Don’t change your beliefs. Simply look and see what you have made…
THE PURPOSE-PRISON LIFE
Many of us are familiar with the idiom ” Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink”. Well the actual idiom is “Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink” and it’s from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This saying is used to suggest that despite being surrounded by something, you cannot benefit from it. In other words, the thing that should provide you a benefit is not fulfilling its purpose and is, therefore, useless. The only prerequisite for it to fulfill its purpose is my need. In a moment when my need is thirst, I require water to fulfill its role and quench my thirst. “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink”, is a terrible predicament where my needs are not being met…by the thing that should be meeting those needs. We’ve all experienced this, haven’t we? Something in our lives has failed to fulfill its role in meeting our needs. Whether it’s a parent, spouse, child, job, church, minister, political party, our immune system, or our thought process. Something has failed to do what it is supposed to do. Now we’re angry. We’re hurt. We’re disappointed. We’re frustrated. We’re vengeful.
Last week I had a conversation with one of my beloved aunts who tried very hard to explain that I was confused and wrong in writing Firing God. Not only was I wrong and confused, but I was going to confuse others and cause them to join me in my insanity. She’s right. And I told her so. Every word in the book is insane and not true. It’s all untrue until you see that untruth and truth are the same. The show up together. You see, “water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink” is a shitty place to be, but it is a declaration of joy and celebration. It’s an end to anger, frustration, hurt feelings, and disappointment. Why? Because need and purpose come together. When there’s a need things have purpose. When I see that I have no needs, then there’s no reason for anything to have a purpose. Thirst is not a need. Love is not a need. Health is not a need. Life if not a need. Happiness is not a need. Money is not a need. Breathing is not a need. And yet, at the same time, they are. Firing God is about my journey to the realization that I am complete and whole. I am not just one side of a coin or one piece in a puzzle. I’m the entire thing. I lack absolutely nothing. Really seeing this releases, me, my parents, my siblings, my children, my job, my President, my minister, my friends, my enemies, my bank account, my intellect, my immune system and my mind from the chains of purpose that I’d surrounded them with–at the exclusion of their “other side of the coin”. Their limited purpose (as I’d created it) is no longer to fulfill my existent and non-existent needs. Freeing myself from the bondage of need simultaneously frees them from the bondage of purpose…and yes, purpose is a prison. There is no purpose in life. I can’t use life to get something more or to fulfill a need. What need?!
One statement I make in the book is that “God was my meal-ticket”. He had a distinct purpose that only he could fulfill. When I really looked at my relationship with him, 99.999% of the time, I was looking to gain something from that relationship; blessings, healing, possessions, power, courage, grace, peace, eternal life, something nice for the people I liked and punishment for the people I didn’t like. God was clearly a means to an end. I didn’t really want Him, I wanted what he could give me…to live forever in a sweet mansion with no problems. Everything I ever knew about God was a twisted, insane, untrue, sometimes good, sometimes bad, confusing story. Ultimately, I know nothing, so how can I assign a purpose to anything…including myself? If my life stinks, it’s because I’ve assigned it a purpose for a need that I’ve made up. Stop looking for a purpose in life or for life. In doing so, you’re looking to imprison yourself. Nothing wrong with it, just realize what you’re doing. Life happens without assigning a purpose to it. Life happens without needs. If you want something to do, instead of looking for purpose, look at who’s doing the looking. Trust me. It’s alot more fun.
LOVE: THE WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING
I’ve been looking at all the things going on in Missouri and several other places in the U.S. and around the world. The videos and news reports of shootings, death, injustice, protests, angry community members, frustrated citizens and, in several cases, uncaring leadership, are quite disturbing and many people have various opinions of the obvious causes of the unrest. They’re all right. One obvious “cause” that I see, but haven’t yet heard mentioned is “love”. Yes, love is the impostor disguised as belevolence, innocence and the “remedy” for all that ills the world. If we all just loved each other the world would be a better place. If we’re ever going to live in peace, it’s love that we need, isn’t it? What is this love the we presently lack (as evidenced by all the evil and injustice) but will achieve in the future. The Bible mentions 3 types of love; Agape, Eros and Philos. Agape is the divine-love that God has towards his son and human beings. This is the highest tier of love. Eros love is desire, longing and sexual attraction and Philos is the love you have of a friend or brother or sister. The Bible (Book of Corinthians) also says of love:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (NIV).
