Monday, August 13, 2012

I've got a new place to write! Hello Planet Buddha!

Good morning everyone, I hope Monday is treating you well so far!

I just wanted to let everyone know the exciting news.......I was invited to be a contributor at Planet Buddha! Click the link there, and you can see my first post. It's a blog that covers a very wide range of topics, you could say that it's anything and everything that might be considered in the realm of the "paranormal", although even that word doesn't do it justice. It's much more than that, but, don't take MY word for it, go ahead, click on the link, and see for yourself!

I am honored to have been invited to write for them, and I look forward to the opportunity to share my "perspective" with them, and to read the thoughts and opinions of my fellow contributors. Thanks Planet Buddha!

Friday, August 10, 2012

We are the world.......each in our own way

Hi folks, and welcome to my world. Literally, welcome to my "world".

I have one, you have one, everybody does.

We as individuals have our own worlds that we live in, our own unique way of seeing things. That's not news, most everyone knows that. But something I thought about recently made me think a little differently about me and my own particular world, and then of course, it made me think about everyone else's world too.

If you look up the word "unique" in a dictionary, the definition reads something like this: "Existing as the only one or sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics" (thank you ""). Now think about that for just a minute. The "only one" or "sole example". "Solitary in type or characteristics". That means that each and every one of us is truly the only one of our kind, there are no others exactly as we are. Sure, we're all human, and we share genetic factors among us, but even so, our minds are not at all alike, each of us is "unique" in that aspect.

Remember my last post, about religion? This uniqueness we all have is another reason why I think that we are so diverse in our religious beliefs. None of us see things exactly the same way, so that's why I said I thought it would be better for all of us if we just did our own thing, and left everyone else alone.

What I'm getting at here is that each and every one of us is alone in our thoughts, and we are therefore alone in our perceptions. No one else can ever see our lives as we do, just as we can never see anyone else's life as they see it. We each inhabit our own unique "world", and as we travel through life, even if we have others that walk closely beside us, experiencing the same things, we are still left to perceive it all through our own eyes, and take from those experiences what we decide to take. We can never know anyone as well as we know ourselves, nor can we say we can feel something exactly the same way someone else does.

But, again, none of this is news. Everyone knows they are their own person. But what if this "own person" thing extends into the spiritual realm? What if, when we leave these bodies, our spirit is also unique? Makes sense, right? The point is, it's not just here, on earth, that we are unique. When we leave these bodies and revert back to our "energy" existence, having all of time and space at our fingertips (at least I hope so), we are still the only one of our kind, in the entire universe. There is no other creature exactly like me, none exactly like you. We will still exist as a unique entity, experiencing everything in a unique way.

That puts everything in "perspective" for me. It tells me that in truth, I have no one to answer to but myself, no one at all. Even if there are more advanced or more evolved beings out there, "gods" so to speak, they can't see through my eyes, and even if they can or could, they are still viewing what I see through their own perceptual "filters", so again, they are not truly seeing things exactly like ME. I choose for myself what I choose to see, I choose what I want to learn, and I choose how I want to live, whether here on earth, or "out there" after this physical life is over. I cannot say that anyone else chose it for me. I can't say that anyone else is to blame for what happens to me, I can't say that anyone else "made" me do something. But I can also say that only I can assess my own life, only I can say if I've accomplished what I should have, or for that matter, I'm the only one that can choose what I WANT to accomplish. No one else's opinion on that, ultimately, really matters. Because I'm the only one I have to be comfortable with.

When you really begin to step back, and think about your existence from the viewpoint that only YOU can have, you begin to see that a lot of what you do to impress other people is completely unnecessary. We humans have this tendency to want to be like each other, we want to "fit in", it seems natural to do so, it makes us feel better to "belong" to something. But when you think about how unique you are, fitting in seems like the opposite of what should be done. Maybe what we should all be doing is taking our own "route", living how we want to live, and not be worrying about what anyone else thinks of it. I know this enters the world of "self worth", but if you know you are the only one, then there's really no one else that you can compare to, no one else is better, worse, or anything in between. We all exist. And that's it.

