Soul Survivor

Spirit. That which animates the animal is spirit and without it the animal is dead. As animals we create spirits that in turn animate us. We are the animal host for spirit. When the animal is gone, what then of its spirit? We are familiar with spiritual expressions that we share and have in common. Emotions are an obvious expression of the spirit we host. We have all known anger, grief, happiness, contentment, want, frustration etc. The spirit we choose reinforces itself emotionally, behaviourally, mindfully and we develop a personal psychology by which we are a known identity. We can and do choose the spiritual signature by which we are known. I believe that spirit is the creative force that is the life our animal knows. I believe it is life. Having said that, much of the spiritual experience we enjoy, I believe, is of a temporal nature and knows no durable quality.

I believe it is easy to make ourself, entirely, a temporal being of no durable quality and I consider that to be ownership. The notion that by any means we can deserve, or earn something. We can not. There is another way to consider ourself that does not include ownership; allowing the absolute quality of spirit, time and space. Life as the animal knows it, gifted to absolute-spirit, by the animal host. In Christianity, the culture I have been born into, we are taught that only a God can do this and we are taught that one man, and only one man, was also God. To be blunt, or as I believe Jesus would himself say, that is a lie. In Christian doctrine it is made clear that we should not even look for the truth but instead to accept it on faith. Faith being the only way the truth could be known and your faith must follow what you are told is true without question. Of course you are allowed to question within the parameters of the established faith; that is farce. Please accept my apology, I know it sounds rude to be so blunt, direct and honest. I have added these considerations up, as my lifetime, and have found my consideration, as written here, to be what seems to me to be true.

The story of Christ is meaningless if Jesus is God. Its only value is if it tells us of our human condition. Of who we are. A woman gave him birth, there is no mystery in that. If we can just be honest about that we begin to find our way. So what would Jesus do and does it matter?

I can accept what the New Testament alludes to as being true but not the testament itself. I know the history of the testament as well as the claims made about it and I can not accept the claims as true. As to what Jesus would do, I think he would do what I am doing, see for himself. Look, listen, question. Place all of his confidence in what is true, what is absolute, what is God, to have faith only in that and not what others claim about it. To accept that things can only be as they are and that a person committed to that discovery will find what makes an example and demonstration of itself, the truth. It needs no advocate and no one can take possession of it, yet, a person can make their self available to it by ridding their self of what displaces it. That is the message, the promise of Christ, that ordinary people do ordinary things even if it is unusual.

So what then of spirit, can we choose a spirit that is true? Did spirit create us or do we create spirit, and does it matter?

If there is a true spirit I think it would be the soul, a soul that can not be saved, but rather, is itself salvation. It does not belong to you, you belong to it. It created you and enjoys you, no matter what you do. You are forgiven and forgiveness is the narrow gate on the narrow path. The key to this gate is compassion. There is no compassion without forgiveness and compassion is an absolute because it knows only a single measure and can not be exhausted. Should a person truly be compassionate, and maintain forgiveness, they will also know, or be acquainted with, the truth, because the truth is absolute and all absolutes are of the same single measure. Certainly God is absolute, whatever God might be.

What of this forgiveness, this narrow path and gate? Who is it for? I can only forgive myself. When I have done that forgiveness exists in this world and anyone in need of it can find some measure of it in me. We are all the same, as likely to be one way as another and this is why forgiveness for the one, for the self, is forgiveness for the other. You remember, “There but for the grace of God go I”.

So then there is the spirit of forgiveness which is the gate by which compassion and its spirit is known. It is a narrow path and easy to fall from forgiveness. In the struggle to remain on the path we are taught how, what and who to forgive. Eventually we reach the gate.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2014

The Gravity of Being

Transitioning from a guarded spiritual experience to one of openness, I must be at spiritual ease, even among those who can not accept what I experience. To make public the experience of spirit, establishing in every opportunity of community, the spiritual and the terrestrial being.

