The Ramblings of the Titanium Don

Explorations of Conscious Reality Creation and Other Matters

Month: July 2012

Pathwalking 30

Everyone wants to see results for their effort.

We all want to know that we are succeeding in our goals.  We are inundated with phrases like “results driven” and “results oriented” in job descriptions.  No matter what we do, the results are important to us.

Just to add a little fuel to that fire, we are a quick-fix, instant gratification, get it NOW society.  We want to see it happen AS SOON as possible.  Tomorrow is not good enough, we want it YESTERDAY.

Often, this is totally impossible.  While some things can be done and made to happen nearly instantly, some take time.  And time is something a lot of us often get over-attached to.

Time is the reef upon which all our frail mystic ships are wrecked,” says Madame Arcati in Noel Coward’s Blythe Spirit.  But there is an essential truth in this statement – how often is there “not enough” time, or we are “running out of” time, or “time’s up?”  How often is time the excuse for failure?

Because of our obsession with time, when results do not come fast enough, we get frustrated.  When we don’t see the results of our efforts, we begin to question the validity of our choices.

This can lead to standing still on the path, and wondering if this was the right choice.  Maybe I should have just stayed with the status quo.  Maybe this is a mistake.  Maybe, maybe, maybe…

Results are not happening.  My effort is not gaining me the result I want.  I feel stuck, I am becoming flustered, frustrated with inaction.  I thought I was doing it right…why am I not succeeding?

There may be several answers.  I have mentioned before that sometimes you will take a pause while on the path.  Maybe this is a time to reevaluate, maybe you’re not doing what you really need or want to be doing.  Maybe you need to stop worrying about time, and allow for things to happen when they will happen.

The key of course is to ask questions.  What am I doing?  Why am I doing this?  Is this what I want, or is this only what I THINK I want?  Does this make me happy?  And when you ask these questions, the answers will provide the guidance necessary to continue along the path.

Another important thing to observe is what you are learning on the way to the result.  Maybe you need to see that you are missing something of equal or even greater import than the results you are after.

I believe that everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes the reason is not clear in any way, shape or form…but there is one out there.  When you take that into account, then there is a reason why the results are delayed.

You might be missing something key.  You might have only half of the picture you need.  Perhaps you zigged when you should have zagged, and as such you are almost – but not exactly – on the right path.  It is even possible that you simply need to be more patient, and allow for it to happen.

Which brings us to patience.  In the age of ADD, ADHD, adult variants of both, and short attention spans, patience is veritably unacceptable.  So many things in life are products of instant gratification – who needs to be patient?  But some things simply take time, cannot be rushed, and so too might be the path we walk.  So the results might take time to be seen.

I am guilty of this problem.  I have had to learn patience, and am still learning.  I logically understand that things can take time, and I need to accept that…but that doesn’t mean that emotionally I do.  And so when the results are not coming, even though I am certain I am doing it right, I get frustrated.  Once I get frustrated, it slows my progress, and if I do not get the situation in check, next thing I know I am stopped on the path.

Or worse, I find myself moving backwards.  Pathwalking is about moving forwards along the path, not retracing your steps until you find yourself backtracking.

Backtracking, in fact, is the opposite of Pathwalking.

What is backtracking, and why is it the opposite of Pathwalking?  We’ll explore that in the next post.

We choose our own path to live as we wish, and as such, we expect results.  When we begin to get frustrated if results are slow to come, we have to pause, and check our awareness.  We must regain awareness of our intent, our thoughts, and our feelings, and if we are happy, continue on the path.  And if not, we need to alter our course as necessary.

Pathwalking is not the quickest, the easiest, nor the least taxing journey.  Pathwalking is taking your own life into your own hands, and making it exactly what you desire for it to be.  This is the path to contentment, joy and happiness.  Isn’t that what we all really want from life?

 

This is the thirtieth 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.

Overcoming Negativity

Negativity begets negativity.

It inundates us at every turn.  We are constantly being bombarded with negative messages, negative reinforcement, woe and lack and scarcity and no no no.

Read the news about all the bad things happening in the world.  Pay attention to politics and be overwhelmed by negative campaigns.  Listen to how readily we talk about what we do not have, what we cannot have, and how terrible this, that or the other thing is.  Negativity comes easily.

Well of course it does, you might argue.  Look at how horrible this is?  See how awful that is?  How can we not be negative when so many are suffering in so many ways?  We’re overweight, overworked, underpaid, facing daily struggles with depression, government inaction, corporate greed, class warfare, etc, etc, etc.

