Common sense and religious wackiness

I wanted to share some thoughts on religion, god, prayer, and religious wackiness during this pandemic.  If I were still a Christian, I would be having a difficult time with this situation.  The mental gymnastics that people are going through to let god off the hook is exactly what I would be doing as well.

The Christian denominations that I grew up in don’t have to do as much theological juggling as others.  They were of the opinion that whatever is happening is just god’s will, because he is in control and all that.  This group still prays for what they want, but if they don’t get it, then that means the answer was “no”.  But the group that I was with for the last 20 years of my Christian life was of the charismatic/word of faith flavor.  This group will have more trouble explaining things.  They believe (and I used to) that god wants you healed and happy and protected and all your needs met.  The believer’s faith is very important with this group and they find scriptures to back up their faith or beliefs.  They believe that god’s will has already been revealed in the Bible.  If a believer doesn’t get what they want, or gets what they don’t want, the blame is always on the believer, never on god.  So if a person in this group comes down with the coronavirus, it’s because they didn’t have enough faith that god would protect them, or they are living in some kind of sin, or god tried to warn them about something and they ignored it… man, trying to figure all that out is exhausting!

But when it’s convenient, god’s will or his plan is brought up.  If lots of “good Christians” who have a lot of faith are praying that the coronavirus wouldn’t get to the point where it is today, but it does, then it’s because it has to happen as part of the end times.  Or maybe it’s god’s judgment on a sinful world (even though my understanding was that Jesus paid for all sins).  Or something similar to that.  But even within specific denominations, Christians can’t agree on god’s part in all this.  So when you spread it out among the top 5 or so groups within Christianity, you come up with many, many varying ideas as to where is god in all this.  Not that I know anything more than anyone else about that, but it seems to me that god is conspicuously absent.

And then you have the extremes like a Pentecostal church that continues to meet, even though there is a statewide ban of 50 or more gathering.  A quote from the pastor regarding the state ban on gatherings because, well, people could die: “This is an extreme test brought on us by the spirit of antichrist and the mystery of lawlessness,”. “What good is the church in an hour of peril if the church caters and caves in to the fears and the spirits of torment in our society?”  Crazy man, just fucking crazy.  I’m thankful for the majority of pastors who preach faith, but have the sense to cancel services until this thing is past us.

I wonder if the idea of having church services in the midst of a pandemic is partially to try to “prove” that god exists?  Or something like that?  Even some of the most devout believers that I know are having doubts and questions coming into their minds during this time.  Contrary to what I was taught in church, I think questions and doubts are a good thing.  If questions and doubts regarding god cause a person to pray and think and research what they believe and why they believe it, no matter what conclusion they come to, I think that is a great thing.  That would be a good thing for people to do with other beliefs as well, such as political, parenting, marriage, health and wellness, etc.

I don’t pretend to know anything for sure, just putting some thoughts out there.

Stay healthy, folks.

Peace.

COVID-19, how is everyone doing?

Hello all.  For those of you who are reading this, I hope you and yours are well and you are surviving the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you or your loved ones have contracted this virus, I’m truly sorry and my heart goes out to you.  And if you are one of the millions of people who have lost your source of income, I feel for you as well.  Hopefully you have friends or family who can assist you until this event calms down.

If you are still working every day because your job is considered essential, thank you.  From medical personnel to grocery store workers to truck drivers to mail carriers to first responders, and so many others, thank you.

I am very fortunate to still be working and being paid.  The company I work for is considered a critical organization that helps support the infrastructure of the US and parts of Canada.  The same job that stresses me out and that I’ve bitched about many, many times, is allowing me to keep working.  It’s humbling.  I don’t make the kind of money that would allow me to keep businesses from going under or anything like that, but I’m doing what I can to support local small businesses when I can.  Hopefully there are enough people in a similar situation who can do the same.  Crisis like this pandemic seem to bring out the worst, and the best, in people.  In the initial panic buying, I think most of us saw more of the worse than the best.  I think that’s probably normal human behavior in the initial stages of panic.  But now, I’m starting to see more of the good and best of humanity coming out.  Hopefully that will continue.

