My Call To The Future

What do I, a married; father of two; middle class; technological; heterosexual; spiritual; human male; fifty-something; British born; Canadian citizen, believe of the future?

The future, anyones future, is defined by what they believe.  The above labels appear self-evident and factually based, but are they so?  Some are first nature, that is they are true by force of nature or DNA, father; human male; fifty-something.  Others are true by force of society, married; middle class; British born; Canadian citizen.  The rest are second nature, and are true solely by force of our beliefs, middle class; technological; heterosexual; spiritual.  The groups the labels are placed in are defined by me however it is possible that a label might belong in another group or in more than one.  Spiritual might be first nature and some would argue that sexuality is first nature.  In essence I can see how sexuality could be in all three groups.  While the list is divided into three groups, social norms is a subset of second nature and is broken out here to differentiate between what we believe and what society, those around us, believe us to be. There are many more groups I might belong to, many more labels that might be attached to me, by myself or others, be they a single individual or a group within our society.

I am, a non-smoker who smokes; a drinker who believes in abstinence; a drug user when the time is right; a liberal with conservative beliefs; a theocrat who does not believe in god.  Some are true today, some yesterday and yet may not be tomorrow.  Am I blind; deaf; a theologian; fool; teacher to the masses; student?  Yes to all at one point in time or maybe a time to come.

How can I be defined!  How can I be labeled!  What makes a person any of the above? The issue is, not how can ‘you’ or ‘they’ define me but, why do I define me!?  Once we sanction a label, the words of others, and say “yes that is me”, how do we become more than that? How do we grow into the potential that is truly ‘me’?

Here it is important to note that there are two general groups of people who try to define us.  First are those we respect or who are closest to us, family, friends or work associates. The second group are the people we meet in our day to day life but are not really important to us.  The words of the first group have more of an impact in our lives and developing our self-image.  When they tell us something negative about ourselves we are more apt to believe, give sanction, to it. Now if we already have a negative view of some part of our life and a person in the second group tells us the same thing it will almost instantly resound with us and confirm the negative view.

In the end it does not matter who’s words are painting the image because the greatest damage is done not by others labeling us but by how we label ourselves; The condoning of their words so as to hold their image of us as our true self.  Once we do this then their words become ours and while it may be hard to deflect the words, labeling, of others it is harder to quiet the name calling in our mind, our own self-talk.

We have the right to be undefinable!  We only thrive in the instant, the past is who we were and the future not written.

Raise up and state, “I refuse to be defined by the words and thoughts of others.  I will not give sanction to their words and define myself by what I was, or am, I chose only to define myself by who I want to be!”

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!

I Know and Accept That Every Moment is as it Should be for this Allows Me to Change the Future

This is the eighth in series of pledges I made to myself has New Year’s resolutions of sorts.  You can find the full list here in this blog post.  I Pledge – a new beginning for a new year

The title is a bold statement, is it not? How is it that I can believe this? Can any of us really change the future?

There is some old adage that states that one cannot change yesterday because it is the past and we cannot change tomorrow because it is the future so the only thing we have is today or now. The meaning is that we can only hope to change the present, and the people who follow this reasoning, as I did for years, choose to live in the moment. Still a good idea and I wonder if the two are actually mutually exclusive.

For a moment clear your mind and follow me down the rabbit hole to a world where we live in the future rather than the present. Deepak tells us, as the same old adage states, that we cannot live, or alter the past, but he adds we are just as powerless to change the present! Why? He goes on to state that everything that has happened in the past, every choice we have ever made lead us to this point. Every choice that anyone else, who is in your sphere of influence right now, as lead them to this precise moment in time, this present. Since nothing can now be done to change the events that led up to this present time nothing can now be done to change the present from happening. All the energy and effort we put forth in trying to change the present is wasted, it is as we are trying to change the path of the stars. However we can change the future. Our actions and our reactions to the present events alter or more accurately direct our future course.

By accepting the moment is as it should be we stop wasting time, energy and effort on trying to change the now, that is already set in stone, and utilize that energy to mold a better future. It is interesting to note that it takes less effort to change our future than we now spend in fruitlessly attempting to change our present situation.

To be clear I am not saying anyone needs to accept that their present place is where they should stay only that before we can truly make changes to our future must accept the present. It is only from this point that we can start affecting change in our future. Taking any trip we can only start from where we are now. Not where we want to be or even from where we were only from where we are. Accept that first and then chose your future.

