Thursday, July 29, 2010

Grasping and Non-Grasping(Detachment)

Along with the concept of ahimsa(to not harm a living thing either in action or words) another Buddhist concept I regularly talk to my two children about is upadana. This is a complex concept which, while difficult to talk to adults about, is ridiculously easy to talk to children about. Their minds are capable of seeing clearly whereas adults have too many materialistic hangups in the way.

Let's dig deeper and see why this may be.

Upādāna: Sanskrit for"clinging," "attachment" or "grasping", although the literal meaning is "fuel."[1] Upādāna and tṛṣṇā (Skt.; Pali: taṇhā) are seen as the two primary causes of suffering. The cessation of clinging leads to Nirvana.[2]

There are four main "clinging types" talked about in Buddhist and Hindu texts.
  1. The craving of worldly things/sensations
  2. completely black or white world views and view of the self
  3. clinging to rites and rituals as if rites alone could lead directly to liberation
  4. and maintaining a self-doctrine that one has a permanent "self" to lose when death occurs
Although children are professional players(this is literally their JOB as part of exploration) they have a much more wobbly sense of balance. Why do you think this is? This is because they are not 'firmly in their skin' so to speak. It is only through later adolescence and then young adulthood when the soul become so firmly attached to the physical form they have grown accustomed to. Naturally, this leads to clingy behavior if this form is threatened. Adults are more cautious than children when protecting this form(and material possessions seen to have worth).

In keeping a doctrine or world-view of either all "This" or all "That" we make the mistake of filling the mold of stereotypes. Fundamentalism at its finest. There is no growth through this skewed perspective. The world is not completely one way or the other and neither is our soul or connection to the divine. Without change there is stagnation. With stagnation comes spiritual death. Then one must ask themselves: what is the purpose of life if not to grow and learn? If you don't want to learn and grow why are you still hanging around? And if you're so sure of everything then this last question still applies. What is there left for you to do if not learn?

Clinging to rites and rituals is a dangerous form of upadana in that it also does not allow us to grow beyond our current perspective. This grasping behavior is the comfort of routine while in other ways it is the basis of wanting to get something far before you are ready for it. The Biblical theme of "paying to get into heaven" falls into this concept. Pushing our religious boundaries and not becoming stagnant is essential. If we are not child-like and choose instead to cling to our rituals then we are in danger of losing that vibrant connection to the divine. It becomes dull when not used in new ways on a regular basis.

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about a whisper in my ear from Pleroma. It was, quote, "you do not have a self." It is one thing to teach about non-grasping behavior in the material world and quite another to dissolve this seemingly hardwired idea in our brain that each of us is separate and therefore we have cause to do harm to one another any way we wish. If it's not hurting us then who cares, right? As long as I get what I need or want then that's all that matter

Rising above this greed of self-identity is very difficult. In gnosis, this is the equivalent of visualizing the pattern of cloth or material which makes up Pleroma and therefore, us. We are all connected as one mind. Separate physical bodies but all connected with spirit. We think we are separate only because of miscommunication and the distractions of the material world. We're so caught up in these distractions that with each of us trying to grab a certain piece of something we think that there's not going to be enough for everyone so there must be a race to get there first.

By seeing the divine connection we share with one another it becomes unthinkable that we would wish to harm 'our self.'

Detachment is the opposite of grasping.
Nekkhamma in contrast to upādāna.

Nekkhamma is a tricky concept in relation to gnosis and this bears much further discussion.

"...From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging, illness & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of suffering & stress."
— from "Clinging" (Upadana Sutta SN 12.52)

I think that we have to be careful, very careful, about what we become detached from. For such a lofty goal of attaining gnosis and therefore a more complete communion with Pleroma, must we detach from the world completely? What if we choose to detach from our family, friends, and neighbors? What would the purpose be? What if we sit in mute contemplation for the rest of our days?

Dawkins and the "Banana Man"

*~~~*~~~Note~~~*~~~ *
I am posting this article fairly soon after the last. Make sure you scroll down to read the last post as it ties in with this one.

One can see an awful lot of militant atheism on YouTube. Thankfully, there are a handful of people out there who aren't afraid to jump into the fight. Both sides are hardly even in number, what with the DMCA's getting slapped on people left and right. It's cowardly, for sure. If you can't think of a good counterargument- scream copyright violation, right?!

This video of Dawkins is a puzzling piece of work. I mean, what exactly is a "cousin" if not an ancestor, anyway? A cousin is still part of the family construct, is it not? Last I checked it was. So is he saying that these "cousins" all--
every single one of them!! -- suddenly up and disappeared in EVERY genetic way and there is no hope of ever reconstructing what their DNA may look like?!! That does not make any kind of logical sense. Why would an entire branch of a family DNA sequence disappear? Under what circumstances could/would this occur? (maybe GOD?!! No, I'm not giving this idea serious consideration. Just giving you an idea of the dead ends Dawkins doesn't like to think about.)

The man seems to tremble at being called on to give an example of the very hypothesis he shouts so loudly about and tries to convince us of. But then again, this flaky interview didn't garner him any book sales so.... I suppose this only makes him a propagandist. And a bad one at that.

Oh, and here's a point to ask your friendly neighborhood biologist: aren't alligators and crocodiles considered "cousins" of dinosaurs? These two beasts are modern and yet haven't changed much since the last evolutionary era. And what about the mighty cockroach?!! In all it's shapes and sizes over the millennia surely the cockroach can be studied as one of those amazing scavengers(like crocodiles!) which has the genetic heartiness to trace its origins back to whatever evolutionary era scientists might like to examine.

But in Dawkins' mind, that just doesn't work. We can't study something from the past, says he. We have to look at what we have NOW in front of us to give us the answer about if there is a God. *shakes head* Man, you can't have it both ways. You scream that science will prove there is no god and then proceed to preach exactly what ways we shouldn't use science to find answers. Confused much? I know I am. I keep hoping for a straight answer from this guy but I haven't heard one from him yet.

And this next video is just an example of the way Dawkins wiggles out of debating. Yes, Kirk Cameron is strange little puppet. Yes, the debate would have been excruciating and this is probably why Kirk dropped out. But it appears as though Dawkins would rather be a stand up comic than a serious scientist. I just can't take anyone seriously when they're so busy slapping names on their opponents like, "banana man." Honestly, it just makes me hungry. Or want to go to the zoo. Not listen to a supposed "serious scientist" blather on and on about bananas and monkeys.

Pay careful attention to the expression on his face and the nervous twitch of his hands. He's a bit unsure of himself and how his stand up act will be received. I imagine this to be about the same level of nervousness a white man showed the first time using the term "African American" instead of the more profane descriptive used in the past to denote color or race.

So you have to ask yourself- what do militant atheists think of everyone else who does not share in their disbelief?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On Atheism

When I first wrote the review on Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" a little more than a week ago I had no idea the pain I would feel so soon afterward concerning atheism. I feel like I have had my heart literally ripped out of my chest. Why? Because I have now had to revise my theory concerning atheism in regards to walking a path toward gnosis.

For some time now I've been following an atheist blogger by the pseudonym of Dromedary Hump(Dromedary is a breed of camel, btw) who owns the Atheist Camel blog. Bart(his real name), also wrote a book called The Atheist Camel Chronicles. It's very well received on Amazon.

Bart, who more fondly goes by the nickname "Hump" on his blog produces at least four articles a month; each article has always been a well organized attack on literalist religion. Which, as a gnostic, I'm pretty accepting of to a certain extent. Pointing out and learning from the irrational behavior and idiosyncrasies of literalists is important in growth toward gnosis. If you can't figure out where you've been then how can you identify where you want to go? Identifying those speed bumps is essential.

