Creating your world

If you’re reading this, I can safely surmise that you have probably read self-help books and explored more than one religious doctrine in your effort to “wake up”.
Congratulations on your insight! Many people “sleep-walk” through their entire lives without ever facing the ever-present sense that there must be more to life than this.

Religions thrive because people are looking for answers, but most religions fail to provide relief from the nagging feeling that this life we live is somehow incomplete. Promising something better in the next life doesn’t help get us through this life! For many, that promise seems hollow. Others believe completely, but then live this life in quiet desperation while waiting for the time when they will finely be alive – after they die.

All the self-help books merely touch the surface. Yes, many of them contain much good advice, but until we alter our basic thinking – our most primitive conditioning – we cannot succeed in building a happy life.

The first thing you must understand, even though it is contrary to what most religions teach, is this: God created you to continue creating. There is no reason to feel guilty for creating a life that will bring you happiness.

Everything we do to find happiness can seem selfish. We gain an education in order to improve our ability to produce an income, but then ask; is this what God wants for us? We look for the perfect mate, someone who will make us feel complete and alive, but then ask; is it in accordance with “God’s Plan”? While we are doing things to make our lives and the lives of our loved ones better we are made to feel guilty, fearing that maybe we aren’t pleasing God enough. The basic assumption that pleasure is a sign of selfishness undermines our conscious efforts to direct our own lives.

This is because religion teaches us that the primary reason for our existence is to serve God.

This premise, that pleasing God is our ultimate responsibility in life, has its origins in primitive times. Before Man understood anything about the power of nature, he assumed that the gods controlled the wind, the rain, lightning, the growth of crops – everything Man could not control. And, when things didn’t go the way Man wanted things to go, the gods must be angry! Through fear and superstition, Man made sacrifices to his gods in order to win favor for his own meager endeavors.

Man was the slave and the gods were his masters.

Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly religious you have still been influenced by this premise all of your life. And yet, there is something instinctive in us that can contradict this line of thinking. It is called “parenthood”.

Ask yourself why you would have children. Would you create these new lives so that they would fall on their knees and worship you? I hope not! Do you want to nurture them and teach them? If you are a good parent, the answer must be a resounding yes! Do you hope they will become independent, responsible adults capable of making wise decisions and enjoying a healthy, prosperous and happy life? Of course you do! Do you make sacrifices to provide for them, or do you expect them to make sacrifices to you?

Why would you believe that the Creator thinks differently than you do?

We have a natural instinct to raise and protect our children until they are capable of directing their own lives. And we are not unique in this. It is quite common throughout the animal world. Doesn’t it seem logical to assume that this must come from God? When we act like good parents, we are emulating the Creator.

And, although we will love our children for all of our lives, we realize that our parenting job is to get them started on the right path. Eventually, we must let them live their own lives. Just as parents instinctively protect their children, children instinctively try to wrest control from their parents. It is natural for children to assume control of their own destinies. Reluctantly, we allow them to “leave the nest and fly solo” because we know that that is how it should be.

Why would you believe that the Creator would want something different from us?
God is not a slave owner! We are not here to serve Him. He has served us by giving us the gift of life!

And because of that, we should be grateful. It is appropriate to thank God, just as it is appropriate to thank our parents. It is also natural to live our lives in such a fashion as to make them proud of us. Are your parents proud of your accomplishments? If so, maybe God is, as well. It is very likely that your parents have not approved of every decision you have made, but they probably love you just the same. Probably, God does, too.

Live your life as you see fit, making your own decisions as only you can, and know this:

This is God’s Plan!

Once you realize your relationship with the Creator is not one of Master and Slave you can begin to control your life, in the same way that you would expect your grown children to take control of their lives.

The second thing you must learn, which is also contrary to religious teaching is: You were not born flawed, as a sinner.

An infinite God, capable of creating the entire universe, would not create faulty people! You are not a defective product, requiring “saving” by the very God who created you. Think about that for a moment…If only God has the ability to fix you, why wouldn’t he make you right in the first place?

God created you with the ability to reason, but religion asks you to accept a premise that is so illogical as to be laughable, if it weren’t for all the psychological damage it has done over the years! Why would God create religions that caused his children harm? He didn’t. God did not create religion, people did.