All of these definitions are correct as judgments.Give attention to the words I’ve highlighted in the definitions. These words (e.g. “does not”, “is not”, “is”, “always”, “never”) occur after you have come to a conclusion and made a final decision. These words indicate a judgment. That entire collection of verses and definitions is a judgment of what love is. Even if you don’t believe the Bible description, ask anyone what love is and, most times, you’ll get a definition. Whatever the definition, a judgment of something is not that thing, it’s a judgment of it. Judgment is simply an opinion, an idea, a perspective. Judgment of love is not love, yet we believe it is. We believe that our judgment of love is the real thing so we toss out the real thing in favor of our opinion. Judgment has now taken the place of Love. We’re waiting on our opinion of love to show up and heal the world. We’re waiting on our 7 billion individual opinions of love to solve the problems of the world. How is that working for us? Where exactly are these various judgments of love? It’s where every belief resides–in the mind where it will remain until we look and see that it’s not there either. But why would we look? We have no reason to look. Of course love is real. We have proof.
“Love is also defined as an “intense feeling of deep affection”, and “a deep romantic or sexual attachment.” The reward is our proof. The gift is the proof. Pleasure is the hook that keeps us going back to judgment…back to “love” for another “fix” of proof that our judgment is real and correct. The love that we know is in the mind. Love is the mental illness that must be healed, and healing is simply seeing love for what it really is–your judgment. When we say “all the world needs is more love” what we’re really saying is “all the world needs is to see things my way”. Our judgment obviously has nothing to do with another person, a political party, or a particular group. Judgment (Love) is clearly about you so you are the only one who can look to see that your judgment is not the absolute truth.
Anyplace we see the word “love” in books, greeting cards, poems, etc. replace it with its synonym…”judge”. When we say, “I love you” to our children, siblings, spouses, friends and parents, we’re actually saying “I judge you”. And yes, we have much affection for the judgments in our mind. Pleasurable, warm and fuzzy feelings arise when we see, embrace, spend time with and sleep beside our judgments. Our judgments comfort and protect us, but they also cause much pain, conflict, anguish and deep despair, as we’re seeing on the news right now. We cannot pick the judgments we like and throw away those we don’t like. With love comes hate, with peace comes war, with front comes back, etc. It’s all or nothing. All my judgments are true or all my judgments are false…the good ones and the evil ones. We also cannot deny, go to war with, or ignore our judgments, beliefs, ego, concepts, love, the “I”, (or whatever else we want to call it). Why? Because there’s nothing there to deny, go to war with, or ignore! But we cannot see this until we look in our mind which is where our judgments reside–not in another person, not on the news, not in prisons, not in police departments and not on the streets.
The phrase, “A wolf in sheep’s clothing” simply suggests that one’s true nature is temporarily hidden, but will be revealed. This “love” that we claim to know and feel is not what we believe it is, but we must question it to find this out. It’s our judgment of ourselves that we need to investigate and question. Let’s stop being so concerned about love. We don’t know what love is and there’s no need to wait for it to swoop in and save the day. It’s already here. We simply need to cease looking for it, waiting on it and praying for it. The effort we put into finding what is not lost creates the unrest. But we won’t see this until we look.
WORSHIP–MY ONE FATAL MISTAKE
Worship is fatal. At least that’s what I believed. Worship was the cause of my emptiness and unworthiness. Let me tell you why. First, why do we worship? What’s the real purpose? On the surface I saw it as simply giving honor to God, and for the most part that’s what it is; but let’s look at the definition of worship. “Worship is an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity. The word is derived from the Old English weor[p]scipe, meaning honor shown to an object, which has been etymologised as “…worth-ship–to give worth to something.” In addition, “worship asserts the reality of its object…”. In other words, worship speaks confidently of the reality of something. When you look at these or any other definition of “worship” you see they all involve “giving”. There is no worship without giving. Giving honor and giving worth. Well, you cannot give what you do not have, can you? Is it possible to give what you don’t have? No, it isn’t. You must first have something to give it. You must have honor to give it. You must have worth to give it. You must first have love, esteem, respect and reverence to give it. In worship you speak confidently of the reality of the qualities that you are giving to God or another object or deity. When you worship, is there ever any doubt that you are giving reverence, honor, love and glory to God? I dare say there is no doubt.
