Monday, February 2, 2009

Loves Me, Loves Me Not

The intimate touch of another soul is the most powerful antidote for the all-too-human experience of existence. It may be the most compelling and pleasurable experience there is.

So why do we spend so much of our time and energy avoiding intimacy by defending ourselves, being angry, critical, closed and judgmental - in short, blocking the experience that we most deeply want?

The answer is that we are wired to constantly reinforce our limited ego-based identity, our sense of who we are.

This ego-based identity plays a very important role in human life, but it does not have the power to love. Ego is all about the self. It can and does experience need, and need is often easy to mistake for love.

In order for us to fully experience love we must let go of our ego & embrace a different part of ourselves. That part which allows us to enhance our relationship with the inner self, express the potential of our essence, and fulfill our purpose.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Do You Really Think About Your Spiritual Positions?

It seems way too many people just accept Dogma, not only without really thinking through the consequences of Dogma, but also without even knowing exactly what they believe in. This is an interesting example.

Did you know you can stump anti-abortionists with one simple question?

Just ask them this:

If abortion was illegal, what should be done with the women who have illegal abortions?

Now watch their faces as the cognitive dissonance sets in. They believe abortion to be murder. Murder deserves severe punishment. Thus, women who have illegal abortions should receive severe punishment — like life in prison or the death penalty. That’s the logical conclusion.

But they can’t accept this conclusion. They know it’s absurd and unfair — which means they know abortion is not really murder.

I'm probably often as guilty as anyone else of letting assumptions get the best of me. So it's a good reminder.

Via Unreasonable Faith.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Za Rinpoche on The Backdoor To Enlightenment

In his words: "If Buddha was American, when he got enlightened he would say 'Duh!'".

Za Rinpoche, a Tibetan monk, first came to the world's attention when his life story was chronicled in the first chapter of Po Bronson's bestseller, What Should I Do with My Life?

While growing up in a refugee camp in Southern India, Za Rinpoche was recognized by the Dalai Lama as the sixth reincarnation of the Za Choeje Rinpoche.

Now, in The Backdoor To Enlightenment, he shares with us the keys to immediate, profound realization and lasting peace, revealing the secrets to enlightenment that have remained hidden in the distant reaches of the Himalayas for more than a thousand years.

This revolutionary work stands out as a smart, clear guide, showing step-by-step how you can use these deep truths to transform every aspect of your life.

Za Rinpoche is the founder of the Emaho Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Scottsdale, Arizona, dedicated to sharing Tibetan culture with the West, supporting humanitarian projects, and assisting with personal spiritual development - Cody's Books

Brother Guy Consolmagno: God's Mechanics

Very interesting talk about Religion and Science. Worth watching, from This is someone who actually is both religious and understands science. For example "science is not about knowing, it's about describing".

With wry humor, Brother Guy Consolmagno shows how he not only believes in God but gives religion an honored place alongside science in his life. His book God's Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion offers an engaging look at how - and why - scientists and those with technological leanings can hold profound, "unprovable" religious beliefs while working in highly empirical fields.

Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno is a Jesuit brother with advanced degrees from MIT and the University of Arizona. A highly respected planetary scientist whose research focuses on meteorites, asteroids, and dwarf planets, Consolmagno is the author or co-author of numerous books and publications, including Brother Astronomer and Turn Left at Orion. He even has an asteroid named in his honor (4597 Consolmagno, known to its friends as "Little Guy").

He has served as chair of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society and is a past president of Commission 16 (Planets and Moons) of the International Astronomical

Former Pastor Eats, Works, Lives, Even Votes as He Believes Jesus Would

After reading the book "A Year of Living Biblically," by A.J. Jacobs, former pastor Ed Dobson decided to devote a year trying to live as Jesus did, based on what is written about him in the Bible and other historical documents.

"I read that book a little over a year ago, and I thought, well, if a secular Jew could do this, certainly a follower of Jesus could," Dobson said today on "Good Morning America Weekend."

Dobson, the vice president of spiritual formation at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., said he did not shave, ate kosher, observed the Sabbath and read through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John every week.

He even had a couple of beers along the way. "I would often go down to the bar, sit up at the counter, drink a beer and talk about God, which Jesus was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard," he said.

Personally I think this is a little bit silly. While I applaud the effort, he's not reliving anything but what he thinks or was told Jesus did. On top of that, he was reading from gospels written many years after Jesus was dead, which Jesus is absolutely guaranteed to NOT have done, so his experiment goes completely askew.

While it's a valiant effort, it seems misguided to me... but then again, what do I know?

