A Reason to Smile

A Reason to Smile

Beating pessimism, Or, always look on the bright side of life

posted by B. Dave Walters

Which one is it? Or is it actually both?

“A pessimist is one who feels bad when he feels good for fear he’ll feel worse when he feels better.” – Anonymous

A friend of mine asked me to help her beat her pessimism, so I decided to dedicate today’s article to the topic.

So first, what is a pessimist? For our purposes, a pessimist is someone who assumes the worst more often than not, if not all the time. Often times pessimists like to call themselves “realists”, but this is a facade; a realist would at least consider something good happening as being equally likely as something bad happening.

Pessimists are also often cynics, in that cynics assume the worst in people’s motivations, but pessimism and cynicism aren’t exactly the same thing.

The polar opposite of each of these is of course optimism, which assumes the best in all situations. Obviously each of us is an optimist sometimes and a pessimist or cynic other times, but we tend to have leanings that color our interactions with the world.

So, what’s wrong with being a pessimist?
Well, I would submit that if it’s working for you, and you’re happy with the results you’re getting, then keep at it! But, if you have a fundamentally negative outlook (like pessimism) I find it unlikely you’re experiencing consistent daily happiness and peace, so a change may be in order.

So, why do pessimists expect the worst?
The problem is, pessimism is just another, more insidious form of Fear.
The pessimist is afraid things will go poorly, and tries to take control of the situation by ‘expecting’ it, but it really doesn’t help at all. The pessimist would say they expect the worst so that they aren’t let down when the worst happens, which seems valid enough.
But, have you ever seen a pessimist who was in any way happy or relieved when bad things happened like they expected?

Probably not.

In fact, this is the true danger of a pessimistic outlook: when you expect the worst, you are suffering the negative feelings of disappointment * in advance*. And when something GOOD happens, you often miss the positive feelings, for fear that the other shoe will drop and something else worse is going to happen.
So it very quickly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of disappointment, regardless of what ACTUALLY happens!

Compare this with the optimist, who expects something good to happen and feels good in advance; even when faced with difficulty, they still feel happy since they expect something else good is on the way!

So here is the question.
Which would you rather be: feeling bad all the time, no matter what, or feeling good all the time, no matter what?

Exactly.

And, if you think it’s impossible, or even naïve to have a consistently positive outlook, it just means you’ve gone so far into negativity that you’re no longer aware of all the great things happening around you all the time. But don’t worry, there’s still hope for you yet!

One other thing: how do you decide what is something ‘good’ happening, or something ‘bad’ happening? Well, the good news and the bad news is, it’s all up to you!
Whether or not something is good or bad can only be answered by asking, “compared to what”? Here’s an example: if you work up tomorrow with a billion dollars, that would probably be pretty good, right? Consider that Bill Gates or Warren Buffet would probably go crazy if they woke up tomorrow with * only* a billion dollars!

So, how do you become a optimist, or at least a 50/50 realist?
First, ask yourself what is it you’re trying to avoid by being pessimistic? And, is it working for you? Do you really feel like expecting the worst has protected you from anything?

And, what exactly is it that you’re trying to protect yourself from?
Feeling bad? Aren’t you already feeling bad now when you are worried or anxious about what the future holds?

Ask yourself: what would it be worth to you to be able to give up worry and anxiety?

Name something you want to try, or an opportunity you missed in the past because you were afraid of failing. What could you accomplish if you weren’t afraid of the outcome?

Name 3 things in your life that you are thankful for; if you can’t think of anything, here are some ideas. This list should show you that not EVERYTHING in your life is terrible; and if anything is going well, you can reasonably expect other things to go well, too.

Think of something you’re worried about right now: what can you do or what action can you take to try and steer it in a positive direction?

And finally, the best way to beat your pessimism is the next time you feel your thoughts moving in that direction, use the technique I explained here to get your mind focused back on the positive.

So, there you have it.
And by the way, I am all too aware of the fact that life can be filled with tragedy; I was a bodyguard and worked in the insurance business; I am intimately aware of how quickly things can go wrong. But I also realize that for everything that goes wrong, WAY more things go right ! For instance, you can turn on the news and hear horrible things like people dying in a plane crash, or in an accident of some sort. But that at the same time, that also means that hundreds of thousands of people flew unharmed; and * billions* of people went through their daily lives unscathed. Don’t put too much stock in what you see and hear in the media; there is big money in keeping you bound by constant state of fear.

