Saturday, August 26, 2017

Why I Stopped Playing the Lottery

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



“Keep on scratchin’,” says Gus, the groundhog representative of the PA Lottery.

Maybe I’m mistaken, but when I see pictures and ads of Gus, I often feel him to have a sneery, condescending facial expression, like, You dumb jackasses. How ashamed you would feel if only you knew the god-awful things we’re doing to you with your money.

“Normal” Does Not Equal “Okay”

For years now, many people I know have been regularly playing the lottery. And until a year or two ago, I’d played right along with them. I don’t think I’d ever have played had it not been embedded in my environment, but I didn’t think much of it when I did. Like drinking alcohol or watching porn, I'd thought gambling to be a vice of sorts, but if maintained within a "healthy" margin, then they're "okay"; they’re “just another part of life.”

I've since been shown how detrimental all these “just another part of life” vices are; how just because they’re so “normal” doesn’t in any way make them “okay.”

Void of Self-Value. Savior Seeking.

The greatest reason, yet the most subtle, that such a bastardization of wealth can perpetuate is because people have been taught over and over, in generation after generation, that they are unworthy.

Unworthy of what? Anything and everything. It somewhat depends on the background one has grown up in, but it’s unworthiness all the same.

For instance, in a heavy Western religious culture, there’s going to be intense unworthiness of everything. How can one justify being worthy of having a satisfying income or being happy if individuals are programmed from Day 1 that they’re not even fit for God’s love? Or if someone had been a child during a time such as The Great Depression, it’s almost a given that they’d be carrying beliefs such as, “There’s never enough.” The mirrored external experience must follow, and the issues must, if unhealed, pass on to any children. Or, thirdly, suppose even that a child had been born into prosperity but had never been able to live up to her mother’s stringent, elitist standards. She therefore became an adult who views herself as an “unworthy failure,” not realizing that her mom's cruelty was no reflection of her true self.

Before all this, however, there lies an even deeper chunk of conditioning which states:

Your life/soul value is based primarily on your financial and material worth.

Being programmed in this way, being programmed as unworthy, yet society saying nothing about the issue nor offering ways to resolve it, people go out into the world seeking means by which to experience worthiness.

The seemingly rational thing to do is therefore get a lot of money; buy a lot of stuff. But what’s involved? The lack mentality: I’m unworthy of a job that pays me beyond my immediate needs, or I’m not good/smart/rich/young enough to get a degree, so I can’t get a better job or higher income… But I do have three or twenty dollars per week that I can justify as “extra” and spend them on lottery tickets. Just as Gus says: “Keep on scratchin’.” I might just get lucky.

What’s so ironic about this but remains unseen is that people are so absorbed by yet blind to their unworthiness beliefs that they will, in time, sink hundreds and thousands of dollars into the lottery (and likely other forms of gambling) but rarely if ever win. Why?

Because:
  1. The game is stacked against them.
  2. Life is reflecting their “I’m a loser” mentality.
Yet even if people do win big externally, they lose big internally: The money doesn’t satisfy—indeed, cannot satisfy—so they either flush it down the almighty toilet of gambling addiction, or they use it to buy a bunch of shit they don’t need but think will make them happy and effectively lose it all anyway.

This all stated differently, people are "buying hope," they're looking for a savior. Money is going to fill me up. Money is going to complete me.

No. Loads of money simply allow one to experience much more of what they already are. If your perceived void was, say, $50,000 dollars wide previous to winning, then winning will merely open the void another $40,000,000 wider.

Negative karma is the savior of no man.

The Game Is Rigged, the Ads Support Addiction, and the Funds Are Misappropriated

That the game is rigged should be obvious to anyone—it’s gambling—the house has to come out on top.

That aside, to think that those who run the game—the state governments—have any shred of decency is a sorely mistaken idea. The fact of the matter is, the lottery (and the majority of the gambling industry is probably no different) is wildly unethical.

When I regularly played scratch-off tickets, from about the year 2000 or earlier to 2016, the odds of winning were low, to be sure, but there were still a fair amount of few-dollar wins. Around the time I had stopped playing, I noticed a ridiculous uptick in percentage of losers, which is to say: nearly all tickets sold at $1 to $3 dollar denominations were losers except for a potential increase in “FREE” winners—that would almost inevitably lead to more “FREE” or losing tickets.

