The Dalai Lama The Way to Freedom 

 

And of course the central line in the Bible that shows this point:

 

“God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him” Gen 1:27 (New American Bible)

 

Did you think this was in reference to your physical appearance?  That God is a biped that looks like a highly evolved chimp?  No it’s in reference to your soul, that the soul of a human being is something divine and perfect.  (Even more so for Christians for whom Christ, who is the image of God, (2 Corinthians 4:4) thus connecting the image of God which has already been connected to all humans, but to Christ, and what made Christ special).

 

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point.  Every sane religion is based on the idea that the human soul is divine, every religious belief that is at the heart of suffering and misery denies this basic truth.

 

We are made in the image of God, we are a part of God, and we are divine.  We just have forgotten that.

 

Why do I bring this all up as this week’s mediation?

 

Because it is falling for this lie of the ego that we are inferior, that we are not good enough, that nothing we can do will ever be good enough, that more than anything keeps people held back.  It is a belief that engenders self-loathing, because if you are imperfect what possible reason could there be for God in his perfection to love you, and if God can’t, who can?   It is a belief that engenders fear, because if you are not divine then you have no control over your life and your free will amounts to nothing. It is a belief that engenders hatred, defeat, hopelessness and everything that is not God.  And if you think that I’m taking these little ideas to an illogical extreme, remember that your ego wants you to take them to an illogical extreme because when you realize you are God and not your ego, you ego will cease to be and you will at once be one with God.  And your ego will fight violently to protect the illusion of its existence.

 

I bring it up, as I have brought it up in various other forms, because the belief that you can with God’s help and the help of beings who are already enlightened (the true meaning of “No one can come to the Father except through me” isn’t a call that everyone should be a Christian, it’s statement that only through enlightenment—Christ-consciousness as some would call it—does one become one with God again) once again regain the self-knowledge of your divinity and return you to your place of perfection as the Son of God.

 

So for this week every chance you have, remind yourself that you are the Son of God.  You are perfect.  You are divine.

 

Or you can pull from this list of mantras from A Course in Miracles:

God is in everything I see because God is in my mind

My mind is a part of God’s.  I am very holy

My holiness blesses the world.

My holiness is my salvation.

God is my Source.  I cannot see apart from Him.

I am the light of the world.

Love created me like itself.

I am entitled to miracles.

I am as God created me.

I am one Self, united with my Creator.

Our Deepest Fear

Yes, theoretically this could give rise to arrogance and pompousness…but you know what, I’m not seeing that as being the biggest problem in the world right now. Let’s deal with the problem at hand.

 

But if you really feel yourself drifting to the arrogance repeat this one from the Course:

 

Forgiveness is the function of the light of the world.  Let me not forget my function.

 

That should bring you back to balance.

 

Who are you?  What do you believe in?

Every symbol on here is a belief in the divinity of the soul.  It is silly to think they’re all wrong.

 

 

 

Do you grok?

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Weekly Meditation: Why

“In the beginning was Reason, and Reason was with God, and Reason was God.”–Gospel of John 1:1

What?  How do you translate the Greek work “Logos”?  The Word?  So let me get this straight any other work of philosophy from that time period we would translate logos as Reason or Logic, but in this one work we should translate it as “The Word”…yeah that makes sense.

 

My point here is that reason, logic, the critical power of the mind to analyze and come to conclusions is actually something that has been praised in religion.  Any correct interpretation of any sane religion places reason and faith on equal footing where they work together in harmony, not in opposition.  Thus to truly lead a spiritual life we must lead a life of reason…

Yeah modern culture has tried to teach you that the two are opposed, but they’re not.

It wasn’t a giant leap of faith that allowed Siddhartha to reach Enlightenment, he tried that for years to no avail–it was hearing the rational wisdom of a lyre player saying that “If the string is to tight it will break, if too loose it will not play” to his student. The reason that we must seek a middle path, or at the father of Western reason Aristotle would put it, the Golden Mean.

The Buddha under the boddhi tree

Granted reason without faith won’t get you to Enlightenment, but neither will faith without reason.

