Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Demystifying the "Bad Things Happening to Good People" Conundrum

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Before answering this question, it’s worth asking:

Who’s to say that they who ask this question have an accurate sense for what is “bad” and who is “good”?

As we answer the question that is the topic of this blog post, you’ll come to see that the common definitions of “bad” and “good” upon which the question is based are rather shortsighted.

The better question might be:

Why do seemingly bad things happen to seemingly good people?

5 Potential Answers

Potential answers are as follows:
  1. God is an angry and vengeful God.
  2. God wants us to prove that we believe in his saving mercy.
  3. Our hardship and suffering are the cross we must carry in life.
  4. We’re burning karma from other lifetimes.
  5. What we experience is a reflection of our thoughts.
Let’s break each of these down to see if any them actually make sense.

1.) God Is an Angry and Vengeful God

If God is love, as 1 John 4:8 proposes, why would He deliberately and perpetually inflict pain and suffering upon us?

While God allows plenty of space for “tough love,” causing outright hardship and disaster like a grudge-holding, traumatized, and malevolent overlord is not at all aligned with tough love or true love.

Where God appears in scriptural passages, for example, to be slaughtering people (or very much supporting the slaughterers) caution is highly advised.

For one thing, scriptural texts carry a great deal of metaphysical meaning. This is to say, taken at surface value (as religions and lay people usually do), the worst crimes can potentially be pinned on God. But such given passages may not be referencing physical circumstances at all; indeed, they may be referring, say, to a spiritual seeker’s experience of overcoming inner, earthly obstacles.

Secondly, ancient scriptures may have been inspired by God, but that doesn’t mean they were actually written by Him. Scriptures have been written by inspired humans—inspired humans who “got” a message but who also still had some degree of their own beliefs and fears, their own perspectives on life, their own limited awareness of history, and so on.

Thirdly, over the course of hundreds and thousands of years, many scriptures have been cherry-picked, transliterated and translated, interpreted and reinterpreted, and sometimes even outright manipulated. Just because it's printed neat-as-you-please and supported by any given religious "authority" as the "Word of God" doesn't make it true.

That being said, to say that “bad things happen to good people” because God is angry and vengeful seems false. Anger and vengeance are issues that have been plaguing man internally for time untold. It therefore only makes sense that man would characterize God in the same way either in attempt to exonerate himself or because man cannot help but reveal his deepest truths in his earthly expressions.

2.) God Wants Us to Prove that We Believe In His Saving Mercy.

This one screams of the victim mentality.

This belief is often (always?) held by people who believe that we have one life to live before spending eternity in heaven or hell. They believe they are effectively hell-bound but will increasingly be seen as worthy of heaven as their level of hardship and suffering increases.

The problem here is that this belief is like saying: “Yeah, God, just keep stacking on the shit, because I believe you’re going to save me in the end.”

Pardon me if I’m raining on anyone’s parade, but what if this isn’t the way God works?

What if, say, we purposefully and voluntarily came here to physically experience God’s creation in all its ups and downs?

What if those with this mentality will die only for God to say:
“Life is a lesson, my dear one. Why would you have the same troubles over and over were it not so?

When you went to the school of intellectual knowledge you always wanted to learn the old so you could discover the new. Yet in the school of life experience you continually allowed yourself to be chained to the old. Thus, nothing new could ever come in.

And why would I send you to earth to learn if you couldn’t take your wisdom with you into a new lifetime? What need have you for wisdom and knowledge in heaven where all is already known? Or in hell where it would all be worthless?”
If “bad things happen to good people” because “God wants us to prove that we believe in his saving mercy,” then it is only for the reason that the believers themselves are creating this troublesome experience and perception with their own thoughts.

3.) Our Hardship and Suffering Are the Cross We Must Carry In Life.

In a way there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s just a metaphor.

We all experience difficulties throughout our lives, and each issue to arise contains within it a life lesson.

Problem is, people often use this “Cross-Carrying Member” identity as a means of avoiding their responsibility to themselves of learning their life lessons.

These folks are willing to do what is “comfortable,” but they’re not willing to do the uncomfortable work that would put them face to face with their deeper traumas and fears; they’re not willing to let go of and/or alter their beliefs and behaviors—to truly die to themselves—and become reborn.

So they continue caving in to the siren song of victimhood. They justify that the gradually but ever-worsening hardship that befalls them is “just the cross I’m meant to carry.”

In this case, “bad things happen to good people” because “good” people avoid the inner work required to stop the “bad” things from happening.

4.) We Have To Burn Off Karma

“You reap what you sow.” Karma is the justice system of the universe.

Suppose I made a living stealing and selling cars. If I get caught or turn myself in, I have to pay the price.

But what if I went to the grave without either? Or what if I paid only part of the price, and then died? (And what is man’s price compared to God’s?)

Would I go to hell? And if so, would I go to the same hell and burn for eternity with evil dictators who commit countless atrocities? Would I go to a lesser level of hell for a much shorter term and burn for only 10 hours per day rather than 24? Or maybe instead of being on fire, I’d have to stand in a freezer and use cold water to wash melted, burned cheese off of baking pans? (Oh, the horror!)

And what if I’d been born into an abusive, drug-dealing family of car thieves? How does that equate to a man who’d been born into a love-centered, spiritual community? Should I be so severely punished for not being able to overcome a totally lousy upbringing and environment?

Why not reincarnate into another body in another time and place? Maybe with similar conditions that I can try again, or maybe I’d live modestly but my possessions or identity would be stolen.

From a karmic perspective, “bad things happen to good people” because seemingly “good” people have to balance out the “bad” things they’ve done in their current or other lifetimes.

5.) What We Experience Is a Reflection of Our Inner World.

There are so many angles to look at this from, but consider just this one with regard to beliefs:

Have you ever been around someone who’s sneezy and itchy and forever saying, “I’m allergic to everything”? Or maybe you have a friend who’s always complaining about prices and saying things like, “I’ll never pay off this debt; it’s one bill after another”?

People speak and act based on whatever is going on within them. They express their inner fears and beliefs through their external words, actions, and life circumstances.

If people are willing to accept the truths of life (whatever they may be) and are free of fears such as speaking up and going after what they want, they’re not going to have allergies because allergies are the body’s way of reflecting how people are mentally-emotionally “allergic” to life. If people are free of inner issues surrounding money, they’re not going to be worrying about prices or struggling to pay bills. As the saying goes, “As above, so below.”

“Bad things happen to good people” because “good” people are unwittingly physically manifesting the “bad” results of whatever negativity is hanging around in their inner worlds.

