The Person Behind The Mirror

Life is just a series of  tiny moments. Unique little, fleeting “nows”… that happen in the moment, before we realise it happened. At an attempt to understand the now, to determine what the now even is, takes us away from it, and to a new experience. A new now, spent on analysing a now that has already passed. For to spend time analysing the moment, you cannot be in it.

Comparative to when you are in a stare, and as soon as you realise you are staring, no matter how hard you try to remain in that moment of bliss, contentment, or nothingness… It’s already gone. And you can only try to pretend you are still in a stare. But you aren’t. You’re just looking in a direction. 

What this leads us to understanding, should we spend enough time thinking on it – is that you should not necessarily spend time piecing together why you are feeling how you are in any given moment. You should not quantify it, or assign it a given arbitrary value. For if you are happy, you may wonder why, and by wondering why you are no longer feeling that experience of pure happiness.  
You may compare your assigned value of happiness, to a time when you thought you were happier, and suddenly this most recent moment becomes less valuable. But only by comparison. The moment itself has changed in no way. 

You may find yourself dancing in the living room, and in a state of content; and then by suddenly wondering WHY you are enjoying yourself at such a small moment, you may lose it. Your arms may fall to your side, and you will lose you buzz. But only because you chose to think about it. Instead, if you were happy, be happy. Equally if you are overcome with sadness, be sad. Don’t be more sad, or angry because you are sad. Just be sad. Be in whatever moment, you chose to be in. In whatever state of you, you choose to be.

These, fleeting little now’s, that change and dip and rise over time, leave us to grasping a fictitious concept of ourselves. Not only must be ponder the moment in the now, but also the person in the now. And these too, are troubled little changing chaotic beings. We can stand firm, and think, and be quite sure that we are a certain kind of person, but of course, that perception is as much affected by what we have done, as what we will do. For instance, I remember a time when a group of bullies started to harass a boy while I was at school. I wasn’t close to this boy, he wasn’t in my friend group, and in fact I know the boys who were bullying him. But I still stood up for the boy being bullied, despite the fact I lost face in the eyes of the other boys. I raised my voice and defences, and fought off the bullies, until they walked away with their tails between their legs. So this must mean I am brave…

And yet… I remember an identical time, on a bus, when another boy was being bullied. He was the same, in yet I did not know him very well, but it was clear he was uncomfortable, and was outnumbered. These bullies I did not recognised. I thought myself brave as before, yet when I went to raise my defences once more… I got scared. I was afraid in that moment, and so… I did nothing. I let them bully and torment that boy, and ultimately so did everyone else. And he went home, having a bad day, because absolutely no one stood up for him. And so by that moment… I am a coward.

So what am I? Am I brave, or a coward? Is the answer to that simply determined by counting how many times I was brave versus how many times I was a coward? Well… Then it comes more difficult. Because one might suggest that, actually fighting is in itself a cowardly act. That rising above violence is in fact the much braver act. That talking things over, and resilience are far better attributes that flaring brute power. In fact, any number of people could argue these things, and could change there points of view at different points in time. And so when they do… Do the bravery vs cowardly numbers flip? And who gets the final verdict? 

The answer, ultimately, is… you. You get to decide. You will manipulate any memories in a way such as they benefit your motives and agenda’s, given on your perceived state and morality. If you think lowly of yourself, you will manipulate memories into believing you acted as lowly as you are, and if you think highly of yourself you will paint over memories to convey yourself as a God.

The point being, that the now you’re thinking about in the past, ISN’T the now. It’s whatever you think the now is, or whatever you want to think it was. That memory of a now, is actually a new experience you’ve created, and dressed up as that now. And so, it doesn’t matter what any given moment WAS. In a way it matters what it IS. To you, now.

So it shows that once the moment is gone, unfortunately no matter how hard you try… it cannot come back. It is then within your best interest, not to begin analysing it so deeply, for all you will do, is cut it’s time short. Be happy when you are, and be sad when you feel like it. You can control your emotions, in a sense, because you can determine your reactions to the world – but if you’re already in an experience, just be in it. Accept it. Experience it. 

Do not stress. Do not stress that you are not good enough, or wonder if you ever will be. Do not worry and think of the future, and the chaotic nature of it. The what ifs and the hows. Do not compare yourself to another, whether that is another version of you or another person altogether. In fact, don’t even compare, period. It is the enemy of joy. Remember that your perception of the world and yourself can change on a flip of a coin. And it is entirely up to you when you flip the coin, and even the outcome of it. For you can call the coin at any time, and determine whether you want heads or tails to prevail. 