It's a pretty big leap out of "normal" thinking, to see oneself in that light. It means forgetting about anything anyone else is doing, forgetting about what anyone else is telling you you should be doing, and forging your own path, just because you CAN. Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to others at all, it just means that you should not just do whatever someone tells you to do just because they are someone you "look up" to. When you're a kid, of course you should listen to your parents, they have lots of great insight on how life "works", and what are good ideas for things to do, and what may not be. They can teach you about things that you haven't been able to experience yet. Sometimes they might seem like they are overly restrictive, but parents tend to do that, because they are aware of the dangers of life, and want to protect you from them. But it doesn't last forever, and when you are grown, you can then make all the "important" decisions without anyone else's input. Until then however, you ARE still making decisions for yourself, in how you deal with the situations you are in, in how you feel about them, and how you react to them. So it's no different than how adults think either. We each have to live with ourselves on how we decide to feel, because everything we do is a choice, even our emotions.

And sure, there's lots of decisions in life that we don't make for ourselves, but I believe everything is a step along a path, the path we've chosen to take. It may not always be pleasant, we may not always like where we are or what we HAVE to do, but we CAN choose not to feel badly about it. We can choose to see things positively, we can choose to let things go, and we can choose to take opportunities to learn from things we see as mistakes. And no one else can ever take that choice away from us.

Being unique is the best thing in the universe, there's freedom in it. Knowing I'm the only one is comforting, and I'm glad to be my own world. I hope you're glad to be in yours too.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Religion.....good or bad for mankind?

Hello folks, and welcome to another edition of Perth's Perspective. This time I'm going to talk about a subject that is very near and dear to most anyone out there, religion, and I'm going to start out by informing you that if you find anything about the post that follows offensive, you can simply stop reading. Remember that what I post here is my perspective alone, and not the opinion or perspective of anyone else. I am not out to attack or defame anyone or any form of religious practice, and therefore what follows should not be construed as such. Everyone has their own opinion, their own beliefs, and they are all entitled to them. Let's leave it at that, and everyone will be happier.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let's begin.

Religion. The mere mention of the word gets people fired up. And why? Because for most people, it's a very large part of who they are, the core of their belief system, and for lack of a better word, it's what "controls" their mindset, in their dealings with other people, and with life in general. It doesn't matter what country you live in, or what you do for a living, everyone has some sort of "system" of morals they believe in, things you do, and things you don't do, and most importantly, the belief in someone, a spiritual being, a "god", that has "control" over everything. Well, no, even that doesn't cover it, because there are some religions that think no one is in control. And some that think there are many "beings" in control. And some that think it's the stuff here on earth that we "answer" to, or that are sacred, and should be deemed just as alive and sentient as ourselves. Still others believe that we are just here, on our own, but that we get help from spiritual beings that are more "evolved" than us, but are not "gods". The list goes on and on.

To confuse things even further, within the same religious group, there may be several dozen different "denominations" or "sects", all who profess to believe in the same basic doctrine, but their activities and practices are different, as is usually their interpretation of their given religion's sacred text. All the mainstream religions have these "books", usually thousands of years old, supposedly written by the hand of their chosen "god" or a prophet who had the ear of that "god". They usually have guidelines on how we as humans are supposed to live, how to treat each other, and how we should deal with things should we find others who do not follow the same ideas. So, when different people, of different religious beliefs come in contact with each other, there are usually problems, and violence often ensues. Some of the books say that those that do not believe should be summarily executed. Others just say that everyone should be "converted" to that belief system, or suffer dire consequences in the "afterlife".

The question I have then, is religion a good thing for us to have? Should we trust in something so strongly that it moves us to try to control what other people do and think? I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to believe what they choose to believe, and that no one here on this earth is above anyone else, and has the right to choose for anyone else what they can and cannot do, or what they themselves choose to believe. Religion is what makes people do just that however, and it's so bad, it's become part of our systems of government as well. There's no such thing as a true democracy, because even in THIS country, the people who started things had a belief system of their own that pervaded everything that they deemed "right" and "wrong", so the system of government that they built followed those beliefs, even to this day. There were no other religious practices represented in the forming of the government, and while it is designed to provide representation for ALL people, the majority rules, and therefore, if the majority of people belong to one particular religious group, their ideas win. But why can't we have a government not based on ANY religion's ideas?

