Evolution and Transformation

I’m still considering the previous post with theworldreligionsnames.jpg “Evolutionary Tree of Religions” showing the known beliefs of cultures from our earliest documented origins to the present, when I assess my own life for my personal belief transformations throughout the years and decades of my own existence.

As children, we don’t have much say in how we are taught to perceive the world around us and view our place in that world. Those beliefs were thrust upon us by parents or religious leaders, or we were simply immersed into them by the religious community’s power in our birth location.

age of questionsWhen we reach a more questioning age, we start to have doubts about what we’ve been told to believe because we can then pit that prescribed belief against what we see for ourselves as occurring to us and around us—what we feel as opposed to what we’re told to feel.

That’s when the “WHY’s” start to accumulate within us, and we conclude there must be more to this world and to ourselves than what we have been previously told by others. That’s also when we start searching for our own answers to the deepest questions of WHY we exist and what we are supposed to do with our lives.

jimmycarterquotereligion.jpgThe biggest WHY I’ve always felt about organized religion in general is: Why are they trying to control my thoughts and my behavior, or trying to force me to believe what makes no sense to me?

Why are they insisting on placing blame on me for something I had nothing to do with that supposedly occurred thousands of years ago, or why are they trying to shame me simply because I am a woman?

So my own spiritual evolution has been as transformational as that chart showed, except mine happened in a considerably shorter time period. And amazingly enough, I find that the earliest form of religion known as animism, is still my basic belief because I’ve personally witnessed it through my own energy work and shamanic experiences.  Spirit is a conglomeration of energy, and it can take innumerable forms.

ANIMISM:animismrock.jpg

“Animism is the worldview that non-human entities—such as animals, plants, and inanimate objects—possess a spiritual essence. Animism is used in the anthropology of religion as a term for the belief system of some indigenous tribal peoples, especially prior to the development of organized religion.” (Wikipedia)

I would hardly call my evolution of beliefs primitive, but I would certainly call most organized religions as such: primitive, judgmental, biased, misogynistic, deceptive, and meant to control the masses using psychological ploys with threats of physical harm to non-compliers.

Check out the chart again for the most recent dates of those religions mentioned and see when your own religion originated. See the branch that it grew from. See the root of that branch and the tree it connects to. Everything on that chart is simply a matter of a particular interpretation per region of what is happening to us and around us.

Every different religion is a particular perspective associated with an original founder’s perception or interpretation of life and how it developed.

Then others took that original perception and tweaked it to match their own interpretations for whatever reason they felt was valid.

Maybe God spoke to them. Okay.  Maybe God speaks to anyone who will actually listen. OR….maybe they interpreted whatever they “heard” or intuited as GOD when it might have been something else laying down rules of shoulds or should-nots.

sciencereligion.jpgBut again, why were these behavioral rules even necessary if not to control the masses and justify a self-appointed leader seizing control over a group of people?

One thing you cannot do when you assess a religion’s origins is to take the personal motive out of them.

No matter the myth—no matter the story, someone said to others: “This is the world as I see it—This is the world as I was TOLD it is to be—This is how we live our lives—This is who we pay homage to and worship in specific ways—This is MY truth and it must also be YOUR truth because I said it is so—This is MY belief and it shall now be YOURs as well, because I am stronger and more powerful than you are—My followers are stronger and more powerful than your followers—We will crush you if you do not follow our beliefs because MY GOD IS GREATER THAN YOUR GOD!“  10powerfulreligions

Etc., etc., through the ages. Dominant religions were the ruling religions.

So if you take the human motives out of organized religion, there is little left to actually believe other than what one personally interprets for oneself.  I think that’s called subjective relativism.

Relativism is the idea that views are relative to differences in perception and consideration. There is no universal, objective truth according to relativism; rather each point of view has its own truth.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Or that’s simply my opinion of organized religions: They seem to operate from their own concept of cultural relativism which tends to negate the opinions of others not within their circle of influence.

 

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The SUM of Our Stories

We are the SUM of our stories.

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The world around us becomes the result of what we tell ourselves is happening.

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We interpret our lives and the doings we experience within the confines of our beliefs. And we make what we see and feel adhere to those beliefs.

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From our first attempts at understanding all of life and our relationship to it, we created tales—myths—origins for ourselves within the context of what we saw and felt and intuited about our situations.

This chart—“The Evolutionary Tree of Religion” is fascinating to study and contemplate—at least fascinating to those of us who find it as such.