See you there.

Next post “Take Responsibility – Without Blame.”

Live Well, Laugh Often Love Much. Smile!

Plunge Ahead With Abandon As This Will Cause the Most Joy

This is the seventh in series of pledges I made to myself as New Year’s resolutions of sorts.  You can find the full list here in this blog post.  I Pledge – a new beginning for a new year

To plunge ahead with abandon, this phrase just makes me smile from ear to ear. It brings to mind on of my greatest mentors, Calvin. Hopefully most of you know who I mean, for the ones who do not please see this link. Calvin & Hobbes. He is the hidden child in all of us, who once an idea comes to mind it has a life of its own. How I miss those days, and how I am trying in my greying age to get that attitude back.

It is the way to get things done, is it not, instead of stopping after getting an idea or dream in your head but to start building it right then and there? To quote Frank Tibolt, “We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.” Now in Mr. Tibolt’s words we are waiting for something else to tell us we should start or continue with a given idea. I remember after taking severance from a position and wanting to go back to school to take some training I thought I was not yet ready to do so. I needed more money, more time, more something else that I did not have at that point in time so I waited and waited and waited. More than a year went by and still things were not right still I needed more something. And yes a second year went by.

One day after realizing that I would be waiting until my kids were grown and gone and then my mortgage was paid, even though I did not have a mortgage at that time, I just went to the university and put in my applications. Three months later I started my new education plan. Did it go smoothly all the time? No, but I did complete my studies and did manage, with my wife, family and friends help to both finish school and care for the needs of those under my care. This without first filling the persistent present needs I thought I had and that were holding back from moving forward.

I have talked about universal energy in other posts and it keeps coming back to my mind. Starting from being silent, communing with nature, judging nothing and so on all help us to tap into this universal energy. Plunging ahead with abandon is how we can take this energy and cause positive events to take shape around us.

So let’s have some fun and build the fort today, for tomorrow will come and without the fort we will still have to move on. Today is the day to build the fort, “Calvin, get Hobbes and I will get my brothers and sons and we will have the best of life today.”

Next post “Accept Every Moment Is As It Should Be.”

Live Well, Laugh Often Love Much. Smile!

Commune With Nature To Feel The Throb Of The Ages

If keeping silent is that hard then communing with nature could not be easier. Since we are surrounded by nature everywhere we go how could we do anything but commune with nature. One would think. But alas, just like with be silent, communing with nature takes more than just being around nature.

I feel that it is not as hard as being silent and it is easier once we have mastered being silent. Oh gee we are back to that again, simple but hard.

To commune with nature: I remember taking my sons on my walks and they wanted to see what I saw and talked about; the birds and animals and everything. Of course they would not be quiet and everything, for kilometers around, knew my boys and me where in those environs. I think even the fish fled at times.

It is like that when we commune with nature, if we are noisy, internally, the gifts that nature would like to show us; the throb of the ages, cannot be seen. Only by being silent while in nature. Again silent being an emotional or spiritual attribute not physical.

Why should we be interested in communing with nature? Think of it this way, everything we have, everything we will ever need comes from nature. It does not matter whether we are religious, spiritual or purely secular the truth of the statement cannot be looked on lightly. Everything comes from the garden of earthly delights. If it is not there we cannot make it. Everything even the worst of our commercial goods first starts out however changed in this garden.

The energy of everything that has ever been in all creation till now has left its mark on the nature that surrounds us today. We can, if we will listen, discern the very essence of our history. Thus in knowing what was and what is we can define for ourselves what is yet to be.

More to come.

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!

Take a hour everyday to be silent so you may touch the universe that engulfs you.

The first of my pledges, to be silent, how easy is that. If only it were the case. What should be the easiest for any takes years of practice. It fools you in its simplicity for it is the hardest of all the pledges, I now think.

Well at least the hardest of those attributes I am trying to develop in myself. This, to be silent. What does it mean? If it was simply just not talking then my wife would say I have mastered silence time and time again and it is now it is time to not to be silent. But this is not what it means.

More than being quiet of voice it means to be quiet in yourself, both externally and internally. To stop thinking, stop talking in your mind, to make your mind go silent. I have read that in so doing we can achieve an understanding of the universal ways. It is only when we are truly silent that the universe, god; however you see him, speaks to our soul.

