This year’s end, next year’s beginning…

Let me share something with  you. A bit of an epiphany to me and at the same time, something that I’d heard or seen countless times, in so many ways.

I reminded myself in very real terms that I could relinquish my need to control. Put another way, I was exposed to a whole new level of acknowledging my helplessness and forgiving myself and others.

Or, simply put; there was nothing I could do or say to alter the outcome. It would be what it would be, and I had no control. I could only witness, and when in that witness, free myself of that bear trap; conditioning.

When you’re in it, it seems that it will never let  you go. Yet, if you can see yourself in it, non-judgmentally, dispassionately from your witnessing self, your consciousness self . . .see yourself suffering from anger, you can then make a choice to acknowledge all the pain, don’t try to make it go away . . . or do anything with it, or to it. Just let it know that your watching it, and identify the other part(s) of you that don’t feel that bad at all, and from your witness, know that you can choose to be, not to suffer.

I got to thinking about anger. What is anger?

We all know how it feels, hot and red, riddling our bellies, choking our chests, making us smaller, denser, tighter. There’s definitely a constriction that goes on, like when you disturb a sea anemone and all its tentacles retract  from a perceived threat. I say ‘perceived’ because the line that separates what’s real from what’s an illusion is invisible. (Is that where thought becomes matter?).

So there’s this part of us that is definitely animal. Eats, propagates, dies through the entire evolution of man. It constricts in the presence of danger: a threat to its existence. That’s a reaction that the animal in us knows. That is also the reaction that the mind employs when it perceives danger . . . real or imagined.

How about remembered? Not always consciously, sub-consciously mostly. Those things that happened as you grew from infancy, those things that scarred you, taught you to protect yourself from. Tighten a muscle often enough, it will become tight, hardened in order to protect.

I may not be able to recall those incidents, but my mind, my subconscious, and my body remember. They store those memories of yearning and helplessness in my physical being, weave them into secret histories, untold stories that evoke the feelings of love and security as well as those of yearning and helplessness.

The latter, yearning and helplessness are not only seemingly unbearable because when we’re in them, it feels that it will be forever – - – our minds, our perceptive abilities signal ‘danger,’ and when fear raises its head, we defend against it with anger. And as much as it feels as if we’re  being angry at someone or something else, what I believe we are truly angry with is ourselves and our perceived inability to affect our helplessness.

So, if I can accept that at the end of the day, or of my life; that I am helpless, why cannot I accept that now? I’m not saying I’m being helpless, I am saying that my true being has nothing to do with being helpless. My true being, my consciousness, my awareness and witness can acknowledge my feeling of helplessness, and in that act of acknowledgment, I am not helpless to make that choice – to acknowledge.

Not only am I not helpless to make that choice to acknowledge, witness, not judge or evaluate,   when I so choose, I experience the realization that not all of me is contracting and in fear, just my animal and all its conditioned and learned behavior inherited not just from my parents and their parents, but from the whole history of man.

What is the level of development of consciousness in the animal world? I don’t know. The yardstick we use to measure it is calibrated to our world, our human way of thinking, controlling, communicating. Whose to say, for instance, that the dolphin consciousness isn’t ‘beyond’ ours? Just because they don’t have arms and legs, don’t drive cars and aren’t rapaciously eating our planet and all its resources?

What I do know, is when I know, when I am. All the other behavior, learned and developed has only to do with my animal’s self’s procreation and survival, and to that end, ordering and controlling the world and the inhabitants of the world, usually by whom ever’s got the biggest stick.

My mind would have me measure, but my heart knows.

Have a conscious holiday. It’s the end of a year, of a cycle…a ‘death’ if  you will, and a rebirth of a new year. That cycle of death and life is mirrored in our breath, in the beat of our hearts, in each moment of night and day. If we can remember that, then we can see how much our ‘animal’ is evolving with the loving over-standing of the hu-man side of us that is reminding us that beyond everything, we are.

pmg

356 Comments

  • By Softly, December 8, 2010 @ 1:06 am

    When one does not judge,
    One is not put one-self in a dilemma.
    When one is not put in a dilemma
    One creates space.

    Space reveals reality.
    Reality is the true liberty.
    True liberty is the state of enlightenment.
    The state of enlightenment is Buddha-nature

    Someone way smarter than me.

  • By Frances, December 8, 2010 @ 2:10 am

    Just a
    “thank you” Paul for your thoughts.
    It’s as though you were reading my mind,and
    you put my muddled thoughts into some sensible order!. This Christmas will be enjoyed to a certain extent but if I am honest I will be just as eager to start afresh in 2011, thanks again for your thoughts they will honestly get me through this Holiday.

  • By Terri, December 8, 2010 @ 6:46 am

    Hello Paul, Happy that there is some new thoughts to contemplate. So much to read and reread, to ‘think about’. It’s also a comfort when you come back here. Thank you.

  • By hilly, December 8, 2010 @ 9:15 am

    hello Paul

    Your timing is perfect. From where I’m standing now in my life it is very hard to see anything dispassionately. I need to see myself without judging – but the very circumstances make me judge myself. I didn’t make the targets…I failed….I can’t do the job….I’m out of the job. I feel devalued and scared. I’m going to read your newest post over again and try very hard to learn how to do it. Because I know that until I can take that step away from myself I’m ever going to get it ‘right’.

    But, oh dear, is this just because I feel so low and pessimistic? – your latest post worries me – are you OK?

  • By heidi33, December 8, 2010 @ 9:52 am

    Anger and fear are negative emotions that can destroy you (so I’ve learnt in my life. ) It is
    best to stay clear of them!!!

    Hate can also ruin people.

    For me, it would be great to be a dolphin swimming in warm waters and eating all the fish I could get! But even then, there would be dangers from Man and other predators in the ocean.

    Still believe it is important for us to look after the nature and our planet for our survival.

  • By Christine, December 8, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

    Hi Paul, Lovely to hear from you again.
    Helplessness, theres a terrible emotion. I have to agree with you on the ‘anger’ of it all. I am always at my most angry when I can’t come up with an answer, a solution, something to help.
    We always feel like we should have and could have, the if’s and but’s the why’s and in all honesty it does no good. You can’t change the past. But that doesn’t stop us from wishing we had. Maybe in life we expect ourselves to be able to do everything. Maybe we put pressure on ourselves to be that dare I say ‘perfect’ person, to have the answers, we then set ourselves up to fail. If we didn’t make mistakes we wouldn’t be human would we? Just keep on learning, from those we admire, from our friends, and keep on trying!.
    Take good care,
    Christine. xx

  • By heidi33, December 9, 2010 @ 9:13 am

    Hello to all the bloggers! Well, Mr.Glaser ,you evoke nice images of the bear trap, sea anemone and dolphins.

    Last week, I was listening to David Attenborough’s “First Life”. He supports the theories of Charles Darwin saying that we all evolved from single cells in water, billions of years ago.
    This evolution means that we are all part of the same family tree and all species on the planet are linked together somehow.

    So we share affinity with the animals—Pam wrote the other week that Hilly’s cat is part of her. All our instincts have evolved over the years to help us or to hinder us.
    Can the other bloggers say how they feel close to their animals and nature? There is surely a bond there.

    Just wanted to share something with you– A few years ago, I was unemployed and a neighbour offered to try the Runes with me.–it’s a Viking tradition or from Scandinavia.

    They spread pieces of wood on the table and I had to ask a question so I did that.
    My neighbours interpreted the answer and it came true!!! Now how do you explain that???

    How could pieces of wood predict my future???

    Is there something mystical in Nature and our links as the Ancient Celts and Druids told us??

  • By hilly, December 9, 2010 @ 9:38 am

    Heidi I am a believer in what are often referred to as ‘the old ways’…those ‘mystic’ practices that predate Christianity in Europe. Much of those beliefs were based on the powers of Nature and even now as we approach Christmas we are actually approaching the age-old ceremonies of light and rebirth as the longest night of the year approaches. I’m sure we are all governed by those cycles.
    You ask how could pieces of wood predict the future – I think it is not the wood but the capacity of the person ‘throwing them’ to sense what their forces can tell. I read once about a scientist who was sure that stones can in some way record what happens and that one day we will find a way of releasing the ‘witness’ of the events that happened in a room or a building. He said that ‘ghosts’ are those recording that some people are already capable of seeing. Some people are sensitive to the ‘vibes’ from objects; some are more sensitive to the vibes coming from other people

    Last week; the day before I learnt that I’m going to lose my job; I was talking to a client who is a clairvoyant. He told me that the first time he met me he sensed something about me and he asked me a direct question bout what he had sensed. there was NO WAY he could have known this about me…but he was correct (although he got part of the cause wrong).

    I mentioned that it was my birthday but I didn’t feel much like celebrating because I was depressed. When I told him my age he did a quick calculation and told me that I am about to enter the 8th year of my 9 year Karmic cycle…well the past 8 years have probably been the shittiest in my entire life; so….all I have to do is get through the next 2!
    With the help of these meditations and the support from the friends I have made here..I think I might make it.

  • By Rachelle, December 9, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

    Hi Paul

    Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts. I hope you and yours have a wonderful happy holiday season.
    The Christmas season is my favorite time of the year! I also always look forward to the New Year as a new beginning! Here’s to 2011!

    Rach :)

  • By hilly, December 10, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

    From the depths of my helplessness I struggle to regain my power. I struggle not to be angry. Not to focus my anger on myself for my perceived failure and weakness. I try, I really try, to step back and gaze dispassionately at where I am and who I am and…this is the important bit for me here and now….who I can be when I rise above my present misery.
    Am I powerless? Yes. No. The decision that has put me in this state of mind was not mine. But wait. Was that decision made because of something it was in my power to change, to influence? I work in a world of targets – meet them and things flow; miss them and your job is quickly on the line. I didn’t make the targets. My job was on the line. I could see it coming and depression started to nibble at the corner of my mind. With that came a sense of being undermined; losing my touch, losing my hold – my power over me. So should I have fought for my power? Should I have pushed myself beyond the mental and emotional (and physical) barriers that were holding me back? For the first two yes, perhaps, but what if my waning motivation was a symptom of my need to change again. In French we have an expression: “je me suis dégouté par”…..I guess it translates best with ‘I lost my taste for’. In the past few months that’s what happened. I lost my taste for my job – and if you aren’t motivated, you don’t sell. As to the physical barrier – pain made it difficult for me to do part of my job properly; nothing I could do about that.
    So maybe I should have used my power (over me and over my situation) and quit while I was ahead.
    And that is where fear raises its ugly head. Fear of not having a job. Fear of not finding another job quickly enough. The economic situation isn’t brilliant. I just turned 55 in a country where they took to the streets to retire at 60; the over 50s have trouble finding jobs – and women over 50 find it even harder. Fear of not having put enough to one side to retire (and I need to work full time until I’m at least 68 to get a minimum pension)… fear of the future.
    Fear of feeling inadequate. I didn’t make my targets – I failed. Fear of failing.
    Oh yes, Paul, that understanding that we can’t control everything – that we have to accept failure. Not easy when you are a perfectionist driven by your inner need to get it right.
    (Somewhere in my memory I think I saw you quoted as saying a long time ago ‘in this business you are only as good as the your last piece of work’….in my business you’re only as good as your last sale.)
    So right now; after losing my job, I feel powerless and I’m scared. I know that I can and will rise above this. By watching myself fight my way out of the hole. I know that I can take back the power over my life.
    But I have to accept this. I have to learn to accept it. Learn to accept what I know from experience.
    I have to resist the whisperings if the monster Fear and listen to my own voice saying ‘you can do this. You can overcome this.’
    But in my anger with myself I drag up all the arguments; all the times when I got it wrong in the past.
    I allow my anger (at myself, my decisions, my wrong moves) to cloud my judgment. And in my hurt scared anger I lash out. Not physically. I lash out at the things that annoy me. My criticisms get sharper and sharper; my tolerance level descends to zero. And I am always first in line.
    I undermine myself just at that very moment when I need to shore myself up.
    So here I am; feeling helpless and scared and angry and working very hard to step back and accept myself as I am.
    So I take a deep breath. I light an incense stick and try to concentrate on the spiral of perfumed smoke as it rises. I try to empty my mind of all that is making me feel so helpless….and maybe, in time, I’ll come to terms with my powerlessness…because when we can control everything there is nothing left to aspire to.
    And when we have nothing left to aspire to we have no hope.
    And hope is what makes us go forward and embrace the world around us.
    Without hope there can be no love, no charity. Saul/Paul got it wrong. Faith Hope and Charity…the greatest of these is HOPE. Without hope we cannot have faith in ourselves; we cannot be charitable with ourselves. And if we can’t give those three things to ourselves, how can we ever offer them to others?

    So I go forward. I have a love-hate relationship with this time of year.
    feeling enjoy the festivals of light that are a part of our western world’s embracing of the death of the old year but I have never seen the point of celebrating January 1st any more than the 1st day of any other month.
    I will look forward to the rebirth of our mother earth after the hibernation of winter.
    And, yes, I’ll tell myself that if I lost my job in December it is because the new year will bring a new
    And I will not be scared… because if I’m not scared I will empower myself to go on.

    Gulp!

  • By hilly, December 10, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

    so now if you listen very carefully you will hear me screaming at the computer because somewhere long the line a few words got lost when I copy pasted all that!

  • By Christine, December 10, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

    Hi Hilly, I’m sorry you are having a tough time of it. But try not to be so hard on yourself. Believe me when I say I know how horrible it is to feel like there is no hope. I always see this time of year as a time when whatever problems we have, seem to be twice as tough, harder to cope with simply because at this time of year people expect us to be happy.
    Christmas/New year are for some; really quite stressful for one reason or another.
    If you lived closer it might have been nice to meet up and try and help in some way. I’m sure things will pick up for you Hilly. You sound like a lady who does not give up easily.
    Please e-mail anytime if you need to sound off!!.
    Take care,
    Christine xx

  • By hilly, December 11, 2010 @ 2:23 am

    I’m good at stubborn…..

  • By hilly, December 11, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

    Christine – thanks my friend.

    Heidi. I have a friend so turned 60 a couple of years ago and announced that “60 is the new 40″. Age is meaningless – it is what we know and how we use our experience that counts. Age is a state of mind. there was a piece about Mick Jagger in the paper today – my mum said ‘good grief is he 67 he seems to be perpetually 25.” I had a schoolfriend who was ‘middle-aged’ when she was 11! As for me, as I’ve said before – going on my genetic background I’m only halfway through this life…plenty of time to save up for my old age!

  • By Christine, December 11, 2010 @ 3:01 pm

    Hi Heidi, The same is true if we bottle up emotions and protect our hearts–probably we do ourselves more harm than good. You can still get hurt if you build up invisible barriers.

    I have to agree with you there. I think depending on just how much we have been hurt in life, will cause us to build those barriers. Sometimes I think that we don’t even realise we are doing this, not consciously at least. More of a self-protection system, you know wanting to care, to love, but it is sometimes much easier in life to remain single/alone.
    When you have given your all, and still that friendship/relationship breaks down it can seem so hopeless.
    Its funny sometimes how one can feel closer to someone thousands of miles away than someone sitting across the room from you. Once those ‘barriers’ come down its a no go huh?.
    On the plus side, I hope you are well, have a great weekend.

    Hi Hilly, So true about age. Its just a number!! Funny when we talk about age, I am always surprised when a friend mentions their age, its almost like we forget we have grown older too!. Commenting on the workmen who have been in our houses lately, I said to my neighbour ‘aren’t they getting so young?’ to which she replied ‘No Chris you are getting old’. With friends like her who needs enemies eh? lol.
    Take care,
    Christine.

  • By hilly, December 12, 2010 @ 2:01 am

    one thing I’ve noticed…and it must be genetic ‘cos my father was about 13 years older than my mum LOL) ALL the men I’ve ever found attractive (physically or ‘mentally’) are hitting 67 around now!

  • By Sue, December 12, 2010 @ 11:12 am

    We are, all of us, primates, and though our brains might be larger and more structured, we still have the brains of a primate. Emotions such as hate, greed, anger, love, affection, are all present in the primate species. Where I think we have evolved is in our abilities to realize that we ARE primates; we can understand where these emotions are coming from, and we can take a step outside the box of our monkey brains to calculate the outcomes of our potential actions. And in so doing, we can make a choice that, as far as I know, puts us in a different space from our primate cousins.

    An example of thia happened to me about a month ago. At work, I was in the cafeteria procuring some condiments for my lunch. When I turned around to go to the table where my co-workers were sitting, two people were standing side by side, talking, their backs to me. There was no way of getting around them, so I asked “Excuse me, please?” to ask them to split apart so I could get through.

    They did, but as I passed, one of the two people hissed in my ear: “Excuse ME? Excuse YOU, you fu*king ugly bulldyke!”

    The primaet in me wanted to drop my dray and make her teeth a memory. But, in a split second, I came to several conclusions. The primary of which was that if I did what my monkey brain wanted me to do, I would have gotten fired.

    A primate would likely have attacked without a second’s thought. I did not. I simply walked through the gab and continued to the table. Of course, once I did that, I promptly broke down into tears and it was a big fu*k-up in that way.

    But I was able to cage my monkey brain and leave without causing a scene. Chimps most likely wouldn’t do something like that.

    BECAUSE I was able to “step outside the box” and make a choice, I proved myself a human primate because I was able to think ahead and consider all the options my actions would entail.

    I may be a primate, but I’m a primate who is able to distance myself from the situation and think of the ramifications of my actions in a very short time.

    Sure, sometimes my monkey mind causes me to lash out, proving that I am, indeed, primate. But I’m also able to see into the future from a distance and make the choice basedo n what is likely to happen should I choose A, or B, or C, etc.

    That is our advantage, though many times, we choose not to use that advantage, and so lash out at those who do us wrong. Our abilities to recognize ourselves AS primates is extremely valuable to us. It gives us the choice that most others of our primate species don’t, as far as we know, have.

    So while we are ‘trapped’ within the base aspects of our primate nature–eat, screw, fight, kill–we have the advantage to attempt to overcome those limitations, to look forward while also stepping back, and to have choices that separate us from those with whom we share most of our chromosomes.

    We have the ability to control our millions of years base instincts, the ones that kept us alive long enough to breed, and this is something that, again, as far as we know, makes us unique in the animal kingdom that we inhabit.

    Accepting who we are–just another species of monkey– allows us to both work with that ‘monkeyness’ inside of us and to step outside of that monkeyness to act in a way that is beneficial to most all involved.

    Sue

  • By hilly, December 12, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

    Well put Sue. I said above that I lash out but not physically but I came close once.
    I had a minor operation on my wrist and after 4 days I went to have it checked out. I went in to see the doctor (not the one who operated – this was the UK Health Service!) and he removed the heavy bandage and looked at the mess; two of the stitches had come apart because my wrist had moved. (I had actually driven myself to the hospital – we are talking England – gear shift and the wrong side of the car – and it was my left wrist).
    He looked at the mess and said:
    “Of course if we’d put a cast on this those stitches would have held better.”
    and I said “so why didn’t you?”
    And he said (in that patronising voice some men use with women) “In my experience if a young woman comes round from anesthetic and sees a cast she didn’t expect she gets upset.”
    To which this highly intelligent primate (definitely on a higher intellectual level that he was!) said “And if this woman had a cast on her wrist now; you’d have a broken nose!”

    But that was about 30 years ago and I’ve taken more control since then….at least I think I have.

  • By PamT, December 12, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

    Paul, thank you for the reminder …. that when we’re in the midst of an invasive experience or fear which crowds in upon us and threatens to consume and become the essence of us for as long as it lasts, finding that space to discover that there is a another part of our being that is capable of at least being an impartial witness is truly challenging, but possible. I don’t know, but wonder whether it is easier to recognise the presence or non-presence of that freedom when we observe others absorbed their own tribulations or are ourselves in the relative calmness of retrospection/anticipation (the latter being more vulnerable to our mind’s tendency to post- and pre-edit) because the emotion is different or less intense.

    I tend to think that our genetic inheritance not only determines our physicality, but also gives us a predisposition to certain personality traits which, along with our upbringing in our formative years, are poured into a metaphorical cocktail shaker. Not the most spiritual of analogies, I realise, but I’m rather partial to the occasional cocktail. We may not always be able to control our experience of how vigorously or gently the resulting concoction is shaken, but the good news is that we have the ability to choose to take the top off the shaker and have a modicum of awareness and understanding as to how the ingredients have blended together. Perhaps we may also be able to find an additional ingredient which is not necessarily easy to detect but which forms an integral part of the recipe and can change the flavour of the whole drink. Awareness doesn’t always translate to change, but change cannot happen without awareness. Events and influences can be catalysts, but change comes from within.

    ‘I say ‘perceived’ because the line that separates what’s real from what’s an illusion is invisible. (Is that where thought becomes matter?).’

    Aha! Thank you once again.

    On the subject of consciousness, I’m just embarking on a fascinating read – The Master and his Emissary by Iain McGilchrist. Starting from the basis that the two halves of the brain have different and distinct perceptions of the world about us, he proposes that essentially the right hemisphere sees itself as connected, whilst the more dominant left-hand side is more narrowly focused and views itself as separate. Furthermore, the left-hand side is under the impression that it can ‘do without’ its counterpart, but the right appreciates that both parts are necessary. He goes on to suggest that the power-hungry left-hand side has held sway in the majority of our civilizations, the Renaissance being one of the prime exceptions. If I may, I’d like to share an extract:

    ‘…. I suggested there were two ways of being in the world, both of which were essential. One was to allow things to be present to us in all their embodied particularity, with all their changeability and impermanence, and their interconnectedness, as part of a whole which is forever in flux. In this world, we, too, feel connected to what we experience, part of that whole, not confined in subjective isolation from a world that is viewed as objective. The other was to step outside the flow of existence and ‘experience’ our experience in a special way: to re-present the world in a form which is more useful for manipulation of the world and one another. This world is explicit, abstracted, compartmentalized, fragmented, static (although its ‘bits’ can be re-set in motion, like a machine), essentially lifeless. From this world we feel detached, but in relation to it we are powerful.

    I believe the essential difference between the right and left hemisphere is that the right hemisphere pays attention to the Other, whatever it is that exists apart from ourselves, with which it sees itself in profound relation. It is deeply attracted to, and given life by, the relationship, the betweenness, that exists with this Other. By contrast, the left hemisphere pays attention to the virtual world it has created, which is self-consistent, but self-contained, ultimately disconnected from the Other, making it powerful but only able to operate on, and to know, itself.’

    That spoke volumes to me and led me to speculate – might it be possible that our minds, focused on the exertion of power and control, operate from the left side of the brain, while our hearts reside in the right? The irony that such speculation is probably the result of my mind’s compulsion to objectify is not lost on me …..

    Thank you for your holiday wishes. I wish you and all the same in return. Each breath is indeed a fresh start (and our life is in the moment of that one present breath).

    PamT

    PS. Heidi: I believe that feeling a bond with the natural world in all its variety is a positive. For me personally, not in an idyllic picture-postcard sort of way, but one that includes the observation and recognition of both decay and growth; death and life; bleakness and beauty. I believe it can bring a closer connection to the rhythm and balance of life. On my desk is a piece of stone flint worked into some kind of tool, which I found one of my dog walks a good few years ago in an area where ancient settlements were once located. It’s probably of no monetary value, but to this day I still get a kick out of holding it and knowing that, chances are, the last fingers that grasped it belonged to its original owner. It’s a kind of link.

  • By hilly, December 13, 2010 @ 12:54 am

    Pam T : that sounds like a fascinating book….another one for the Amazon list.

    I’m reading one of my favourite books; one I come back to again and again because of the way it puts religions into their context (and place). Gore Vidal’s “Creation” It is fiction – but as a rundown on how so many of what some of the more recent religious movements claim to be ‘theirs’ was no doubt filtered from the older teachings further east.

  • By Sammy, December 13, 2010 @ 8:09 am

    I have read that every person who heard what was preached by Buddha thought that the words were meant just for him (or her) and that is what I thought when I read your thoughts.

    Paul.. your words and everything that came with it just went right into my heart because I am at the moment learning over and over again how we could never control anything in our lives.
    I am trying to be a witness- I am trying to overcome the hopelessness, helplessness and the anger that comes with it when I understand that I cannot help, hope or control ..

    Circle of life: yes- new births and deaths of the living.. I have been thinking a lot about death lately..

    My mother had been ill for a while and she was treated- and she became better. Her illness was due to her thyroid problems. I traveled with her to my home country- and have been here in SriLanka for two months now. Then out of the blue a routine medical test: a chest x-ray; revealed an abnormality which was later confirmed by CT scans and biopsies that she has lung cancer. Then today the oncologist explained how far it has spread- It is in the third stage and there is nothing to be done- but she is still asymptomatic for lung cancer. She still doesn’t know what she is been tested for and she doesn’t want to know the details which is a relief for me. For her she has a ‘wound’ in her chest and that is what is been looked at. She feels and thinks she is totally healthy in spite of all reports and I am just happy to hang in there with her in that thought as long as possible, although I know those thoughts are short-lived.

    She is 79 years old and her mental condition is very fragile. I have been protecting her from all the ugliness of the outer world and have kept her in a happy world for the past couple of years. She has been happy, relaxed, and content with her life.. What am I supposed to do now? I don’t want to tell her what her illness is because it will only make her restless worried. What good will that bring about? But am I doing the correct thing?
    She will have to start chemo just to stop the cancer from spreading but the doctor said “She cannot be cured- by text book definition, she has less than one year to live” – I don’t think I need to write what I felt.

    So yes- I am helpless in this situation and I know I have no control over anything. I cannot control what is happening to her. If this is the number of years, months, days she brought wither when she came into this world, then that is the number of days she will be here with us. I have to accept that though I am trying to change those numbers- I will do everything in my power to make her life happy and less painful.. though I know I have no control over what will happen eventually.

    I want to see her smile- I want to hear her jokes and I want to hear all those nonsense stuff she utters when she is happy- as long as possible. But deep within my heart I know I cannot change the outcome and I am trying my best to accept that.

  • By hilly, December 13, 2010 @ 9:01 am

    Dear Sammy – no wonder you have been so quiet recently. No you can’t control what is going to happen to your mother but you can control what is happening to her inasmuch as you can control some of what remains of her life- you are already doing that by being with her. With your serenity that you show us so often you can help her to pass on ot the next stage of her existence knowing that you are with her.
    And if you can accept her ending (and new beginning) you are giving her the greatest gift of all.

  • By Christine, December 13, 2010 @ 10:40 am

    Hi Sammy, I am so sorry to hear about your mam. You are a very special lady my friend and that is what shines through in your blog. No matter what age our parents are it is never easy to face up to their loss. I think you are doing all you can to be such a good daughter to your mam. No one can or maybe that ought to be should tell you if you are doing the right thing in not telling her. I think that has to be what feels right for you, and what your heart tells you to do. My heart goes out to you Sammy. I wish I could be of more help.
    All in all you are being a great support to her, but please remember to also take care of you!.
    With love,
    Christine.

  • By Rachelle, December 13, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

    Hi Sammy

    You’re in my thoughts and prayers my friend! You’ve been so wonderful in your support for your Mom by being there for her. I’m thinking of you. Hugs!

    Rach

  • By carol4spot, December 13, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

    Hi everyone!! Hope all are well. Thank you PMG for your latest shared thought.
    Sue, I really liked your post but at the same time found myself quite ‘angry’ inside at these nasty people that hurt you. Jeez. I am still amazed in life at how mean people can be. I don’t like feeling angry and try not to be for the most part. But, I have to say, bullying doesn’t sit well with me. I am glad you took the high road, but if I was a bystander I might of had to say something to them… just sayin’…. I protect ‘living’ things from bad things…it’s my job on this planet….maybe I need to step outside myself and witness???? I go into protection mode if my fellow humans or furry animals and creatures are being hurt….can’t help it.
    Sammy, I don’t know you..but I do.. because I think we are all connected…anyway, I am really sorry about your mom. I think she’s lucky to have you and I would say go with your heart on the ‘telling her’ part. In my opinion, I think not knowing is probably better. Like, for me, I would rather not know, then drop dead having lived my life in a happy state of mind than ‘know’ and spend my life miserable thinking about illness and dying. That’s just me though. Please don’t think I am telling you what to do. You’re in it so you know more. My good vibes and thoughts are with you.
    PamT, thanks again for an interesting and informative post..I will look into that book as it did peak my curiosity.
    Heidi, I love that theory that we are all linked together even with the animals!! I couldn’t agree more!! I take that theory to the next level and say that LOVE is what links it all together…
    Hi to everyone xxoocarol

  • By HILDA LIPRACE, December 13, 2010 @ 8:55 pm

    Hello Pablo.mi daughter and I talked about the importance of forgiveness in our lives, if not hypocritical to others or to oneself, I told her that I felt from another planet. Which ran this life, like a fish against current. is forgiving. in the course of this life happen today many things.I told my daughter that I felt guilty. of having no friends or feel really friends. I used to I’m always there when nesecitan me, anytime, anywhere. I ask nothing in return. but today I felt a little pain. because in these years. i was sick and we need help company. and not one I am talking about friends. if you were my mother , my family, the only thing I would have liked a little company of cariño.de support. I ordered it. but no answer. it will remain so forever. nesecitan when I’ll be there as a soldier, with my love and affection. This month is important for many. is to take stock of what we do in the year. I do not question anything, if try to do something bad about it. change of attitude, always for good, forgiveness is so important. in our lives “Thank you, Mr. Glaser for his words, for sharing. and congratulations to you and your family. God bless you, kiss and love to Pamela. I hope this is understood. not English. the fault of the translator, ja ja ja
    love Hilda ♥♥♥

  • By Sammy, December 14, 2010 @ 7:30 am

    Hilly, Christine, Rach and Carol;

    Thanks to all of you for your support. As I have said so many times before it has been such a blessing to get to know all of you. This blog has been a safe haven, as place to call home, a place to connect with people who are beautiful like you, inside and out. I am forever indebted to Paul and the Pam for creating this blog that paved the way for us to meet and share our thoughts and us.

    Yes Hilly- I am trying desperately to think that she is moving towards a new beginning- a better one eventually- We need to think positive and the only positive things is just that thought. I hope I will have the courage to see beyond my grief and be able to see her move on to a better life. Like you said,I can, to some extent, make the rest of her life better.

    Ahh Christine.. you have been wonderful to me always.. I know you are with me and that means a lot! I am trying to listen to my heart- but seems like it is closing on me- You know- I am back in my room I spent my whole childhood – and these walls knew all the heart aches I went through and all the tears I had shed – but strange as it is I have not been able to shed one tear drop since this ordeal begun. It scares me and unsettles me.

    Hey Rach, my friend who shares the same ‘TGIF’ enthusiasm.. Seems like those days will never come back again. Thanks for your Hugs – I do feel ya!

    Hi Carol, You are correct- I have read your posts in the past and in a way I think I know you too. Thank you so much for your kind words. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how and what you would want in a condition like this- It always helps to hear what someone else would do in a similar situation – Not that I would want to do what someone else would have done but it just helps to see all different angles- You know, for me, I would have wanted to know if I had such a disease- and that is why I couldn’t for once decide whether I should tell her or not- But at the end it boiled down to the simple fact that I have to do what is best for my mother.

    When I thought about all the good and the bad that comes with telling my mother her true condition it suddenly seemed so obvious- There is no need to burden her with this knowledge since it will only make her worry about it- She will only feel helpless and hopeless over and over and over again- Those are feelings I am sure she can for sure live without.

    I guess I am feeling enough of those thoughts that there is no need for her to go through it as well. So No- There is absolutely no need for her to know the ugly truth. In her mind, this is a just a wound in the chest, that has to be treated before it gets worse. So that is all what she would know. I am not going to tell her otherwise.

    I may not be able to post here that frequently but then I know that all of you and this blog always have helped me to move on with life. Thank you again- for all your wishes and thoughts! I will need all of it-

  • By Christine, December 14, 2010 @ 10:40 am

    Hi Sammy, Sometimes when we need to be strong for others our own emotions are pushed to one side in order to cope. You are going through a really tough time, you are coping the best way you can. Its only natural to be unsettled by not shedding any tears yet, but you are trying to be a huge support system to your mam. I admire you for that. Tears will come eventually, usually when you least expect them, but you are a brave lady Sammy, don’t be hard on yourself. Take good care I hope your mam is as comfortable as possible. Please email me if you ever need to talk.
    Love,
    Christine xx

  • By hilly, December 14, 2010 @ 12:06 pm

    My mother is 80 and so far so good; but I see her slowing down and boy is she deaf(!) I dread the day that she won’t be able to deal with the unavoidable stairs in our house (Fee’s seen it she knows what I mean)or (maybe worse) not be able to drive. I hope she will accept moving before that happens. but more than anything else I live in the same dread that so many of you share…of losing my mum. Hang on in there Sammy; call on me if you need to chat about it (through FB or I think you have my e-mail still). Enjoy your moments with her while you can; and keep your mum in the moment with you knowing that when she has moved on you will have the best moments to remeember her by

  • By carol4spot, December 14, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

    hi everyone, hope all are well. I have been thinking about this latest post alot and all the posters problems and I feel really bad for all the bad things people are going through. I don’t have any advice I just wanted to say that since I’ve met you all I have thought about everyone everyday. It’s like you are all my friends. Your problems weigh heavy on my mind too. I am constantly thinking of all of you on this blog. I hear your stories. I just want everyone to know that I feel what they are going through and I am here to support everyone. I am no Doctor or expert, I am just a fellow human being , a link in this chain, and I am connected to everyone. My hand is holding someone else’s hand on each side of me…..We are in this together…xocarol

  • By Frances, December 15, 2010 @ 2:43 am

    Hi Carol and everyone else!

    just a quick post to wish EVERYONE
    “Seasons Greetings” and hope everyone gets through it with an optimistic heart.
    I wish nothing but the best to you all in 2011, like Carol, I think about you all everyday and as this is my last post of the year I just wanted you to know you are in my thoughts at this time, you lot have helped me a lot this year with your good advice so many thanks to my friends here, and hope to “see” you all back here next year.
    As always,

    Take Care.

  • By hilly, December 15, 2010 @ 5:16 am

    hope those of you in the US aren’t buried under the snow. this weather (we had heavy snow in France last week and more to come) kind of brings us full circle to Paul’s first blog doesn’t it?
    Have a great “festive season” whatever you celebrate(d) and may 2011 be a better year for so many of us here…and as good a year as 2010 for the rest!

    l’Chaim/Namaste to one and all.

  • By Christine, December 15, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

    Hi Carol, Frances and everyone, I hope you all have a good Christmas. I agree that there are some lovely people on here. We are so lucky to have ‘met’?. Its nice to know we have a kind of support sysyem here in one another.
    It doesn’t seem like a year ago when we all started on here does it? Its flown by.
    Take good care everyone. Hope 2011 is good to you guys. xx

  • By Christine, December 16, 2010 @ 8:02 am

    Hi Everyone, I was sitting in my living room last night with just my Christmas tree lights on(yes, I’m a big kid at heart lol) and started playing around with words. If this season gets you a little stressed I hope this brings a smile!.

    Short and stout, I’m standing here,
    while others are so tall and proud,
    I want to give some Christmas cheer,
    but I’m overlooked by the crowd.

    It isn’t easy, being me,
    a sad excuse for a Christmas tree,
    while others twinkle and delight,
    I stand alone, you see my plight?

    Then a boy of three or four,
    comes running boldly through the door,
    Look! mam a tree for me!! he cries,
    I’m surely taken by surprise!

    So, now I stand, I feel quite tall,
    Now I no longer feel so small!,
    I twinkle, “I’m a sight to see!”
    at last I’m a real Christmas tree!

    Merry Christmas you guys! Love to you all.
    :) xx

  • By Saskia, December 16, 2010 @ 8:38 am

    I absolutely love this mam!
    It’s the sort of Poem you want to read to your children on Christmas Eve when they are drifting off to sleep, excited for Santa coming.

    I’ll have to make a copy of it and read it to my kids when I have some :)

    It really made me smile, its lovely mam.

    Peace
    - Saskia

  • By hilly, December 16, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

    that’s the kid of Xmas ‘carol’ I love. Thanks for the smile Christine

  • By Nadine, December 16, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

    Je vous souhaite à toutes et tous de merveilleuses fêtes de Noel et de fin d’Année !!!
    Merci Paul pour vos nouvelles pensées ! c’est tres agréable de vous lire !

    La Colère : Il m’arrive d’etre en colère a un point de ne plus pouvoir pardonner ! il m’arrive même à avoir de la haine envers la personne qui a été injuste avec moi ! les gens ” méchants ” ont forgé mon caractère , je ne savait pas ce que c’était de ne pas pardonner , je n’avais jamais ressenti de la haine envers quelqu’un ! j’ai presque honte de vous l’avouer ! je suis une personne avec un ” Grand Coeur ” j’aime mon prochain , je pleure lorsque je vois la misère , la faim dans le monde , un enfant malheureux ( ça je ne supporte pas ) Conclusion : je suis très sensible ! Mais beaucoup de personnes me font du mal j’en ai beaucoup souffert , plus maintenant , ne pensez pas que je suis méchante non ! j’en veux à ces personnes au point de ne plus pardonner comme je l’ai toujours fait !
    Tout compte fait ma vie à moi ce sont Mon mari et mes deux merveilleux enfants que j’aime plus que tout au monde l’amour qu’ils me donnent , le sourire de mes enfants représente : la couleur du ciel , le scintillement des étoiles dans le ciel…. je pourrai vous le décrire encore ce sourire mais je sais que dès que je parle de mes enfants je ne peux plus m’arrêter !

    JOYEUX NOEL A TOUTES ET TOUS ! BON REVEILLON !
    JE VOUS AIME MES AMIS!!!!!!!

  • By Christine, December 17, 2010 @ 4:04 am

    Hi Saskia, Thank you darlin’. Nice to see you back on here commenting.
    Grandchildren? beautiful thought but, I’m not that old……yet lol. :) xx

    Hi Hilly, Thanks my friend. Pleased it made you smile!.

  • By hilly, December 17, 2010 @ 7:36 am

    on Nadine’s behalf:

    I wish you all the best for Xmas and the New Year. Thank you Paul for your thought – they are good to read.

