Apollo 11

Today, July 20, 2019, marks the 50th anniversary of the famous moon landing. As far as we know this was the first time that a human set foot on another world. This was the pinnacle of human technological achievement – we did what was once considered impossible – a human was sent to the moon, walked there, and was safely returned to the Earth. Astonishing.

I remember watching this event as a child and thinking that someday I myself might walk on the moon one day, maybe I would live on Mars, maybe ordinary people like me would journey out to the stars themselves. This should have been the beginning of humanity’s epic adventure to colonize the Galaxy – to become a space faring people. Unfortunately, this did not happen. Somehow we all remained Earthbound. And worse, it doesn’t appear as though we’ve accomplished anything of note since then. All our technological developments since 1969 have really been just derivative of that Apollo mission.

We are still plagued with war, pestilence, disease, famine, poverty, crime and inhumane behavior. We are still little better than ape-like savages pelting each other with rocks and clubbing each other with tree branches. We have not evolved or grown at all in the past 50 years. We’re still just monkeys that once flew to the moon. Sure, we have Twitter and Google and an ever growing number of TV channels to keep us amused but, sadly, we have not lived up to our potential.

Maybe the next 50 years will be different. I hope so. However, I doubt that I will ever see the Earth from space. Humans woke up, for a brief moment, and then went back to sleep. Maybe it’s better that way. What could the likes of us bring to the rest of the universe other than the same confusion and frustration that we live with here at home?

Do We Need to “Perfect” the Soul?

In mysticism, there is talk of the Source – the spiritual place from which all Light, Life and Love – all aspects of the universe – emanate. All things that exist, including humans with their notion of a soul, emerged from this primary facet of the world. Eventually all things will return to the Source. The human spirit, in the fullness of time, will also re-unite with Divine Spirit and become one with the Source. The reunion is an inevitable part of the process of Being and there is nothing that individuals really need to do to make it happen. Billions of ages might need to elapse before this reunion with Source is accomplished by all, but it will happen. And in that time humans as we are aware of them today will have long since moved on as a natural consequence of evolution. The Spirit, the Soul, the Divine aspect of Self, however, will continue to be recognizable. This is the piece of the Source that stays pure, despite being covered up with the mantel of materiality.

When someone stumbles upon the spiritual or mystic path, the tiny pure spot within develops a strong yearning and desire to connect again with Source. If this yearning is acknowledged it grows more intense. Then the new mystic will seek ways and means to cultivate this purer Self. It may require experimentation, trial and practice to find the tools and methods of cultivating the pure Self that is most appropriate for the individual. Sometimes the flowering of the soul is instantaneous. Meditation and contemplation seem to be common tools used by everyone on the Path. Other methods are also possible. Eventually, perhaps after many lifetimes, the pure Self within becomes strong enough to dominate the personality. As this continues, the mystic becomes less and less dependent on material things and more and more concerned with becoming one with God, the universe, the Source. At some point, the true Inner Self is able to emerge completely and exist as an individual personality without the need of a material body. This is considered a high level of spiritual perfection.

When we speak of the perfection of the soul, we mean that the soul – our true Inner Self – is strong enough to free itself from the bonds of the flesh and is then able to pursue a more direct path towards union with the Source. Eventually and without any effort, the souls of all beings will attain this perfected state through the long and natural process of evolution. The mystic, however, is eager to quicken this process and passionately strives to bring about the liberation and perfection of the soul as soon as possible. Is it necessary to perfect the soul? No. But to the mystic it is one of the few goals worth pursuing.

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues

Ben Franklin, one of the greatest minds in history and one of my personal favorite people, is known for achievements in a dozen fields of human endeavor. We know him as a scientist, inventor, humorist, entrepreneur, composer, diplomat, revolutionary, public servant, principal architect of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and so much more and, possibly, as the first self-improvement/personal development expert, too.

According to his Autobiography, when Franklin was 20 years old, he was returning to Philadelphia after spending some time in England. He decided to use the almost 3-month journey to develop a plan of conduct that would help him become a more virtuous and successful person. His plan consisted of working on integrating the 13 virtues listed below into his daily life.

Franklin’s plan was to commit to focusing on just one virtue per week, rather than trying to transform himself all at once. At the end of the 13th week, he would start all over again and continue cycling through the list four times a year. He followed this plan, as closely as possible, every week until his death at the age of 79. Working on these virtues gave him a sense of comfort and happiness and an effective guide through all the struggles to come for his entire life.