In Hump's blog articles I have always tried to nudge my two-cents in wherever I can as long as the topic allowed me to point out the differences between literalist and non-literalist religions. He has been shocked at times at how much I agree with him on certain topics. He has educated me on atheism and so all in all I have to say that it was a copacetic relationship up until now. Mutual teaching and learning going on between us and mutual respect concerning our difference of opinion on whether or not there is a divine presence in the universe worth revering. Until last week.

There has always been a certain ruthlessness and volatility in Hump's friend, NewEnglandBob's posted comments. This proved to be an excellent way to watch, in action, two atheists who don't necessarily agree with one another one hundred percent of the time. I considered Hump to be the more moderate atheist and NEBob to the angry militant variety-- until something snapped in Hump's head sometime last week and that last shred of sanity which was holding him back from becoming a full fledged pissed off militant atheist- left the building. It is gone. Au revoir. Never to be seen again, I fear.

The blog post titled "Those Damnable New Atheists!" was the sad train wreck which broke my heart.

During my original reading of the post I was nodding my head and agreeing with Hump right up until the last paragraph of: "But careful examination of the contributions of theists in real world terms: i.e. science and medicine by notible theists like Gregor Mendel, Christian Barnard, Jonas Salk, Albertus Magnus, Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon and other personages of faith were made INSPITE of their theistic superstition, not BECAUSE of it. Had they not extended themselves beyond the precepts of their religious indoctrination and the ignorant falsehoods of scripture, they’d have contributed nothing."

A red flag went up in my mind at his presumption of the brainlessness of all theists. I wrote:

Angel said...

Quote: "INSPITE of their theistic superstition, not BECAUSE of it. Had they not extended themselves beyond the precepts of their religious indoctrination and the ignorant falsehoods of scripture, they’d have contributed nothing."

Sorry, Hump, but I have to disagree with you on that part. Yes, 75% of literalist theists claw at real science like kicking and screaming jackals with nothing else to do. HOWEVER, there is something to be said about the wonderful spark of intuitive reasoning which comes from the All(Not Yahweh-remember?). This isn't in spite of anything. If the person is not listening they wont hear a damn thing and just blithely go on their merry way. But if they ARE listening then real progress can be made in all areas of science a person is working in.

Even some gnostics get deaf from time to time, because of all the material responsibilities of their lives. So we're not completely immune to this.

Granted, our republic has been twisted now to the opposite side of the spectrum, but I wonder what would have happened if Plato had not been so inspired to write on the gnostic principles he did, among other things....

Be careful who you point your finger at. Not all theists are brainless because not all theists are literalists.

A theist with the pseudonym of DSJulian began an email war with Hump and posted their dialogue in the blog post's comment area. It was vicious. I could only watch in horror as Hump and NEBob proved that atheists are just as guilty of lacking rationality and good judgment as literalists. There were gross errors in historical information being bandied about and then misinterpreted to heap more ignorance on top of everything. Like I said- train wreck.

In the end, I said good-bye. I just couldn't watch any longer. It was obvious nobody was grasping the differences between literalist and non-literalist religion. I tried, I really did. But I failed in making these distinctions clear the past few months.

"Congratulations, Hump. You have now graduated to being a militant atheist in my book.

Apres tu, Julian.

I'll let myself(and my reasoning and rational mind) out; no need to show me the door."

Hump replied:

Angel, Hmmm.. I have always been a militant atheist. Ithought you understood that.

I hate to see you go. But I will not attribute to a god, a supernatural force, or a thinking senitinel being anything having to do with life, the universe, creation etal; nor will I allow disinofrmation to go unchallenged.

It was such a door-slam-in-the-face that I didn't reply. But DSJulian did after a while. He said,

"Angel, like me, thought you were a rational, reasonable person. Obviously you are not because once you are pressed with the facts, you have to resort to name calling. And as the Hump-God gets challenged, you have to respond by getting angry and accusing others of being angry. In the meantime your anger is being clearly demonstrated by your increasingly frequent spelling and other errors. You are becoming more and more like the God you say you reject, except you don't have the power to create anything..."

The melodrama went on for a total of sixty comments before finally dying down. Hump began deleting all of DSJulian's comments around post number forty-five or so.

In the end, I have revised my theory concerning atheism on being a possible stepping stone toward gnosis. Before this whole blogstorm I thought that any atheist was capable of using their rational rejection of literalism as a catapult toward gnosis when they were ready. I stand corrected. Now I have to say that I believe only 25% moderate/calm atheists stand a chance of gnosis and under 5% of the militant atheists will ever come around. They can't get rid of their hate long enough to see through, around, or under the blindfold which is holding them captive.

Debating with atheists isn't useless or pointless. I mean, this is a person's soul we're talking about here! It's important stuff! But with what I've found so far debating with atheists is tedious and more often than not, fruitless.

Coincidentally, I picked up the book "The Dawkins Delusion?" from the library a day or so prior to this blogstorm. Once my temper settled I dug into it and attempted to make some sense out of what had happened. Finally, I would be able to read a theist's deconstruction of Dawkins's argument against God!

For the most part I was disappointed. "The Dawkins Delusion?" was a fairly superficial engagement of the numerous arguments Dawkins proposed, however it did make one valid point: you cannot keep rehashing the same old arguments over and over again with nothing new to contribute if you are a SCIENTIST and want to be taken seriously as a SCIENTIST. And no, making up new theories of "memes" and "God viruses" aren't real science. That requires lab work.

Believing in evolution does not make me a disingenuous theist, contrary to what Dawkins would have me and everyone else believe. I don't feel disingenuous. I feel pretty darn confident, actually! It is possible to be a theist and believe in the good work of science. So why does Dawkins lump all theists into the same creationist camp??? Because otherwise he'd have to admit that there is a gray area and that not all theists are "mentally deficient!" And Dawkins can't stand gray. It's either his way or nothing.

A scientist taking the pulpit seems disingenuous to me.

And on the real science front..... {This news video} about British scientists solving the "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" mystery says something quite remarkable about our quest for answers. With every answer we receive from science it appears that our final answer concerning divinity is a long way off. We need to be patient and in the meantime not tear each other apart.

From how I look at the conclusion to this test it was a stalemate. The chicken could have dropped from the sky or it could have evolved. It's really kinda ironic, when you think about it! The poor creationists and evolutionist are looking at each other like, "well... crap. Now what do we do?!!"

Long story short, folks, either the divine is proven to exist or not. Science appears to be able to assist with the ongoing debate, however it seem quite hilarious to me that so far both sides have been slamming their heads into walls with the conclusion of their tests. The results are conclusive but... not. Answering one question only leads to ten more. Such is life.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Compassion and Free Will

In gnosis, the Good God wants us to have maximum personal freedom for growth and exploration. This means the ability to make mistakes as well as do good deed to learn from.

But where do the boundaries for personal freedom lie in a realistic sense today? How can we safely get there without our world imploding in hatred from one end of the political/socio/economic spectrum or the other?

On Friday I said the next post I put up would detail why I'm so bummed lately. Still working on it. But these thoughts on compassion and free will are the end result of where I'm at after three days of careful consideration.

I don't think there is an answer and it pains me.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Heard this song the day before yesterday on my radio in the car and since then Pleroma's been singing it with me-- even with the heartbreak I've been dealing with. That'll be my next post once I get my thoughts together.

