philosophical

Salvation . . .

You: What does it mean to be saved?

Me: That depends upon your religious affiliation, but as a rule the Christian church teaches that Jesus Christ willingly gave up his life as a sacrifice for your sins, and by your acknowledgement of that sacrifice you have been freed from the curse of sin and death. It teaches that Heaven is reserved for those who die in the faith . . . Hell is reserved for those who don’t.

Christian doctrine accepts a convert as they are and promises them a new life where they will be forgiven of past sins and become a new person as they live under the living word of God and His bible. In time the simplicity of that message created the largest and most powerful religion known to man. People flocked to the Mother church and her teachings by the millions.

When I was a younger man I know I did. I was at the end of my rope. I needed help from somewhere. Jesus was there, free and open armed, for me. I was born again in a local church and as long as I remained in good standing with the church and it’s doctrine I was guaranteed a place at the table when I got to Heaven. Heady stuff for a guy who had absolutely no religious affiliation whatsoever, and it worked great for a couple of years . . . BUT . . .

In time I began to notice that my life had become an ‘us vs them’ affair, something I was not comfortable with for many reasons. I began to question . . . especially when I realized I, as well as almost every church person I knew, had pretty much traded our past sins in for an open, ongoing, and obnoxious version of self righteousness. I was not pleased with myself.

I studied the bible, prayed for this and that, even lived on a Christian commune for a couple years . . . but after all was said and done I was the same guy I’d always been, but now I had to hide behind this magical connection to God. Anyway the questions became too many, the doubts too large, and I became what we church people feared more than anything else . . . a reprobate backsliding his way to Hell!

Back to the question of salvation: What was I being saved for? Why me? What if I couldn’t read the bible? What if I was born a Muslim? A Jew? An Indian? Chinese? What about the rest of creation? The questions came on like an endless series of waves in a heavy storm and I felt myself sinking under them . . . so I did what I do best. I hopped a plane and headed off into the sunset and a new adventure in Seattle.

Today I am not down on any church, but in general I believe we have gotten it all wrong when it comes to Christianity. I believe we have been duped by a ministry clearly bent on self aggrandizement. Guys who have created magical doctrines in order to rule over their flock of believers instead of taking the time and patience to teach them to practice what the simple teachings of Christ actually meant. We Americans are an overly spoiled, ‘all show and no go’ people. Even our version of Christianity, (especially the TV ministry bullshit), proves it to us.

Bottom line . . . It is easier to WORSHIP Jesus than it is to LEARN from him . . . and the ministers are using our spiritual laziness against us by promoting their version of American exceptionalism in order to control our minds, and give themselves a great life in their shiny new church. These Pharisees and false prophets are alive and well and living among us.

So here’s my answer to your question on salvation:  Jesus didn’t appear on the scene to SAVE you. He came to TEACH you how to SAVE yourself. . . and if you choose to follow and practice his teachings, he will be your teacher and you his student. And what can be more satisfying to a teacher than to have a student who learns his lesson?

Jesus was a special being, no one can argue that. I believe he existed and was a thorn in the sides of the priests of that day, just as you will become if you follow his lead. I don’t believe he was a special creation though. I believe he was an old soul who obtained awareness at a very early age and dedicated his life to the cause of teaching humanity a better way.

I believe there have been many teachers who have come and gone throughout the ages who were born for the very same reason, and I believe they all have based their teachings on one four cornered foundation.

house of god
You are being saved for no other reason than to build THIS house . . . you may never know it, you may never be awarded anything other than the satisfaction of knowing you helped build it . . . but that will be enough.

 

The Art Of Discussion

debateHow many times have you read “no religion or politics” when looking at the membership rules in a web forum? I mean, you can talk about lots of other things, but two of the most important issues facing us in this life is considered taboo? . . . What’s up with that? Any talk concerning our spiritual well being . . . taboo. Any talk concerning the governing of our physical well being . . . taboo. These two categories are still, even in this supposedly enlightened country, considered unsafe because they always end up causing a heated argument . . . why?

I think it’s because we have forgotten or never (considering our age) learned how to discuss an issue using the old give and take methods of the past. Today it’s an ‘in your face’, ‘I’m right . . . and you’re stupid!’ environment. Today it seems everybody is walking around with their knowledge caps filled to the brim with everything from presidential politics to religion to global warming or any other subject that arises. That’s a shame because in the real world most of us are drowning in falsehoods, and if being honest, barely know our asses from a hole in the ground when it comes to discerning the truth behind the heavy PR media constantly feeds us.

Personally, when I was a young guy I, like the millions of young people around me, gave my mind over to my elders, governors, and preachers, and unquestionably believed what they told me to believe.

Along about 1968 or so the hippie movement came on the scene in my little midwestern industrial town. At first these guys with their long hair were considered to be goofs, but as time went by more and more of my friends disappeared into hippiedom, and I, myself,  ultimately ended up deeply involved in the Portland Ore. scene.  

