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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Waiting for Godot

About a year and a half ago I started this blog as a way to vent out my frustration with the way the political and economical situation in US was affecting my personal life.
Since then the blog has changed, becoming a way of personal therapy, self reflection and a forum for spirituality ideas debates.
It all comes down to basic Buddhist doctrine that a person is a continuously growing, evolving entity and that proper, positive growth ( enlightenment ), can be learned and applied in real life.

It is this practical spiritual approach that has attracted me in the first place to Buddhism.
(The idea that you have to live miserable in this life and get to heaven in the after life never seemed very fair to me.)
So after about a year and a half I went from frustration to meditation, from rage to understanding, from despair to hope.

Now it seems a new direction in my life is developing.
Hope is gone – at least the hope that some how “they” will get things straightened up.
I realize that “waiting” for things to change in better will not take me very far.
It is time for action.

I guess the lesson I have learned in the past couple of month is that if you are not in control of your life, somebody else is.
It is up to me, and of course up to you to ascertain and take back that control.
It is time to turn wisdom into action, dreams into reality.

… So if I am not spending that much time posting on my blog is because I am spending a lot of time taking care of the things I have neglected in the past.
I have shifted my priorities from a reflective, waiting mode to a clean up my life and start new directions, mode.

I hope you all are well and I thank you for being my friends and sharing your ideas and POVs with me.
I will see you on the blogosphere from time to time and keep you informed of the latest developments.
And of course I wish all of you good luck in all your endeavors.

PS: If anybody has any questions or subjects you want to talk about just drop me a comment and I will be more than glad to answer you.

Peace!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Right vs. Happy

Would you rather be right or happy?
I know for many people this question will sound rather stupid.
(If it doesn’t sound stupid and actually it makes sense to you, you must be a married person.)
But the question doesn’t only apply to married couples; it is a question we face in all relationships, personal or business.

The status quo answer to that question is that we would rather be right – no matter the cost.
Having it “our way” it is a matter of principles and if “they” do not understand that we are “right” it is our duty to shove it down their throat.
Defending our position and opinions it is as American as freedom and apple pie.

But this is not always the case.
Take for example “dating”.

When we are dating a person our state of mind is not to have it “my way” but rather the other way around.
You could be a football fanatic but if the girl you love asks you to go to an opera or ballet instead, you would gladly ditch your football friends and you favorite team just to be with the one you love.
Same thing goes for her. She might think football is a stupid waste of time, but if she really loves him she will go to a football game and enjoy it too.

This might sound like a non genuine behavior, a trickery, a deceit to get you in good favors with the other person but people that have been truly in love know that that is not the case.
When you love someone you really want to make them happy and all compromises and sacrifices you make come naturally.
It is not anymore about being “right” or having it “your way”, it is about making the other person happy and being happy about them being happy.

Of course that quickly disappears when the relationship becomes official.
Once married we stop trying to make the other person happy and start fighting for what is “right”.
We don’t want it “their way” we want it “our way” and of course we are ready to battle for what we believe it is “right”.
The result: Bad relationships.

And that my friends it is the way things are.
We live in a world divided between “right” and “wrong”.
On one side we have the republicans on the other the democrats.
The religious people vs. the scientific community.
The pro life vs. the pro choice.
The environmentalist vs. the industrialists.
Us vs. them.
Of course “we” are always right and “they” are always wrong.

So are you ready to battle for that or would you rather be happy?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chocolate Wisdom

If you are a religious person you regard and believe the religious texts as a true representation of the real world.
Same thing if you are a scientist; you believe the scientific texts are the representation of reality.
So naturally we believe there is a conflict between spirituality and science.
If one is right the other one has to be wrong and vice versa.

But let’s look at religion and science from another angle.
Let’s consider religion and science as not being a reflection of reality but rather a reflection of the people that wrote them – a reflection of their capacity of understanding and expressing reality.
Then religion and science are just two different points of view rather than right and wrong.