And thus we spiral into this routine. Down and down we go, as the negative information begets more negative information, and the energy of the negativity just gathers more power.

Once again, one of the central tenets of my personal philosophy – consciousness creates reality – comes into play.  All the attention we give to these negatives adds proverbial fuel to the fire.  And in many respects – this adds literal fuel to the fire.

We feed off of much of this negativity.  Read any Facebook posts lately that irked you?  Found yourself getting angry with someone because of a narrow point of view, which itself has been taken from someone else’s narrow perspective?   Raises your hackles, doesn’t it?

We all face this, constantly.  In this day and age, with instantaneous news and information everywhere we turn, the constant barrage of negative reinforcement is virtually unavoidable.  And when you try to look at this more closely, it can be truly intimidating.  How can we possibly NOT be affected by this?

Consciousness.  We have to work on our own situational awareness.  How many people walk around, day by day, hardly aware of their surroundings, let alone their own thoughts and feelings?  People work hard to suppress thoughts and feelings, choosing to drink, take drugs legal or otherwise, overdo it at the gym, veg in front of the TV for hours on end, surf the internet, get lost in a video game world, or any number of easily addictive distractions.

What if, instead of finding a distraction, we actually stop and think?  What if we take a moment to become aware?  Is that really so awful that we need to turn to a distraction?  What do people think will happen if they actually try to know themselves, their thoughts, and their feelings?

I have blogged about all of this before.  Whether it was in regards to accountability, fear, blame, energy, happiness…it all comes down to the same thing.  Consciousness.  Consciousness is awareness.  And if we are aware, we have knowledge.  We KNOW.

So what?  You may ask.  Why should it be of any importance that someone be conscious or aware?  That won’t stop the negativity.

True.  It won’t.  But what it WILL do is make you conscious OF that negativity.  And if you are conscious of it, you can actually do something about it, rather than just reacting to it.

Ah good, you might say sarcastically.  More crunchy-granola tree-hugging hippy, hookey-spookey crapola. 

When you feel negative, feel bad, do you find it easier to draw more bad feelings and thoughts and things to you?  When you feel good, do you find it easier to draw more good feelings and thoughts and things to you?  I’ve yet to meet anyone who can answer “No” to these questions.

And so I postulate – if we are more aware of the negativity inundating us, we can work to be unaffected by it.  We can start by remaining neutral, and not reacting to it, not spreading it further.  If more people did that, we could lessen the negative impact, and make room for something else.

Which is the next step.  From a neutral position, you can now work to move towards positive.  Positive energy.  Positive thoughts, positive ideas, and from those positive feelings.  You can then go forward and spread THAT as far and wide as possible.

If we begin to ignore or pay less attention to the incessant negativity; if we stop spreading it, stop talking about it, stop giving it so much energy and attention, we can turn it off, turn it around, and bring out positivity.

That’s impossible, you might reply.  C’mon, do you really think you can undo all the negativity with positivity?

Yes.  These are opposite sides of the same coin.  When one is up, the other is down.  They are both immutable forces of nature.  They are in a constant struggle for dominance, to win our hearts and minds, so to speak.

This cannot start on a large scale – it has to start small.  Each and every one of us needs to individually work to be more conscious, more aware, and to not be affected by this negativity.  We have to work to ignore, neutralize, then turn around to a positive.

And what would happen if we do this, you might question?

Imagine this:  A given political candidate begins his negative campaigning against his opponent.  Rather than talk about it, read about it, or give it attention, we ignore it.  We don’t feed it, we don’t fuel it, we pay it no mind.  He thinks he’s not shouting loud enough, and gets louder.  We continue to pay it no mind, pay no attention.  Instead, we focus on other things…our families, our friends, our lives in general.

The negative campaigning ceases to be effective.  It stops.  Instead, the political candidate starts to focus not on the imperfections of his opponent, but on his own strengths.  He tries to open a dialogue with us, rather than talk at us.  This would of course force his opponent to do the same…and a major negative reinforcement goes away.

Far fetched?  Perhaps…but only because it is easier to focus on someone else than on yourself.  It is easier to knock someone down than build yourself up.  And that fire is so very easy to feed.

