Setting Goals for Yourself…the Sky Is the Limit

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How many of you out there set achievable, measurable goals for yourself? No matter how you do it, whether through affirmation, prayer, visualization, etc, making goals for yourself can give a sense of direction and control over your life you might not otherwise have. As the meme states, the tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching our goals, the tragedy of life is not having goals to reach for. Without goals, life is a directionless mess where we blow based on the whims of external forces. Ever since I rediscovered my spirituality after some years of dormancy, I have renewed my commitment towards goal setting. Having faith in God, Goddess and of course, myself, I pray and affirm what I want, go about everything possible in the material world to make it happen and let the Universe do the rest. And it has already served me well. I feel like I’m more in control of my life than ever before. Life isn’t perfect and not all goals are reached, but even then as the saying goes, “One door closes, another one opens”. Some goals may not be in the cards to be reached, but other goals you weren’t even striving for are achieved, making the work not in vain.

Overarching lesson….reach for the stars. You might just make it to the Moon.

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Martin Luther King Jr. – Letter From a Birmingham Jail

My Dad introduced me to this as a kid. One of the great documents of the Civil Rights Movement. Please give it a read for your MLK Day 🙂

“You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.”

http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

I have an indirect connection to MLK Jr. One of my great uncles was a Congressman who helped raise and funnel money to MLK’s voter registration drives in the Deep South and knew him personally. I just rediscovered this connection last year while reading a book written as a memorial to the life of another one of my great uncles who was a well-known black historian and former high school teacher in my home town. Knowing your history can be uplifting and enlightening. Take today as an opportunity to learn more about black history, American history and your own family’s history.

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Artistry and My Desire to Find Spiritual Enlightenment

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I am an amateur artist. I have a years-long history playing the violin, including a brief stint as a violin performance major (although I haven’t touched it on regular basis in several years, I can still get some notes out and remember proper technique), I’ve dabbled in music composition as recently as last year (mostly 12 tone, free improvisation and graphic notation music…students of music will know what I’m referring too) and this year have started really getting interested in poetry and photography.

Art to me is the portal into the spirit of another person. When I see an artistic photograph, read a poem or story, see a painting, etc, I can sense on some deep level the emotions and thoughts of that person. I connect with that person and that’s a wonderful experience. To think I’ve peered into the souls of people like Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn,  Mozart, Beethoven, Ravel, Cage and more either through listening or performing their works. Even sitting in my usual coffee shop and seeing the paintings on display I’ve gained more of a appreciation for as their style and choice of subject, etc all reflects upon them as a human being. Art is the act of taking mundane things and making something recognizable out it, but with a unique touch. Anyone can make random noise, but how about constructing a melody (although John Cage sort of brought to the limits what could be considered ‘music’ with pieces like “4 minutes, 33 seconds”, which did have an artistic statement, nevertheless)? How about taking some random words and making a story out of it? Or taking the world and capturing it in a photograph and video that speaks to people? Art is a form of spiritual communication as it connects us to each other at a higher level. I feel that way right now listening to beautiful jazz music on Pandora and I felt that way performing music by the common-practice classical masters. I think the arts shouldn’t be short-changed in education because it is literally the path to our souls and the souls of others and is an important expressive aspect of humanity and civilization. It can serve as communication between cultures and even governments hostile to each other. It can bring people together if we so choose.

If you have children, always support their artistic growth, it will serve them well in an otherwise stressful world where the soul is sometimes strangled to get through the daily routines of life. I started playing violin in 1993 (so now 20yrs) and performed in middle school, high school and two years at college-level and it opened up a whole new world to me. Although I don’t play nearly as much anymore (the last time I picked it up was in April; my last semi-professional performance with an orchestra was in 2004), I appreciate the arts in general a lot more than I probably would’ve otherwise.  Enjoy the beauty of it all, or better yet, participate and learn an artistic skill. You’ll be very happy you did.

