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Saturday, February 28, 2009

God concepts - part 7

Scientific dogma
For some, science is a dogma, as much as Christianity or Buddhism is for the people that believe religion is a fact.
Science is based on faith as all human beliefes are and when that is forgoten and we confuse beliefs with facts, science turns into dogma.

The fact is that every event in this universe is unique.
No experiment can be duplicated twice exactly unless you some how could go back in time. And even then you couldn’t surely and truly predict the same outcome of the experiment.
You can not step in the same river twice!
And that is not of matter of principle it is a matter of fact!

The way that science experiments work is the same way a magician pulls out a rabbit of his hat.
It is all smoke and mirrors. It is all in the setup. Just because the magician can repeat his trick a hundred times it doesn’t mean that he makes rabbits appear from nothing.

Here how “scientific” experimenting works:
A kid named Newton is playing with bricks in his back yard.
He puts a brick on top of another – what does he get? – A two brick stack. Cool!
He puts another brick on top of the two what does he get? – A “scientific” law.
Here is the “brick” theory: H = B x N
The height of the stack “H” equals the height of the brick “B” times the number of the bricks “N” Cool!
Can you duplicate that – of course you can – you take a couple of bricks to your back yard and it works like magic every time… until……
A kid called Einstein comes along and imagines an infinite tower of bricks and suddenly the brick theory falls apart because according to his new “relative brick” theory at a certain point the brick stack will shrink under its own weight and collapse. Brilliant!

All scientific experiments are the result of cunning setup. You take away the limitations of the setup – like Einstein did with Newtown’s laws – and voila the experiment and the laws are not true any longer! What was held for hundreds of years as “scientific fact” becomes history.

This is the problem the scientific world is facing right now.
All the scientific laws broke down at macro or micro cosmic level.
So while the adoring, ignorant disciple of the “scientific dogma” are screaming “we hold the truth” at the top of their lungs, and are ready to nail to the cross anybody that dares to think any different - behind the closed curtain the scientist are building more and more complex instruments - see CERN – hopping that will help them understand and find the truth about the universe and finally figure out the UTP(unified theory of physics) - which is the holy grail of scientific dogma - something like the “ark of the covenant” of Christianity.

So before ridiculing anybody for their faith look at what your dogma is based upon; a half baked pile of contradictory laws, hypothesis and theories.
Oh and don’t forget your bricks…

Thursday, February 26, 2009

God concepts - Part 6

The scientific concept

Although science doesn’t entertain any spiritual notions (Why?) there are a lot of people that adhere to that concept, so it would be only fair to take a look at their point of view as well.
Science doesn’t accept “intent” and “purpose” as valid premises for the existence of the universe and therefore it defines existence as “blind”
The universe is nothing but a big “machinery” with nothing spiritual in it.

It all starts with a colossal explosion from a singular point in space – The Big Bang Theory.
This explosion, expulses enormous quantity of hot matter into the space, thus the universe existence and expansion begins.
As time progresses the hot matter cools down and “assembles” itself into atomic elements, that after further cooling start gathering in huge clouds.
The huge clouds further cool and slow down sufficiently to “assemble” into stars and planets, thus forming the solar systems and the galaxies.

As the young planets are going through the tumultuous process of stabilization, with lots of volcanic activity and violent storms and earthquakes, some unexpected accidents occur. On this particular planet called Earth atomic matter “assembles” itself into complex molecules and the complex molecules again by accident “assemble” into simple unicellular living organisms.

Million of years pass and of course more accidents happen to the poor little living creatures. Some of them mutate into better organisms and they flourish some of them suck at living and die miserably.
This is to be known as the evolution of the species and the survival of the fittest.
More millions of years pass and another fortuitous accident happens.
The monkeys fall out of the tree, bump their head and become intelligent.
Just kidding :) – It was again the evolution process and the natural selection that determined the apparition and expansion of the human race.