Maybe slightly easier to imagine:

A certain news network only ever seems to give us bad news.  They only report on negative things, tell us how awful that person, that nation, that group of people is.  They are constantly inundating us with negativity, feeding it like a bloated, feral animal.  What would happen if we turned it off?  What if we tune them out, stop watching, stop talking about the stories they give us?  Their ratings go down, their advertisers pull out, and they have to either change, or they’ll be history.  So they stop the attacks.  They start finding a more positive spin to put on things, and they begin to look for solutions, rather than emphasizing the problems.  Once they do that, we give them our attention again.

Once again, far fetched…but not implausible.

I know that bad things happen.  And certainly we need to be informed.  But there is a major difference between informed and inundated.  We do not need to be bombarded and overwhelmed.  And we do not need to react before we think about the situation, and truly be aware of it.

We have the power.  Each and every one of us.  We can empower ourselves, or allow ourselves to be disempowered by…take your pick.  But if we start to keep in mind that negativity begets negativity, and conversely positivity begets positivity, we CAN make a choice.  And when we make a choice, we can make a change.

Are you aware of your thoughts and feelings, right at this moment?

Pathwalking 29

I want to be a better person.

Yes, I want to be a better son, better boyfriend, better friend, better worker, better person in the eyes of society.  But in order to achieve that, I need to do right by myself.

Why do I want to be a better person?  Because while the person I am is pretty awesome, there is still room for improvement.  And in becoming a better person, I will learn to love myself better. And not in an unhealthy, selfish way – but in a healthy, confidence building, smarter speaking, positive energy emitting way.

In wanting to be a better person, I need to identify my weaknesses, and figure out why they are weaknesses…and how to resolve them, and find strength.

I do not believe anything is impossible.  I have seen too many things happen in this world to believe that.  Improbable, maybe…but I think with the right thought, the right focus, the right action…even the improbable can happen.  So along this particular line – I think any weakness I find in myself can be repaired, and turned around into a strength.

I seek happiness in my life.  I want to experience joy, and I want great things for myself, and for those I care about.  This is why I have chosen to walk my own path.  Over the last half a year of doing this, one of the most important things I have learned is that I am a worthwhile individual.  And that is of far greater importance for everyone than anyone seems to want to acknowledge.

It is very easy to be disempowered.  It takes no effort to let outside forces judge your value, and your worth.  And once that judgment has been made, it takes very little to let that become our opinion about ourselves.

In order to take the idea of being a better person into action, there needs to be an examination of what I can improve upon.  What do I need to do better with, or be better about?

I think we all have gotten away from looking inside ourselves.  It is so easy to focus on the outside world, its problems, its pleasures, its distractions…and as such, to lose sight of ourselves.  And when we do not look inside of ourselves and see who we are, we often develop the belief that action is required in order to ‘be a better person’.

The first step is to look at who I am.  Do I know myself?  Do I know what I like about myself?  Do I know what I dislike about myself?  What do I need or want to change about who I am?  How do I go about changing it?

Five questions.  Each is fairly simple…and yet impossibly complicated.  Each question implies work.  Study.  Possibly even struggle.  Each of these questions requires effort.  But without answering these questions, how can I know if I need to be “better”?

I have often said that ‘nothing worth having is ever easy’.  We place value in complexity, which is not always the healthiest of approaches.  Yes, there are five questions I need to ask in order to make improvements I want to make in who I am…but the answers could be simple.  The asking is the hard part.

A lot of people make this statement: “I want to be a better person.”  It’s the focus of whole books, TV programs, internet forums and films.  We see another tackle something fearsome or complex or otherwise difficult, and we root for their success.  And then we move on.

But this is not just the product of fiction.  We are all capable of making things in our lives happen.  If you want to be a better person, starting with asking those five questions is one way to do it.  The answers will give you what you need to make it happen.

Society today has a tremendous amount of fear base.  And some people argue that asking questions is not good, and we should all follow along in the status quo.  I utterly disagree with this.  Asking questions is the only way we can learn, and grow, and truly experience the wonders of life and the world around us.

Sometimes the questions raise more questions.  Sometimes we get answers we dislike.  But if you want to be a better person, and help yourself and the world around you, asking questions is the only way to achieve this.

I am not afraid of these questions.  Do I know myself?  Yes, but there is room to know myself better.   Do I know what I like about myself?  Yes.  Do I know what I dislike about myself?  Yes.  What do I need or want to change about who I am?  One thing is that I need to learn to value my own gut instincts, and to feel more.  How do I go about changing it?  Meditate, be grateful for what I have, reach out with my feelings and not let the skeptical voices in my head and outside of me influence who I am.

In walking the path, I have to ask and answer these questions regularly, to find my way.