Between terrestrial life, its beginning and its end, is life. Flesh without its spirit is dead and we have no evidence our spirit expires with our dead body. We do imagine that our body, being animated and with spirit, is that spirit. It is not. It knows our spirit and our spirit is part of a spiritual community. The spiritual awareness we have, as terrestrial beings, tends to be limited, distracted by our gross nature. Our animated form is dead except for its spirit. There is an inherent anxiety in that. When I consider nature, there is a consistency that I am drawn to; gravity. I imagine a cellular gravity and it creates polarities, movement, electricity, chemical reaction, etc. I have not studied the science of this but am quite certain that some gravity, perhaps by a different name, a different understanding, is at play. What I see is gravity, by whatever name. I see gravity as fundamental, a theme that is basic in all that is known to exist. A constant that must be expressed and respected. The being, that is the bearing of a terrestrial life form, creates a gravity that attracts a spirit.

Of terrestrial life there is a temporary being that mimics spirit. We form, I believe, a temporal gravity of being, or beings. This community then mimics the spiritual community of which we belong displacing it and we create reality.

I have seen spirits that are without terrestrial form. I do not think that is particularly unusual. Young children, I think, are particularly receptive to the spiritual life that we are connected to. It does not take long to get distracted. We develop other concerns and a gravity that works to fulfill those concerns. We can return to our spiritual orientation, developing a gravity that sheds barriers to spirit and draws to us the community of which our spirit heralds. It seems that this effort, in human social environments, has an ‘original’ handicap. That handicap is the social environment and its gravity that drew us, as children, away from spiritual concerns and acquaintances. By this process our bearing became fixed to physiologic-social concerns. Bearing creates gravity. This gravity, centered on physical needs, collects and in turn separates us from our spiritual origin. Drawing the expressions of our spirit-origin into human social circumstance, requires a gravity, that is unusual but no less ordinary than any other human activity.

By creating a bearing, the intention to do such a thing, gravity begins. If the bearing is true, and remains true, it creates an environment of both terrestrial and spiritual beings. The subtleties of doing this can not be overstated. It is not an achievement. There can not be sense of achievement. No merit. That tends to be quite contrary to the bearing we develop as we build the identity that becomes our terrestrial person.

I am between the private comfort of spiritual acquaintance and a casual openness, accepting the rationals that would challenge my spiritual experience, while simultaneously enjoying spiritual living. To greet skepticism with approval and not feel oppressed. A comfort in being spiritually aware and humanly engaged, simultaneously, without serving as a partition between the two. A casual comfort or bridge willing to engage, or not, all the while being fully engaged. I think this middle ground, I seek, is where I will once again know the casual comfort of non-terrestrial spiritual beings.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2014

Growing Spirituality

What if, of what makes up what is, there is sentient, cognizant, aware, intelligent existence expressing the existence of sentiency, cognition, awareness and intelligence that is just a basic part of what is, of existence? That these qualities simply exist and that in addition to our experience, as physiologic life, purer examples, unfettered by temporal constraints, inhabit existence. What if of this there is a God entity? A gravity of these qualities and of this gravity a community of beings whose forms are independent of physiology. Unconstrained by time and space. What if we have a soul that is like that? Would that explain anything? Make sense? If it is so, and I like think it is, these beings know us. At least I think they do and I have had experiences that are supportive of my considerations.

This community would then be something we are a part of and our history is full of anecdotal accounts of its existence. I make such an account.

In my personal experience, involvement with the likes of these has reward. In my experience, to be with them in a cognizant state of shared awareness, requires, a certain calm and ease, a place of acceptance that is its own reward. Additionally, these are beings who are endowed with attributes, capabilities, functionality. They can be and are of profound assistance. That has been my personal experience, anecdotal as it may be. The most frightening experiences of my life have also involved these kind of ‘entities’ for lack of another word. They are transparent yet able to make an introduction and presentation that will not be ignored. That can be unsettling. Idiosyncrasy of thought, of mind, of subtle disposition seem to be an instrumental gravity by which cognitive awareness of this sort of presence is realized, or rather, appreciated.