I hope you see now that pessimism is a form of defense mechanism that actually brings negative things into your life, rather than avoid them. If you start to consciously choose to expect the best, or at least NOT expect the worst, you’ll find your life quickly changing for the better.

Remember: the Law of Attraction is always in effect!

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!

Breaking the prison of fear Or, how to be happy all the time (VIDEO)

posted by B. Dave Walters

The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future.” -Fulton Oursler

Is there anything you want to do, but just don’t?
Is there anything you know you NEED to do, but just don’t?
Is there anything you wish you could change about yourself?
In dealing with my Coaching  clients, I find 99% of problems are rooted in fear.
Now, even if it were possible, you wouldn’t want to be *completely* fearless, since it serves a very useful purpose as an early warning system, but fear has just too much control over things in most people’s lives.
If you think about it, fear is at the core of most, if not all negative emotions.
Negative emotions are largely rooted in an underlying fear of the unknown, a fear of what other people might say or do, and a need to control them or stop them from hurting you.
This is especially true of people who have unresolved traumas in their past.  Perhaps you know someone who had a parent leave or pass away when they were very young, and now that person has trouble having intimate relationships, since they are subconsciously afraid that person will leave them.
Or someone who had their trust violated by someone in the past, and now they can’t completely trust another human being, out of fear of getting hurt.
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Or maybe you know someone who is afraid to let go of a bad relationship, because they are afraid they’ll be alone for the rest of their life.
One of the reasons for the fanatical attitudes we discussed before is a fear of uncertainty; someone who is insecure is threatened by the beliefs and opinions of others, since it causes them to question their own positions and that is unbearable.  Better to try and stomp them out then risk too much introspection.
So, what is fear, and how do you control it?
The most important thing is, fear only exists in one place: the future.  You can only be afraid of something that hasn’t happened yet.  Let’s take an extreme example: you’re walking through a dark alley, and you’re afraid someone is going to mug you, which hasn’t happened yet.  A man steps out of the shadows, and has a weapon; you may be shocked or angry about getting mugged, but the *fear* has now transferred to being afraid he is going to hurt you with the weapon.  Even if the man takes your wallet and leaves you unharmed, now the fear is transferred to what he might do with your credit cards and ID, which as of now still hasn’t happened.
I think you get the point; as I said: it was an extreme example.  The fact is, you can only be afraid of what hasn’t happened yet; once it occurs, you can have lots of other emotional reactions, but fear won’t be one of them.
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 As for how to control it, there are several tools I use depending on the situation; if you have a specific question you can send it to me here  and I’ll give you some steps to take.
In the meantime, here is a very simple and effective tool you can use to change your emotional state:
Think of something that makes you very happy, imagine it in as much detail as you can.  Is it a memory, or a fantasy? Where are you, who is with you? What are you wearing, what is the temperature like? What sounds do you hear, what can you see?
Really make the image come to life in your mind…I’ll wait here while you do.
Did you do it?
Do you find yourself feeling pretty good all of the sudden?
If you took the time to imagine it, you should be feeling that tingle in your tummy.  This is a very easy example of how you can alter your emotions whenever you want; you can turn any feeling on and off by visualizing the time you felt that feeling the strongest in as much clarity and detail as you can.
I want to leave you with an unusual question: who are You?
What went through your mind when you read that, was it your name?  If so, that’s not who You are: it’s what you’re called.
Maybe it was your job? But that’s not You either, it’s what you do.
Your Religion? Again, not You…it’s what you believe.
You’re not your race, gender, Nationality, none of those.
So who are You?
Once you figure that out, you’ll never be worried or afraid of anything ever again.  If you know, email it to me or put it in the comments down below.  And this isn’t some sort of riddle, there is a definite answer.  I’ll leave you with a hint: figure out who you’re *not*, and that will point you towards the answer.

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!

Higher Truths; Or, digital spirituality II

posted by B. Dave Walters

The Truth is all around you, you just have to know how to see it....

