Thoughts on Thinking

"When somebody persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes

"If you're unhappy with your life, change your thinking." Charles Fillmore

"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it." Eckhart Tolle

"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them." Epictetus

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

"Consciousness is a terrible thing to waste." PunditGeorge

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Spooky Action at a Distance

Well, when random stars sending light hundreds of years ago get into the mix, then it truly is spooky.
Quanta magazine.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Thoughts of the Ancient, Going Bump in the present Night

The Mysterious Origins of Civilization: John Anthony West in conversation with Graham Hancock.

The two authors discuss the past, the present, and the future.  

Interesting, with a bit of whimsy.  90 minute video.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thoughts on Thinking

Habits, Patterns, and Thoughts That Go Bump in the Night recognizes thinking as the important activity of Mankind.  Thinking is important because nothing can occur prior to a thought.   Thinking is the activity of consciousness.  I think, therefore I am; I am, therefore I think.  Well, yes.

In the most basic structure, things not thought never come to pass.  The flip side, of course, is the belief that “all that is” is the result of random movements of particles in a capricious universe.   Because of the Law of Attraction, either belief is valid – the thinker/believer will experience the results of such belief.  The difference is between living a managed life and one bouncing around the chaos of other peoples thinking, i.e., victim of external forces.

Is it safe to assume (risking ass-you-me!)  that any person, anywhere, anytime, prefers to feel good rather than feel bad?  Good is relative, granted, and the range of  a “good” feeling is vast.  Someone’s “good” feeling may be witnessing another suffer.  That’s hardly the same “good” feeling of someone providing assistance to another.  There are degrees of every feeling and experience.  Feeling angry is an improvement on feeling hopeless.  I suspect most people aspire for Joy. The Life experience is about moving to a better feeling existence.  A mental move to a better feeling experience is not an accident.  It is a choice - a decision, a thought, an expectation.

Nothing can improve without a thought for improvement.  Some people understand that.  Some can’t.  One of my favorite thinkers, Emmet Fox, noted that People are trying to change outer conditions but leaving their consciousness unchanged, and it cannot be done.  I think Fox was emphasizing that until consciousness changes it’s not possible for anything else to change.  Consciousness is an awareness of thinking and there are degrees of consciousness as with everything.  The higher degree is characterized by a greater frequency or vibration.  Higher frequencies, in a word, rule over lower frequencies.

Contemporary with Fox was Charles Fillmore, who summed up the mental process:  If you’re unhappy with your life, change you thinking.  In essence, it’s not possible to “fix” your life until you are able to “change” your thinking.  Thinking precedes everything.

Yet how do you change thinking?  Simply by giving attention to something else that evokes an improved feeling.  Simple is not synonymous with easy.  Many of us aren’t aware that we’re thinking, let alone how we’re thinking.  As one wag noted, consciousness is a terrible thing to waste.

Quick check:  On most days are you planning your activities/experiences?  Or, are you reacting to whatever you’re sensing around you – 24 hours news, FB, other people’s opinions, etc.?  Many people bounce around their thinking, reacting to what they see and experience going on around them.  They give attention to the news, gossip, what others say and do, and make note of the differences between people (especially themselves.)   They focus on every injustice when the “bad guys” get away with it.   Or, when some people have all the luck (leaving less “luck” available for others!)

A change in consciousness is not necessarily a Road to Damascus moment with blinding Light and Voices from the Cosmos.  Most often an elevation of consciousness (thinking on a higher frequency) is more a “Eureka!” or “Aha!” moment when something is suddenly clear.  “I get that!” is often a response.  Finally learning to “follow” your hunch/intuition is a good sign.

Perhaps the finest illustration of a change in consciousness involves a very old and very widespread teaching about humans relating to one another:

            Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.  Buddhism.

            This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do
            unto you.  Hinduism.

            What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman.  Judaism.
The teaching is direct – don’t inflict on others what you don’t want to experience yourself.  We’ve got a long history of showing that this guiding principle is effective.

Take a look at the essence of the thought:  What’s emphasized?  Something painful or undesirable.  “I don’t want this to happen to me.”  Therefore, I won’t inflict this on someone else (and maybe they won’t do it to me.)  It is a sort of truce among people – let’s agree not to harm each other.  The agreement works very well.  Over time it becomes codified and passed along to each generation.  It is a belief, a faith, if you will.  It becomes a state of consciousness – individual and collective.