So in conclusion after billions and billions years of evolution 170 pounds of stellar dust have evolved into calling itself “Buddha of Hollywood” and it is now conversing with another – I don’t know how many pounds of stellar dust you might be -and Buddha is saying:
- Isn’t this just fantastic that the universe is intelligent after all?
And you would say:
- Yes, that is quite fantastic!
But then again there it will be another part of the universe that calls himself “atheist” that would argue that:
- No , the universe is not intelligent.
And I would go ahead and say:
- I totally agree with you – You are just a dumb ass :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

God concepts - part 5

God the play.

I don’t know if you are a computer game enthusiast or not, but imagine for a moment that you could have the ultimate virtual reality game.
Imagine that you could put on an electronic helmet and you could select any fantasy you would like to have and it would be delivered to you at the push of a button.
You could be Alexander the Great or Napoleon, you could conquer the world or fly to the moon, you could be a movie star and win an Oscar or a brilliant scientist and win the Noble Price. You could have any life you want at the push of a button, pretty much like the people in the “Matrix” movie with the exception that you would have total control of the game.

But you see, there is a little problem with this game. After playing it for thousand of times you realize that it is not that much fun knowing what is going to happened and knowing how it is going to end. So you discover that there is an option on the game called “Surprise life with surprise ending” pretty tempting, right?
So you push the surprise button and here you are - reading this crazy post.
And how would you know that this is not a very elaborate virtual reality game?

Pretty neat concept, right?
Some scenario a science fiction guy would dream up you might think.
If you are not familiar with ancient Eastern religions and mythology you might be surprised to find out that actually this concept is thousand of years old and it is actually found in the Hindu mythology.

The story goes that God – in this case lord Shiva – was kind of bored, so he decided to play a game where he would put on different masks – that would be me and you and everybody else in the world - and by folding time, like the way we superimpose celluloid frames, he would create this elaborate play with all the drama and emotions imaginable, so he would never get bored.

Now, this particular concept of God has some very interesting aspects to it.
This would explain pretty much why this world is so full of drama, why the world is not a quiet peaceful place, sort of a suburban neighborhood where nothing exciting ever happens.
It also answers the question about God’s morality. Remember the question about the holocaust and God’s unwillingness to intervene and do something about it?
Well, if God is every one of the 6 million people that died, if he is the victim and the executioner at the same time the whole paradigm of the genocide changes.
It would be impossible for a linear mind to process this multi dimensional consciousness experience. The only thing we can do is wonder.
So, next time you sit down to play a video game, or if you don’t play but you know somebody that spends way too much time on video games, don’t think of it as video game playing, think of it as God training!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

God concepts - Part 4

God is sacrifice.
Enlightenment is being part of God

In the bellows of the material world there is a burning process where matter is sacrificed and turned into energy and light.
It is this energy that turns the wheels of the universe; it is this light that feeds the life on Earth as we know it.
On this primordial sacrifice plants grow; and on the plant life sacrifice all that is moving life, grows; and on the top of that pyramid of sacrifices, we stand.

It is funny but if you think, that burger you had for lunch was actually “sun light” packaged as 2 for $3 deal - but I digress.
It looks like some guy, Jesus had this revelation 2000 years before me, or maybe hi didn’t but he came with this Idea of redemption through sacrifice, never the less.
His philosophy was simple – to be enlightened, you have to give yourself without asking anything in return – much like Mother Theresa did with her life.
And to make his point he made the ultimate sacrifice - he gave his life for his follow men and for his beliefs.

That sacrifice was his example of faith in God and after him his followers walk in his steps and many gave their life for the same belief, that their sacrifice is the highest form of devotion and redemption.
Some where on the path of history that changed a bit.
The victims of the savage lions in the coliseum turned into the master torturers of the inquisition.
The; give everything without asking anything in return, turned into take everything without any responsibility.

Today Jesus’ sacrifice is no more than a free ticket to paradise.
The Christian communities are stained with unwed sex, teen pregnancy, prostitution, alcoholism, drug use, domestic violence, greed and corruption.
Hey: If all Christians would behave like Mother Theresa then Jesus would have died in vain. Right?