When you worship and give honor, worth, love and respect, do you lose these qualities in the process? Really think about this. By giving, do you then become worth-less or honor-less? Does worship result in depletion of love, respect and reverence in the worshiper? Is worship a sacrifice where you lose what you have given? Of course not. Anyone who has ever worshiped knows that the giving of what you already have causes an increase in that quality. More reverence, more honor, more love, more respect, more worth, more glory. Worship does not leave you empty of these qualities. Giving glory, honor, and love to God did not leave me empty. My fatal mistake was believing that it did. I thought that I was empty, void, deserted, abandoned, hollow, meaningless and without worth. Firing God is about my discovery that this is not true. My giving did not cause emptiness or worthlessness. I see now that I can only give what I already have and my giving did not leave me with nothing. My giving only increases that quality in me. The same is true for you. You are not empty and in need of replenishment from something “outside” of you. Sacrifice is not needed so you can be filled and made whole. You are never not whole. You are already full. Your wholeness and fullness is not divided, diminished, in pieces or in need of replenishment. Worship is not needed, but if you choose to do so, pay attention to your worship. Look at what you are giving and know that it’s already there.
THE HATE WE HIDE
About 3 years ago I saw a documentary about Saddam Hussein and his rise to power. In that documentary there was a chilling scene where Saddam was sitting – confidently, calmly, and authoritatively – in front of a room full of all his closest and most loyal advisers and friends, smoking a cigar. He’d called them all together because he believed there was a traitor among them. There was a gentlemen on stage with him who stood up and confessed to conspiring against Saddam. After this traitor confessed, he pulled out a piece of paper and began to call out the names of his “co-conspirators”. According to the narrator of the documentary, this was evidence of Saddam’s paranoia as these men were truly his most loyal confidants and were not involved in a plot to overthrow him. They had done nothing wrong, yet without the opportunity to understand what was happening or the chance to ask “why”, they were, called out, taken outside and killed. Each man was immediately removed from the room and executed–no questions asked or answers given. The men who were witnessing this madness, seeing their close friends hastily removed, and hearing their quick and violent execution right outside the doors had no idea if they were next. As I watched the documentary, I could only imagine the terror they must have felt as they wondered who would be next to die at their leader’s whim. In that moment, they had no power…no way to exert their will…no control…and no escape. All they had was uncertainty and a deep, dark fear of death. From this fear –borne out of lack of control, absence of free will and diminished power– blossomed the most intense outpouring of worship, praise and reverence for the man who did have the power–Saddam.
Cacophonous cries of “long live Saddam” filled the space. Raucous applause and shouts of praise drowned out the sounds of men screaming as they were dragged from the room. Wealthy, influential, respectable men fell to their knees in tears as they reached out to this all-powerful, almighty leader to shout of their undying love and unquestionable loyalty. I can imagine that for someone with such power to spare their lives, produced a feeling of specialness and purpose. Saddam could have pointed at them, but he chose not to. Not because they were so good, but because Saddam was so powerful and made the choice to live, for them. The fear that had, just moments before, signaled pending doom seemed to have been transformed to love for this one who could, with but the mere pointing of a finger, determine whether they lived or died.
These men did not love Saddam. They most likely despised and hated him for reducing them to balls of fear that had to beg, pretend and barter for their lives. These men had to live a lie in order to exist. They had to pretend to love someone they detested in order to safely take their next breath. Fear of death, not love, was the fuel behind the worship. Fear of annihilation, not love, was the cause of the praise.
Since I’ve announced the upcoming publication of my book Firing God, I’ve come to see (even more clearly) several things (but I’ll only stick to one for this blog post). I see that my worship and praise for God, as I was growing up, was a cover for my intense resentment of him. Underneath the praise was hate. I hated God with such an intensity that I have made “this”. Under the guise of “worship” in the form of concepts like sunshine, flowers, colors and people, what I was really doing was hiding and expressing my hatred and fear because of what he had done. And what had he done? He’d taken away my choice, my power, my will. My life was in his hands. I did not love him for that; I hated him. I pretended to worship and praise him because I had no choice. He had all the power! I didn’t want to die or be punished forever so I had to sing, lift my hands, cry and acknowledge him as the one with all power. I had to do this, not because I loved him, but because I was afraid…I was afraid that he would point at me and take the one thing that’s truly mine–my life.