The world we live in is the result of our collective actions.
(I think both scientists and religious people would agree.)
Our actions are determined by our thoughts and our thoughts are determined by our belief system.
The fact that one believes in a spiritual, ideal, world or a material, scientific world, it is not purely academic.
What we believe determine our actions and ultimately our life experience.

This is why it is important to look at our beliefs.
This is what these posts are about.
Not about who is right and who is wrong but rather about understanding how our beliefs determine our behaviors.

Here is a story I read on the internet and I would like to share it with you.
And once again, this is not about being right or wrong but about opening your mind to new points of view and new possibilities.

Chocolate Wisdom

Once upon a time a group of former classmates, well established in their careers, got together during a class reunion.
They decided to go and visit an old college professor who was a source of inspiration for all of them.
During the visit the conversation devolved into a series of personal complaints about their lives, careers and relationships and how stressful things were.

While listening to their complaints the professor decided to offer everyone a cup of hot chocolate.
Coming back from the kitchen the professor brought a pitcher of hot chocolate and an assortment of cups and mugs.
Each of the cups was made of different materials. Some were of clay, metal, glass, crystal and porcelain. Some were very simple and others were very ornate. Some were very cheap and some were very expensive.
The old professor invited everyone to serve themselves.
When everybody had their cup in hand the professor shared his thoughts about the chocolate.

- Did you notice that all the fancy cups were chosen and only the modest ones were left at the table?
Even it might seem to you natural to choose the very best in life; this might be the source of all your problems and stress.
The quality of the cups you choose does not change the quality of the chocolate you drink.
What you really need is the pleasure and nutrition of the drink not the cup, but subconsciously you choose the fancy cups.
Life is the hot chocolate. The careers, jobs, and relationships, money and social status are just the cups.
The quality of your cups will never determine the quality of your lives.
The gift of life is free it is up to you to choose the cup you will receive it in.

Friday, January 15, 2010

There is no "IS"

How do we define reality?
How do we define what “is” is?
Obviously for an old fart like me the answer is simply “faith” but for my younger and educated audience that answer is not sufficient.
Logical, reasonable and a scientific explanations are the only views of the world and reality accepted.
But the problem with logic and reason is that you can not build any logic or reasonable argument on nothing.
You need some a priory foundation to start your argument.

About 2300 years ago, Euclid a Greek mathematician, stumbled on this rather unpleasant problem when he attempted to create a perfect mathematical system based on pure logic and reason.
He could prove almost everything mathematically except for 5 axioms or postulates that could not be proven.

For more than 2000 years Euclidian geometry was considered a true representation of “reality”, until 1823 when two young mathematicians Janos Bolyai and Nicolai Lobachevsky decided to challenge Euclid’s axioms and thus created a new geometry.
Using the same mathematical and logical principles as Euclid, the young mathematicians came to a totally different conclusion of what “is” is.
In this new geometry our “reality” was a curved space, nothing like Euclid had envisioned.

"It depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is.
If the - if the - if 'is' is and never has been, that is not - that is one thing.
If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement.”
Bill Clinton


So what happens if we challenge the scientific axiom that the world, reality, is material?
Afterwards nobody has ever proved that we live in a material world.
And no, Madonna doesn’t count.

Imagine that we have a pair of magic glasses that allow us to see reality at any scale we desire.
Imagine looking through these glasses at a piece of bread and a piece of cheese.
At first we would see a definitive difference of what bread is and cheese is.
Even when we increase the magnification to say, molecular level, we could still see what bread is and cheese is.
But magnify that vision at atomic level and suddenly there is no more bread or cheese.
At atomic level the cheese and bread disappear, the only thing we see are atoms.

Continue to look deeper and even the atoms will disappear.
Continue to look even deeper and matter, “mass” will disappear as well.
What remains when there is nothing to see is “is”.
What “is” is, it is not material at all.
Our material “reality” it is in fact just an illusion.