And for most of us I think it is the powers of reason they we neglect too much.  And if it is neglected too much than all the faith and crystals and holy books and yoga in the world won’t help you.  You need both and you need to make sure both your ability to believe and your ability to reason are functioning properly.

So this week I want you to ask the most basic question that is the beginning or reason: Why?

Why do you believe that?  Why should I believe that?  Why do you say that?  Why do you believe you’re right?

The goal should be that your internal conversation should sound like a conversation between these two.

The goal should be that your internal conversation should sound like a conversation between these two.

To every statement you hear, every fact provided to you, every thought you have, question it.  Try and reason it out and deduce if it is true, if it makes sense, if there is justification for it.  Everything, even the things you take for granted if only for the practice.

Now you may want to do this all internally, as doing it aloud is partly what got Socrates a death sentence.  If you have someone who enjoys a long conversation that will reduce any position down to its most basic premises, great, but those kind of people are few and far between.

Take this to both spiritual and world knowledge.  It will get tiring, because each answer will lead you to another “Why” and another and another…but the exercise will be worth it.

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Weekly Meditation: Trust Thyself

 

So rather than come up with a meditation for you this week, I thought the most important thing for everyone would be to look for your own answers.

So this week I would recommend you make a list of questions that you have for God and the universe.  Go to a quite place and rest in a comfortable position (preferably as close as you get to lotus position as you can, but whatever works for you will be best).

Ask your questions that you want answered, either aloud or just silently to yourself, and sit quietly for the next 5-10 minutes focusing on nothing.  If the answer comes to you, great…if not understand you may not need the answer yet or it may not be the right question you should ask…but don’t think that just because you don’t get an answer that the universe doesn’t hear you.

I know, not as focused as some of my other meditations, but it can possibly be more useful to you in the long run.

 

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How a New Ager Views History

 

How a New Age looks back on history…

So in the last week I’ve been asked by several conservatives why I am still fairly hopeful for the future (the long term, not the short term—short term sucks) in light of the fact that both here in America and basically everywhere overseas we’ve been guaranteed at minimum four years of going to Hell in a hand basket.

 

Now my optimism is an extension of my faith.  I see mankind as moving toward Enlightenment, not just of some, but eventually of everyone.  And while Hinduism and Buddhism have many statements about everyone eventually reaching Enlightenment, I always like to go to prose of A Course in Miracles:

“You are as certain of arriving home as is the pathway of the sun laid down

before it rises, after it has set, and in the half-lit hours in between. Indeed,

your pathway is more certain still. For it can not be possible to change the

course of those whom God has called to Him.”

I have faith that humanity is moving toward complete Enlightenment.  It is not a question of if, it is at most a question of when.* It will happen.  Every soul will reach complete Enlightenment and return to being one with God.

 

Now it’s easy to say this as a statement of faith, but even the faithful need something to justify a belief in…and more importantly need to at least see that in the long run there is nothing to contradict this viewpoint.

 

 

So let’s look at this.  As I pointed out in Republicans and Reincarnation, whether you want to use the system of chakras or a myriad of other versions in other cultures, there seem to be seven stages in the evolution of the soul back to Enlightenment. More or less each stage corresponds to the energy and issues often associated with each Chakra.

 

 

Now we could go over each stage and each chakra, and I know you love when I make these blogs like ten pages long, but the fact of the matter is that, right now, I would say only the smallest portion of humanity are above the issues of the third chakra.

 

The first chakra, the root chakra, is associated with our physical existence.  Do we have enough to survive?  Are we safe in this instant?  Do we live in fear for our existence?  Do I live?

 

The second chakra deals with safety and security.  Not just surviving in the instant as the first chakra looks to, but to long term safety and comfort.  Not just do I have what I need but do I have what I want?  Do I win?

 

The third Chakra deals with self control and self awareness.  Not just having things but doing things?  Not just comfort but achievement.  Do I strive?

 

(The first three chakras are remarkably similar to the first three levels of Maslow’s hierarchy.)

 

 

Now since at some level each soul is connected to each other even if one soul is extremely advanced they are affected by those around them.  This is why stories of ascended masters and saints often describe them having a positive effect on people just by their presence and conversely why it is best to avoid being in proximity of those who are very negative.  And since we are all connected society as a whole acts like much in the way of an average of the collective evolution of all its souls. And as all souls are reincarnated and evolve so does society.* So, the question then becomes, if I’m right, and the world is experiencing a continuous growth in spiritual evolution is there any evidence of it?

