…and waiting

April 30, 2008

I prayed to God, asking for a sign one way or another about my decision to become an atheist.

I’m still waiting for an answer.

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Like Attracts Like: Law or Lever?

April 24, 2008

I have decided after some years of trial and error,  soul searching, and observation, that the ever popular New Age darling of the moment, the Law of Attraction, is nothing more than a marketing ploy, and not a “secret” law of prosperity and happiness.

 Granted, positive thinking can improve how you feel about your circumstances. We always have a choice of how to react to a situation, and to look for the positive in any circumstance will open the heart and broaden one’s perspective.But talking yourself into being happy about something in your crappy life doesn’t change your crappy life.
 
 The claim that our thoughts— at least those that are driven by strong emotions and beliefs, will manifest as real things or events is not a demonstratable, repeatable, proven phenomenon.And please don’t tell me about Lynn McTaggart’s Intention Experiment. Have you read the list of criteria that must be in place in order to send out one’s intention? She advises her readers to check NASAs weather report about the sun’s activity, and to make sure your environment has enough negative ions before you set to task. Funny; gravity, which is a pretty weak force, seems to work without much preplanning and ceremony.
I’m not ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater, though. The principle that ‘like attracts like’ is not a law, but a tool that some people can use effectively some of the time. It may be a lever that some people can pull, but it’s not a law that applies to everyone in all situations. Otherwise, I’d be in a relationship with the man in my visions,  and I’d be pulled over for speeding all the time, not to mention that my fear of dying in a car accident would have at least brought about a fender bender. I’ve had ‘unwavering faith’ that I would have won at least one writing contest and been published.  I’ve been certain that I would have received at least one unexpected check in the mail. But none of these things have come to pass. Not one. 
As I stated in the updated post about LOA and depression, if the law of attraction were impartial and constant, you know, like a real law of physics, then people suffering from psychoses would, in reality, be chased and hounded by real demons and other creatures. People who believe that spiders are crawling underneath their skin would actually manifest spiders. These people really belive these things are happening to them–but they haven’t manifested their beliefs for all to see. They are delusions. This could open up a discussion about subjective reality, but I’m talking about objective, observable facts.
Proponents of the ‘secret’ promise that one can manifest money, cars, health, relationships–things that are observable. They don’t promise that ‘it’ll seem real to you, and that’s all that matters.’ Hell, LSD could do that.
 The folks that have made the ‘secret’ to prosperity and abundance work for them are the people who’ve written books, made CDs and DVDs, who offer ‘life-coaching’ and workshops to those of us who just haven’t figured out how to make the LOA work. And they’re not giving any of this prized information away in spite of the fact that they could theoretically manifest all the money they want just from applying the LOA.
 
 So what kind of control do the rest of us have on our lives? Perspective is always in our control. How we see things is always a choice. How we react and the action we take is always our choice. We can be grateful for our crappy lives, or we can blog about them.

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Breaking Down

April 19, 2008

Last week at work I reached a breaking point. I wasn’t sure why, and I don’t remember what I was doing, but I just started to tear up and had to fight to keep from exploding into a sobbing fit. I’m unhappy with the pace and content of my life right now, and at that moment I couldn’t contain my despair any longer. It took me by surprise, but I guess I should have seen it coming.

My body has been breaking down these last few weeks. I’ve had joint pain and stiffness that doesn’t go away, I’m grinding my teeth again, and am becoming increasingly weary of the daily tedium.

So as I sat at my desk fighting back tears, tyring to regain my composure so that no one would see my moment of weakness, I thought about what it meant to break down. If I want to know who I am, and what I’m made of, maybe the best way, or maybe even the only way, is through disassembly. It’s hard to say what makes me me, and it’s difficult to define those things that drive and motivate me, when they’ve become tangled together over the years.

Once the facade falls away, the components of the individual are exposed. So what are the building blocks of Grizelda? Hope, fear, love, hunger, desire. Now I see what I have to work with, and can begin to rebuild.


The Here and Now

April 13, 2008

I am Here.

I am Aware.

I am in Awe Here.

Suppose for a minute that we are all splintered aspects of God, the source of consciousness, The Consciousness.

