Thursday, 24 December 2015

Jim's Awesome Christmas Blog

Howdy folks!!!

I started to write this long blurb about how crappy Christmas really is for so many people and consumerism and poverty, blah blah blah... We all know that stuff.

It's not even about Jesus or christianity really. Jesus is just thrown into the ridiculous hodgepodge of religious and cultural traditions that have ended up with this thing called Christmas.

Christians keep saying Jesus is the reason for the season, but really, that's just because we've added him into this weird tradition. It's easy to find when Jesus was added to all the pagan stuff, the legends and cultural traditions and how it's evolved over the centuries until our capitalistic consumerist society turned it into something else entirely!

Of course, I'm a tad cynical about it all, but never the less I enjoy the emotion of it all. I love the fact that we make time for each other, sit around and talk, drink, eat... catch up with old friends maybe. I love that everyone gets a holiday (well, most) to do this.

And that's it really.

So anyway, I really want to thank everyone who takes the time to read all my ramblings. My main reason for starting this blog was to journal publicly so I could get feedback and share my "journey" in a way that might help others on their journey.

It amazes me sometimes that I have such a good regular readership! So thank you all from the bottom of my heart (which is a very strange place to thank people from really - I would have thought the top of my heart would be better, but there you go... although some people I would prefer to thank from the bottom of my bottom, but that isn't very loving of me).

My hope for myself, my friends and the world at large is that we will learn to live loved - yes, it's my favourite phrase, but it embraces so much. Live loved - live, knowing that we are loved, that we ARE love, made of love, by love, for love. Love is the only thing that brings true change and unity. Its the only thing that will make this world a better place.

So yeah - live loved!!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Muslim musings & religious ramblings

With all the terrorist/Muslim rhetoric going around it's easy to get lost in it all.

I'm very impressed with, and totally support, the move to separate the extremist beliefs and actions from the mainstream Muslims, as I do with any religion. It's a sign of maturity and the ability to exercise non-reactive thinking.

It's also incredible that millions are coming to the realisation that we must respect each other's beliefs and aim for a deeper level of understanding and unity amongst all of humanity.

But I keep looking at religion in general. I mean ALL religion. And by that I mean the whole concept and need for religious belief systems.

Now if you're a regular reader of my rants and raves, you'll realise that I have constantly questioned the whole paradigm about our need for building religious systems.

We all do it - yes even me! We can't help it. We form ideas about the nature of life, God, the universe and everything, and formalise it into a system or structure that helps us to understand it better, and act on it. Even atheists do the same thing, the only real difference is their anti-theism viewpoint.

But we just can't help ourselves - we decide that our system of beliefs about the universe and spirituality are the best/most logical/most spiritual/most beneficial/most life changing/most... anything really...

We fail to realise that they are simply ways of seeing something that we just don't have the full depth of knowledge about yet. We don't know what the "spark of life" is that we all have. We don't know what was before the big bang. We don't know what's inside a black hole. We don't know so much!!

But we are learning!

200 years ago, we used religious belief systems to understand and describe things that we now completely understand in a rational and scientific way. The "need" for a religious belief system for these things has gone, because we can see how they work - no more mystery.

We are learning at an even more rapid rate, and areas like quantum physics are now explaining some of the most foundational questions about the "nature of everything". SO much is simply being stripped away from needing to be viewed in any religious belief system.

This is a wonderful thing, because it allows us to see the true value of our humanity, that transcends all religious/spiritual systems. Finally, we are beginning to see that science and spirituality are the same thing, and we are ready to move into this new level of understanding.

So back to my point...

Religion is the problem - not just accepting and respecting each other's beliefs, although that's an amazing and essential step on our journey - but the whole concept of religious systems is the problem. They can't help but separate at the most fundamental level. We can modify our religion and find the unity in the basics of every belief system (well, some of them at least), but they are still inferior and short-sighted stop-gaps that divide on some level, until the day when we will understand the true nature of life/consciousness/God etc.

I propose we keep aiming to move past religion in any form. That we simply recognise whatever belief system we have as a stepping stone - something we need as a source of comfort until we truly understand. We just have to look at the last 200 years to realise how redundant most of religion has become. And even my thoughts I'm expressing here are limited by my own perceptions, and I can already see holes in what I'm saying, lol. But if we don't express this stuff, if we don't discuss and realise these foundational issues, we will never grow and achieve the very thing that we ALL crave.

Monday, 30 November 2015

I am God!

Now that will get a lot of you shouting blasphemy and heresy!
Jim's finally lost the plot! The devil's taken his soul!
But hear me out, it's just food for thought...

I am God!

I'm not A God
I'm not THE God

But I'm God, we are God, God is US!

Every infinitesimal part of me - every quantum "particle" of vibrating energy is an integral part of God. We are indivisible. There is nothing that is not God.
The "pool" of universal energy (and that many call universal consciousness) that all energy arises from, is God.

Each of us, the totally unique assembly of incomprehensibly complex energies, is God. We are all part of God. We can't be greater than, or less than God, or each other, because we are all of the same life force. There is only energy. All that we see and experience with our senses is nothing more than synchronised energy that our mind uses to create the illusion of the "world" around us (that is a scientific fact).