The answer is yes.

 

If the average of people were working out problems with level one then society would be about survival, it would be about power, it would be about having more and more, not quality or comfort, but more in a numerical value where the chief worry is famine or invasion.  You would see constant conquest, constant struggle, and constant fear about not having enough.  Sure there might be the occasional enlightened person or at least some not consumed by a desire for protection and safety, but they’re the exception (and groups of them are especially the exception.  To a person or a society at this level, the universe is chaotic, uncaring maybe even vengeful—there is no way to reason with others, with God, with life, there is only power and ability to survive (in practice, it’s a little Hobbesian).   This pretty much describes all history until around 1400 CE.  The rulers always had to have more, the common people never really complained so long as they were promised safety (ignore whether that promise was actually kept).  At your highest moments most people were looking for no more than bread and circuses.

 

For a society where the average level of the second level you would find people not so much concerned with just safety but now with comfort (and at its worst decadence).  You won’t see as much a desire for power but for rules and order.  You would see an outlook that saw the universe not as chaotic, but ordered…still often uncaring, but not capriciously so.  And again we see this in history.  Starting just before the turn of the common era you see society from Europe to China more concerned with rules, with what we would match the requirement of any general definition of civilization.  And from this point until around 1400 you see the battle conflict between the predominant themes of level 1 and 2 defining the time, power vs. rules. And from 1400 from the Renaissance/Scientific Revolution in the West, Ottoman control in the Middle East and the Qing Dynasty in the East.  Not that the world is suddenly a bastion of humanity and good will toward each other, but the focus seems to have made a massive switch from a universe defined by brute force to one defined by rules (often very evil rules, but rules nonetheless).

 

And with level three we see people and society move from a concern not just with things but with the individual, with personal accomplishment and personal achievement—of a search within one’s self for what they want.  And while there have been strains here and there of this dating back even to the ancient world, this strain started to appear en mass in the 1700’s. (I know I’m going over this in very general detail and often ignoring those moments where this group or that makes a major step forward or back…and if anyone wants I’ll go into more detail, I will, but for now the very broad swaths seem to make the most sense).

 

And now we are beginning to see the whole world tilt from an average of level two to level 3.  (Yes the unfortunate side effect of level 3 is a me, me, me attitude…but it’s slightly better than resigning yourself to fate.)

 

Now also with this you’ll see that when you switch from one level to another there seems to be a purge of the old ideology through what is unfortunately a very effective way for people to learn, suffering.  (Aeschylus stated in Agamemnon that “Only through suffering do we learn.” This is not the only way people learn, but sadly, so often, many people only learn when they hit rock bottom and have to confront their beliefs without any illusions.) In that transition between level one and two you have the world wide pandemic.  A great karmic blowout that cleared out the majority of the issues from the old way of thinking and ushered into the new.  And if you apply this basic line of thought you see it is true also in smaller societies as you see this growth in smaller more concentrated areas.  And I think we’re in for an economic equivalent of this purge now as we move from an average of level 2 to level 3.  Now, given the fact that there does seem to be some increase in speed between levels one and two, I hope this karmic purge doesn’t take the century it did in the 1300’s, hopefully we’re right in the middle of it with only 4 years or so left.

 

Oh sure you can probably say I’ve engaged in this fallacy or that, superimposing my beliefs and interpretations onto what are otherwise unrelated events or issues.  But like I said, this is primarily about an issue of faith. I am merely showing that my faith isn’t completely without justification and doesn’t contradict what we know to be fact (unlike, say, ignoring all the evidence that shows your creation myth might be a little off from what really happened), you may not believe it, but at least it isn’t completely baseless.
So why I am optimistic?  Because I believe, not entirely without reason, that this is the storm before the calm and what lays on the other side is well worth the inconvenience in between.

 

*Technically time itself is an illusion, so I’m not sure if it’s really a question of when either.

