Faith and Belief

rocks.jpgThere are things I have faith in, and things I believe, if only at this moment in time.

There are people I feel comfortable with, and those I avoid for reasons both known and unknown to me; unknown because some “intuitive discomforts” are hard to put into words by the rational mind.

So as an energy worker I would simply say that some people’s cocooning energy vibration does not resonate with my own surrounding energy field, and leave it at that.heart split.jpg But in truth, those are the people that I would avoid because in their presence their vibrational dissonance is so pronounced that I simply cannot stand to be in their energy for long.

There are also people who believe things that are considered to be religious doctrines within their particular FAITH’s creed that lay out the do’s and don’ts for all of us—the should’s and should not’s, the “thou shalt this” and “shalt not do that’s.”

There are even religious doctrines that define the reason for our existence as the whim of a jealous God, and state that our continued progress forward depends only on following the very narrow path that religion prescribes; as no other path will suffice for our salvation, whatever salvation means to that belief.

Tbooks rel.jpghere are faiths that spout hatred and intolerance as the way to achieve heavenly bliss in the hereafter, which makes little sense to anyone other than believers of that faith.

But the fact is, there are people who DO believe these things: the DO’s and DON’Ts, the jealous God, the only path forward, along with holding tightly within one’s being the toxic, dissonant energies of intolerance and hate.

I can honestly say that I believe many things. But foremost I believe that HATRED begats only hatred (love that stupid word “begats”—probably because it is SO officially Biblical).

But I also have FAITH that LOVE is, and will always be, triumphant over hatred not because of a single man, however Divinely connected he may have been; but because of our collective end-game goal of “heavenly bliss” which cannot be reached by any other vibrational frequency than LOVE, which only makes hate doctrines the surest way to avoid such a possible state of future blissfulness.

You can call whatever you wish the particular philosophy that you stake your existence on.

I really don’t care.mlk-quot

For myself, I believe in Love and in holding a high-vibrational, blissful focus every day of our lives as the solution to our present inner turmoil, as well as the peaceful guide for our external actions.

But I don’t have to convince anyone else of that belief, especially when it is so easily experienced for one’s self.

I know this to be a fact: HATE will eat you alive, while LOVE will set you free.

I have FAITH in LOVE.  I BELIEVE in LOVE.

FAITH and BELIEF do not exist between the covers or a book, or the walls of a steepled structure.

They are your personal connection to your very reason for being if you only take the quiet time to feel them for yourself.

Karma and Dharma

Bobbsey.jpeg

No, Karma and Dharma aren’t the Bobbsey Twins (Oh Lord,…how old am I?).

olsensHow about the Olsen twins—is that more relatable?

For those of us who wish we better understood the relationship between the two hard-to-comprehend Sanskrit terms, I ran across a good comparative description in a blog entry called “Understanding Karma and Dharma” by John Burgos at  https://www.beyondtheordinaryshow.com/spiritual-dictionary/karma-dharma/ .

In that posting, this subject matter is explained by him in a “makes sense” manner that had me nodding in agreement.

When I write about living your true life purpose—being authentic—living a purposeful life, etc., I am actually describing DHARMA—a Hindu concept attempting to put a label on living in the natural, harmonious flow of life. Proper labeling is not easily done in any language. But for all practical purposes to better understanding it, that is what DHARMA means.dharma k.jpg

In that posting, according to Burgos: “So when we speak about you living your dharma, we are referring to you living your truth, living your highest potential, and living in a way that is supported by the Divine in a manner that is in accordance to your soul’s desire.”

And when I write about facing/resolving our personal and collective karma, I’m in essence writing about the boomeranging reciprocity of any action’s intentions for lovingness or harmfulness to others. Or as Burgos explained it: “Karma, put simply, is the Buddhist and Hindu manifestation of cosmic justice. It is the conglomeration of all your actions or deeds, both good and bad, in this life or past lives, that determine your future.”

As Burgos explained, when the two major life processes actually come into alignment with each other, life is good.chart.png

We feel deeply at peace and are riding the Divine Flow of Universal Lovingness.

