Picture Me This

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Gatekeeper, May 14, 2010.

  1. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Shades of Reason

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    A picture in another thread got me thinking about my existence, and brought to mind the things I cling to most in life. It occurred to me that my dearly held beliefs, the religion I follow, my desire for self preservation, salvation, etc. could be the very things that keep me in bondage.

    I think we, or rather our desires are the only things truly standing in the way of true freedom. Our desires (When not fulfilled) cause us to be dissatisfied with our lives. The very want of freedom/salvation/enlightenment keeps us in bondage to ourselves as well.

    These things create a longing for something we do not currently have, and ultimately cause us to not enjoy what we do have (At least not to the degree that we could). The same is true for materialistic things.

    Marsh (In another thread) asked me to imagine a world where all people were satisfied with what they had. I immediately shrugged it off, and suggested that if we were meant to be satisfied in life, then pain and suffering would not exist.

    The truth is that suffering is caused by our desires. Our desire for more, for something better, for things we do not yet have causes dissatisfaction, and often times leads us to do things that are hurtful to others.

    The only way (In my mind) to truly be free from suffering is for us to let go of our desires, and simply accept what is, and live our lives with passion, love, and appreciation for all things.

    I'm thinking that we need to learn to enjoy what is. I'm thinking that we need to learn to live with gratitude in our hearts. The problem is in dying to ones selfishness, and in learning to be thankful for all things.

    We often trick ourselves into thinking that misfortune is ALWAYS bad, and that good fortune is ALWAYS good. Well, I think things are simply what they are. Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows? It doesn't really matter, as we have no real control when it comes to life. All we are able to control is our attitude towards what is.

    GK
     
  2. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist In Galt We Trust

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    Personally, I think the Buddha was closer to the truth. It isn't desires as such, but excessive clinging to desires when they can't be fulfilled, that causes dissatisfaction.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  3. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Shades of Reason

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    I think i like the way the Buddha thinks
     
  4. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Shades of Reason

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    Paul tells is that "Faith" "Hope" and "Love" abide (Remain) in 1 Corinthians. My question is [if] these things will always be, does it mean that our hopes will never be fulfilled/realized? You can't realize salvation if hope and faith are still present.

    What if Paul is telling us that we have a choice between the three?

    1) That we can abide in faith (Always believing in and for something better)

    2) That we can abide in hope (Always longing to receive something better)

    or

    3) To realize salvation (Freedom) by abiding in love (The greatest of the three) by which our faith and hopes are substantiated and fulfilled)

    Trusting (knowing) that we will be ok seems to be preferred over hope. I think there is much to be said for being content with whatever life throws at us, knowing that everything will be ok in the end.

    If we know that we know that we know, then faith becomes somewhat obsolete. What I mean is, why not claim the promise as opposed to having faith [in] the promise?

    I think that love is the key to freedom, knowing that "The All" (God) is love and that He loves every living creature w/o partiality. If we can know this much, then we would fear nothing knowing that all is well, and that he will sustain us no matter where we are.

    GK
     
  5. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I found liberation when I found my own flame of desire.

    So perhaps it depends on how one defines desire, and whose desire it is. One of my spiritual teachers helped me to overcome bondage I had to the idea that I should not have any desires or passions. She explained that while clinging to our "wants" can be unhealthy and worrying about our "needs" likewise, pursuing our desires (where want meets need) can be empowering. This way, life is not just about need and necessity without flavor or pleasure... nor is it a mindless grabbing at whatever strikes one's fancy.

    Life and the spiritual work becomes about knowing the self- and all its patterns and complexes, and then working to uncover the soul within this self and its connection to the Divine (as an extension of it)... and then one's desires are about connection and extension and love.

    Then, pursuing these desires is liberating and for me, has allowed me to break free of all sorts of negative mental and behavioral habits- finding a middle road between austerity and hedonism. Pleasure and the sacred become entwined and refined, and our desires and work toward a better world- greater social justice, sustainability, and so on- become fulfilling actions in and of themselves.

    My take on it is that desire is not the problem- it is, as my spiritual teacher put it, "the lust after result." When we properly find our soul's desires, we find drivers to action, beauty, relationship, and strength. We learn to let go of attachment to outcome, and reside in a space of fulfillment... not because we have "arrived" but because our destination is the journey itself.

    Ultimately, we learn that through knowing ourselves and owning our capacity to change our own reality at will (that is, through changing our perspective and what we choose to take out of situations) allows us to fulfill every desire we have... because our desires will be aligned with the flow and pulse of the Divine itself, swirling all around and through us. We will find that we are ever chasing God, and fulfilled in this love we find.

    So... to your last post, GK, yes- love is the greatest of the forces, as it is the origin-force. In love, we no longer must trust what we do not personally know through experience (faith) nor must we hope for what we cannot know will come to pass (hope). Instead, we find fulfillment in our capacity to choose the kingdom of heaven, the presence of God through love, in every moment.
     
  6. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Shades of Reason

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    I like that ...

    I love your take on life, path. May I ask how you came to realize your "path" and what is it that moved you in the beginning stages?

    James
     
  7. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Thanks. :) My take on life evolves as I do, but the underlying current seems to remain the same as I float along. :D

    How I came to realize my path... oh my. Long story, short version- raised a Christian mystic (close to Quakerism, really), tried out evangelical Christianity because I wanted to belong with friends and husband's family... it was too much cognitive dissonance. Went back to Christian mysticism while studying anthropology and comparative religion. Found good stuff in all the religions and eventually realized I was most like a nature-centered animist. Became a Druid, and am now integrating it with some other Pagan traditions and whatever I get through inspiration. :)

    Long story, longer- all of my lives led me to this path. I just had to remember where it was and who I was.

