Category Archives: Mental Musings

It’s Not the Truth …

“It’s not the truth.  It’s what I believe to me the truth.”  Huh?  Here we are distinguishing between the truth and what one believes to be the truth.  OK, people have a hard time telling the difference.  To compare the truth with a belief about the truth is like comparing a painting of a landscape with the actual landscape.  Even to most accurate painting is going to have some variation.  On top of that, the canvas is just not big enough to include the entire landscape.  A belief is the canvas for which the person paints their estimation of the landscape of truth.  It will never be 100% accurate, but it gives us somewhere to roam, otherwise we only will roam within our immediate surroundings.

On a simple level, I have to believe that there is a roadway, a bridge and that my car is in the driveway before I will attempt to go out the front door and drive to another City.  Those beliefs are based on my experience of reality.  However I have not experienced everything.  On each journey, I will add more to those beliefs.  Each time expanding the beliefs a fraction of an inch closer to reality.

I must be humble to know by beliefs will never 100% be the truth about reality.  And, one piece of new information may change everything.

The Alcohol Lie

I was always fascinated by evolution, looking at simpler organisms and other animals and imagining how such a wonderfully complex creature such as the human evolved.  In observing simpler organisms and other animals there is one thing in common … they receive in input from the environment that generates some kind of internal response that in turn leads to an action that guides that being through its life.  In most animals the internal reaction is a feeling.  We are no different.  Feelings are there in our life to guide us!

So what happens when we start masking feelings with things like drugs or alcohol?  We are bound to wind up leading a misguided life.  This goes for the casual “social” drink as well as the heavy addicted drinker.  What is the purpose of it?  Is it to relax, to feel more comfortable or whatever?  Well the reason that we are not more relaxed, comfortable or whatever is a part of who we are.  Everything that we feel is sacred.  It is a part of the feelings we have that need to be listened to and honored so they may guide us.

As a race of human beings if we are all relying on drugs and alcohol to mask feelings, we will all be misguided together.  If the world seems to be such a mess, perhaps that is the reason why.  There are two things that scare me most.  First is when men and women getting together under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  This scares me because children can be brought into this world through parents that are not being real with their feelings towards each other.  Children get hurt.  The second is that people who are in touch with their feelings are going out in the world making decisions that affect a lot of others.  What a mess this can make.

In all fairness, with humans it gets a little more complicated than just being guided by feelings the way it seems with other animals.  We start creating internal realities based on beliefs systems.  So not only are we reacting to the external environment, but also and internal one made up in our minds and through collective social beliefs.  So not only do we have the original feelings that are meant to guide us, but we start having feelings about those feelings based on our beliefs.  The feelings about feelings can then thwart the action that is intended based on the original feelings.  And, well then, feelings can emerge about that.  It all gets so messy.  We are no longer simple creatures in a basic fight, flight, feed or … the other ”f” word.  So no wonder we turn to things like alcohol and other intoxicants to numb our feelings.  They are too complicated!  But it needs to be stopped or we will all go down the cliff together.

Abandon Hope!!

When I died and got to the gate of Heaven I was bewildered by the sign above the Pearly Gates, “Abandon Hope all Ye Who Enter Here!!”  It’s the type of sign I expect to see leading to a dungeon or something.  I got a chill up the back of my spine and for a minute I panicked and thought I must be in the other place.  Perhaps did not lead such a life of virtue after all.  But there was Saint Peter standing there.  He saw the puzzlement on my face, “Is there a problem?” He asked.  “Isn’t this Heaven?” I replied a little sheepishly. “I’m just a little confused by the sign.  “Aw, yes,” said Saint Peter, “We do not want anyone to have any hope here in Heaven.”   “But I thought Heaven was good?” I said.  “Oh, it is,” affirmed Saint Peter.”  “But then why do you not want people to have any hope, isn’t hope good?”  I asked.  “I can understand you puzzlement,” Saint Peter said, “You see a person that has hope is looking to the future for something rather than being in the moment.  When a person is not being in the moment, how may not enjoy all the benefits of Heaven, here and now?”  Now I understood.  He must have seen the light bulb go off over me head.  “So, are you ready to abandon all hope?” He asked.  I nodded my head, “Then that my son, is Heaven.  Welcome!”

Beliefs, Feelings & Addictions

Ever since 9/11 and the war in Iraq, I’ve been contemplating beliefs.  I’m fortunate enough to know a wide variety of people and I get to hear a wide variety of beliefs.  The events that have transpired since 9/11 have brought to the fore front some vary different and challenging beliefs.  There seems to be a lot of finger pointing, blaming and harsh criticism of other human beings or their actions.  Listening to this, I’ve notice a few things.  First, I’ve noticed that one “side” of a particular belief does not always listen to the other side.  Next, I’ve noticed that people listen to all kinds of “facts” to support their beliefs and ignore the ones that do not support them.  Lastly I’ve noticed that people rarely change their beliefs no matter how well supported the opposing beliefs are.