I’ve gotten several nods of concern from individuals who have heard the title of my book. They are seriously concerned for my life and the life of my family. They are concerned that God will choose for me and make the decision for death and hell. Why? Because he can. It’s his choice, not mine. If I don’t choose Him, I’m toast!! What kind of choice is that?! Since I no longer buy into the reverence and praise, my loved ones are hastily and lovingly praying for my redemption and reminding me of the fear that compels us all to worship. I must worship, praise, serve and love. If not, I will die. Then die I must. I can no longer hide the hate. I can no longer suppress the fear. It’s here, all around me. I had to acknowledge the obvious. So that’s what I did. In the book, I talk about how I told the truth. To really feel the hatred and resentment and look at the fear has been the most freeing experience ever. It’s by telling the truth that I can see it’s all been a mistake. “God” has done nothing and neither have I. What God? My will is free and it has always been free. Fear of death is nonsense…laughable even. Love has no opposite. This is you. You will always be this, but you will never see this until you look…until you tell the truth. The journey to awakening is not about finding the truth, it’s about telling the truth…the simple truth that you Are…
…and there is nothing else.
THIS IS NOT A CROSS
In 1929, the Belgian artist Rene Magritte created The Treachery of Images. The painting showed a pipe, and under it the paradoxical inscription This is not a pipe. When it was pointed out to him that what he had created was in fact a pipe, Magritte replied “OK, you should try filling it with tobacco then”. Stated 10 years before the infamous WWII propaganda campaigns, Magritte’s warning was clear. Beware of the seductive and deceptive power of images. The picture that you see here is not a cross. It’s an image of a cross. An image is a representation or likeness of something. An image is not the thing it is representing. We know this but we overlook it. We overlook it to the point where we begin to worship, love, sacrifice and die for the image…totally ignoring that which it represents. We are hypnotized by images all day long. Our entire lives, we mistake images for that which they represent. This mistake costs a great deal, but it’s a mistake that’s easily remedied. The remedy is to simply notice what we’re doing. If we stop ignoring the obvious and just become aware of what we are doing, we’ll see how silly we’ve been. We’ve been trying to live in a picture of life. We’ve been attempting to build our house on a painting of a landscape. We’ve been trying to fix the reflection in the mirror. There’s nothing to do with an image but see it for what it is. Simply see it for what it is.
FINDING MY G-SPOT
In my book Firing God I talk about my journey in unlearning much of what I had come to believe about myself and about the world. The system of beliefs under which I was operating was centered on God. Here I want to talk about the G-Spot…the God Spot. The G-Spot is the place where we go to come alive. It’s where we go to exist. We all have a G-Spot…or so we believe. I read a news article last night that mentioned something about “animals and humans”; as if they are two separate things. We “humans” actually believe we are not animals; or shall I say, we believe we’re different and more special than a mere animal. Do you know what an animal is? According to the dictionary (that we created) an animal is a “multicellular, eukaryotic organism of the kingdom Animalia (also called Metazoa). Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and independently. All animals must ingest other organisms or their products for sustenance.” Uh…that’s you. We are animals. And we are no more special than any other animal. You may believe you are a superior type of animal that has rule and dominion over lesser, dumber, more helpless animals, but that isn’t true. There is no difference between you and a snake, or you and a fly, or you and an amoeba. Nobody gave you power over anything. You declared yourself king and ruler of all through a system of sounds and symbols we call “language”.
I used to believe that it was my God-given right to rule the earth and pillage and plunder to my heart’s content. All of this was here for me to use as I saw fit. God gave this to me. And it was true, God did give me permission to rule. And this “God” was language. Language is our G-Spot…our God Spot. Language is where we go to make sense of what seems to be happening here. Language is where God resides. He lives in the spoken word. Language is where the story happens. There is no God without language. Language is like the froth machine of imagination. It agitates, churns, rouses and stirs what’s already here to create a sudsy, fluffy, bubbly orgasmic mirage. It’s addictive. Anyone who has ever had an orgasm wants to have another one…and another one…and another one. Nothing wrong with this, just look at what you’re doing.
