The True Believer vs. The True Skeptic
Eric Hoffer, the longshoreman philosopher, wrote a book called "The True Believer." In it he stated: "the true believer is one, who having lost sight of his goals, redoubles his efforts."
If a "true believer" stared eye to eye with a "true skeptic" he would be looking in a mirror. They are exactly the same person. Each are, black and white, all or nothing, individuals. The beliefs they hold are true, and all other beliefs are false. No amount of evidence, logic, or persuasion will shake the true believer, or the true skeptic from their stance. Most have long forgotten the circumstances under which they came into their beliefs. The whys, hows, and by whom they were taught that which they defend so tenaciously. They only know they are right.
The open-minded individual lives in a world of possibilities. He is willing to listen to diverse opinions and "turn them over" in his mind, testing the reality of what he hears. He may, or may not believe new concepts, but is always respectful of those who speak them. To be open-minded, is to realize all is not known about the world we live in, that new discoveries are inevitable. It is a humble position, one from which learning can take place.
The "true believer" and the "true skeptic" are positions of fear. Fear of letting-go past limitations. Fear of the changing face of new knowledge and events. Open-mindedness is a position of love. A willingness to say yes to new knowledge and events.
Thoughts in Physical Life.
We create our own reality, and thoughts are our tools. They are the basis of choices we make daily, and the inevitable results of those choices.
Physical life was designed for spiritual growth; spiritual growth is the process of taming, training and focusing our thoughts into desired outcomes. Neophytes grow into Spiritual Masters through the process of understanding and controlling their thought patterns.
Thought is beginning and end of all motion, emotion, ideas, concepts, and belief systems. Thoughts are responsible for bringing order, or chaos, into our lives; and we are responsible for them.
There is no such thing as an idle thought. All thoughts create. The greater the intensity and duration of the thought the quicker it becomes reality. However, in the physical, the process is slow and linear compared to, instant and simultaneous, in the spiritual. That is why many choose the physical to learn about themselves. It is slower, simpler, and our weak, insincere thoughts don't have time to manifest.
You are not your thoughts. You can, however, learn to understand the "why" and "how" of them. This will lead to understanding and loving yourself. The goal of spiritual growth.
In search of Average.
"Statistical averages are meaningless without other collaborating data:" so spoke my professor in college. He was an exciting teacher despite the dry, dull subject. We spent a whole week of precious class time discovering how statistics can be made to favor anything the preparer desires. If you add up a list of the numbers 1 through 10 (55), then divide by 10 (5.5), you will have the average of the list. However, the average (5.5) does not appear on the list, and would not be helpful in understanding it. You would need to see the whole list of numbers in order to bring any meaning to their average. All numbers, and people, are unique.
The research done on Near Death Experiences contain a lot of statistical information. What percentage saw the Light? How many were sent back as compared to those wanting to come back? What events should define the NDE? What religious affiliation did the experiencer have? etc., etc. These statistics, by themselves, have little meaning. They are just generalizations. After reading them, a non-experiencer, still won't know how it feels to have a NDE.
The Near Death Experience is an emotional event, full of feeling and knowledge that goes beyond the intellect. It is different for each individual; no two are alike. Trying to capture it on paper is futile. What is the average NDE? There isn't any average NDE. If I were to define the minimum NDE, it would be one that contains "talk" about leaving or staying in the physical.
Sigmund Freud wrote many books. I found "Totem and Taboo" in a used book store and quickly purchased it. It was the last of his books that I hadn't read. When I got home, I found an old, yellowed newspaper clipping in the back. The clipping was an interview of Dr. Freud by one of the staff reporters.
Now, Freud was very popular, and the "in" crowd of socialites would often quote and discuss his work at their parties. They were called Freudians. Sometimes these discussions would make the local newspapers, or radio, because of the controversial nature of Freud's theories.
The newspaper reporter, in the clipping, asked Dr. Freud what he thought of the "Freudians" who quoted his works in the media. Freud replied: "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; me, I am not a Freudian, and I would rather be quoted by my critics, than by my friends, because they quote me more accurately; however, these ideas and concepts of mine are merely the tools of my trade, it is really love that heals."
I returned the book, unread, to the used book store. I had learned the truth of Sigmund Freud's life work. There was no need to probe further.
There is a great deal of difference between religion, and spirituality. Religion is a set of rules, commandments, rituals, and procedures for limiting spirituality. How, where, when and what to worship. What to wear, and eat while you are doing it. All enforced with fear of ostracism, hell or worse. Each religion has its own set of limitations; that is how you tell them apart. Is this bad? No, of course not, there is room in the world for all things, and everything has its reason for being.
Spirituality has no limits, there is nothing "out of bounds" to spirit. Everything you see, and touch is spirituality. It is what we are.
Recognition of our spiritual nature has been banished from our schools. Science is taught there instead. With science the world becomes mechanical. Creation was by chance and random events; the mind is epiphenomenon of brain. When you die you die. That's it, finished, over.
Those children having little, or no spiritual training at home believe what they hear at school. What does this teaching give them? Nothing. Randomness by nature has no purpose or meaning. Many are unhappy with the world they see: people treating each other badly; crime, conflict, deceit, and distrust. Some say: why try; it makes no difference if you are good or bad, honest or dishonest, the result is the same. It is over when you die. No meaning to life, no purpose, no reason to try, so why do it. Science has unwittingly removed the purpose, and meaning to life.