Pleroma's saying, "Dance with me, girl!!!!" and apparently this is our song for the week. I'll admit, it's awesome. It's intimate. It makes me feel like I have wings.

Remember those walls I built
Well baby they're tumbling down
They didn't even put up a fight
They didn't even make a sound.

I found a way to let you in
But I never really had a doubt
Standing in the light of your halo
I've got my angel now.


It's like I've been awakened
Every rule I had you breaking
It's the risk that I'm taking
I'm never gonna shut you out!

Everywhere I'm looking now
I'm surrounded by your embrace
Baby I can see your halo
You know you're my saving grace
You're everything I need and more
It's written all over your face
Baby I can feel your halo
I pray it wont fade away.

Halo halo halo halo halo
Halo halo halo halo

It hit me like a ray of sun
Burning through my darkest night
You're the only one that I want
You got me addicted to your light

I swore I'd never fall again
But this don't even feel like falling
Gravity can't forget
To pull me back to the ground again.



Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Violence and Death from a Gnostic's Perspective

The following video is from Steve, from, talking about what you will NOT find in gnosis. This is a must watch video for those concerned with the "pagan" stamp placed on gnosticism by literalist churches(i.e. Vatican), when in fact the opposite is true: gnosis is the ultimate and most intimate relationship with the divine. No priests or Hail Mary's required. Gnosis is for everyone!!!

After you are finished watching the vid continue reading down below. If you don't watch the vid then what I write next may not make much sense.

If you look at gnosticism's history you will see this is very true. The All/Pleroma does not protect us with a Holy Umbrella. Look at the Cathars and all the other gnostic communities through the ages for proof. We are still expected to learn how to do things on our own in the physical world and to use our common sense and good judgment. We do not get a free Get Out of Experiencing Physical Death card by default of being gnostic.

Steve touched on the broad topic when he mentioned violence and death. I wanted to go in deeper with this and talk about death from the All's perspective.

The past months have shown me a new perspective on the topic of death and it's not necessarily a warm and fluffy one. Not impersonal. Hardly that!! Just... a different way to look at Pleroma's 'agenda' so to speak.

Last episode of Saving Grace. Anyone see it? I did. And the last few minutes of the episode clearly shows what I have difficulty putting into words. I'll describe the scenes instead and go from there.

Grace is given two options: go look for and stop a Very Bad Demon/Entity which is personified evil and chaos or to look the other way and play it safe. She chooses the first route. Earl, Grace's angel, is here and there and everywhere, setting things in motion to go according to God's plan dependent upon what Grace decides to do.

Meanwhile, Grace's best friend goes to a woman named Neely who also shares Earl as an angel(long back story there). Grace's friend asks Neely to call Earl and give him a message-- "Tell me if Grace is going to be ok." A physical sign given a few hours later points toward Earl giving an affirmative response. Yes, Grace is going to be ok.

Grace died. She flicked a lit lighter onto a few tons of fertilizer and went boom, thereby taking out the bad entity with her.

Did Grace have a choice? Was Heaven pushing her? Was Grace cornered like a whipped dog?

Yes, Grace always had a choice. Heaven nudged her but always gave her the option to say no and go in another direction. Free will. And no, Grace was frightened at times of the magnitude of what lay before her but she was never cowed and too terrified to put one foot in front of the other to search for what God ultimately wanted to show her and teach her about herself. Granted, she did have her tantrums. We all do when faced with monumental decisions and the unknown. But she made her choice and she stood her ground.

And she died. So was Grace "ok"?

Grace's best friend felt betrayed by Earl and by default, God. Earl said Grace was going to be ok.

Steve: "you cannot be excessively guided or you no longer have free will."


And "gnostics do get run over by buses."


And we're also not going to "get winning lottery numbers." Steve, you ruined my plans!! I was going to retire at thirty-five in the Bahamas. *sob*

So where does that leave us? Why would the All not save us with a Golden Parachute or Holy Umbrella of protection? We're special, right?! We're GNOSTIC!

...... back up there. Delete that "s" word. It has no place in gnosis. Absolutely none. We are all unique individuals with individual paths... and here's the kicker- our paths intersect with millions of other intersecting paths of other individuals. We're all special in the All's eyes. We are all worthy of the same amount of care and attention and he is fully capable of giving it.

So what is the deal with this "everything is going to be ok" type line that gnostics know and feel to be true? And where does fire and brimstone come into this? The answer is that it doesn't. Hell is a human creation whereas heaven is being reunited with the body and fabric of the All. Our existence is simply an evolution of our soul. Learning, thinking, and discovering how much love we can feel for someone even as they are making a mistake. Being able to love is key.

Why would the All tell us(and even convey to us through "angels") that everything is going to be ok? More simply put- divinity runs on a very different clock than humanity. In the long run the All is more worried about the nature and growth of your soul than more immediate concerns that you may have. A non-functioning car does not always merit heavenly intervention!! It's not that he doesn't care. Because he does. But ultimately, everything will be "ok" if you died at that very moment, with or without your car working again so try not to take it personally. The All is concerned with your soul.

He wants to show you, teach you, listen to you, and be your most intimate companion. But that does not mean he will protect you from disease or accident. Even murder. Because remember- our lives intersect millions of other people's lives and this includes their bad decisions. Not just the good. We can't always have the good.

This realization that everything truly WILL be ok makes it much harder to be terrified of physical death.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This organization is now listed on the Human Rights Sites and Organizations section on the blog.

The site states:

Our Mission

The mission of Nonviolent Peaceforce is to build a large-scale trained, international civilian nonviolent peaceforce. Nonviolent Peaceforce is sent to conflict areas to prevent death and destruction and protect human rights, thus creating the space for local groups to enter into dialogue and to seek peaceful resolution to local conflicts.

Our Vision

We envision a world in which large-scale unarmed civilian peacekeeping using proven nonviolent strategies is recognized as a viable alternative in preventing, addressing, and mitigating violent conflicts worldwide. Our primary strategy for achieving this vision is the creation of space to foster dialogue.

Our Work

We most often respond to invitations by credible local organizations committed to nonviolent solutions. Once invited, we meet key players, including commanders from opposing sides, local police, religious, business, and civil society leaders. We live and work in communities within conflict zones alongside local people.

When violence erupts, civilians under threat often contact us. They know and trust us. We have been living among them. Visibly nonpartisan and unarmed, we arrive in NP uniforms, with NP vehicles, letting our presence be known.

We build the confidence and safety of civilians deeply affected by conflict so they can access available structures and mechanisms for addressing problems and grievances.

Our activities have ranged from entering active conflict zones to remove civilians in the crossfire to providing opposing factions a safe space to negotiate. Other activities include serving as a communication link between warring factions, securing safe temporary housing for civilians displaced by war, providing violence prevention measures during elections and negotiating the return of kidnapped family members.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Book Review

The God Delusion
By: Richard Dawkins

As much as I loathed picking this book up after already seeing Dawkins argument shredded by other people, I decided that I at least had to further educate myself on exactly what I was up against when talking to the man's disciples.

I discovered something not too terribly surprising from a gnostic stance- I agreed with him the majority of the time.

Those of you who are semi-gnostic or semi-literalist theist may gasp and say, "oh my gosh, but why?!! He's an atheist. He is the antithesis of what I believe in!" Au contraire, my friends. Atheists are not the boogieman they are made out to be(EXCLUDING the militant atheist type! They are truly scary.). In terms of the evolution of gnosis atheists are, in fact, potential infant gnostics. Tabula rasa of an adult nature. A kind of resolve the adult makes to revert back to being blank slates before the world attempted to indoctrinate them. The adult states: I see no reason to believe therefore I do not.