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If you can’t quite make out the details, I broke it into 3 parts, but if you need a closer look, go to the Facebook address listed for HumanOdyssey.

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

“If you can’t say anything nice about someone, say nothing at all.”

That’s a tough mother-ism to live by in today’s world.

monkeynospeak6I do think that silence is a blessing seldom appreciated. In fact, I could say nothing about many things and many people, and I would be the better for it.

But…. also in today’s world, saying nothing allows the more vocal hordes to flood the airwaves with venom and lies.

Democracies aren’t maintained by the silence of its members. It takes willing voices and willing voters to make serious changes in our world.

The next couple months will be a nasty time for impassioned outcries and claims, true or non.  I have my own opinions on much of what is occurring politically and in our government, as well as having my own thoughts on how best to change the current problems.

However, none of my opinions matter other than on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 when we the people have the opportunity to express our beliefs on voting ballots across the nation. THAT is the day for expressing opinion. THAT is the day when what you think really matters.

So you can be as vocal as you wish—or as allowed by laws until that time—but the only time what you think really matters is on November 6th, 2018.

Vote!  It can be the single most important thing you can do for yourself, for your loved ones, and for the world in which we live.

VOTE  Tuesday, November 6th, 2018!votemontage

And if you are really impassioned with your candidates, then get involved in those campaigns and help others understand why those folks most appeal to you.

Those are things that you can do.

When it comes to the President of our country, I honestly can’t think of anything nice to say about him—NOTHING—NADA.   So I will actively promote positive changes for the people that I can easily speak well of.

Recognize that this is your chance to make a difference around you—get involved in positive change and work toward a better future for ALL of us—not just for the richest 1 percent, of which I will also say nothing good about, so they shall remain unmentioned.

Stand up—speak out—and organize your friends to make positive changes in our world. These are things that you CAN do.

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So just DO IT!

The Quest for What We Lack: Part Two—Family Reunions

reunion-cartoon.jpgTis the season for family reunions and family gatherings in general, involving picnics and potlucks and people you seldom see all gathered together playing nice (sort of) for a few hours.

It’s a time to clamp your jaw shut and hold your clever comebacks at the rude, intrusive, in-your-face questions—a time to curb your overwhelming desire to tell off the perpetually-mouthy aunt or the ever-drunken uncle (or role-play vice-versa)—a time to not snap at the obnoxious kids in your face all vying for attention and exuding their excessive “look at me-ness”—a time for staring with slack-jawed disbelief at all those people gathered together in this park to whom you are supposedly related and your saying aloud to yourself, “Uh-uh….NOPE…..that’s not in my genes—NO way—NO how!”minioncircus.jpg

But you know that they really are.

And these are the better thoughts you’re having at that yearly, quality “family-gathering time.”

The worse thoughts throbbing at your temples during the group get-togethers are the “family secret” thoughts that make you watch Uncle Sonny or Uncle Dicky as closely as possible, especially when little ones are near him—watch for the tell-tale enticement tricks he may have once used on you or your siblings—the “Come over here, little Suzy. Come and sit on Uncle Sonny’s lap.”  Or the little tickle games, he used to play. Or the little grabs he made when others weren’t watching and you were too unclebadtouch.jpgshocked or scared to say “Don’t do that!”—the little secrets he told you to keep just between you and him—and “Oh, here’s a shiny, silver dollar just for you if you don’t say anything to your mommy about us.”

Oh yes.  I know about Uncle Sonny and Uncle Dicky, both personally and in the late-night tales from female-adolescent slumber parties—I’ve heard the warnings not to be alone with such-and-such—to ignore such-and-such’s enticements or “games”—to watch at the next gathering for how Uncle Dicky avoids certain older adolescent family members that he once used to excessively dote on.  Yes, Uncle Dicky is a family secret—except he’s not really a secret. Nor should his behavior ever be one.

Yes, these folks, no matter how questionable some might be, are all a part of our genetic pool. Perhaps some families have a few more perversion-inclined members than others, but all families have at least one or two of them, just as all families have members who are openly addicted to drugs, alcohol, and porn.  These aren’t things that you should ignore and pretend aren’t affecting others, because they definitely do affect them—especially the vulnerable, young ones.

I’ll honestly admit that I’ve always hated family mazine not coming.jpggatherings—both with my own family and my long-time friend’s family.  The ones I’ve personally participated in, especially from childhood, were cringe-worthy for me and felt downright alien. Not only did I NOT feel like a part of that group—I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to be considered a part of them.  So I have a hard time relating to the positive experience of family reunions that others crow about.