Every religion has the essence of this incredible truth hidden in its teachings and writings somewhere. Often it's so hidden by semantics, ritual, legalism, authoritarianism, power structures etc, that it's lost to all but a handful who care to see through the tangled mess.

Every religion has tried to create an external God that looks like themselves, and declared this shabby, fickle image to be the only true God.

We are ALL God - every single one of us! We are ALL made of, part of, inseparable from God.

I know there are a million arguments as to why this could not be so. I know that what we experience of human nature flies in the face of this idea.
But what if it IS true?
What if the only problem is we have simply forgotten who we are?
What if when we look in the eyes of another human we are looking into the eyes of God?
What if we take the time to consider this and all it's implications?
What if all the dreamers, peace keepers, mystics and gurus are right?

I AM God - think about it - I mean, really think about it. Think about the fact that the way you perceive everything now - every thought process running through your head - is nothing more than a paradigm slowly built from the day you were born!

It's possible, more than possible, that we ARE God, God is US.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Stranger to me

I am a stranger
I have walked so far that I...
Am a stranger
The years are still there
Still clear, mostly, as best I can tell
I can still feel them anyway
Like little scenes from a long movie
Playing over, out of sequence
So many of them

But it's all there is
The moments playing only on my screen
And suddenly I find myself
Here...
A stranger, in this moment

All I have left is now

And the only choice is
As if I had a choice
To let the scenes wash over me
And merge into pools of a life lived

Here I am
A stranger in my own life
I've never been me before
But still I'm here
This collection of fragmented thoughts
That stagger in and out of life


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Energy, Reality, Life, Love?


This is nothing more than one hypothesis in endless possibilities. It’s just a ramble, a thought, a way of perceiving. Nothing more. Take from it what you will.

This could be a story, myth, fact - or not - one day we may know for sure…



At some ancient trigger, quantum particles shifted state. They began to synchronise in new ways, their energy shifting frequencies, locking together, in ever greater complexity.

At some stage it became a focal point of fundamental energies, of the force that “is”, the “I am”, the “we are”, the universal. 

It became aware, not so much of itself, but of its intense focus of energy that existed within the greater sea. 

It grew at an astonishing rate, forming ever more complex structures that facilitated even greater growth. It began to create ways of maintaining structures, of storing energy/information about its environment. The energy/information had to be built into something meaningful and accessible, so it began to create a world “picture” within its own energies that gave structure and meaning to the vast amount of information it received. It then became truly self-aware.

The information had to be filtered however, narrowed down to what is relevant to its growth and stability, and then assembled into the “picture”. The picture grew ever more complex to the point where it couldn’t be aware of every part of it simultaneously, so it developed a system of prioritising and storing.

Within its environment were other self-aware focused energy fields like itself. These others radiated the same intense energies, but at completely unique frequencies, all incredibly complex. As they interacted with each other, the fields would shift and merge, synchronise and form synergistic harmonic partnerships.
But over time, some of the energy it received from its environment was at frequencies and amplitudes that clashed. There was “disharmony”, so it had to adjust its own systems to accommodate this energy/information. Much of this dissonant energy/information was stored at deeper levels so that the priority picture could be maintained, giving accurate meaning and processing to its environment.

Soon, however, the deeper, stored dissonant energies began to affect the higher synchronised energies that created the active picture, causing it to become distorted and to lose some of its ability to filter the information/energies in constructive ways, instead allowing them to actually alter the active picture.
This in turn altered the way it interacted with its environment, especially with the other self-aware focus points like itself, creating a system that constantly battled with maintaining its own integrity while interacting with everything in its environment. The active picture it had created to filter and process had become too destabilised and began to lose its ability to adapt, synchronise and merge with the energies around it.

This caused other focused energy fields to become even more dissonant and isolated, some creating intense barriers of energy to avoid any more disharmony. The self-awareness had to protect its internal energies to maintain integrity.

Some of their frequencies matched enough to allow “painless” synchronising. Others were far too different, and the effort to synchronise required deep reorganising of the stored energy/information that in turn affected the active picture and its ability to make any meaningful energy exchange with each other.
The focussed energy fields began to find others that emanated similar frequencies, rather than simply synchronising with all the others, and started to synchronise and strengthen amongst themselves. These groups formed tight fields of energy, but instead of allowing the other energies to shift and merge in gentle patterns of unity, their own unified intensity overpowered surrounding fields, causing them to either dramatically shift frequency and align, or experience disharmony and clashing of energy fields.

At times the disharmony was so intense that the radiating energy would affect countless others – distorting their pictures and corrupting their filtering and processing capabilities. The energy was so intense it would directly synchronise with the energy/information that had been stored deep in the “archives”. This further distorted the active picture creating a cycle of destructive disharmony.
But some of the focussed energy points were self-aware enough to see this cycle of destruction and distortion and the damage it was doing to their active picture. They began to adjust their filters, slowly, in way that allowed them to analyse any frequency and intensity without letting it affect their own energy integrity. They could actively choose to adjust their own fields in any way to either reject or synchronise. They found they had had complete control over all the information/energy processes, rather than letting the old filters simply add to the dissonance.

