Tough Life

Is life so hard that even God lost? Think about that. God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son. Yet God’s own son had a rather tragic experience on Earth. If even he had a hard time, how’s there any chance for the rest of us? Or was Jesus, through his tragic experience, actually revealing the path to victory?

What Jesus taught was simple: seek and ye shall find. Seek sickness, and you shall have it. Whereas those seeking to be healed, were made well. Basically, a bad attitude begets a miserable experience. Jesus also spoke of the unsavory religious leaders of his day – and guess what he found? Death by way of their vile machinations. Fight against anything in this world, and it’ll kill you: live by the sword, die by the sword. This is true even if you’re the son of God.

No one is exempt from the principle that like attracts like. An acorn grows an oak tree and pessimism grows dissatisfaction. Look for the worst in life, you’ll find it. Imagine yourself in a constant battle against the world and you’ll stuggle until the day you die. Whereas the meek shall inherit the earth because they’re not at war with the world. If like attracts like, this is also true: love the world and you’ll know love. Be gentle, and your experience will be gentle too.

So why did Jesus reveal a victorious path in such a negative way? Why not show a sweet and loving demonstration instead? Well he tried that – no one listened. You can see over time how he became more belligerent. Which would a faithless generation better respond to? “Son of God says love is the answer!” Or “Not even the son of God is safe in these turbulent times! Stay tuned for the excruciating execution by crucifixion!”

Jesus stated what was true and when it fell on deaf ears he demonstrated it through significant action. At first you’d be confused at the transpiring events and upon closer inspection you’d be even more perplexed – BUT, after some time and much contemplation you’d start to see the underlying meaning of it all. God didn’t lose, and life isn’t tough – people just need to calm down, lighten up, and focus on what’s good in this world.

Xmas Msg

To me, the true meaning of Christmas is a lighthearted celebration of life. During a time of darkness and confusion, I believe Jesus came down to Earth to brighten things up. He turned water into wine, hung out with whoever, argued with austere authorities, and healed those in need. From the heavens, God saw the pain and misery that man put himself through and sent His only begotten son as a means to lighten the mood.

But of course man rejected Jesus’s message and sent his ass home the hard way. Jesus himself complained of man’s hardened heart and man’s inability to understand the message of peace and joy. But thankfully, God doesn’t give up so easily and we’re reminded of this message every year with a lighted tree pointing towards the heavens, encircled by gifts below — because that’s what life is, a gift from God.

It’s no coincidence that Santa looks like a fictionalized representation of God in heaven, an old man sitting atop a throne listening to Christmas wishes and fulfilling them with the help of his angelic elves and flying sleigh. Every year God provides a new opportunity for us to accept the simple premise that life is an experience that should evoke enjoyment in the living.

The world was never intended to be dark and dreary, only man’s negativity makes it so. Therefore, the true Christmas Miracle begins within, it comes from the acceptance and adoption of merriment wherever we go. With a “Merry Christmas!” and a “Happy Holidays!” we remind ourselves and each other that life is a party in which we’re all invited guests. And as guests, it is our sacred duty to participate and enjoy the festivities.

The Sly Steward

This is my interpretation of Luke 16:1-13

A man of wealth once accused his steward of recklessness. Distraught, worried how he’d survive without his position, the steward devised a scheme to lighten his burden. Before he was relieved of duty, he summoned all who owed his master money.

“You there! How much do you owe? A hundred? No, make it fifty! And you! How much must you pay? Well whatever it is, take off twenty!” And in this way, the steward made himself beloved amongst the people so they would take him in at the end of his time.

The man of wealth, upon hearing this clever plot, actually praised the steward for his shrewdness. It turns out that those who worship the wealth of this world are much wiser than those that seek only enlightenment. Through ill-gotten gains, they buy friendship, constructing a refuge for their time of need.

So if you too want to ensure a safe-harbor for yourself when all else fails, buy as many friends as possible while using whatever illegitimate means are at hand. Yet, consider that devotion to a part reveals devotion to the whole — and whoever deceives in a little reveals their overall dishonest nature.

But besides that, if you haven’t proven yourself with dirty money, who would trust you with truer treasures? And if you haven’t proven yourself with someone else’s possessions, who would give you any of your own!?

I’m being facetious of course. The alternative to an uncertain path paved with unprincipled profits, is a path to God. You obviously can’t follow two opposing routes at once. You can recognize God as your source of sustenance and eternal refuge — or you can make money the source of your salvation.

Devil in Disguise

What if there really is a devil in disguise? A hidden tempter trying to sway you? Whose only purpose: to keep you from reaching Heaven.

Think about it: would a creator really design a cruel world in which inhabitants were forced to struggle for survival OR would a creator design a wondrous world to delight and amuse its inhabitants?

So the world truly is a paradise, but due to the dark veil before you, you simply can’t perceive it. The prince of darkness casts this veil, infusing you with doubt and despair. But why would a creator include such a character in his world?

He wouldn’t. He gave you the free-will to interpret the world however you pleased. If you see devilish circumstances: YOU are the devil. And to defeat this devil, you deny him: “Get behind me satan!”

