Repost – The Price of Being Right…But first an Announcement

Shameless self promotion time! My new book is available on Amazon.com. I’ve been so busy getting it ready that I didn’t take time to polish a blog for today. Next week I will be ready!

The Price of Being Right

When I think about my beliefs on how society functions and what I would like our world to look like, I get this wish to make it happen. Visionaries in our society have often been glorified and sometimes rightfully so. I think of Martin Luther and Mother Teresa, who have freed many from the bondage of religious beliefs. There is a balancing act. Churches exist to help the needy. To give strength to the weak. To feed the poor. Somewhere in the process they become the cripplers, the takers, and the tyrants.

I was speculating recently about my perfect society. The one where we all live together in harmony. The one where goods are shared, and all are fed. All are honored. Can’t we all just get along?

Mother-Teresa-collage

I was curious about my hopes for society, how they compared to earlier beliefs and social systems. Marxism was one that stood out to me. And that is disappointing to me since the results were nowhere near what I had dreamed. The dreamer in me, that blonde-haired idealist, wants peace, but so much more. I want children to grow up strong and whole. I want parents to have what they need to raise those children. I want teachers to have tools to teach and children to have the access to learning. I love growth.

 

It’s not peace I want, not mere contentment. It’s boundless joy and ecstasy for me. -Kugell

Before we all start singing ‘round the campfire and holding hands, fan away the smoke from your eyes. Here is my issue. Yes, I want these things. What I don’t want is another Stalin or Jim Jones. So for a reality check, I have to take a step back. What makes a monster like Hitler? What causes a leader to brainwash his followers? They are RIGHT! They have The Truth.

Leaders take note. If you are headstrong and charismatic, people will follow, regardless of any truth or you even having the people’s best interest in mind. I find this sad. There are many helpful people in our world. These helpful folks don’t have the charisma that David Koresh had. Therefore, people aren’t listening en masse. Does this devalue their truth? No. I think our issue is more that we want a Messiah. We need our white horse riding, strong-armed warrior. We want and crave a leader who is elegant and fierce. And why?

Why do we crave a hero? For the same reason social systems such as Marxism swerve away from their origin. Social Equality is a great idea. There are those who could work with each other and make a village style society work. On the other side of that argument, people are afraid without guidance. Not everyone has grown up. Many still believe that we need a church or a government instructing us, or else we would end up in chaos and violence. Possibly, they are right.

So my point is, I don’t wish to push my ideal society or my ideal lifestyle on anyone. The price of being right is tyranny. It’s Jim Jones and his mass suicides. The truth is never forceful. Love is kind and patient. It doesn’t need to use charismatic persuasion to make you believe. And it refuses to allow others to follow blindly.

If there is no savior what will we do? The end of the world didn’t come. The pot of gold was not where we thought it should be. Now we stumble along until enough people wake up. When enough wake up and realize that maybe it’s time we take care of ourselves, then it’s possible we can discuss this around the table. Then we can treat each other with the respect we all deserve. We are all equals. No one man or one government is RIGHT. Not even ourselves. It’s very tempting to believe that an angel on high gave us the answers, but what made us so special? Isn’t that the beginning of madness? My next question would be, why do I need to feel that special?

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To End Suffering

I grew up loving the candles, the quiet, the chanting, the sitting and waiting, that I found in religion. The ceremony. It was serious, pure, and poignant. Which to my mind as a child meant powerful. Like weddings and presidential inaugurations.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. Dalai Lama

To End Suffering

Humanitarians try to end human kind’s suffering by making the world a better place. To make society better. Can you feed your family? Can you get water? Education? Equal rights? Equal access to funding or resources?  Top 5 Humanitarian Aid Organizations – BorgenProject.org

The Buddha taught that suffering came from our mind. We resist. We think. We worry. Stop these and suffering ends. When suffering ends, we simply are. There is no more “I.” There is no more “Want.” All that remains is the stillness. Even when the good things in life happen, there can be suffering. Good days, bad days. The Buddha, himself, was a man. He also left his religion. He left his home and family. He left his gods. He never claimed to be a god. He only claimed to be awake. In this awakening, he wished to teach others. There was no conversion or baptism or cutting of the flesh.

The wisdom of the Buddha is currently trapped within the religion of Buddhism.  Killing the Buddha – Sam Harris

Buddhism vs. Humanitarianism

I’d always respected Buddhism with their mindfulness and care for others. Recently I wondered how it differed from Humanitarianism? Don’t they both with to help others? I didn’t know until I explored. There is religion in Buddhism. But how much you want to get into it is up to you and which version of Buddhism you study. Some are heavy on the Karma. Karmic debt. Karmic cleansing. It wasn’t as clean and simple as I had once thought it was.

I never believed in Original sin from my religion, so I can’t see myself picking up Karmic debt. I’ll be as good as I can and see what happens. I can’t follow a guru or wear a toga. I can be kind. I want to see society change. It won’t happen overnight, but I think it can happen. It can happen if we change who we are first. Because, isn’t that how all things start? You can’t make good coffee out of dirty water. And you have to pull the splinter out of your own eye before you can remove the board from another’s eye. At least that’s what I heard from another wise man.

My Take

Helping and giving is my religion. I don’t need people bend their knees at my prayer mat or light their candle with my brand of matches. I hope they can be well and help others to be well. You don’t even have to know my name.

