Living In The Moment

Q:  What does it mean to be in the moment?

A:  Well, to me living my life in the moment is the only time I am actually alive, any other time past or present is either over and gone or sitting somewhere in the future waiting to arrive.

The past, it lies behind you

The future lies ahead

Live in the moment or

live amongst the dead.

The past it lies behind you:

Living in the past in the physical sense is like this:   When I was a young man I was strong and agile. I was superman. I could almost fly. When I became an old man I quickly realized I was no longer that person and would have been a fool to try to be. . .  Today I must live with the reality that I have weakened to a great extent. I still work out, but now it’s to keep my bones and ligaments agile. Although I still think I can fly, I know better than to try. . . . Same thing for a woman trying to carry the beauty of her youth into old age, it don’t work. There is a special beauty that is reserved for the aged she will never know as long as she lives in the past. That’s living in the moment in the physical.

Living in the past in the spiritual sense is like this:  I did some really bad stuff when I was younger that could have tied me up in guilt forever. My spiritual growth has also been stunted by lust, greed, and selfishness. I have hurt people and been hurt in return. I have struck out when a simple turn away would have been better.

Had I held onto past grievances and brooded over them for long periods of time they would have very soon become my best friends and I would still, at 75, be holding onto them. Though they were long past, and completely out of my control I would still honor them in my remembrance. Thankfully I have learned not to hold onto my past mistakes and erroneous ways and to recognize them for what they were. Growth lessons.

The future lies ahead:

It is imperative that each of us realizes that we personally have a whole lot to say say about what our future will hold for us. We are not just poor souls grasping onto dead logs as they float down the river of life, we are powerful souls piloting our own ships, and we have total control when it comes to buffeting the waves and circumventing the whirlpools. We quite literally create our futures by the things we do and say in the present.

Live in the moment or live among the dead:

That’s pretty much the way it is . . . the present is the only place we have control. Therefore, although it is a struggle to do so, it must be done.

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The After Life . . .

the afterlife

After having a conversation on the internet with a couple of born again Christians about the afterlife I began to wonder how many people there are on this planet who believe the party line when it comes to Heaven and Hell and the afterlife. I figure there are probably zillions, but I’m not one of them. Even during my ‘balls to the wall’ Christian days I never believed a lot of the mainline Christian doctrine. So, what am I saying? Simply that from the very beginning of my search for reality, the Christian religion has led me down a steep and winding trail.  

I came impulsively into religion because I was seeking meaning and safety in a life that was quite frankly steam rolling out of control. I was an American therefore I chose Christianity. Had I been born and bred in Afghanistan I would have chosen the Muslim religion. Born elsewhere I may have become Hindu . . . Buddhist . . . etc.

Now, on the social level I have no doubt the church is an important charitable organization. It does many worthy things such as feeding the poor and homeless. It instills hope in depressed and dependent people. It is a beacon of light to the drunk, the druggy, the true believer . . . and so on. I honor her for that, but . . . and especially after seeing how the christian right is flocking to the  disjointed ramblings of Donald Trump and his war on immigration, she’s turned a lot of people off, especially the young, and us old folks who have enough experience under our belts to see the fallacies in that kind of belief system.

Continue reading “The After Life . . .”

Salvation

Q: What does it mean to be saved?

A: That depends upon your religious affiliation, but as a rule the Christian church teaches that Jesus Christ willingly gave up his life as a sacrifice for your sins, and by your acknowledgement of that sacrifice you have been freed from the curse of sin and death. It teaches that Heaven is reserved for those who die in the faith . . . Hell is reserved for those who don’t.

Christian doctrine accepts a convert as they are and promises them a new life where they will be forgiven of past sins and become a new person as they live under the living word of God and His bible. In time the simplicity of that message created the largest and most powerful religion known to man. People flocked to the Mother church and her teachings by the millions.

When I was a younger man I know I did. I was at the end of my rope. I needed help from somewhere. Jesus was there, free and open armed, for me. I was born again in a local church and as long as I remained in good standing with the church and it’s doctrine I was guaranteed a place at the table when I got to Heaven. Heady stuff for a guy who had absolutely no religious affiliation whatsoever, and it worked great for a couple of years . . . BUT . . .