    What moved me was the love of the Origin and connection to the underlying fabric of everything. The connection began as far back as I can remember (about four years old); I was first embraced by Light when I was 10. Everything since was either a flowing in harmony with this or a resistance to it. But the prime driver was always the same.
     
  8. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Path of One,

    You said,

    "...all of my lives led me to this path. I just had to remember where it was and who I was."

    --> I like that. That is exacly what has happened to me, too
     
  9. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    I think that the thoughts expressed in the OP are very profound. What if there is no salvation, no life hereafter, only this short existence? To think in such a way is truly to abandon hope, but what if we do? What happens? What happens if there is no hope, no inherent meaning to life? Religious people tell me that without these things there is no morality, but that is not my experience. Having given up hope for a life beyond this one, I feel a new sense of kindred with my fellow humans. I feel a sense of empathy deeper than I thought possible. I no longer feel that some sense of a cosmic justice can make up for my reluctance to act. I no longer have an out for my ethical responsibility. In short, I feel a greater sense of compassion and responsibility than I did when I believed that there was some meaning making divine regulator.



    Chris
     
  10. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Chris- I find the hope, or rather, the will to live as an ethical, loving, compassionate being for the sake of doing so much more compelling than ideas about the afterlife. Even though I do believe in reincarnation, the reason for acting, thinking, feeling, and motivating in a compassionate and mindful state is (to me) its own purpose. I have found, as you have, that people tend to me more just, loving, and passionate about life when they are focused on the present.
     
  11. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Hi Pathy!

    You know, I lost my brother, and now I'm freshly divorced. My life has been destroyed twice in the last couple of years. I've had to come to terms with my own mortality. I think they call that " mid-life crisis." What I've come away with is a real understanding of what it means when people talk about the importance of taking things one day at a time. Life skids by so quickly. More and more quickly the older we get. And the choice is there to slip into a jaded state, or truly embrace the beauty of the moment. "stop and smell the roses" becomes so much more than just a pleasant adage- it's a way to slow time down. And while I'm being in the moment I can't help but notice that my fellow creatures are just as fragile, and in need of concern as I am. In this sense the wisdom of the Tao, and the words of Christ, and the Buddhist notion of sorrow come to mean so much more than just feel good affirmations.

    Chris
     
  12. Virtual_Cliff

    Virtual_Cliff Well-Known Member

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    I would only add that for me, faith is knowing that I am in safe hands, and hope is knowing that my faith is not in vain.
    -cliff
     
  13. Virtual_Cliff

    Virtual_Cliff Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to hear about your troubles, Chris. I know there are no 'happily ever after' endings in real life, but sometimes, in my experience, there's nothing like a good kicking from life to make us wake up and see the truth. I've just read an illustration of this in the transcript of a session at the London Sufi Centre. Maybe there's something here that might resonate with you.

     
  14. Amergin

    Amergin Well-Known Member

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    Buddha was closer to the truth.

    One has to separate two issues that seem interwoven. Those are religion and belief in God. One can have god believe but reject organised religion (T. Paine) or have a religion with no god (Buddhism, Unitarians, Communism, and many individuals who believe in God but hate churches.

    This is because they developed separately for different reasons. Early humans invented or imagined, spirits to move the wind, bubble up springs, make rain, belch volcanoes, move animal's limbs and body functions, and to manufacture human thought. It was a reasonable guess for Stone Age people and it explained mysteries for them. Later spirits were merged into specialty Gods (Fire God like the original JHWH, the Wind God Allah, the Sun God Lugh, Aten, and Mithra and I think Jesus.) Soon the specialty gods were merged into one God.

    We like to lump concepts together for easier understanding. But religion was a parallel development. It was probably originally invented to codify beliefs, instil adherence to "correct" beliefs, and perform rituals to manipulate God for favours. Then political wankers found out that a Chief could use religion as a method of mind control discipline, justify authoritarian leadership (condoned by God of course), instil fear of punishment by the God for anything that offended him or the Shaman-Chief who is in communication with him.

    Eventually Religion was largely fused with God belief. It maintains god believe by threat, fear, and coercion. Government found religion a great tool of mind control, extracting taxes or tithes for God (utilised by the leaders), using the authority of God to compel political obedience and outlaw dissent.

    So we see the long term extreme of this in the Taliban Government of Afghanistan, the Wahabis of Saudi Arabia, and the de facto Christian Fundamentalist government in the USA. George Bush talked regularly to God, takes his advice, and admittedly sought religious conformity as his mission from God.

    Overall, while religious organisations do some wonderful work, the also spread mentally harmful ideas that bring misery, oppression of freedom, slavery, rule by unending fear. Using gods to explain (incorrectly) natural phenomena is harmless except to the individual believer. However, the long term result is ignorance and fear of science. Christianity and Islam do not make you free. They make you live in fear and loss of freedom.

    Amergin
     
  15. Virtual_Cliff

    Virtual_Cliff Well-Known Member

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    I think the topic in question is about desire versus contentment.

    Amergin, you have made your feelings about religion abundantly clear, but IMHO your anger is a little too near the surface. I think you will gain most from this forum by careful reading and reflecting, as well as giving your own opinions. I look forward to seeing your statements substantiated by your own experiences of life or by reference to other authorities.

    -cliff
     

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