**Yes even I have said that reincarnation does not necessarily go in a straight line through time, but most souls at the level one and two levels are more comfortable still perceiving time as linear and thus their souls reincarnate in this linear fashion.  And yes, since some people have pointed this out, souls reincarnating out of linear order in time does do some fascinating things to the laws of causality…I will defer to a much better writer to describe it: “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear non-subjective viewpoint, it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey… stuff.”

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Weekly Meditation: Sharing and increasing your energy

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek […] to be loved, as to love.For it is in giving that we receive.”–excerpt from the Prayer of St. Francis

For the last two weeks during the weekly meditation we have looked at cutting the etheric bonds that drain us of energy and restoring our energy by taping into the source of all love and energy, God.

However, taping into God isn’t as effective a source of energy as you think it might be.  Yes he’s giving infinite love and energy…but while God would fill you with infinite energy…you are not willing to accept infinite energy.  How do I know you’re not…if you were really open to it, you would be filled with it and you’d have reached Enlightenment. I have the feeling that most Enlightened beings are not reading the blog of someone who is still trying to figure out everything for himself…no insult to my readers intended, but I think we’re all still working on ourselves, and we probably have a ways to go.

So how do we increase the amount of energy we will let ourselves take in?

In a somewhat ironic way, by giving our energy away.

The energy of the soul is an odd thing. When it is taken from you by another person it leaves you feeling drained and depressed…but when it is given freely that’s a very different story.

When you willingly and joyfully give energy to another person out of compassion and love it doesn’t drain you at all but does increase the other person’s.  In fact intentionally recognizing the connection that we share with all souls helps boost your own energy.

Now theoretically you could send energy and love to every soul on the planet. And again this is what Enlightened souls try to do.  However this takes balance of mind and soul which most of us haven’t quite mastered yet…and if the balance isn’t right and the intention isn’t pure, it can quickly devolve into the draining of energy.  So for this week’s meditation let’s focus on only one or two people.

Now you’re probably already sending energy to the people you love at a subconscious level…but for the purposes of this mediation let’s try to make this a conscious meditation.  Think about the person you care about most in the world and just as you cut cords that were draining you before attach a cord to this person and envision the energy flowing from you to them…(if you’re still a little worried about your energy being drained, first connect yourself to God, and then see yourself as a channel of that love from God to you to the person you care about). Just as with the previous weeks, I promise you will feel refreshed and more energetic and positive by doing this.

Now if the person you care about also does these meditations, it allows for a particularly positive meditation.  If you both meditate at the same time and both keep channeling and receiving energy from the other you will find it has the effect of a feedback loop.  As the energy goes back and forth it grows more and more powerful with almost no effort on your part.

Now if you feel very comfortable you may also want to extend your cords out to two or three people…but only do what you’re comfortable.

 

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Weekly Meditation: Regaining Your Energy

Now last week I talked about cutting the etheric bonds that drain you of energy.  This week I want to talk about increase your energy level.

There are three main sources of energy that we draw from.  The first is from God.  The second ourselves.  The third is from others. I’m going to talk more about the second and third next week but this week I want to focus on God.

We are all a part of God and constantly connected to him. He loves us unconditionally and would love to send us all the energy necessary for us to realize the silliness of this realm of existence and help us see that we are already an enlightened being and not in need of anything else to complete us.  However, since God also respects the law of free will, the thing that makes us his equal, he will not force us out of this dream, we have to do it ourselves, by our choice.  And because of that we deny ourselves a lot of energy that would help us raise our consciousness, our attitude, and our general well being every day.

So this week let’s try and dispel that.  Like last week I would first try and cut any etheric bonds that may be draining you of energy, or by which you are draining others.

Next ask God and your spirit guides to connect you back to your source, God, and let you receive energy from the love that God is already giving you.  If it helps  envision a single cord of light coming from Heaven, coming down and wrapping around your spinal cord and filling your whole body with energy.