I believe that these kinds of relationships are key to my happiness and success in life. I have no other incentive to pursue these concerns. Beyond a doubt, as an adult, I was my happiest and most content when these relationships flourished. At that time, I was careful to be guarded about my spiritual community of transparent entities, at least I like to think so. Many people have similar interests and I know many people. I have shared these experiences in a way that I imagined to be selective.

We choose our gravity. All of our considerations are then filtered as gravity does what gravity does; collect. It is in this way we find ourself in the midst of what I call providence. We are never given a different task but are always free to choose, if and when, we will do it. This is central to everything we can and will do. Our entire experience is the product of this single omnipresent opportunity. Around it we create the experience that is reality. It puzzles me that we choose to ignore the presence of these transparent entities. Ignorance has a gravity and when we choose it, it creates. Creativity, I think, is our only authority.

Proof. Do I imagine that I would prove all of this? No. I have no such hope and would consider it to be an exercise of folly. I write of personal experience. Anyone who would have such an experience is free to do it themselves and the incentives to do so are infinite, constant, everywhere. I only look to make myself comfortable with my own experience and to make that example in the open. To simply live the life I am drawn to. I am doing it. Writing about experience I have had and expecting the once rich spiritual experience I knew to return. I do expect that being spirituality open, vulnerable, will be a different experience. I expect it will be a more profound experience.

Will this tree bear fruit? Yes it will. Like you, I will have to wait and see just what that fruit is. One thing is certain, without the planting of seed, there is no fruit, and I have been planting seed.

Micheal, The Mystic Tourist ©2014

An Empty Promise; Fulfillment

As I take my spirit walk, working to reconcile my temporal nature with something more complete, something spiritual, I write. I rarely have an idea other than to write and I discover the content of my work just as you do when you read it. When I am not writing content for this blog, I am still writing, writing what could only be helpful to me. I do write plenty of social-political content and that all winds up, for the most part, on Facebook. I love to write. I realized, by way of my awkward writing ritual, that I needed to be very direct about my relationship with God. To write of it here on my blog.

What is this God? How do I explain God? Certainly much of my blog answers these questions and yet I have come to believe that being more forthright is required if I am to grow into my appointment, the elimination of potential by way of realizing it. Writing as the Tourist I have hoped to avoid building a box and calling it God. It is not our place to define God. God self-represents and so definition is needless. Pointless. The definitions we have given God have created God. A God in our image and likeness, a false God.

To my mind, It seems that cognition, sentiency, awareness, being, the ability to appreciate experience, are as is everything else of which yourself, myself, everything is comprised. I believe that these conditions are independent of physiology. That like everything else that is, they are. My temporal form is not required and these qualities are manifest in its absence. I believe in creation. I believe it is what is. It is the only thing that ever happens, it is constant and perpetual, infinite. There is no end to it or beginning. Without it nothing exists and every, any possibility, is known because of it. We are imbued with its authority and that greater authority is of God, or perhaps, God also is of that authority, yet we are not the greater authority. I believe, that of the ability to be self-aware, there is what is like, but is not a human person , and that it is God. That, God existence, would know us and would that we would know it. It seems a person might empty their self in such a way as to be with God and I have spent my life swinging back and forth between thinking I will make this discovery, or not be bothered. I am always pressed with the urgency of this decision and it dominates my life. I have found that I am happiest when I pursue it. I spent twelve years being outraged; I thought it was outrageous that I should be dominated by such sensibilities as a sense of devotion to God.

Ego is the fundamental challenge in knowing God. Perhaps God has no ego. Ego is not inclined to be empty, it wants to be full as well as to fill the circumstance that is its place. The emptiness that is, can not be filled, and ego then makes the effort to fill it a waste of its time. You can take nothing with you when your time is spent. There is a desperation in that and ego is keen to express it.

Some spiritually minded people believe the ego must be defeated, destroyed, if enlightenment or spiritual fulfillment is to be realized. I do not. I believe it must be reconciled with origin and destination, to be in a state of approval, contentment, of satisfaction. To be without want, content with what is. Poverty nor wealth matter. The law is of abundance and all conditions support it. When we let go of everything that fails to fulfill us we are left with what does.

