The Journey to Enlightenment

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“If you take a journey to the place that you are, you will visit many other places. And perhaps, when you find through some long experience that all the places you go are not the place you wanted to find, it may occur to you that you were already there in the beginning.”  ~Alan Watts

There are so many of us running, striving, stretching, searching.  Looking for purpose and meaning, looking for enlightenment.  Trying to find a way in, or a way out.  Trying to fix or improve ourselves. “If only I could get in shape.”  “If only I could control my temper.”  “If only I could be successful.”  “If only I had a little more money.”  Listen:  We have already arrived.  For starters, we live in one of, or perhaps the only, great concentration of consciousness in the universe, riding a small but fertile rock.  We are surrounded by trillions of companions, (some more sympathetic than others)  And while it is true that it is a world of suffering, all suffering (and each sufferer) comes to an end in due time.

Take a moment and rest in what you have.  In what is.  In who you are.

You are the Universe.  You are doing fine.

~Dadosaurus Rex

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Can Humans Find a Greater Purpose?

Jõhvnööbikud“Why am I here?”  “What is my purpose?”  “What is God’s will for my life?”  “Am I making a difference?”  “How will I be remembered?”

I have often asked myself these, and many similar questions.  We as humans seem to be programed with an insatiable interest in purpose.  We want to accomplish something, we want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and we want to know why.  We often imagine purpose as something that we must find, discover, or create.  Or something that must be bestowed, or given to us by some other entity.  But purpose is something that is always with us.  It is an integral part of who we are, and we cannot be separated from it.

Consider Water

Water does not strive, it does not desire, and it has no goals.  It does not search out its purpose.  Simply by behaving according to its own properties, it fulfills its purpose.  As a result clouds are formed, canyons are carved, and life is sustained (The water does not aim to accomplish these things, yet they are still accomplished).  The purpose of water is to be water.

Consider A Tree

What is the purpose of a tree?  Other than to grow and to become a perfect manifestation of itself?  There is none.  A tree does not desire to make a name for itself.  It does not try to make the world a better place.  A tree is a tree, and that is its purpose.

Can we live like the tree, or the snail, or the bird?  With no purpose other than to be ourselves?  Is it possible to stop striving, planning, searching and asking?  Or is longing for a greater purpose simply part of our nature?

“The Master gives himself up
to whatever the moment brings.
He knows that he is going to die,
and he has nothing left to hold on to:
no illusions in his mind,
no resistances in his body.
He doesn’t think about his actions;
they flow from the core of his being.
He holds nothing back from life;
therefore he is ready for death,
as a man is ready for sleep
after a good day’s work.”  ~Lao Tzu

Oneness Vs Autonomy

“Step by step the longest march
Can be won can be won
Many stones can form an arch
Singly none singly none
And by union what we will
Can be accomplished still
Drops of water turn a mill
Singly none singly none”

1280px-Moulin_dussart_01I heard these words sung on the radio today, and I’m trying to decide how I like them.  My first thought is a resounding “Amen!”  There is truly nothing that we “singly” can do.  Without the sun, without the earth, without our fellow creatures, and our fellow man.  We are all interconnected, and we can all band together in love to make the world a better place.

But then a rebellious thought rushes in.  What if I don’t care for marching, and would rather sit by the stream?  What if I’d rather be a rolling stone than a stone in an arch?  What if I am a drop of water that doesn’t want to “turn the mill?”  What if my aim is to evaporate, join the cirrus and float about in a wisp of white?

So, do we take the path of cooperation, or individuality?  Is there a middle ground between oneness and autonomy?

BONUS HAIKU!

Too Many Choices

I cannot make up my mind

I’ll let you decide

Stop Thinking

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.” ~Lao Tzu

IMG_20150428_143905We live in a beautiful world.  Even the small segment that our senses can take in (smaller still what our minds can comprehend) is beyond what we can express with words.  There are infinite opportunities for joy, yet we use so much of our time fretting over the insignificant; the non-consequential.  We fill our days with worry and busyness, trying to get ahead.  We constantly occupy our minds with television and social media, afraid to sit in silence, and be alone with ourselves.  Trying to drown out and silence the voices of fear, regret, and uncertainty.

Stop worrying.  Stop thinking.  You are on the right path; the only path; your path.  Follow it to the end.  Take care with each step.  Feel each breath.  There is no need for fear.  You are a passenger, an observer.  Enjoy the ride.

Enjoy What Is

boat

“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to be keeping it’s dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared. You see you wouldn’t ask why the rose that grew from the concrete had damaged petals. On the contrary, we would all celebrate its tenacity. We would all love it’s will to reach the sun. Well, we are the rose – this is the concrete – and these are my damaged petals.”

-Tupac Shakur

Don’t be obsessed with your own faults.  Don’t judge the faults of others.  It’s nothing short of a miracle that we are here.  Enjoy what is.

Andy Weir’s “The Egg”

So its been a while since I’ve posted anything here.  To get back into the swing of things I am going to do something that requires absolutely zero creative amperage.  I will be regurgitating the creative fruits of another persons labor (well, more like copying and pasting.  In order to regurgitate something you would have to gurgitate it first, and I haven’t even really done that)  I was prowling the internet, in search of that feeling you get when your mind is absolutely blown.  Nothing I stumbled upon was particularly interesting, and I wound up on “reddit” (I guess its some kind of social media website?) Where someone had posted, in its entirety, a short story by Andy Weir: “The Egg.”  I’m pretty far behind pop culture, so you have probably already seen this, but I thought it was neat (although a bit cheesy at times).  Anyway, here it is.

