Category Archives: 2016 Musings

Atheism, Praying and the Buddha

So I noticed since I gave up God that I do a lot of praying. It’s funny I never realized how much I talked to God when I believed in Him. And I guess out of habit I am still doing it because I catch myself talking or praying to Him all the time. There are still no results, mind you. I just found I was amused with myself whenever I realized I was “praying” which is basically what it is/was.

I’d think everything from “Oh Dear God, or Dear Lord, or Dear Jesus, please don’t let the roast be burned. Please give me a close parking space. Please give comfort to my friend who just lost a dear one. Please make the doctor give me good drugs for this illness or pain I am experiencing, or so and so is experiencing.” It is/was just automatic for me to do that.

I’d be asked to participate in a prayer chain and I was on it… no problem. I prayed with more intense intention at those times. Like really put my mind on it and pictured the results I was expecting. Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn’t. When asked to participate in a prayer chain, it was usually because something was terribly ‘wrong’ and miracles were in dire need.

Except for what has been claimed in books, etc., I never did personally witness or hear of a miracle so to speak. I’m not saying I don’t believe I had any influence. Absolutely I did. I just can’t attribute any results to a specific supreme being.

Anyways… the obect is just that I noticed I pray a lot. It seems like every other sentence is a kind of prayer. I find that astounding in a sense. It doesn’t bother me and I don’t know that I will stop. It’s just a sudden realization that I’ve had. A curious observation.

In other news, I am reading about a sermon the Buddha gave to his disciples that is contained in the Laughing Sutra. In it he describes the formless chaotic nature of existence. He insisted the human situation is utterly hopeless, the universe unknowable and our individual souls mere illusions. So one of his followers falls into a deep deep despair upon hearing this and in that moment of total surrender realizes he is enlightened and immortal and has been all along and he begins to laugh so uncontrollably that everything around him begins to shake.

Kind of interesting.

Just sayin….

 

 

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A Crisis of Faith – Part II

So I think I mentioned in my last blog that I studied ACIM. In ACIM, the villain is not the devil. It is your own ego. It is your own ego that sits in judgment of you. That is where your sense of guilt or your sense of greatness comes from. So I figured I was in a constant wrestling match with my own ego which seems to be in a constant wrestling match with itself.

A few years ago, I lost my last job. There was no explanation given. I was actually flying quite high. I had just received my yearly review. It was very positive and was reflected in a raise in salary. When they gave out bonuses, mine was more than generous. And then my little bubble burst. “We are giving you early retirement” they called it and “oh by the way do not use us as a reference”. They were actually monetarily more than generous there too. I still felt as if I had been punched in the gut, and hard. It felt like I had crashed and burned. And not only that, here I was – I can’t even remember – but at least 59 and all I could think about was how I had to find another job. And then… who will hire someone my age? This was a giant blow to my ego and caused massive internal struggle.

I nursed it as one would nurse a sick child. I “knew” I was a good employee. Always early to work, always performing as expected if not better, taking on extra work, smiling even if I didn’t feel like it. I was never given a real “reason” for my dismissal. Ouch!!!

I ‘blamed’ a lot of different people and unfortunate incidents that had occurred at that time. One by one, I followed my ACIM and forgave each one as they arose in my mind. Not knowing what to do with myself, I wrote and published three books. Writing a book had always been on my ‘bucket list’. They were lighthearted for the most part, full of humor and romance and mystery. I received rave reviews from those who read them but in actuality they went nowhere. They certainly did not replace the income I had lost. Another ouch!!!

In all these instances, I took a beating from my own ego. ACIM teaches that our ego is basically our own worst enemy. That is where any self flaggelation comes from. It is the cause of the punch in the gut feeling as well as the bejeweled crown that sits on our head. So who better to forgive than the root cause of all this turbulence I am experiencing. And that is where I focused all my ‘forgiveness attention’, on my ego.

And by golly, my ego more or less disappeared. At least it gave me no more delusions of grandeur, nor did it give me any more tickets on the guilt train. It more or less disappeared. It was spotty at first (and I can tell you from experience, it more or less still is). This practice though, has made me mostly, if not fully, aware of when my ego is operating. When that happens, I immediately forgive it.