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
-Buddha (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

The purpose of these articles was never to attempt to convert anyone into a new way of thinking or belief; but to challenge people’s assumptions.
Since, the reality is, many of us go through life believing the same things that we were spoon fed as children, without ever taking the time to truly THINK about what we believe; to wrestle with the mysteries of the Universe and come out stronger for it.

The purpose of this article, then, is to present some new ideas for you to try on, and see if they make sense to you, and your world view. Feel free to accept or reject any of them, with one condition: you are clear on * why * you feel this way. Various teachers and scriptures can guide you along the way, but in the end, we must each walk the path alone.

So please consider, pray, and meditate on, and by all means enjoy these ideas, and become a better person for it.

1. No one KNOWS where we come from, or knows what happens when we die.
Passionate belief is not the same as empirical knowledge.

2. Since we do not, and can not, know for certain, all we are left with are our own opinions, and what we choose to believe.

3. The ultimate answers to the questions of life can only be found within (Gnosis); God exists at all time and all places, and takes an active hand in the Universe (Theism).

4. “As above, so below; as within, so without.” Everything that exists outside of us exists inside of us, too.

5. Knowledge of yourself leads to love of yourself; love of yourself leads to love of others.

6. There is no nobility in ignorance, and no greater task in life than working towards learning about and connecting with the Creator of all things.

7.Science and religion do not stand in opposition to one another,  they simply serve different purposes.

8. The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path provide a keen insight into why we suffer, and how to end the suffering.

9. The religions of the world agree on far more points than they disagree; confusion only arises when people claim their truth is the ‘only’ truth.
There is no ‘only’ truth! Our most closely held beliefs would probably be radically different if we’d been born in another place or time.

10.The Bible, the Koran, Bhagavad Gita, and any other scriptures are useful tools towards explaining the Universe and our place in it; but there is no wholly Divine or infallible scriptures. If it was written by human hands, it is flawed.

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, Why; Or, Letting Go II (VIDEO)

posted by B. Dave Walters

You have to let go!

The Root of pain is Attachment; this is the second Noble Truth.
-Buddha

As I have mentioned in the past, Los Angeles has quite a few bitter, unhappy people in it. Because for whatever reason, their goals have not manifested in the time and way that they would like.
And along with an understandable sense of disappointment, comes an inevitable desire to know ‘why’. Why did this happen, or why didn’t?
Why has God / the Universe abandoned them?

But the fact of the matter is, no such thing has happened.
I wrote previously about how to let go of your attachments, and the video below gives you many more tools on how to know what you need to release, and how to do it.
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So for this article, I’d like to talk more about how we form our attachments, how to make new and better decisions that will serve you, rather than work against you.

I wrote previously about how to be committed without being attached and that is an important idea to keep in mind; that it isn’t necessary to go through life as a door mat, nor is it necessary to go through life as a control freak, either.

The key, then, is to be consciously aware of two very important things:
what are you committed to, and what are you attached to.

Let me explain the difference again: commitment is wanting to have a nice meal; attachment is refusing to eat anywhere but a single restaurant you have decided on. Commitment is choosing to spend your life with someone; attachment is refusing to let go of a bad situation because you’re afraid you can’t do any better.

Here is a very simple test as to whether you are committed to something or attached: how do you feel about it?

If it makes you feel good, and you know it is going to work out for the best, then congratulations: you are committed!
But…if it feels bad, or you are filled with fear about what might happen, then you are attached.

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So, then, how do you go about converting your unhealthy attachments, which can ONLY cause you pain, into healthy commitments, which make life uplifting and enjoyable?

First and foremost: trust.
Trust God, trust the Universe, trust life, and above all else, trust people.
Trust that things are going to work out the best that they can.
Note, I didn’t say they will work out how YOU want them to, I said for the *best *.

I’ve said before, you can worry or you can have faith, but not both; when you worry you are telling God / the Universe that they can’t handle it, so you have to. The fact of the matter is you trust God COMPLETELY, or not at all.

Once you start to believe and accept the Universe is on your side, then it becomes easier to remain cheerful and positive no matter what, and because of that you can start attracting better and better things into your life.

I’m going to cut this one short to give you a chance to watch the video below, or read what I already wrote about a step by step process for releasing your attachments.

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click subscribe over on the right hand side!

