All Posts Tagged ‘religion

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Conditioned Responses and You

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To be one series of conditioned responses after another, each and every day — and please excuse me for saying so — is a rather lackadaisical way to be.  It merely entails letting what was poured into you (over time, by society) internally flutter around to emerge out again (externally) slightly modified, slightly altered (but essentially being the same-old-thing).  It is the way most people are, and it is the way the bureaucrats want you to remain.   They want you to emit what was injected into you.  The powers-that-be don’t want any Walt Whitmans, John Lennons, or Rosa Parks questioning things.  No way!  The powers-that-be want to everyone to robotically conform and nicely fit into their prearranged patterns.  Period.  They want everyone to remain being the cogs in the nice prearranged machine.   The powers-that-be are themselves part of that humongous machine and they will use domination, force, and will blindly do anything to preserve it.  Reacting, day in and day out, only like you were programmed (or miseducated) to react… is a very mechanistic/machine-like way of being.  Most people do not question enough.  Most people do not perceive enough.

Real freedom exists beyond mere conditioned responses.  To dwell in (and “as”) real freedom may be an arduous task that may not (at all) be possible for the halfhearted.  Real freedom may involve getting laughed at, ridiculed, hated, spit on, and ostracized.  Real freedom may involve going beyond a fallacious essence that was given to you to exist as.  Real freedom is a precious jewel that no money can buy, that no amount of bartering can acquire. 

 

 

 

Spider Web Sugar Candy … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2019

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Hell

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from Kobayashi Issa (c. 1818):

“Never forget:
We walk on hell,
gazing at flowers.”

 


from Thomas Peace:

 

One of the problems about hell
is that most who are in it
do not realize that they are in it.
One of the problems of hell
is that a few in it
(realizing they are in it)
are not listened to or
understood by those
in it (not realizing they are in it).
Who in the hell has
all of the right answers?
Nobody!

 

 

Ant on Stella Daylily … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018

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Looking vs. Seeing

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Looking is easy.  Anyone can (and anyone does) do just that.  They can easily look at separate things…. things at a distance.   But seeing is another matter.  Seeing — real seeing — involves perception beyond all of that separation that you genetically inherited over eons of time (i.e., generations of experiences) or obtained from storing what was personally learned; it exists beyond what was gathered from accumulated learning.  Seeing is not from accumulation; it surpasses and is phenomenally much more than what mere accumulation can offer.  Most people look at what they were taught to recognize.  Seeing cuts through barriers, surpassing them.  Seeing puts the unfeeling, obtuse notion of “me” separate from “everything else” aside.  But a lot of people are afraid to feel.  They don’t have the courage or the moxie to feel.  Real perception melts away the self and allows compassion to flower (beyond a dead consciousness).  Real living involves real seeing… real perception.

Looking is easy.  People, who merely look, throw bombs.  Real perception — instead — is deeply compassionate.

Don’t be just anyone.

 

 

Silver-Spotted Skipper with extending proboscis … Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018

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What are they feeding us?

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They provided us with delectable ideas

which our minds assimilated like gluttons.
We, of course, became hungry for more.
Our ravenous appetites drove us
to the next serving… and to the next.
One palatable idea after another
is what we craved; anything other
than facing the starvation of the
emptiness within.
True intelligence can only, for a
limited time, feast on the illusions they
provide.  After

that limitation is reached, real
sustenance breaks free beyond
their insipid inedibilities.
Will habit continue to feast on delicacies
of disorder?  Even the supermarkets are
full of the artificial.
It’s good to eat healthy, whole,
nourishing food.
It’s not so good to allow oneself
to be conditioned to merely
swallow a lot of mindless crap.

 


[Note:  These are not the kind of eggs that you can purchase at the supermarket.  These are 1 millimeter insect eggs on a leaf.   Note the orderly patterns in which they were laid.]

Tiny insect eggs on a leaf… Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018

 

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Lo Zu and the Truth… (another short Lo Zu tale)

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A number of young men and young women in Lo Zu’s village gathered around him
one day and one of them said, “Many people, even from other villages, say that
you are a great sage, a man of vast wisdom who carries the truth; please show us
how to carry the truth with us.”

After a considerable length of silence, Lo Zu stood up and said, “If you want the truth, follow me and do exactly what I say, but it will be a very arduous journey with many difficulties.” Then Lo Zu took his meandering cane and began walking, and all of the youth eagerly followed him, with excitement and expectation in their eyes.

