Some random thoughts
Today is the 26th of June...once again. This day 30 years ago completely changed my life. It didn't change it in the way I wanted it to then, but I have learned to make the best out of it. There is something to be said for that.
It is possible to live without having a dog in the house, but it isn't worth it. A German actor said this many years ago, but it's still true.
We're now into the year 2014. "The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older, shorter of breath and one day closer to death." - Pink Floyd
Having lived quite a number of years and probably not all that far from death I have not been altogether able to avoid thinking. Here are some thoughts that I would like to share. They are my own words, but the thoughts are not original. I can't really think of any thoughts that are original, at least not ones that I would want to share with anyone.
A man who has no aim can commit no sin. This sounds peculiar, but is quite accurate. The concept of sin only makes sense when considered in relationship to an aim. If my aim is to catch the 9 o'clock train and it takes half an hour to get to the train station, sleeping until 8:35 is a sin against my aim. All other concepts of sinning are sentimental tomfoolery.
People discuss and argue about whether a human endeavour is good or bad without considering an aim. How can something be good or bad without specifying good or bad for what?
If you think about it and observe yourself you will find that you are never present in the moment. You are always planning something for the future or reiterating something that happened in the past, or you are simply in imagination. This, unfortunately, is the "normal" state of mankind. It is quite stylish to write books about this, however the strange thing is that even though most of us can verifiy that it is true we are not horrified, not disgusted enough by it to do everything imaginable to escape this condition. How can my life mean anything at all to me if I am not present to it?
What we generally refer to as being awake is really just another state of sleep. Sleep, like consciousness, has different relative states. Our "normal" waking state is not that different than the state we are in when we are asleep in bed. There is a relative difference, but it is not different enough to deserve the name awake.
Humans are like leaves blown about by the wind, the whole time believing they move intentionally and even thinking that they make the wind.
People worry a great deal about their diet. They ignore the fact that what comes out of their mouths is more important for their health than that which they put in their mouths. They also do not understand the damage they do to themselves by taking in bad impressions. Impressions are food and the food that Hollywood and television serve is bound to cause indigestion or worse.
Meditation is an attractive idea, but it is only useful if we can do it continuously. Meditating for 15 or 30 minutes may help one relax, but it will not bring one closer to presence. We must learn to struggle to be present moment by moment. The battle is truly in the second, not in the minute, hour, day or month. The main problem with this is that almost no one has the aim to be present. People speak about altered states of consciousness, about "cosmic consciousness," but they do so in sleep. We cannot achieve an objective state of consciousness if we don't first awaken.
Just as one can call oneself a Christian without even attempting to live according to the precepts of Jesus Christ one can also speak or think about being present without making the effort to actually be present. Thinking or mind activity is not presence.
Greed, vanity and fear cause most suffering on earth, but they are secondary to imagination. Imagination is not the same as fantasy. It is daydreaming, believing uproven ideas, believing we know something that we not only do not know, but often cannot know. It makes us speak about things we don't know as if we do know them. Imagination is the chief deceiver, the enemy of consciousness, the opposite of awakening. Imagination is that against which we must constantly struggle if we want to become more objective and be present to the moment.
Both sentimentality and wit are mechanisms to keep us anchored firmly in our sleep. In the case of sentimentality we believe certain topics are too "holy" to be questioned, particularly about health, nature, the environment, children, education and personal "freedom." Thus they are not questioned or investigated. In the case of wit we nod our heads, smile and believe that truth has been spoken in a particularly clever way, whereby truth may not be involved at all.
A man is much luckier to be a finder than to be a seeker.
Science can only unravel hidden truths, it cannot discover anything new. Modern science, however, generally only creates more difficult entanglements because it has become a competitive sport in which only positive results can be presented. Unfortunately, positive results are very rare and as a consequence published results are of questionable value and are often simply lies that are difficult to disprove.
Whether man has evolved from other species is not a particularly interesting question. Far more important is the question, into what can a man evolve and how can he achieve this evolution?
Mechanical evolution does not apply to mankind. Mankind is not evolving. Only individual men can evolve and they can only do so by their own desire and through their own efforts.
People argue about "evolution" or "intelligent design," and never once consider the possibility that these two hypotheses may both be wrong. They turn in circles, trying to prove the unprovable and ignoring any evidence that might lead them in the right direction.
Being sly is much smarter than being clever.