And no. this is not some new age Buddhist BS, even some open minded scientists have come to the same conclusion and there is a strong new current of scientific thought – see the string theory development – that challenges the material view of the world.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

There is no GOD

This is the story of two extraordinary, ordinary men.
To protect the innocent will just call them “Q” and “B”

B was an uneducated old man that believed in faith and spirituality and of course in an ideal world.
B believed in a higher being – he called “God”
He truly believed that this super man “God” was the creator of all men and everything else that existed and it was the key to life meaning

Q, on the other hand, was a very intelligent, educated young man, that believed in reason and science and of course in a material world.
Q believed that men and everything else were the result of evolution and natural transformation.
He believed that the super man everybody called “God” was just a fairy tale ignorant men invented to appease their fear of the unknown.

Frustrated by all the talk about “God” one day Q said to B:
- We have explored the known universe from the bottom of the oceans to the most remote galaxies and we have never seen any signs or met this “God” you are talking about. It simply does not exist and if you insist on your foolish belief I want you to show me a positive absolute proof of its existence.

So B started to look around for something that would proof “God’s” existence but not having that much of a scientific mind he couldn’t come up with any concrete proof of his existence.
Afterwords he was just a story teller dealing in comparisons and metaphors not in scientific data.
So finally after a long, strenuous and empty search B sat down and did the only thing he knew how to do. He wrote a story. It goes like this:

There is no “HUMAN”

This is the story of two extraordinary, ordinary human cells.
To protect the innocent will just call them “Q” and “B”

B was an uneducated old cell that believed in faith and spirituality and of course in an ideal world.
B believed in a higher being – he called “The Human”
He truly believed that this super cell “The Human” was the creator of all cells and everything else that existed and it was the key to life meaning

Q, on the other hand, was a very intelligent, educated young cell, that believed in reason and science and of course in a material world.
Q believed that cells and everything else were the result of evolution and natural transformation.
He believed that the super cell everybody called “The Human” was just a fairy tale ignorant cells invented to appease their fear of the unknown.

Frustrated by all the talk about “The Human” one day Q said to B:
- We have explored the known universe from the bottom of the foot to the most remote tips of hairs and we have never seen any signs or met this “Human” you are talking about. It simply does not exist and if you insist on your foolish belief I want you to show me a positive absolute proof of its existence.

So B started to look around for something that would proof “Human’s” existence but not having that much of a scientific mind he couldn’t come up with any concrete proof of his existence.
Afterwords he was just a story teller dealing in comparisons and metaphors not in scientific data.
So finally after a long, strenuous and empty search B sat down and did the only thing he knew how to do. He wrote a story. It goes like this:

There is no “CELL”

This is the story of two extraordinary, ordinary molecules.
To protect the innocent will just call them “Q” and “B”

B was an uneducated old molecule that believed in faith and spirituality and of course in an ideal world.
B believed in a higher being – he called “The Cell”
He truly believed that this super molecule “The Cell” was the creator of all molecules and everything else that existed and it was the key to life meaning

Q, on the other hand, was a very intelligent, educated young molecule, that believed in reason and science and of course in a material world.
Q believed that molecules and everything else were the result of evolution and natural transformation.
He believed that the super molecule everybody called “The Cell” was just a fairy tale ignorant cells invented to appease their fear of the unknown.

Frustrated by all the talk about “The Cell” one day Q said to B:
- We have explored the known universe from the bottom of the nucleus to the most remote tips of cilia and we have never seen any signs or met this “Cell” you are talking about. It simply does not exist and if you insist on your foolish believe I want you to show me a positive absolute proof of its existence.

So B started to look around for something that would proof “Cell’s” existence but not having that much of a scientific mind he couldn’t come up with any concrete proof of his existence.
Afterwords he was just a story teller dealing in comparisons and metaphors not in scientific data.
So finally after a long, strenuous and empty search B sat down and did the only thing he knew how to do. He wrote a story. It goes like this:

There is no “MOLECULE”

This is the story of two extraordinary, ordinary atoms.
To protect the innocent will just call them “Q” and “B”

…. To be continued.