Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Monkey Dialogue # 3 - Abundance

One day, in the shade of a blue melon tree, the following conversation took place between a blue and a purple monkey:

Blue Monkey: Why do some monkeys have so many melons, while others have so few?

Purple Monkey: There are many reasons for the differing levels of wealth around the island. Most have to do with what monkeys concentrate on.

Blue Monkey: What do you mean?

Purple Monkey: Monkeys are gradually learning that they experience what they concentrate on. Monkeys who concentrate on abundance experience abundance, while monkeys who concentrate on scarcity experience scarcity.

Blue Monkey: But some monkeys are born in places where there are very few melons to go around. The scarcity they are experiencing was there before they were even born.

Purple Monkey: Indeed it was, because the monkeys living in that area have been focused on scarcity for a very long time. It is ingrained in their beliefs. Young monkeys inherit such limiting beliefs from their parents and go on to create scarcity for themselves.

Blue Monkey: But that doesn’t seem fair! Why should some monkeys be born among abundance while others have the misfortune of being born poor, and starving?

Purple Monkey: You are making the assumption that all monkeys, given the choice, would choose to be born among abundance, and that is not the case.

Blue Monkey: It’s not?

Purple Monkey: No. In fact, there is very little for a monkey to gain by being born amid abundance. It is far more fulfilling for a monkey to overcome scarcity and adversity than it is to be born and live an entire life in affluence.

It is quite ironic that so many monkeys feel sorry for themselves for not being born into a rich family when they themselves chose the family that they were born into.

Blue Monkey: They chose the family they were born into? How? That doesn’t make sense.

Purple Monkey: If you believe that you did not exist until you were conceived by your parents, then I agree with you – it would make no sense. But if you understand that you existed long before this particular life (and that you have, in fact, always existed and always will), then you will understand that this life you are currently living is one of many.

And from that perspective, then, you can see how you might choose to be born into the circumstances most conducive to what you wanted to explore in this particular life.

Blue Monkey: So the reason there are so few monkeys born to wealthy parents is that most monkeys don't want to live amid abundance?

Purple Monkey: Not that they don’t want to live amid abundance, but that they don't want to start out that way.

Abundance is our natural state. White monkeys, of which you are one, live in complete abundance. There is no lack in the land of the white monkeys.

One of the reasons we choose to be born on this island is to explore lack, scarcity, and separation. It is temporary, and so we are free to explore whatever experiences and circumstances we choose.

But because abundance is our natural state, we need only cease to express limiting beliefs regarding scarcity and lack, and abundance will flow easily to us.

There is far more to the story than that, but you asked why there are rich and poor monkeys. And the primary reason for the existence of poor monkeys is their expression of limiting beliefs regarding abundance.

Poor monkeys view abundance as something unattainable, unachievable, and so they never consider it, visualize it or concentrate on it in any sort of constructive way. Their attention tends to fall on the lack of what they want, rather then the presence of it. They only see lack, and thus they concentrate on lack. And because you experience that which you concentrate on, scarcity is their experience.

Blue Monkey: Is there any hope for poor monkeys?

Purple Monkey: Yes indeed. More than they could currently believe!

Blue Monkey: How so?

Purple Monkey: Poor monkeys need only realize that their experiences spring from the beliefs they express, and then choose to express positive beliefs regarding abundance.

Of course, their limiting beliefs, the ones that draw scarcity to them, are quite prevalent in their minds and often their communities. So it is a difficult task to recognize, examine, and release such limiting beliefs.

But part of the transformation taking place on our island involves this examination of our beliefs, determining which ones lead to the life we want, and discarding those that do not. As this process builds momentum, it will become easier to embrace more affirming beliefs regarding one’s opportunities and worthiness of abundance. The more monkeys that undergo this process, the easier it becomes for others.

The beliefs we hold become stronger the more they are expressed. And so in areas of the island where there are strongly held beliefs regarding scarcity, it is quite difficult for a monkey to believe something different from those around him.

But as the momentum builds, it becomes easier. Those limiting beliefs lose their power as more and more monkeys cease to express them. And the affirming beliefs grow in strength as more and more monkeys begin to express them.

Blue Monkey: So the reason there are haves and have-nots is because of beliefs?

Purple Monkey: Indeed!

Beliefs affect what we concentrate on, and what we concentrate on determines our circumstances and experiences.

So concentrate on scarcity, on not having enough, and that is what you will experience – not having enough.

Concentrate on abundance, learn to perceive abundance, even regarding little things, and your experience will reflect that perception, in many different ways.

We are learning to see the connection between what goes on in our minds and what goes on in our experiences.

And once that connection is clearly seen and acknowledged, we will witness the gradual retreat of scarcity.

We will witness the advance of abundance.

Not just for some monkeys.

For all of us.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Monkey Dialogue # 2 - A Wider Existence

One day, down along the beach on the south side of the island, the following conversation took place between a blue and a purple monkey:

Blue Monkey: Why is there so much disharmony on our island?

Purple Monkey: Because monkeys have forgotten who and what they are. They are immersed in a temporary identity, one that is cut off, in a sense, from their larger being.

When a monkey chooses to be born on this island, he carefully molds a temporary identity that he will assume during this lifetime. This identity will be all he remembers himself to be, unless and until he chooses to awaken to his wider existence as a white monkey.

Blue Monkey: Are all monkeys actually white monkeys?

Purple Monkey: Indeed they are. Though it is an amazing fact that most monkeys would deny this. The grip that their temporary identity has on their minds is quite strong. The beliefs they hold which tell them they are blue monkeys and nothing more are quite strong.

Even those who consider themselves to be devout followers of the White Monkey are, for the most part, unaware of their wider existence as a white monkey. They believe they will go on to some sort of heavenly existence as a result of their obedience to the law of the White Monkey and their acceptance of him as their savior, but they are unaware that they themselves are already white monkeys.

Blue Monkey: What do you mean? How are they already white monkeys?

Purple Monkey: Each colored monkey living on any island is actually a white monkey dreaming that he is a colored monkey. He has all the knowledge and wisdom of a white monkey at his disposal, but as long as he believes that he is only a lowly colored monkey and nothing more, that will be his experience. He will block out that wider part of himself. He will not incorporate the wider awareness or powerful abilities that a white monkey possesses. He traps himself by his belief in his temporary identity. And only he can untrap himself.

Blue Monkey: How can he do that?

Purple Monkey: He can begin by acknowledging that he is far more than he appears to be. He will not yet see any evidence of that wider identity, and so he must begin by BELIEVING that he is a white monkey, a perfect child of the Creator. Only then – when he faithfully believes and accepts himself as a white monkey – will he begin to see and feel evidence of it.

Blue Monkey: But how can a blue monkey believe he is actually a white monkey if there is no evidence, no proof of it?