Such is my consideration in matters of being with God. There is no possibility of making this an accomplishment and that is difficult for the ego. The ego must reach a state of acceptance, of letting what is be and of being what is. To abandon the effort of making more of it or making ruin of it. Either posture is that of ownership which we all know is naught. We leave life as we found it taking nothing but rather we give to it. We give what we have created as that is our only authority.

When I think of fulfillment, as a human temporal presence, I look to be divine. To be what is incarnate, as well as what animates us and yet is not incarnate. An awareness of self that precedes and succeeds the brevity of my so-called life.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2014

God Is Not A Mystery

God

Secular Mysticism; Faithless Confidence in God.

When I write that I am without faith, I am being specific. I am without religious faith. My faith is of a secular nature and is a confidence entirely and only in God. I believe in God. My life is dominated by God. I trust no dogma concerning God. No God I would care to know needs an intermediary and those who claim God does, implied or otherwise, are undeserving of my trust in this regard.

This God, whom I claim is my singular devotion, who is this God? I consider that God is inescapable. Even if God is naught, then that is the God that can not be escaped. It is not possible to remove yourself from the experience that is God and so I think God would know each of us personally. Directly, without intermediary, so I know God. We all do.

Like all people, influence runs roughshod over my life experience. I consider the influence that fills my life to be born of Providence, that is to say, it is directed by God, and through my devotion to God, this is how it has shaped me.  I am a Taoist, not because I have studied it but because that is the nature of my life. I live that way. I was raised a Christian under the auspices of Catholicism. I believe Jesus was as I am because that is the only Jesus that makes sense to me. Time alone, is what separates me from Jesus and so we are the same. He made an example of how any person might live. That was his purpose, his example and expectation of me. I do not believe the words, of others, who tell me who and how he is. I am confident that whatever he did, the same might be expected of any of us and so I live as if it is.

Did God create me? I believe God gave me permission to create myself and there is expectation in that gift, an obligation, or appointment to be kept. Only in keeping my appointment do I stand with God. I have not always been keen on keeping my appointment but I am making the effort again. I think that what each of us is capable of is largely ignored, and I, have a history of taking that as a personal insult, of being angry. The world we live in, the way things seem, we create. We are imbued with creative authority. We each use this authority, collectively for the most part, pretending all the while that we do not. This would be our primary, or original sin, ignorance, and the message Jesus endeavored to teach us. We are as he was and that is made clear because a woman gave him birth. There is no mystery in that.

What do I think of the stories that tell us Jesus performed miracles? I think they are stories. I do not believe in miracles. I believe if Jesus did, what people call miracles, that it was an example of our true nature. An example to emulate. Something that he considered ordinary, something anyone might do and so he did. He set aside his ignorance and the denial it creates. With that out-of-the-way he behaved as anyone else might, or, it is just a story. Fiction. The truth concerning this can be known, not as an exercise of sophistication, but rather as a matter of acquaintance. Knowledge, in matters spiritual, absolute truth and the like, is always by acquaintance and never by sophistication. The Tree of Knowledge is known for its sinful fruit, usually referred to as good and evil, but I have come to understand the fruit of this poisonous tree to be right and wrong. Right implies ownership which always corrupts the true nature of knowledge which is always, as a matter of truth, merely acquaintance. Right also creates wrong, it must because it does not exist without it. That is the nature of the Tree of Knowledge whose seed is ignorance. You can also read of the Tree of Knowledge in the Book of Genesis. I would not recommend it but as a reference I mention it.

It has been some time since I have added to my blog, not that I have not been busy, I write daily. Writing is a tool for my personal growth. It is always personal and at times unsuitable for publication. Of late that has been the nature of my writing, unsuitable for publication. I seem to have been taking a spiritual inventory that can serve only me. I hope to be back to The Mystic Tourist and wherever it leads now that I have made this contribution. We shall see. For a blog post this one is considerably longer than I prefer and so I will leave you with an apology for that and my hope to make regular, yet brief, contributions as we go forward.

