We Do Not Understand

“God is everything we do not understand. To claim God does not exist is therefore the Ultimate arrogance of man.”

Tweet to the ABC’s interactive program, Q&A, Monday 27 May 2013.

To believers, God is the Ultimate. He is Everything, the original source of all that is, all that exists. All knowledge, all wisdom, the entire Universe and more, nothing exists that did not have it’s origins in and through Him. All the things we know of are but a small fraction of his domain; all that we do not know ( much more than that which we do) is the greater ‘part’ of God and has yet to be revealed to us, we are as yet to uncover – dis-cover – it.

To say any one human understands God is ludicrous; we understand God in somewhat of a similar way that someone with a tourist map of New York ‘understands’ New York City. You might be able to work out your way around some general points or even have a picture in your mind of the ‘layout’ but you cannot see the whole city from a map, you can not hear. touch or smell it, you have no idea who lives there, what it produces, it’s history or much at all of it’s total composition. Given enough time and interest and ability to communicate to the city and the people that make it ‘live’ you might begin to ‘understand’ the city, but you can only do so from your own particular perspective and it may not bear much semblance to what any other tourist with the same map might come to understand in their lifetime.

If this is true for something as ‘simple’ as one single human city, how much more true is it for something that can be worthy of he name ‘God Almighty’?

We who believe do not know God, we just fool ourselves for our own peace of mind that we can.

Knowing God is not however, the same thing as knowing OF God. We are all capable of the latter; none of us are yet capable of the former.

Knowing OF God allows us a choice: we are free to choose to believe in God; have Faith in Him and to Love Him with all our heart, mind and soul… or not. It is to be a completely free choice which way we ‘go’.

There are however, no choices we make that have no consequences and we need to be very clear on that point.

 

Believing will have consequences.

 

Not believing will have different consequences.

 

We get a free choice of which we take.

 

But if those who believe are right and God is everything we do not (yet) understand, To say that God does not exist is a person’s Ultimate arrogance – for it says there is nothing we do not understand. It says that even though there may be something i do not understand it cannot possibly be a part of something greater than myself, that no such entity exists; if it did surely i would know of it or about it.

 

Well the truth is – you DO, but you choose not to accept what you know. And worse, many of you , like Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krause et al accuse those who do know (of God) of being silly, stupid and un’reason’able.

 

We all have to live with the consequences of our decision on Faith.

Image courtesy of http://www.comments20.com

Whatever you can spare….

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Have just learned of the Oklahoma City tornado.

I urge all readers of this post to do whatever they can to help and offer Hope to those who lived through this disaster.

If it is in your hearts you may want to add your prayers and anything else you feel inclined to give for the families of all those who lost their life.

To see more about the Tornado click here.

To learn more about H O P E  click here.

A Mind Divided

cat_two_minds

A house divided against itself cannot stand.

That is a quote from Abraham Lincoln in 1858. He was using it in the context of the division in the ‘United’ States between slavery and non-slavery states. Ultimately it took a disastrous Civil War to finally unite the Northern and Southern states although there are still some who feel ‘divided’ and unjustly treated even today, over 150 years and 5 generations after Lincoln’s speech.

While Lincoln said it, it was not his original thought, like many great quotes it was first stated in the Bible, Matthew 12:25 and others,” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

I believe however, that the quote also applies very well to each one of us as an individual.

How can that be? How am i, how is anyone of us, a ‘House divided’?

It is an undeniable fact that we all live in our own physical ‘house’ – our human body. What is perhaps less clear, or at least not very well understood by the majority of us, is what that body ‘contains’ within, in terms of our consciousness; the thing that allows us to perform actions with that body as well as to think thoughts and experience our human desires and emotions.

While science has made unprecedented progress in discoveries external to our body and has made good progress in medicine and understanding of the physical human form it has made little to no real progress in helping us understand our internal nature, our consciousness, our mind and that poorly understood term, spirit.

I contend that within our true nature are two opposing ‘sides’, for want of a better word. The physical side that contends with our daily life and experiences (since conception/birth) of the physical environment around and outside of us, and a spiritual side that operates differently to our physical nature, one that is so very easily overlooked and hard to ‘pin down’ for our examination or dissection, unlike our physical side.

As we grow from our childhood into adulthood in our physical nature, gaining from every single life experience in the physical world, so too are we to grow from spiritual childhood into adulthood, by living and gaining from our experiences with the things of Spirit.