Purple Monkey: That is a question that has challenged our race from the beginning.

A white monkey exists in a state of divinity. It is a divine state of being in which one is aware of one’s connection to the Creator, of one’s ultimate perfection.

Perhaps white monkeys choose to manifest as blue monkeys for the purpose of rediscovering their own divinity.

And perhaps so many monkeys remain asleep because their fears and self-judgments prevent them from even considering the possibility that they are a divine being, unconditionally loved by their Creator. Such an idea is frightening to many monkeys. The temporary identity that they have been exploring may fear for its own existence. It may think that all of its fears are necessary for its own survival.

The truth is, your temporary identity CAN survive while at the same time allowing that larger being to express through you. You can be a colored monkey living on this island while at the same time holding an awareness of your larger existence. You can bring your divinity into this life, into this identity that your perceive yourself to be.

Blue Monkey: How?

Purple Monkey: By acknowledging. By allowing. By accepting and loving yourself as you are. By accepting your challenges and obstacles for the gifts that they truly are – opportunities to bring as much love and acceptance to the present moment as possible.

As one does this, that divine self, that white monkey self, begins to show through, begins to guide you to your highest expression, your most loving choice.

The red melons assist in this widening process. They enable one to see themselves more clearly, to see their choices more clearly. They help one to accept themselves as they are, which allows more of their true selves to come through.

That has been the lesson taught by all of the masters that have visited our island during our long history. They knew that they were truly white monkeys. And they tried to explain to other monkeys that they, too, were white monkeys. And that each monkey has the potential to bring their white monkeys selves into their blue monkey lives.

These masters attempted, each in their own way, to explain the relationship between a blue monkey and a white monkey and the Creator, whom many have called the Great Monkey (and who is not actually a monkey at all).

So now, with the appearance on our island of the red melons and their ability to help us remember who we really are, our race has the opportunity to wake up – not just a few of us, but all who are ready to acknowledge their own divinity, ready to release and move beyond their fears and their self-judgments. As one begins to recognize that he is acceptable just as he is, loveable just as he is, then a door opens within himself. His self-acceptance is the key that unlocks that door. His willingness to accept himself and others, to allow each monkey to be who they choose to be – THIS is the beginning of his transformation.

One need only ask the white monkey within to come forth, and it shall. It is a sacred step – to ask to be shown the truth. To acknowledge that all you believed yourself to be is not necessarily true. That perhaps you are far more than you thought you were.

That is the step that the white monkey within you is waiting for you to take.

And when the day arrives when you are ready to taste your first red melon, know that you are taking your first step home.

Back to who you really are.

Back to who we all are.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Monkey Dialogue # 1 : Transformation

One day, on the grass at the back of the beach, the following conversation took place between a blue and a purple monkey:

Blue Monkey: What is happening to our island?

Purple Monkey: Our island is in the process of transforming.

Blue Monkey: Transforming into what? And what was it before?

Purple Monkey: Transforming into a more highly evolved version of itself. Up until now, there has been much confusion and disharmony. Blue monkeys did not understand who they were, and why they were here. They did not understand their true relationship to one another. Now, each monkey is widening his or her awareness to encompass a much larger view of such things.

Blue Monkey: What is causing this transformation?

Purple Monkey: There are many ways to view this change, and its causes. But it is most important to realize that YOU are creating the changes that you are experiencing. They are being initiated and carried out by you. You may not understand at this point just HOW you are doing so. And in fact, such understanding will come to you naturally as you progress in your own transformation.

The widening of one’s awareness is a very individual thing. It cannot come from the outside, although events unfolding around us may lead us to question things, thereby stimulating our learning process. But ultimately, YOU are the one opening to a larger perspective, a deeper understanding. It must be allowed by you, embraced by you, initiated by you. It is entirely your choice as to whether you embrace the opportunities to grow and widen that you are presenting to yourself, or choose instead to resist such changes and hold tightly to who you thought you were. Or who you thought you were supposed to be.

Blue Monkey: Has this ever happened before?

Purple Monkey: No. Not in this way. Not in our part of the sea. And not on such a scale.

There have been monkeys who have awakened all throughout our history on this island. Occasionally, there have been monkeys who were awake for all or most of their lives. And some of them have described and taught about our wider existence. And, of course, we monkeys have inevitably treated them as different, as more that the rest of us. Sometimes we have worshipped them. Sometimes we have killed them. And sometimes, both.

More than once, we have taken their messages, their teachings, their explanations of truth, and we have built religions around them. We have done this because we have felt the truth of their messages, of their gifts to us. But, because the majority of us have remained asleep, we have distorted their messages, held the messengers up as being more than the rest of us, and even worshipped them.

Such has been our exploration, for a very long time. And now, in a process that has been prophesied and anticipated for thousands of years, we are attempting to awaken to the truth that lies at the core of every religion, every mystical tradition: we have all, every one of us, sprung from the same source. We are individual expressions of a whole. We are that whole, expressing itself through each one of us.

We are not separate from that whole, and we can never be, though we can create the perception that we are. And that is exactly what we have been doing, for so many years: exploring the perception that we are separate. Separate from each other, and separate from the whole.

The transition we are engaging is the reawakening to our true lack of separation, to our true relationship to one another, and to the whole. We have never actually been separate from one another; we have only been exploring the perception that we were.

As we choose to partake of the red melons, to embrace the changes occurring within and around us, to thin the veil that has hidden us from ourselves, our perception of separation begins to dissipate. The unity that has always been there becomes more and more apparent.

All of the fear, anger, sadness and envy that resulted from our apparent separation from one another can finally begin to heal. This is the transformation that is taking place. This is what has been anticipated, prophesied for so long. This is the second coming that we have wished for. And yet it is so much more wonderful than what such prophesies foresaw. Many of the creative yet distorted assertions as to what would be taking place have been tinged with fear. With separation. This transformation does not involve fear. It is the transition OUT of fear. And that is glorious. More glorious than words.

So, my dear blue monkey, you may relax into this change, if you desire a smooth transition. There is, in truth, nothing to fear. All is proceeding in its own way, which is perfection. We are being assisted, but we must allow such assistance if we are to know it and feel it.

The events that are unfolding are there for us to learn from. They are part of this process.

And so rather than scratching our heads and wondering where all of this is leading, the option is there to marvel at the mystery and the perfection of it all.

To enjoy our ever-widening perspective.

And to discover the joy that is life itself.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Waitress And The Cook

You order your meal.

The Waitress brings it to you.

Sometimes the food is wonderful. Sometimes it's horrible.

Do you blame the Waitress if you don't like it? Do you blame the Cook?

Here's how it works: the Cook is taking the contents of your mind - your strongest thoughts and expectations - and mixing them up into an experience - a "creatable" dish. Then the Waitress brings it to you - you experience it. It could be a pay raise. It could be a flat tire. A new relationship. A fist fight.

