Tag Archives: religion

Seek Not Oblivion

            I like to meditate, and I’ve done it daily for years, so I enjoy reading about meditation and Buddhism.  Not too long ago I read an excellent tome by a Buddhist master (whose name I can’t recall) which pointed out some of the pitfalls one should avoid in meditation.  I don’t remember them all, but one of them I found quite interesting.  He stressed that one should avoid “oblivion”—which would be, as I understood it, complete lack of consciousness.  I was surprised to read this because “oblivion,” I realized, was what I had always strived for—to be “zoned out” communing with the One.  I still wonder if a being could experience enlightenment without at least passing through this stage.  I’ve thought a great deal about it since, and this morning I realized something:  in our society today, we are often seeking oblivion.

            Once, when I was a bartender, I ran into a regular customer at the park, and he was talking about his favorite brand of beer, “after a six-pack I am GONE.”  Apparently his goal wasn’t to relax and have fun, but to reach oblivion.  I would guess that most drug users are also seeking oblivion, but there are various acceptable ways we seek it every day.  People can “zone out” in front of the TV and not remember what they just watched, or they can get so into a video game that reality melts away.  Just last week a blogger was advising to eat what you want as long as you remain “there.”  She explained that the big problem with overeating is losing your self while eating.  Virtually any activity or non-activity can lead to oblivion.

            I have heard that the main argument for humans dominating all other species is that we alone are conscious.  If that is true, then we should strive to maintain our consciousness as much as possible.  So I must ask—are you conscious?  Ever thought about how often you are conscious?  Its much more than just being awake.  Let us seek consciousness.

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Great Dreamers

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          Abraham dreamed of a new land, to be solely inhabited by his progeny.  I personally don’t believe he heard the voice of God with his ears, but with his mind.  Genghis Khan called himself “the scourge of God,” and perhaps he was.  Perhaps Julius Caesar was.  Alfred dreamed of a United Britannia.  Ferdinand and Isabella a United Spain.  Columbus dreamt of a quicker passage to the Indies (sometimes we dream of one thing and achieve another.)  Benjamin Franklin dreamed up the postal system, among other things.  Isaac Newton dreamed of answers, as did Einstein.  Chĕ Guevara dreamt of giving power to the people, and probably died believing that he had.  Gandhi dreamt of peace, as did John Lennon.  Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream.

          Please note:  I could be wrong—it could have been the wives, lovers, sisters or mothers who had the dreams, and influenced these men to achieve them.  Or it could have been completely other people who had the dreams, and they just campaigned for these men to advance their dreams.  History has to give credit to some one individual, when almost always the great accomplishments were achieved by a community.  Where, though, do the dreams come from?  Someone has to be thinking, receiving the flashes of inspiration and bringing the dreams to fruition.  Perhaps God or the collective consciousness emanates these ideas into the ether at appropriate moments in time, for the appropriate individual to “come up with it.”


Natural Awakenings Tucson – Sweat Lodge Offers Physical and Spiritual Cleansing

 

 Natural Awakenings Tucson – Sweat Lodge Offers Physical and Spiritual Cleansing

I’ve been attending this sweat lodge whenever I can for the last two years.  Its really great for shedding toxins and negativity.  I always have a better view of whats really important to me afterwards.


Perfect Storm

 

 

        

              If you look at a chart of the stock market spanning the last 10 years, the lowest point for the S&P500 was around March 1, 2009.  That just happened to coincide with the moment my marriage fell apart.  I was exhausted from a hard week at work, trying to train an incredibly dense new employee.  My wife happened to be suffering from her monthly experience, and my son of five years happened to be at his most irritating stage of life.  He hadn’t yet acquired the skill of telling when an adult is getting angry.  I had to yell at him, she had to yell at me, and suddenly I had a momentary emotional breakdown.  I’m not a violent person, and I would never say abusive things to anyone, but I can yell pretty damn loud when I want to.  It was only a few seconds, but it was devastating.  Apparently, my wife had been significantly more unhappy with our marriage than she had ever communicated to me.  It was over, just like that.

 

            Here’s the interesting part: she had nowhere to go.  All of her family lives in Peru (you can see why she was unhappy.)  She had no job, and I didn’t make enough to support one household, much less two.  I certainly wasn’t going to say “O.K. , here’s $2000 for plane tickets to Peru, so you can take my son away from me.”  I didn’t even want a divorce, so I just left her alone with her conundrum.  I moved into the guest room/ art studio.

 

            We lived that way for three full years.  The amazing thing was—it was not bad at all.  We love our son, so we made it work for his sake.  Oh there was certainly a long period of resentment, and I found myself behaving like I did long ago when I was feuding with a roommate—you know, pushing their buttons, leaving them work that you could easily take care of yourself.  Then I just asked myself, “Why am I doing this?  There’s no law that you have to hate your ex-wife.”  So I stopped it all.