I might also suggest if you can commit an extra twenty minutes or so you might want to go over your seven chakras, see each of them cleansed of negative energy and each connected with an etheric chord from Heaven.  As you do you might want to repeat the following mantras for each chakra:

First Chakra. My life is filled with abundance, safety and prosperity
Second Chakra. My emotions are balanced and in tune with light of Heaven
Third Chakra. My will is strong and one with God’s
Fourth Chakra. I love and am loved and know the love of God
Fifth Chakra. I speak and create beauty and truth inspired by God
Sixth Chakra. I see the complete truth and the now through the light of God
Seventh Chakra. I am one with God

Doing this should lighten your mood, increase your overall health, fill you with more energy each day and allow you to see things more positively.

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Weekly Meditation: Justifiably Believe in Yourself

“Don’t believe the things

you tell yourself so late at night

You are your own worst enemy,

You’ll never win the fight.”—Ingrid Michaelson, “Parachute”

“You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.” –Swami Vivekananda

“The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.”–Frank Lloyd Wright

“If ye have faith…nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20)

“For this individual soul is incapable of being cut; and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. This soul is eternal, constant, omnipresent, unchangeable, immovable and everlasting.”—Bhagavad-Gita Chapter II verse 24

For those of you read this blog a lot you know that I have a particularly annoying troll.   He doesn’t seem to know very much, but is constantly offended by the fact that I am very confident in my beliefs.

His logic seems to be based on a single quote from a truly hackish pseudo-philosopher he follows religiously:

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts.”—Bertrand Russell

My little troll even goes as far to quote on a study that won an Ig Noble award that wasted research time to find out the obvious point that people who are inept at their jobs are often convinced they do a great job, to prove his point.

Oh my silly little troll…

But Russell is an idiot, for numerous reasons, but in this case for not acknowledging that history is filled with people who were very intelligent who were certain of their beliefs and who ignored the doubts of others and themselves and who went on to achieve greatness and often improve the world.  I would say that a general rule of common sense is that if you can easily list off 50-100 counter examples without even thinking to a statement it probably shouldn’t be regarded as gospel truth.  And just because you find a study that says the inept are often over confident, it does not follow that everyone who is confident is inept (but you would have to know something about logic to know that).

The fact of the matter is not that the problem of the modern world is that the ignorant are overconfident, it’s that they’re not self reflective.  The problem is not only are the intelligent full of doubt but that doubt in and of itself has become a virtue.  Why?  Well this is the weekly meditation blog so I’m going to give you a spiritual answer:  The Ego.

That mis-created part of yourself that keeps you from knowing that you are part of God, that you are perfect, that you are not powerless and able to control your own life.

And as always the ego plays two separate games, offers you two options that are equally foolish.  To those who do not want to be self reflective it rewards them by telling them they’re right for not being self reflective—it makes you over confident and uses that overconfidence to keep you from improving.  Or if you choose self reflection it brings doubt to everything, it tries to make it appear as if anything you do, anything you say, anything you believe in must be wrong…and if you’re so terrible at knowing anything so must everyone else be incapable of knowing anything (it is this side that my silly little troll seems to live in constantly).

And while my troll seems utterly incapable of learning in this lifetime, I would not begin to think everyone is so far gone into listening to the lies of their ego.

You are put on this planet to accomplish,  learn, and the lack of self-reflection and doubts hinder your assignment and improvement.

So how do we counter this?

The first is through self reflection.  Complacency and habitual ignorance are not places to be. You must question everything you believe.  Ask why you believe it.  Ask if you have proof and if that proof justifies what you believe.

The second is not giving into doubt.  That kind of constant questioning can lead to frustration and hopelessness.  Don’t give into it.  Know that you are capable of finding the answer; that your mind and soul are in the end infinitely knowledgeable.  And you have to believe that the answer you find is the right one, be open to new evidence or a new way of looking at things, but you must proceed every day not giving into the paralysis of doubt…for in that way madness lies.  Sometimes, obviously you’ll have to make choices on insufficient evidence with insufficient time to decide, but you have to go on the best information you have at the time and trust that you made the best choice you could at the time.

Honest self-reflection and questioning of your beliefs are not the same as doubt.  Doubt is the belief that you cannot know.  Self-reflection is merely admitting that while you can know, you’re human and may be wrong…but you should never assume you’re wrong unless you have not taken time to think about what you believe and have not had evidence to the contrary considered.

Now really this is more a life-long habit to adopt, repeat, and refine.  It’s going to take more time than a week’s mantra…but a meditation on it is a good start.