The trouble here is we tend to confuse both as being one and the same thing when it should be quite clear that it is nothing of the kind.

We live simultaneously in two ‘minds’ – one dedicated to the physical and one to the spiritual side of our nature. We are a house ‘divided’, subject to two differing and powerful ‘forces’ (attractions). As Lincoln and many others have long known, we do not perform to our full capabilities if we are of two minds, one must take precedent over the other so as to prevent working against our own best interest. As the Union was to be under one government to best serve it’s peoples’ interest, so too we are to be under one ‘government’ to best serve our self interest.

The Bible states ” No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.(material wealth)” Matt 6:24

The truth is most of us feel like we need to follow the attraction (force) that is dedicated to our material world, that this is necessary in order to feed ourselves and our families, to provide shelter, to educate ourselves and to ‘enjoy’ our (physical) life. Since this is the world we spend most of our time having to experience, the tendency to give it our highest priority is a quite natural and understandable one.

However, this largely ignores, and in some cases directly opposes, our spiritual natures, what some call our ‘highest’ ideals; we compromise ourselves out of expediency or physical ‘necessity’.

It does not have to be this way though, indeed – i feel it should not be that way!

The alternative is to find ways to follow the attraction (force) of Spirit in our life, to give our spiritual ‘child’ as much nourishment as was given to the physical child we once were. It requires a certain self-discipline, a willingness to even consider that the option exists in the first place and then to be able to overcome the attraction we feel to the physical and all the fixed behaviour patterns in it and to it we have developed since childhood, our materialistic desires and wants and likes; to gain control over our emotional states that oppose our spirit: Anger and rage, envies,greed, lust of physical form, hatred, selfishness, self-pride, etc, etc.

Some achieve this ‘naturally’, through a debasing process where an individual falls down so far and comes to realise how futile their life has become through ignoring their spiritual nature and paying attention only to the physical world and self. That such a life has no longer anything of value to them and they see a new way of being – their spirit reaches out to them once all the appeal of the physical has ‘died’ or is very near to death, to having nothing left of any permanent value to the individual.

Some take a longer route and achieve it through various devices, of a religious or ascetic nature. Whatever the path it is possible for anyone to choose to become more ‘in tune’ to their spiritual nature and to begin practicing living a life where the spiritual ‘mind’ takes control over the physical body.

We can ‘walk’ in Spirit.

But we have to crawl before we can walk, and ultimately run, as our spirit desires.

It is not just my philosophy, but that of many of the world’s greatest minds since humans began to write their thoughts down, that considers our spirit is a part of a greater ‘Whole’: that we can connect to a vastly more complex unity than we ever experience from our own self viewpoint and can learn how to operate in total harmony with that Unity, the Oneness, God.

But it requires us to recognise that the physical and the spiritual are most often working towards different aims, that there is an imbalance inherent in us that we have to learn to overcome, and that we can only do this by accepting the Gift of spirit we all have been given and using it in the manner in which it was intended to be used.

If we choose to ignore the spirit, we do so at our peril, knowing the consequences and taking what benefits we may in the short term.

But the spirit has a longer term objective, one of far greater reach than we can achieve using just our physical body alone, it desires to be re-united into that from which it came, even as it is certain it can never be parted from it for more than a single lifetime.

Once we become aware of this we then have the choice, to live with our physical mind commanding our thought and action, following the physical attraction, or to choose the spiritual mind to lead us and follow that attraction, each one will pull us in one way or the other – only we can choose which one is to have our full attention.

it’s your choice now.

© B Thursfield 2013

 

Desire

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Desire: to wish or long for. “When you wish upon a star”. De-sire comes from the latin de+side (star) – desiderate.

A couple of blogs i have read lately have got me thinking on the subject of Desire.

Our desire(s) could be said to be at the very heart of our being. We can do something to ‘Our Heart’s desire’, our heart aches with desire. Many of the verses in Proverbs and Psalms speak of the vital connection between the heart and our desire as a link to God. “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps 37:4; “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Prov 13:12

Throughout the ages philosphers from Plato to Immanuel Kant have considered desire as an important motivating force in human life. Even Buddhism which considers it necessary to eliminate sensual desire  (that causes all suffering)  in order to find Nirvana concedes that a novice is to work on motivational forces through skilful application of desire.