Even though I’m still coming in to work every day, I can’t say that I’m afraid of getting sick.  It’s not because I’m just that brave, or stupid.  I don’t have faith in a god that will protect me.  I’m not delusional about the severity of the situation.  I’m not really sure why I’m not afraid, but I’m grateful.  I am keeping my distance from co-workers, I have hand sanitizer at my desk, I’m drinking a ton of water, and I wash my hands multiple times throughout the day.  To and from work, if I do have to stop for gas or food, I make sure to keep my distance from others and watch what I touch.  All those things that we are being told to do.

It’s a crazy time, to be sure.  But it’s not a time for us to act crazy.  Please take care of yourself and your families.  Use common sense and listen to the advice of the health care community.  And when possible, help take care of someone else.  Even if it’s just something like only buying one can of Lysol instead of two.  You get the idea.  🙂

 

Aging and acceptance

I’m 51 years old.  Still fairly young by my standards.  In my head, I’m still about 28.  But my body often reminds me that no, I’m not 28 anymore. For the most part, I’m enjoying getting older.  I feel that I have more wisdom, I’m more patient and mellow, and I understand myself and how my mind works more than ever.  It’s the physical aspect that gets annoying. And, of course, those who are older than I am often tell me that it only gets worse.  Yeah.  Thanks for that.

In my younger years I was very athletic.  I swam competitively, played tennis and soccer, ran several miles per week, lifted weights and did calisthenics, and I’ve been involved in martial arts since I was 12.  I’ve sustained injuries along the way and have probably worn out a joint or two.  These old injuries often come back to say hello.  Especially when I try to participate in activities that I used to do like lifting weights or calisthenics.  Because of some mild scoliosis, I’ve had back pain most of my life.  As a younger man, I just pushed through it.  “No pain, no gain”.  With the vast wisdom I’ve accumulated over the last half a century (said in a sarcastic tone), I’ve decided that pain sucks.  My left shoulder often hurts bad enough that it’s difficult to use my left arm for many things.  I’ve started to develop arthritis in my knees.  My back still hurts most of the time.  And there are the occasional pains that just seem to come out of nowhere.

So, since I’ve decided that pain sucks, I’ve made some adjustments.  Instead of practicing Tang Soo Do (which I did for about 22 years), I’ve switched to tai chi.  This has actually helped my back quite a bit.  Along with a good chiropractor and an inversion table.  Tai chi also fits nicely with the Buddhist and Taoist philosophies that I’ve been studying.  I’ve stopped lifting weights or doing calisthenics due to the shoulder and knee pain.  I do work out with a steel mace.  Google steel mace 360 to see the main workout.  It is helpful for my shoulders and gives a decent overall strengthening workout.  I tried cycling for a while but my knees just can’t do it.  So, walking it is.  And on good days, I practice yoga.  In what seems like a few short years, my exercising has been reduced to tai chi, walking, and yoga.  The funny thing is, if I could go back and talk to my younger self, I would have said to go ahead and just do these three activities.  I enjoy doing them, and they are activities that heal my body instead of hurting it.

The Buddhist practice of acceptance has helped me a lot as I’ve gotten older.  This was a difficult concept for me to grasp when I first heard of it.  I was confusing acceptance with resignation.  Resignation, the way I thought of it, would be something like, “My body hurts when I exercise.  So I guess I just won’t exercise”.  But acceptance would be more like, “I accept the fact that my body is aging and I can’t do many of the same exercises I used to do.  But, I can still walk and practice tai chi and yoga”.  I read an excerpt John Kabat-Sinn’s book, “Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness”, regarding acceptance that I thought was really good:

“Acceptance doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, mean passive resignation. Quite the opposite. It takes a huge amount of fortitude and motivation to accept what is- especially when you don’t like it-and then work wisely and effectively as best you possibly can with the circumstances you find yourself in and with the resources at your disposal, both inner and outer, to mitigate, heal, redirect, and change what can be changed.”

