Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Abortion Is an Unalienable Right

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



Yes, this is a self-help and spirituality blog, and, no, there are no typos in the title.

What's more, I'm not Pro-Choice.

As I’ve thoroughly explained/alluded to before (“To Abort or Not To Abort? That Is the Question.”), I’m neither Pro-Life nor Pro-Choice. That is to say, I choose a stance outside of the black-or-white, yes-or-no nature of duality.

This may sound ridiculous since, well, if one doesn’t opt for Life, mustn't they opt for Death, or, Choice? How could one opt for choice but not be Pro-Choice?

I can do this because I acknowledge that Life isn’t about absolutes and extremes; it’s not about adamantly identifying with one particular viewpoint as “The One Right Way” and then trying to force everyone else to follow suit. Life is not black and white nor even gray—it’s rainbow-colored. To place such a huge topic into two little boxes is foolish.

There are a lot of things I don’t agree with regarding abortion, but I can also think of reasons why abortion isn’t always, in 100% of cases the worst possible thing.

Make Her Shoes Your Shoes

For example:

Suppose a low-income woman got pregnant, her boyfriend promptly left her, and then the she found out that her child would likely have severe deformities, would need attention 24/7, would cost 4x more than the average child, and would probably live for only about 3 years in chronic pain and suffering before dying.

Would choosing abortion truly be that hellish of a thing?

To be clear, in using this example, I’m not trying to suggest exactly what I would do or what anyone else should do. This kind of choice is a now-moment decision that factors in personal feelings, intuitive guidance, medical testing results, financial capacity, care availability, and so much more—any given situation of which is unique to any other.

I mean only to offer a scenario that prompts you, the reader, to look beyond any always-never boxes that may be installed in your mind; to see that the topic of abortion isn’t some cut-and-dried thing.

And while the scenario may seem extreme, one, for some people it may not be, and, two, I need to go to an extreme in an attempt to point out to those who are adamantly Pro-Life and who try to forcefully take away people’s rights that there are potentials you may not think about (or may even try to avoid thinking about).

Put yourself in the shoes of the woman just mentioned. Put yourself into her whole life scenario.

Would you like to be her? Are you willing to be her? If she decided to give birth to this baby and then put it up for adoption, would you be the one to adopt this severely mutated child?

Please think deeply about your beliefs. Are they really as healthy, as righteous, as error-proof, as you’d like to believe they are? By what power do you know the exact choice that every pregnant woman should make?

Pro-Life ?=? Compassion

I’m sure a great many people who’re Pro-Life believe that their Pro-Life-ness automatically means they’re compassionate.

However, a truly compassionate person will end a life if ending a life is what is called for in any given now-moment. A truly compassionate person will acknowledge the full picture; they will see, the best they can, how current and/or potential pain and suffering may vastly outweigh the mere egoic satisfaction of a “win” of another cancelled abortion.

When I was in high school, a Catholic one, for a few of those years our principle was an emotionally and sexually repressive, over-reactive, tight-ass, I’m-never-wrong priest.

One day we had an assembly in which he told us that if any female student became pregnant he would stop at nothing to protect that baby’s life if the girl couldn’t do it herself. He then said he would send the school into bankruptcy if that’s what it took for the child to live.

I doubt the principle’s power extended this far, and I’m sure people would’ve been in a mighty big uproar if he’d attempted it. Nevertheless, the fact that he’d said this so openly and vehemently did say something about this particular brand of Pro-Life mindset: It’s not compassion—it’s insanity.

Let’s save a single child uncertain of how its life will turn out, but the definite cost is bankrupting an entire school and leaving thousands of current and future students without an education.

A true visionary!

Taking a different approach…

For the sake of consistency since abortion is interpreted synonymously with “murder,” let’s consider self-defense.

If someone broke into your house and tried to beat and rape you but you knew self-defense or had a weapon nearby, would you just sit there and accept being utterly violated, mutilated, and traumatized even if the opportunity arose to protect yourself, even if protection necessitated killing the intruder?

Or consider pet ownership. People may dearly love their animal friends/family, but how many people eventually put their pets down because they become unwell and can’t be healed, because they perceive that their pet’s death outweighs the pain and suffering of it remaining alive?

And what of war and other lesser-yet-serious military operations? How many Pro-Lifers, I wonder, adamantly reject abortion but accept war. No, before a child lives its life, no one knows how that life will unfold. All the while, how is it wrong to kill a fetus in the womb—under all circumstances—but it’s okay to let millions of people live their lives freely for 18 years only to proudly send them off to foreign lands to kill or be killed?

Whatever the life may be, if everything is hunky-dory, then great—the thought of taking a life needn’t even cross our minds. But when we’re given clear indication that something is seriously wrong (if under no other circumstance), regardless of what stage of life a being may be in, sometimes choosing death is the appropriate way to go.

Make no mistake. Whether abortion, life-or-death self-defense, or putting down a pet, there’s no question that these are uncomfortable things. I don’t mean to deny this.

Yet this is the way Life is: it can be really, really beautiful, and it can be really, really horrible. Sometimes Life places burdens on us that are more or less unbearable.

The Victim’s Path

Some people (e.g.: Catholics, who often carry an unbelievable glut of guilt) might even go so far as to say that abortion is an absolute no-go and having an endlessly suffering child that’s a massive hardship to raise is “what God wants.”

Folks, God does not drive suffering. Even if God leads us to hardship, this hardship is for the sake of inner growth. We find ourselves in a crisis, and what God gives us is choice.

What are we going to do with the circumstances we’re in? Create more pain and suffering, or find a way out?

If it were any other thing, if we became homeless, if we totaled our car, if we came down with a serious disease, we would likewise have the choice to pick ourselves off the street, to buy a new car, to seek healing—or to mope about in depression while doing nothing to help ourselves and telling everyone that “it’s just my lot in life,” or, “I deserve this punishment. It’s my penance.”

God gives us choices. It’s up to us whether or not we will create more pain and suffering while layering it with all kinds of ridiculous stories/rationalizations about why we shouldn’t or don’t deserve to choose otherwise.

One Soul, One Body, Death Forever

Let’s now take a more spiritual perspective and consider potential implications regarding bodies and souls.

To do this, we’ll continue with the example scenario of a child that would be deformed and is estimated to live, in constant pain and suffering, for only about 3 years.

From a religious perspective—and I’m going to take a Roman Catholic perspective since it’s the one I’d spent so many years of my life looking through (and still hear about)—there is one soul per one body, and at the time of death a soul goes to heaven or hell permanently (ignoring purgatory); there is no such thing as reincarnation; and there is no such thing as soul choice, meaning, you get the life that God gives you—period.

If you hold a view anything like the one just described, I want to offer you a different way of looking at things.

The view above is limited in its scope because it’s based in dogma, something you’re to take at face value and not question the authority of.

While this is problematic in and of itself, it’s also problematic because there are many other views that the Church completely ignores and/or rejects (for instance, the many people from all walks of life who have had near-death experiences and the like and have claimed the complete opposite).

Consider for a few moments that these teachings about life and death are wrong.

What if life isn’t of one soul to one body and then eternal death, but instead of reincarnation? And what if souls choose where they want to go, who they want to be with, and what they wish to come here for?

