Sunday, October 23, 2011

Losing My Religion

I am always surprised at the things I don't know. Oh, yes, there's plenty I don't know. There's no denying that. Sometimes though finding out something I had no idea about just blows me away.

I was sitting with a group of people a while ago. We were looking for something to do and ended up rifling through all the questions of a kids trivia type game. Actually it was called something like The Game For Boys. I don't remember the age range of the game, but as I remember it was kinda young. The questions were hard too. I almost think they put the wrong questions in the box. We weren't playing the game though. We were just reading the questions aloud and trying our best to answer them.

One of the questions really got me though. It was something like - Name the top ten world religions. The actual number they asked for may be different but that's close enough. We rattled off Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Then I slowed. I think I guessed Greek or Russian Orthodox, but if I remember correctly they weren't on the list. In fact I think much of Christianity was lumped under just that term, Christianity. Anyway, we were down to the last one or two and just couldn't get them. Finally we gave up and asked the person who read the question to give us the answer.

If we had two answers left I don't remember them both. I only remember one. I was too stunned to even hear the other I think. I was stunned by the answer I heard. It was number 3 or 4 on this list.

The answer was Bahá'í.

For anyone lucky enough (ha ha) to spend, oh, more than two minutes with me has found out; if I don't know about something I reach for my hip, grab my phone and google it just so I'll know.  Well what I read that night blew me away.  I knew at that moment I had to write about it here in some form.  I just never knew.  I have lifted the next few paragraphs directly from Bahá’í.org/

Founded a century and a half ago, the Bahá’í Faith is today among the fastest-growing of the world’s religions. With more than five million followers, who reside in virtually every nation on earth, it is the second-most widespread faith, surpassing every religion but Christianity in its geographic reach. Bahá’ís reside in more than 100,000 localities around the world, an expansion that reflects their dedication to the ideal of world citizenship.

The Bahá'í faith's global scope is mirrored in the composition of its membership. Representing a cross section of humanity, Bahá’ís come from virtually every nation, ethnic group, culture, profession, and social or economic class. More than 2,100 different ethnic and tribal groups are represented.

Since it also forms a single community, free of schism or factions, the Bahá'í Faith comprises what is very likely the most diverse and widespread organized body of people on earth.

The Faith’s Founder was Bahá’u’lláh, a Persian nobleman from Tehran who, in the mid-nineteenth century, left a life of princely comfort and security and, in the face of intense persecution and deprivation, brought to humanity a stirring new message of peace and unity.

The essential message of Bahá’u’lláh is that of unity. He taught that there is only one God, that there is only one human race, and that all the world’s religions represent stages in the revelation of God’s will and purpose for humanity. In this day, Bahá’u’lláh said, humanity has collectively come of age. As foretold in all of the world’s scriptures, the time has arrived for the uniting of all peoples into a peaceful and integrated global society. “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens,” He wrote.

It takes a distinctive approach to contemporary social problems. The Faith’s scriptures and the multifarious activities of its membership address virtually every important trend in the world today, from new thinking about cultural diversity and environmental conservation to the decentralization of decision making; from a renewed commitment to family life and moral values to the call for social and economic justice in a world that is rapidly becoming a global neighborhood.
For a global society to flourish, Bahá’u’lláh said, it must be based on certain fundamental principles. They include the elimination of all forms of prejudice; full equality between the sexes; recognition of the essential oneness of the world’s great religions; the elimination of extremes of poverty and wealth; universal education; the harmony of science and religion; a sustainable balance between nature and technology; and the establishment of a world federal system, based on collective security and the oneness of humanity.

Wow!  Full equality between the sexes?  Eliminate extremes of poverty and wealth?  The oneness of humanity?

I'm not trying to indoctrinate you into a new religion or anything.  I lost my religion long ago.  I mean I am glad that there are so many people out there that find fulfillment through this religion.  If you have read any of these other posts though you know it's all about treating each other with care.  With dignity and respect.  It doesn't have to be organised, presided over or dictated.  You just have to want to.  You have to want to know you are doing unto others.

Ok.  This time I think I've even had enough of me.

