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?

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Living to Die: Culture-Assisted Suicide

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



I want to tell you about something.

You probably won’t like it and will think I’m going overboard by saying it.

After all, although it’s utterly insane, it’s also quite normal.

You therefore probably know it quite intimately, just as nearly every one of us do in one way or ten others.

It’s culture-assisted suicide.

Kino

I recently watched the anime Kino’s Journey (originally, Kino no Tabi). (2003 series: Kino’s Journey. 2017 series: Kino's Journey: The Beautiful World - The Animated Series.) Kino is a traveler of an alternate world. She goes from country to country on her motorcycle Hermes and never spends more than three days in a given place.

What’s striking about each of Kino’s encounters is that the residents of each location always turn out to have one glaringly peculiar trait about them for which they, themselves, are completely oblivious to the glaringly peculiar nature of.

What’s so powerful about Kino’s Journey is that we, as viewers, are shown individual yet highly magnified slivers of our own societal problems.

Typically when we watch TV or a movie of a more or less contemporary setting, we’re given a real world atmosphere; said differently, the settings include all the wonders and woes within day-to-day living. In this way, we don’t necessarily see the backwardsness of our ways as the stories unfold because, mixed in with everything else, it looks normal. Nothing may seem particularly “off” about it unless it’s of primary importance to the plot of the story.

Kino’s Journey takes a different approach by using each country to express one major distortion, each a mirror of our real world experience, as the basis for the residents’ way of life. There's so little else included setting- and script-wise that it becomes impossible for a viewer to miss how backwards the ways of our real world actually are.

A Visit to the U.S.

If there were an episode about Kino visiting a place that mirrored the U.S., a sliver of glaring peculiarity we might learn of is culture-assisted suicide—something that’s horrific yet so commonplace and desirous to the residents that they can’t even see how horrific it is.

You see, in this country, we have a very strong tendency toward self-destructive behavior—people willfully imbibe in societally approved practices for long-term suicide.

Think, for example, of drinking alcohol.

People are forever finding reasons to justify their drinking problems—to hide the issues beneath them—and these justifications can be so foolish.

For instance, people go to work and get all stressed out (never mind that they don’t do anything to quell the stress in a healthy manner), and then they leave work and hit the bar for “Happy Hour.” Hmm. “Happy” is it? If it’s really happy hour, why are people getting intoxicated, for one thing—shouldn’t people be able to be happy without forcing their consciousness out of their bodies?—and, secondly, how can anyone really be happy when the price is the ingestion of a depressant?

And there’s no doubt that plenty of drinkers know they’re damaging their livers, know they won’t be able to function properly until the alcohol wears off, know they may black out and even die if they drink too much (college, anyone?), and so on. Yet they keep on with it.

Drinking alcohol offers the triple-threat of disease, sadness, and life removal. If every choice is a matter of life or death, of making or unmaking, alcohol consumption is definitely not on the constructive side.

Another example is unhealthy eating.

I would estimate that at least 80% of what is on the shelves of most grocery stores is garbage food. It’s laden with unhealthy fats and refined sugars, it’s “fortified” with vitamin and mineral substitutes that the body cannot even properly utilize, it’s got all sorts of unnatural colors and preservatives and the like, and the list goes on.

Even in terms of homemade baked goods, there are countless people who’ve little to no control when it comes to, say, eating a small desert after dinner and being done with it. And the truth is that these deserts are usually merely fancy-shaped and baked wads of refined fat and sugar—that is, edible diabetes.

No one in history has ever eaten so terribly as the people of the US and no one has ever been so sick. Yet we just continue running headlong into it. Even those who know better often continue on like Eh. Diabetes? Can’t happen to me.

And diabetes is the tip of the iceberg compared to all the possible long-term consequences and other havoc that high blood-sugar wreaks on the body—including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Can anyone honestly tell me that this isn’t some kind of death wish?

Unexpected Places

Sometimes causes of self-destruction can be found where we’d least expect it.

An example of this is excess running. Running can be a healthy part of anyone’s life. However, there are many people who are not running because they truly enjoy it or because it is in any way productive—although they may certainly think it to be so—but because they are, internally, running away from something.