I have asked, answered, and shared.  Not because I NEED to share this – but because I want to share it.  I want to show you that there is nothing to be afraid of in asking and answering questions.

You won’t have the same answers, and you don’t need to share your answers with anyone.  But if you fall into the “I want to be a better person” category, this is an outstanding starting point.

In my efforts to be a better person, I want to help anyone willing to come along in the same journey.  I want to help you, even if I don’t know you – because we are not alone, and MY path is more fulfilling when I can share the experience.

Are YOU able to ask and answer these questions?

 

This is the twenty-ninth 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.

Blame

Ever notice how easy it is to place blame?  Often, I don’t think we even realize we’re doing it.

How many of these sound familiar?  I should never have listened to you.  You’re responsible for leading me there.  If I hadn’t taken your advice, this would be alright.  If my boss wasn’t so stupid, work would be great!  If you weren’t holding me back, I’d be successful!

Shall we pay a visit to dictionary.com?

blamenoun; verb (used with object)

1. to hold responsible; find fault with; censure: I don’t blame you for leaving him.

2. to place the responsibility for (a fault, error, etc.)  (usually followed by on)I blame the accident on her.

3. Informal. blast; damn (used as a mild curse): Blame the rotten luck.

The reason I bring this up is simple – we as a society turn to blame long before we look within ourselves.  We blame, rather than solve.  (This also falls under the category of accountability.)

Now I am not saying that there are not issues that are the fault of others.  Certainly we cannot control other people’s actions.  However…placing blame doesn’t solve anything.

A perfect example of this is the dysfunctional family.  People often point to this ‘model’ as the reason for their problem – If my family hadn’t been so dysfunctional, I’d be better at relationships.  If my parents had been more attentive, my life would be better now.  I suffer from depression due to my dysfunctional family.

Let’s begin by acknowledging that you come from a dysfunctional family.  Ok.  Done.  Now, rather than continue to blame them for the problem – why don’t you go ahead and look for a solution?

And this, I believe, is the main issue.  Identifying the problem is easy.  Placing blame is easy.  Solving the problem, however, is NOT.  And there is a lot of work involved.  And work can be hard.

We have become a quick-fix society.  We love to give lip service to the short term problem, but neglect to dig at and solve the root issues.  Read the book, pop that pill, jump aboard that instant-result bandwagon.  Never mind that while you may fix the current issue, there may well be something much more deeply rooted – and as such, this will recur.

Blame is easy.  It is a regular, everyday aspect of our lives.  Read the news – who is currently being blamed for the latest political dust-up?  Who are we blaming today for our monetary woes?

This seems insurmountable.  It seems like it is so great, so huge, so immense that it overwhelms.  How can anyone fix this?  How can we NOT blame those outside forces for aspects of these woes?

Again – to some degree, this DOES fall on forces beyond our control.  What we CAN control, though, is how we deal with it.  Do we just go ahead and place the blame and then sulk…or do we identify the issue, and see what we can do about it?

It feels like we need to work on a larger, grander scheme.  But that way lies madness.  The key is to work from our own place, our own perspective.  We need to start with ourselves.

Are you unhappy with your life?  Your job?  Your family?  Is something upsetting you?  Is your instinct to go ahead and place blame for this?  BEFORE you do that – maybe you should look more closely, and decide if that will be of any help.

Blame does nothing to fix a problem.  In fact, it can even prolong and expand the issue.  Once you go ahead and place the blame – you have disempowered yourself, and in fact empowered whomever or whatever you are blaming.  So in what way does that help you?

The next time you are faced with an issue where you want to go and place the blame – big or small, doesn’t matter – consider how little this helps you.  Consider instead what the issue is…and give thought to solutions.

Is it a small issue?  I am overweight.  Rather than blaming the foods you might be eating, a lack of exercise, or the people around you…consider how to resolve this problem.  Don’t just blame someone or something…do something about it.  Change your diet.  Start an exercise regime.  Figure out what has caused the problem, and work on a resolution to it.

Is it a medium issue?  I dislike my job.  Rather than blaming the boss, your coworkers, your education or lack thereof…consider how to resolve the problem.  Don’t just blame someone or something…do something about it.  Figure out what might improve your job.  Or look for another.  Or go back to school.  Figure out what has caused the problem, and work on a resolution to it.

Is it a large issue?  I am dissatisfied with my Congresspeople.  Rather than blaming the political parties, the media, or special interest groups…consider how to resolve the problem.  Don’t just blame someone or something…do something about it.  Write a letter.  Start a petition.  Think about who you are voting for when it’s election time.  Figure out what has caused the problem, and work on a resolution to it.