Take a look at the general concept expressed on a higher level of consciousness:

All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them. 

However one may consider Jesus, he is first a profound teacher, guiding consciousness with a shift in perspective.  This application, known as the Golden Rule, puts attention on what you desire – how you wish to be treated.  And places the responsibility for that desire on you!  Treat others as you want to be treated.  That’s a significant evolution from the old teaching.  Now as over 2,000 years ago, not everyone “gets it.”

Thursday, January 12, 2017

There Was A Time

(From time to time a bit of mischievous verse)

There was a time
when there wasn’t
although I can’t remember
when it was.

When, then and now,
to be, a thing un-thought.
All present and accounted for
in an array of life compressed
knowing that once
it was expanse.

Occasionally we can touch
that link in life
when our prattling succumbs
to the Truth of the present
and we realize, perhaps,
that we are what was.
And is.
And shall remain.

History is composed of the actions of the present, remembered after a while.  People are pretty much the same in any time or place, therefore it’s of value to study the past and learn the evolution of thought.  The Gnome suggested that I think back as far as I could.  I did.  This was the result.  
Illustration by the late, great, Chester Delacruz

Add some mischief!  

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy Intentions!

Happy New Year 2017!

Do you mean it?  A happy 2017?  It’s not a wish.  It’s a matter of intent.

I never worked a day in my life.  It was all fun!  -  Thomas Edison.

The great inventor was spot-on - if it's fun, it ain't work (presuming one equates work as undesired labor.)  Semantics aside, intent is the key.

One simple declaration will make all the difference.  Attach this declaration to the beginning of every thought and you’ll be astonished.  Okay, ready?

“It is fun to ________________________________.” (You know, fill in the blank.)

Simple.  Uncomplicated.  Heck, it’ll even make pleasant those traditional dreaded New Year’s Resolutions:

“It is fun to plan to lose weight.”  It’s not necessary to “wait” until the weight is lost to have fun.
“It is fun to choose what I eat.”  If a healthier diet is in the plan, then have fun with it now.
“It is fun to de-clutter the office.”  Think about how much better it is without the mess rather than         fixating on the mess.
“It is fun to have the car serviced.”  It’s fun to be able to drive where I want to go.”
“It is fun to pay more attention to_____.”  (Fill in the blank.)
“It is fun to be around healthy, happy people.”  Duh.
“It is fun to pay the bills.”  Why? For each bill you received some desired service or item.

You get the idea.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes.  In fact, if you really intend to have a fun 2017, and you begin using this declaration January 1, by the beginning of March you’ll think this way automatically.  You won’t pay much attention to that fact because you’ll be having such a good time.

Of course, if you don’t really believe that you could/should/ought to have a continuous good time, then you won’t.  It’s the intention that rules, a.k.a. expectation.   If you look for the fun in anything, you’ll find it.  If you look for something else, you’ll find that.  What is consistent is that you will find and experience what you expect, what you look for, what you give your attention to.

Happy New Year!  (If you want it.)

If you truly want a fun 2017, use the magic word as well.  Go whole-hog – complaint free!
How much delight can you have in 2017?  
All you want.

Those who get it, get it.  Those who don’t, can’t.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!

The Winter Solstice continues to be one of the most enduring moments for reverence and celebration.  The darkest day of the year has come and hence forth each day shall be filled with more sunshine.  I'm not aware of any civilization that did not make a big deal of the turning point of the year.

So, of course, this became the season to celebrate the birth of Jesus who became the Christ.  It's pretty well accepted that Jesus was born not in winter, but in the spring and six years earlier than our calendar suggests.  Since Pisces, the fish, was an early Christian symbol, I'd surmise that the birth occurred under that astrological sign.  This is all irrelevant, of course.  The historical Jesus Christ was one of a handful of master teachers known to us, and his instructions on how to live a more wonderful life have proven itself repeatedly.