The God Delusion has been used as a sort of vindicating "guidebook" for atheists to explain their decision. With as much as atheists are hated(therefore rarely elected into office), spit upon, and used as pulpit scapegoats for the ills of the world, I think that the book deserves a bit more care and examination. Dawkins' job was hardly and easy one. He has well over two thousand years of religion to talk about in regards to Why He Doesn't Agree With It. It's not enough to point at a religion and say, "It promotes hatred therefore I refuse to believe in it." We have to dig deeper than that.

In the preface, Dawkins tells a short story about his wife's childhood education. She was so miserable, he said, that she wished she could leave. Years later when she told her parents about this they exclaimed, "But darling, why didn't you tell us?" The wife's reply was, "Because I didn't know that I could."

I believe this one sentence lays the foundation for exactly what atheists use as fuel. They have discovered they do have a choice and this propels them forward to question everything and everyone. In a gnostic perspective- isn't this exactly what the Good God wants us to do?!! Absolutely! To not question is to be a blank faced sheep, led to the slaughter by whoever holds our leash. This is the very reason why I state atheists are potential infant gnostics. They have turned their back on literalism as the world has promoted it and this is a major stepping stone toward (potential)spiritual growth. Some never do grow and that is their choice.
"I am not attacking any particular version of God or gods. I am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented."
Dawkins' attack of Jehovah, Allah, and other literalist deities is typical. He calls them misogynists, angry murderers, and he can in no way, shape, or form condone revering such deities without proof of their existence. The problem with his attempt at disproving God's existence is that he falls short. His argument is that he wants God to walk up and shake his hand and since He hasn't done so then obviously He doesn't exist. This is a cop out to real discourse on the nature of the soul and the divine. He is begging for literalism and pouts when he doesn't get it.

He is attacking literalism only because he knows of no other religion or concept(like gnosis). Now, he does acknowledge that Buddhism and Confucianism and a few others are "ethical systems or philosophies of life," but he does not recognize them as also being atheist. He does not look further within them to explore the solid cornerstone of gnosis at their core. Since he dismisses eastern 'ethical systems and philosophies' he completely misses the point- that he is in fact only pointing out one branch of religion he does not believe in: literalism. But by not acknowledging and researching non-literalist religions he is not only doing himself a disservice but atheists everywhere.

This book is a 350+ page rant against literalism. And yet a literal handshake is the only thing which would appease him.

Since a literalist's endgame is pointing at their holy book and exclaiming in a loud voice that all the answers are within and if you don't believe it then you are going to a Very Hot Place after death then you can see why Dawkins would react with the arguments he does. He claims to be an empiricist who needs proof. I say that he is a hopeful agnostic as opposed to pure atheist. The summary of the book is a rather passionate plea for God to show Himself either in intuition or science and math:

"... Could we, by training and practice, emancipate ourselves from Middle World, tear off our black burka, and achieve some sort of intuitive- as well as just mathematical- understanding of the very small, the very large, and the very fast? I genuinely don't know the answer, but I am thrilled to be alive at a time when humanity is pushing against the limits of understanding. Even better, we may eventually discover that there are no limits."

The Literal Truth

I don't agree with the last 30 seconds but it's still funnier than heck from an open-minded gnostic perspective. The last round is especially funny because of the sheer number of ways the quotes contradict themselves.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Physical Pushing With Lay Gnosis

Last night was a landmark achievement.

Lay gnosis has led me to exploring(unexpectedly and haphazardly, at that) the force of ch-i/qi/ki. Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, etc. All pretty much the same concept of "life force."

How did this happen? I have not the foggiest clue. But I'm pretty amazed so far.

During my nightly session of relaxation and lay gnosis practice(hand trick), I felt a very strong nudge from Pleroma telling me to "push!" with my dominant hand toward my receptive hand. Even with dislocating my right arm two years ago and major nerve and tendon damage, my right hand is still the dominant one in lay gnosis.

Now, I've been practicing 'pushing' on a small scale up 'til now. With my hands an inch or so apart I gently move one or both hands in a small circular motion so that I can literally feel the swirled texture of the energy pattern on the palm. Playing around with that for the past few months has been enough to satisfy me. So when Pleroma suddenly says, "push!" I pushed. HARD. He hasn't led me astray in any way so far so why not trust him now? What's the worst that could happen- absolutely nothing and I feel silly? Please. I have a bit more regard for Pleroma than that. And I knew it was his voice I was hearing.

When I pushed with my right hand against the repelling-magnetic energy field of my left I felt a small layer of the muscles in my stomach tighten and my mind was sharply focused. My left hand moved back about six inches. Toward the end I could even push my left hand back with my hand separated by at least three inches. The force was just as powerful.

I let go of my focus and the energy field dropped. Deep in the area just above my belly button I felt a sort of wide expansion of warm energy which after a heartbeat dimmed and receded. Overall I felt a bit drained.

I was so excited by this new experience that I tried it again only a minute later. The results were kinda pathetic. I could barely manage to make the energy field between my hands at all. I lay back down and rested for about twenty minutes and considered what had happened. Relaxing. I tried again and this time I was able to push my receptive hand back in exactly the same way. The sensation just above my belly button was exactly the same- an expanding bubble of energy and then a soft collapse.

This morning when I woke up I was so tired I actually went back to bed after breakfast and slept another couple of hours. Around three pm I tried to make an energy field and was successful but pushing was only slightly successful. I was tired. So I have resolved to get some writing and research done today.

Wrote to Steve( and he said, "Try your heart chakra next."

Great, Steve. Wonderful. I don't even know how I managed to access my stomach chakra! lol I'm basically flying by the seat of my pants.

Doing some research today I learned that the energy base felt right above the belly button is called the "Manipura" or the Solar Plexus Chakra.
or manipuraka is related to the metabolic and digestive systems. Manipura is believed to correspond to Islets of Langerhans,[35] which are groups of cells in the pancreas, as well as the outer adrenal glands and the adrenal cortex. These play a valuable role in digestion, the conversion of food matter into energy for the body. Symbolised by a lotus with ten petals. The colour that corresponds to Manipura is yellow. Key issues governed by Manipura are issues of personal power, fear, anxiety, opinion-formation, introversion, and transition from simple or base emotions to complex. Physically, Manipura governs digestion, mentally it governs personal power, emotionally it governs expansiveness, and spiritually, all matters of growth.[36]

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gnostic Awakenings Class Update
Gnosis accessible through Buddhist techniques.

It's been oh.. three weeks since the classes started. I shrugged it off because I was neck deep in research writing other articles. Typical me. I am a professional excuse maker. (You should see me find things to do when the kitchen floors need scrubbed!) Anyway, I finally logged into my meditation class this afternoon.

Discovery #1: I suck at traditional meditation techniques. The Week One vid was nice. Easy. Laid back. Nice motif. Beginner stuff.

Discovery #2: My brain is confused. I'm taking a meditation class and my consciousness goes flying. WRONG CLASS! This isn't astral projecting, I kept telling myself. That's tomorrow. This is passive meditating. Passive meditating, ok. Emphasis on the passive part. I try again. And again. And once again. I give up after the fourth time I lift up out of my body, knowing that this is just not my cuppa white pear green tea. I don't meditate the way they teach and obviously my consciousness is so bored that it wants to go anywhere but in the room with the computer monitor and headphones.