No matter the size of the issue, there is an approach beyond just placing blame which can and will be FAR more effective.  By being empowered and taking responsibility, you can make change.  And while that change may not affect your family, your circle of friends, your community, or your nation…it will affect YOU.  And by changing your perspective, you might just manage to affect the perspectives of others.

Before you get into a conversation blaming someone or something for how you are feeling or acting…consider how much more empowering it would be to actually do something about it.

How much more do you think we could accomplish in the world if instead of placing blame, we worked on solutions?

Pathwalking 28

I am.

Two of the most powerful words anyone can utter.  What follows them will help in building up the self.  I am happy.  I am strong.  I am attractive.  I am wise.  I am worthy.

Unfortunately, following “I am” with negatives is equally, if not sometimes more powerful.  I am broke.  I am angry.  I am weak.  I am fat.  I am unworthy.

All you have to do is read the news.  All you have to do is read the headlines, and you will see outside forces working overtime to have the term “I am” followed by words like angry, frustrated, afraid, incensed, disturbed, disenfranchised, displaced, and unworthy.  Every time I say “I am” and follow it with a negative, I begin a downward spiral, creating more things to get upset or depressed about, and setting back what I have accomplished through my Pathwalking.

One of the main reasons I have chosen Pathwalking is to step away from this cycle.  I do not want to keep giving so much focus and attention to these terrible things.  No, I am not outright ignoring them…I am giving them a moment’s attention, getting informed, then deciding if there is anything I can do with or about the information I have received.

Open up a web browser, and if you go to Facebook or Twitter or Yahoo or MSN or what-have-you, someone will have placed a headline before you that will spark negativity.  The latest political bullshit gets you angry.  Some abusive figure is getting away.  A greedy magnate is raping and pillaging unchecked.  And as soon as we give focus to this, and allow the outrage to take hold, we have three choices we need to make:

1.  Let the emotion wash over you.  Do nothing about it, but read the follow-ups, and let the bad news become a part of your day.  Continue to read more and more, get angrier, more frustrated, and let it put you in a foul mood, or depress you.  And as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Yoda and other figures have warned, once you begin down this path, it will dominate.  It’s a slippery slope.  This is the easiest thing to do in this situation, because it generally requires zero effort.

2.  Let the emotion wash over you.  Decide if there is something you can do about it to turn it around.  If you can…then do it.  Sign that petition, write that letter to your congressperson, join the march inWashington.  But rather than let that negative energy stew, and beget more negative energy, try to refocus it, and turn something positive out of it.  Create, build, do something.  This is a lot harder than just letting yourself get angered by world happenings…but I believe it is more productive.

3.  Let the emotion wash over you.  Decide if there is something you can do about it to turn it around.  If you cannot…then let it go.  Either turn your focus to something positive, or find some other news that will make you smile or otherwise feel good.  Seek out ways to feel better, to feel more positive.  Turn “I am angry” to “I am letting this go” and from there to “I am ok” and from there, to something stronger.  This is as hard as doing something about a given negative issue…because both require a conscious effort.

It is really easy to get upset about something.  It is really easy to let “I am” be followed by a negative statement.  But in doing this, I am disempowered…and that is only true, if I allow it to be true.  As I have stressed throughout the Pathwalking entries, a primary reason to choose your own path is empowerment.

Consciousness creates reality.  I cannot stress this idea enough.  As such, following “I am” with a negative creates, you probably guessed it, a negative.  Following it with a positive creates positive.  Like attracts like, this is the Law of Attraction, an immutable law of nature.  Keep focused on negatives…I am unhappy, I am riddled with debt, I am lost…and you will likely find more negatives.

It is not a lie to say I am wealthy, I am thin, I am wise, even if you are not.  This is not about what I say to the people I surround myself with – what follows “I am” is technically none of their business.  This is not about gloating, bragging, or informing everyone around you…this is about how you perceive yourself.  This is not the “I am ok” or “I am tired” that follows the question “How are you?”  This is the “I am” you think constantly.  This is the “I am” that you give consideration to inside your own head dozens of times each day.  I am tired.  I am hungry.  I am horny.  I am lonely.  I am sad.  I am cold.  I am…I am…I am…

As such, since much of this is sub-conscious…it takes a lot of work to redirect it.  I have to pay greater attention to those “I ams” in my head, and try to keep them at least neutral, if not positive.  I am the only one who can direct what follows “I am”.

