A Reason to Smile

A Reason to Smile

Q&A: Does the Law of Attraction blame the victim?

posted by B. Dave Walters

Every result is a cause, and every cause is a result.

Question submitted via Formspring:

“The Law of Attraction teaches that we create our own realities by attracting like things/events to us based on our feelings. So does that mean that the victims of crimes are are attracting those crimes to them. It seems like blaming the victim. :(”

We have talked about the Law of Attraction before, as well as how it is only one of 7 Universal Laws.   This is a question that *always* comes up, especially when a person has had had a tragedy of some sort in their life that they don’t feel like they ‘attracted’ into their life.

The answer has two parts…good news and bad news, as it were.

The first answer is: yes, we attract everything, EVERYTHING that comes into our lives, good and bad.  This may seem like a hard pill to swallow, but it is a VERY important idea to accept.  Because I am going to let you in on a very important secret:

Either you can change and control everything in your life, or you can’t control anything

Think about it: if you believe you are at the mercy of circumstances beyond your control; that luck and fate determine what happens to you, then why should you reasonably expect to be able to influence the Universe enough to send you blessings, or create opportunities for yourself?

However.

This leads to the second part of the answer, and that is Karma.   Fate, chance, and the Will of God all fall under this umbrella. Now, didn’t I just say that fate and chance weren’t in control of your life?  Well, they aren’t.

But, if something is truly not meant to be, it is not going to be.  Add to that those accidents and seeming tragedies may be the results of your karma from past lives, if you believe in such things;  it may also be God/The Universe trying to position you for something better.  Consider someone like Helen Keller, who was blind and deaf and had every reason to be bitter and angry; but she used her life and how she overcame her personal obstacles as an opportunity to bring healing and inspiration to millions.

The most important thing to point out when talking about ‘blaming the victim’, is there are no victims.  There is no power in perceiving yourself as a victim, and looking at someone else like a victim takes their power away.  Note, I am not saying don’t have compassion for someone’s suffering, I am saying give up the idea that anything is ‘wrong’ with you, or with anyone else.  This is the hardest part of the co-creation process to master, but it’s also the most vital.   If absolutely nothing else, thinking of yourself or anyone else as a victim is only going to attract more circumstances for them to BE victims!

You are great, and I love you!

And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters

Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me:
http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything:
http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha  – Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism – Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another –  A safe place to come find more reasons to smile!

       

Sowing and reaping, Or, blocking the Universal flow

posted by B. Dave Walters

No one can do it alone

“Charity never humiliated him who profited from it, nor ever bound him by the chains of gratitude, since it was not to him but to God that the gift was made.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I’ve noticed a strange thing.

People pray and pray for God to bless them, send them good fortune, and make their lives better, but when those things start to show up, they turn away.

Or, when they find themselves in a position to be a blessing for someone else, they don’t do it.

So, let’s start with the first one:
Have you ever had someone who wanted to do something for you, and you didn’t let them? Maybe they wanted to pay for lunch, or loan you money when you really needed it; but what happened when they tried?
If you’re like most, you probably politely turned it down.

But my question is: why?

If it was within their power to bless you, why didn’t you let them?
Ego? Pride? Vanity? Oh, I’m sure it was none of those things when it was you, but I guess you can see how it could stop someone else.
The thing is, this Universe functions according to certain Laws, and one of them is the Law of Vibration / Attraction, better known as Karma.
Karma is a boomerang, what you give, is what you get. As a man soweth, so shall he reap.

When you block someone from doing something nice for you, you block their ability to bring something good to * them *. Instead of becoming a channel for the Universal Flow, you become an obstacle.
And when you become an obstacle, you block the flow of good to * you *, too.

The flip side to this, is when it is within your power to help someone, do you do it? When you see a homeless person, do you give them money?
Now, I have to confess, I don’t; but I DO go buy them food or water and bring it back, so that I know my resources have gone to their greater good.

Or if a friend is going through hard times, and it has been within your power to help with a kind word, if not materially, did you do it? And if not, why not?

I find most people’s lack of charity is rooted in the idea that if they give, there may not be enough left over for them. In reality, quite the opposite is true; when you give, you tell the Universe you believe there is enough to go around, and that is what you will experience; when you don’t, you are telling the Universe there is NOT enough to go around, and that is what you will experience.

The Ancients taught that Mankind existed in the exact midpoint of Creation; midway between the molecular and the Almighty Creator. Whether or not that is literally true, it is important in the since that we are meant to be a connector, a link in the chain; to some we give, from some we receive.
To some we are an inspiration, and others inspire us.

Watch your thoughts and actions, and imagine God was standing next to you; what are you saying? I have plenty, and am open to more; or, I am selfish and don’t really appreciate what I already have?

You are great, and I love you!

And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters

Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me:
http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything:
http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha  – Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism – Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another –  A safe place to come find more reasons to smile!

       

How to see the future; Or, no fate but what we make (VIDEO)

posted by B. Dave Walters

Future's so bright!