There is no contractual obligation by which you are held, to be the same person you were five minutes ago. You do not have to be something because of what you are now, or because of what you were.

I wish everyone reading this, the most wonderful festive season, and the happiest new year when it comes. It’s a time when for whatever reason we chose to change ourselves, and so by definition must judge and define ourselves. So if you chose to do that, remember:

You are who you chose to be. And ultimately, you need only answer, to the person behind the mirror.

Is God The Answer, For You?

The question often seems as though it is; does God exist?

With relative certainty you’ve probably discussed this at some point in your life; whether as an inquisitive child and left it at that, or more likely as a curious adult seeking answers as you grow up.

God can offer guidance in times of great difficulty, and arguably most importantly can comfort a lost soul in times of great loneliness, by making them feel not so truly alone. Like they are being looked after. Like they will be looked after when their days are done.

And yet, despite the positivity that the knowledge of a God can bring into your life; still there are men and women who do not believe in the existence of a God and their omnipotence. Still there are those who refuse his or hers guidance, and the wisdom they impart through their disciples and prophets.

Why? Why would you not choose to believe in a God who’s purpose is to ensure our well being through their divine intervention and grand plan?

Well – the answers to that it seems may come in multiple parts.

Omnipotence to many; is actually to a deity’s detriment. If one were to describe God as entirely in control; of every wave on all the oceans and of every wind within all of the airs on Earth – then surely that means nothing at all. In the same way if everyone is beautiful; then there would be no need for the word, because there would be no word for ugly, so there would be no requirement for the word for beautiful. If God is entirely in control of what will happen, then this is as useful to the average man or woman as saying God is in control of nothing. Either way, it offers no sustenance, no tangible answers. If God’s will is carried out, regardless of a Faith in them or not, regardless of a worship of them or not – then what is the point? In fact, what then is the purpose of humanity? To revel in the splendour they have bestowed upon us, but at the price of their glorification? To marvel in the wonders of the universe, but with the condition we are born of sin, and owe a higher power much more than we could ever give them? Why are we born of sin, if we were not there to make the choice to be conceived at all?

It seems then, the answer that a God is in control, offers little to us, as a consciousness.

Moreover, perhaps the answer “God is all knowing.” is not a satisfying one. Not in the sense that it is a difficult to swallow answer, but more that again, this means nothing to the “I”. If God is all knowing, yet our communication with them is entirely one-way in the form of thoughts and prayers, then what knowledge does this impart on us? If I need to have my plumbing fixed, the answer, “The plumber down the street knows how to fix that.” does not actually fix my plumbing. I would still require their knowledge to be put into practice, or have the knowledge myself in order to alleviate my circumstances from me. Surely then I should be able to call the plumber and have them respond? Otherwise I would become frustrated, and choose another plumber? Perhaps this applies to a God. Even maybe the choice of which God, also?

So God being in possession of all knowledge, again does not benefit anyone or anything in the universe, other than he or she of grand power who has decreed it to be so.

What’s more, if God is the creator of all things; the origin of the Universe – then surely this only begs further questioning. If God is the creator our universe and all things; “Why?” and “What Came Before That?”, are the only logical follow up responses to the original question.

Science is in an ever pursuit. There is no comfort to be found, that science will ever be complete, and than any one of us can understand it to the fullest extent. The notion that Science will one day finish, and solidify, seems rather foolish indeed, because science understands the notion of change; of a flowing river and how it transitions to that state. It understands that the universe is always changing. It’s stated in the common phrase, “Nothing is ever created or destroyed; only converted.” such as energy from electrical to light, with some heat and sound too. What this would effectively mean, is that while Science can define and categorise events that have happened based on past experiences, it can only help us to further predict future experiences. It is a fairly accurate prediction based on what HAS happened, that the thing WILL happen again. Which is the same as taking some comfort that because God protected us at some point (based on a belief) that they WILL protect us again (based on a Faith), and everything will be okay. At least Religion can offer some finite answer, rather than pose an indefinite number of further questions, which Science seems to and in fact relishes upon.