YOU are the one ordering the food. YOU are the one choosing what to think about, concentrate on. YOU are choosing which thoughts, ideas and expectations to allow into your mind. And therefore you can have some idea as to what that dish is going to look like.

We tend to expect that the next dish to come out will look pretty much like the last one.

But it is a beautiful fact that the menu is indeed endless. There is NOTHING that's not on the menu!

And the Cook is a master chef! If you can imagine it, and support it with affirming thoughts and expectations, the Cook can whip it up! In fact, the Cook takes great pleasure in doing so.

So order what you want. Imagine and expect what you want. KNOW that it's being created. Right now, as you read this, your Cook is busily preparing your next meal. And the next one. And the next.

And soon, before you know it, the Waitress will be bringing it to you.

So choose carefully. Choose wisely.

And enjoy the meal!

Quantum Leap - September 18th, 2007

Happy Quantum Leap Day!

And if you don't know what that means, just try the red melons.

They're quite wonderful!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


We don’t learn more about what we want by not wanting anything.

And we don’t learn more about what we desire by holding tightly to what we already do.

We learn by exploring new desires. By creating what we desire and, through the experience of it, deciding what does or does not feel good.

This is how we expand our knowing of ourselves.

Often in our society, we continue to satisfy the same desires over and over again. This leads to what one might call “fulfillment stagnation”. We become stagnant within an endless loop of stale desires, and their fulfillment brings little joy.

The solution is to examine, honestly, those desires that you are continuously pursuing, and occasionally fulfilling. If you look closely, you might see that the particular object or event you are wishing for does not, in the fulfillment of it, give you the joy you were hoping it would.

Just as a habitual smoker rarely pauses to consider whether or not he or she is actually enjoying that cigarette that they just had to have, we consistently fail to evaluate whether or not the fulfillment of our latest desire actually brought the desired effect. Was there joy? Excitement? A permanent improvement in my life? Or did I just move on to the next desire?

With a little bit of honest self-evaluation, it is relatively easy to see when the fulfillment of certain desires has ceased to produce what you want. And once that occurs, the search can begin for a new desire, one that has not been repeated over and over.

The search for a new desire, a new reason for joy, is vital to growth. Imagine the toddler who never gives up his obsession with a particular toy and never moves on to something new or more complex. Growth for such a child would be severely stunted, and new experiences shunned or ignored.

Thus it is the reaching beyond current desires that leads to growth and to the discovery of new desires and new forms of joy that accompany their fulfillment.

So feel free to want, to desire. Desire is not bad or inappropriate. It is supremely necessary. It is the way you came into existence. And it is the only way to get beyond where you are now.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Book 2 Released, Sept. 4th 2007

Now available at Tate Publishing and other online booksellers.
Also available as a CD Audio Book.

Power vs. Doubt

Success is power.

It comes from power. Not power over others, or over things. Not intellectual power. The power of feeling. It comes from feeling powerful. Feeling forceful, or simply just capable.

An important factor here is the absence of doubt.

Power and doubt cannot exist at the same time. They are opposites.

Doubt is the absence of empowerment.

Doubt is THE obstacle to success, to creating what you want.

Most of us have ideas. And many of us fantasize about following though on those ideas, implementing them. But what often stops us, ultimately, is doubt. Doubt that you can do it, or that it can really happen.

Doubt is powerlessness.

The good news is, it's an illusion. Your beliefs about what you can or cannot do determine whether or not you doubt. And your doubt is THE obstacle.

Why is a successful person successful?

One reason: they did not doubt their success. They knew success was within reach, and they reached out and grabbed it.

They felt powerful because they did not doubt.

And success naturally followed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Emotions As Guidance

If you associate your anger with an element outside of yourself, you will direct your anger toward that element, thus giving it power (energy/attention).

The same is true for all emotions.

As young ones, we learn to associate our anger with elements outside ourselves. We learn this by watching our parents and other caretakers do the same. And thus the connection is formed: I am angry, and my anger is being caused by this or that, and if I express that anger, I get a reaction from someone or something. And the reaction we get (often from a parent or sibling) reinforces the perception that the source of our anger is outside of us, and is causing our anger.

That association sticks around for a LONG time. And it is very hard to break. Most people, even now, believe that it is elements outside themselves that bring them to anger. Or sadness. Or joy, even.

So if this is not actually the case, as I seem to be implying, what is the cause of your anger, your sadness, your joy?

The answer is very simple: Your emotions come from WITHIN you. They are a signal, a communication, letting you know how aligned or misaligned you are with your essence, your soul, who you really are.

Now, for this explanation to make any sense, one must acknowledge that there is a larger identity for each of us, one not limited to time or space, or to this temporary identity that each of us is currently exploring.

The premise is this: YOU are actually a soul, creating an incredibly complex and seamless experience of being a physical human being in a physical world. And so that you would not lose yourself completely in this temporary exploration, you have chosen to incorporate emotions.

These emotions let you know when the human part of you is perceiving in a way that is aligned with how your soul feels, and when it is not.

When you feel negative emotion, whichever name you give it, you are perceiving in a way that is out of alignment with how your soul perceives. You are expressing beliefs that run contrary to what you value as a soul. You are out of alignment. It is a type of feedback, intended to keep you roughly on track, and to let you know when you are straying away from who you really are.

In contrast to this are your positive emotions, and these are letting you know that you are aligned with your soul, and you are currently perceiving in a way that is closely aligned with how you as a soul are perceiving. Joy is an indication of alignment. That's why it feels good! Your soul is saying to you , "Yes! THIS is who you are! Keep doing THIS! Keep perceiving THIS way!"

Now, obviously those "experts" on the brain and the body will tell you that there are brain processes that are responsible for your emotions, but they are only looking at the physical translation of the experience. The body is intended to translate, physically, what you are experiencing in your mind and your spirit. So the experts are looking at the effect, the translation, and thinking that they are looking at the cause. No offense to you scientists and doctors, but there is a bigger picture! A MUCH bigger picture. And the incredible variety and intensity of our emotions are pointing to a bigger picture.

The grief we feel at the loss of a loved one is pointing to a bigger picture.

The love we feel, the joy we experience from time to time is pointing to a bigger picture.

Your emotions are your guidance, so use them!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Finer Things - Tears Of Joy And Sadness

Just as a child tires of an old toy or television program, a spirit eventually reaches for something beyond physical reality and all that it has to offer.

And what is beyond physical reality?

It is impossible to describe the finer things to one who is still immersed in and fascinated by the physical elements of life, just as it is impossible to explain to a child why a parent sometimes gets tears in their eyes as they watch their child play, and grow.

Those tears will not be understood, at least not until that child matures to adulthood, gives birth to a child, and, while watching that child play and grow, sheds tears of her own.