Micheal, The Mystic Tourist ©2014

Back to Eden

Just considering these words, Self-Respect, Self-Control, Opportunity and Optimism, has corrected my mind. It has silenced my self-deprecating inner voice. Much like a magical incantation. The effect was instantaneous and has been durable. It is just this sort of experience that motivates me to live a providence based life, devoted only to God, sure that whatever I need is before me at all times. That God, whether God is or is naught, provides, and I only need to accept, by grace, what is the answer for every question. I know that the subtlety of thought is powerful and it creates how I am. My expectation is to allow my thought to create, who I am. To prepare a place, unstructured by burdensome thought, free of the restraint that our thought so often imposes on us. A place suitable for my soul. A temple, a throne.

My ability restored, I can now begin to live the life that will bring me the opportunity needed to be the person I am.

I have seen the subtle power of the content of my mind, its thought. Much of what we think is as a box, a prison that restrains us. We think we have to build a place of strength but our thought serves us best when it has no rigid characteristic. When thought is flexible, creation is unleashed and the magic that is our nature is revealed.

It is not our place to define ourselves, so much as it is to allow ourselves to be defined as we are. Generally, I stay away from biblical reference because it is used to support every position, any position. People spin it any way they like, but here goes. In Genesis we were said to ‘name’ the creatures. It is an act of creation, the name implies what is. It defines and creates it. The whole of the creature is contained in its name, in the thought that comprises it. This is why we can not ‘name’ God. When we name God we define, or create God. That is always a false God, powerful yes, but false. It seems obvious to me that this is what is being implied by the naming of the creatures in Genesis. It alludes to who we are, and so I mention it.

I am also fond of the Tree of Knowledge, you remember, Adam and Eve shared an apple. I do not buy into the good and evil story, I see right and wrong. The fruit of the tree is right and wrong and that is evil. Nothing is right without wrong, and wrong, without right, is naught. Ownership is the poison of this tree. Right and wrong are the foundation of ownership. There is no special knowledge that separates me from the rest, but ownership, implies an undeserved privilege. The name of this tree is Knowledge and Knowledge is ownership, unless it is simple acquaintance.

The knowledge I seek is acquaintance, the simple observation of what is. I seek only truth, and have no care for being right. Please, I don’t believe. Why should I consider myself right? I can see my life and I am standing here looking at yours. Anyone who thinks they are right is wrong because of it. It is not possible to be right without wrong. They are the same. If we are not inclined to be right we can instead do what seems best. You don’t have to be right and no one is wrong.

I decided long ago that this was as far as anyone need look in the Bible for guidance. The first few lines of Genesis is all you need and if you are looking for Eden, here on earth, don’t bother. We left it. It is not an earthly place. You can travel there in your mind and know its mystery, its secrets, but that is the only place you will find it here on earth. Eden is where your soul lives. You can make a place suitable, in your person, for you soul, and who you are will also be how you are.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013

Solomons Key and The Kundalini

Winning the lottery. Tonight’s Mega Millions Jackpot is $99,000,000. The lump-sum payout is about $26,900,000, after taxes, and that works out to just under $10,000,000 when divided by three. When I play the lottery, I plan on winning, and giving two-thirds of it away. I know that $10,000,000 is more than I will need to live and pursue my interests. I do not always play. I wait until it is in excess of $60,000,000 and even then I do not necessarily play. It has been some time since I have bothered and if it gets too big, I lose interest. It is not about the money.

I have always thought, why not the lottery? Even when I was young it seemed the obvious way to succeed. Beyond that, I came to believe I would win, even when there was no lottery, and, in the twenty-eight years of the lottery, I have not won. I still believe, and so, occasionally I play.

In science we know that light travels at a known speed. This allows us to look into the past, at least in so far as the our solar system and the universe are concerned. The future is very predictable. Things grow, it’s predictable. Things move, it’s predictable. We plan for war, it’s predictable. There will be a drought, it’s predictable and on and on. People imagine things, and predictably, create them. When I consider winning the lottery I think there is a way to see it beforehand. How? I work with metaphysics and spirituality. These areas of expertise are plagued and fraught with subtlety. When the subtle structure is true, there is clarity, perception, understanding and passage.