“The men and women who practice the foregoing instructions will certainly get and stay forever rich in all areas. In this process, we must stay conscious to that fact that any form of wealth received will be in exact proportion to the definiteness (solidification) of our vision, the fixity (strength, stability) of our purpose, the steadiness of our faith, and the depth (saturation) of our gratitude.”
-Wallace Wattles, “The Science of Getting Rich

Many times, people turn to Spirituality to help resolve their own sense of fear and uncertainty about what the future holds.

Well, there is good news, and bad news:
The bad news is, no one knows what is going to happen in the future.
The good news is, no one KNOWS what is going to happen in the future!

And if no one knows, then the future is what we create it to be!

The video below gives several important points, such as:
How to determine your vision, goals, and what you want to happen in the future. And how to create that dream life, including a short meditation that will take you into your future and allow you to see it!

YouTube Preview Image

As we said before, you come into this world with a God  given mission that you are meant to perform. And right now, at this exact second, you know what it is in your heart you are meant to do.

So assuming you have chosen to embrace that vision, let us begin the process of bringing it into reality.

The video below includes a very brief guided meditation that will allow you to travel into the future and see your ideal life, 10 years into the future.
Go ahead and check it out, if you haven’t yet and then we will continue!

YouTube Preview Image

Did you do it? If not…go do it!
If so, what did you see? Did it excite you, or maybe even scare you a little?
If you couldn’t see it, or were somehow filled with dread by what you saw, then, you definitely should take some time to face and resolve your fear. Fear can be a crippling prison if you don’t face and deal with it properly.

Assuming you saw something WONDERFUL, or your mission in life being fulfilled, how do you go about creating it?

Have you ever heard the saying: “how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”?
This is a technique you can use to create and apply any goal you might have, big or small. Start at the end, and work your way backwards to figure out what you need to do to make it happen.

Say you have a goal to be able to bench press 300 pounds (137 kilos); what do you need to be able to do to make that happen? Well, you need to be able to bench press 275, and 250, and 200, and 150, and so on. You need to know how to do a proper bench press at all!
Step 1, then, would be going online to read articles and watch videos to figure out safe and proper technique. Step 2 would be to go out and join a gym, or buy a weight set to work out at home, and start progressively working to add on the weight.

Does that make sense?
Start at the end, and back track breaking it into pieces; tiny, tiny pieces.
And most importantly: DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW! Even if it’s just reading online or sending emails, that is action! And proper sustained action is the key to success.

I’m cutting this article short to give you time to capture that excitement and get after it!

You are great, and I love you!

And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters

Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me:
http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything:
http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha  – Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism – Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another –  A safe place to come find more reasons to smile!

       

Q&A: How to stay focused and lose weight; Or, the body as a temple

posted by B. Dave Walters

The body is a temple!

Question submitted via Formspring.me:
“You seem to have a great body Dave. Any advise on how to be determined enough to lose all my weight????”

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body,”
(1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Thank you for the compliment!
There are a few things to focus on when trying to lose weight:
The first thing is, love yourself  right now as you are!

It’s true you may not be happy with your current body, but whether or not you love yourself should not be dependent on the number on the scale. You are valuable because of who you are inside, not because of your body, your job, or anything else; you are a perfect right now, this exact second.

The next thing is, figure out WHY you want to lose weight.
Is it for your health? Is it to help you find that special someone? Maybe you’ve gotten so heavy you can’t go out and do all the things you want; maybe it’s all, or none of these.
Take the time to figure out WHY you want to make this change, since that is what is going to keep you happy and motivated when the going gets tough.

Once you know why you want to lose weight, then form your vision of what life will be like once you reach your goal. What does losing weight mean? Vividly imagine all the new things you can do, all the new clothes you can buy, all the fun places you’ll go. Form a vision that is so compelling that you can’t WAIT to put in your exercise time!

Once those ‘inside’ things are taken care of, then you’re ready for the outside part!

Decide how much weight you want to lose; saying “I want to lose weight” is not enough, since if you lost even a pound, that is ‘lost weight’.
Once you know how much you want to lose, you can figure out a reasonable time table for your goals. A healthy weight loss rate is around 2-3 pounds a week; so if you want to lose 75 pounds it may take around 6 months to do.
Remember it took you time to get where you are, and it will take time to get where you are trying to go. Steer clear of crash diets or trying to get instant results; the easier it comes, the easier it will go.

NOW you are ready to pick out a diet and exercise routine!
Here is a secret, that not many trainers will tell you:
almost any diet and any exercise routine will get results.
Some may work faster or slower, or get more results in the long term.
For instance doing Pilates won’t turn you into a bodybuilding champion, but it will help you shed pounds with the quickness!

If they all work, then, what should you do?
The most important thing is, pick something you can live with.
Don’t try to start running 5 miles a day and living on celery tomorrow, that is a guaranteed recipe for quitting.
The best thing is to do something fun that is good exercise, too; like swimming, martial arts, or hiking.
Even talking a walk after lunch or dinner is a great thing to do.

Look at people who have bodies like the ones you’d like to have, and see what they do. Yoga, Pilates, weight lifting, and mountain climbing all build very different physiques, so make sure you are working towards the body you want, and not the body you don’t want!