Our greatest desire determines our main priority in life; our priorities strongly determine our choices; our choices lead to the actions we take and our actions we take determine the kind of life we live. How we behave and who we become.

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So what is your greatest single desire?

Is it a desire of self ( one that gives you personally the greatest degree of personal or sensual pleasure) – or a desire to follow the Will of God or of something greater than (external to) just yourself? ( Humanity?, Ecology? Nationality?)

If your greatest desire is to something other than self (but including, as a small part, the self) do you only act in harmony with that desire? Or do you sometimes slip into ‘selfish’ mode and consider your needs over those of others and the greater good?

Could this be behind the ‘conscience’ that sometimes causes us to have a niggling feeling of guilt when we do a thing, or not do a thing?

Maybe in order to reduce the instances of that ‘niggle’ we might consider the idea more carefully?

Any thoughts?

How Can I Give Thanks When I Don’t Feel Grateful?

How can I give thanks when I don’t feel grateful?

(Re-)Posted on May 2, 2013 by Ed
spiritual healing

Dr. Robert Emmons

Research on gratitude summarised by Dr Robert Emmons University of California has been conducted on thousands of people around the world. Those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.

The trouble is, you might doubt whether it is possible to cultivate a grateful attitude when you feel anything but thankful?  Five obstacles stand in the way to better appreciating the good things in life.

1. LACK OF TIME FOR REFLECTION

However busy you are e.g. seeing to the kids, earning a living, doing all the practical chores, chasing your tail, it is surely possible to create a little time just once a week to recall some good things you have experienced, and put pen to paper to focus your mind.

2. UNREALISTIC EXPECTATION

Instead of feeling disappointed about big things not happening for you, why not start noticing the small things that you can be more appreciative of, like the perfect parking spot you had on a cold day, the unexpected dollar you found in your pocket or at the back of the couch and the pleasant act of courtesy from someone you don’t really know. Try not to take for granted the good things you have got.

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

3. LACK OF ACTION

Rather than trying and then failing to feel thankful, you could try speaking words of thanks out loud — whether to a friend, the person who you wish you could thank or in prayer to your idea of God. Saying or doing something can focus on and thus develop that fleeting feeling. One possibility is to write notes to your family and friends to express your gratitude even for small favours. Religious people share a thankful prayer of grace before a meal.

4. BELIEVING YOU HAVE NOTHING TO BE GRATEFUL FOR

Another way is to stop and use your imagination. If you were to pretend to yourself that you have lost some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your car, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort, you could in your mind’s eye then picture getting each of these things back, one by one: consider  how grateful you would be for each and every one.

Similarly, you might ask yourself to what extent you notice the precious things around?  Things like the beauty in nature, the goodness in altruistic action, the innocent sphere of a baby.

The spiritual writer Roger Walsh has pointed out that this blindness to the sacred in the world, in others and in oneself, is particularly dramatic in modern Western culture, largely due to the influence of science.  I feel we are so bombarded by the scientific description of the universe as a great meaningless machine and the account of evolution as a random series of events, that these views can easily be seen to be the natural and only way of looking at things. Are we not in danger of living in a disenchanted world seemingly stripped of significance, spirit and purpose? To appreciate and give thanks for the sacred requires an additional way of knowing to the one scientists use. A perception of the soul.

The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart. (Helen Keller)

5. NEGATIVE FEELINGS

Some opposing feelings are incompatible. For example you either resent someone or feel appreciation for them. You can’t be both angry and thankful at the same time or both envious and grateful. The negative feeling is incompatible with the positive one. One tip I find helpful, is to first tackle the negative. Rather than sweeping a serious problem under the carpet, address it openly by expressing and resolving feelings of anger with the other person. Then you can make a conscious choice about which way you are going to turn. You either can nurse your hurts or look for their good points.

In their book Rise Above It, Ray and Star Silverman say that, in giving thanks for our parents, we are also giving thanks to the divine source of all that is good in life. However, there is a danger that we might cling to childhood wounds, however real or imagined, like sacred scars. If so, they will discolour and distort our attitudes to other people and the experience of life itself. If we have seen anger in our parents we might ask ourselves whether this can be re-seen as determination, or a great concern for our welfare. Perhaps stubbornness or inflexibility should be re-seen as strength or conviction. In other words you can be a sort of tv remote control and change mind channels at will: the negative or the positive news channel.