When someone does ask “How are you?”; rather than complain about being tired, sore, uncomfortable, or whatever…remember that there is power in the external “I am” as well.  But if “I am well” or even “I am ok” feels like a lie, there is nothing wrong with just answering “I am” and leaving it at that.

Empowerment is a central tenet of Pathwalking.  And “I am” is the central statement in empowering the self.  Give that consideration the next time your thought turns to “I am”, and look at what you are following it with.

I am…

 

This is the twenty-eight 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 Faith should not replace Science

Science has taken a lot of abuse over the past decade or so.  A lot of ‘faith based’ organizations have been working overtime to discredit the scientific community.  And this is something we should all be far more disturbed by than we are.

What is science?  Let’s visit Dictionary.com for that:

sci·ence

noun

1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.

2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.

3. any of the branches of natural or physical science.

4. systematized knowledge in general.

5. knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.

Science is about study and learning, looking at aspects of the world around us, and working out understanding.  Science is about finding facts, and expanding our knowledge of the universe.

Science comes in many branches, and covers a wide range of items, some physical, some far less so, some broadly speculative.  But science is about applying logic and reason to learning…which is, in most ways, the complete opposite of faith.

Once more, from dictionary.com:

faith

noun

1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.

2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.

5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

Belief vs. proof.  Systematic study versus belief not based in provable fact.  And while, arguably, both science and faith require degrees of trust…they are still very different concepts.

Now I am not attacking faith here.  I have my own faith (which, I just want to point out, is a personal matter for me and me alone), so this is not an anti-faith thing.  What this is, though, is pointing out an issue where some people allow their faith to overwhelm their willingness to study and learn.

This battle has been ongoing pretty much since we humans learned to walk upright, and learn to think about more than just survival.  But both science and faith serve the same purpose – both seek to answer very difficult to answer questions.  Both seek to understand complex ideas.

We once believed that the Earth was the center of the solar system, and was flat.  Science taught us that these are incorrect.  We used to believe in ‘humors’, now we have a much better understanding of our internal organs and psychology.  We used to believe eclipses were omens of the gods of some sort, now we know them to be a natural progression of the bodies in space.

One place where faith and science are still often confused is with regards to the concept of scientific theories.  Once again, let’s visit Dictionary.com:

the·o·ry

noun

1. a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity. Synonyms: principle, law, doctrine.

2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact. Synonyms: idea, notion hypothesis, postulate. Antonyms: practice, verification, corroboration, substantiation.

As such, a theory is a concept based on study and knowledge, where faith is about gut feeling, and not testing and experimenting and studying.  Again, it is all well and good to have faith…but this should not be at the expense of science.

“Intelligent Design” is a thinly veiled scientific sounding name for creationism.  Creationism is based on faith – the ‘intelligent designer’ or God or what-have-you created the universe and all that is in it.  Evolution is based on theory, from scientific study.  Yes, there are holes in the theory, no one denies that – but it is far more solid and provable than creationism.  The former is belief based on a text that has zero proof to back it, versus the latter which has decades of study, refinement, and learning behind it.

Schools teach science.  Evolution is a concept of science, Intelligent Design is a concept of faith.  Very different, almost opposite ideas.

The backlash against science and reason happening today does not get enough attention.  We need to look more closely at this, and work to keep these ideas separate.  There is a place for faith, but not at the expense of science.

There are all kinds of historical cases of faith versus science all over the world.  Whether we’re looking back at the trial of Galileo, the Scopes Monkey trial that served to bring the science of evolution to our schools in the 1920’s, extremists pushing Islamic law over scientifically reasoned ideas, or current arguments for teaching intelligent design in schools – the struggle between these concepts never seems to end.

Faith has been the cause of wars and conflict – science, because it is not about conjecture and speculation, has not.  Before we allow faith to overwhelm science, or replace it in our schools, we need to accept how it is different, and its place as such.

Science taught us that keeping the dead with the water supply made us sick.  Science taught us that not properly preparing our food could make us sick and kill us.  Science taught us the orbit of the moon effects our tides.  Science has advanced our knowledge of this world, its inhabitants, and the universe in which it exists.

Science comes of the ability to think critically.  We can evaluate the world around us, consider truth and lies, and learn and grow constantly.  There is currently a push to lessen this ability.  There are faith-based forces that want less attention on science and critical thought, and more focus on faith.