In time I began to notice that my life had become an ‘us vs them’ affair, something I was not comfortable with for many reasons. I began to question . . . especially when I realized I, as well as almost every church person I knew, had pretty much traded our past sins in for an open, ongoing, and obnoxious version of self righteousness. I was not pleased with myself.

I studied the bible, prayed for this and that, even lived on a Christian commune for a couple years . . . but after all was said and done I was the same guy I’d always been, but now I had to hide behind this magical connection to God. Anyway the questions became too many, the doubts too large, and I became what we church people feared more than anything else . . . a reprobate backsliding his way to Hell!

Back to the question of salvation: What was I being saved for? Why me? What if I couldn’t read the bible? What if I was born a Muslim? A Jew? An Indian? Chinese? What about the rest of creation? The questions came on like an endless series of waves in a heavy storm and I felt myself sinking under them . . . so I did what I do best. I hopped a plane and headed off into the sunset and a new adventure in Seattle.

Today I am not down on any church, but in general I believe we have gotten it all wrong when it comes to Christianity. I believe we have been duped by a ministry clearly bent on self aggrandizement. Guys who have created magical doctrines in order to rule over their flock of believers instead of taking the time and patience to teach them to practice what the simple teachings of Christ actually meant. We Americans are an overly spoiled, ‘all show and no go’ people. Even our version of Christianity, (especially the TV ministry bullshit), proves it to us.

Bottom line . . . It is easier to WORSHIP Jesus than it is to LEARN from him . . . and the ministers are using our spiritual laziness against us by promoting their version of American exceptionalism in order to control our minds, and give themselves a great life in their shiny new church. These Pharisees and false prophets are alive and well and living among us.

So here’s my answer to your question on salvation:  Jesus didn’t appear on the scene to SAVE you. He came to TEACH you how to SAVE yourself. . . and if you choose to follow and practice his teachings, he will be your teacher and you his student. And what can be more satisfying to a teacher than to have a student who learns his lesson?

Jesus was a special being, no one can argue that. I believe he existed and was a thorn in the sides of the priests of that day, just as you will become if you follow his lead. I don’t believe he was a special creation though. I believe he was an old soul who obtained awareness at a very early age and dedicated his life to the cause of teaching humanity a better way.

I believe there have been many teachers who have come and gone throughout the ages who were born for the very same reason, and I believe they all have based their teachings on one four cornered foundation.

house of god
You are being saved for no other reason than to build THIS house . . . you may never know it, you may never be awarded anything other than the satisfaction of knowing you helped build it . . . but that will be enough.

 

Imagine . verses 1 2 3

imagine

Verse 1

In John’s first verse he asks us to:

Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today . . .

Since time began God has been around in one form or another watching us. Depending on when, where, and what age we were born in, we would have received from our elders an entirely different picture of God.

What is God anyway?  Who is this multi-faceted Father of the universe that, while declaring unending love for  us, also demands our total worship or else? “It ‘s heaven or hell Bubba, you better get your shit together or hell and damnation await you!” . . . Yikes!

Now I know this stuff helps when a person is a child, but after one reaches maturity little Johnnie should be seeing things a bit clearer than that. It’s time for him to drop the blinders and realize HE is the guy responsible for his actions. It’s time for him to either fly . . . or crash to the ground.

There are no magical formulas, no special alliances . . . only hard work. Man, both singly and corporately, creates his own heaven and burns in his own hell by the way he thinks and the actions he takes in daily life.

What happens beyond the grave, nobody knows, but personally I doubt very much Dante’s hell exists for any of us. I also highly doubt we will be walking on streets of gold and having lunch with Jesus . . . Continue reading “Imagine . verses 1 2 3”

What Can I Do? . . .

kindness

Ok, I understand what’s going on in the world. I even somewhat understand what needs to be done to remedy the situation . . . but I am just one person, what in the world can I do about it? How can one person have any affect at all when it comes to real honest to God change in this society?

Well, that’s the question we all ask ourselves when we consider this stuff. Who needs even one more prophet of doom wandering the halls of cyberspace anyways?