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues Chart

Franklin created a chart for each virtue and used it to track his progress. The first letter of each day was listed on the top of the chart and the first letter of each virtue was indicated down the left-hand side. Each day, He would add a dot to the appropriate spot on the chart if he felt he had fallen short of meeting that particular virtue. He was known to have carried these charts with him as a reminder of his personal plan of conduct.

These 13 virtues are no less relevant today than they were in Franklin’s time. Next to each virtue on the list is Franklin’s definition. Read through the list and maybe you’ll want to take a crack at this program, yourself.

1. Temperance (“Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.”)
2. Silence (“Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.”)
3. Order (“Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.”)
4. Resolution (“Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.”)
5. Frugality (“Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.”)
6. Industry (“Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.”)
7. Sincerity (“Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”)
8. Justice (“Wrong none, by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”)
9. Moderation (“Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.”)
10. Cleanliness (“Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation.”)
11. Chastity (“Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; Never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”)
12. Tranquility (“Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”)
13. Humility (“Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”)

The True Teacher

People might attend prestigious universities and be taught by scholars with vast learning, distinguished credentials and impressive academic achievements – they might study with brilliant researchers and even Nobel Laureates – and the world might understand and believe that they have received teaching from the ultimate source of knowledge – But would this be true?   Are they getting true knowledge? By worshiping traditional academia, it is easy to lose sight of the TRUE source of higher wisdom.

It might seem naïve to suggest that life’s ultimate teacher – the source of real knowledge – is God. Compared to what can be learned in traditional academia, or, even, in a faith-based traditional university that acknowledges God’s Presence as the Ultimate Teacher, can knowledge gained from a personal, mystical relationship with Divine Spirit measure up?  If the pursuit of scholastic achievement, whether secular or non-secular, becomes the idealized goal then, to attain it, the student must become but a clone or robot, echoing the dogma of the particular academic institution or the theology of the particular denomination to which the student adheres. Life is then scripted, even programmed, from outside sources rather than created by the guidance of the Inner Source, the TRUE Teacher, God or Divine Spirit. The student, though educated, remains asleep to the larger reality of life.

One of the greatest examples of learning from the TRUE Teacher was the Master Jesus.  While learning extensively what Judaism offered in his day, He found that it was too limited.  The traditional teachings spoke about God and how God wanted a person to live, but it did not teach how someone could be taught by God directly.  He had to turn inward, to the source of true knowledge – the God of the heart – Divine Spirit. The traditional doctrine of the time produced parallels to the standard religious universities of today–the cloning of theologies, rather than teaching directly from the Presence of Divine Spirit within oneself.  This does not create whole people, which should be the goal of learning–but rather robots mechanically acting out the programming they’ve downloaded. 

Mystics, as a rule, are not upset by the scholastic programs of this world. They know that the vast majority of souls that have incarnated into the physical world today are not ready for ultimate teaching. They are, in a mystical sense, asleep and must be taught, gently, by the standards of lesser awareness.  The teachings of the world, teachings offered by traditional academic institutions, are most beneficial for producing technicians trained in a specialty to help others. Medical doctors, scientists, builders, artists, skilled workers of all kinds are valuable and needed for the maintenance of all worldly things – but, to produce whole and complete spiritual people requires something that traditional teaching cannot provide. Real knowledge requires the inspiration of Divine Spirit and that cannot come from a standard institution of learning, no matter how prestigious it might be.

Until a person has awakened to mystical awareness, the inner mystical union with God’s Presence within themselves, they cannot be taught by the True Teacher–Universal Consciousness, Divine Spirit, or God.  It is only by awakening that the knowledge of academia will be seen in an entirely new way by a person becoming whole and complete, where wisdom and the living of it from the True Teacher becomes a way of life.

To experience True Wisdom, synonymous with true Spirituality, and not merely the knowledge of academia, you must seek to wake up. Wake yourself up by any means available. Wake yourself up and then wake up everyone else. Only then will the wisdom of the True Teacher become manifest in your life and the world.



The Path

The Path, the Road, the Way – is a metaphor for the spiritual journey to Enlightenment.  All of us at one time or another can be said to be on the Path whether we know it or not. However, we most often only start to discuss the nature of the Path once we have come to an awareness of it.