I think one reason for this is because science, in its inherent focus on study and fact-finding, can disprove matters of faith.  Science shows us that the world is considerably older than the age the Bible and related texts put it at.  Science shows us that odds are we are not alone in the universe.  For those rooted in faith, that idea alone might be terrifying, and stands against their beliefs.

Once again, I am not against faith – faith has its place.  But faith should not take the place of science – it is a separate tenet, and should be treated, and even respected, as such.

While science strives to explain pretty much everything, I think there are things it will never be able to provide us with factual knowledge of.  There are, and always will be mysteries that cannot be logically explained.  And that is not a bad thing, because it gives us more ways to grow and learn.

But science has brought us the world we live in today.  Science brought us technologies that have connected one end of the world to the next, allows instant communications across the globe, provides medicine for the sick and to keep us well, and furthers our ability to think critically.  Yes, sometimes science goes too far (nuclear weapons and genetically modified crops, for example), but overall we live better lives due to science.  And our ability to reason and understand can be attributed to this in many respects, too.

Faith and science should not be confused, nor mixed.  We need to remember how important science is to our lives, but not deny faith and its place – nor vice versa.

Pathwalking 27

Independence is one of the primary reasons to walk one’s own path.

The best definition from Dictionary.com for independence is freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.

This is one of the main reasons to choose to walk our own path.  We want to be free, we want to be independent, we want to ultimately be in control of our own fate, our own destiny.  Sometimes winning that independence is easy.  But sometimes it is an epic battle, akin to either the Revolutionary War, or the movie Independence Day.

Part of the issue with this definition is the freedom from support, aid, or the like of others.  One of the downsides to walking your own path is that some people will not be supportive of your efforts.  There are people who will deride your choice, refuse to assist you, give you no help, no encouragement, and if they do opine, it will more often than not be negative.

Why is this the case?  I believe there are a couple reasons that choosing independence sparks this reaction.  Sometimes it’s because your choice is so foreign to those normally supportive of you, they simply do not know how to offer support.  Sometimes it’s a matter of not providing aid in the hopes that you will abandon your effort, and resume taking a part of the status quo.  More often than not, it is not a malicious inaction…it’s just a matter of these outsiders not knowing how to be supportive of Pathwalking.

Sometimes it is jealousy.  Jealousy that you are choosing, and more, acting to walk your own path.  Many of the people who respond in this manner are those who may have aided and supported you in past endeavors – but cannot in this one. “I’d do that…if I could.”  “If I didn’t have so many responsibilities, I’d make that kind of choice.”  “How can you get away with doing this?” 

As social creatures, we often seek out support, encouragement, and acceptance from others.  But Pathwalking is about choosing independence, and an unfortunate price of this choice is that some people, unable to understand, unable to accept, cannot offer these things.

This can frustrate the strongest person.  We all want those we care about to be supportive of our choices.  But some people cannot understand this, at least not in the way that those of us making such a choice do.  They see this as maybe selfish on our part, or irresponsible, or otherwise wrong…because it is not the ‘normal’.  It is different, it is unique…it is a very specific idea, a very specific choice.

I have chosen to live the life I want to live.  I know that it is not ‘normal’ by most people’s definitions.  And I get questions in tones that imply from friends and family a lack of approval.  But I am not, in choosing my own path, harming anyone.  I am not causing financial or physical burdens on anyone else.  And any emotional issues are beyond my control (so how I make someone ELSE feel is not something I can do anything about).  So while it may not be understood, my choice of independence, and walking my own path, is mine and mine alone.

It can be hard to feel the reactions of others, the lack of support, the seeming disapproval.  But the question I have to ask is – who’s life is it anyways?  It is MY life, MY path, my choices.  And maybe some of these are mistakes – but I am more content with my existence than I have been in a long time, and I count that as a win.  I count that as proof that this IS the correct action for me to take.

Sometimes that lack of support is disheartening, and sometimes it feels hurtful, or spiteful.  But we just need to remember why we have chosen this, focus on the path we are walking, and make our way along the journey, keeping the ultimate destination in mind.

Pathwalking IS independence. Independenceof thought, freedom of action.  And with any freedom, there is a price to be paid.  But that price is small, by comparison to the reward.  And no matter how alone you may be feeling, you are not alone in this choice.  You are not the only one choosing to walk your own path.

I am a Pathwalker.  And even if I do not know you – I will aid, support, and in whatever manner I can, be there for you.  Just as I suspect, by reading these words and following along in this journey, you are a form of support for me, too.