So for this week I suggest two meditations.

The first one in the morning is a mantra:

I will reflect on my beliefs and my choices before I act.  I will not doubt my decisions.  I will reflect again when I have a chance and see if I made errors or mistakes, and I will not make them again.

The second is at the end of the day to reflect on your thoughts and decisions again.  To reflect on their outcomes and where you were right and where you were wrong.  Congratulate yourself for where you were right and make a note not to repeat the same mistake where you’re wrong.

This will at least help build a habit that will be a bulwark against the ego’s doubts.

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Weekly Meditation: Suffering Fools

So if you pay attention to the comments section on this blog you’ll know I have some truly surreal arguments with Paulbots.  To call these people insane morons would be to insult retarded psychotics.  And to say that I suffer fools well would be a lie.  Now most of my vitriol is not to be found in the comment section but over the phone and IM messages to friends and family.  I am not a physically violent person, but when dealing with idiots I get angry probably quicker and to a greater degree than I should and vent it out as quickly as possible in very angry and violent words.  Not exactly the healthiest of all reactions, but again, I’m not a physically violent person so there is clearly worse.

And when I stopped to think about it, and I realized the problem, for me at least is two fold.  First it’s not the single idiot that is the problem.  It’s that when on the internet, it’s one after another, after another, after another.  And then I get to go to work (high school English teacher) where teenagers never treat you as if you don’t know anything.  One idiot is actually quite funny.  Two are kind of silly.  But when your whole day is filled with idiots who spew drivel and act like they’re smarter than you it gets infuriating.  And that leads to my second problem, my ego.  I consider myself quite intelligent and exceedingly well read with an ability to make connections between everything I’ve learned…and if you ask anyone who knows me they’ll probably tell you this is not just an arrogant boast.  I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I just get tired of people attacking me with idiocy when they don’t even bother to read the volumes of facts and logic I have set forth.  Paulbots who just call me a liar.  That pompous twit who keeps changing his name in the comments who clearly lives in academia and thinks that just because I challenge academia (with reason and facts) that I must be wrong and tries to humble me over and over again with the idea ‘well academia says you’re wrong.’  And it’s just tiring.  Arguing again and again, endlessly with people who aren’t a tenth as bright as me but acting like they’re my mental equal.  Yes I sought this out by having a blog, so I am partly to blame.  But is it too much to ask that if you’re going to challenge me, to do it with facts and reason?

But, realizing I’m not that special, I figure that we all must experience this at some level.  Being confronted over and over again by people who don’t know what they’re doing and are not open to reason.  So I turned to the different holy books to try and find a quote to base a weekly meditation on.

This turned out to be a mixed bag.

Why?

Well, Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching only when he got so infuriated with the idiots at court that he decided to leave China forever and was asked to leave something of his wisdom.  Christ, after three years of preaching to idiots who didn’t get it, finally broke and whipped the money changers out of the temple.  And, at a surface level, the Bhagavad-Gita is the god Krishna telling Arjuna “Arjuna, look, your evil relatives are so screwed up morally there is no getting through to them in this life time, and thus they’re already dead to me.  Go out and slaughter them—no mercy, no quarter, no prisoners—and it’s all ethically okay.  Maybe they’ll get it in the next lifetime.”

Now, as I was looking for something on how to put away my anger, this wasn’t quite what I wanted.  But, it was comforting to know that even the enlightened had their breaking points.

But I did find one quote.  Variously attributed to the Buddha or the Dalia Lama depending on which web page you find it (among others)….

I will admit that I know of know time Buddha lost his cool when dealing with jackasses…but then again this is the same guy who advised you to kill your idols.

Be grateful for your enemies, for they teach you patience.”

I know, not the earth shattering revelation I was hoping for either.  (Of course I could always turn to Christopher Moore’s Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal where you find the repeated theme of Christ’s sermons was also, “Blessed are the dumbfucks, because god do they need it”…but it still doesn’t have the ring of enlightenment that I was looking for).

So onto the meditation.  This isn’t so much as a meditation for the week as it is a meditation for those special occasions.  For the week I would just click on the “Meditation” category link at the bottom and pick one of your favorites for this week.

