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Dr. Kerr, I presume?
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Alt comparative religion & Chronic Dx thread

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by Denn, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. Denn

    Denn Guest

    Folks,

    I would like to start an alternative comparative religion thread as the Buddhism and CFS thread seems to have gotten a bit bogged down ;) Frankly, I think you should be able to speak about whatever religion you want even if you are not a full-blooded Cherokee :rolleyes:. Indeed, Religion should be here to inspire us, not to enslave us to a roster of prescriptions (see how I cleverly worked in a medical allusion).

    So, to start, I would like to say that I think all Religious doctrines are bunkum. Period. We need to get rid of the whole lot and think for ourselves. If people want to wall themselves off in isolated little corridors of thought, so be it. It's not for me.

    Ultimately, everything is energy. Our descriptions, religion included, are always only partial, inaccurate depictions of this energy. The more they are isolated in ethnic and cultural backwaters, the more irrelevant and inaccurate they become. People with CFIDS/FM etc. are isolated enough. What we need is connection!

    As each of us creatively applies and refines spiritual notions according to our own needs and feelings, we hone them to greater usefulness. It is my belief that CFIDS/FM et al are cutting edge challenges which are prodding us to greater spiritual experience.

    May Kwan Yin's compassion bless you all,

    Your rabbit friend,
    Denn
     
  2. CJB

    CJB Senior Member

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    Oregon
    Or, as John Lennon said:

    Imagine there's no Heaven
    It's easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today

    Imagine there's no countries
    It isn't hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will live as one
     
  3. Denn

    Denn Guest

    Thanks, CJ. Absolutely!

    Denn
     
  4. Denn

    Denn Guest

    Religion and Insight

    To cite Ray Bradbury (The Illustrated Man):

    "For each person who wishes to see beyond their own time; must certainly face questions for which there can be no proven answers."

    Right now, we are all facing questions for which there are no proven answers.

    Religious insight provides the template for formulating the questions. Myths being a prime example.

    Religion is not exclusive and it does not provide the answers.

    Umm, neither does medicine.


    Denn
     
  5. Sunday

    Sunday Senior Member

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    Jessamyn West, a Quaker, wrote one of her books on a religious sect that started spontaneously: people dancing in the rain, getting the spirit.

    So then this is turned into a weekly practice. People start to make rules. And it turns into this whole sect with very strict practices which lead to a lot of squabbles about what the correct practices are and people start to forget that it was only about connecting with what makes the universe run.

    I'm not putting down the value of a ritual that is practiced time after time over centuries or millenia - there is power in that, and you can feel it at any number of sites where people have practiced them. It doesn't matter what the religion is.

    But as you say, Denn, when you're on terra nova, the old rituals just may not work. They may, but they may not. It's important to remember that it's more about what works than it is about who's right. At least, I hope it is. One thing CFS has done for me is to make me question my burning need to be right. For one thing, it uses up an awful lot of energy. For another, what good does it do either us or the world at large? Could we find the way toward health more easily if we learn to be more open to different or unusual ideas?
     
  6. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    While I am a Buddhist, that probably doesn't mean, to me, what a lot of people, both Buddhist and non Buddhist, might think it does.

    I am an unorthodox, unaffiliated follower of the Buddha's most basic teachings (as I can access them) because I find them really helpful for leaving a life I find meaningful and good. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, whom I very much respect and even love, would judge me not any kind of Buddhist because I do not "believe" in reincarnation. (I don't disbelieve in it either.) But, I figure not even His Holiness has the authority to tell me whether or not I attempt to practice what is dearest to me about the Buddha's teachings. To my Tibetan friends, and my Buddhist friends online, this is blasphemy.

    I'm also a really big fan of Jesus.

    I'm a really big fan of so many different teachers but I don't actually "believe" much of anything beyond my own experience. I was designed that way -- maybe by a creator, maybe not. I figure, if there is a creator, she can handle her own existence without my belief.