So be a good Christian - go get yourself a male transvestite prostitute and some crystal meth and make Jesus worth his sacrifice!

Friday, February 20, 2009

God concepts - Part 3

God the omnipresence

OK folks, before you jump to any conclusions let me make one thing clear:
I am not making this thing up. This is what I was taught:
God is an omnipotent omnipresent being.
Like it or not, God is an old man watching your every move 24/7.
Not only that he watches you but he also knows exactly every thing you are thinking to the most intimate, personal thoughts!

Now, I know what you are going to say:
God is a loving father and he is watching over me because he loves me and wants to make sure I don’t get in any trouble.
Well, I am a father too and I love my kids and watch over them too, but once they have grown up to the point that they can go to the bathroom on their own I gave them their privacy.
So I say thank you God for your concern but when I take my shit I would like some privacy too!

I know some people out there loved to be watched by old men while taking a shower – I’ve seen the webcams :) – but the majority of people love their privacy.
So how do we deal with an omnipresent God in our life?
Well, the same way we deal with any regular perverts peeping Toms;
We institutionalize them; we put them in prisons or psychiatric wards.
And that is exactly what a church is.

A church is a gilded cage where we are keeping God and his peeping habits at bay.
There behind thick walls under the supervision of the correction officers and medical stuff, we call the clergy, we keep God sedated and happy so we can go about our daily business without being bothered by his interference.
Of course once a week every Sunday morning, as a good family, we put on our good garb and go for a family visit to our institutionalized relative, God.
There we can tell him what happened in our life since our last visit, through the ritual of confession, and we may pass some requests or the occasional thanks, we pay our monetary dues to the staff and then go home until next Sunday.

This is a very advantageous arrangement but of course there are some people, which do not subscribe to it.
There are the extreme fundamentalist religious, which truly believe in the omnipresence of God.
Now, you know that if someone truly believes it is being watched by a green man in a flying saucer 24/7 that is not enlightenment, that is schizophrenic paranoia and usually we lock them up.
Same thing with the people that believe in an omnipresent God. That is not a religious belief that is mass psychosis. And if you know anybody like that and you thought they were a little bit odd, that is because they are very much so :)
Of course nobody in the scientific community would say that because that would be extremely politically incorrect, plus the religious right would have a field day going after you.

In conclusion if you are one of the people believing in an omnipotent, omnipresent God, before you write me a nasty comment, let me remind you that you have to love me and you better write something nice because:
GOD IS WATCHING YOU!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

God concepts - Part 2

God the ruler

The concept of God we all have has started with the same seed our parents have planted in us.
We have inherited God the same way we have inherited our name, language and culture.
If you are living in the Western world chances are that you are following one of the offshoots of the Judaic based religions. And all of them have the same basic premise:
God is the absolute ruler, the supreme judge and the creator of all things. – Not necessarily in that order.

God is a wise and kind ruler. He gives us the laws of righteous conduct and he makes sure that everybody plays by the rules. If rules are broken he swiftly dispatches the proper punishments. Some time the punishment is harsh – think of the biblical flood – but it is always just.
For the most part of human history we have accepted this concept of God and with the exception of few heretics and some pissed off individuals, this was the absolute, unchallengeable truth.

By the 19th century something revolutionary happened in the human evolution.
We have entered the era of technology.
Machines are starting the mass production of things. The steam engine and the telegraph are making the world shrink before our eyes.
Another aspect of human existence that is changed forever is the way we wage wars.
Suddenly the machine gun, the canon and the poison gases turn the war from a gentlemen’s play into mass murder.
The First World War leaves behind millions of dead and mutilated.
The world is in shock and horror. How could this happen? Where is God and why he didn’t intervene?
The answer came from a then young philosopher Nietzsche:
“God is dead!”