Swedenborgian view

Emanuel Swedenborg the spiritual philosopher used the “as if ” phrase. He wrote that anything what is good within us is usually felt as if it is our own. However, he maintains that this is a necessary illusion for the sake of our sense of inner freedom of personal choice. Actually when the religious minded person comes to think about it, he or she acknowledges that all good things come from the source of goodness itself rather than from ones own merit. And so it is to this Source that one gives thanks. According to this view, even a thankful heart — which counts one’s blessings — is a spiritual gift that one can receive.

I praise the Lord here today. I know that all my talent and all my ability comes from him, and without him I’m nothing and I thank him for his great blessing. (Ernie Harwell)

Copyright 2013 Stephen Russell-Lacy

Just Who is in Charge Here?

It is my strong personal belief that all evil we see as such in our lives is the creation of the ‘I’ (upper-case) – the voice inside me (and you) that measures and compares everything to itself, that sees itself as the highest Authority in my life – the thing that drives some insane or splits the mind into schizophrenic personalities because it cannot ‘cope’ when life does what it does and we cannot control it as we (I) thinks we (it) should.

My ‘solution’ is to give that Authority over our life back to the One who created us/I/i.

To learn how to surrender our own will over to someone we can Trust/Have Perfect, Infallible, Unfailing Faith in that they will do for us what is BEST for us, not what the I thinks is best for it.

As the Christians (Hebrews?) say: Thy Will not my will be done.

It’s not the same things as ‘giving up’ or not caring about the (true) self – it is recognising a True hierarchy in all life, not just mine, or human, but all life, and giving supreme command over to that which is Perfect and Complete while we take on the role of a faithful second-in-command over our own lives. (as we send the ‘I’ back wherever the heck he came from!)

In sailing terms: we are the engine/er that moves our ship through the calm or stormy waters of life; adds speed or stops when we need to come to a rest, all the time looking to God as captain/helmsman of the ship, deciding our course and navigating the way so as to get us to the right destination with regard to unseen dangers that might lie ahead of us, while we choose to look to Him for guidance to keep us on the right path to our journey’s end on this planet, trusting in His superior experience of life’s currents and submerged rocks that wait to sink us and cause us to flounder.

In this way we learn to live in harmony with the Main Plan and our life will conform to ‘The Flow’ and not be constantly struggling against it. where sometimes we get small personal victories and sometimes we get disasters.

His Plan may not always seem to be ‘fair’ or make sense, but when has life ever done that? for you? – or me – or anyone?

I believe by having faith and seeking Him and following His way over our own choices He will provide a full and satisfying life for His Creations that He did not design to be sad, unworthy or imperfect.

It is the I that mostly causes those things in us and our pride that prevents us from ever seeing it that way. That is why we are required to learn Humility and to serve Him to His Greater Glory.

UNITY

Wikipedia defines Unity as:  Unity is the state of being undivided or unbroken.

Many of us have trouble identifying with Unity – we instead identify more with/feel disunited, broken, separate, apart from others.

The Union of everything requires Common Union or Communion.

We have a place inside of us that makes us ALL ONE.

The trick to Life is to learn how to make our ‘self” fit inside that one place – or to live our life only from within it.

Thanks must go to  Cre8love for the inspiration to this post.

All thanks must go to God, through Jesus Christ, for the inspiration of me.

Why Time Travel Is (Probably) Impossible! (Part 2)

( for part 1 see here).

OK – so part 1 seems to contradict it’s title… by travelling at or very near the speed of light our time slows down relative to a ‘stationary’ observer so that we seem to be able to travel forwards in time relative to them! (But not so relative to us).

So how about going backwards in time? Can we go ‘back’ once we have gone ‘forwards’? Sadly, not by the same method. We can skip ahead by travelling at high speed but we can’t skip back. This is because Time slows down for us relative to a stationary observer. The slowest speed we can travel at is always a positive number or else it is zero – which means we are not moving at all relative to them and our timelines are identical, while we travel at the same speed as them. Travelling in the ‘reverse’ direction is possible in space (forward v backwards, up v down, etc.) but it is always a positive speed relative to a stationary observer; we cannot travel in reverse ‘speed’.