This excess running as a metaphor for running away is unconsciously done, but this doesn’t make the truth of it any less real, nor the effects any less harmful. It has been shown that frequent fast-paced, long-distance running puts a great deal of stress on the heart and creates micro-tears and scarring that eventually lead to major heart complications and even death.

The heart is a metaphor for our capacity for and expression of love. Damaging the heart, even if unconsciously, is a sign of a lack of self-love. If the repressed mental-emotional issues that cause the damaging behavior were to be resolved, the damaging behavior would cease automatically. The behavior only exists as an effect of the programming.

At the end of the day, due to the conditions under which excessive running may occur, and does occur for many, running can be a form of slow-onset suicide.

To point out, I acknowledge that there are some people or groups of people who run excessively and are doing just fine. I don’t think this is at all a contradiction of supposed facts, and I can think of several reasons why these people are different from others.

The one reason I want to mention in particular is similar to what I’d just mentioned: the mental-emotional condition, both consciously and unconsciously, of any given runner.

It’s not just thoughts and behaviors that change when a person has mental-emotional burdens, even if repressed: the body changes also and, depending upon the issues, a given person may breathe differently, shift into an unnatural posture, experience hormonal and nutrient imbalances, and so forth.

Surely, these “invisible” alterations can have a significant impact on whether one is able to run faster and for greater distances (or do anything at all, really) with lesser to no harm to one’s self—and here in the US, people carry a lot of these “invisible” alterations.

The Code of Silence

The list of means of culture-assisted suicide is quite long. And why not? It’s effectively the bedrock of this country’s culture.

As far as I’m concerned, the list even includes items such as submittal to The Man.

At times, depending on a given person’s circumstances, standing up for what’s right isn’t worth, say, losing a job, going to prison, or being killed over. There’s a time and place for everything and everyone.

However, the vast majority of the time, whether citizens to their government, employees to their bosses, or children to their parents, people have not been acting when they would do well to act, and their lives have become increasingly more miserable in consequence.

People remain silent externally while their insides continue churning, Oh, I failed. Oh, I can’t speak up. I’m such a weak loser. I’m unworthy. It’s too dangerous.

This fear-focused, worthless, depressive, victim-mentality takes a serious toll on people. It causes them to gradually (and sometimes rapidly) self-destruct, whether through resultant harmful behaviors or the mind’s own power and diseased reflection on the physical body.

Each act withheld in regret, in self-denial and -degradation, becomes another strand in the invisible rope that eventually forms to become the noose that takes so very many lives.

Suicide is the ultimate escape (or so it would seem to the living, anyway). But since most people don’t have it in them to kill themselves right out and still have too many other worldly attachments, the escape becomes a very slow, painful one—one that nearly everyone accepts but only a few dare acknowledge.

Ignorance Is Bliss, Huh?

While it may sound over-the-top for me to be claiming the described behaviors as suicidal, I ask you, if they aren’t, what, then, are they?

No matter how pretty things may look in-the-moment, no matter how funny some of the stories of self-destructive acts may seem in hindsight (e.g.: “How ‘bout that time we got really drunk in college…”), no matter how normal circumstances may be, individual and collective perception doesn’t and can’t change the objective view that countless people are constantly seeking ways to snuff out their own lives in a culturally approved fashion.

And, yes, sure, many people are oblivious to the correlation between their harmful actions and the self-destructive effects—many don’t even know that their actions are harmful.

However, this doesn’t matter in the sense that the awareness of and action on what is right and good should intuitively come to us automatically because it’s the way of Life, because it’s naturally what happens when there are no unnatural blocks inhibiting Life’s flow.

Not knowing that eating sugar cereal, potato chips, and fast food all day will cause a person to get diabetes doesn’t do anything to prevent a person from getting diabetes. Even in ignorance, people act in accordance with their state of consciousness: whether this be of a higher and lighter orientation or of lower and darker, they will choose that of like resonance.

Our culture is one founded on drawn-out assisted suicide because that is what our collective consciousness has been resonating with.

Seeking Sanity

The fact of the matter is: happy, healthy, empowered, self-loving people simply don’t choose paths of self-destruction.

This is not to say that any such person will never have a drink or a smoke or run a marathon. This isn’t about periodically getting one’s toes wet or breaking through one’s seeming limitations if it truly feels right to them.