    Anger: I sometimes lose my temper to an unpardonable extent? I can come to hate the person who has done me wrong. “Bad” people have contributed to my character; I didn’t know what it was like to be unable to forgive, I had never hated anyone – I feel almost ashamed to admit it. I’m a generous person. When I see hardship and famine in the world it makes me cry; I can’t bear to see an unhappy child. In the end: I’m very sensitive But plenty of people have hurt me and that has hurt me; but no more, don’t think that I am bad, no! I am angry with these people to the point of no longer being able to forgive in the way I always have done.
    When I take stock of my life, it is my husband and my two wonderful children that I love more than anything else in the world, who give me so much love. To me, my children’s smiles are: the color of the sky the twinkling of the stars in the sky…I could say more about those smiles but I know that once I start on the subject of my children there is no stopping me.

    HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL. HAPPY NEW YEAR. I LOVE YOU ALL, MY FRIENDS

  • By carol4spot, December 17, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too Nadine from thousands of miles away in NY USA.
    Christine, that was a very sweet little story. Thanks for sharing from your heart. You sound like a very kind, loving human being. I think of you often. Your story is really intense. I have a friend who’s young son died from suicide. It was horrible. He died two years later, probably from sadness. Or to be with his son. Who knows. I know your story is a little different but your strength is impressive! My friend didn’t have that inner strength and met an early demise. So, you just stay the way you are! The world is a better place because of it!
    Hi Everyone!! xocarol

  • By Christine, December 18, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

    Hi Carol, I read your comments this morning, and it has taken me all day to find the words to reply. Thank you seems such a small word! but your kindness is really appreciated. Your words moved me. I am sorry about your friend and his son.
    This can be such a hard time of year for people.
    Anyway, thank you once again, I hope you have a great Christmas !! all the best for 2011!.
    Take care,
    Christine xx

  • By hilly, December 19, 2010 @ 5:25 am

    My beautiful cat ,the cat with the eyes that have beguiled and entranced me for the past 14 years; the cat that inspired the name of my store and my pen-name, Mishka, woke up on Saturday morning, climbed down off my bed and walked straight into the wall. he is blind. I’ve been going over the choices in my head for the past forty eight hours; and dreading a far from happy Xmas. But he is adapting and watching him do so is a lesson in how to get through adversity when it hits you. yes he still cannons into the furniture and the walls; yes he steps into his food (he always was a messy eater!) yes he peed on the floor (just missing the edge of a rug) and s**t on another floor in the night (we have terracotta tiles in this part of the world – phew!) but he is adapting. I set him up a litter tray this he morning and put him in it. He used it….then curled up and went to sleep in it.
    the point is – he is making his little choices – he is not going to let it stop him living his life. He is eating well (he ate a little duck breast with a honey and butter sauce with us at lunch today…not so much Purina Gourmet cat food as home-made gourmet food for cats!)
    I watch him and learn from my little zen cat.

  • By ckroddy, December 20, 2010 @ 7:35 am

    So much to think about. Still so much to learn. I am still an infant on this journey. I have only recently realized/learned that I can “separate” from my emotions, look at them, acknowledge them, yet not allow them to “own” me. I have to consciously remind myself that I can and should do this. Existing in the morass of tangled, angry, pulsing emotion is not where I want to be – been there, done that, and it didn’t work. I fooled myself into thinking that I was controlling them. An event occurs, an emotion evolves, and I analyze it. Pull it out, look at it, categorize it and tuck it away in its proper drawer. Dust my hands off and I’m done. Whew, survived that crisis. No, not really. BIG events happen and the drawers are full. Where to put this one – this anger/fear/frustration/helplessness/pain? I can’t get my arms around it. It’s taken on a life of its own. Much like The Blob, it is trying to absorb me. I’m reeling out of control.

    With much guidance I was able to “get out of my head and into my life”. There is no controlling. There is simply being. This journey is just beginning. I have so much to learn. There is joy in the learning and the being. Thank you for the thought seeds.

    To many more “new beginnings”…
    Cindy

  • By pilar, December 20, 2010 @ 9:38 am

    Dear Paul

    Somos protagonistas de nuestra vida y por ello creemos tener el poder absoluto sobre ella, aunque a veces las circunstancias que nos rodean nos hacen ser meros espectadores con un pobre control de la misma. La rabia y la ira forman parte de nuestra condición de humanos, y aunque no estemos orgullosos de sentirlas todos las conocemos y las hemos sufrido alguna vez.

    Tu testimonio es una lección de vida, de coraje, de fuerza, y tus palabras abren puertas que invitan a la reflexión mientras la luz está presente en todo lo que haces.

    Te deseo una Feliz Navidad en compañía de los tuyos y que el Año Nuevo te traiga nuevas ilusiones, porque ellas son las que mueven el corazón, haciéndonos sentir vivos.

    Con todo mi cariño
    Pilar

  • By Rachelle, December 21, 2010 @ 9:20 am

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!!I hope it’s a wonderful time with family and friends…. I cracked my ankle this Monday on the ice so I have a cast on right now. I’m still enjoying the holiday season and look forward to Christmas.

    Rach

  • By hilly, December 21, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

    sounds like a good excuse to stay home and drink hot chocolate Rach!
    Be safe all of you where there is ice and snow.

  • By xtexan86, December 22, 2010 @ 11:44 pm

    Season’s Greetings to All!

    Just a few things I’d like to throw my two cents in…

    Sue…times like that I tend to think of Tina’s Law #1, which states “There’s an A-hole born every minute.” Which leds directly into Tina’s Law #2 – “And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.”

    Anger – I felt that today, BTW. I’m walking my dog and some jerk barks/yells out of the passenger window, trying to scare either one of us I guess. Out of all the emotions, I dislike anger the most. Maybe, like PMG eludes to, is it makes us feel helpless. Perhaps. I get angry when I perceive injustice and unfairness, which can certainly be explained as feeling helpless. My only recourse is to tell myself that while I may not have control over what happens to me, or around me, that I do have control over how I react to it. It’s hard but I try to erase it from my mind so it doesn’t steal any more energy than what is necessary.

    Sammy – it’s so hard being in your situation, isn’t it? When dealing with the impending death of family members, those who we love the most, we frequently find it impossible to tell them the truth. I know my parents couldn’t tell my grandfather, and my mom couldn’t tell my dad. It’s an awful situation, for sure.

    Animals – Boy, I can’t tell you how often I’ve watched my pets, wondering what goes through their minds. One thing I’ve learned, is they never seem to take anything personally. My cat whines when I move her from my spot on the couch but seconds later, she’s trying to nuzzle up to my side. And my dog, reads me like a book. He knows exactly when I’m leaving for work (stays pretty calm), or when I plan to go out the door and take him for a walk (bounces off of the walls). These special guys must have souls.

    I’m glad that PMG finally posted again. Seems like the only time I get to hear from those that tend to be lurkers.

    So, with that, my wishes to all for a Merry Xmas, Happy Holidays and for a peaceful New Years. xt

  • By heidi33, December 23, 2010 @ 2:45 am

    You know as each year passes,it doesn’t get any easier. Especially round the holiday season, I try and put a brave face on and be cheerful but my heart is still sad due to bereavements in my family– I miss my loved ones so much. My childhood memories of seeing family and good friends are still fresh in my mind and I still remember them although they are no longer with us.

    Appreciate people while you have them.

    Well, I am thinking of all of you and wish you all the best for the festive season and lots of peace for the New Year!!!

    You know in England, we make New Year Resolutions on how we will change things or ourselves. What would you others like to change about yourselves or your lifestyle?
    Do other countries make Resolutions or is it only England? I don’t know.
    What I do know is that people find it difficult to change for example to give up smoking–it needs a lot of will power.

    People try and change me but why should I if I don’t want to???
    Old school friends wanted me to dye my hair green or purple!!! Why should I?

    Another friend told me not to associate with people from other countries or cultures–I enjoy talking to other people —I learn from them.My flaw is that I don’t like to be controlled by anyone–I like to make my own judgments and what I think is fair in Life.
    AS a child, I was pig-headed or like a mule and I hope in the future that I never change that part of me!!!
    If somebody tells me to jump in the river, I would have to ask why and would not jump but if I saw somebody drowning, I would jump in rightaway to try and save them. Perhaps it is part of my conditioning, I don’t know.
    So in conclusion, I don’t think people can change or it would be very difficult for them.

    All the Best to all of you from Heidi.

  • By hilly, December 23, 2010 @ 3:17 am

    Tina – may I adopt and your laws?
    Not only is there one born every minute but sometimes it seems that they are all on the roads at the same time!

  • By Terri, December 23, 2010 @ 7:51 am

    Hilly, your last coment made me laugh out loud. You know it’s Christmas shopping time and that makes it worse. My daughter now has a lovely dent/crack in her car door which was no fault of her own. She just had major surgery and was only out because of a follow up visit. Sometimes you have to laugh to “keep from crying”. Thank you for the laugh.

  • By hilly, December 23, 2010 @ 8:51 am

    wow Pam how did you do that?
    (have you been at the happy juice? LOL)

    Terri: some of my better remarks when driving among the peasantry (I edited out the obscenities!)
    “Oh look, he bought the model with optional indicators.”
    “Its pedal on the right makes the car move”
    “Green light….move; red light…stop whaddya color blind?”
    “Someone kick the stone; maybe he’ll find his way back under it.”

    and that is when I’m in a good mood. Needless to say I never let them hear me (and the advantage of being bilingual is they wouldn’t understand if they did – I hope)

  • By hilly, December 23, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

    Life is a joke played on us all….don’t ask me who by!
    Either we laugh or we cry.

  • By hilly, December 23, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

    that’s the reaction I wanted
    ;) ;) ;)

  • By Nadine, December 23, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

    Belle citation de Paul , Pammy ! le 24 décembre devait être un jour de Paix les guerres devraient s’arrêter .
    pendant la guerre de 1914 à 1918 en France un ” Miracle ” si j’ose dire ! est survenu la nuit de Noel : Les soldats Allemands et Français se sont arrêtés de se battre ils ont fêté la naissance de Jésus ont chanté ensemble , prié ensemble , bu et mangé ensemble ! Un cinéaste a immortalisé cette merveilleuse scène et en a fait un film ! tres beau film !!!!!!
    Les Pays en guerre devraient agir de la même façon , le nuit de Noel devrait être une nuit de PAIX !!!!!

    ’Our ability to love is our truest power, our greatest power as human beings.”

    C’est une Merveilleuse citation……

    JOYEUX NOEL A TOUTES ET TOUS !!!!!!!

  • By eggnoggon, December 23, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

    Wishing all…. time, space and love this Christmas and may the New Year horizon helplessness and here.

  • By hilly, December 24, 2010 @ 4:00 am

    Nadine said:
    That’s a good quote for m Paul, Pam. The 24th of December should be a day of peace; wars should stop. In the 14-18 war there was (dare I say it) a miracle when the French and German soldiers stopped fighting to celebrate the birth of Jesus and sing, pray, eat and drink together. There is a beautiful film about this. Al countries at war should do the same; Christmas night should be a time of peace.
    …..

    It’s a wonderful quote.
    Happy Xmas to you all.

  • By hilly, December 24, 2010 @ 4:08 am

    Nadine’s right – all over the ‘Front’ during the First World War soldiers came together to celebrate even if they went back to fighting the next day. the proof if one is needed of how young men are sent to die to satisfy the vanity and greed of politicians and vested interests (arms manufacturers; oil men; ‘security’ firms) they get their profits while the young die.
    At let us not forget that those who fought in the two World Wars and Korea and Viet Nam were mostly conscripts….at least modern armies are volunteers – they know what to expect.
    At this time – when those same lip-service politically driven ‘Christians’ make sure that the TV cameras see them celebrating the ‘Prince of Peace’ – may those of us who genuinely believe in peace and harmony regardless of religious or philosophical propganda hope that a few young lives will be saved and that those who get their vicarious kicks from war get their just desserts….bankruptcy; prison….and international disgrace!

  • By Nadine, December 25, 2010 @ 2:29 am

    CHANT DE NOEL :

    Minuit ! Chrétiens, c’est l’heure solennelle
    Où l’homme Dieu descendit jusqu’à nous,
    Pour effacer la tache originelle
    Et de son père arrêter le courroux :
    Le monde entier tressaille d’espérance
    A cette nuit qui lui donne un sauveur
    Peuple, à genoux attends ta délivrance,
    Noël ! Noël ! Voici le Rédempteur !
    Noël ! Noël ! Voici le Rédempteur !

    De notre foi que la lumière ardente
    Nous guide tous au berceau de l’enfant
    Comme autrefois, une étoile brillante
    Y conduisit les chefs de l’Orient
    Le Roi des Rois naît dans une humble crèche,
    Puissants du jour fiers de votre grandeur,
    A votre orgueil c’est de là qu’un Dieu prêche,
    Courbez vos fronts devant le Rédempteur !
    Courbez vos fronts devant le Rédempteur !

    Le Rédempteur a brisé toute entrave,
    La terre est libre et le ciel est ouvert
    Il voit un frère ou n’était qu’un esclave
    L’amour unit ceux qu’enchaînait le fer,
    Qui lui dira notre reconnaissance ?
    C’est pour nous tous qu’il naît, qu’il souffre et meurt :
    Peuple, debout ! chante ta délivrance,
    Noël ! Noël ! chantons le Rédempteur !
    Noël ! Noël ! chantons le Rédempteur !

    JOYEUX 25 DECEMBRE A TOUS MES AMIS EUROPEENS QUI DECOUVRENT LEURS CADEAUX EN CE MOMENT !

    JOYEUX REVEILLON A TOUS MES AMIS AMERICAINS QUI SONT EN TRAIN DE REVEILLONNER EN CE MOMENT !

  • By hilly, December 25, 2010 @ 9:31 am

    I’m sorry I can’t really translate Nadine’s post – it is very difficult to translate songs; but she wishes everyone a happy Christmas

  • By HILDA LIPRACE, December 25, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

    MERRY CHRISTMAS. ., .. LOVE PEACE, LIGHT. GOD BLESS
    CON AMOR ( LOVE ) HILDA KISSES KISSES KISSES

  • By cinzia, December 25, 2010 @ 2:35 pm

    Con l’augurio di un Natale meraviglioso colgo l’occasione per dirle che questo suo pensiero di forza e di amore nell affrontare le difficolta della vita sono un aiuto di forza per la mia vita,riesci a far capire che tutto si puo fare e riuscire al meglio se si ha tanto amore da dare agli altri e riuscendo a soffocare la rabbia che si ha dentro.Grazie Paul..

  • By hilly, December 27, 2010 @ 1:05 pm

    I’ve been watching my blind cat come to terms with his new world of darkness. he still blunders about the house and confuses carpets and Xmas paper with his litter tray. I’m thinking of renaming him ‘Pinball’ because he walks into something; turns away; hits something else and turns round and hits the first obstacle! But the real lesson is watching his adapt; watching him overcome his moggie fears. It took him nearly a week to pluck up the courage to jump down off a chair; or go down the stairs (he hasn’t mastered ‘up’ yet!). I watch him and I think how quickly we all adapt to adversity…our animal instincts guide us.

  • By Christine, December 27, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

    Hi everyone, I hope you all have had a good Christmas. As we edge closer to the New Year I would like to wish you all the very best for 2011. Here’s hoping it brings everything you dream of and plenty of love along the way.
    Best wishes,
    Christine xx

  • By Nadine, December 29, 2010 @ 5:43 am

    Aux Etats Unis Pammy ? crois tu que nous aurons la chance de l’avoir en version Française sur Ebay ou Amazone ?

  • By hilly, December 29, 2010 @ 6:29 am

    Nadine almost took the words off my keyboard (to coin a phrase!)
    She asks if there will be a french version available on E-Bay or Amazon.
    I was wondering how the book is going to be marketed…Amazon pre-ordering has its pitfalls; they are capable of saying a book is available when it hasn’t even been published.

  • By Nadine, December 29, 2010 @ 11:13 am

    Ok Merci Hilly et merci Pammy tu sais les cours d’Anglais privé en France coutent très chers ! j’aimerai beaucoup réapprendre cette langue !
    Je vais donc devoir être patiente pour la traduction ! Bisous!!!!!

  • By hilly, December 29, 2010 @ 11:59 am

    I hadn’t even seen that there is a ‘version’ on Amazon Pam…

  • By hilly, December 29, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

    Nadine says that private English courses are very expensive in FRance – having been at the “other side of the desk” I can assure you that if they are the teachers don’t get paid at the same rate – minimum wage gets minimum ability which is why I refuse to do it!

  • By Nora, December 30, 2010 @ 10:00 am

    I think the same of Nadine … I had started the classes to learn English … but it was my budget and I had to put aside, I had other priorities, I will be patient and wait for the translation, be translated into Spanish as well … no?

    I am writing with Google translator … sorry if there is any error.

    CARIÑOS Y MUY FELIZ 2011…

  • By Nelleke, December 31, 2010 @ 7:11 am

    Well, I read this piece just now and oh boy, does that sound familiar.
    Because of depressions and having touble dealing with the aftermath of two strokes,my psychologist thought that Mindfulness could be something for me to finally get some piece and quiet in my head. I started the course 6 weeks ago and everything you wrote, Paul, makes sense to me. But… what do you do when you can’t keep your mind from going ugly places? When you can’t look at yourself without hate. When you hate the life your living right now? When you feel yourself falling into a deep, dark well and can’t see any light anymore?
    How do you learn to accept that life, as it is now, is all there will ever be?
    I’m not sking for miracles, just a little piece inside me.
    Until now, Mindfulness hasn’t given me that. Maybe I am asking too much too soon, but I am so tired of this life.

    In a few hours this year will be over on my side of the globe. I can only hope that 2011 will be better for me and for everybody who needs it.

    xx Nelleke

  • By hilly, December 31, 2010 @ 7:23 am

    Don’t hate the life you’re living Nelleke – you give more support than you realise sometimes my friend.
    Hold my hand across the web tonight; I won’t be partying because I have never liked this “holiday”.
    January 1st is just the day after December 31 to me; and putting figures onthe age of the universe strikes me as so artificial….2011 for some 5771 for others and a few billion for all of us…..
    So or those who like the marker – have a happy new year. All I can say is that if it can be better than 2010 was for so many of my friends then it can only be a good thing.
    Sorry to party poop….but when you have gone into as many ‘new’ years as I hva hoping that this time it will go just a little bit right you soon get sick of even hoping.

  • By Christine, December 31, 2010 @ 3:41 pm

    Hi Hilly, I really hope you have a better year this New Year my friend.
    I’m not one to celebrate New Year either not in the sense of going to parties etc. But I do hope for better things for everyone.
    Thank you to all of you on here for a year of support and friendship. Although most of us have never actually ‘met’ you are all appreciated.
    Best wishes for 2011
    love,
    Christine xx

  • By Nadine, December 31, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

    Bonne et heureuse Année 2011 à toutes et tous ! beaucoup de bonheur , de joie et surtout la Santé !

    Une pensees particulière pour Maria , pour qui j’ai fait bruler une bougie ce soir !
    ” Remets toi vite ma Maria , nous avons besoin de tes douces paroles sur le blog nous t’aimons ! “

  • By Sammy, December 31, 2010 @ 6:19 pm

    Dear Paul, Pam, Hilly, Christine, Rach, Carol, Xtexan86, and all of you my fellow Bloggers,

    Wish you all a Happy New Year 2011! I am so glad I have met you all and I am thankful for the past year I have had with you and all the thoughts and wishes we have shared throughout.

    Love!
    Sammy.

  • By carol4spot, December 31, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

    Hi everyone and Happy New Year! I am sorry for those of you who have had a bad year. I hope this new year does in fact get better for you. Hilly, I am always hoping things get better for you and kitty. And, for all others who are struggling, I am always wishing you all well too. Hi also to Frances, Christine, Nadine, Sammy,PamM, Paul,and all people I missed!
    I can actually say that I am grateful for the past year. I am grateful for the fact that I have had life for the last year. I am not mad at the last year. It all makes me who I am. Hey, I’m not saying every year has been peaches and cream, but, for sure I do understand that life is not this perfect picture we long for..life is what it is. It’s good, it’s bad, it’s sunny, it’s cloudy, it’s hot, it’s cold..on and on. It is never that perfect constant. It’s never 75 degrees and sunny everyday. I am of the opinion that life is not supposed to be ‘perfect’ but more like ‘imperfect’. I believe that it is all about trials and tribulations and lessons learned. When that stuff stops…you’re dead. So, I think I’d rather deal with the trials and tribulations for now because I’m not ready for ‘the end’. I am also pretty sure that this New Year coming is definitely going to throw me some curve balls. My father is not well. That’s just a matter of time. As I stated in a post a long time ago, the sad part of my father’s plight right now is not the fact that he’s dying, it’s the fact that he never ‘lived’. He was angry all the time. Never happy with the way anything ever went in his life. His life was nothing but misery because it never was like he envisioned it ‘should be’. In effect he made everyone around him suffer. It’s sad. It’s sad that he probably realizes that now and there’s no do-overs. It’s done. So, basically, I just take the good , the bad and the ugly because that’s what life really is . I’m also not saying that I live without getting upset or freaking out. I’m human. I freak out . I cry. I laugh. In the end, I’m grateful for my life. My life enables me to keep animals safe in my neighborhood.
    xocarol
    PamM..Thank you…back at ya!

  • By hilly, January 1, 2011 @ 1:15 am

    a big thank you to all the wonderful people here who reach out to each other.
    The last year could have been worse – I have a house I have the right to some unemployment income even if I’m not working. I enjoyed the course I finished and for a brief moment it looked like I had found a good job (even if it wasn’t really what I wanted). But the curve balls hit me in the face right at the end of the year and that made it hard to see through the tears.

    Mishka is making BIG progress….he has at long last mastered the art of getting into his litter tray to ‘perform’ (at least when he is in my room at night – the daytime tray gets him confused if he isn’t in the right room).
    Looking at it with a little more clarity losing my job is a good thing – I can concentrate on getting the job I really want instead of accepting second best. I have a qualification that ‘means something’ to the average recruiter (as opposed to 2 degrees that aren’t ‘commerce’ related…why do people think that a history degree is only fit for teaching?!) so maybe I’ll get a job where I can use my knowledge, my skills and being bilingual to do something interesting. I don’t want a huge salary (I’ve never earned a ‘good’ salary in my life) just a little more than the minimum and the chance of going on until I retire aged 65 (10 years isn’t that long!).

    So OK 2011 do your stuff!

  • By Nelleke, January 1, 2011 @ 4:28 am

    Thank you Hilly! You are a true fiend.
    I hope, really hope, that this new year will finally bring you the job you are looking for. you, of all people, deserve it.
    Thank you Pam and Paul, for this blog. It’s a wonderful place to be, even when you are down and out.

  • By valerie, January 1, 2011 @ 6:26 am

    Thanks paul for your wishes. In my turn,I wish you an Happy New Year.
    Full of Happiness for you and all people you love.
    see you_ soon
    Kisses from france
    valerie
    (¨`•♥•´¨)
    ***.`•.¸.•´lots of love from France

    Best wishes too for all people on this blog
    see you soon
    Kisses

  • By Christine, January 2, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

    Hi Everyone, How is the beginning of 2011 going for you all?.
    I made a conscious decision to make a few changes this year!!.
    Why is it that we always think that others will know better than us?. Why when making a decision do we ask ‘what would you do?. Because we feel better by having a safety net there….incase we are wrong!. It really is hard to put 100% trust in oneself. What will he/she think if we don’t have it right? worry, worry and more worry.
    This year I’m going to trust my own instincts.
    This year I will not have ‘idiot’ written on my forehead.
    This year no one will take me for granted.
    I am who I am, a flawed human being, who really does try.
    This year I will suddenly look a million dollars!
    Finally, I will stop kidding myself!! hahaha!

  • By hilly, January 3, 2011 @ 4:25 am

    This year I’m going to trust my own instincts.
    This year I will not have ‘idiot’ written on my forehead.
    This year no one will take me for granted.
    I am who I am, a flawed human being, who really does try.
    This year I will suddenly look a million dollars!
    Finally, I will stop kidding myself!! hahaha!

    Who wrote ‘idiot’ on your forehead – let me at ‘em with my claws!

    I put on so much weight in the past 4 months – that’s what depression does to me – I only have to walk past the pastry shop without going in and I put on half a kilo! So I’m back to counting calories,(no more that 1100 a day) eating balanced and healthy stuff (no instant fad diets or other nonsense) and getting exercise. Hey maybe I might even get my self confidence back.

    Oh yes and I’ve decided it’s time I got back to working on a novel I started 6 years ago….

  • By Christine, January 3, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    Hi Hilly, Funny you should say that, I was thinking of writing more this year too. Who knows Hilly you could be writing a real winner!!. Don’t they say everyone has a story to tell?.
    I guess it takes a certain degree of confidence to go from writing/reading your own work to sending it to others for an opinion. But they reckon anything good is worth waiting for.
    Take care,
    Christine xx

  • By carol4spot, January 3, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    Hilly, just a little reminder …You are special on this planet and there are plenty of people the world over that care about you and think about you, I being one of them. I understand people have confidence issues, especially women, but please try to at least realize you are just as deserving of this life as anyone else. We are all equal.
    Christine, funny,” idiot written on the forehead”. You are certainly not alone in that department. However, it is my opinion that we as humans should not take things so personally which causes the reactions of feeling taken advantage of or taken for granted etc. The people that are the ones taking advantage of you or treating you like an idiot are the ones at fault, not you. It is they that need to learn. You just stay the way you are. You are a fine person.
    To those of you on your writing projects, good luck!xocarol

  • By fee, January 4, 2011 @ 3:18 am

    Wow! Where to start. First of all, Sammy, I was so sorry to read of your mum’s illness. It is very hard to lose a parent, but I think you have done the right thing in not telling her. I always think quality of life is far more important than quantity when it comes down the curve ball that life has just thrown you and your mum. Being there for her, supporting her and remembering your life together is the most important, hard as it may be for you. You come across as a lady with a lot of strength and compassion and I send you my best wishes and support and a big hug.
    Christine love, you are NO “idiot” but a compassionate, caring and loving lady who has gone through hell and come out the other end stronger than ever Keep up that fighting “Northern” spirit, lass. We “Northerners” stick together.
    Hilly and Nelleke, my dear friends no need for me to say anything on here. You know how I feel about you both. You each have a very strong fighting spirit that will keep you afloat, even when you feel you have been cast adrift.
    Pam, my dear friend, you are one of the most caring and giving ladies I have ever had the privilege of meeting. You care so much about everyone else but I am so glad to see that you are finally going to take some time and stand up for yourself too. You should not let anyone walk over you as you have the same rights as everyone else.
    Paul, a very interesting post from you and it looks like you are doing some “serious” soul searching. Anger can be such a destructive emotion if we let it run our lives and yes, it is usually fueled by “fear” of loss of control of aspects of our lives that we wish to keep under control. Especially as we grow older.
    The world today is a very scary place if we let it be so BUT we have the choice of whether to let it dominate us or not. It is still also a very beautiful place if we open our eyes to the everyday beauty around us. A child’s smile, a birds call, a sunrise/sunset etc. It is up to us all to open our eyes and our hearts and see the beauty in everyone and everything. Sharing love and compassion with all, reaching out across cyberspace with outspread arms to embrace all in a hug. I always feel that hugs are a great way to comfort someone and we all at one time or another need that hug.
    On a lighter note. It definitely must be the year of writing as I have also been toying with the idea of keeping a journal to help me with finding my heart and soul and how to help others.
    There are so many interesting books on the subject of the “soul” etc out there and too many to list here but I would recommend Gary Zukav’s “The Seat of the Soul” plus any by Deepak Chopra.

    Paul, Pam and all the other friends who come here I would like to wish you all the very best for the coming year. May you find peace, health and fulfillment in all that you pursue.
    Meta hugs,
    Fee.

  • By hilly, January 4, 2011 @ 4:32 am

    Pam I can only echo what Fee just said; I’ve told you before that you care too much for others to your own detriment so get out there and look after Number One for once. It isn’t selfish…it is a very difficult thing to earn to do when you have been the one that others can turn to. Turning to yourself is the first lesson in really understanding yourself.

    So now all I have to do is learn to take my own advice!

    Fee, Pam, Sammy, Nelleke and any one I may have missed – and yes you too Paul, Thank you for being there – with wise words, with kindness, with friendship (each of you knows which you offer and to whom). Happy New Year to you all

  • By Sue, January 4, 2011 @ 2:44 pm

    Pam:

    Why must there BE a “purpose in life”? I know that there are many, probably most people who search for it, but I’m one of those who believes it’s a useless search. I believe we are here simply because our mother lay down with our father during a certain fertile period in both of their lives, cells joined, divided, grew, and eventually produced me. Why must I need a purpose? Isn’t inhabiting this planet enough of a purpose?

    If we affect the lives of others, all well and good, but I hardly believe that there is any pre-ordained purpose for our doing that. Sometimes we do it accidentally, coincidentally. Sometimes, we do it purposefully, but that is OUR purpose, a purpose WE decided to make to intervene in another person’s life, positively or negatively.

    I must admit, though, that I get frustrated (NOT offended, just frustrated) when constantly told (by everyone) that I have a purpose in life or I wouldn’t be here.

    I believe I have no more purpose than a rock on the ground has purpose, a bird in the air has purpose, a mote of dust has purpose. And I find absolutely nothing wrong or depressing about that in the least.

    Sue

  • By Christine, January 4, 2011 @ 3:09 pm

    Hi Carol, Thank you for those wise words, you have a great way at looking at things. Your support is appreciated.

    Hi Hilly, Here’s to a good New Year eh?

    Hi Pam, Thank you. Yes it is sometimes hard to keep the self -confidence going or even getting it started at times lol.

    Hi Fee, Thank you. Yes, we Northerners do need to stick together!!. You are right in seeing the beauty around us. A smile, a hello, can mean so much. You know what they say…. the best things in life are free!.
    Take care everyone.
    Christine xx

  • By carol4spot, January 4, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

    @ Pam says, “So many readers have emailed privately or posted elsewhere that they don’t feel that they are ‘good enough’ or eloquent enough in their writing or thoughts to post…”
    I can see being somewhat intimidated by so many ‘writers’ or people with quite beautifully written comments, but, I guess I got nerve then because I am so UN-eloquent. Oh well. There are all types of writing styles. I find sometimes things most simply said mean the most. I am not a writer of any kind. And no where does it state here that only well written or eloquent comments accepted. So, until someone insults my writing to the point where I won’t comment anymore, I’ll keep on sharing my not-so-eloquent comments. Hi everyone!! xocarol
    Christine…you are welcome…I love spreading love xo

  • By Nadine, January 4, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

    Personnellement j’ai posté sur ce blog des soucis que j’avais eu avec certains membres de ma famille j’ai beaucoup souffert et en parler a vous tous m’a fait un bien énorme ! vous avez toutes été là pour moi c’était merveilleux !
    Mais je crois qu’il vaut mieux que je m’abstienne je sais qu’il y a des personnes adorables et sincères pour nous écouter et même nous conseiller mais il y des choses beaucoup plus graves que mes soucis ! Je me sens prête moi aussi à vous écouter et vous rassurer ! Pam est une personne que je respecte et que j’aime beaucoup elle a un grand coeur ! sans elle nous n’aurions pas ce blog ni tout ce qui concerne Paul dans la mesure du possible évidemment ! sans elle il n’y aurait pas ce blog ! pas de site et nous ne nous connaitrions pas virtuellement !
    Merci Pam pour tout ce que tu fais pour nous !!!!!

  • By hilly, January 5, 2011 @ 12:25 am

    I’m in a hurry here so I’ll translate Nadine’s post for you all later.

    Why am I in a hurry? I bought a little book yesterday and I started to read it at 4 am while my little blind cat blundered around my bedroom (I’m paranoid that he’ll miss his litter tray so I have to stay awake!) This was not the ideal conditions in which to read it…so now I’m giving myself the morning to read it. It is only 160 pages set a little like poetry. I don’t know if it is translated into English it is by Bernard WERBER and the french title is Le Livre de Voyage…from the little I’ve read I’d call it ‘The Travel Book’ or ‘The Voyager’s companion”

    TBC……

  • By carol4spot, January 5, 2011 @ 3:11 am

    Pam, I was not insulted at all! You must read me wrong! Have a beautiful day to you and everyone else!! xxoocarol

  • By fee, January 5, 2011 @ 3:31 am

    Whoops!! I think there are some crossed wires here. Carol, your comments are always interesting and wise. You have a beautiful way of expressing yourself and your care for the feathered and furred ones in your neighbourhood is fantastic. Everyone has their own style of writing and no one way is any better than another!
    However, Pam wasn’t having a go at anyone, she was just trying to encourage others who usually lurk to post themselves.
    I will admit that I was one of those that has often said to Pam and Hilly in emails that I didn’t feel I could be as eloquent as some who post here.
    I don’t tend to try and examine the nuance of every thought uttered etc or delve too deeply into why we are here which is why I keep out a lot of the more esoteric posts. However I enjoy reading them even if sometimes I find it difficult to understand what someone is trying to say.

    Sue, you have just as much right to your own philosphy as everyone else and no-one has the right to try and tell you what you should or should not think/believe. A lot of us believe we have a purpose here on earth and others like yourself believe you don’t. That is your prerogative.
    Hilly, that book sounds interesting and I think I have just managed to understand what Nadine is telling us. I really need to brush up on my rusty (very) schoolgirl French.

    Pam, that book is really fascinating, well Don and I think so. Well worth the read if you are into that sort of thing. I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea so to speak.

    Meta Hugs to all,

    Fee xxx

  • By fee, January 5, 2011 @ 3:35 am

    Heheh!! Carol, you got back before I posted my comment. Glad to hear that you weren’t insulted. You sound too down to earth for that.
    You have a lovely day too. It’s the end of my day, way Down Under and I am almost a day ahead of you, I think.

    Fee xxx

  • By hilly, January 5, 2011 @ 4:28 am

    snort…if you aren’t eloquent Fee….(except when the Martians get into your keyboard!)

    and for those who don’t even have schoolkid French (but may have languages I don’t)here’s Nadine’s post:

    Speaking for myself, I’ve blogged here about worries I’ve had with some members of my family ; I’ve suffered a lot and being able to talk it over with you all has helped enormously. You were all there for me and I was marvelous.
    But I think it would be better if I stopped, I know that there are some adorable and sincere people to listen to us and to advise bu. I am ready to listen to you and reassure you. Pam is someone that I respect and love because she is so kind-hearted! Without her we wouldn’t have this blog nor all the other things about Paul (within the possible of course) Without her there wouldn’t be this blog! No website we wouldn’t know each other through the internet
    Thank you Pam for all you have done for us

  • By Sue, January 5, 2011 @ 4:51 am

    Hey, Fee. :)

    I do know that. Was just trying to start up another discussion, that’s all. It’s all good, honestly.

    Sue

  • By hilly, January 5, 2011 @ 7:17 am

    And here I am to take it up with you Sue { ;) ]

    I don’t see why we should feel we have a ‘purpose’ in the world either. It is the human race’s vanity that makes it think that it needs to leave its mark…buildings, tombstones etc. We are here; we take one step at a time and if we are fortunate enough to be able to live doing what we enjoy doing (call it that over-worked and frequently abusive word ‘vocation’ or whatever) then all well and good. If in our lives we can help others through their personal shoals – all well and good – but is it why we are here?
    If the human race is here for a purpose what is it. We (humans that is)are in the process of destroying the planet that gives us life. One group turns on another to kill in a way that no other animal does on such a grand and vicious scale. We establish dogmas and doctrines and kill or insult those who choose not to agree with them – or who feel that the doctrine or dogma or path they have formulated is better.
    We use and abuse each other. What purpose is there in all that?
    Whenever I hear about looking for a purpose or the question of ‘why are we here’ I think of Slartibartfast. Who’s he I hear many of you cry. In the wonderful books ‘The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ he’s the man whose job it was to design the Fjords (!) and he revealed that we are all just an experiment run by the white mice that created the universe.
    Did I just put the mice among the men?

  • By hilly, January 5, 2011 @ 11:18 am

    Very good points Adela, maybe the word isn’t ‘purpose’ but ‘place’ or ‘significance’ or even ‘relevance’.
    I can’t speak for Sue but in my reasoning the idea of a ‘purpose’ has an underlying idea of ‘I’m here to do something’ or even worse ‘I am supposed to do something to justify my existence’
    mypurpose in life is to be an infinitesimal speck in the workings of the universe not to carry out some predestined ‘role’ to satisfy the whim of a theoretical puppet master in the ..what…sky?

  • By hilly, January 5, 2011 @ 11:18 am

    and what is ‘Truth’ you give it a capital letter….

  • By Sue, January 5, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    Hilly and Adela:

    That’s my point. If I had a penny for every person who, in my life, has told me “God has a purpose for you in your life” or whatever, I could retire and live the good life in a cabin in Cape Cod or the mountains or something with my dogs.

    As an atheist, I have no belief in any god, so any purpose this make-believe being may have is to me as important to my life as someone saying “that invisible unicorn over there created you for a reason”.

    No, the only reason I was created at all was because my parents had sex on a certain fertile day and I was conceived. That’s it and that’s all.

    I am no believer in the old canard “everything happens for a reason”. On a scientific level, that may be true at some point, but otherwise, there is no reason why the babies I care for are born far too early, only to die in my arms. No reason other than that they WERE born too early and medical technology hasn’t quite caught up to the womb. It isn’t to teach the parents a lesson. It isn’t to teach me a lesson. Any wisdom gained is entirely incidental and coincidental to the fact that someone, something, was alive, and now it’s not.

    When I say these things out loud, the looks of sorrow and pity I get are absolutely enraging. As a famous geneticist once said “Frankly, I’m looking forward to a tasty lunch.”

    We are all condemned by life to death. If we accomplish anything at all in this world, it is through OUR OWN guts, grit, determination, effort, blood, sweat and tears. Personally, I think that makes us a whole helluva lot more special and wonderful (just as all things are) for having done it all by ourselves rather than being guided by an invisible force without whom we couldn’t even wipe our own bottoms or know enough to realize that (DUH) murder and theft and rape and the rest is WRONG. WE know that. WE figured that out. WE did it by ourselves.

    My purpose in life is to live. Until I don’t anymore. That’s it. And that, frankly, is EVERYTHING in the world.