I can't do this introductory stuff. It's irritating. I wish I could skip ahead. But their system wont let me. I have to wait seven days before the next lesson will be available. I'll write about Week Two when I go through the material next week.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Watering Can 'O Gnosis

I had the sweetest dream last evening. Actually, it was this morning. It's around midnight now. I just now finally got the chance to unwind from a long day and write about it.

The phone rang and woke me up out of the dream. I'd love to know what would have happened next.

I was standing in a large cavern. Rocky underfoot. Bare footed, I think. There were about two dozen people sitting, standing, and milling around. I had a watering can in my hand. I walked around 'watering' people with it. On the shoulders or head, not on their feet like they were plants.

Afterward, the people who were drenched in water crept out of the rocky area and toward a rise of rock nearby. It had a lip that we couldn't see over.

Before I left I noticed there was a woman sitting, huddled, crying by herself. She had her knees drawn up to her chin and she was wailing her heart out. I went to pour water on her and a man stopped me with his hand on my elbow saying, "Stop. You can't. It won't help her." And then he walked out with the others.

Stubborn, I raised my can up over her head anyway and poured water on her. It was like a clear sort of bubble encapsulated her. The water didn't touch her but she started crying even harder. Confused, I backed away, set down my watering can, and left to join the others.

I crawled on my hands and knees up toward the edge of this raised land where the others were. We cautiously peeked over the edge and saw a gigantic hallowed out region inside. (It was like a hollow volcano, almost.) Inside was a sea of the brightest water I'd ever seen. Lush, sparkling, rippling. Islands were intermittent. But the water dominated and blinded our eyes. Pure reason and love.

And then the darn phone rang.

I wanted to scream I was so aggravated I was woken up.

I think my soul was drifting and the All wanted to show me that I wasn't alone. We all have watering cans and it's up to our own discretion with whether or not we use them.

The crying woman has me a bit confused. Why would she shut out love? Was she grieving? I can't put my finger on what it was she was feeling or what her personal experience was. And maybe that's not for me to know. What I do know is that this dream was just the soulfood I've been needing lately. I am thankful for Pleroma's gift and what a joy this day has been.

Full Circle

I've been musing a bit the past two days, relishing hearing from some readers who have discovered lay gnosis and thus begin their journey, and found myself thinking about the term 'coming full circle' quite a bit. Thinking about the growth I've gone through the past year in lay gnosis and gnosis in general.

When a lay gnostic says they've arrived full circle it's meant to convey deep seated satisfaction of the soul, not just in regards to where they are currently in their spiritual experience but in realization of just what this journey means in the long term.

I feel I have come full circle. Not in that I have somehow managed to fall back to a certain faith or mind set I had in childhood or adolescence. Because I haven't. No, I mean in that I truly realize that I am spiritually where I was before I began on Earth. It's taken me thirty years to get here. And I feel complete.

My soul feels connected to the All in just about as intimate connection as I had before I was born.

I've managed to sweep off and away all the literalist dirt others have tried to throw on me and at me my whole life. I've cleaned out my metaphysical closet of junk and useless shackles.

I am whole and complete as I am. No Hail Mary's necessary. I was not born in sin. I have nothing to be ashamed of or apologize for. Freedom is sweet and I intend to enjoy it.


PS. Right after I wrote this post I checked my email and finally got around to reading a message from Steve. It was on crop circles. *head/desk* Very funny. See, this is the kind of quirky stuff that happens with gnosis. It's that symbiotic connection that exists between gnostics and ... it takes on a life of it's own. I'm thinking about coming full circle spiritually and he writes me about crop circles. This is just a taste of the All's strange sense of humor.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lay Gnosis, Reiki, Etc. --Chadly's Comments

In responding to a Reader(Chadly) on some much earlier blog posts I found that our discussion was getting so long and convoluted Blogger kept nagging me about the length of my return comments. *smacks Blogger* If I want to write a book, damn it, then I will!

However, in deference to technology I decided to make it a bit more coherent and move it to the front for anyone else interested.{Here is a link to the video we're talking about.}

In response to my post on Intro To Lay Gnosis Chadly wrote:
"Personally, I always understood Pleroma to be more the Gnostic version of "Heaven". When I speak of the True God, I refer to "it" more as "First Thought" or "The All", maybe even "Mother/Father", etc.

I agree much with your early statements about dogmatic religion's prayers basically not reaching. Just curious though, what are your views of the more "progressive" religions/denominations, such as the more liberal Episcopals or the United Church of Christ? Those are the two most liberal I can think of, other than Unitarian-Universalism.

About to watch the video now. So far it seems an interesting concept. It does seem similar to me to witchcraft and the spellwork I've done, and I personally speculate that witchcraft(at least, as practiced by those of us who consider ourselves Gnostic Witches and Gnostic Druids) taps into the same energy/source, both internally and externally.

Addendum: I just watched the video, and I find it very fascinating. It actually does kind of remind me of what I know of Reiki. It also reminds me of a couple of practices I used to do when I first started down the metaphysical path, when I considered myself a Christian Witch, that I haven't done in awhile and may try to resume.

The first was a grounding technique to rid yourself of negative energy built up throughout the day. You ground yourself and visualize energy black in color(or whatever color you associate with the negative). Then, using your hands, you kind of "pick off" that energy and throw it out into the cosmos, replacing it gradually into a white energy field, or whatever color you most associate with "positive".

The second was a visualization technique to help in focus of energy during spells, where you make sort of an "energy ball" in between your hands, visualizing it as varying strengths and sizes as you develop your mental skills.

The reason this reminded me of those, is because of the interesting fact of simply how I learn. In learning new skills, I'm a visual learner, learning by copying others, which is why the language I learned quickest outside of English, was American Sign Language. In learning music, I learn by ear, hearing it and mimicking. But in both of these exercises previously mentioned, I would have a difficult time visualizing the energy and the colors, and find myself noticing the *feeling*,such as noticing tingling in my hands during the energy ball visualizations. In retrospect, maybe that's one of the reasons most of my spells tend to be mentally/emotionally focused and attempting to draw things to me(such as to improve my attitude or draw opportunities to me), rather than explicitly trying to change the external, such as making it rain.

Perhaps that's why I eventually grew lax in these exercises - I didn't think I was "doing it right" because what I expected to 'see', wasn't what happened. Perhaps now that I'm becoming more stable in my spiritual path, I'll revisit them."

I am responding back:

"Christian Witch. I like that. Yeah, I can identify with that. Makes sense. But only when you're still in that stage of development. Once you move past it then it is no longer witchcraft. There is no craft involved. It's you and Pleroma. That's it. You find all the energy coalescing into the one place it truly exists instead of separated out into various aspects like what witchcraft focuses on.
Read the scripture quote in that entry. It helps identify somewhat the attitude of the 'hierarchy' of the totem pole I talked about. Difficult concept to wrap your brain around. It does takes time.

The All is heaven. It is the place and "person" of what created the elements our universe is made from. It is the primordial spark. First atom. The very atom which exploded into the Big Bang. Your term "First Thought" would be about right. Kudos!

Here's how I keep it straight: the All made the elements. Sophia made Yahweh and hid him, embarrassed because he was flawed. Yahweh wanted someone to play with and so he made our universe out of the elements already present. Yahweh didn't make any elements. He molded what Pleroma already created.

The more liberal Episcopalians are still reaching. And the UCC. They've got a ways to go. If they get there ... we'll see. It'll be interesting to see just how close they come to being Unitarian Universalists in a few decades. And speaking of Unitarian Universalism-- Wow. I was just thinking about writing an article on them yesterday afternoon! Sheesh. Quit picking my brain, man! I already had some literature sitting here waiting for me to compile. That's really funny.