Can you stop thinking? For a minute, ten minutes, an hour? Start small it is truly an art and it will drive you crazy at first, at least I have read this. I have not master it even in a small way.

Have you tried it? How long were you able to go? Did you hear god? Let me know.

Coincidences Do Happen, Right?

When Our Paths Cross

I read a great post from a blog I have been following for a short while. The premise is that “whenever our life path crosses someone else’s, whether it be for a few minutes or an extended period of time, we have something to learn from the person and something to give them” It goes on to say that our meeting is no accident.

It sounds too much like fate for my liking, to be fair the blog author states something similar. Karuna goes on to describe a time when she meets three people that if not fate what would the chances of them meeting be.

The one that blew my mind is she met a young lady who was born in the same hospital that she worked as a nurse in the maternity ward at time the other person was born. The possibility that Karuna actually held this woman on the day she was born. Now if you read the post, which you should, you will come to know the most amazing part of this story is that the two came together not in same city, state, nation, but while travelling thousands of kilometers away from the birthing hospital.

Fate no. Coincidence, everyone from the great Jethro Gibbs on down says they do not believe in coincidences. Yet coincidences happen, do they not?

Well I believe there is a connection between everything. Being a man of science, well alright a man who likes science and a spiritual man, well all right, a man who likes spiritual things I am trying to explore this connection. Which field does this connection belong in, science or the spiritual? Could it be both? Well just under a hundred years ago Einstein made a disturbing discovery while researching the theory of relativity. He referred to it as “spooky action at a distance” and it has become known as Quantum Entanglement.

Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently – instead, a quantum state may be given for the system as a whole.

Quantum entanglement is an area of extremely active research by the physics community, and its effects have been demonstrated experimentally with photons, electrons, molecules the size of buckyballs,[11][12] and even small diamonds.[13][14] Research is also focused on the utilization of entanglement effects in communication and computation.

Let us boil down what this mumbo gumbo is. It means that any group of atoms, molecules or atomic systems separated by distance, even great distances will rotate in the same direction. If one changes the other immediately changes. This change happens so fast that no known communication could happen. That is because all known communications are thought to be bound by the theory of relativity. It cannot go faster than the speed of light. However these groups of cells act like they are communicating.

This is something that rests on the outside of our known scientific reality but at the same time it has been known for centuries by many sages. When I say rests on the outside I mean that while a lot of scientific experimentation and work is being performed on this it little understood by the general public. The above quote is from Wikipedia, not the greatest of scientific papers however enough that we can at least see there is a semblance of normality to this post. But I do want to go a little farther. When we push beyond the known we at some point start asking the questions of science that we have till now asked only of religion. Why are we here and is there something more?

Spooky action at a distance, is what coincidence is, is it not? And if so what does it mean? What about déjà vu, mental telepathy, and knowing when one of god’s little creatures hits the ground.  It just might answer why we meet a stranger half way round the world and find out they are not a stranger after all.

I do not intend to have a scientific debate on this. I could not hold my own against all the people who will try to prove me wrong or feel the need to prove their knowledge or theory more correct. I just find it astonishing that on the summit of scientific achievement that science may yet prove that the theologians were correct in the first place. All these things become possible. All of sudden science and spirituality may just find themselves friends.

What a world that will be, and we will be here to see it happen.

More to come.

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!

When the Walls Come Down

Sorrow in Gaza

I located another of us.  A fellow person with a life story to tell.  A blogger who starts from her own life and from there changes the lives of those she touches with her words.  Please take a gander at her site and read some of her posts, Nicola Kirk.

Nicola reminded me of an idea, well not so much reminded me of it but prompted me to look at something in a differing light.  “What happens after the walls come down?”  She can speak of the events after the end of apartheid in South Africa and draws parallel thoughts to what may happen between Israel and Palestine.

It made me think of the Berlin Wall, and the greater issue of what happens when long-held beliefs or ways of life change in what appears a blink of an eye.  I am often told that my ideas are too simple for the complex problems of this world.  That stopping fear, creating more love, changing beliefs are the solutions to the world problems is too simplistic.  And maybe so.  But I will not back down from this solving complex problems by breaking them down into the simplest terms and then solving these appears right to me.

I digress.  What Nicola made me think about is the time between the simple solution and the complex problem to be worked out.  I do not know if there is a term for this period.  There should be.  For me this is the time between the simple solution and the realities to set in.  People removing the bricks from the wall, toppling the wall, bring down the barrier this was easy.  However more than a quarter century later and unified Germany is only now starting to show true renewal from those days.