It’s All Relative

As I'm sure you've noticed, I’ve placed quotes around “good” and “bad” with regard to people and things, respectively. This was done in reference to the shortsightedness of definition mentioned in the introduction.

Quite simply, “good” and “bad” are highly subjective. Apply “good” or “bad” to anything at all and you’ll find a bazillion people with some smaller or larger difference of opinions.

Pertaining specifically to the message here, we’ll look at each separately.

We judge the “good-ness” of others by our perception of their level of decency (which itself is subjective and for which some people can be very deceptive in their portrayal of). However, if we accept that what I’ve offered above may be true, we see that there are a lot more factors that come together to determine how “good” anyone is than meets the eye.

This is not to take away from whatever acts or words of kindness anyone exhibits. It’s only to point out that our usage of “good” to judge someone leans toward shortsightedness because it doesn’t take the whole into account.

As for what is deemed “bad,” even these things can be perceived as “good” to the degree that they are circumstances meant to tell us something about ourselves for our higher good.

When I was younger I was very much out of integrity with my true needs and desires. Throughout this time I stubbed my toes and jammed my fingers and the like all the time. I’d always rationalized that “it’s the way life is” and “I’m a clumsy schlep.”

This difficulty minimized greatly after I’d awakened. But then during the first half of my dark night of the soul when things were really bad, I’d again banged my elbows all the time. Through the highs and lows of healing, the lows often came with elbow-banging. Once I’d sufficiently gotten my act together, I stopped banging my elbows.

The difference between my younger years and my older years is that I was able to recognize during the older years that I was the cause. Sure, figuring out what my pain was signaling to me was a different story. But having the awareness, both in this particular scenario and as a theme of “how life works,” has made a huge difference in my ability to deal with and heal my life.

So while the “bad” is usually quite unpleasant, this same “bad” is also a blessing if one knows how to see beyond appearances to “get” the message.

Tempering Ideologies

Before you go, I would like to point out one final thing:

It’s important to see that questions such as, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” are existential questions. They are questions that involve all people of all times in all places.

The reason this is important is because questions like these are often asked by people of a given ideology who seek to receive answers from others, usually “authoritative” others, of their same ideology.

People need to understand that Life is, God is. This is to say, Life and God are not Democrat or Republican; they’re not Catholic or Buddhist or Islamic; they’re not American or Malaysian or Norse; they’re not scientists or spiritualists—they carry no ideology.

When existential questions arise, I have no argument with anyone going to someone they see as knowledgeable about their ideological perspectives in search of answers.

However, it’s crucial that people
  1. also seek answers from sources who are outside of their ideological perspective, and then
  2. they sit with the information gathered and see and feel which answers (even if they're cross-sourced and uncomfortable to accept) provide the fullest picture.
No single person or group has all the right answers or the only answers—most especially when they come from those who claim they are.

You know… There’s a funny paradox with life: All the answers we could ever want or need are already before us, yet “sight” is not given to us unless we work for it.

There’s no real work in ideologizing life because the moment we say, “This is it. Here’s where all the answers lie”—yes, “lie”—is the moment all true seeking ceases and our minds and hearts close down.

If we want the answers, if we want true “sight,” then we must reach.

I hope you’re one who will.

Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 12/7/11 to former personal blog Without a Story.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Penance? More Like Avoidance of Responsibility.

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

What Penance Is

If I were to define penance, I would say: "Penance is how we make up for hurting others."

Or in legal slang, "You do the crime, you do the time."

That settled, I now want to focus on what penance is not and one particularly absurd way it manifests.

What Penance Is Not

When we hurt ourselves and have to make up for it, although some may call this penance, I see it as far wiser to call it karma or a life lesson, the particular not mattering because they both boil down to the same: We don’t usually consciously know why Life has given us a certain trouble, maybe it's for past-life restitution or maybe for soul learning and growth, but it’s now ours to deal with either way.

As to what it means to hurt ourselves, many negative behaviors both common and less common apply: alcoholism, self-condemnation, cutting one’s self, anorexia, habitually avoiding sleep, etc. Clearly, these behaviors cause self-damage and we must make up for them.

All the while, there is another form of self-hurt that fails gets the press it deserves: Doing nothing.

We’re born into this life in ignorance in order to develop self-awareness and then live in integrity as our highest selves. But in order to do this we must take action (even if this “action” is changing a negative thought pattern) as best as our circumstances allow. This is especially true when our life presents any experience that causes us suffering.

(Critical side note: Suffering is not pain.)

When we do nothing, we gain nothing and hurt ourselves at the same time. Strangely enough, however, sometimes we call this "act" of doing nothing, "penance."

“Penance” As Avoidance

The way I've seen this play out is such that the respective people take care of all their basic needs in life, but as their hardship and suffering continue to worsen, they sit by waiting for a savior while holding the mentality, “I am/must be doing penance.”

If this sounds familiar to you—wake up! The struggle and suffering you’re going through are either karma or your soul’s life lesson obstacles. They are not “penance.” You are not guilty of anything other than refusing to take full responsibility for your life. Even if you are guilty, as in the case of having negative karma from a previous life, it makes no difference because there’s no one to make amends to but your very self, right now.

And so what you call “penance” will keep getting worse until you take active responsibility and learn the lessons. After all, in life as we know it, pain and its consequent suffering are effectively the only reason we evolve.

Which brings us to the insightful point that we are often very stubborn-to-change beings, yet when our suffering becomes so bad that we finally crack open, we do actually change for the better and realize not only that we are the saviors we’d been waiting for, but also that we do deserve the better we now have because we now have it after earning it through our own power.

Otherwise, see that labeling your avoidance of karma/life lesson responsibility as “penance” is usually (or perhaps always) a bogus excuse for religiously-instilled guilt. It’s only there because you believe that it’s there. It makes you feel unworthy and has turned you into a glutton for punishment. Rather than overcoming anything, you allow yourself to be held back by everything.

“Carry Your Cross Daily”

Some people think, too, that stuffing down hurt, refusing emotional flow, denying pain, rationalizing suffering, etc. is part of “doing penance.”

To put it simply: It’s not. In fact, all such behaviors are distorted and therefore unhealthy, unwise, unspiritual, and uneverythingelserightandgood.

They may see this self-rejection-as-penance as part of the admonition to “carry your cross daily.”

Rather than taking the words as guidance to flow with life even when things get rough, people take them with a heavy implication of personal guilt. As in, “My life sucks a fat knob, and I'm going to make sure it continues to suck a fat knob, because this is the life that God has given me to bear and, suffered well, I will be redeemed for it in the end.”