He walked through a very large meadow, often bending down to examine the beautiful wildflowers and
insects (while deeply enjoying them). The youth all followed. Then he walked into a thick forest
containing many creeks harboring extremely slippery rocks. All of the youth were somewhat afraid,
but they continued to follow him. After a couple of hours, they came out of the forest
and began climbing a small mountain, all following Lo Zu carefully and diligently. When they
finally reached a very lofty height, Lo Zu stopped walking and began carefully placing large
rocks in each of the youths’ hands. As he placed the large rocks in the hands of each of the
young followers, he said, “These are very special, sacred stones of truth; please carry these back to the
village very carefully, without dropping any; please do not drop the truth.”

Each of the youth carried a number of stones. They followed Lo Zu down off of the mountain. They struggled on their way through the dark forest; it was very 
perilous and difficult with the weight of the stones making their journey all the more excruciating.  As they walked through the large meadow, back toward the
village, many of them were aching with pain from the tiresome journey and from the heavy weight of the stones (over time).

When they finally reached the village, Lo Zu told them to place the stones in a large pile. It was the end of the day, getting dark, and everyone was extremely exhausted (except for Lo Zu who did not carry any stones). Lo Zu asked them, then, to stand in a circle around the stones.  Then Lo Zu remarked to them all, “Here is the truth you worked so diligently for.  These stones are absolutely worthless.  They are not any different from any other stones that one can find. You believed in me, hoping for the truth to be handed to you.  Out of your confusion, you decided that I always held the truth (to give to you). Many people, out of confusion, choose high-ranking “others” to lead them to the truth; out of their confusion, they choose! They go to temples and ask the temple-keepers to give them the truth. What the temple-keepers generally give, however, is as useless as these rocks. Nevertheless, people blindly and devotedly adhere to what they say, just as you have done with me today. It is evening, and you may be disappointed to find that you have wasted your whole day. Do not feel too wronged by this. Many people have wasted their entire lives in carrying the worthless stones, burden, weighty images, and so-called sacred statues of others, and it isn’t evening at the end of it for them; it is the time of their death. They wasted not a day but their entire life, and the sacred eluded them.
Therefore, do not cling to any groups or authoritarian leaders who claim to give concrete methods toward the truth; instead,
find living truth within, without using taxing systems or time.
The first step and the last step are one.”

 

 

Magnificent Eastern Tailed Blue (in a meadow, of course!)… Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018

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Christianity and the Historical Christ

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My wife and i were at a relative’s funeral, a number of years ago, and my older cousin was in the church pew in front of us.  At the end of the mass, she turned around and said to me, “It’s too bad that you are a heathen.”  I did not reply anything back to her.  (By the way, i had undergone a profound Timeless/Enlightenment experience long before this occurred, though don’t just believe that; “experience,” by the way, is not a very good word to use for this; no word is sufficient.)

I have always been profoundly interested in spirituality and in the philosophical aspect of things all of my life.  I do not belong to any organized religion because, like separative countries, organized religions tend to divide people and (to a large extent) tend to be a form of tribalism which leads to conflict and war.  Though i am not one to put any credence or reliance into “belief” — since belief tends to be the crude result of a blind acceptance of presuppositions, conclusions, or group acceptances — i am very interested in investigating into truth and holistic order.  I probably had read the New Testament, by the way, many more times than my brazen cousin did.  Years ago, when i was quite younger, i hung around a lot with Professor David Bohm, talking one-on-one with him often about the deeper aspects of truth and reality.  David Bohm was a co-worker with Albert Einstein, by the way.  Einstein loved Bohm and called Bohm his “spiritual son.”  I’ll never forget the wonderful discussions that we had.

As far as the Bible goes, most biblical scholars agree that most of what was handed down over the years has been grossly distorted over time from what the historical Christ actually said (i.e., distorted by mistranslations and intentional, self-serving additions by others).   However, probably if one is truly wise, one can — to a large extent — tell the difference between the weeds and the wheat.

One of the many sections that i find interesting starts at Matthew 13:10:

Then the disciples came and asked him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. The reason I speak to them in parables is that “seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand. With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
‘You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears…'”.

So, here, in this alleged saying, Christ seems to be saying that he will be telling special things (or even secrets) to those that are close to him, who really care.  He also seems to be saying that the masses get parables but not the direct, significant, straight teachings.  As in ancient times, most people do not inquire into what such special teachings may have consisted of; most did not inquire into what such special messages were about.