Daily Meditation #5 and the Dream Reality

This morning’s meditation was quite nice. While in a deep state, I imagined a deep flow of energy flowing in and out of my forehead through my “third eye”. This caused me to feel quite buzzed with energy and floaty-feeling. It was very pleasurable, although a bit intense. I saw myself holding the hands of a human representation of God and Goddess, floating through space, past planets and was looking down upon the solar system. I was in a weird, dream-like state at this point, although still conscious. Eventually, I came out of it a bit, changed my position to more of a sleeping position allowed myself to rest and dream.

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Dream

Do you all ever wonder about the nature of dreams? Do dreams mean anything? Certainly dreams occur within the confines of our minds, but do you believe it can be considered another reality? I mean, we feel, touch, smell, taste and see in our dreams. We also express emotion. Ever since high school when I explored my dreams via a dream journal, I’ve always considered the dream world another reality…one produced by our personal mental environment, which is impacted by our waking life. What our minds experience in waking life is processed as dreams in our sleeping life. And so I think dreams have meanings, with the symbology different for each individual person. Water in a dream could represent something different to different people for example, based on how they think of water from an emotional standpoint. And so in a way, dreams are artistic; they are short scripts written and played out symbolically to process information.

So the next time you have a dream (creating a dream journal and writing down even dream fragments helps a lot in remembering), right it down and think about what it means to you. You’ll find pretty quickly the connection it has to your waking life and maybe the conscious effort will be spiritually fulfilling to you. Plus, since we spend a third of our lives in our dream realities, it might be nice to at least record our exploration and existence within it.

The Beauty and Power of Mother Nature

Picture I took of a lake CT and I visited last summer.

Picture I took of a lake CT and I visited last summer.

I’ve seen a lot of nature in my life. Whether be beautiful trees in a park in the middle of a city or a pristine lake in the middle of rural America or steep cliffs on a mountain pass, nature never ceases to  amaze. Unfortunately, nature also never ceases to amaze in other ways as well. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and other events happen which cause so much destruction and kill thousands of people. I’ve personally been in a moderately violent earthquake and have felt of the power of nature at it’s most raw. I’ve also seen a tornado and monster thunderstorms. After the Indian Ocean Tsunami Disaster in 2004 (produced by a megathrust earthquake along a plate boundary offshore the coast of Sumatra), I remember interviews with theologians trying to ask the question of why…why does God  bring such horrors upon people? Why did 250,000 people have to die within a matter of hours? Was it just their time all at the same time? Was it because God was angry over our sins? Was it because…? I never caught these interviews in late 2004-early 2005, but the questions were more interesting to me than whatever answers people could come up with.

I remember at the time pondering the answers myself and here’s what came to me from my spiritual perspective…which is much the same then as it is now.

Our Creators created a Universe with laws…laws of physics and chemistry which define everything and create a reality suitable for life, including life which could exist to appreciate its Creators. But with those laws came something very fundamental. That fundamental thing is balance. Balance of forces, which are constantly in a push and pull on one another. These balance of forces are what lead to the life and death of stars, to the life and death of people naturally and to the things that produce the natural disasters we fear….tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc. Without earthquakes and volcanoes to redistribute and bring balance to energies, the world would become a very internally hot and distorted world. We live in a Universe which is favorable for our existence by the laws written to govern its behavior. But those laws have consequences.

Now this thought-process itself brings up questions. Am I saying that our Creators were unable to create a perfect Universe where no such consequences exist? Or was the way the Universe designed purposely engineered this way even though it could’ve been done another way? I have no idea. But the point I make is that with the Universe’s laws as they exist…we get the good and bad which comes from the balance of forces. And sometimes the good and bad come in extremes.

Perhaps it’s not the most comforting answer in terms of understanding why specifically so many may die suddenly in one particular event that we call (rightfully so) a disaster. But, at least as far I can tell, it’s the best answer I’ve been able to come up with. I believe everyone on this Earth has their time…and when their time has come to an end, no matter how long or short a time it has been, they contributed something to the world. We have no idea when our lives will end. It should be our goal to make sure we make even a small, positive difference in it. That difference is our legacy and that will live forever.