NO! Suffering is never done well, because suffering is an aberration of consciousness.

If people would clean up their inner junk and stop torturing themselves, they could begin redeeming themselves right now. As I just said 42 seconds ago:
…we are often very stubborn-to-change beings, yet when our suffering becomes so bad that we finally crack open, we do actually change for the better and realize not only that we are the saviors we’d been waiting for, but also that we do deserve the better we now have because we now have it after earning it through our own power.

Parting Words

As you walk away, I would like you to keep in mind this little tidbit about Jesus, the man for whom all this penance and cross business is associated.

Jesus came here and lived with intent purpose in Truth and Love. What he most certainly did not do is go out of his way to inflict pain and suffering on himself.

If you read the Bible and focus only on the words of Jesus, the one upon whom the whole of the Bible and all of Christianity depends, you will never see statements such as: “You average people are less than me. You are all guilty as sin and should be ashamed to be alive.” He never says: “Suffer, you fools. Punish yourselves to prove your love for my Father.”

Hell, no! Only religion pushes such a negative agenda.

What Jesus does continually do is speak of loving one another. He does state that he and the “average” person are both the light of the world. He does speak as a man who has a direct line to a loving, compassionate, and forgiving God.

He does speak as though he and the rest of humanity, you included, are equals.

Do you suppose, perhaps, that it's time to stop pretending otherwise?

Friday, November 2, 2018

Words Are for the Herds – Part 3

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness


Groups of symbols indicating things of reasonably-defined meaning, or something else altogether?

Both. But if you’re familiar with the “Words Are for the Herds” line of thinking, then you know that words are often “something else altogether.”

If you’ve not yet read the earlier posts in this series, I recommend you do:
“Words Are for the Herds – Part 1”
“Words Are for the Herds – Part 2”

These prior two parts provide a solid background to this series along with many valuable insights that aren’t included in this particular article. (And they’re a fascinating and fun read!)

In the past, I’ve focused on single words and looked at different ways of breaking them down phonetically, anagrammatically, etc.

What I want to do now is two-fold: I want to examine, one, how words are used in phrases in harmful yet seemingly innocuous ways, and, two, how negatively-oriented language has been injected into our culture and we’ve sucked it up like water to a sponge.

As you’ll come to see, we’ve not been doing ourselves any favors by expressing our thoughts in the ways we have.

Guilt Implications

While words have power in and of themselves, phrases and sentences have all the more. It’s therefore important that we be able to discern the underlying meanings of whatever is stated overtly.

In the following two examples, we’ll see how guilt is subtly induced in “everyday” situations.

Guilt Example 1: Wedding Invitations
I’ve seen wedding invitations in which the RSVP portion offers these two options:
  • I will attend.
  • I am sorry I cannot attend. -OR- I regretfully decline.

This type of RSVP is basically saying that all is hunky-dory if the invitee can attend, but they must feel guilt/regret if they cannot attend.

Is the invitee allowed to decline without having to say sorry? Can the invitee decline without there being a subtle burden of guilt as though some wrong has been committed in saying "no"?

Why not this, instead:
  • I will attend.
  • I decline.

The choice for attendance doesn’t have a clarifier, so why must the choice to decline?

Or maybe people could send this:
  • I will __________ attend.
  • I __________ decline.

This way, an invitee can make his or her choice by filling in the blank. Perhaps: “I will unhappily attend,” or, “I enthusiastically decline.”

(…What? No one is that honest? Pardon my naive idealism…)

To be clear, I don’t believe that the people who use these invitations have the intention of guilt-tripping others. I’m pretty sure that most people are clueless as to what they’re actually saying. I feel that this phrasing has been quietly injected into our language by less-than-kind people in order to negatively influence us at a subconscious level.

Guilt Example 2: Donation Requests
A college fundraising mailer I’d once seen offers another similar example. It said something to the effect of:
We’ve set this year’s fundraising goal at [rather significant dollar amount], and we’re depending on you to fulfill this goal.
In other words, the college is saying: “We set the bar, and it's your obligation to uphold it.”

I’m sure some proud alumni and associates of the college would donate, but do you know who else would do so? The one's who didn’t feel validated in childhood unless giving authority—likely their parents—what they'd wanted.

Now grown up, the "authority" and the potential donatees are repeating the same approval-based programming; the former says: “This is what we want from you,” and the latter says: “Yes, because I crave your approval.”

Along similar lines are the mailers from countless other organizations seeking donations:
Return this dime, and we can feed 10 starving children for a week.
Please consider making a donation. To thank you in advance, here’s a free map/personalized address labels/notepad/magnet/certificate of gratitude/dreamcatcher/blanket/pen/necklace/basketball/pair of tickets to ‘Disney on Ice’/iPhone 10.
Okay. So maybe I got carried away there. But I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

It’s all about the guilt.

“Subtle” Does Not Equal “Small” or “Trivial”

When I write concepts such those in this “Words Are for the Herds” series, I sometimes feel a tug of hopelessness pulling at me. I feel like, Is anyone other than the choir really going to grasp my preaching?

I guess to some extent, not everyone in the choir is aware of everything, and so even preaching to the choir can have its benefits.

But otherwise I feel like this is one of those topics that can get brushed off way too hastily because we’re collectively so embedded in negativity that we don’t realize how distorted circumstances actually are; because we’re so fixated on the overt, coarse aspects of life that when people speak of the subtleties they’re often looked at as though they have three arms.

Yet it’s so important that we acknowledge the more subtle levels.

Words are very powerful things. This is usually evident to us when we speak unkindly or are misinterpreted and circumstances quickly turn sour. But the underlying energy of words, any sourness of which is not readily perceived by most people, also has power. And so we would do well to develop an understanding of this because negativity spread in ignorance is still negativity spread.

Did you ever notice that we often say, “Don’t forget…” rather than, “Please remember…”? Or that, in a religious sense, a great many people still push, “Thou shall not…” instead of, “Love one another,” and, “Do unto others…”?

Trivial as these things may seem, their usage is to no small effect and they're implicit of no small cause. This negative focus is the basis of our society which means that it is the basis of our collective and therefore individual states of mind.

Word Reversals

This negative orientation can likewise be seen in more recent times as we’ve taken to describing positive things with negative words. Somehow these have managed to catch on and spread like wildfire.

Although the context of these words has changed, their inherent energy signature has not. We still simultaneously use them with their original meanings and in their original contexts, after all.