One big reason I can think of is that it would be difficult to completely separate religious beliefs from the making of law. People use their own moral code to create laws, and their moral code comes straight from their religious beliefs. It's like saying that you could create a law about murder, without thinking about whether or not you think it is wrong, and what penalties should be paid should a person commit murder. Each of us has an idea on that, and every one of us gets that idea from what we believe in our religious practice. I think some laws could be considered as "common sense", such as that law about murder, I mean, it doesn't take any conviction to any "god" to say it's probably not a good idea if the populace is allowed to murder each other without penalty, that would be called "anarchy", and there would be chaos.

What I'm talking about however is making law about things that, in my mind at least, ought to be a personal choice of the individual, and not the choice of those in government, or any group of individuals that finds that choice offensive to their own beliefs. In this country, it's things like who can marry, while in other countries, it's things like who have jobs or own a business. Personally, I think the government has no right to make those decisions, as they do not affect the populace as a whole, but are rather the choice of each citizen individually. But those religious beliefs creep into the minds of those who make the laws, and then therefore, the laws in essence ARE that religion. As a matter of fact, I just read today that the word "religion" in some ancient languages was synonymous as the word "law". The pervading religion was in fact the "law" of the day. But should it be that way for us today?

Many people in ancient times did not know how to read and write for themselves, and so they depended on their leaders to give them the direction they needed on what was acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Religion gave them that. They knew exactly where they stood in the grand scheme of things, and what was expected of them in their society. But today, with the internet, and the ability of global communication, and education systems that have most citizens able to read and write for themselves, is it really necessary for our governments to decide what is right and wrong for us as individuals? I think not.

There's no easy answer to the "religion" question. Some things about religion are great, it gives us a moral compass, it gives us something to share with our fellow believers, and it's very good for humans in general to feel like there is something out there to strive for. But when it is used against others of differing beliefs, I see no good coming out of it. Only hatred, bigotry, and violence. All through history we see it. Wars have been started and fought over religion. This god or that god's name has been used in the subjugation, torture, and mass murder of millions of innocent people. Everyone's common sense sees that in retrospect, those supposedly religious acts were in fact atrocities against mankind. But what if no one is killed, or tortured? What if they are just prevented from making a choice that should be theirs, because of a religious government? Is that any LESS a travesty?

What I wish is that people could and would see PAST their own religious beliefs, and realize that some things are not their place to choose for someone else. We've even got big businesses with religious affiliations trying to make laws now. They come out saying that they support one decision over another, to attempt to sway those in the government to vote that same way. And indeed to try to sway the public to see it their way too. But it's still a religious issue. There is no cause for any business, whether private or public, to become involved in a law that pertains to a personal choice. NONE. Leave the people alone, let them do what they want, as long as it does not harm anyone else. That's just common sense. They might as well come out and tell us that it should be a law that we can't eat where we choose, we can only eat at THEIR establishment, because the others are "wrong". It's a personal choice that should not be dictated to me by anyone, or otherwise, we don't live in a free country at all. Let's just have them tell us what car we can own, or where we're allowed to live, and better yet, let's have them tell us in what profession we will work. Yeah, seems moronic, sure, no one would live with that. But it's ok with us to let the government tell us who we can marry? Really? Wow, that's pretty amazing. I could have sworn it was my choice who I picked out as a spouse. Oh well, I guess they'll pick me someone that suits me, and I'm sure we'll get along just fine.

Makes sense, right? That's religion for you. Sometimes it's good, but at times like this, all I can say is that it's BAD, very bad. Let's keep our religions to ourselves shall we? I have mine, you have yours. You have your personal decisions, I have mine. Can't we all just leave it at that?