Cancer & Children = no God?

Addictinginfo.org (which I only look at for interesting topics to pursue elsewhere because it’s not a news site, but a opinion-vomit site) posts a video with Stephen Fry’s answer to a question about what he would say to God if he met Him at the pearly gates.  Fry’s answer was sophomoric and, thus, disappointing; and the Facebook comments that followed were mostly typical, uncritical talking points.

Here is my contribution to that thread:

I think that there is as much evidence for a god as there is for any other stuff postulated and theorized by scientists. But that was not Fry’s point, as much as I think it not a worthy answer coming from such an intellect.

The fact of there being insects and cancer that strike children is not evidence that the creator is either crazy or maniacal. The problem is that we humans are part of the nature of this planet and we have manufactured a magical barrier based on what we fancy is our specialness in the creator’s eyes.

In Genesis, it speaks of being created in god’s image (which originally was neither male nor female), so right there, we attribute unto ourselves a status over nature. Then there is taking “dominion” over all the earth, and right there is the manufactured, delusional barrier, the schism between us and nature. It’s BS, and for a god to encourage this or not discourage or not course-correct does not characterize a god worth following.

Where I have a problem with the creator is that It (leaving out the gender identity) allows us to presume knowledge of It, Its will, etc.; and our characterization of it without correction or guidance to me is malpractice or negligence. You can’t say you’re an all-loving god and then sanction and command genocide, infanticide, and all the other -cides rife in the bible. That’s where the crazy and maniacal comes in. If you read & accept all the bible, you have to come away thinking that this Being is schizophrenic, bipolar, and self-absorbed.
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Go Outside by Letting It In

I was talking to my soul brother and dear, dear friend the other day that the hardest thing about a spiritual path is the opposite of clutching and clinging: letting go, letting fall away, letting fear of losing one’s identity not matter, if only for 1 minute at a time.

Opening your hand in total relaxation is not the same type of effort as contracting your muscle to cling. Letting yourself ‘be’ amid the elements around you is not the same as struggling to manage all the elements around you to define your being. Being part of the harmony is not the same effort as trying to orchestrate it.

Really, the effort focuses on the continual choice to turn off the knee-jerk, fear-of-falling tendency to cling and grasp. Disconnecting the power to judgment is not the same as stifling judgment. Opening up is not the same as self-annihilation.

I ran across the following reflection on Contemplative Druidry entitled “Entering Silence.” I really liked it because it touches on finding the silence in being part of the stillness; being conscious of the spaces between without forcing meaning on the patterns that you might perceive.

The process is one of self-emptying, but not in a self-wounding spirit of renunciation, of holy war on ‘ego’, of pushing away the immature self-sense like an unwanted child.

Self-emptying is simply the will to let things come and go without grabbing on, making room for something else to be. Warmly spacious, it invites a more expansive way of being. We do not let go in order to get something better. The letting go is itself the something better, freeing us from our habitual self-protectiveness and contracted activities like taking, defending, hoarding, and clinging.

Our identity is a collection of dust we have encrusted onto our consciousnesses, dust to which we have ascribed value.  We’re so afraid of chipping off the crust for fear of “not being me any more.”  But the “me” is trapped into a single statue of form, where in reality, there can be a continuum of me’s.

Entering the silence is simply being amid a world of being.  Instead of self-annihilation or becoming one with Brahman, entering the silence highlights one’s being amid being.  Add to that the consciousness you can bring to the silence, and you have a type of unifying magic with you as a vital component — where the crust of identity does not matter.  Human judgments on the value of traits and behaviors and other externals do not matter: the silence proves it.

In silence we find our core.  When we take the next step of exploration in the silence, we find affinities, or harmonies, with what fills us with the most sense of life.  Instead of taking our egos for a walk outside, we let the outside inside — we open the walls to the Id to not just perceive the whole, but be part of the whole.

buddah and what meditation does

Basic Pathwalking, revisited: Without challenge, there is no growth

A major feature of pathwalking is to make the best spiritual decisions you can in what you encounter within new or even familiar contexts. In that way, one “grows”.

Challenges can be unexpected or they can be anticipated, new or similar to previous.  They can be hard or easy. But whatever a challenge’s form and intensity, it is there to expose assumptions, presumptions, stagnation, and complacency.  If we only ever operated within what we know, we wouldn’t need to know anything else — hence complacency. We’d never learn what we don’t know.