Some simple diet rules are: if it comes in a bag, box, or wrapper, don’t eat it!
If it’s white, or didn’t grow in the ground, or on a tree or vine; if it didn’t use to run, swim, or fly: don’t eat it.
Plan a ‘cheat day’ as well, one day or one meal a week where you can have WHATEVER you want. It will help you stay disciplined if you know you don’t have to give up what you love FOREVER, you just have to turn it down right now.

Lao Tzu said: ‘a moving ant accomplishes more than a dozing ox’!
Do SOMETHING every single day towards the accomplishment of your goal; and when you make any progress at all: CELEBRATE!
If you lose a single ounce, lift one more pound, walk one more block, celebrate like you just ran a marathon.
Why?
Because success isn’t some instant thing, the most important pound you lose isn’t the first, or even the hundredth; it’s the one you lost *today *!

Oh, and don’t forget to program some new behaviors for yourself; think of it as giving your will power a boost!

You are great, and I love you!

And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters

Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me:
http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything:
http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha  – Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism – Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another –  A safe place to come find more reasons to smile!

       

Missing the mark; Or, the wages of Sin

posted by B. Dave Walters
We are punished by our sins, not for them. ~Elbert Hubbard.
Spirituality, especially organized Religion, often gets a bad rap as being nothing but “Thou Shalt Nots”.  And, to be honest, in many houses of worship, it IS nothing but a collection of “Thou Shalt Nots”!
But, the Power that placed us here on Earth gave us all the tools we need to create our own salvation or destruction; to create our own Heaven or Hell right here, right now.  As I said before , no one KNOWS what happens to us after we die; but I can tell you for certain focusing on living the best life you can is the smartest move you can make.    That’s because one of two things is most likely going to happen: 1. you’re going to be held accountable for what you did or did not do, or 2. you’re going to cease to exist.
One way or another, NOW is the time of power.
In many of the world’s Spiritual Traditions, quite a lot of emphasis is put on ‘sin’, usually as some huge transgression that will cost you tremendously in this life or the next.  Basically sin is portrayed as a slight against God; but did you know the original Hebrew word for sin Het, which simply means  “to miss the mark”, like an archer missing a target.
That’s a lot different from it being a soul shattering offense, isn’t it?
It’s not our purpose to get too deeply into the concept of sin, or how it applies in day to day life.  So rather than give you a big guilt trip, I want to show you how you can beat the “Seven Deadly Sins”.  Traditionally they are listed as:
“Lust”, “Gluttony”, “Greed”, “Sloth”, “Wrath”, “Envy”, and “Pride”.
For our purposes, they are the negative emotions that pull you down, but   that can be defeated by turning them into useful allies.
One thing I want to make clear: I called them negative emotions, not BAD emotions.  There are no such thing as bad emotions, they all serve their purpose; the only problems arise when they are taken too far, or repressed to the point they manifest as sickness or countless other problems.
Lust
“Lust’s passion will be served; it demands, it militates, it tyrannizes.”
-Marquis De Sade
Lust is usually defined in terms of excessive sexual desire, but Aristotle defined it as “an excessive love of others”.  In this day and age, people can lust after most anything, physical or otherwise.  You can overcome this by taking the time to figure out what is it that attracts you to this thing?  If you have an excessive sexual need, is it because you’re trying to fill an emotional void?  If so, where did it come from? If you find you have some unresolved issue from your past (where all unresolved issues live), what can you do about putting it to rest?
A feeling of lust is not so much an indicator of what you find attractive, but what is actually missing in your life.
Gluttony
“It is the just doom of laziness and gluttony to be inactive without ease and drowsy without tranquility”
-Samuel Johnson
You’ll notice, Fear  isn’t on this list, and that’s because fear is really behind all of these emotions.  Gluttony is a prime example, since it is really a fear of lack.  You’re driven to consume for the same reason a wild animal is: you want to eat it before it’s taken away.  There is another variation on this though: the emotional eater, who turns to food as comfort and gains weight as a defense mechanism.  The irony is though, that most people who go this route become increasingly unhappy with their life and appearance and end up become MORE depressed, and cycle continues.  In many ways, Gluttony and Lust are really the same thing, one is an excessive consumption of Human affection, one is an excessive consumption of food and drink.  But the core need is the same, what is it that is lacking, and how can you go about replacing it?  If you’re gaining weight to hide, what are you hiding from, and why?
Greed
“Hell has three gates: lust, anger, and greed”
-Bhagavad Gita
Greed is the excessive accumulation of things, and is the other primarily fear-of-lack based emotion.  It’s impossible to truly believe there is enough to go around, and be greedy.  Any type of over-emphasis on possessions is a form of greed.  Do you know any guys who define themselves by the car they drive?  Greed.  Do you know any women who define men * by * the car they drive?  Believe it or not, that’s still greed: attraction based on people’s financial status is totally self-serving.
Why is it you place such value on certain physical objects?  Why is money so important?  Don’t get me wrong, money IS important, but not more important than Human beings; it’s all too easy to get hung up in the rat race and turn around with kids who hate you and a spouse who is a stranger.
Sloth 
“Diligence overcomes difficulties, sloth makes them.”
-Benjamin Franklin
Ah, laziness.  Laziness is the most insidious of all of these, since it’s not always easy to spot!  It’s more than laying on the couch all day, it’s not making the most of the time you have, which most all of us are guilty of.