    Sue

  • By carol4spot, January 5, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

    Fee, thanks for your kind words. I really wasn’t insulted for sure, but more speaking on behalf of the lurkers who might be nervous because I was one of them for a while. And, no, I’m not a writer! I have to say that your posts are very interesting and well written contrary to what you may think of your own writing! I enjoy seeing your name in the new comments section because you don’t comment a lot and I look forward to it. And, yes, when my workday begins, yours is ending!! It would be nice if we could all be on here at the same time chatting away !!
    Sue, in response to your life has no purpose post, I understand it. It makes sense. You’re allowed to believe or not believe what you want. It doesn’t bother me or offend me. I just believe maybe people feel like there has to be more to this existence than just eating, breathing, procreating and dying. I understand why people might want to make this trip worth their while by making goals or having dreams fulfilled but really it does seem silly knowing that we die in the end. If we lived in the now then a purpose wouldn’t need to be thought of. If we lived in the now, that is life. I have to say though, that I feel there is something. I feel love is the meaning of life. If that means ‘purpose’ too then I guess I feel life does have a purpose, love.
    Adela, I enjoyed your perspective. Thanks for sharing.

    Hi everyone!!xocarol

  • By Sue, January 5, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

    carol:

    I wasn’t arguing that I have a right to believe or not believe anything on this board. I can believe or not believe anything anywhere I like. :D I was merely opening dialogue on the subject, not my ability to say it on this blog. I’ve never feared posting my ideas and intimidation usually isn’t in my dictionary. Heh.

    I’m not necessarily saying that an individual life has no purpose. What I’m saying is that the only purpose life holds is that which we, ourselves, give to it. My belief is that we choose our own paths, make our own purpose, or don’t, as we choose.

    What I mean in general is that my belief is that life itself, be it human, animal, vegetable whatever, has no inherent purpose but the purpose of living. Life happens. It is the inevitable scientific consequence of being on a planet that is positioned in a place where life CAN happen.

    Many, maybe most believers believe that the earth is created for us. I say we were created because of the earth. That we were inevitable, and anywhere where a similar planet is, and there have to be billions, there will be life. It is part of the universe.

    Just like when two hydrogen molecules come near an oxygen molecule, water is formed without a specific purpose for creation, so it is with us.

    But water SERVES a purpose even if it wasn’t CREATED for a purpose. So we, too, SERVE a purpose though we weren’t created for a purpose because we weren’t created at all.

    Again, I don’t stand on the fact that I have a right to believe this. I know I do. I have a right to believe in ghosts and faeries, too. So that has nothing to do with my utterances here on this post.

    Sue

  • By hilly, January 6, 2011 @ 12:41 am

    Adela : thanks – I like that definition. I get very suspicious of people who write ‘truth’ with a capital – they usually means ‘everything attributed to Jesus and/or those who decided to make up the cult centuries later.

    Sue: I wouldn’t retire to Cape Cod I’d buy a house with a view of the Ocean…and within walking distance of the city center (I guess I have to settle for the LA area!)but boy would we be rich!
    And yes oh yes oh yes…why do the religious think they invented the basic rules without which a society can not work? Mankind wouldn’t have lasted five minutes if the basic ‘rules’ of ‘morality’ weren’t so obvious…killing/eating/raping/cheating people is wrong!

  • By fee, January 6, 2011 @ 4:18 am

    Thanks Carol for those nice words. Because I usually come on later in the evening to read the posts I am usually too tired to think straight, hence I don’t post that much. I am usually full of good intentions. Lol!
    Hilly, you can talk re the Martian!! You can be as bad as me at times but then that only happens when we are on chat to one another. You should see some of the words that I manage to edit in time!! I can make a whole new language some days that even I can’t understand. Lol.
    Hmm, well I am one that believes that I am here for a purpose though I am not quite sure what yet. Reading heaps and discussing with like minded friends and learning all the time. I do believe however that we have free will and we have the choice as to which road we will take.
    At the moment learning how we can help this planet of ours seems to be the most important. If we don’t stop raping the planet with our greed, there won’t be a planet left. The Native Americans have the right idea on being at one with Mother Earth and I have a lot of empathy with their outlook on life. Their teachings have a lot to say to us if we only listen.
    Hugs, Fee

  • By Sue, January 6, 2011 @ 4:52 am

    Free will is one of those terms that puts me in a tizzy. I don’t know your religious beliefs, though I know that most who believe in that concept believe in a god or God. Free will and omniscience are incompatible. If a God knows all, then it knows every step you will take before you take it. Therefore, you do not have free will, because that God will have already known the choice you were going to make. And since that God already knew the choice, and if that choice was to not follow it, then it already knows you are to be cast into Hell for infinity. And yet it still created you anyway, KNOWING that. And that is not loving. That is disgusting.

    IF, however, a god or God can’t know what choice you will make before you make it, it is not omniscient, and if so, then it is not god/God.

    I’ve been an atheist since birth, some 48 years ago now. If I hadn’t already been convinced of my beliefs, rocking well over 200 infants to death in my arms convinced me beyond any doubt that there IS no purpose. Life is cruel. Nature is cruel. A creator that would be cruel enough to allow millions, billions of newborn infants to die in absolute agony just to teach someone a lesson is so far beyond disgusting, it’s not even remotely funny.

    I think that if people would stop searching for a purpose in life and MAKE a purpose in life, life would be so much easier to live. I think that instead of saying “oh, why am I here?” people said “THIS is what I am going to do to improve humanity, to improve life, to improve the earth we live on.” it would be so much better for everyone involved.

    Our purpose is OURS to make. If we learn lessons through tragedy and happiness, and we apply those lessons to the betterment of all around us, THAT is a life well lived. Spending one’s time searching for a purpose that some invisible sky daddy who has chosen not to show itself nor to tell you what that purpose might be is just wasting the ONLY TIME WE HAVE.

    Sue

  • By hilly, January 6, 2011 @ 5:04 am

    Free will is one of those terms that puts me in a tizzy. I don’t know your religious beliefs, though I know that most who believe in that concept believe in a god or God. Free will and omniscience are incompatible. If a God knows all, then it knows every step you will take before you take it. Therefore, you do not have free will, because that God will have already known the choice you were going to make. And since that God already knew the choice, and if that choice was to not follow it, then it already knows you are to be cast into Hell for infinity. And yet it still created you anyway, KNOWING that. And that is not loving. That is disgusting.

    exactly. It seems to me that this has always been one of the big cakes that certain religious groups have insisted on having and eating (as the saying goes). Oen the one hand they claim that they have free will, but on the other they are there for their god’s purpose and their god plans everything in advance – which therefore negates the ‘free will’ doesn’t it. Which brings me back to my image of ‘god’ as a puppet master. Well I don’t care if my nose gets long – I’d rather be Pinocchio than a string puppet!

  • By PamT, January 6, 2011 @ 11:48 am

    Hello Sue. I think I remember you writing here once that you enjoy the exchange of views, so I hope you won’t object to me jumping in here. I haven’t witnessed the process of death even remotely as frequently as you have, but I’ve seen enough to be aware of the level of suffering that can be involved. And yes, even with palliative care in situ. Like you, I can’t believe that any benign omniscient being wouldn’t be able to find a kinder way for anyone to learn any lessons they’re supposed to absorb whilst on this earth. If a school teacher was repeatedly inflicting pain on a child every time they got their alphabet wrong, I don’t think we’d generally consider it to be a loving act of teaching.

    I too have been an atheist for many years. I was the kind of child who asked too many questions in Religious Knowledge classes (at that time restricted to study of the bible) and, despite having non-church attending family, I was curious enough to take myself off to a few different church services to find out more when I embarked into my teenage years. In short, I decided that what I heard stretched my credulity too far and wasn’t for me. However, I have always felt slightly envious of some people I’ve encountered over the years who do believe and who appear to derive some sense of comfort and peace of mind from it. That form of faith may not be for me but, that doesn’t mean that it’s not for them – although I am aware that if intolerance is extended towards my status as a non-believer or even ‘infidel’, my tolerance tends to be in turn sorely tested. As I’m writing this, I’m reminded of something Softly wrote on this blog many months ago that makes me now think along the lines of ….. if I want see more tolerance in this world, then I myself need to be more tolerant. (I’d like to stress that this is a purely a personal reflection).

    I find it interesting that Fee wrote about the Native Americans and their relationship to nature. I think I’ve written here before about how I much I value being able to feel a close connection with nature and the direct experience it brings of belonging to something so much bigger. The universe? The oneness? The everything? For a while now, the idea has been niggling at me that if I had to define how I see the ultimate power (some may call it God), then I would be inclined to say it is the Universe. I don’t see it as either a benign or malignant entity that intercedes in and guides my daily life. I don’t see it as acceding to or denying any prayers I may offer up, nor do I see it controlling my thoughts and actions. It just ‘is’ and I just ‘am’ and if I do come complete with a purpose, then I think it’s to truly experience that (but I do agree that there are other ways to give our live a sense of purpose and that these are made by conscious choice). Overall, I tend to take the view that it’s slightly misguided on the part of humankind to think that if we can’t scientifically prove something or explain it with rationality based on the ‘knowledge’ that we currently hold, then it definitively doesn’t exist. I don’t think we have even begun to know the extent of all that we do not know. We have barely begun to even scrape the surface.

    Pam, I got a little confused by one of your posts! On the one hand, you were talking about feeling ‘used’ (and I’m sorry to hear that you’re experiencing that), but the extract you quoted focused on unconditional acts of kindness. Surely, if we undertake an act of kindness with the expectation of some kind of reward or recompense, even if it’s only gratitude, appreciation or a simple acknowledgment, then it’s conditional. It’s a kind of transaction, albeit not a monetary one. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that but, by its very nature, it’s not unconditional. If we feel ‘used’, then it can only be because we have not received something back which we feel is our due and so the experience is contrary to our expectations. If we give unconditionally, do we have expectations? I could well have misunderstood your post and they may be two entirely separate issues you’re juggling with. Anyway, there is no offence intended. It’s just my honest reaction. :-)

    Carol, I really like your post regarding the past year and the words you wrote about your father particularly resonated with me. There was a member of my family who was much the same. He believed that life had short-changed him and that he somehow ‘deserved’ far more. Sadly, he was unable to remove himself from this mind-set and spiralled down into self-destruction, but I learned a lot from his outlook on life. I don’t believe he went through what he did in order to teach me that lesson, but at least something positive came out of the whole sorry mess.

    PamT

    PS. Adela, I very much enjoyed reading your posts also.

  • By Sue, January 6, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    PamT:

    You read correctly. I love the complex (and simple) exchange of ideas. Without them, when one only sings to ones own choir, what is it that we truly learn? Absolutely nothing, IMHO.

    My atheism is the simplest and most direct definition: no BELIEF, not no GOD. There may well be a force out there. I’m simply saying I hold no belief in one. But I haven’t ruled one out because we can’t even rule faeries, unicorns or magic, invisible, wish-granting china teapots orbiting the earth out, either. All of the above could well exist. I simply don’t hold the belief that any of them do.

    Many say that the journey is at least as important as the destination, and I can find some agreement with that. Where my frustrations lie is that if one searches all one’s life for one’s ‘true purpose’, one has missed out on seeing all that is revealed to us with each rising and setting of the sun, with each budding of every flower, with each metamorphosis of caterpillar into butterfly.

    I cannot tell another how to live his life. But I do live on the cusp of frustration (simply because people refuse to grant me the same politeness) of not being able to call a spade a spade. When people sell all their possessions and go to live on a cave on a hill because they know the end is coming, when people refuse to allow their children to go to college or get married because the end is coming, somehow that isn’t to be called the insanity and abuse that it truly is because it’s “religion”. Much of religion has bred within it physical and psychological quirks which, if applied to ANYTHING else, would be called outright lunacy. Yet if those same things are applied to “God”, then suddenly, it’s fine and dandy and is upheld to be the best one can be.

    I think theology was bred out of humanity’s instinct to see patterns where none are truly there. Ask the pitcher who never changes his underwear, or the man who paid $10,000 case for “Toast-Jesus”, or any other of a million million random patterns that humans are bred to see but in reality are nothing but coincidences. We are creatures of ritual and habit. And our ancestors needed to be. As the weakest of nearly all animals, we had to see patterns that told us the lion was there, and if 99 times out of 100, that pattern was only the grass blowing, as long as once out of that 100 times, we were right, then BAM….

    You touch a rock, the lion doesn’t come. YOu touch a rock for ten nights, the lion doesn’t come. It suddenly ceases to be about the lion and becomes about the rock. The rock and our touching of it keeps the lions away. And the man, the scientist, who says “But…guys…the lions are over at the next cave eating all those guys over there” is apt to get strung up by his genitals and disemboweled, because EVERYONE knows that it’s the ROCK keeping the lions away.

    And the frustrated person in me wants to say “Look, in EVERY OTHER part of your life, you want 100% scientific PROOF that any claim I make, be that this car will go that far on one gallon of gas, or this meal won’t kill me, but when it comes to religion, you’ll take it one hundred percent on the word of a complete stranger. What are you THINKING? Live in reality! You’re missing out on so very much!”

    When theologians say “God did it, have faith, you need look no further”, scientists say “look further. We don’t have to die of stupid diseases that can be easily cured with this mold I found the other day.”

    I’m not saying that science is all, but when religion screams that science is NOTHING, I want to scream. I want to tell every person who thinks that, who is also sitting in a chair, in a house, with heat and electricity, in front of a computer, popping pills for their latest infection to, if they truly believe what they’re demanding I believe, to chuck every single bit of it, to go live somewhere with nothing that science has created, and see how long they could live on faith alone. Some are able to do that. I admire the hell out of them. Those people I will listen to, willingly. But until you can do it (the general you, here), don’t tell me sh*t about how science is nothing.

    Sue

  • By Sue, January 6, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

    Pam M:

    I’m glad, I guess, I made you laugh, but I wasn’t trying to be funny. I’m dead serious.

    Sue

  • By PamT, January 6, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    Hi Sue

    Thanks for your response. Very interesting and coherent, as always.

    How about love? As far as I’m aware, there hasn’t as yet been invented an instrument that can measure, quantify or calculate its presence or otherwise. We can look at acts that we might consider are motivated by love, but it’s only a matter of speculation. The only way we know that love exists is because we experience it.

    I certainly don’t propose that science is ‘nothing’. I happen to have a huge amount of respect for it and appreciate many of the benefits it brings. It’s just that I think if we allow ourselves to consider only what lies within the realms of what our science of today can prove, then we are in danger of limiting our outlook and our openness to other possibilities.

    I think there are plenty of physical or psychological ‘quirks’ of a non-religious nature that are accepted as ‘normal’ or acceptable within our societies. Without having given the matter a great deal of thought and off the top of my head …. throwing oneself off a high bridge with only a thick piece of elastic rope attached to the ankles seems like a lunatic and needlessly risky proposition to me, but it’s perfectly acceptable to others. Or people dressing their kids as young as 9 years old in adult style clothing, plastering make-up over their faces and entering them into beauty pageants? What’s that all about?

    I agree with your point about the danger of missing out on everything that life has to offer if searching for a ‘true purpose’, but I wonder whether the two are necessarily mutually exclusive.

    PamT

  • By Sue, January 6, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

    PamT:

    I think my point is more toward the “bungee jumpers and pageant moms” aren’t the majority of our society, nor are they telling us that if we don’t strap on rubber bands to our ankles or dress our children up like adults, we will burn in an everlasting flame for all eternity. They don’t tell us that if we’re not fellow jumpers or fellow p-moms that we can’t marry, that we’re abominations, or fly planes into buildings of folks who aren’t like them.

    Therein the differences lie. If you want to jump off a bridge or dress your kid up, do it. Just don’t presume to tell me I must also do it or suffer the wrath of the bungee jumping invisible force for eternity. Don’t tell me I can’t marry the person I love because I don’t do the same things you do.

    ALL of this is told to me by the religious and ONLY by the religious. Take away religion and you take away the crusades, the flying of planes into buildings, the Inquisition, the institutionalized rape of little boys and girls, most of the wars ever fought on this planet.

    If you don’t believe in evolution, Darwin doesn’t reanimate himself, scientists don’t condemn you to everlasting hellfire or strap you to a stick and throw the match themselves. Tell me that the opposite isn’t true, and I’ll respect religion. Until then, nope. Can’t do it.

    Love, to me, is nothing special, unique, or unscientific. We are animals, and animals love. The thing we call love stimulates our endorphins, stimulates the pleasure centers of our brains, causes us to form stronger bonds that help to move us forward on the evolutionary scale. Some people are genetically programed do fall in love for a lifetime. Others shed it like one sheds new clothes. It comes from the same place that all interests and passions come. Look at fandoms. Some have one or two for life. Some skip from one to the other, growing quickly infatuated, then quickly bored, ready to take on a new obsession that makes us feel like addictive drugs do. Happy, excited, good.

    I believe that the smartest one of us knows one billionth, one trillionth, of all there is to know. But I also believe that there is, ultimately, NOTHING that is truly unknowable, and as we advance, should our species continue to do so, given world enough, and time, we may come to the place where we know all that there is possible to know.

    Science didn’t invent evolution. It uncovered it. Science didn’t invent the laws of physics, of motion, of gravity, of anything. It uncovered it. All that is knowable is there, waiting to BE known.

    Science doesn’t, at its truest root, lock the mind into anything. Religion does. People believe wholheartedly, word for word, a book written by men two thousand years ago, despite all scientific evidence to the contrary. THOSE are the minds that cannot open, can go no further.

    True science always looks forward, wanting to see what is next to be revealed to its eye. It is a living, breathing entity, changing as new things are uncovered to replace the theories of old, as more evidence is added. It is much more, a million times more, a billion times more willing to change its mind and say “I was wrong” than a two thousand year old book and a perfect, all knowing God.

    Sue

  • By Sue, January 6, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    PamM:

    I think that whatever part of your mind allows you the freedom, warmth and giving to help the community and your fellow creatures for the better is a wonderful thing, no matter whether that part also believes in God, god, gods, or other beings or energies not yet known to us.

    Sue

  • By Sue, January 6, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

    Adela: I think you speak English just fine! :D

    I’m of the belief that IF there was a historical Jesus (and I’m supposing it, not believing it), Jesus knew what Judas would do because he’s the one who told Judas to do it.

    Should the story, again, be true, I’m of the belief he planned it out from day one, with the deliberate and conscious decision to fulfill certain prophecies he already knew about by entering Jerusalem through a certain gate at a certain time. He knew he was to be crucified there because he planned to be, to fulfill scripture. And how does one Jew get picked out of an entire city full of Jews during a huge holiday festival? Well, tell someone to go out and let the Romans know where you are and where you can be found.

    No predestination, predetermination, godly interference. Just good old human ingenuity, plain and simple.

    :)

    Sue

  • By Sue, January 6, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

    Adela:

    Wow, I’m spamming. Sorry. But this is so interesting, so…

    It may seem I take all the fun out of everything, but to me, life is majesty in and of itself.

    Music is mathematics, plain and simple. It is connected very deeply with our memory center. In America, at least, the way most children learn the alphabet is by the “alphabet song”. If Schoolhouse Rock hadn’t been invented, millions of American adults my age wouldn’t have the faintest idea what the preamble to the Constitution really said.

    Music deliberately invokes emotions. It’s one reason why I hate many American movies. Because the score is so intrusive, IT tells me how to feel rather than the actors and director guiding me through the story. “Oh, we must feel sad now, so here is music played in a minor chord.”

    The movie JAWS wouldn’t have scared me half as much if not for the famous “ba dum ba dum ba dum ba dum” signature.

    Religion knows this and plays on it. There is a true majesty in walking into a cathedral and hearing a choir sing soaring songs of wonder and glory. It sets the human mind up to believe what it is being told because music is telling us what to feel. And most of us can’t help feeling that way. We are led to that feeling, quite deliberately.

    Music is the master manipulator of emotions. And experts know how to manipulate our emotions expertly.

    But behind it all, it is still humanity, doing what humanity does best. Humanity raising its voice in song, blending human voices into tones so pure and grand, they evoke tears and glory and majesty and beauty and grief and all of our other emotions. WE do that. WE do that ourselves. We have that power and that ability.

    Sue

  • By Sue, January 6, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    PamM:

    I don’t see Adela as referring to anyone in particular when she talks about imposing views upon others. I state my view loudly and forcefully, LOL, but I would no more force you to believe in it than I would force you to give me all your money.

    I state my views and talk about my frustration because I am comfortable in doing so. But I respect the rights of everyone to hold to themselves what is most sacred to them, even if those beliefs frustrate me, upset me (like Fred Phelps) or make me happy.

    I just like discussion. That’s one of my passions. :D

    Sue

  • By hilly, January 7, 2011 @ 12:14 am

    just a quickie before I read the rest of the posts – this caught my eye Sue

    Take away religion and you take away the crusades, the flying of planes into buildings, the Inquisition, the institutionalized rape of little boys and girls, most of the wars ever fought on this planet.

    interesting little historical blip. The Crusades, The Inquisition and most of the other evil instituted by the Catholic church (some of which continues as we know in many forms – viz; Mr. Ratzinger’s [aka the Pope for those who condone the pseudonym nonsense] lies about condoms)
    So this blip: all those things started in and around what we are forced by Christianity to call the 12th to 17th centuries. By the late 15th century they were really getting it together as Protestantism raised its head to challenge and give another reason for centuries of infighting and death.
    Islam is now in 1483…..history does repeat itself!

  • By PamT, January 7, 2011 @ 2:51 am

    Hi Sue

    I used the ‘bungee jumpers and pageant moms’ examples purely in an effort to demonstrate that religion is not the ONLY area where activities, which some of us would consider, let’s say, questionable in terms of rationality, are accepted as normal by many in our societies.

    I’m certainly not in the business of defending jihad-inspired attacks, institutionalised cover-ups or instances of religious intolerance (or indeed intolerance of virtually any nature). I have issues with some of the practices and the acts carried out in the names of many religions, not limited to Christianity. But I think that for every religious zealot who wants to impose his/her will on others, there are many, many people who quietly follow their faith in peace and lumping them all together into one pot risks painting an unrepresentative picture.

    You’re absolutely right. A whole host of ‘holy’ wars have been fought in the name of religion. However, many of the most inhumane atrocities on an unimaginable scale in the last century were performed by secular states (headed up by the likes of Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler). This leads me to suggest that the motivation for virtually every conflict is the human compulsion to assert power and control. This tribe against that tribe, whether it’s based on which football team you support, your ideology, your race or indeed, your religion. In other words, take religion out of the equation and one portion of humankind will still find a ‘reason’ to impose its will on and assert control over another.

    On the subject of love, I actually wasn’t specifically referring to it only in terms of ‘romantic’ love, or whatever you wish to call it, when the endorphins flow. I believe there are many types of love and I still think that its presence cannot be recognised or measured in scientific terms. But it exists.

    I don’t believe faith and science are necessarily mutually exclusive. Indeed, from what I understand, there are a number of scientists who are able to reconcile their quest for facts and knowledge with faith.

    PamT

  • By Sue, January 7, 2011 @ 4:23 am

    PamT:

    Indeed, you are absolutely correct in everything that you say here, and I’ve got no issue with it, as a general rule. In specifics? Maybe a bit. :D

    Whenever the Hitler argument is brought up, I normally leave the debate, because the Hitler rule automatically goes into effect. However, since it was but a part of your statement, I’ll continue on, you lucky devil you. Heh.

    In any case, Hitler’s motives, based on his own words, were anything but secular. He believed that God had stated that the Aryan race was superior, etc., etc., etc. There are enough statements in Mein Kampf to show this conclusively. The others you mention were atheist only in that the dictators became god. They were a jealous god, so they took the worship of all other gods away so that they were the only god who could be worshiped. Sorta like the so-called First Commandment.

    In addition, I don’t normally accept the ‘appeal to authority’ or ‘appeal to popularity’, ‘appeal to majority’ or ‘appeal to numbers’. To me, it matters not how many scientists are men of faith who reconcile both. What they, most of them anyway, admit to doing is treating that segment of their lives with different rules than any other segment.

    Which was kind of my point all along. Scientists will place each and every piece of evidence in their chosen field under the world’s strongest microscope, the world’s most stringent standards in order to have proof that their theory is a correct one. And yet they do not apply those same standards to their faith. In this way, they lead schizophrenic lives. (Note, I’m not saying they ARE schizophrenic. It is an adjective in this case, not a noun.)

    The same man who would not admit that a certain fossilized bone fragment was from a proto-human until fifty million different peer-reviewed, double blind tests were carried out on it and answered to his satisfaction with pure evidence will take, without one whit of evidence, the belief that there is an invisible, unknowable, untestable, unverifiable, unanything force out there who loves them and will take them to paradise when their lives are over.

    Sure you can reconcile the two. Anyone can. I simply question the intellectual honesty of doing so. If you expect, demand the harshest standards of proof in this huge part of your life, and demand none from another, it leaves me to wonder how honest one is being with oneself.

    As for the second appeal to majority, that most religious people are kind, giving, nice, etc., I agree. In fact, my greatest personal hero is Desmond Doss, and if you can find a more deeply religious man out there, I dare you to try. :D

    However, I also thing (since you brought it up) it is in some ways no different than saying “Yes, but most of the Nazis were really great, nice, kind people who went about their lives never hurting another living soul. So they hated the Jews? So they stood for a doctrine that called their race superior and all others sub human? So what?”

    The Bible (and most other holy books) do the exact same thing. “If you are not like us, you are sub human. You are an abomination.” Only with Nazism, you could only die once. In religion, should it be true, you’re subject to those gas chambers and crematoria ovens for all eternity.

    Sue

  • By fee, January 7, 2011 @ 6:07 am

    Actually I don’t belong to any particular religion these days though I was brought up Presbyterian. I no longer have time for organised religion and only go to church for the usual hatches, matches and dispatches. More dispatches this past year unfortunately!
    I agree that religion is behind all those things that you have stated above and the men who are in charge like the power it gives them. I particularly dislike the fundamentalists of any religion who say “if you don’t believe our way you go to hellfire and damnation!” Organised religion has a helluva lot to answer for for what has been done in its name over the centuries.
    I do however believe in a “Force” call it what you like that created the Universe and also us. I also believe that Jesus, like Buddha and Mohamed was an historical figure but that what he preached has been twisted out of all recognition by those who are only interested in power. Their own power over everyone else. He was an extremely highly evolved being. I do think that we are born here into this life on earth with lessons to learn but that we still have a choice whether we are willing to learn then or not. If we don’t then we are born again and again till we learn those lessons so we can evolve up the chain so to speak.
    Thems only my own thoughts on the subject! You would get more out of me if we were talking face to face and not via a keyboard.

    Mankind at the moment seems intent on self destruction and if we don’t wake up to the calls for help from Mother Earth we will go the same way as the Atlanteans and Lemurians did so long ago.
    Sue and Pam, you put forth very interesting viewpoints. It’s obvious you both like a good discussion. Adela, if English is your second language you have an extremely good grasp of it.
    Hilly, you and I know the subjects we agree on and the ones on which we decide to differ.
    Fee

  • By PamT, January 7, 2011 @ 7:56 am

    Sue,

    I duly consider myself to be very fortunate! ;-)

    Just a couple of points, if I may …..

    Sorry, but I don’t quite buy the premise that a regime can legitimately be considered to be a religious one, purely by dint of the fact that the dictator is deluded enough to be under the impression that he is a god. I have to own up to not having read ‘Mein Kampf’, so I’m unqualified to comment on your assertions with regard to the source of Hitler’s convictions concerning the Aryan race. However, from reading your words (and please correct me if I’ve misunderstood), you seem to regard belief in some kind of afterlife as an integral part of religious doctrine and then later state that with Nazism you could only die once.

    Whilst specific acts and words are another matter entirely, I don’t feel comfortable categorizing any group of individuals, be they German/American/Iranian/Catholic/Jewish/Atheist or whatever, as nice/nasty or good/evil even if it’s on retrospective basis. In fact, I don’t feel comfortable defining individuals in a similar manner either, because it’s another way of stripping them of their ‘humanity’. And, as I think we probably both agree, once we have stopped regarding people as fellow flawed human beings, whoever they are, the ensuing consequences can be truly horrific.

    On that note, as I have no wish to ‘hog the blog’ (and my somewhat neglected work is calling), I shall sign off! :-)

    PamT

    PS. Interesting thoughts, Fee.

  • By hilly, January 7, 2011 @ 8:02 am

    winks at Fee maybe I got a little carried away but as you know I have zero respect either for the present pope or his equally cynical and dishonest predecessor.

    Sue and Pam T : I am really enjoying your exchange. Sitting here nodding and grinning at so many points you both make.

    Fee again: I agree with you about those 3 figures. Much as it must upset ‘christians’ (as someone once pointed out they should really be called ‘Paulians’ because he invented the religion long after Jesus – a radical Jew – was gone….but in the context of this blog that could get confusing tee hee)as I was saying…much as it must upset his followers it is more than likely that he had been influenced by some of the teachings of the Buddha – merchants were passing between the ‘middle east’ Europe and the ‘far east’ even then.
    As for Mohammed – well he had two good sources to go by….and as he came from the same nomad culture that predated the split between Jew and Gentile that is hardly surprising. My point here is that it is the greatest tragedy that the followers of these last two are too indoctrinated to understand that.

    The trouble is that the followers of the 3 dominant monotheic religions refuse to acknowledge their common root. – probably Zoaster!

  • By hilly, January 7, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    It seems some have found my last few posts offensive….I have no wish to insult anyone’s beliefs. As for the person who asked why I ‘hate the pope’ the answer is : I don’t because as far as I’m concerned he is beneath contempt!

    And now I promise not to raise the topic again and I trust those who told me what they thought to keep it off line too

  • By carol4spot, January 7, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

    I really don’t like getting involved in religious discussions but, I guess I feel compelled right now. I can only speak on behalf of my world and my experiences. Although I am no theologian by any stretch of the imagination, I do know quite a few people that are religious. All the people I know, in my world, happen to be wonderful people with no bad intentions whatsoever. It kind of hurts me to hear the stereotyping put on people who follow religious dogma. It hurts me because the people in ‘my world’ are so beautiful and I care for them deeply. Whether they are christians, jews, muslims..whatever, they are NOT the same people involved in the Crusades or other religious atrocities. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the atrocities in the name of religion were horrible to say the least. Please, though, don’t pigeonhole what might be some of the most wonderful people in the world. I believe each religion has something beautiful in it as well as some bad things. I’m not saying anyone is doing this (pigeonholing) but it sometimes doesn’t ‘feel’ good the way it comes across. By the way, I do not go to church, am not a ‘religious’ person but I have absolutely no problem with other people that are into that. I am not their judge. Even the one’s who try to ‘force’ their beliefs, why should it get me mad? I know who I am and whether they are forceful with their beliefs or not it has absolutely no bearing on me or what I believe. Love is my religion.
    xocarol I was a little nervous to post this….

  • By hilly, January 7, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

    Carol as far as I’m concerned I too know some wonderful people who also happen to be religious. I also know some unpleasant people who are religious.And there are some very nasty variations on perfectly harmless religions! I don’t think the fact that someone is religious or not is what makes them ‘good’ or not…and sometimes it is their religion (or their interpretation and
    ‘practice’ of it) that makes them “bad”.

    What I dislike, however,is the way some religious people apply their standard “out of the box” by influencing political or social decisions that will inflict their beliefs on those who do not share them. Religion has no place in national electoral processes; neither should it influence a professional’s conduct (unless that professional is a priest/whatever). It is a private matter….and should stay so.

    We can all say ‘some of my best friends are….’ after all. I have good friends from many religions some are more spiritually religious than others (by which I mean they analyse and explore their beliefs rather than just parrot the rituals and automatically pray whenever they drop a stitch in the knitting)
    I agree that you can’t paint all with the same brush but in our dumbed down society that is what happens all the time. And the manipulators have a field day.
    As for those who try to force their beliefs….I can resist;but I’ve seen the damage that so-called missionaries can do. Theirs is an arrogance that is (to me) totally unacceptable.
    But if they enforce their beliefs and put others in danger – then they are beneath contempt and should be brought to justice.

    Love is a good religion….it’s an even better philosophy.

  • By Sue, January 7, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    Will try to answer all in a single post. HAH!

    Carol: I do not pigeonhole people. Read again who my own personal hero is. Read up on him. Then get back to me on my pigeonholing.

    PamT: I didn’t say WW2 was a religious war. I said that Hitler was not going after this on purely secular means. Read Mein Kampf, if you would, before stating what Hitler did or did not believe in, and why he believed in what he did. I know not what came first, the chicken or the egg. I don’t know if Hitler was a Jew-hater first and then used the bible to defend his actions, or if the bible taught him to hate Jews and he went on from there. He states it both ways in his writings, so I can’t definitely say which one it was, but religion was an integral part of either the formation OR the acceptance of his beliefs in the inferiority of the Jews as a race. Take away especially the at-the-time Catholic (which he was raised as) Jew hating “the Jews killed Jesus” doctrine, and you take away almost all the fundamentals of antisemitism. Take away antisemitism, and you have a man who probably wouldn’t have been a quarter of the monster he turned out to be. Take away antisemitism, and you take away the easy sway he had over the populace that believed exactly as he did, and had what they believed the bible, and theologians, to back them up. WW2 wasn’t a religious war like the crusades, but religion sat at the very heart of it.

    So that should take care of the Nazism = only dying once theory that you say I espouse.

    My point, once again, is that the Bible tells people, people in power and people in the streets, that it is okay to hate those who are different from you. It also gives all the proof a certain type of person needs to justify any amount of horrors as being desired by God. As does the Q’aran. So, my point is that no matter how good, kind and loving one is, if one backs a doctrine that allows and encourages and gives reasons to hate the ‘other’, then that person, no matter how kind and loving, is part of the problem. People too easily cherry-pick religions, making them out to be exactly what they want. If one is a biblical literalist, like a sizable minority of Americans are, one must take the slaughtering, raping, capricious, jealous God right along with the loving, kind, wonderful God. As Jesus says God is UNCHANGING.

    Fee: I can’t argue with your beliefs. I don’t accept them for myself, but I can’t argue with them for you, because they’re your beliefs and that’s that.

    Sue

  • By Christine, January 7, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

    Hi everyone, To each his /her own. We as individuals have that choice in as far as what we chose to believe or not.
    The bottom line and this is just in my opinion here,(for what its worth!) we need a more understanding world, a more caring society, look for the good in people, ok there are some who will never care, never love and continue to destruct in whatever way they can. There will always be differing opinions on religion or for some, lack of it. Growing up I was always warned not to discuss politics or religion!!. It is a personal choice.
    Just as long as we try to respect anothers principles, at the end of the day we are all human, we all want Peace and love don’t we?
    Take care,
    Christine.

  • By Sue, January 7, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

    CHristine:

    When I was young, my family was RC, and I remember that in that place, at that time, religion was a very private thing. It was between a being and his/her Maker (or whatever). Then I moved, just prior to adolescence, into a town topfilled with secular Jews and I was in my version of Heaven.

    Then I moved away from my sheltered childhood and was preached to, yelled at, screamed at, punched, kicked, pitied and shamed, all in the name of religion, my sexuality, and my atheism.

    I decided that if the people around me were so interested in taking their private beliefs and kicking them down my throat, I wasn’t going to take it anymore. I became a theology minor in a well-known Catholic university, learned all I could about my adversaries, and decided to stand up for myself, both with regards to my sexuality and my atheism. I didn’t start it, but sister, I aim to finish it.

    I get so tired of seeing everyone pointing a finger at everyone else, saying “Well s/he isn’t a REAL (insert name of religion here).” The people who hate gays say that about the people who don’t, the people who don’t say it about the people who do, and I came to realize that religious texts, the very texts espoused to give the perfect black and white vision of their God’s view of the world, are so ambiguous and contradictory that every single person is a “real (insert name of religion here)” depending on his/her interpretation of the text.

    Sue

  • By Christine, January 7, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

    Hi Sue, My outlook if you like on life is to listen to your heart on things. If one believes in something and wants to make a stand, that is their choice. Everyone has a right to his/her opinion. The only time it worries me is if someone hurts another by doing so. You know there is so much sadness in this world. There is a definite need for more understanding of others. I find it annoying when people are judgemental because they do not fit a mould which others have made for them. I’m genuinely sorry you had such a tough time. But like everything in life it has probably made you a stronger person.
    Best wishes,
    Christine.

  • By Sue, January 7, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

    Christine:

    I have been through no more a rough time than anyone else, probably less of one than most. I have a job, a home, folks who love me, passions, interests, and the ability to get them across.

    People tell me I ‘hate’ God because of what so-called religious people or texts have said about gays, or women, or whatever. Nothing could be further from the truth. How can you hate something you don’t believe exists? You might as well accuse me of hating Bigfoot or the monster in the closet or under my bed. :D

    Others tell me I’m an atheist because “you just want to sin.” Aside from the fact that ‘sin’ is another thing I don’t believe in, I probably have a stricter moral code than most believers precisely BECAUSE I have no belief or dogma that allows loopholes and justifies them by the backing of some perfect creator who can do no wrong. If said creator can do no wrong, and one follows the words of that creator, be they good or ‘evil’, then one is doing right, according to religious dogma. Suddenly, “do not kill” becomes “do not kill…unless I tell you to kill.” In theology, I’ve found, there’s ALWAYS an ‘unless’. ALWAYS.

    People who espouse the right to life as their reason for being have no problem killing others, blowing up abortion clinics and the like. That loophole again. People who espouse the right to life are also more (at least in this country) likely to back the death penalty than are atheists. It’s a simple statement of fact. Theology teaches that there is always that UNLESS.

    Moral code? Hardly.

    If Genesis teaches me one thing,it is that it was Satan and not God who wanted man to be moral. God wanted man kept away from the knowledge of what is good and what is evil. Original sin is the knowledge of morality. As it has been said “Theism teaches us that we are born sick and commanded to be well.”

    I allow myself no loopholes, and when I fall short, as I often do, of the standards I set for myself, I have no excuses, and no one to blame but myself.

    I do not do good because I believe that in doing so, I will have a reward in paradise. I do not avoid doing bad because I’m afraid of the punishment I’ll endure after death.