It was a simple process, to adjust, and see the disharmony as nothing more than a result of protection mechanisms. But it took time, to find the gentle flow of adjusting and synchronising again, the acceptance without barriers and the filters providing the most balanced perspective to the active picture.


Energy…

We are nothing but energy. There is no matter, it’s all an illusion. Everything in the universe is simply energy – vibrating vortices, myriads of complex frequencies, harmonics, all drifting in and out of synchronisation, shaped by the universal consciousness that coalesces into focal points. The reality we experience is an image created by our minds, as determined by our senses and filters.

That’s it.

Everything else is subjective assumption – everything…

Live loved

Saturday, 21 November 2015

What to do about terror: Part 2

After my last blog I found that there is a very clear division between those who think that aggressive action is the only solution and those who think love is the only way forward.

The aggressive/pro-active side regard the love side as unrealistic dreamers at best, and at worst, welcoming the destruction of free, democratic society.

As I outlined in my last blog, I totally understand the pro-active aggressive stance, and acknowledge it's short term effectiveness.

Here's where I will challenge that, however, with every bit of energy I have. Violence ALWAYS breads violence. You cannot achieve peace with violence - ever. The peace that may be attained is only transitory, and history has proven this over and over and over.

The hippie movement slogan of "give peace a chance" was never accepted. Peace has never been given a chance. They said "love is all you need", but no one actually took the time to figure out how to love.

The hippies were prophets! They saw a power that could truly transform humanity but lacked the maturity to implement it. Many are now seeing this as the greatest truth that mankind can ever embrace. More powerful than any weapon of mass destruction. More life changing than any political system.

Love is the key. But so many fail to understand what love is and how to implement it in practical ways.

What is the one thing that every human being needs more than anything else? What is essential to the growth of every single child? What do we crave at the deepest possible level, even if we can't voice it or understand it?

LOVE!

Every terrorist, every "evil" person, everyone who inflicts acts of abuse, destruction and hate is lacking the experience of love! I think everyone would agree with that, but far too many say "so what!, we need to stop them and aggressive force and violence is the only way".

But here's the crunch - we've never actually tried to give them the love they so desperately need. We can do this on two levels - as nations and communities, and personally.

But this would involve humility. It would involve compassion and empathy - concepts that many of us refuse to exercise, simply because it requires us to put aside our agendas and actually listen to other people.


What would happen if we went to ISIS and all the other terrorists, with no agenda other than seeking to understand? What would happen if we were ready to accept the possibility that they may have genuine grievances against the west - that we actually had completely misunderstood them and they had genuine reason to hate us?

What if we recognised that they are reacting out of anger? That they are lost and broken, afraid and confused, that they can't see beyond their paradigms any better than we can?

If we take the lead, and extend the compassion, understanding and love they so desperately need would they act differently? Do WE have the guts to say "sorry, we haven't listened to you"? Can we honestly say "I understand why you are angry and view us as the enemy"?

It's time to get real. It's time to grow some balls and stop thinking like 5 year olds fighting over a toy. It's time to stop reacting. It's time to actually BE the mature people we claim to be. It's time to ignore the political agendas and talk heart to heart!

Love IS the most powerful thing in the universe, and when we realise that, everything will be different!

Friday, 20 November 2015

What to do about terror

The last few days, since the terrorist attacks in Paris, have seen a massive amount of divisive opinions over how to solve the problem.

There seem to be two camps on the issue, generally speaking. One involves more aggression, better defence, stricter controls, and a ruthless approach with the goal to obliterate ISIS and all Muslim terrorists. There is even a push to vilify Islam in it's entirety.

The other camp sees a bigger picture, where love wins.

The first response is very justifiable and I agree that it's the most logical approach, and could achieve very good short term results. It's a direct solution that confronts the immediate problem.

The second response is seen by most as a leftist, hippy dream that will make us all weak and easy takings for the Muslim's wanting to establish the Caliphate. In fact they see it as the ultimate weakness and the failure of all that western democracy has fought hard to establish based on christian morals.

History has shown us without a shadow of doubt that humanity learns nothing from history. We just go round in circles, doing the same things, expecting different results.

We rise up in righteous indignation when we are confronted by "evil", in whatever form that may take, and do battle for truth and justice, often in God's name (whoever that God may be).

But suppose there actually was a better way? What if we took the effort to step back and recognise that our responses are emotional reactions based on the circumstantial evidence in front of us? What if we were prepared to accept the possibility that we are reacting rather than clearly thinking? What if we stopped to look at history, and accept that repeating the same thing over and over is not just really dumb, but incredibly tragic beyond belief?!

The "still small voice" that christianity speaks of, is exactly that. It's in all of us. But it's "still" and "small", meaning that we have to step back from our emotional reactions, our anger, frustration, hatred and biases, to be able to hear it. We have to recognise that to find something deeper and lasting and life giving, requires us to let go enough to hear that part of us that is "still and small".

Even Jesus said, in no uncertain terms, "love your enemies, do good to those who hurt you". He was pretty big on it actually. He didn't add a "but", he just laid it on the line.

So its possible that we can achieve the peace we desperately crave without violence. In fact peace with violence is impossible, always has been and always will be. Sure, we can look at short term "victories" where violence solved an immediate problem, but the core issues never resolve. We refuse to accept that  love could be an ever better cure to our ills.