Did you know the amount of time you spend in your car in a year is equal to an entire semester of college?  How many new things could you learn if you listened to audio books and programs during that time?  I can tell you from personal experience: a LOT.  There are few things in this world that match the feeling of a job well done, but Sir Issac Newton was right: an object at rest tends to stay at rest.  So get moving!  Like I said in my article on Love , most people won’t take the actions they need to get what they want, and this is why.  Resolve to do better; realize what you want, wants you and get after it!
Wrath 
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
-Buddha
When I sat down to write this article, I intended for the whole thing  to be about Anger, and I may still have to write a follow up!
Let me say that Anger is the antidote to Sloth; it’s primary healthy function is to move people into action; when you get mad, DO something to improve the situation, don’t just hold on to it, because that’s when things get bad.
Just like Fear  only exists in the future, and Guilt only lives in the past, Anger is always in the present.  Seething, throbbing, nasty anger.  How many lives have been ruined, how many heart attacks suffered, by people who couldn’t let go of their anger?  I have friends who are still punishing men in their lives right now, for things other men did to them years ago.  I also know people who are aggressive and stand-offish because they were picked on in High School.  My question to them is:
What has that got to do with today?
In my martial arts training, I learned early that it’s easy to use someone’s force against them, and that relaxation was the key to victory; it’s the same with anger.  Try it: the next time someone gets upset with you, stay totally calm; no matter what they do, don’t get upset and watch what happens.  They will probably get MORE upset! But then they’ll either calm down or be forced to leave you alone; you can’t fight someone  who won’t fight back.
Look and see if there is something you’ve been carrying a grudge about, and let it go. Forgive that person, truly forgive them; in most cases, they didn’t do intentionally to hurt you; and even if they did, it’s done.  Continuing to carry around anger in your heart is allowing them to injure you again, day after day, after day.
Don’t give that type of power over you to anyone, or anything.
Envy 
“Envy consists in seeing things never in themselves, but only in their relations. If you desire glory, you may envy Napoleon, but Napoleon envied Caesar, Caesar envied Alexander, and Alexander, I daresay, envied Hercules, who never existed.”
-Bertrand Russell
Envy can also be a great motivator, if you turn that desire into action.  If you see a nice car that you want, set about getting it for yourself.  The key is, there is a BIG difference between wanting what someone else has, and wanting them * not * to have it.  Why should it bother you if someone else has been blessed with something nice?  When I ask, people tend to tell me “because she doesn’t deserve it”, to which I reply: who are you to judge that?
The worst byproduct of Envy is it has a negative impact on your Subconscious Mind.  Your subconscious is like a child, it makes everything about you.  The subconscious is the root of all your unresolved issues from the past, but that will have to wait for another day.  Suffice it to say now, if you look at that nice car, or nice purse, or nice house, and think how your neighbor shouldn’t have it, your mind will interpret that as * I * shouldn’t have it.  And guess what? You never will!
When you feel that green eyed monster rear up, choose to be happy for that person instead.  The Universe has given them something nice, and that’s a good thing.  The more you feel genuine gratitude for someone else’s good fortune, the more you are telling the Universe, and your own mind, that you want those type of things to happen for you, too.
Pride
“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.”
-C.S. Lewis
Greed and Pride have a relationship in that they both are based in the need to define yourself externally, which is ultimately the fear of not being enough.
The difference between confidence and Pride is a simple one: Pride requires you to put people down in order to look better.
Genuine confidence is self-sustaining, and is not threatened by what other people say or do; Pride however is terrified of being exposed as a fake.
Here is a good test to determine if a person is confident or arrogant:  see how they treat people who can’t offer them anything, like children or the homeless; and see how they treat service workers, like waiters and secretaries.  That one works 10 out of 10 times!
So, if you find yourself stepping on other people, why is that?  What is it that you’re hiding, or compensating for?  Recognize nobody is perfect, and everyone likes to be made to feel special.  Become the person who recognizes and emphasizes people’s strengths instead of their flaws, and you’ll quickly have the type of respect and admiration you were trying to force the entire time.
In closing, with all this talk about changing yourself, I want to say something important:  you are perfect.
Right now, as you are, you are whole, complete, and absolutely perfect.  You are a miracle of nature, a wonder of the universe, God in Human form.
So when I talk about change, I am not talking about changing who You Are, only what you are doing, and are going to do in the future.  You can’t control where you’ve been, and you can only partially control where you’re going; you can only control your behavior, what you DO.
Take responsibility for your life, because in responsibility is power.  If you don’t take control of the direction of your life, I guarantee you someone else will, or already has; and they probably don’t have your best interests at heart, either.

You are great, and I love you!

And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters

Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me:
http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything:
http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha  – Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism – Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another –  A safe place to come find more reasons to smile!