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 Heart Vs. The Mind; Or, Science And Its Darker Twin

posted by B. Dave Walters

There are different ways to look at things

There have been a handful of times in my life when I felt like certain things were ‘given’ to me by a higher power, and all I had to do was get it out and written down.

This is one of those pieces.

I originally ‘received’ this, right after my ‘Gnostic Theism; Or, Digital Spirituality‘ article:

The reason why I write this blog is to help people make sense of the world, and all the things that take place day to day.

Now more than ever, we are being pulled in different directions and taught conflicting things, and it can easily put us in a position of having to choose between our heart and our mind, or rather whether or not we want to be ‘logical’ or ‘spiritual’, religious or scientific.

I suggest, you don’t have to choose between the two.

Before we can get into it, we need to clarify an important difference between science and religion: science is king, where it applies; religion is king, where it applies.  Science can tell us how, Religion can tell us why.  Unfortunately those lines have become blurred, giving rise to Science’s darker twin: Scientism.  Using science in an attempt to disprove the existence of God is like trying to use a knowledge of music to disprove the existence of Beethoven…it can’t be done.  By the same token, using Scripture to try and disprove empirical realities is just as pointless, but we’ll talk about that on another day.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines Science as:

1. The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation,   and theoretical explanation of phenomena.

2.     Such activities restricted to a class of natural phenomena.

3.Such activities applied to an object of inquiry or study.

It also defines Scientism as:

1. The collection of attitudes and practices considered typical of scientists.

2.The belief that the investigative methods of the physical sciences are applicable or justifiable in all fields of inquiry.

Now this seems harmless enough on the surface.

And, while science has unquestionably lead to many advances that have improved modern life,  it has also given rise to an increasingly more sanitized and lifeless existence.

An easy example is it has come into vogue for anyone of a scientific mind to be an atheist, and outright reject anything that can’t be perceived in a laboratory setting.  They will say that believing human beings were sculpted out of clay and life was breathed into them is an ignorant superstition (and, we are not arguing for its literal truth either).  And yet, in the same breath they will try and convince you that life began on this planet when a bolt of lightening hit a puddle of chemicals at some point in the distant past.

And that is presented as the ‘logical alternative’.

Now, some adherents of Scientism will make the argument that life was seeded here (by chance, of course) by meteors from other planets, but even that explanation does not provide an answer for the riddle of life, it simply pushes the question  further back into time.

Or, for the hotly debated Theory of Evolution, it is not so much an issue of it being right or wrong, but being highly over-stated.  Aspects of it can be easily observed, such as Micro-Evolution and Natural Selection: the process by which a bird’s beak adapts to eat a certain kind of seed, or where a species of moth with superior camouflage will outlast a species with no camouflage at all.

The problem is with Macro-Evolution, which explains how one species becomes a whole new species.  The problem is, there is no hard evidence that this process occurs.  It is supposed to be a constant process of tiny changes, but if that were the case, any and all fossils should show some signs of modification, but they don’t.  And if a creature were to spontaneously mutate into an entirely new species, it would be faced with an immediate breeding problem since it would be the only one!  The wild card variable they will plead is ‘time'; that it simply takes too long for us to observe a supposedly constantly occurring process.  But even then, populations like fruit flies or certain types of bacteria can move through an entire generation in days or even hours, and have been under constant observation in laboratories, all over the world for decades.   And though some changes may be identified, they are still fruit flies or bacteria.

And the biggest problem is the theory in it’s current state stands in opposition to two fundamental laws of science: The Second Law of Thermo Dynamics, which says if left to their own devices things break down rather than become more complex, and the Law of Biogenesis, which says life can only come from life; it is flatly impossible for something inanimate to come to life.

Now I will issue the disclaimer that standard Evolutionary Theory doesn’t deal with the origins of life, but in this day and age they are often lumped together.

It is not our purpose to debunk Evolutionary Theory, but to point out it’s holes in the hope that they can be filled.  It may well be that the mechanism by which species arrive on this planet can be fully understood, but it won’t happen until the scientific establishment can put aside their own ego, vanity, and desire to protect their pet theories and misconceptions and dedicate themselves to a full and accurate comprehension of the natural world.