But when we are out of alignment with either or both life processes, our negative Karma can prevent fulfilling our true Dharma; and/or not recognizing and living our true Dharma can add to the blow-back-in-your-face effects of our bad Karma.

So how do you clean up this possible calamity before it reaches critical mass in your life?

He has a suggestion of a 5-Step Karmic Cleanse technique to keep us from falling5 step.jpg into the bottomless pit of our own ignorance, paraphrased by me as:

  • Think before you act,
  • When emotions/memories surface and you start to react to them, pause and breathe through it to simply release them from your being,
  • Forgiveness is key to mending disputes with others and within yourself,
  • Be kind—don’t be cruel—we know Elvis wouldn’t want that,
  • Share the goodness of your heart and soul with others—uplift others, don’t degrade or belittle them.

Overall, I think his posting is worth a read-through, and his suggestions are well-worth considering.

Namaste.

“American Crime” – Studies in Character

I love a good character study, whether enjoyed through reading a good book or a watching a dramatic presentation.charac quote.jpg

Nothing says “humanity” better than witnessing exposed human foibles and a character’s visually-recorded self-delusion.

It’s the mirror we all stare into but seldom realize who we see because we are so busy watching ourselves acting in different bodies with strange faces that sometimes appeal to or repel us.

This comes as no surprise to anyone who watches it, but our present television offering is the black hole of attention consumption. It sucks away our hours, our days, and our lives. We watch renditions of LIFE rather than actually living it.

And in return, television media gives us…….um,……I mean besides all the blatant money-grubbing advertising, …it basically gives us little other than being an insomniac’s last refuge or a 50-inch, rectangular pacifier.

I wouldn’t even call most viewing options “entertainment” as much as I would call it varied flavors of escapism—escapism geared to your favorite obsession or fear.

So when I, in my own escapist foray, ran across a really good dramatic series based mainly on character study utilizing creative character dissection, I took notice.american crime

I’ve trolled the Netflix options many times. Some series are so-so, some hard to get past the first 4 minutes, and some were fairly interesting. But if you are really into character studies, I would suggest the series called “American Crime.”

It’s certainly not what I expected it to be, and gladly so. The main actors are some of the best, and are well-known in their own rights, but combined together in this unusual format and artistic renditions of “life as it actually is, not as we project it to be” they are superb mirrors of human self-deception, self-destruction, and self/family annihilation.

And that is the ironic title’s claim: “American Crime” – it explores the cultural/societal/legal crimes we commit daily on ourselves, our families, muslim women.jpgand our communities.

Why on earth would that be interesting or entertaining to watch?

Because it is so revelatory in each unveiling episode. You relate to the de-masking of the characters—their proposed aspirations, their genuine woundedness, and seas 2.jpgtheir hidden weaknesses. Through each of their depictions, you see how easy it is to slide away just a little from your own integrity and end up in a complex situation with the sudden choice of now facing the evolved problem head on, or trying to bury it deeper in even greater deception coupled with harsher future consequences. (Hint: they all go for the latter one.)

What I liked most about the two season series other than showing the same actors in alternate character universes, was that there really were no clear good guys—no clear child protectbad guys depicted in the show. There were no easily distinguished heroes and no pure villains, although some were implied and assumed until proven not to be.

In each season’s dramatic character exposition, there were only flawed people like you and me, making one or two choices that led to violent repercussions and forever tainted lives because of their simple acts of greed, lust, loneliness or self-loathing.character are you

The most prevalent theme I took from both seasons was that all of us need love and acceptance, openness and understanding. But without those necessities, we live shallow, deceptive, and destructive lives that eventually implode.

It isn’t that our lives are fated to be that way—it’s that we choose our fates because of those unmet needs.

And that is the biggest crime.

The OPEN Mind

Limitation is so unnecessary.

open.jpgWhen we focus so tightly on a single issue or a single viewpoint, we limit ourselves and our outcomes.

You don’t need to do just “one thing” in your life when you can do many things. You needn’t “specialize” in a certain subject or a course of study unless you feel that “one thing” is the single guiding force of your life. Specialists in nature are often a rare, isolated species, and are the ones most prone to extinction because they limit their food sources.

