The Ramblings of the Titanium Don

Explorations of Conscious Reality Creation and Other Matters

Month: March 2012

Pathwalking 13

Distractions are everywhere.

All sorts of things can distract you from your path.  Some of these are good things – family, friends, fun activities…and some are less so – work, bills, anger, frustration.

Accepting and balancing the distractions while remaining on the path can be really hard to do.

I often suffer from something I refer to as ADOS – Attention Deficit “Ooooooooooooooooooooh, SHINY!” disorder (NOT my phrase, by the way – I have borrowed it from a friend or two).  I’ll be going along, doing my thing, and then…Hey, this’ll be fun!  And I am distracted.

The key to being ok when distracted is to know when a distraction might be beneficial – and when it might be detrimental.  And then, from there, handling matters accordingly.

How can a distraction be beneficial?  Because sometimes the distraction will lead you somewhere new.  Or it might show you something you have been missing.  Or it may open up whole new avenues along the path that you had no idea were there.

And more than that – a distraction may prove to be a need to change the path you are on.  Sometimes these distractions show that while you are moving along your path, your focus is too tight, and you might miss something equally if not more important.  So a distraction helps you to see what this is, and move on from it.

As stated previously – the path will shift.  It will jump.  It will unexpectedly turn.  And sometimes that’s precisely what a distraction is – a bend in the road.  A left turn when you thought you were moving straight.

Sometimes distractions are simply a change to recharge the battery.  Consciously walking the path can be very taxing mentally and emotionally.  Sometimes a distraction is exactly what we need to reset, charge up, and feel stronger – better – wiser.  It provides a moment to sharpen our position, and come back to the path more determined and more focused than before.

Some distractions, though, are detrimental to the process.  When work just drags down your mood, your attitude, your hope.  When someone is doing something that upsets you.  When the distraction takes you off the path for too long, and causes you to lose it.  These distractions get in the way, and block you from your path.

How do you identify a good distraction from a bad distraction?

Easy.  How does it make you feel?

If the distraction makes you feel good, makes you feel content, joyful, happy – it is probably a good distraction.  If it makes you feel energized, it is a good distraction.  If it makes you feel awake, alive, alert – it’s good.

If the distraction, however, makes you feel depressed, sad, angry, flustered, frustrated – that’s bad.  Any negative feeling you are experiencing is detrimental to walking your path.  Again – a shout out to Yoda: “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”  Too true.

In my eleventh post, I explained ways to deal with the loss of the path.  And these can readily be applied to dealing with detrimental distractions.  They may also prove beneficial to exploring the validity of positive distractions, too.

 

Life is not meant to be a simple, singular path.  Pathwalking is not about finding and taking only one path – it is about making choices, it is about living life rather than letting life live you.  Hence why distractions can be both good and bad.  But they certainly should not be ignored.

 

This is the thirteenth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

 

PS – Thirteen is one of my lucky numbers!  Welcome to the 13th week of 2012!

 

Pathwalking 12

I have long said that there are three ways to exist in this life.

The first is to let life live YOU.  You go about your day-to-day business, let the pattern carry you along, let life happen to you.  No real control, you just go with what happens.  This is REALLY easy – but not tremendously rewarding.

The second is to curl up in a ball, and wait to die.  This is not just a literal thing – I believe that spending all of THIS life preparing for the NEXT life is the same thing.  I’m sorry, but if you think we are only here to prepare to be somewhere else – why are we here?  Some people don’t deal because it is so very complicated and difficult – they just wait for it to end, in one way or another.

The third is what this whole Pathwalking concept is all about.  Grab the proverbial bull that is life by the horns, and hang on and take it for a ride!  Choose your goals, choose your path, choose to see life for all it potential, possibility, and excitement.

Of course this is not an easy choice.  Effort, focus must be made in order to succeed.  You have to also deal with all the failed attempts, the bad days, the disappointments…and you have to not let them stop you.

I have been attempting to walk my own path a long time now.  Probably consciously since the accident that changed my life nearly eleven and a half years ago, if not just before then.  I have made many attempts to take control, and have it my way.  And on the surface – I will not deny – it looks like more often than not I have failed.