Truth is nobody wants your wisdom . . . nobody wants your knowledge . . . nor does anybody particularly need it. (assuming you actually have any to begin with)

They have all spent a vast amount of time building up the particular facade you are now attempting to destroy, and are actually quite annoyed when you begin chopping away at it. Truth is most people find it much easier to blame others for their problems anyways, so forget about it.

People in this country crave diversion, they flock to it like beetles running to a freshly laid dog turd. You want popularity? You want a large readership on your blog? Stick to the simple stuff, throw in as much sex as you can, and you will someday become king of blog hill. Continue reading “What Can I Do? . . .”

Free Your Mind . . .

free mind

This blog has two goals. One is to lay out a personal plan for meaningful change and what it will take for us to do it. The other is to reveal, in as simple a way as possible, the reality of just what sort of fix we, as well as this entire planet are in.

We all want to raise our families in peace and freedom. We should all realize by now that relying on a governmental system, regardless of what it is called, or a religion, regardless of what it is called, or anything else, regardless of what it is called, will not do the trick for us.

These entities are not even capable of creating a just and lasting change in the human condition. They just can’t do it. God knows they have been trying and promising change throughout modern history, and none of them have yet to succeed to any measured degree that I can see.

Don’t you think it’s about time to shift gears and realize that any lasting change MUST come from within us? That we are personally responsible for our actions and are the only ones with the power to change ourselves? Continue reading “Free Your Mind . . .”

Free Your Body . . .

chi gung

Barack Obama, the first black man to be elected President of the Unites States rode into office on the winds of promised change.

I liked Obama, his ideas sounded good to me. I also considered his term a last chance effort to dig this country out of the ditch the previous administration had dug for us. I was not so happy with our new president later on though, when I realized he may just go down in history as one of the worst presidents we ever had.

Why do you think so many of us who voted for his promise of change ultimately gave up on him? How come his presidency did not work?

*** Continue reading “Free Your Body . . .”

Free Your Spirit . . .

free your spirit

The Tao of Coffee

Two scholars spent the better part of an afternoon in a local Portland Starbucks arguing the theories of Evolution versus Creationism. Getting nowhere, they took the advice of the Chinese guy working there and decided to drive to the beach near Astoria to visit a sage named Chung Lee who reputedly had the answers.

The following morning they took off for the beach. Upon arrival, they soon found his cottage hidden amongst the coastal dunes. Although the cottage was empty they spotted the old sage not far away sitting on a high dune facing out to sea.

After approaching him, the old man turned, directed his eyes upon them and asked, “Where’s the coffee?” Continue reading “Free Your Spirit . . .”

Diversity . . .

SupplierDiversityL

Although we can be related by blood or formed into various groups, each one of us lives in our own reality and perceives this existence we all share a wee bit differently. Expecting others to share, exchange for, or even believe, OUR reality has always been a major cause of conflict in this world, and yet we continue walking this same beaten and worn out path throughout history.

Diversity is what creates the magic. Traveling to various exotic places is far more exciting than visiting the local coffee shop. Having pizza in Naples is far more exciting than going over to Dominoes for it. Killing diversity is the same as exchanging paradise for a parking lot. Do that and what do we get? . . . boredom!

Conversing with people of other races or religions is great fun if you give each other space to believe their own views without attempting to interject your particular brand of salvation. Being open minded is a good concept.

Why then continually fall into the politically correct trap that has very carefully been lain for us in this country. Are we really the greatest country in the world? Is democracy really the highest form of government? Is Jesus really the only begotten son of God? These are all topics open for discussion, not truths etched in stone. Even in America we don’t have all the answers. (though we seem to think we do)

If we want to learn something worth while perhaps we should drop the con game and search within ourselves for the answers. Seek out things that will bring us all together rather than tear us apart even more. We will all gain from the experience, far more than just always being right . . . when we have no proof we even are.

Open Your Heart . . .

OpenHeart

Everybody at some time in their life has a moment of truth, a life changing experience where they begin to see things differently than before it happened. Sometimes it is a huge catastrophic event, while others it may result from the simplest of things.