What this is about is a culture that is literally built on self-destructive behaviors—on living lives that are so problematic that people don’t even realize how problematic they are, while maintaining abundant resources, not for awareness and healing, but for the proliferation and endorsement of suicidal tendencies.

Remember Kino? Kino is a traveler who never spends more than three days in a given country. She says she does this because she feels that to stay a fourth day would make her want to settle down.

However, after seeing a bunch of the countries she’s visited and assuming that they accurately represent the whole, I can’t help but wonder if maybe there’s something about Kino’s three-day-stay rule that she never speaks: The people in nearly every country, though often seemingly decent at first, are, with very rare exception, quite insane, and so her best bet is to never stop moving.

Certainly, there are good parts in the U.S. as we know it. Yet, for most people, the culture-assisted suicide part is quite overwhelming—it’s the context in which most people live their day-to-day lives.

What visitor, who is truly sane and knows differently, would want to settle down in this place where the vast majority of people live in an effort to die?

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Perception Deception

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



After pulling a load of groceries from the trunk of my car and leaving another load behind, I dropped the trunk lid just enough so it appeared closed but didn't lock.

Why do you think I did this? Because…

  • I feared some hoodlum would see the remaining items and steal them while I was in the house?
  • I didn’t want the blazing hot sunlight to directly hit the cold items?
  • I was trying to be secretive and wanted to minimize the chances of my neighbors seeing what I buy?
  • My parents had slapped me as a child for failing to shut the trunk when I wasn’t standing right there?
  • I had this idea for a blog post and didn’t what the intro statement to be a lie?
  • I wanted to burn the extra 1/8 calorie by opening and closing the trunk again?
  • There was also a mannequin in the trunk, and I didn’t want anyone to see it and mistake it for a human body? (...or was it the other way around?)

Rather than provide my reasoning, I’ll leave you to think whatever you want.

Why?

Because it doesn’t matter.

The point is that, regardless of circumstance, one simple thing can generate many potential perceptions about that thing’s occurrence.

This is important to realize because people lean heavily toward thinking and behaving as though their perceptions of life are “how it really is.” Yet all of these perceptions are relative, the vast majority of them are completely inaccurate, and “what’s happening” is not likely the concern of any secondary perceivers.

To make matters worse, people frequently share these phony perceptions with others and defend them in an oft-closed-minded but believed-to-be-sane fashion—as in gossip.

Evolving beyond Survival

I encourage you to make a practice of consciously seeing your thoughts as they arise and considering how you think about things. Consider that how you perceive things to be may not be how they actually are—not even close—and that your judgments as to "what's happening to who" are most likely irrelevant to you.

Consider that you are telling yourself stories about this thing, that thing, and everything else in order to close any mental gaps of not knowing. This is how our brains are programmed to operate at a survival level, after all—to make up and believe lies in lieu of the truth for the sake of self-protection when the truth is unavailable or uncomfortable.

But by rampantly and haphazardly calling “truth” to both falsities and arbitrary perceptual data, we close off our minds to any actual truth and to the openness of infinite possibility and potential. Said differently, in observing without unnecessary judgment and speculation, we enable ourselves to see what is as it is.

In order to truly grow up, to not just age physically or collect data intellectually but to actually evolve as souls, we must consciously reprogram our minds and rewire our brains.

By all means, we’re all more than welcome to have preferences, to wonder, to think about the things of the world, to make jokes, and so on—this is not about anyone becoming an impersonal robot.

This is about taking on a constructively critical approach to faulty thought processes—something we’ve all got a heavy hand in. This is about removing the internal circus of mental flop that is general thought and its more destructive off-shoots such as judgment and blame.

People cling to their crappy thoughts like stink on shit, but it must be understood that stink on shit is natural—most human thought is unnatural since it’s an effect of junk programming.

In utilizing this or any other self-help practice, we aid ourselves in returning to our natural state—which for us, thankfully, doesn’t imply a rank stench. Indeed, the “rank stench” is what we’ve already been emanating profusely, “normal” though it may be.

We only stand to gain through conscious awareness and letting go.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

“I Got Engaged!!” [Cue Mechanical Excitement Response]

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



“Oh, congratulations! … [Does my smile looks as real as it is fake?]

When someone tells you that they got engaged or married, what do you say?

Why?

Not-So-Great Expectations

I’ve never bought into this whole marriage deal.