My primary mistake, when all is said and done, is that I tried.  “But,” you might argue, “isn’t that the point?”  No.  The point is to DO.  If all I do is TRY, then nothing is accomplished.  I can DO the things necessary to walk my own path – or I can TRY to do them.

And once more, I have to observe the wisdom of Yoda: “Try not.  Do or do not…there is no try.”  Amazing how true the words of a Muppet ring.  For some additional clarity I turn to Dictionary.com: Try = to attempt to do or accomplish.  Do = to execute (a piece or amount of work).  Attempt vs. execute.  Which one, do you think, is the more effective?

I think, for me, trying has been a matter of my ability to consider, think about, and logic out the how of the path I should care to walk.  BUT, and this is the problem, the doing is the emotional end – and as mentioned in a prior entry, the emotion is what you need to make these things happen.

As such – how do I DO, rather than TRY?  This is the crux of the next few weeks for me.

First – I am writing down WHAT I WANT.  I am really looking at what it is I truly want…and I am going to look at it daily.  I am going to visualize the life I want, and I am going to feel what that feels like.

Second – I am writing down mood shifters.  What on earth is that?  A mood shifter is something that I will put my focus on, in order to clear my mind when I am focused on negative things – annoyances with my job and family, feeling blue, feeling blah, exhausted.  When I am allowing myself to be overwhelmed by the things not in my control, I will remember things that make me feel good, and shift my focus to them.

Third – I will avoid making negative statements.  This is going to be tough – I really need to watch my attitude and my words closely to make this happen.  I need to stay out of the negative conversations with coworkers and family and friends, and try to give my energies to more useful things.

Fourth – I will not hide from feeling.  I will ask myself “How am I feeling?” and really pay attention to the answer.  Rather than avoid feeling  – I will allow myself to know what I feel, and if it is not what I want, work on fixing it.

Yes, this is, for some, kind of out there.  You may be saying to yourself – “seriously, dude?  Do you really think thinking positive and focusing on good things will make that much of a difference?”  I have stated before that I acknowledge there will be bad days, and that there are things out of my control – but rather than just let myself be carried along by the current, I’m going to swim.  And I do believe that a positive attitude begets more good and success than a negative one.

I will execute this plan, rather than just make an attempt.  And I will keep you abreast of my progress.

This week I leave you with one last thought, from Theodore Hertzl, credited by many as the father of the current nation of Israel – “If you will it, it is no dream.”

 

This is the twelfth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

Why Eroding the Separation of Church and State DOES NOT WORK

Eroding the separation of church and state does NOT improve our ‘moral’ standing as a nation – it degrades it, as it degrades those whom are being repressed by these intolerant and oppressive ideas.

I touched on this previously – and I think it is worth looking more closely at.

I have stated this before, but it needs to be restated:  Religion, morality and spirituality are three separate tenets.  YES, I will not deny that religion as an institution is meant to provide a vehicle FOR morality and spirituality – but that does not mean that it does.  At least, not for everybody.

Let’s look at the Constitution of the United States.  Article 6 states, “no religious test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”  The First Amendment of the Constitution adds, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  These two provisions, some interpret, establish no national religion – which I think can be taken even further, to mean that religion shall not be a determinant for anybody running for office, nor laws that are put in place by the Congress.

The argument that those who feel this constitutionally dictated separation should be eroded make, as I interpret it, is thus:  Times are hard.  Only through a renewed faith and greater morality can we recover, and improve our lots in life.  As such, we need to bring more faith into public life.

I can agree that faith can be a good thing, and might help us better our lives.  But faith is a personal matter, and as such, has no place as a part of government policy.  And moreover – since there are so many different variations OF faith, none should dominate any of the others when it comes to policy.

One of the strengths of the United States, I firmly believe, is our diversity.  Every religion, every ethnicity, every notion of the powers-that-be or lack of such is represented.  We are the land of the free.  We are the melting pot.  Choose your cliché – but I believe it is this notion, that all are welcome and have representation, that makes us strong.

