Pray? Me? Pass.

 

I never got in a regular habit of praying as a believer and here’s why.

I’m an introvert. We hate small-talk…with anyone…including ‘God,’ whomever that is. I don’t like talking when I really have nothing to say and unlike many people I crave silence when there’s not an active conversation going on with another person. I have only heard of one person who said they heard the ‘audible voice of God,’ and I wasn’t told that by the person. That was in my Foursquare days when there were demons under every placemat. When I was there I was encouraged to not meditate as I had practiced it in my ‘former’ life as that was leaving doors open to ‘demons.’

I talked to ‘God’ because I was told by some that I needed to. I was told by others that I had to. In fact one pastor said I’d lose my ‘salvation’ if I didn’t pray. I guess we’ll overlook Romans 11:29 while we’re trying to scare a group of newbies into conforming and so they’ll keep coming back.

Talking gets to be exhausting. I just never liked being the only thing speaking in an empty room and that was what praying to ‘God’ felt like EVERY TIME. I did some of it but ‘I never prayed without ceasing.’ I suspect it was part of what led to my eventual exit from the faith. Today when I meditate I may state an intention or chant a bit but it’s very limited and not consistent. I ‘pray’ a little but I am no longer sure who I’m praying to anymore or if there is anyone to pray to. I may return to it as part of my spiritual practice, but I doubt it’ll be at the core. It will be my decision and not at anyone’s behest.

Advertisements

Deep Purple and stuff

 

It’s not a completely white room, but
when I look at my new black curtains,
that song pops into my head sometimes.

I bought black curtain panels for the MBR and blackout liner panels. It has been an interesting project. I have never had to buy curtains before. When I’ve lived in apartments they’ve always already had them and I didn’t try to change them out. This window is 8′ wide. I’m using the existing main curtain rod which runs the full width of the window. The curtain rods in the store only extend out to 7′, so you have to be a bit creative to handle a window this wide. The liner panels come with a pack of pin-hooks for you to hang them on the backside of the curtain. The liners are heavier than the curtains, so I didn’t want the pins ripping through the fabric over time.

I bought two rods, and used the two outer tubes and one inner tube which provided a 10-11′ extension. Then I placed a support bracket every two feet along the wall to hold it up. This window uses 3 black curtain panels and three blackout liner panels. The liners hang from the rod using clip rings, which I bought separately. I ended up making several trips to Bed, Bath, and Beyond as I continued to figure out what was needed and spent close to $180.

If I were to do this over I’d first measure the window and decide what length of curtain I wanted, and how many panels to buy. These are 63″. I don’t much care for curtains that extend to the floor hanging in front of a shallow window. You can find curtain panels up to 7′ long, which is good for tall windows in a house.

I like how it’s turned out. I’ve been buying black furniture pieces, so they fit the decor I’m looking for.

If there’s a ‘Hell’ I’ll probably be there, and that’s okay

Physically, as in a geometric location prepositionally oriented to the Earth (below), or a co-planar alter dimension of roasty torments, probably not. But in the hearts and minds of some of the people I’ll leave behind, I’ll be ‘down there,’ wailing and gnashing my teeth because I chose to no longer believe.

The trouble with the afterlife is that we have to die to find out what it is. We talk about it as if we’ve sent NASA battlebot rovers through the tunnel and into the light and we’ve been watching the live feed on the agency’s website. The truth is, we don’t know. We have no reproducible evidence of what, if anything, is over there, or if there is in fact an ‘over there.’ There is a lot of speculation and supposition among people, and most of it is very fervently held.

We live on in the hearts and minds of the people whose lives we’ve touched. That’s the only ‘afterlife’ that’s verifiable. It’s the only afterlife that we do know. That’s why forgiveness is so important, not because of a threat that God won’t forgive you if you refuse. It’s so that you’re not carrying around the burden of encounter after encounter, and situation after situation for years afterwards, and possibly to your grave.

When people die and someone sees them in Hell because they chose to not believe in Christ, or at least to not believe in the ‘Christ’ that was being preached at them, it means that they have a place in their heart for the purpose of burning and torturing people, and they’ve placed that person, their memories of that person, there. And if they have a particularly sick pathology, they take delight in the fact, and count it a blessing to one day observe it. That idea goes back to at least the 13th century, to St. Thomas Aquinas.

I personally know a few people who shine the outsides of their mental furnaces, and whenever I go, if they’re still here, they’ll likely toss me in with the others.

The thing is, eternity, the other side, whatever that is…whatever experience, if any that I’ll have when my time ends here, that’s between me and the creator. That’s between me and the universe. It’s not anyone else’s business. And it certainly has nothing to do with whatever movie is playing in someone else’s head, now or after I leave this experience.

When the universe has other ideas


The lunch wagons are kinda loosely ‘scheduled’ near the office. Sometimes there’s the one you expect and on days like today there’s not. I went down towards the area and headed back in the direction of the office. Instead of taking the sidewalk I walked on the pavement. This downed dove chick has a hurt wing and was here by the curb. She wouldn’t let me scoop her up to help her onto the dirt away from traffic. I messaged a friend from the office who came down and helped get her up off the pavement. There are bushes she can hide under until she heals a bit more. 

To transform what is

20170512_120231“You know, if we understand one question rightly, all questions are answered. But we don’t know how to ask the right question. To ask the right question demands a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity. Here is a question, a fundamental question: is life a torture? It is, as it is; and man has lived in this torture centuries upon centuries, from ancient history to the present day, in agony, in despair, in sorrow; and he doesn’t find a way out of it. Therefore he invents gods, churches, all the rituals, and all that nonsense, or he escapes in different ways. What we are trying to do, during all these discussions and talks here, is to see if we cannot radically bring about a transformation of the mind, not accept things as they are, nor revolt against them. Revolt doesn’t answer a thing. You must understand it, go into it, examine it, give your heart and your mind, with everything that you have, to find out a way of living differently. That depends on you, and not on someone else, because in this there is no teacher, no pupil; there is no leader; there is no guru; there is no Master, no Saviour. You yourself are the teacher and the pupil; you are the Master; you are the guru; you are the leader; you are everything. And to understand is to transform what is.

I think that will be enough, won’t it?”

― Jiddu Krishnamurti

Jammin’

20170509_150250This past Saturday night I was at a birthday party for one of my musician friends. I joined them on stage with one of my Irish whistles for a few rounds of improvisation. This was a wake up call for me to get back in practice with my whistle.