The Egg

By: Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you god?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”

“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”

“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You said.

“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.

I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

You thought for a long time.

“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”

“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”

“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way.

Short Journey Into Creations ‘Beginning’

Jonathan Kerr of Existential Balance offers a his perspective on existence, creation, and the moral implications.

“yet the magnificence of feeling, physically, emotionally and mentally, should never be overlooked. The beauty of sight and sound are unparalleled, no matter how mundane the object may appear to a conditioned mind, and through our entire struggle, we should know this is ours to do with as we please. We owe no one an apology, we owe no one an explanation, and we ourselves own no one. Live your life to what your image of the fullest is, compare yourself to no one, let no one hold you back, and as long as you do not impose your will upon another, I do not see how any of us can go wrong.”

Existential Balance

(A quick note: this blog is not dead, but is not very active, I will post from time to time, but it will be sporadic and not worth your time to wait around for me, thank you for reading, I hope you enjoy it)

 

This is from the perspective of a post-creation observer. That is to say creation has begun, if indeed there was a beginning, and along the way, or from this ‘beginning’, an observer was present. This observer is now formulating this beginning.

 

If one is to understand the beginning, then one must understand the present, the latter being a product of the former. In this present there are objects, stuff, and ‘things’, something which is. Thus we have Something.
In using ‘Something’ we simultaneously imply ‘Nothing.’ For ‘Something’ can only be known through comparison with ‘Nothing.’ And likewise ‘Nothing’ can only be known through…

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“Speak To Me Of God”

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“I said to the almond tree, ‘Friend, speak to me of God,’ and the almond tree blossomed” ~Nikos Kazantzakis

There is an indescribable completeness that one finds in commune with nature.  It gives contentedness and joy; it feeds the soul.  Days spent in a sterile, synthetic environment lead to separation, discontent, worry, and fatigue, but time spent in nature brings peace.

Make every effort to deepen your connection with nature, and with yourself.  breathe the air, feel the earth, take in the sunshine.  Hear the wisdom of the earth and follow its guidance.

Learning From Nature #6

IMG_20140726_161303931“As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unself- consciously to the soughing of the trees.”  ~Valerie Andrews

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The End is Near; Let’s All Get Fanny Packs

Earth-from-space-Earth-Day

If you listen to me speak, or follow me on Facebook, or read my blog,  you will get an idea of my moral and ethical principals.  You might even think I’m radical, or going against the grain.

But what if I never spoke a word.  What if I never typed a sentence.  What if I never shared a meme, or article, or video via social media.  Would my values still be clear?  Judging solely based on my actions, would you see me as a peaceful parent?  Not likely.  Looking at my possessions, would you see me as a minimalist?  That’s doubtful.  Observing my eating habits, would you find me to be a health nut?  Not even close.  Does the way I live my life even come close to reflecting any of the bold statements I make on a daily basis?  No.

I, my friends, am a fraud and a hypocrite.  I say one thing, and do another.  Because it’s much easier to say, isn’t it?  It requires no effort, no sacrifice, no change.  When I say “This is who I am” what I am really saying is “This is who I would be, if I wasn’t so damned scared.”

I know that I am not the only one.  I know that there are millions more like me, who beat the drum of sustainability, and freedom; oneness, and peace, but when it comes to real, meaningful change, we are full of excuses.

I don’t know when it happened, but some time not too long ago our society was given a choice.  We could either make some serious changes in the way we live our lives, or we could become cold, calloused and uncaring.  Sad as it is to say, we chose the latter.  We could never live our fast-food, consumerist, on-demand, high tech lifestyle while at the same time having a deep awareness of the implications of our actions.  So we chose to forget it.  To put up mental barriers, and block the consequences of our decisions from our minds.

But as much as we blind ourselves, those uncomfortable images do slip in from time to time.  Baby seals covered in oil.  Massive plastic islands.  Impenetrable smog clouds.  So, we do what any level headed, clear thinking species would do.  Make a few easy, small, “band-aid” changes that don’t actually address the problem, but give us the feeling that we are making a difference.  “Look!  The package for these plastic bags is made from 75% recycled material!” or “This chocolate is Rainforest Alliance Certified!”  It is good that people want to save the rainforest.  It’s good that we have recycling programs.  But at the rate we are going, we need much more drastic and immediate action if we want to sustain life on this planet.  Imagine a man planning to sell his house, and move to another country.  He checks his calendar, and sees that the date is getting closer, so he goes out and purchases a fanny pack.  No airline ticket, no realtor’s sign in his front yard.  Just a fanny pack.  That is where we are as a society.

The other coping mechanism, as I already mentioned, is to be very vocal about issues without actually making any lifestyle changes.  Maybe our friend with the fanny pack can purchase a shirt with an image of his new country’s flag, and tell everyone how great it is over there.   Now he’s ready.

At some point we will awaken from our comatose state.  When we do we will either look around and start making the necessary changes to save our planet, or we will look around and realize that it’s too late.