Do you know if or what your soul, much less anyone else’s soul, chooses, if said choices are made, prior to incarnation or even during?

One Soul, Many Lives

Imagine this:

Imagine that life is not one body, one soul, and then death forever.

Imagine that reincarnation is real and that one soul can live in many bodies in many different times and places.

Imagine that there is a pregnant woman who finds out that, should she have her child, it will have severe defects and will be a tremendous burden until it dies a few years later.

Now imagine that this woman has an abortion, becomes pregnant a few years later, and gives birth to a happy, healthy child with the exact same soul that had only briefly occupied the fetus she had aborted.

What if this were so?

By all means, to any even half-reasonable person, an abortion has to be an awful thing to go through, especially the nearer to a full term one is.

Nevertheless, what if a person listened very closely to their heart and looked at the facts and best medical estimates, but paid little if any mind to all the dogma, stigma, shame, fear, and guilt of society, family, and religion?

When we really analyze all that latter stuff, well, how negative is it? How fake is it? How uncertain is it? How heavy is it?

Especially something such as dogma wherein the religion basically says, “This is the way it is. Period. And you’d better not doubt the authoritative validity of it. If you have any other questions, ask us because we’re the only ones with The Right Answers.”

This is the kind of dogmatic mindset, when accepted by countless millions of people, that results in stigma, shame, fear, and guilt that’s utterly overwhelming yet completely unfounded.

Now, is my suggestion of the way things could work really the way things work? Is any of this true?

Find out for yourself. What do you actually know?

People put such a huge amount of energy into their beliefs and the actions that result of them, but how reasonable are they, really?

Even if my suggestion is completely wrong, there’s nothing at all to say that the religious dogma isn’t completely wrong as well—except for an “authoritative” claim and its acceptance as such by so many people.

Abortion may always be a heavy topic to deal with, but with an open mind, things become significantly lighter.

Abortion and Racism: Two Peas in a Pod

The last point I want to make pertains to the segment of abortions that occur toward the negative end of the spectrum.

Even if every Pro-Lifer in the world read this blog post and decided to take my perspective on as their own, what wouldn’t change in the slightest is the Pro-Lifer's desire to stop the women who have abortions for very selfish reasons.

An example of such a reason could be that there's no real problem with fetal formation, finances, or whatever, but a woman is just careless when having sex and has abortions as mindlessly as she eats lunch.

That these kinds of things would still happen is something that people would remain up in arms about and still want laws changed because of.

What has to be understood is that changing laws, seeking to control other people, is amazingly ineffective.

Think about it...

  • Did the prohibition work?
  • Do the 10 Commandments work (even for Christians)?
  • Have laws ever stopped whole societies from smoking weed?
  • Has eye-for-an-eye crime and punishment ever ended evil actions?

Look at what’s been happening lately.

People all over the place are freaking out about racism this and racism that. They go wild and start demanding, most notably, that police forces be defunded.

I’ve got a lot of reasons to not like the way police forces operate, but I’ve also got a lot of reasons why they’re just fine and we need them dearly. To get rid of all police forces everywhere is one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard.

Racism is not the police force; the police force is not racism. A police force is an occupation, whereas racism is an ideology. While racism may be concentrated in certain areas for whatever reasons, racism is a belief structure.

Racism is a lot more obvious when it’s acted out by police officers caught on bystander cameras, but guess what? Racism, because it’s an ideology, is everywhere.

  • That smiley preacher who lives across the street could be a racist.
  • Your Uncle Dan could be a racist.
  • The cashier who checked you out the last time you went to the store could be a racist.
  • The homeless woman who stands at the light at the freeway off-ramp that you gave $20 to a few days ago could be a racist.

The point is, racism is a way of viewing life. This whole world could cut out every last security-type job and laws could be enacted to make racism illegal (and… uhhh… who’s going to enforce them…?), but it would do absolutely nothing to curb racism.

Because racism is held internally.

So, too, is it with abortion.

Even if abortion were made illegal, all that would do is change visible, outward circumstances. There would still be a black market for it, and the beliefs and desires would continue to linger. Plus, gross as it may be, if desperation called for it, some people would resort to woefully crude means to get the job done.

Sure, the numbers might decrease, but by how much, really? How many would go unaccounted for?

Again, think of the prohibition—people were still drinking all the time—and the government and police were totally in on it!

Think about the 10 Commandments—everybody’s going to hell!

And illegal marijuana—ha!—how about the story that came out just the other day saying that Ronald Reagan’s son smoked weed on the rooftop of the White House with Willie Nelson!

Whether abortion or anything else external, to make true, lasting changes, what is inside must be changed, first.

Perhaps the most fundamental problem, with all destructive behaviors, is that people lack connection and meaning. They can neither feel nor do they see themselves as having any value or purpose; their life experience is basically a void.

To change this,

  • the poverty and victim mentalities must be removed,
  • empowerment and a strong self-worth must be instilled,
  • people must be reeducated based on teaching methods that actually work by people who have experience and success in what they teach, and
  • people must be given the space and access to the resources to do whatever it is that makes them feel truly alive.

Even if abortion were never to disappear completely, the fact is that the abortion rate can still drop significantly.

To do this, the true problem must be faced, and that problem is an internal one.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

"It Could Be Worse."

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



“It could be worse,” they tell you.

And you know what?

It’s true.

Because if, say, you broke a toe, well, the potential reality in this universe of infinite possibilities is that at the exact moment you broke your toe Earth’s crust could have rent wide open and your body could have fallen at terminal velocity two-thousand feet down into the Earth right into a scorching magma flow.

When It’s Cool

I think there are times when it’s reasonable to use the “it could be worse” phrase toward someone who tells us of their troubles.

For example, if someone’s complaining as they always do like a “poor me” victim, they may well deserve to get this kind of unsympathetic kickback.

Maybe a coworker is complaining for the fortieth time in the last two hours that the boss is a jerk for the new uniform policies he’d enacted. Although the policies may make the job less enjoyable, not only are they probably not as awful as the complainer believes, but the complainer complains about everything all the time without ever actually trying to make his or her self or situation better.

Rather than getting caught up in the complainer’s negativity, why not make a silly comment to make light of the situation? “Well, yeah, the new uniforms really don’t feel that comfortable, but it could be worse. Imagine if we had to make our deliveries wearing fake beards and top hats, too…” (Assuming, of course, those aren’t the very uniform changes the boss had made.)

When It’s Not Cool

Where I see a problem is when someone isn’t merely being whiny but is genuinely reaching out for a helping hand or a listening ear but gets shutdown with an “it could be worse” reply.

The person is going through a painful experience and seeking empathy, yet those who are being reached out to don’t have empathy to offer because their emotions are too far repressed.

Suppose someone carries the “all is beautiful” mindset. This type of person refuses to think about or feel anything other than “what is good” and therefore cannot accept that sometimes life sucks.

Should someone bring an uncomfortable personal issue to them, they might use a phrase such as “it could be worse” in attempt to evade whatever they perceive to be “not good.” Completely oblivious to what the other person is feeling and what their needs are, they choose to deny what is for the sake of psycho-emotional self-protection.