Team (spectator) sports appear to be designed to instill the concept of "us" and "them" in us at an early age. It is this which is evil in sports, not the activity itself. There have been recent reports of people murdering someone who is for a different team than their own. These are not sports players, but generally people who have no interest or capability of playing sports. They have turned to "fandom" as a form of identity with no basis or foundation for this identity aside from the occasional possibility that they live near the home of the team they are for. More importantly, however, the feeling of "us" versus "them" has become deeply instilled in their beings, not just in sports but in everything they do. They identify with the brand of automobile they drive and consider someone who drives a different brand of automobile to be an opponent or even an enemy. In the end the reason for this strange polarisation is the fact that they have no real identity of their own. They say, "I am a Yankee fan!" and that is truly all they are.
It is very peculiar that we are surprised to learn that someone has died. There is only one fact that we know for certain, everything else is conjecture or worse. The fact that we know for certain is that we and everyone around us is going to die.
Of what value is a long life if we don't use it for a sensible purpose?
Mankind prefers to see itself in a negative light rather than to see itself as impotent. Men insist on believing they have a great influence on the planet on which they live because they are horrified to admit that they have no power at all over Great Nature. They would rather see themselves as destroyers of the planet than to see themselves as helpless victims or bit-part actors in a play that they did not write and cannot change.
We tend to think that we understand something if we can give it a name. This is very misleading and distracts us from the fact that we understand far less than we believe we do.
Never settle for second best. If you don't get the best go for the worst and make the best out of it.
There is objective knowledge, but we don't recognise it. Learning to recognise it requires long study, much suffering and a good bit of luck.
All real religions (stemming from a conscious being) have an inner or hidden meaning and an external or literal meaning. The inner meaning is designed to help individual men grow spiritually, the literal meaning causes misunderstanding, disagreement and wars. Both meanings are necessary.
The inner meaning of a real religion cannot be discovered, it must be taught.
Almost all prayers of petition take the form of "Lord, let two plus two equal anything but four." (paraphraised from PDO)
What's so special about June 26th?
People insist that they want to know the truth, but when they find someone who can tell them the truth they begin to argue with him, don't listen and refuse to believe him. The reason for this is simple: The ability to hear the truth must be purchased. If a man will not pay, cannot pay or has not paid he cannot hear the truth. Unfortunately, you cannot pay to hear the truth from iTunes.
When a person's life becomes too much of a lie they make changes. Often, however, they change their external situation when the problem is more a matter of their attitudes. Changing ones partner or ones job distracts one from the real problem. Changing ones attitudes is more difficult than it appears, but may bring one closer to the truth.
Presence is heaven, imagination is hell.
Every generation makes the same discoveries and the same mistakes. Is it any wonder that mankind does not advance?
Playing the recorder is not a crime against humanity.
The "carbon footprint" is as important as the "Yeti footprint," but is probably less real.
Human life on earth can be likened to being in prison. We are all sentenced to death. Some people enjoy a more pleasant prison cell, others live in dungeons. Some think of themselves as wardens and some think of themselves as victims. Yet, in the end all are prisoners and will die as such. Given these circumstances it seems quite peculiar that almost no one is struggling to escape from this prison. Even more peculiar is the fact that escape is quite possible and not even that difficult. In all fairness, however, it must be realised that only a small number really can escape without upsetting the balance of nature. What's more, one must be taught to escape.
We have seen the "life-threatening dangers" of asbestos, formaldehyde, genital herpes, plasticisers in drink containers, HIV, BSE, bird flu and swine flu all come and go. Much of humanity thrives on melodramatic fear mongering. Scientists and the media play into each others hands, supporting one another's vanity and self importance. Fear, uncertainty and doubt make headlines and bring in scientific grants. Yet life goes on and one horror scenario follows the other, but only in the minds of impressionable men suffering from the power of suggestion.
We often think that what we have to do at the moment isn't important and that something else we "should" be doing is more worthwhile. This is imagination and is generally based on vanity. Whatever we need to do, fold down the wash, clean the cat pans, wash the windows, paint the fence or fix dinner, these are the most important things we can do in the moment and it is worthwhile doing them well. When we hear ourselves say "I need to get this done so I can get on to whatever is more important" we can stop in our tracks and say, "this is what needs to be done right now, nothing else." This eventually results in a feeling of gratification and it is good work against our feeling of self importance.
Today there are thousands of ways to get the message across, but there are no longer any messages worth sending, unless news of a new detergent interests you.
You can only love if you can be.
Love never dies. Never.
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