Something about it has always rubbed me the wrong way, but for most of my life I hadn’t questioned my thoughts or feelings. Indeed, I didn’t want to for the sake of fear and change.

I therefore continued along with the status quo beliefs and expectations embedded within our culture such as
  • Serious/long-term relationships should roll into marriage.
  • Marriage is a good and necessary thing.
  • You should approve of the marriages of family members and friends.
  • You should be happy for others when they’re getting married.
  • You should lie about your true feelings to yourself and others.

Well, I got tired of being fake and decided to thoroughly question my motives and feelings and be myself instead of a phony.

“Guess what, John!? Marissa and I got engaged!!”

“...Okay...”

I’m such a let-down.

Marriage is an opinion as to how to live life. People can call it a religious necessity or a validator of love or a tax break or whatever they’d like to call it, but it’s merely an opinion, albeit a very popular one.

If it’s an opinion anyone wants to accept as their own, that’s wholly their business. But, like anything worth calling one’s own, it’s important for people to understand what and why they are calling it their own to begin with and why they are approving of others who’re of like mind.

It all starts with integrity.

Here’s Why…

If you’re truly happy for an engaged couple or newly-weds, then by all means share in their happiness. But if you feel any other way, then you would be lying to respond contrary to those feelings.

Rebuttals may arise to this such as, “But I’m afraid to hurt their feelings,” and, “I’m afraid they’ll hate me and gossip about me if I show disapproval, or, God forbid, they find out I think it’s a horrible idea.”

I get it. It sucks to see others hurt, and it sucks when others reject us because we didn’t live up to their not-so-great expectations.

But I also get that:
  1. It’s all programming, conditioning. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that any of it is right or sane, but just simply the accepted norm.

  2. Their disappointment is based on an expectation based on an imaginary depiction of “who he/she is” and “how he/she will respond to my good news.”

  3. This is not so much a fear of hurting the feelings of another: It is a fear that in hurting someone else’s feelings—even if we’re fully in integrity—our own feelings will be hurt.

  4. If another is going to reject us in any way because “we” have upset them, we can accurately assume that we’re merely stoking a fire that had already been burning. The trigger for this reactive negativity had been embedded long before the current circumstance; we thus only trigger what is already there and are not the ones creating it.
If you must, when the engaged excitedly tell you, “We’re getting married!!!” in integrity you look at them and say, “Okay.”

Because you know just as I do that to lie about this is going to make you miserable. Especially if the person is a family member or close friend, you’re going to have to uphold a lot of fakery. If you tell one lie, you either have to come clean immediately or keep on telling them.

And what does the lie get for you? So you didn’t hurt their feelings in order to avoid hurting both their feelings and your own. But now you hurt anyway because you carry a guilt which makes you wish you’d told the truth. Now you have to either fess up, which will make them double miserable, or keep lying, which will leave you feeling bad repeatedly and embed you with guilt for life.

You better hope he or she doesn’t then ask you to be in his or her wedding party. (Yikes!)

In fakery, everyone gets hurt and unhealthy expectations and behaviors perpetuate.

Seemingly Reasonable Approval

Now, let’s say you do approve of a given engagement/marriage, or you know of a currently unengaged couple and think that if they’d walk up to you right now and tell you they are getting married you’d congratulate them.

My question is: How reasonable is this approval?

To answer this, I’m going to look at a few different scenarios and their underlying mentalities. Keep in mind with each that I’m making up scenarios in order to illustrate a point: As needed, read in between the lines; insert details from your own life or from the lives of people you know or alter the details to make the scenarios more or less fitting.

The Little-Known In-Law-To-Be
Suppose you have a nephew who you only see three times per year. As far as you’re aware, he’s more on the up-and-up than the down-and-down. He seems nice and friendly and all that, and he’s your relative, so how can you say anything bad about him? However, you don’t know him all that well.

Your nephew has a girlfriend. And maybe you’ve only see her once or twice per year. Maybe you’ve never even seen her in the five years they’ve dated.

If your nephew comes to you one day and says, “Hey, guess what, Uncle Ripley!? Believe it or not, me and Tina are getting married!” what are you going to say? I would hazard to guess that you’d say, “Oh, how wonderful! Great to hear!”

But is it? You hardly know your nephew, and what you “know” about his girlfriend, if anything, you’d learned second-hand. What do you really have to base your judgment of approval on?