    I do good and avoid bad as best I can BECAUSE this is the ONLY life I have, the ONLY chance I get to do it right. If I hurt someone in the here and now, my punishment and suffering is in the here and now. Much more real to me than some pie in the sky tale of existence after death.

  • By Sue, January 7, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

    PamM:

    All depends, I think, on which Jesus you believe in. The one who said things about loving neighbor as self, turning the other cheek, the meek inheriting the earth, or the other Jesus; the one who said he was not here upon the earth to bring peace but war, to set brother against brother, father against daughter, mother against son.

    The one who healed the sick, or the one who had to be begged to do such?

    The one who told us that our Father loved us all unto the number of hairs on our head, or the one who introduced eternal hellfire and damnation into a religion that had never had such a concept before?

    Both exist in the bible. So..which one?

    Sue

  • By Christine, January 7, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

    Hi Pam M, I think you scared quite a few of us with that status Pam.
    Hand on heart, I think it has crossed a lot of people’s minds when things seemed hopeless.
    We as humans deal with so much stress, so much guilt, and yearning and trying to get it all into some kind of perspective can be very hard at times can’t it?.
    I too tend to care maybe too much. But the thing is I’d sooner care than not give a second thought to others or their feelings.
    We are who we are, and just so long as we don’t hurt others by our actions there shouldn’t be a problem.
    I think the problem with soul searching is that we tend to re-run in our minds all the things we are trying so hard to forget. Believe me, I have done a lot of it in my time, but the answers are not always there. Or we end up second guessing, which causes even more stress.
    Here’s hoping this is a good year!.
    Take care,
    Christine

  • By carol4spot, January 7, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

    I guess I think that religion shouldn’t make a difference in the matters of the ‘real’ us. From inside, who we really are. Giving kindness and love. Being there for people whether we buy into their religions or beliefs or not. It doesn’t change the fact that we are all still human. As Pam said, “But, IMHO there IS one thing that IS and that IS that…..We ARE all one…We are all human…We ARE all tied together…We all Love and are Love…let’s spread it in the manner it is meant to be…”
    That is it in a nutshell. Thanks for that!
    Hilly, thanks for your response. I can understand why there would be those that are offended, I can say that I wasn’t offended for me but more for those that are believers in Christianity. I respect what others believe in. I still think you’re a good girl! Not to worry.
    PamT, I always thoroughly enjoy your posts! Thanks for your ‘angle’.
    Sue, I didn’t say you pigeonholed. As a matter of fact, I made it clear I didn’t think anyone was doing that, it was only the way the conversation was going that didn’t ‘feel’ good not for me but for those who are of Christian Faith. Believe me, even if I was a true Christian, I still wouldn’t be offended. I don’t need others to agree with my beliefs.
    xocarol

  • By Sue, January 7, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

    PamM: Allow me to enlighten you, then.

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” –Matthew 10: 34-39

    49 I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism* to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; 52 for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father* against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” –Luke 12:49=53

    “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

    This is what I mean about cherrypicking. You never heard of it because no one ever wants to admit that side of Jesus exists. Without knowing the whole side of the man, how can you be fully knowledgeable as to who he is and if you should follow him?

    Sue

  • By hilly, January 8, 2011 @ 1:19 am

    Yes Pam you did misunderstand me. I didn’t count buddhism into those 3 religions – they are (in chronological order) judaism, christianity and islam. Buddhism as we know it is not a religion – but a philosophical path BUT in some countries there is a religious practise of Buddhism as a religion – Korea is one such. There is a difference between the two that many in the west have no understanding of.
    (my deliberate choice not to give any of them capitals there BTW)

    Sue – thank you for showing once again how often it is those of us who don’t ‘believe’ that know the texts better than those who think they do.
    Pam M – this remark is NOT saying you don’t know about Jesus or about Christianity; it ispointing out that it is usually those who observe form the outside who understand better because they see the contexts. Like it or not you were brought up a christian – and therefore indoctrinated in some way. So was I – born of a non-religious – atheist mother froma catholic family and a Jewish father, when my father died and the school wanted a ‘label’ I was baptised against my will (against my understanding) and the catholics had a hand on me until I was old enough to say NO – and they accepted that. That same school taught me (in the late 60s and early 70s) about the major world religions. We did ‘comp rel’ to satisfy the exam board’s prejudices! It is from this base that I learnt to tell the difference between a religion, a sect, a cult and a philosophy (and to winnow out the lies from the honesty; the charlatans from the the good).

    there is a saying : it is better to know the truth from the lies; it is better to see the truth and talk about the palm trees.

    know your inner truth – stick to it and observe the world from there.

    We are all on a path, we all use the guidebook that suits us best – but only the honest understand that their guidebook is not the only one; and only the truly enquiring mind wants to see what the other is reading and why. We can only move forward if we see what is around us and select or reject….and like Sue I have rejected in full knowledge of what I rejected.

    As I moved forward through my life I have gone through atheism and agnosticism to a point where I am open to guide books that do not seek to make me believe in anything but my inner light. And as I am not arrogant enough (or ‘presumptuous’ (I think maybe you need to reread the definition of that word BTW) to think I am a god….I continue in a state of pan-agnosticism (my word) where I am willing to acccept some guiding force (my inner self; fate, karma – shit I have no idea what to call it) but I would not expect anyone else to share my path. We each have or own needs our own paths to follow. One man’s meat is another man’s poison – no religion is can really be adapted to suit all-comers; which is why the “big 3″ cited above have so many digressive sects and such a wide range of interpretations.
    Jesus is often referred to as the Good Shepherd – I guess that means that the writers of those texts hoped that the sheep would follow without question…cynics that they were!

  • By hilly, January 8, 2011 @ 3:14 am

    Pam you misread my meaning and you are still misusing the word presumptuous – ot means pretending to be something you are not. Which I am not doing. If you meant that I am presuming something you are still incorrect – I don’t presume the existence of Jesus, Mohammed or Buddha – they are figures historically proven.
    I accept that my phrase may have led to this confusion I was referring to the three teachers out of the context of the religions. – and in retrospect I take Buddha out of the equation because he did not suggest a monotheism in his teachings. The3 major monotheist religions (the 3 I put in chronological order and was referring to are) ALL have their roots in the monotheism that Zoroastra developed in the region that we now think of as the ‘middle east’ when the tribes were still wandering around finding a home. Judaism may predate Zoroastra – it is hard to be sure because as with many things in the history of the word the question of ‘who thought of it first’ is a difficult one (pyramids in Egypt and Peru are a good example). But the fact rrmains that without those movements away from polytheism neither christianity nor its younger cousin islam would exist (and TBH sometimes I wonder if the world wouldn’t have been a better place if they didn’t seeing the trouble they have caused over the past 2000 years.)

  • By fee, January 8, 2011 @ 3:45 am

    Wow!! What interesting discussions!! Not sure if what I said was taken the wrong way but when I said I was against organised religion and fundamentalists etc I meant those so called religious people who were so blinkered that they can’t accept any way other than their own and condemn those who do believe otherwise. There are a helluva lot of really good, caring, devout believers out there in all religions. It is the blinkered that turn folk off and the Bible can be taken in many different ways depending on one’s particular beliefs. Must admit I have never read it through cos I could never get past the begats, therefore I am unable to enter into discussion of various passages. Hope that makes sense.
    As far as I am concerned we all have the right to believe or not as we desire and I would never ram my beliefs down any one else’s throat.
    Pam M. I agree with what you posted there, it makes a lot of sense. Our main aim I think is to treat everyone the same way as we would hope that they would treat us, with kindness and compassion. There is good in all of us and I hope I didn’t offend anyone with anything I said here cos that was not my intention.
    Hugs to all,
    Fee xx

  • By hilly, January 8, 2011 @ 5:05 am

    just to clarify a definition.

    Being presumptuous means that you presume to BE something you aren’t OR aspiring to be someone….the ‘Pretender’ to a throne isn’t a fraud – s/he is the heir who ‘pretends’ to the status (pretend here means :aspires to; and will achieve NOT make belief)and is also the “heir presumptive”

    Making a presumption means drawing a conclusion or putting forward a hypothesis based on what you have observed.

    To presume is to think (in the sense of a question) the most famous example being when Stanley found Livingstone…”Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

    Making a presumption is not the same as being presumptuous.

    All this nitpicking has a secondary purpose here. As Sue pointed out you can cherry pick your holy book (whichever one you have) to fond the quotes that suit you. Nobody did that better than Henry 8th of England who found a biblical justification for marrying his dead brother’s wife and another one for rejecting her!
    However…all this presumes that what is attributed to Jesus is what he really said. there is pretty good evidence for contemoprary transcriptions of discussion with the Buddha and with Confucius (I just bought a slim paperback of interviews with him by his followers). Unfortunately for christianity it is very hard to know how much of the ‘gospel’ (and there’s a word that has lent itself to mis-use “the gospel truth” is often anything but a truth) was written by contemporaries and how much was written and rewritten by the church in the early part of the ‘modern age’ (around 300 to 400 AD in most historians calculation). The fact that the Varican has never wanted any serious study of the Dead Sea scroll underlines this. Add to this the point I made earlier that much of the dogma about Jesus was formulated by Paul of Tarsus – who was not even a contemporary! – and you see where the trouble lies.

    Isn’t this fun?

    One last thing – Pam you say ‘I am one who believes that we are all ‘Jewish’ at our core, after all, Jesus is Jewish…. what about the huge part of the population of the world – including those in the regions where Buddhism originated – where Judaism was not present?

    Yes I agree with Paul – we are all one – inasmuch as we are all in this mess we call life on earth together. We are all human…nothing else; just members of one genus that managed to stand up on its back feet without falling over and then learn to speak and write and paint and do a lot of really wonderful things…and lie and cheat and do a lot of really terrible things ….and destroy our planet – the ultimate biting the hand that feeds us.

  • By hilly, January 8, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

    I was nitpicking!

    I guess you too were a little too ambiguous with the phrasing Pam – it looked like you thought we were all Jewish at origin. Obviously all christians and moslems have their religio-cultural roots in judaism.

    but their origins? I have always had a problem with the idea of “a Jewish people” because although judaism is passed maternally (you could tell who mom was but not always who dad was!)the idea of a ‘race’ gets diluted by integration and ‘cross fertilisation’ by which I mean a woman marrying out (her husband brings a non-Jewish element into the soup) or the “involuntary cross breeding” resulting from the kind of systematic rape that people think is a ‘new’ weapon – but the Cossacks and some others were doing that in Europe long before the 20th century. (and that is why there are blond and/or blue-eyed Jews!)

  • By Christine, January 8, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    Hi Everyone, You know I was just thinking tonight how we change our views over the course of our lives. When I was a young child I was taken to church by my mother then if I remember rightly it was Sunday school; which I tended to love mainly because we got to sing….not the actual purpose but close enough at that age!.
    Growing up I never questioned her catholic religion. Infact strange as it may seem, I don’t think at that time you questioned faith. Whatever religion your parent/parents were, became yours. At least in my parents house it wasn’t a case of there is this to chose from or that the question of ‘their’ faith if you like was it full stop. No explaining you just accepted what you were told.
    Fast forward a lot of years, I hit 16 my mam died and suddenly I was asking myself all kinds of questions on the why’s and if’s. I’ve lost a lot of people along the way but it wasn’t until my son died that my faith began to falter.
    We look inside for some very hard answers to questions we may never find. Some people find their faith gets stronger for others it fades.
    Tragedy either seems to make or break your faith.
    I now ‘choose’ Buddhism as it seems right for me. Simple as that. Although there are some aspects which as yet I don’t fully understand. For instance while watching a documentary on tv a father was told he had lost his son because his son was paying for a previous sinful life.
    Sorry, but how can an innocent child be made to pay for a life he has no memory of? and how can anyone be so insensitive to a grieving parent?.
    As I say there are many things I don’t quite get. But I guess one could say that about any of our beliefs.
    One thing I am curious about though is this,
    Has being a Buddhist changed you as a person? or is it you are just filled with more wisdom Paul?
    Take care,
    Christine xx

  • By hilly, January 9, 2011 @ 1:35 am

    that’s an interesting point Christine: the more gory elements apart) I think many children are ‘seduced’ by the pretty stories of angels and animals round the baby. It’s when you get to see the rest that you make your decision for or against.
    I think it is wrong to indoctrinate a child like that. The Jesuits used to say ‘give us a child of six and we will train his mind’ (to do what they wanted him to do!)at least many of the protestant variations leave the choice of ‘baptism’ or ‘confirmation’ to when a person is relatively old enough to choose. The catholics do it all asap – before the kid is old enough to know what it wants.

    the greatest point in favor of Buddhism is that in the form most of us here embrace it, it is not a religion but a philosophical path. It does not exclude other ideas (how else could so many of us say we are really JewBu) but it does not seeks to say ‘this is right and the others are wrong’ and if anyone can tell me about a religion that does that I’ll be grateful.

    For info: in Tibet, Korea and many other countries in that region there is a religious form of Buddhism with rituals and ceremonies that is followed by the population but not necessarily by the monks in the Buddhist monasteries. There is a center about 3 hours from where I live – it is a museum on the house of an amazing woman called Alexandra Davide-Neale; she travelled extenstively in Tibet and the center regularly hosts Buddhist monks who come to make sand mandalas and other things. When I last went there there was a huge butter sculpture (Tibetan religious ritual) and the monks who made it were quick to correct a tourist who thought that all Buddhism is a religion. It is complicated to find the frontiers between the two in a society that is conditioned to think in terms of a religion and not a “community of thought”.

    PS…I hope Paul’s next blog will maybe answer Christine’s question

  • By Christine, January 9, 2011 @ 4:14 am

    Hi Hilly, Thank you. I think in this life of ours its mostly about choice. Every choice we make has a knock on effect on our or someone else’s life. A lifetime of choices. Good, bad, indifferent all lead to what we call our life.
    Have you ever thought how your life might have been so different had you been born in another country?. How the cultures could have an effect?. That aside, I still believe that deep down as Paul often says we are all the same. A mother wants what is best for her children, we search for love, at times that may even be yearn for love.
    I admire those who have the remarkable strength to get through really tough times without their faith suffering. Personally, I wasn’t that strong or should I say my belief system wasn’t that strong. When my life fell apart 4 years ago so did everything I once believed in.
    Now? well there is a lot to be said for living day to day. Even that is an improvement on 4 years ago when a dear friend of mine advised me to just look ahead for the next hour, and so on.
    Well, that’s my take on this, not bad for a Sunday morning eh? haha!! :)
    Take care everyone,
    Christine xx

  • By Pam Meserve, January 9, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

    I have already said what I study and have learned and practice in Buddhism…Buddhism, btw, is a word that comes from ‘budhi’, ‘to awaken’ which is really living, practicing, demonstrating a path of ‘being’ and living/giving in kindness, compassion, and love for all. It’s learning how to be more ‘aware’, more conscious of yourself, of everyone, everything around you…and I find that it is helping me to go deeper inside. It’s a constant learning experience with constant change, and evolving of ‘self’ by the ‘death’ of self and rebirth of ‘self’ and it includes being more mindful and aware of my thoughts and actions, all of which leads…hopefully…to a greater development of wisdom and understanding.

    What has been the hardest thing for me? Two things….Putting my ‘self’ first, lol as a lot of my family and friends keep insisting I do…a hard ‘conditioning’ to ‘change.’ And though I understand the ‘need’ to do this, especially now in this very ‘moment of now’…getting rid of the notion that it is not selfish to do it is difficult…I don’t know why! I am learning though..make no mistake there, lol.

    And Change… I always thought it required both inner and outside…a part of me still does… I think…but really, change does come from within ourselves not outside. And in this way, each person decides for themselves and takes responsibility for their own actions and understanding…it doesn’t matter if your actions were ‘caused’ by something/someone else. I have learned this too the hard way because sometimes, no matter how much love, how much you give to someone or to a situation, we are helpless to help ‘change’ how others choose to ‘be’…what they think or ‘perceive,’ and I have accepted that now.

    ‘Change’ is your choice, I don’t think you cannot ‘change’ in some ways by becoming more ‘aware’….and of course, the real benefit is the change that occurs when you practice, apply, demonstrate what you are learning and not simply reading, studying or writing about it.

    Another thing I have learned is that ‘wisdom’ is seeing that in reality, things are incomplete, impermanent and do no constitute a fixed entity. It is not just believing and trusting what we are told but instead experiencing and understanding of truth and reality. Wisdom requires an open, objective, nonjudgmental mind…not so easy to do sometimes. I am finding more and more that this path requires courage, patience, flexibility and ability to want change…

    Is there ‘Faith’ in Buddhism? It’s our best treasure, and yes, there is faith…faith in your path to accomplish ones goals for oneself, to gain release from the stress and suffering inherent in conditioned existence. Basically, to free your ‘self’ and to live with an open-heart and in a courageous way rather than living in a closed up, self-protecting way. Faith helps us overcome our fear of pain, grief and disappointment…all of which I have been faced with a lot of lately, and stay open to new experiences and understandings…I always have a bit of faith…in everything and I follow my heart…as I always have done…even if it gets me ‘in trouble’ sometimes, lol

    So for those who aren’t sure of what Buddhism IS…you can apply the path of Buddism to all faiths…it IS a way of ‘being’…it’s as ‘simple’ as that…we can really understand others, when we can really understand ourselves, through this wisdom…IMHO.

    We are all the same…all of us!

    Just my thoughts…
    In light and love..

    Shanti..
    Pam
    Liaison
    Adminstrator

  • By Christine, January 9, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

    Hi Pam M, Funny you should mention the learning to put oneself first. I think from being very young we are ‘conditioned’ to put others first. Having said that as we get older I guess it becomes more of a choice. To be honest, I have never been able to get my head around putting myself first. As a daughter, I think you put your parent/parents first your family, then it moves onto your friends. Wait a few more years and your husband and children become your focus, and main priority. Even the house gets your attention lol. Its seems ‘selfish’ to put yourself first. I have felt that way whenever my friends tell me my daughter is now 19. I should concentrate on me…… it just doesn’t feel right somehow does it?.
    Although having said all of this I think its important to put others first. If you can go to bed at night with a clear conscience you know you have tried your very best.
    Trying to make others happy is important. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, you know a phone call, a text, or even an e-mail at the right time can mean alot.
    What with this internet etc it has never been easier to stay in contact.
    Trying to understand the Buddhism more Pam. Just realized its maybe an on going thing.
    Take care,
    Christine.

  • By Pam Meserve, January 9, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    We are always learning, Christine that is for sure…we do until we die…and I have yet to put myself first, lol! It frustrates my family and friends..and it seems to be one habit, one ‘condition’ I can’t seem to break!

    I find Paul’s shared thoughts helpful just as I do all those posted here..so we are learning, aren’t we. And I do believe that we are all teachers of one thing or another at the same time..
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Raffy, January 10, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

    Thanks, Paul, for always sharing your feelings, thoughts, perceptions and experiences…

    It helps so much in the act of keeping focused on the sacredness of this journey we all share.
    Sharing ourselves helps feel the permanence of our spirit in the impermanence of our endless becoming. It helps make that good step from a perceived solitude of the heart that the mind pursues, to “aloneness” (as this term is spiritually conceived), to a new deep true sense of “belonging”. This incredible need endlessly reverberates within our hearts. However the expressions of anger can be different, yet in the end I think the roots are the same in our human lives, when our connection to the source gets someway lost in our perception, whether we are consciously or unconsciously aware of it. Our struggle begins, we slide more and more into the sense of impermanence and a consequent terrible feeling of helplessness, which affects us in so many ways. As for me it has mostly been a sort of anger against myself …an implosion. Every expression is painful I think, especially when we are not witnessing it from our conscious place.
    I would like to “reset” my mind in one moment, but it is a long patient path, and a constant choice, to be able to see a new space, new colors…a place where the conditioning, the past and everything illusive the mind creates can’t interfere anymore with the real “now”. That’s peace I think, because it is the only our true state. Meditation is our good way, our simple natural way of being I think. I suppose we can get to it just when we don’t hold onto the “desire” of it. We can witness, feel the process of every change, of every impermanence, and the good in it. The impermanence like a dance in order to connect. The fullness and joy of the emptiness.

    I think love is not an “easy” thing to feel, at least for a part of our human nature. Otherwise it would be simpler to love, to love unconditionally. Despite our similarity, to really “see” ourselves in other people is a lifetime effort. It seems that only compassion gives us this ability. We for sure know empathy, we can someway place ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we even need it. Especially when we live the same experiences at the same time, whether positive or negative, along with other people. But I think that true compassion requires a constant search instead, in order to know first what the root of suffering is, and then to start feeling the desire to get rid of it ourselves and the others too. It is much more than an emotional state.
    Mind is an obstacle in our life, but we can use it to get us in touch with our consciousness. I often ask myself why the mind exists… Who knows, maybe it is all about the “choice” of our heart we have to do on this plain of life. As Paul says … ‘We have to surrender to being one with everything in order to ‘know’ it; the ‘answer…’ and
    ‘When we love we know why we exist…’
    An unconditional love, where there is not “I” and “you”, but rather “I am you”…quite absurd but peaceful…
    It must be something unique we can only experience, and any word can’t explain…
    Our giving is always an “imperfect act” I think, if not a “selfish”act … it is part of our being human in our struggle to grow. But it is true that the results can be good. Is it a selfish act if we feel someway fulfilled by what we are doing? Is it feeding some expectations we had, consciously or unconsciously?
    On the other hand though it could be just the natural “feedback” that giving love brings to our heart. It is very difficult I guess to perceive the difference between the two conditions. Yet I think that the more we don’t love ourselves the more we need to feel fulfilled by what we give. In the meanwhile we go on though…and find out other things within ourselves that we had not seen before.

    I think that in the end we are here to feel, step by step, experience by experience, that we are love.
    Our life if often a list of our desires and attachments. We suffer when we experience our desire and attachment to transient things, both good and bad things, including our imagined “self”, and ignorance on this process just makes our pain deepen. I guess this paradoxical attachment can’t be explained only by our ignorance about the nature of things. In my opinion our need of control is constantly feeding our desire, and I agree more and more with Paul’s thinking on the source of our reactions… that is the most unacceptable impermanence, as we usually perceive it…our mortality. And that we have a choice… the choice of our heart…

    Peace…and happy new beginnings to all!

    Raffy

  • By Raffy, January 10, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

    I was raised someway “christian” , then I felt my heart beating for “christianity”, in my own way, now I’m trying to go more and more into something that I feel wider, deeper, talking better to my soul and more meaningful to me.
    I think we all have a “faith”, even only the faith in ourselves. Maybe many feel stronger the need to not feel “involved”, not associated with anything. A feeling of freedom. And it would be a good point from where to start our journey.
    The problem comes when we also feel strong the need to be “against”… even when we say to ourselves that we don’t, while instead it appears clear. We all struggle so much in order to find “the truth”, whatever it is…after all could it not exist??
    In my opinion there is something true in all points of view, inside each of them there is something of the apparent opposite. We all keep a piece of the truth which doesn’t appear clear to our fellow human beings. We also realize that even our own thoughts are constantly changing. All is impermanent, even if we try to stop this process which is unacceptable to our ego. Unfortunately most times this “thinking” and “sharing” becomes a mere exercise of our mind afraid to lose some of its “power” and “control”.
    I guess our minds have some difficulty to accept that an universal energy could express itself through each of us in different ways. If we could accept it for sure we would not see differences as something threatening us, but just as parts of the whole.
    About religion… For sure over the time some have created their own meanings just in order to gain some power over their own fear or rule people more easily. But I think that basically there is a misunderstanding about “revelations” from “above” on which most religions find their roots. Misunderstanding or trying to give a meaning is a human process, but the more people listen only to the interpretations of other human beings and the feelings these arise, the more I guess it becomes difficult to really penetrate the core of those beliefs and see if there is anything we could appreciate or even feel in our heart about them.
    Btw…I never perceived Jesus’ words the way I read here, so out of the context. I think Jesus was only advising us that for sure the new concept and practice of love was so distant from the view of human beings that during our long way home for sure the “conflicts” would have been many and terrible.

    I don’t actually see that contrast, that “war” between “religion” and science, I think they don’t exclude each other. We have so many many things to discover, we are only at the dawn of our discovery of the world in which we live and the whole Universe. Whenever we find out something new…is it really against what many believe, against religion? I don’t think so… in the Genesis we read about the birth of our world…Darwin tells us about “evolution”…. why is it not possible that from a “force” we have the world in 7 days, human beings included?? Here 7 days are not our 7 days…that energy is still creating, and that is evolution. Why what comes from science is often considered so in contrast with what the Bible says? It is not so in my opinion. The more we discover, the more we get in touch with that “beyond” us…it is such a great way we have to experience it! I always like to remember what Paul said among other things in a wonderful speech he gave in 2007 at the “Israel Cancer Research Foundation”: ‘Today, our search for knowledge is our only hope. Not only for the immediate and not so immediate answers for our day to day life, health and well being, but for its re-affirmation of our greatest human asset, our faith. When we learn, discover or reveal something, we understand intuitively that it is something that belongs to a whole body, a universe, if you will, of knowing that has been there all along. We haven’t created it. We’ve discovered it. We’ve uncovered, revealed something that belongs to a whole body of knowledge; a body of awareness…of consciousness. And in that act of discovery, we re-attach to that body. As if, in describing our arm or leg as a ‘member’ of our body, we re-member, re-attach . And at that moment of connection, we experience that we are a part of that body, a part of everything, and everything is a part of us. We experience that we are not alone in our struggle, that we are part of something larger than us, something greater than this life. And at that moment of discovery and connection, we experience faith. And in that experience of faith, we know one thing for sure…that we are here to belong, we are here to be one with everything’.

    This thought really reached my heart as anything before….on this subject

    Raffy

  • By hilly, January 11, 2011 @ 4:37 am

    any learning process is a personal philosophy course.
    I’ve been off line for 48 hours because my ageing router was dealt the final blow by a storm on Sunday evening. Yesterday was an exercise in anger management – and I lost!
    I called my tech service and explained that it wasn’t synchronising any more. We went through all the processes (that I had already done!) and the techie confirmed that it was dead. She started to create the authorisation to go get a new one and the batteries in the handset of my phone went dead! So I lost the line. I called again and of course got someone else who refused to accept that her colleague had gone through the procedure.I told her to call me back on my mobile – she said she would and 10 minutes later she hadn’t. By now my anger was steaming out of my ears. (Sorry, but I refuse to tolerate incompetence!)I rang again. This time I got a woman with a brain between her ears not just a computer headset. She immediately recuperated the authorisation that the 2nd girl had said she couldn’t find! By then it was too late to go to the other side of town to get the new router because I had to go to the doctor (I have swollen saliva glands?!?!)So I got it this morning.
    Hi everyone! Boy is it good to be back.

    Raffy, while I was in the doc’s waiting room I was reading a review of Stephen Hawkins latest book in a science magazine. They made much if his apparent rejection of the idea of a ‘creator’ especially as in an earlier book he agreed with Newton. But as the reviewer pointed out – “even the first chemical reaction was a ‘creation’ so call it god if you want” (I’m not quoting word for word but that was the gist of the translation)

  • By Christine, January 11, 2011 @ 5:31 am

    Hi Hilly, Have a strong cup of tea and take a deep breath my friend lol.
    You know how these automated systems are meant to quicken up the process? press 1 for then theres at least another 3 or 4 to choose from? drives me mad!! then they put you on hold and the line goes dead. I’m beginning to think its easier to write a letter, who says all this modern tech stuff is better anyway?.
    Hope you feel better soon.
    Take care,
    Christine xx
    p.s. Good to have you back!.

  • By hilly, January 11, 2011 @ 8:01 am

    I agree Christine – those automated things are the pits(!). I had to just check something wit the new router this morning (the control panel insisted that it still wasn’t synchronised but I was already browsing my e-mails at the time – go figure) this time I got one of those voice-response automates…I had to give the right replies to questions that didn’t fit the problem before the pre-recorded phrases clicked together to porduce something like this:
    “I think [it thinks????] you said you have a problem with your internet connection”. I did, 3 times! Click clikc whirr ( ringing tone…nice young man who asked me the problem and said ‘if you can connect don’t tale any notice of what the control panel says” And I used a mobile phone call for that?
    “‘Tis a mad world …..”

  • By Christine, January 11, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

    Hi Paul, Missing you on here. Just saying. :)

  • By Pam Meserve, January 11, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

    Saw this ‘fortune cookie’ quote:
    “Fear is just excitement in need of an attitude adjustment.”

    Perhaps some have a fear of not being able to make an attitude adjustment because their experiences aren’t resolvable? And maybe this ‘unreslove’is too painful despite ones acknowledging that you are helpless in a situation..maybe forgiving yourself is not truly comeplete without demonstrating it to others? Hmmmm……

    Dunno..just a thought at this second…dunno why, lol!

    Peace today for all..
    This IS the year of LIGHT…’finding your way home’…whatever ‘home’ means to YOU!
    Metabless you all!
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By hilly, January 12, 2011 @ 6:59 am

    I may not be around for a day or two. Tomorrow I’m taking my beautiful cat on his last trip to the vet. It hurts. But it is best for him.
    I can’t upload a photo of him here but you can see him on the home page of my website: http://www.provencepusstales.net
    He will always be the most beautiful cat I ever had the honor to share my life with.

  • By Christine, January 12, 2011 @ 7:04 am

    Hi Pam M, Interesting fortune cookie huh?.
    My personal view on forgiving oneself is that it is so much, much harder to do than to forgive others. Maybe we expect better of ourselves, not in an arrogant kind of way; more we constantly challenge ourselves to do better, others are allowed to make mistakes but we are always ready to beat ourselves up over things.
    On the other hand, at times others can see you have a problem that you can’t/won’t accept is this the same as denial? so the question has to be if one can’t see a problem how do they get help?. Denial can take many forms. Even to the extent of being in denial of being in denial….
    I’m certainly no expert in this but have witnessed this over the years, and truthfully its a very sad situation.
    At the end of the day, this is where the unconditional love comes in. If you can accept a person with their faults and still be there for them, show compassion to them, we should all be able to get through this stormy life.
    Just my thoughts,
    Christine xx

  • By hilly, January 13, 2011 @ 1:44 am

    Mishka’s passing was quick and peaceful. Our vet is wonderful;

    One last touch,
    Our cheeks touch
    Our faces so close

    Our eyes meet
    Hearts beat as one
    Each echoing the other

    I let you go
    And I pray that when my time comes
    Someone will love me enough
    To do for me
    What I do for you.

    I’ll hold you as you fade away
    My heart will go on beating after yours has stopped.
    I’ll go on breathing when you are gone

    I’ll go forward
    Grateful to have loved you
    Grateful to have had you in my life
    Waiting for the day
    That I find you again.

  • By Sue, January 13, 2011 @ 5:14 am

    Raffy:

    I was iced in and stuck at my job at the hospital most of the week, but am home now and wanted to reply to one of your posts.

    You state: “I think we all have a “faith”, even only the faith in ourselves.”

    For me, faith is the belief in something that has no evidence to back it up. So no, I don’t have ‘faith’ in things. I don’t have ‘faith’ that the sun will rise tomorrow. It might not, but there is scientific evidence that it will, and so there is something to believe in, and hope for, but no faith there.

    I don’t have ‘faith’ in myself. I know what it is that I can and cannot do. If I want to push myself into trying something that I could not before do, work, not faith, will push me toward that goal. I don’t say “I have faith that I can jump the Grand Canyon” and then go do it. So no, I have no ‘faith’ in myself.

    You state: “I guess our minds have some difficulty to accept that an universal energy could express itself through each of us in different ways.”

    Well, that depends on what you’re defining as a ‘universal energy’. Something purposeful? That has a definite purpose, an intelligent purpose? Yes, I have ‘difficulty’ accepting that simply because I see absolutely no evidence for an intelligent, purposeful energy expressing itself in anything at all. A random universal energy? The energy of the cosmos that flows through everything everywhere in the universe, living and unliving? Sure. We’re all a part of the cosmos. Every rock, every star, every atom, every bit of anti-matter, whatever, is connected because we’re all made up of the same basic materials, and the way those material are expressed through us is by our own genetic makeup and the way those chemicals travel through our bodies. Nothing more. Nothing less. No intent. No purpose. No intelligence.

    Regarding religion: I am very much into theology. As most atheists are. We don’t accept anything spoonfed to us about religion. We investigate it. We read the ‘holy scriptures’, we attempt to read what we can of the histories and times in which they were written, read about the ‘early churches’, who knew what when, what was written when, and all the rest.

    Then I make up my *own* mind about what those things say. I don’t take anything spewed out by anyone else, be that Fred Phelps or be that Richard Dawkins. I am very much my own person. I have read and studied the texts and early/’original’ belief systems in all the current world religions, and many of the past religions, and find not one grain of truth in ANY of them. At all. So no, I’m not listening to someone else and choosing to throw in my lot with him or her. I read, I learn, I study, and I study again. I take NO ONE’S word for anything. Should, in the future, evidence for position A, B or C come to light, I will study that evidence and, if I find it binding, I will adjust my beliefs accordingly. Until that does, however, no.

    Regarding Jesus words: As with the ‘Nazi’ discussion, the ‘out of context’ discussion is a no-button for me, so we’ll just agree to disagree on that one.

    Regarding the ‘war’ between science and religion: Every time science grows, God shrinks. Theists have been backing up and drawing new lines in the sand for generations and generations now as each new scientific fact comes to light. And when you have to twist and pretzel words in a religious text just to get them to fit the new scientific reality, well, that just leads me to question…well…everything.

    Based on my reading and understanding of early Christianity, for instance, it was sincerely believed that seven days meant seven twenty four hour days. As science has grown to question this by proving the earth a LOT older, etc., then we get “well, days didn’t REALLY mean DAYS, it meant…AGES” or “well, God MADE those dinosaurs, but he just wanted you to THINK that they are that old. He’s just testing your FAITH.” or the million other arguments that try to fit established fact with the literal interpretation of the bible. Once you change one establishment of the bible to be “well, they didn’t REALLY mean it that way”, IMHO, you’ve corrupted the text. How can you (the general you) know what they REALLY meant? Were you there when it was being written? Are you God? If the answer to both is ‘no’, then you don’t know what ANYONE ‘really’ meant. Neither do I. All I can go on is what the people at the time BELIEVED.

    The writers at the time BELIEVED the Earth was flat, BELIEVED the Earth was the center of the universe, etc. It’s not true. It never was. But when one has to twist the words of the texts to match up with the scientific realities NOW known that weren’t known before, one is only serving to corrupt the text.

    However, those are MY beliefs. And I am in no way saying they MUST be YOUR beliefs. Your beliefs are sacred to you. And I do respect that, even if I don’t agree with it, and even if it’s sometimes frustrating as heck to me.

    Peace,

    Sue

  • By carol4spot, January 13, 2011 @ 6:06 am

    Hilly, Mishka was lucky to have you and to give her the best cat life she/he? could have. I am sorry about her passing. I send her a kiss on the nose and scratches behind the ears..I loved mishka too you know! I hope you are ok. I know the passing of a pet is huge. xocarol

  • By Raffy, January 13, 2011 @ 9:54 am

    Sue,

    science has been a “work in progress” all along the human history. Sometimes it appears as a success, other times as a failure…it depends on the angle from which things are observed and judged. Sometimes science gives the impression that it is “correcting” itself. Maybe its steps have much to do with the means we have and the different approaches over the time. Mostly our thirst for discovery is about what seems real to us, what we can perceive through our senses. And discovery makes us feel part of the universe in such a tangible way….
    I think the “scriptures” can help humanity and science, as well as science can help put more light on many ancient texts.
    Yet there is that part of us able to “see” or witness what we perceive through our senses, what we think, what we feel.
    It is that part which is giving me some “evidence” of faith…it does not come from “chasing” it…it just is…
    We are all flowing…it is not what we think that can change the truth, whatever it is, there are only different ways to slide into the ocean….

    Peace…Raffy

  • By hilly, January 13, 2011 @ 10:19 am

    thanks Carol – he was my litle ray of sunshine and right now the house is a very strange place to be.

    Sue – I agree with you wholeheartedly when it comes to the digression between science and religion. Int he end perhaps religion is a simplified way of explaining science to those who can’t see it any other way? Some of us see things int he abstract; we think ‘outside the box’ lateral thinkers – others need something to hang their hat on.

  • By Sue, January 13, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

    Raffy:

    What you see as a weakness in science is science’s strength. The Bible (for instance) or God (per the Bible) cannot change. It is fixed. If one finds one mistake, then all is a mistake.

    Science lives. Science grows. Science ACCEPTS change.

    Science also does not ‘chase’. Scientists didn’t invent the laws of gravity. They are already there. Scientists simply uncover gravity and try to interpret it through the abilities of human brains (evolving every generation) by theories and facts. As more facts become uncovered, theories change to include and accept those facts. As our knowledge grows, our science grows, adapts and changes. That is not a weakness. It is a strength. It is science’s largest strength.

    Like the San Francisco bridge that is not held rigid, fixed or steady, science is able to take the strain of competing theories, always looking forward for the next bit of knowledge it will uncover. It makes hypotheses and then looks for the evidence, and then tests and tests and peer reviews the evidence.

    Antimatter has been a hypothesis for generations now. And lo! They’ve found it! Here on earth. In our thunderstorms.

    Eons ago, thunderstorms were caused by gods, or God. We now know much differently. And now we add antimatter to the mix to give us an ever growing body of scientific work.

    All of the knowledge in the universe is already there. Science seeks to uncover it.

    Religion/theism seeks static, rigid modes of thought and control that must, by the very definition of their own gods/God be always perfect and unchanging and already fully described by said God/gods himself.

    So many people think that because science grows and changes, that means it’s weak. No, that means it’s strong. Things evolve, and science must evolve with it. If it doesn’t, it remains a three thousand year-old book recounting how the human race believed the world worked when they lived in tents and herded goads and made things from bronze. We’ve come a long way since then, and it was SCIENCE that carried us upon its back.