After seeing a few sets of my friends’ family-reunion photos on Facebook, I was thinking intensely about this family-gathering hostility that I still harbor; and the question arose in my mind wondering what about this family-reunion experience appeals to the folks who DO like to attend them?

I know old folks like to gather all the little chicks around and say “See what I did with my oldfolkreunionlife?!!!  Here they are—right here! You all came from ME! Aren’t I proud? Look what I did. I made ALL of YOU!”

I get that part. I’ve heard older folks say that very thing as justification for why we were all torturing ourselves playing nice for parents and grandparents during that required togetherness time.

And many folks feel that family reunions carry on traditions and ancestral heritage—long sheets of genealogical trees are spread out on picnic tables while gnarled fingers trace lineage from some distant relation in some far away land—an ancient relative who once traveled the greatest adventure of his and her life by coming to America to create this new life here for all of us—even for Uncle Sonny and Uncle Dicky, bless their pathetic, perverted hearts.

Once in awhile, the old folks exclaim with glee queentree.jpgpointing at the far-right tree branch, this part of the family tree produced some genuinely PERFECT fruits—real peaches who made the perfect peach marmalade or jam and produced the PERFECT offspring themselves who did likewise, etc..   “Look what this branch over here produced—all these great people—they are all relatives of ours! Look how successful or prominent they were/are.”

Implied, of course, is that that branch’s success meant that the entire tree trunk must have value. And likewise, so do we—even if we can’t see it materially at this time, but we know that one of our future direct ancestors might prove us worthy of having existed at this less-than-ideal time of us personally. It gives us hope for our future redemption.

I guess our weakness as human beings is that we long for connection to others—long for belonging to the greater tribe—long for some verification of our existential validity. Genealogical tracings seem to give some folks great comfort.  I can acknowledge this fact, but I’m also not maxinespeakstruthone of those folks.

“We carry their bloodline,” we say if they are positive role models for us; and if they aren’t we say, “Must have been some overnight fling with a fly-by-nighter that slipped into our lineage. They aren’t really OUR kin.  We sure don’t claim them.”  (Ever think that on someone else’s lineage tree, they don’t claim you either?)

So while I do understand that some folks really get into family reunions, to me it is another one of those quests to determine what it is that we lack in ourselves that we try to find in others and in their familial relationships to us.  What hollowness within us do we keep trying to fill in our search for definable connection to our heritage and bloodline?

disfunctionfamily56.pngAnd when we occasionally run across our own version of an Uncle Sonny or an Uncle Dicky, do we likewise just shake our heads and say “Nope!  Not in MY family tree!”

Or do we risk alienation from the family to do something about it, and make the family secrets stop?

I shouldn’t even have to ask that question.

“If Not Now, Then When?”

(Thanks to Tao & Zen on  May 25  for this posting from Lama Surya Das in 1994)

(I personally align to no particular religion, but am open to quality spiritual thought. I like Buddhism for its psychological depth and self-examination aspects. I like Hinduism for its ancient Vedic Seers (as well as more modern saints) who were capable of parting the veil obscuring our perceptions on this life. I like agnostics who claim that we can’t possibly know God based solely on our limited comprehensions. And I especially like the wisdom of our own Higher Self aspects that define our life experiences within the context that this human vehicle is capable of understanding.  To me, this article expresses all of those ‘likes’ by simply discussing Dharma—the way of awakening to one’s fullest potential.)

“Buddhist meditation is the heart of the path of awakening. It is called Dharma… the way of awakening to one’s fullest potential, in Western terms.buddhamedpic5.jpg

‘Awakening from what?’ you might ask. Awakening from the sleep of semiconsciousness, the dream of delusion. Awakening to enlightenment, illumination, freedom, nirvanic peace, inner peace as well as outer peace.

This is a path that we travel. It is not a dogma or belief system that we need to accept. In fact, as a very wonderful wise friend of mine, an American lama, once said, “It doesn’t really matter what we believe. It only matters what we do and are.”

I found that interesting. In Buddhism we usually say it doesn’t matter what we do, it matters how aware we are. It shows that the outer and inner are totally inseparable. It is what we are that counts, but that is what we do, actually. Our inner state shows up in our behavior…

If we practice this path, we experience the fruits, the results. Each of us innately has that Buddha potential or Buddha-nature, enlightened perfect nature.