I have had a few monster awakenings in my rather chaotic life, but the following is way strange for a guy like me, at least for the guy that I perhaps pretended to be. . . .

***
Continue reading “Open Your Heart . . .”

Enlightenment . . .

enligtenment

If a true and lasting change must begin from within then what must we do to be changed? Do we find a Bodhi tree to sit under and meditate like the Buddha until it happens? Should we enroll in divinity school? Learn the proper incantations and rituals? What? We want to change, we’re ready to go, but we need some direction.

When I was a Christian I heard a lot about being born again. What does it mean to be born again? Does it mean to worship Jesus as savior of the world, get baptized, follow church doctrine, and do what the elders and self professed prophets tell you?

Jesus may have been our teacher . . . or the Buddha . . . or Mohammad . . . or Moses . . . or the Hindu Veda . . . but isn’t the goal of any good teacher to teach? Doesn’t their greatest joy come from watching us activate what they taught us? Continue reading “Enlightenment . . .”

The Dream?? . . .

burbs

Eleven o’clock on a summer morning and the place was seemingly deserted, no dogs, nothing. Where’s everybody at? Where’s the kids?

I slowly drove past one house after another in the upscale housing development. I gazed upon one perfectly manicured lawn after another, each bisected by ribbons of clean concrete drives and sidewalks. There probably wasn’t a dandelion in the whole allotment.

This carefully designed scene, instead of evoking envy, made me feel creeped out and sad, especially for the chubby kids that must be inside huddling around their TV’s and computers breathing stale, conditioned air. Kids who’ve never heard of kick the can, or knew the pleasure of playing hide and seek outside after dark. Kids who’ve never danced in the warm summer rain. or got into a good fist fight. To me, this atmosphere was cold, sterile, and alien.

Day after day, aside from the occasional guy who still mowed his own lawn, or his wife coming and going in her new S.U.V., I rarely saw anyone. The only noise in the neighborhood was the sound of construction around the new overpriced homes we were building. Continue reading “The Dream?? . . .”

New World Order Or New Order For The World . . .

nwo

I think everybody by now has an idea as to what the New World Order is, and that idea usually is formed around a personal perception that could range anywhere from a vast world wide conspiracy by a few very rich and powerful families, to George Bush’s thousand points of light. Whatever you believe is fine, my goal is not to save you from anything, it is merely to get you thinking about something a little more substantial than American Idol or presidential promises.

I gotta say that my personal viewpoint of all this vacillates so much that I really don’t know what form the New World Order will take. I do feel very strongly though, that whatever is looming over the horizon is not going to make me very happy.

I feel a sense of foreboding akin to what I felt that day I was hiking alone in the Alaskan wilderness and came upon a large pile of steaming bear shit. I never saw the bear, never even heard it, but for the rest of the trip I remained on heightened alert.

I believe it’s time for us to wake up and educate ourselves to the things going on in the world and start asking some questions. Time to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. Continue reading “New World Order Or New Order For The World . . .”

Corporate Conundrum . . .

good vs evil

In Western Christian belief a baby is born in sin. Right off the bat the child has two strikes against him and the only hope for the kid is that before he strikes out and ends up in hell he finds personal salvation. In the Eastern Zen Buddhist belief a baby is born pure and learns to be evil because of the hellishness in the world. His salvation comes from self realization.

I follow the Eastern Way. I believe that in the right circumstances all people are capable of committing heroic deeds, but in the wrong circumstances all people are quite capable of propagating all forms of evil upon themselves as well as their fellows.

Take war for instance. War is evil personified and yet men swarm to it like beetles skittering to a dog turd. Take an incident like 911 when the towers went down. We would have a hard time counting the heroics that took place that day as strangers died trying to save other strangers while a whole country mourned openly. Continue reading “Corporate Conundrum . . .”

Realist vs Dreamer . . .

realist

There are two basic types of believers . . . the realist and the dreamer. The realist sees himself standing with both feet on the ground facing life as it is and making the best of it. He has a hard time buying into the dreamer’s world because many times the dreamer has no foundation under his dreams, they are merely just hopes and wishes.