Here are a few examples:
  • “That’s sick.” (Stated of something deemed special in some way.)
  • “That’s the shit.” (Stated of something deemed special in some way.)
  • “You slay/kill me.” (Spoken by one who’s humored by another.)
  • “I’m going to go die now.” (Surprise at something really good happening.)

There are also things such as the Philadelphia Phillies merchandise presenting a shorting of their name simply to “ill.”

“Oh, dude, you got an “ill” shirt? That’s sick.”

Be Careful What You Wish. You Just Might Get It.

We exist in a living universe.

Literally, everything we think, say, and do comes back to us. Literally, everything we think, say, and do is us choosing what we want to experience, if unconsciously (via subconscious thought, repressed emotion, etc.), for better or for worse, in the immediate or distant future.

We don’t realize this because, one, we’ve not been told to that it is so—quite the opposite—and, two, we experience a time delay for the majority of things—most notably with our thoughts.

But just because we are unaware doesn’t mean that those who design language, have incredible sway over cultural norms, and think quite unkindly of the average person are also unaware. Indeed, they know how this all functions, and they’ve worked very hard to keep us as ignorant and unwittingly foolish in our choices as possible.

These people want us to manifest endless hardship, and it is so easy for them to set the wheels turning (and keep them turning) in this age of instant connectivity via mass media.

All it takes is a single A-list celebrity to fashionably say or wear something that says, “Sick!” and droves of people are going to adopt it. If they want to angle it to a certain demographic, then they select the celebrity, marketing style, and the media outlets accordingly.

It’s then not long before life collectively takes a deeper plunge into the abyss because a significant portion of the population has spent years expressing the worst even of the best.

Listen Wisely

Do you know why the wise man is so wise?

Because he listens more than he talks, and when he is the one talking, he listens to what he is saying.

He is therefore able to open himself to ever expanding levels of conscious awareness from which he can compare his cacophonous external world experience to the calm of his internal world wherein his higher knowing resides. This enables him to readily discern misalignments between the two worlds and make adjustments accordingly.

In this state, he “gets” the subtleties of life so that they cannot “get” him.

Let’s take a hint from the wise man and learn to listen wisely.

Wisdom is, after all, the only way out of the abyss.

Friday, October 26, 2018

“I Shouldn’t Use the Word ‘Should,’ Should I?”

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

“Should” is a pushy word.

I know a lot of people use it without intending harm, but the instances are few when “should” may be appropriate.

One of the few, for example, is if you were to adopt a dog. The former owner might say to you, “You should feed the dog two times per day; once in the morning and once in the early evening.” The owner need not say, “you should,” but at least in my view, I don’t see any harm in using such phrasing.

Otherwise, “should” is often problematic because it tends to be interpreted as unsolicited advice, something that nobody likes receiving. It likewise carries an implication that the one being “should-ed” isn’t “good enough,” is flawed in some way, etc.

In an ideal world, if the word “should” were still in existence, this perception would not arise. As life is, though, “should” tends to trigger peoples’ weak self-images.

Rather than thinking, “I’m not always right, and I can freely consider what this person is suggesting and then do some research and make an informed decision,” the tendency is to react with, “What!? Are you saying I’m wrong? Are you saying I’m not smart enough? Are you saying I’m not capable enough?”

This goes for even the simplest of things, so caution is best.

Dissatisfied Want

A very common theme with “should-ing” is that the givers define their personal level of satisfaction by whether or not others are doing what is acceptable to them.

“Should-ers” press others to change under the faulty belief that it is their right and responsibility to change them. Since “should-ers” see others as the problem instead of themselves, their hope is that others will change and thus bring to them the selfish and “satisfying” ends they desire.

“Should” Denies Reality

A prime example of this can be seen in the perspective of a great many parents and, in even greater part, “authority” and society as a whole with regard to education.

If you get a “C” on a math test, your parents might well tell you, “You should have done better.”

Holding on to false expectations about your performance, they say this because they wish to vicariously live those coveted “A’s” through you, their child. They define themselves—their worth—by how they, family, friends, and so on judge themselves and each other in relation to society’s “Almighty Standard.”

But here’s the thing: You shouldn’t have done better because you didn’t.

There’s only now and “what happened and has passed.” So unless you really should have gotten a higher grade but you got a “C” because your teacher hates you and deliberately manipulated your score, “should-ing” is irrelevant.

Nothing except exactly what had happened “should” have happened because nothing else did happen.

Your parents could say, “You should have done better.” Or they could say, “You should have removed that bowl of beef stew from the microwave before your test.” Both are absurd because they have no bearing in reality. They have no relevance to the singular experience that has come and gone. (Unless leaving your beef stew in the microwave caused you heinous anxiety that distracted you during testing.)

You got a “C” on the test. Congratulations. You achieved the exact mark you were supposed to achieve. Hopefully on your next test you’ll again get an equally perfect grade.

Who Cares?

People beat up themselves and each other madly over this stuff.

Students (nearly all of us) acquire such a hefty burden of, You’re not good enough unless… Peoples’ value is heavily judged—as in, their worth as human beings—by their intellectual ability across all “authority”-designated subjects.

But really, why should anyone care so much whether or not anyone fails social studies and is only par at math, especially if they excel in music or science or writing? (And everyone excels at something, even if they’re not yet sure at what.)

None of these subjects have any bearing on who we inherently are as humans. And while some subjects (such as math) are useful to the average person, although typically only at basic levels, any given subject is generally appreciated and thus desirously expanded upon by only a relatively small set of people who truly do gravitate towards it.

Does a farmer need to know how to implicitly differentiate a function or what the key supreme court cases were in the 1970’s?

Does an English-speaking math whiz from the USA need to know the capitol of Yugoslavia or the Spanish-to-English translation of, “Mi pollo está muy frío en la bañera”?

Does an artist need to memorize the periodic table or know how the Krebs Cycle works?

Do any of them care?


And what about all the subjects that everyone would do well to know—for the sake of sense, sanity, and/or survival—but are completely absent from the vast majority of curriculums?

What about basic skills such as cooking, first aid, house maintenance, emotional management, etc.?

How come no one is talking about all the “F’s” that people are indirectly receiving on these? How come no one is demanding passing grades on these most basic of life skills? Shouldn’t more people be learning these without needing to join Boy or Girl Scouts or having to first wreck their lives in order to realize that maybe they're imbalanced emotionally, "normal" though they may seem?

Self-Study for the Win

I’d say that on average throughout all of my schooling I was a “C” student.

I’ve no doubt that this was due to disinterest and a weak “have to prove myself” mindset. I’d felt the latter, yes, but it had been thoroughly overshadowed by the “I’m a failure” mindset.

