Volunteer Work

To be honest, I haven’t been looking for work. I was too depressed to do it. I had been having trouble with my self-esteem. That’s why I decided to start my beloved spiritual practices again. It was that or jumping off the bridge.

My spiritual practice consists of meditating quietly, reading inspirational books, and saying affirmations that affirm situations opposite to the negativity I’m feeling. If I think I will never find employment, I say, “I find a great job.”

Anyway, thankfully, I found volunteer work. It’s like a practicum. I’ll work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, during July and August. I’m very excited about that, because it will give me hands on experience on the stuff I learned at school. That will sky rocket my self-esteem.

So, I feel good today.

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Dealing with others

Even back in times of Plato and Aristotle, philosophers and mystics believed that we are all one. And that all there is constitutes what many call god. From that point of view, hurting another person is hurting myself, and loving another person is loving myself. This is one of the metaphysical teachings that I like. Is it true? I don’t know. Does it have the potential to help me deal with others effectively? Yes.

The popular word Namaste originates from that belief of the union of all things. So that when I say namaste to you, I mean that I salute the divinity in you. That is, I acknowledge that you’re divine, as divine as I am. Because, “We are all god(s).”

Those who know me realize that dealing with others is one of my issues. I wasn’t respected as a child and, therefore, in the past I didn’t have any qualms disrespecting others when I felt attacked.

But the issue is not so much the disrespect as it is the feeling of being attacked–which is usually untrue.

This past winter I had a very interesting experience dealing with a young man (decades my junior) at school. I sat next to him for about 5 hours a day, and we worked together in groups, a lot. He is painfully shy and off-the-charts smart. For some reason, I developed a fascination for him. I just loved his beautiful mind. He could sit there and finish in two hours what would take me 25 hours and other classmates up to 40.  I had never met a genius quite like him.

But he is rough around the edges. You talk to him and he ignores you, because he is deep in the zone. You offer him something, anything–candy, gum, an apple, a pencial–and 100% of the times he says, “No.”

He never says, “No, thanks.”  Or “maybe some other time.”  He says “No.”  He loves to help, but if he is busy, he brushes you off pretty quickly.

But I forgave everyone of his misdeeds. Because I liked him, and because I understood he was different.  Instead of being hurt or angry, I would tease him to no end  (tickle him, hide his food). At first he was scared like a little puppy. But he grew to like me as much as I liked him. The last two months, we sat there all morning doing homework, teasing each other, and laughing almost non stop. Like I said to him, it was a miracle that we ever got anything done, but we did. Our group projects got the best marks in the class. As a team, we were an A+ team.

I’ve been wondering what would happen if I gave others the benefited of the doubt like I did with my young friend. Perhaps what I need to do is tell myself that one way or another everyone is “divine, ” or worthy.

I’m pretty sure that I won’t always develop an awesome friendship with everyone I meet, but I can respect them and give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps, at least sometimes,  I will find out that there is a beautiful mind behind the grumpy face and the rude responses. And I love beautiful minds.

Learning about Myths

I have to admit that I’ve been hearing for a long time about the importance of sacred myths, but honestly, it never did tickle my fancy.  My explanation to that is that having been a left-brained person all my life, I always wanted accuracy, exact results, formulas.

I was born with an ability to do calculus, physics, computer programming, and the like. In addition, I grew up a fundamentalist Christian. What the latter did to me was create the illusion that there were perfect explanations for everything. The Bible was truth and inerrant. If something seemed untrue or illogical, an explanation was found, because the Bible was perfect.

Then, when for years I leaned toward atheism, I attacked the literal interpretation of the Bible. I still do. And because I’d been hurt so much by the said literal interpretation, I was adamantly against using the Bible any other way.

Yesterday, I was sitting at a metaphysics class, when I had a revelation of sorts. I realized that myths don’t have to be perfect to be helpful. Shakespeare’s plays are neither perfect nor literally true. But there is wisdom to be gained by reading his plays. If we were to examine all the myths and fiction ever created, we will find inconsistencies, errors, and even less than praiseworthy lessons.

The beauty of myths is that we can use them to help  ourselves. Because we are not claiming that they’re divinely inspired, or literally true, or that if we don’t believe them we’ll go to hell, we can learn from the good and throw away the rest.

When it comes to the divine or the unexplained, we really don’t know. At least I don’t know. I have the feeling that there is something out there bigger than me–the universe. But I have no idea what it looks like, where it came from, or where it’s going. I have no concrete explanations.

I know, however, that I can feel something when I experience nature. I know that certain music stirs feelings in me. I know that miraculous healing does happen (much less often than some claim). I know that psychic phenomena is real (some accounts are anyway).

But more than anything, I know that I feel good when I get in touch with my inner self. I know that I love to be on my own feeling the reality of me, of the awesome human being I am. And  myths help me get in touch with that mystic part of me that I love to experience.