We refuse to accept that something as simple as love has any real power. But we have forgotten that we ALL are vulnerable, emotional beings. We are ALL complex creatures, full of fears and loves, passions and desires. We ALL love, we ALL long for acceptance, understanding, compassion and empathy. We ALL long to be understood at the deepest level.

Every single person ever created longs to be understood, to be heard and respected, to be treated with justice and compassion. And that includes terrorists and Muslims.

What would happen if we were prepared to recognise that simple fact and begin to act on it? What would happen if we actually extended love in all it's raw beauty, in all it's humility and unconditional acceptance of our humanity?

Are we prepared to try? Or are we too proud and arrogant? Are we simply going to repeat the never ending cycle of violence or finally realise that it's time we actually learned something from history?

We've never tried love! Now could be a great opportunity!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Love Killer

How christianity killed my ability to love

Now there's a provocative title for you!

Here's the story...

I've found an amazing guy who loves me to bits, just as I am. He's caring and romantic and, well that's not the real issue here.

The problem is me. You see, when I was young, my christian beliefs made it impossible for me to love someone. Sure I could love a woman, but being gay, this was rather a tall order. Of course I tried, and was married twice to amazing women, but them being women and me being gay, well, it was never going to work.

But there were a couple of guys I fell for, and one of them big time. My heart was bursting with love, not just physical, real love, passion, romance - everything they write about in Mills and Boon novels (not that I've ever read one).

I could never act on that love though. We could never be free to express it, because the church, the bible, christianity, religion, said it was sin. It said love between two guys was a sickness and God hated it.

So I shut it down, with every ounce of emotional strength I could muster. I then married my second wife, and together we did everything we could to live straight christian lives. I put all my energy into loving my wife. I learned how to do romantic things and to make love. I did my best, and believed that God would honour it and eventually make me straight.

But of course that never happened, and she died never being loved by me in the way we had hoped.

So now after four years I've found this guy and I'm scared, in a deep but subtle way. It's so hard to give myself to him. Even though I now know the christian view of sexuality is completely stuffed, its done its damage. The scar is deep and I have to now fight to undo the fear.

I find myself backing off, not wanting to talk, avoiding contact, not wanting to respond to his love (and I'm not talking about sex here) - because I've spent all my life suppressing that love, denying it, fighting it - so that now I'm finally free to enjoy real love, I find that the mechanisms of response are shut down.

Yes christianity - you did this! Some will say it was religion rather than christianity, but no. After living this for over 40 years, I can say without hesitation it was the very core principles of christian doctrines that killed love in me. "Religion" just made it worse!

Reparative therapy, done by one of the most deeply christian organisations, screwed the last drop of romantic love out of me, shut up my deepest emotions and crippled my heart.

Oh, I'm learning the depths of unconditional love for humanity, seeing God in all, in ways that are mind blowing. But to love another human with sensual love and romance, well, that's shut down.

I'm now on the journey of finding the keys to open it again. I have an amazing man who is helping for now, although that in itself is another complicated story.

It's slowly returning. I'm learning to give my heart again, bit by bit, seeing the places that have gone numb and allowing the blood of life to flow through them.

Christianity makes me angry. Religion even more so. But the God who I'm slowly discovering, the God who is Love - nothing more and nothing less - lifts me above that anger, as I let it. And sometimes that's a little hard!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

What is reality?

I've been reading again (dangerous activity!).

I've always been fascinated with quantum physics, even though I struggle to comprehend so much of it, as I guess most of us do.

But I dig around through heavy stuff and then try to find more simple explanations before my brain implodes.

What's becoming the clearest thing so far, that cuts through all the pseudo-science, metaphysics and philosophical assumptions are a small handful of facts. Facts that are now beyond question. We may have heard some of these facts and thought "wow isn't that amazing!" or just put it in the too hard basket, because really, they are so far reaching in their impact that the implications are, for most of us, just too bizarre.

So here we go (this is my best shot at a short summary and may not be the most accurate description):

  • Solid matter does not exist - everything is simply energy
  • Energy can be waves or particles depending on whether they are being "observed"
  • Before they are observed they can be anywhere - the act of observation gives them location
  • Time is not "linear" in the quantum world - things don't happen in a logical series of events in the way we understand. Our observing something can change its past
  • Quantum particles can be synchronised and affect each other instantly, no matter where or when they are 
  • The world as we observe and understand it, only exists in our minds
The list goes on. Suffice to say that things just don't play nice. They stuff up our tidy little world on a scale that defies sanity.

So, here's the crunch - the quantum world IS THE REAL WORLD!

That's right, we have a tiny range of senses that can only grasp an infinitesimal part of this interaction of energy, creating the illusion of time and matter. We are so much more than what we see around us that its a bit like asking an amoeba to write a thesis on philosophy.

The simple fact is that we are just a synchronised assembly of energy vortices that comes from and interacts with the unfathomably immense sea of energy that simply IS - and some fields of physics are even saying that this sea of energy could actually be universal consciousness, that consciousness is the source of all energy, not the other way around!