As such, choosing to allow faith – and for the sake of arguing my point, let’s focus on generic Christianity – to dictate policy is a mistake.

Let me digress a moment and state I have NOTHING against ANY organized religion, or its followers.  So long as THEY don’t try to force their beliefs on ME, or force me to their particular morality – they are free to practice as they see fit.  MY beliefs, for certain, are NOT for everyone.

That said:  You can argue all you want that the majority of those who ascribe to a religion claim some form of Christianity as their faith – but as with all other fights for equality we have seen, that does not give them any more power than Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindi, Pagans, Agnostics, Atheists, etc etc.

Black people fought for equality.  Women have fought for equality.  In the 21st century, homosexuals are now fighting for equality.  But this has never been an issue where religion is concerned…at least, not up until recently.

Faith, as they are calling it, has begun to play an enormous role in our political discourse.  The current crop of candidates that the Republican party are presenting us, in fact, blatantly call up their faith as they make their case for why they should be elected to the highest office in the land.  More, they are making it abundantly clear that their faith is of far greater importance than equality, than constitutionally protected rights, or, as far as I am concerned, reason and logic.

Suddenly, government entities are attempting to push more and more initiatives that are based on nothing but religious faith, rather than reason.  Yes, I am specifically talking about the new laws of ‘personhood’ being pushed in various states, medically unnecessary procedures being used to shame a woman into not having an abortion, laws allowing pharmacists to make faith-based decisions on distributing contraception, laws denying marriage to same-sex couples, laws forcing education about only abstinence and not safe sex, and many more attempts to limit freedoms all in the name of faith.

This does NOT improve our moral standing.  I believe it does exactly the opposite.  Faith is important, don’t get me wrong – but faith is PERSONAL.  And it should not be a part of making laws.

Preachers have often said inspirational things.  They have been known for speeches that stir the soul, that inspire and influence men to great and terrible things.  And there is a movement, less and less underground and more and more at the forefront, to infuse faith into our government, and erode the constitutional separation of these entities.  And the “preachers” are coming with more and more authority, loud voices, avid followers – and most important in this day and age – lots and lots of money.

And THAT, when you get down to it, is the crux of the problem.  The money.  The people preaching for erosion of church and state separation are backed by obscene amounts of money, and have control over media entities and other means to stir the fear.  They manage to convince people by spending that money that without them, and the faith they preach, they will be lost.  They are trying to convince us that the lack of faith in the separation is evil, and begets terrible things.

And it is amazing and terrible what they blame on this.  Gay marriage, abortion, dysfunctional families, terrorism, global warming – all of these, some argue, are a result of our moral decay.  And they go on to tell us that without faith in our state, the decay will get worse – and so we must erode this policy further.

The thing is – faith can be as false as it can be true.  Faith in any one church, any single religion, is fraught with uncertainty.  And most important of all – faith for me is not the same as faith for you.  Or him.  Or her.  Or them.  Or anyone.

Eroding the separation of church and state in a nation of EVERY faith, EVERY religion, does not improve us morally.  It caters to more fear, more intolerance, more hatred – and fear, intolerance and hate are not healthy aspects of moral fiber.

Eroding separation of church and state will not improve the nation, or the world.  Education, tolerance, courage and love, however, will.  Accepting our differences, embracing them, finding ways to bring them together will make us more moral.  Call it a crunchy-hippy idea if you want – but please, prove to me I am wrong about this.  Show me that the power of intolerance, hatred and fear is far better for our lives than the power of love, acceptance and courage.

And if you CAN show me this – what kind of a future do you think this can possibly lead to for human kind?

Pathwalking 11

When we are feeling defeated, and we can no longer conceive of the path, or find it at all – how do we let it go?

As I mentioned in last week’s post, the first step is to acknowledge and accept this limitation.  We are imperfect beings, and as such we are going to falter, we will lose the path completely.  This is not a weakness – it is a part of our nature.  So we have to accept the bad days, and let them go.

This presents a whole other problem, of course.  How do you let go when you are having that bad day?  How do you move on when the path seems completely lost?