We forget that the G-Spot does not exist. I’ve never found it and you won’t either. But when we believe it exists we must go to the mind to find out whether or not this is true. The believing in the G-Spot is the making of the G-Spot; they happen together. The little bubbles that create this foamy mirage quickly burst, so you must agitate again and again to maintain the froth of story that language creates.The meaning we infuse into language is not real…yet it is. It’s in the mind so this is where we must go to see what we are doing. You must discover this for yourself. The story is never “out there”. God is never “out there”. So what are we doing when we talk? We do the same thing as a hooting owl or a bleating goat…make a funny noise. Language is never about anything. Language never explains anything. Language is too slow to capture what’s going on.
When you talk you’re doing the same thing as a braying Jackass a tweeting bird or a babbling brook. When I write, read and understand I’m doing the same thing as a hooting owl or a blooming flower. We’re not doing, changing or explaining anything. How can we? We don’t know anything. All of this is simply burgeoning, blooming and flowing simultaneously out of and into nothing– like a Klein bottle where outside and inside are the same.
God is not a spot or something that’s here and not there. God cannot be captured by words, language, thoughts, imagination or story. There is no G-Spot. We don’t need a G-Spot to live, be happy or enjoy life. Belief in language is not needed. Belief in God is not needed. Nothing evil, wrong, wicked or sinful about language or trying to pin down what cannot be pinned down. Let’s just look at what we’re doing when we believe language and the voice in our heads. Let’s look at what we are doing and not take it all so seriously. Remember, it’s just a story that both is and isn’t.
YOU DO REALIZE THERE’S A HAND IN HERE, RIGHT?
We’ve made God into our own personal puppet. Nothing right or wrong with it. Let’s just realize what we’re doing. “God” is the entire soup of concepts that we seem to be made of. Every label, description, judgment and belief; including the belief in you as an individual person, comes together to create “God”. “God” is an idea of what is. The “God” we claim to know is simply an idea, a mental fabrication…a thought. This thought of God is not God, just as Kermit the Frog is not this picture you see. Kermit is actually the guy with his hand in this puppet. This guy has to be there before “Kermit” can come to “life”. The same with our idea of God. Something has to already be, before we can have a thought or idea about it. Something has to already be before we can believe in it. But whatever is “here” is not the idea or belief about it.
God is not a thought in our heads that can be believed, hidden from others, and controlled. We’ve mistaken our belief in God for God. We have taken this mental fabrication…this puppet…this story…this belief in God and made it an idol. This belief is our Golden Calf. We worship this belief. We praise this puppet. We sacrifice and suffer in the name of this description. We ignore Reality in favor of the story. This is what causes our suffering. We mistake what we’ve made for what is. We go to war for what we’ve made. This is what we fight and kill to defend. What is here before our belief in it, does not need defense. Truth is true and does not need an army of believers to fight for it. You already know this, but there is a marked difference between what you believe and what you know.
For example. If I asked you, “Do you believe you are an individual person”?, you would say, “yes”. If I then asked you, “Why do you believe you’re an individual person”? you’d list for me all the “facts” according to what you’ve learned from reading books, going to school, listening to your parents, friends, teachers, etc. You will offer your education as proof of your belief. There’s no other way for you to prove a belief. You MUST use what you have been told to prove a belief. There is no other evidence. It’s ALL hearsay.
And why must you “believe” you are an individual person? Why don’t you know it? If I asked you, “Do you know you are an individual person”?, you would also say “yes”. If I then asked you, “How do you know?” You would attempt to give me the same evidence as you gave me for belief but that evidence won’t work. The question, “how do you know”? is about the present moment. What evidence do you have in this present moment? I’m not asking for what you remember from your last Biology course, church sermon, group discussion or doctor’s visit. Without calling on memory, how do you currently know you are an individual? What in your present experience tells you that you are an individual. Nothing tells you that. Experience does NOT tell you that. Experience does not “speak” English or any other language. It simply is what it is.
The second you begin to describe experience is the second you begin to make an idea…a story…a mental fabrication…an idol…a God. What you’re doing is making experience (or Reality) a puppet where you put your hand inside and begin speaking for it. You don’t need to do that. It isn’t necessary. It’s not needed. How do you know anything at all? How do you know God? Without speaking for experience; just answer the question. Without becoming a puppeteer…simply answer the question.