Within many meditative traditions “insights” are common, perhaps even the goal in some cases. The most well-known meditative traditions in the West are the myriad of Buddhist traditions and among them the top two most well-known, I would bet, are Zen and what is termed “Tibetan Buddhism”. The Buddhist traditions are not, however, the only game in town. Meditation has become so mainstream that it is being taught and practiced everywhere from the corporate world to the prison world. With good reason I might add because it works if done correctly and regularly. But it has also become so commercialized that words and phrases such as “mindfulness”, “being present”, “living in the moment” and so on have become mere caricatures of the wisdom they once pointed to. Whenever I see or read and advertisement using those words or phrases, or see an article with them in the title I catch
Ah, the topics of religion and spirituality. Things that are never far from my mind. I separate the two because I don’t believe they are the same. So many questions, so many years of study and research to find answers to those questions only to come up with more questions more difficult than the previous ones. I equate religion with dogma, ecclesiasticism, and hierarchy. Spirituality, on the other hand, is personal, healing, sustaining, and free of dogmatism. At least that’s the way I define and view the two. Every religion, without exception, has rules or dogma. Even those more recent on the religious landscape that claim to be free of all dogma while ironically proscribing one thing or another. Spirituality, as previously mentioned, is (at least to my mind) something profoundly personal and there is no hierarchy, priests, priestesses, or anyone else to tell you how you should think and
I’ve been thinking a lot since that crazy doctor said the most moronic thing to me recently… you know, the one I wrote about telling me that my bipolar disorder was my fault because I hadn’t “accepted Jesus” (whatever that means). Since I’m here smack in the middle of what’s known as the Bible Belt and I’m constantly surrounded by religious zealots, I’ve been thinking of what it would take to convince me that there is some “higher power” or anything of the sort and I’ve come up with a short list.
What It Would Take
First, it would have to not only be able to communicate with me in a meaningful and helpful manner, it would have to actually do so. Reading a collection of books written by humans in ancient times doesn’t count as communication. That’s not real two-way communication. Plus, it’s written by human hands and a product of
Earlier today I read an interesting blog post regarding whether or not “paganism” is dying. My initial thought was, “who cares?”. If people decide they can no longer reconcile adopted beliefs with the mundane and objective reality of day to day life then they are freed in my opinion. I feel the same about any other religious belief. If an individual abandons beliefs that no longer serve them, and in some cases become detrimental, then more power to them I say. I admit I have become extremely jaded when it comes to any sort of religious claims. As I’ve written many, many times I simply have not seen or read anything that is in any way convincing to me that they are anything more than the subjective experiences or thoughts regarding things supernatural. The fact that I’ve never seen or read anything convincing to my mind perturbs me… it makes
Man, I’m really struggling here… I’ve got a million things on my mind and want to write about them all but every time I begin to type today I see what I’ve written and realize that it probably won’t make any sense at all to readers so I delete and start over. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve deleted and restarted on this post today. It’s extremely difficult to try to convey anything at all in a coherent manner when there are so many disparate topics running through my mind seemingly simultaneously. Religion, sleep, dreams, goals, loneliness: all of these things are on my mind today and I want to write about them all but I don’t want to bore you to tears or end up typing out a saga instead of a blog post. I’ll start with two at the same time since they are related anyway…
I’ve been busy lately finishing a book I began writing some time ago. It’s actually a short book so it wasn’t the word-count that took so long but rather the topic. It’s about an incident that changed me on some very fundamental levels. Changed the way I interact with strangers and left me seemingly with a complete inability to escape my hypervigilance for longer than a few consecutive moments. So while it isn’t a long book, it wasn’t particularly easy to write because of the memories it brought back and because it isn’t easy to write, for all the world to read, of a time when you were so utterly helpless and vulnerable. It’s called Exorcism of an Atheist and that’s exactly what it was… an exorcism of an atheist. That atheist was me.
Exorcisms Are Bullsh*t and Dangerous
Don’t get me wrong and think that I believe exorcisms do anything at
I haven’t posted in a while because, well, I didn’t really have anything to say. That’s not entirely accurate in a way I suppose… I had a lot in my heart and on my mind but I didn’t, and still don’t, know how to translate it into words. My aunt recently died. I, along with other family members, was in the room with her when she took her last breath. I was in there when the nurse called for the lady who pronounced officially what we already knew. It was called at 4:25 pm, but her last breath was actually about three minutes before that. I’ve been walking around feeling numb since. Numb except for the pain. Sort of like a daze I suppose. Lots of memories flooding back and lots of questions.
I’ve studied two religions extensively for decades. Buddhism and Christianity. I was raised in a Christian home
I can’t think of a topic more potentially volatile than that of God or politics, but I’m gonna go ahead and post about the former. Please do keep in mind that this isn’t a rant or attack or anything of the sort. I’m simply curious and (almost) always have been. Although I’m 51 now I was raised and heavily indoctrinated into an extreme version of Christianity. As far back as I can remember I was repeatedly warned about Hell. I was dragged off to church 3 times a week, twice on Sundays and once on Wednesdays. If there was what was termed “meetings” going on anywhere in the area we would also go to them. Those were every evening from Sunday evening to Friday or Saturday evening. The little congregation (there were never more than 12 or so members) called themselves a Church of Christ. They had broken off from
Continuing along the line of yesterday’s post about how Yahweh wasn’t always the lone god of the ancient Israelites, how El was and Yahweh was simply one god out of many gods under El. Monotheism, contrary to what people are taught in churches today, was not the norm for ancient Israelites. The belief in one single and almighty god didn’t begin among the Israelites until much, much later than Christians, Muslims, and Jews would prefer to admit (that is if they would even acknowledge that embarrassing fact). This means that the billions across the globe who believe that their god simply always had been the only game in town, so to speak, are wrong.
Yahweh also had a consort called Asherah, who just happened to formerly be the wife of El. You can already see Yahweh absorbing the attributes once given to El. Eventually Yahweh went from being simply another
I’ve always had a fascination regarding religions, particularly the actual history and evolution of religions. Some might even call it an obsession. For decades I’ve devoured books, articles and other writings of scholars in the field. I find the subject utterly enthralling. I’ve always been curious about why some religious traditions survive and others don’t and the answer(s) to the question of their survival or not just as intriguing.
I was recently reading about El, the high god of the Canaanite peoples’ pantheon. It turns out that El was, in fact, the god of the Israelites originally. I decided to do even more research on this fascinating information and found, via Google searches, another scholar in the field who states the same thing. Even the name, Israel, has an invocation of El in it. I find this utterly fascinating! I obviously can’t link to the books I was reading unless you