Mischief arose when the teachings of this Master were edited, blended, codified, and otherwise rendered theological and political.  All the latter are man-made.  Some of the recent history of organized Christianity is not pretty - the Albigensian Crusade, Spanish Inquisition, and burning witches come to mind, and of course the scourge of ISIS.   But this is man acting against man and not reflective of Jesus' teachings, principle of which is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

It is fashionable now to minimize the impact of Jesus or even seriously question his existence.  I distinctly recall through the years the "absence of evidence" of an historical Jesus.  Why, if the teachings and movement were so profound, many ask, does the principle source for historical information in the region shortly after the death of Jesus, mention him in only a brief paragraph? 

The source is Josephus, who wrote a voluminous history of the Jews called "Antiquities."  Recently I purchased the complete works of Josephus, because I like history, and because I was curious to read the rare, fleeting, mention of Jesus in the decades following his death.  It is a brief paragraph.  But what a paragraph! 

3. (63)  Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works - a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.  He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles.  He was {the} Christ; (64) and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and then thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.

That's an account given when many who knew Jesus were still alive.  He must have made quite an impact to earn that paragraph so quickly.  Note:  It is possible that various translations of the paragraph may have embellished the telling.

The history is irrelevant.  It is the teachings that shifted much of human consciousness and continues to do so.  Jesus taught that thinking (prayer) was the road to a wonderful life.  Thinking is very personal, therefore the relationship to God that Jesus taught, had to be personal as well.  That, of course, didn't go over well with Priests or any positioned person to whom obedience and, well, worship were required.  Radical stuff, actually.

So, to celebrate the Christ Mass, is a good thing.  It is a Merry Christmas.  It is a Happy Holiday.  It is as pagan as it gets, for the celebration is ancient.  Adjacent to Christmas, in our modern calendar, is the New Year!  Really, rejoice that the great Teacher came to teach us joy, then embark on a fresh, new year that uncluttered with the mistakes (and erroneous thinking) of the previous year.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Pope did it.

Gwen was mad at the Pope. In talking to a friend, she told of her gripes with the Pontiff, his positions on various matters, and how her life was miserable because of him.

The friend was aghast at this revelation. “Goodness,” asked the friend, “that’s terrible! What exactly did the Pope do to you to make you so angry?”

Gwen complained about his positions. The friend again asked what exactly the Pope had done to her to hurt her so much. Finally, she blurted out: “It’s the Church!” The Catholic Church was her problem.

“That’s a shame,” said her friend. “What exactly has the Church done to hurt you so much to make you so angry?”

Again, Gwen mumbled a few things but was not able to specify what actions the Church had taken to make her life so miserable. “It’s the Parish! I’m mad at our Parish!” she finally conceded.

The friend repeated the same question. Gwen was uneasy and unable to state what the Parish administration had done to hurt her so badly. Another question from the friend. Then, finally: “It’s Father Snead! He hates me.”

“What terrible thing did Father Snead do to you that hurt you so?” asked the patient friend.

Gwen abruptly left the room, shouting that “Marie got the job that I wanted.”

Marie was hired because she was proficient with certain technology and applications which Gwen wasn’t. Yet Gwen couldn’t, or wouldn’t, accept that fact. She was hurt when she didn’t get the job and became angry.

But because she wasn’t able to accept that, and didn’t want to be angry with Marie, Gwen launched her anger all the way to the Vatican and His Holiness.

Projecting anger at someone, something, far away is a method many people use to cope with their angry feelings.

 Does it work? Not if relieving the anger is the goal. Projected anger masks the more genuine problem—in this case, loss of a desired job. It was simply easier for Gwen to stay angry, than accept the true reason for not being hired. She didn’t have the necessary skills and didn't want to get them.

There’s a strange logic to this technique: “If my anger, or problem, is caused by something SO big”—like the government, all white people, all black people, all men, all women, the system, etc., “then I am a victim of their wickedness.” This is also known as “It’s not my fault.”

Perception = Reality. If a person perceives himself or herself as a victim of some great evil, then the reality of actually being a victim will self-fulfill. The Pope didn’t do anything to Gwen, yet in her mind she made him the cause of her pain and suffering. This is a faulty perception. A faulty perception, given great energy, doesn’t correct anything. It’s just faulty.  But you can live a lifetime with it.  An irrational idea, passionately held, is still an irrational idea.

...from Habits, Patterns, and Thoughts That Go Bump in the Night