It looks like Nietzsche was quite right. Not long after WW I was over WW II started.
Not only that the killing went up ten fold, but this time the grip of death extended to the civilian population.
The most horrific of all being the genocide of the Jewish population.
6 million Jews died in concentration camps in such horrific manner that defies the human character.
How do you explain holocaust to a Jewish child?
God loves us so much that he let us been butchered like animals?

I am not asking much of God. I am not asking for armies of angels and partying of the seas but just a little gesture, like killing Hitler, Stalin, Mao and a couple more assholes.
Remember Hitler assassination attempt. Everybody in the room dies, he escapes without a scratch. Nice Going Jehovah!

So my question to God’s loyal subjects is:
What kind of ruler is your God?

Monday, February 16, 2009

God concepts – Part 1

My parents divorced before my first birthday.
Faced with the task of raising a child on her own my mother decided to sent me to my grandparents farm where I spent my whole childhood.
I never saw my father much.
There were a couple of attempts for my parents to get back together but things never worked out.
So basically beside some brief visits and some awkward attempts of love and affection, all I got from my father was the promise that one day when I grow up we are going to get together, spend a lot of time knowing each other and bond as a father and son should bond.

On my last day of high school, before that magical threshold from childhood and adulthood my father died. The day of knowing each other never came.

I never thought I would live without ever having to know my father. That possibility never crossed my mind so I was totally in shock.
I was not sad and I didn’t even cry. I was mad. I felt betrayed, I felt cheated of what was rightfully mine. Some how I felt a great injustice was done to me and the person responsible for that, besides my father, was God.

We had a Christian funeral with all the religion customs and rites.
An old priest came to officiate the funeral. With his white beard and his black robe he looked old and wise. I approached him and ask him about my father death.

My question was simple: “Why?” But his answer was nothing but simple or satisfactory.
He spoke to me on an impersonal tone, like a sales person that was trying to sell me a vacuum cleaner. Same worn out speech repeated hundreds of times, same forced enthusiasm trying to convince me on the quality of his product, although he knew he was selling a sham. Same old story about God having some extraordinary plan, that we the mortals can not comprehend, and that the plan required that my father has to die.
He did not believe a word he was saying and neither did I.
So I had to draw my own conclusion and there was only one conclusion possible: “God was an ass hole!”

Friday, February 13, 2009

Buddha on Diet

Dieting: A system of starving yourself to death so you can live a little longer.
Jan Murray

A diet is when you watch what you eat and wish you could eat what you watch.
Hermione Gingold

A diet is the penalty we pay for exceeding the feed limit.

I have a great diet. You're allowed to eat anything you want, but you must eat it with naked fat people.

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.
Garfield

I'm on a seafood diet. I see food and I eat it.

The cardiologist's diet: If it tastes good, spit it out.

I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.
Dolly Parton

Never eat more than you can lift.
Miss Piggy

A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand

If hunger is not the problem, then eating is not the solution.

I have gained and lost the same ten pounds so many times over and over again my cellulite must have déjà vu.
Jane Wagner

Inside every fat person, trying to get out, there is a beautiful thin one - or even two or three.

Outside every fat man there was an even fatter man trying to close in
Kingsley Amis

I don't diet. I just don't eat as much as I'd like to.
Linda Evangelista

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people.
Orson Welles

There are no fat people, just people too short for their weight.

Praise is the best diet for us, after all
Sydney Smith

Probably nothing in the world arouses more false hopes than the first four hours of a diet.
Dan Bennett

An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.
Irv Kupcinet

The second day of a diet is always easier than the first. By the second day you're off it.
Jackie Gleason

I told my doctor I get very tired when I go on a diet, so he gave me pep pills.
Know what happened? I ate faster.
Joe E Lewis

Can you imagine a world without men? No crime and lots of happy fat women

I found there was only one way to look thin, hang out with fat people
Rodney Dangerfield

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then, your body and your fat are really good friends

It's strange but true. Fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing

I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in 14 days I lost two weeks.
Joe E. Lewis

I've been on a constant diet for the last two decades. I've lost a total of 789 pounds. By all accounts, I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.
Erma Bombeck