Because of the coffee house craze in those days, I began for the first time to think for myself. We sat around  tables for hours openly discussing life in general, as well as the serious issues of the day, and all in a quiet, friendly atmosphere. I loved those coffee houses, but the few I see today are a far cry from the original, believe me.

Now, with the advent of the internet and this newly discovered gold mine of information you’d think the young crowd would be spending their valuable time learning, comparing notes, and discussing  all that acquired knowledge among themselves, but do they? To my old eyes they seem to be living their intellectual lives in an ‘all show, no go’ sorta way. The passion they do show seems a bit tainted . . . like a sour note in a composition. Misguided anger is never good . . . paid protesters even worse.

The great discovery for me during my time was the realization that I [we all] have a very far reaching, powerful mind. . . . and it’s ALL mine! [ours] I have learned since that moment to shun the mind controllers and to research and discover for myself what I choose to believe. I have learned to change my mind and thought patterns mid stream if necessary. I have learned that nothing is sacred or untouchable . . . So the question remains, why not religion or politics?

Here’s what I think . . . There are those whose will has always been to control our minds and benefit by doing it. They teach us to be just smart enough to run their machine for them, but too dumb to question why . . . it’s a new form of slavery . . . it’s that simple.

Today, ‘massa’ is teaching us how to belittle, or declare crazy, or anti (anything important to him) He has taught us via his media to consider anybody who doesn’t follow the party line stupid, a conspiracy theorist, racist, bigoted, etc. Today’s current administration has even upped the ante, and we are now being taught to dehumanize anyone who doesn’t agree with us.

In our nation’s early years slaves were considered less than human so that we could mistreat and over work them in our cotton fields. In the military during the Korean/Vietnam war we were taught the ‘gooks’ were less than human so that we could kill them with impunity and know that God was always still on our side, even when we bombed and burned and destroyed them by the thousands. Today in the middle east nothing has changed but the derogatory names we call the enemy.

We NEED to talk about this stuff. We NEED to learn and figure out for ourselves what to think, how to act . . . and we need to learn how to talk and discuss these issues we are facing without belittling everyone else that bears differing reasonings and understandings in the process.

We can change the world only one person at a time, and that change starts with the face in your mirror . . . the time will come when the balance has shifted and the fog has lifted but for now we are in the battle of our lives and few there be who even knows it, and fewer less who understands what it takes to make it happen.

 

Science Is Showing How Our Mind Plays A Critical Role In Healing Our Body — Collective Evolution

 

The interaction of our thoughts with the physical material world is of huge interest today, garnering increasing attention by academics around the world. Despite a wealth of scientific data showing that one can influence the other, and even more evidence proving that certain emotional states can lead to chronic illness, many who work in mainstream medicine remain entirely ignorant of…

via Science Is Showing How Our Mind Plays A Critical Role In Healing Our Body — Collective Evolution

Free Your Spirit . . .

free your spirit

The Tao of Coffee

Two scholars spent the better part of an afternoon in a local Portland Starbucks arguing the theories of Evolution versus Creationism. Getting nowhere, they took the advice of the Chinese guy working there and decided to drive to the beach near Astoria to visit a sage named Chung Lee who reputedly had the answers.

The following morning they took off for the beach. Upon arrival, they soon found his cottage hidden amongst the coastal dunes. Although the cottage was empty they spotted the old sage not far away sitting on a high dune facing out to sea.

After approaching him, the old man turned, directed his eyes upon them and asked, “Where’s the coffee?” (more…)

What To Do?

back to the land

What do representatives of the largest corporations and governments in the world talk about when they sit around the conference table? Well, from what I’ve been hearing, these groups that operate outside the boundary of public scrutiny are actually the guys who create national and foreign policy for the country. All those guys you see daily on TV? . . .  including the president himself? . . . are merely front men.

Hillary Clinton, during a recent interview, was saying how happy she was to hear that the Council On Foreign Relations (CFR) had just opened a Washington office . . . “Now I won’t have to go to New York to find out what I am supposed to do.” she said and laughed.

Dumb me, here I thought the president was the guy who told her what to do. But then, if you think about it, he is only in office eight years max while these people have been around since the sixties. . .

Who are they? Check out their website and you’ll find a long ‘whose who’ list of the rich, famous, and powerful members that you will recognize. These guys operate quietly in the shadows, but don’t hide from the fact that they do so. They are the shadow government. (more…)

Science vs Religion

science vs religion

Michael Crichton, author of State of Fear and other best-selling novels, delivered this lecture at the Commonwealth Club on September 15, 2003.

“I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer,” opens Crichton. “The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.”

You can read the entire speech in PDF format at www.heartland.org/policy-documents/mankinds-greatest-challenge  . . .