I'm pullin' for ya.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

I Me Mine

I got to go to my very first sneak peek of a movie the other night.  I had seen previews for Real Steel at a few other movies.  The story line appealed to the underdog/hero fan in me.  Of course the action and special effects of 9' tall boxing robots didn't seem too shabby either. (Really)  I was surprised while standing in line to see two men with wands searching people before letting them into the theater.  I had to wonder aloud what was going on.  Ah.  Looking for video equipment.  Huh.  Then sitting in the theater it was announced that the light of a cell phone wound mean automatic expulsion for the person with the phone.  Wow. That seemed pretty hard core.  It happened to be the last night of the baseball season and my team's fate came down to the last night of the season.  I almost asked for permission to check scores once in a while but thought better of it.  

I know I've mentioned this some where else in this blog but, I'll say it again; I can be an absolute sucker for movies.  I can laugh and cry with the best of 'em.  I can get emotional while watching a trailer on TV if it moves me in the right way.  Real Steel was an absolute roller coaster ride for me.  It's kinda funny.  I'm not sure what demographic Disney was shooting for exactly.  It's probably meant to be a movie for the whole family.  I mean it's definitely a movie for kids; one of the main characters is a kid after all.  There's a love story element for moms I guess.  There's the washed up boxer story for dad.  And of course the 9' tall robots for everybody.    

In the post I'm a Believer I talked about how a director sometimes hits you over the head in order for you to get a message.  I think director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Date Night) was a little more subtle. I think.  I say I think because the same message kept hitting me over and over.  I don't know.  It's probably just me. 

The overriding theme for me was all about ego.  All about letting go of ego.  Ego vs. true self.  I sat there in the theater saying to myself over and over. "It's all about ego".   Every single character had to overcome ego in some way or other.

But what is the ego?  Is it good or bad?  Seems as though the ego mostly always gets a bum wrap.  And that's where it gets hazy for me.  I don't really know enough I guess.  Let's do a little studying. 


e-go  (eeg-oh) 
the "I" or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.

Psycholanalysis; the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primative drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.

So, we all have egos.  As a baby we don't really have an ego though.  All of our experiences are outward.  We have no real sense of self.  Only over time do we become aware of self.  The problem is is that before we can know our true self a reflected awareness of our selves takes over.  It's not our true selves.  It is ego.  It's us filtered through how others see us.  If mommy loves you and cares for you in the right ways then it's all good.  A good ego is born.  If you are not cared for or loved or appreciated then all you're stuck with is an ill ego.  So we have two centers really.  That center which is your true self and the center that is reflected ego. 

In many ways the ego is a good thing. Right?  One needs a strong sense of self and a feeling of confidence to succeed in many a situation.  I guess it's when an ill ego starts taking over every thing that problems start.

The ego take over?  How's that?  Aren't we in control at all times?  Well, sorry. no.  Most of us aren't really in control all the time.  I wish I was.  I try most of the time to think about what I'm doing.  To consider others feelings.  To remember we're all in this together.  When I fail it's almost always ego at the heart of the matter.  When I am feeling unworthy or unlovable or sabotage a relationship, it's the ego that is doing the hard work for me.  All I have to do is stand by and watch.       
You might be familiar battling an ego that clings to old ways and old beliefs.  An ego that  will cling to those things that it knows. Those things that give it power. Those things that keep you from realizing your true self. Your true power.

Someone you love or respect dares to hint that you might be mistaken about something?   Even if you know in your heart that they're right the ego snaps to attention like a soldier.  The ego will mostly defend itself against all suspicion against all doubt.  I mean jeez, you don't want that person to think of you that way do you?  Ego to the rescue! 

Want to ask that person across the room out for a date?  What's the worst that could happen?  Oooo they might say no!  That would feel bad for a minute.  Ego can help with that.  Soon you will convince yourself that it's probably not even worth the effort.

See the ego is all about I, me, mine.  I, me, mine.  It craves atte

All right.  So what?  What's the big deal?

Are you really willing to be satisfied not knowing your true self? 

Taking power away from ego is scary.  It makes you feel confused and chaotic at first.  Ego will fight long and hard to stay in power.  Our battle need not be so fierce though.  All you really need is to be mindful.  You have to keep watch of ego.  If we are mindful ego will fall away of its own accord.    

And without ego?  That real center is the soul, the self, the god, the truth, or whatsoever you want to call it.

I'm pullin' for ya.