With this in mind, I can accept that I’m getting older, along with every other life form on the planet.  And even that I will eventually die, just like every other life form.  And with this acceptance comes the realization that my body will not continue to perform at the level it did when I was 20 years old.  But I can work wisely and effectively with my body, where I am today, and still enjoy a very full life.  And then shift to gratitude for what I can still do.  I know a few folks my age that have already had to have knee replacements and hip replacements and so forth.  I’m thankful that my body isn’t in worse shape!

An interesting side note to aging is that the older I get, the less I have to say.  I’m not exactly sure why that is?  It could be that as I age, I realize how much I don’t know.  Also, I have been making a fairly consistent effort to listen more and talk less.  This might also be linked to realizing how much I don’t know.  Another possibility is my mindfulness practice.  I practice seated mindful meditation.  But I also try to be mindful as I go through my day.  A natural result of the meditation and mindfulness practice is that the thoughts going through my brain tend to slow down.  My mind is much more quiet than it used to be.  I suppose that could also contribute to my decreased chattiness.  But I have to say, it does make it more difficult to come up with things to write about for this blog.  Maybe fewer posts will turn into better content?  Hmmm… We’ll see.  🙂

I hope you are well.

Tattoos and random thoughts

I got my first tattoo on September 2nd of this year.  It’s a tribal dragon tattoo on my left shoulder.  I was told ahead of time that tattoos are addictive and I would probably want more of them.  The people who told me this were right!  I already have my next three picked out.  The next will be a lion on my right shoulder.  I’ve wanted a tattoo for a while but just couldn’t think of anything “meaningful” enough to have permanently inked onto my body.  I read an article by a tattoo artist that helped me make the plunge.  He said that a tattoo doesn’t have to mean anything.  It can just be something you like or think is cool.  I kept coming back to the dragon tattoo because I really liked the way it looked.  So, got it.  And I’m so glad I did.  It’s the same with the lion.  I keep coming back to it, I think it will look great, so that will be next.

I recently went on an atheist kick.  I watched several episodes of The Atheist Experience on You Tube.  And found many other atheist channels that I watched.  Then I kind of switched to atheist podcasts.  It’s been an interesting and fun little excursion.  I’ve had to take a break from it, though.  There was a bit too much of, “we are right, and they are wrong”, going on.  At least, too much for me and where I want to be.  So, I’ve been listening to some Buddhist podcasts that I’m really enjoying.  Secular Buddhism is probably my favorite one right now.  I also like Drunk Ex Pastors.  🙂

I think it’s interesting to look at the stats of which of my posts get the most views.  By far, the most read post is Agnostic Taoism.  Maybe because of the title of the post?  I’m not sure?  The post about Dave Warnock and his Dying Out Loud tour has gotten a lot of recent traffic as well.

I had gotten away from my reading for a while, but I’m back at it.  I think I have 6 books that I’ve started and not finished!  The two that I’m enjoying right now are The Wooden Bowl and Trying Not To Try.  The WB is about meditation and TNTT is a book about Taoism/Wu Wei.  Both very good books.

I’m experimenting with intermittent fasting.  I’m doing the thing where I only eat between noon and 7:00 pm.  There is no spiritual reason for this, it’s strictly to try to lose some weight.  It’s not as difficult as I thought it would be, but I’m noticeably more tired.  I’ve read in several places that is not uncommon.  Hopefully that will pass soon.

I have had some trouble writing recently.  I have started several posts but can’t get past the first initial thoughts.  I’m hoping as I read more, I’ll get more posts going.

If you are reading this, I hope you and yours are well.

Compassionate listening

“Do your best to practice compassionate listening. Do not listen for the sole purpose of judging, criticizing or analyzing. Listen only to help the other person express himself and find some relief from suffering.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Thank you, Tara, for suggesting that I write about this.

One of the best things that I’ve noticed in my life after religion is a greater sense of compassion and acceptance of other humans.  Even before leaving religion I would often make the comment, religion makes people mean and judgmental. I know that is a broad statement, but I still believe it’s true.