“It could be worse” is a phrase that devalues what is happening circumstantially; it negates a person’s thoughts and feelings; it avoids the deeper nature of whatever is going on.

Closed Doors

Imagine, for example, a female in high school who was walking down the hall when some random dude suddenly reached out and groped her boobs while making lewd comments.

When she reported the incident to the school’s administration, they said they weren’t going to do anything about it. Then upon arriving at home, in angry tears she told her parents what had happened, and they replied to her with, “Well, kid, look at the bright side—it could have been worse. It’s not like he raped you in the back stairs, right?”

What an overwhelming sense of sadness, of powerlessness, the girl must have felt. In a different way, perhaps as bad as or worse than the initial incident.

In significant inner turmoil, she went to those she believed could and would help her—two of them being people she loves and believes love her—but they just lightly rolled away her distress and cries for help like rain off an umbrella.

Awful though the incident was, what’s more important to the parents and the school’s administration is remaining numb.

They’ve all spent a lifetime hiding their feelings from themselves.

Perhaps the greatest reason we (as a whole) hide from our feelings is because, were we to allow them to flow freely, we would be forced into action.

Taking action beyond what we know and what our loved ones and peers approve of is incredibly uncomfortable to most people. So uncomfortable, in fact, that parents regularly put their children through all kinds of hell, not because the children are in error, but because the parents aren’t willing to admit that they, themselves, are in error.

The kind of person who can nonchalantly tell their daughter who was just molested that “it could be worse” is in no way ready, willing, or wanting to take necessary action (cry, challenge authority, press charges, etc.).

As for the school’s administration, they have the same kinds of internal issues as any other numb individuals, but they also have potential publicity concerns to deal with.

If they think they can avoid the issue and that the girl will shut up, they could choose the “do nothing” option for fear of the school’s image being tarnished in the media and in people’s minds; they could lose power, they could lose students and financial profits, and their own repressed emotions could get in a wildly uncomfortable tangle.

To anyone with even the least ability to feel, the obvious choice would be the “do something” option. Even if there's publicity, at least everyone knows that action was taken immediately and nothing is being covered up. However, for the those who are the numbest, self-image and self-protection nearly always come first, and so the unkind way appears the best way.

Having now described things in this way, to say “it could be worse” sounds ridiculous. No, thank God the girl wasn’t raped in the back stairs. But by looking at even a small portion of the negativity that underlies and surrounds the initial circumstance, things are actually in really bad shape.

It’s Personal

To describe the girl’s inner turmoil, I used the word “significant.”

“Significant” is not to be interpreted on an absolute scale. This is to say, what you or I or the next person perceives to be “significant” could be very different from the next person. Regardless of a given circumstance’s appearance, a person’s psycho-emotional state must be considered above everything else.

Although the girl in the example above was deeply hurt, maybe some other girl would have quickly grabbed the guy’s hand and broken it backwards, kneed him in the stomach, and then walked away having let go, this latter girl never even mentioning the incident to anyone again.

Significance depends on the experiencer’s perspective.

This—subjective perception—is the very thing that must be taken into account when dealing with someone who’s reaching out for empathy.

To anyone with a reasonable capacity for feeling, this would come more or less naturally, as would they be capable of discerning whether someone is genuinely asking for help or just seeking attention.

There Are Others

“It could be worse” is comparable to other phrases that can be and are commonly used at completely inappropriate times.

One of them is, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

Again, it’s relative. I’ve no doubt there are people out there who could unexpectedly lose their houses in monstrous sinkholes and tell their sobbing families not to sweat the small stuff. In this case, the usage of this phrase has nothing to do with at least having one’s life or seeing that material possessions are transitory: it’s simply an unwillingness to feel. Everything is made “small” in order to repress emotion and hide from reality.

Another is, “You worry too much.”

Yes, most people do in fact worry way too much, way too often. However, this is a phrase people like to use when then don’t know how to deal with what others tell them. Maybe they feel like they should give advice but don’t know what to say. This is because they have no access to the inner empathetic space that would provide it. Saying “You worry too much” ends up being just another way of telling a person, “I don’t like the feelings that you’re stirring up inside me. They make me uncomfortable, so please stop talking.”

See also: Childhood Trauma: Name-Calling

Helpless Help

Whatever phrases may be used, they all boil down to an unwillingness to feel and a consequent inability to offer empathy or lasting help—if any at all.

The simple fact of the matter is, a person can’t truly help another if they are at that same level or lower.

It’s like if someone is depressed and they ask a depressed friend for consolation. Maybe some smiles and laughter arise when they’re together, and maybe some seemingly good advice is offered.

But by the nature of life, it’s simply not possible for someone who is, say, at level 3 (0 being listless; 10 being blissful) to raise another up even so much as to a level 3.1 beyond the very short-term. A person cannot give what they don’t have; they cannot take a person beyond where they are themselves.

In some situations, the state of so-called “help” is at its worst when the ones who genuinely seek empathy and help may actually be seeking these things from people who reside at a level lower than they are.

How You Can Help

What about you?

Do you use phrases such as “It could be worse” at inappropriate times while thinking that you’re doing something good?

Again, there are times when these kinds of phrases fit just fine.

But when they don’t fit fine and we don’t realize that they don’t fit fine, we can put a great deal more hurt on people than they’re already in.

So, pay more attention to what you’re really feeling—and open yourself up to feeling it. This will allow you to be more aware of what others are feeling and to respond to them more wisely.

Being a feeling being is the only way to truly be of positive service.




That’s all for the main topic, but I see a need to further address an issue I’d mentioned above in greater detail.

Helpless Help: An Expanded View

To those whom it applies:

Feel. Stop hiding, and feel.

I said above that if we’re at, say, a level 3, we cannot raise anyone above a level 3.

What came to mind when saying this is the way soooo many people, who are at a level 3, or 1 or 2 or 6 or whatever fairly low number, tell themselves and others day in and day out, “I’m happy,” and “Everything’s great,” and so on, and then expend massive amounts of energy to act out the same false role.

This matters because, obviously, such an act is a big lie.

What matters about this even more is that the lower a person is (that is, the more psycho-emotional pain and suffering they are in, if largely subconscious), the more likely they are to seek help from someone who is as low as they are (and thus can’t actually provide help).

Since this is a matter of vibrational resonance, the attraction is subconscious. The person imagines that they’re reaching out for help, but they have no conscious awareness of who (or what) they’re actually reaching out to.

If someone’s feeling mega depressed and wants to feel uplifted, they’re less likely to call over their friend who’s also always visibly mega depressed. Who they’re more likely to call over, due to the urging of subconscious resonance, is the friend who is also mega depressed but forces his- or herself to constantly wear a facade of “happiness.”

In these low level states (with uncommon exception), a person cannot see beyond appearances. They live in a cloud, and so their vision, their perception, is always in a fog. To them, perceptual appearances, which are based on relevant prior held beliefs and fears, are factual.

Kayla’s conscious mind is saying, I feel like total shit. But, hey, Jane is happy all the time, so I’ll ask her if she can talk for a little bit. She can probably give me a boost.