Tears of joy and sadness.

Joy, at the gift that this child has been for you.

Sadness, from the realization that this child is slowly but surely slipping away from you, disappearing into adulthood.

These fleeting moments, so intense to those who feel them, yet nonexistent to those who don't.

These, indeed, are the finer things in life.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Living In The Present

It's quite difficult to be happy in the present when you're worried about the future, or trying to control it.

You can't control the future.

At least not directly.

But you can pave the way toward the future that is most pleasing to you by perceiving the present as clearly as you possibly can - by paying attention to what you are doing, thinking, and feeling.

Living in the present is a matter of remaining aware of what you are doing, thinking and feeling. And everything else then becomes clear.

Your circumstances, the events of your life, are the extension/translation of your inner experience. And when you are paying attention to that inner experience (i.e. what you are doing, thinking, and feeling), you can see the connection. And you can gradually take responsibility for that inner experience (and consequently the outer as well).

But the key is to pay attention to what is going on within you. That is where it all starts. Everything else is a consequence of that inner activity.

And when is that activity taking place?

In the present.

Right now.

So pay attention.

Live in the present, and the future will then take care of itself.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Forgetting... Forgetting... Forgetting...

It is quite possible (and highly recommended) to perceive the people around you not as humans but as spirits. Spirits who are exploring roles, identities, dramas - all the while forgetting who they really are. Forgetting... forgetting... forgetting...

Now, when you do this - when you perceive them this way - it's not so much that you remember who YOU are and they don't. It's more a matter of simply realizing that these are temporary identities and circumstances we are exploring. And that we are MUCH more than just the human beings we currently are (or perceive ourselves to be).

Ultimately, we are unlimited. Literally. But we have found a way to create the perception that we are limited. That we are bounded. That we are human.

So we can just relax, if we are able to, and have fun - enjoy this latest adventure. We can stop taking the details of our lives quite so seriously and let go a bit. We can trust the flow of life, and bring as much joy to each moment as we possibly can.

Why? Because it feels great to do so!

Try it some time!!!

(seriously, try it.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A New Perception

There is a big difference between a materialist view of life and a self-realized view of life.

A self-realized view of life involves the perception that you are WILLING your reality into existence, and you always have been. And all those years of doing so without knowing it have provided lots of good material to learn from, to analyze and thus understand that you created it all - through your attention and desires and fears.

Eventually, the unpleasantness that resulted from dwelling on and subsequently creating what you DO NOT WANT leads to your asking, seeking, and clarifying.

Demand a better existence.

Use the fuel from your desperation to power your seeking.

There is tremendous power in desperation...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Life Strategies

Define your own beauty.

Ask your own questions.

Blaze your own trail.

Live your own life.

Be you own guru.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


It is as if all of the beliefs that you hold,
positive and negative,
affirming and limiting,
about yourself and everyone and everything,
were rolled up into one experience,
one moment.

That moment is now.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Driving Wrecklessly?

Your future lies out in front of you.

What is happening right now is to your left, outside your driver's side window.

And your hands are fixed firmly on the steering wheel.

You are indeed driving this vehicle that you call your life. Ah, but you have a delaying mechanism in place. You, in your infinite wisdom, knew quite well that you would be very forgetful during this life.

You knew that you would be far too anxious and hasty to be given full and immediate control over your vehicle. Your strong beliefs would cause you to crash into every obstacle, every distraction that appears outside your window.

And so you chose to slow the reaction of your steering wheel, to dampen the response of your vehicle to the energetic movement of your hands. You cannot immediately steer yourself off the road, though you have tried many times. Your vehicle won't let you. You would have to try consistently, over and over, before you finally succeeded in slamming into that tree or guardrail.

That delay has served you well. It has given you time to recover, to move your attention, to return your steering wheel to the forward position. That delay has served you well.

And now, what does this exciting new century have in store for our precious 'delayed steering system'?

What might it be like to gradually decrease that delay, to slowly remove the lag time between the movement of your hands on the steering wheel and the movement of your front tires?

Will you drive into a tree? Over a cliff? Will you manage to stay on the road?

Learning how to drive more carefully, more deliberately, should be your top priority.

Because you're driving, either way.

Always have been.

Always will be.

Monday, April 30, 2007

That's A Very Good Question

I have found that questions are far more valuable than answers.

Often, after having a significant conversation with someone, I review the conversation in my head. And inevitably, I have found that many of my comments fell short of what I would have hoped to express. However, that is not the case with the questions I asked.

I am far more effective in conversation when asking pertinent, insightful questions than I am when I'm running my mouth in a loud stream of exuberance (not that there is anything wrong with exuberance, but it can certainly sidetrack a conversation).

From this observation, I have drawn the conclusion that we are operating at a higher level when we are asking questions (meaningful ones) then when we are answering them.

Asking questions - ones that stimulate - is a higher expression, at least for me. It results in more fulfilling conversations with others, and it results in more valuable insights from within myself.

So perhaps if we are looking for all the right answers, we're on the wrong track. We ought to be looking for the right questions.

Ask the right questions, and the right answers may just fall into place. Often out of nowhere.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Shift

How does one explain to others that each of us creates our own reality? It intrigues me to consider how many people have asked themselves that question through the ages.

Granted, there have been times when such a fact was common knowledge. Yet the further we have wandered from that knowledge in our exploration of objective reality, the more distorted (though quite creative!) we have become in explaining it.

Streams of esoteric wisdom have trickled down through history, quenching the thirst of seekers the world over. In more isolated communities, the natural world and the dream world have furnished many answers to the questions that have been asked. Whenever one has asked to be shown truth, their request has been granted. The universe has responded, every time.

So what happens when millions of people ask for answers, all at the same time?

That will be one of the many developments to watch and enjoy as this exciting new century unfolds.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

VA Tech Mass Event

I was interested in, but not surprised by, how quickly the media began to question the action, or lack of action, taken by the police and other "authority figures" in Virgina yesterday.

It is quite telling that the blame game began almost before the final shots were fired.

Lord, help us to see what there is to see, learn what there is to learn, forgive what there is to forgive.

And for God's sake, shut those talking heads up, will ya?!

(no, no, let them speak - they are as instrumental as anyone in bringing these things to the surface...)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Not So Low

If we're striving for peace, we're aiming too low.

We should be striving for joy.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus In the Mourning

To me, the importance of the recent Don Imus incident lies in the exposure of individually held beliefs and insecurities.

Mr. Imus clearly expressed a great deal of ignorance, insensitivity, and bad judgment in his comments. But it seems fairly clear that he was trying, at least in part, to be funny, as misguided as his attempt at humor was.

But the reaction to his comments by individuals, the media, etc. has far exceeded the importance of the comments themselves.

In their reaction to his comments, people are bringing to the surface their own intolerance, their own judgment, their own beliefs regarding victimhood, prejudice, discrimination, etc.