Satan (or really you), will be infusing obstacles in the form of pessimism and lack into your perception. You won’t merely perceive an apple, you’ll see rot and taste decay. But your job is to deny these dour expectations.

Seek and ye shall find. Seek the worst, you’ll find it. Seek the best, you’ll find it. The truth, the reality you experience, is an interpretation. The kingdom of Heaven, paradise, is at hand — seek it and you’ll find it.

Greatest Commandment v2

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

The heart is of-the-body, a thing firmly rooted in this world. Therefore, to love God with our heart, we should delight in the sensations of his creation: the world and all its wonders, ever appreciating the gift we’ve been given. The people, the scenery, the music, the movement, the foods — it’s all a work-of-art to be admired and consumed by the senes.

The soul is beyond the body, a part not confined by the world. Therefore, to love God with our soul, we should meditate or pray or do whatever it is that connects us to what’s beyond the senses. We demonstrate love with our focus and attention, so we must take time to focus on God, giving Him our attention through meditative means.

The mind writes narratives, paints pictures, and devises logical conclusions — concoctions that form our feelings. Therefore, to love God with our mind we should use it to set our perspective to one that perceives God and His creations in the best possible way. We should foster the feeling of lighthearted hopefulness and trust, deliberately imagining life as a pleasant experience no matter what the senses seem to say.

To love God with ALL our heart, ALL our soul, and ALL our mind, we should see God as our provider and caretaker, the guiding source of power maintaining and illuminating our path. We are not skilled in the practice of existence, not even close, thus we are led by a loving shepherd. God is the foundation of all we encounter. All that we are and all that we experience is merely a manifestation of God the creator.

Party Jesus

It’s pretty clear that Jesus was all about having a good time here on Earth. He turned water into wine, he threw huge parties and provided all the food, he ignored so-called authority figures, he hung out with anyone no matter their social standing, and he healed the sick — apparently this guy loved fun so much that he wanted everyone to enjoy themselves.

But boy did he have no patience for party-poopers. When any poindexter tried to reign in the fun, Jesus shut him down post haste. Yet as we know, the poindexters eventually won the battle. But by his sacrifice, Jesus won the war. And whenever we think about the circumstances surrounding his death, we must take time to consider our own inner party-pooper.

Just imagine it, God sees a world full of senseless suffering — NOT the paradise he created. He simply wants his people to live well but they’re busy making a miserable time for themselves. So down goes Jesus to liven things up. What happens? The people railroad the poor guy outta town. “F*ck you and the horse you rode in on!”

Heck, Jesus basically rage-quit by the end, he was so frustrated even by his closest companions. He was so upset that he cursed a poor fig tree for lacking fruit. Because for whatever reason, the people chose to be miserable rather than accept the goodness life has to offer. And as a symbol of that choice, they selected Barabbas over Jesus when asked by Pontius Pilot.

And despite this, we still do the same thing today. We choose Barabbas whenever we adopt a dour outlook rather than a cheerful one. Just think about it, God creates this awesome world and he’s thinkin’: “Yeah this is gonna be awesome, all these little people are gonna love this!” But they don’t, instead they fling their feces all over it and make a mockery of everything.

So to show we learnt our lesson, we need to love the world that was generously created for us. We have to earnestly attempt to enjoy ourselves and facilitate fun for others. People often wonder: why would God create a world full of suffering? The answer is that he didn’t! Jesus even healed everyone he saw, proving it wasn’t God’s doing.

Frankly, what causes suffering is humanity’s piss-poor attitude. YOUR piss-poor attitude. You, me, and everyone else. That’s why Jesus was so frustrated by the end. He’s like, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!! HOW LONG MUST I REMAIN WITH THIS MISERABLE GENERATION!!!”

We need to stop reveling in the mud. In this case, the mud consists of things like anger, criticism, hatred, persecution, pessimism, unwellness — all the negativity that paints the world in dark hues. Instead, we need to celebrate the delightfulness of life, painting with the lighthearted hues of acceptance, appreciation, love, generosity, hopefulness, and wellness. And, we need to lift our cups to God in gratitude for the goodness we’ve been so generously granted. Cheers!

Becoming Childlike

It is written: We must become as little children.

Have you ever seen the sheer delight on a child’s face at the mere mention of a simple treat? Or have you ever witnessed the unflinching forgiveness and fearlessness a child has toward a parent. “You’re my mommy and I love you!” — nothing gets between that sentiment.

So here’s the deal. You grow up. You get jaded. A treat just isn’t going to cut it anymore. And now you’re scared — you’ve been hurt too many times to forgive. Now it’s “Leave me alone! I hate you!”

So what happened? Is your creator a wicked monster that beat the love and wonder out of you? Or, did you just get spooked and run away to hide in the darkest dingiest hole you could find?

Let’s analyze this for a second. Either your creator is a horrible sadist hell-bent on torturing you… or, you were a bit overwhelmed and had a bad reaction. Have you ever seen how some teenagers overreact to perfectly reasonable parents?

Listen, you’ve got to settle down and stop acting like an angsty teen. Your creator is not trying to ruin your life, your creator has your best interests in mind, your creator loves you now and always. You misunderstood and were frightened, no big deal.