    Sue

  • By Raffy, January 13, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

    Sue,

    I don’t see any “weakness” in science…how could it be if it is, as I said, our wonderful way to experience the connection with the whole universe??
    You said: “God cannot change”…. “All of the knowledge in the universe is already there”
    Where is the difference then? Maybe only in the human approach?…
    But as the scientists must be open in order to discover more and more… don’t you think that also “God” is a dynamic experience, an everlasting becoming?
    I don’t see any difference between what “is already there” and the “Everything” to which we feel that deep need to re-member…

    Raffy

  • By Sue, January 13, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    Again, I can’t speak directly to you about such questions until I know, without a doubt in my mind, EXACTLY what your definition of God is. Do you believe that God is simply a universal random energy, or do you believe God is an intelligence that has purpose in his actions? I can’t possibly address any of your questions until I know what your definition of God is.

    So, when you can tell me, I can answer your questions.

    :D

    Sue

  • By Raffy, January 13, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

    Sorry, Sue, I haven’t any definition of God…never had a specific one and I think I’ll never have one. A definition would stop my searching, my letting go, my chance to feel, to connect…it is already so difficult…
    And should I ever think that I know or believe in some God, I just hope to be able to start and start again…

    Raffy

  • By Raffy, January 13, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

    Maybe “God” just…is

  • By Sue, January 13, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

    Unfortunately, that helps less than nil. You seem to imply that we all should believe in something you refuse to define? Or can’t define? If you can’t define it at ALL, then why are you arguing for its existence?

    Where is the difference between that and my saying “I think most people are simply afraid to believe in the zzzrythinit. She flows through all of us, but some are just afraid to give up our power to her.”

    “Ok, but what is the zzrythinit?”

    “Don’t know. I only know I believe in it.”

    You ask me questions but refuse to tell me the basis from which you’re working. How in the world can I answer the questions you put to me if you refuse to give me ANY frame of reference upon which to discuss anything?

    We could never have a common ground whatsoever if you think we all should believe in something you won’t even define. How could I ever know what it might be if you won’t even tell me what you think it is?

    This is my frustration, played out right here. You’re giving me questions that you know already I can’t answer because any answer I give will fall short of something you won’t even define for me so I can see whether or not my answers are in agreement or in disagreement with yours. How can we EVER find common ground based on that?

    Sorry, but no.

    It’s been real.

    Sue

  • By HILDA LIPRACE, January 13, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

    “Forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling, because when we forgive no longer feel the offense, we no longer feel resentment. Sorry, that alone will forgive your soul and you will have offended ”

    Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910 – 1997). Nationalized Yugoslav Mission India.

    “Forgiveness falls like gentle rain from heaven to earth. It is twice blessed, blesses the giver and to the recipient ”

    William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616). English poet.

    “If you do not forgive for love, forgive at least for selfishness, for your own welfare”

    Dalai Lama (1935 -). Tibet’s spiritual leader.

    “Sorry, you do not know when you need to also forgive you”

    Abel Pérez Rojas (1970). Mexican educator.

    “The ability of a person to forgive is in proportion to the greatness of his soul”

    Anonymous.

    “Winning and forgive, is to win twice”

    Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600 – 1681). Spanish poet.

    “To err is human, to forgive divine”

    Alexander Pope (1688 – 1744). English writer.

    “Forgiveness is better than revenge”

    Pittacus of Mytilene (652 to 569 BC). Greek philosopher.

    “He who is unable to forgive is incapable of love”

    Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968). American social leader.

    “To understand all is to forgive everything”

    Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910). Russian writer.

    “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong ”

    Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948). Hindu leader.

    “Men who do not forgive women their little faults never may enjoy the great virtues”

    Khalil Gibran (1833 – 1931). Lebanese poet.

    “He who can not forgive others destroys the bridge over which he must pass”

    George Herbert (1593 -1633). English poet.

    “It is easier to forgive an enemy than a friend”

    William Blake (1757 – 1827). English poet.

    “Perdónaselo all to whom nothing is forgive yourself”

    Confucius (551 – 479 BC). Chinese philosopher and social theorist.

    son frases que encontre y me parecieron muy oportunas para la ocasion .Dios los bendiga grandemente
    Un cariño enorme para usted señor Glaser y un beso para ti Pam los quieros con AMOR Hilda

  • By Raffy, January 14, 2011 @ 12:18 am

    I don’t imply anything, Sue. And I don’t “refuse”, as you say, “to tell you the basis from which I’m working”.
    “God just…is” is MY own way to feel and it is more meaningful to me than thousands definitions my mind would like to create on such a topic. I can’t express things in the way you can consider as a “frame of reference”. Yet maybe it is meaningful to someone else on this blog.
    Don’t feel frustrated. Also, I think we are not talking only between us on this blog…so our questions and answers must not become a private discussion. Yet I find that if you can define, as you did, at least two conditions in our human approach to “God”…. “God is simply a universal random energy” and “an intelligence that has purpose in his actions”, then you can try to deepen your points of view, your “answers”, and for sure it will be very interesting and useful to many of us…

    Peace…Raffy

  • By hilly, January 14, 2011 @ 12:48 am

    “Maybe “God” just…is”

    ….or isn’t?

    All those quotations a re very good Hilda – but they aren’t proof of a god – they are proof With that there are people who understand the basis rules of human survival.
    And as Sue has said you don’t need a ‘god’ or doohickey or anything else to understand that.

    All the teachings – all the holy books are just like the early stories in the caverns (if you haven’t seen Mr. G’s speech at La Sierra – go watch it) they are a means of explaining the basis ‘rules’ in a way that people will understand. And there are many people who need an authoritarian figure to ‘rule’ that….so they created god; and then a whole lot of other manipulative, self-seeking and frequently fraudulent others invented the dogmas and doctrines and the rituals to take and keep control.
    “Rolling lawns and pearly gates, he’ll have his in this life but yours will have to wait’ (Joni Mitchell.

  • By Sue, January 14, 2011 @ 3:52 am

    Raffy:

    Two points:

    1. I was answering your original post before you put up your “maybe God just..is?” quote and it wasn’t addressing that. But that definition still tells me nothing.

    2. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It’s not up to me to prove your supernatural God exists. It’s also NOT up to me to continue to try to define it to YOU who believes.

    Unless you agree to meet me halfway (as in supplying at least ONE more narrow definition to my two narrower definitions), we’re not continuing this for anyone.

    I’m not going to be your dog and pony show. You meet me halfway and show me you’re willing to put in as much work toward our mutual understanding as I am, or there’s nothing more I have to say at present on this topic.

    Sue

  • By hilly, January 14, 2011 @ 4:15 am

    The old chestnut is there in the fire waiting for someone to pull it out, blow in it and share it around to miraculously feed all of those who are looking for some kind of spiritual peace and need a ‘god’ to define that by. The chestnut is ‘don’t try to understand, have faith, accept’ and has been the staple diet of most religions ever since man came out of the cave banging the stones and telling stories to stave off the fear of the beasts roaming around out there waiting to pounce (or not as the case may have been).
    In order to discuss the concept of ‘god’ we need more than just a chestnut to chew on. Most of the stories in the bible have logical and non-religious explanations….the ‘ancient’ societies (Romans, Greeks , Persians etc) watered their wine to 1)make it go further and 2)to prevent drunken ramblings during the after dinner conversation and debate. The Greeks and Romans even designated someone at the beginning of the meal to give the wine/water ration – and from that was concluded whether the night’s subjects were to be serious or not. SO the story of the wedding at Canaan is no miracle – just a normal dealing out of the available wine for a big party….and as after that JC is supposed to have dropped a few pearls of wisdom we can assume that he had been designated and was going for serious conversation.

    So how can we discuss the idea of god if some are hanging on to ‘I can’t define it but I expect you to’ in response to a request for something concrete?
    Science (despite the outlandish claims of the more aggressive wings of the chrisitian community) does not close its book; science is the process of continual investigation. It is interesting that here in France most research departments (including the liberal arts)are not parts of University faculties but part of the CNRS (National Scientific Research Centres).
    Religon per se runs the risk of closing that door – of saying “believe” “accept”

    “oh ye of little faith…..” that was what ‘Doubting’ Thomas was told when he said ‘Ok if you’ve come back from the dead show me the wounds’. Not an unreasonable question after all. But the (re)writers of the Gospels had to reduce that desire for information to ‘doubt’ to some kind of transgression against the ‘faith’. They failed in one respect (at least for those of us who know the historical facts of the period) there weren’t any nail holes….the Romans TIED their victims to the cross beam and left them to suffocate from the weight of their bodies falling forward and down.

  • By AnneG., January 14, 2011 @ 4:23 am

    QUOTE :

    ”Each faith imagines a God, and according to this image, will be the living of those who believe.
    The Orientals God is nothingness. Their living is desiring to melt into nothingness, working meticulously through and against all spiritual powers, until the total abolition of consciousness, whose last glimpse, as a cry of Light which ends in them, is called nirvana.
    Muslims God is a creator who does not meet his creation! and can not be achieved. The commandment of their god who always wants to be begged for something that he will never do, Muslims are subject to a staggered frustration shouting what they call prayers,, a more or less hidden anger that wants to be vindicted in this world where willingness and ability for them are antagonistic .
    Artists God is what takes possession of their vessel ,being or The Spirit, or spirits.
    Scientists God is what can be measured in the world, and God CANNOT be measured, he IS the one who measures, for He Alone is the One who created what is being measured.
    The Esoterists God is an aberration that they allow upon reaching fulfillment or revelation.
    Occultists God is cowardice and perverse rebellion against the known truth
    . Qabbalistics God is the ecstasy of contemplation of the uncreated energies without wishing their through cause. Atheists God is the negation
    Agnostics God is laziness. Catholics God is earthly life. Sectarian Christians God is a Christ without the Cross ,without power, without the Saints, without Mother, without beauty, without humanity or without God, without will , without integrity, without glare, no kingdom, no Church, no sacraments, and of course, without power of salvation, because God Himself clearly said that anyone who does not take his cross is not worthy of Him who does not believe his Apostles, Saints, Prophets, does not believe the Father, and who does not eat His body and drink His blood, life is not in itself . Sorcerers God is darkness .
    Chaldeilors God is the wisdom planted in things and pantheistic s God – things themselves.
    Toltecs God is the soul’s power to transcend matter, the God of the Aztecs, power to penetrate through matter. God for others is time, stone, wood, earth, sky, stars, famous, unknown, or what is impossible to know, harmony, proportion, numbers, shapes, letters, will, appetite, thought, dream, order, chaos, law man, animals, water, sky, fire, demons, passion, lust object, no object of lust, self, self-emptying, forgetfulness, offspring, dry or drying, and many others.. But all these also have a cause and what has cause , cannot be God, as God doesn’t have any causality.
    So not all people worship the same god, first because those who believe in created things, whether seen or unseen, idolaters, second, because those who believe in many gods do not actually believe in neither, and the third for those who believe in one God are divided into those who know him but I deny him, those who do not know, but attest him and those who know him but twist him (the heterodox, who disregard his words). Therefore remain those who know him – Orthodox believers in His Church, and , abow all, the ones who know Him but also love him – the Saints.”

  • By Sue, January 14, 2011 @ 4:34 am

    AnneG:

    Interesting quote. And in it, we have nothing but another repetition of the nothing-but-rhetoric saying “All other gods but mine are false gods. Only I know the REAL god. I, and those who share my faith.”

    I could come up with similar quotes from members of every other world religion. That’s why it makes it nigh upon impossible for anyone in the world to ever reach common ground on the topic of theism.

    Because every single theist is an atheist to every single other god but the one(s) they worship. I just go one step further. :D

    Sue

  • By Diana, January 14, 2011 @ 4:59 am

    Interesting comments. I’m an accountant so I’ll bottom-line mine. PMG, your comments and observations are very interesting and very intuitive. I enjoy reading them. To your bloggers, those who are going into 2011 from not so great prior years, please know that there are people, as you have read on this site, who wish you well and hope your 2011 is a wonderful year. As my older daughter, the whitewater rafter once told me; ‘Power through it, Mom’. It works. I hope everyone has a terrific New Year.

    But Paul, you DO need to lighten up once in a blue moon!!

    Take care and laugh. Oh, my Dad labeled us (his offspring) Metho-Jews. That went over with the rabbi like a fart in church or Temple!!

    Bye, y’all!

  • By AnneG., January 14, 2011 @ 5:50 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJtMbhs4tSU

    Just something beautiful that expresses better what I would wish to say.

    p.s. – I saw that this is an open discussion where everybody can share their opinion , i am just sharing mine, do not want to open any dabate , nor do I want to offend anybody. Because you are right ,dear Sue, human can never reach common ground, at least not by argumentation, but its interesting to hear many views.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81O0NB1etpg&feature=related

  • By hilly, January 14, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    AnneG ‘quoted’ (but didn’t tell us where from!)

    I won’t bother to take issue with every point (just about all of that made me annoyed) but this has really made me see red:
    Atheists God is the negation

    Negation? Why because Atheists say there isn’t a god doesn’t mean they are negative – most are very POSITIVE about why they don’t think there is a god – because they see the POSITIVE proof of mankind being able to make its own rules without a god to tell us what to do. Because they see that ‘creation’ didn’t happen in 7 and wasn’t the work of one entity.

    Now let’s move on to the next insult

    Agnostics God is laziness
    For your info AnneG (and for whoever wrote that nonsense) most Agnostics have taken a far from lazy decision. They have taken the trouble to learn about what people believe and why; they have studied what these beliefs involve. It is actually quite hard work to research all that before deciding whether or not to “believe”. And it is often the case that those who have decided not to believe know more about the different religions than those who do believe.
    But what is an ‘agnostic’….an agnostic is someone who is willing to accept a god without a religion. this apparently – according the nonsense that AnneG quotes – is a lazy way out. Oh really! I would put forward that the lazy way out is to accept without question all that you are ‘taught’ by those who indoctrinate you before you are old enough to make your decisions…your parents or teachers; those pople who tell you that you were ‘born christian/moslem/buddhist/hindu/shintoist/animist or whatever your parents’ religion may have been. OK some will say that Jews are also a race…well yes inasmuch as strictly speaking Judaism is passed by the maternal line – there must be a common heritage – but there is no Jewish gene!

    Saying blithely – yes there’s a god because the bible/quoran tells me so is so bloody lazy it leaves me weak!

  • By hilly, January 14, 2011 @ 8:34 am

    it goes without saying that what I said about how agnostics get there applies to atheists too.

  • By AnneG., January 14, 2011 @ 10:17 am

    When I trust my believes, I dont feel insulted, you can tell me anything you want.
    If you felt insulted, I must assume it is because of your own uncertitude towards life.
    For a believer, saying that there is no God, makes him sad, because its like I would tell you that your friend doesnt exist when you know he does, but doesnt make me angry because I care about you as a human being, no matter which your believes might be.

    So I cant apologise for insulting anybody, because I didn’t. Like all of you, who have stated your opinions, I have stated some myself. If you feel insulted, it is not my fault.

    All best to you.

  • By Sue, January 14, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

    AnneG:

    Here’s where the difference between us lies. I have ASKED Raffy what kind of theist she is. She can’t tell me. But I have done her the compassion or honor or politeness of ASKING her, not TELLING her what she believes.

    You, through your quote, are TELLING me what I believe! And you don’t think you’re being offensive?

    Atheism is NOT a belief in NO GOD. Atheism, AnneG, is NO BELIEF in a God or gods. There is a huge difference.

    Atheism only tells you what I DO NOT believe in. What it does not tell you is what I DO believe in.

    So, here’s my response to you, and I know I won’t offend you. If you feel insulted, it’s not my fault.

    The fact that you believe in an invisible sky daddy (but only YOUR particular religious sect of baby rapers) who grants you wishes just for the sake of asking, and who would admit the vilest pedophile into heaven a second before his death even if he raped a million newborns and died raping a newborn but had the strength to ask his Jesus for forgiveness in that last second is vile, evil, pestulant, disgusting and puke-eating.

    If you’re offended by what I just wrote, well, that’s your fault, not mine.

    Sue

  • By Sue, January 14, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

    To PamM:

    You wanna kick me off, fine. I’ve spent the last week attempting to reach a consensus with various theists, to work on common ground where we can meet, only to be told what my own beliefs are in a negative way AND told that any offense born is my own fault.

    Well, screw that. If that’s allowed here, but my comment isn’t, then please kick me out, cause this isn’t a place I want to be.

    Thanks.

    Sue

  • By hilly, January 14, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

    When I trust my believes, I dont feel insulted, you can tell me anything you want.

    the great get out…belief as security blanket!

    If you felt insulted, I must assume it is because of your own uncertitude towards life.
    Well I usually take the attitude that those who don’t like what I say or write take responsibility for their interpretations – but I don’t then insult them by implying that they don’t know where they are. I leave them to get it wrong – unless they presume to tell me what I am thinking…and whops you just tipped the balance! So now you get the full force of what I’m thinking…

    I have no ‘uncertitude towards life’ other than the intelligent doubts that make me continually seek clearer knowledge – knowledge not blind belief.
    On the other hand I suspect that your belief is driven by that uncertitude…security blankets are so reassuring aren’t they?

    For a believer, saying that there is no God, makes him sad, because its like I would tell you that your friend doesnt exist when you know he does, but doesnt make me angry because I care about you as a human being, no matter which your believes might be.

    (my bolds)

    there you go again – you believe in god therefor this ‘god’ exists and those who doubt it make it/him/her(?) sad….
    Nothing makes this non-believer more irritated than this kind of tortuous (and failed) attempt at reason.

    So I cant apologise for insulting anybody, because I didn’t.

    I would like to see the reference to that text BTW just where does it come from?
    Those definitions are each and every one an insult to the groups identified; each of them is given a specious definition of the religion in question until hey presto the writer claims ‘truth’ for his/her own. And you posted them….as if they were unchallenged truths. Your beliefs? Your truth? My( our) “error”? My “failure”?
    I hope not because I don’t take that kind of insult quietly

    But I suspect that I’m wasting my energy with you. You want to believe blindly and those of us who don’t are wrong in your eyes or…what was it again ‘uncertain about life’?

    I have a certitude…there is no right or wrong answer about god. I prefer to believe in a spiritual force….that which unites a pretty good proportion of the human race….thought and a quest for knowledge.
    I’m also capable of something you apparently are not….I can leave you to believe what you like without trying to tell you that it is wrong. Do me (and a few others here) the courtesy of respecting our right not to believe in your version of what for convenience I will refer to as ‘god’.

  • By AnneG., January 14, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

    Dear Sue,

    As I read through the previous statements, you also said some things about other religions that werent positive necesarilly. Some believers could have felt offended but didnt, because we are telling our views, I dont say that is bad. We are sharing thoughts here I cant make my thoughts identical with your thoughts.ALWAYS, your opinion will hurt somebody. If you think your doesnt, you are wrong, and of that I am sure. If you felt offended, it was not because of me, but because of your anger towards life and its negative side, which shows that you are a good person.
    If I think about atheists, it is my right, I think , to state it, just like you stated others about other religions. Why do you have to take defensive atitude? This way, you run out screaming from the conversation and that doesnt lead nowhere.

    Dont worry, I wont post anymore.
    Please forgive me, as I will forgive you.

  • By hilly, January 14, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

    Why do you have to take defensive atitude? This way, you run out screaming from the conversation and that doesnt lead nowhere.

    I can’t wait to see Sue’s reaction to this.

    mine is unprintable!

  • By hilly, January 14, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

    Sue – your last posts came up as mine was processing

    …YOU ROCK!

  • By Pam Meserve, January 14, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

    Sue..Hilly..
    kick you off? what are you talking about?
    I said no such thing nor did I imply it!
    And I didn’t say anything about God, Jesus or athiest views…I was expressing MY beliefs which are just that, my beliefs…I dont follow any particular religion…I only strive to be a better person, share what I have learned, experienced and what I study which is currently Buddhism..but it’s all my opinion and study and I never force, or preach on anyone what/who /how they should ‘be’..so Im confused why the posturing towrds me, Sue..we don’t even know each other..
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By carol4spot, January 14, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

    All I can say is I wish this discussion wouldn’t cause such dissension between people. Who cares what other people believe in? If they believed in Big Foot, who the hell cares! Seriously, I feel, if one is comfortable in their own beliefs, comfortable in their own skin, then it doesn’t mean diddly squat what other people believe in. I know atheists, I know Christians, I know Agnostics and what the hell ever there is out there to believe in and I treat each person the same as the next because I DON”T CARE about their religions or lack of. Really, I respect whatever people are into. I believe in God. Maybe my god is a great Dalmation in the Sky called Spot! So, let me believe that if I want. I’m not hurting anybody by my belief. I don’t have to ‘prove’ that my god exists. If I believe it does, what difference should that make to anyone else? I really enjoyed Raffy’s posts. I thought AnneG’s posts were interesting too. Is that going to make everyone that doesn’t believe in God now have an attitude towards me? I spread love. I hope all people in this world have peace and joy and love.
    xocarol

  • By hilly, January 14, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

    Pam…I didn’t think for one minute you would kick anyone off this thread.

    Pam,meet Sue. Sue, meet Pam. Two great ladies I enjoy knowing online.
    Hope Sue doesn’t mind if I tell Pam that IMO like me her meaow is worse than her scratch ;)

    Carol….I don’t give a flying **** what people believe either as long as they don’t imply that others are wrong or ‘uncertain’; Anne G’s posts would have been even more interesting if she credited those quotes.
    Belief is a manifestation of a need….and each to their own.
    Dissension is discussion after all.

  • By hilly, January 14, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

    PS Pam – I think Sue was addressing AnnG not you….remember my e-mail to you the other day kiddo

  • By hilly, January 14, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

    I think PMG needs to give us something else to think about…hint hint

  • By Pam Meserve, January 14, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

    He is aware…

    Doesn’t excuse or explain comments or what seems to be harshness going around here
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Sue, January 14, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

    PamM:

    I am not posturing toward you *whatsoever*. You are the admin of this blog. I know what that’s like. What you take, incorrectly, as a posture, is a nod to you to tell you that what I said to AnneG most likely breaks the rules and that I know and accept responsibility for that, and that, should the rules of this place mean that my punishment is deletion or banning, I will accept and take that punishment up front and NOT go running around behind your back calling you names or casting aspersions upon your character.

    What you took as an attack by me upon you is actually me giving you the honor of my acceptance of YOUR leadership.

    Your defensiveness against me is quite unwarranted. As you’ve rightly said, we don’t know one another. I am not your enemy. Just one willing to accept whatever punishment the rules say I deserve if any with the full knowledge that I will take that punishment like an adult and not start some childish behind the scenes feud that I’ve seen happen all too often on this blog and other places like it, the boards and blogs I myself administer being NO exception.

    Sue

  • By carol4spot, January 14, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

    I think PMG is above the nonsense. Pam, don’t fret. You are loved.
    I feel the harshness too. Don’t like it much.
    Frances, are you still around? I have been thinking of you lately. Hoping you are doing well….xocarol

  • By Sue, January 14, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

    Carol:

    Try reading my former posts again if you would. I have been trying to build a consensus with Fee, with Raffy, with every other theist, anti-theist, atheist, pantheist, whatever, who engages me in debate.

    I have willingly talked to all who disagree with my opinion and have only asked that if they wish me to believe in something, or open my mind open to the possibility of belief, they DEFINE the thing they’re asking me to consider worthy of my belief.

    If you think that is something to be afraid of, then you don’t understand attempts to form common ground.

    My scathing response to AnneG was because while I have been giving EVERYONE the honor of telling me what they believe in and not assuming what it is they believe in, while saying repeatedly, clearly, and forthrightly that even if I cannot agree, I also CANNOT and WILL NOT say that you DO NOT believe what you believe, AnneG did the exact opposite.

    She told me, through her post, what it was that I believed in. She didn’t bother engaging me. She didn’t bother asking me. She didn’t bother sharing with me.

    She TOLD ME. What *I* believed in!

    And then TOLD me that if I was offended by her telling ME what I believed in, that that was my fault, not hers.

    If you see that *I* am the enemy here, well, there’s absolutely nothing I can do to disabuse you of that notion.

    If you can’t see the difference between me constantly engaging many theists and ASKING them what they believe, and AnneG TELLING me what *I* believe, well, then we will never be able to speak openly, and I’m afraid you’ll just have to be scared of me, because you simply don’t understand what I have been posting over and over and OVER again.

    Sue

  • By Pam Meserve, January 14, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

    Hilly wrtes:“Pam,meet Sue. Sue, meet Pam. Two great ladies I enjoy knowing online.”
    lol!
    helo, Sue..
    AnneG..Welcome! Please post more often…

    I would like all to just respect others views, opinions and sharing as just that…personal views..and for people to try not to write with what appears to be to many readers here ‘tone’/attitude/disrespect to each other..

    This IS a blog with compassion, kindness, respect and ‘love’ of others..(SEE the ‘head blogger of “Shared Thoughts’ posts: Paul as evidence) built into its creation. It’s a place for learning about yourself as well as others..it is not meant as a tool for negativity or whatever else seems to be going on sometimes…If you want to talk about yourself that way fine..let others here help you with it..

    Isn’t there too much discomfort, anger and ‘viciousness’ in the world already? This should be a place where all bloggers not only read, but post, learn and grow. “Love” shouldn’t be this heard to receive or give..

    I find it sad that what first began as a great thing…ie meaningful ‘Shared Thoughts,’ experiences and knowledge with and from Paul, seems to go down a negative route too often these days! It seems to keep a lot of great readers and writers from posting..

    This blog, IMHO, is a gift with Paul…I truly feel this way…and the ‘Outside the Box’ way of thinking..fabulous!
    Just my humble opinion..

    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Christine, January 14, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

    It is sad just how frequently things tend to get a little out of hand on here. Speaking from someone who knows just how words can hurt. Sometimes its unintentional, sometimes I think its how a sentence is ‘read’ or picked up on. Different countries I find use/understand phrases in different ways. I am in no way pointing a finger here at anyone just a honest view on how easy it is sometimes to spiral.
    I’m no expert at all. Infact, I am just glad to be able to keep up with you guys at times; sometimes I read and think ‘well, that lets me out!!!’ What I do find on here though is there are a lot of like-minded people, we all want a better world. Friendship and compassion is a must in this world.
    Thanks to Paul and Pam we have a great blog here. Once again,’I love this blog!!!’.
    Peace,
    Christine xx

  • By carol4spot, January 14, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

    Sue, I understand totally what you are trying to do. Believe me, I do not want to argue. I want to be friends. I’m okay with who you are and what you believe.I guess what I’m trying to say is that even if someone was in fact trying to tell ME what I believe in, I still wouldn’t care. It still would have no bearing on me or what I truly believe in. It’s not like someone can change me or my beliefs. I am open, however, to hear what other people are into because, frankly, I find it all interesting. I have a twin sister who is of a ‘scientific’ approach and doesn’t believe in anything unless there’s hard facts and evidence to back it up. I’m ok with whatever she’s into. I just fear that her lack of ‘faith’ (don’t attack) makes her life more ‘matter of fact’ and not really joyous. It’s like when we were kids and believed in Santa Claus. The feeling of joy and excitement. It was incomparable to any other joy. Ofcourse, we get older and know for fact that there’s no Santa but we long to feel that same joy and excitement. And I guess many people need to believe in something. I don’t have a problem with that. Whether there’s gods or not. Whether we are reincarnated or we just die. My Grandpa’s most common response was , “nobody knows for sure”.
    Seriously, I am in no way trying to cause friction. I am content with the philosophy ‘live and let live’. I am not an angry person. Life is too short (that we know of anyway!)
    xocarol

  • By Sue, January 14, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

    Carol:

    I’ll say one thing about one part of your post, and then go to address the rest of it.

    When you state that you understand me, and ask me to believe you when you say this, then tell me not to attack you, I wonder if you realize what your words are really telling me?

    Now, onto what you said in the body of your post. And I *know* you’re not trying to cause friction. You are trying to engage me in talk, and that’s what I’ve been doing with EVERYONE on this blog since I first started posting here, many, many moons ago now.

    I am not your sister, I am me, but I will respond to what you’ve said about your fears for her as if you were using the example to think that perhaps you have similar fears for any non-believer.

    So, I would ask you, who are you, who am I, who is anyone to tell another what is or is not ‘joyous’ to them?

    Neither you, nor anyone else, has any idea what kind of joy I feel watching the summer sun rise over a lake. No one can ever understand the transcending joy I feel each time a trembling, critically ill, innocent newborn is delivered into my hands. These hands, which are entrusted with the entirety of this newborn human life, to save as I can, to protect it with my life, to urge it to continue every breath, to provide comfort in every agony, and, if necessary, to deliver it unto the unlimited peace of death while rocking it upon my breast.

    Santa Claus? Please, Carol. The joy I feel in LIFE is so much more enrapturing, so much more THERE, so much more exhilirating, so much more transcendent, so much more EVERYTHING than a kid waking up on Christmas morning to see presents under the tree.

    Matter of fact? Hardly. I take joy in every sunrise and every sunset. I take joy in the awe of life around me, of the awesomeness of the universe as it slowly becomes revealed to my sight.

    What POSSIBLE place does ‘faith’ in an unseen entity concerned with my sex life and promising me an eternity in hellfire because I don’t believe have in MY life? What POSSIBLE place could it? I NEED no God, no faith, no belief in reincarnation, no belief in ANYTHING to enjoy every single moment of the only life I KNOW I will ever have. Do you KNOW how truly blessed I feel that, because of the simple, coincidental, utterly random, and so rare as to be nigh upon impossible chain of events conspired, without thought, care, or intent, to cause me to be here to be able to see and recognize all the awe, joy, and beauty in everything around me?

    I often times find concerns like yours, that without god, without faith in something supernatural, there can be no joy, to be utterly presumptuous. As if you could EVER know the utter joy and sense of wonder I feel in watching the unfurling of a single blade of spring grass piercing through the snow to unfurl, trembling, in the warm, gentle light of a newborn spring sun?

    I ask you again, how could you POSSIBLY know how I feel? And how could you possibly feel sorry or concerned for me, or others like me, who take every bit as much joy in the awesomeness of our here and no reality as you do in something supernatural?

    What I am saying is said calmly and without attack. I feel incredible joy every day of my life in the reality of this reality surrounding me. What need have I for ANYTHING supernatural when the natural blows me away every second of every day??

    Sue

  • By Pam Meserve, January 14, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

    Ditto Carol..
    xo
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Sue, January 14, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

    I want to say something more about Carol’s Santa analogy that may bring more to light my atheism and my abilities to find greater joy, peace and freedom in it than any fantasy conjured up from thin air.

    I was very, very young when I discovered for sure that Santa was a myth. I never remember buying into the whole thing totally, but when you’re a kid, you get caught up in the magic of it all.

    Does that mean that when I received proof that there was no fat dude with a white beard and red clothes slipping down my chimney, I suddenly became ‘matter of fact’ about Christmas? That it no longer held any joy for me?

    It was, in fact, the exact opposite. Because, freed from the last vestiges of that fantasy, the REALITY of the situation was so much more joyous.

    That around me, in every single gift lying under that tree, was evidence that there were people, real living, breathing people whom I could touch, hug, love and revere were showing me the same thing. Every single present was more important by far than what was inside the box. It represented the fact that someone took time out of their busy lives, spending hard earned money, time, thoughts, ON ME. To buy a gift that *I* would like. To want to make me happy. To tell me how much I was beloved.

    Dear to Jesus, the REALITY of that love my parents, sibling, relatives and friends had for me so outweighed the fat dude in the red suit, it was freaking unbelievable.

    And that’s the way I feel about reality and my disbelief in a supernatural entity. When you toss Santa under the bus and accept the reality of the situation, everything becomes a million times MORE special than it EVER had been thinking that some stranger was dropping off random presents at my house.

    Sue

  • By carol4spot, January 14, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

    Sue, my sister’s lack of joy and matter of fact sort of existence was really not about you. I for sure don’t know you or your true joys etc. I would never suggest I do. Like you, however, I am also a lover of nature. I can sit and be one with a tree, or a butterfly or anything this beautiful planet has to offer. I run in the mornings. I spend lot’s of time ‘connecting’ with nature. That really is my true joy in this life. I also have a spiritual side . I want to share my joys with the world. I want to connect with everything and everyone. I want to protect all the animals in my area from cars and dangers. I guess when I use the word ‘faith’ it is not of any particular religion but more a theory or belief that we are all connected and here for each other and together we will find the answers. I don’t know. I am still trying to figure life out too. No one is an expert. But, no hard feelings. It is just one of those topics that creates turbulence.
    xocarol

  • By Sue, January 14, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    Carol:

    And I think what I’m trying to say to everyone here is if you can’t be the universe’s foremost expert on how to live your life, than who possibly could be? It’s your life. No one lives it for you. No one knows what it is to be you, to struggle through your struggles and to feel your triumphs. Only YOU know what it is to BE you, and if you’re not an expert on the living of your own life, who in this world is?

    And I think that’s what religion has done to humanity. It has taken their expertness in the living of their own lives and placed the care and feeding of such into the hands of some great, supernatural entity with an strange fixation with who you choose to sleep with, and a great pit of fire waiting for you should you make one mistake. Or in any other cosmic thing-ness.

    I think that level of division hurts humanity.

    Why is it that all other animals save ourselves have no need to put a layer of something ELSE, something OTHER between their own lives and the living of said lives?

    You say no one is an expert. I say YOU are THE expert. The foremost authority in the Carolness of Carol, and there is nothing and nobody who is better at it than you are. In fact, there is noone and nothing who even comes remotely close to it.

    Sue

  • By Pam Meserve, January 14, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

    I think many would agree, many have experienced that division/separatism hurts humanity! The history of humankind shows this in too many ways!

    Sue: “And I think what I’m trying to say to everyone here is if you can’t be the universe’s foremost expert on how to live your life, than who possibly could be? It’s your life. No one lives it for you. No one knows what it is to be you, to struggle through your struggles and to feel your triumphs. Only YOU know what it is to BE you, and if you’re not an expert on the living of your own life, who in this world is?”

    Yes and this has been constantly said by so many people, myself included throughout this blog…and what I believe almost everyone tries to point out is…your view is your view…it is not right or wrong nor should it be judged..it is your opinion, your belief your experience..your question(s) for your ‘self’.

    I think some of the issues here occur because often, ‘tone’ is misunderstood in some posts when a post is discussed. Religion and politics…difficult issues to talk about sometimes!

    All I know is what I KNOW, what I have experienced, the ‘faith’ and trust that I have received and given, what I witness and witness with being as nonjudgmental as is humanly possible..it’s not easy for anyone to be truly judgmental free about all things..it’s human nature, tbs!

    Metabless everyone….
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Sue, January 14, 2011 @ 8:00 pm

    The problem, Pam, if I may be so bold here, is that oftentimes not Paul’s posts, but the wildly divergent types of responses, or responses to responses make the take on this blog so damned hard to take a read on.

    Is this a ‘let’s all join hands and sing kumbaye’ blog where anyone can say anything they think (“well, my religion and my innermost beliefs are that fags are disgusting abominations (insert relevant bible quote here) who should be killed”) and we all smile and applaud and say “Oh, that’ so wonderful! Tell us more!”

    Or is it the type of environment where, when someone says, “This IS what YOU believe” or “this is what I believe” and we wish to either disagree or attempt to question so as to gain a better understanding (i.e. my requests of Raffy to define her god to me so we could actually be talking on the same page) is allowed?

    Begging your pardon here, but over the months, your responses seem to point out the former must always take precedence, and that no matter what a person says, their beliefs should be applauded, if not admired, whether offensive or not, or whatever.

    What I’m trying to get to here is: is this a place where shared thoughts must be, ipso facto, accepted as unquestioned and unchallenged, no matter what they may be, or is this a blog where ideas are exchanged, debated, questioned and tested in order to find commonalities and the broadening of thought?

    Neither answer is, of course, wrong. There is room for both in this wide world of ours. I’m simply asking which one THIS is. Because unless I know what house I’m playing in, I’m going to inadvertently trip landmines every time I try to speak if I’m thinking it’s one thing and it’s really the other.

    Sue

  • By hilly, January 15, 2011 @ 12:02 am

    OK here’s my four penn’orth!

    PMG’s blogs serve to provoke thought. OK before anyone gets hot under the collar let’s just check out the dictionary here shall we: provoke is NOT an aggressive word; it is a simile for “stimulate”

    what happens is that some reflect on what he has said; some put into the debate their view from their side of the fence. Some of us may be a little more ‘assertive’ than others. But we all have a perfect right to have our beliefs/views respected by others And whether it comes across or not in my posts I DO respect your rights to believe in a bearded man on a cloud/and omnipresent creator/the spaghetti monster or whatever you want. All I demand (yes demand) in return is respect for my interpretation of the world around me.
    I respect 99.9% of the stuff on this blog – even if I disagree with some of it. But what I can not will not and have no intention of trying to tolerate is the disrespect of the “missionary” type who not only has the gall to tell those of us who don’t agree with their particular variation on faith – sect/religion whatever – that we lack something in our lives (her – and in this case it is a she – religion and her god). To be told that as an agnostic or an atheist I am lazy/negative is bad enough. To be told that my arguments come from my wrongly diagnosed ‘uncertitude’ is worse…especially as ‘certitude’ is apparently synonymous with christianity in this person’s case.

    Most of you manage to discuss at a spiritual level – yes, even Sue the ardent atheist….she still has a meaning to her life! But there is a regular input from what I choose to call the “christian lobby”. The petty proselytizers who can’t entertain the idea that they may not have a stranglehold on ‘truth’. And I have zero respect for them. They make me angry. I’ve seen the damage they can do to fragile spirits. You want an example – here’s a good one. Some years ago when I was studying at the local university I encountered a young woman on an exchange program from an American university. She was lonely and homesick. She was ‘befriended’ by a fellow US exchange student who was also a proselytizing evangelical. In the guise of friendship and company this unprincipled little b***h proceeded to ‘convert’ the lonely girl. And in the process she managed to convince her to reject her ‘past life’ and be ‘born again’…and to reject her family. For a while (a few months) the young woman was fooled but then she wanted to return to her family and her home. Unfortunately under the influence of that ‘sweet’ christian she had insulted and alienated her family by telling them that they were in the hands of Satan.
    What happened to her? She didn’t go home; she ended up in the local psychiatric hospital!
    OK – that’s an extreme example….but great oaks from small acorns grow.