Unitarian Universalism and Buddhism are, in their own unique ways, the absolute closest I can think of to gnosticism. Actually, I'd put (farthest to closest, top three:) Atheism, then Unitarian Universalism, and then Buddhism sitting closest to gnosticism. My explanation of Atheism is in this post. They're like... baby gnostics in cribs.

Buddhism comes closer because of the meditative practices and body/mind awareness techniques which are so essential for a lasting connection to Pleroma. UU is only one step further out because, yes, Jesus was a prophet imbued with gnosis and he wanted to pass it on to all of humanity(hence the laying on of hands and the Holy Ghost)- but we cannot prove that he was in (a literal sense) the Son of God as what literal religions would want us to belief with "faith." Gnosis has not a darn thing to do with faith. Because technically, so are you. You are the Son of God. And I am the Daughter of God. Clarification: Yahweh! And you and I are both the grand(or great grand) children of Pleroma.

The whole definition of "God" versus "Pleroma/All" is kinda nerve wrecking in the beginning. So I call Yahweh Yahweh and the All the All or Pleroma. Simplifies the whole "God" umbrella.

UU's cannon is in fact cannon-less. They are basically hippies high on gnosis. Which is what I LOVE! I've been curious how many UU churches I could find locally. I'll have to intensify my search so I can write about it. I'd really love to visit one.

Their rejection of Hell is one of the most interesting aspects of their ... creed. Even though they don't really have a creed, per say. Let's just say that it's a common enough thought pattern amongst the members that it's "Commonly Accepted and Recognized" by the UU. This rejection of Hell is a very common belief among gnostics. UU's may not call themselves gnostics but they are. The majority of their members are either on the fence about to be toppled over straight into gnosis or are already there but call themselves UU's instead of gnostics.

Nice to see that Arius managed to have a lasting legacy after being stomped on by the new formed Vatican. Poor man put up with a lot.

If you have performed Reiki then your hand is on the door handle of gnosis!! Literally. You are on the threshold about to walk through the door.

The light ball or static electricity you describe is very familiar to me. (Although when you have one dominant hand it can get a little tricky.) The life energy field we all share can be transferred and manipulated. Isn't it curious, though, how the Church refuses to acknowledge that Reiki is in fact the same action as laying-on of hands healing? They'd much rather perform an exorcism. Ya know...
just in case it happens to be a demon instead of simple illness. Overkill.

I haven't explored traditional Reiki too much. But from what I've read in passing there is a "Secret Art of Inviting." Is this perhaps the touch of lay gnosis? As Steve's video shows, lay gnosis is communicable(oh my God it's catching!!! lol) and so transmittable not only by touch but by internet and sound.

Blessings to you,


Sunday, July 11, 2010

In Remembrance of Thich Quang Duc

Forty-seven years and one month ago today this picture was taken at a busy crossroads in Saigon, North Vietnam. It shook the world. President Kennedy nearly fell out of bed reading the paper the following morning, exclaiming, "Jesus Christ!"

Buddhists monk Thích Quảng Đức, (b. 1897 – d. 11 June 1963) Burned himself to death with gasoline and a match to protest the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam's Ngô Đình Diệm administration.

As much as I strive to walk the middle path and veer not too far to one or the other side concerning my emotions or beliefs, this act deserves a moment of silent respect and at the same absolute grief and compassion. This sixty-six year old Buddhist monk had seen his country raped and pillaged by it's own government for years. The Vietnam War had raged for several years already and it appeared as though South Vietnam was going to end up with the same type of intolerant government as the North... but with a literalist religious slant.

The First Lady of South Vietnam is quoted as saying she would "clap hands at seeing another monk barbecue show."

In the end, pressure by the United States forced Diệm to sign the Joint Communique which (supposedly) gave religious and social equality to the people of the country.

The Buddhists pushed for a five point agreement: freedom to fly religious flags, an end to arbitrary arrests, compensation for the Huế victims, punishment for the officials responsible and religious equality. Diệm labeled the Buddhists as "damn fools" for demanding something that, according to him, they already enjoyed.

Diệm was a staunch Catholic and blatantly favored those countrymen of the religious group.

Wiki says:
In a country where surveys of the religious composition at the time estimated the Buddhist majority to be between 70 and 90 percent,[5][6][7][8] President Ngô Đình Diệm was a member of the Catholic Vietnamese minority, and pursued policies widely regarded by historians as biased. Specifically, the government was regarded as favoring Roman Catholics for public service and military promotions, as well as in the allocation of land, business arrangements and tax concessions.[9] Diệm once told a high-ranking officer, forgetting that he was a Buddhist, "Put your Catholic officers in sensitive places. They can be trusted."[10] Many officers in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam converted to Roman Catholicism in the belief that their military prospects depended on it.[10] Additionally, the distribution of firearms to village self-defense militias saw weapons only given to Roman Catholics, with some Buddhists in the army being denied promotion if they refused to convert to Roman Catholicism.[11] Some Roman Catholic priests ran their own private armies,[12] and there were forced conversions and looting, shelling and demolition of pagodas in some areas, to which the government turned a blind eye.[13] Some Buddhist villages converted en masse to receive aid or avoid being forcibly resettled by Diệm's regime.[14] The "private" status that was imposed on Buddhism by the French, which required official permission to be obtained by those wishing to conduct public Buddhist activities, was not repealed by Diệm.[15] Roman Catholics were also de facto exempt from the corvée labor that the government obliged all citizens to perform, and U.S. aid was disproportionately distributed to Roman Catholic majority villages by Diệm's regime.[16] The Roman Catholic Church was the largest landowner in the country and enjoyed special exemptions in property acquisition, and land owned by the Roman Catholic Church was exempt from land reform.[17] The white and gold Vatican flag was regularly flown at all major public events in South Vietnam,[18] and Diệm dedicated his country to the Virgin Mary in 1959.[16]


Diệm was the Vietnamese version of Hitler. He was a literal nobody who after decades of worming his way into Joseph McCarthy's arms managed to garner American support to liberate Vietnam from the colonialist French and communist elements from the North. That's not so bad. But once Diệm got power he decided that the majority religious group in his country had to be subjugated- the Buddhists.

Catholicism murdered South Vietnam. It's really that simple. It wasn't only a war against communists. It was about personal favoritism, trade, and control. What is truly disheartening to learn is that whatever Diệm's faults he was ultimately the only chance South Vietnam had for separating from the communist North.

With US support, Diệm was assassinated by his own General on November 2st, 1963.

The North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh is reported to have said, "I can scarcely believe the Americans would be so stupid." The political chaos afterward did indeed reveal just how idiotic the US was to support such a coup instead of taking alternate actions to assist in humanitarian ways. South Vietnam fell and it hasn't risen since.

Diệm was a US puppet who got out of control. Publicity about a monk immolating himself in protest to human rights abuses got out and suddenly the US couldn't stop the train wreck they'd set up years ago. It was imminent. There was no stopping it. Diệm refused to see reason and kept the violence escalating even after the Communique was signed.

President Nguyễn Minh Triết, the current president of South Vietnam was formerly the head of the Communist Party of Vietnam in Hồ Chí Minh City. The country is communist and has been since.

Does it seem as though only evil has happened since our monk made such a sacrifice? On the surface it appears so; that his sacrifice was in vain. But let us look deeper.