This is not a rebuttal as much as my own viewpoint on the subject. I do not refute what Michael is saying . . . I agree with much of it . . . BUT . . . like Paul Harvey used to say, here’s my rest of the story.

(more…)

Truth . . . What is Truth?

truth

When it comes to reality, every time we think, or everytime we say, “this is the absolute truth” we should really be saying, “to the best of my knowledge this is true”. . . because most of the time our declaration of absolute truth will one day prove the point that we didn’t really know, we just thought we did. . . . If nothing else, this one action would save a lot of division and silly argument.

Today, I see this “I know and you don’t know” phenomenon taking place all across the board in every direction. Social status, education, even experience, makes no difference, it seems to me that dialog, for some reason, has been replaced with intellectual snobbery. “I know.” is now the order of the day . . . and really, what do we actually know for sure?

As an example: Take an ice cube out of the freezer and set it on the countertop. What you have is an ice cube. Without a doubt you KNOW what the object is . . . no doubt . . . absolute truth . . . ICE CUBE, and you are willing to argue until hell freezes over about the fact that this object IS an ice cube. . . . but wait a while and the ice cube melts away and turns into a pool of water. Then what do you have?

“Well the damn thing has melted!” you say. You are correct, your ice cube has just melted into a pool of water because all along that’s what it actually was. WATER. . . . This is what practically ALL of your opinions and perceptions will ultimately do also, because in all actuality, no matter how many experts you have on your side, you, or they, do not know their asses from a hole in the ground when it comes to absolute truth. (more…)

Awareness

What is it? I mean you hear the word and right away you get this image of a sage who has studied long and meditated hard until a certain moment in his life when, like the Buddha under the Bodhi tree, he has an eureka moment where he becomes filled with the light of awareness.

It seems the first thing these enlightened individuals do is create a way to reveal their empowered ego to the masses. Who needs more of the multiple money making schemes these guys in the ‘New Age’ movement have come up with? Why do so many groupies buy their books or attend their seminars? What does it get them except a short term fix that is no more powerful, and far more expensive, than the high that used to come from smoking a good joint. It dissipates just about as fast also. In their search for awareness these people have merely traded the rock stars of the sixties for the awareness stars of today.

To most of us common folks it seems we stumble along day after day experiencing our existence through the law of duality until somehow we finally get the message. And even then the message is just one piece of this huge puzzle called life. In my opinion any awareness a person may experience on an individual level is rather meaningless to the rest of us.

My view of awareness is far more practical. To me, becoming aware is merely when a person, through trial, error, and experience finally begins to see with some clarity that he or she is NOT the center of the universe, and there are far more important things to do in this life than waste time standing before a mirror playing the game “mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the greatest one of all?” It’s time to focus our vision higher and take a look at the world around us, right where we are at this very moment.

Practical awareness doesn’t come with labels like conservative or liberal or the multi host of others, matter of fact if you see yourself in such a light, you probably aren’t very aware of anything at all beyond ‘group think.’ Your just another damn groupie.

Awareness means to have the ability to place yourself in another’s shoes and walk in them for a while before you cast judgment upon them or their actions. Awareness helps create balance, not strife.

We all come from different backgrounds. Education, religion, family instruction (or lack thereof), race, nationality etc. all help build the foundation of our personal belief system.

Awareness kicks these blocks out from under us, draws it’s knowledge from a far deeper source and reveals to us in a very practical way that we are without a doubt our brothers keeper. And being kind and sharing with him begets far more riches for us than that guru acquires from his 350.00 per person seminar.

Once we realize that, no matter how smart we are, we are merely a cell in this large intergalactic body of energized oneness, we can know in our heart that we have grown in awareness, but not until.

Follow Your Bliss

Joseph Campbell was being interviewed by Bill Moyers on the PBS “Power of Myth“ series when I first heard his phrase “follow your bliss”. In his viewpoint this undertaking must happen if a man were to experience fulfillment in his lifetime.

Joseph Campbell was a very wise man, but just what does it mean to follow one’s bliss? Well, in my opinion it means merely to be balanced enough to know your gift and be willing enough to work towards bringing it to fruition.

An artist creating a work.

A business man creating a new business.

A teacher creating wonder and hope in young minds.

A philanthropist in the creative stage of giving.

On an on it goes, different for each individual yet having the same affect on all of them by bringing purpose into their lives. Did you catch the major theme through all this dream following?

Creativity. Being a creative human being is what it’s all about. After all what are we if not creators? Followers.

Now, following is not bad nor necessarily wrong. Without leadership we would be living extremely chaotic lives on this planet, and in all reality would probably have gone extinct some time ago. But there is a balance that must be maintained while following or else you may just deny your gift and ultimately lose yourself in another’s cause.