We can consider our human condition similarly to light. We can see into the past and the future is predictable. An individual is not alone and none of us are separated from the past or the future. Both tenses are entirely present in the moment and all of humanity is represented in each of us. All who will be and all who have been. This is where subtlety, for me, is most vexing. We are all creative and constantly creating, none of us do this alone. How then does a person realize the integrity of personal authority and create accordingly? After all, the creative collective of humanity is at best chaotic and that is our creative environment. How do we set aside the chaos and restore clarity? It would seem that with clarity chaos is naught. What appears to be chaotic is an illusion, albeit one that we tend to be trapped in and work to perpetuate.

There can be no separation between chaotic creativity and creative clarity, we are one community. Out of the apparent chaos, the community gives rise to creative clarity, much as an individual rises up within their person to find clarity, success. Metaphysically, spiritually I look at this using the template of the Kundalini. I have studied the Kundalini, as a metaphysical, spiritual tool, at length. It is what I call a mysticism, in other words, I have not read about it. Mysticism for me springs from providence and is entirely empirical. My understanding of the chakras, and the Kundalini, is from personal experience. I have flipped through a picture book and read, at best, a few hundred words on the subjects. Additionally, I believe there are such things as mystical keys. The one I am drawn to is the Key of Solomon. I believe I know what it is and fundamentally how it works. The center pillar of the key is the Kundalini. When the Kundalini is realized, it is as a pillar that supports a temple the centermost part of which is the Key of Solomon. It is an actually place and a way to be. It is clarity and the magic that has long been attributed to it is a myth. That is of course because it is no more magical than everything else we do. Everything we do is magic. It is our nature.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013

Spiritual Awakening

My ability to be independent, free and resourceful, unburdened by the hand of restraint, has found a new lease. I have renewed my commitment to opportunity, restoring possibility to my sight. It had been beyond my sight, a distant horizon and all I needed was to stand. Easier said than done. The burden that pulled me down did so incrementally. Employing just the moment; persistent, constant, unnoticed. The product of my long-held betrayal of self, now informs me. These burdens always collect in the lower chakras and when they pull us down, we establish norms and habits that perpetuate and reinforce their permanence. The lower chakras are, at best, poorly lit.

Back in 1981 I came to believe I would win a lottery in California and that would be the means of my financial security. Not very helpful. There was no lottery in California at that time, only the constant talk of, maybe, someday. Idle chatter across the populace. In 1984 the voters of the state passed proposition 37 and on October 3 1985 the first drawing was held. I am still confident that I will win the darn thing, but not by some luck. There is a way to understand it. To be honest I would rather have some different notion than imagine that such a thing is possible and that I should pursue it. I do not waste much time or money on it. I only play if the jackpot is in excess of 60 million dollars and then I buy three identical tickets so I can easily give most of it away. In the meantime I pursue more traditional career paths. That is not working out very well either. The cost of living has outpaced my means.

Today I am able to be open about my mystical sensibilities without hedging against the hostile intentions of an intimate acquaintance. I have managed to restore myself spiritually and expose myself in the process. I suppose that is some sort of notable benchmark. I wonder if it is? I have long suspected that my overall success was tied, first to my spiritual life and secondly to living spiritually publicly. I am pretty sure I have restored my spiritual posture and I have done that very publicly. Now I shall see if I can walk the walk. If I can it is a Brave New World because I have not done it before.

I believe the world is magical and we are magical beings. That nothing happens any other way. It is the norm, the way things are, what we are doing all the time. Call it creation if you will and that we are creative. This belief leaves me with one incentive; to live that way. It is the way I live.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013

Our Miraculous Nature

We either have a miraculous nature, or we don’t. If we do it is not something that is particular to just one person, it must be a trait we all share. If we do have this authority, then the world we experience is its product. It is active and we are its masters. It would also be true that ignorance is the throne from which we rule. How then might a person retrieve this authority from behind the seal of denial, in the void that is ignorance? The tomb from which its ghost haunts us.

Why believe we have creative authority, a miraculous nature, that we are magical?

