My Quest For Peace Of Mind

If a had a genie in a bottle, and I could ask for anything, there’s no doubt in my mind what I would ask for — peace of mind.  I wouldn’t be asking for wealth, material possessions, romantic love, or any of the things which are so commonly desired.  I would choose peace of mind, all day, everyday.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if everywhere you went, you just had this quiet peace, this quiet contentment where you just feel fine inside.  You don’t have nagging thoughts driving you nuts.  All the craziness in the world isn’t bothering you.  Your friends, relatives, and family are all involved in madness, but somehow none of it is bothering you.  The president isn’t bothering you.  Congress isn’t bothering you.  Nobody can touch you.  It’s not that you don’t see the evil.  You’re aware of it all, but it just can’t touch you.  Your emotions oscillate between quiet peace to moments of joy when nice things happen, and then back to peace.  People ask you, “How are you doing Jason?”  “Good”, and when you say good, you’re not lying, you’re doing good.

I watched this documentary on Netflix the other day on Ram Dass.  He is spiritual guru who was big in the 60’s and 70’s I guess?  He’s still popular with a lot of people.  As I watched the show, you see this old man, his health is failing him, and he suffered from a massive stroke which has left him dependent on caretakers to do everything for him.  But you know what?  This world can’t touch him.  Him and everyone around him are smiling, enjoying every moment.  He’s out there blessing everyone and everything.  He can barely move, but they put floatation devices on him, and then he goes out into the ocean with his caretakers, and they’re all laughing with one another, thanking one another, and all you hear him saying is, “My life is good.  I am loving awareness.  I love you.  I love the world.”  That is peace of mind.

I don’t really have to tell anybody this, but our world can be a madhouse.  As I’ve grown older and thought about what is important in life, I’ve come to the conclusion that what really matters is not success, or praise from others, or possessions, or anything like that, but a joyful, peaceful state of mind, just like Ram Dass had in that documentary.  The storms of this world swirl around you, but you’re centered in something beyond this place, and you can’t be moved.

I mean think about it.  What do we all want?  We want peace.  We want joy.  We want to be happy.  So isn’t the goal to be able to find those things, regardless of the state of the world we find ourselves in?  The world is always changing, but we want those wonderful things to always be with us, regardless of our circumstances.  When this world can’t shake you, and can’t steal your joy, you’ve found something real.

You know, I appreciate science, I appreciate physics, and technology, and all of that.  I’m involved in doing research and teaching everyday.  But you guys want to know the real stuff?  The important stuff?  The real substance of life?  It’s peace of mind.

And you guys want to know what else?  Almost like the law of attraction, because I’ve been desiring with fierce intent to find this peace, to know more about it, to understand it, and to walk in it, it’s been coming to me.  I’ve been finding it, and everyday is just brighter, with more color, with more life.  And the strangest thing I’ve been learning is that none of it is “out there”.  It’s not in anything external to me.  It’s all within me.  It’s about connecting to the energy of God, the creative life energy of the universe, and just opening up your soul, so that instead of blocking this divine light energy, you conform your mind to the true laws of the universe, God’s laws, and then it opens up, the energy flows in, and the more you quit blocking it, the more wonderful your life becomes.

These laws are simple, they’re so simple.  I’d like to list them out, one by one, and just talk about them a little bit.  These are the keys that everyone wants, and anybody can have.  And what I’ve been learning is that peace of mind comes from cutting out everything in my life that doesn’t conform to these laws.  And when I say cutting things out, I’m not really talking about changing the world.  It’s not the world that you need to change.  If that is your goal, you can kiss peace of mind goodbye.  This place is so botched up, if you think you’re going to be able to fix much of anything here, I wish you good luck, but you’re going to fail and the problems are going to overwhelm you.  I’m moreso talking about reforming your mind, and being very careful what you let into your mind.  For example, stop watching television shows that don’t align with these laws.  Stop playing video games that don’t align with these laws.  Stop engaging in conversations with other people that don’t align with these laws.  Stop reading news that doesn’t align with these laws.  Stop reading blogs, websites, Facebook posts, or whatever it is, if that information doesn’t align with these laws.  Look at everything in your life, especially things which influence your mind in one way or another, and work day by day, to cut out everything that doesn’t conform to these principles.  So here we go.

Love
This is the benevolent concern for the welfare and happiness of those around you.  It includes caring for that thing, identifying with it, not feeling separate from it, and to desire good things for it. So for example, if you turn on the radio, or the news, or whatever, and you hear some talk show host running everyone down, that’s not love.  That’s creating separation and hostility, and we don’t speak that way about people we care about, who we think of and treat as equals.  Cast it out of your life.  It’s killing your soul.  You won’t realize this until you cut it out of your life, and you start feeling so much better.  Love everybody.  EVERYBODY.  Have good intentions and desires for everyone.  Not just your family.  Not just your particular group.  Not just your friends.  Everyone.  Bless everyone.  Bless everything.  Desire good things for everyone and don’t let any circumstance or situation convince you that somebody is unworthy of good things.  Don’t play that duality game.  Don’t think of good and evil, us and them, or anything like that.  Love, love, and love more.  This is especially true of your enemies.  Love your enemies.  That’s how you end the hostility — love, wishing them well, desiring good things for them.  Be on everyone and everything’s side.

