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Suffering and spirituality 2

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by Nielk, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. Nielk

    Nielk

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    I will re-post my original post in the hopes to re-rail this thread.
    I understand tha everyone has different views and different waays of coping.
    Every view is valid and has merit.
    Lets just not put each other's views downs.

    The reason I started this whole thread is with the understanding that spirituality in combination with suffering is a great challenge for many. For others, it's a natural outcome.

    i wanted to open conversation about it, with acceptance to all.

    Some of us, me included, has gained a lot from this thread and I hope we can continue it in a successful matter.
    We are obviously from many different beliefs and experiences yet, I believe we can allow everyone's perspective and continue the conversation.

  2. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Hi Tristen,

    Thanks for your reply.

    there is no doubt that being faced by adversity whether illness, loss or trauma force us to make certain decisions that otherwise we wouldn't probably even think about. It's definitely a kind of test. If we grow from it (not that that is a requirement),
    it strengthens our character, our outlook on life.

    For me, personally, if any type of growth or understanding occurs despite our suffering, it results in a meaningful change and eases the suffering somewhat.

    I think tat just the fact of forming a forum like this which is basically putting like people together to help each other is a meaningful act.

    I know I have been in the receiving end of a lot of support here. Hopefully, I have been able to help someone in return.
    For sick people who are undergoing their own suffering to be able to step out of it and concentrate on other's pain and use their limited strength to reach out, is an act of tremendous kindness.

    One does not need to be suffering to do acts of kindness, but, to reach out and do this in the midst of suffering has an added dimension.

    I read the article posted here about a breast cancer survivor who claims that it didn't change her and it upsets her that other cancer survivors are made out to be heroes.

    I don't think that everyone who survives an illness even an illness that forces you to face your mortality, changes or gets spiritually effected. But, i think that many do. There is no reason to be upset about that fact or the fact if you go through the same experience and you feel unchanged. I think for someone who goes through suffering and doesn't become bitter, or more selfish is a winner in my mind.

    Let's face it. Who are we really? Besides our genetics and the circumstances that happen to us throughout our life, it is the choices that we make that really define us.
  3. Mr. Cat

    Mr. Cat Senior Member

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    1. Do you feel that suffering has made you a more spiritual person?
    2. Have you become more sensitive to other people's pain?
    3. Did your view on life change?
    4. Have your priorities in life changed?"

    I responded to these some before, but had some more thoughts, and wanted to address them some more. To me, there really has been a discernible difference between garden variety suffering and "brain fog suffering," in that with the latter, there is much less "me" in the picture, and I don't mean this in an egoless, Big-S Self spiritual kind of way. With non-brain fog suffering, I can usually pull back to a "witness" state and observe the suffering, usually with compassion, and the witness can often see things in a wiser, big-picture way. Not so with the brain fog. In brain fog, there is a witness presence, but it feels very weak, as if all it can do is observe, without any big picture, wisdom benefits. Although there is some small physical suffering, for me, a great part of brain-fog suffering comes from feeling separated, from both my Big and small-S selves. Some spiritual traditions speak of the suffering that comes from the Dark Night of the Soul, where the person feels the pain and depression at not being able to feel connected to God. I don't think it is exactly the same thing, but when I have brain fog, I certainly don't feel very "spiritual," and part of the mental pain comes from lack of connection that I once felt to self and spirit. Again, I would ascribe this to "hardware" brain problems caused by the brain fog that make it very difficult for mind programs, including spiritual ones, to run very well.

    2. In general, probably, but during times of brain fog, my "compassion-meter" just turns off, and I feel very emotionally numb. I would guess that this is another "hardware" problem, in that the brain channel that usually handles compassion and human connection is being hijacked by brain fog.

    4. When I was 18, I first came down with what I now call ME/CFS. I was at college, and when I asked what I could do about it, the doctor jokingly suggested I could change my major to medicine and discover a cure, meaning I was basically out of luck. Leaving the doctor's office, I was overcome with a great feeling of peace. Before that, I had been very achievement-oriented, though with no clear goals. My great ah-hah was that with my condition, I would not have the energy to mindlessly strive and achieve, but could instead focus on living a simple and enjoyable life. I did not put this into practice any time soon, of course, but feel I am doing much better at living that way now, partly out of necessity.