The point is, the issue is not so simple as Jesus vs. Darwin, not by a long shot.  The world is full of wonders, some that can be explained in ‘rational’ terms, and some that can only be dealt with intuitively.  It’s up to all of us to be aware of the fact that we were given a heart and a brain for a reason, and to make good use of both!

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click subscribe over on the right hand side!

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!

Giving thanks; Or, 10 Things to be grateful for (VIDEO)

posted by B. Dave Walters

Everyday should be Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving here in the U.S., but I want to take some time out from cooking turkey to have a quick talk about what you’re grateful for.

First, let me say that even though Thanksgiving is set aside as a day to give thanks you should take some time every day to review all the things you’re thankful for.

Just in case you don’t realize how good you’ve got it, here, in no particular order, are 10 great things you may not have considered:

1.You woke up this morning
This one seems simple but the fact is thousands, if not millions of people woke up this morning and didn’t know it was their last. Just being alive is a tremendous blessing, and means you still have at least a little more time to enjoy your life and everything in it.

2.You can see and hear
If you are reading this, that means you can probably see! If I get around to recording a podcast of this, we can find out if you can hear, too! For my blind or deaf Brothers and Sisters out there, you can still be grateful for the fact that you live in a time where technology exists that still lets you live an independent and self-sufficient existence.

3.No one shot at you today
It’s very easy to take for granted that you don’t live in some sort of a war zone. Right now millions of people live in a constant state of fear that some sort of violence will break out, and if you aren’t one of them you should be thankful. Realize that some of those people live right here in this country!
The fact that we have police and military who are willing and able to protect us and come to our aid in and emergency is a luxury that not everyone has.

4.You didn’t go to bed hungry
Self explanatory, but I can guarantee unless you live in an ultra wealthy area, someone within 1 mile, if not 1 block of you, did go to bed without enough to eat.

5.You have a roof over your head
Whether or not you live in your dream home, it is probably a lot nicer than a park bench or an underpass!

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6.You’re healthy
We all have our bumps, bruises, and issues; but by healthy, I mean you haven’t been diagnosed with a terminal illness. If you have been diagnosed with something, refer to the earlier points: you’re still alive and have access to healing the likes of which the world has never seen!

7.You got educated for free
Kindergarten through 12th Grade education was probably yours on Uncle Sam’s nickel. Remember, large portions of the world will never even get to learn to read, much less read Shakespeare or Voltaire.

8.You can decide who and what you want to be
Economic down turn aside, if you live in the “Western” world, you have a level of freedom and self-determination that people would be willing to die to have (and many do just that trying to get what you were born into!)

9.You know someone loves you
If you can’t think of at least one person who loves you (including dogs and cats), then at least know that God loves you and so do I!

10.You live in the single greatest time in history to be alive
There has never been a better time to be alive then this.
Technology has made it possible to travel further in a few hours than we could have in months by horse, train, or ship.
Hollywood studios spend hundreds of millions of dollars just to entertain you for a couple of hours! All the knowledge of the world is available at your finger tips through the wonder of the World Wide Web.

And, in case you don’t believe me that you’re lucky to be here right now, I have a simple test:
Is there anyone on this Earth that you’d be willing to switch places with, 100%? And I don’t just mean their fame or fortune, everything. You give up all your friends, all your family, everyone you know and everything you’ve got to take on their life. Their face, their body, their ups and downs.

For all the people I’ve ever asked this question, the answer is always no. If you think the answer is yes, message me  and we’ll talk about it.

Otherwise, there you have it; plenty of things to hit your knees and give thanks for.  I’ve attached a short video to help you keep things in perspective, too.

Enjoy your Holiday, and have some extra cranberries for me!

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click subscribe over on the right hand side!

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!

Which Ten Commandments; or, What Jesus taught in secret

posted by B. Dave Walters

Gustave Dore does it again! Credit: http://2.bp.blogspot.com

“Be calm, be loving unto others, be gentle, be peaceful, be merciful, give tithes, help the poor and sick and distressed, be devoted to Deity, be righteous, be good that ye may receive the Mysteries of the Light and go on high into the Light Land.”

– Yeshu (Jesus) Pistis Sophia 102

Over the years, many conflicts have arisen around the ’Ten Commandments’, and what place they should have in public life. The most recent conflict was in Alabama in 2003 when a significant battle erupted over a monument to the Commandments and whether or not it should be allowed to remain on the footsteps of a government courthouse, from which it was ultimately moved.