Now get back to delight and appreciation, return to forgiveness and fearlessness. Reach out and feel the love of a creator that wants nothing more than to give you the gift of existence. Show your smile, say thanks, maybe “I love you too”.

Greatest Commandment

When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, he replied “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”

Now that’s a difficult concept for me to grasp. First, how do I effectively love something. Second, to whom or to what am I actually directing this love. Third, what exactly is the interplay between the heart, soul, and mind — I’m not sure what those divisions are or how to love with each particular portion.

Jesus actually continued his answer and said, “This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Aha! So, I think a logical conclusion is that this world and its inhabitants are a manifestation of God himself — and by loving the world and its inhabitants, we can love God.

The heart is of-the-body, and our body is firmly rooted in this world. Therefore, to delight in the sensations of this world, is to love God through the heart. It’s all the stuff we see, smell, hear, taste and touch — the physical things and people of the world — we can love God by loving the works-of-art he so lovingly created.

The soul is beyond the body, a part of us that’s not confined by this world. Therefore, to love God with our soul, we must meditate or pray or whatever it is that connects us with that portion outside ourselves. We demonstrate love with our focus and attention, so we must take time to focus on God and give Him our attention through meditative means.

The mind is the observer tying it all together, the consciousness that watches. In the mind we can paint pictures that inspire feelings of love and appreciation. With the mind we can devise logical conclusions based on lighthearted hopefulness (e.g. did this happen for a good reason? Yes, because God loves me!) The mind can be used as a tool to adjust our perspective, allowing us to see God and His creations in the best light possible.

So, by appreciating the spectacle of this world and all within it, meditating/praying, and deliberately imagining life as a pleasant experience, we can follow a practical approach to loving God with our heart, soul, and mind. But, Jesus said ALL our heart, ALL our soul, and ALL our mind — what about that? How do you effectively apply the entirety of your heart, soul, and mind? And for that matter, what exactly is love again?

In life, oftentimes we tend to feel love, and our actions align accordingly — yet, we often hurt the ones we love, so that’s not always true. If observing a scene, we know one character loves another by their focused attention, their tender treatment, and the level of respect shown. But of course, actions without feelings aren’t necessarily love. In love, we don’t choose our feelings, they simply appear within us. BUT, many stories do tell the tale of a cultivated love that develops over time following a period of intense focus (“Beauty and the Beast”, for example — or even “Stockholm Syndrome” in general for that matter).

So, we can in fact cultivate the feeling of love for God by maintaining a focus on God while seeing him as our provider and caretaker. And logically, this is pretty straightforward. For example: Despite my ignorance and lack of ability, there’s been a power maintaining my existence this entire time. It’s certainly not my “survival skills”. Life just tends to work out — but why? Clearly there’s an external force guiding me along a narrative, helping me to make it through.

Now, to apply ALL our heart, soul, and mind we’re going to have to use God as the foundational reason underlying EVERYTHING we encounter. For example, although we tend to love individual people, it’s really God’s manifestation we’re loving — and in a sense, God himself. And that delicious apple pie you just ate? Thank God! It was He that made the apple, He that made the farmer, He that inspired the baker, and He that developed the taste. Amazing! Thanks again, God!

Thinking about it, I suppose it’s not that difficult of a concept to grasp. The question then becomes, do you therefore dare to follow the greatest commandment? It’s like Morpheus and the Matrix — which pill do you choose? Really though, what’s there to lose? A pessimistic carnal existence filled with fear, uncertainty, and doubt — in favor of a life of hopefulness and love, a genuine heaven on Earth, a true communion with your creator…?

You have the ability to select either path — it’s upon this question that you ultimately exercise your free-will. So which will it be?

Particular Politics

I have a penchant for history. But I like to maintain a certain distance from it or else the subject-matter can get a bit too nasty for my tastes. It’s like a sausage: appetizing unless you analyze every bit of the process to do with its construction. But if you receive just the final product, history can certainly fill you with entertaining tales of old.

I suppose the same is true for politics. It’s war but with words. One side versus another both fighting for public opinion. And similar to history, you gotta maintain a certain distance or else it’ll get gross, fast. It is most certainly a sporting event with fans cheering on either side rooting for the star-player-of-the-moment.

But aren’t politics the way in which things get done? If any seat of government disappeared tomorrow as if it never existed, what would change? In the short-term nothing. In the long-term…? Who knows. But if such a question can’t be readily answered, what exactly is government getting done? How crucial can it be?

And if it was crucial, wouldn’t society be sending its brightest minds to do these tasks? Let me ask you this, are politicians the best minds society has to offer? So my advice to myself, and anyone else who needs it. Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Politics is for the politicians, those mischievous hucksters that argue for sport.

Illuminated Reflections

To follow Jesus is to fight the darkness, the grim, and shine a beacon of light and cheer into the world.

He sacrificed himself to the darkness so we can convict ourselves and repent – for we too have wielded the awful power of pessimism.

A power that spilled his innocent blood upon a wooden cross – a sullen sight to see. An image meant not to sadden or enrage, but the very opposite.

For once we repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. We see the light ourselves, and we as mirrors reflect its resplendent glory.