Now here’s the ironic part: As poorly as I’d done year after year after year, I’m currently (so I’d like to think) quite a “well-rounded” person.

This is with very little thanks to the education system, and greatly in thanks to my own naturally-developed interest in a diverse range of topics.

I’ve taken it upon myself to learn via countless books, videos, websites, classrooms, and first-hand experiences in all sorts of areas that have interested me—many of these areas being a combination of ones that the education system had tried to stuff down my throat before I was ready and ones that the system refuses to touch.

With minimal exception, I’ve become far smarter, wiser, and more intelligenter … ;-) …in all the ways that matter to my specific life purpose, personal interests, and needs than anything conventional schooling has been able provide for me.

Rounded Schmounded

These “higher education” “authorities” will argue that students must (i.e.: “should” with force) take a variety of courses unrelated to their areas of interest in order to be “well-rounded.”

Do you know what I have to say about that?

Well-rounded, my ass.

If anyone actually still thinks that Big Education has the best interest of the people, they are so sorely deluded.

Here is but one massive example of why they don't, and it comes straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth… or maybe from the literal donkey’s mouth, because, man, these people are nothing short of asses…

Project Veritas
Undercover Common Core Vid: Exec Says "I hate's all about the money"

Set Your Own “Bar”

Every healthy being has an innate drive to be better today than yesterday.

Trouble is, most people don’t have an accurate sense for this drive because they’re too caught up in the need-to-be-good-enough rat race dumped on us by “authority.” What would otherwise be self-competition with a full dose of self-acceptance is instead competition-against-other with a nasty dose of self-loathing.

“How good am I compared to ‘The Almighty Standard’?”
“How good am I compared to those who have reached ‘The Golden Bar’?”

Folks… To hell with “The Almighty Standard” and “The Golden Bar,” and to hell with those who set them.

It can’t even be said that the system is broken because for something to be broken is to say that the thing must have formerly been whole. Yet any and all of these systems, as created by those who call themselves “authority,” have been inherently distorted from the get-go—by design.

Any how can they not be? They’re built on a foundation of “shoulds” which are marketed deceptively and thrust upon us by threat and force.

It’s time to move on, people.

It's time to learn to trust in ourselves; to be who we truly are instead of who some selfish external "authority" says we "should" be.

For it is from this space and only this space that we cease to "should" others and "should" ceases to hold power over us.

This is the space of freedom.

Friday, October 19, 2018

You Be You, and I'll Be Me

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

When we’re unaware of our true reason for being here, especially if we’re prone to getting carried away by our emotions, we can tend to involve ourselves in situations that aren’t exactly ours to be involved in.

This doesn’t mean that our actions will inevitably cause trouble. Maybe or maybe not.

This is more along the lines of unwittingly being a kind of haphazard justice warrior; this is to say, we seek to change everything because we’re not sure where we specifically belong.

Below are 3 situations and some key points within each. These should serve well to put this concept in a proper context and help you to better navigate through your own similar experiences.

Situation 1: Lack of Emotional Control

I once went to a Neil Diamond concert. The next day I began reading the local newspaper’s review of the concert but stopped about halfway through.

Being a writer and having gone to the concert, I fell into a minor rage because the reviewer’s writing ability and presentation of information seemed to me so poor.

What the hell is wrong with this guy? Did he even go to the concert? Did he ever pass second-grade Language Arts class? You don’t say this! You don’t write like that! How does this idiot have a job?

I immediately decided to write to the place that carried the review about how disturbed I was by it. I went to my computer, I opened Word, and I just sat there. Nothing happened. I soon realized that I blew things way out of proportion.

Even if it were so that I had decided to take a poll and the vast majority of people had agreed with me that the reviewer’s writing ability sucked and he’d done no justice to the concert, the truth is that such would be quite irrelevant because the judgments would be mere opinions. (…And you know what they say about opinions…[If you insist... "Opinions are like assholes: we've all got 'em, and they both stink."])

The thing is, to do what I’d reactively intended to do was not in my place. I don’t mean this in the sense that if I’d written the message and the reviewer had read it then he might have felt really crappy. The reviewer’s quality of writing certainly hadn’t brought a smile to my face, though I’d not meant harm to the guy; my anger-driven need to write a letter was more about the company/editor/whoever for publishing what I perceived to be such a load of garbage.

As I sat at my computer, blank, I realized how I had nothing to say because my only backing was my intense negative emotion: it was a “force wall” that demanded action yet inhibited all flow.

And when the energy subsided some time later, I still had nothing to say. It seemed to me that any effort would be an enormous waste of time and more energy.

The best thing I could do in this situation was to ask myself, What is the programming that got triggered within me that caused such a strong reaction?

Key Points
In the emotionally-suppressive atmosphere that is an embedded aspect of our culture, emotional expression doesn't always come easy, and when it does, sometimes it comes too easy and with less-than-wonderful implications.

It’s therefore not uncommon for our emotions to get the best of us. They can carry us away by fueling aberrant thoughts, skewing our perception, and propelling us into misguided behaviors.

We would thus do well when we experience a burst of emotion to take a pause and simply be with it; to look at it, feel it, and ask what it’s really about.

Emotion is just grand when we express it healthily, but when expressed contrarily we can potentially and unnecessarily put ourselves and others through a lot of hurt.

Situation 2: False Responsibility

Several years ago, the city I live in privatized the water.

Within a very short period of time, our tap water had become quite hard. To this day, the water continues to harden at an incredible rate.

Wherever there’s a tiny drop of water left to dry, a mineral deposit is left behind. Wherever surfaces experience frequent wet-dry cycles, the rate of mineral build-up is ridiculous. When making tea, for example, the water must be boiled quickly and poured immediately or else there will be a layer of minerals floating atop the tea. Similarly, I’m sure to always dump out the old teapot water before boiling more, and I vinegar-clean the teapot every week or two.

On several occasions, I’ve wanted to send a letter to city council urging them to do something about this issue. I still haven’t done this and don’t think I will.

As much as over-mineralization is bad for health, bad for plumbing, and looks ugly wherever water has a chance to dry, I’ve increasingly felt that it’s not in my place to say anything.

I suspect that the reason for this is that I’m not here to play an activist-type role; I’m not here to get into politics or law or social or infrastructure change or anything like that.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m here to rip down The Old so that The New can have life. But my role is more about directly helping individuals (and thus the collective) to heal their bodies, to change their minds, to feel their emotions, and to awaken to their true spiritual natures.