 

            I suppose it was easier for me than it would be for most, because I’ve been meditating for years.  I recite to myself, every morning, the prayer of St. Francis:

 

            Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace;  where there is hate, let me sow Love;  where there is injury—Pardon;  where there is despair—Hope;  where there is doubt—Faith;  where there is darkness—Light;  where there is sadness—Joy…..

 

            It’s a good reminder of how I want to live, even though our society programs us to be combative.  I actually love everyone.  I certainly abhor the things that most people do, but I don’t blame them for their behavior.  We are programmed, and years of programming is difficult to purge.  I just pray that more people can break the cycle.  My ex and I have taught our son that divorce doesn’t have to be full of hate.  Now I want to pass on to you the knowledge—it is possible.  Don’t assume that you have to behave the way people expect you to behave.  Choose the good path.  You’ll be glad you did.

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More on God…

            You might assume from my previous post that I’m not a Christian, but I am.  I’m also a Buddhist.  I just don’t happen to believe that any individual could be God, and everything else Not-God.  God, by creating the Universe (or Multiverse) is everything.  Nothing and no one is separate from God.  You and I are part of God.  And if we humans are the image of God, it is because we are conscious.  Perhaps we are, collectively, the consciousness of God on this physical plane. 

            You might be surprised to learn that nothing in Matthew, Mark, or Luke would contradict my point of view.  It is the Gospel of John, alone of the four, that postulates the exclusive divinity of Jesus.  Recently, I read about the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, a first century text that was outlawed by the early church leaders and was recently re-discovered in Egypt, along with several other Gnostic texts.  The scholar who wrote the book I read actually considers the possibility that Thomas (“Doubting Thomas”) may have been defamed in the Gospel of John for being contradictory.  It appears that many of the Gnostic texts espouse the belief that Jesus was teaching his followers how to attain divinity, to be equal to him, a Son of God.  Curiously, this is just what the Christian mystic Meister Eckhart, a great spiritual authority of the Middle Ages, was preaching.  Meister Eckhart sermonized on the importance of detachment in order to be part of the One.  This is just what Buddhism is all about.  No, Buddha wasn’t a God, in fact Buddhists believe there have been many Buddhas, including Jesus.  Buddha is just a term that means “enlightened one.”

            Do I believe in Jesus?  Of course, no one else has impacted the course of human history as he has.  He was the Messiah of whom the prophets foretold.  What’s more, his Spirit has been a force of good on our planet for millennia.  And it is the Spirit that matters (pun?)  For if you really become detached, and contemplate “reality,” it is obvious that everything is an illusion, or a delusion of our minds.  There is nothing solid—quantum physics has proven that.  So we are Spirits.  And we are One, just pretending to be separate.  Perhaps God is just having a bit of fun.  Oh, and I don’t buy into the whole “battle between good and evil” scenario. 

            May the Spirit of Jesus the Christ live within you, and may all beings attain enlightenment.  Amen


God is….

Dear God, God bless you, OMG, gosh darn it—the word is ubiquitous, and yet people rarely speak of the subject itself anymore, mostly because one is so easily misunderstood.  Touchy subject, lots of beliefs and interpretations.  They say that religion is on the decline, maybe so, but I don’t think that necessarily means that people are atheists, or even agnostics.  It’s just that everyone has a different view of who or what God is, and don’t feel comfortable having someone tell them they will be eternally damned for disagreeing with them.  One doesn’t choose what to believe, honestly, one believes what one believes.  If you can find a religion that conforms completely with your personal beliefs, well, you are blessed.  Also, there is that phenomenon known as blind faith.

            Lately I’ve heard the term “personal God” used, as in “…don’t believe in a…”  I think I know what they mean, but that term doesn’t work for me.  I would rather say I don’t believe in an anthropomorphic God.  That is to say that, to me, God is so much bigger and more complicated than a human that it is extremely vain to assume God could be encapsulated in our form.  I could say that God is the Universe—that’s pretty big.  Lately, however, I’ve heard that quantum physicists are considering the possibility that there are more than one—a Multiverse if you will.

            I enjoy contemplating Infinity, something rather difficult for our little human minds to comprehend.  If you look at our galaxy, there are more stars than we could possibly count.  Then, if you look at the Universe, there are countless galaxies!  Looking inward is just as daunting.  No matter how small a particle the physicists find, there appears to be something smaller, and with more empty space in between.  Infinity means there is no end—to anything.  Consider this:  it is mathematically possible for anything we can imagine to exist, somewhere out there in Infinity.  Then, if you consider the possibility of other dimensions, ones that may not conform to our “laws” of physics, well, there is an infinite number of possibilities.  This is God’s realm of existence.

 

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