       

Jesus is not a jerk; Or, the man, the myth, the legend

posted by B. Dave Walters

He's really not a bad guy, once you get to know him! Credit: Somewhere on google, long long ago (sorry)

“I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so different from your Christ”
-Mahatma Gandhi

Imagine there was a great teacher.
A brilliant man who’s words move, touch, and inspire many who hear him.
A revolutionary who wasn’t afraid to confront the evils of his time, or stand up to worldly authorities, even if it cost him his life…which it did.

Now, imagine that after this man’s death, another man, who never even knew our Teacher, claims to have the ultimate insight into him and his teachings, and begins spreading this new word to new people.
And so, there is a split: between a traditional, almost political view; and a new evangelical religious view.
Now, the Teacher’s followers scatter to the wind.
They form their own communities, spreading stories about him by word of mouth for 50 to 100+ years, before anyone writes them down. And once they are written down, any new copies have to be copied by hand with no editing or oversight; any mistakes or willing changes are a part of the book from now on.

Then.
Imagine the oldest copies we have of any of these books, be they the political leaning or religious leaning versions of the Teacher, are from at least 175 years after his death. To give you a point of reference, this would be like the oldest existing copies of the Declaration of Independence being from 1950!

Finally,
Add 2,000 years of conflicts, revisions, reinterpretations, editing, murder and even wars meant to establish the ‘one true’ way of interpreting the Teacher’s words, that over time have crystallized into a near infinite number of competing ‘one true’ ways of understanding the man and his message.

That’s where we find ourselves when trying to understand the life and message of Jesus (the) Christ.

Our goal here, then, is not to try and establish yet another ‘one true’ way of viewing this man and his message, since history would indicate such a thing just isn’t possible.
Instead, our goal is to try and shine some light on some of his core teachings, for the good of all people everywhere, and not a narrow group of people who lay claim to him and his name; especially those who would try and use that teaching to justify discrimination, hatred, and intolerance.

31 ”What do members of this generation remind me of?
What are they like?
32 “They are like children sitting in the marketplace, calling out to one another:
‘We played the flute for you, but you wouldn’t dance;
we sang a dirge for you, but you wouldn’t weep.’
33 “Just remember, John the Baptist appeared on the scene, eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say , ‘He is demented.’.
34 The son of Adam appeared on the scene, both eating and drinking, and you say, ‘There is a glutton and a drunk, a crony of toll collectors and sinners!’
35 Indeed, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” 

Luke 7:31-35; (all verses from the ‘Scholars Version’ translation)

So, what do you take from this?
That John the Baptist was stern and direct; like he was singing dirges (sad songs) but no one wept (listened to him). Jesus, on the other hand, is like someone playing a flute asking people to dance, but they don’t listen to him either.
He is saying that one of the primary criticisms against him is that he drinks wine and hangs out with ‘sinners’…basically it sounds like he knows how to have a good time!
The same story is repeated in Matthew 11:16-19, so it stands to reason these things really happened; a fun loving Jesus is a big change from the version we hear about so often!

5 A sower went out to sow his seed; and while he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and was trampled under foot, and the birds of the sky ate it up. 6 Other seed fell on the rock; when it grew, it withered because it lacked moisture. 7 Still other seed fell among thorns; the thorns grew with it and choked it. 8 Other seed fell on fertile earth; and when it matured, it produced fruit a hundredfold.
During his discourse, he would call out, “Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!”

Luke 8:5-8; compare with Mark 4:3-8 and Matthew 13:3-8.

Before we go on, what do you think this story means?
What do you think ‘anyone with two good ears better listen’ means?
In Matthew, Mark, and Luke (but not John), Jesus is shown teaching primarily through parables. Stories whos meaning became clear after intense thought and meditation.

9 His disciples asked him what this parable was all about. He replied, “you have been given the privilege of knowing the secrets of God’s imperial rule; but the rest get only parables so that
THEY MAY LOOK BUT NOT SEE,
LISTEN BUT NOT UNDERSTAND.
 (Capitalized because it’s important.)
11 “Now this is the interpretation of the parable. The ‘seed’ is God’s message. 12 Those ‘along the path’ are those who have listened to it, but then the devil comes and steals the message from their hearts, so they won’t trust and be saved. 13 Those ‘on the rock’ are those who, when they listen to the message, receive it happily. But they ‘have no root’” they trust for the moment but fall away when they are tested. What ‘fell into the thorns’ represents those who listen, but as they continue on, they are ‘choked’ by the worries and wealth and pleasures of life, and they do not come to maturity. 15 But the seed ‘in good earth’ stands for those who listen to the message and hold on to it with a good and fertile heart, and ‘produce fruit’ through perseverance.” 
Luke 8:9-15; compare with Mark 4:13-20, Matthew 13:18-23

So…is that what you thought the story meant?

This ‘parable of the sower’ is important for many reasons:
one, it highlights that Jesus himself consciously taught in a way that would go over the heads of lazy people. Anyone who wanted to be spoon fed the truth had come to the wrong teacher! Even in his lifetime, his teachings were meant to be challenging and inspire thought, rather than blind literal acceptance.
Then there is the fact that there is a variety of ways in a person can ‘get the message’ that may or may not last, and that people can lose their way for a variety of reasons; this is a powerful call for all of us to constantly examine and reexamine ourselves to see ‘where our seed is growing’.
And finally, as pivotal a story as this is, it doesn’t appear at all in the Gospel of John; one of many examples of the widely diverging nature of the Gospels themselves.