We can use this knowledge to begin to interpret what spirituality really is, and that's where we can only make assumptions. For me, I now think that "god" is this sea of conscious energy. But not God in the sense of a being who has ultimate control over our destiny, but simply the source that brings life. We are, for a brief moment, a focal point of synchronised energy that is self aware, and that will return to the greater awareness and perhaps continue in its growth, in union with the universal consciousness again.

I don't really know, and of course no one does! Religion, ALL religion, is nothing more than a construct to try and give meaning and purpose to our current existence as defined by our tiny physical senses. That's OK, we need it to some degree, especially as we are still learning so much about the real universe. But the need for religion is crumbling rapidly (yes, I know all the theological responses to that!) but the de-constructing of religion is bringing real purpose, life, unity and love to this world, despite the frantic claims of theists. Perhaps the ultimate fact is that unity through the synchronising of energy is actually the definition of love - its the only thing that holds the universe together and brings life!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Substance of God

I am, not will or was
I am, not part thereof
I am, not bought or sold
I am, not young or old
I am, not male or femme
I am, nothing to condemn
I am, and will not be judged
I am, living loved
I am, not sin redeemed
I am, not life undreamed
I am, enough, complete
I am, a bit rough, but sweet
I am, part of the whole
I am, on no church roll
I am, substance of God
I am, a lightning rod

I am, you
I am, us
I am...

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Sea of Sadness

The sea of sadness hosts no storms
It dampens the angry clouds of lightning
It unravels twisting water spouts
Languid waves lap it's shores

Mists drift in and out dripping soft tears
Silver light shines in poignant beauty

The sea of sadness holds hearts that have too much to bare
It's sparkling silver arms of comfort
Wrap warm and deep pains in stillness
   Truths that can never be spoken  
   Love that can never be revealed 

The sea of sadness is wide and deep
It welcomes the weary with gentle caress
It promises nothing but a moment of eternity
And the glimpse of a distant beacon

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Being a "man"

There's so much around these days about what it means to be a man.

There's this image of the prefect man, who creates an environment for women to become perfectly "whole", kids to become perfectly fulfilled and for society in general, to be blessed by their masculinity.

Men must be men! We have a blueprint for the perfect man and if we don't fit that blueprint then we are a failure, not only creating dysfunctional families but even worse, mocking God, who created very clear boundaries for what a man is supposed to be.

Reality check!

There is a gender/sexuality continuum.
There are two types of "psyche" (for want of a better word) that define certain characteristics as masculine or feminine.

The masculine is described as strong, decisive, objective etc...
The feminine is described as emotional, sensitive, empathic etc...
We are very familiar with these concepts.

However, to associate these characteristics with particular genitals is nothing more than a social construct. Sure, lots of humans with penises like football and are strong and aggressive. And lots of humans with vaginas are soft and caring.

But here's the glitch - countless humans, irrespective of their genitals and hormones, display a broad mix of masculine and feminine traits. Many humans with penises are emotional and sensitive - they love to support others with compassion and empathy - they are nurturing, and empathic... And lots of vagina and breast endowed humans love to rough it up, take charge, be confident and assertive, and play football. In fact most humans have a completely random mix of these qualities in various quantities.

But society/culture and especially religion, consistently creates stereotypes that force the "psyche" attributes to fit the physical attributes. This is probably one of the most tragic things society has suffered!

Humans are supposed to deny who they are at the deepest level, in all its amazing and beautifully unique complexity, to become stereotypes, as defined by religious definitions.

Our genitals DO NOT DEFINE US. We are who we are!

If you have a penis and experience "feminine" traits, then guess what - you are a perfect human! If you have breasts and like "masculine" things, then you too are a human - perfect just as you are.

I am a gay man. I love having a penis and have no desire for anything physically feminine (I mean breasts are just yucky). But I have a few feminine qualities, and definitely lack the "macho" needed to enjoy footy.

So why do I need to be anything different? Why does anyone need to adopt a gender based role to be a "whole" and fully functional human? Why is some perfect balance of masculine/feminine the ideal that all humanity must strive for to create a perfect society that pleases god?

If all of us are free to simply be who we are in every way - and by free I mean that we are accepted as equal, valued and valid members of society - then we  will also be free to contribute all we are to the richness of humanity.

To demand that "men" be masculine and women be "feminine" is to deny the very character of god and all that we are as unique and wonderful creations.

I've seen first hand the tragic damage caused by forcing men and women into gender stereotypes. It's time to grow up, and become exactly as we are created to be.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Do I hate Christianity?: Part 3

I've been pretty harsh so far about christianity.

I've been honest, with myself, and also wanting to validate the pain and abuse countless millions have suffered at the hands of this religious system for centuries. It completely screwed my own life up, so yeah, there's still some anger there about even the most foundational beliefs, and especially how those beliefs are implemented.

Of course I know all the "correct" theological answers to my own complaints. I could argue against my own arguments quite convincingly!

I blogged recently about Brian McLaren's "levels of faith" and have spent some time looking at my own journey through this. Although I still have a lot of anger towards christianity to work through I am genuinely feeling a great love and patience towards those who fully embrace it's central doctrines.