What’s your dream? (it is normally tied into your gift) Everybody who has not been beaten down or brainwashed by the society he lives in has one. What do you need to do in order to fulfill it?

I would say also that in order to follow your dream you must be realistic in your goals. Otherwise a man will spend his valuable youth chasing after someone else’s dream, be he/she a scholar, a movie star, a musician or a magician, it doesn’t matter.

He will merely be living as a copy cat who will never be as good as what he copies. Why? It’s not his. He is just fantasizing it is. Has anybody ever made Mozart’s music as good as Mozart himself? No, of course not. He may be good enough to copy and be almost equal to Mozart, but never will he surpass him. It’s impossible.

My gift is not in the music field and I know it, yet I still enjoy playing an instrument. Nor am I a painter, yet I enjoy painting a picture. We can do a lot of really cool stuff without activating our gift. Those who excel, the gifted ones who seemingly are heads above the rest of us, these guys are the ones I’m talking about.

I know my gift and when it’s working I am in another place. A place where nothing can touch me, nor harm me, spiritually speaking anyways. When I am in my gift, I am at one with the earth. That’s the best I can explain it. I’m sure Joseph could do better.

I fundamentally believe that each person born into this world has a gift of some sort programmed into his DNA and his goal, in order to be happy, is to find that gift and use it to the betterment of himself as well as his fellows.

The problem I see, at least in this country, is that in order to create anything of value you first must follow a learning curve of dedication, commitment, discipline and practice. All the things that seem to be out of vogue in this “hurry up I want it now!” society we live in.

As a practical matter we need to have a place of quiet solitude where we can meditate upon these questions and resolve them in our own minds before we even begin. Then we need to move forward to practice them.

Thich Nhat Hanh (a Vietnamese Buddhist monk) is a great example of a man following his bliss.

In the midst of the Vietnam War while the Americans were bombing the hell out of his country, he and his organization were busily rebuilding bombed villages, setting up schools and medical clinics, and helping through non violent means all he could to alleviate the plight of the citizens of his country.

For doing that he was ultimately forced out of his country and banned from ever returning. Nothing stopped him however and he remains practicing peace to this day in Plum Village somewhere in France.

Hopefully as/if things get worse for you in this country nothing will stop you either because what takes place on the outside is nothing to be compared to the power within once you find and follow your bliss. . . . Go for it! You’ll be glad that you did.

The Tribe

Eleven o’clock on a summer morning and the place was seemingly deserted, no dogs, nothing. Where’s everybody at? Where’s the kids I thought as I slowly drove past one house after another in the upscale housing development.

I gazed upon one perfectly manicured lawn after another, each bisected by ribbons of clean concrete drives and sidewalks. There probably wasn’t a dandelion in the whole damn allotment.

The carefully designed scene, instead of evoking envy, made me feel a little sad, especially for the chubby kids huddled around their TV’s and computers breathing stale, conditioned air. Kids who’ve never heard of kick the can, or knew the pleasure of playing hide and seek outside after dark. Kids who’ve never danced in the warm summer rain or gotten into a good fist fight. To me, this atmosphere was cold, sterile, and alien.

Day after day, aside from the occasional guy who still mowed his own lawn, or his wife coming and going in her new S.U.V., I rarely saw anyone. The only noise in the neighborhood was the sound of construction around the new over-priced home we were building.

I thought about my own childhood days growing up in the housing project and realized how lucky I’d been. There, in the summer, small dandelion-cluttered yards would be full of bare foot kids playing games in the grass. On the blacktop sidewalks they’d be riding bikes, or skipping ropes while their mothers huddled together on the front porch stoops gabbing amongst themselves.

I remembered the laughter, crying, barking dogs, smells of food cooking, back yards full of clothes hanging on lines while drying in the hot sun. We were a tribe of poor, noisy, blue collar common folk, but we were alive, and we had fun.

No music blared from boom boxes, no guns, gangs, or drugs. That would all come later, after corporate greed, TV, and welfare had taken their toll on the working class and stripped us of our pride.

***

I’ve created a stereotype here to prove the point that as we’ve sought to better ourselves by improving our social position we have also lost the need for each other. We have perverted our natural herding instinct by choosing to live in close proximity to, yet totally separate from, our neighbors. We’ve broken away from the tribe and have decided to go it alone.

These modern developments are a shining example of our separation. We surround ourselves with every modern convenience we can afford, close the doors to our large, self contained homes and spend our days locked within our mini-castles.

Instead of a moat and drawbridge, we have a security system. Instead of Knights in shining armor to protect us, we have a uniformed police force waiting close by to apprehend any neighbor foolish enough to break the thin red line. Have we created a modern version of Camelot and are regressing back to the Middle Ages?

I don’t know, maybe I’m just getting old, but I sure do miss my friends and those lovely, sunny bright medicinal flowers that have become a curse, as have their neighbors, to so many.