Simultaneously, Kayla’s subconscious mind is saying, Kayla is consciously unaware that I’m in charge, here. I’m super perceptive, and I’m choosing to call on Jane because I recognize that Jane’s “happiness” is super fake—she’s actually depressed, and that resonates with me.

What Kayla’s subconscious mind is also saying is, I'm choosing Jane because I’m depressed as shit and not yet ready to be truly happy. I know Dave is truly happy, and I know he could probably help me. But I’m not going to ask Dave for help because, like I said, I’m not really ready to change yet.

For people in Kayla’s position, the only way out is to really, truly, deeply want an end to the suffering. It’s the only way to resonate with true help.

A Victim Is as a Victim Does

There are two paths to look at at this point:
  1. the person receiving help, and
  2. the person giving help.
If you’re the person receiving help, you have to question if you really want it or if maybe you’re just looking to play the victim card and get attention or some other selfish thing.

If you’re in the described position, you may take great offense to this suggestion. How dare I suggest that you would use other people as unwitting puppets to actively maintain your own misery?

Well, you might. People do it all the time, and I did it for no less than two decades myself. I know it all too well from experience, and I can see it’s workings clearly in others.

If, say, for some reason (probably during your childhood) you’d decided that your best bet for getting attention is to be mega unhappy, you would have needed a psychological mechanism to accomplish this. The victim mentality and its associated subtle-control-oriented behavior is the perfect thing.

You need to acknowledge this or you will never heal, you will never be happy, you will forever selfishly suck the energy of others who imagine they’re helping you but who’re actually doing nothing both because they’re incapable and because you don’t truly want to heal—you just want to be an energy vampire.

On the other hand, if you’re the person giving help, or, well, what you and the other imagine to be help, it’s critical that you drop your facade and begin accepting your feelings.

Since you are lying to yourself, you are automatically hurting others by pulling them into your subconscious game. You are hurting people while telling yourself that you are doing something good. You appear to be helping other people in “kindness,” yet what you’re really doing is using such circumstances to bolster your ego’s desired self-perception of being “okay.”

Someone might ask you for help, and you might say a few things that make the person smile, but because you have your own facade of smileyness up to cover your inner pain, you can’t clearly see the true depth of pain lingering beyond the other person’s smile.

You think, perhaps, “They’re smiling. That means I helped. Things will get better.” But really you’ve done little to nothing. Their smile is no more than a shadow, and their misery will return as heavy as ever.

If you truly want to help someone, you must clear out your own pain first. Pain cannot heal pain.

It’s Awful

I can tell you from first-hand experience that in the past I’d been in the shoes of the helper—often referred to as the “savior”—far too much.

In one extended incident, I’d spent basically every day for a year in the position of imaginary savior for the same person. This one year was one of the worst years of my life.

There were plenty of other hardships I’d experienced during this time that also pulled me down, but trying to help someone who didn’t truly want to be helped left me chronically stressed, depressed, worried, and just all around miserable—every aspect of my life was affected adversely because of it.

The other person sucked me right in to her wretched, self-inflicted victimhood, yet I kept on upholding a victimhood of my own.

Fake helpers are merely self-inflicted victims who use “saving others” to try to prove to themselves that they’re not actually wounded. I was a fake helper, as fake as they come, and at the time I had no clue of it. Like any other, I was blinded by my belief that my perspective was the correct perspective and the ambition that if only I said and did enough then everything would clear up and we’d live happily ever after.

She gave me the proverbial time of day over and over again, and by outward appearances we looked like close friends. But by the end of the year, we basically walked away from each other as strangers. Not because we’d had a fight or anything, but because we were never really friends to begin with: we were a victim-savior pair—nothing more and nothing less.

The pay-off (at least until I got my ass in gear some years later and started self-helping and learning from the experience), was only heartache.

It was an awful experience, and I don’t recommend it to anybody. Being a helper or savior is always a no-win situation.

If any of this resonates with you as an issue you have to deal with, even just a little bit, I can’t encourage you enough to look into it, to look into yourself, and see what’s really going on.

Don’t put yourself through the suffering, and don’t drag other people along with you.

It’s lousy thing to do, and it’s never worth the effort.

Monday, June 22, 2020

"It's What They Say, So It Must Be True."

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



If you cut yourself to relieve stress, they call you mentally disturbed.

If you kill someone you hate, they call you a murderer.

If you kill someone you hate in war, they call you a hero.

If you go into 40-year debt by taking out $500,000 in loans in order to go to college, buy a house, buy a car, and get married, they call you financially responsible.

If you go to college for 4+ years and learn a bunch of information you will mostly forget and never use, they call you intelligent.

If you are a clergy member, even if you’re a known pedophile, alcoholic, and/or glutton, they call you wise.

If you regularly get drunk and you’re less-than-motivated, they call you an alcoholic.

If you regularly get drunk but graduated from college, took out $500,000 in loans, and have a good job, they call you a responsible adult who likes to have fun.

If you complain all the time and do nothing to help yourself, they call you an unfortunate victim of a cruel world.

If you have significant external problems which your loved ones refuse to consciously acknowledge stem from your significant internal problems, they call you family.


I suppose this list is long enough to make my point.

Obviously, none of the above statements are absolutes. Yet they cannot be interpreted too loosely because they hold quite a bit of truth as they are:

Our society has a seriously fucked up sense for what is good and bad and right and wrong.

People are constantly attacking themselves (and often others); people are constantly, if unwittingly, bringing great hardship upon themselves and even digging themselves an early grave. Yet, though all these paths are ones of destruction, some paths are deemed wrong and bad while others are deemed right and good—honorable, even.

How bizarre.


I wish to call this out for what it is:

Insanity.

The vast majority of people are insane.

You are very most likely one of these people.


“It’s what they say, so it must be true.”

Folks…

“It” might be what “they” say, but that sure as hell doesn’t make “it” true. All “it” makes is “comfortable discomfort” for those who believe “it.” “It” makes the deeper truths so much easier to rationalize avoiding.

And insanity.

“It” also makes living insanely so normal and acceptable that people hardly even know they’re doing it.



One of man’s most serious problems in his insanity is that he is constantly justifying to himself and others something like:

“It’s just the way it is.”

For example, when people—and not just a few, but the vast majority—have to take out major loans to purchase anything significant, they may bitch about it, but mostly they don’t do anything meaningful to understand their situation or resolve it.

Why? Because “it’s just the way it is.”

I’m sure there are at least a few people getting their nose hairs in a twist right now because they’re thinking about how they’ve spent years or decades learning about the financial system, about investing, about taxes and inflation and the creation of money and all that. How dare I suggest that their finance-related learnings haven't been meaningful; that “how we've always done things” (often like, “how ‘the authorities’ want things to be done”) is not the way it has to be.

Know this: However much time someone has put into a thing—any thing—may not matter at all if they’re looking in the wrong direction.

Belief is what creates each of our perceptual filters as individuals. I don’t want to go through this again since I’ve gone through it so many times before. But suffice it to say that we cannot clearly perceive what we are not mentally/psychologically open to.

Humanity is enslaved to ultra-huge debt (in part) because the vast majority of humanity carries a belief that says something like, “It’s just the way it is.”