Add to this also that, at least in Pennsylvania, they stopped airing the daily drawings as witnessed by an “older Pennsylvanian” (i.e.: who the lottery claims to benefit). They’d just post the numbers on their website and in the newspaper the next day. Which should lead anyone with at least half of a brain to question: “WTF is going on? Who’s picking the numbers, and how are they doing it?” Well, the number that was selected the least for tonight’s drawing is 3-4-2, so we’ll get the most profit by telling the sheeple it’s 3-4-2. Those fluoride-drinking dimwits will never see our books anyway.

Also, consider the following 2 examples, of many:

Winning LOTTERY Ball Appears Before Its Drawn - Powerball EuroMillions

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Lottery

I can only imagine that the noted behaviors above only scratch the surface. No one ever really says where the billions of misappropriated dollars are actually being directed.

Otherwise, do your own research, something I hope you’re doing anyway and not automatically taking what anyone else spoon-feeds you as truth, including me—learn to feed yourself. “Winning” the lottery is the proverbial “shit on a silver platter”—it may look great on TV and in your mind but, oh, God, does it taste awful.

Post-Awakening

After having begun to see the tragedy of the lottery system, it took me a year or so to finally tell people, people who get upset because you don’t want what they want you to want, that I’m not interested in playing anymore.

It was uncomfortable at first when I'd begun speaking up as I knew my truth yet had to build up some confidence and conviction. But it then became easier in the sense that it’s like I had to actually be sure that I was sure that I was done, via action, for the universe to give me the right words at the right time.

For example, this was an experience for me that brought up a fear of criticism and rejection. Naturally, in these situations the mind wants to figure everything out in advance and cover all imaginable scenarios and all justifications in order to feel safe.

Well, I knew I’d be offered tickets by people who didn’t know I’d quit and there’d likely be several others around who accept the lottery as “what you do.” But I had no idea how it would play out or what I’d say. The only thing I could assume was that I wouldn’t have time to give a dissertation; maybe a sentence or two, but no more.

So, as expected yet differently than any previsualized scenario, the lottery tickets came out. Someone placed several tickets in front of me and said, “Pick one.” I said, concisely, “No thanks. I don’t play anymore. It’s a game of ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.’ I don’t want to support it.”

For one thing, I don't think beforehand that I'd decided to say this; it came out spontaneously. And second, after I'd said it, I felt free, lighter.

And Now?

Although other self-help has been undertaken to achieve these results, I see that life provides me with what I need when I need it, when life deems I need it, no matter what that may look like to anyone else’s perspective. I ask or intend that something be in my life and life either gives it to me quite flat out, guides me to it, or guides me through the internal blockages I carry so that I can have it.

I do not buy hope.

In my family, there are two individuals who give out tickets very, very regularly. When they give out tickets nowadays, it’s accepted that I won’t take any. So they just hand me cash! I win every time!

If someone else wants to play and hope that eventually all their losses and “post-scratch’em” depression will pay off in a big win, that’s their business. But I choose to drop the lottery, even if people are handing me tickets freely, and trust that the universe is abundant and will reward me as I do what I came here to do—be myself, in integrity.

Maybe. Just Maybe.

If I had an intuition or something, yes, I’d get a ticket. Or, if a situation seems to me that it’s more appropriate to accept a ticket from someone than turn it down, I would do so.

And if friends or family ask if I want to buy in on the Powerball, I say no, and then they win $90,000,000? Would I accept any money should they chose to share it with me anyway? Again, it depends on the circumstance, but I’d not ask for any nor expect that they should give me any.

My intent is to flow with life, not live in a stubborn always-never mentality.

The Player Is the Played

To those who think they’re playing the game: The game is playing you!

The game is there, and there are heartless vermin behind it because you’re willing to empty out your pocketbooks to support them. You are the cause of the very injustice you wish would end!

It thus cannot end until you end it.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Ascension... Into Hell!?

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



The Crucifix.

Why a Crucifix?

I once read what I’d thought to be a very insightful comment about Catholics so frequently displaying and/or wearing the Crucifix. This comment was to the effect of:

If you dearly loved your grandmother and wanted to remember her after she’d died in a car accident, you would find a picture of her smiling, happy, and whole, and put that in a locket to wear around your neck. The memory you would not put in the locket is a picture of her maimed corpse hanging out of the wreckage.

Would you not agree with this? Wouldn’t the latter be just a dash on the distasteful side?

So why then do Catholics (and other Christians but to a lesser extent) so often immortalize Jesus as a bloody and famished body hanging on a cross, rather than focusing—far more importantly—on Jesus as the whole, ascended, unconditionally loving, and lighted being that he is? (This commonly being depicted as a white-clothed Jesus radiating light and surrounded by clouds, and indirectly symbolized by the empty cross more typical of the non-Catholic sects of Christianity.)