South Africa after apartheid.  Again more than a quarter century has passed.  I can not answer if there was a complex answer what I saw on my life monitor box was simple enough, and then there was the vote, and then apartheid was over.  South Africa did not, has not, reached its final solution.  It still suffers from brain drain and other woes of economy that were started in those simple days.  This is the complex issues being worked out after the simple solution.

What do I mean in the end?  Well.  I do not know.  Think of it like this.  If we waited for the complex solution to take form and be implemented we would still be waiting.  The simple solution is easy to implement and has at its greatest strength what could be said to be a very low “tipping point”, or a higher center of gravity making the process more unstable and more workable at the same time.

The period of adjustment after the simple solution is, for some, enough reason why the solution should not have been tried in the first place but this is not true.  This adjustment period would still be needed in a complex solution however without the energy that is inherent in the simple solution it would take more time to implement and typically would be done prior to the end being realized. 

What did the simple solution offer?  In reality it provides the impetus to move forward without the need to resolve every known issue prior to the start of the new order of things.  

One last thought on this.  The time and effort needed to push through the difficulties after the walls come down is related to the feelings of being out of our comfort zone.  When we chose to move ourselves out of this zone we can more easily recognize these feeling for what they are and move more quickly through them.   When we are forced to change our way of thinking by outside forces then we tend to resist these changes and feelings and this can create hostilities, fears, and even a wanting to return to the things lost. 

More to come

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!

Fear and the Art of Living Together

Standing Up Against Oppression

Another well written and thought-provoking post by “A Worried Student”, and while I typically agree with him in this case it would seem that I hold some level of disagreement.  Not that I disagree with standing up against oppression just the idea that one side is true and just and other is bad and wrong.

For a minute, or longer if you can, imagine the walls came down over night.  The Israelis and the Palestinians are together without boarders, without armed camps, with only their personal beliefs left.  Each with the ability, freedom and right to go anywhere and do anything on the lands of Gaza and throughout Israel.

What would you hope to happen?  What do you think would happen?  What would be the best you could imagine, and what would be the worst?

I want to tell what I think but I cannot because it all feels false.  There are so many words but the worst I do not want to speak and the best I find hard to believe.  So in the end all I have is this.

Fear and the Art of Living Together.  If the walls came tumbling down and the people live in fear.  Whether that fear is real does not matter there will be anger, fights, violence and the people will rebuild the walls.  If however the fear is remove then the people will tear down the walls and build bridges with the rubble. 

And they will turn their swords into ploughshares.

More to come.

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!

You Do Not Write Like a Muslim

The brain is a pattern finding machine.  No, really, that is what it is and it is really good at it.  It finds patterns in everything.  That is why people love music, art, the stars, and even clouds.  We find the pattern and it makes us feel good.  Now what does this have to do with the title of this post?  Not much you might think but then I have not given your brain enough data to find the pattern.

Like most of my posts I receive the inspiration in the blogs I follow or stumble across and this is true with this one, except that the inspiration did not come from one but two blogs.  That is not were the pattern theme ends, but begins.

The first post is from a blog that I have visited many times and gotten inspiration from “A Worried Student and a post titled “Budgeting Woes are Turning My 18 Year Old Hairs White!”.  In this post it comes out he is a Muslim.  The second post is from a blog I just started following “Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger” and his post, “The Religious Exemption”.  The two posts would seem to have little in common.  Both are serious one drips with ethical, moral, and societal norms pushing the boundaries of polite talk, in mixed company.  The other is more laid back and is about growing pains and struggling to get on with what ever life is to become. 

“The Religious Exemption” tells a troubling story, the worst kind of nightmare and could or might have made a good two-hour mind numbing, for TV, true to life movie.  I will not reëxamine the story just the highlight.   A young couple make a health decision for their child based upon religious beliefs, and the child dies.  I have left out everything else on purpose.  That is the full extent of the story.  The question the blogger poses is this,

“There is no denying the United States of America was founded in the belief of a deity called God, the pledge of allegiance clearly defines that ‘….one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’ * But the constitution is clear on its separation of church and state. How do we balance the two, when each of us are free to pursue the religious or scientific doctrine of our choice, before we have gone too far? When does The Religious Exemption exclude the pursuit of happiness for all?” 