So yes, for now I have to drink lousy water (and hardness is hardly the worst of it). But playing the role I’ve come here to play is the best thing I can do.

Key Points
There’s only so much that any of us can do and only so much that we’re meant to do.

We have each come here with a unique purpose, and it is in finding and living these respective purposes that we best serve ourselves and others.

By all means, a given individual could be, say, a passionate traveling hula hoop salesman by day and a writer of activism letters to congress by night. There’s no reason to get stuck thinking that reaching beyond our primary purpose is flawed.

It’s just that we would do well to be clear within regarding any tasks we engage in: positive change is halted when we force movement, but it becomes much more probable when we do what comes to us naturally.

Situation 3: Parent-Pleasing

There is a trap that all of us fall into in one way or another… well, more like one way or thirty others… or four-hundred.

This is the trap of parent-pleasing.

With variations from person to person, we may enroll at a parent approved-college, get a parent-approved job, buy a parent-approved car, marry a parent-approved spouse, follow a parent-approved religion, and so on. (Mind you, the approval doesn’t have to be overt.)

Most of the time we believe we’re doing these things for ourselves, but if we’d take the time to look within, we’d find that we’re doing them for approval, for validation, for love.

And although we may push the feeling off for a whole lifetime, there does come with this behavior a sense of wrongness as though something isn’t in resonance.

Maybe we procrastinate and become easily exhausted once starting our activities. Maybe we feel like we’re forcing ourselves into a certain lifestyle. Maybe we have to work ever-harder in order to feel “satisfied.” Maybe we express resentment toward those who have what we want because we're subconsciously afraid to give the same to ourselves for fear of parental disapproval.

Whatever the case may be, rather than doing what is ours to do, we do what our parents (and in the wider scope, “authority”) want us to do.

Key Points
We’re all born into this disease of society, and the only way out is for us to heed the signs that life presents and then make the effort to release our parental attachments.

We’re not here to live our parents’ lives. We’re not here to make our parents happy or to satisfy them. We can’t.

Happiness and satisfaction come from within, and the reason our parents are neither happy nor satisfied, and thus making expectations for us, is because they’re under the same spell that we are. They’re living their lives in an effort to please their own parents (even if they’ve long since passed).

Just as their parents had made expectations of them and had enforced their ways using various means of withholding love, so do our parents do the same to us.

But this can’t go on. We have to break the cycle.

We have to break the cycle, and we can do this by recognizing the cycle is there to begin with, resolving the broken programming, and then doing what we’ve truly come here to do.

You Be You, and I’ll Be Me

Interestingly, the idea offered here is as obvious and simple as it is difficult to integrate and enact.

Yet this is the ultimate task set before each of us: to be ourselves.

My hat (if I were wearing one) is off to anyone who can do this.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

To Abort Or Not To Abort? That Is the Question.

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Is it right to abort a fetus?

The correct answer is…

Right or wrong is irrelevant.

And unless we’re directly involved—i.e.: the partner of the pregnant woman, a requested advisor, or, ultimately, the mother herself—what anyone else chooses is most likely none of our business.

If a mother, or parents, choose abortion, that is theirs to live with. Whether they are okay with it or feel terrible afterward, that is theirs to live with.

You and I have no right to tell a woman down the street or sixteen-thousand miles away what she should or shouldn’t do with her unborn baby (unless she asks us for advice), and it’s not our burden to carry if she so chooses abortion.

Abortion is an ethical/moral choice, and these types of choices are some of the most personal. There aren’t and cannot, therefore, be any hard-set rule that suits all people of all times and all places under all circumstances.

Religious Arguments

In all likelihood, the first line of defense for what may currently appear as a "Pro-Choice" argument (it's not) is people's religious beliefs.

“But God says…”

Does he? Does he, really? Or is that what religion says that God apparently says?

“Abortion is killing. It’s goes against the 5th Commandment.”

Do you know what’s funny about this, in a very sad kind of way?

Consider one organization that’s forever touting the Ten Commandments: The Roman Catholic Church. They’ve always been adamantly against abortion and contraception, yet the Church is both directly and indirectly responsible for more bloodshed, torture, and death than any other entity on the planet!

“Thou shall not kill! Thou shall not abort fetuses!” Give me a break! Somehow it’s just dandy to slaughter untold millions of innocent non-believers, but it’s not okay for anyone, ever, to abort an unborn child.

The other problem I see with religious arguments is two-fold:

One, religious people tend to be stubborn and closed-minded. Whatever their religion, they are given “the truth” and they often hold on to this “truth” as though there is, most certainly, no other way. Very possibly fearing eternal damnation for failed adherence, personal change and alternative perspectives remain unthinkable.

Two, religious people tend to believe only what they’ve been taught to believe: ideas, concepts, dogma, doctrine, biblical verses, and so on. These are intellectually-based teachings, and they remain intellectual. There is very little heart-based awareness to be found.

Yet, it is this very heart-based awareness which is so desperately needed to adequately grasp a topic such as abortion.

Soul Choice and Agreement

So many people think death is a horrendous thing, but here’s the deal: It’s not.

We’re eternal souls wearing temporary flesh suits. When these bodies expire, our souls pass beyond The Veil and are later reborn into new bodies in another time and place.

Each of these embodied experiences, or lifetimes, is an opportunity for a soul to fulfill certain learning experiences decided upon prior to incarnation.

Sometimes, it is a soul’s choice to experience abortion.

You see, although it doesn’t appear as such from this side of The Veil, we cannot experience any interaction with another soul unless it has been agreed upon by our souls that it will be so.

When a mother chooses to abort her fetus, each has agreed with the other on a soul level—which is to say, it’s unknown to the physically-embodied human’s limited conscious awareness—to have this experience.

Because this is soul-desired, as outsiders we cannot say exactly what the purpose is, other than that as Romans 8:28 puts it: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”

Admittedly, this quote is taken out of context. And so although it may seem atrociously misplaced, I want you to bear with me for a moment.

Suppose a woman had been spiraling down a negative path in life. When she found out she was pregnant, she decided to have an abortion. What she didn’t expect, however, was that in doing so, she’d become overwhelmed with sorrow. And it was this sorrow that woke her up, so to speak, and not only helped to set her on a much better life path, but enabled her to help those who are themselves struggling to overcome their own abortion-related dilemmas.

In this instance, no, the child had never been born. But, should anyone see the bigger picture, how can anyone say that it’s a horrible thing? Two souls made an agreement, and one of them, as an unborn child, gave of itself to help this tragically lost woman to find her way in life.