The realist is the glue that holds societies together. He seeks to improve upon the foundation already laid, and has no desire to try and decipher the ethereal plans of the dreamer.

On the other hand the dreamer lives in a world of ‘what if’s’. His feet are not so solidly planted, and his head is often in a cloud. He sees things as they are, but also what they could become if only . . Continue reading “Realist vs Dreamer . . .”

On Warfare

There’s an old favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoon hanging in my office.

It starts with the two of them walking through the woods on a bright, sunny, winter day. Calvin, being mesmerized by the beauty of it all, stops and gives a long dissertation questioning why mankind had chosen in the first place to sequester himself in houses and cars while living in such overpowering beauty.

Turning to Hobbes he asks. “ That’s why I want to ask you, as a tiger, a wild animal close to nature, what you think we’re put here on earth to do . . . What’s our purpose in life? Why are we here?”

Hobbes thinks for a moment, smiles, raises his arms in the old Italian gesture and replies, “We’re here to devour each other alive.” Then he walks away. Continue reading “On Warfare”

Discovering Myself

who

Recently I read a story about a women who had a near death experience. She died of cancer, went over, came back healed and now tells her story about it. She says above all else just be yourself. You are perfect just the way you are . . . the only judgement from the other side is that which you lay upon yourself . . . that’s it . . . just be yourself. Her name is Anita Moorjani if you’re interested.

I want to be myself. . . but

Who am I?

Am I the tough kid who was born in a housing project that learned to fight and to trust nobody except my friends by the time I was tall enough to reach the doorknob and escape from the hellhole called family? . . . no

Am I the kid who grew up wanting to be an athlete but never made it beyond a third place finish? . . . no

Am I the bad student who had a 130 IQ but always had his girlfriend do his homework for him and who loved to cheat on tests? . . . no Continue reading “Discovering Myself”

Heaven

heaven

I live in a small valley surrounded by wooded hills and deep beauty. Over the years I have grown used to the quiet tranquility of this place, but this morning as I walked the dogs I viewed it for what it actually could become.

I walked down my drive and onto the narrow country road like I do every morning. The dogs peed on their favorite spots like they always do. We all started our two mile walk like we always do . . . but halfway down the lane I had what some may call a vision.

As I walked through the area where large trees from either side of the lane touched one another, I looked up into the contrast between dark shade and bright sun and I thought, ‘what could be more beautiful than this planet? Heaven? Not any future heaven I ever heard of could compete with what I have right here, right now.’ This earth as far as beauty goes is all I need. Continue reading “Heaven”

Hell

hell

I gotta wonder, how in the hell did we ever come up with this idea anyway? Why do we take such nonsense as our truth to begin with?

I mean really, isn’t this whole “accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior or spend eternity in hell” a bit lame when you research the scriptures from where all this stuff comes from?

Now Jesus was a great teacher, perhaps even the greatest, but he was a TEACHER . . . and what greater gift can you give a teacher than to get an A on his test? He don’t need you groveling at his feet he does need you to learn your lessons. Do your homework dammit!

What kind of heavenly father would throw his kids into a dungeon and torture them for all eternity just because they didn’t give him the respect he thought he deserved? My sons don’t give me much respect, but I love them anyway and certainly would not punish them for it. Doesn’t that make me more empathetic than God? Continue reading “Hell”

Creativity

creativity

I am a creator.

We all are.

I create my tomorrows by acting upon the thoughts I have today.

We all do.

Creativity begins with a thought.

Perhaps the universe was created in the same manner?

In the beginning the creator/artist had a thought.

Following the thought came a vision of the work in the artists mind.

Following the vision came the gathering of materials.

Following the gathering of materials came the process of creating.

Following the process of creating came the actual creation.

Whether the universe or a landscape painting it is the same process.

What about the creator/artist?

Does he not reveal himself through His creation?

How better to understand Renoir than to study one of his works.

How better to understand God than to study His works?

Only a criminal fool would destroy Renoir’s Dance At Bougival.

And yet man seemingly has no problem at all when it comes to destroying EARTH the mother of all beauty.
Continue reading “Creativity”