The way people react to Don Imus' comments says nothing about Don Imus and everything about those individuals, the way they view themselves, the way they view others, etc.

An enlightened individual would have no emotional reaction to his comments whatsoever, regardless of their race or gender. An enlightened response may go something like this:

"That was an interesting comment that Don Imus made. It certainly betrays his limiting beliefs regarding black women. I don't agree with him, but I am not the least bit offended by him or his limiting beliefs. They do not pertain to me in any way."

But we are not seeing such a reaction. All we are hearing is how offensive his remarks were, and how he should be fired for his words. Ironically, those who are screaming the loudest about the insensitivity of Don Imus are far exceeding his own intolerance in their reaction to him. Don is guilty of ignorance and insensitivity, but he does not appear to be trying to ruin anyone's life or career the way many people are trying to do in response.

Those who are reacting strongly and pointing fingers and vilifying Don Imus would benefit greatly from the realization that their reactions to his words are not being cause by his words but by their own limiting beliefs about themselves. If they really knew and accepted themselves, then the words of a foolish radio personality could IN NO WAY threaten them, cause them to doubt themselves, or induce them to invest their time and energy in trying to prove that his words are wrong.

His words are not wrong: they are his words, they express his beliefs and opinions, and they apply to him and to his own perception. There is no need to feel offended by them, unless one is PREDISPOSED to such offense, which is coming from inside of themself, not from the words of some guy on the radio.

A little self-awareness would go a long way here, and perhaps this whole event is taking place in order to bring all of this to the surface so that individuals can examine themselves, their own beliefs, their own reactions to ignorance and insensitivity.

The anger that people feel in reaction to the words of Don Imus is coming from inside of themselves, and if some people are able to finally see that and take responsibility for their own reaction and their own feelings, then they have benefited greatly from this experience.

That is the value I see in this story. It is stimulating people to examine their reactions and their beliefs, and to learn more about themselves.

So it's not really about Don Imus, or his ignorance and insensitivity, though he played the role of the catalyst. It is about examining ourselves, our beliefs, and our own intolerance. For those who are wise enough to see that, there is much to gain from this story. Much indeed.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thank You, Middle Easter Bunny!

It's interesting to ponder the statement made by the leader of Iran yesterday that the release of their British "visitors" was an Easter gift.

I'm not referring to the "Easter" aspect, but to the word "gift".

When one gives someone a gift, that gift is typically a thing, or a service of some sort. To refer to the release of these soldiers as a gift brings to light the fact that these 15 people were used as objects, pawns perhaps, in a high-stakes chess game played by the leaders of the two countries involved.

I find it telling that the word "gift" was used, because it epitomizes the way many leaders view their soldiers, and indeed their citizens. They are often seen as resources to be used in the execution of their plans, their policies.

An appropriate image for this week might be those 15 soldiers sitting in an Easter basket, surrounded by chocolate eggs and cruise missiles, in colorful aluminum wrapping.

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 02, 2007


Every choice that a human being has made or will ever make is quite understandable, given the beliefs and perception of that person at that time. All choices are understandable. Not necessarily desirable or preferable, but understandable.

If what you are trying to do is maintain an image of some sort, either in your own eyes or in the eyes of others, then perhaps attacking someone - physically or verbally - makes perfect sense.

When self-preservation or ego-preservation is your priority, it is very difficult to choose love. Love is not, generally speaking, an enticing option in such cases. There is little obvious benefit in trying to love someone who is angry at you, in looking for love in a situation involving fear or anger or judgment. If, in such situations, the defense of the self is the first priority, then reacting defensively or even aggressively is quite understandable.

The questions worth asking in such situations include: What are you defending? What is it that is actually being threatened? Why do you feel the need to react to something someone else has done or said?

If you can take a step back and assess the situation, you can perhaps realize that there is nothing to defend, no need to battle a perceived foe. It is simply a game, and you don't have to play that game if you don't want to. It is simply a choice.

But if you, at that moment, are incapable of seeing things clearly, and are unable to extract your ego and your self-image from that situation, then perhaps you must become defensive, and maybe even lash out in anger and aggression.

Which is quite understandable.

Not necessarily desirable or preferable, but understandable.

Friday, March 30, 2007


Fundamentalist Islam is the same reaction to a perceived societal decay that we see from fundamentalist Christians in America.

When people view conflicts, contradictions, and uncomfortable changes in their society, it is human nature to search for reasons and to blame those who are responsible for such changes.

In many parts of the world, particularly in many Islamic communities, people see problems in their society and they blame their corrupt, Westernized government, their greedy business leaders, and the overall influence of the West. In such places, it is all too easy to blame the West, and America in particular, for the problems people see in their society. And so America, being the top dog of the West, represents, to such people, all that is bad in the modern world.

What is required for progress in this area is the realization that EVERY human being is capable of the most loving AND the most horrid gestures and choices. So while certain people are exhibiting extreme examples of beautiful or ugly behavior, it is all humanity. It is all us.

The people you are blaming and judging and vilifying are exhibiting HUMAN qualities. We are beautiful AND ugly. And we are capable of choosing either one.

That is what we are here to learn.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Who Do YOU Appreciate?

Would you rather appreciate someone, or have that someone appreciate you?

A self-sustaining personality is one which appreciates itself so much that it doesn't depend on others for appreciation, acceptance, etc.

For such personalities, being appreciated by others is not necessary, though it is enjoyable. It can be seen as a mirror image of the appreciation that a personality has for itself.

Which of us are stable personalities, then? Which of us appreciate ourselves so much that it is unnecessary for others to appreciate us?

Children come to mind.

They start out that way. They begin life appreciating themselves.

And then they learn, as they grow, that some of their expressions and attributes are NOT appreciated. They are told so repeatedly by their parents, siblings, friends, teachers, etc. And because they are new to life, they are susceptible to the beliefs and opinions of others. And before you know it, you have yourself an adult (or teenager, or adolescent) who has learned NOT to appreciate himself, and who has grown to rely on the acceptance and appreciation of others to feel good about himself (or herself).

To address this, we must dismantle those antiquated but entrenched self-judgments and self-criticisms. They are what keep us from accepting ourselves, and this lack of self-acceptance makes it impossible to appreciate ourselves.

We in our society have fooled ourselves into thinking that we need to DO things in order to be appreciated. We learn this at home growing up, we learn it at school, and we practice it at work.

Yet the truth is, you don't need to do ANYTHING in order to be acceptable. And in fact, the more you do in an effort to be accepted and appreciated, the more you are expressing the belief that you aren't acceptable just the way you are.

Wouldn't it be nice if you accepted and appreciated yourself so much that you weren't dependent upon anybody else's appreciation of you? No more fishing for compliments, no more unwanted commitments, no more fake smiles or false apologies or grudges or self-doubt or regret or any of the other unpleasant experiences that go along with protecting some sort of image of yourself.

