Archive for April, 2011

You Really Can’t Take it With You

April 28, 2011 1 comment

“Nothing can be taken with us but the seeds of our life’s work and our spiritual knowledge” – H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

One of the main ways to “rank” a society is to look at how much its citizens spend. Therefore, the more citizens spend on new clothes, homes, cars, electronic gadgets, etc. the stronger the economy and society are viewed to be. Therefore, in order to appear to be successful, or as somehow superior, you must always be a part of the newest trend, which cuases you to constantly accumulate more and more. This has led to a disposable consumer culture where you are encouraged to solely focus on the material world, and always desire the newest and greatest, or something bigger and more expensive. While this sort of mentality may be good for advertising and consumer product companies, it does not lead to a stable and happy society, or to stable and happy individuals.

The main problem with a disposable consumer culture on a societal level is that it can cause whole societies to have narcissistic qualities. Basically, as long as “we” (our country, society, or group) get what we want, then we don’t care who or what gets harmed in the process. For example, society “says” that the environment needs protecting, yet very few individuals are willing to cut back or make the necessary sacrifices to make a meaningful difference. Also, society “says” that human rights are important, yet governments around the world turn a blind eye to countries that exploit human rights, as long as it is economically or politically expedient to do so. Just to give one example of this hypocrisy, the U.S. has maintained a trade embargo against the nation of Cuba since 1960, and will continue to do so until the Cuban government moves towards “democratization and greater respect for human rights”; however, the U.S. has maintained constant relations with China, even though China is also a Communist country, whose government has proven time and time again to have far less respect for human rights than the Cuban government. Read more…

The Power of “Why?”

April 19, 2011 1 comment

Most people are familiar with the stage that children go through, where they ask endless questions, and every answer is followed by the question of “Why?”. Children go through this stage because it allows them to explore the world around them,  and make meaningful connections with the new knowledge they are gaining. As adults, we seem to stop asking “why?” and become comfortable with “it just is”. The “it just is” attitude can lead to stagnation in your personal and spiritual life, because instead of exploring yourself and the world around you, you become complacent and simply accept what you have been taught or conditioned to believe.

However, if you were accused of some sort of crime, I am relatively sure that you would not be so complacent, you would demand answers, proof, you would start asking “why?”. In the same way it is important to live your life by contemplating and asking “why?” about all matters in your life, including personal and spiritual matters. You must not only ask why, but you must explore the reasoning behind your response, then question your response, continue to repeat this process until you get to the root of your beliefs. Read more…

Enjoying the Small God Moments

April 12, 2011 1 comment

I do not claim to be any kind of spiritual teacher or guru, I am merely a seeker of truth. However, from time to time I have people who approach me for personal/spiritual advice. One of the questions that I am often asked is “where is God?”. Usually the individual says that they have been going to church, meditating, praying, studying scripture, etc. for x number of months or years, but that they have never really felt God, or at least they haven’t felt God in a long time.

Some of us are probably familiar with the “spiritual high” that is felt after some sort of church camp, spiritual retreat, meditation experience, etc. where you have such a profound experience that you literally feel as if you could reach out and touch God. Usually this feeling lasts for a few days, or maybe even a few weeks, until it slowly starts to fade away, leaving you yearning for another direct experience.

Others who have never had a spiritual high continually seek this magical and profound moment, and become disheartened when they have not experienced such an event. These people tent to jump around from spiritual practice to spiritual practice, and when the current practice does not quickly give them what they are looking for, they quickly move to another practice. Read more…

Building a Strong Spiritual Foundation, Even if the Bible is Fallible

I ran across the following article the other day:

The article discusses the fact that much of the New Testament is not written by the apostles and other authors that most Christians attribute to them. While this should not come as any kind of shock to anyone who has seriously studied the Bible, it may come to a shock to many Christians, who believe that the Bible is literally the infallible word of God (Jesus). As an attorney, and someone who has spent years studying the Bible, I can assure you that the Bible has enough hearsay, contradictions, and outright misinformation, that you could never have it admitted as as a literal and factual piece of evidence in a court of law.

The simple fact is that the Bible is fallible. Even if you could prove that the various books were indeed written by their purported authors, the Bible would still have been written by human beings. All humans are fallible, because each of us has prejudices, life experiences, cognitive conditioning, etc. which all help to shape how we view the world around us, as well as how we view God. Even if I had a direct revelation from God, the moment that I attempt to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys nowadays), I would have already corrupted God’s message in some way. I would have corrupted  God’s message, because 1) There is no way that I can fully comprehend the full scope of God; 2) I can only comprehend the message from God within my own cognitive framework; and 3) As soon as I attempt to convey the message, I will have put my own “spin” on what I experienced. Therefore, I can never write anything that can be construed as the literal word of God, nor could someone 2,000 years ago. Read more…

The Application of Shakespeare’s “To Be or Not to Be?”

In Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy from the play “Hamlet”, the main character, Hamlet, is racked with despair, and is questioning whether or not the unknown world beyond death will be easier to bear than the current life. Hamlet is in such despair that he is contemplating whether or not he should continue to “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, or if he should “take arms against a sea of troubles”, by possibly committing suicide. However, Hamlet is unsure of whether or not he should act on his wish to end the pain he is suffering, because he is unsure what will await him in the afterlife in that “undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns”.

While every sentient being suffers in one form or another, it appears to be a uniquely human characteristic to wish, or at least look forward to death. Many people turn to the concept of the afterlife presented in their religion to such an extent that they cease to truly live in this current stage of life. For example, some Christians look so forward to the day when Jesus Christ will appear in his prophesized second coming, that they are constantly trying to interpret every disaster as some sign of the upcoming Rapture and Armageddon. Other people are so disheartened with the world around them that they buy into the newest doomsday prophesy that the world is soon to be destroyed. Read more…

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