No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat.
Without a brain you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office.
Covert Bailey

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Metaphisics of Money and Things

So, are we spirits with a physical body or are we animated material bodies with a spirit?
The little voice inside my head is screaming “I am a spirit, you dummy!” but my lower back pain is killing me – old story :) – and it is damn hard to ignore the pain no matter how enlightened I think I am.
So I’ll have to leave the answer to Ted Bagley – he seems to know better than anybody who and what I am ;)

Either you are a spirit or not, you can’t ignore the things around you.
We depend on things, we need and buy things, we crave and desire things, things are a necessity, they are part of our life and like it or not, they define us as individuals and as species.
We are humans because we are the only animal that can make and use things. Right?
It is only when we started to build and use tools that the human civilization took off and brought us where we are now today.
Some will argue that is the brink of extinction but nobody will argue that the human success as a species on this planet is due to our ability of making things.

But what are things and why do we need them?
Things are “Enhancers” they amplify, magnify, expedite, intensify, speed up and multiply.
Cars, trains and airplanes are nothing but things that make us go faster.
A gun is nothing but a human killing amplifier.
Although cars in USA are killing more people than guns and that might put a hole in my theory – hey lets ban the use of cars! - just a brain fart :)
But you get the idea. Things are making our life easier in a way or another.
At least in theory :)

What about money?
Money is a piece of paper to hard and too small to even wipe your ass.
Why and how is money so important and so good and evil at the same time?
Money is a thing that can be anything, therefore its “enhancing” power it is not limited to one thing; it could be speed if you buy a plane ticket or shelter if you buy a house, it can even be unconditional love. No not a hooker... I was thinking more like a puppy :)
Because of this potential money has, it makes it into an amplifier of your whole life, of who you are as a person.
Hence, a nice person will be 10 - 100 time nicer if he has money while an asshole will be 10 - 100 times a bigger asshole if he has money.

This little metaphysical trick was used by some charlatan guru – I don’t remember his name but I know he had one Rolls Royce car for every day of the year.
So this crook promised to make you happy if you renounce your money – and obviously give it to him.
The truth is that he did not make anybody happier but rather by removing the magnifying power of the money, his victims just felt less miserable.
You can see the reverse of this power on people that win millions of dollars on the lottery.
Within a year from the big win 99% of them are worse than before!
Money does not lift them up out of their misery it is the other way around, it makes their misery even bigger!

So now here is the answer many have asked since the invention of money:
Why God doesn’t help me with money when I am down, bitter, unhappy and miserable?
Because God loves you! That’s why.
And also:
Why does God suddenly blesses me with all this money when I am happy and content with what I have and my life?
Because God loves you! That’s why.

So before you ask God for money ask yourself.
Am I happy? Am I content and at peace within and without?
Because if your house is on fire you are just asking God to pour some gasoline on you!!!
Yep, be careful what you wish for:
– You might get it :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Living in a material world - Part IV

There are three kinds of people:
People that live in their past, people that live in the future and people that live in the present.
Living in the “now” is the enlightened way of action taught by the Zen masters.
Don’t worry, I am not going to lecture you about the virtues of living in the “now” because I myself stray from that doctrine regularly and I find myself lost in the dream land of the future or reminiscing about the idyllic days of my youth:)
I guess I still have a lot to learn, or maybe I don’t want to be that enlightened; I just want to be happy.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the merits of living in the now and I think I am a “get in charge”and “do it now” kind of guy.
I love the “now” because is the only time you can act, when you can do something about your life, when you can take control and change your destiny.
There is an old saying “After the war, everybody is a hero” after the facts everybody has the hind sight.
We all know the “should have” “would have” and “could have” but who knows what to do now?

Here’s my advice for people that are in trouble.
If you are in a hole stop digging!
Part of the joy of being in a recession is having lay offs, salary and working hours cuts and other “measures” which usually mean you are taking less money home.
That creates a problem: You are taking in less money but your spending is the same or even greater. That means your check balance goes from plus to minus and that is when you are in a hole – financially, because you can be in all kind of different type of holes.