How To Not Eat the Marshmallow

I was watching the new Cosmos series with Neil de Grasse Tyson, when a new car advertisement comes on. It hits me suddenly and I have the urge, no, NEED to research Subaru. Why? Some subliminal reaction? I have a good car. I picked this particular car and don’t have a desire for a new one, but yet I still had the new car craving. Because if I had a new Subaru Outback I’d have adventure. I’d be young and trendy. I could explore and travel and I’d be happy! Subliminal messages are like a virus to me. Just like the latest diet craze, any new fact or interest I get tends to take me chasing rabbit trails.

Ways to distract myself from spending money

The trick is to catch it at the first urge. There’s a short pause between seeing the shiny apple hanging from the tree and thinking of the sweet taste it will leave in my mouth. Also, thinking of it being there, taunting me. It won’t stay there forever. Shouldn’t let it go to waste. Ah heck, I might as well just eat it. STOP. Somewhere before my hand reaches for the prize, I have to catch my spiraling thinking. Faulty logic. Enticing images. That’s my magic moment. If I can learn to catch myself before I hit the BUY button I’ll be okay.

There are methods to distract yourself. When I’m exercising I use distraction to hold a pose just a little longer. I sometimes tell myself I’ll run to the next stop sign, then turn around. Mostly it works. It’s almost like working with a child.

You may have already heard of the study done with the marshmallows. I’m going to repeat it because it fits with my thoughts on spending money.

The Stanford marshmallow experiment:

The children were led into a room, empty of distractions, where a treat of their choice (Oreo cookie, marshmallow, or pretzel stick) was placed on a table, by a chair.[1] The children could eat the marshmallow, the researchers said, but if they waited for fifteen minutes without giving in to the temptation, they would be rewarded with a second marshmallow.[1]

Mischel observed as some would “cover their eyes with their hands or turn around so that they can’t see the tray, others start kicking the desk, or tug on their pigtails, or stroke the marshmallow as if it were a tiny stuffed animal”, while others would simply eat the marshmallow as soon as the researchers left.[1]

It’s a natural response to distract ourselves. You want to eat the cookie. The cookie is within reach, but you don’t. So from now on, if I can catch myself in that moment before I hit BUY, I will go clean the toilet!

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The Path That Leads to Nowhere

Statue representing Siddhartha Gautama.I am a seeker. A learner. A teacher and a follower. Although I’m only proficient in a few, I have attempted to become familiar with many paths. There’s the path of the Buddha. The path of Kabbalah. The Way, Jesuit, Gnostic, the Serpent’s path, Tao, Zoroastrian and the list goes on. There are enough paths that a person could get really lost. So far I haven’t, well at least I don’t think so. Some would say that I am. I wish I could say if I am lost then the world is my home. I’m not quite that far yet. Probably never will be. The truth is that some of these paths or religions are so similar that an outsider couldn’t tell them apart. But I guess that’s the normal thing isn’t it? Until you get to know a group it’s difficult to see the distinctions.

What strikes me at this moment is the distraction that these paths and their own nuances offer. They keep us busy. It’s similar to the beads on the rosary which a Catholic will use as a prayer connection. It serves its purpose to keep your mind on your prayer. It reminds you that you are not merely a man or a woman standing alone, but you have access to a higher power. And that’s where these things should stop.

The simplest form of the Sun Cross, often call...

A woman looks in her closet for clothing to wear. She decides what to wear based on what type of day she will have. If there is a lot of walking, she will wear comfortable shoes. If she is appearing before important people, she may want to dress more dazzling. At one time, we did not choose our path, it was chosen for us like our clothing was and even our spouses. This is the time of choice. Independence. Freethinking. We can choose our path as well as our clothing. We are not limited to corsets and parasols. No more breaking and binding of our feet to make us appealing. The proper husband or wife is not picked out at birth for us.

It’s also a time of uncertainty as well as opportunity. Those two go hand in hand. The same with the fear of the unknown and it’s counterpart, paralysis.

 

When I look at some of these paths, I can feel the devotion. It’s like running my hands over a soft cashmere shawl. Or the feel of a silk scarf around my neck. The scent of a rose petal. The kiss of a child. The love of the pursuer and the hug of a friend. Comfort. Home. We belong and find rest.

Along with this new frontier we are all on, is the desert or wilderness in front of us. The unknown. The “not home” or otherness of it can make us wish to hide. But we left it for a reason. Do you remember? Stifled? Mine didn’t fit anymore. Do I still believe? Yes and no. Part of my beliefs I am even more adamant about, but others are added in at the last minute and cluttered up the purity.

If you want a path to follow, there are many out there. If you want a life to live, you have one. No one needs to give you a map for it. Walk. You don’t need to know where to go. Walk. Each step you take is your path. Your path is enough. So you left your home, keep going until you want to stop. Have you read the story of Siddhartha? Siddhartha_(novel) It’s a story told of original Buddha. He left his home and his family and his friends. He didn’t know where he was going, but he had the need to go.

Green Light

There’s a phrase I’ve heard often, If you meet the Buddha on the way down the mountain, kill him. http://www.dailybuddhism.com/archives/670

Whatever your conception is of the Buddha, it’s WRONG! Now kill that image and keep practicing. This all has to do with the idea that reality is an impermanent illusion. If you believe that you have a correct image of what it means to be Enlightened, then you need to throw out (kill) that image and keep meditating.

Most people have heard the first chapter of the Tao, “The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.” (So if you think you see the real Tao, kill it and move on).

Since we are away from our home, let’s not start a religion of Not Being Religious. We are free of prescribed paths. And since we are free, we need to stay free. I hope that I never trash another’s rosary beads.  http://bible.cc/1_corinthians/8-9.htm

But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble.There could easily be a day that I will need them.

http://bible.cc/romans/14-1.htm

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.