27 “But to you who listen, I say, love your enemies, do favors for those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for your abusers.
35b Your reward will be great, and you’ll be children of the Most High.
As you know, the Most High is generous to the ungrateful and the wicked.

32 If you love those who love you, what merit is there in that? After all, even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what merit is there in that?

After all, even sinners do as much.

34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to gain, what merit is there in that?
Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to get as much in return. 35(a) But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.
36 Be compassionate in the way your Father is compassionate.”
Luke 6:27-28, 32-36; compare with Matthew 5:43-48

Again, the core of the Teacher’s message is love, unconditional love.
To do for others who can’t do for themselves, and who maybe even don’t deserve it; because it is *the right thing to do *.

Imagine what this world would be like, if the last 2,000 years had been spent spreading the Gospel of Love rather than the strict word of the gospels?

Imagine what this would could be like if we started focusing on love and service now, rather than petty, unprovable, and ultimately irrelevant theological debates?

Maybe that is the real Kingdom of Heaven on earth so many people claim to be waiting for; wouldn’t that be a sight!

You are great, and I love you!

And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters

Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me:
http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything:
http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha  – Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism – Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another –  A safe place to come find more reasons to smile!

       

God is not a jerk; Or, to hell with you (?)

posted by B. Dave Walters

Dante described hell as being infinitely cold; that's the Devil there in the background....

If you are a fellow Christian, was raised Christian, or know any Christians, you may have heard something that sounds a bit like this:
“If you don’t believe that Jesus Christ was the one and only Son of God, and accept him as your personal Lord and Savior, than you’ll go to hell and suffer for all eternity”.
Or, you may have been told all sorts of things can land you in the Lake of Fire, including (but not limited to): being gaymasturbation or pornography, and countless other things.
I’ve even heard of women being told that certain hair styles would get them sent to hell!

It goes without saying, that many other, if not most all religions have some idea of ‘hell’, but Christianity and Islam tend to make the biggest deal about it. Something even more incomprehensible, is how some Christians and Muslims even seem to be *happy * about the idea that some other human beings will suffer for all eternity.

How does that work????

Before we proceed, here’s a simple question:
If you have children, or even pets, and they make a mistake, even a big mistake, like burn your entire house down, you’d be mad at them, right?
You’d probably punish them, maybe harshly; but would you want them to suffer for the rest of their lives for their mistake?
Would you put a toddler in prison for life for what they’d done wrong?
Put a pin in that, we’ll come back to it later.

So let us look at this idea: is there a hell at all, and what does it take to be sent there?
Looking at this from a Christian perspective, there are numerous mentions of hell throughout the Bible; sometimes as a place as eternal torment, and sometimes simply as a non-specific afterlife. In fact, Judaism doesn’t have much of an emphasis on hell; and purgatory doesn’t seem to have any sort of Biblical basis at all.

The standard belief goes something like this:
1. God is God, so God gets to make the rules.
2. The rules are connected to reward for the obedient, and punishment for the disobedient.
3.It’s obvious that in life not everyone gets what they deserve,
4.Therefore there must be another world where they do.
5.If there is no reward or punishment in the future, then God’s law must not be fair.
6.The Bible talks about reward and punishment in the future.
7.We can’t know anything about what’s going to happen, except what the Bible says.
So far, so good; it’s the next few ideas where things become problematic:
8.Since God can’t be around anything ‘unholy’, then there must be a place where everything unholy ends up.
9.It’s good for the ‘holy’ people, so they don’t have to spend eternity with unholy people, like being in prison with a bunch of criminals
10.It’s good for the unholy, even, since it means they can’t spend all eternity in rebellion against God.

We’ve talked before about what God is like, and what God wants you to know, so no need to recap that here. For our purposes, we will assume God is:
All knowing
All Powerful
All Present
All Loving
These are characteristics that most people who believe in a ‘God’ as such all probably agree on.

Remember when I asked you about the eternal punishment for children?
I assume if you’re like most people, you probably said ‘no’, children shouldn’t suffer for their entire lives for mistakes.

Now, if we are accepting that God is all knowing, AND all loving, then how can we be punished for all eternity for our own ‘childish’ mistakes?
We have spoken of the ‘problem of evil’ before, but if God knows in advance what is going to happen in our lives, that we’ll have our 50, 70, or 100 years on Earth and then endless eternity to suffer, then in many ways we were created TO suffer.
And that doesn’t sound very loving, does it?

Consider, our Divine Father (and/or Mother) would know everything about us, what we meant to do, what forces were at work, what conditions were in place when we made every single decision we made. Truly, S/He would be in a position of infinite compassion, just like a mortal parent.

Unless you believe that a Human Being, fallible and flawed, is capable of greater forgiveness than the Creator of all things?

So, this means there is no hell, right?
Not quite.

Again, the Bible and other scriptures of the world are quite clear on negative consequences for a negative life, so by extension there must be some truth to it.

