Posted by Donny on December 05, 2001 at 23:08:37:
In Reply to: Re: To believe or not to believe (interesting) posted by Ezekiel 25:17 on December 04, 2001 at 20:57:00:
That's a quite a post Ezekial -- so many elements of this discussion to visit -- I'm sure I won't get to them all in this post but we can make a start...
: However, assuming believers are more calm and peaceful. Is calm, peace and contentment necessarily a good thing?
I am not a religious scholar but I do believe that each of the world religions recommends that peope find calm, peace and contentment. Buddhists and Hindus have somewhat elaborate sounding techniques that bring about these states. Christians and Muslims also have meditative practices in their literature. But just because the world religions teach it does not necesarrily make it a good thing.
You mention drive and ambition. Now those are certainly dubious assets. The fact is that personally I have a lot of both drive and ambition and I know they drive me nuts. WANT WANT WANT MAKE BUILD BETTER BEST. ME ME ME ME ME ME. That is the jack hammer rythm of drive and ambition in my head. The only time it is quiet is when I force myself to practice a simple quiet meditation. The flip side of drive and ambition is not sloth -- it is fear -- fear that I am not good enough, fear that I am a loser so I have to make-build-better-best, andI have to do it faster than the next guy. More cleverly. Something. Need to distinguish myself because if I do not have the one thing that makes me special (no need to mention it here -- but I have one) if I do not have this one thing, then I am nothing. This is the fear. And so I work and work and work at it.
I think any self satisfaction that I feel from ambition and accomplishment is absolutely fleeting. Lets say that I did something that was truly miraculous and I received aclaim, riches and fame. I could be bathed in the spotlight. What a wonderful feeling.
Here's the truth -- guest what happens to spotlights -- they get moved. You're in the dark again, ultimately and then you have to have all that drive and start over from scratch and the jackhammer starts again WANT WANT WANT MAKE BUILD BETTER BEST... and onward...
That drive and ambition on the personal level. How about on the cultural. All our cultures drive and ambition has created is a cloned human being and twenty four hour a day advertising on on every wall in the world. The linoleum on the floor of your local supermarket. Mess. Chaos. Distraction. Absurdity.
Yes, I like that I may get to live healthily into my 80's and 90's. God bless. And yet I look at the footprint two thousand years of native American culture left on the this continent BEFORE the Europeans showed up with all their drive, ambition and success. You will trot out that they too had their wars and that their life expectancy was half ours but there was a purity that we have all lost completely. That is our ultimate "achievement."
I digress. And ramble. Told you I could not stick to the topic but I guess my point in that is that I don't think that the value of calm can be questioned.
Inyour reply, you seem to have conceded the point that believers may experience more faith. But I am surely not the poster boy for calm. I have to work at it. But because I have a spiritual practice that I try to live and believe in God, that makes it easier for me.
But what does the rest of the world do with their fear and anxiety. Pills? Booze? Surely I am not the only one to admit to feeling those emotions. I guess I'm not into medicating and am looking for a more natural approach.
: Not that I'm advocating porn, but who is to say that the same amount of happiness and contentment cannot be gained by perusing porn sites?
This is an honest question -- have you ever surfed any porn? As I said before, I'm no saint. I am married but even so, I have found myself perusing galleries. I don't do it anymore. I can literally feel a darkness over me when I look at that stuff. And the more flashy and gashy the sadder I get. I always seem to end up worrying about these girls and who's behind the camera and all that shit. It's a bummer. So, I really don't think that people get happiness and conentment looking at porn. I think they get their rocks off. Or they are feeding an addiction.
But it's not the same contentment one feels in faith. And I think I have already shown how tenuous my own faith is. If it were perfect I would not have to live worried that I need to run faster than the guy in the maze to my left. I would feel confidant that I am being guided and taken care of in each moment of my day and I could do things calmly and confidently.
But what's weird about faith is that as soon as I acknowledge the truth of it, I experience the truth of it -- it just happens -- and each time it happens it makes me want to go and delete everything that has preceeded that moment in these posts. But this simple discussion seems to put me back in that place where I feel taken care of, relaxed, and calm -- simply by acknowledging that I am. It's very weird and certainly unintentional.
Well, you brought up so many point -- I am really curious about your porn notion though. Do you really think it brings a healthy contentment?
Can we use Practicing Believer as an agreed upon term that just means someone who is doing their best to walk a spiritual path? You will always be able to trot out buggering porn addicted catholic priests. And I guess, while I haven't ever considered it, I am a Practicing Believer. I make mistakes but I try to use them to guide me back into the light of the spirit, which I believe is always with me -- it's my choice in any moment to acknowledge it or not.
I haven't the time in this post to continue with the discussion you brought about love and so many other great topics but happily there's time...
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