The funny thing is, as my ego disappears, so does my interpretation of god. There is no judgement, for better or worse, now. This is something I always attributed to “god”. He was always judging me. “you are going to hell for that one!” “truly, I have saved you a seat in heaven for that one!” My pride would inflate and deflate accordingly along with my ego and as soon as I recognized it, the process of forgiveness would kick in.

So a few nights ago, I had this ‘aha’ moment where I realized that my ego and my concept of god were one and the same. The punishment or love that would rain down on me for my actions, I always attributed to God who sat in judgment of my every word and deed. Then I wrestled with the thought that “No God loves me” no matter what. The God of today does not judge, or so it is claimed by some. Only the God of the ancients judged. Right now it is said that Hitler is in heaven. After all, he was only doing what he thought was ‘right’. Even his own countrymen believed in him. Whereas Judas is in hell. Different time period. After all, Satan is a fallen angel, but an angel nonetheless.

Anyways, when my ego began to disappear.. when I began to forgive it, to disregard it’s judgements… God disappeared too. Could it be that God and the ego are one and the same? Thus my flirtation with atheism.

Never mind the physics or science of it all, of which I know just enough to be a danger to myself. I’ve read about Einstein’s theories and watched Mr. Kaku on the Discovery Channel. I was intrigued by string theory and am even more intrigued with M Theory even though I know little about them. I read an article once in Omni Magazine years ago that explained how thought affected the way light was perceived (waves vs. dots) during an experiment done to prove one or the other. Surprise! It appeared as both depending on what one THOUGHT or expected would be seen. Tell me that is not interesting! Tell me that does not prove the power of thought. Tell me one should not be vigilant about one’s thought processes.

I think I went off course a little bit here. What I wanted to say is that by eliminating the ego (by forgiveness or otherwise), my experience is that my concept of god went right along with it. It has been the most liberating (and joy filled) idea I have ever had. I would never tell you or even suggest to you that this is something you should pursue. (That is your ego’s job!) I am only trying to explain my own experience with it.

I’m sure there are those of you who would judge me as ‘simple’ and/or ‘wrong’. That’s okay with me. I like ‘simple’ and I question the meaning of ‘wrong’.

It is here I can see “God Bless You All” on this page. And then immediately following “Hah!”

Hah!

 

Forgiveness – A Crisis of Faith

Forgiveness is hard. The older I get, the harder I find it is.

When I was younger, it seemed so much easier. What is it about that? The “wrongs” I suffered just sort of slid off my back and into obscurity. Who cares? I would think. So what? There was no one that I disliked. That is not to say I was impervious to pain. I can think of plenty of times when I felt hurt and could easily in my mind assign ‘blame’ for the hurt somewhere else. After a lot of thought I would realize there was no one to blame but myself and any grudge would disappear.

Not so anymore. For some reason I want to hold on to that hurt and the feeling of being unlovable that comes with it. And I find myself ‘hiding’ from everyone and everything. Any feeling of worthiness has disappeared. Where did that go? How do I get it back?

I have this friend who quite some time ago encouraged me to study ACIM. (A Course in Miracles) That whole thing is all about forgiveness. Well… and love. Here is the thing. I truly believe it made me suicidal. It teaches that nothing in this life is real. Any meaning that anything or anyone has for us has been self assigned whether for bad or for good. It teaches that all must be forgiven in order to progress in this life. Whatever you forgive then disappears because it no longer has any meaning (that proves true). Thus the saying “forgive and forget” I guess

I would spend hours practicing forgiveness. I even had an NDE after a surgery that showed me what that looks like… that total forgiveness thing. I was sort of awed by it and shared it with everyone because I felt it was so inspirational. I experienced this profound ‘oneness’ with everyone and it seemed such a beautiful thing. Forgiveness became a way of life and here is what happened.

Everything… and I mean everything… lost all meaning for me. And I began to question “why am I here?” “What is this place?” “This place, this life, has no meaning so why do I continue to experience it?”