The day after Thích Quảng Đức self-immolated, the entire world was brought to it's knees in mourning. (Excluding China and North Vietnam, of course.) The world mourned that such a sacrifice apparently had to take place in order to garner attention to what was truly happening. The monk was only concerned with doing what he thought was right. The rest he left up to the people. And that is where responsibility always lies: with the people. The monk did not think he would miraculously stop war with his actions. He knew there was much more bloodshed to come. But he wanted to get word out and take a stand.

The gnostic gospel of Philip says,

Light and darkness, life and death,
on the right and left, these are children,
they are inseparable together.
But the good are not good, the wicked not wicked,
life not life, death not death.
Each element fades to an original source.
But those who live above the world cannot fade.
They are eternal.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Earthcentrism- Look How Far We've Come

Young Earth Creationists state that our universe is only 6,000 years old. Oh wait. They changed their mind a few years back and added four thousand to that. So make that ten millenia. This number is based on some sort of pseudo science and literalist interpretation of the book of Genesis. Their data changes every few years to keep up with the twists and turns real science.

According to YEC's dinosaurs were friendly and played with Adam and Eve. Carnivorous dinosaurs only became meat eaters after The Fall. Sharp horns and teeth were previously only used for play or mating displays. Another theory is that God miraculously changed all the newly damned carnivore's teeth to go from being flat to suddenly fitting the carnivorous profile(sharp canines and sharper front teeth for tearing) we now recognize.

Since the Big Bang theory was proposed, examined, and had entire new branches of science(stellar radiation, etc) submit information concerning the age of galaxies and stars farther away from us as well as the MOVEMENT of these formations, we've come a long way. Scientists now believe the earth is around 4.6 billion years old and have fossil records to support this claim. Not that YEC's care much. Their method of 'debunking' geological science is pointing at the Bible and then plugging their ears. You could try discussing archeological finds with a Young Earther but you'd get nowhere fast.

Scientists start by looking at what IS instead of what is
written about the past. They go from zero and build their case based on what they see right in front of them. If what they find happens to coincide with historical writings then that's great! It's an amazing piece of history which was written about by humans in the past and celebrated as such. But if what they find in a laboratory contradicts what is found in an archeological record then the facts as they found them are published and that's that. The lab scientists let the other historians fight it out.

Earthcentrism(our planet being the center of the universe or at least the beginning of anything worthwhile) is an egotistical idea which has been molded over time, though not by much. Literalists have taken to flouting interpretations of the book of Genesis without anything at all to back them up, making for some pretty messed up rhetoric to feed to the common masses. Let's examine a few arguments:

Philo Judaeus(Philon the Jew) wrote, initially quoting Genesis in his tract On the Account of the World's Creation given by Moses(De Opificio Mundi), "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." "Beginning should not be conceived in a chronological sense for time cannot be before there was a world. Time began either simultaneously with the world or after it. For time is a measured space determined of the world's movement, and since movement could not be prior to the object moving ... it follows of necessity that time also is coeval with or later born than the world."

That is the earthcentrism I am speaking of. Everything good or worthwhile revolving around what's going on with Earth. All the other planets and stars are trivial. Right? Why
can't time be before our planet existed? As you can see Philo created some weak rhetoric. All you have to do is ask the very opposite questions he is proposing and his argument falls apart like a house of cards.

We're essentially talking about Schrodinger's cat; "An observation being made can only then be measured."
But humans and the mighty microscope are not the end all. Just because we didn't witness it doesn't mean that it doesn't hold value. The cat is both alive and dead based on WITNESS to the box opening. God being the one who crammed the cat in the box and opened it afterward gives us the story. Or is it a prophet writing down the words of God? And how do we stretch God's "days" out through 4.6 billion years or even a mere thousand years? We don't have a witness. Not one. Because we were not in existence yet. That is the paradox.

Augustine of Hippo, for all his wishy-washy and confused religious leanings, had at least enough sense to ask the right questions. "If God made heaven and earth in some beginning of time, what was he doing before he made heaven and earth? And why did he suddenly decide to make what he had not previously made through eternal time?"

In other words, why did God suddenly decide to create our cosmos? Augustine asks why while Einstein asks how. Religion and science meet.

Though Augustine couldn't have known it at the time this is what science proves thus far-

Big Bang's proposed explosion date: average of 13.5 billion years ago.
Geology's date for the Earth's "birth": 4.6 billion years ago

By the time of Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century, the issue was once again up in the air and this time moderation prevailed. In Aquinas tract De aeternitate mundi which summarized the 'beginninglessness' of the world he declared, "We hold by faith alone, and it cannot be proved by demonstration, that the world did not always exist... the reason being that the newness of the world cannot be demonstrated by the world itself."

At least the word 'faith' was used in its proper context. Science was in no position to sway anyone at that time. Too many questions and not enough technology to run with ideas. And poor Galileo learned the hard way through house arrest that even leaps in scientific achievements with the telescope were not allowed. The Church was too egotistical to allow reason to prevail.

If you only have science to give age to something in a
local region then how do you compare it to anything else outside your region if you don't have the tools to study this farther region? What is your solid point of reference? Until we began dating our own sun and closest stars within our own galaxy and then began reaching beyond, we really had no hope of being objective on the matter of age at all. Our point of reference(Earth) was too close. Too young. And far too changeable with its layers and weather and erosion.

Einstein, at least, was remembered fondly by the Church. Even with as much as the man was dragged into dialogues about religion he managed to stay true to himself. Pope John Paul II said in November of 1979 at the Pontifical Academy meeting held in honor of the centenary birth of Einstein,

"On the occasion of this solemn commemoration of Einstein, I would like to confirm again the Council's declaration on the autonomy of science in its function of searching for the truth inscribed during the creation by the finger of God. Filled with admiration for the genius of the great scientist, in whom is revealed the imprint of the creative spirit, without intervening in any way with a judgment on the doctrines concerning the great systems of the universe, which is not in her power to make, the Church nevertheless recommends these doctrines for consideration by the theologians in order to discover the harmony that exists between scientific truth and revealed truth."

By dousing a good fifty percent of the Church's arrogant attitude much was gained. Science flourished.

Einstein relegated his personal religion to being defined as "awe." And honestly, isn't that a safer path to take when we are still such a young species?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ahimsa And The Control Factor

Being married to a literalist Christian I feel the impulse to strangle him sometimes. I even blog about our mutual frustrations. (Managing Stress entry.) In some of the earlier days of our marriage it seems I swung wildly between wanting to scream at him or hug him and kiss him.

And other times I lie beside him and can literally feel the purity of his soul. I think to myself, "this is a bright spark" and can look far beyond the flaws we argue about so frequently.Words don't matter. Sometimes we coexist better in silence and facial expressions.

I had a roommate once who I honestly wanted to physically hurt in the morning. She'd let her snooze button go off like, oh... fifteen times... before getting up. The walls were thin. We worked different shifts. I was losing sleep. I finally lost my cool one morning and stormed into her bedroom, ripped out the alarm clock, opened up the window, and tossed it outside. Not my most shining moment, I admit. I could have handled that better.

My point is that I cannot control other people. I can only control me. But that also means that I should not feel badly for their rotten decisions or ignorant behavior. Overdraft your checking account? What do you want me to do- sit there for an hour while you rant and scream about the evil bank? ummm... no. I'm not a martyr and I won't sit passively and act like one. I can give you good advice, though, on how to not have it happen again. Then again, sometimes silence is golden. Letting other people work out their own problems is a good thing.