Experts are experts because they learned past the easy, basic surface of a skill or knowledge base and into the atomic details.  In this way, the more they learn of their specialty, the more they know it.  Their familiarity grows ever intimately.  They’ve seen their subject from a wide variety of angles (challenges).  They’ve tested their previous knowledge (challenges) and refined their knowledge.

New contexts. New angles. New twists and turns.  New tests.  New applications.

Accumulated, refined knowledge.  Fulsome intimacy.

Spiritual Expertise is ever increasing knowledge of the Divine, the Creator, God.   And since the Divine is infinite, knowledge of Him has no stopping point.  Our efforts have no stopping point.  Our challenges never run out.  And I don’t mean the same challenges over and over again.

Increasing knowledge is “growth.”  Without challenge, there is no growth.  Continue reading

All Paths Lead to God: Transformative Progression

In another one of his cogent articles, the Slackivist (Fred Clark) addresses the question about whether “all paths lead to God.”  His ultimate conclusion is that it is an underhanded question, indicative actually of a path away from God because its focus is not conducive to reaching God.

I get his point.  The “path” toward an omnipresent being is only a “path” in sense of “direction” (trajectory) toward godliness by what one makes of the journey and the elements along the path: transformative progression. After all, how can there truly be a path (linear prescription) to a being that is everywhere?  His reference to the story of the Good Samaritan was spot on as an illustration.

The Slackivist has thought a lot about paths, especially the “nature” of paths in both spiritual and physical senses, where unfortunately the spiritual sense is bound by the physical roots of the metaphor.  The thing that strikes me most is that the paths referenced by his “catechizing inquisitors” (bloody awesome term!) and in his replies (being bound by the inquisitors’ frame) are all established paths.  That is, the “paths” already exist by the time we get there, and that “following” any such path to God implies staying within the bounds of the pre-hewn trail.

So while I completely agree with the Slackivist that “Do all paths lead to God” is the wrong question, it really only goes wrong because of the physical referent (well, besides the pharisaical motivation).  It actually could be a legitimate question — one that opens the door to exploring a walk or journey where a “path” has been already blazed or it is in progress of formation — if one can maintain “path” in the abstract and its destination as more about “heaven” as the resulting condition of knowing God rather than a fairy-tale happy place.

I think that even the teaching that “narrow is the way that leads to life” does not necessarily imply a given trail with prescribed rules for how one places his feet in order to constitute a valid step along a path.  The destination is in the trajectory. Continue reading

A Spiritual Path

Today on Facebook, I was compelled to post the following:

I do not claim to be Christian, altho I have a long & deeply studied history with the faith & various of its derivative religions. There are some really smart people who recognize that the “path” to heaven involves actual terrain, which merely following lists of rules cannot substitute for. People who understand that spirituality is getting to the core of the divine & not merely trying to mime a facsimile. For that reason, I read Slacktivist. His article on Sex & Money (part 3) is an inspiring example. His intelligent spirituality is inspiring for divinity’s sake.

The fact is, I am not a Christian in the sense that I practice any brand of Christianity.  My problem is that I so abhor how the faith is practiced that I simply cannot subscribe to it and the intellectual stunting that so often results in concentrated congregations of followers.  But I think that, within the guides (to wit, books) of many faiths, there is legitimate spirituality to be learned.   Continue reading

Planetary Consciousness

I ran across an interesting theory, while reading a James Rollins book (“Alter of Eden”), that artfully wove together fractals, the fact that all animals have strange magnetite crystals in the brain, and perspectives on what makes a human-animal bond so strong.  The theory, roughly stated, is that at one point in the movement of animals through developmental time, our brains shared a composite consciousness by means of a fractal web of these magnetite particles in our brains creating satellite-dish-type communications that formed a “single-mind” sort of approach to shared survival.

It is a fantastic thought, and one that fits in rather nicely with another theory: Noetics, which I ran across in the Dan Brown book, “The Lost Symbol.”  Roughly, that theory goes that the soul and thoughts have measurable substance.  Given laser-sharp focus, will to sustain or emotion to Continue reading

Soul of Happiness

A super-dear friend of mine, with whom I’ve been a soul-mate and “brain-lover” (as we have labeled it) over the many years we have known and interacted with each other, has been caught up in a whirlpool of ambient negativity and misfortunes. Over the past 6+ years, I have watched as the personality I cherished began to wither, deteriorate, and crumble leaving what appeared to be a quivering, lost soul without matter, direction or agency.

Her recent living has consisted of underpaid and unfulfilling jobs in companies staffed by petty, small-minded, and sometimes downright evil humans; she has lost half of her retirement fund in the economic “down-turn”; and has contended with the usual stresses Continue reading