We first learn about the Path when we get the first inklings of the mystical nature of world. When we first realize that there is something more than just the mundane world, we quickly learn that there is a “Way” that can lead us to perfect union with the “Truth” of “Life.”

Once we become aware of the Path, most of us find it necessary to seek it out. When we discover a version of the Path that gives us confidence, we can begin to take our first steps on the journey to Enlightenment. Often people will find a nice little way station or oasis on the Path and be content to stay there for some time – maybe the remainder of their lives. But these rest stops, however pleasant, are not meant to be the end of the journey. The Path goes on. Eventually, after some degree of experience, we can be said to know the nature of the Path – we learn when we are on it or not, and we learn the difference between a simple rest stop and the ultimate stop. By continuing on the Path and learning to understand its nature, we can begin to assist others in following the Path, as well.

At some point, we, the travelers, reach a clear end point. Perhaps it is the real end, perhaps not – yet the experienced traveler accepts it as the end. Now, fresh choices open up. We, as travelers, can go off the Path and find some new adventure beyond the experience of the mundane world. Or we can return to the Path and be a guide and agent to help others find the end. Or, very rarely, we can generate a new Path – become a Path of our own and accept new travelers moving towards Enlightenment.

But the first step is to realize that somewhere there is a Path appropriate to each of us and to go out to find it. And once the Path is found we should seek to follow it, joyously.

The Tomb of Ligeia

The Tomb of Ligeia is a 1964 American International Pictures horror film based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe. It stars Vincent Price and Elizabeth Shepherd and tells the tale of a man haunted by the spirit of his dead wife and her effect on his second marriage. It’s not one of the greatest movies ever made – not by a long shot – but it is one of my favorites.

Low budget movies like this, designed to be shockers in the days before the rise of the slasher film and the special effects, CGI rich movies of today, relied on producing a heady atmosphere and twisted sense of doom to get the desired effect. This early horror genre made powerful use of Gothic settings, vibrant, if sometimes odd, color schemes and dynamic use of camera movement. The combination of good story telling and an authentic feel for the subject matter evoked a compelling psychological stimulus for people receptive to strange, unusual supernatural ideas.

Four aspects of this movie really stuck with me and influenced a lot of my world view and decision making.

First, the use of Egyptian and mystical symbolism resonated with me to the extent that the study of ancient cultures and civilization became a life-long pursuit. Archaeology, the ancient Near East, past empires, religions of the past, magic and occult themes have always been part of my psyche and movies like Ligeia touched and awakened my subconscious connections to these subjects.

Second, the theme of reincarnation or rebirth – the idea of conscious survival of the personality beyond the death experience in any form – played a major role on the development of my own spiritual and mystical identity. The sentence etched on Ligeia’s tomb stone has been part of my world view, in one form or another, my whole life: “Man need not kneel before the angels, nor lie in death forever, save for the weakness of his feeble will.”

Third, when Vincent Price’s character proved himself to be an able hypnotist, it sparked within me, a deep and passionate interest in the subject and is one of the big reasons, I think, that I eventually pursued a career involving hypnotherapy.

Finally, the movie had a great part for a cat – and if there’s a cat in a movie, especially a cat with a powerful, charismatic personality, I’m going to love that movie. Cat’s are the best!

My Cat Bella

Old Hollywood had a lot more going for it than the repetitive crap being produced today. I miss the old movies.

Karma

The word Karma means ACTION but it has come to represent the universal cosmic law of cause and effect. Like Newton’s 3rd law of motion – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction – the Law of Karma suggests that whatever action we take will have an appropriate consequence.

 

Forces occur in pairs: every action has a reaction or consequence. In physics the action and reaction are simultaneous and it almost makes no difference which occurs first – cause and effect is fixed. But people tend to ascribe values on Karmic actions – we judge the actions and consequences to be good or bad based on our own morality. There is also the idea that there is a fundamental, universal morality that makes fair and impartial judgments of actions and based on that judgment, imposes appropriate consequences. The EFFECT is “chosen” based on the CAUSE. Thus, ACTION is judged based on intention and motive. This interpretation gives people comfort of a sort but it goes against the nature of the law.