As I read, meditate, explore and discuss all this stuff I find the paradox gets more extreme - I can completely understand why so many love christianity and find life and peace there, living out a "personal relationship" with God through Jesus (it's what I did for 45 years!) - but I can also see massive failings, delusions and escapism that all religions have at their core.

To even suggest to a passionate christian who has experienced deep intimacy with Christ, that what they believe is just one small subjective experience of an infinitely greater spirituality is nothing short of heresy and blasphemy!

To suggest that the whole concept of the christian god (or any god) is nothing more than a man made religious construct is to invite absolute disdain and contempt at best, and having your name added to a prayer chain at worst.

However, to see each other's spirituality as a completely unique experience, and to honour each others journey, is the best thing we can do. It frees each other to explore and grow.

The other day I was confronted by someone who was posting fundamentalist vitriol about various topics, and displaying the lack of compassion and "christ-likeness", shallow thinking and exclusivism that you'd expect. I found myself in a dilemma. Do I just treat them with forgiving grace and accept that that's just where they are at, or confront them in some way. I chose the latter, and was accused of not extending the love I preach. So there you go!

Still, I had to make the decision that although they were speaking out of ignorance, the things they were saying were destructive and damaging to many on a very personal level, and although there was nothing I could say that would convince them of that, by publicly challenging their views in a way that left no doubt about the damage they cause, I had actually acted in a far greater love than appeasing an individual's emotions.

Perhaps this is what Jesus had in mind when he ripped the Pharisees to shreds.

So do I hate christianity? That's still a question I won't directly answer.

I hate religion in all its forms. I hate anything that separates and excludes. I hate anything that even vaguely promotes bigotry. I hate anything that says we are filthy sinners worthy of death who's only hope is the vicarious sacrifice of a man/god.

But I love anything that brings out our inherent beauty. I love anything that unconditionally loves us as we are. I love anything that builds unity. I love anything that speaks life and empowers people to be their unique selves expressed through love.

If christianity can do that, then I'm good to go. If it doesn't, then I'll expose it for the lie that it is. I'm sure I'll keep changing though, I know I am! Even the last few weeks have seen my heart shifting in many ways - letting go of a lot of stuff, seeing the deep levels of abuse that my spirit/heart received and it's effect on my life - allowing myself to feel things I'd always repressed, and also allowing them to be at rest, to be touchstones of empathy.

Living Loved is hard and wonderful, painful and joyful!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Common Truth

It's amazing how the further you go on this journey, the deeper you go down the rabbit hole, the more you unravel etc... the more you find deep common truths, and the paradox's of life, and that we really don't know much at all.

Although I no longer hold the basic tenets of christianity, there are still deep truths in it all, if we want to sift through it all, if you can be bothered. But then, our limited understanding, senses, world views etc. demand our labours, our passionate efforts to find some sort of truth we can hang our hats on.

It's easy to not partake in that work though. We love to find others who are "doing it" and just accept that they have found "it", and tag along for the ride. And there are countless rides to be had! Even in christendom there are so many conflicting beliefs, and when we open our eyes a little, we see the problems, so often jump off one ride and on to another, thinking it's better in some way.

But it's just another ride, in someone else's car. We don't want, or are fearful, to drive our own car - be responsible for how we drive - maintain the car - fix it when it breaks, or even get another one when it's beyond repair! (not sure how well the analogy works but I'm sure you get the idea, lol)

Dogma is the most damaging symptom of our spiritual laziness. It says "I have the whole truth and nothing but the truth and you must believe my truth to be accepted". It says "I'm right and you're wrong". It says, "my whole life journey is valid but yours isn't". It divides and destroys at the deepest level. It creates fear, anger, hatred. It truly is one of the most "evil" things we can do to ourselves and humanity.

When we refuse to see that religious systems, of any form, are subjective, we have embraced dogma at its most foundational level. Whatever your belief system may be - it's entirely subjective. It may be a very valuable belief system that embraces methods and disciplines that enhance our humanity and love, or it may be destructive, but if we don't accept that it's OUR subjective belief system, then we are ultimately responsible for the evil we see around us.

If your belief system does not embrace the core universal elements of love, unity, compassion and empathy, then you have completely missed the point. If you treasure your belief system more than the "fruit" of that system, then you have embraced the problem and not the solution.

I have no issue with whatever religion we may choose to help understand and live those core and common truths - we all need a "handle" that helps us personally understand these truths, but every single person's "handle" is different and subjective to their unique identity and experience.

You can even make the most beautiful spiritual practices into destructive dogma. So lets take the time to do the hard work, to recognise our tendency towards destructive spirituality, and encourage everyone to explore the only thing that truly brings life - LOVE.

(I hope I'm not being too dogmatic about this!)


Sunday, 16 August 2015

Post-christian prayer

The last week or so have been really interesting!

Some of you may be aware I had a mental meltdown 4 years back after Min died, and I went bankrupt, and I "came out" (if you are going to overload your brain you may as well do it in style).

One of the ongoing symptoms is that in times of stress and pressure, I get severe ADD symptoms, can't focus on any one task, can't absorb what I'm reading (especially any technical info), get to the end of the day wondering what the hell I've been doing, forgetting why I just went to another room, all that sort of stuff. So yeah, lots of fun, but I just roll with it these days. Funny thing is it doesn't affect my sense of well-being and happiness, so something's going on at a deeper level.