When I started studying Buddhism, people like Thich Nhat Hanh talk a lot about compassion.  Compassion not only for others, but for yourself as well.  Some say you can’t have compassion for others until you have compassion for yourself. That’s something that the religion I came out of did not allow much room for.  We were generally very hard on ourselves.  I’ve found that how I view and treat myself affects how I view and treat others.

I’ve always been a good listener, but when I started thoughtfully being more compassionate towards myself and others, I noticed changes in how I listen.  Also, practicing mindfulness caused some changes in my listening as well.  I started listening like TNH describes compassionate listening.  A good friend came up with his own definition of unconditional love.  He says it’s noticing the person as they are, with no judgment, and no need or want to change anything about how they are. Meditating on this definition of love has also bled into how I listen now.

In an article by Dr. Hyder Zahed, he gives some good, practical advice on how to be a more compassionate listener.

  • Participate. Look at the person directly and put aside distractive thoughts and also watch his or her body language.
  • Show interest. When the other person speaks, focus on what he/she is saying. Try not to let your mind jump ahead to figure out a replying recommendation. Check to make sure your posture and body language is open and inviting and that your arms are not crossed in front of you or that your feet are pointing away from the person.
  • Make eye contact. Making eye contact during a conversation indicates to the other person that you are listening with undivided attention. However, do blink and look away periodically.
  • Defer judgment. Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. Try not to interrupt with suggestions or counter arguments.

Yep, good stuff.

Just like you can practice self-love and self-compassion, you can practice compassionate listening to yourself.  Listen to your body, your thoughts, your feelings, etc. When you listen to your self, listen without judgment, like you would a close friend or loved one.  Like anything else we want to get better at, compassionate listening takes practice. But I think you’ll be amazed at how quickly the way you listen starts to change.  I believe the world can become a better place by more people being compassionate listeners.

Happy listening.  🙂

Life after religion

This post was inspired by a blog post that I read and responded to.  I think this is a great part of reading people’s stories and hearing what they are going through.  I can have affects that help unwrap who you are.

As I said in my last post, I’m listening to podcasts and watching videos about atheists who used to be religious believers.  I’m also a member of a couple FB groups.  It is so interesting to listen to people’s stories.  They are uniquely different, but many of them share a lot in common.  Some are more tragic, some make me angry, while others just make me go, whoa…  I experienced a lot of manipulation in my religious years and there is probably still some baggage that I’m carrying around that I haven’t discovered yet.  But all in all, my experience was very positive.  I enjoyed the friends that I had.  I enjoyed listening to the preaching and doing some teaching as well.  I did have times where I was angry at god, but I didn’t leave religion because I was angry at god.  I left the institution of church because I realized that there were multiple issues across the board that I might talk about in another post.  After a few years, I decided to go back and do an in-depth study of the Bible, its history, the history of the church, etc.  After about two years, I realized I just don’t believe any of this anymore.  Over that two year period, certain beliefs would just fall away.  This went on until there were none left.  And that’s a good thing!

I’m having to learn, at 51 years old, how to discover who I am without religion and belief.  And I’ve noticed a growing desire to learn to live a more authentic life from that place of discovering who I am.  I love how that sounds!  But I’m not sure I know what it really looks like or how to do it.  And there is some fear there as well.  I guess fear of the unknown.  Like, what will this authentic version of me look like?  Will I like him?  And I do have a little care if those close to me will like him…  I guess we will see!  I’ve picked up some good tools for living day to day over the last few years.  And I think just living day to day, paying attention to the moments that matter, and realizing that the desire to live more authentically is there, somehow I will get to that place.

Dave Warnock – Dying Out Loud

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately by non-religious hosts, mostly atheists who used to be Christians.  It’s been really interesting. I came across the story of a man named Dave Warnock.  He is an ex-Christian pastor who became an atheist just a few years ago.  I think he is 63 now.  This decision to walk away from his faith cost him his career, most of his friendships, his relationship with his two daughters and their children, and his marriage.  But he said that he has been more alive and able to life an authentic life in the last few years than ever in his life.

Early this year, he went to the doctor to get some symptoms checked out.  He was diagnosed with ALS.  Fuck.  But as far as I can tell, he came to terms with this pretty quickly and has been living an amazing life ever since.  He has decided to die out loud.  I hate the diagnosis, but I love how he is living out what is left of his life!