Some also interpret Karma as a record of merit or demerit points – our lives and future lives are seen as determined or influenced by how many good or bad points we accumulate. The circumstances we find ourselves in are thought of as a result of the good or bad actions we have previously taken. This can lead people to speculate that the universe – our lives in particular – is based on some system of rewards and punishments. And if we accept the punishment and pay off are debt in some way, we can be free of further prosecution.

Karma should not be seen in this way. Karma is a natural law of the universe like gravity. There is no system of rewards and punishments built into it. Rather, there are simply natural consequences to certain actions and behavior.

The Bible explains it with the statement that “as you sow, so shall you reap.” If you plant an apple seed, an apple tree grows. If you plant corn, corn will grow. If you plant pain, suffering, fear, anger, hostility, violence – then these things will grow within you. And you will bear the accompanying fruit. What seeds you plant now might bear fruit in this life or in a future life – but the thing you plant will surely grow. Our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, actions and behavior eventually return to us. This is the way we grow in understanding and evolve spiritually. There should be no thought of judgment or the accumulation of Karmic Debt.

When we recognize the consequences of our actions, when we notice the effects in our lives, we can begin to modify our thoughts and behavior and move ourselves out of the negative circumstances we find ourselves in and develop more freedom and attain peace of mind.

There is an old saying – sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. This is more in line with how the cosmic law of Karma works.

People Will Die!

Is there a plural for Apocalypse? You’d think there should be with all the doom and gloom prophesied by Democrats, Liberals, Globalists, Celebrity Loons and various “Never Trumpers” who identify as “the Resistance.” Every time President Trump says or does anything original, the Resistance explodes with histrionic outbursts of nonsensical terror. “People will die!!” “It’s the end of the world!!” “Prepare for Armageddon!!”

Histrionic Personality Disorder is a real thing, characterized by a long-standing pattern of attention seeking behavior and extreme emotionality. Someone with histrionic personality disorder wants to be at the center of attention in any group of people, and they feel uncomfortable when they are not.

This is a perfect description of the radical left and others who are so enraged that Hillary Clinton (or a more “establishment approved” candidate) lost the election, thus forcing them all out of the political spotlight, that they can no longer distinguish reality from their own warped anti-Trump fantasies. Added to this is the new mental disorder labelled “Trump Derangement Syndrome” characterized by a hatred of President Trump so intense that it impairs people’s judgment. To paraphrase the late Charles Krauthammer, who was never a supporter of President Trump, it’s the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency – nay – the very existence of Donald J. Trump. It is a Trump-induced “general hysteria” among the “chattering classes” – the journalists, social justice warriors, political operatives and pompous celebrities who see themselves as the arbiters of conventional wisdom – these people don’t actually amount to much but they love to hear themselves talk.

Here is a short list of times since the Presidential election when we were told by “the Resistance,” that we should prepare ourselves for imminent doom.

 

Donald J. Trump is elected president

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

               

President Trump withdraws from TPP

The Resistance: People will die!

Reality: No one died.

 

President Trump issues a Travel Ban on people from a select group of countries with ineffective governments and ties to international terrorism

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

 

President Trump withdraws from Paris Climate Accord

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

 

President Trump announces the rollback of regulations that hinder economic development

The Resistance: People will die!

Reality: No one died.

 

President Trump announces his first SCOTUS pick

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

 

President Trump issues his “Tax Cut and Jobs Act”

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

 

President Trump indicates that the “Obama Care” Individual mandate will be removed

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

 

President Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

 

President Trump calls Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea “Little Rocket Man” due to his penchant for launching rockets in conflict with international agreements

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

 

President Trump announces that NAFTA will be renegotiated

The Resistance: People will die!

Reality: No one died.

 

President Trump advocates cuts to EPA

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

 

The Trump administration argues for the end of Net Neutrality

The Resistance: People will die!

Reality: No one died.

 

President Trump initiates tariffs on various countries in order to promote American interests

The Resistance: People will die!

Reality: No one died.

 

President Trump is the first sitting president to meet with a North Korean leader

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continue.

 

The Trump administration enforces a Zero Tolerance policy for illegal border crossings

The Resistance: People will die!

Reality: No one died.

 

President Trump withdraws from the controversial Iran Deal

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

 

The U.S. withdraws from Human Rights Council over the U.N.’s anti-Semitic policies

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

 

President Trump announces his second SCOTUS pick

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

 

President Trump meets with Russian President Putin

The Resistance: People will die! It’s the end of the world!