Pretty soon depression set in. Thoughts of ending my life began to creep in to favor a permanent experience of that ‘oneness’. I cut myself off from everyone. From every experience that came my way thinking they were all unreal. Merely products of my imagination and having no meaning. Now all that ‘love’.. . that feeling of ‘oneness’ has turned to hate I think. I think God must be going to be very lonely if all His Children are going to be One with Him. There will be no one to whine at Him, to beg and plead with Him. No one to love and adore Him.

I turned to atheism briefly. Maybe I did have it ALL upside down. Maybe I created God and it was not He who created me. That thought felt even lonelier and also carried a great burden with it since it placed responsibility for everything squarely on my shoulders and my shoulders alone. It also eliminated any hope of continuance after this life is over and all of a sudden I felt like I had accomplished nothing. Gosh… no matter how I approach it, there seems to be no reason for anything and ending it all looks more and more appealing.

I am 66 years old now by standard earthly measurements. I want to call what I am currently experiencing a ‘crisis of faith’. I don’t feel like I can even do that because when I look back I can’t even find what I ever had faith in except maybe myself and my own thought processes. Truly, I can’t see where there were any prayers that were answered by some unearthly god-like entity. It seems like anything that ever happened to me or for me were caused by me. I went in search of solutions and I found them. I can’t say I ever found them in a church. I feel like I always caused them with my own thoughts and consequent actions. Are thoughts prayers?

In any event, after all this ruminating, I guess the only way I will ever get out of this “funk” I am experiencing is to use the old tried and true methods that have always worked. All of them based on true curiosity, heart felt need and positive thinking. God help me! Hah!

I’m kind of tired of having to do everything! (whine, whine, whine) If ever there was a time for a bolt of lightning from heaven, this is it!  (and again I say hah!)

 

Be-ing

It occurs to me that the less you are attached to, the lighter you become.

I was thinking about how I could reconcile being in this earthly world while remaining conscious of its unreality. It just seems like that would be an ideal state of be-ing while traveling about in this body. I think about the story of Jesus and how he walked for miles and miles with nothing but the clothes on his back. His needs were always met and he was not weighed down by ownership of anything. Consequently, he only had himself to give and the story goes that he became a great healer on all levels; physical, mental and spiritual.

I don’t believe he ever thought that he lacked anything and did not seem to pursue the worldy goods that most people I know are constantly after believing these ‘things’ would add to their wealth, or status or happiness.

Just a thought.

 

5/31/16 Musings

 

I miss being able to sit like an Indian. It used to be I’d wake in the middle of the night, fold my legs up under me, put my laptop in front of me and off I’d go typing up a storm. Words would flow like a river right onto the page. Not so now. Now it seems I have to sit sort of half lotus with just one leg bent up underneath me and the other laid out in whatever I can manage comfortably.  Very distracting to the matter at hand.  How did I get here? It’s called knee replacement surgery.

It used to be easy for me to find the humor in everything. Not so much now. Where did it go… my sense of humor? I can still see it in my rear view mirror. It seems to be lagging way behind. If I stop and watch, it will catch up to me and I again feel the laughter bubbling up inside and spilling out all over. I would gather from that observation that I must be moving too fast. I wonder where I am going. I look ahead and see nothing. It would seem I need to fill that in with something. I think of that old adage “going nowhere fast.” It gives me pause. Isn’t that ‘punny’ given the subject matter?

Forgiveness works. To that I can attest. It makes null and void every little incident perceived, no matter how you might be inclined to characterize it (positive or negative). It shines the light of truth on everything.

Forgiveness does seem boring. To anyone who craves drama, joy and excitement, forgiveness does not at all seem to provide that.

I think I have just discovered my next life experiment. What lies beyond forgiveness? The answer to that questions is what I will seek. I know there is peace. I know there is love. These are two things I have searched for my entire life and, indeed, now that I have the experience of those, I can say with no equivocation that they are well worth pursuing. BUT now what do I do with those?

Is that all there is? That just cannot be! I feel like I am missing something… but what? How interesting!

Oh the seriousness of it all!!!