This belief is incredibly superficial. But to man’s conscious perception the seeming factuality of this belief is very real and it acts as a wall of security against his deep subconscious awareness that something is seriously fubar; that things can be different—far better, even—but he is being majorly taken advantage of by his beloved “authorities” and so he is the one who has to stand up and take action.


Whatever you imagine to be “just the way it is,” release that belief.

I don’t care what it is, do yourself the great service of dropping your imagining that something is the way it is simply because that’s the way it seems to you (and maybe 8 billion other people), and then give Life the opportunity to show you whether you’d been right or not.

Most likely, you’ll be proven wrong.

Very wrong.

But you will also learn much deeper truths about yourself and Life in this way.

The world will also improve as a result.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

It Ain't What It Looks Like If It Ain't What It Looks Like

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



I was once given a most outstanding piece of advice:
Realize that the limit of your perception is hardly the limit of all there is to perceive.

Insensibly Incest

One time a guy told me about how his divorced aunt got remarried and her new husband had a teenage daughter.

The guy, also in his teens, and his aunt’s now-step-daughter came to have mutual feelings of like-edging-toward-intimacy toward each other. When the girl’s mother noticed this, she freaked out saying it was gross because “you’re family.”

Although the girl’s perspective didn’t change, the guy was shaken and feared familial rejection, enough so to put some distance between him and the girl. His decision upset the girl, and their friendship has since remained distant.

Overreactivity. For What?

The reactivity that the guy and girl were victim to stems from two main problems. They are:
  1. the law
  2. taboos
Regarding incest law, it varies significantly by jurisdiction. Using a summarized reference, one can get an idea of who is legally allowed or not allowed to do what with who.

In the case of the guy and the girl above, their circumstance had no place under the law. Unquestioned appearances might say otherwise, but, at least in this case, such imaginings are completely inaccurate.

Even if the law were against the could-have-been couple, regardless of how the law views it, biologically speaking—wherein, we might say, biology is the very law of Life itself and is vastly wiser than any law of man—the guy and the girl had no blood connection. For a law of man to pretend that there is a connection is to simultaneously admit its own erroneousness.

Secondly is the huge taboo about being incestuous.

Here’s the thing about taboos:

People could theoretically create a taboo against eating baked beans on a Tuesday. Back in the day some folks threw a community party on a Tuesday, they we’re cooking baked beans when the kitchen tent caught fire and killed 55 people, and everyone became traumatized and came to believe in a superstition against making baked beans on a Tuesday.

Taboos are a form of insanity. They’re [usually stupid] ideas that nobody wants to question because they’re uncomfortable and nobody else is questioning them. They’re all just part of a big fear game the ego plays.

To be clear, I’m not trying to argue that incest poses no problems. For example, there are plenty of older perverted family members who would do obscene things with their younger siblings and kids if it weren’t for the law, and there exists a very high likelihood of serious genetic mutations when incestuous couples have kids.

With taboo, however, it often seems people would rather have the plague than face within themselves and then, if necessary, openly talk about whatever brings them discomfort.

When situations arise that involve, or seem to involve, both the law and taboo—look out. Reactivity is compounded.

Lies Are Truths to the Minds That Make Them So

Even though the guy and the girl mentioned above had no similarity in bloodline and the guy's aunt and the girl's father decided to marry long after their nephew and daughter, respectively, had already been born, they all still fell victim to the hogwash mentality that relationships between non-blood-related family members is incest.

Maybe the law says they’re now some shade of cousins, but for all anybody knows, their closest blood relatives could be Adam and Eve. The rationale, here, is irrational.

Under everyday circumstances, when two people get married, the law says they’re now family. But the law most definitely does not say that if this newlywed couple engages in romantic/sexual acts that they are being incestuous. Why? Because incest requires relationships within a bloodline.

What is basically the same circumstance is being bent toward two different lines of reasoning—one that helps and one that hinders.

If both the guy and the girl in question had met in a grocery store and began a relationship prior to the guy’s aunt and the girl’s father meeting, not a single person on this planet would argue that their situation falls into the category of incest.

Taking this a step further, if the guy and girl were in a relationship, but then their respective single parents met and got married, would the guy and the girl suddenly be committing incest? No. It’s ridiculous to think it so. Yet, happening in reverse, somehow it’s not perceived as ridiculous at all.

Even if they were, by label of the law, not some shade of step-cousins, but step-siblings, they would still have no blood relationship for there to be incest. Man can’t just pull laws out of his ass and override the nature of life itself.

Why Am I Telling You This Story?

I present this story because I want you to see both the situation and clear-headed, non-reactive thinking simultaneously.

Life doesn’t usually play out for us this way.

There’s typically a situation perceived to be crazy, and there are the experiencers and/or onlookers thinking and behaving crazily in reaction, and then, maybe, in some distant future, any given person who’d been involved might end up having a change of heart.

By all means, if you disagree with incest, that’s totally fine, and I won’t argue with you. You have countless reasons on your side as to why incest is a serious problem.

However, as with the case above, incest is not even related to the events that had taken place. People had interpreted events that looked somewhat similar to incest and falsely made the claim that it was incest itself.

What I encourage you to do, using the above story and explanation as a kind of template, is to consider the situations in your life (whether they directly involve you or you just find yourself as a bystander and in judgment of others) from a more open-minded and grounded perspective.

Through everything I’ve said, you’ll notice I never resorted to any kind of spiritual argument (e.g.: “maybe incest is chosen by a soul to learn about itself”) or comprehensive legalese or anything particularly “out there” or deep. In regard to the law and taboo, I acknowledged them, but I never invested myself in them.

I simply looked at the situation between the guy and the girl and their respective families with, as suggested, an open-minded and grounded perspective.

It’s for this reason that when the guy originally told me this story, specifically because I had no impulsive, negative, judgmental reaction, I immediately recognized that the accusations against him were utterly empty.

People had gotten their panties in a wad over nothing and had then taken their discomfort out on those who’d triggered it.

Just a Little Bit Is All It Takes

There’s a saying something like, Life isn’t inherently difficult; it’s people that make it so.

This is definitely true—but it’s only true to an extent.

We’ve been programmed to perceive life in a certain way and thus automatically react negatively to every circumstance that doesn’t align with our programming.

What hardly anyone knows or tells us is that we can change this programming; we can release it altogether.

Life isn’t inherently difficult, and people don’t have to make it that way.

All that’s required is a little bit of conscious effort.

By all means, a lot of people carry a lot of heavy programming (e.g.: trauma) that probably won’t fall away easily. However, everyone also has a lot of programming that is much lighter and will fall away with ease.

One of the greatest inhibitors people have to clarity and sanity is the unwillingness to look; to say, “I might be wrong about this. Is there a higher perspective?”

So I’ll close this now with that question as a small yet significant bit for you to take with you as you leave.

Life needn’t be difficult. Just give a little bit of effort toward maintaining conscious awareness throughout your daily lives, and then let it grow naturally.

Whenever you find yourself (because you will inevitably get lost over and over again), acknowledge that you might be wrong, and then ask:

“Is there a higher perspective?”

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Consequences or Conditioning?

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



How desperate are you…

…for love?
…for approval?
…for attention?
…to appear relevant?
…to seem important?
…to know?
…to be right?
…to be cool?
…to be a victim?
…to have?
…to be “good enough”?