Many people would say they ‘believe’ in the Commandments, but the immediate follow up question has to be: which one?

Here is a quick test: name all ten commandments.

Did you do it?

Now, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about The 10 Commandments; let’s compare what you think they are against FOUR different versions floating around out there:

Protestant

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

5. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

King James Bible, issued by the American Bible Society.

 

Catholic

1. I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.

2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

3. Remember thou keep the Sabbath Day.

4. Honor thy Father and thy Mother.

5. Thou shalt not kill.

6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

7. Thou shalt not steal.

8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods.

Catholic Catechism by Peter Cardinal Gasparri, “published with Ecclesiastical approval” and bearing the imprimatur of Patrick Cardinal Hayes, Archbishop, New York. P. J. Kenedy & Sons, 1932.

 

Hebrew – First Tables of Stone (Exodus 20)

1. I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

2. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; Thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; And showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments.

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.

4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath in honour of the Lord thy God; on it thou shalt not do any work, neither thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.

5. Honour thy father and thy mother; in order that thy days may be prolonged upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

6. Thou shalt not kill.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Bloch Publishing Company, New York, 1922.

 

Second Tables of Stone (Exodus 34) (“the words that were on the first”)

1. Thou shalt worship no other god (For the Lord is a jealous god).

2. Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

3. The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep in the month when the ear is on the corn.

4. All the first-born are mine.

5. Six days shalt thou work, but on the seventh thou shalt rest.

6. Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, even of the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.

7. Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread.

8. The fat of my feast shall not remain all night until the morning.

9. The first of the first fruits of thy ground thou shalt bring unto the house of the Lord thy God.

10. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in its mother’s milk.

K. Budde, History of Ancient Hebrew Literature

 

Now, we have said before that the Bible is not infallible, and isn’t proof of anything, but this is pretty significant.

The foundation of morality that most of us have been raised with is highly variable, pending who you ask and what version you take as authoritative.

The point here is not to diminish the value of these Commandments; they still provide an excellent moral framework to live a successful spiritual life.  It should, however, provide the thinking believer with significant food for meditation on why these different versions exist, and what it means to you and your relationship with your Creator.

And finally, if you are wondering about the quote that opened this article it came from the book Pistis Sophia, originally translated and published by G.R.S. Mead in 1921.  It is supposed to be the record of what Jesus taught his disciples in private in his own words.  As with any other holy book, there is no way to know how ‘true’ it is, and whether or not these are Jesus’ actual words; but it is interesting to see the Messiah’s interpretation of the Old Testament Law that he came to fulfill:

 

Pistis Sophia Chapter 102

“Say rather to the men of the world: Be calm, that ye may receive the mysteries of the Light and go on high into the Light-kingdom.

“Say unto them: Be ye loving-unto-men, that ye may be worthy of the mysteries of the Light and go on high into the Light-kingdom.

“Say unto them: Be ye gentle, that ye may receive the mysteries of the Light and go on high into the Light-kingdom.

“Say unto them: Be ye peaceful, that ye may receive the mysteries of the Light and go on high into the Light-kingdom.

“Say unto them: Be ye merciful, that ye may receive the mysteries of the Light and go on high into the Light-kingdom.

“Say unto them: Give ye alms, that ye may receive the mysteries of the Light and go on high into the Light-kingdom.

“Say unto them: Minister unto the poor and the sick and distressed, that ye may receive the mysteries |260. of the Light and go on high into the Light-kingdom.

“Say unto them: Be ye loving-unto-God, that ye may receive the mysteries of the Light and go on high into the Light-kingdom.

“Say unto them: Be ye righteous, that ye may receive the mysteries [of the Light] and go on high into the Light-kingdom.

“Say unto them: Be good, that ye may receive the mysteries [of the Light] and go on high into the Light-kingdom.

“Say unto them: Renounce all, that ye may receive the mysteries of the Light and go on high into the Light-kingdom.

“These are all the boundaries of the ways for those who are worthy of the mysteries of the Light.

 

And for those of you who are REALLY into Hebraic law, try keeping all 613 Commandments!

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click subscribe over on the right hand side!

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: “Why do all guys cheat?”

posted by B. Dave Walters

All these guys only have one thing in common....

