Saturday, July 12, 2008, 3:19 PM
My wife, Emily, is the preeminent believer in negative thought, the queen of agnostics and a firm believer in dire consequences. "Negative thout never disappoints me," she says. "If my doubt about a matter is correct, then my feelings are right. In the event my feelings are wrong, the result is always positive, because things work for the good--not because I had anything to do with them--but because things simply fell into place in a natural way. Either way, I'm never let down or disappointed by negative thinking, or am I ever stressed out trying to force things."
Emily and I never argue because she is smarter than I. I'm the positive one who comes up with the bright ideas when, from time to time, she comes to the rescue, and together, we try to figure out a way to pay the piper. You'd never find us in Las Vegas or an Indian casino, because in Emily's eyes, gamblers are losers, and the daredevils and high risk freaks are destined for a slab at the morgue. The dizzy swings between triumph and disappointment are not a lifestyle she is comfortable with.
A few years before I had met Emily, I jumped on the "positive thought train" by attending the good churches of Religious Science and Science of Mind. Of course, the major tenet is "thoughts are things, and things are thoughts." It's a terrific idea to believe that holding on to a positive thought that your desires will come true. In real practice though, I found out that most things in the world are God's thoughts and not mine.
Ernest Holmes, the founder of the Religious Science and Science of Mind churches, got many of his ideas from Thomas Troward. fundamentally, Troward's ideas are a Westernized version of pantheism in which the universe and the world is the thought of God created by what he calls, Cosmic Will, and that Cosmic Will is the thing that holds everything together, from stars, planets, plants, animals, and humans. Human will is ar reflection from Cosmic Will and has the same ability to create, so long as it is synchronized with Cosmic Will.
Troward goes on to say that if we lived in a world where everybody possessed the power of plying or fluxing matter capriciously, irrespective of any universal coordinating principle, it would prove disastrous to the existence of the material universe. This means that whatever humans wish to manifest, in regards to their needs and desires, they must do it in agreement with Cosmic Will. This begs the question of how do you know what you wish for is in accordance to Cosmic Will?
When I cry out to the mountain, as Jesus did in Mat 17:20, "Remove hence to yonder place," I know for sure nothing is going to happen, unless, by chance, I had the lifetime use of some heavy earth moving equipment. In reality, the mountain is God's idea and He'll move it when He damn pleases...maybe by the collision of a stray asteroid or a cataclysmic earthquake. That's more like God's style.
I've had better luck with the ideas of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh who said, "When you meditate, you will see many negative things disappear in your life, without making any effort on your part. You don't have to destroy or wish them away; they simply disappear."
Meditating deeply has always worked best for me. Good things seem to happen without any effort on my part. Of course at my age, there is hardly anything to wish for, other that to be as smart as Emily.
What is your experience with positive thinking?
Saturday, March 8, 2008, 4:56 PM
It seems as though we are living in a world that only uses the name God or Jesus Christ as cuss words. Religious extremism in the middle East is, perhaps, partly to blame, but more so is our secular educational system with its emphasis on technology and science. Our universities and colleges have become a sort of secular church, while science and technology has become a kind of redeemer to the faults of industrial society. We have the university as the father, science and technology as the son, and empirical philosophy as the Holy Ghost.
We, therefore, put our faith and trust not in god, but what is discovered in a laboratory and analyzed under a microscope and assigned Latin names that few people understand. Could it be the many religions in the world that have given God so many different names--Jehovah, Yahweh, Krishna, Allah, Abba, Ahura Mazda--that a scientific name for God would go without notice?
The scientific community, of course, is not to be ignored, with its relentless public relations bombardment of new discoveries...anything from wart remover to global warming and its theory of how man finally evolved from pond scum to scientist. Coffee and wine are good for you one day, the next day are proved to make you nervous or drunk, if used in excess.
By no means do I want to trivialize the astounding advances of science, from computers and jetlines to the Internet. Indeed, few want to relinquish indoor plumbing or go back to the days when you needed to kill a chicken for Sunday dinner. We cherish our technologically sanitized environment, safe from the onslaughts of nature.
All of the conveniences and comfort that science has provided has come at a cost. We have given up the quiet solitude of watching the stars at night for sports and sexually drenched movies on TV. We have prearranged the simple, grubby life of the farm for a clean, technologically insulated existence. Living is more cerebral and less back-breaking, but also more complex and demanding. Things have to be ready made because we no longer have the time or energy to make them ourselves. It is simply a delusion to believe that a person can be an individualist; when in reality, that person is more and more dependent on the skills of others.
As a matter of fact, the idea of having any personal thoughts has been given up by the time one reaches adolescence. One is but a part of the collective consciousness, trained to be part of a survival system, where true independence is impossible. "Tell me where you're from, and I'll tell you who you are," is the mantra of social scientists. Our intellect is basically a collection of hand-me-down ideas and experiences for others. We scrounge around for the ideas of others like sorting out junk in a landfill, and pick out the stuff we like the best, and claim it to be our own.