So, sitting at that class yesterday– prompted by nothing the speaker said–I made a realization and a decision: myths like the Bible have glimpses of truth. The book is highly imperfect. It was written by people, and it represents ancient thought. But some parts of it point to that mysticism that being human is all about.

Am I going to read the Bible everyday from now on and make it “My Daily Bread?” Unlikely. There is way too much good material out there. I wouldn’t want to focus on one book and miss out on the rest. All I’m saying is that I will no longer wince and reach out for the closest exit when someone cites a Bible verse. Instead, I will learn whatever is worth and will go on with my life.

Recycling biblical knowledge

I am reading a book called Discover the Power Within You, by Eric Butterworth. I will probably have more to say about it in coming days.

This is a book that once Operah said changed her life, and I can see why. The book comes from the Unity tradition which teaches that we’are all part of god.  God is the ocean, we are a wave. God is the ground, we are the flowers.

Unity, of course, isn’t the only movement that teaches pantheism. Buddha. Lao Tse, Plato, the Dalai Lama, and many others teach the same concept. What’s different about Unity is that they use the Bible.

It’s pretty neat for a former Bible freak like me, for a I know all the verses and the traditional interpretation. In my opinion, the Unity people are just using the Bible to teach their philosophy. It’s a tool, much in the same way as you would use the Little Red Riding Hood story to teach a kid a lesson.

But I find that knowing so much about the Bible and Jesus is helping me get the point much easier. Yes, I’ve read a lot about positive thinking from a lot of people, but it never did hit home.  It’s also fun and at times even funny. For example, the book says that when Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life,” he meant that we should all think that way about ourselves. It was an affirmation, basically, that Jesus used, and that we can use as well.

I think it would be funny if I went around saying to people, “I am the way, the  truth, and the life.”

On the other hand, if I believe that, it will stop me from trying to find answers in all the wrong places. I know that when it comes to my life, I have all the answers.

My sister’s dream

I think in my heart of hearts I have always been a spiritualist. For the life of me, I have never been able to put behind me certain events that I’ve observed throughout my life. None of those episodes had anything to do with the Bible or with experiences in the Christian church, mind you. In church I mostly experienced the pettiness that some humans can show.

Psychic phenomena is one of those things that intrigues me. While I do realize that most psychics are fake, especially the public figures, there are instances of the phenomenon that I can’t sweep under the rug. I just can’t. I’m convinced that we are all connected in some fashion, to each other, to nature, and to all living creatures.

It was raining hard one night, when my sister, sleeping in a bed next to mine, woke up screaming at about 1 am. She yelled, “Don’t, don’t. Do not step on the ground. It’s full of mud. There is mud everywhere.”

Being more asleep than awake, I returned to my slumber. In the morning, when I woke her up to get ready for school, she said she was ill.

“I have a fever. I don’t feel well at all.”

“But you were OK last night. Do you have a cold?”

“No, it started when I had that nightmare in the middle of the night.”

Then my brother said that school was cancelled.

“Why?”

“Apparently there was a mudslide in the west side, at about 1 am. Hundreds of people are dead, buried in mud.”

My sister and I looked at each other. But we didn’t talk about it. It was too scary for our teenage minds to process. Her fever had gone away by midday. She was fine.

In my homeland, the poor often live on the hillsides, in cardboard made little “houses,” with very little protection from the elements. It is hard to forget an event that took so many lives in an instant.

Imaginary conversations

Over the weekend, being around so many people, I got hurt by a couple of them. The offenses, if any, wouldn’t account to anything if the subject hadn’t been me.  Two females whom I liked and saw as potential friends snobbed me at a party.

I don’t know why I get so hurt when someone snobbs me, but I do. I believe it has to do with the empty love tank I came out with from childhood. But I was sad to the point of tears.

Then later, reading an Ernest Holmes bit on Facebook, I came across the idea that we all think with the same mind, since we’re all one. The sum of all our thoughts IS the thoughts of god. Interesting, I thought.

I don’t know that I believe that’s true. But that’s what I love about metaphysics. The stuff doesn’t have to be true to be helpful. It could be all bonkers for all I care, but if the the idea works at a practical level, then it is at worse psychology.

Then I remembered something a Unity minister told me once: “You can talk to people in your mind. Tell then whatever you want. They’ll hear you. Send them love. Tell them that you forgive them.”

So, I had a conversation with the women I felt hurt by over the weekend. I talked to a lot of people last night, actually. I said, “You know, it’s OK if you don’t want to be friends. It’s your right not to choose me. I’m just sorry I misinterpreted your friendliness. I get the message now, though. I can see that I am just an acquaintance, and I am getting out of your way. I send you love and forgiveness. Be well.”

I shed a couple of tears. I let go of the feeling that no-one wants to be my friend, and went to sleep. This morning I felt great, if just for a couple of minutes.