    A couple of months ago, I had another change in priorities. I had had a crash last Fall, perhaps due to overexerting myself and not being mindful of my body and its limitations, and it felt like pretty much every aspect of my life - social, professional, spiritual, physical, recreational, learning/growth, - all were put on hold. The common basic requirement for reengaging life in all of these domains was energy, and that was what I didn't have. I rearranged things so that healing and regaining my energy became my number one priority, and pretty much let the other things go if they interfered at all with me getting better. It has felt beautiful in its simplicity. If I felt tired, I rested. If something was becoming taxing, I stopped doing it, and my mantra became, "My job is to heal myself." I pictured myself on the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, and saw that until those health/energy needs were fulfilled, it would be irresponsible, not to mention impossible, to pursue higher-level needs. If/when/as I develop more energy, I will be able to devote it to higher-tier priorities, but as for now, I can feel at peace with where I am at. I realize many other people on this board are probably already doing this out of necessity, but to me, it felt like a big "ah-hah," and that the weight of striving for the impossible could be taken off my shoulders.
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  4. Nielk

    Nielk

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    It is very hard, maybe impossible to live mindfully when one is suffering from brain fog. There is somewhat a measure of disconnect of "not being able to think clearly at all". It is almost impossible to function on any level when in that stage.

    It is great that you found a way to deal with your crash and being mindful as to listening to your body and taking care of yourself. There is a Hebrew saying "Im ain ani li, mi li?" translation: "If I'm not for myself, who will be?". It's not easy for many of us to come to this realization. I know it is not an easy task for me. To learn how to take care of myself. But, that is a priority for us because how else will we recover? It does make us realized the smallest common denominator. What is important to do or not to do in order to survive and be okay with that. It's great that you found beauty in this simplicity!!! One might feel so resentful about all the limitations and you found beauty in it. How inspiring. Thank you Mr. Cat.
  5. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

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    Rich, what do you make of Carl Sagan's "billions and billions". That would be, what do you make of the entire milky way and all the other galaxies? Just curious if you think humans are God's sole focus, if so, why did God make all those other star systems? And all those creatures including extremophiles that live in salt water or tubeworms that live at the ocean vents? Isn't it a little much...

    I think Jesus is a very interesting figure. At one point I worked on a book with a devout Christian. I would find it rankling to hear him say, "I'm going to walk by the river and pray for..." whatever. For me with my lyme, for the success of the book etc. I know it rankled others, as well. I would say, "What about the people in Darfur? Is God listening to you about our book but not the people in Darfur?" A personal God to whom one can petition for what one wishes...did not make much sense to me. So I bought a lot of books about the historical Jesus. Some of the books you would probably raise an eyebrow at like Bart Ehrman etc. But very few people can read the original language in which the doctrines of early Christianity are written, and in addition, Jesus' followers did not tend to be literate so most is oral tradition which can get altered. Nonetheless if you go back to the original historical Jesus as best is possible to reconstruct him, he's an incredibly fascinating and radical figure, a kind of spiritual genius (to me) and maybe an avatar like a few other figures. He's even in the Koran, after all. But one personal God, and one personal "son" (no women of course) smacks of human storytelling. As my ex used to say, "A universe that needs a nudge from God to get going is a less beautiful universe to me." A bit of the marvel goes away when you say, as some creationists do, There are certain irreducible complexities in evolution and those are God's hand.

    Just thinking out loud. When I used to pose such questions to my colleague he would usually just say, It's a matter of faith. He couldn't answer the questions...

    On another note, to Kurt, NDE's are very interesting and the work of Pim Van Lommell was very well thought out, not the usual anecdotal stuff that could be questioned. Still, why do only about 5% have deep NDE's? As about 5% have perfect pitch...it's all mystifying.

  6. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    It is faith for me but a ton of evidence, arch. digging, so much it is proven. Always interesting when more things are found to be accurate, from the Bible.
  7. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    Words of wisdom from one cool cat! This, along with your thoughts on brain fog, gives me a way perhaps into the difficult teaching, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    This past week, Canadians have wondered whether Jack Layton wouldn't have done better to put his own healing first. Michael Posner's Globe and Mail article, Why did Laytons final act rivet us so? quotes Aeschylus: Man must suffer to be wise, and adds, Mr. Layton was nothing if not wise. Of yesterday's state funeral, Posner writes, The farewell is thus as much about us as him, a ritual purgation helping us to accept what cannot be understood, a blind grasp at straws of wisdom.

