This is my twenty-fifth post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.
Y= Your Amazing Worth: I’ve mentioned in several previous posts that most suffering is caused by ignorance and attachment. I also believe that suffering is caused when we don’t realize our own amazing worth. Now as a point of clarification, when I refer to “suffering”, I’m not necessarily only talking about mental anguish, I’m also referring to general unhappiness, the nagging feeling of being unsatisfied, or anything that gets in your way of being truly happy.
When we don’t realize our self-worth, we naturally search for happiness from external sources. Seeking happiness from external sources is guaranteed to constantly fail and lead to disappointment, because no one will ever be the perfect friend or the perfect partner, no job will always be perfect, possessions will eventually break or go out of style, etc. Therefore, when your happiness or feelings of well-being are tied to external sources you are setting yourself up for a vicious cycle of disappointment.
This is why the Buddha, in his Four Noble Truths, taught that suffering is caused by attachment (craving), and that in order to end suffering (dukkha), one must end attachments to material possessions and the external world in general. This is also why Jesus taught to reject materialism (Matthew 6:19), and that one cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), you must choose to love God (and your true-self), or money (materialism), you cannot do both.
Every human being is an amazing creature, our bodies are made up of stardust, and we are animated by the divine spark of life from the Creator. The divine spark of life is what unites us with the Creator, and the rest of creation. We are each more precious than any gem, precious metal, or possession in the world. When we realize this fact, the draw of materialism begins to fall away, and the stresses and bumps in the road of life don’t appear to be so drastic.
“Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and the stars mirrored in your own being.” – Rumi
In order to be truly happy, we must learn our true value, and live life to the fullest, live in the now, so that we can fully utilize all that is the mystery, the wonderful experience, of life. Read more…
This is my seventh post in a series, where each Monday I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.
G= Grace in Everyday Life: Grace is a term that I often heard in Sunday School and church services growing up. I would hear people discuss the grace of Jesus, or the grace of God, or how by the grace of Jesus/God we could be saved from our sins. However, I never really understood the concept of grace, until I began undertaking my own spiritual path outside of mainstream Christianity. During my journey, I have come to understand grace as the mysterious power and energy that lies just beyond the veil of our consciousness, which gives energy, order, and direction to the material and spiritual worlds (which is basically the concept of the Tao, in Taoism). I believe grace is the loving energy of the creator, no matter what name you call him/her/it by, and it surrounds each of us at all times. Grace flows like a river through our lives, and shows itself through the beauty of nature, as well as in our intuitions, insights, and the countless miracles that surround each of us in our daily lives, including the miracle of life itself. Most importantly, grace provides us with a pathway between the material and spiritual worlds.
A key to living in the now, is balancing our life with, and tuning into, the grace that surrounds us at all times. Grace is the calm serenity of meditation, the warm fuzzies experienced when we help someone in need, the spine tingling energy of intuitions and insights, and the energy that interconnects each of us. Read more…
I love springtime. I love the cool rainy weather, and how all of the various plants literally spring back to life with vivid shades of color. Spring is also a time for birth and renewal, and because of this every culture and spiritual tradition has celebrated spring with various festivals, rituals, observances, and rites of passage. The festivals of the world celebrate the transition from winter, a time of scarcity and harshness, to spring which is a time of plenty as well as physical and spiritual renewal. The power of spring is best illustrated by the various religious festivals, celebrations, and holidays. Read more…
This year has been a time of change and protest around the world. The protestors involved in the so called “Arab Spring” facilitated the toppling of the Tunisian, Egyptian, and Libyan regimes, and have made significant impacts on numerous other Arab countries. During the past few weeks the various news sources, social media sites, and blogs have been abuzz with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that began in the Wall Street district of New York City, and has subsequently spread to various cities across the U.S. Like the protestors involved in the Arab Spring, the Occupy protestors are standing up against the status quo in order to protest for change. One thing that has struck from all the protests, both from the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement, is the passion and resolve displayed by the protestors in order to bring about change.
So passionate are the protestors that they have put their lives on hold, and even completely changed the direction of their life in order to protest for change. In the case of the Arab Spring, those protestors quite literally put their lives, and the lives of their families at risk. However, given Oakland California’s recent heavy-handed response to the protestors, it appears that the protestors from the Occupy movement are not immune from the risk of physical harm, and even death.
The way that all of the protestors have been willing to completely give up the life they knew in order to pursue a cause they believed in reminded me of several religious and political leaders including: The Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to just name a few. Read more…
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. ~H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama
As evidenced by the above quote from H.H. the Dalai Lama one of the most important things that you can do to both improve your life and the life of others is to practice charity. Charity is important because it forces you to give something up (time, money, etc.) for the benefit of someone else, which helps you to not only become a better person, but also helps the life of someone else. The importance of practicing charity is an important aspect of many of the world’s religions, for example:
The ministry of Jesus Christ was focused on helping others not only improve themselves spiritually, but also their lives in general. The message of Jesus Christ is full of lessons involving loving one another and helping your fellow man. It is important to note that Jesus was concerned with action, not merely talking about doing good deeds, but actually DOING good deeds. Read more…
I ran across the following article the other day: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bart-d-ehrman/the-bible-telling-lies-to_b_840301.html?ref=fb&src=sp
The article discusses the fact that much of the New Testament is not written by the apostles and other authors that most Christians attribute to them. While this should not come as any kind of shock to anyone who has seriously studied the Bible, it may come to a shock to many Christians, who believe that the Bible is literally the infallible word of God (Jesus). As an attorney, and someone who has spent years studying the Bible, I can assure you that the Bible has enough hearsay, contradictions, and outright misinformation, that you could never have it admitted as as a literal and factual piece of evidence in a court of law.
The simple fact is that the Bible is fallible. Even if you could prove that the various books were indeed written by their purported authors, the Bible would still have been written by human beings. All humans are fallible, because each of us has prejudices, life experiences, cognitive conditioning, etc. which all help to shape how we view the world around us, as well as how we view God. Even if I had a direct revelation from God, the moment that I attempt to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys nowadays), I would have already corrupted God’s message in some way. I would have corrupted God’s message, because 1) There is no way that I can fully comprehend the full scope of God; 2) I can only comprehend the message from God within my own cognitive framework; and 3) As soon as I attempt to convey the message, I will have put my own “spin” on what I experienced. Therefore, I can never write anything that can be construed as the literal word of God, nor could someone 2,000 years ago. Read more…