    And so, in the name of peace;in the name of respect in the name of intelligent debate, I’m putting in this plea. Feel free to state what you believe and how you see the world. But don’t presume to tell us that we are wrong for not sharing that. If you are a member of the “christian lobby” go find another playground. I have noticed one thing about PMG. He speaks of belief an faith in the abstract…he makes no case for any religion – but he defines himself (I think still) as a JewBu. Tose of you who feel the need to cling to a label could learn from that. It indicates a tolerance for more than one strain of ideas

  • By hilly, January 15, 2011 @ 12:15 am

    rate…hit send by accident…

    Now I’m willing to apologise to any of you who were upset by my earlier posts whether you have expressed it or not – lurkers include. With one exception. Few people have made me as angry as AnneG did.99% of the time I calm down and I end up trying to bury the hatchet (and 97% of the time it has worked)…but not his time. AnneG’s “text” was beneath contempt and I refuse to apologise to her for pointing out all the nastiness within it.

    So to the 99.99999999(inf)% of you…if my posts upset you I’m sorry. If they stimulated you to think – wow.

  • By Sue, January 15, 2011 @ 12:43 am

    Woah, Hilly. That story you told above is so eerily similar to one I just read about today in the TAE blog. Tracie was recounting the contents of an email a young teen had sent her.

    An American in America, he was raised Southern Baptist, I think he said. He was just a teen and did stupid stuff that teens often do and was caught with some pot. Didn’t have a drug habit or anything, but it scared the hell out of his parents, so they shipped him off to this Christian Boy’s Ranch for ‘rehabilitation’.

    I’m sure you’ve heard of these places. One step up from prison. You’re physically and psychologically isolated, and you aren’t allowed to bring ANYTHING secular (aside from clothing and toiletries) with you. THEY control what you read, THEY control what you watch, THEY control what you hear. YOU have absolutely no choice in the matter.

    Bible study, bible study, lunch, bible study, chapel, bible study, dinner, chapel, lights out. Can only see the family on holidays IF they think you’ve been ‘good’ enough.

    Well, this camp was Pentecostal and totally freaked him out. Seeing all these kids shivering and shaking, crying, having fits, speaking in ‘tongues’ frightened the hell out of him. I mean christ…he was just a kid!

    He was totally isolated, not part of the group because he was too scared, but they put pressure on him 24/7/365 until he did what most teens do. Bowed to the pressure and allowed himself to be fully brainwashed.

    When he was let out on a pass to see his folks for Christmas, he had been so brainwashed that he feared for his own family’s ‘eternal souls’, absolutely stone cold SURE that, because they didn’t worship ‘God’ in the ‘correct’ way, they were all going to hell. He alienated every single one of them with his suddenly set and fire and brimstone ways, but the dipshits LET HIM GO BACK!!

    Once he got back, he was ‘reimmursed’ in the faith, and every time he would try to leave, they would drag him back in again until he was once again as rigid as they were.

    But he knew, somewhere inside himself that was still sane, that this was wrong, and he finally broke away, after having to deal with their screaming and shouting at him, and their threats.

    Then, over the next several months and years, he was trapped, not knowing what to believe or how to worship, sure that he and those he loved were doomed to eternal torment because they weren’t worshiping god the right way. But what, he thought, WAS the right way? For every sect that had the so-called answers, there were literally thousands of others who had different answers. He became suicidal, so deep was his fear that he would never figure out what was the right faith to have to save himself and his family until it was too late.

    But he pushed through it and decided to study on his own as many sects as he could to see if he could figure out which was right.

    And, in that studying, something amazing happened. Well, not to the millions of us for whom studying just confirms our first thoughts. He realized that the very fact that there were thousands of different sects all with their own right answer was the proof that there WASN’T an answer because NONE of them were right.

    The hardest thing he had to let go of, and the thing that he struggled with the longest, is the strongest weapon theists, particularly Christian theists have…the threat of Hell.

    Once he allowed himself to be free of that fantasy and see it for what it was…the ultimate way of controlling his mind…he was able to see it all for what it was.

    And now he is a happy and productive young man, college educated, advance degreed, free from the overwhelming fear he carried with him for so long.

    What scares me the most is he is one of the lucky ones. Far too many of our young folk are so swamped by this brainwashing that they take their own lives because they can’t stand to live with the fear of eternal torture for making one wrong move or having one wrong thought, but never knowing what the RIGHT move or thought is.

    These stories are as common as leaves on trees. They are destroying so many young minds and lives.

    There is NOTHING good about these tactics. And yet they are protected and practiced all around the world. And we are constantly told that we must NEVER speak out against them.

    Sue

  • By marly, January 15, 2011 @ 1:49 am

    Dear all,

    It seems to be “It’s us(the believers) against them(the non-believers)”time down here(just like in the big world out there…)
    For some it seems to be a battle of science against belief/faith and vice versa.
    The ones who choose not to belief in a god feel just as offended, attacked, etc. as the ones who do belief.

    So, somehow, people identify themselves with their beliefs (whether they are religious or not).
    We say ”I am a Christian, I am a atheist, I am a Buddhist, I am a non believer……..”
    If someone questions our faith, religion, beliefs, etc. we actually seem to feel/think that our very own identity is being questioned/attacked and we react accordingly by defending ourselves.
    We are eager to point out that the other one is wrong or at least mistaken and we come up with loads of evidence in order to make a stand against the beliefs or (an assumed) absence of beliefs of the other.
    While doing so we often find that the other refuses to see things our way.
    In the end we might get annoyed or even angry………

    Why is that?

    Well, as a simple observant I can’t answer this question.
    Just sit down and read/reread the comments down here and try to find an answer for yourself.

    I can only ask myself where I stand in these matters.
    Just like all of us I am a traveler and the longer I travel the more I start to wonder about this fascinating world we live in.
    The more I learn ,the more I read, the more I find that one life time isn’t enough to answer all the questions my strange, often annoying but beautiful mind comes up with.
    And you know what?
    I must try to come to terms with the insight that a lot of those questions, no matter how deep or intelligent they may appear to myself(lol!!!),will never be answered at all.
    While questions that seem to have been answered in a satisfactory way right now will be, sooner or later, questioned again.
    Scientists will come up with new answers and we will accept those answers until………you get my drift?
    There is no such thing as the “right” answer or is there?
    Therefore I’ll try to be careful with my beliefs and I’ll try even harder to look beyond those beliefs in order to discover and learn about this world and this life.

    No matter what, we’re all in this together and although we often try so very, very hard to define ourselves by means of religion, culture, etc. we are all made of the same stuff ,we are all connected.

    Every shared thought down here is valuable.
    Whether I choose to agree or disagree each comment offers me the opportunity to look into a mirror and learn more about myself.
    I know I haven’t been sharing my thoughts with you for quite some time but I appreciate your contributions to this blog and I’ll try to participate more in coming months if possible.

    Marly

  • By hilly, January 15, 2011 @ 1:50 am

    “But he pushed through it and decided to study on his own as many sects as he could to see if he could figure out which was right.

    And, in that studying, something amazing happened. Well, not to the millions of us for whom studying just confirms our first thoughts. He realized that the very fact that there were thousands of different sects all with their own right answer was the proof that there WASN’T an answer because NONE of them were right.”

    ow many ‘good christians’ can sa

  • By hilly, January 15, 2011 @ 1:53 am

    rats….

    my comment : That is the example if it is needed of how much ‘work’ we ‘lazy’ and ‘negative ‘atheists and agnostics put into learning about what we choose to accept or reject.
    If in following such study someone concludes that they wish to believe in a form of god or to join a religion – I can respect that. What I can’t handle is the blind ‘this is what I was brought up to believe’ kind of faith.

    Baaaaa father who art in the sheepfold?

  • By Sue, January 15, 2011 @ 6:22 am

    I think with regard to your last couple of sentences, Hilly, we’ll have to agree to disagree. The young man I talked about in my story, had he not been thrown into a group of strangers interested only in programming his mind, he would likely have remained a theist all his life, and likely, as it is with the overwhelming majority of people everywhere, would have remained in the faith of his parents and taught that same faith to his kids.

    He would have had no reason to question the tenets of his faith had what happened to him not happen. I don’t consider him a sheep at all. Religious indoctrination (not said in a negative way) is so much a part of most cultures that one would never even think to throw it off. It is part of their core identity. YES, in most sects with a promise of punishment for apostasy, that core identity is helped along on the “DO NOT QUESTION” path by the big HELL warning signs, but since Hell is spun a different way in religion itself, one would never even think to consider it a great mind control tool to keep the masses paying at the offering plate.

    One of the problems the hell scenario is doubly viscous humanity inevitably changes it from “If *I* don’t personally act this way, my eternal soul is in jeopardy” to “If YOU (you non-believer, different-believer, whatever) do not act the way I am TELLING you to act, YOUR eternal soul is in danger!”

    THAT is where hatred is given rise to. The threat is turned from inward to outward.

    The only thing I find vaguely amusing about it all is the way that Christians, most especially, INSIST on using that argument on ATHEISTS! Because the promise of punishment is often their strongest weapon against those in danger of losing faith, they actually think it works in all situations!

    When a theist threatens me with eternal torture, he might as well be telling me, “Biggles? THE COMFY COUCH!!!”

    Not effective in the least, in other words.

    Sue

  • By carol4spot, January 15, 2011 @ 7:03 am

    After a good night’s sleep I feel awesome and ready for today. I just wanted to say “hi” to all the people I was thinking of last night like Frances, Fee, Sue, Hilly, Christine, PamM, PamT, Paul, Raffy, Anne, Hilda, Nadine, Sammy, Adele,Marly,Softly,Heidi ..I’m sure I left out a few names(sorry) but you all were on my mind. I am grateful to have connected with all of you through this blog. I also hope that each one of you are doing well. As I went off to sleep last night I was sending out vibes to each of you to let you know you are thought of in a positive light. Love and hugs to all..xocarol

  • By hilly, January 15, 2011 @ 8:06 am

    thanks Carol

    Sue – my last lines weren’t with that young man in mind – but rather with all the “good shepherd’s” unquestioning little flock…..

  • By hilly, January 15, 2011 @ 8:38 am

    I just looked at the first response on this thread: it makes sense (thank you Softly)

    When one does not judge,
    One is not put one-self in a dilemma.
    When one is not put in a dilemma
    One creates space.

    Space reveals reality.
    Reality is the true liberty.
    True liberty is the state of enlightenment.
    The state of enlightenment is Buddha-nature

  • By Christine, January 15, 2011 @ 11:05 am

    Hi Carol, Thank you. It is good to be connected to each other isn’t it?. This is why I love this blog, its a pleasure to know each of you.
    Good vibes to you too Carol.
    Take care,
    Christine xx

  • By Sarah L, January 15, 2011 @ 11:29 pm

    Pam M, I’m so glad you have commented on the ‘negative’ turn this blog has taken. When it first began, I felt that it would be a great place to express ideas and beliefs and to be able to understand Paul’s beliefs and thoughts. However, so many of the discussions have been taken over by a few who seem to enjoy shouting others down. I believe that many people with interesting thoughts to share are put off posting because of the way a great deal of the posts and posters on here are attacked. Yes, it’s great to have discussion but not when there seems to be a lot of anger and bitterness between the lines of those posts. Several times I have read posts professing love, empathy and sympathy but how false does that seem when in the next breath a fellow poster is shown no compassion? It’s natural that not everyone will agree. However, what does being unkind to another person achieve? Surely it’s far better to discuss a topic without upsetting another person or being patronizing to them? I recently tried to read through much of the blog with the eyes of someone looking at it for the first time. I have to say that I felt it was not the welcoming place I believe it was originally meant to be. I feel very sad that not many people post here anymore. I am interested in reading Paul’s comments and discussing them in a friendly way but for the past few months that doesn’t seem to be possible.
    Sarah.

  • By Pam Meserve, January 16, 2011 @ 12:46 am

    I do too find it a bit sad that there seems to be an increasing amount of bitterness and less and less compassion or even respect for bloggers. This current thread of faith/path/belief system, is a prime example.

    We are here to learn from/with Paul, from each other, share our thoughts and experiences as they relate to Paul’s post, not dissect each others words and try to discredit or tear down another’s belief or not system…or any other subtopic shared.

    Chrystallia will be out in a few months…it’s an incredible, beautiful journey into finding the compassion, love and kindness in yourself and by the very nature of that..for all those around you. It’s also about respect, courage and ‘seeing’..finding the light that we all have within..the ‘source of light! I know that the journey you will be reading on her pages will help all of you here..in one way or another..even if it is just a little change for yourself…for truly “finding your way home.”

    And in the spirit of love, many of you here know Maria..she passed today..She will always be remembered for her big smile and facing her mortality with incredible courage and determination.

    She was a reader of this blog, and a friend in light of all who knew her. She will be missed She is an inspiration.

    Thoughts and prayers go out to her family and to all those who were blessed to know her.

    Warm regards,
    Pam Meserve
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Sarah L, January 16, 2011 @ 12:52 am

    Hi Pam,
    I can only echo your comments regarding the latest thread.

    I read about Maria’s passing a short while ago. I am so saddened that her life has been cut short. She was an inspiration to us all. Not just from the way she dealt with her illness but from the way she saw the good in everyone. She will be deeply missed.
    Sarah

  • By hilly, January 16, 2011 @ 1:43 am

    Good grief the frst thing I opened this morning was this blog…when did Maria die and why didn’t someone tell me?

    I hadn’t noticed any patronising posts – but then maybe someone thought I was being patronising….that’s their problem not mine. Explanations and definitions can seem patronising when you see them for the first time I guess.

  • By hilly, January 16, 2011 @ 1:55 am

    Pam, I’ve just found the e-mail about Maria in my spam box (there’s no explanation for the way Orange sifts my mails sometimes!)!

  • By fee, January 16, 2011 @ 1:57 am

    Hilly, don’t you check your phone messages cos I left you a message on there!! Now, get off your high horse!!

    Pam and Sarah I thoroughly agree with what you have just said re the tenor of recent posts.
    As for Maria, she was one of the kindest, most courageous ladies I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and I have never heard her say a bad or unkind word about anyone. She fought her illness with courage and determination right up to the very end. Like the rest of her friends I will always have the memory of her beautiful smile and her love of life. Vale dearest Maria and ciao.

  • By Nadine, January 16, 2011 @ 2:28 am

    Je ne comprend pas vos discutions sur les différentes Religions ! ce que je sais c’est que notre MARIA est au coté de son DIEU elle y trouvera la sérénité elle veillera sur nous toutes ! elle est un Ange au ciel comme elle l’était sur terre ! je lui rend hommage sur ce blog ! Nous avons la chance de nous y exprimer mais pas pour y faire des conflits !

    REPOSE EN PAIX MA MARIA JE T’AIME !

  • By hilly, January 16, 2011 @ 2:51 am

    wasn’t on it Fee….but if that’s how it came across I’m sorry:

    Now; I have re-read my posts on this thread and whereas I stand by everything I hold to be a reasonable argument against the christian lobby I am aware that I may have upset people without intending to. When I am down I lash out – that’s me take it or leave it – and hypocrisy is always in my firing line.

    So to those – all of those – who are upset by my recent comments I’m sorry. YOu have the right to your views – I have the right to mine.
    I try to respect your views but if you can’t respect mine you get the kind of replies that AnneG rightly deserved.

    I’m off this thread until PMG has something new for us to think about

  • By Raffy, January 16, 2011 @ 2:53 am

    Despite as many I too don’t like that much the “atmosphere” here, and I want to apologize to Paul for these ongoing expressions of the human nature just on his blog, the same I want just pop in again because of a narrow meaning that someone gave to my “God just…is” (without question mark).
    Maybe it is also because English is not my first language, but I found that to say that it means nothing or that I imply that others should believe in something I refuse to define or can’t define, well…it is very far from reality. After saying again that what we say can’t be always be meaningful for others and that in my opinion there are things that can’t be really “defined” or it is better to try not to define them in order to go beyond the insatiable needs of our mind, I’d like to say that “God just…is” does not simply mean “God exists”.
    In MY perception it means that God (even if I haven’t used this term for many years now…) is immanent… inside all…it is all, without space, without time. It has time, space and “purpose” just when it manifests into different plains of life, in order to elevate those plains to the only real plain, the plain of love. “Faith” can be a means to elevate ourselves, to search for love, to hope. If there is a thing in the end that all “beliefs” agree with is “love”, it is our reality. We are here to find out, experience by experience, that love is our true nature. We are here to understand what love is, well beyond its abused meaning. Faith itself shows us our effort, our need of being part of the Everything, and also that we are not experiencing it enough . On the other hand I think that also our affirming of being free from whatever belief is an expression of the same need of belonging to that Everything, of being already a part, as we are after all. All the rest, all the fight comes only from that side of us we are here to separate from our true human side. The opposites are only apparent…but terrible fuel for our minds…
    There is a truth…and there are different ways to slide into the ocean….

    Raffy

    With this comment I want also to honor the kind approach to all things and situations which was one of the deepest richnesses of my dear unforgettable friend Maria…

    Hilly, the sad news had been already out on the sites for a few hours…

  • By hilly, January 16, 2011 @ 3:45 am

    yes Raffy – so I saw after I went round all my links – but Pam’s FofP message went into my spam filter…..

    Your English is just fine BTW

  • By PamT, January 16, 2011 @ 3:50 am

    “I find it sad that what first began as a great thing…ie meaningful ‘Shared Thoughts,’ experiences and knowledge with and from Paul, seems to go down a negative route too often these days! It seems to keep a lot of great readers and writers from posting.”

    PamM, well said. I couldn’t agree more. If there is currently a reticence amongst people to post their thoughts and opinions on here, I can certainly understand it.

    Over the months, I’ve read some comments made here which have disconcerted me. For the most part, I’ve chosen to try and focus on why I’m experiencing this reaction, rather than rushing in to comment and perhaps create discord on a blog which I respect. One aspect I’ve found particularly unsettling is what I’ve perceived to be an undercurrent of thought along the lines of “If you don’t happen to ‘know’ what I ‘know’/what I’ve read/who I know, your opinion lacks validity.” Please note, that I say this is my perception. I would not presume to speculate on the intention that lies beneath. Of course, we can all say that we are not in control of the way people perceive or interpret our words, but I do think every writer bears a responsibility to at least pause for thought about their choice of expression and the effect their writing may have. And I write this in the full knowledge that I don’t always get it right. I continue to learn.

    In all honesty, I personally rapidly lose interest with engaging in any exchange of views when any one of the aforementioned rears its head. I’d like to think that, as well as being an opportunity to try and witness a different perspective, discussion can be a means of dismantling barriers – rather than an exercise in erecting the barricades and lobbing a series of missiles out over the top in quick succession. When discussions revolve around the topics of faith and religion, feelings inevitably do run high and I personally feel that a little sensitivity and empathy go a long way.

    So we now find ourselves in a position where anybody considering posting here may well feel, with some legitimacy, that they run the risk of being addressed in an extremely robust manner (one person’s assertiveness is another person’s aggression) or find themselves on the receiving end of advice to go and look up word definitions. So what, you may say – it’s a rough, tough world out there and everyone needs to get used to it. Well, if individuals with different views, but quieter ‘voices’, and are deterred from poking their heads above the parapet, what kind of sterile environment does that eventually create? Speaking for myself, I’d like to read a variety of views and opinions.

    Carol: I agree wholeheartedly with your approach of live/let live and I appreciate your thoughts.

    Raffy: I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and this in particular: “I don’t see any difference between what “is already there” and the “Everything” to which we feel that deep need to re-member…” …. Exactly.

    At this point, I’m reminded of the respect I have for PMG’s ability to communicate and position his thoughts, with calmness and without resort to preaching or dictating to others. It’s a delicate balance. And I’m also of a mind to revisit his perspective on fear, anger and see if I can locate that other set of glasses. If he does choose to share more thoughts, I’ll read them with interest.

    I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Maria, but from what I understand she was a lovely lady. My condolences to those of you who are her friends and who will miss her presence.

    PamT

  • By Christine, January 16, 2011 @ 4:38 am

    So sorry to hear about Maria. I didn’t know her, but my thoughts go out to her family and friends.

  • By hilly, January 16, 2011 @ 5:07 am

    all views have validity – insults do not.

    For those who knew Maria and wish to pay her a tribute please go to her Multiply guestbook (I don’t think you have to be a member to post.)

    So (crossing my fingers that the ad hoc nature of this system allows the link….here it is)

    http://pulcino.multiply.com/#guestbook

  • By Sue, January 16, 2011 @ 6:46 am

    I was in what was part of an ongoing debate about a particular topic (Fred Phelps and the right to picket where he pleases–I came down firmly on the ‘pro’ side) when I had an epiphany. I suppose that even going-on-fifty-leftist-liberal-tree-hugging-atheist-lesbians can still have ‘em, a time or three.

    Discourse on the body politic has always fascinated me. ‘ologies’ of every sort have always fascinated me. I *love* to see how the individual human mind works…what it accepts, what it rejects out of hand, what it shifts about until it is comfortable with the notion within the boundaries of its own unique perception.

    When I see a thread of disparate view, I like to jump in, grab it, and pull it apart until I can see all the separate threads that went into its formation, trace those individual strands back to their origin, and attempt to discover the ‘last common ancestor’ to where my belief was shared with the person with whom I’m discoursing.

    And while in my debate on another forum about the Phelps thing, I started to think about THIS blog and the posters I’d seen, and realized that (DUH, I know, but sometimes it takes a few blows to the head for me) while I was working, as I always do, from a set point and moving backward, this was a place for moving forward. For taking the different thoughts shared herein and twisting bits of the essences of those thoughts into one’s own heart and head and moving forward on the path that each person was blazing through life.

    *I* was the fish moving in the opposite way. And while that may be okay in streams built especially for the back and forth travel, it’s not when a place is built for the reasons of healing and moving forward. And it shamed me that I hadn’t thought of it before.

    Perhaps I’d had inklings. I hadn’t posted in months. But then I read something PamM had said weeks back and was sucked back into the stream, once again, going the wrong way for the stream I was in.

    My way of getting humanity to make sense to me was hurting, not healing, in a place meant to be healing.

    So, in the spirit of being late to the party, and in the spirit of journeying and healing, I tender my profound apologies for the disruptions I’ve caused here.

    While it’s fine to yell ‘FIRE’ on a shooting range, it’s not fine to do it in the middle of a church. And I consider this somewhat of a church…if only in the most broad, non-theistic sense of the word…a place where people come together to find common ground to move forward. Though that is what I do as well, the way I do it is wrong, totally wrong, for the sharing here and only adds landmines to an already tumultuous journey.

    Because it’s very doubtful that I’ll be changing how I view the world or what fascinates me about it any time soon, I’ll continue on here as a simple reader and ‘enjoy-er’ of human thought and leave the commenting and discourse to those for whom this blog was most definitely made.

    I apologize to one and all for whom my bone-headedness has upset. Sometimes, in my thirst for knowledge, I forget the personhood of the people I’m talking to. It’s a definite failing, made easier by the relatively anonymous nature of internet communication.

    I am sorry. I wish everyone well and hope that whatever it is that any one person is looking for, they find it in the end, and if they don’t, they at least find peace.

    Sue

  • By hilly, January 16, 2011 @ 7:06 am

    ;) ;) :)

  • By Pam Meserve, January 16, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

    Sue..you’re not a ‘bone-head’…and it’s human nature sometimes to ‘forget’ about the feelings or ‘personhood’ of another sometimes when you’re passionate about your own views, your own experiences. Perhaps too, you find this blog to be a place where you can express your inner feelings about yourself, your ‘ways’ your thinking? Reread some of your own posts and see through not only your eyes but perhaps the eyes of the posts you’re replying to..maybe you can find comfort in that..hope so.

    I think everyone here is ‘thirsty’ for knowledge, for development, for ‘thinking more outside the box’, or getting away from ‘linear thinking’ or maybe even trying to heal from something so deep inside, from that real secret place within. That’s the greatness of Paul’s blog…his posts, IMHO, it (he) does help us to look more at ourselves and at the world around us, and helps us to ‘see’, more and more that really, we are all one…And I for one, do get something positive, enlightening from every blogger post here. It’s a wonderful learning tool for self-development…for really looking inwards…wouldn’t you agree, Sue, Hilly..everyone?

    Maybe one night, we can all light a candle at the same time, and think of each other, our ‘Light’ our contributions to helping make a difference for ourselves, for others…for peace, love and belief that we can all BE the change we want for ourselves, for the world…

    I know that when Chrystallia comes out in May…that most people will ‘find their way home’ will find their courage, faith (in whatever that iss for you), compassion, love and forgiveness…all virtues so important for our very ‘Being”….

    Metabless you all! You’ve got spaahhkle! ;-)

    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By hilly, January 16, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

    And I for one, do get something positive, enlightening from every blogger post here. It’s a wonderful learning tool for self-development…for really looking inwards…wouldn’t you agree, Sue, Hilly..everyone?

    I’m so glad you added ‘everyone’ there Pam because I really don’t see why only one side in this debate should be held up to criticism.

    PamT….referring to what we have read at least proves we do read and don’t just accept…is that wrong?

    I’m not going to argue that…just hoping you think again about the inference that someone else seemed to develop into accusations of being ‘patronising’.

    Now I really am going to wait for a new thought to chew on – and hope that it doesn’t become a bone of contention

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 16, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

    See, the world seems bright again
    It only darkens now and then
    Most of the time there’s just no telling when
    Look up and see you’ve got me.

    Here we are
    We may have gone our diff’rent ways
    But since we are
    The kind of friends who’ll always stay
    No matter what the pain,
    Learnin’ to love that cap o’ rain
    Ready to say we’re here to stay in ev’ry way
    Although we’ve got our diff’rent

    Points of view
    We’ve been there once before
    And kept our points of view
    It doesn’t really matter if they’re never quite the same
    We have our rules in diff’rent ways,
    We play the games of diff’rent folks with diff’rent strokes
    And never really change our

    Points of view
    We’ve been there once before
    And kept our points of view
    It doesn’t really matter if they’re never quite the same
    We have our rules in diff’rent ways,
    We play the games of diff’rent folks with diff’rent strokes
    And keep our points of view.

  • By Pam Meserve, January 16, 2011 @ 10:53 pm

    yep..respecting pov’s is not really hard to do…and you have to be able to witness without judging..seeing through the other persons eyes..feeling their heart… all with more consciousness and awareness..

    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By hilly, January 17, 2011 @ 12:38 am

    Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby & Mrs. Doasyoudid two characters from a now no-doubt out of fashion non-PC banned from the library shelves children’s book (The Water Babies).

    EVERYONE OF US can learn from them.

    It appears that my tone offends – sorry. I try give as I would prefer to get – honesty and no hiding behind “givens”
    It appears that explanations offend…sorry I’ve been a teacher int he past – it’s a reflex
    It appears that arguing a case is telling others they are wrong.. sorry.

    In the ‘NT’ it says: let the first who is without sin throw the first stone….
    I have no pebbles
    How many of you can say that?

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 17, 2011 @ 11:05 am

    dear paul

    thank you for the memory of you frozen by technology
    if only to delight us when we need company
    thank you for playing a role exceedingly well enough
    to make us believe that though life can be tough
    if we remain the good guys we can still enjoy that last laugh
    thank you for your talents you have shared with all the love
    thank your blog which keeps our faith in G-d above
    or makes us know beyond all doubt that we can be different too
    whoever you really are and whatever you really are
    we can TRULY thank you for being YOU.

  • By Sarah L, January 17, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

    Sue,
    I thought your last post was a very gracious one. I mean that sincerely.
    If we are truthful, there aren’t many of us who can say we haven’t made mistakes or haven’t got so caught up in a discussion that we have been blinded to everything else. I for one have done that many times. There are several topics which make me see red, such as animal abuse, child abuse, and hate directed against people because of their sexuality, gender or race. When someone expresses a view on any of those subjects which I feel is cruel, bigoted, or just plain sick, I really do want to rant at them. However, I have learned though experience that this approach doesn’t usually work which is one of the reasons I felt I had to speak up about the way I perceived the direction of the blog to be going. I really do believe that others could be turned off reading and/or posting on here if they feel that they will be shouted down and as far as I’m concerned that will have a negative effect for all of us. Personally, I prefer to have a discussion where all parties are allowed to express their views in a calm atmosphere. I cannot speak for everyone, but I know that when that happens, I am much more inclined to take on board what is being said.
    I hope you decide to post again.
    Best Wishes,
    Sarah.

  • By carol4spot, January 17, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

    sarah says, “Sue,
    I thought your last post was a very gracious one. I mean that sincerely”

    Sarah, I agree with you. I too hope she posts again. xocarol

  • By Pam Meserve, January 17, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

    Ohhh rejoice!!! The Chrystallia manuscript is in! I’m so excited…it’s awesome…and only a few more months for the book to come out for all of you to hold in your hands…up close to your heart!!! Hurry up May!
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By hilly, January 18, 2011 @ 12:39 am

    I said I wouldn’t come back. I tried….I really tried but I need to say this so bear with me. Open your eyes to what i am wrting and not to what you want to read between the mines. Accept this as what I am saying after a lot of tough thinking.

    I’ve done my apologising but that is apparently not enough for some people.

    I would never deny anyone their right to express their opinions and if that is the impression some have then once again I’M SORRY. I believe in free speech (yes even when it is the extremists in politics/religion/gossip columns whatever…you know the old saying ‘give ‘em enough rope and they hang themselves’)

    If in expressing mine I have offended I’M SORRY.

    I have learnt many things in the past few days – one is that there are some who will only enter a discussion to ‘score points’…who wait until the dust has died down to make a comment.
    Some join in from the start
    As far as I can tell (and who am I to know what others really meant? In fact who am I to know (according to some) what I meant!) everyone here expressed their convictions and ideas – some more vehemently; in more detail than others. All were heard. All were left to say how they felt. Some were selected for more criticism than others (not just for their views)

    That is what debate and learning are all about.
    I’ve learnt a lot

    I’ve learnt that there is a person I need to re-learn, to re-member and when I have found her again – to like and love and trust again.

    That person is me.

    But no matter how much rope I get I won’t give anyone the satisfaction of hanging myself

  • By heidi33, January 18, 2011 @ 8:25 am

    A general question for everyone.
    Can we learn from books? Or is Life the best teacher?

  • By heidi33, January 18, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    Last year on the blog, I mentioned my visit to a Buddhist temple when I was younger.No, I haven’t been to Tibet but I had Japanese friends who invited me to Japan. The whole family there taught me a lot about Japanese history and took me to the beautiful city of Kyoto. If any of you ever go to Japan, visit Kyoto—it’s lovely.

    In the grounds of the old temples there, it was so peaceful–you could forget the problems of everyday life–I remember priests smiling at me and sitting watching carp swim in the water.
    It was very relaxing to sit and reflect for a few moments away from the bustle of city life and traffic.

    Of course whatever you believe in, it is always good to have peace and try and find ourselves in this world!! Mankind looks for truth but Truth will find the man.

    The way I feel at the moment, I’d love to be on a warm beach somewhere basking in the sun and reflecting on Life. It’s nice to dream, isn’t it?

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 18, 2011 @ 11:14 am

    Been on this road so long
    You’d think by now I’d know
    The whys, the who’s and how’s
    But no, not now, not now

    Been searching for too long
    People (we) should be aware
    We can’t make it on our own
    No, not now, not ever

    You and I
    We can make it together
    We can share the road
    To reach the higher goal
    Step by step, you lead and I will follow
    And if you fall, I’ll be there, your brother

    You and I
    And you and you and you and you and
    You and I, as one, as one
    You and I
    Show the world the best is yet to come
    With you and I, as one

  • By Sarah L, January 18, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

    ‘A general question for everyone.
    Can we learn from books? Or is Life the best teacher?’

    Hi Heidi. That’s a really good question.
    I would say that I find both to be good teachers. I have found that experience has taught me far more about things than books alone ever could. I’ve visited some beautiful places that have taken my breath away. I couldn’t have got that effect from just books. I’ve also learned a great deal about myself and about others from my everyday life. Through it, I’ve experienced grief, depression, happiness, despair, love and much more. Those experiences have taught me a great deal . However, books can give us insights into things and people which we might never get the chance to do through our lives. They also act as a springboard. Many times I have read about a subject and thought ‘I’d like to try that/go there/understand more about this etc ‘. So I would say that both books and life have their roles to play in teaching us.

  • By Sarah L, January 18, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

    ‘in books, you can judge outside yourself’

    Adela, that is a really good point and one I hadn’t thought about before.

  • By HILDA LIPRACE, January 18, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

    Hello how are all my family. taught me not to argue. or religion. politics, and soccer-each has its own creencias.yo believe in Jesus Christ. for me it is a religion is a way of life, learning to respect beliefs of others., as you can prove whether God exists. I can not, I feel it in my heart. all want to be better people. make a difference, and that is achieved with respect humility love kindness. Love your neighbor as yourself. is not what you do to another you do not like you do, peace love light, God bless you very much. on this occasion I read a lot of differences to speak in some way, we need to talk positive, respect. love as Mr. Glaser, the greatest power of the human being is love, please. peace. peace and plenty peace in our hearts within us. with love Hilda. if not well written English blame the translator, kisses kisses kisses

  • By hilly, January 19, 2011 @ 12:47 am

    can mankind exist without books? of course not – books are a representation of a search for information, knowledge.
    I dread the day that electronic ‘books’ replace the real thing. Why? not just because when I read a book I need to hold it, feel the paper in my hands, be able to turn back and forth to re-read a phrase that makes more sense 2 pages further on. Why? because we cannot trust those electronic books to be the original work of their authors…if anyone can go to Wikipedia and add their (sometimes spurious and innacurate) ‘facts’ what could be done by a clever hacker (or anyone with a bit if IT sense) to change things to a ‘happy ending’.
    Why? because enough of so-called net publishing (fiction sites for writers) are ham-strung by archaic ‘ratings’ designed to ‘protect’ those who wish to live in a world of pink fluffy clouds and so I fear for the Bowdlerisation of many e-books.
    For a laugh….here’s an example of the prissiness I mean. Over on another place I was involved in a discussion about ‘rude word’ on the web. A person who styled herself as having a ‘good christian home’ (no I’m not insulting her…) complained that when she had to type a security code the two words were in her opinion ‘obscene’ I forget what one of them was but the 2nd was ‘pussy’. I commented that most children refer to a pussy cat and got the response “not in my home! I have a cute photo (grabbed from ‘that’ cop show) of our host here (Mr G) holding a tiny kitten in his hand. I posted it with the caption ‘this man is holding a teeny weeny pussy cat in his hand’ and was told by the same person that the phrase contained 2 obscenities!

    That’s why the world needs books. Dictionaries, novels, bibles (capital B and others) novels, plays, poetry…without them our language, our means of communication will be reduced to textspeak! and knowledge and understanding will become a thing of the past

  • By hilly, January 19, 2011 @ 4:05 am

    It occurred to me that there are still members of humankind who live without books…books are just a relatively recent way of recording what we know…the cave paintings of prehistoric man were the libraries back then. Faithfully repeated oral history is another ‘library’ I guess. As long as it isn’t distorted by ‘chinese whispers’ (the game kids play when words get changed as they are passed along)

  • By Christine, January 19, 2011 @ 4:14 am

    Hi Hilly, Interesting point there. Just how many times do you read a perfectly ‘innocent’ word, that because of society and slang words has become an offensive word?.
    The true meaning of words isn’t always enough these days….. shame really isn’t it?.
    Add to it our different languages, cultures, regional slang words, and it can become quite a mess.
    Give me a ‘real’ book anyday. I agree with you on that one Hilly. To touch the pages and smell the newness of the book. I can spend many a happy hour or two in a bookstore. Or our local library.
    Take care everyone.
    Christine xx

  • By hilly, January 19, 2011 @ 7:37 am

    browsing the shelves….in a bookstore or in a library is one of my ideas of a good time.
    You can’t do that with e-books.
    You can’t find what you want either. I couldn’t believe it when I took a course at the local uni here 15 years ago. The ‘library’ was a series of card indexes…if you didn’t know which book you wanted how could you find it. I was so used to going into the Uni library and looking for the book I had been referred to then meandering around it (or the gap where it would have been)looking in the indexes of the books alongside and finding other view points on the subject I was dealing with.
    You can’t do that with e-books either.

    they built a whole new library for the local Uni a few years ago BTW – the students can wander between the bookstacks now.I hope they enjoy it.

  • By PamT, January 19, 2011 @ 8:16 am

    That’s an interesting question, Heidi.

    I tend to think that literature (along with the other creative arts), has the potential to offer us a glimpse at someone else’s take on their experience and learnings from life, whether conveyed through works of ‘fact’ or ‘fiction’. It can be a stepping stone to finding an awareness, or a reminder, of the aspects which connect us all – whether we’re ‘separated’ by the passages of time, geographical location or culture. Perhaps to put our toes at least into the characters’ shoes and see another perspective. And words can have an incredibly powerful effect on our emotions.

    However, my personal opinion is that, whilst books can be one of the means of opening our thoughts to other possibilities and even bringing our minds a comforting sense of ‘knowing’ things, they cannot alone teach us everything. They can act as triggers to maybe make us explore our own ‘selves’ and make us more open, but I don’t think they necessarily truly resonate unless we have experience(s) to which we can relate them. For example, a piece of literature can describe a character’s feelings when their newly-found love walks into a room. If someone hasn’t yet experienced that sensation of falling in love, they can read and understand the words on a surface level, but I don’t think they have the ability to truly feel and relate to them ….. until they’ve had that life experience. For me, the most beautifully and sensitively written piece of prose or poetry describing the moment when a bud has just begun to unfurl into a new leaf, can never convey the sensation of life-force that I actually experience when observing it myself. But maybe the writing will prompt me to stop and allow myself to spend a little time witnessing those feelings the next time I come across one. Perhaps it’s a distinction between the theory and the practice.

    I don’t think we can ‘learn’ how to experience love (in its broadest sense, this time) from any book, but I think we can perhaps read words which give us a better understanding of our-‘selves’ and perhaps then benefit from the impetus to open up to possibilities, work at removing barriers and take our own steps down a path of discovery. If that’s what we choose to do. If that’s where we want to be going. I would never deny that there are many things to be learnt from books and education can be an invaluable tool, but I find it interesting that I’ve come across a few individuals who have seemed to me to be somehow full of ‘love’ and ‘wisdom’, without ever having done much in the way of reading or studying.

    So, in other words, I think that books and life experience seem to work best as teachers when operating in tandem … for me. It may be very different for others and, of course, it’s an entirely free choice for all of us as to which one we decide to focus upon the most.