Our ideas about God come from that same intellectual junk pile. We make choices of whether we are democrats or republicans, whether we own a Ford truck or Toyota. We identify with those things and they become a part of us on an observed level. We identify with objects and think of ourselves as objects of utility for the collective. We follow this kind of thinking when we think of God. He, too, must be an entity, only on a higher level. We see Him in an uncontaminated place called heaven, battling His opponent, the devil, who is out to corrupt the universe--especially the human race.
The problem with the idea of God verses the devil is that nobody has seen either one. There is no physical evidence to prove whether God exists or not. By the same token, you can't prove that He doesn't exist. On an empirical level, it's a problem with no physical proof. Is God merely a projection of wishful thinking? The Eastern religions have an interesting concept about God--He is neither a person or a thing.
How can God be omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, by being a person or a thing? A person or thing has to be someplace and can't be everywhere at once. To the Hindu, God is sat (being), cit (consciousness), and ananda (bliss).
The Hindu's give an interesting analogy by explaining that water is actually the combination of one large hydrogen atom with two smaller oxygen atoms. Water, in appearance, looks nothing like hydrogen or oxygen because they are not visible to the human eye. Water, on the other hand, is visible, and it, too, takes on varous appearances: steam, water, and ice. It has vaporous, liquid, and solid characteristics--but it is still the gases of hydrogen and oxygen. Nothing has really change, except the appearance.
Like the invisible hydrogen and oxygen in water, God is in everything and is everything--all is God. You can't put God under a microscope, because He is the observer, the microscope, the lab, as well as the universe...the entire kit and caboodle.
So our concept of the word God is merely a word that describes that which is beyond description and empirical identification. He is beyond abstraction and is the mysterious, spiritual genome for everything in existence.
Thursday, January 24, 2008, 4:59 PM
Science, in general, has always taken the course of the empiricists and the existentialists, denying any spiritual cause behind material phenomena. Science always attempts to reduce the mental activity of the mind as a neuro-biochemical process of the body.
However, physicists, on another side of the scientific community, disagree and say there are no solids or substances at the atomic and subatomic level of physical existence. They point out, for instance, that you can't stick your finger through a door because the atoms in your finger are less dense, and vibrate more slowly, than the atoms rapidly vibrating in the door.
Another interesting fact is that the distance between the rotating electrons and the nucleus of an atom is the same ratio as the planets and stars rotating in space. In other words, everything we experience is mostly space--nothing. The physicists wonder if the body and the material things we experience are merely concepts of the mind.
So we have two factions of science that disagree whether or not the mind is a neuro-biochemical component of the body, or that the physical body is simply a nebulous atomic cloud of whirling atoms we imagine to be a body--a mirage of the mind. So what is the mind? Does human thought and intelligence ooze from a yet to be discovered molecular or atomic structure in the brain, or is it a metaphysical, spiritual noumenon that is non-detectable in the empirical world?
Science is not about to get into the spiritual business and will stick with its trinity of inert matter, senseless force, and random chance. DNA is the mechanical model of life that cranks out live things, whether a tree, frog, or a man. It can be used as a seed when implanted into a female egg and returned to the uterus...a very tedious and expensive way to give birth to anything. But leave it to the ambitions of science to seek the power to control life itself and to attempt to create new life forms.
Le's say that you have a few extra million bucks and you want a clone of yourself, providing you want to go through the hassle of raising another child with the assurance that the child will be normal. DNA is taken from a smple of your skin and fused into a female egg. This child should be aa replica of you, all 46 of your chromosomes, instead of a normal sharing of 23 chromosomes of your own and 23 chromosomes from that of your partner through a sexual relationship. Will the clone have a soul?
The fact that the clone has life is evidence the clone would have a soul, because life is never a material or a substance. Life is a force that constantly renews and remakes itself. Life is a compromise between the idea and the possible, and DNA is a perfect example. It is the instinct for growth and survival. The spiritual life principle or force uses the idea of form in the molecular DNA to grow something out of nothing, whether a tree or an ant that climbs the tree.
While the mad scientist dreams of producing made-to-order humans---like hatching baby chicks in an incubator, but it is the unseen life force that is needed to make the dream come true. The life force is the universal Soul (otherwise known as God) that exists in everything. What is possible is what the Universal Soul makes possible. It is the Universal Soul that gives the blastocyst the instinct to develop into a fetus, from a fetus to infant to all of the stages in human life. Everything has Soul, like white light shining through a prism, producing the colors of a rainbow. The colors of the prism correspond to the qualties of form: flowers, bees, honey, as well as the beekeeper.
Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
God Bless Your Clone
Friday, January 18, 2008, 4:52 PM
The Stegmagen Corp. in La Jolla California has just announced that it has successfully cloned a human embryo. Science and morality have once more crossed paths to perhaps set a new ethical paradigm. The issue is the reverence for human life. Before any judgment can be made, however, there must be a basic understanding of what human cloning involves.
First there are two kinds of cloning methods: therapeutic and reproductive. Both methods begin the same way with an egg cell, about the size of a grain of sand, from a female donor. The first step is to remove the DNA nucleus from the egg-cell. the DNA is the boss that directs cell development. The empty egg cell, with no boss or instructor, is now inserted with a somatic cell from the skin or hair of another human. The somatic cell has different DNA and acts like a new boss to direct cell growth. Once the new DNA is inserted into the egg cell, it is fused with an electrical impulse.
The new embryo is now incubated 4 or 5 days in a chemical solution. If things go well, the cloned embryo develops into a blastocyst that is still an embryo of several hundred cells. This is the point where therapeutic and reproductive cloning differs.
In reproductive cloning, the blastocyst is transferred into a female uterus with the possibility it will implant and turn into a fetus. Therapeutic cloning, on the other hand, diverges by removing key cells from the blastocyst, destroying the embryo. The cells that are removed are embryonic stem cells, used as building blocks for developing specialized cells for bodily organs and tissues that the immune system would not reject.
This is caled "Transformative Medicine" and a way of making any cell or tissue available to treat a disease. Organs such as the heart, liver, or kidneys can be specially designed for an individual willing to pay the high price.
The point of the argument is that a tiny human embryo has to be destroyed. This is how the human organism begins, along with the fertilization of the father. Is a human organism a human life, and can you slay a human life to benefit another? The process destroys one human life to benefit and allow a different human life to live. We are all taught that it is evil to destroy life, to injure it, to repress it from developing its full potential.
Science argues that cells are simply cells and that manipulating and destroying an embryo is no different that cutting nails or getting a haircut. The cells are human, but they are not human life. Those embryos are simply a microscopic ball of cells that have not yet become a human being. Science says that life doesn't begin at conception and that it takes up to two weeks before the pregnancy of a human begins.
The goal of science stretches much further than merely curing disease, but to be able to engineer animals and humans and to make new life forms. This sounds like a new version of the story of Frankenstein. Will the new life forms become smarter and less likely to war against each other...or turn out to become freaks and monsters?
Suppose you had a clone made of yourself, would it be smarter or even retarded in some way? If you developed kidney disease, would it be ethical to kill the clone in order to take his kidneys? Would you love the clone as you would a son or daughter? Would you use the clone to do all of the dirty work around the house?The real question is whether your clone would have a living soul and have a subjective sense of knowing God. Maybe the secular and atheistic thinkers are about to have their day in proving that man is just a self-reflective animal whose life is shaped by experience, sensations, memory, and imagination.
My nest post will discuss the soul.
Monday, January 14, 2008, 3:50 PM
By the time you reach high school age, you have absorbed more misinformation from the prejudices in the environment so that you have no idea who you are or what you should be doing in life. But there is a gold mine of talent hidden in your heart and mind that may set you on a course of happiness and fulfillment.
Finding the starting place is like discovering the Lost Dutchman Mine in your soul. It's found away from all of the clutter of junk information you've accumulated over a lifetime of what "others" have told you is a success, or what "they" think you should be doing with your life. Albert Einstein said, "Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value."
Most of the actions in life have to do with the necessary duties and responsibilities that are thrown into your path. Life is filled with the pitfalls, but also with the triumphs of chance. Some people work hard all of their lives, getting a good education and by doing all of the right things, ending up sometimes homeless, while others are stepping into riches and fame accidentally.
Our enforced rational educational system requires making the right choices by figuring out life through hard study of the problem, which many times leaves us in the sway of wrong decision. Then our emotions begin to work, leading to even more error...and even worse, we begin listening to the advice of others.
Have you ever noticed how humans usually begin peeling a banana at the shank, while a monkey peels a banana at the bud, which is far easier? Leave it to a monkey's intuitive intelligence to show humans how to peel a banana the right way. Humans, or at least a greater number of humans, are supposed to be more intelligent than monkeys. Unfortunately, that intuition and imagination we are born with is drummed out of us by our educational system, which is more interested in keeping us bound to old ideas.
Ever have a difficult problem when the answer came to you after waking from a good night's sleep? Of course, we all do from time to time. It is during sleep that our mind is clear of the thoughts we are conditioned to. Society is a construct...a made up game that we have to work and play in.
What is your talent? What can you do easily that others can't? What is it that entertains you when nobody is around? If you had all of the money you needed, what would you do with your life? These questions are those Superstitious Mountains that contain the Lost Dutchman Mine in your heart and soul.