Joy
This is the emotional expression that follows like a shadow from a life well lived.  It’s the emotional after-effect that comes from life going well.  Once you experience it, you’ll want to have more of it.  With everything you let into your mind, ask your conscience, is this behavior, this way of thinking, this way of approaching life, is this a life well lived?  If not, then stop giving it your attention.  Don’t live in the cesspools of life.  And as for those who do live in the cesspools, don’t judge them, hate them, or avoid them, but love them and bless them.

Peace
This is an inner harmony with the world as it is, lacking any sort of hostility, or fear, or anger.  So just like before, with everything you’re letting into your mind, books, television shows, whatever it is, just ask yourself, is this bringing more peace into my life, or is it creating hostility, fear, and anger?  If it doesn’t bring peace, let it go.  Get rid of it.  When you have a particular approach to life and it doesn’t generate love, joy, and peace, then step back and reevaluate it.  You’re missing something.

Forebearance
This includes tolerance, remaining good-natured, friendly, and patient when dealing with delays, incompetence, etc.  Things in this world will not go as you want them to.  There’s always going to be flight delays at the airport, that store clerk that doesn’t know what they’re doing, or that very loud-mouthed yet very ill informed person.  Don’t let it upset you.  I’ve found a strategy to combat this problem.  Even if I have important things I need to accomplish and these delays are getting in my way, I’ve personally prioritized love, peace, and joy over any material accomplishment in this world.  The same goes with me being “right” in an argument.  I may have things I need to get done, but NONE of them are worth making that clerk feel bad at the job or that person feel unwelcome when talking to me.  I may feel my arguments and facts are superior, but that doesn’t excuse me not respecting you, or making you feel unwelcome, or unappreciated.  We’ve all got enough we’re dealing with in life and we don’t need to be getting in there and making everything difficult.  The highest priority is to bring happiness and joy into every situation.  Everything else will just have to wait.  “Jason you’re going to be late for the meeting.”  Well, I guess I’ll be late, or maybe I need to learn to leave earlier.  Whatever it may be, I’m not going to create a bad situation when things don’t go my way.

Kindness
This is the quality of being warmhearted, considerate, and compassionate.  It’s about being nice, respectful, and appreciative.  It’s a pleasant disposition, where you have concern and consideration of others.  It includes empathy. It’s when you’re willing to be helpful to someone in need and not seek anything in return.  Be kind to people, and as before, with anything and everything you’re letting into your mind, ask yourself, is this way of thinking, this way of looking at the world, this way of behaving in the world, is it kind?  If not, then stop doing it, and stop thinking it.

Goodness
This is all about moral excellence.  Is this thing admirable?  Is it pleasing, valuable and useful?  Is it desireable?  Dig deep inside, find that inner light, and with everything you’re doing, ask yourself, is what I’m doing admirable?  Is it beautiful?  Is this excellence?  And as before, with all books, articles, etc., ask yourself, probe that light within you, is this morally excellent?  If not, cut it out of your life.  Stop giving it your attention.  Let it go.

Faithfulness
This is a fidelity to the original.  This is a loyalty, a reliability, something you can count on.  The “real” things in this life, the important stuff, it never changes.  Ever.  Don’t focus your attention on the cheats and morally bankrupt people of this world.  Be someone who can be depended upon.  Someone who can be relied on.  Be a rock.  The world may be going nuts, but you stand strong and do what’s right.  And what is right?  Well, what’s right always aligns with these laws we’re going over.  If it doesn’t, you may think it’s right, and you may even have all kinds of rationalizations and arguments for why you believe it’s right, but it isn’t right, and it’s not going to create anything worth experiencing in this world.  These laws are immutable.  The only energy that’s real in this world is God’s energy, and God is love.  When anything is created or attempted that lacks some aspect of the fullness of these laws, it just makes a mess.  I don’t care if your religion tells you you need to break these laws for the “greater good”.  I don’t care if your political beliefs make you think these laws need to be broken.  I don’t care if your great grandma made you sit on her knee, and told you this is the way it is, and that it’s the way your family has always done things.  It’s wrong.  Flat out wrong.  If it breaks these laws, it’s going to create suffering and misery — PERIOD.

Gentleness
In general, this is referring to kindness, consideration, and amiability.  This doesn’t mean you never get angry.  It’s about not letting anger get out of control and make everyone miserable.  You don’t want to be quick to anger, but also don’t want to be so detached from a situation when clearly anger is warranted and justified.  Aristotle denoted such justified and properly aligned anger as gentleness.  You’re not one to go off the handle at the slightest provocation, but you’re no pushover either.  You have a strong hand, but a soft touch.  It is a compassionate approach toward others weakness and failures.  You’ll speak the truth, even when it hurts someone, but will do so in a way that minimizes the suffering inflicted when doing so.  The stronger you are in this world, the more important it is that you are gentle, and do not abuse others with your strength or authority.  For example, I’ve noticed that good corporations have a gentle approach when dealing with employees.  They won’t fire you for the slightest mistake, but they do hold you accountable.  Most will give you so many strikes before you are terminated, and they make the rules and policies clear to you in the beginning.  After so long, if you behave well, those strikes are absolved.