    I just read a good book Confession of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batchelor, which I very much enjoyed. I'm also reading Surviving the Dragon - A Recent History of Tibet Through the Looking Glass of a Tibetan Lama by Arjia Rinpoche, which I also recommend. I'm a big fan of the Korean Zen concept of "Don't Know Mind" and the advice to "only don't know". I'm working on that and it's working on me.

    I'm pretty skeptical of almost everything but I think that makes me more open minded.

    I also really love Rumi

    [video=youtube;LHSclx-hIRc]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHSclx-hIRc&feature=related[/video]

    I do believe in Love.

    [video]http://www.youtube.com/user/dkadagian#p/u/24/Mb26lYy9iWM[/video]
     
  7. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Whoa! I wrote that I find the Buddha's teachings really helpful for "leaving" a life!

    I meant to write living!

    But, the other is so true too!
     
  8. Denn

    Denn Guest

    Wow, two very thoughtful posts in one day--I feel truly blessed. Thanks to you both and I plan to pen responses tonight. I just wanted to say that I think you nailed it the first time, Koan!! Love it!

    Bunny love to you both,

    Denn
     
  9. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Sunday,

    Thank you so much for your post and for resurrecting this thread.

    I love the Quaker story. How interesting that is and how vivid an image it is to think of people spontaneously dancing in the rain. We do have a way of missing the point, don't we. Or not, of course, what do I know.

    Every time someone mentions Quakers I take the opportunity to post a new version of one of my favourite meditations, the Quaker hymn Simple Gifts.

    Thank you much!

    [video=youtube;kWTDgc96bg8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWTDgc96bg8[/video]

    Hey Denn, thanks for starting this thread in the first instance.
     
  10. creekfeet

    creekfeet Sockfeet

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    Eastern High Sierra
    The beautiful thing that happens in comparative religion is that sometimes it reveals different religions as simply alternate ways of expressing the same idea. I believe that religions are all desperate attempts to express the effin' ineffable, describing circles around It without ever quite describing It. Yet sometimes, perhaps in a moment of rainy day jubilation, we get it in its entirety. And then, of course, we are so excited by what we felt, by what we knew, that we try to describe it to each other. Did you feel it, too?

    Microbes, I understand your reasons for wanting to live. The urge for life in you is as strong and valid as that urge in us and in all living things. Viruses, retroviruses, bacteria and cancers, you remind us that the food chain is in fact circular, with no top or bottom. We eat and are eaten. All living things are connected and all must die one death or another, sooner or later. But none of us goes down without a fight.

    Fight on, beloved humans. Live the best lives you can for as long as you're able. Seize the moments of jubilation and know that yes, we felt that too. You are not alone; love will help make you strong.

    That's what intuitive antidogmatic nature-worshipping Creek believes, anyway. And oh, yes! I love to read religions, steal holidays, adapt rituals, throw it all into the sea together and see what washes up on shore today. It'll be something different tomorrow.
     
  11. Denn

    Denn Guest

    Love the Quakers, Sunday. As religious groups go, they are up there with the very best--and that is a rare place indeed. What usually happens with any practice is that it is inspired by spirit in the beginning but then, over time, this inspiration and the people who had it are lost. Then we start focusing on how many steps in what direction, etc.... Also, many people are not open to inspiration and they need tightly woven rituals to feel like they belong. Most, oops, all mass religions fall prey to this.

    There are places where rituals have been traditionally held which do have power. Being in these places can definitely lead the inclined to a sense of spirit. Churches, especially ones built on traditional native sites, can possess this characteristic. In this case, the ritual is irrelevant.

    Of course, individuals often adopt parts of rituals with which they resonate. This is what it's really all about. Harmony, peace, awareness... ....kaboom! Moments of transcendence.

    Quite right, Sunday. I am so happy you went right to the core of this thread: Maybe we are being prompted to move in a different or unusual fashion to find health. And, perhaps, the answer will vary for each individual. We need to reconsider our medical rituals.
     