(Unedited) Question submitted via Formspring
“Hello Dave, I must admit that I like your articles on beliefnet and will like you to keep it up. My question is why is it so hard trying to get involved with a guy that doesn’t cheat, because all the guys I have been with had cheated at one time or the other.”

First of all, let me say clearly: not all guys cheat, since I myself never have and I have several guy friends who never have.

That being said, though: *LOTS* of guys do cheat.   And there are two main reasons why you keep ending up with guys who do:

The first is rather simple, and unavoidable: it is impossible for a man to stop looking at other women; he can’t help it, it’s in his blood.  But that is NOT an excuse for cheating; being able to control our impulses is what makes us different from the animals.

The second, much bigger reason you are having problems: you pick the wrong guys.

It seems based on your statement “because all the guys I have been with had cheated at one time or the other” you have what Dr. Drew calls ‘a broken picker’.  For whatever reason, you gravitate towards the type of guy who ultimately cannot be trusted, and there is probably a very good reason why.

Look at your relationship with your father and his relationship with your mother.

Chances are extremely high that either 1. Dad cheated on mom, 2. Dad wasn’t around, or 3. Both.

It is very possible that you learned at a young age that ‘men who love me cheat/leave’, and you’ve been living into it ever since.  If the issue isn’t with Dad, if you look into your early life, there is probably someone close to you who violated your trust, or seemed to leave you when you needed them most.

The solution, also has two parts:  1. Recognize you have a broken picker, and that the first guy who gets your attention is probably not the best guy to get involved with.  I for my part am attracted to crazy girls with lots of baggage; once I realized this and started paying more attention I was able to find the right woman and have been happily married ever since.

2. Forgive the person who hurt you, even if you weren’t consciously aware that it hurt before now.

Since it is only after your forgive them for what they did (or didn’t do) that you can be free from this pattern and able to create something new.

Add to this truly loving yourself and recognizing that you are good enough and your problem will magically fade away.

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click subscribe over on the right hand side!

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 and Buddha, their sayings compared; Or, meeting with the Masters

posted by B. Dave Walters

We have discussed Buddhism and how to ‘properly’ interpret scripture before, so today we will discuss the parallel sayings of two of the world’s Great Masters: Buddha and Jesus Christ.
Originally, this article was intended to compare, contrast, and explain these passages; but upon reflection there is nothing that can be added beyond the Great Teachers’ own words.

It is sincerely hoped that by reading these few short parallel sayings, that it may awaken in you a desire to know more; and a realization of the common ground between not just these two, but of all the world’s many religious traditions.

These passages are reprinted from “Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings” edited by Marcus Borg, published by Ulysses Press.

Jesus: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
Buddha: “Consider others as yourself.” Dhammapada 10:1

Jesus: “If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.” Luke 6:29
Buddha: “If anyone should give you a blow with his hand, with a stick, or with a knife, you should abandon any desires and utter no evil words.” Majjhima Nikaya 21:6

Jesus: “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” Matthew 25:45
Buddha: “If you do not tend to one another, then who is there to tend you? Whoever would tend me, he should tend the sick.” Vinaya, Mahavagga 8:26.3

Jesus: “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Matthew 26:52
Buddha: “Abandoning the taking of life, the ascetic Gautama dwells refraining from taking life, without stick or sword.” Digha Nikaya 1:1.8

Jesus: “Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.” Mark 8:35
Buddha: “With the relinquishing of all thought and egotism, the enlightened one is liberated through not clinging.” Majjhima Nikaya 72:15

Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
Buddha: “Teach the dharma which is lovely at the beginning, lovely in the middle, lovely at the end. Explain with the spirit and the letter in the fashion of Brahma. In this way you will be completely fulfilled and wholly pure.” Vinaya Mahavagga 1:11.1

Buddha: One is the way to gain, the other is the way to Nirvana, knowing this fact, students of the Buddha should not take pleasure in being honored, but, should practice detachment.
Jesus: No slave can serve two masters For a slave will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Buddha: Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so, cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings. Let your thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world.
Jesus: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click subscribe over on the right hand side!

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!