To find out, ask yourself this question:
Do I choose consequences over conditioning, or conditioning over consequences?
When it comes to making decisions, maybe you've already made them or maybe you're about to, ask yourself what the basis of your choice was or will be, and why.

In some instances, which option you choose and the details thereof may be quite clear to you; in other instances, the answers could be quite clouded.

Needful Things

For my junior year of college I had transferred to a university’s branch campus that had a population of mostly freshmen and sophomores.

This meant I was 21 and most everyone else wasn’t. This meant I could legally buy and drink alcohol and most everyone else couldn’t. This meant people came to me, like we were best-friends-for-life even if I’d hardly ever spoken to them, asking me to buy them alcohol.

I turned down plenty of people, but sometimes I didn’t.

Like the time I bought a bottle of liquor and a few 40s, shared them with a bunch of underage suitemates and friends, had about six shots in a relatively short period of time without standing up or moving around, did then stand up and immediately blacked out until a few hours later when I was woken up by someone while my head was resting on a toilet, then was half-carried through one dorm to the outside, at which point I turned to my right and puked in a bush… right as a campus police officer—of our dry campus—was driving into the drop-off circle where I was headed in order to get to my own dorm.

That was a long night.

Soon thereafter I went to see the officer in his office. He handed me “the book” and had me read the portion that expressed how buying alcohol for minors can result in as much as something like a $1,500 fine for every 8 ounces of alcohol and time in jail (though I can’t remember how much).

Thankfully—super-mega-ultra-praise-be-to-God-in-heaven-thankfully—both since the campus was a branch of a big-name, self-image-protecting school and since no one really got hurt, I got off with the minimal punishment of a fine for public drunkenness, which was only a few hundred dollars, and I had to pay $300 for a session with a local alcohol-abuse psychologist.

Desperation

Why’d I do it?

I was desperate for [what I’d imagined to be] love, acceptance, approval, and so on.

I had no clue what “the book” said—and shouldn’t have had to know—and even if “the book” never existed, I still knew before buying that I could be in a lot of trouble with the school and at home if I were to get caught. Plus, when people would ask me to buy them alcohol, my stomach would churn hard because I desperately wanted to say both no and yes.

Yet the forces of desperation were so powerful that I’d pushed any deeper thoughts of getting caught to the periphery.
“What if I get caught?”

“Oh, the consequences couldn’t be
that bad. And maybe I’d be rejected and shamed by my family, but that’s so far off, if it ever happens at all. Now, right now, if I say no, I’m going to be rejected and shamed by my friends. Would I be able to live with that?”
By and large, the only thing I could see and feel, and the thing I almost couldn’t help but act on, was my conditioning—the fears and traumas I’d acquired and compounded earlier in life (and maybe other lifetimes) but never resolved.

Nevertheless, I think that even back then some 15 years ago, during one of the worst years of my life and with no awareness of self-help, if someone had been able to ask me the right questions and say the right things (because the psychologist certainly hadn’t been able to), I could probably have come to a similar though lesser conclusion as what I’ve said here.

Back then, without guidance, I may not have been able to understand my internal situation on an intellectual level. However, feeling-wise, my choice of conditioning over consequences was very clear.

“The Beast”

Now, here’s an example of when the choice of conditioning or consequences isn’t so clear.

Jehovah’s Witness door-to-door religious salesmen and –women.

One time I answered the door and standing there were two presentably dressed, elderly women holding onto their missionary paraphernalia. The one stood back, silent, while the other gave her spiel.

As I recall, she started off with her piece, and I very quickly responded by telling her I wasn’t interested.

She went on for a bit anyway, as though I'd asked her to tell me more, until I said something like, “What are you doing, here, anyway? You're forcing your message onto me even when I've told you I don't want it. I'm satisfied with my spirituality… You know, when someone is truly holy, when someone truly knows Jesus, their spirituality radiates from within them. And people go to them, they don’t have to go to the people. You say you’re following in Jesus’ footsteps, but what you’re doing is irritating—Jesus wasn’t a door-to-door salesman.”

The woman immediately responded with, “Yes, he was.”

Woah! Now, hold on a fucking second… This woman was not just a professional of misrepresentation, err, I mean, a saleswoman, but one of those people who is so phenomenally arrogant yet also so amazingly blind to said arrogance.

She’d gotten on my nerves basically the moment she started talking, and as I became increasingly angry with her, she just stood there, confident and still as stone, with a subtle, yet, perhaps, the smuggest smile on her face that I have ever seen on anybody, ever.

“Yes, he was.”

I’ll be honest… I’d done a fair amount of inner healing up to the time when these two women showed up, and the times in my life had become very few that I actually felt inclined in any way toward violence. But I’ll tell you what, as this woman spoke, I wanted so dearly to punch her square in the face and knock her backwards off of my porch.

Yes, I’m human. And on that day, I was a very upset human.

What I remember next is that I again told her I wasn’t interested.

She replied, “Okay, well, why don’t you take this free pamphlet so you can read about us if you decide that you are? There’s also an important Bible passage on the back.”

“I’m not interested.”

“Well, here, you should at least take this card so you can read the Bible passage.”

“I don’t want it.”

“Okay, but I suggest you at least read 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.”

Admittedly, I don’t recall what the Bible passage was that she insistently stuffed down my throat against my will; I thought it would be funny to insert this one, here, because…
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (KJV)
I repeatedly tried to break off the conversation without flat-out slamming the door in her face, but, man, I felt like an antelope trying to flee for its life while dragging along a rabid hyena as it chomped down on my neck.

I finally closed the door.

And I never read the Bible passage.

Blind Destruction

In this example of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I’m sure the woman, had she been asked, would have no reasonable clue whatsoever of the conditioning (in this case, perhaps, brainwashing) she was under nor the real consequences of her behavior.

I can’t say exactly what she was looking to get in terms of love, approval, and so on, but she was clearly so utterly absorbed in her shell of conditioning that she simply couldn’t see the true consequences: how she was hurting others; how she was trying to interfere with their lives and choices.

Her imposition of the Bible verse and the smug-ass smile she wore that so strongly compelled my fist toward her face are proof of this.

I don’t have any doubt that in her mind she was being “a good disciple” and I was “the sinner in need of conversion”; that the perceived consequences were not at all about the best interest of others but how good of a seat she could get in heaven.

Take what she did, put it on a grand scale, and what results? Holy war.

The self-righteous imagine they’re merely righteous, and the consequence, over and over and over again, because any other result is necessarily an impossibility, is that the victims of the conditioning are hurt.

Is It Worth the Pain and Suffering?

Of course, choosing consequences over conditioning or conditioning over consequences isn’t always as striking as I’ve potentially made it out to be in the above examples.

There are thousands of decisions we make every day that give us the opportunity to choose one or the other.

You could choose conditioning over consequences by again making a spam sandwich for Friday’s work lunch because, even though you really want peanut butter and jelly, you’re afraid your coworkers will laugh because you'll have stopped eating spam after 987 consecutive days. Your conditioning wins out over the consequence which is known, or at least sensed, by you in advance that you will be unhappy with stagnation.