How many women might now find healing due to this woman’s support? How many women might now forgo abortion and choose to give their unborn children life due to this woman’s support?

Of course, the story of this one woman is not the story of all women who choose abortion. What of the women (or others who’re directly involved) who don’t feel sorrow or don’t get the impetus for a more positive path?

One of humanity’s greatest problems is that we see and judge by what is immediately in appearance before us. And unless something has become an accepted norm (like schooling, for example, in which it’s perfectly acceptable to go $75,000 into debt over the course of years before beginning to pay it off), we lean heavily toward rejecting what immediately appears to us as outrageous.

We have to understand that our ability to see The Truth is so incredibly small. We have so many beliefs and fears that paint our worldviews in so many different, and usually erroneous, ways. We have no idea how things are going to work out in 700 years, 700 days, or even 700 milliseconds from now. We have little to no idea what our own soul paths are, much less the soul paths of anyone else.

We have no room, then, to say that abortion is wrong or bad in all circumstances. If abortion is here, and it is, then God knows about it, and God will find a way to take care of it to any extent that it needs to be taken care of.

God’s work is an “inside job,” meaning that God works for the higher good through willing souls who incarnate here on Earth, however brief their lives may be.

Beliefs and fears be damned, people need to find some inner-clarity and learn to put some trust into God. Although we may be repulsed by the appearances of such a circumstance as abortion, the greater good is always part of the design. Sometimes this simply isn’t evident and takes much longer to manifest than we would like, but our gross misinterpretation of reality and the subsequent force we use in attempt to hasten certain ends definitely doesn’t help.

Duality: The War that Cannot Be Won

For the abortion issue to come to its optimal conclusion (whatever that may look like), the following must be recognized:

Individually and collectively, Pro-Lifers and Pro-Choicers are playing the same separatist, “us vs them” game. Neither side is actually better than the other because both continue thirsting for “war.” Neither side can or will ever win because neither wishes to engage their heart center.

And just like the mothers who abort their unborn babies, so too are the Pro-Lifers and the Pro-Choicers in a soul agreement:

“Let us fight each other. Let us battle each other until we are exhausted; until we come to see, individually and collectively, that fighting is not The Way. Let us battle until we remember that loving acceptance of other is The Way; until we remember that loving acceptance of other is The Only Way.”

In duality, there is no push without a pull, and no pull without a push. As long as there are those willing to fight against abortion, there will always be those willing to fight for abortion, and vice versa. Both parties hold equal responsibility for the abortion war’s perpetuation.

Abortion or otherwise, although “the enemy” appears to be working against us, he is instead pushing us to exhaustion that we may detach and become free. If we wish for “the best,” we must find our heart centers, and we must remain there.

Realizing unconditional love and acceptance of others, whatever their choices may be, is the soul lesson. We must make our embodied choices wisely if we wish to pass.


In the fight of “Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice,” each side is forever attempting to thrust upon the other their own set of ethics.

Although at the soul level this is a choice, in embodiment this is interference. The former has a higher purpose, while the latter is merely selfish.

Forcing our position onto others removes from them their right to make free will choices.

How do any of us like it when someone tells us how we “should” do something when we’ve not asked, when we’re not ready to hear it, when we’re not ready to make that change?

We hate it. We get angry. We push the other person away.

So why would we then force our agenda onto others, and regarding such a potent moral issue, at that?

Just as we have life lessons to learn, so, too, do others have life lessons to learn, and we must all learn them in our own timing and in our own ways. To attempt intercession for others as though we know better is to bring harm and reveals that we, in fact, don’t know better.

However, if we truly want to know (and to do) better, then we need to…

Change the Cause, Not the Effect

If you’re of the mindset that abortion is totally okay, and I believe it to be totally wrong, it’s a complete waste of time, energy, and resources for me to attend a March for Life in DC, to post trite bumper stickers on my car, or to use arguments such as, “Unborn babies are God’s children,” “Abortionists are murderers,” or other similar personal perspective-focused ideas.

As “obvious” as these “facts” may seem to me, to you, the Pro-Choicer, these ideas will appear as though I’m trying to jam my opinion down your throat—because that’s exactly what I’m doing—and you will take up a defensive position automatically. The same would be so if you, a Pro-Choicer, try to outright dump your beliefs on me.

That said, we must gain an understanding of other peoples’ beliefs and emotions since these are the cause of their current behavior. Absent force (and thus harm), it’s impossible to change another without stirring them internally, without giving them personally-resonant reasoning to consider our alternative as viable.

Yet in order to gain this understanding, we are required to first come to understand ourselves.

Which leads to a fascinating plot twist:

We cannot understand ourselves unless we change. But in changing, we must come to the realization that we’ve changed the cause and so there must result a different effect. Indeed, provided enough self-understanding, we might well find that the Pro-Life/Pro-Choice duality is not ours to engage in.

After all, the most likely reason this dualistic experience had been so prevalent in our life path is because of our own internally-resonant imbalance with regard to it. When we wholeheartedly decide to leave the drama, the drama will leave us.

Alchemizing Sadness into Compassion

Seeing that a relative few folks may "get" the message and walk away but most probably wouldn't, there might arise concern for the perpetuation of the abortion war. This may cause sadness.

“I’m doing the inner work and I’m seeing positive changes, but unborn babies are still being aborted, people are still forcing their ideas down others’ throats, and the suffering goes on.”

In such cases, it’s useful to see that these circumstances will exist wherever there is duality consciousness.

It doesn’t matter if the argument is about abortion, nationality, race, religion, or what the optimal food is to eat for breakfast on the second Saturday of November. As long as there is separation consciousness, there will be things that sadden us. Yet it is of individual choice whether we will attach, and thus increase duality and suffering, or become unattached.

Nothing needs to be said about the consequences of attachment, for that is what the majority of this writing is about.

As for detachment, although this might sound impersonally numb, it actually allows more feeling and more heart awareness than any other state.

Detachment opens us to a tremendous level of compassion and understanding. We become able to see from a much wider, unconditionally loving and accepting perspective.

From this space of empathetic clarity, we can then intuitively act or stay in any given situation for the highest good of self and other.

Indeed, this is the state of being "in the world, not of it" because labels and sides such as "Pro-Life" and "Pro-Choice" become irrelevant.

We allow ourselves to be who we truly are, to express what naturally comes through us, without the interference of external indoctrination and regardless of what anyone else says. We willingly allow others to make their own choices with the understanding that it's okay and they have their own paths to follow just as we have our own. We become "Pro-Wisdom," "Pro-Acceptance," "Pro-Compassion," and spontaneously live whatever these qualities may call for.