    Jack ended his public life last week with the words, So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And well change the world. He seemed both heroic and wise. He used to say, Don't let anyone tell you that it can't be done, but also, You can wait forever for perfect conditions, or you can make the best of what youve got now.

    Faced with ME, I was told by my doctor not to fly like Icarus too close to the sun. During crash after crash, I've regretted ever having wished that I could simply stop. For me, this illness has stopped almost everything, including most efforts to be a better or a more spiritual person. For me, as for Job, it's been mostly about humility, though its fruits may yet lie in the deeper peace of acceptance.

    Before receiving his reward, Job stops contending with God and says, I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. The patience of Job! This illness doesn't suit my inclinations, but I'm reminded again to be patient and wait.

    Here's the ancient take, by Larry A. Brown, on the death of the hero (or perhaps of the heroic):

    Whereas the causes of suffering are diverse, the purpose of suffering in tragedy appears almost universally acknowledged: only through suffering does a person attain wisdom. The chorus in Agamemnon by Aeschylus recites: "Zeus, whose will has marked for man the sole way where wisdom lies, ordered one eternal plan: Man must suffer to be wise." In Antigone, the chorus counsels Creon that suffering is wisdom's schoolteacher. According to Francis Fergusson (adapting an idea from Kenneth Burke), these plays follow a tragic pattern of purpose, passion, and perception: the protagonist, seeking a goal, confronts opposition and suffers a trial by fire, but through this painful process gains insight about himself and the world he inhabits. From the tragic perspective, wisdom based on truth is of supreme value, even though it must often be purchased with the hero's death.
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  8. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, jenbooks.

    Thanks for the comments.

    Ultimately I think it does come down to faith. The Bible says as much: "Without faith, it is impossible to please God."

    And there are going to be questions that none of us humans will be able answer: "My ways are higher than your ways, says the Lord, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts."

    I don't know whether humans on earth are the only focus of God, as you put it. I do believe that He does care a great deal about us, though. And we do live in a truly amazing universe, as you noted. One of the most fascinating discussions I've heard about this was from a British astrophysicist whose name I unfortunately can't recall. But what he did was to consider the numerical values of a large number of the various physical constants. He showed that if any of them had slightly different values than they actually have, human life on earth would not be possible. As a person with some background in physics, I found this to be very thought-provoking, and yes, marvelous.

    I don't have an answer to the problem of evil. I don't know of anyone who does. What I can do is to pray for the people in Darfur and other places where evil is rampant, and I can also contribute money to help them. Why some people have to suffer so much, and others don't, I don't know. Earlier in this thread, people posted things Jesus said when this type of question was posed to him. He did say in those cases that it was not their fault. I think the best we as humans can do is to try to relieve suffering when we can.

    Jesus is indeed a remarkable figure. As C.S. Lewis wrote, he is either a liar, a lunatic, or he is who he said he was, the Lord. By the things he said and did, he left us with no other options.

    My view on the creation-evolution situation is that God is definitely the creator of the universe. However, consistent with His absolute requirement that He be approached only by faith, as I quoted Him above, He created the universe in a way that will always leave those who do not choose to believe in Him the option of taking the position that He was not involved. Accordingly, I don't get involved in either-or arguments about creation and evolution. And it still comes down to faith.

    As a person with an engineering background, and hence someone who has designed things and tried to make them work, and come face to face with Murphy's law repeatedly, I have some feeling for how difficult it is to make even seemingly very simple things work the way one wants them to for even a relatively short service lifetime. When I bring that experience to a consideration of astrophysics or biochemistry, I simply find it unfathomable to believe that systems as complex, interactive, reliable and longlasting as these developed from a series of unguided random events. In my opinion, it would take far more faith for me to believe that than to believe in a Creator.

    As to whether the picture in the Bible smacks of human storytelling, I can only suggest that if God created it all, He is also the inspiration behind human storytelling. If so, it might not be surprising to see similarities between God's "story" and human storytelling. Also, imagine what a challenge it must be for the omniscient, omnipotent God who created the universe to relate to us simple humans in a way that we can understand. I'm guessing that because of our limitations He has to do it in a way to which we can relate.

    Thanks again.

