being positive

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Leaving the Fold

An outstanding book for anyone questioning or leaving their faith.

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This book by psychologist Marlene Winell provides valuable insights into the dangers of religious indoctrination and outlines what therapists and victims can do to reclaim a healthier human spirit…. Both former believers searching for a new beginning and those just starting to subject their faith to the requirements of simple common sense, if not analytical reason, may find valuable assistance in these pages.”

Steve Allen, author and entertainer

becoming aware is a process

keynote templete.001Becoming aware is a process. It starts with letting our questions in, with opening wide the doors that someone else has shut inside our minds, then greeting with openness the things on the other side. We step outside, we take in some fresh air, and we learn to be free a little.

It works wonders. Stepping out gives clairty with new, fresh perspectives.

It’s not that hard, nobody but you and the God you believe in need know, and if the divine source of life is love, then what’s the problem with questioning what we believe?

There’s no fault in that. The fault is in fear. Fear is what binds, what blinds, and there is no love in fear.

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Freedom of Mind: book

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Another book by Steven HassanAvailable through Amazon Prime:

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.24.07 AMJust now purchased this on my kindle (along with a lot of other books). If it’s anything like another book of Hassan’s I’ve read, Releasing the Bonds, then it’s going to be good.

 

Heaven and Hell

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I love this story by Pema Chödrön

“There’s another story that you may have read that has to do with what we call heaven and hell, life and death, good and bad. It’s a story about how those things don’t really exist except as a creation of our own minds. It goes like this: A big burly samurai comes to the wise man and says, “Tell me the nature of heaven and hell.” And the roshi looks him in the face and says: “Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you?” The samurai starts to get purple in the face, his hair starts to stand up, but the roshi won’t stop, he keeps saying, “A miserable worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?” Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword, and he’s just about to cut off the head of the roshi. Then the roshi says, “That’s hell.” The samurai, who is in fact a sensitive person, instantly gets it, that he just created his own hell; he was deep in hell. It was black and hot, filled with hatred, self-protection, anger, and resentment, so much so that he was going to kill this man. Tears fill his eyes and he starts to cry and he puts his palms together and the roshi says, “That’s heaven.”

Pema Chödrön, Awakening Loving Kindness

it starts with the mind

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becoming authentic can be painful

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keynote-templete.00181Nothing’s much harder to pull out of than being physically or mentally stuck, especially if both are working together as one.

Never let someone claiming authority from God do all your thinking and discerning for you. Stop and listen to your own voice. Smell the roses. Let your mind and your awareness work for you. This empowers you to dispel someone else’s myth, someone else’s crazy beliefs.

I think we have to be quiet and really listen, and we have to let our questions in, and let our mind and heart go to work. I’m telling you—a welcomed paradigm shift can occur!

It’s like stepping out of a box you’ve been living in for a long time. It gives clairty. For me, observing the obvious, the uncomfortable, the less than good parts of myself or my life enables me and motivates me to do the work of change. We can’t fix what we don’t see, and we have to create our own happiness.

I think what it really boils down to is that we have to really want the truth, regardless of any pain attached. We have to really yearn for happiness and an authentic life.

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asking questions opens doors

Love this quote by Dsogchen Ponlop

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my take on Buddhism

I don’t call myself a Buddhist, however I do embrace the essence of Buddhist teachings—I want help waking up, becoming aware, being mindful, empathetic, compassionate, kind and so-on and so-on. Buddhism to me is more a study of the mind and a way of training the mind.

Reasoning, analysis, contemplation, meditation—just some tools to help wake us up, to see life outside of Plato’s dream cave world, outside the box, outside our usual sphere of influence: our culture, our race, family, friends, relationships, gender, job, roles, age,  geographical location, neighborhood, education, beliefs, DNA—all those things that inherently settle down inside of us and make us who we are and that can create a mountain of biases.

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Meditation is about seeing clearly the body that we have, the mind that we have, the domestic situation that we have, the job that we have, and the people who are in our lives. It’s about seeing how we react to all these things. It’s seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now, in this very moment, in this very room, on this very seat. It’s about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness… . [We] work with cultivating gentleness, innate precision, and the ability to let go of small-mindedness, learning how to be open to our thoughts and emotions, to all the people we meet in our world, how to open our minds and hearts.”

Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape

religion is… .

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I’ve grown to abhor religion, or maybe it’s just the extremist “one way is the only way” mentality of religious diehards that I abhor—the mentality that justifies spoiling it for everyone else.

I read about the hostile situation in North Korea, about ISIS in Iraq and Syria, about the age-old hostility between Russia and the Ukraine, between Israel and Palestine, and it saddens me, and the part about children being bombed in their sleep, and the part about people beheading other people—it really puts me to unrest.

Where’s the love? Within extremism the definition of love becomes ill-defined—it has to be to keep the walls up, the doors and windows shut.

When I busted out of a “one way is the only way” mental cage of thinking, a whole new world of vitality and hope opened up to me. It’s weird to say it, but it was like being born again. Everything fresh and new, free of judgment.