I highly encourage you to check out what all he is doing.  There are a couple places you can go:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DaveWarnock.DyingOutLoud/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/warnockpa/?hl=en

Dave’s website – https://daveoutloud.com/

And I also recommend looking up YouTube videos and any podcasts that he has been on.  There are several. He really has a unique perspective on life now that he is dying.  It really challenges and encourages me. One question he gets on a regular basis is, are you afraid of dying?  He says no.  He’s pissed off because he loves life and doesn’t want to leave yet, but he’s not afraid.  He said something interesting that I’ve noticed in my experiences as well.  He said most of the people that he knows who are afraid of death and dying are Christians.  Most of the atheists he knows are not afraid.  Isn’t that interesting?  The people who believe that heaven awaits them are the most afraid, and those who think that this is it are the least afraid of dying.  I don’t think you can just paint a broad brush and say that’s how it is, but I’ve experienced the same thing.

I also think it’s great how much support he is getting from the atheist community!  That’s one thing I heard a lot in church.  If you quit going to church and don’t have a “church family”, who will support you in your time of need?  Yeah.  Ask Dave that question!  He had a friend invite him to move in with him and his wife for as long as he wants.  There are people coming from everywhere to help support him financially so he can travel and do talks and podcasts for as long as he is physically able.  And he’s made tons of friends along the way who just spend time with him.  Pretty damn cool!

Right now, he lives just a few hours from me so hopefully I’ll get a chance to hear him speak and get to meet him.

I’ve heard him say many times, all we have is moments.  People don’t remember days, they remember moments.  Notice and enjoy the moments.

As Dave says, Carpe the fucking Diem!

The Bible

This post might not flow very well. We’ll see. I’m basically writing what is coming to my mind and not editing much, if anything. I’ve had a lot of thoughts lately about the Bible and wanted to try to type some of them out.

The Bible is the most translated and bestselling book, ever. You will find a copy of one in almost every hotel room in America. I would venture to guess that most households in the US have at least one copy. I think there are probably 20 copies of various translations in my house. I’ve read through it probably 6 or 7 times and much of it hundreds of times. I used to teach things from it and about it. And yet I remained blind to the contradictions, historical errors, and lack of evidence for many of its claims.

I recently read a survey from 2017 that basically said that only 20% of Christians in America have read through the Bible at least once. 43% have read anywhere from a few scriptures to half of it. And the rest say they have read almost all of it. I don’t know what percentage of these people would consider themselves extremely devoted to their beliefs? And I don’t know how someone would even measure that? But in my experience, I have found that Christians I have known have read very little of it, yet consider it the word of God and try to live their lives by it. Many Christians believe that the Bible is infallible and 100% accurate. Yet they don’t know its history of what was added or subtracted and how many times it’s been translated and passages changed. For example, I’ve read from at least 3 sources where the word “homosexual” was not in the English Bible before 1946. Hmmmm…

Even though many people consider the Bible to be the “word of God”, the Bible itself never says that it is the word of God. If I remember correctly, in John chapter one, it says that Jesus is the word of God. The gospels were accounts of the life of Jesus. The epistles were letters written by people like Paul to the various churches that existed at that time. People often use 2 Tim 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” But what did the writer of the letter mean by “scripture”? Was he saying that the letter that he wrote to Timothy was to be considered scripture? And how many letters to Timothy did he write? There are only 2 in the Bible. Were there more and they just got lost? I can’t remember any letters in the New Testament where the writers anything about keeping them, making copies of them, and using them as messages from God.

I’ve asked Christians about the scriptures in the Bible that paint God in a light that is other than a loving, merciful, compassionate God. The answers I’ve gotten are similar. Basically, people say that they must not be understanding those Bible verses correctly and they just kind of skip over them. That’s what people refer to as, cherry picking.