    Best regards,

    Rich
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  9. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins PJ Princess

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    I just worked out what NDEs were hehe :oops::Retro smile:

    And Rich - love C.S.Lewis quotes and books. Am in the middle of reading the Narnia books (again).
  10. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    jenbooks, The question I have about NDEs is why there are so many now, not why are there so few deep ones. There seem to be more and more accounts, people are 'coming out of the closet' in droves. One NDE is apparently making a lot of news in China (Hong Kong), by Anita Moorjani, and that one is probably going to be promoted by Wayne Dyer starting in early 2012, and I suspect 2012 will be 'the year of the NDE' at least in some quarters. That NDE can be read at: http://anitamoorjani.com/ . Moorjani doesn't say how far Dyer is planning to take this but she has hinted he is a major sponsor now. Another one that I think will get a lot more publicity in 2012 is Nanci Danison's since her book on 'God's View of Religion' will be published in a few months. That should be controversial if it becomes a bestseller like her other book 'Backwards'. (see: http://backwardsbooks.com/).

    Anyway, if I were to speculate as to why only a small percent of rivival cases report the NDE, I would guess it is a combination of factors including that people with certain brain structures may have an easier time remembering that type of experience ('right-brained' people?), and other brain types are less likely to recall. Also some people may not need or would not benefit from the experience, and thus their 'light being' souls simply skip forward in time as we do during dreamless sleep and avoid that experience. Of course, if you believe NDEs are real, that time skipping part is easy to accept as time appears to be a managed variable in that dimension of existence.

    The NDE wordview that is emerging seems to pull things together, at least in my mind, and this is different from the early NDEs reported in the 70s and 80s. Why can't we view the NDE as social data? I think it can be validated in a sense, given the diversity of reports and the consistency of the experience. Also given the many cases where NDEers observe things outside their location and later are proven correct in their reports of those events. That happened with both Danison and Moorjani. What I find most fascinating in the emerging NDE literature is the consistency between this newly emerging NDE worldview (universe-view?) and historical, aggregate views of religion, such as Theosophical summaries of moral teachings, the ideas of Joseph Campbell that have been mentioned here, etc.
  11. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    I don't think Judy says that cancer didn't change her. She says instead that being handed only one script, as happens for the cancer patient, delegitimizes a whole range of experience and choice. (The situation may be worse for us, where no script gets legitimized.) She says that we need to listen to a patient's story rather than tell it to them.

    Cancer patients face the common wisdom that a positive, fighting attitude is not only heroic but life-saving, even though the research doesn't bear that out. In support groups, cancer patient after cancer patient, facing frightening results, ugly treatments or often-fatal recurrences, will report during weather checks on sunny skies and light breezes. The weight of expectation can be enormous. It's like culturally-administered CBT.

    Cancer is taken seriously, but the patient's experience...that's often another story. I suspect that most illnesses come with their own set of dominant narratives and positive injunctions. We do well to be aware of them, though, and aware too that they may or may not turn out to be helpful.
  12. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    Rich,
    Just some thoughts on your post...

    If that is a test of godhood, I've known plenty of academics and some MDs who must think they are Gods... :mask:

    A skeptic would point out that is a very human-centric view. Given the nearly infinite number of worlds, some are bound to have all the right variables and those are the ones that would sustain life. Therefore, we must be on one of those rare planets.

    Some NDEs have pretty remarkable views on the problem of evil. They see evil as simply part of our animal nature that we fall into like a trap if we do not culture our higher sensitivities. They often relate that evil derives from man or circumstance, and not God or a devil/Lucifer character, but that our purpose in life is to have human experiences, and thus some of us are willing to endure evil to have that experience, to know what it is like.

    This squares well with the more advanced NDE accounts. In fact, they go beyond God as an organizer of matter (the actual Hebrew word for 'create' is organize). They consider God the 'Source' meaning the source of all things. They view the universe as a manifestation of Source, something like a dream state in which we are all part of Source ourselves, we are all one, etc. Somewhat like the Hindu view of reality. Moorjani, which I mentioned in my prior post, explains this well. Of course most physicists would not buy this and I don't expect you would either, particularly now that some believe the holographic 'dream state' universe hypothesis has been disproven (Which I think is debatable).

    I worked as a systems designer/developer/researcher before getting ME/CFS. And no question that evolutionary processes are indispensable, and necessary for the creation of a complex system. Some of the systems I have worked on and maintained seem to have been initially developed from spontaneous design ideas, they usually work better in theory than in practice. Expert designers like to start from the basics, and work through an evolutionary process, testing viability of the system at each step increase in complexity. So this seems like a rational way for a natural universe to unfold, as an interaction between creative designer(s) and evolutionary processes.