The ancient Gospel of Thomas was discovered in an earthenware jar in 1945 in a desert by a poor farmer who was digging for fertilizer.  Additionally, Greek fragments of the gospel were found in ancient dump heaps.  The Greek fragments were an even earlier example than the 1945-discovered Coptic version, and were likely a more pristine version of the gospel (and likely are less distorted).   I hope someday that a full, early Greek version of Thomas is discovered!  Many prominent biblical scholars maintain that the Gospel of Thomas was written before any of the four (previously oral) gospels were written.  There is much evidence — and books have even been written on this — that the Gospel of John was written as a rebuttal to the Gospel of Thomas.  Ancient people who were appreciative of the Gospel of Thomas were all butchered and killed by the ancient Bishops and their followers, long after Thomas was written.  The Gospel of Thomas is not full of weird miracles and tons of parables but, instead, contains more direct, simple wisdom sayings and suggestions to look within (rather than to intermediary priests in temples).   Do you think that an early gospel  — though it was dearly accepted by many early in the history of all of this — would be tolerated by the self-appointed religious, orthodox “authorities” while it suggested that one look within, while it condemned the temple leaders?  The Pharisees, the strict, orthodox, temple-attending people at the time of Christ, were often referred to in a negative way in Thomas (and in some of the other new testament gospels).   Jesus was, at first, a follower of John the Baptist, who despised the “high-ranking” Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious leaders (of organized religion) in Israel at the time of Jesus; John got as far away from the temples as he could… (into wonderful, beautiful nature) to speak to the people, away from the orthodox priests/rabbis.  It was likely these religious leaders who had John the Baptist terminated, and it definitely was the leaders of organized religion who had Jesus killed (as well as, later on, all of the admirers of The Gospel of Thomas).   Do you know what they did with popular iconoclasts in the distant past?  They nailed some of them to dead trees; and, very possibly, if they became exceptionally popular, they twisted around and distorted what they had said to suit their own power-hungry ends.

Prelude and a few select sayings from the Gospel of Thomas:

 

 

 These are the hidden sayings that the living Yeshua spoke and Yehuda Toma the twin recorded. 
 
(1)
And he said, 
Whoever discovers what these sayings mean 
will not taste death.

(3)
Yeshua said,
If your leaders tell you, “Look, the kingdom is in heaven,”
then the birds of heaven will precede you.
If they say to you, “It’s in the sea,” 
then the fish will precede you.
But the kingdom is inside you and it is outside you.
When you know yourselves,  then you will be known,
and you will understand that you are children of the living father.
But if you do not know yourselves,
then you dwell in poverty and you are poverty.

Sayings 61, 62, 66, and 67: 

(61)
Yeshua said,
Two will rest on a couch. One will die, one will live.
 
Salome said,
Who are you, mister? You have climbed on my couch
and eaten from my table as if you are from someone. 
 
Yeshua said to her,
I am the one who comes from what is whole.
I was given from the things of my father.
 
Salome said,
I am your student.
 
Yeshua said,
I say, if you are whole,  you will be filled with light,
but if divided, you will be filled with darkness.

(62)
Yeshua said,
I disclose my mysteries to those who are worthy
of my mysteries. 
Do not let your left hand know
what your right hand is doing.

(66)
Yeshua said,
Show me the stone that the builders rejected.
That is the cornerstone.
 
(67)
Yeshua said,
One who knows all but lacks within
is utterly lacking.

(The aforementioned excerpts were taken from the Nag Hammadi Library Marvin Meyer Translation of Thomas.   http://gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom-meyer.html

A good book to read, if you are really interested in this, is “The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus” by Robert W. Funk.
However, I feel that what is most important is to not rely on past writings or sayings of others — especially rather antiquated ones — but, instead, to perceive freshly and find out for oneself (without dependence on organizations and handed-down beliefs).

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This is a male Snout Butterfly.   The males have four legs and a pair of unusable anterior legs; those unusable, anterior legs can be seen in the photograph.  The females have six usable legs.  

Male Snout Butterfly… Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018

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Habits

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Many people do things habitually, mechanically, without thinking, without much awareness, in very robotic ways.  The mind gets used to functioning in (and “as”) habit; dullness, and incessant routine set in, making the mind more and more repetitive, more and more machine-like.  People get so used to repeating the same set of routines day after day, month after month, year after year, such that they hardly know (or try) anything different.  (Air-polluting, fossil fuel spewing vacations aren’t a way out of this, by the way.)

Many people mindlessly and habitually cling to what they were taught, religiously, politically, nationally, ethically, socially, culturally, at home and in the office.  To them, “THIS IS THE WAY THINGS MUST BE DONE,” and that is that.  Then they remain teaching their children to dwell in the same grooves, to function in the same patterns.  Anyone who questions the status quo is considered a trouble-maker or some kind of freak and is cast out.  It may be, however, that, in such an atmosphere, true creativity and true “aliveness” is squelched.  In such an environment, the truly insightful and the truly creative person is considered an oddball.  

Be one of the lemmings if you want to (like most want to), but as for that… well, it’s not for me.  Like Einstein, i don’t give a rat’s behind about “fitting-in” or about superficial appearances.  It’s the deeper things that matter, and you can’t go deeper if you are stuck in superficial paradigms and one-dimensional routines.

 

 

Blue Damsel… Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018