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional , Or, why things go wrong, and how to make them go right

posted by B. Dave Walters

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”
-Buddha

As I have said before, I like learning new ideas and exposing people to new ideas. Unfortunately, there are times when people will ignore great ideas because of their own preconceived notions, so I have to be a little sneaky.

What I’m about to share with you will be life changing for some, and completely obvious to others.
For those of you who know where it came from, take it as a challenge to better apply these teachings in your own life!

So here are 4 Truths I’d like you to consider:

1. Life consists of pain; this is the first Noble Truth.
From the day we come into the world, to the day that we leave it, we all experience pain; it is universal.

2.The Root of pain is Attachment; this is the second Noble Truth.
Have you ever heard  that ‘the Great Way is not difficult, for those who have no preferences”? If you think about it, many (really, all) of the things we get upset about aren’t particularly good or bad in and of themselves, only how we relate to them. Let’s say that you’re running late for a movie, and are getting stressed out. There is nothing particularly bad about being where you are when you are there, except for the fact that you have decided you’d rather be somewhere else!
Or maybe you hate your job, but remember there was a time you were praying they would hire you; the only thing that has changed is your perception of what it is you want.

3. The End of all pain is attainable; this is the third Noble Truth
If Attachment is the root of all suffering, then their must be a way to end it; which leads to….

4. There is a Path to the End of all pain, and that Path is the Teaching, this is the fourth Noble Truth
The simple answer is give up your attachments, and you’ll stop feeling any pain. Now, this doesn’t mean that if someone steps on your foot you won’t experience a physical sensation; it only means that the accompanying emotional response will be gone.

I hear you, how do you give up your attachments? You’ve spent your whole life collecting them!
Don’t worry, people have been asking that question for about 1,500 years and have come up with 8 steps to take: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

Let’s look a little closer at these 8 steps. There is no way I can do them justice in a single article, but I can try to point you in the right direction:

Right View means seeing things as they really are, which is no small feat! I’ll give you an easy example: imagine someone cuts you off in traffic, your normal response may be to honk and shout at them; but maybe that person is racing to the hospital for a sick spouse, or racing to pick up their child from school. Maybe they didn’t even see you there, who knows. Or when I deal with my Clients who tell me people are spreading rumors about them, I point out that most people are so caught up in their own lives that they aren’t thinking about you at all! And if they are, it’s probably to try to hide and compensate for their own insecurities.
The point is to try and see past your own judgments to look at things objectively.

Right Intention means to genuinely try and do the right thing. If you know you’re doing something wrong, petty, or hurtful…don’t.

Right Speech means to tell the truth, and not say things you know are going to hurt someone else. I don’t mean lie or avoid telling a person something because they may not want to hear it. But there is always a way to express yourself that will maximize people’s understanding and minimize confusion.

Right Action means to do the right thing! But beyond that, it’s doing what you know is right all the time, even when no one is looking. When you’re at work, work hard; don’t slack off because the boss isn’t looking. Or put another way, how you do anything is how you do everything; so always do a good job!

Right Livelihood means to stop doing things you know are hurting yourself or someone else. Maybe you smoke and know you should quit, or you know you should lose some weight. Well…do it! We have already talked about how to make change quickly, but if you need more help contact me and I’ll help you out.

Right Effort means always trying to do better. It’s very easy to get caught up going through the motions in life and turn around and years have passed. Think about it, how long ago was your High School graduation, or your wedding day? The next 20 years will go by in a flash, and one day there will be no more years; the sooner you develop the habit of self-improvement the greater your life will be.

Right Mindfulness means keeping your mind on the present moment. Remember when we said that Fear only lives in the future, and guilt only lives in the past? The present moment is the only time you have power, but it is where you have ALL power! Keep your head where you are and what you’re doing, and you’ll have the calm, peace, and happiness of a Saint.

Right Concentration means learning how to focus on one thing intensely. It’s very closely related to Right Mindfulness, but it is more about having a time set aside for prayer and meditation, and communing with your Creator. In my experience, this is what is most lacking in most people’s lives, even religious ones, since it doesn’t do much good to show up at Church or Temple, and shut God out of your life until next weekend’s service.

“More I would say, but words profit not. God be amongst you.”
-Archangel Gabriel

What do you think? Feel free to comment down below!

You are great, and I love you!
And if you love me back, click subscribe over on the right hand side!

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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