    This is very harmonious with a religious interpretation of Joseph Campbell's views. Also, from the NDE viewpoint, God is experiencing human life through us, we are tiny partitions of God/Source ourselves. In this view our sense of self, our consciousness, is a droplet of God's own consciousness. In this worldview we ARE the universe, and we are actually all one being, our only division is the generation of our unique mind pathways, which trick us into the sense of separation from each other.

    A good non-NDE explanation of how our mind pathway is separate from our core being is given by Eckhart Tolle in his popular book 'The Power of Now.' His explanation is based on a personal epiphany and a lot of research of world religions and belief systems, and his method seems to work for many people, I have found some benefit from his approach.
  13. laura

    laura Senior Member

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    thanks for the link to anita moorjani. very very cool. now if there were only a way to operationalize her insights for significant healing for us non-NDE 'ers...
  14. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    Thoughts triggered by Mr. Cat, Rich, Ember, and Kurt.

    My earliest memory is of me sitting on the back lawn, chatting with God. Of course, this means me chatting and not getting any answers, but at maybe 5 years old, do you CARE if anybody answers? My point being that as far back as I can remember God has been an active energy in my life.

    I experience this as Kurt's Source, although I call it Beloved. It is in no way separate from me (us) - it's the air I breathe, the reality I swim in. From my perspective, this is just how it is, so it is equally true for all of us, no matter what we believe. Meaning, I am not special in this way.

    This illness hits me harder in the brain department than in energy. I have brain fog most of the time; only the degree varies. When it's less, I read more spiritually related books, and am more able to discuss - well, anything. When it's pronounced, like now, and I retreat more from 'the world,' my mantra is "Do no harm." This is a very simple spiritual practice......just keep it together enough that I don't hurt anybody while I'm unable to think straight.

    I find that at times like this, when my brain doesn't work anyway, I might as well hold my focus in my heart center. And this is where the gateway to my spiritual evolution seems to lie. Humility and compassion seem to have a natural home here, so those 'muscles' get exercised and strengthened.

    I think Rich and Kurt talked about God being.........oh I can't remember........something like so far beyond our ability to comprehend that we make up stories, and so does God.......in order to be able to relate at all. This resonates deeply with me. In my worldview, the Beloved is the ocean in which all experience occurs, and this would hold true in and for all of creation. But we have no language for this - I believe direct experience of this occurs in a part of us that has no words. And so we use metaphors and stories to try to communicate it to each other, and to try to process this aspect of reality.

    Madie
  15. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

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    Thanks Kurt, Rich & others.

    I personally agree more with Kurt than Rich, but I have met a few wonderful Christians. To me, if Christianity brings out the compassionate helper in somebody, and they live that path, that's good enough for me whether or not I personally see flaws in their belief.

    God is to me a word for oneness. When you look at mystical experiences, there is generally a sense of oneness, of all-happening-now, all-is-allright with the world.

    As to whether life could exist in a different universe with different constants, that's probably more possible than we think. I mentioned extremophiles. We're always getting shocked by them. "Life couldn't do that!" Like the melanin molds growing in Chernobyl, eating toxic radiation, and slowly getting rid of it.

    I personally did not address the original question. No, suffering did not make me more spiritual. But with all that suffering, I had a choice to either somehow pull out all the stops and try to "fix" or "change" things...or succumb to death of soul and body. So my strength was tested...and my flexibility...I'd really rather have just had a good time, been loved, healthy and written a lot....honestly. Some of the suffering exposed me to the darkest aspects of humanity. Yuck. Rather not know.
  16. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    I define God as consciousness itself. I have never felt a meaningful connection to the images created by any of the traditional religions, what Joseph Campbell would call the "masks of God." Some of them are interesting and beautiful in an aesthetic way, particularly those in the Egyptian, Greek and Hindu pantheons, but none of them have moved me to feel the connection to the consciousness, the source of life within in me. That connection was inspired more by people and things that I loved, and that brought me joy.

    At one point, when I was about six, I created a "religion" around the Beatles, and prayed to them each night before I went to sleep. I would imagine them as angels, one at each of the four corners of my bed. I loved the energy of their music. It made me feel so alive and happy, much more so than singing hymns at church, which felt more like an obligatory task imposed by rather stern and rigid Catholic priests, who were in my mind the very antithesis of joy. I have such good memories of my Beatle religion, and the inspiration and creativity it brought into my life. I eventually began playing the guitar, when I was ten, and still find making music and art to be one of the "paths to bliss" that connect me with the source energy. And of course Nature, which at this point, is my favorite guru of all.
  17. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    This is dedicated to all of us, thanks Dreambirdie!!! (now High Priestess of Beatleism on the forum... :angel:)

    [video=youtube;r4p8qxGbpOk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4p8qxGbpOk[/video]

    One of the most common themes of the deep-level NDE is that God/Source is a being of unconditional love.