Is it true that there is a universal consciousness and that the sum of our minds is the mind of god? I don’t know. Does it help having imaginary conversations with people? You’d better believe it does.

 

There is one ultimate Thinker, yet this Thinker thinks through all of us. That is why our thought is creative. That is why we think at all. The universal Mind is incarnated in everyone. Every man has access to It; every man uses It, either in ignorance or in conscious knowledge. In other words, the mind of each one of us is the Mind of God functioning at the level of our perception of life. Consciously using It, we bring into our experience today something we did not appear to have yesterday—a better environment, a happier circumstance, more friendship, more joy. These manifestations are of the nature of Reality.

Holmes, Ernest (2010-12-30). It’s Up to You (p. 48). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.

Home on Sunday

Four weeks or so ago, I decided to open my doors to the outside world. I went to a few MeetUps, a few esoteric church services, and a few meetings of a “smart” people club my husband belongs to (you know that club for people with IQ’s over 140 which name will go unmentioned).

All that accounts for a lot of social interaction. And today, I’m tired of it, not permanently, I just need a break.

Why does being around people –nice people–drain me so much?  Here is my theory. If this happens to you, I would love to hear your theory.

I’ve been trying to think more positively. As you know, pantheists believe that thoughts are things, and that what we think we manifest in reality. They say that Universal Law acts on our thoughts indiscriminately. It acts on our good and on our bad intentions regardless.

The jury is still out as to weather I believe there is a supernatural element to that. But there is a common sense element that rings true for me. If I go around all day thinking of eating chocolate cake, a point will come when I will run to any lousy bakery to buy a piece of delightful sin.

In trying to think more positively, I’ve observed that about 95% of my thoughts are negative. One of the authors I’ve been reading likens our mind to a garden. If we plant weeds, we’ll get weeds. If we plant flowers we’ll get flowers. Another writer (Tolle?) says that labeling people and situations is misleading. The moment we label a situation as “bad” we stop learning from it. The moment I decide a person is mean, I stop seeing the good side of him or her.

So, in trying to be more positive, I’ve been analyzing my thoughts when I’m around others. Let me give you a peak–please don’t throw up. Promise you’ll still be my friend.

  • She is so fat. How can he possibly love her?
  • This guy talks way too much. Oh my!  No wonder he can’t find a job. He must make employers dizzy.
  • That woman is so full of herself!
  • Oh, teenagers being silly. I hate them.
  • I hate nosy people
  • I hate it when people leave me there talking and walk away.
  • Why do people take so long to drive off after a red light? Morons.

Supernatural or not, the law of cause and effect has been working as scripted in my life for the last few years. It is as if my thoughts were broadcasted. People just don’t seem to like me. So, in trying to change the way I think, I’ve been observing my every thought and trying to change it into a positive one.

  • There is more to her that her physical appearance. She must be a wonderful person, and he loves her.
  • Yes, he talks too much. Some people may like him for it. I hope it’s not affecting his job search.
  • She is not full of herself. That’s just the way she is, and it doesn’t mean anything.
  • I actually love teenagers. I wish I could be silly and free like them.
  • I don’t hate anyone. I move from default hate to default love.
  • Well, yes, people take a while to start driving after a red light. Get used to it.

All the thought watching and transforming is exhausting. I’m so tired. Today, I was thinking, “Why am I so sad?” “Why don’t I want to go anywhere?”

Then I decided to stay home. Or at least, I need to do stuff on my own today. No socializing. It feels good so far.

Current Status

Three weeks ago, deeply depressed and in a very dark place, I decided that I needed something. I didn’t know what that was. I knew only that in the past praying helped. It took me out of negative places and suicidal thoughts. So, I decided to pray, but not in the traditional format. I did some affirmative prayer.

I am worthy. I am lovable. I have friends. I am loved. The universe cares for me.

Immediately, I started to feel better. Seeing that it worked, I decided to go back to the literature where I learned about affirmative prayer.

Years ago, when I was doubting the Christian faith and still going to church, I came across the Silent Unity website. I wrote an e-mail to a Unity pastor, and he kindly mailed me some magazines.  When I finally left the fundamentalist church I found a Unity church to go. But I couldn’t understand anything. They talked a lot about Jesus. But they didn’t worship Jesus or see him as a savior. They talked about god, but the god within them, not a god up in the clouds. I just couldn’t wrap my head around the teachings and the jargon: “We are all one,”  “My higher self”, “I salute the divine within you.”

After trying for a year on and off, I declared it bullshit and left. However, the teaching did help me, at a psychological level. Saying the affirmations is a great way to change habits and help self-belief.

Now, years later, after having tried pure atheism for a few years, I find myself thirsty for something. Unity offers me something I can work with. It is imperfect. But it helps. And right now, I can use anything that will help. As well, I’m reading Religious Science literature, and other books, such as Tolle’s New Earth.

So, join me in this journey of self-made spirituality.