As always, I encourage you to pay closer attention to your behavior and to become conscious of the programming behind it.

What are you really looking to get?
Are you trying to protect something?
Are you afraid of facing a certain fear?
Are you scared of letting go of pain-causing yet self-identity-confirming beliefs?

Is the decision to choose conditioning over consequences really worth it?

Are you sure?



And you know, you don’t have to eat the peanut butter and jelly, you can eat the spam sandwich, to maintain that 987-day streak.

But at least give yourself the chance to see what’s really going on in the full light of your awareness.

See what’s happening, know what’s happening, and then, if you still want to nom on some spam even though it will discomfort you, do it.

Do it. I think you’ll be both surprised and delighted by the consequences of understanding your conditioning.

Friday, April 3, 2020

You May Be Right (Even If You Think You’re Wrong)

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



Have you ever said something only to soon regret it?

Sure, you have. We all have.

But in this case, I’m not referring to anything mean, embarrassing, or foolish as you’re probably thinking.

I’m instead referring to the times when we say something intending to help someone, at their request, only to part ways and think that we should have said something different. As if, although we’d meant well, what we’d said seems more or less half-baked and may have left the person dissatisfied.

What I’d like you to consider is that what you’d said may have been just fine, even if you think otherwise.

It’s about What’s Needed, Not What’s Wanted.

One time someone asked me if I knew anything about a certain powder-form, high-nutrient dietary supplement.

From what I recall, I told the person that I’d never heard of it, that a lot of such products may have some nutritional benefits but are usually marketing gimmicks, and then I recommended that he make sure to eat plenty of whole, nutrient-dense foods.

Later on I looked up the product info. Being that the questioner had diet-related health problems and the product might have been a help to him, I got thinking that maybe I should contact the guy and tell him that he might find it useful to give the supplement a try.

At first I’d felt kind of guilty as though I’d given a lousy answer, like I should have thought more deeply about the question and then responded differently.

I later came to realize, however, that, even though I’d initially felt as though I’d sort of screwed up, I hadn’t actually screwed up at all.

The thing is, knowing what the person’s diet was like, without realizing what I was doing, I told him exactly what he needed to hear at that time.

Yes, true, maybe the supplement he’d asked about could have been of benefit to him. But supplementation was really beside the point because what was vastly more important in his particular circumstance was that he begin focusing on eating plenty of whole foods.

You Can’t Hear What Others Are Saying When You’re Too Busy Thinking about What You Wish They Were Saying but Aren’t.

This next instance is similar but different. Although I wasn’t directly asked for help, help certainly could have been a natural consequence. What positive came out of this, I really can’t say.

One time I was talking with a few somewhat older women and telling them, at their inquiry, about dietary changes I’d recently made.

I said something to the effect that I’d been eating lots of whole foods and had taken all processed and sugary foods out of my diet.

I said that I’d begun noticing how my body has improved and changed in ways I’d never seen before—as though my body had always wanted to do certain things but wasn’t able to because I’d always somewhat undereaten as well as had eaten a lot of junk food. Specifically, I’d mentioned that changing to a healthier diet caused more hair to grow on my body.

As you can probably imagine, this didn’t go over very well. Telling an older woman, or perhaps any woman, that eating a wholesome diet can potentially cause them to grow more hair is not the best marketing tactic for healthy eating (unless they have hair-loss problems, of course).

After my conversation, I hadn’t mulled this one over as I had the instance regarding the powder supplement, but I did think that maybe I should’ve used a different example.

I came to realize, however, that how any of those people chose to interpret my words is not my business. Indirectly, I could have been interpreted as saying, Eat real food because it’s the only food that works to make you and keep you healthy, that allows your body to function according to the ideal template of “you” stored in your DNA.

If someone chooses to shallowly interpret my words through distorted lenses of fear or self-depreciation or the like, such is not my problem in instances like these.

I did my job: I answered the question in an informed, honest, friendly manner.

I said what people needed to hear—but if people actually heard what I said is up to them.

Our Job's Reach Is No Further than Halfway.

I share this with you because I want you to know that even though we sometimes think we’d said or done the “wrong” thing, that maybe we shouldn’t have been so spontaneous or impulsive, there are definitely cases where this is not so.

If we’d look deeper into why any others who we’re involved with might have needed the exact experience we’d shared with them, we might find that we’d actually said or done the right thing—or, at least, a better thing than if we had spent more time to think before speaking or acting.

All the while, it’s important that we lean toward judging these situations based on what we provide, rather than judging solely in terms of the reactions others have to us.

While it is always possible that we could have either flubbed or said or done better, the fact is that people react based on their conditioning 99.938% of the time; meaning, unless we’d have told them exactly what they’d wanted to hear—something they may not even know—it could be that all reactions would be less-than-positive.

It’s our job to respond reasonably to others' questions, needs, etc. in any given situation and to continue conversing/interacting with others in such a way, but it’s usually not in our place, unless requested, to tell others how they should react to or think about our responses to them; it’s not our job to fight to make sure that we’re understood by others in the same way we understand ourselves.

How others react and think is based on their conditioning (beliefs, fears, education, and so on), and this is not something that any of us can forcefully change.

Even the wisest human changes no one, for it is only the individual, by self-willingness, that can change his- or herself.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

"It's Only Going to Get Worse."

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

[Updated 5/12/20: Added new section at end: “An Afterthought: Quality of Life.”]



“It’s only going to get worse [before it gets better].”

When?

Do you say this?

Do you say this repeatedly, almost like a mantra, whenever societal hardship arises?

If so, I ask you: When does it end?

How awful does our world (or the latest pandemic, war, famine, political regime, etc.) have to get, by your reckoning, before it will cease to get any worse?

What point must we reach before you see it as acceptable either for a clear-cut end to occur or for things to at least turn around?

Can we turn around right now?

Could we have started turning around one year or three decades ago, but maybe it’s just hard for you to see because your fear- and belief-derived (-deranged) perceptions are unhealthy, and you believe the world, especially the media, as they forever reinforce their negative viewpoint into you?

Or can’t we turn things around until there’s a one world government and everybody is RFID-chipped and jacked up on GMO food and toxic vaccinations while living in slave camps?

Or does WWIII have to happen first, and, maybe, simultaneously, “The Elect” will be whisked into heaven while those who remain will have to fight to the death as the planet dies?

When is enough enough?

We, Creators

To this last question you may reply that it’s not up to you to decide when enough is enough.

How sure are you of this?

What if it is up to you?

People are so bent on avoiding their own thoughts as causes while blaming others for the injustices of the world, all while waiting for the world to get better by way of governments, gods, or guns.

Even for many of those who do acknowledge that personal responsibility is required, they still only take responsibility for themselves when that responsibility is convenient, when it doesn’t stir up too much repressed emotion, say, or when a favored “authority” figure advises it.

But isn’t it true that where we are right now is an accumulation of everything we’ve thought, said, and done in the past?

Yes.

There’s nowhere else to place the blame.

To change, then, to improve, it only makes sense that, individually and collectively, we have to think, speak, and act differently.

The Path Less Traveled

However awful this world may seem, things don’t have to turn out this way.

Or maybe they do, since these are the things that the majority of the population pours their energy into.