    PamT

    PS. Sue: I appreciated your post and wish you all the best, whether or not you decide to reconsider your decision.

  • By Pam Meserve, January 19, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

    There is somethng to be said about holding a good book in your hands! No ipad, notebook, kindle can replace that…I don’t think there will be a total elimination of books, at least not in our time..tech is great, but..gotta hold that book..esp great pieces of literature Like Paul’s ‘Chrystallia and The Source of Light’!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It was a big topic at the LA Times Book Festival..the end of books…sad to see that Borders has fallen victim to it already!

    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Saskia, January 19, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

    hello everyone,

    Friendship, love, caring, kind, etc etc. words that describe our closest friends, our family members, but what if a ‘friend’ or a ‘caring person’ wasn’t being kind, caring, loving? What if you know that person, could give a lot, love a lot, laugh with you, be your friend, have a zillion conversations but just chooses not to? What are you meant to do? You can’t just give up on that person, you love them, they’re your friend, you care lots, but they don’t maybe? If you gave up on them you would probably look the bad one too…..’two wrongs don’t make a right..’ etc.. but sometimes I find people make friendship and being just a reasonable friend, so hard. You find yourself asking “why can’t they just be normal?” but what the flip is normal?

    A friend should be there for you and if they aren’t but you are for them, what does that make you? A push over? Or a really understanding doormat? What does that make them…

  • By carol4spot, January 19, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

    Hi everyone!! I am in total agreement with you Hilda!!
    Heidi, in response to your question about books or life…I feel books are a part of life. Life creates the books. Our experiences create the books whether fiction or non-fiction. So, basically, I believe life is the ‘real’ teacher. But like all are saying..there’s nothing like holding, smelling, flipping through, etc. a real book! I did buy my mom the Nook for christmas though! She loves it! It’s a cool gadget if you’re traveling and don’t want to carry all the things you’re currently reading or want to read.
    PamT, I agree that there are many people who exercise love and kindness as a way of life that are not ‘scholarly’ and they are the most wonderful people…maybe that old saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ really is true?! Or is it that living a life ‘being’ love is more ‘intelligent’ than being well-read and studious and knowledgeable of things in books?
    As always, it was a pleasure reading your comments.
    xocarol Looking forward to Chrystallia!!!

  • By Pam Meserve, January 19, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

    Saskia writes:”but sometimes I find people make friendship and being just a reasonable friend, so hard. You find yourself asking “why can’t they just be normal?” but what the flip is normal?

    LOL..yes indeed..what the “flip is normal”…isn’t a major point of friendship just being there, being supportive..one who knows your ‘faults’ but likes you anyway and ‘understands’, listens..gives you compassion and hope? I aways thought so…

    And this from Saskia:
    “A friend should be there for you and if they aren’t but you are for them, what does that make you? A push over? Or a really understanding doormat? What does that make them…”

    Really…a true statement….I’ve been told I’m “giving and loving to a faut” WHY is that such a terrible thing for some people? I mean, for them to accept that this is a part of you…and motive free? Never did get that…

    Just my thoughts at the moment!
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Nadine, January 19, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

    Ce blog nous apporte énormement de chose ! tout d’abord l’amitié j’y ai rencontré des personnes merveilleuses vous êtes pour moi des ” Amies ” bien que je n’ai pas eu le bonheur de vous rencontrer toutes ! sans le savoir vous m’avez aidé à supporter de gros problèmes personnels ” qui n’en a pas ” . nous y rencontrons des joies et malheureusement des mauvaises ” nouvelles ” ! Je sais que Maria ne mettait pas de commentaire sur ce blog , moi je n’en ai pas vu mais elle venait lire les notres ! elle me manque , ses mails me manquent , la douceur de ses paroles me manque ! sa bonne humeur me manque !
    Nous sommes toutes sur ce blog par amitié nous avons toutes un point commun ” Une grande Admiration pour Paul il entretien notre amitié en nous partageant ses pensées ! je ne m’attendais pas à la perte d’une de nos amie j’ai écris un commentaire sur Maria dans le profil Multiply de Hilly ( a bad day and a few ‘confessions’ ) je tiens à vous le faire partager :

    Nous avons toutes pleuré la perte de notre adorable Maria ! moi aussi j’ai eu la chance de la rencontrer à Bromley nous nous sommes enlacées comme si nous nous connaissions depuis toujours ensuite elle est revenue nous voir J’étais avec Patricia ( que je prénomme tendrement ” PUCE ” ) Maria nous a encore embrassé puis m’a offert un petit cadeau que je garderai précieusement ! elle m’appelait ” Ma douce Nadine ” je pleure et je la pleurerai encore à chaque fois que je penserai à elle ! je ne l’oublierai jamais ! Elle était courageuse et battante je me souviens que dans un mail qu’elle m’avait envoyé elle me disait qu’elle voulait profiter du temps qui lui restait elle a voyagé je trouve celà formidable qu’elle ait fait ces voyages ! toujours le sourire notre Maria ! Elle nous aimait toutes nous devons nous aimer comme elle nous aimait ! c’était merveilleux d’avoir une amie comme elle et c’est merveilleux pour moi de vous avoir toutes comme amies ! tout comme Maria je vous aime et je tiens à garder votre amitié Soyons unies les filles pour notre ” ANGE MARIA ” ! je ne peux m’empêcher de sourire de penser qu’elle est auprés de sa maman et de tout ceux qu’elle chérissait !
    Dors ma Maria Nous sommes toutes liées et resterons liées en ta mémoire , JE T’ AIME MA MARIA!!!!

    C’est la magie de ce blog car nous aussi nous partageons nos pensées Maria me manque je veux donc profiter de vous toutes !

  • By hilly, January 20, 2011 @ 1:20 am

    This blog brings so many things. First, friendship – I’ve met all you wonderful people; you are ‘friends’ for me even though I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you all. Without knowing it you have helped me deal with big personal problems, who doesn’t have those? We come up against happiness and bad news. I know that Maria didn’t comment on this blog, I haven’t seen them, but I know that she read yours. I miss her e-mails. I miss her. I miss her kind words. I miss her cheerfulness. We are all here in friendship and we all have something in common. A great admiration for Paul, he keeps our friendship going and he shares his thoughts with us. I wasn’t expecting to lose a friend, I commented on Hilly’s blog on Multiply (A bad day and a few confessions)*. I want to share it with you:

    We all mourn the loss of our lovely Maria. Me too. I had the chance of meeting her in Bromley we hugged each other as if we had known each other forever. She kept coming back. I was with Patricia (my affectionate name for her is PUCE); Maria always kissed us; she gave me a gift that I will keep preciously. She called me (my sweet Nadine’. I’m crying, and I’ll cry again every time I think of her. She was brave and a fighter; I remember an e-mail she sent me saying that she was going to get the most out what was left of her life by going on trips. [Hilly’s note: although Maria had terrible cancer she took herself on cruises]. Always smiling. She loved us as we should love her. It was wonderful to have a friend like her and it is marvelous for me to have you all as friends. All of you, like Maria, I love you and I want to stay friends.
    Let us unite for our ‘Angle Maria’ I can’t help smiling when I think that she is with her beloved mamma. Sleep Maria. We are all together and rest together in your memory.
    I love you Maria.
    That the magic of a blog, because we can also share our thoughts; I miss Maria so I’m happy to have all of you

    *this is only accessible to my friends who are members of Multiply. Hilly

  • By heidi33, January 20, 2011 @ 2:44 am

    Maria loved Life. Friendship—a true friend is someone who walks in when others walk out.

    Well, I admire you bloggers for reading books.
    I am not lazy but when I was a student at university, we HAD to read so many books and were put under so much exam pressure that for years after ,I did not read books for pleasure–I preferred to watch a film or go walking or dancing. You know even now, if someone were to give me a novel containing thousands of pages, I would opt for a short story!!!

    Regarding your comments, I think you can learn from books and LIfe.Mind you, there are some things we can not even learn from Life. Here on the blog, we are all asking questions about our existence. I still think there should be mysteries of the universe–the human brain should not know everything. Too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

    To end on a comical note. Last night, I was thinking about the books we had to read in high school and what I learned from them and I had to smile! We read Jane Austen and some of Shakespeare’s plays—Yes, I admit they are classics. BUt when we were teenagers, all the girls were searching for a Mr. Darcy as in “Pride and Prejudice”-(-we were conditioned as Mr. Glaser points out). Then in Life, we ended up getting hurt. In other words, you can read books and experiences written by other people –you think you learn from them but…..

    We also read “MIdsummer’s NIght’s Dream” in school. Yes, Love is blind but how many girls would fall for a boy in a donkey’s head?
    Still it is a credit to Shakespeare that we laughed when we read it.

  • By hilly, January 20, 2011 @ 4:15 am

    Personally I couldn’t stand Darcy…stuck up prig! I preferred the villains even then.

    hahahaha and I can still do all of Snout’s “wall speech” from A midsummer Night’s dream in about 3 breaths!

  • By Christine, January 20, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

    Hi Saskia, I know where you are coming from. The problem with caring, and there are negatives to it as well as positives; is that it can be destructive. Stepping back, and really seeing a person without the rose tinted glassses can bring you down to earth with a heavy heart.
    Perhaps the person is not the person you once thought they were?.
    After all, just how well do we ever really ‘know’ anyone?.
    The problem is what we ‘think’ we know. Sometimes sadly, we get it wrong.
    I agree with Pam M on if they are a real friend they will love you faults and all. They see your failings, your flaws, and still stay around to be a friend.
    Perhaps there are some who have built up such barriers that will never come down. It doesn’t really matter how much one wishes they would, they don’t and that can be frustrating and in turn have a negative effect on you.
    Never be afraid to tell someone you care. My opinion on it is that do it while you can. Looking back and wishing you had said, done, reached out, will all be felt with such regret if you never get that chance again. Life is too short…..go for it!
    Love,
    Christine xx

  • By Christine, January 20, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

    Oh and Saskia? perhaps I ought to take my own advice!!! ;)

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 20, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

    different ideas, different points of view
    bottomline : everyone makes mistakes
    conclusion : means only that we are not extra terrestrials gifted w/ sublime understanding and intelligence.
    we are human. that’s good.

    dear paul

    don’t give up on us baby!

  • By Sarah L, January 20, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    Christine said…’I agree with Pam M on if they are a real friend they will love you faults and all. They see your failings, your flaws, and still stay around to be a friend.’

    You make some really good points. A lot of long term friendships have their ups and downs. There may be times that you don’t always see eye to eye, but for the sake of the friendship, agree to disagree. However, it is sometimes the case that a friend has such a negative impact on their friend’s life that the only solution is to cut the ties. There are some who psychologists refer to as ‘emotional vampires’. It isn’t heartless to protect oneself. It can often be vital for self preservation. ‘Life is too short’. It certainly is.

  • By Sarah L, January 20, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

    PamT,
    You are so right when you say that ‘that literature (along with the other creative arts), has the potential to offer us a glimpse at someone else’s take on their experience and learnings from life,’.
    I also think that reading the tales from other people’s lives can make us so grateful for what we have. I hold my hands up to the fact that I am not always grateful. I might be having what I consider to be a horrible day or a bad period in my life but really, I know am one of the lucky ones. The autobiographical book, ‘a boy called it’ comes to mind. It’s a harrowing story to read but made me realise that I have a lot to be thankful for. I think that reading can help us reflect on aspects of our own lives.

    Carol, my daughter got a Kindle for Christmas. Although she loves paper books, the Kindle is great because she can load so many stories and books onto it and take it with her when she goes places. I was really impressed at the way there is no reflection on the screen so it can be read from any angle. It’s also really easy to scroll back and forth through pages. Is the Nook like that too?
    Hilda and Saskia, it’s nice to ‘see you’ both again.

  • By Sarah L, January 20, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

    Pam M…great news about the book. Looking forward to reading it.

  • By Christine, January 20, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

    Hi Sarah, Thanks. Self preservation? theres a thing eh?. I have to agree with you that there are times when you have to try to look after no.1. Although its hard to put oneself first, it always seems that others come first!.
    Nice to see you posting again. Hope all is well with you.
    Take care,
    Christine.

  • By Sarah L, January 20, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

    I’m very well thanks.

    I agree that it can be very hard to put yourself first but sometimes you have to do it.

  • By Sarah L, January 20, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    I meant to add…
    ‘I hope you are well too.

    Sarah ‘
    but I accidentally clicked before finishing the post! I think it’s time I went to bed.

  • By hilly, January 21, 2011 @ 1:01 am

    sometimes you do your best to be a friend to someone – to hel them through a difficult period and then it gets thrown back in your face. That’s when cutting the ties are the only solution. I’ve done it many times in the past few years. Maybe one day I’ll learn who to trust and who to trust with my friendship….and then again maybe I won’t.
    Life’s a difficult enough journey without having someone pull the wheels off your cart in mid-trip.
    I’ve always said I know where and who my real friends are.

  • By Christine, January 21, 2011 @ 5:17 am

    Hi Hilly, Why does everything have to be so confusing? We trust because we ‘feel’ we can. We give our love, our loyalty, and as you rightly said it often gets thrown back at us.
    Next time, we say we will be a little less willing to trust, not to fall into that pattern again….. only for it to all happen again.
    What is it with us?.
    You know I often talk about building barriers. Perhaps when you are tired of all the times you have tried and failed its the only solution. To stop getting close to protect yourself. Its a confusing life at times. I think it will take one much wiser than me to work it out.
    Take care,
    Christine.

  • By hilly, January 21, 2011 @ 6:54 am

    I think you’re right Christine. I know that (strange as it may seem to some of you out there) I have been too trusting in the past few years.
    And when you trust the wrong person you get more trouble than you bargained for when it goes wrong.

    We can build barriers but they just isolate us and make it harder for us to know where to turn and who to trust.

    I was thinking of something Elizabeth Glaser said in her book; she referred to a wall that was between her and Paul. It’s a wall of unhappiness and grief and that terrible terrible moment when none of the bereaved know how to reach out to one another. I’ve seen it happen many times. The ‘Hollywood’ cue-the-strings-and choir-and-make-the-picture-fuzzy-happily-ever-afters are few and far between when death gets in the way of happiness.

    In those moments we can learn from something PMG has said more than once. He had the choice of becoming a bitter old man ….and didn’t take it.
    I have been fighting that bitterness for along time now – trying to find the happy confident woman I used to be….and one thing I’ve learnt is to get rid of the ‘dead weight’ of an empty/one-sided friendship.

    Teh existentialists talk of ‘mauvais foi’…nothing to do with ‘faith’ but hard to define….a kind of self-dishonesty.

  • By hilly, January 21, 2011 @ 9:31 am

    More reflections on what books are to me

    I’ve spent much of today going from one medial appointment to another (ENT specialist to ultrasound to ENT to blood work) in the attempt to find out why I have ganglions in my saliva glands.
    I wished I had a book with me. A book to retreat within and behind. A book to read to block out what is going on around me. A book to block out the noise and hustle of the waiting areas. A book to keep my mind off what might be the problem (a little knowledge being a dangerous thing; I have a paramedical training). A book to keep me feeling calm and relaxed.
    A book to exercise my mind on other things. Any one of them would have been OK. A ‘light’ novel (I relax with Michael Connolly) a ‘heavy novel’ – Paul Auster comes to mind. The most recent edition of Mark Twain’s autobiography which I’ve nearly finished. Poems. Shakespeare. A ‘spiritual guidebook. In short any one of the books I have lying around my house at any given time.

    And to go with a good book….music.
    Music is a great escape channel too.
    My taste in music is (to say the least) catholic – that’s with a small ‘c’, ironically it means ‘wide-ranging! Beatles to the heyday of the ‘west coast hippie sound’ (the likes of Joni, Neil Young etc); jazz and classical music. My radios are all tuned to a station that plays a classical and jazz mix. I listen to Neil Young and Josquin des Près (1450ish to 1521) John Cage you name it. I love music that is spiritually challenging. That gives me a pattern to reflect on. Jazz can do that when it meanders round a variation; Cage does it with his complicated repetitions. And des Pres does it with those peaceful tight harmonies…..you don’t have to share the religious sentiment to get a spiritual lift out of those voices soaring to the sky.

    A book and music….they’ll keep me going while I wait to find out why I’m doing a good impersonation of a hamster.

    PS…one of the tests f for ‘cat scratch fever’…..!

  • By xtexan86, January 21, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

    Greetings all,

    I’ve spent a long time going over the posts here since I last posted…so much that was said and all of it very interesting. Due to my limited attention span, I’ll admit I didn’t read everything word for word, but I did find all of it thought-provoking.

    I think there used to be a time where I believed I could convince someone to see things the way I saw them…for reasons I can’t quite articulate, I don’t feel that’s possible anymore. But that’s not the point, I feel we all need to follow what is in our hearts, no matter what our ‘title’ is in life…be it a healer, an atheist, a preacher, a thief. Not that this is a good vs evil thing, either. It just IS.

    If I may, I’d like to address just a few things to Sue. I don’t agree with some things she says, but I can’t help but respect her for following what’s in her heart – even if that offends some people. Now, the little I do know about her, I’m sure my respecting her doesn’t matter much, but that’s fine. Whether I respect you or not only matters to me, and not you. I do get annoyed when Sue, or anyone, starts generalizing. Not all Catholics, believers, scientists, etc. can be lumped together and have a mode of behavior or belief stapled on their foreheads.

    If memory serves me correctly, Sue asked why should there be a purpose in life? I can’t count the hours I’ve spent debating this for my own self. I’d certainly love to know for sure, but I think that answer is like the wind, forever moving and invisible. I just hope I can find out at some point…either before or after I’ve died.

    And I think it was Sue who posted another question, which was where would mankind be without religion? Interesting…perhaps in a better spot, perhaps in a worser one.

    If asked, I don’t feel I could really define the God I believe in, even though I would consider myself ‘religious.’ I would NOT consider him perfect. Although I can’t quote scripture, God admitted that he was a ‘jealous God’, in that, he wants everyone to worship good and not evil. Doesn’t sound like perfection to me.

    If the world was ‘perfect’, would those who don’t believe in a supreme being believe in one then? Just as it is frustrating to non-believers that people can believe in something that can’t be proven, it’s also frustrating to me why some non-believers can’t understand that this isn’t a perfect world because we coexist with both good and evil, health and sickness, rich and poor. Babies die, good people get screwed, bad people get away with their crimes. And as far as someone who’s done nothing good in their life, making a deathbed appeal for forgiveness, I don’t believe God would grant that. It would hardly be sincere, or from the heart, only something done in a selfish act of trying to avoid punishment. An ‘all-knowing’ God would know that, right? So why twist this concept, or definition, into something you use against the character of God?

    For the record, I don’t know the answer to life. I can’t prove God exists anymore than I can prove UFOs are real. And even if I saw one, could I make you believe that I did? I just know what feels right in my heart. And when people here state their opinions, and call the God I believe in names that I don’t like, I try not to take that personally. Maybe, if I were in a different position…an atheist, or gay, perhaps…it would be harder not take things said against, or to me, personally.

    Just my opinion, but this is what I respect–that no matter what gets flung at certain people, they stay true to their heart. Even better, when they can stay true to their heart and not have to defend themselves to anyone else. I feel that goes for ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people alike. Actions speak louder than words, it’s up to each individual to assess that on a moral scale.

    PamT – I really like the way you express yourself, if I could only be as half as articulate as you..well, then maybe this post would’ve been half its size.

    PamM – I admire your ability to be the mediator. To be respectful even when you don’t agree with others’ views isn’t easy. I hope Paul’s book is as good as you say, but as I said above, actions speak louder than words. Call me different, but I’ve learned more about PMG by watching him tackle the ups and downs in his life, than by anything he could ever write.

    xt

  • By hilly, January 22, 2011 @ 1:01 am

    Call me different, but I’ve learned more about PMG by watching him tackle the ups and downs in his life

    If I may add ” (…tackle the ups and downs in his life) with a dignity and wisdom that a great many can learn from. Especially those C-listers who have to make sure that they are in rehab yet again as a result of their self-inflicted problems and their need for publicity.”

    We live and learn.

    We live and learn……

  • By heidi33, January 22, 2011 @ 2:03 am

    Yes, the older I get and I am still learning.Every day, I learn something new—I still don’t understand people but I am trying to.

    Growing up in England, some topics were taboo. Nobody talked about some issues. In parts, the attitude still exists.
    Why is the human mind receptive to happy things and yet is not geared up to dealing with sadness or loss???

    Even in the animal kingdom, young animals love to play and chase around but they can sense loss too. I remember my father telling us stories of old shepherds dying and their dogs would lie on top of the graves pining and refusing to eat. What about Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh and his loyalty to his master?
    Just to clarify ,the tradition of the farmer rounding up sheep by whistling special commands still exists where I live on our moorland. Great to watch it.These sheep dogs are intelligent.

    Life does not teach us everything about the human brain. Even the doctors haven’t worked that one out yet.!

    It is interesting to see that my friends like to watch comedy films or musicals but are not so keen on dark films for example, movies that deal with cancer or death.
    Yet some people like sad films–they cry and it makes them feel better.

  • By marly, January 22, 2011 @ 3:25 am

    How important are my opinions to me?
    Am I still able to change these points of view?
    Am I willing to change my points of view?

    How can I relate to others and share my thoughts?
    Do I really want to share my thoughts or am I just trying to convince the other(s)that my thoughts are the only thoughts that matter(to me)?
    How selective am I in my relationships?
    Do I automatically(subconsciously)shut out the ones who’s thoughts don’t seem to match with mine?
    Do I automatically(subconsciously)open up to the ones who agree with me?

    When do thoughts become opinions and when do they become so precious to me that I can’t seem to survive without them?
    When do I stop sharing and listening and learning in order to stay true to my opinions?
    When do I become so rigid and full of fear that I block myself from listening to what my fellow human beings wish to share with me?
    When turns my fear into anger and makes me want to lash out to hurt the ones that refuse to see things my way?
    When do I stop seeing that in fact the other is me and I am the other, both trying to make sense of a world full of mysteries?
    When do I dare to acknowledge that the other is just as scared as I am?

    When do I finally stop running around in circles and find compassion for myself in order to face that frightened child inside of me?
    When do I finally find the courage to take that child into my arms and give her what she really needs…..
    Love.

    Marly

  • By hilly, January 22, 2011 @ 5:09 am

    I saw this in a book I am reading today:

    “Structures can become strictures”…..

    Heidi – I grew up in the Britain of the 60s and 70s and it seems to me that ye, there were taboos (those shrugged shoulders and ‘s/he’s got well you know….’ instead of saying the word ‘cancer’ come to mind) but these often had more weight depending on who or where you were.
    Now it seems – looking from outside the UK (I’ve been ‘outside’ for 23 years now) that there is a loss of discretion. Everything has to be public – every vicarious tear and teddy bear piled up in front of the house of a family that half the people didn’t know or care about 10 minutes earlier. (My personal attitude to her aside) nothing illustrated this more than the nonsense after Diana, (ex)Princess of Wales died. The sobbing in the streets – especially if a camera was nearby:and the almost hilarious spectacle of the driver having to stop her hearse to clear the flowers being thrown at it from the windscreen so he could see where he was going. And because one generation of the royal family tried to hang on to that discretion – it was condemned for ‘not caring enough’. It’s a sick society that has to weep and wail in public instead of allowing the mourners their private grief.
    This public collective sobbing isn’t a real expression of dealing with loss – it’s the Andy Warhol syndrome….15 minutes of fame. “Look mum I’m on the TV crying….”

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 22, 2011 @ 11:13 am

    princess diane is dead. she was loved. nothing can change that. she made mistakes. nothing can change that. people cried then. nothing can change that, not even tv reports. princess diana was human like you and me and the rest of the world. she was immortal too because she was loved. let us not judge those who felt an affinity to this princess who did a lot too for humanity. please, let’s not judge her. we needn’t be too critical of everything. we accept she is gone, still love her if we do and try and stop judging her if we don’t.

    however ‘sick’ we think society is, there is hope. we can do things to make it better or we can talk a lot and mask ourselves in never ending ‘conclusions’ based on our points of view. but our points of view differ, so what’s the use wasting time on criticism when we can choose to do something else. like princess diana, we are not always right. we are as human as she was.

  • By Sarah L, January 22, 2011 @ 11:52 am

    Paul,
    I’ve just re-read through your post. The subject of ‘helplessness’ really interests me. I think that most (if not all) of us feel helpless at one time or another.

    Death is something which used to scare me because I knew I had no power to stop it. I felt helpless. I also think that much of that fear was because as I child I had no choice but to be part of a religion I did not accept and could never accept. I would lay awake at night, scared that when Armageddon came (my parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses) I would be one of those struck down because I had rejected the religion. I then moved on to a point where I believed that there would never be an Armageddon described by the JW’s. I came to realise that, to me, this whole religion/cult was fantasy. I think that had always been my gut feeling anyway. However, I then had nothing to hold on to because I didn’t believe in their god or any other god. I still don’t. It seemed to me that I had no promise of everlasting life. For a long time I was unsettled and scared because I was unable to believe that there might be something after death and I really wanted it to be the case. Several years ago, I started to take an interest in the beliefs of others. Through that, I began to explore the possibility that there might be life after death. I then became convinced that there is. Since accepting this, I feel at peace with myself. I no longer feel scared and most importantly, I don’t mind that I am helpless. It’s OK that there is nothing I can do to stop the inevitable. Maybe I feel that I have given myself back some power by choosing to believe that there is more after death?

    However, just because I now have the belief in life after death, it hasn’t stopped me questioning it. I’m aware that it is possible that I have come to my conclusions about it because I needed to find something to hold onto. I also feel that I should be respectful of other people’s faiths, beliefs and points of view (and I include Atheists in that) as long as they do not use those beliefs to harm and abuse others.

    I believe that there are many times in our lives when we feel helpless and that it is sometimes possible to feel OK about that. Sometimes we look at a situation and discover we are not as helpless as we thought. This empowers us to do something. However, at other times there is nothing we can do to change a situation or an outcome but once we acknowledge and accept that there is nothing we can do, we can often find peace.

    Best Wishes,
    Sarah.

  • By hilly, January 22, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

    her correct title was Diana Princess of Wales….getting that right shows respect for her memory

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 22, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

    thank you for the correction. i am human. i make mistakes. princess diana of wales is dead. she wouldn’t care now what her title was more than the fact that she was loved. so many titles are bestowed when one is living, but ultimately, we are all the same.

    were we loved while we were and did we love while we lived are the two basic questions. u have your own pov and i have mine. i refuse to debate with you or anyone, tho’ i respect you for the sublime importance u have put on ‘titles’.

    bottomline: princess diana was loved. she was not perfect. no one is.

  • By HILDA LIPRACE, January 22, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

    Hi Paul., when will be back on the blog .. want to hear another own reflection (which anxiety) is that this very busy, much love to you, God bless kisses kisses kisses ♥♥♥

  • By Christine, January 23, 2011 @ 7:06 am

    Hi Paul, Logging on here it would be a nice surprise if you had been here too!!. Missing you, yes, I do know it can’t be a matter of frequency to quote your words but goodness me its been ages!!!. Hope you are well.
    Take care,
    Christine xx ;)

  • By Pam Meserve, January 23, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

    Marly..I enjoyed your post of self questioning…thanks for that.

    This blog was created from the heart to be a ‘place’ to offer people a way of ‘thinking outside the box’ at and from within yourself to discover your own ‘awareness and consciousness’…for you to find a way of reaching deep into that ‘secret place’ within..to see your own true light..finding your way home..should you need to rediscover that path!

    It really isnt a blog or ‘place’ for people to ‘dissect,’correct or belittle others or other povs…Sharing, compassion, learning by sharing and self disovery is the intent here..Really..as Paul has said before..we are all human, we are all tied together..

    Dunno…feeling a bit sentimental today…wishing only good things, good heart, well-being and positive Light for everyone..
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By carol4spot, January 23, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

    Marly says “in fact the other is me and I am the other, both trying to make sense of a world full of mysteries?”

    Marly, I really like that. It is so true. I enjoyed your post too!

    PamM, I feel for the most part the blog is just fine. There’s always going to be some rifts in everything. That’s life. I think we can learn from negative things just as much as positive things. Don’t fret…and remember love rules!!!
    Hi everyone!! Go Jets (Had to get that in there!) xocarol

  • By Christine, January 23, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

    Sharing, compassion, learning by sharing and self disovery is the intent here..Really..as Paul has said before..we are all human, we are all tied together..
    Hi Pam M, I have to agree with you on this. Isn’t this what life is all about too?. Learning and sharing, feeling a part of each others lives? connecting with others in a positive supporting way?.
    I am grateful for the friends I have made through this blog. It only goes to show how there are still some lovely people out there!!.
    Things can get a little overheated on here at times. But if we remember to respect each others opinions; and maybe agree to disagree at times things hopefully will be fine.
    Thank you to you and Paul for creating this blog.
    Oh and one last thing. I have noticed this blog seems to have more women than men commenting!.
    No prizes for guessing the reason, but having a male viewpoint or two would be quite interesting don’t you think?.
    Although for now it would just be nice to hear from our blog host!!. ;)
    Best wishes,
    Christine.

  • By carol4spot, January 23, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

    Christine, Ha ha ha…And yes, a new post from Paul would be great!xocarol

  • By Pam Meserve, January 23, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

    um excuse me Carol..it’s GO STEELERS..
    :-)
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By carol4spot, January 23, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

    They gave it a valiant effort but hey, congrats to the Steelers and their fans!!! Haha Pam, you won!!! :)

  • By Pam Meserve, January 23, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

    lol..Carol…they played well…

    There is so much to share within all these posts right now..Maria..who will be remembered for he incredible smile, the way she marched ahead of her cancer and never lost her spirit of living life to the max..she here in spirit…I think those who knew her will always feel her presence, and think of her with great fondness.

    Xt thank you for your compliments…and I know everyone will fall in love with all that IS in the journey in ‘Chrystallia and The Source of Light’..Paul’s story of light is unique, refreshing, ‘outside the box’…and will fill the readers with a sense of personal renewal..whatever that may be for you..

    PamT and Raffy..you know I always enjoy your posts and views. I have taken away and into myself a lot valuable things for myself from them.

    I surely do live and learn something everyday, and that’s life..so many lessons…so many ‘thoughts that matter’ or can help you ‘see’ what maybe you havent been able to ‘see’ before or even in a different Light.

    Sarah:”I believe that there are many times in our lives when we feel helpless and that it is sometimes possible to feel OK about that. Sometimes we look at a situation and discover we are not as helpless as we thought. This empowers us to do something. However, at other times there is nothing we can do to change a situation or an outcome but once we acknowledge and accept that there is nothing we can do, we can often find peace.”
    This is such a true statement indeed, and one I have personally learned the very hard way just recently…despite giving all my heart and dedication..live and learn and use it positively!

    Ohmmm so many things to comment on today!

    Shanti,..
    Metabless you alll and thanks for the spirit of all you bloggers indeed…

    Pam
    Liaison
    Administration

  • By Raffy, January 24, 2011 @ 2:32 am

    My friend Maria…the greatest thing I had the luck to breathe from her own breath is just…happiness…
    Yes, happiness…especially lately, however incredible it could be to find happiness where you never expect to find it. She was happy. I felt her happiness through and beyond her pain, I saw happiness in her heart, something true, difficult to describe.
    She herself often said to me lately… “I am happy!”…I was almost speechless so many times. When I saw her for the last time she was conscious, just recovering a little bit from pneumonia, before her death just a few days after. She was happy… she could hardly talk, but there was a special light in her eyes and smile…and you can’t lie even to yourself when you are going through such a bad situation and are so painful. I felt through her what real happiness should be.
    She experienced love…what true love is, all along her long illness. She experienced the good and bad within her heart and others’ hearts…but in the end she experienced that oneness is possible, within herself and with others, with all.
    That’s why she was happy…and was able to radiate it around her…
    That’s how I’ll remember her…

    Raffy

  • By hilly, January 24, 2011 @ 4:42 am

    that’s how I remember her too Raffy. Every e-mail she sent was full of optimism and hope. Every e-mail had those same words somewhere “I’m happy” even when the rest of the message was about the treatment she was undergoing (and we all know even if we haven’t had to deal with it that chemotherapy is horrible).
    Maria was radiant. In her bright red coat on a gray London morning she embodied that optimism.

    I treasure her as a friend although her physical shell is no longer with us. Perhaps heaven is a place where we fond the people we want to see again; if it is I’ll take a ticket.

  • By Pam Meserve, January 24, 2011 @ 8:11 am

    oh..me too, Raffy…and you are the same…both of you are spititual blessings..and how lucky am I to be graced with you, Maria and so many of you in my life! Fond memories of our great gatherings in Bromely…I will never forget her joy then and ‘spaahhkle’ esp in her nice red coat!
    Shanti to all..
    Metabless you…
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Raffy, January 24, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    I am not the same, Pam, or even vaguely similar, be sure!
    But we all have our own gifts to share…

    Raffy

  • By Pam Meserve, January 24, 2011 @ 11:37 am

    Oh yes you are, Raffy…you have incredible spirit, faith and your posts are always encouraging, and for me, I do find valuable things to ‘think about’ in them..New pov’s, fresh ideas..yep..it’s there!
    So, thank you!
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Nadine, January 24, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

    Je comprend ton chagrin Raffy tu as été la derniere personne à l’avoir vu tu l’as accompagnée pour son dernier voyage ! ce sourire c’est à toi qu’elle le donnait et toi tu le partage avecnous , je suis heureuse que ta presence l’ait aidé a partir sereine ! j’aimerai te connaitre tu as ete une merveilleuse amie pour Maria ! comme tu l’es pour nous toutes .
    J’aimai beaucoup Maria Je me souviens d’elle comme certaines d’entre nous a Bromley avec son manteau Rouge ” qui lui allait si bien ” soit dit en passant , elle etait merveilleuse et si heureuse .
    j’ai ete très occupee avec la mauvaise sante de mon papa je n’ai pas eu le temps d’envoyer un mail à ma douce Maria avant son brusque depart , je m’en veux , sa perte est un enorme chagrin elle etait une ” petite soeur ” pour moi ,elle me manque , ses mails me manquent , son sourire me manque , Je ne l’oublierai jamais elle restera a jamais dans mes pensees !
    REPOSE EN PAIX MA MARIA JUSQU’A MON DERNIER JOUR TU RESTERAS DANS MON COEUR ! JE T’AIME MA DOUCE MARIA !!!!!

    Merci Raffy ! Bisous .

  • By hilly, January 25, 2011 @ 4:16 am

    I know that Nadine treasured her friendship with Maria and that theirs was a genuine friendship; they contacted each other quite often thanks to the creation of the Circle of Light. Here’s her final tribute:

    I understand your sadness Raffy, you were the last one to see her and you were with her on her last journey. That smile, she gave it to you and you share it with us. I am happy that your presence helped her to go in peace. I’d like to know you better, you have been a wonderful friend to Maria. As you are to all of us.

    I was very fond of Maria. I remember her the way some of you do, at Bromley with her red coat ‘that suited her so well’ I should say; she was wonderful and so happy.
    I was very taken up with my father’s bad health and I didn’t have the chance to send Maria an e-mail before her sudden departure, and I’m annoyed with myself for that. Losing her is a great sadness for me; she was a ‘little sister’ to me and I miss her; I miss her e-mails, I miss her smile. I’ll never forget her and she will always be in my thoughts.
    Rest in peace, Maria, until my dying day you will be in my heart. I love you sweet Maria.
    Thank you Raffy
    xxxxx

    My personal comment: Knowing Nadine as I do, and although we don’t see each other very often I value her friendship, I know how genuine her sadness is. She is outgoing and kind despite having to deal with her own dragons. She is a ‘big sister’ if not a surrogate mother to a wonderful and multi-talented young woman who has had her lousy battles with illness.
    I pay tribute to Nadine; merci ma copine car t’es un ange parmi nous.
    (and I’m not translating that because it’s for her!)

  • By Raffy, January 25, 2011 @ 7:25 am

    Thank you for your fond memories, thoughts and feelings…

    Raffy

    Nadine, I’ll write to you privately

  • By hilly, January 26, 2011 @ 4:25 am

    Two weeks after my cat finally left this life….
    ….I’ve come down from a tough ride emotional and physical. It hasn’t been helped by the antagonism I sensed from some of those who posted in the course of all these discussions.
    And my own ‘meaow is worse than my scratch’ reactions didn’t help me either in the long run.
    It seems some find my approach too didactic – sorry I can’t change the way I am, I thought ‘learning’ meant exchanging information…apparently it doesn’t. If anyone felt intimidated to post – maybe they should look at why? was it just because they feared being taken up by the likes of me (and Sue) – who for all our faults have the courage of our convictions? TBH that’s not my problem any more is it? It’s yours, whoever you are.
    Someone commented after I had simply pointed out the correct name of a folk hero that she didn’t wish to debate with me – no debate intended on my part – just the daft notion that if you think so highly of someone it helps to know their name!

    I know I don’t always ‘please’ everyone…I have never set out to do so; but neither have I ever set out to offend (believe that if you wish but it is the truth and I am the best-placed person to know it). I’ve been told offline from more than one source that I went too far. OK maybe I did…to those who thought so – I apologise.

    I was re-reading the more enlightened parts of this long thread – the moments when compassion and caring shone out in exchanges between those who stop to think of others and it seemed to me that too many of us are too quick to find fault (openly or behind people’s backs) when they don’t agree with what is said.
    (please note the ‘us’ there – me included)

    “Let s/he who is without fault throw the first stone”
    “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

    I have no stones; if I threw one it would ricochet anyway and do me more damage than it did anyone else.

    As my cat’s health deteriorated I was doing everything for him; he no longer washed and he no longer…how do I put this so as not to offend…tended to his personal hygiene. At one point I had to wash his rear end under the tap!
    He slept on my bed. The night before he died he finally slept (after hours of restlessness – we got 2 hours sleep that night) half under the covers in between my arm and my chest. After noticing that I had swollen facial and neck glands I have just tested positive for toxyplasmosis. I’m waiting for the cat scratch fever results; and the Epstein Barr that I’ve had for 30 years has reappeared. My cat’s final legacy….