Yes, that would be tremendous. And it was. Once upon a time, long ago. Back before you learned to do all of those things in order to be accepted.

And appreciated.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Q & A

Question: Why does life have to be such a puzzle?

Answer: Because we love puzzles!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Icing On Your Cake

When there are things or experiences that you feel are lacking in your life, it is not possible for you to fully appreciate the present moment.

As you perceive yourself to be lacking something, anything, you can not feel appreciation. You cannot feel abundance.

Abundance is not a result of acquiring the things you want. The experience of abundance is the result of PERCEIVING abundance. If you desire abundance and prosperity and good health and happiness,you must first strive to perceive those things, incorporate them into your perception. Then the experiences will follow.

The theory of Icing On Your Cake states that when you appreciate that which is already a part of your life, and experience joy because of it, then the universe yearns to give you more of it - yearns to give you icing on your cake.

When, instead, your attention is upon the LACK of what you desire, you have no cake upon which the universe can place your icing. There is no cake. You must first have the cake.

This theory implies that in order to experience happiness, you must first have a solid foundation of happiness upon which a new experience can take root. Otherwise, the few seeds of joy that you manage to draw into your experience will never take root but will instead blow away with the first gust of conflict, of UNhappiness. The foundation of happiness must first be in place before new and exciting joy can be drawn to you.

If you want icing, observe the cake of happiness around you. It's there, but you must CHOOSE to look for it, to focus upon it.

And then our loving universe will coat all of your days with a sugary sweet glaze of joy.

Dessert, anyone?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Life Secret # 5

Real power comes from understanding that you create your reality.

Any other form of power is an illusion, an exercise of the ego.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Money & Wealth

What makes money useful and powerful is the agreement we all make regarding its worth. To acquire or possess money and wealth is to take advantage of this agreement.

But more than that, it is a measure of the worth an individual places upon himself or herself.

For example, compare the way a CEO values himself to the way a waitress in a diner values herself. The different levels of worth and importance they place on themselves (as well as their perception of their own abilities) are reflected in their jobs and their paychecks.

Professional athletes reflect this issue quite clearly as well.

Pros grow up being told that they are special, and they arrive at the professional level with the belief that they DESERVE to earn a great deal of money. They place a high degree of importance and worth upon themselves.

Perhaps we should ask ourselves, honestly, how we value ourselves, how we see our own worth.

How much money and wealth are you worthy of?

You can only have as much as you feel you deserve.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Darwin Was Wrong

Consciousness Creates Form.

And thus Darwin hadn't a clue.

He was looking at shadows on the wall. And because he saw that the shadows changed their form, he concluded evolution.

But what was casting those shadows?


It was consciousness that was changing. And because consciousness changes, the forms that consciousness takes change as well.

So a species may have an different shape or appearance than it did before - and this is because the consciousness that is expressing itself in that form has grown in awareness and therefore ability. And so it will alter its physical form to accommodate its increased abilities and awareness.

A species isn't necessarily changing in order to survive. Often, it changes in order to allow itself to express new or improved abilities or desires.

Now what do you think of that, Mr. Darwin?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Flexibility Of Attention

We must learn to use our thinking mechanism to better supervise our moods.

We tend to look at our current circumstances and allow them to dictate our mood. And yet we have the ability to CHOOSE what we pay attention to.

So while we are generally not able to decide what mood we will be in - what emotion we will feel right now - we CAN choose what to concentrate upon. And whatever we choose to concentrate upon will affect our mood because we inevitably hold beliefs with regard to the object of our concentration.

If our priority is to maintain a good mood, we must be flexible enough to move our attention away from any thought or outside circumstance that feels unpleasant. Without that flexibility of attention, one is stuck paying attention to whatever thought or event is currently taking place - regardless of how it feels.

The intention to focus only on pleasant thoughts and circumstances must be coupled with a flexibility of attention for that intention to manifest as experience.

I have found, through my experience, that having the flexibility to move my attention AWAY from unpleasant thoughts and TOWARD pleasant ones is my/our single most difficult challenge.

My analytical and egocentric mind has always, throughout my life, dwelled endlessly on my perceived shortcomings, failures, and lacks. I see now that because I was expressing and focusing upon such limiting beliefs about myself, I was encountering them in my experiences - those beliefs were translated into my actual experience (that Reality 101, folks!).

In some ways, it is quite amazing that I have gotten to where I am now given my propensity for feeling sorry for myself and for thinking myself to death.

And yet now, as I apprehend how all of this works, I can see clearly how I have consistently allowed my circumstances and my beliefs about myself to dictate where my attention is. And as I take the wheel of my attention and learn to steer it deliberately toward pleasant thoughts and ideas and circumstances, it is a pleasure beyond words to begin to see the new and affirming beliefs I am choosing to focus upon being translated into my current and future circumstances.

And, I might add, I am indebted to more than a few teachers for such progress...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Life Secret #4

Evil does not exist.

What we call evil is not the presence of something but the lack of something.

And that something is compassion.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Life Secret #3

You are the painter AND the painted,
The actor AND the playwright.

Wake up, forgetful thespian!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Life Secret #2

Decide who and what you are, and you will become that.

You've been doing so all along. You might as well do it on purpose.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Life Secret #1

There is no THEM.

They are all you.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


You must be wise to know wisdom when you hear it. Otherwise, it sounds like drivel. Or nothing at all.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who's Arguing?

I have internal conversations all the time, throughout the day, and I find that I argue less and less as I become more aware. Less to prove, I suspect, but also the knowing that any stand I take in an argument is temporary at best and most certainly foolish in any case.

Don't ask me today to defend something I said yesterday. I will have changed a thousand times in a million different ways since then.

So I have no need to argue with a critic or defend a particular statement of mine. It was simply an expression of my understanding at that time, nothing more. Nothing to prove or dispute or refute.

If you choose to criticize or judge me, I know you are doing so as a result of YOUR beliefs, not mine.

Therefore, I have no need to argue with you. Nor, for that matter, do I have a need for you to agree with me.

Of course, it took me many years to realize that. And it will take many more to live my life that way.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

In Search Of The Enlightened Genius

Has there ever been an enlightened genius? One who woke up in mid-life, cleared out the debris, identified their passion, and hit it hard, firing on all cylinders?

Throughout my study of influential thinkers, artists, poets, etc., I have yet to come across many who appear to have been enlightened. Their genius, for the most part, seems to have been almost accidental.

I must compile a list of seemingly-enlightened geniuses, and go from there. I suppose the first thing to look for would be someone who didn't get all screwed up by success, fame, money or notoriety.