While there are advantages to a tight mental focus, there are disadvantages to limiting your frame of reference so severely that you exclude other possibilities. When you zero in so tightly on a concept or even an ideology, you restrict any other explanation from penetrating your mind set.einstein quote.png

I don’t mean to be the judgmental finger-pointer here but in today’s world, being able to keep your mind OPEN to a problem’s solutions is an attribute, not a detriment.

Not only are we, the residents of this world we all share, still ignorant to the answers to all the world’s problems; we aren’t even aware of the best questions to ask pertaining to those problems.

That might sound critical of what is presently occurring in the world’s greatest problem spots, but world problem-solving depends on increasing your base knowledge of the issues, not restricting it; and single-point perspectives with limited options only create the same scenarios we’re trying to dig ourselves out from now.

Case in point: If you ever have the opportunity to go through Mediation Training please mediationtake it. Mediation is where a mediator helps two or more parties define their key problem issues; then she helps them to successfully resolve their problems in a mutually beneficial manner.  That training will help you realize how difficult it is to help two very different viewpoints find and accept common ground to build a better future outcome based on mutually beneficial goals.toddlers.jpg

It’s a lot like getting toddlers to share a slurpy even if they have two straws.

What you usually encounter in Mediation is that combatants are often like the two primary political parties mid-election year mayhem: There is the standard stalemate caused by “my way or the highway” thinking or the “you are so WRONG how could you ever be that stupid” viewpoint expressed by one or both participants in the mediation.

Emotion rules the disagreements, not rational thinking.

common groundBut the mediator’s goal is to find common ground between the two deadlocked camps, which means that if you are the mediator you have to dig deeper into each combatant’s wants/don’t wants to find out what the REAL issues are behind their immovable stances.

You’d be surprised what deeper wounds and hidden agendas are revealed in this process.

Sometimes the disagreement has nothing to do with the subject in question. The acrimony between the two camps is often pure, raw woundedness raging on whatever ground it can find to take its stand.  Those are tough situations to resolve amicably. A good mediator (not the same thing as a negotiator) earns every dollar s/he makes.

And the single most difficult task at hand for any mediator is to encourage the participants to come to the table with an OPEN mind—a mind willing to consider an option not previously proposed.

An OPEN mind recognizes that the “highway” is meant for two-way travel, and being “wrong” is often just a shift in perspective to being considered “not so wrong.”backyard.jpg

Common ground is the single unifier most sought by a good mediator. Once that is established then a mutually beneficial outcome can be defined for both parties. And once the emotional aspects of the arguments have dissipated, the warring parties are more willing to consider rational solutions to the dilemma.

But the key component to any problem resolution is that all participants must somehow achieve and maintain an OPEN mind state that is willing to simply consider ALL possibilities.kids.jpg

As dedicated as we are to our own viewpoints, stubbornness and intractability are less productive outside the nursery-school playground.

Anger Only Breeds More Anger

Fshirt.jpgor me the message on the sweatshirt says what I’m honestly feeling right now: “I’m practicing mindfulness, compassion and loving kindness so don’t piss me off.”

The latest homicidal lunacy in San Bernardino, California, Dec 2, 2015, conducted by a few misguided and deeply unstable individuals who were trying to find some sense of meaning to their lives by killing others and themselves in the process, is both heart-sickening and totally stupid. I mean, when is homicidal-suicide ever meaningful?

And since I don’t handle intentional stupidity well; especially the malevolent stupidity that brings harm to others, I get angry. But like the shirt mentions: I’m also trying to be loving and compassionate and not allow my anger to consume me, so that inner incongruity creates tension within me over this sad and senseless replay of group-inspired insanity. I’m sure many of us are feeling this same thing.

I mentioned November 16th in the posting on Assessing Terrorism that “Most people fear and powerwho use this “fear” tool are banking on the flight response more than the fight response.”

Do they not yet understand that freedom-loving people everywhere do not flee when threatened? We fight!