If you told your child he was “bad” every day of his life, pretty soon he would believe you and become a bad person! We are what we believe we are. You wouldn’t do that to your child and God wouldn’t do that to His children. You may not be perfect, but you are the children of a perfect God who gave you free will, allowing you to make decisions about your own life. You have the ability to become a good person, or a bad person. It is up to you. You were born with the potential to be either. You will create your own life. You can do it consciously and deliberately, or you can just “let it happen” and take your chances that it all turns out well. Remember, whatever you choose to make of your life, it is you who will have to live with the results!

The third thing to learn is: No one else but you can create your life. If you have been in the habit of blaming others for the things in your life that are not to your liking, stop! Everything that happens in your life is a result of how you act or react. It is what you think that determines how you act. If you think about doing something and then do it, you have acted. If something happens before you have had a chance to think about it, you have reacted.

Life moves at a rapid pace. Every event that occurs in our lives requires us to make quick decisions. When someone cuts you off in traffic, or when someone makes a comment that is not to your liking, how will you respond? Will you react defensively, or passively – or not at all? It all depends on your philosophy of life!

When faced with an unpleasant task, how will you proceed? Do you jump in and get it done as quickly as possible, or do you tend to procrastinate? Will you do the minimum necessary to get it out of the way, or will you take your time in an effort to do the best you possibly can? Again, it all depends on your philosophy of life.

Have you ever thought, after something has already happened, “I should have said….”? Of course, if you take the time to think about the kind of person you want to be you can always make better choices about such things. It is always easy to make the “right” decision once you’ve had time to think about it, but who has the time? We act before we think. There simply isn’t time to ponder our next action each and every time. Most of what we do happens on “auto-pilot”. We don’t consciously act – we react! We do what we have been programmed to do.

First, you react according to your programming, and then, when you have the luxury of time on your side, you think about how you would have preferred to act. The way to ensure that you will react in the same way as you would act if you had time to think it through, is to reprogram your thinking – now – before action is needed.

How did you get programmed? All of your reactions to all that happens in your life – the big events and the little things – depend upon your previous experiences. Today’s decisions are based on yesterday’s experiences. Someone once said, “good decisions are the result of experience, and experience is the result of bad decisions”. And, much of what makes us who we are came from others, who told us what to think.

You can overwrite that programming to create the person you want to be! In order to do that, you must first examine the programming that is dictating your actions. You must decipher the code that is your philosophy. Then, you can alter those habits that are not in line with who you want to be. As Walt Whitman said, “Re-examine all that you have been told and discard everything that insults your soul”.

Once you have consciously re-written your philosophy, you can be certain that you will always react in accordance with your true beliefs. You will never again have to regret your actions, because everything you do will be done as your “best self” would want it to be done.

The immoral results of Morality Laws

Fourteen states have passed laws prohibiting sex offenders from living within a specified distance from schools. The distances vary from state to state, depending upon the severity of the perceived threat that sex offenders may pose to our children. Since we still do not feel safe, some have suggested that the distances should be increased.

Most people think of sex offenders as a threat to our children, because when most people think of sex offenders they think of pedophiles. Wanting to protect our children from this horrible aberrant behavior is only natural. Are all sex offenders pedophiles? Are they all a threat to children?

Can you imagine an eighteen-year-old male having sex with his seventeen-year-old girlfriend? You may not approve of such behavior, but if you live in the real world you should not be surprised to hear that it happens. The eighteen-year-old is legally an adult, while his girlfriend is legally a minor. Since he is an adult who had sex with a minor, whom the law says cannot legally consent, he can be prosecuted for statutory rape and labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life. Because she is legally a child and he is legally an adult, he also fits the definition of a pedophile.

Now fast-forward ten years. He is twenty-eight, his wife is twenty-seven and they have two children. It is not likely that their children will be molested by their father, who showed a predilection to have sex with someone merely one year younger than he was.

And yet, these children will have to be bused to school each day, because they will be prohibited from living within walking distance of their school as long as they reside with their parents!