The Buddh
ist term "ahimsa" --to do no harm to a living creature-- applies not just to those times when we are contemplating going vegetarian or seeing someone neglect an animal. Ahimsa applies every single time we open our mouths. This Gandhian interpretation of ahimsa means being mindful of the result our words can have is one giant step toward gnosis. Why? Because if your eyes are truly open and so is your heart, you cannot in good conscience injure another being. In gnosis you see and feel that spiritual connection between you and the other person. Why would you injure yourself? Both you and the other person are part of the fabric of Pleroma. You are literally cut from the same cloth.

Still confused wit
h the visualization?

Try this: imagine the irritating person in front of you as a younger and more immature version of yoursel
f. You will be a lot less inclined to speak in anger. This younger and more immature version of yourself has not had the life experiences you have had yet; so how can you be boiling angry at simple inexperience? It's like screaming for a baby to shut up when all they want is to be held and fed. The baby is doing what he is meant to at that stage in his life. And so should you.

With gnosis and the concept of ahimsa physical age isn't a factor. An eighty year old could have the mental age and control of a ten year old.

Granted, there are times when it is essential to make your point and yeah, we're only human; we will fail at controlling our temper. It's going to happen. We're not Vulcans and we certainly don't have to act like we are. But slowing down, relaxing the muscles in our face, belly breathing, ..... all that... in those steps.. can make all the difference in the world in how you handle yourself when upset with something somebody did.

When dealing with a person who has bad habits, leaves you to clean up their messes, is irresponsible, and just plain doesn't seem to give a damn about anything you are not expected to just accept their bad behavior. The way I see it you really have three options. The third has interchangeable terms for obvious reasons, for all the different types of relationships which exist.
  1. Get mad, yell, and forcefully try to change the person's behavior.
  2. Detach and don't take it personally. Try logic and reasoning. If this doesn't work then you're left with option number three.
  3. End the relationship/divorce/separate/move out and move on
A person only changes if they meet the two following requirements:
  1. They have been convinced through logic and reasoning that it is within their best interest to change and
  2. They want to change.
If those two requirements are not met then you're basically talking to a brick wall. Breathe and move on.

PS. Talking to your children about ahimsa works!! We have regular discussions about 'harmful things' we do or say to one another. You'd be surprised at the kinds of things children pick up on and will actually use if you remind them to.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Treason for telling the truth?

If you rat on your government you get charged with treason. Especially when
a) your government likes to spit polish its image using the flags which were buried with its honorable military dead and
b) it's embarrassed such indiscriminate violence against civilians was published ONLINE right under their noses.

My guess is that this soldier isn't going to be seen stateside again for a very long time. If ever. They're going to keep him in Baghdad. We'll never hear any thing more about him unless an absolute ruckus is created by Wikileaks and their lawyers.

For those not in the know, is an off-shoot of which is the world's best free online encyclopedia. Boundaries do not exist in their mind. Wiki's founders and directors have fought for years on the issue of freedom of speech- especially crossing country divisions where people simply do not have access to uncensored information by their government. A grade school child in China cannot do a search on "Tienanmen Square" without getting the red screen of death meaning that they've chosen to search for an illegal term. There are servers which have popped up sporadically in countries like this to offset the totalitarian thought control, however the majority of populations in countries with censorship still do not know a great deal of what is really going on in the world around them. Everything is hearsay.

A few months ago when I first learned of the Wikileaks organization I immediately put up a link to it in the Human Rights Sites and Organizations module on the blog. It will remain a permanent link.

As far as 'gnosis' is concerned- Wikileaks is right up our ally. Why censor, denounce, classify, or withhold information unless it is damaging to an entity's perceived image? And if something isn't broke then it doesn't need fixing, right? But if it is.....

{Link to another interesting article: US Intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeaks, 18 March 2008}

Charges filed against soldier in Wikileaks case.
Army private allegedly leaked classified video of deadly Baghad attack and NBC News
updated 7/6/2010 12:06:11 PM ET

Criminal charges have been filed against a 22-year old Army private accussed of leaking classified video of an Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed a number of civilians to the website.

Private First Class Bradley Manning faces two charges and 12 counts of illegally providing classified information to an unauthorized source.

The charge sheet claims that PFC Manning unlawfully accessed the gun camera video of an Apache helicopter attack on July 12, 2007 against suspected insurgents killing an undetermined number of civilians. Then Manning allegedly passed that video onto Wikileaks, which is known for posting such controversial documents as the Army’s Guantánamo Bay procedures, Church of Scientology documents and contents from Sarah Palin’s e-mail account.

Wikileaks posted two versions of the now-infamous Baghdad airstrike video, a 39-minute unedited version and an annotated 18-minute version, on April 5, 2010. Titling it “Collateral Murder,” Wikileaks cited the video as evidence of a Pentagon coverup. Two Reuters employees and a Baghdad man were three of the more than a dozen killed during the attack. Two children were also seriously injured.

Manning is also charged with unlawfully tapping into the military's secret Internet protocol router network to obtain the video, and more than 200,000 classified State Department cables.

The Associated Press reported previously that former computer Hacker Adrian Lamo says that Manning claimed in a series of online chats that he downloaded 260,000 classified or sensitive State Department cables and transmitted them by computer to Wikileaks.

Manning remains in custody in Kuwait but will be returned to Baghdad shortly to face an Article 32 hearing, the military's equivalent of a grand jury hearing.


"Chris" commented on the article:

I am just an old guy. But I was career military intelligence and served in Vietnam. While there I had the "privilege" of watching Nixon on TV swearing "on his mother's grave" that were not bombing in Laos or Cambodia while interviewing pilots who were returning from bombing in Laos and Cambodia. We constantly received TWX's (teletype messages) telling us that we could go to jail for disclosing any information at all to journalists, Congressmen, FBI agents, or any other person, official or not, who asked. While I was in Vietnam I read Bernard Fall's book, "Rue Sans Joi" and when I returned it to the base library, watched in horror as the librarian tore the book to pieces, because it was considered to be harmful to morale.

In another later incident, I had a NSA employee show me the radar tapes of the Gulf of Tonkin incident that Johnson used to justify new ROE's for bombing of the North. There were no torpedo boats on the tapes. There were no intercepted communications with the non-existent boats.

I got to see infants who had been killed with M-16 fire (where I was it could have been either Americans or Koreans who did the shooting) and was ordered to count dead babies as "main force NVA soldiers."

I had friends who died and friends who were wounded (including myself) in Vietnam. I didn't come back with PTSD or Agent Orange poisoning, just some scalp and facial holes and a great deal of hearing loss. But what I did bring home was a sense of guilt that I did not make an attempt to disclose what I knew. Sometimes not telling the truth is the same as telling a lie.

But I did what, at the time, I perceived as the "honorable" thing --- when my hitch was up, I threw away 10 years of service and did not re-up. My heart simply was no longer in watching my government under both Johnson and Nixon tell lie after lie about the war.

So I can well understand how a soldier, when confronted with situation where the military acted inappropriately and with ill-conceived malice would find it easier to tell and suffer the consequences rather that have to live with the knowledge that he did nothing.

And for those who call it treason. Telling the truth has never been treasonous. And treason is strictly limited to giving aid to the enemy in a declared war. The military has a long history of classifying documents and such in order to keep the truth from the American public and the victims' families. A good example is the Tillman affair in which McChrystal knew that Tillman was killed by friendly fire, in violation of the RoE's and in a situation where training and "best practices" had been disregarded. McChrystal proposed awarding Tillman a Silver Star instead and had everything related to the incident classified "Top Secret." The people who "blew the whistle" on the Tillman situation was an Army physician who did the autopsy and several of the Seals who were with Tillman. Was that treason?