  12. Denn

    Denn Guest

    Dear Koan, that is a most remarkable video. I love Rumi too. Thank you so very much for this video and the link to the others. These are truly wonderful and not to be missed!!! I really feel, right now, that there is nothing more I need to say. However, I am sure that my little mind will exert itself again soon and my love of rambling will reignite.

    I do love many aspects of Buddhism, and I think it is perhaps the most humanistic of religions. I can easily understand why many align themselves with it. However, there are a few problems. Most notably, their view of animals is (as you have previously mentioned) unacceptable. I also find the whole concept of karma to be little more than an Eastern moralism. Still, there are many beautiful ideas in Buddhism and I have always been attracted to Zen. I am not familiar with Korean Zen and "Don't know Mind." It sounds very interesting!

    Thanks too for the book recommendations--I love books about Tibet.


    .

    Yep, me too. Cosmic energy underlies all existence, for me, Love is the ultimate expression of this energy, of this Creative Force. It is the one that appeals to me the most. I have just rediscovered this. It's like the sixties have been reborn.


    Ah yes, Rumi:

    From the hundreds of times I lost
    the connection, I learn this:
    your fragrance, brings me back. Inside that I become
    a feast day with aloeswood burning,
    the pure empty sky aound the moon.
    Then I make promises
    I break them
    And same as before, I try
    To find you by thinking and reading about finding.
    No help there!
     
  13. Denn

    Denn Guest

    A very spirited evocation of the Indian circle of life (at least as I understand it, not being of native birth). Thank you Creekfeet. You speak with a freshness and vigor that belies the antiquity of your beliefs. It is so hopeful to hear the vital expression of one who is still connected to the spirit of the land.

    All my relations,
    Denn
     
  14. creekfeet

    creekfeet Sockfeet

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    Eastern High Sierra
    Sorry if I was confusing, Denn. I didn't mean to imply that I had some sort of native tradition. I'm a Lebanese-ancestry native-Californian, and I was raised Catholic but rejected that religion quite early on and developed my own set of personal beliefs without any reading or guidance, then as an adult started to admire some aspects of various spiritual writings and helped myself to whatever looked good.
     
  15. Denn

    Denn Guest

    Well, Creekfeet, you felt like a true Native American to me!! :Retro smile:
     
  16. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

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    I'm Wiccan. I knew when I was like four years old. It's a calling. I was more heavily into it when I was younger. Haven't really been able to do much since I got sick. But I do pray alot. And I miss being able to be outside around nature so much.
     
  17. Denn

    Denn Guest

    Hi Carrigon. Love Wiccans, nature spirits and free-thinking. Very healthy if you stay out of the darker corners. I totally relate to your experience. Over the last 10 years I became totally deadened to the calling of my path. Until, it seemed like there was no connection left. Lately, it has been reawakened. I'm certainly not back completely, but I have full faith that I am on that road. Believe me, it is still there, you must just be open to that opportunity to reopen your connection. You will. Remember, the only true sin is despair.

    Blessed be,
    Denn
     
  18. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

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    I wouldn't say I've ever lost faith. I just can't practice my religion the way I would if I were healthy.

    I think we're all meant to worship in different ways. But at the end of the day, we all believe in a higher power and a light in the universe.
     
  19. creekfeet

    creekfeet Sockfeet

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    Same here, Carrigon. I used to create observances of the solstices and equinoxes and lots of other occasions, and now I barely manage to acknowledge those days as they pass. I'll make sure the equinox rabbit visits with chocolate, but won't have a maypole or watch a solstice sunrise (unless of course I'm insomniac that morning). If I were a church person I would be missing going to church. As it is I miss going to nature, which was my church.
     
  20. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

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    Yes, that's what's so horrible, when you are sick, all the days blend and a holiday comes around and it starts to become just another day. It used to bother me alot. And not being able to go for a walk on the beach or in the woods. I miss all of that.
     

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