Although Einstein showed it to be impossible for anything with mass to travel faster than the speed of light -because, as you approach that speed, time seems to slow to zero – some have hypothesised that if you could go any faster time would start to travel in the ‘reverse’ direction – As Star Trek and a few other Sci Fi movies like to have us believe could be possible. But we can’t and so it isn’t (probably!) 😉

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Physicists hold out a hope for those who want to travel back in time however. To understand why it is necessary to rethink how we view both Time, and Space.

To most of us Time is different to space: we know we can move in any combination of 3 directions called ‘dimensions’  (up/down, left/right, into screen/out of screen) whereas time for us is only in one direction and we cannot move in it in any way other than by seconds that can’t be stopped (but see time and speed in part 1).

Einstein though, developed an entirely new concept – Space-Time, where instead of our 3 dimensional space universe the Universe is actually a four dimensional structure (here is where most minds start to really ‘boggle’ – we know we can simulate a 3d image on a 2d screen, that’s how old televisions and pictures work. These days the effect is improved with the use of glasses or special screens on our TV or cinemas. To simulate a 4d ‘image’ though would need a minimum of three dimensions and some pretty fancy special effects. You can’t do it any justice with a 2d picture – so i won’t even try.

What is important about it though is this… it treats time just like any of the other dimensions. it has a forwards/backwards, up/down thing going on with Time. In space-time every point in time AND space can be uniquely defined, anything in the ‘now’ our past, or our future EXISTS as a possible ‘point’ in space time.

As for the ‘backwards’ part in Time Travel? Physics proposes that things called ‘wormholes’ are possible in space-time, things similar to the ‘bubbles’ in a block of Swiss cheese. If we could enter one of these and live they could (emphasis on  the 2nd ‘could’) be a ‘shortcut’ through space-time to another point. They could connect two points massively far apart in space- or in time, or both!

Travelling through the wormhole would take far less time to travel between those points than it would if we used conventional methods – like walking or ‘fast’ spaceships. (Note: walking is NOT recommended for travel in actual space). Theoretically we could go ‘back’ in time. ONE of the main difficulties though would be the ability to determine where the wormhole ‘came out’.

Our conscious perspective of time is that the time dimension just ‘goes’ one way, one speed… but that is JUST our perspective. Different ‘observers’ in different places and possibly moving at different speeds to us will have different perspectives of our ‘reality’.

This means that different people see the same things happening at different times and in different places.

Weirdly, something that we see as happening in the ‘past’ someone else might see as happening in our ‘now’.

Even weirder, something we think of as ‘will happen’ in our future ( say a solar eclipse) someone else could see as happening in our ‘now’. Their perspective has the exact equal validity as does ours.

This means that the past, future and present may all exist simultaneously, for all of us! Altering our ability to perceive a thing may mean we can see the future, or see the past as though it is happening ‘now’ and what we perceive of as a one way stream of time is just an illusion created by our consciousness and our speed as we travel through space-time. (Remember time effectively slows down to zero, there IS NO ‘time’ at light speed, relative to a stationary observer).

But i digress… the post is supposed to be why Time Travel is (probably) impossible…

I’ll show you, in part 3! 😉

Robert Burns, My Apologies.

Inspiration comes… and goes, it would seem…?single-red-rose

I was just trawling through my ‘Think’ folder, the one where i keep thoughts and other things i find of interest for posterity, and read this:

 

My luve is like a red, red rose

That in a central courtyard grows.

Surrounded by four walls of stone,

The hands that built those walls, my own.

 


Protected from the bitter wind

Of other luve’s of those who’ve sinned.

Yet still more deadly is the sin

Formed from my fear that blows within.

 


Stretching out up to the azure skies

To reach for freedom that up there lies.

My luve, that be planted within the ground,

Desires not the walls in which it’s found.

 


But instead doth search for the wide-open space

That’s Illumined with the Light of Grace.

And lest it, over-reaching, would die

Perhaps with a roof i’ll block the sky.

 


As i kept my luve thus safe inside,

With all my fearful care – it died.

 

Pretty good work that, i thought… “I wonder who wrote it?”

Turns out after a little investigation…. it was me!!!

 

I must have read Scot poet Robbie Burns’ Red, Red Rose and been inspired to far greater heights than usual as it seems i wrote this quite quickly after waking from a midnight slumber!

 

Maybe there’s some kind of hope for me yet? If my memory hangs in here long enough 😉

Hope I die before I get old

Hope i die before i get old!

Sung, i believe, by Roger Daltrey of The Who.

 

I’d prefer the line be:     Hope i get Wise before i die!