I knew a multimillionaire that had an eighth grade education who said, "I'm all guts and no brains," who told me many stories how he overcame not only his competition, but also the many government regulations through very unorthodox maneuvers. He out foxed them with his intuition. His lack of training and education became his advantage, because he would try ideas that others didn't have the guts to try. A different approach can also become a key element in your success.
Friday, December 28, 2007, 3:29 PM
You wonder if the holiday season isn't really a form of worldwide insanity rather than a happy time for enjoying friends and family as well as providing room for some self-indulgence. Once you get back to checking the credit card balances and jumping onto the bathroom scale, you begin to realize the consequences of overdoing.
As much as commonsense would rule, the expense and hassle of the holidays is completely unjustifiable. But there is no way you can disappoint friends and family in the camaraderie and traditional exchange of gifts. Nobody wants to be labeled a Scrooge or of being a party-pooper.
Now that the season is over, it's time to tighten the belt and get back to sensible living again, particularly at the dinner table. It's also time to start jogging and working out at the gym, checking the blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and beginning a regimen that'll do the body good.
From a spiritual level, the physical body is the cross we all have to bear. It is susceptible to accident and disease; and, as a quick walk down a drugstore isle will attest...something is constantly going wrong with it. Fundamentally, it is a bag of chemicals that keeps us in touch with the world, and the source of all our troubles.
Keeping the body in good shape is a never ending project that includes the breathing of clean air, eating and drinking wholesome food and water, wearing clean, comfortable clothing, and having proper shelter to shield against the weather. It really requires very little to stay healthy, but we live in an indulgent culture that accents the negative cash flow from the bank account.
Our marketing culture bombards us with all kinds of misinformation about the state of our health in order to sell their products. Sometimes buying those products becomes a fad and everybody jumps onto the bandwagon--bottled water as a typical example. In most places in the United States, tap water may even be better for you than bottled, yet bottled water costs more than gasoline.
The greater cost, however, is to be too involved with the material matters of maintaining the physical body and forgetting the more important spiritual matters with God. A special time must be dedicated to prayer and meditation to God above all else. You get away from God and the rest of your resolutions soon fall away, and you end up being a mess again.
The foundation of life must start with worshipping and loving our Creator. That is the one thing in life you can depend upon. When you meditate on God's Bliss, you are free from the troubles of the world as well as your own. "The kingdom of heaven is within."
Monday, December 24, 2007, 5:11 PM
There are many religions, but only one true God. So the difference among the various religions has to be how God is worshiped, not whether there are many different Gods...some good, some evil. I can't imagine one side of the universe as pristine while being perverted by an evil side. This would indicate many gods, with limited powers, bullying each other for control of the entire universe, like a shoot-out at the O. K. Corral.
We are not talking about a 160 ranch in Texas with horses, cattle, and barbed wire fences, but unimaginable distances. Our humble Milky Way galaxy spans a mere 100,000 light-years with only about 200 billion stars--and this is only some of the stuff that we can see out there. Don't you kind of wonder who the heck is in charge of all that orbiting material? Is it "He," "She," or "It" good or bad?
Humanity takes unjustified pride in what little it does know, and impolitely shuts the door to new revelations about our Creator. How can anybody say for certain their religion is the best when mankind, as a whole, is fundamentally mad? We over feed people on one side of the planet, while starving people on the other. We abort babies with new views and promises about making the world better, while going to extreme measures to preserve the lives of the old and dying?
We have people more concerned over a bad hair day than in the hazardous way they drive on the freeway. With so many people living vainly and stupidly everyday, it only makes good sense to have some kind of institution that will bring people back to the reality they are here only temporarily. Once they pull the white sheet over your body, all that you've done or accomplished in life is over and counts for nothing on a universal scale. It's you--one-on-one--with those 100 billion galaxies. What makes you so special?
We need strong religious institutions of all kinds to lay the ground work for morality and sensible behavior. Life is more than bubble gum, video games, and silly putty. Life has to be put into proper prospective. Religion does that. The ten commandments, the beatitudes, teach how to live intelligently. you train your mind to control your biological and emotional needs and not let your biological and emotional needs control you.
Nevertheless, for any religion to be successful, it must not disrupt the economic and social structure of any given community or nation. Christianity has allowed our nation to grow in that manner and why we are fundamentally a Christian nation. However, other religions of the East are beginning to modify Christian thinking. By what name do we call God, Jesus Christ, Krishna, Allah, The Absolute, Universal Mind, etc.?
Certainly a Power as great as the Creator would understand the dilemma of creatures so vain they can barely take care of themselves fairly, and in a way that benefits all, and that any sincere effort to reconcile themselves with the Everlasting would be recognized with love and understanding.
In short, any religion touting itself as "the only way to find God" is more political and less spiritual. We are all kids, playing in this dirt pile, earth. And we must humble ourselves as children, knowing we don't know very much.