 

This is the twenty-seventh 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.

That which does NOT divide us.

We are all different in so many ways.  Race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, nationality…but instead of focusing on our differences, and creating gaps and divides over them – we need to start focusing on all the ways we are the same.

The business and political and religious leaders in this world love to explore, exploit, and emphasize all of our differences.  They use them to create fear of one group or another, to control whom they can, and to sew chaos and disarray among us all.  They take advantage of our naiveté and our complacency and work to create greater gaps and divides among us.  They do this to maintain their power, their control, and their sway over us.  Often they do this so subtly, by the time we recognize it for what it is, it is immensely difficult to reverse.

I acknowledge that my views are my own.  I know that you may have very different views on politics, religion, morality, spirituality, and how to go about living life.  But my point here is that while we have these differences, when all is said and done, we are the same.

No matter what culture, race, gender, faith, color or what-have-you we identify ourselves as – WE ARE ALL HUMAN.  As such, we are all subject to the same perfections and imperfections of these bodies, the need for sustenance, and the ability to think completely and totally independently of one another.

EVERY one of us is capable of thinking, feeling, loving, hating, healing and hurting ourselves, and to a lesser degree those around us.  EVERY human has needs, wants, desires, dreams and demons.  ALL of us have been born, live one day to the next, and will eventually die.

Our greatest strength in many ways is also our greatest weakness.  We are diverse.  We look different from one another, we act differently, we think differently.  We identify with different groups, ideals, ways of being.  And that diversity makes us strong in giving us so many wonderous varieties…and makes us weak in giving us ways to exploit and fear those variations between us.

I believe, when all is said and done, we are ALL one.  We are all energy, which can neither be created nor destroyed.  Our “souls”, if you will, are all the same.  No matter the physical, psychological, emotional or cultural differences between us – we are all made of the exact same material, and are all similar.

In many ways, we celebrate this.  We revel on our individuality, and consider ourselves superior to the other wonders of this world because of this.  But then, some take this too far, and choose to use the dissimilarities between us in order to empower only themselves, and to create derision and distress in us all.

As humans, we have an inherent need to learn, to explore, to understand.  We grow, we change, we are inconstant creatures.  Yet we have these desires to nest, to nurture, and to protect both ourselves and those we develop kinships with, naturally or otherwise.  We are social creatures, and while some groups we are born into, others we choose along the way.

We also are competitive creatures…and that competition often takes the form of group on group contests.  This has evolved, or devolved, frankly, into intolerance of different groups, hatred, violence, warfare, and even genocides.  Our competitions ignore our similarities, and cause us to become further divided, more greatly separated.

We often choose not to take control of these competitive situations, not to seize the power that is rightfully our own.  We let others lead us, influence us, sway how we think and feel.  And this can be a good thing – except when those others try to get us to be intolerant, hateful, and destructive.  No good comes of intolerance and hatred.  We only lose when we focus on these things.

I don’t care of you are pro-life or pro-choice, Republican or Democrat, rich or poor, fat or thin, black or white, male of female, gay or straight – it doesn’t matter if this is genetics or choice – but when we are intolerant, hateful and divisive, we only hurt ourselves.

You reap what you sew.  If you put out hate and intolerance and derision, guess what you are asking for in return?  More often than not, you will find, that is precisely what you will get.  And what good does this do any of us?

So rather than getting focused on all of our differences, and furthering those divides, I think we need to work more on focusing on how we are ALL THE SAME.  We all have needs and desires, we all have hopes and dreams…and we can work together for the betterment of one another.

Instead of getting caught up in all the ways we are different from each other, we need to remember how we are the same.  Instead of working against each other, we need to work more WITH each other.  We need to remember that when we think ill of others, we ask the same of them.  We need to do better at being tolerant, loving, and together rather than apart.

No, I am not suggesting we join hands in a circle and sing “Kumbaya”, but I am suggesting we stop letting ourselves get caught up in negativity, intolerance, and the attempts by those in power to further our differences.  We each have to start on our own, and make the effort to empower ourselves.

Think about this the next time you see another post to Facebook or Google+ about how one group is trying to keep another group down, how someone is trying to deny someone else their rights, or about how one group must stop another for nothing but selfish reasons. Be aware of how those in power, or attempting to hold sway work to divide us, define us by our differences, rather than work for the greater good on all the similarities between us.

You may not agree with me.  But can you see how, by furthering the things that divide us, we make our lives more complicated and less joyful than they need to be?

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