And in this spliting off of The All, we experience everything one fragment (person) at a time, distilling that experience in the lifetime of each person, so that God knows who/what it is. As a mass of energy expanding throughout space and time, this Consciousness, for shits ‘n’ giggles, wishes to frolic in worlds it creates, and even the experience of pain enriches this game. An awareness which knows that it is always just that– an awareness, never fears loss or pain or failure. Because the awareness itself, the God-consciousness, cannot be hurt, destroyed, diminished or depleted. It cannot get lost, because it is everywhere. It cannot make the wrong choice, because it is all possible choices.

In the dream of our day to day lives, and in the details of each drama, God sleeps. As we worry about the future that never arrives, and chew the past like a tough piece of meat we can’t seem to swallow, God dreams that it is awake in our stories.

We cannot awaken from the dream. We will eventually awaken to the dream, understanding that the only real thing is our awareness.

I am not my debt, or my pain, or my ignorance. Right now, I have enough for this moment. I have air in my lungs, food in my belly, and I know that even without these things, I still exist.

All I need is enough, and being full and alive means I have more than enough.

I am in Awe Here.


Depression and the Law of Attraction – updated 4/23/08

April 11, 2008

I’m curious about organic and chemical diseases and a person’s ability to create reality. I’d prefer that my fate were left to a benevolent magical being, especially as I have difficulty mustering strong positive emotions around things I want, but as time goes by, I don’t believe there is a cosmic saviour, and the idea that each of us creates his or her own reality makes sense to me. Mostly.

I have difficulty with some aspects of the Law of Attraction, like its seeming random timing between intention and manifestation, and the rationale behind negative intentions/thinking not manifesting immediately because the energy driving those intentions is supposedly weaker. The proponents of this theory have never witnessed my road rage.

While the basic concept that thoughts become things seems logical, and it sounds perfectly reasonable that desire and emotions have an energetic pull, attracting circumstances into our lives, the claims of infallibility irk me.

I’ve noticed that some believers in the LOA qualify the ‘absoluteness’ of the like-attracts-like theory with such statements as, “You musn’t’ doubt for one second!” and stipulating that the intention contains the wording “for the highest good of all,” and “in God’s perfect time”. So how is this creating your own reality if there are variables still left up to some supreme cosmic overseer? These qualifiers basically negate the position that our fate and circumstances are up to us.

And, what are you supposed to do if you’re clinically depressed,  manic-depressive, or schizophrenic, and can’t control your thinking or emotions for chemical reasons? It may be a simple thing if you’re not clinically depressed, to tell someone who is to just think happy thoughts, or to not conentrate on the situation or things or people that seem to be triggering negative thinking, but people who are really, clinically, chemically sick, can’t just switch their feelings from dark to light. People who are depressed because of their brain chemistry aren’t depressed about something, which is the frustrating thing about the illness. If they were bummed out about a particular thing, they could reason their way to a solution. It an external trigger is the cause, one’s  mood darkens around a thing that can be fixed, remedied, rationalized, paid off, or ignored, but the cause is a real thing.

And if thoughts become things, why don’t we see the demons and wild creatures manifested bodily in the lives of psychotic people? They’re feeling and believing these scenarios are real; so where are they? The theory of subjective reality aside, other people can see the physical product of my poverty mentality. Are we protected from the delusions of the mentally ill by some sort of safety mechanism?

If it doesn’t work all the time, for every person, in every situation, then it’s not a law. It’s a marketing ploy. But maybe the law of attraction isn’t the only force determining the outcome of our lives.

Karma patches the holes in the law of attraction theory, if one believes that we created at least a basic fabric or plot to our lives in advance, either by actions of previous lifetimes or having designed a blueprint before birth which arranges for us to meet certain people, have particular experiences, in order to accomplish a preordained mission, then this ties everything up nicely. My god that is a long sentence.

Is it possible that our lives are governed by more than one force? Are our lives expressed as a combination of pre-incarnation mapping, intention manifestation, and divine intervention in emergencies?

 

 

 


Faith vs Superstition

April 10, 2008

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I wanted to explore the aspect of allowing versus action, touched upon in my previous post. When people practice the tenants of their chosen or inherited religions, they’re placing their faith, as it were, in the prescribed bowing, chanting, recitation, confession, fasting, or other practices.