The Amazing Creature Called Homo sapiens sapiens

I have to admit, it’s kinda hard to wake up and do my morning prayer to God and Goddess thanking them for the life-giving sun which will provide warmth to the Earth today…when I walk outside to class and it’s only 3 above zero.

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A beautiful, but bitter cold day in small town America.

But I guess it could be colder right? In fact, it will be…the forecast calls for highs in the negative single digits by early next week. LOL. Nature has a sense of humor.

But I suppose that’s what makes humans amazing like that. Our ability, given to us by God and Goddess to develop science and live beyond our physical capacities. (Don’t actually do this, unless the law permits I suppose 😛 ), but imagine taking off all your clothes and walking outside right now. Looking at the current weather map, of the US, unless you’re in Florida right now, going outside is a quite the uncomfortable experience. And frankly, without clothing and housing, a vast swath of the Earth would be simply inhospitable to human life, at least on a seasonal basis. Our brains and our ability to develop science in some shape and form (going beyond modern science to ancient science and experimentation using principles which initially may have been left unexplained for centuries) helped us expand beyond our old tropical/subtropical domains. Understanding that skinning animals and wearing their skins could keep us warm; using mud, rocks, blocks of snow or whatever building materials were available to create shelter to protect us and understanding how gravity and friction worked practically for architecture (even if we didn’t have say, the mathematics to explain these processes yet); Making use of chemicals from the environment to deal with health problems, etc. All the medications, clothes, buildings, transportation, weapons, tools and more are the result of tens of thousands of years of experimentation by humans. I remember looking at a parking garage being built somewhere and thinking the principles behind building that one building is the result of thousands of years of written history behind architecture. The technology to build it has changed, but principles dealing with material strength, gravity, etc are all the same.

Sometimes I look up at the stars and wonder if our Creators created other beings like us…in their own image with the ability to have self-awareness and create a built environment where they spread and learn more about their place in the Universe. Will be ever meet these other alien peoples? Would they look anything like us or drastically different (evolutionary theory would suggest the latter, with any resemblance being coincidence)? Would they think like us? Who knows who’s out there…I would hope that God and Goddess created others who would appreciate their existence and the Universe that they would call home. But maybe it is just us.

Whatever domain we have…we have a responsibility, being not only a biological, but a geological force on Earth, to take care of our environment. We are an amazing species given an enormous amount of power (I say science is magic because of our ability to kill off diseases, change the course of rivers, travel to the Moon, etc). But that power, given to us by God and Goddess can also kill us all and our fellow species (lack of sustainable environmental conservation, wars, pollution, etc). If we learn to be responsible with our continuously growing powers…powers which are god-like compared to what people had over their environment in say 1013 AD…we have a bright future ahead of us. If not…well, not so much.

Apologies if I rambled…posts like these sometimes come to me spontaneously, but I always appreciate people who take the time to read my stuff.  So, Thanks 🙂

The Seat Of All Knowledge

This is a simple picture I took from my school’s library.

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I took this picture after realizing just how amazing it is that I can walk into a building and experience just a tiny fraction of the knowledge of the Universe right there before me. It really made wonder…how many bits of information are out there in the Universe? What innumerable numbers of books, CD-ROMs and flash drives would be need to store such incredible data. Is there any being or civilization out there who could possibly know all the knowledge of the Universe? I suppose, ultimately our Creators are the only ones who would have all knowledge of the Universe. Their collective mind being the seat of all knowledge, the ultimate library. Perhaps in events like epiphanies, we gain just an instant glimpse into the Universal Library and reach a mile-marker on the quest for the knowledge we wished to attain. Those moments are almost magical. They are the moments which can change people’s lives and we should appreciate them as gifts from God and Goddess. I believe they wish only our success and from that spiritual growth. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the more successful one can be.