Could it be due to a profound subconsciously-resonant self-attachment to beliefs of personal victimhood, guilt, worthlessness, etc.? And thus why the tale of “Jesus as savior” sounds so appealing?

Whether we take the scriptural events of Jesus’ life literally, metaphorically, or both, and great though the implications of these events may be, they pale in comparison to the fact that at the end of his earthly life Jesus rose from the dead to prove that who we truly are is beyond sin, suffering, and even death!

Many brilliant souls have come to this planet with a very positive message only to be tortured and killed viciously, many of their names and deeds likely lost through the erosion of time. Truth is, Jesus would be “just another” one of these wise men, perhaps a forgotten one at that, had he not also ascended. Placing Jesus’ suffering and death over his ascension is to miss the whole point of his coming here.

By all means, we need not forget about the suffering or sacrifice of Jesus. But maybe it’s time to be a little more positive and place credit where credit is due.

And Jesus said to another, “Follow me.” But the man said, “Lord, I must first go and bury my father. Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their dead: You go and preach the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:59-60


Below is a BBC documentary titled: Jesus Was a Buddhist Monk. Although I think it’s worth watching the whole film (particularly since 20-some odd years of Jesus' life are unaccounted for), I’ve specifically set it to play the segment from 4:33 to 7:00.

I here give advanced warning that what is presented is stomach-churning. Nonetheless, it provides a practical depiction of the sometimes shocking intensity of “Catholic Guilt,” as I’d discussed a short time ago, as well as the disheartening behaviors of self-mutilation and pain that man is willing to put himself through when misunderstanding of the true meaning of Jesus’ life.


Should you choose not to watch, here’s what happens:

Every year at Easter in the Philippines, Christian men put on a reenactment of Jesus’ crucifixion. Although it seems that no one goes so far as to willingly take on a crown of thorns and a whipping, these men do in fact allow themselves to be nailed to a cross.

Why?

Feeling so terribly guilty about how sinful they apparently are, they believe that being nailed to a cross serves as a detox for some their sins.

You’re welcome to correct me if I’m mistaken, but isn’t the Christian teaching that Jesus’ death and resurrection were about a washing away of sin? That the act of ascension atoned for all of humanity’s sins?

Scripturally-speaking, this is stated quite exactingly in 1 John 2:2: “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. And not just for ours but the sins of the whole world.”

So why in creation are any followers of Jesus carrying such raging guilt complexes and then enthusiastically disfiguring themselves and enabling others to do the same as if the fulfillment of Jesus’ very life purpose had never taken place?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Childhood Trauma: Invisibility – Part 2

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



Since first writing about invisibility, a few other noteworthy causes have occurred to me.

Prior, the concerns expressed could be more so described as ones in which a child draws a conclusion of self-invisibility based on seeming implications of regular, painful experience.

It’s important to be aware that there are also reasons why a child might deliberately take on invisibility.

Intentional Invisibility

Consider one instance (of a variety) in which parents strike their kids. Whether parents do so periodically believing that such treatment will curb misbehavior or they do so abusively on a daily basis matters little to the extent that the trauma still takes hold. These kids may purposefully take on “walking on eggshells”-type behaviors.

A few examples are:
  • Stealthy walking, as in stepping with the balls of their feet and little if any heel-to-floor contact.
  • Walking with intent focus on where to step or not step on squeaky, wooden floors. Regardless of how indirect a path may be, it’s memorized and walked precisely, even in the dark.
  • Opening snack bags, rummaging through closets, etc. with great attention on details such as to how best to move things around with the least possible sound and, if the items are put back, with an appearance like nothing had ever been moved.

In an effort to leave as minute a “scent” as possible, children becomes acutely aware of self and surroundings. Everything is measured and remembered in an attempt to become and remain as small a target as possible. In situations that might be considered "non-abusive" by most accounts, the weight may still be heavy enough that these stealth techniques will be used for everything, not just what the children think they could get in trouble for. The fear is all-pervasive.

Another reason a child may choose invisibility is due to parental interrogation. (Think: “control dramas”) The way this works is that one or both parents ask questions—a lot of questions. They want to know the who’s, what’s, where’s, when’s, why’s, and how’s, often of things that have no importance/relevance, things the child probably doesn’t or can’t know (or doesn’t even care about), and of which the child may prefer to keep private. Whatever answers the child gives, the interrogators are always hungry for more information.