What does facing east five times a day, or kneeling and bowing one’s head have to do with the truth? If the truth isn’t enough on its own merits, then what could one possibly accomplish with obsessive practices supposedly attached to the insights, wisdom, teachings, theories, revelations or whatever the conceptual ideas are at the center of a given religion?

Admittedly, it’s not enough for me either.  The personal revelation I experienced last year that I needn’t know what to do or where to go is very difficult to trust. I feel like I have to do something to advance on my path. But usually, I either don’t know what to do, or I’m afraid to move in any direction. And certainly, it would be so much easier to offer  token gestures such as lighting candles or abiding by feng shui edicts or burning a particular incense, than to step off the comfortable and familiar ledge of life as I know it, and take courageous action, like going back to school or canceling my cable or actually writing a blog post every day.

If our lives move in an orbit of some kind, like everything else in the universe governed by the known laws of physics, then why is it so hard to trust the path and natural movement of our lives?

Maybe even in our hesitation there is still some kind of progress. But what would life feel like without doubt?

 

 


Religion and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

April 5, 2008

 

 

What do we really have control over in this life? Maybe we’re not sure, so we invent things to control and behaviors which exert influence over our circumstances. This gives rise to superstition over the ages, and eventually, these beliefs control us.

 

Sacred numbers in various belief systems are an instant tip-off that religious practice is obsessive and neurotic. Prescribed recitations of the rosary, praying toward Mecca five times a day offering the stipulated number of genuflections, chanting and reciting Buddhist sutras a number of times in the morning and evening, and the importance of doing things in fours is practiced among the Lakota and other Native American tribes.

 

Adherents engage in these behaviors as a way to ease anxiety or to prevent something bad from happening. Obsessive checking, washing, touching, counting, picking, or other actions are irrational attempts to control our environment and circumstances.

 

Why is it so hard to just let life happen? Why do we have such difficulty letting go? The liturgy of every spiritual system encourages faith, but the espoused practices contradict, and even supersede the power of faith.

 

I work with healthcare practitioners who use energy medicine in their practices. It is customary for practitioners to wash their hands after administering a treatment. Not because there may be an exchange of fluids or bacteria, but because of energy contamination. I gave one of them a little back rub one day, and she said, “Make sure you wash your hands,”. I told her, “that’s ok. I have my own OCD repertoire that I’ve cultivated over my lifetime. I’m not ready to add another ritual right now.”

 

I’m a self-admitted counter, toucher, and hair-puller. I used to count things off in threes, from the time I was 10 until I was in my early 30s. I don’t remember when I stopped. I used to practice Nichiren’s Buddhism, and  was instructed to chant the title of the Lotus sutra three times each time I left the house or something bad would happen. If I didn’t chant the prescribed amount of daimoku and perform gongyo exactly as I was instructed, I felt vulnerable, guilty, and at the mercy of the universe. So much for enlightenment. Awakening isn’t possible when one is infatuated with the fear around an irrational behavior. When one knows the action is irrational, then the continued practice is indeed a choice, and fear is preferred over liberation.

 

The problem isn’t with religion or spiritual process. All teachings have a kernel of truth at their centers, that speaks of liberation, awakening, surrender, trusting life/God/Spirit. But over the ages, the truth becomes enfolded in layers of neurotic dogma, because the truth is never enough for a society who, in spite of evolution, embrace the loftiest thoughts with reptillian brains.

 

Bryan Flemming states in his eye-opening documentary, “The God Who Wasn’t There,” that the biggest sin in Christendom is thinking, because thinking leads to questioning and doubt, and as he was taught, doubting or denying the Holy Spirit is the one unforgivable sin. Ironically, doubt is at the center of religious based fear, and is handed to us by our religious teachers. We doubt that internalizing the message is satisfactory, so we invent rituals to fill in the gap between our fleeting faith and salvation/liberation.

 

I’ve wondered about the washing after energy work. If we’re all expressions of the same energy source, then how can I become contaminated by something that I’m already connected to? It is not possible, to a rational mind. 

 

Of course, I’m not superstitious. It’s bad luck to be superstitious.