Read more or watch the video at ABC News.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dirty Jobs for a Clean Mind

The host of "Dirty Jobs", Mike Rowe, writes:

What does surprise me is the fact that everybody I've met on this gig [...] seems to be having a ball.

It's true. People with dirty jobs are in on some sort of a joke. Maggot farmers are ecstatic. Leech wranglers are exultant. I've personally witnessed lumberjacks and roadkill picker-uppers whistling while they work. And don't even get me started on the crab-fishermen, spider-venom collectors and chicken-sexers--they're having such a blast they've sworn off vacation. So why are people with dirty jobs having more fun than the rest of us?

The answer (aside from the fact that they're still employed) is because they are blissfully sheltered from the worst advice in the world. I refer, of course, to those preposterous platitudes lining the hallways of corporate America, extolling virtues like "Teamwork," "Determination" and "Efficiency." You've seen them--saccharine-sweet pieces of schmaltzy sentiment, oozing down from snow capped mountains, crashing waterfalls and impossible rainbows. In particular, I'm thinking of a specific piece of nonsense that implores in earnest italics, to always, always ... Follow Your Passion!

In the long history of inspirational pabulum, "follow your passion" has got to be the worst. Even if this drivel were confined to the borders of the cheap plastic frames that typically surround it, I'd condemn the whole sentiment as dangerous, not because it's cliché, but because so many people believe it. Over and over, people love to talk about the passion that guided them to happiness. When I left high school--confused and unsure of everything--my guidance counselor assured me that it would all work out, if I could just muster the courage to follow my dreams. My Scoutmaster said to trust my gut. And my pastor advised me to listen to my heart. What a crock.

Why do we do this? Why do we tell our kids--and ourselves--that following some form of desire is the key to job satisfaction? If I've learned anything from this show, it's the folly of looking for a job that completely satisfies a "true purpose." In fact, the happiest people I've met over the last few years have not followed their passion at all--they have instead brought it with them.

I could give you pages of examples; here are a few. Bob, the pig farmer in Las Vegas who collects the uneaten food from casino buffets and feeds it to his swine, which now grow faster and more profitably than any other pigs on the planet; Matt, the dairy farmer in Connecticut who realized his cows were producing more shit than milk and launched a successful line of biodegradable "flower-pots" made from pure poo; Or John and Andy, a couple of entrepreneurs down in Florida who retrieve wayward golf balls from alligator infested water-hazards and resell them on the Internet for big bucks.

These guys are passionate about what they do, but none of them aspired to the careers they now enjoy. None of them were guided by a burning desire to do a particular thing. What they did was step back from the crowd and watch carefully to see where everyone else was going. Then, they simply went the other way. They followed the available opportunities--not their passion--and built a balanced life around the willingness to do a job that nobody else wanted to.

Read the whole article at Forbes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Science Tackles Life After Death

You’re having a near-death experience (NDE). They happen all the time. They may happen to everybody, however they die. Remarkably similar experiences have been reported throughout history in all cultures. Obviously, most are lost to us, because being near death is usually the immediate prelude to being dead. But precisely because high-tech hospital resuscitations are so effective — around 15% of cardiac-arrest victims are revived — we can now regularly hear news apparently from beyond the grave. And it sounds like very good news indeed. You don’t really die and you feel great. What could be nicer?

NDEs are so common, so vivid and so life-transforming — survivors frequently become more compassionate, religious and serene as a result of what they experience — that scientists, philosophers, priests, psychologists and cultists all want a piece of the action. Their problem is that the human mind is unreachable. We can’t see what’s going on in there. Even if we could rush cardiac-arrest patients into an MRI scanner, we’d only see lights in the brain. We wouldn’t know what they meant. But now NDEs are to be scientifically investigated in a US and UK study involving 25 hospitals. This is co-ordinated by Dr Sam Parnia at Southampton University and is designed to find 1,500 survivors of cardiac arrests — “clinical death” — who tell such stories.

There are thousands of reports of OBEs but the two most famous cases are Pam Reynolds and Maria’s Tennis Shoe. Reynolds, an American singer, watched and later reported on with remarkable accuracy the top of her own skull being removed by surgeons before she moved into a bright glowing realm. But it was Reynolds’s account of the surgical implements used and the words spoken in the theatre that make the case so intriguing.

Maria, meanwhile, underwent cardiac arrest in 1977. She floated out of her body, drifted round the hospital and noticed a tennis shoe on a window sill. It was later found to be exactly where she said it was. The shoe was said to be invisible from the ground and not in any location where Maria could have seen it. Such stories suggest that OBEs should be scientifically verifiable.

Read the rest via the UK Times Online.