Marriage is, after all, at least traditionally speaking, a rite meant for those who are truly in love and wish to be together their whole lives. Aside from merely seeing ideas such as, They should get married because “it’s time”, or, They must love each other since they’ve been together for so long, how much of a feeling do you actually get that they’re a really good match? Is it enough to endorse a marriage?

Misplaced Trust
Trust—as in, “I trust [my nephew, niece, second cousin thrice removed, etc.] to make the best decision.”—may be claimed in cases where knowledge and interaction with those getting married is sketchy.

Here, trust seems a reasonable thing, but maybe only at surface value.

Following the example above, your nephew and his girlfriend could turn out to make an outstanding couple. Alternately, maybe what you view in your nephew as being “quiet and shy and kind toward his partner” is actually a major lack of self-confidence. Maybe his girlfriend, the one you’ve only just met, now, as they tell you of their engagement, pushes your nephew around all the time because she’s a miserable snot and he’s too weak to stand up for himself.

To congratulate is to give approval, and to give approval in blind trust is, potentially, misplaced.

Two-Faced Approval
When I’d written the post “Silly Traditions: Permission To Wed,” I’d said:
When you realize, if you realize, the depth to which the average person is making nearly every decision not by free will as it appears but as driven by subconscious (i.e.: unknown) fears, errant beliefs, and trauma-based directives, you will also realize how it is that a grown man can “give his daughter away” … to a man he disapproves of.
I still feel this is true. And similar can be said, or asked, here.

Even if you knew a newly-engaged couple fairly well, on being told of the engagement, how many of you would offer prompt congratulations even if you didn’t agree with such a marriage?

How many of you would, perhaps, smile and say something like, “Oh! Good for you!” only to say to you spouse or friend or a coworker later on while rolling your eyes, “Isn’t that the girl who’d told us that she’s only marrying him to get citizenship? That’s mad whack, yo!”?

Or would you put a justification to it? You might congratulate the couple while thinking, I’m a Christian, and they’re Satanists. But it’s not in my place to tell anyone, if unasked, that I find their marriage unacceptable.

On one hand, sure, if a couple wants to get married, their marriage doesn’t cause harm to others, and they don’t ask for the input of others, it’s not really anyone else’s business to be negatively disagreeable. On the other hand, why did you offer congratulations? That’s effectively your approval, your agreement. You don’t have to say, “I disagree because you’re Satanists who want to get married in a black mass and will go to hell and burn forever—die, die, die!” but neither do you have to extend congratulations if you believe the marriage is wrong.

It is so important that people give conscious attention to what’s actually going on in their minds, to notice the obscene number of rationalizations and all the non-integral thought-to-deed behavior to result, and then internally align themselves as needed.

The Over-Eager Marriage Endorser

Another way people offer junk marriage approval can be seen in the instances where someone is over-eager for someone else to get married, such as a mother or father persistently insisting that their son or daughter get married to their partner.

Unless there is direct harm being done to others in not making a marital commitment (which seems very rare, at best), one’s discomfort over someone else’s relationship choices and path is solely on the person who experiences the discomfort.

If anyone who is in this category of over-eager approval would look deeply enough, they’d find these words to be 100% accurate. The proof would be found in beliefs such as, They better get married because my religion demands it, and fears such as, If my kid isn’t married but he sleeps in the same bed as his partner, what will my family think of me, what will my friends think of me, what will God think of me? I could go to hell. I’m a lousy parent. Oh, my parents would roll in their graves if they knew my son lived with his girlfriend out of wedlock. Oh, and the sinful things they must be doing with each other. Oh, God, please have mercy on our souls!

To prod another in this way is interference; it’s arrogant, selfish, and immature.

Also, while the one doing the urging might claim unconditional love, what they’re actually projecting is conditional love. Do this, or else…

Inadequacy is also implied: What I want for you is more important than what you want for you. And, I know what you need better than you know what you need. And, You can’t run your life properly, so I’m going to tell you how to do it.

No one appreciates being told what to do as though they’re an ignorant and irresponsible dope. You don’t like it, I don’t like it, and no one else likes it.

To those who do this: Learn to take control of your own lives rather than seeking to control the lives of others as if this could actually, somehow, maybe, eventually, if you only finally say or do the right thing at the right time and say or do enough of it, give you what you want.