I abandoned religion some forty plus years ago but my interest in this lies in my Catholic upbringing. Today there are touchstones from that cultural tradition that stoke my curiosity. The story of the miraculous nature of Jesus Christ, of course, and the legend of Solomon. Francis Bacon is an interesting character of which many interesting stories have been told. A modern example of magic-like control, are the well documented talents of Wim Hof. My observations lead me to be sure that we control much more than we allow ourselves credit for.

How then might a person discover this understanding of our nature? Well the first thing is to accept that it might actually be true. People have profound experiences as a matter of everyday life. Stuff that seems supernatural. Much of this can be dismissed, by further investigation, and some of it can not. Basic communication is an interesting topic to explore. How many times have you wondered, who is staring at me, only to turn your head and see the person? That is communication, however, do we understand it?

There are a lot of exercises a person can do to develop intuition. One of my favorites is to know when a traffic light will change, to sense it, and be on mark. You can imagine what is in the mailbox, and be on mark. Whether or not the newspaper has arrived and so on. This develops intuition or psychic skills. For a time I was quite skilled at this sort of thing, now, it is all hit and miss. Not sure why. Subtlety is the rule. Any ownership compromises success in matters of spiritual truth. What have I owned? Maybe it is a variation, along the lines of ownership, that I do not quite understand. I have thought it might be reluctance and have worked to be more open, transparent, honest. In the meantime my success is sputtering along, waiting for the round peg in the round hole.

My life is no less spiritual. It is as if someone is standing beside me asking if I am going to come along with them. I answer yes and yet that does not seem to be the required answer. It keeps me wondering, is there an action, a behavior lacking? I know the answer is immediately at hand, but what is it? I will guess that my resolve is the answer and an epiphany is to be expected, a sudden realization of what has been obvious all along.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013

The Psychology of Faith

The comfort of religion is born of faith. It stills the turmoil of question and wonder, giving it a reservoir where it can be kept safe and not trouble us. We turn to faith when life’s difficulties give rise to doubt. We make it our resolve and forgo the question, taking comfort in an answer that is faith. It is a path to confidence that frees a person from all sorts of troubling details. A person of faith, will form the rational supporting their faith, into a structure that protects faith, isolating faith from challenge. A fortress in which faith is fortified and faith also has a community. The faith-based community is a source of strength and support providing exclusive opportunity. Displaying the symbols of faith sends easily recognizable signals and opportunity falls in your lap. Faith gives us psychological tools by which we defend and promote our self. These tools plug us into a larger web of supportive cultural psychology. All of this lends a person resolve and confidence.

Faith is as a shortcut to confidence. Confidence does not need it but faith is useless without confidence.

Does faith help? Is it good? I think it depends on the individual, pretty much like everything else. When a person is rigid in their belief, I think that their faith has injured them. Blinded them. When the person of faith is flexible, that individual taps into something much deeper. Something true. It is not their faith so much that they value but the tenants of it that allow flexibility and accommodation. To be accepting without judgement, a truly supportive person. Each person, whether they have faith, or not, chooses the tenants of their character and I think faith is as valuable a resource for building a respectable and admirable character as any other choice. After all, good people are needed in the faith-based community, just as they are needed everywhere else and you will find them there.

Some of the most remarkable people I have ever known draw their strength from their faith. These are people who are admired by nearly everyone they know. People who are as an anchor, giving community a bearing of durable value. Of course the opposite is as true. The empty drum does make the loudest noise and some people of faith, just aren’t very nice. Judgmental, pious, self-righteous but you do not need faith to be an ass and faith really has little to do with it. Poor behavior, by a person making a show of their faith, gives the faith-based community a black eye, but it shouldn’t. Behavior is particular to the individual.

Me, I have no faith. I just believe things to be as they are. Things can only be as they are, there is no other possibility. Everything is self-evident and can be observed. To me that is God. I am aware, I am a cognizant sentient being and I do not believe that cognition, sentience or awareness depend on physiology to exist. I think they exist with or without it and that we create reality. Creation is a constant and we have creative authority.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013