So whenever you have run into a problem with an a string of idiots repeat this mantra.

“I am sorry that I cannot reach you with reason.  I have tried reason, I have tried facts, I have tried humor.  I am sorry I cannot find the words to make you understand.  I will continue to use these in my dealings with you, not for you, but for anyone who may be listening so that they do not fall into your errors.  And thus even though I cannot reach you, I make the world a better place by not giving into your silliness and by helping others see the truth.”

Remember one of the purposes of this symbol is to remind you to look for the truth of things even when you disagree with 90% of the rest of what the person says.

Okay, it’s a little sanctimonious, and please don’t use it before you have checked over every point of your own logic, checked the argument you’re being challenged with for even one valid point, and verified that logic with people whose intelligence you respect.  You need to check your thoughts to make sure they are correct before you get angry at others, otherwise your frustration might need to be directed at yourself for not checking your own reasoning.  We’re all subject to flaws in our lines of thought.  However we are also all subject to idiots who don’t even take the time to check their own thoughts.  And this is where this manta comes in.

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Weekly Meditation: Know Thyself

As I continue to pull from religious texts the world over, I decided to pick this week from one of the really lesser known ones: The Gospel of Thomas.  For those who don’t know, the Gospel of Thomas is one of those Gospels that didn’t make the cut from Constantine’s Council of Nicea, who, four-hundred years after the death of Christ, were able to tell which Gospels, epistles, and revelations were the word of God and thus made it into the New Testament, and which were not and got cut.  (They also made some edits to the ones that got in, because while the New Testament books were inspired by God, God clearly didn’t get it right on the first draft—silly God, what

Many scholars actually believe the Gospel of Thomas is more reflective of the real Jeshua of Nazareth.

would you do if the Council of Nicea wasn’t there to correct your mistakes?)

The Gospel of Thomas is a collection of 114 sayings of Jesus.  Some look similar to those found in the canonical Gospels…others do not.  I’m going to pull one of those that have no counterparts.  Verse 70.

Jesus said: ‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you.  If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you will kill you.’

As with most lines in a spiritual text you can probably read a lot of levels in any line, but I want to focus on the idea that your salvation, is inside you, that the light of God is in your soul.  Know thyself.  Happiness is a choice.  A dozen other variations throughout history and philosophy.

I think this sentiment can be found in every belief represented in this symbol…how do constantly forget this basic truth?

Your soul, that spark of God within you, is really all that matters.  If you are trying to find Happiness, contentment, salvation, or escape anywhere besides your soul, you’re kind of missing the point.  And the lack of your soul in your life will, spiritually, kill you.

So this week, I want to drive this dagger home, and so I want to try something a little radical…

As you sit down for your daily meditation, I want you to imagine your life.  Now imagine that you lose the job you have and are stuck at something dull and monotonous (if you don’t already have that) with only bare subsistence pay.  Now tell yourself, “Even with that I still have my soul.  I still have God’s love.  I will still find Happiness.”  The next day imagine not only losing your job, but add losing your acquaintances that you hang out with (I would say friends, but you can’t ever lose friends, even if they die, that’s what makes them friends—you can, however, lose acquaintances.)  Again, “Even with that I still have my soul.  I still have God’s love.  I will still find Happiness.”  Each day strip more and more away, and remind yourself that all of these things are transitory and impermanent, which is what makes them something other than the source of Happiness and salvation.  They may be a  reflection of our thoughts, of our Happiness and of our soul…but they are not what matters, they are not what bring us Happiness.

No matter how much or little you have, you have your soul, which is all you need.  “‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you.”

Now, I will say that since I do believe in the laws of attraction, the idea that your thoughts shape reality, focusing on losing everything might have some negative consequences.  But luckily positive thoughts are thousands of times more powerful than negative ones.  So if you spend 10 minutes stripping your life of all it’s worldly items and reminding yourself that these are not what bring you Happiness, you might want to follow that with 5-10 minutes of focusing on your ideal life.  5-10 minutes of the ideal job, ideal house, ideal relationship.  Yes these aren’t what bring you Happiness…but they don’t hurt either…and taken with the right attitude they can serve as reminders of your connection to God.

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