Instead of listing here many of the errors in the Bible, this is a link to a good source that lists them:
https://www.news24.com/MyNews24/The-Problem-of-the-Bible-Inaccuracies-contradictions-fallacies-scientific-issues-and-more-20120517

I’m not convinced that there is no god at all. Neither am I convinced that there is some kind of god. But if there is a god, I think the Bible is not a good way to get to know him/her/it, if that is even possible. Like the writer of the article in the link says, the Bible is a poorly compiled piece of work. In my humble opinion.

Prayer

I’ve been thinking lately about the subject of prayer. Depending on which study you look at, 48%-55% of Americans pray daily. They pray for anything from health for themselves and others to finances to direction in life, or just talking to god. I have not prayed on even a semi-consistent basis in a long time. I don’t think I would consider myself and atheist at this point, but I can’t say that I’ve seen enough evidence to say that god exists. At least not in any version of the Christian god. If I’m right, an atheist would say, I do not believe that god exists.  For me, I think that god could exist, but I just don’t have enough evidence to say for sure. I would say that I live the majority of my life like an atheist. And since prayer is directed at god, well, you get the idea. I can’t say 100% that prayer does not do any good for anybody. But, in my experience, I can’t say that I’ve seen enough evidence that prayer changes anything. When I mention prayer in the context that I have written so far, I mean, praying to god that he/she would intervene in some situation and cause things to turn out in a way that I would want them to turn out. Since I have stopped praying, I cannot say that my life and the situations in my life have gotten and worse or have a less desirable outcome than when I prayed often. In fact, I think in some areas, my life is better since I stopped praying.

I have seen several studies on different types of prayer. And, depending on who is doing the study, I’ve also seen mixed results. But, it does seem that often the results are no different than chance. I recently read a study where others were praying for sick people (often called intercessory prayer) and the patients who knew they were being prayed for did worse than the ones who didn’t know others were praying for them. In my personal life, I do have one constant result when it comes to prayer. Every person that I’ve ever prayed for who had a fatal, incurable disease, has died from that disease or complications from it. Yep, 100%. Anyone reading this is probably like, don’t pray for me! I know people who pray that god will do such and such in their situation, then work like crazy to make it happen. If it turns out favorably, they say, look what god did! I’m like, no, you did that.

In writing this, I’m not trying to get people to stop praying if that is something you do. I’m just sharing thoughts on the subject that I’ve had lately.

I was talking to a friend about this subject and he said that he did not believe that praying for other people actually changes anything. But, he did think it was probably therapeutic in some ways for the person praying. I have not studied that out, but it makes sense to me. And I totally understand why people pray about things. I think one of the main instances is when people don’t have any control over a situation. Like if someone is going to have surgery, especially a major surgery. Unless you are one of the doctors or nurses involved, you really have no control over what is going on in there. And that is an uncomfortable feeling. So I think one reason people pray in these situations is to have a feeling that they are doing something that will help towards a favorable outcome. Maybe this makes people feel a little less helpless. I’ve been there many, many times in my life.

Sometimes I do wonder if praying for a certain outcome is setting a person up for disappointment or a feeling of failure? I have a friend who prayed about something to turn out A, but it turned out B. In frustration, this person said, that’s exactly what I prayed wouldn’t happen! And then they went back and forth between being mad at god for not doing what they asked, and disappointment in themselves because they either didn’t pray with enough faith or they had done something to hinder their prayer. It can be exhausting living that way. What if, instead, we just take life as it comes? There is a Buddhist practice that I have found helpful where they don’t judge, or label situations that arise as good or bad. They just are as they are. I’ll tell you, this took me a lot of practice and I’m still practicing. But it has helped me greatly in dealing with the ups and downs of life. If I’m in the habit of labeling every situation, it seems that most of my day would often be labeled as bad. I have to get up and get ready for work, but I’d rather sleep in; bad. The cat knocked a glass of water off the counter in the middle of the night; bad. I take a first sip of coffee; good. Traffic is extra heavy today going to work; bad. I get to work and find out that an annoying co-worker is on vacation this week; good. My boss is in a bad mood today; bad. And so on. You get the idea. If I woke up and prayed for a “good day”, so far, it doesn’t look like my prayer is working above about 50%. Which is where I found most of my prayers worked out, anyway. I will admit, the whole taking life as it comes vs. labeling doesn’t always “work” for me. I still experience frustration and fear and sadness and all those feelings we would rather not have. I do believe in the Taoist idea of yin and yang. Sometimes you feel great and are happy, and sometimes not. That’s just the way life is. The religion that I came out of made it seem like god wanted us to be feeling great and happy all the time, and things like sadness and frustration were form the devil. I look at that now and go, what the fuck?!?!? Then you throw in “unanswered” prayers, and it just adds that pressure to trying to be happy all the time. I really did get exhausting.