But, as always, there is hope. While I would not vote to return religion to schools, I would like to see a class or two on spirituality. That is happening in some schools with classes on Near Death Experiences. NDEs have proven science wrong about the origin and future of man. Life does go on after death. Life does have meaning and purpose. There is a reason to challenge darkness with the light of love and truth. The future of our world lies in teaching our children the truth.
Which came first: the chicken or the egg?While there may be subtle differences, for the purposes of this discussion the words consciousness, personality, awareness, and spirit are interchangeable. They all reflect the state of being or entity that you are.
Which came first: consciousness (personality), or the body? If the body came first and produced the personality then changes in the body would produce changes in the personality. However, if consciousness (spirit) came first, and produced the body then changes in the spirit would produce changes in the body.
Actually both happen. Studies show that certain drugs cause temporary changes in personality. Anti-depressants and such. These changes last only as long as the drug is present in the body. Studies also show that shifts in personality produce changes in the body's immune system and well as other dramatic differences as in Multiple Personalities Disorders. In MPD as one personality replaces another the body changes to reflect the personality. One personality may be diabetic and another completely healthy. These changes show up in blood tests as the body adapts to the varying personalities.
Now, the point is, that if consciousness arises from the brain as many scientists believe, then personality shifts would not be possible without chemical changes to the body prior to the shift. That doesn't happen in MPDs. Solid proof that science is wrong about the mechanical nature of man.
What happens is an interaction between the consciousness (personality/spirit) and the body. A give and take situation where changes in the body are reflected in personality and vice versa. This proves man is more than his body.
Where did God come from?
When this question is asked in the Greater Reality, the answer given is: "God has always existed." God is the Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End of all things.
All things come from God and have their existence in God. We live within God and God lives within us. Jesus said that the Father was within and did the good works. If we believed this, we could do the good works also, and even greater works than Himself.
The nature of God is universal, unconditional Love. Compassion, truth, and caring for all. This is confirmed by the Near Death Experience.
Now, where did evil come from? If in the beginning only God existed, how could evil come from good? It couldn't and it didn't.
Man became so focused on the physical world that he forgot his spiritual nature. He mistakenly thought himself weak and vulnerably. He became fearful of his neighbors and divided the lands and built walls. He warred against his neighbors and brought much suffering into the world. Needing an excuse, he invented devils, demons, and symbols of evil to explain his actions.
I obtained a book by Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D., titled Love is Letting go of Fear. I have read books by this author before. Great writing and thoughts.
It contains chapters on: learning to love, forgiveness, overcoming fear, etc. The same kind of material you will find here. There is nothing new in this web site. All the concepts here have been taught before by many others, in many places.
Thousands of self-help books, and hundreds of religions carry the message of love. So do twelve step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. The message goes back as far as recorded history. It is truth, and truth is eternal.
Some might say that the teaching has failed. That there is still much evil in the world. But they forget this is a school. Every day there are new students arriving. Every day there are those that graduate, going on to higher levels in the Greater Reality. (Not everyone that leaves the physical graduates, some will need to return for further study.) The plan is perfect, God doesn't make mistakes. Sleep peacefully. He is in full control.
Truth doesn't come from Assumptions.
Most of our "knowledge" is based on assumptions.
Many scientists assume the "Big Bang Theory", the "Theory of Evolution", and the "Theory of the Scientific Method" are truth. But truth can not be based on assumption. Truth can only be based on truth. The truth is, that we don't know how the world began, and how man progressed in it. Neither do we know that all truth will "fit" into the scientific method. In order to know that, we would have to know all truth.
Science is a set of methods, procedures, laws, and rules that are deemed to find truth about the world. But, what is not realized, is that the methods, procedures, laws, and rules only limit truth. So, in reality, science can only discover limited truth.
The reality of the Near Death Experience lies outside the limited scope of science. Science assumes there is nothing beyond the physical. It assumes this wrongly, and in the presence of solid evidence to the contrary.
Scientific accounts of the NDE carry such phrases as: "the patient seemed to be out of his body", or "the patient thought he was in the presence of God." The patient, of course, knew where he was because it was his experience. Science doesn't seem to think that "feelings" and "personal experience" count for much. They are dead wrong. (pun intended).
If you want to find out about Near Death Experiences, read what the experiencers say. Those who have not had the experience (respectfully) don't know what they are talking about.
"Get your NDE burgers, here, only $9.95."Dr. Raymond Moody's latest book The Last Laugh details the author's opinion of those who use NDEs to make money for themselves. While unfortunate, this seems to be the norm for anything that makes the news. I can remember how the "New Age" became commercialized overnight and lost its appeal for the masses.
(cooked with radiant light and served with halo onion rings)
I can "see" it all now: books with three pages of NDE and 300 pages of filler; seminars that cost hundreds of dollars guaranteed to produce a NDE for everyone present; NDE T-shirts, jackets, bracelets, watches, and other jewelry; organizations springing up to "counsel" the poor confused NDEers; extra charges if you have a NDE in the hospital; NDE psychic lines, and such. Okay, so some of this might not happen. But you get the idea.
I am not concerned with the "selling" of the NDE. I knew it would happen, and know that it will pass like every fad. When it does, what will remain is truth, and that truth will help those who are serious minded about thoughtful living. God has been "sold" for centuries, but He is still free for the asking. Don't be distracted by the money mongers.