There are two ways people deal with that: Dipping into your savings, stocks, bond, IRA, 401K etc. or cutting down on your spending.
Using up your savings is only good when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel or you have a plan in place that requires you to buy some time.
The thing I don’t like about using up my savings is that in fact it is digging the hole deeper.
Cutting on your spending should be your first line of defense, because it can be bring you back to a balanced budget for as long as necessarily with out putting you in deeper.

Take your loses and regroup.
When hard times hit, it is not always possible to keep the same life style and all the old toys and benefits that we have grown accustomed to have.
Some time by trying to hold to all the extra “convenient” things we have,will make us lose the things that are essential or even everything.
If your leg has gangrene and it can’t be salvaged it is better – although very painful – to cut it off than let the infection spread to the rest of your body.


To jump over the hole take a step back.
The deeper you are in the hole the harder and longer is to get out.
Consider taking a temporary step back.
Send your kids to your parents, rent out part of your house, or even move with your parents all together.
I know it sounds crazy to live with your mother in law but it is a good moral booster in finding a new job :)
And remember it is only temporary not an amputation!

And always remember:
This too shall pass.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Living in a material world - Part III

“Life’s disease is suffering” The first Noble Truth.
“Suffering is caused by ignorant desire” The second Noble Truth.

The fact that “ignorant desire” of money is a very addictive disease it is pretty easily to observe.
Most of us have got it.
Living as a recovering “money addict” is a tough, life long battle and commitment.

If you are still living the life of ignorant desire;
Translation:
You are fighting to keep up with the Johns who are fighting to stay ahead of you.
You are locked into an endless competition that you will never win because when / or if you get ahead of the Johns, you will find out that you will still be miserable and unhappy.
Financial happiness can be achieved only through financial enlightenment.

Let’s go back where we left at the last post;
“”Enough is not a number,
enough is a state of mind.”
Great! It sounds great, but what does it mean, how do you translate that “state of mind” in real life?
Can you simply “wish” your financial worries away?
Can you meditate your bills and your debt out of your life?

What is the life of a financially enlightened person?
If you are making $450 K a year and you are spending $500K – enlightened you are not.
If you are making $50K a year and you are spending $45K – enlightened you are!

The path of financial enlightenment starts with a balanced checkbook and that can only be achieved when you decide to stop the rat race and “settle for what you need not what you want.”

Write down on a piece of paper everything you spend, starting with the most expensive item; your monthly mortgage payment.
(If that is not your highest monthly bill, stop reading this blog and start looking for a very good accountant and a very good lawyer!)
Next put your second highest bill, like your car payments and keep on going with the list to the last of your bills.

Now: Take your mortgage bill and see if it is more than 28% of your annual income.
If it is more then that is not the house that you need. The house that you need is a N-1 bedroom house with a monthly payment less that the 28% - where N is the number of people living in your house full time.
Call your real-estate agent, or find a good one, and tell him: “sell the house I wanted and get me in the house I need”

Take your cars monthly payments and see if they are more than half of your mortgage payment.
If your car payments are more than half, you are not driving the car you need, so get red of the one you want and get the one you need!

Keep on going on the path until you achieve the perfect balance!

Painful is the path to financial enlightenment but at the end of it you’ll have nights of sound sleep and days of no stress.
Not the envy of your peers would be your reward but a smile on your face.

The advice is free the results - priceless

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Living in a material world - Part II

So how does one translates the Four Noble Truths into the modern, material world?
How does one translates the ancient wisdom into financial enlightenment?

25 years ago, coming to America as an emigrant from Eastern Europe, I started my life at the very bottom of the society, as a welfare recipient.
It wasn’t by choice and it wasn’t to take advantage of the system.
To get a career started, I had first to go to school and learn the English language.