Not just in us, like a needle in a haystack, so hard to find; rather, it is us, just waiting to be realized fully, or actualized. So this path of meditative practice, of self-inquiry, of cultivation of awareness is a practice path that we travel ourselves. Not a dogma we need to believe.

This meditative practice is like a mirror to help us see ourselves, to better know ourselves, thoroughly — our true selves, not just our superficial personalities and conditioned social selves, our persona, but our true nature, our true selves. To unfold and realize that is possible. That’s what we call awakening the Buddha within.

An ancient rabbi, Hillel I think, said, “If not you, then who? And if not now, when?” If you are not the Bodhisattva, a selfless spiritual activist or hero serving the welfare of beings, who will be?

And if not now, when? This is a call to action–not just worldly, compulsive busy-body-like activity, but a call to Buddha-activity, enlightened activity, enlightened living… ifnotnowwhen7.jpg

Not just living wisdom from the eyebrows up, totally cerebral and intellectual. Rather, embodying truth and living it.”

~ Lama Surya Das ~ Excerpts from “Dharma Talk,” October 24, 1994; Cambridge, MA.

 

“Blowciferousnous”

There.  I’ve created the perfect descriptor for politicians who try to cash in on tragedies just to get their own mugs on the evening news and to hear themselves “blowfuscate” about flagrant injustices occurring near them while pushing their own tainted agendas that helped create the very situation they are now railing against.  Most politicians in today’s world are nothing more than “blowciferous.”3ofhtenotsamekind.jpg

Political blowhards like to hear themselves talk—a lot! And they really prefer a captive audience like they can garner at press briefings after the latest school shooting. Senators, governors, the president—they all line up to so sadly address the cameras with meaningless platitudes and empty promises for a better tomorrow than today had unfortunately turned out to be.

Vociferousness is what they offer—a vocal outcry for pseudo-reform that isn’t really reform at all—just meaningless noise from a propagator whose sole purpose was to appear at the news conference itself—not to help those in the aftermath who are genuinely scared or are grieving with deep loss—but to step in front of the gathered crowd and act like they are taking charge of the situation, when instead they are the very people who have helped to create it.

Blowhards obfuscate—they shout their indignation to obscure the situation’s genuine meaning and manipulate the truth of what has actually occurred.

Blowciferous politicians bewilder their listeners with coarse banality and unintelligible logic. They portray themselves as champions for social change, when of course, they are just the opposite.  Status quo serves them far too well to support meaningful change in our society and culture.

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Any tragedy deserves heartfelt sympathy, as do the people who are most affected by the loss of loved ones. To them there are no words that can ease the depth of their pain—no “our hearts and prayers go out to the families” bullshit spoken far too frequently and with less and less conviction each time repeated.

And absolutely NO ONE deserves self-serving politicians trying to cash in on the latest school shooting with no other remedy for protecting our kids than to “arm the teachers.”

In my humble opinion, NRA-loving politicians should be careful with those suggestions.

If you arm enough teachers as the primary solution to our most serious social problems, you might not be around long to witness the result of your actions because teachers are already pretty fed up putting their own lives on the line day after day—without receiving combat pay.  Even teachers have limited patience when their elected officials refuse to do their jobs.

The real solution:  Don’t add more guns to schools!

Make the change at the ballot box—change representatives.  Eliminate gun lobbies. Stop celebrating the gun culture.

It’s time for meaningful social change and time for a new breed of representatives of peace-loving people.

No more “blowciferous” politicians!  Tell them simply: “Do your job or be thrown out.”

And then actually DO IT.giffordsquote.jpg

The Cultural Tsunami Begins

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This is what real cultural change looks like: teenagers taking back their futures from adults who are too self-focused to care about them.

This massive, collective movement only happens once every 5 or 6 decades, but it is definitely happening now; and I

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predict that this wave, along with the continuing women’s movement, will bring BIG changes to American politics—and more importantly, it will bring BIG changes to Congress.

If you watched much of it yesterday, you had to be impressed with the poise, grace, and determination on those stages around the nation—articulate youth vowing to bring massive political changes in November. This should be very interesting the next few months if Congress continues to sit on its hands.

Tyoungboymfol.jpghe NRA might hope this movement will lose steam after yesterday, but I see them only amping up to larger venues with larger cheering crowds.  Funding will pour in.

And this united movement is doing it with peaceful protest, which is how you really make a shift higher in consciousness.

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This is exciting!