    What I find hardest sometimes is to hold that love for oneself, particularly when your life has not turned out as planned (understatement). So sometimes I like to just live in the moment, really if we can learn to love ourselves, broken-down ME/CFS patients, maybe we can find some peace. But it does take more than saying it... (last comment in the video). I think to convince ourselves that we accept and love ourselves, we must act kindly towards ourselves, and do no harm to others as well.

    I agree with jenbooks' statement about Christians and others, if we/they live without charity, as Paul said in the NT, we are as tinkling cymbals and sounding brass... the real test is the behavior, not the declarations. Love is not as easy as it sounds...
  18. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    Here's a recent blog post that may interest you: http://ifdarwinprayed.com/lost-in-translation/
    kurt likes this.
  19. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    The Gender of God

    Hi All,

    I would like to offer (respectfully), if I may, a somewhat different perspective on the gender of God. Though it may seem off-topic, Im hoping to tie it in with spirituality and suffering. I have my doubts Ill be able to do so in a cogent manner however, given my own brain fog problems. I also hope to tie it in with some of the very nice points Madie made on how to constructively deal with some of our suffering.

    Most religious texts refer to God in the masculine. More recently, some people, mostly women I believe, have begun to refer to God as She; Ive even seen references to God as He/She. My own take and understanding is that God has no gender, being neither male nor female. And Soul, being in the image and likeness of God, also has no gender. The issue of gender is apparently one belonging only to the lower worlds of positive and negative. As Soul alternates between the two sexes over a number of incarnations, it gains unique experiences as both male and female.

    I believe we all have both masculine and feminine currents that exist within each of us. One way I try to ameliorate my own suffering is to try to balance some my own male or female energies. I do this by regularly doing my best to attune myself with the neutral force, that stillness within each of us, which I consider to be Divine Love. When I can open my heart to this love, I feel I open myself to other higher qualities as well, such as compassion, creativity, a sense of harmony, esthetics, etc.

    I believe this kind of attuning can be done by anyone in any number of ways, whether by contemplation, meditation, prayer, being in nature, being creative, being of service to others, etc. By allowing, to the best of my ability, Divine Love to become the guiding principle in my own life, I feel I can better keep myself from being unduly buffeted by some of suffering that has come my way.

    So I think that suffering often does lead us to reorient our lives and our thinking toward adapting certain spiritual qualities, such as love, compassion, forgiveness, etc. I feel it has for me. Like I believe Madie was saying, I also dont believe anybody is ever cut off from God, or Divine Love (or whatever name might be preferable or more comfortable) because of not adhering to a particular religious belief system.

    As I believe Mr. Cat was mentioning about brain fog (great post BTW), achieving balance within myself can be very difficult for me. At times, this brainfog suffering tends to derail me from my own spiritual aspirations. So for me, suffering has been both an aid and a detriment. As I mentioned earlier, I do not believe suffering is some kind of prerequisite for spiritual growth or unfoldment; I also believe that good health can offer many spiritual opportunities. So I aspire toward good health!!! :Retro smile:

    Best, Wayne

    P.S. As a bit of a side note on how the issue of gender plays out in our larger society and cultures: Going back over Earths very long history, far predating current historical accounts, my understanding is that both patriarchal and matriarchal societies have apparently been predominant at certain times, with each offering unique experiences. Just one example: the recent (and current) economic crisis appears to have been brought on, at least in part, by an unbalance of the masculine principle in our culture.

    Studies show women to be more conservative and much better investors than men. Men tend toward more risk taking (that testosterone :rolleyes::Retro smile:) and do less well. This tendency toward risking depositors money and leveraging it up way farther than was prudent led to a huge speculative bubble that was unsustainable. I also suspect there would be fewer wars if there was a better balance of the gender energies in this world. This is just my own take; not ascribing this to any kind of authoritative perspective in any manner.
  20. Ember

    Ember Senior Member

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    As I recall, Desmond Tutu said to the Dalai Lama, I don't believe in the God that you don't believe in. (Sorry, I can't locate that quotation.)

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