As You Be, So You See

There are things I point out in my writing that go straight to the core of our fears, false beliefs, and behaviors in such a way as to immediately reveal distortions. While it’s possible, and even likely, that a person who carries a resonant distortion will try to deny it, since the points I make are sometimes so sharp the person will not be able to deny in honesty.

Yet there are others who may honestly not see the distortions for what they are.

This is one of the reasons I see self-inquiry and the general practice of self-help as so important for everyone:

As you be, so you see.

Earlier, I’d thrown out the hypothetical instance of Uncle Ripley’s approval of his little-known nephew’s engagement. Then I questioned the potential behaviors of his nephew and fiancé.

It could be that Uncle Ripley is quite blind to the fact that his nephew is weak-willed and his girl pushes him around even if he knows both of them well and sees their negative behavior regularly. This would be so under the condition that Uncle Ripley has the very same dynamic playing out in his own relationship.

Perhaps belittlement of husband by wife is what Uncle Ripley had learned to be “love” by his parents. So, weak-willed himself, when he went seeking love he found a “perfect” match with a pusher-arounder female. Now, he sees nothing particularly wrong with such relationships. They may not be perfect, but “What is perfect?” or, “It’s the way life is.”

In this light, we can understand why there are occasions when a person could be both ignorant and of distorted perception and still honestly offer marriage approval: The person is seeing an unquestioned external reflection of what they perceive as true within.

Easy it is for the mind to see whatever it wants to see, especially when it’s been looking at life from a skewed perspective since birth. Self-inquiry then becomes the required key for pulling together the whole picture in order to heal, see clearly, and make quality and truly self-integrated decisions.

As You See, So You Be

As I make points as to what to be on the lookout for, I realize there are things that the average person doesn’t or can’t know about others. But much of this is simply due to our high levels of self-ignorance.

This is where the ever-useful tool of self-inquiry comes in—again. The more you open up to yourself, the more you’ll be able to observe the world clearly with your outer eyes, and the more you’ll be able to perceive intuitively with your inner eyes.

With practice and healing, what you’ll come to discover is that whether you meet someone once per day or once per decade, they are presenting you (and everyone else) with signs, both subtle and coarse, as to what they believe, how they were raised, what they really feel about this, that, and the other thing, and so on. The average person has no idea how much they’re “saying” without saying anything at all or even speaking to the contrary.

As this applies to the current marriage engagement topic, I can’t help but think that if people actually knew what they are offering congratulations and approval about and why then they’d be doing it far less.

…Or maybe not.

Because if self-inquiry leads to healing and everyone were self-inquiring, then everyone would be healing, and everyone would be making healthier choices, and fewer people would be getting engaged and married under false pretenses, and fewer people would have to deny approval, and we’d all be happier, more integrated people!

Option 3

This whole time I’ve been talking in terms of approval and disapproval. Are there other choices?

Yes, at least one: indifference.

Personally, for plenty more reasons than discussed in this post, I feel an overall indifference to marriage in nearly all circumstances.

I intuitively see a lot of the more subtle issues of relationships, but, except maybe in cases where significant harm is involved, what others choose relationship-wise is irrelevant to me.

Everyone has their personal life lessons and thoughts and behaviors, some for the better and some for the worse, and if people want to attach a marriage onto it all, it’s not mine to be concerned with.

In indifference, I don’t offer congratulations or attend weddings, but I do, if only in mind, wish them the best.

It’s Personal

Although at times I’ve been more direct with saying that certain behaviors (such as the over-eager marriage endorser) are thoroughly distorted, I encourage you to find your own answers (which you should be doing anyway, regardless of whether I claim a thing to be right or wrong).

This is far more about you than anyone else. This is about using self-inquiry to personally see circumstances more realistically and then using that awareness to make wiser, more integrated choices.

Again consider the “little-known in-law-to-be.” I’ve provided you a couple guideposts to follow, my intention being to lead you, not to “the right answers,” but to the answers that work for you.

There are many perspectives by which a person can look at a given situation, but how diverse and meaningful are they?

My sense is that most people haven’t reflected on relationships and marital circumstances as I have here. I therefore hope that you’ll find this to be a useful tool in moving forward, in engaging with yourself to come ever closer to living in whatever way works best for you.