Virtually all the geniuses I've read about went through all sorts of chaos later in life. I see nothing of the joy-filled serenity or example-setting that I would expect from someone who had found and was able to sustain an aware perspective. They all seem to have ended up wallowing in misery of one kind or another.

So where is the enlightened genius?

There's got to be one around here somewhere...

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Great Ones

I recently read a book entitled Makers Of The Modern World, by Louis Untermeyer.

The book recounts the contributions of some of the most influential thinkers, writers, scientists and artists of the past two centuries.

One thing that struck me was that many of them came from broken families, endured early tragedies (which seemed to be the order of the day), and otherwise encountered emotional trauma while growing up. Not all of them did, but most.

Many of them didn't fit in well. Few were strong or attractive - most were neither.

And most were criticized or ridiculed for their expression.

A common thread is that they each had the courage, because of their passion, to express themselves boldly and to stand by their works and their ideas. The fact that almost all of them were harshly condemned for what they said or wrote or created attests to both the challenge each made to convention and their willingness to put their neck out there, to stand up and be heard.

It's easy to present visionary ideas in a covert or allegorical way. To do so is much less challenging to the status quo, and only the most intelligent people will understand it anyway.

But to come right out and state clearly and boldly what you have found to be truth is to charge the conservative lines, to light the torch that will chase a few more shadows from our understanding.

I find myself asking the following question:

Is it possible to present radically different ideas regarding who we are and why we are here in a way that does NOT cause large waves of controversy or offense? Can one create medium size waves instead, with perhaps lots of small ripples?

What good are the large waves, anyway? Do they do more harm than good?

And, perhaps more importantly, do those who put forth such volatile ideas knock themselves overboard with the large waves that they create?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Who Do You Love?

We live in a society in which love is not the status quo. It is not assumed.

When I pass a stranger, the assumption on both parts is that we do not know one another, are not connected to each other in any way, and most certainly do not love one another.

Loving others is something that we hold tightly to, sometimes secretly. We treat it as a rarity most of the time. We limit the intensity of the feelings we have or express.

Why? Why do we intentionally limit something that feels so good?

If we were to allow ourselves the full range of emotion in appreciating the people in our lives, our relationships would be quite different. As would life itself.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


If you make a conscious effort to guide/steer your attention toward thoughts and subjects that feel good, your default emotional setting rises.

We have an equilibrium that we consistently return to as our attention relaxes. This equilibrium is essentially an emotional state that constitutes our "average" mood.

One's average mood drifts up and down due to the accumulation of experience, as well as other factors. When our average mood is good, we might refer to ourselves as having a good stretch, and when our average mood is unpleasant, we would say that we are having a bad stretch, or a difficult or challenging time.

However, by monitoring one's emotional state, one can CHOOSE to entertain thoughts that feel good. You must take responsibility for your state of mind, and deliberately steer your thoughts and your attention in a direction that feels better.

I have noticed that by deliberately searching for better feeling thoughts, I am able to raise my equilibrium emotional setting - my average mood. When I do this, I can experience joy and happiness which is not being triggered by any particular event or circumstance or thought. It is a general peace and appreciation that comes through in waves.

One way of looking at this is that my average mood has gone up as a result of consciously and deliberately and consistently steering my attention toward good-feeling thoughts and ideas. And since my average mood is my default emotional setting (i.e. the one I return to when my attention is not on anything in particular), I am arriving at this peaceful state automatically, without trying.

And a little voice inside of me is saying, "Why have I never heard of this before???"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Why So Miserable?

Last fall, I read two books in succession: The Power Of Now(Tolle) and Ask And It Is Given(Hicks).

Upon finishing the second, I noted the following:

"The last two books I've read have left me in a different state. I am returning to the present consistently now, and I'm noticing my emotions all the time.

"I'm not allowing myself to remain in a bad mood or a low vibration. I find that in order to improve a bad mood I must return to the present moment, and let the present moment and surroundings flood my awareness.

"When I'm in a good mood, I can easily visualize things/events that I desire, enjoying the perspective that it brings.

"I acknowledge that my attention, my mood, has been more flexible. I am able to return to a peaceful state quickly most of the time. Perhaps I have steered myself up the emotional scale enough times to know the way.

"I noted recently that it is MUCH easier to slide down into a bad mood than it is to climb up to a good one. And I contemplated why that is, what that means, and how it relates to spiritual evolution and expanding awareness.

"Why are we so fascinated with negative emotions that we allow ourselves to dwell on thoughts which make us unhappy? Bad moods can go on for a LONG time. Good ones seem so short-lived.

"Maybe it's because so many of our choices are not what we want. Maybe we consistently put ourselves in places we don't really want to be.

"Since our circumstances often seem unavoidable (meaning we choose them because we think we have no other choice), we spend a lot of our time thinking about commitments and circumstances that we don't like or want."

In re-reading the above passage, I am reminded of the "one step forward, two steps back" aspect of widening our awareness. I periodically arrive at a stretch of time during which I am riding high, feeling like I have cleared a hurdle of some sort and can see things clearly. And then, inevitably, a day or a week later, I'm back in the thick of things and feeling sorry for myself because I lost that "loving feeling" and life seems more weeds than flowers.

So I have found it helpful to re-read thoughts such as these. It's reassuring to see, in retrospect, the up and down cycle that searching and examining entails. As I continue moving forward, I am attempting to integrate the ups and downs, to iron out some of the creases.

If so, perhaps I will succeed in tempering the "low" spots with the remembrance of the "high" spots just around the corner.

And oh, how I LOVE those high spots...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Words To Ponder

Once the feeling becomes more important than the thought,
you are free.


The human race needs a better method, a better strategy, a better WAY to give voice and attention to those with vision. If we understood and valued vision, then listening to those who express it would be of greatest importance to us.

So what is VISION?

I'll offer one possible definition, for the purpose of this discussion:

Vision is the ability to conceive of and convey a picture of reality that is more joyful, more peaceful, and more fulfilling than the one currently being experienced.

I realize that this is a very specific and narrow definition, but it serves my purpose here.

When one attempts to apply this definition of vision to our leaders today, one comes up empty. Most politicians are good at pointing out what is NOT working. But which of them are offering a joyful, peaceful, fulfilling vision of the future?

Visionaries are not often politically-minded. So to look to elected leaders for vision is almost fruitless. A politician with vision is extremely rare these days.

A casualty of democracy, perhaps?

I will return to this topic at a later time, but for now allow me to pose the following questions:

Did Democracy turn politics into a game of appearances and words and spin?

Did Democracy chase substance out of politics?

Is Democracy a SPORT?

(and if so, which team are YOU rooting for?)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Words To Ponder

What we experience and perceive are simply configurations of energy. What gives those configurations of energy meaning is belief.

There are no "bad" expressions. There are only configurations of energy that are deemed "bad" by certain beliefs.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Secret

There is a secret.