Here is the conclusion that I draw:  People believe whatever they want to believe.  There are enough “facts” out there, real or imaginary, to support any belief that one wants to believe.  The question that seems interesting to me is not what do people believe, but rather why do people want to believe what they want to believe.  It seems to me that having a belief is a choice and that having a particular belief serves a particular purpose for the person believing it.  So the question is, “Why do people want to believe what they believe?  What purpose does the belief serve for them?”

After contemplating this for a long while, the answer finally came to me.  Parts of the answer of why we choose to believe what we believe seem obvious to me.  Beliefs give us a sense of identity in community.   Perhaps, also, they are a way to rebel against authority, or stand in self righteousness.  But I want to take it a little deeper, to a level of feeling.  Having beliefs give us feeling.  Our beliefs can make us feel happy, sad, angry, joy or any other of a wide assortment of feelings.  The basic biology of feelings is a chemical reaction in our bodies that stimulate action.  Feelings are a bridge between the mind and the body.  The entire conglomerate of mind/body/feelings is referred to as the soma … mind/body & the feelings that bridge them.  Feelings are a chemical reaction to the environment or to the imagery in our mind.  Our beliefs are a part of the imagery of our mind.

Any of the chemicals in our bodies, whether foreign or naturally produced can be a form of addiction.  Following this, it means that we can be addicted to the chemicals that produce feelings.  Perhaps you know someone that is depressed all the time or chronically angry, happy or sad.  Perhaps you recognize some of this in yourself.  Our bodies become used to the chemicals that make us feel a particular way.  We become addicted to these chemicals and addicted to our feelings.

My contemplation on beliefs has led me to theorize that we choose our beliefs based on how they make us feel.  We choose beliefs that make us feel a familiar way, the ways that we have felt all our lives and have become addicted to feeling.

The human soma (mind/body) is a chemical “soup” that interacts and uses the chemicals of feeling to react to the environment and the other somas (human, plant and animal) within that environment.  Thoughts, imagination, feelings & beliefs are all a part of the soma.  They support the movement of the soma through the environment.  Where we go and what we do really does not matter, as long as the soma can survive long enough to realize its purpose, whatever that may be.  Beliefs are just a part of that journey that help us get from point “A” to point “B” of the journey and then released.  They are not the truth.  They only need to be “right” or “wrong” to the level that we are addicted the feelings that being “right” or “wrong” in our beliefs produce.

My Life is a Shape

This is just some mental musings that I thought I’d share. My life is a shape. The shape of my life is determined by the people around me, the skills that I have and the way that I use my skills to interact with the people around me and to create with those people. My interactions in turn help me learn and grow. When I learn and grow, the shape of my life will change.

So who determines the shape of my life? Is it me or is it the people around me? Or is it a little of both? I truly believe that there is a greater power in the universe that determines the shape of my life. It’s sort of like imagining what determines the shape of plant will be when the plant grows? Does the plant determine its shape? Does the things surrounding it? In the optimal conditions the plant will grow into the shape that it is meant. In less than optimal conditions it may not. But ultimately the shape of a plant is determines by something greater than it (in this case it’s DNA).

Why do I want to share this? Using the plant analogy, the plant does not have to create its own shape. It just has to grow and trust that the ultimate shape it will take is the shape that it is intended. That is, if the plant could trust, it would have to trust the universe the greater powers of the universe. On the other hand, if the plant could trust and did not trust it may try to determine its own shape. It may try to force itself into another shape that it thinks it should be. It may fight its natural shape and twist and contort itself into a different shape. The shape it wants to be. And the shape that it wants to be may have an affect on the natural shape of the beings around it.

I trust God and the universe to determine the shape of my life. I do not need to force the shape of my life. I do not need to contort myself into what I think I should be based on some ideas or definitions as that may have an affect on the natural shape of the lives around me. I trust the universe to provide the shape of my life for me.

Am I Grown Up Yet?

An issue came up on my team the other night and I tried to express something that I believed.  It came out miserably and I left the meeting with a feeling that I did not represent myself  … or at least my beliefs very well.   This is about what it means to be an adult.  Am I grown up yet?

Many years ago, I was sitting in a college classroom.  It must have been a psychology class of some sorts, but I do not remember ever taking any.  Anyway, the instructor posed the question, “What does it mean to be an adult?”  As the students answered he would write their replies down on the black board.  Answers ranged from simplistic, such as, “When you turn 18,” to more complex with spiritual/emotional criteria.  I did not venture a guess.  I had never contemplated such a question before and did not have an answer.  I remembered that question for many years until one day I realized the answer; we become an adult when we take full responsibility for ourselves.

OK, now what does that mean?  It’s simple.  It means that we do not blame anyone else for who we are, what we feel, what we think and our situation.  This does not mean that we blame ourselves.  In fact, why don’t we just take the concept of blame and throw it out the window.  It’s a silly notion invented by humans for who knows what reason … perhaps to control others … keep them in adolescence.