And what is attentive energy but the energy of creation?

For me, I choose to place my attention elsewhere.

This isn’t to say that I avert my eyes while standing cold and careless at a distance.

But for the most part, the things that so heavily trouble others and once troubled me have nothing to do with me now because they have nothing to do with the future I intend to create—one in which the world I live in is only going to get better.

I hope you’ll change your mind and come with me.



An Afterthought: Quality of Life

“It’s only going to get worse [before it gets better].”
“It’s only going to get worse [before it gets better].”
“It’s only going to get worse [before it gets better].”

For me, the mere reading of this is an energy drain.

I don’t think the situation is different for anyone else, other than the fact that I am conscious of the energy drain while most people are not.

Imagine saying these words regularly. Imagine living by them and having them running in your subconscious day and night.

Through constant repetition, you gradually lower your energy, and so your perception of life must necessarily shift in parallel.

In other words, by focusing on and reinforcing the negative in this way, you gradually lower your quality of life; you gradually lower your expectations of life; you gradually lower your beliefs as to how good life can be.

It’s just like when people think, It was so much easier when we were kids. Life was so fun and free... But, well, we can't go back to that, and then they go on living heavy, meaning-less life experiences while telling themselves and others about how the world just isn't the same.

No, as grown-ups, we can't go back to being kids, and, yes, we do have to take more responsibility for ourselves and our world.

However, this doesn't at all mean we can't be freer and happier and live more easeful and joyful lives.

Although things like pandemics and earthquakes and shitty politicians certainly make for a less satisfying experience, they are not the main things we should be pointing at when we see life as more or less of an endless drama.

What we should be pointing at is the programming within us that insists on giving up, little by little, until we effectively cease imagining, much less working toward, a brighter, more loving and fulfilling future.

We shouldn’t be saying, “The world just isn’t the same,” because this kind of thing puts our attention “out there” somewhere. It leaves us feeling powerless and anxious for a savior.

What we should be saying is, “I admit, I’m not the same. I’ve lost my innocence, my freedom, my faith. Now, it’s my responsibility as a creator and human inhabitant of this world to become as I wish my world to be.”

Saturday, March 14, 2020

I Call Your Bluff

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness


Dear You,

I love you. I love you so much.

But you have to convert to my religion or I’ll dump you. You have to convert to my religion because my religion demands it. And if you have your own religion—to hell with it.

You know, I’m not really even all that into my religion, and I know you’ll never quite accept mine—you may only say you accept it because you love me just as you think I love you (your non-conversion would separate us, of course)—but entertain me and learn about and pretend to believe in the doctrines and participate in the rituals anyway.

Do this for me because I’m too afraid to walk away from my religion because there’s too much familial and social pressure to uphold the status quo. I love you so very much, but, to be honest, I’m more seriously in love with my fear of authoritative disapproval, of abandonment, of losing familial affection.

Forever yours (unless…),

Me


Have you ever gotten married and converted religions to do so?

If you’ve answered yes, unless you’re one of what I imagine are only a few uncommon cases, I call your bluff.

I call your bluff that you actually believe in the religion you converted to.

The Paths of Most Believers

Most people believe in a given religion because they’d been raised in it from birth.

Since people tend to follow the herd and never ask their burning questions, say the uncomfortable things, and avoid walking their own path, being raised in a religion from birth can be compared to being in a culture where every child is raised by two parents: having two parents is so prevalent that people may not think otherwise or may avoid the notion of other possible paths as being taboo; cultures in which children are raised as members of a community (as with some indigenous cultures), for example, are given minimal-to-no attention. Peoples' respective religions are what they know, they're "how it is."

I would guess the next most likely reasons for religious belief are because, one, people think they have to have a religion and, two, religion just happened to show up at their door at a time in their religionless lives when things seemed particularly hopeless and in need of upliftment (i.e.: a “savior”).

Even in the most frequently occurring cases, belief isn’t actually as solid as it may appear.

I don’t mean this in the sense that people don’t cling strongly to their religions, but that whatever their religious beliefs are built on is quite fragile. (Hence, all the religious wars and segregation and the like—people are seriously scared that their faith and their God is false, and they fight and persecute “other” for the sake of self-protection.)

Moving away from the above cases, the strength of peoples’ religious beliefs increasingly wanes. People usually just don’t have enough knowledge, trust, awareness, interest, and so on to muster up the conviction to be true believers.

I can't help but think that most of those who convert religions for the sake of marriage come in somewhere fairly low on the list.

I Call Your Bluff

As regards these marriage-driven religious converts, when did the converts start caring about their new religions?

Months or years before they’d met the person of the religion they had to marry into? Gradually through the time they were dating? Or conveniently when the partner who demanded the religious conversion told the other partner to convert or leave?

And what does this say about the ones who've chosen to convert?

So the person falls in love with someone (or thinks they do) and maybe just dumps off their former religion because it doesn’t complement their new partner?

I’m certainly not going to tell people to put their religion before those they love if there’s a sharp contrast that can’t be accepted as is. This is, personally, because I very much dislike and disagree with religion. However, for supposed believers, it’s often their salvation that’s imagined to be on the line.

Isn't salvation seen as more important than a few fleeting years with a particular partner, or didn't they believe in or care much about the salvation claim to begin with, or what?

If they weren't really into it to begin with, what's with the weakness of not walking away sooner, and how does this weakness equate with joining some new religion not for one's self but as prodded by a claimed "necessity" of someone else?

Furthermore, of all the world’s religions and tens of thousands of smaller sects, what are the chances that a convert’s new religion really actually resonates with them? Does it resonate at all?

What about someone who converts, say, from Christianity to Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism, or the reverse?

In asking this question, I don't mean to imply that all these religions have rules denying marriage to those of differing religions; I simply ask the question in the sense of expressing the dramatic shift of direction potentially required for a person to go from one religion to another.

For as big of a deal as religion apparently is, to convert primarily or only because of marital demands seems highly suspect as to how much the convert even cares.

This is sort of like when people look for a new job, apply to 400 different places through an online job search database, and to every single company they write in their cover letters how they like what the company has to offer and what the company is about.

Are they being honest? Are they, really? In most cases, no, because such unwavering interest isn't reasonable. By and large, people are merely trying to sound appealing in order to acquire work to get paid so they don’t die.

Who honestly cares that much?

Again, I’ll give a couple people the benefit of the doubt. But I really don’t think it’s reasonable to believe that most people who convert religions for the sake of marriage are all that into it, no matter what they may show outwardly.



[Aside:] Why, Religion?

What’s with religions’ demands regarding forced conversion, anyway?

Are they just fooling themselves, or looking for new bodies as revenue streams? Is it a source of power and pride? Is it a black magic way of stealing new names and claiming ownership over souls?

Religions can’t vet every single one of their followers to see if they truly believe or not, and, as much as they often judge like crazy, religions aren’t set up in such a way as to kick out the “imperfect.”

But to make conversion demands, especially nowadays, knowing that either current followers may leave because they won’t put their future spouses through the conversion or they’ll pick up new converts that don’t truly believe seems irrational (at least to me) unless the reasons are selfish, if not conniving.

What are convert-or-be-gone religions looking to get?