When we (who love freedom and the right to make our own choices about our lives) are threatened, we react immediately with anger not fear: Angry words, angry gestures, and anger-based counter threats at those wishing to harm us. Didn’t wars in Afganistan and Iraq show assaulters anything about how nations with epic arsenals react to homicidal attacks?

However sometimes there are those who may over-react to threats of being assaulted and use a very broad rhetorical brush to paint ALL members of associated religions or races for the homicidal intentions of only a angerfew individuals. That is unfortunate and equally stupid, and because I don’t handle “stupid” well, THAT makes me angry—again, the shirt sentiment.

With political campaigns in full swing, there is no excuse when idiots on podiums in front of television cameras use these incidents to inflame their vocal audiences with unified hatred and spewed bigotry.

The problem is that idiots are idiots, no matter the national origin or the party affiliation. And audiences who buy into their political messages of hate are just as malleable as the misguided recruits for homicidal suicide—they only hear what fuels their fears and their anger, because anger makes them feel more powerful.

So lehold angert’s all get a better handle on our OWN anger and let’s make positive changes in our lives and in the world around us. As I mentioned previously, I am far from a pacifist and I tame myself down daily in search of a solid, positive solution to the festering wounds of wide-spread racial tensions, religious intolerance, and opportunity inequality.

My premise is pretty simple: I know that I can’t help spread peace if I can’t hold it within myself, so it is extremely important for all of us to acknowledge our own anger at these senseless and misguided actions of individuals and groups bent on creating chaos and social anarchy.

Don’t allow it. Take a deep breath, and then another one, and say aloud:light

“I am love, I am light that outshines any darkness, and I am deeply at peace within myself as I spread this inner peace throughout the world now. And so it is.”

Don’t give in to your own anger, and for certain never allow fear to cloud your thoughts, but foremost above all else, recognize that only you can decide how you wish to react to any challenge you may face.

peace.jpgMy suggestion is to face it with grace and determination to make this a better and more loving world for everyone. That really is the only rational choice that we have here.

“The World According to Garp”

While watching the early morning news shows, that old book/movie title came to mind: The World According to Garp.

garp.jpgThe book was by John Irving, and the movie starred Robin Williams back in 1982.

When I search the dank archives of my memory, I can still recall snippets of the movie because it was a somewhat dark-themed effort at breeding reality with twisted humor, or as Wikipedia describes it:

“The story contains a great deal of (in the words of Garp’s fictional teacher) ‘lunacy and sorrow’, and the sometimes ridiculous chains of events the characters experience still resonate with painful truth.”

Why the news reminded me of the title is probably because of hearing the many laughable versions of world affairs offered by political candidates who think they want to be in charge of them all. Now THAT consideration is an Irving-esk dark comedy in concept-expansion stage—being both ridiculous and painful to watch.

For most of us, LIFE is an experience that we all share and yet recognize that each of us has our individual perspective skewed perspective.jpgon what LIFE in general means, on how it works, and why we believe that we personally matter to any of the events around us.

For our society in the broadest sense, reality itself is a consensual agreement governed by majority rule, and the majority that does rule determines the acceptance of behaviors, mores, and attitudes for the rest of us.

If we share that “consensus agreement,” it’s great—life is good. But if not, ….well I guess it depends on the majority who is ruling the rest of our hands in circle.jpgbehaviors, mores, and attitudes as to their punishment for being someone thinking or being different than they are.

This is often called the tolerance factor of a society. How expandable or rigid are the acceptability guidelines within that society?

Have you ever thought about this? What about you? How broad- or narrow-minded are your views on major issues that define our society in general?

Marcus Aurelius.jpgMutual agreement on much of anything is pretty hard to come by these days in congress or in coffee shops around the nation. But overall, opinions are plentiful.

That I believe is what we are presently hearing: huge volumes of vociferous opinions on what candidates believe people likely want to hear.

To me, what is most important is to watch and listen to the manner in which these opinions are expressed, and to note how they veer into tailored variation depending on the intended audience. If the message changes from day to day or event to event, what does that say about the speaker?