And detachment removes us from the karmic, push-pull drama of the abortion war, which is, consequently, the fastest way to bring it to it's optimal conclusion.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

L'ego Your Ego

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Ego is not the enemy.

Your ego is not your enemy.

That’s what you may believe, and that’s what New Age-y disinformation may contend, but such is untrue.

Ego is simply the placeholder of personal identity.

All is One, and the One is All. However, we do experience ourselves, illusorily, as separate from this One, or Source, or God. To differentiate and perceive ourselves this way, as “self,” even to the slightest degree, we must take on a personal identity.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this.

If egoic identity is distorted—“I am this; I am not that. This is good; that is bad. They are better than; I am less than. I should always be happy; I should never be sad.”—it’s not appropriate to label it as “bad” or “wrong,” as such, but rather that it’s duality.

Duality is a chosen experience of varied depths of imagined separation. It can be said that the “problem” of ego arises when one becomes so attached to their beliefs about “who I am” and “what it’s all about” that they no longer know themselves as an integral, if appearing distinct, part of everything. They therefore live as though their illusory perceptions of “self and other” and “me vs them” are “reality.”

At this point, a being ceases to learn, change, and evolve naturally due to an innate drive, but may learn, may change, and may seemingly devolve because it’s too busy comparing “Where do I stand in relation to others?” rather than, “Am I being better today than I was yesterday?”; it’s too busy saying to others, “Look at what special me did,” rather than saying to itself, “I feel good about what I’ve accomplished today, regardless of whether anyone approves or knows of it or not.”

The ego always does exactly as it should. It’s just that, in duality, the investment we’ve placed into the ego is so blown out of proportion and so distorted that we can come to think, and believe others when they tell us, that ego is inherently a bad thing and we need to get rid of it.

Ego is one of the greatest constructs in existence.

We just need to learn how to manage its contents appropriately so that we can consciously utilize it for our highest good.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Reincarnation: Why the Denial by Western Religion?

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

"Hence, as long as one believes that the evil man wears horns, one will not discover an evil man."
--Erich Fromm

The Big Question

Why does Western religion deny the existence of reincarnation?

To answer this, you have to understand the full context.

What Is Reincarnation?

Reincarnation can be described as "the occurrence in which a given soul incarnates into a variety of physical bodies over the course of many lifetimes."

Defined simply and taken at surface value, it doesn't seem there's anything particularly troubling about this. Unless someone is super-identified with their body, is it really that big of a deal if a soul experiences life in a variety of forms and genders in many times and places? Seemingly not.

So if reincarnation is a fact of existence, why would religions, the organizations that claim to know "The One Right Way to God" and "The Truth of Life," continually deny reincarnation's validity?


What the Catholic Church, for example, will say is, "Because the Pope says reincarnation doesn't exist," or, "Because the Word of God that is the Bible-as written by inspired prophets and interpreted by the best scholars-says reincarnation doesn't exist."

Such claims may sound legitimate to the naively faithful, but in reality such reasoning is quite flawed.

Religions use tactics like this in order to direct people to focus on what is happening on their left, as it were, in order to distract them from the less-than-kosher, and often downright evil, activities they are perpetrating on the right.

The Dark Agenda

It begins with fear.

Western religion has always been about inherent inner-filth and subsequent punishment. "Do as the Church/God/Jesus says or you will burn in the fires of eternal damnation in hell. You only get one life to live, so you better not screw it up."

Knowing no better and looking no further, people believe this and it causes them anxiety. "Oh, God! I could go to hell! Forever! What do I have to do to be saved?"

The religions respond with a whole slew of dogma that is overly mysterious, laws that are impossible to follow unerringly, and teachings rooted in “negation over integration” (for instance, "Abstain from sexual practice," instead of, "Understand your sexuality, accept it, and integrate it to become whole and balanced.").

Congregants often being too stubborn and fearful (commonly labeled “faithful”) to look elsewhere, the overly mysterious remains as such even though outsiders may know the truth. The struggle to follow impossible laws is maintained as legit, and the faithful blame themselves for being inherently sinful and willingly absorb the guilt. The stance of "negation over integration" is cause for disaster: Those who choose this path must end up either doing more of what they wish not to do or suppressing what they seek to negate and taking up other negative activities (such as drinking or smoking) in order to cope with the consequent stress.

Adherence is ever a struggle, and this is a serious problem. "You've sinned!" they admonish. "Get to confession! Do penance! You must become worthy in the eyes of God."

Oh, the weight of guilt!

Knowing no better and fearing that any other way is even worse (because this is "The One Right Way"), people become completely obedient to their religions.

Obedience means that one has ceded their inner-power to another. People become dependent upon their religions. "We are unworthy, helpless victims! Save us!"

This allows the religions to seize humans like they are property. And the more property the religions amass, the more power and control they gain.

It's only then natural, of course, to charge property tax, only in this case it's called tithing. "It's your spiritual obligation to pay us at least 10% of your total yearly earnings."

Money! Money! Money! And the levels of power and control increase.

Sometimes religions become so rich and powerful (a-hem… the Roman Catholic Church…), they amass so much property, both people and possessions, that they needn't answer to anyone for anything. They can be the largest crime syndicate on the planet, but they remain immune because they quite literally own and manipulate everything. So powerful, yet phenomenally tricksy, do religions become that very few people ever realize the power the religions wield. And those very few who do realize and speak up are easily snuffed out.

The Real You

What I didn't say when I defined reincarnation was this:

Reincarnation means that we have countless opportunities to learn and grow and stumble and fall and get back up and learn some more and fall again and heal and evolve in to ever-wiser beings.

Reincarnation implies that we are each our own saviors.

Religions don't own us: they are not our masters, and we are not their slaves.

Religions have taken everything from us, and we owe them nothing: no money, no obedience, no personal power—nothing.

In reincarnation, although any given being may have to pay a heavy karmic price for serious harm they've perpetrated against another, their "hell" would be temporary—there is no such thing as "eternal damnation."

Accordingly, although we will all bring some degree of karmic hardship upon ourselves, we are always, always, always, unconditionally loved by God. This means that we never even have to ask God for forgiveness, because God does not perceive any aberration within us, but sees only a reflection of His own self.

We are made "in the image and likeness of God."

Reincarnation implies that souls are eternal and indestructible.

With reincarnation, rampant guilt, anxiety, and fear have no place.

We are loved, and we are safe.

1 Reason Why

And that is why Western religions deny reincarnation:

They're absolutely terrified that we will remember who we truly are.