Now let me simplify the question.  Anyone who spends time with me knows I am a big fan of simple solutions to simple questions.  Hopefully Mr. Person approves or at least thinks my question has similar merit.

Can we not all just get along?

Onto “The Worried Student” –  prior to his latest, or then his latest, post I did not know either is age or his religion.  Neither matters, well not in the sense that it would have changed my reading, liking and commenting on his blog.  I would have guessed his age to be in his mid twenties or so given the title of his blog etc.  His writing is more advanced than most people his age, maybe even myself.  Him being Muslim though, well, that is just not right.  I mean he did not come across as Muslim.  Now I know I am being prejudice here, I have my pre-conceptions of what a Muslim should sound/write like.  Now before you judge me to unfairly, I do not mean I believe Muslim men to be fanatical fundamentalist whom we should be careful to associate with, I just mean he did not sound like a Muslim and he should have.

It makes me remember hearing an East Indian man, I had just met, speak for the first time, I nearly fell over.  I do not know if physically my chin hit my chest but it felt like it did.  He had an English accent!  That is not how East Indian’s sound!  Really it is not I know a lot of native East Indian’s and they sound nothing like that!

Do you understand my title and theme better now?  No.  Well it is coming.

The basic issue is that we believe we perceive the truth of the matter.  Seeing is believing and all that.  Well I am sorry to tell you that it is not so.  Our brains are wired, “in the neurons of our brain” as one of my great inspirations says, to stop our mind from being overwhelmed by outside stimuli, it is a safety valve for our conscious mind.    The conscious mind does not get to see the actual events, the great pattern finder, the sub-conscious mind does.   Everything is about patterns; math, science, music, love, art, and yes, pre-conceptions.  Our pre-conceptions, made by our sub-conscious without our consent or knowing,  are used to color, mask and filter the mental picture of the our world, our reality.  This more palatable whitewashed picture is what is passed to the conscious mind for our enjoyment and reaction.   While we can control how we react to this aspect of our brain/mind we cannot stop it from happening.

An important point about pattern finding is that they are found in the differences not in the similarities.  To illustrate hold up a piece of blank white writing, printing, paper and try to find the pattern.  Non, nothing, blank, yep that’s it, no pattern, boring.  Now hold up the same piece of paper after say printing this post.  Now we have patterns for the mind to grasp and interpret.  The paper is not full of differences actually the printing takes less than, lets say, 15% of the paper.  So the paper is 85% the same and only 15% different but our brain ignores the similarities and focuses on the differences.

Wow.  That is a lot to take in.  If you are still with me, thank you.  If you are disbelieving that is ok just keep that open mind.  Stop your sub-conscious from blocking out and try to ignore the gut feeling that I am trying to lead you down the garden path.  Take three deeps breaths and keep reading.  I could bring up all types of cognitive science articles but you can look all that up yourselves.  Typically if you are going to believe me you will and if not you will not.

There are many things most of us, all really, (but since I will have to defend that statement from others saying they are not like this, I will be gracious upfront and say most and they can exclude themselves in the few who are not) are prejudices against.  Now if we take a peak at the story that Mr. Person brings forth what might we have pre-conceptions about; religion, god, Christian Science, church, state, medical care, prayer, child, beliefs, healer, death, resurrection, motherhood, fatherhood.

If we read the post by “the public blogger” and remove the judgmental words from the original author and find not the differences between us and these people but the larger part, the part that is the same.  All the people not just the infant but the mother, father, and the others who tried to help.   Can we not feel their pain, their sense of loss?  Does not our compassion go out to all of them?  A young couple has lost their son, are we yet not moved to open our hearts to them and allow their tears to stain our souls?

Why is it that we find their actions a threat to our way of life?  Why is it that their suffering is of no importance?  Why do we need to find fault with their belief and say yes that is the cause of our discontent?

Maybe we need to find the guilty maybe they need punishment.  Oh wait, is that punishment meant to change their pre-conceptions, the thought patterns of the story’s characters  so they match ours.  Is not that what punishment is meant to do, rehabilitate, to make people who are not fit for our society more like us?  The things that make us the same need no judgment no punishment.

Let you without sin, without blame, without prejudices; let you that are pure in heart, pure in spirit, pure in intent throw the first negative comment.

When we choose not to judge we can then choose to show compassion and love to these two young people in their time of deepest need.  Can we not just get along?  Yes we can, if we so choose to.

More to come

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!