And if the message is one full of intolerance and hateful rhetoric, what does that also say about the audience listening to it?

Like the fictional character Garp, we all have our own take on the world around us—we see it as WE see it—we judge what we see by how it affects us and those we care most about.

garp plane.jpgAnd like that twisted tale of skewed perspective determining his future life tragedies, we lean toward the perspective that best matches our own.

Hopefully this revised movie version plays out better for all of us than Irving’s did.

Generalizing Specialists

One might think I was referring to the medical profession with this title, and in a sense I guess I am because I was reading a bit on the schism between Humanistic Psychology and Transpersonal Psychology when the bells went off in my head.

I’ve always been a fan of Dr. Abraham Maslow—the self-actualizHumanistsation guru of the last century. While reading a summation of his work and early mentors, I recognized certain well-established names in the psychology profession, especially Dr. Carl Rogers as the one of the primary founders of Humanistic Psychology which was considered in some circles as the third branch of 20th century psychology with Freud’s Psychoanalytical approach and Skinner’s Behavioral approach being the other two branches.

That’s all well and good, but again, what’s the application here?

I had just read about Ken Wilber’s critique of the Transpersonal Psychology approach and preference for his own Integral Psychology approach (everybody has an angle), and my mind shifted back to my early college days when I pyramidonce thought I wanted to be a psychologist. All these offshoots of mainstream psychology weren’t even mentioned back then or I might have chosen a different career-path because I’ve always been fascinated by the workings of the human mind and during my early college days thought that course of study would be an amazing odyssey for personal and professional expansion.

So I took a few courses in that designated “PSYCHOLOGY” pursuit as defined by the university that I had attended. And what did I find?

The professors who taught all the courses in that university’s psych department were some of the strangest, most unsociable, unlikable people I had ever met. After a semester immersed in that influence, I changed my major to Art. But head connectedin hindsight, I should have just changed schools if this subject matter had truly interested me. You know—it’s those things you know NOW that you didn’t know THEN….. like: Authority figures aren’t really authorities. They just pretend to be ones.

Back in my early adulthood, I wondered how any student of psychology could possibly be trained by people who themselves were teetering at the very edge of sanity?

Those instructors who seemed to be in charge of judging normalcy in society and the interacting members of such seemed to be themselves standing near the very periphery of normal, interactive social behaviorIF they ever claimed to occupy that location at all. It would seem that during my early years in college the collective WE were all being categorized and judged by society’s ostracized social misfits who had their defensive shields set high and their adolescent vendettas ready to avenge.maze runners

It boggled the idealized mind—at least it boggled mine. Those in the psych department at my university had Ph.Ds in statistics, testing, rats (maze-runners), research documentation, and abnormal behaviors—that means they were primarily Behavioralists.

Where was the Humanistic Psychology or the Transpersonal Psychology back then? Where was even the broader field of Social Psychology at that university? It didn’t exist THERE at the time even though it had been around since the 1950’s; meaning that those who were training budding Psychologists at that university were training students like a Dermatologist might train a Digestive Specialist. You teach what you know, and if you don’t KNOW it—you don’t teach it.

pool in headThe point being for this post (finally) is that even in today’s broader minded and more main-streamed social-psychology movements, practicing psychologists and psychiatrists have specialties. Psychology is NOT a one-size-fits-all profession. Behavioralists are NOT Psychoanalysts are NOT Humanists.

And because all these particular specialties are off-shoots of that larger Psychology field, there is little agreement among the competing branches as to what the tree-trunk looks like, or from which transplanted graft they first emerged, or which branch needs the most sunshine to grow the best humans.

So when people say the state of Mental Health is presently in disarray, it comes as no surprise to me since the main profession can’t even decide what constitutes normalcy in a world of striving individualists and constantly-merging, world-wide cultures.

I’m giving notice to ALL Universities: Please …for all of our sakes,… hire some Humanistic Psychology instructors for the next batch of yearning psychologists, so they aren’t taught by the apoplectic maze-runners that taught during my bachelors degree because a society is only as good as the models that it holds in esteem.

schools of Psych