I find that there are a few things I can do that help me to let go of that horrid feeling.  To overcome the sense of defeat.  And I will share them here.

Journaling:  Writing down what I am thinking, and feeling, helps me to put things in perspective.  Whether it is something for public consumption here, or just for friends of myself on LiveJournal, or simply in one of my books – writing things out lets me analyze the matter.

As many times the thing causing distress is some sort of outside influence, writing it out helps to find the root – and address it.  I have been actively journaling, in some form or other, since the early 1990’s.  While there is plenty of stuff I don’t ever want to share with anyone – myself included – there are many instances where solutions that would otherwise have been overlooked to my issues are presented and analyzed.

I certainly find sharing my pathwalking experience via blogging (another form of journaling) to be somewhat cathartic.

Meditating:  Sometimes you just need to pause, breathe deep, and focus/unfocus.  Meditation means different things to different people – but I think that the process of taking time specifically to examine your own thoughts, to try to calm your mind and find your center is never time wasted.

The concept of meditation is often pigeon-holed into this notion that to meditate, you have to utterly and totally focus on stillness.  You have to find the void, zone out, not think.  My experience has shown me that this cannot be further from the truth.

Certainly meditation can take you to that void, that null space, that place of calm.  But the process itself involves focused breathing, calming the mind, catching thoughts and ideas and passing them through, then letting them go.  In my practice, meditation is a means to pause, consider, slow the breath, slow the heart, and know my place in this crazy world.  It can be a very effective tool for releasing that sensation of loss and disquiet that may come from not being able to see the path.

Exercising:  Personally, I need to do this more often.  The release of endorphins always helps to redirect negative energies, and gets us to a better place.  This can open up all sorts of pathways, as the blood flows, to help us to cope with those bad days.

Whether it’s a walk, a run, half an hour on an elliptical, weight training, fencing, or sex…exercise will help you to find that place, to deal with the lost feeling.  It will allow you time to lose yourself, which in turn should help you to find yourself.  Exercising releases toxins, releases hormones to help you to let go of whatever is making you feel like the path will never show itself to you.

Journaling, meditating, exercising – three of the most powerful tools you can apply to let go of the sadness, let go of the bad day, and relocate the path again.  There are, of course, other tools you can use…but these are, from my experience, amongst the most powerful.

Letting go is not easy.  Exploring, lamenting, laboring over whatever is holding us back seems to be an instinctive reaction at times.  But when we can let go, we can find the path – and when we find the path, we can explore it at will.

It is a complex process.  But I think a worthwhile one.

 

This is the eleventh entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

Religion and politics again

Religion does not belong in politics.

Period.

This has nothing to do with ethics or spirituality – which are different and separate concepts.  It has to do with this obscene, horridly inappropriate push going on all across the nation to infuse religion to political issues.

We are not a Christian nation.  Period.  We are not a Muslim nation.  Or a Jewish state.  Or a Hindi nation.  Or Buddhist nation.  We are NONE of these…and at least partially all of them, too.

NO ONE RELIGION can or should dominate ANY political discussion.  Period.  No one religious morality should be part of political discourse.  End of story.

In the name of religious righteousness, politicians push their pro-life, anti-choice agendas.  Ludicrous, unacceptable and invasive procedures for women who wish to LEGALLY terminate pregnancies.  Allowing pharmacists to make decisions about what prescriptions they will fill based on their religious and ‘moral’ beliefs.  Teaching abstinence and not safe sex practices to teens.  All in the name of religious purity and morality.

THIS.  IS.  UNACCEPTABLE.  PERIOD.

Congress: How DARE you hold a conversation about birth control and contraception that does not include one single woman?  Are you serious?  Is this the dark ages again, or 2012?

What makes you think you can FORCE a procedure that is medically unnecessary for your own personal moral reason?  How can you justify this as anything but repressive, intolerant, and unfair?  And don’t give me some ridiculous line about ‘a woman may change her mind when she sees the fetus’ – she has made a choice, a choice she has a RIGHT to make – why subject her to more stress and discomfort?