I do think, to some degree, we have some control over how things turn out in our lives. But it’s through decisions we make, not through what we pray. If I decide to eat out less often and put more money in a savings account, when an unexpected expense pops up, I’m more prepared to deal with it and less stressed. If I decide to get up in the morning and come to work (even if I don’t want to), I have less of a chance of getting fired and not having a job. If I eat right and exercise, get an annual physical, and get close to the recommended amount of sleep, I’m more likely to be a little healthier than if I didn’t do these things. I like what I heard a preacher say about this one time. It was something like, you can’t keep doing what you know you shouldn’t do, or not do what you know you should, and keep praying and expecting god to bail you out.

I have more thoughts, but I don’t want this to be too long, so I’ll save them for another post.

Peace.

Not much to say…

I’m sorry that I’ve been so inconsistent with my posts. I know that’s a big deal for a blog to have consistency. I’ll work on that. Part of the reason I haven’t been consistent is just the busyness of life. Also, it seems that I don’t have much to say these days.

Something I’ve noticed about the mindfulness practice and meditation practice. The more I do it, the fewer things I seem to have to talk about. There is very little chatter in my head that I need to talk to someone about. Also, since I have so few concrete “beliefs” anymore, it’s tough to discuss my “beliefs”. I might believe there is a god of some kind one day, then the next, I might think, no, I don’t believe there is a god. I find that I enjoy quiet a lot more than I used to. I love music, but when I’m driving my car, I rarely have anything on the radio. I like the quiet.

I’ve been working on a post about the topic of religion. But I can’t seem to get very far with it. I’ve been watching The Atheist Experience on YouTube and reading blogs by skeptics and atheists. There is a lot of debating that happens on TAE and in the comments on the blogs. I don’t know why people try so hard to change the minds of the atheists and skeptics? I have my theories. I think part of it is the effect that religion has on people. But I think much of it is just the ego. I’ve heard more than a few authors comment along the lines of, the ego thrives on fear and drama. I think there is a lot of truth to that. If I can let go of my ego and realize that I (nor anyone else) don’t know everything and I am probably wrong about a lot of stuff, it takes some pressure off. And I think that’s part of why I can’t finish my post about religion. I wasn’t going to write many positive things about religion. So what would be my purpose in writing it? I’m pretty sure it was my ego that wanted to write about it. People who feel the same way would just agree, and people who don’t agree probably aren’t going to change their minds. I don’t know who came up with this originally, but I recently remembered these questions:
Does this need to be said?
Does this need to be said by me?
Does this need to be said by me now?

I answered “no” to the first question, so that kind of took care of the other two.

So anyway, I will try to do better at being consistent with my posts. Even if it’s just thoughts I’ve had or part of a book I’ve been reading. Speaking of, I did read and interesting post today on Brian Hines’ Church of the Churchless blog. The title of his post is “Give up the illusion of body and mind being different.” Brian is an atheist and does not believe that we have a separate soul or spirit. He believes in non-duality, and I do too, sometimes. LOL But this comment from his post kind of made sense to me. He wrote, “Of course, the mind is the brain in action, and the brain is part of the body, so mind is brain is body. One thing, not several things.” I especially like that first part, the mind is the brain in action. In the past, I’ve asked myself, what is the mind? And this comment just makes sense to me. It also kind of lines up with my meditation experiences that I’ve been having. That last part, one thing, not several things, makes sense to me. Check out the whole post, I found it very interesting.

Hopefully more soon.  🙂