    So I’m trying very hard to have some compassion (not pity – pity is a self-indulging emotion whether it is ‘aimed’ at oneself or another)for myself. I’m trying to have some for those who have attacked me openly and indirectly.

    That is all I have to say on the subject.
    If you have a comment at least have the decency to put it here and not to veil it in vague references.
    I won’t reply. I’ve given up trying to defend myself – this is an explanation. As someone ( ;) )said “explains but doesn’t excuse”
    I don’t ‘excuse myself’ and in giving (yet again) this explanation I apologize to those who felt offense.

  • By Christine, January 26, 2011 @ 6:55 am

    Hi Hilly, Sorry to hear that you are still not well. Hope now they have made the diagnosis they can start to treat you.
    We all get our bad days. Like yesterday I woke in the worst mood and no matter how hard I tried it stayed with me. I was snappy to my daughter to my best friend infact in all honesty I was the BIGGEST pain to be around!!!
    I didn’t mean to hurt anyone honestly!. I can lose sleep worrying if I think I’ve upset anyone. My point is, even though I have gone right around the forest to find one tree; we are all human and can and do upset others sometimes although I know we don’t mean to.
    However, when one feels like it becomes a personal ‘attack’ so to speak things can become so heated on here.
    If we agreed to disagree at times on here it may prevent the on/off battles.
    I like to read what you have to say Hilly.
    (Even if at times you go wayyyyy over my head!!!) Hey I’m not as clever as some on here but I try!!!.
    When this blog first started there wasn’t a great deal of upset. Kind of like a first day at a new job you tread carefully incase you stand on somebody’s toes. As we get to ‘know’ each other things are discussed more openly and of course the down side to this is that we all have very different opinions. We all live in different countries. Our ‘thoughts’ can range so much. But at the end of the day we are all here because we share an admiration/respect for Paul. Hes brought us all together and its nice logging on to talk to like-minded people.
    When things get heated, and this is just my opinion, I always try to remember what and why I first came to this blog. I want to share Paul’s thoughts, learn from him and each other.
    Take care of yourself Hilly. Get well soon. :) xx

  • By hilly, January 26, 2011 @ 7:51 am

    :)

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 27, 2011 @ 2:51 am

    these are some quotes from Princess Diana which are also reflected in PMG’s blog :

    The biggest disease this day and age is that of people feeling unloved.

    Everyone of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves.

    Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back.

    Only do what your heart tells you.

    I think the biggest disease the world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved. I know that I can give love for a minute, for half an hour, for a day, for a month, but I can give. I am very happy to do that, I want to do that.

    all of these quotes are from HRH, the late princess of wales. i respect other people’s contrary opinion about the late princess but i do not wish to debate because talking about her at this point would be futile, she is dead. also, i feel that the objective of this blog does not suit criticism or sardonic comments about the dead princess who left something good for all people.

    if people collectively cried when she passed away, that was not simply because those grieving then wanted their ‘fifteen minutes of fame’. it was because they genuinely loved her. the spirit of this blog is not to judge those who grieve, who hurt and who dared live a life by loving others as much as Princess Diana did when she was alive.

    i see no point in getting passionately ‘heated’ over the fact that a princess who felt that she needed to be loved, though was extremely loved -never felt that she was. perhaps that’s a better subject to discuss because it suits the ‘spirit’ of this peaceful blog.

    Would Paul Michael Glaser criticize Princess Diana? I don’t think so. Why can’t we all try and follow his example and enjoy life and love and respect each other’s povs?

    i never claimed princess diana was a saint. she was human. so is everyone else. i do not think that paul michael glaser would say anything negative about the dead princess of wales nor those who loved her and grieved over her.

  • By heidi33, January 27, 2011 @ 3:06 am

    Yes, I agree. We all need love.

    Christine, I agree with you too. Where are all the men to comment on this blog??? Most bloggers seem to be women.
    Still all opinions are interesting to read. We are all different but the same.

  • By fee, January 27, 2011 @ 4:13 am

    You know, after reading some of these recent posts it struck me how easy it is to completely misunderstand or take the wrong way something that has been said.
    Hilly never criticized Diana, she was merely using what had happened after Diana died to make a point about something else, namely the recent and very public outbursts of grief or call what you like when a horrific tragedy occurs. I tend to agree with her as I find this recent phenomenon maudlin.
    Now Hilly has made at least two very public apologies on here so can folk please show her some compassion too. Apart from losing her beloved cat, she like a lot of us have been grieving over the passing of our very dear friend Maria and now she has caught a nasty disease incurred while caring for her cat. So fair goes folks, online and offline, leave her be.
    All of us, and I include myself here need to practice less judging and more compassion for our fellow travellers. Let us take in more of what Paul is trying to share here. I know I am now reading more and more on different subjects and finding it fascinating. So much to learn and take in.

    I certainly have no stones.

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 27, 2011 @ 4:35 am

    who is hilly?

    i was talking about princess diana and listed quotes she said. as i said , everyone’s different. what i was talking about was the public outcry over princess diana, who was loved but never felt love.

    i am sorry that your friend’s cat died, am i right? i am not judging anyone, not your friend and certainly not his/her cat. i was talking only about princess diana, not hilly, your friend who had a dead cat.

    i listed quotes from the late princess of wales which are similar to what paul michael glaser’s blog is saying. i was not discussing anything, i listed quotes.

    i’m sorry your cat or your friend’s cat passed away. there is nothing we can do about it, but i certainly feel the pain of anyone’s pet passing through this life.

    here are more quotes from princess diana that we all perhaps can learn from :

    HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug: Heaven knows they need it.
    Princess Diana

    Hugs can do great amounts of good – especially for children.
    Princess Diana

    I don’t even know how to use a parking meter, let alone a phone box.
    Princess Diana

    I don’t go by the rule book… I lead from the heart, not the head.
    Princess Diana

    I don’t want expensive gifts; I don’t want to be bought. I have everything I want. I just want someone to be there for me, to make me feel safe and secure.
    Princess Diana

  • By carol4spot, January 27, 2011 @ 4:37 am

    Hi Fee!! Snowed in again! Yikes! Anyway, I, for one, am not in the least offended by Hilly. That’s the reason I wasn’t getting involved. I have NO idea what goes on behind the scenes because I am not ‘behind the scenes’ ! I feel tons of compassion for Hilly and have responded most times when she has major issues. I am thinking of her always and certainly ALWAYS hope she’s ok or going to be ok. Did you hear that Hilly??? xocarol

  • By hilly, January 27, 2011 @ 4:48 am

    ;)

  • By Sandie, January 27, 2011 @ 4:53 am

    What is wrong with quoting Princess Diana? I loved,admired and respected her as did much of the world.

  • By hilly, January 27, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • By Pam Meserve, January 27, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    Let there be no more talk about ‘people’ here on this blog…respect fellow bloggers pov’s, respect their ‘way’ of writing and expression without judgement or negative comments…lets get back to the discusion set forth here by Paul..please!
    Enough already!
    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Pam Meserve, January 27, 2011 @ 10:19 am

    Love, kindness, compassion..understanding..awareness..consciousness…please let your loving spirit and light from deep within yourself shine here..ok?

    Shanti…Metabless you ALL!
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Terri, January 27, 2011 @ 10:48 am

    Pam, Have we not gone through all this before? “beating a dead horse”.

  • By wisdom, January 27, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

    just a qiick thought i would like to share. I “BELIEVE IN GOD.” It seems to me that in this particular blog some are outragged at the fact that some people believe in a higher being and I really dont care! You may believe whatever you wish but for me, my Lord and Savior has virtually kept me sane in some of the most complicated moments in my life.
    Yes, you do have free will. You choose to make the decisions within your life. That is what God has given you. The right to choose his way or your way. God does NOT punish you for the bad choices, you have punished yourself and ultimately pay the consequence of that bad choice.
    I do not dislike anyone who does not choose to believe. After all, if I judged then I would be doing exactly what God wishes me not too.
    However, it is my right to speak about my Lord and Savior and praise all that he has done for me. I will defend him with all my heart.
    I read your comments now you can read mine.

  • By Pam Meserve, January 27, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

    LOL Terri..no kidding!
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Christine, January 27, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

    Hi Terri, Hey its nice to hear from you again!!.
    Hope all is well.

    Just my own opinion here, but lets try to get this blog back to the way it started out?.
    This was and still is at times a positive place to come to. Lets respect one another.
    It makes me think why so many blogs close down when there is such negativity towards one another.
    For the most part isn’t this blog a great thing to have?.
    Best wishes to everyone.
    Christine.

  • By Christine, January 27, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

    Hi Wisdom, My opinion is to each his/her own!. You are right everyone has the right to believe in whatever is right or should I say feels right to them!!. We are all individuals. We are all constantly learning. Wouldn’t it be nice if we felt a little more togetherness?
    Best wishes,
    Christine.

  • By Rachelle, January 27, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

    Hello everyone! Happy New Year!

    Pam – You’re doing a great job on here my friend….. I’m looking forward to reading a good book in the spring so thanks for always keeping us posted!

    Wisdom – I also believe in God. I find him a great comfort and I’m glad to know him as my personal savior as well.

    Christine – Nicely said in regards to beliefs. :)

    Hilly – I’m sorry for the loss of your cat. I also lost a special pet last month due to chronic illness.

    Hope everyone is doing well. Since I last posted last year, as some of you know I fractured my ankle from slipping on the ice. The cast comes off in Feb and I can hardly wait!!

    That said Friday is almost upon us and working with a cast gives me extra special reasons to look foward to Friday.*G*
    Rach

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 27, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

    Christine put it simple but that is the wisest thing ever said here. sometimes, the wisest thing is the simplest thing.

    wisdom, i believe in God too and in freedom of expression. i think that people who do not believe in God have the choice NOT to do so however. it is an individual choice. i also believe in Jesus but i also think that God can defend Himself because he is God. i admire your faith in God.

    i don’t think anyone’s attacking anyone who believes in God. my point is very very simple also : i was quoting the nice quotes of the late princess diana. i was not talking about God, some’s dead cat or ANYTHING. paul michael glaser was talking about everyone feeling loved and my whole point is to show you the quotes where even the late princess diana felt that she was unloved sometimes. imagine the one called the ‘people’s princess’ also felt the common pain of humanity? isn’t that the whole point of this blog, to find what is common is our all being human?

    christine there has a point. i think that was what she was trying to say. don’t attack anyone’s view just because it’s not something you share. we are all different, yet, we are all the same.

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 27, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

    wisdom and rachelle : i believe in God. i believe in Jesus too. in another blog, paul wrote about each one having his/her “own truth”. that is my “truth” too.

    other’s have their choice. my saying that does not mean that i agree with them. i simply respect their opinion hoping that they shall also respect our opinion.

  • By wisdom, January 27, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

    I want to appologise if anyone feels that I was attacking a belief that I do not particulary believe.
    You will have to forgive me if it seems to you that I am trying to start an argument with anyone who chooses to not believe. My job requires that I argue and fight for the rights of the working class so I tend to be very strong in what I think is right.
    I have faced many hardships in my life both as a non-believer and a believer. However, I have always felt the kindness of my Lord and Savior.
    I do feel that the persons on this blog are highly intelligant beings who question much of what can not be answered either in scripture or science. There are things that we will never have the answer until death comes. I do not want to be one who took a 50/50 chance on not believing.
    I am a simple person who has dealt with many blows in my life but if it was not for my faith I do not belive that I would be sitting here today to discuss the issue of Christ.
    I thank you all for your comments back to me and understand I would never judge. Everyone has an opinion on this subject. I am not a bible thumper as some may think, but when I feel that God should be defended when incorrect statements are made I should speak up.
    As far as the Princess Diana comments that were made I understood what infidelabumpkin was trying to point out. You can have everything in this life but what good is it if you dont feel loved. The emotions expressed by millions around the world were not fake to get on camers and recieve fifteen minutes of fame. They were expressions of grief of a much loved public figure.
    Everyone around the world should strive to give a little of themselves. What a wonderful world we would be living in today.

  • By Pam Meserve, January 27, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

    OK..sooo..lets begin a new topic..one of the journeys in Chrystallia is ‘finding your way home’….what does this mean to you? How do you think you can begin this journey for yourself…

    For me….I work on the fact that I give a lot of myself to everyone, at all times and really..don’t have a sense of belonging ‘with myself’..if that makes any sense, lol.

    I was recently chatting with someone about this very topic of ‘belonging’…we are all tied together, tbs. I know where my heart is, I know how to give my heart and I always do…but I also have discovered that while I have heart and love for all…I don’t really have much for myself..lol, I’m too busy trying to help everyone else to think about it. I really have discovered that big time this past year, and it has cost me a lot!
    So maybe this is where I can begin to ‘find my way home’..

    dunno,, but just my ‘thought’

    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Sarah L, January 27, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

    Wisdom, I do not believe in a god but I certainly was not offended by your comments.

    ‘one of the journeys in Chrystallia is ‘finding your way home’….what does this mean to you?’
    A good question Pam. I think that maybe the answer changes according to different stages of our lives. I feel that I am at a stage in my life where I am happy with who I am. I feel comfortable being me but that wasn’t always the case. I spent most of my life questioning my decisions and actions. I used to worry what others thought of me. Now, I have a sense of inner calm (most of the time!) There are still areas of my life where I am not as confident as I’d like to be but I think that’s a good thing because it encourages me to learn more things. For me, ‘finding ‘my’ way home’ represents me being happy to be me, accepting that we all make mistakes and not beating myself up over mine, having the courage to take a leap of faith. Life is ever changing. I definitely don’t think I am ‘home’ but I’m enjoying the process of getting there.

  • By Pam Meserve, January 27, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

    Sarah:” For me, ‘finding ‘my’ way home’ represents me being happy to be me, accepting that we all make mistakes and not beating myself up over mine, having the courage to take a leap of faith. Life is ever changing. I definitely don’t think I am ‘home’ but I’m enjoying the process of getting there.”
    I couldnt agree more with this…I beat myself up constantly, lol! I learn so much everyday..about myself..about people…mistakes and the forgiveness that goes with it…for me doesn’t always work unless its with who/what at the same time.

    I have bit of a distance to journey before I find my way home! Hope I don’t have to go it alone…

    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Sarah L, January 27, 2011 @ 11:22 pm

    Pam,
    I’ve always found it much easier to forgive others than forgive myself. I think that is partly due to my upbringing and partly due to my genetic make-up. However, I do find I am getting better at forgiving myself when I’ve made a mistake. Mistakes aren’t always a bad thing. They can be opportunities to learn more about ourselves and about others.

    I’m sure you’ll get to your ‘home’. Try and have a blast while you’re making your way there :)

  • By Pam Meserve, January 27, 2011 @ 11:24 pm

    I do learn a lot on this journey!

    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By hilly, January 28, 2011 @ 12:40 am

    Wisdom said

    It seems to me that in this particular blog some are outragged at the fact that some people believe in a higher being and I really dont care! You may believe whatever you wish but for me, my Lord and Savior has virtually kept me sane in some of the most complicated moments in my life.
    Yes, you do have free will. You choose to make the decisions within your life. That is what God has given you. The right to choose his way or your way. God does NOT punish you for the bad choices, you have punished yourself and ultimately pay the consequence of that bad choice.
    I do not dislike anyone who does not choose to believe. After all, if I judged then I would be doing exactly what God wishes me not too.
    However, it is my right to speak about my Lord and Savior and praise all that he has done for me. I will defend him with all my heart.
    I read your comments now you can read mine.

    thankyou for stating your position, clearly intelligently and with the tolerance that this world needs. Never have I told anyone not to believe what they do
    I am not outraged that people believe in whatever they choose – puzzled, maybe; even challenged. But each has a right to believe what they like. i don’t agree with some of hat you said because but that is my right to disagree and your right to believe, isn’t it?

    It is refreshing to see that people like you exist and are willing to express themselves without relying on aggression to make you point and express your religious beliefs

    Hope we will manage to discuss other things on other thoughts.

    (Turns to the host of this blog and says ‘please think aloud again soon’)

  • By Christine, January 28, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

    Hi infidelabumpkin, Thank you. I must say that this is probably a first for me, having my name and the word wise in the same sentence……..LOL. ;)

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 28, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

    wisdom: everything is okay. thank you for clearly expressing your point and mine.

    finding you way back home.. i have a different take on this one because when we are born i think we’re home and we start as pure kids still enthralled by the world… we get thrilled discovering new things like a butterfly.. or the changing color of the seasons, or anything. we have this sense of wonder about everything around us.

    then we start growing up and we lose that spark inside us which makes us one with nature. we don’t climb trees or mountains anymore.. we stay locked up instead watching tv after work and we wonder why we are so unhappy. then we usually think back and say ’twas happier when we were kids’.

    so try and find ourselves back home… wondering why we feel some sense of incompleteness, wanting to be complete and happy when we already are anyway if we can find the same excitement we felt when we were new in this world. i think finding ones way back home is realizing that we were HOME and happy HERE and we can feel the same amazement by simply seeing the same sunset or sunrise and looking with our heart instead of our eyes.

    in short, Jesus was right Wisdom, we must be little kids again to find the kingdom of God.

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 28, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

    christine : too much complication is unwise. the wisest sages gave out the simplest advise that people can understand. :)

  • By Terri, January 28, 2011 @ 5:20 pm

    Hi Christine, I’m always around. I stop in here at least every other day. Enjoy reading what everyone has to say. Like the blog a lot. Learn a lot. But my experiences seem different and most of my conclusions also. I keep most to myself(years of parental training). Love ‘listening’ to everyone else.

  • By Sarah L, January 28, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

    Hi infidelabumpkin,

    Isn’t it interesting how ‘home’ means different things to different people? Do you believe that a person’s life goes full circle?

    ‘think back and say ’twas happier when we were kids’. ‘ Although I do have some happy childhood memories, I don’t look back on my childhood and think that I was happier as a kid. When I think of arriving at my ‘home’, images of my children, my husband, my close friends, a growth in my confidence and a desire to explore are the things that come into my mind. I believe that I didn’t have that confidence, that contentment, that desire to seek more when I was a child. So for me, ‘home’ is about breaking away from being that child, standing on my own two feet, liking myself and being with people I choose to be with.

    It’s a fascinating topic and from just the few responses to it so far we’ve seen that we have different ideas about what ‘home’ means to each of us. This really interests me and I’d love to know what others think about this too.

  • By Sarah L, January 28, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

    Terri,
    I find it interesting to hear/read other points of view, other experiences. I know how hard it can be to dip your toes in the water though.
    Sarah

  • By Christine, January 29, 2011 @ 10:43 am

    Hi Everyone, Finding your way home?. I think it depends on whatever stage your life is going through at that time. We can get ‘lost’ so to speak for various reasons. What is it in life that keeps us grounded? happy?. For me its watching my 19 year old daughter turning into a young woman. Sometimes when I look at her I find it hard to believe how many years have past by. We are very close. Probably because for most of her life I was a single parent. There were always the three of us, me, Amy and my late son. Now its down to the two of us and our bond is stronger than ever.
    In all honesty, I don’t see that much of her. Even though she is still living at home basically she eats and sleeps here!!! as you would expect at her age.
    Amy is a reminder that I got something right!. I may have made mistakes but I can honestly say I loved/love being a mother.
    Add to it the fact that I am lucky to have such loyal friends who actually put up with me then this is what ‘home’ means to me!. :)
    Great question there Pam M.
    Take care,
    Christine.

  • By hilly, January 29, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    Where is home? Good question.

    I used to say glibly ‘home is wherever I keep my underwear in the same drawer for more than a week’ (no reflection on my love life LOL) but it’s not that simple is it?

    Home is where the heart is? Perhaps.
    Home is where we feel cherished? Maybe but most of all ‘home’ is where we feel secure.
    Not for nothing do baseball players go for ‘home’; do we have a ‘home page’ on a website, do schoolkids have a ‘home room’.
    Home is that place we all yearn for; we all seek to build for ourselves (and our loved ones). A place where we know where we are. A place where we can come to rest.
    Home is peace of mind (and spirit) where we come to understand that we have finally found that which we yearn for. Lucky, those who have found that security in the certainty if what they beleive (or choose not to believe). Lucky,those who have a home built with the love of others around them.

    Sometimes we think we have found our home. We believe that at long last the undies really will be safe in that drawer. And then, just as we are settling into the comfort and security of this resting place the emotional/spiritual/physical earthquake hits and it all comes tumbling down around our ears.
    We can either stand up, dust ourselves off and set off to establish a new home; or we can be so crushed by that collapse that we can’t see beyond the dust that blurs our view. We yearn to ‘go back home’ to that time (and/or place) where we felt really safe. Childhood? A happy marriage/relationship? A good job? A belief (not necessarily a religious one) or conviction that we now have to call into question?

    Home is a place where we can relax without feeling the need to justify ourselves…our indulgence.
    Home is indefinable. Home is a concept – a need. Home is here in our hearts and there in our dreams.

    So in the end I wonder if any of us really find our way home.

  • By wisdom, January 29, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

    I will have to agree with Hilly on this one. Hell, I’m still trying to find where I parked my car last night let alone trying to find home. lol
    Seriously I have never felt like I had a home. Yes, I have a house but it’s never felt like home. Even grouwing up as a child I never felt secure, protected and I am still in the physical sense trying to find that secure place that I can go to just be me.
    I have always hidden the true me to most every one. So I guess until I am able to stop protecting myself, home will just be for me a fantasy.

  • By Christine, January 29, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

    I was sitting thinking about this blog tonight. I’ve just spent 3 hours at the hospital after not being too good awaiting test results so I could come home. Its now 2:24am I’m home with a cuppa and painkillers and what’s the first thing I do? check the blog!. Hey, I know where my priorities lie!!. Thankfully things aren’t as bad as they thought and I can get back to blogging lol.
    One of the funniest things tonight? almost falling off the table in x-ray to the obvious panic of the lady…..couldn’t help but laugh I nearly ended up worse than when I arrived there!. Comedy capers or what?. Well the painkillers are kicking in and I’m going to try and get some sleep.
    Goodnight, take care everyone,
    Christine.xx

  • By hilly, January 30, 2011 @ 1:11 am

    LOL wisdom me too. The other day I came out of the supermarket, spotted my car, pressed the key and swore (not too discreetly! and very obscenely to some ears!) because the car didn’t respond. Tried again. No. Then I remembered that I had driven my mom’s car that day….and coincidence is that my car is a ‘special issue’ model ‘three colors and a tie-in trademark – ‘kiss cool’ (a chewing gum!) because if has A/C! and the car I was walking to is its twin – right up to having a registration number that must have been 15 cars after mine!

    Christine:e-mail on the way

  • By hilly, January 30, 2011 @ 1:13 am

    incidentally Wisdom, I too have never really felt I have a ‘home’ although I have NO worried about a roof over my head. I have always been convinced that I was born at least 3500 miles too far to the east!

  • By heidi33, January 30, 2011 @ 5:31 am

    Finding our way home.

    As children, we knew where home was—our mother and father offering love and warmth..
    As adults, we are still looking for the same two things whether it is from our friends or in relationships.

    Give me an open fire, good companions, warm drinks and a happy atmosphere any day!!!!

    On our journey through Life, do we always find what we are looking for? Unconditional love?

    We would be lucky if we indeed find such extraordinary things such as peace and love.

  • By wisdom, January 30, 2011 @ 8:19 am

    Hilly, we must be experiencing the same thing. When I bought my car the salesman said it was one in a very few that was painted the retro color back some years ago. “you won’t find another one like it in this neck of the woods.” he said to me. A few days later I was pulling in to a parking area and what do I see? The exact identical car with the exact identical retro color. So, what did I do? I did what any one would do, I took it back to the dealership and chromed it out. Now it truely is the only one in this area that looks like it does!!
    I too have always felt that I was born in the wrong time though, I have never figured out which time span I should have been in.

  • By hilly, January 30, 2011 @ 9:12 am

    the best bit is here our registrations (old style; it changed last year) followed 4 figures, 2 letters and then the 2 figures that are the ID of the “département” (state/county whatever).
    Mine is ****(can’t remember off hand LOL) YY30 (aka YoYo) and the other car is ****YY30 too!

    Heidi – I’ll take the warm drinks but you can keep the open fire and the smoke and carrying heavy logs and cleaning up the mess……!
    I’d settle for a really good realistic gas fired ‘log’ like I had in one house and so lifelike that when I had an invasion of bees the beekeeper throw a damp rag on it to smoke them out of the chimney and nearly caused an explosion!

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 30, 2011 @ 10:34 am

    if there is anything this blog has made me grateful for, it is the sense of home i can still feel when i recall childhood and the familiar scenes and sites which seem so cozy.. much like the scent of my grandmother’s cookies and the smell of pine…

    i was reading this part of paul’s blog

    http://www.paulmichaelglaser.org/blog/category/christmas-message/

    i can relate with the feeling here… of being able to re-call those moments. i am grateful for snippets in my life that still make me feel good.

    heidi, i guess that finding oneself back home (or on the way home) is indeed different for everyone.. or that it depends on what we have been through in life… home, to me is always with those old memories… feeling the comfort of family, parents, everything that makes me feel safe and familiar.

    one somehow ‘knows’ someone’s way back home, just as THAT little boy there.. the same manner he recalls it.

    it is where we are most loved i guess and also that stage when we are kids and we are still enthralled with everything around us.

    paul’s blog THERE captures that cozy familiar feeling… the wonderment of a child on the way home and enjoying the scenes and sights and he takes on that journey.. re-calling can be a joyous experience.

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 30, 2011 @ 11:53 am

    Here are parts of Paul’s blog that I was talking about :

    I remember that time; the cold nips of snowflakes on my nose and cheeks, my breath exploding in puffs of steam, the distant headlights of a car piercing the woods, the soft sound of steel chains. I liked walking home at that time. I felt at one with the world.

    I wondered about the lives in ‘those houses,’ how much like mine, how different. I would imagine them having everything I wanted plus what already I had and I’d walk steadily through the crunching snow with every hope and dream keeping me company. Everything was possible. Hope made all the difficulties of my youth seem manageable.

    I look back on that and my hope has stayed with me. It has drawn me forward in my yearning, my seeking. It has picked me up when I thought I was all the way down. It has brought me a life full of learning, rich, succulent, and fullfilling and I am the richer for it.

    This is our moment. There is no other. The remembered moment is only an echo heard through our desire and need.

    This is our moment. Here, now as I write this. This is my life, right here, right now. This is my mantra. When I can remember this, everything else becomes insignificant and I only want to know this moment, and the next and the next, never lifting my eyes to an imagined horizon, but being here, on my own horizon.

    In this moment, I wish all of us a healthy New Year and the blessing to realize that the death of this year is here for a reason…so that we may experience our love and oneness with each other.

    A boy making his way home through night snow will always know that.
    —————————–

    how about we show our appreciation that pmg has taken his time, effort and BEST thoughts and come back home to his old blogs and thank him… after all, his ‘old’ blog entries never get old.

  • By hilly, January 30, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

    I re-read them all; especially when I’m trying to remember where I saw/read something and who said/wrote it.
    And sometimes a moment comes in our lives when we need to re-read something and remember it – and re-member it in our lives and minds. See it in a new context. See it as it relates to a new moment in our journey – or his.

    Nothing exists without a context.

  • By Pam Meserve, January 30, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

    Heidi writes: “On our journey through Life, do we always find what we are looking for? Unconditional love?

    We would be lucky if we indeed find such extraordinary things such as peace and love.”
    This really has some truth in it, IMHO…

    “Finding our way home’….

    It’s not a ‘material’ home or set of things in ‘your home’…and tbs, it has different meanings for everyone…

    For me, in this ‘here and moment of now’ it is about finding your true heart, your ‘value’ within..it’s about finding the truth in and of yourself…whatever that is for you.

    And perhaps with this comes a ‘re-affirmation’ of ones ability and strength/courage to evolve…to better one’s ‘self’ in this complicated and often troubled world.

    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Christine, January 30, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    You know people often say ‘life is what you make it’. Which I suppose could be true to a certain degree. But I tend to think that our lives can and sometimes do revolve around others. Is it not true that at times for good or bad life is what others make it for us?.
    Finding your way home? can be as varied as searching for your true self to admitting that just maybe your life is not as great as people tend to think.
    We all have moments of thinking that others have a better life than we do. The grass is always greener. But perhaps if we really took a long look at ourselves we would find things to be oh so grateful for.
    A while ago I was watching a tv/radio presenter in this country being interviewed. This man has had success, fame, money etc. Yet there came a point in his life where he realized he had everything and nothing at the same time. Everything as in houses, cars women etc. Nothing as in he had everything he wanted but nothing he really needed. This interview was very interesting. What do we all need in this life that no amount of money can actually buy?.
    All of us need love. Even if at times we don’t admit it even to ourselves.
    There always seems to be something in our lives that eludes us. Are we ever 100% happy?. Is it even possible to attain this? maybe life is all about chasing the dream. Searching for it. Who knows? there are always more questions than answers…. and if everyone has a soulmate? where the heck is mine?.
    Best wishes,
    Christine.

  • By infidelabumpkin, January 30, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

    christine, i wouldn’t want to be 100 percent happy because that would mean so fulfilled that there would be NOTHING that would matter anymore…maybe 80 percent ‘happy’ would suffice. i guess, no one is really 100% happy..

    Heidi writes: “On our journey through Life, do we always find what we are looking for? Unconditional love?

    without wanting to offend anyone, yes, i must be one of the most fortunate people in the world. i found that in my grandmother and parents. i know that sounds simplistic… i also found that in a best friend and in my 30 year old ‘helper’ (caretaker/nanny of my grandmother who never went away because she loves us).

    i don’t think about one soul mate, i may be wrong, but there may be several soul mates in one lifetime.

    i was loved, i am loved. i have no complaints and i am grateful for that. i was talking with someone and i told that person that if the meaning of life is being so damn sure one loves and was loved — then ones life is worth it.

    like everyone else, there are times when i do not feel i belong — but i am sure that i am loved anyway. maybe that’s ‘home’. I am grateful to G-d for that.

  • By wisdom, January 30, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

    When Pam raised the question of finding home, I thought wow now that is a question. I thought for awhile and thought to myself, If I never felt to begin with that they had a home, then how do you find it if it never existed? That is a question I truely can not answer

  • By wisdom, January 30, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

    When Pam raised the question about finding your way home, I thought to myself, now that is a good question. I began thinking to myself, if I didn’t feel as if I had a home to begin with, then how do you find your way home?
    Home for me would be where you are free to be yourself without criticism. Where you feel loved, protected, comfortable and to many more to mention.
    Last night , very late I recieved a call from my eighteen year old daughter who was just involved in a vehicle accident. She was shaken up a bit but other than that she was fine. She could have called her father, fiance or a host of siblings and friends. But when it came to who she felt the most comfort and protection was me. So in a sense, even though I did not feel those things growing up I was able to instill it with my daughter.
    So, even though I may never discover my way home I am thankful in knowing that my daughter can always find her way home.

  • By wisdom, January 30, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

    sorry about the two entries, my computer is acting goofy again. lol

  • By Softly, January 31, 2011 @ 2:14 am

    At the risk of repeating the fine words of Glinda, the Good Witch Of The South again…

    Home is a place we all have to find child,
    Home is not just a place where you eat or sleep.
    Home is Knowing*
    Knowing your heart
    Knowing your mind
    Knowing your courage
    When we Know ourselves we are always Home, Anywhere!
    (cue music….)

    *Softly’s note
    Knowing is being aware of…
    Being aware of what rules your heart
    Being aware of what runs through your mind
    Being aware what lives through your courage
    Being aware of… is free of judgement*

    To quote again someone way smarter than me:

    When one does not judge,
    One is not put one-self in a dilemma.
    When one is not put in a dilemma
    One creates space.
    Space reveals reality.
    Reality is the true liberty.
    True liberty is the state of enlightenment.
    The state of enlightenment is Buddha-nature

    Full circle ….

    Seeing the truth clearer with each turn and forever learning,

    Softly

  • By hilly, January 31, 2011 @ 3:51 am

    (reprises her teenage school play part; clicks her ruby-slippered heels together and says) OK Toto time to go home!

  • By hilly, January 31, 2011 @ 3:57 am

    I just found this on infidelabumpkin’s site; I hope she (or he?) doesn’t mind me quoting it because it really caught my eye

    …..”……seasons change
    so does grief, joy and pain
    showering cool comfort after the long humidity
    or that drought of empathy in our souls
    and after a thousand baptisms we live again
    refreshed and renewed
    by the rain.”

    Your poetry is beautiful.

  • By PamT, January 31, 2011 @ 5:05 am

    When the subject of ‘home’ came up earlier in this blog, I think I wrote something along the lines that, for me, it is where you are both the giver and receiver of love and in this thread people have spoken about the desire for unconditional love. I think there’s an intrinsic truth in that – don’t we all want to be loved for who we are, imperfections included?

    I read something a few days ago, which piqued my curiosity and led my thoughts off in a slightly different direction from their accustomed route. It caused me to wonder whether we aren’t all already the recipients of unconditional love, but perhaps don’t recognise and therefore open ourselves to it. As I type, there will be someone somewhere sending out metta (or its equivalent in another form) to all living beings. That includes me; it includes you; it includes everyone. Does it not count because the giver doesn’t ‘know’ me as an identifiable individual (translated to – it’s not for me personally)? Or because it’s not emanating from a specific individual(s)? Or because it doesn’t protect me from the tremors or earthquakes which happen to all of us in life? If I go with any of these thoughts, am I not myself placing conditions on the love, based upon my concepts of self?

    If I’m able to put to one side the various defining labels I’ve worn throughout my life thus far (constructed from my relationship with others and perhaps also from my gender, ethnicity, political alignment, profession etc., etc.), and if I am able to find awareness of and observe from a short distance, albeit momentarily, my ego’s likes/dislikes accumulated from years of cultural influences and experiences together with its intrinsic compulsions and genetic predispositions, then what is actually left in that space? Some kind of living, ‘being’ energy? Is it that the part which can choose to open itself to the experience of belonging, peaceful acceptance and love?

    PamT

    Xtexan: Thanks for your generous words. I genuinely don’t think you have a thing to worry about on the articulacy front. In any event, I often tend to think that it’s what lies within and is conveyed from a person’s heart that really matters and, in a sense, the way in which it’s communicated can be just the gift wrapping.

  • By heidi33, January 31, 2011 @ 5:23 am

    Wow, there are some great comments here. You all make me think.
    Pam Meserve asks how can we begin the journey for ourselves to find home. That is difficult.
    We might set off walking all prepared with food ,drink and clothing and good intentions but the world around us and other people can put obstacles in our way so we have to have courage to continue walking. No good alone so it would be good to take family or friends with us on this trek.
    Home is where we are loved so we would have to lower our defences and barriers to be more receptive to other people and show understanding and tolerance towards them. So the answer lies within us.

    It’s interesting that our senses play a huge role in our memories of home and childhood.
    Visual effect–Mr. Glaser watching snowflakes

    others listening to what grandparents said

    –sense of smell. Infidelabumpkin—you know I loved my grandmother very much. My best memory was that she let me use the coffee grinder on her kitchen table to grind coffee beans when I was about 6 years old as a special treat–I’ll never forget the beautiful smell of fresh coffee in the mornings in her kitchen.

    Mind you, what happens to less fortunate people who are homeless or abused children?
    How would they find home?
    Does the answer rest within us to proceed with our lives on the journey?

  • By Raffy, January 31, 2011 @ 9:07 am

    I think home is just “being”, here, now, in the present moment, which is a time without time.
    Maybe we should detach from the bad and the good, from our illusive ego…and from the thirst to detach from it.
    Fullness and pure love…home… are there I think.

    Raffy

  • By Christine, January 31, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

    Hi Paul, Just wondering what does finding your way home mean to you?.
    I think most of us are still searching to a degree but are you?.
    Best wishes,
    Christine xx

  • By HILDA LIPRACE, January 31, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

    Hi all. A person may be alone in this world. Really this one – NO! there is always someone, a friend, so we have to ourselves, seeking the way, I love people, has nothing to do, if you get better or worse, simply loving compassion. think about the other, without egosentrismo. we believe we are the navel of the world, if I say. dedo.seguramente hurts the other says, yes, I hurt my finger and hand. It is like a competition, we do not listen to others, their needs , I like to hear me, because always, the problem of one is more important than another., No, not so.’s why we have to give love, respect, if I want to love me. I have to love, if I want to hear, I have to listen. in these days, and thought, we are all united, we are all equal, we can be of different skin color. but our feelings or feel the same. each one has its problems, work, family., with money, are myriad problems, and I wonder., are problems.? I think it is part of life, are forms or states where we have to have the wit or intelligence to bear, you learn from all these problems we have, we can say that there are bad people, that is a murderer, rapist, there are many. but as a person gets to make all those terrible things to me is madness, a person who is not psychologically well done those things, but do not want to get into a mess of thoughts, if I think for those people there to feel compassion., I worked 23 years in prison units, and seen lots of cases, which I hate, no, I feel pity, I know that my work had to be careful, you never know how they will react, so we continue to love, we are all connected-with love Hilda, sorry, if the translator not perform the task well. kisses

  • By Pam Meserve, February 13, 2011 @ 10:59 pm

    Happy Valentine’s Day everyone..I hope honest ‘love’ fills your heart and those you care about today..
    Pam
    Liaison
    Administrator

  • By Rachelle, February 14, 2011 @ 7:21 am

    ╔══════════════ ೋღ☃ღೋ ══════════════╗
    ♥♥♥ HAPPY VALENTINES DAY TO EVERY ONE ♥♥♥
    ♥♥♥ Have a wonderful Valentines Day my friends! ♥♥♥╚══════════════ ೋღ☃ღೋ ══════════════

  • By hilly, February 14, 2011 @ 8:14 am

    LOL the next village along from here (Roquemaure) claims to have St Valentine’s remains in the church! You see back in the 19th century it was a very busy river port and it was here that the phylloxera virus entered France and wrecked most of the vine crops. (Thanks to Californian winegrowers healthy new vines were soon transplanted). So anyway the village council had a collective guilt trip about this so they sent a delegation to Rome to get themselves a relic or two to try to get back into the world’s good books. They returned with what they had been told were the bones of St Valentine.there is no record of how much they paid for these alleged relics (fools and their money etc) but at least they got a little prosperity to the town – in recent years they organise a two-day pageant every 2 years and people come from all over France to take part.

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