While the two, Science and Religion, seem as though they are distinct and polar opposites, they share remarkable similarity. The main similarity being, that they are both a pursuit for answers, for knowledge, and comfort. The key difference being that Religion is satisfied with the answer, that a deity, or a higher power has the answers, and with Faith we can assume they have it taken care of with a knowledge we do not possess, and with information we cannot comprehend. Science however, is not so satisfied. If science were to remain humble (which it always has been), and understand that it does not have all the answers and that something else does, it would mutter under its breath, “yet.” As in, “we do not have the answers we seek… yet.” And it does so in the understanding that once those questions have been answered, this will in turn only lead to further questions. Nut this is okay. This is progress; this is a desire for growth and for change, which the universe as we can observe it, is an example of. Science then, is surely an alignment with the universe, and a desire to understand the self; rather than where Religion sees humans as an inhabitant of the universe, placed there by some divine intervention, to be watched over and governed.

It seems then that Science and Religion are both about unification, but Science unify’s with the universe, and Religion unify’s with a God, whom happens to operate the universe in which they have allowed us to inhabit.

Science and Religion are both about Faith. Religion is a Faith in how their divine entity will govern the universe, and ultimately a Faith that they will do right by humanity. Whereas Science is a Faith that previously confirmed theories and experiments backed up by replicated evidence will continue to be replicatable. When in fact they could change on a dime, and all could be disproven, as the laws of Science readily admit.

As an addition; generally those who’s Faith relies on Science believe that it is the self who governs their own experience of the universe. For if a God is in charge of that, why would he or she allow such evil and iniquity in the world. It’s a common argument, that no doubt the religious will be sick to death of hearing, because they are sick to death of replying, “It is God’s will.” or “Have Faith in God.” or “It is all part of God’s plan.”

But it must be understood, that surely one of a reasonable kind and loving nature, would not want to worship a deity, who believes the soul purpose of a life is to experience anguish, pain, agony, and unkindness. If the plan is that someone must experience this, in order that another would not have to, then surely this is a bad plan. And surely one who would come up with such plan, should not be worshipped.

If a religious person were then to suggest, “No, all you must do is pray for God’s intervention, and they may choose to listen, and alter their plan according.”

To which it would be reasonable to say then, that there could not be some grand plan set in stone, which must mean it is changing and so therefore provides evidence that Science is perhaps more accurate. Additionally, why is the divine allowed to choose when to listen?

But finally… Surely thoughts and prayers do not work, because measurably they had not for the thousands of years humanity had been around. For hundreds of years that we can measure in literature, we prayed for plagues not to kill us, and yet they did. Our prayers went unanswered then, so why would he listen to your prayer for a new car? Or to pass a school exam? Is your exam more important than a life? Again if a God were to say yes, surely you would not want to worship that person, who may allow your significant other to die of some horrible illness or experience, because thousands of miles away another person needs a new car which they had prayed for so persistently

Thoughts and prayers do nothing; Science, measurably, does.

Pen

In the above image, you see our population increase exponentially thanks to the advancement of Science. As evidence of this, Penicillin was discovered in 1928. It’s mass production began in the early 1940s.

To believe and take comfort in Religion it seems, is perfectly the choice of the self. To believe in Science is equally so.

Religion can offer its answers in Faith of a higher power; by which knowledge and answers lie in the deity, and you can take comfort from that and their decisions they make surrounding that. Science offers its answers in Faith too, but in replicatable, measurable experimentation that allows humanity to assume the universe will continue to operate in such a way. It seems the prize of Science is answers and knowledge contained within the self, but at the price of comfort. Because ultimately we do not know all the answers or knowledge and perhaps never will. What’s more, is we must have Faith that as a society, some possess knowledge others will/do not, and that they too must use that knowledge appropriately for the collective good.

You may find this article provided no answers; but perhaps you were looking at it the wrong way. The question it was answering, was not whether Science was correct, or Religion was; instead it looked to at least partially answer, “Is God The Answer, For You?”. This assumes you must understand both sides, at least a little, to make that decision.

Whatever path you decide to choose; regardless of whether you stick to that path or not; be kind to others.

Remember; that while they are of different perspectives, and provide different answers, it is up to you which combination of which you choose to accept. You can discern your own perspective. They are not mutually exclusive, and you need not commit to both in their totality. No one does. It is up to the self; to make the sovereign choice.