Anyway, that's not really the point!

I had to go for my annual review for the sickness benefit that the government generously [sic] provides me, but due to my propensity to confusion with paperwork, I sort of stuffed it up and they cancelled my benefit. I had to re-apply from scratch with nearly two weeks delay before I got any money again.

Now in the past I would have prayed and applied every christian prayer formula I could think of to get through tough financial (or whatever) situations, but these days I just stop and do a little mindfulness meditation, centring, breathing, all that stuff. But most importantly I just rest in the fact that there's nothing I can do about it, so "god" is my only solution.

I put a little call out for help, and then allowed myself to rest in that, with no fear, just simple trust that when I focus on love, the universe will reciprocate by whatever means it may.

This is something I've been living by for some time now, and I can honestly say my needs are met in ways that my "christian" years never got close to. So my recent adventure was another confirmation - that "faith" has nothing to do with religion. My faith was in the simple trust that I am loved, I am integrally part of all of us, the universe, and all that cosmic stuff, lol. But it's true!! I am just an expression of love (warts and all) and when I relax in that oneness/unity, trusting in God/Love/The Divine... than I have nothing to worry about.

It's very different to claiming and speaking out what I want. It's not "positive confession", although it kind of is. It's not demanding what's rightfully ours from God, or even putting any expectations on God. It's a simple confident rest, that comes from love and acceptance, self awareness and a sense of unity with all things and people.

I tried this one as well!
Yeah, I know it sounds really cosmic and new age. Sorry about that. But what can I say! Its where I'm at, and it's far more real and life giving than my christian experience.

Of course, I know that many will say I was obviously never much of a christian, and I know many christians who do get answers to prayer all the time. Sure, I got answers to prayer, I was passionate and loved God and Jesus and had a very intimate relationship with him. But its so much better and easier now. No more battling in prayer, and then trying to work out how the complete failure of that prayer was actually God's answer. No more twisted doctrines trying to make sense of "God's mysterious ways".

No, I'm at peace, and even when things seem to go rather badly, that peace, grounded in love, is what brings life and "answers to prayer".

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Through religion, and out the other side

This is probably more of an article than a blog. So grab a wine first.

I've spent a long time de-constructing Christianity (and religion in general) because I've lived through the worst of it, and seen the inestimable damage its done to so many, as well as the damage it's done to mankind in general.

I do this because it needs to happen. We need to be honest about this stuff. I recognise my bias/paradigm in all this, and would never deny it.

I have denounced the bible and traditional doctrines in no uncertain terms - not because they are devoid of any truth, but because to see any of the truths in a way that has real value to humanity in general, or to us individually, requires a level of "maturity" that not many have allowed themselves to achieve.

That's not meant to sound patronising, so I'll unpack that idea a little.


There is a "levels of faith" process described by Brian McLaren that lays out 4 distinct levels of growth or progress through our beliefs. It's not perfect of course, and often the lines are blurred between the levels, but it serves its purpose. (The levels can be applied to just about any religion).
  1. Simplicity: Seeing everything in black and white - right and wrong - us and them. God is the ultimate authority who must be obeyed. The truth is knowable and liveable, but only through our belief system. This is where fundamentalist/literalists generally fit.
  2. Complexity: There are many ways to grow and serve God. Life and spirituality is measured by goals, purpose and success. Authorities are the experts and can coach and direct us. God is the ultimate guide/coach. This is where your average church sits.
  3. Perplexity: Everyone has an opinion and we can never know who is right. Beliefs are more subjective and relative, but being honest and authentic is crucial. There's a distrust of authority and a tendency to be highly cynical. Although passionate about integrity, there's a strong tendency to be highly critical and negative. Most leave the church at this stage.
  4. Humility: There is an understanding of unity and deeper truths - our connectedness and focus is on wisdom and love instead of doctrines and dogma. Love becomes very practical and unconditional. Life is mysterious and paradoxical.
Most of us are happy to be told what to believe, how to live a good life etc, and as long as it represents good morals and makes reasonable sense we are happy to go with it. That's not necessarily a good or bad thing, but it is a lazy thing. It's deferring the responsibility for our core identity and belief system to someone else. It's lazy because we can "believe" something simply because heaps of others believe it, and assume that it must be true. This is basically level 1.
I would say that it's only beneficial for little kids, to provide boundaries of safety as they learn to think critically and mature. This is not a good place for any human to live, although it's often part of our spiritual journey.

The last few years, I've been struggling through level 3 and moving into level 4. Although I hate the clinical labels, it does help to map where I'm at and ponder where I'm going in my spiritual journey. I'm finding more and more people struggling at level 3, seeing all the inconsistencies, hypocrisy and just about everything that makes christianity a laughing stock at best, and a damaging blight on the face of the earth at worst.

To get to this stage can be soul destroying, causing a complete crisis of faith, often resulting in totally abandoning all traditional beliefs and even becoming atheists. A few manage to sift through all this and find a far deeper understanding of God and life, and move into level 4. For myself and many others, this isn't a clear cut process, but I can certainly attest to the reality of level 3, as we become critical thinkers, using logic, reason, science and above all, honesty and integrity, to examine our belief systems.