Life on welfare was hard. The money was barely enough to survive, but as tough as it was, it was the happiest time of my life.
Every morning I woke up with the promise of a better life. Every day was a day of wonder, discovery and growth.
I was living high on hope and dreams.

After 13 month of struggle, I landed my first job. It was paying $7.50 an hour and that 25 years ago was a lot.
Suddenly, I found myself having more money than I need.
First thing, I moved from my cockroach infested bachelor to a nice 1 bedroom apartment.
Second, I got myself a used car; the first ever in my life – I was 28 years old.
Of course with a car comes, registration, insurance, gas and maintenance.
At the end of the month I found myself not having enough money anymore.

One year after starting my job, I was financially struggling.
Lucky for me I was offered a job by one of my clients and I gladly took it.
At $10 an hour, life was good. Suddenly I had more money than I need it and for a while I thought my money problems were gone forever.
Little did I know. A couple of month later I was back in the same predicament. I did not have enough money.

Well, to make the story short, I moved up the scale to $15 and I was OK for a while, then to $20 and that was enough for a short time and so on and so forth.
You get the point. No matter how much I made, money was never enough.

So what is “enough” money?
If you could make any amount of money, what would be “enough” for you?
Well, according to my own calculation “enough” is roughly twice as much as you are making right now.
So if you are making $20K a year, then $40K would be “enough” and if you are making $40K then your “enough” would be $80K.
Of course you see the problem is that no matter how much you are making somebody else is making already twice as much and that is not “enough”

So if a person could make any amount of money when would he stop?
The only measure we have is Bill Gates. He stopped at $350 billion. And I don’t think he stopped because he had “enough” I rather believe that he stopped because he got tired of making money.
So we still don’t know how much “enough” is enough.

Enough is not a number.
Enough is a state of mind.

If you understand this, you are on the right path of financial enlightenment.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Living in a material world - Part I

Let’s assume for a moment that you are a gourmet cooking enthusiast and some how you came into the possession of a rare 16th century recipe. Let’s say “Turkey a la pilgrim”
You are all excited and you want to cook and taste the turkey.
You start reading the recipe and it says:
“Get your musket and go in the forest to shoot a nice medium size wild turkey.
Get the turkey home and start a large fire in the kitchen. Put a large cauldron of water to boil. Meanwhile go to the back yard garden and pick up the following fresh vegetables and herbs. Come back to the kitchen and start plucking the turkey using the scolding boiling water… etc, etc’ You get the point.

As you start reading the recipe you realize you have a problem.
You don’t live in the 16th century anymore. You don’t have a musket, wild turkeys probable don’t roam in your back yard and probable you don’t have your own vegetable and herbs garden.
What do you do?
Do you start planting your own garden or do you go to the nearest supermarket for the ingredients you need?
Of course you will go to the supermarket; after all you are interested in cooking the turkey not in reliving the 16th century life all over again.

Now, let’s say that you are not interested in cooking but rather in spiritual enlightenment.
You pick up a book like “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse and start reading.
What are you going to do after wards; are you going to shave your head, dress up in a yellow robe and go into a forest to live with the wild animals, or are you continue living in your house?
You might say; “don’t be ridiculous, nobody goes in forests anymore to look for enlightenment” but that is exactly what many students of Buddhism are doing. They are trying to imitate and replicate what Buddha did 2600 years ago.
So here is my question to you; Are you interested in attaining enlightenment or a 2000 years old life style?

Let me put it the other way;
If Buddha was alive today, would he have a job, a checking account, credit cards, pay taxes or refinance his house - assuming that the interest rates go below 5%, or would he live on the streets beggars bowl in his hand?
If Jesus Christ lived in today’s world, would he have a driver’s license, would he be driving a car, or would he still go from town to town per pedis apostolorum?

Is enlightenment a thing of the past, or is it possible to attain enlightenment even living in a material world?
Can we translate Buddha’s recipe for enlightenment and adapted to our modern life or do we have to go to India and join the Buddhist monks?

What do you think? What is your experience on the subject?