I will state this part unequivocally.  I am a man.  As a man, I have NO RIGHT WHATSOVER to tell any WOMAN what SHE can do with HER body.  PERIOD.  Women are perfectly capable of making their OWN choices about THEIR bodies, and not only do not NEED – but do not WANT male input.  PERIOD.

Politicians should not be dictating public policy that reflects their personal religious beliefs.  That is NOT what this nation was founded on – and that is not where we should be heading.  The separation of church and state is both necessary, and wise.  And eroding it does NOT improve our ‘moral’ standing as a nation – it degrades it, as it degrades those whom are being repressed by these intolerant and oppressive ideas.

We must SPEAK UP!  We cannot let this stand!  Pay attention to these leaders, and what they do – and let’s not let them continue to make policy about things that are of NO DIRECT CONCERN to THEM, or part of their religious belief.  Let’s remove them from office, and elect people who focus on GOVERNING, and taking care of things that matter, like taxes, jobs, and the infrastructure of this nation.

Think about it.

Pathwalking 10

Sometimes the path is nowhere to be seen.

Sure, I might know the goal, I might have an idea of how I wish to walk the path…but that does not mean that the path will be clear, or even necessarily visible.

Pathwalking is a tricky process, as you may have noticed.  And one of the things that makes it tricky, beyond just identifying the desire to choose and walk your own path, is even locating a path in the first place.

As I have stated before, the path will shift, jump, and otherwise move around.  And if that wasn’t enough complication, sometimes the path simply does not appear to be there at all.

We all have days where we are stuck in our routine, and either a lack of sleep, a lack of desire, distractions, anger, a lack of willpower or some other intangible force prevents us from seeing anything clearly at all.  The routine of the day carries us along, and leaves us feeling powerless and trapped.  No matter how much you want to find the path, it feels useless and impossible.

There are goals in mind.  But the goals cannot be reached without the path.  What do you do when there appears to be no path, and hope escapes?

This, I believe, is part of why people find this very notion to be bunk.  The days where no matter what you intend, what you do, how you do it, how much focus you put on your goal, the use of consciousness to create reality seems completely impossible.  Call it what you will – it’s a funky new-age hooky-spooky idea with no grounds in reality, and here is the proof.

If you give in to that, and accept it as so, then yes, you will always see it as so.  A load of bull we tell ourselves to believe we are in control.  Where’s your path now, pathwalkers?

This trips me up, too.  If I cannot find my path at all, is it possible that it does not exist, and it’s all a load of crap?

The short answer is – no.  The long answer requires, well, frankly, something of a leap of faith.  But that’s what this is all about, after all.

As with all aspects of life, we are influenced by numerous things.  And sometimes those influences will obscure our intent from us.  Whether someone is distracting or upsetting us, or we are not getting proper rest, or we are overwhelmed or underwhelmed, this can contribute to our inability to discern the path.

We all have bad days.  We all get angry.  We all get mopey.  Some days our emotions overrule our logic.  Some days our logic utterly overrules our emotion.  We can be sleepy, horny, hungry, focused or unfocused to the point of distraction.  No matter how much we intend to walk the path, no matter how hard we try, we simply lose it to these distractions.

And the challenge is to accept that.  Yes, we are all going to have bad days, and that means some days this will seem utterly ludicrous and pointless to me.  There are days I have to question why I even bother, why I try, why I believe.  Today distractions outside of my control are in control, and the path is nowhere to be found.

But the thing to remember is – it happens sometimes.  And the path is still there, even if it does not appear to be.  The goal now should be to accept that today has hidden the path from me, and to identify why, and how.  Then deal with it.  Then, most importantly…let it go.

Dwelling will extend the time the path is hidden.  Staying focused on the distractions will prevent me from overcoming them.  And it is far too easy to let them take my attention, and with it, my intentions.  So the challenge is to acknowledge, accept, deal with it, then do all I can to LET IT GO.

So the next question is – HOW do we let it go?

 

This is the tenth entry in my series. These weekly posts are specifically about walking along the path of life, and my desire to make a difference in this world along the way. Thank you for joining me.

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