The issues potentially taken on due to interrogation are diverse:
  • A sense of worthlessness. “Nothing I say is ever good enough.”
  • A fear of life, strangers, friends, the world at large, and any- and everything else. Commonly, the source of the questioning is fear, as if the more that’s known, the less chance of danger the child can be in. (Which is true to a minimal extent, but of course not helpful when questioning is fear-based and damages a child’s psyche.) To a child, it seems that if “mother and father know best,” then the fear must be legit, life must really be unsafe.
  • Powerlessness/loss of control. It’s very difficult to feel empowered about one’s life, to be confident in one’s choices, when such things are repeatedly put into question and then rejected in some way and/or questioned to the point of deflation and disinterest.
  • Guilt. The suspicion-based nature of interrogation comes across to a child as though he has done, is doing, or is going to do something wrong. When a child is constantly put on the spot and knows that he will be hammered if caught lying, any want to be “self-centered,” spontaneous, different, etc. diminishes for fear of giving “incriminating evidence”—i.e.: answers that may be clean and honest but of which the parent may for some reason deem wrong and criticize or punish him for.
  • Belief of zero privacy. It’s hard to have a personal life when it’s constantly being pried into. Yet allowance of prying is effectively a must since lies, half-answers, and non-answers are met with judgment, punishment, anger, and so on.

A third and final issue to mention here is nosiness. This one is similar to interrogation but with somewhat varied characteristics. Whereas interrogation is usually about a power struggle between “captive” and “captor,” nosiness is most commonly a trait expressed across diverse social and personal situations.

Parents may nose information out of children for purposes of gossip, due to feelings of inadequacy and a "need" to "know," and so forth. Although there are issues such as repressed anger, criticality, and self-rejection underlying nosy behaviors as there are with interrogation, its expression is not necessarily as overbearing or as potentially explosive.

This does not mean that the resultant trauma is necessarily lessened. The child of these conditions will still carry plenty of guilt, a feeling of constantly being spied on, and so on. Making one’s self invisible appears to be the best option to escape it all.

Self-Denial and Self-Destruction

To be invisible, one must take on self-sabotaging behaviors. For fear of being judged, criticized, pried into, for fear of simply being seen or heard by having any unique, personal agenda whatsoever, self-sabotage serves to keep a person under the radar. What is learned at home becomes reflected in every situation and experience abroad.

Scaled as appropriate, the subconscious mentality can be likened to the following: Dad can’t hate on me for living my dreams and making millions per year while refusing to buy him a mansion if I keep shooting myself in the foot every time big opportunity arises. Or, I can’t be criticized for dating an “imperfect” girl if I just don’t date anyone at all.

In the latter instance, for example, the child will grow into an adult probably never ever thinking, “I’m invisible.” And so he will go on, potentially to his grave, without ever knowing love or the affectionate touch of another because he still lives in subconscious fear of being physically, mentally, and/or emotional attacked by his parents. Yes, he may come near to relationships, but he will unwittingly destroy them before they solidify. Alternately, he and another may “fall in love,” but much too his surprise should he be told, his “love” is based not on true love but the dissatisfying “love” that guides him to a partner his parents would approve of.

Terribly upsetting, distorted, and self-damning though it is, this is the misery that invisibility and self-sabotage can and does wreak. It’s so outrageously insensible, but the weight of trauma on the inner-child's mind makes it look like the definition of brilliance, like the hurt consequent of self-sabotage is vastly better than the hurt potentially felt when choosing integrity.

Clean-Up

As noted a moment ago, what is so significant to realize about these and all traumatic issues is that they don’t magically fade away at childhood’s end. They start as core issues, they linger subconsciously while distorting perception of every aspect of life, they continuously drive self-denying and -destructive behaviors, and they cause greater and greater difficulty with age as layer upon hurtful layer of unintegrated experience gets stacked on top.

I cannot stress this enough. After what I’ve gone through in my own life, it’s so important to me to clearly share this series of posts about childhood trauma in an effort to prevent such negative experience and suffering to come to others.

What we have within ourselves, conscious or subconscious, we pass on to our children. Although each child of any two parents will play the programming differently—sometimes very differently—somehow, someway, they still pick up on all of it. I cannot imagine having children of my own and putting them through what I’ve gone through. To me, healing is absolute priority.

It is my sincerest hope that others—parents and parents-to-be, especially—use this information to their advantage, for the betterment of self and all, for the sake of providing our children with vastly brighter upbringings than the upbringings of we for whom traumatization is or had been the only life we’d known.