And even if you don’t like the choice that another made, at least understand it.
And accept that it was their choice to make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serenity Now

Peace cannot be achieved, today and now, without an immense amount of effort. It takes everything to let fundamental disagreements, pain, and past unfairness subside in order to move forward without the anvil of the past weighing you down. It cannot be demanded, because by its very definition there can be no force and all parties must accept the conditions amicably.

Demanding peace is no more useful than demanding yourself to relax in a moment of panic. It’s a paradox. Fundamentally it cannot be rushed. It takes effort. It takes endurance, respect, and consistency.

What differentiates the villains from the heroes in old tales, and even blockbusters that we know of now – is that the villain must only succeed once to achieve their goal. If the villain wishes to cause terror, to take lives, and to exert their will, they need only do it once. Their world ending plan, or their terrorist attack – has to be only be achieved the one time. Terror, is spread easily – peace is a little tougher.

So we must be consistent. Stronger. Unwavering, and unfaltering. It begins not with magnanimous leaders that boast their own narcissism, but with the people who we often forget actually run the world – the people. It can only be achieved on the grand scale that it will, once the small behaviours of the people change. Once people remember to prioritise what they want most, rather than what they want now.

The next time someone skips you in a queue, or walks in front of you – do not storm and pout and get mad about it. Even if it irritates you in the exact moment, work hard to laugh, or joke, and move past it. Do not let the second, dictate the minute. Because very quickly, the minute can dictate the hour, and so on. Big things are only made up of small things, and it is our lack of vigilance on the small things that allows larger things to manifest themselves over time.

Talk about the small things; communicate towards a solution, as they arise. Accept that the solution may not be achieved immediately, but it cannot even begin to be worked upon until stakeholders are even aware that an issue exists. More so; do this with a smile. Do not assume maliciousness, where ignorance will do. If your waiting staff have not cleared away a table you wish to sit at, do not be so arrogant as to assume they are not doing their job, and complain of the terrible service – instead stop for a moment, consider it may be busy, and that by chance in this exact moment you spotted the table you want to sit at, they were dealing with other issues and unfortunately this was not their priority. In fact, if you have worked in the service or retail industry, you know this to be true. Be polite and kind, and with a smile bring it to someone’s attention. Think about it for a moment, from a perspective that is not your own. Imagine you are in their place, and how you would feel if someone spoke to you horribly. Equally, imagine the difference it would make if someone was kind to you, when everyone else was not. Simple actions, behavioural changes and understanding can change the world. You just must apply it to everything, every example that you can.

Say thank you with sincerity. Mean it, no matter who it is, or for what it’s for. As much as we like to believe in a society that there are certain rights we have, which we do not – such as the right to be served at a restaurant – we… don’t. Someone could just say, no.
“I have the right to refuse you, and I do.” So when you are served, when you would like to be – say thank you. And pleases are just basic manners.

Your opinion is not inherently worth more than anyone else. While of course, someone who is actually educated on a subject may have the facts to more accurately represent it, it does not mean they are any more important than the next person who wants to discuss it. Discussion is for everyone, so listen to everyone’s opinion. Do not simply wait for your turn to speak. Listen. Use it to change your own opinion, or cement it. Regardless of what it does, it is almost always certainly worth it, as long as the person on the other end is genuine.

IF we had wished to achieve serenity now, all of these things we should have begun to do a long time ago. But while we must be patient and wait a little longer, and to some degree this can be disheartening, simply remember the following phrase;

“The best time to plant a tree, is twenty years ago. The second best time, is now.”

This will guide you, and remind you that all things worthwhile require persistence, patience, consistency, and sacrifice.

This is all a lot to remember. And a lot to do. But the truth is, the small change in attitude brings about all of the following in turn, a domino effect. Once you approach everything with kindness, and acceptance first, all of your future decisions can be made by you in the moment, rather than requiring guidance, and a list of examples by which you can conduct yourself.

Use advice as your guidelines, not your rule book.

And finally, while peace and a global serenity may not be achieved tomorrow; while it will require an immense amount of effort and forgiveness on all sides; while it will require the removal of pride from the equation and the relinquishment of “the upper hand” of power – you can start today. You can be the best you can be, and as that’s all you can do – you as a human, and the ones you love close to you, can achieve serenity now.

 

 

Quote of the Day: Kindness

“You are never too important, to not be kind.”