The difference is: it *cannot * be a permanent state, for the reasons given: infinite punishment for finite sins. Logically, assuming ANYTHING happens after we die, and characteristics we gave God above are true, then being sent to hell must be like being sent to prison; a temporary state rather than eternal one. It must be that after some point, we’d be able to get out, be it to come back to the Earth for another life, or to move on to be with God in heaven.

Anything less than this, would make God not only a jerk but a tyrant.

The counter argument is always posed, “but the Bible gives instructions how to avoid this; if we choose not to, we bring this punishment on ourselves”.

Except.

That fails to take history into account; events don’t happen in a vacuum.
For instance, the millions Native Americans that were slaughtered in North and South America, probably weren’t too keen on Christianity. Would our all-loving God say to them “I understand that you saw these people rape, pillage, and kill everyone you ever loved; but they were Christians and you weren’t, so you go to hell and they don’t”.

This seems unlikely at best.

What seems FAR more likely, is in the earliest days of the Church, right up to the present, there were people who’s primary concern was not in ‘saving souls’, but in controlling people.

And what better way to control a flock, then by threatening eternal torment for disobedience?

It’s no coincidence that the collection plate tends to come around right after the hellfire and damnation speeches.

The most important thing is, what would you rather have: people who listen and follow you because they love you, or listen and follow you because they are terrified?
Do you think God will reward those who loved and served God and their fellow wo/man out of genuine compassion and caring, or out of seeking to get a ‘get out of jail free’ card?

Do you really believe that God is so easily fooled that someone who said a few words and got their head dunked under water gets an eternity of relaxation, where people who dedicate their lives to service in the name of some other Faith get eternal torment?

There is one, and only one way to guarantee a positive outcome in the next life, and that is to make the most of this one.
Love God, love yourself, and love one another, and when you meet your judgment you won’t have anything to worry about.

You are great, and I love you!

And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters

Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me:
http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything:
http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha  – Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism – Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another –  A safe place to come find more reasons to smile!

       

 

The top 8 things God wants you to know

posted by B. Dave Walters

 

He gave you a mind to make your own choices...see the brain behind Him?

1.God loves you.
It has become very popular lately to make God out to be some sort of vengeful tyrant, angrily threatening to destroy whoever has offended Him today.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
You can be sure that if an All-Powerful God wanted someone destroyed, they would be destroyed. More importantly, how can an All-Knowing God, who knows your every thought, your every wish, everything that has ever happened to you and ever *will * happen to you be offended by anything?
What is far more likely is the people trying to convince you of God’s angry judgment want you to fear *their * judgment, and more importantly adapt their way of thinking and do what they tell you to do.
Beware the difference between the Will of God and the will of men.

2.You are important.
Did you know you only had a one in 300 million chance of ever being born? That is how many sperm cells were vying to fertilize the egg cell when you were conceived. Multiply that times all the things that could have stopped you while you were still in the womb, or all the things accidents, illnesses, and other things you’ve dodged to survive until now. Then, multiply that times the lives of your parents, and their parents, and their parents, back for generations and you have nearly impossible odds of you ever existing.
And yet here you are.
You are not an accident, you are a cosmic miracle; as rare, unique, and precious a thing as you can find anywhere in all of Creation.
Be proud of that.

3.People are doing the best that they can.
If, then, God knows all about us, then God knows we are doing the best that we can. People make flawed choices and make wrong moves on a daily basis, but no one is really TRYING to do the wrong thing. Even people who *seem * to be doing the wrong thing on purpose are doing it out of some deeper motivation, be it a plea for attention, help, or even love.
As such, no one is out to ‘get you’; they are acting out of their own past hopes, dreams, fears, and baggage.
No one sets out to fail, or to disappoint others, it just happens as a result of our choices; and it’s possible to start making new choices at any time.
Once you are aware there are no bad people, only bad choices, Life becomes much easier to deal with.

4.Forgive one another,
Whoever they are, whatever they did, forgive them. Chances are they didn’t do it on purpose, and even if they did: holding on to the negativity and anger is hurting *you *, not them.
How can you expect God to forgive you if you don’t forgive the people who harm you?

5.Learn how to let go.
It has been said that ‘attachment is the root of all suffering’ and this is true.
It is not what happens to us in life, but how we react to it that makes us happy or sad. Here is ashort parable that will explain this point:
A MAN had two daughters, the one married to a gardener, and the
other to a tile-maker. After a time he went to the daughter who
had married the gardener, and inquired how she was and how all
things went with her. She said, “All things are prospering with
me, and I have only one wish, that there may be a heavy fall of
rain, in order that the plants may be well watered.” Not long
after, he went to the daughter who had married the tile maker, and
likewise inquired of her how she fared; she replied, “I want for
nothing, and have only one wish, that the dry weather may
continue, and the sun shine hot and bright, so that the bricks
might be dried.” He said to her, “If your sister wishes for rain,
and you for dry weather, with which of the two am I to join my
wishes?’