Reality: No one died; the world continues.

 

It seem very clear that those who identify as “the Resistance” are really just resisting reality.

 

 

 

Common Characteristics of Happy People

There’s a famous quote by John Lennon: “When I went to school they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up – I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

What does it mean to be happy? What does it take?

Abraham Lincoln observed that “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

After reviewing the subject for a while, I’ve made up my mind that there are at least 12 common characteristics of happy people.

1/ they stand up for themselves.

2/ they’re honest and sincere with others and with themselves: they live their values.

3/ they enjoy listening to music.

4/ they recognize the good things in their lives and know how to show their gratitude and appreciation.

5/ they know how to give and also receive love, compassion and affection.

6/ they’re patient with people and things around them.

7/ they’re excited about life and look forward to learning, discovering and engaging in new and interesting activities and adventures – especially new thoughts, ideas, and creative pursuits.

8/ they want what’s best for the people around them as well as for themselves. They fully understand the significance of self-care and wellbeing and make sure that they constantly work toward strengthening their mental health and fitness.

9/ they are naturally optimistic

10/ they know they have a purpose on this earth and seek to fulfill it. They know how to live their passion.

11/ they understand the power of forgiveness, for themselves and others.

12/ they accept that there is a higher power in the Universe and enjoy the feeling of connecting to it.

These characteristics open a person up to the possibility of being happy even if the circumstances of life appear harsh or upsetting. Being happy is a state of mind, an inner process, rather than a product of the environment. And being happy doesn’t necessarily mean you walk around with a big smile on your face all the time. Happiness is an inner sense of peace, confidence, acceptance and belief in the possibility of good things in life.

How many of these characteristics do you share? What can you do now to increase your own sense of happiness and wellbeing? Being happy takes action, focus and the perception of optimism.

As I say many times in these posts a first step is to wake up – wake yourself up anyway you can, using whatever methods or processes are at your disposal. Wake up and then go out and wake up everyone else. In this way you can increase your own happiness and the happiness of the world.

 

Space Force

I remember watching Star Trek – the original series – when I was a kid.  It impacted my outlook on life in many ways.   The action on the show confirmed my ideas of conservatism, individual liberty and the rule of law. It also enhanced some aspects of my spirituality by depicting the wonders of the natural world and the possibility of life in a variety of forms gloriously engaging with the Universe. 

I’m sure progressives and Globalists hate Captain Kirk for his unapologetic virility, patriotism, and manly dedication to the service of his people – ideas labeled “toxic” these days – but, for me, Kirk was inspirational. A military man committed to the pursuit of justice and truth, ready to fight and fight hard if need be, but also quick to talk and to reason with others at any time. Few of Kirk’s enemies remained enemies for long because his empowering sense of what was possible and good for civilization was unbeatable.

My first, overly hopeful thought upon hearing of President Trump’s plan for a Space Force was that it would be a kind of Star Fleet with men like Kirk commissioned to explore the galaxy and expand the limits of civilization. Of course, such an organization is decades, if not centuries, away. Humanity is only now beginning to see the real possibility of colonizing other worlds.

For years the dreams of exploration and discovery held by watchers of Star Trek- the original series, were withheld and squandered by politicians, bureaucrats and cowardly scientists who preferred an easily exploitable Earth bound existence. People who become astronauts embody an incredible spirit of freewheeling adventure – as President Trump observed, astronauts combine “the confidence of a cowboy, the skill of a fighter pilot, the ambition of a scientist, and the courage of a true, brilliant, tough warrior.” Such people are hard to control. They are fearless and strive to do the impossible. A whole fleet of such individuals would revolutionize the planet in ways the Globalists, plutocrats and progressive could never survive.

Space Force will have a more prosaic mission – to protect American space-based assets and prevent rogue states and terrorist groups from using advances in technology to attack civilization with missiles and satellites. However, in the not too distant future, when flights to the moon, Mars and beyond become more common place, the mission will no doubt expand to protecting travelers from spacefaring brigands and pirates, providing rescue services, enforcing laws and arbitrating disputes among other nations to prevent warrior states from stopping the advance of off-world exploration and colonization. It could also act as the ultimate defense against threats from deep space such as asteroids and comets that might collide with the Earth.

Space Force is just the first step in the new and exciting phase of humanity’s journey: a phase in which we will begin to take our rightful place among the stars.

 

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