And when you finally hear it, it brings a joy to your heart that exceeds all other joys. Indeed, it is joy itself.

One may occasionally catch a glimpse of this secret. It is fleeting and not understood. It seems haphazard. And it quickly disappears.

When one pursues this secret in earnest, and when one is determined in that seeking, the secret reveals itself, bit by bit. It is like a fruit that must be peeled, layer by layer. A fruit sweeter than any we've ever tasted.

It requires genuine effort and persistence to peel this fruit. And you will not do so with your intellect.

The intellect is curious, but it is not hungry.

Only the heart hungers. And only the heart knows the way. The heart can feel the longing before the intellect asks the question. When one elevates the role of the heart in one's life, the real seeking begins.

The more joy one feels inside, the easier it is for answers, and all the other things you desire, to find their way to you.

Is that part of the secret? Maybe.

Start peeling, and perhaps you'll find out...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Haiku For A February Morning


Words To Ponder

I spent years trying to prove that I was not an idiot.

Then I spent years feeling sorry for myself because I was an idiot.

And now, at last, I am filled with joy because I am an idiot.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Religious Authority

It is a priority of mine to present ideas that are practical and informative. Ideas that stimulate and widen. Ideas that encourage exploration and examination.

The world's religions, in my opinion, don't do that. They tend to dictate truth, rather than encourage the individual to find his or her own truth. Religions start with the assumption that there is some truth out there that is above all others and that clarifies the facts behind our existence, and then they go about telling you what that truth is. They do NOT encourage the individual to explore and develop and evaluate their own ideas and understanding. They are not truly empowering. They encourage reliance on doctrine, on holy works or holy messengers.

I think it's time that we as a race come to terms with what religion really is and what purpose it serves. I grew up as a church-going Christian, and I feel I am well qualified to speak about Christianity as it is often approached in modern times. I have studied Islam, read some of the Quran, learned the history of Islam, and heard and read enough quotes from Muslims past and present to have a solid understanding of many of the influences that Islam has on the majority of its adherents.

Buddhism is not so much a religion as it is a path, a strategy for reducing personal suffering and cultivating compassion. And as such, I will not include Buddhism in the current discussion. Nor will I include Taoism, for much the same reason.

I am driven to articulate the limitations that religions - particularly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - foster and perpetuate.

First and foremost is the belief structure of Authority. Without crunching any numbers, I'm going to posit that 80% of the faithful members of these three religions consider the leaders within their faith to be spiritual authorities. In other words, the typical adherent to one of these religions believes that their pastor/priest/rabbi/cleric knows more about God and the Truth than they themselves do. These leaders are, more often than not, looked upon as experts.

Western society and most large societies around the world incorporate authority figures everywhere - family, school, work, politics, medicine, etc. We are surrounded by authority figures as well as laws and rules supporting such authority. And so we are very familiar with looking to sources of authority for approval and direction.

Such tendencies serve many useful purposes in our society. Having people respect the authority of police officers helps maintain peace, at least somewhat. It provides structure, order, etc. And other types of authority serve similar purposes.

But spiritual matters are different. Unlike human laws , which we acknowledge are man-made, religious laws and doctrine are touted as superceding human ones. And people, in general, do not engage in an objective examination of religious doctrine. Religion is seen by the faithful to be beyond discussion, beyond individual assessment. To look critically at the words or ideas expressed in the Bible or the Quran is blasphemous.

When the Christian Church had its stranglehold on Europe many centuries ago, man-made laws were weaved into religious doctrine, and vice-versa. Thus the rules regarding society were attributed to the same authority that purely religious rules were - God. This is still the case in some areas and sects of Christianity and Judaism, and it is quite prevelant in many Muslims societies as well.

Today in the West, laws regarding society have been, to varying degrees, wrestled from religion and are often freely debated without drawing charges of blesphemy, treason, etc. But, importantly, religious laws have not. The divinity and infallibility of our holy books and revered religious figures is still, for the most part, beyond debate. We have not begun, on any sizable scale, to critically assess our religious sources of authority - the Bible, the Torah, the Quran, and the words and acts of prophets, messengers, saints, and messiahs.

Those beliefs in our society which value authority figures and firm guidelines for thoughts, words, and behavior are, in most cases, strongly expressed in the context of religion. When people who value authority practice their religion, they do so from a conservative perspective. Authority figures provide structure and uniformity. They provide sources of beliefs regarding right and wrong, good and bad. The existence of religious authority figures - Imams, Rabbis, Priests - and sources - Torah, Bible, Quran - give those who value homogeneity of thought and action an anchor, a template with which to evaluate right/wrong and good/bad. For those who need to have others agree with them, a common source of authority is a must.

Only a source of authority can allow one to know he is "right" or "good". Being right and good is important to one who is trying to prove himself, to justify his existence, to look good in his own eyes or in the eyes of others. Religious authority, religious rules and doctrine allow such a person to prove he or she is good, right, acceptable, worthy of being loved. Islam provides that opportunity for Muslims, Judaism provides it for Jews, and Christianity provides it for Christians. At the heart of their faith is the desire to be good, to be right. To be on God's good side. And to appear good in the eyes of others.

The majority of these people are not going to the Church or the Synagogue or the Mosque to find or understand God or themselves. They are going to SHOW their faith, to prove that they are good Christians or Jews or Muslims. Because that is what faithful people do.

And being faithful is GOOD.


The more of your ducks you have in a row, the more uptight you are about the ones that aren't in a row.

Why so many ducks?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Being Human

Being human is hard. The hardest thing in the world.

Harder than being a rock. Or a frog. Or a llama.

Being human is hard because we don't know what we are supposed to be. So we have to choose. And choosing is hard. The hardest thing in the world.

Mankind has been attempting, for many years, to figure out what we are - who we are. No other species on Earth, no other conscious manifestation in our world that we know of, wonders who or what it is, or why it exists. Only humans.

And only humans judge themselves and each other for not being what they are SUPPOSED to be. Whatever that is.

And here's the rub: we are not SUPPOSED to be anything. We can only be what we choose to be. This, unfortunately, is something we have yet to understand.

Ours is a world with limitless opportunities to choose. We are immersed in expressions of joy and sorrow, gain and loss, love and hate, victory and defeat. And from among these things, we choose. We choose which, of all these things, are us, are part of us, and which are not.

Here's something to consider: what if it is ALL part of us? What if everything we perceive - within us and around us - is, indeed, part of us? What then?

In a field of flowers and weeds, do the weeds ruin the field? If you focus only on the weeds, and you don't like weeds, then perhaps they do. But if you focus on the flowers, then the weeds fade from your awareness. But you must CHOOSE to focus on the flowers.

Our world is like a field of flowers and weeds. And we are here to choose which to focus upon. Nobody said it would be easy. And it's not easy. It's hard.

The hardest thing in the world.