6.Love one another.
It isn’t enough not to carry grudges, although this is certainly the beginning.
You must Love One Another, truly. All Human action is designed to gain pleasure and avoid pain; and deep down inside everyone wants to feel loved, and feel important. This is a gift you can give to everyone you meet, freely and openly. Not unlike you can’t expect to be forgiven without forgiving others, you can’t expect to be loved without giving love, first.
There is no limit in the amount of love you can give to your fellow Human Beings. Once you realize that they are trying as hard as they can, and give up your own selfish attachments to how, and even if they should show love back to you, then you are free to be a living expression of God’s Love for the world and everyone and everything in it.

7.No one has all the answers.
Often times people are tempted to believe that their beliefs are the only ‘correct’ beliefs. The reality is, there are no beliefs that are 100% true all the time in all places; to believe such is only deluding yourself.
If there was only one correct way of life, then everyone in the world would live it! Not unlike everyone seems to be rather fond of air, food, and water, this ‘single correct way’ would be inescapable, and anyone who saw it would adopt it instantly.
Clearly no such thing exists.
The key, then, is to find what works for you. Find a system of belief and world view that make life make sense TO YOU. That make life meaningful and enjoyable TO YOU. It is neither your job, nor your place to criticize the path that others walk through this life; no one has all the answers, and that includes you.
Insisting that you know the one and only truth is usually an indicator of insecurity, not of greater confidence.

8.Your life is in your hands.
Where you go, what you do, and what you become is totally in your hands.
This is the greatest time in history to be alive, you have more knowledge and opportunities at your finger tips than anyone ever has; it is up to YOU to take advantage of what’s available.
You have all the power in the Universe at your disposal, and the dreams that have been placed in your heart wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t possible for you to achieve them.
There are no limitations, and no victims: it’s up to you to create what you want.

You are great, and I love you!

And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters

Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me:
http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything:
http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha  – Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism – Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another –  A safe place to come find more reasons to smile!

       

Why God sends you problems; Or, Let the Haters hate

posted by B. Dave Walters

The Codfish/Catfish Story
I heard this story on the radio today, and was able to find it online here.  I loved it so much I wanted to share it with you:

“Codfish is a big business. The market is huge. When codfish were first being shipped, they froze them. They noticed that the flavor was lost during shipping. Somebody came up with the idea to put them in tanks and ship them in actual seawater. Even then the codfish would arrive at the market 3 or 4 days later, and would have lost much of their flavor because they were not active enough in the tank. They had a kind of mushy texture.

Finally, they learned to ship the codfish with a couple of catfish in the tank with them. The catfish is the natural enemy of codfish. During shipping the catfish would chase the codfish all around the tank the whole time, and when they got to the place where they were going, the codfish tasted like you just pulled them out of the sea. Their texture was great; their taste was even better than before.

See God knows that we are codfish in a catfish world. God allows all things, even catfish type things to help us grow strong and if He kept us from those things, we wouldn’t grow into all we can be. Jesus himself said, “In this world you are going to have struggles. You are going to have troubles, tribulations, but be of good courage.”

You are great, and I love you!

And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters

Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me:
http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything:
http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha  – Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism – Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another –  A safe place to come find more reasons to smile!

No more worry, Or, letting go and letting God

posted by B. Dave Walters

We've got to start somewhere =)

“We hope vaguely, but dread precisely.”
Paul Valéry

Really, worry is more than a habit, it is an addiction. If you don’t know how we can get addicted to emotions, I HIGHLY recommend you watch ‘What The Bleep Do We Know; you can see it for free here (you’ll need to download their player first, but it’s free as well).

If you consider yourself to be a person of faith, then please recognize that you can have faith, OR you can worry, but not both. When you worry, you are telling God and / or the Universe that they can’t handle your situation, so you need to come up with an answer. When the dust settles, you either trust God *completely* to provide your needs, or not at all.

If you are not a person of faith, then even then you should know that worry won’t affect the outcome of the situation, and that makes it even more pointless to torture yourself for nothing!

Worry is just another, and more insidious form of fear . When confronted with the unknown, and all the infinite wonderful possibilities, it is all too easy to pick out the worst possible one and fixate on that.

See, the Law of Attraction teaches us that whatever we focus on, we attract. So if you are focused on negative things with emotional intensity (like worrying) then you are actually bringing all those negative things into your life that much faster.

And even worse, as I said in my article on Pessimism  it leaves you feeling bad RIGHT NOW, even before the ‘bad’ situation has taken place!

I want to invite you to look at things in a new light, to develop a ‘positive paranoia’. Start to believe that God and the Universe are on your side and that everything in Creation is conspiring to make you happy. If this is too much of a stretch, than at least resolve to give up worry once and for all, since it will truly never accomplish anything.

Know what you want, focus on the goal, and keep moving forward.

Resolve to put all that negativity behind you, and move forward with bold confidence to the BEST 2012 you can possibly have.

You are great, and I love you!

And if you love me back, click ‘share’ up at the top!

B. Dave Walters

Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

Find out more about me:
http://about.me/BDaveWalters

Ask me anything:
http://formspring.me/BDaveWalters

Pages I support:
Jesus and Buddha  – Interfaith dialog

Gnostic Theism – Religion and Spirituality for the 21st Century (Join the Movement!)

Love One Another –  A safe place to come find more reasons to smile!

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