Will our children be made safer by penalizing the children of an alleged sex offender? How will those children be treated by their peers and their parents? Who will explain all this to them?

Of course, not all sex offenders are pedophiles. Some are convicted rapists, whose victims were other adults. They never posed a threat to children. In fact, if they were convicted of “date rape” in their youth, they may not pose a threat to anyone! And, although they may live the rest of their lives as morally upstanding pillars of the community, their children will still be prohibited from living in the same neighborhood with their classmates.

Every action has consequences. For that reason, it may be morally justifiable to punish those who commit crimes. The punishment should fit the crime, not last a lifetime – and, more importantly – it should not be passed on to future generations!

Driven by fear, we elect people who offer to protect us from every conceivable threat. Laws are passed to provide us with greater security. As a result, there seems to be an increase in convictions for sex related crimes, but are the crimes increasing, or is it our definitions of the crimes that have increased? Are we really safer, or just more paranoid?

Years ago, a major educational campaign was launched to protect our children by making them aware of “stranger-danger”. The frequency of child molestations did not diminish. The dirty little secret is that most child molestations are perpetrated by relatives and friends, not by strangers. We still cling to the belief that we must protect our children from strangers because we don’t want to acknowledge the fact that the danger is so close to home. It is more comforting to believe that the danger posed is from outside our inner circle. It is easier to blame them.

If someone has been shown to be a threat to children, keeping them a certain number of feet away from a school is not enough. If the threat is real, there is no safe distance, period! As long as they pose a threat, it is up to the courts to prevent them from re-entering society. If they have been released from prison, having served their time, it should be presumed that they are no longer dangerous and are able to live a normal life.

Not all sex offenders pose a threat to children. We must be willing to make that distinction, regardless of our distaste for their crimes. Paranoia does not make us safer.

Occupy Wall Street vs. The Tea Party

Both began as grass roots movements that arose from frustration, seeking solutions to problems perceived as intolerable. Each has been embraced and celebrated by a different major political party.

And that is where the similarities end.

One blames “the rich”, people who have benefited from rampant unregulated Capitalism, for our economic woes. The other sees an oppressive, ever-expanding Government as the cause. The two positions seem to be perfect metaphors for the philosophies of our two political parties.

But, as any student of history should realize, there is a parallel between these two diametrically opposed movements and two historic events – the French Revolution and the American Revolution.

The American colonists asked for the freedom to earn their wealth without government restriction. They sought equal opportunity.

In France, the people demanded their “fair share” of the wealth as compensation for…merely existing. They demanded equal distribution of wealth.

200+ years later, the battle still rages between these two irreconcilable ideologies. Which is better?

Let’s look at the years that followed the revolutions. Europe embraced “Democratic Socialism”, wherein governments ensured high wages, short working hours and extensive benefits. The US encouraged entrepreneurial endeavors.

America prospered, and the American middle class enjoyed a standard of living higher than had ever been imagined in any society. People from around the world immigrated to the US to have the chance to make a better life for themselves and their families. Science and technology flourished. People came to US universities to study. The US became known as the “Land of Opportunity”.

Europe languished. To keep its people content, governments extended more and more benefits, making more and more promises that were economically unsustainable. As a result, Greece is bankrupt. Italy is on the verge of bankruptcy.

But, America is also in dire financial straits. How did that happen? About 50 years ago, the US government began to move – slowly but consistently – in the same direction European nations had traveled. Government offered more welfare programs for individuals and for businesses, making more people dependent upon government and less able to fend for themselves. More people are employed directly by government, and more private companies have become dependent upon government contracts and/or subsidies. “Democratic Socialism” arrived on America’s shores. Today, thanks to a tax code brimming with loopholes, 49% of Americans pay no federal income tax. 47 million depend on food stamps. Is it any wonder so many people vote for the politicians that promise more “free” stuff?

The Tea Party wants to return to a time when equal opportunity, unfettered by government, was the policy. They ask for equal opportunity. Occupy Wall Street wants the wealthy to give up their wealth and share it with those who haven’t found a way to earn it. They want equal distribution of wealth.

The future will depend upon which side prevails. Which side are you on?