I have probably always tended to see aspects of the mystical and higher truths, but always felt trapped in seemingly logical constraints of fundamentalism. Finally leaving christianity, as it's known and represented in the first 3 levels, has felt like walking out of a school hall full of hyperactive screaming kids all throwing tantrums, into a beautiful serene forest with flowers and a little stream... you get the idea!

But to communicate to those still living in the other level is almost impossible. Level 1s will call anything else heretical. Level 3s will despise the lower levels as ignorant fundamentalists, and often fail to see the potential to keep growing. Even those at level 4 can tend to be dismissive and patronising of others apparently stuck in fundamental beliefs.

For myself, I'm still transitioning into level 4, as I wrestle with all the crap. But the level of peace I'm experiencing as it all falls away is astonishing. Doctrines become irrelevant. There is no in or out, us and them. Unity, love, integrity, compassion and empathy, have become the only things that matter, and love has become tangible. Love is becoming something I see in everyone without even trying. Living loved is becoming a natural part of me.

Life is still rich and complex. I act out of selfishness and ego, but I recognise it more than ever, and am finding myself more teachable than I've ever been, getting less offended about stuff. My heart for compassion and justice, to help the underdog and the broken is becoming real, rather than an obligation. I no longer have to "act" loving in defiance to my "sinful" nature, I just do what I feel, which happens to be more and more loving.

What used to be unreachable/unrealistic ideals is becoming reality.

So how does this relate to anything practical? Glad you asked!

I'm finding that Silent Gays is directly aimed at those struggling through level 3, compounded by their sexual identity. I seem to be finding people who are ready to jump off the cliff of faith, or those who have already jumped and are needing an ambulance. Realising all this is helping enormously in my focus and methodology.

I'm worried though, as a read through the blogs of my journey, that it sounds like my "growth" makes me, and others who relate to "level 4", superior and patronising, and that is the last thing I want!!

If anything, I understand why people cling to dogma and black and white thinking. I get the whole need for strict authority structures for some. But it's my passion to help people move through that phase and into greater freedom and peace.

I no longer see the bible as a historical book in any sense, and I'm not really concerned if Jesus was even a real person. If there is anything to be learned from scripture it's in hidden and deeper metaphor, which could be why so many "mystics" of the centuries, have drawn any life out of it.

Spirituality is constantly growing and changing as society and culture change, as science and technology change - because these sciences discover the reality of our physical universe and how we interact with it. And that has to change our spiritual concepts whether we like it or not.

Christianity, and all religions, can serve a purpose if we are taught to use critical thinking to see the deeper universal truths. But it takes time and a willingness to be wrong - about everything - all the time. And that's something we don't like very much!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Truth

Thought I'd try my hand at a meme.

Of course, being me, it had to be profound and loaded with subtle nuances, provocative ideas, and require some thought rather than a passing reaction.

Enjoy (or not)

If it feels good...

A friend commented about the two extremes we tend to adopt:

  1. If it feels good - do it
  2. Our feelings are completely unreliable and we must live by external guidelines
Society tends to regard 2 as the best option, and religion in particular, declares that we are, at our very core, unreliable, deceived, incapable of making good choices, incapable of real love, and that we must have external guidelines by way of laws - either legal or religious - that govern our behaviour.

Christianity, although declaring we are freed from law and it's burden by Jesus, still states very clearly that it's only by having the Holy Spirit in us that we can ever hope to make good, life giving decisions. But that's still relying on an external source, and the end goal is to prove/demonstrate our "goodness" by living to the laws laid out in the bible, and the Holy Spirit gives us the power to do this.

I've found, however, that those who begin to understand who they really are, who we ALL are, see life very differently.

As we see that our intrinsic value isn't based on approval by others, adherence to "laws", performance based on assumptions etc, but is based on the fact that we are all equal humans, who are created in, by and for love, the need for external laws and rules fades.

We no longer need to think in those terms, simply because all that we do reflects our own self worth. We see ourselves in others and want to draw that worth out of them. We act with empathy in all we do, because we know that love is the only universal constant that transcends all other systems of belief.

My friend said he now pretty much lives by the first statement. And I agree, because I'm starting to understand that I really can trust myself - my deepest self. I am love. Love feels good. I trust that love

We can say that we deceive ourselves, but what is the basis for that statement? Could it be that we have desperately tried to apply external rules, in the belief that without them we are evil to the core. We have been taught this for so long that we believe it without question. In fact, to question it only "proves" that we are just self seeking, hedonists

But as we gradually let ourselves see our essential worth, love becomes the prime motivation. Not performance based conditional love (which isn't love anyway), but a simple powerful love that genuinely wants nothing more than to
nurture, respect, unconditionally accept itself in all people and all things, especially and foremost, in ourselves.

This is nothing new. It's not some hippy drug induced dream, or "new age" escapism. It's the deepest truth that has wound it's way through human history. We all know it deep down, if we dig deep enough, it's there.

We ARE love, and when that revelation becomes "conscious" we can simply do whatever we want because it feels good.

Will we make mistakes? Of course! But those mistakes will help us to see deeper. It inspires greater empathy and compassion as our "unloving" ways are exposed. We have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Live loved!