Self-Control
This is about denying yourself and controlling your impulses, when you need to.  You’re in control of your behavior.  You’re able to regulate your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in the face of difficult situations, circumstances, and temptations.  Interestingly, psychologists have found that self-control is like a muscle — the more you use it, the better you get at it.  Whenever you’re learning new things, or trying to discipline yourself, if it’s helping you gain control of your behavior, especially keeping you from bad behavior, that’s a very wonderful thing.  Most of all, always believe that you have the strength within you to do the right thing because you do.

It’s not a bad idea to view this short life on Earth as a school to help you develop and appreciate these virtues and spiritual laws of the universe.  I’ve noticed that if you’re lacking in some aspect or dimension, this universe will keep bringing that particular failure to your face, basically making you deal with it.  For example, if you lack self-control, this world is going to keep putting things in front of you that set you off, or tempt you, or whatever it may be, until you finally notice and fix what you’re lacking.  If you’re lacking in forebearance, everytime you go shopping somewhere, every incompetent employee is going to be drawn to you like a magnet, making sure they’re right there to inconvenience you.  You’re going to keep yelling, and screaming, and getting angry until eventually you let it go.  And then once you find peace, you’ll be amazed at how that quits happening to you.

If you consistently keep these laws in mind, in everything you do, in everything you’re exposing your mind to, in every way you’re spending your time, and you use them as a guide to filter out everything that doesn’t align with them, it will really help you achieve peace of mind.  You’ll begin to notice a better, brighter world that was always right there in front of you, but you just were preoccupied with other, lesser things.

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Just Another Reason To Avoid Eating Fast Food

Did you know that the potatoes McDonalds uses for their french fries were grown using a pesticide so toxic, Idaho farmers can’t even enter their fields for an entire week after spraying?  But that’s not the end of it.  Once these potatoes are harvested, they’re not even close to edible.  They must “gas out” for six weeks in football stadium sized warehouses before finally being chopped up and sent to your local Mickey D’s.

If you want to be healthy, you have to buy fresh ingredients from a local grocery store and cook for yourself.  If you can afford it, buy organic produce.  Corporations today are so greedy, you can’t eat anything they produce.

I wonder how many people are getting cancer and other illnesses due to these toxic pesticides being used on our food?

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Mainstream Media Is Garbage

I’m sure this is no secret to anyone who reads this blog, but I lost faith in the media a long time ago.  I find myself reading news less and less, mainly because the news we have access to is propaganda mouthpieces for billionaires.  Like checkout this video from the H3 Podcast, reviewing a recent mashup of local news sources, owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.

It’s just like Ethan points out; we’re living in a real life 1984.  We see thousands of news anchors, all reading from a prepared script, telling us to be wary of fake news.  -rolls eyes- It’s like, oh really?  Yeah, there’s all kinds of fake news, including this.  Journalists?  Give me a break.  You’re literally actors, reading from a script.  The question is, who is writing this script, and what’s their agenda?

This is where MIT professor Noam Chomsky can enlighten you.  These organizations are owned by powerful elites who are using these media outlets to manufacture consent.  What most of us see as “news” is really carefully crafted propaganda, meant to convince us that the correct courses of action in our democracy are those that are in the self-interest of a network of powerful corporations and billionaires.  This is true of CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ABC, whatever it is.

How do they manufacture consent within the public?  They have a variety of tools, but to deal with the relatively educated, intelligent, 10-20% of the population, they:

  • Select the topics and issues we pay attention to
  • Emphasize some things over others
  • Frame the issues in a biased way
  • Filter out information that goes against their agenda
  • Bind the debate and limit discussion within certain guideposts

They engage in a wide variety of activities.  They create and destroy social movements, justify wars, frame the discussion around financial crises, spur on ideological currents, control our record of ‘history’, and mold or psychological picture of reality, just to name a few.

For the remaining 80%, they want to distract you with things that don’t matter, and pit you against your neighbor.  They want you caught up in the left vs right nonsense, fighting over various issues that have no tangible influence on the real power structures.

This idea that media is out to inform the public and protect us from power is baloney.  They don’t serve the public.  They’re not out to help us make better decisions.  They don’t want us engaging in the political process, not in any real, meaningful way.  You have to realize the main aspects of the mainstream media.

  • Who owns these news organizations? 
    Giant corporations and billionaires.
  • What is their end-goal? 
    Profit.  Journalism takes second place to making money.
  • How do they earn money? 
    Advertising, which sells the products of large corporations to news viewers.  Media costs a lot more than consumers are willing to pay, so who fills the gap?  Advertisers.  So who do news corporations actually serve?  Their advertisers.  Just like Facebook, news corporations are selling a product to their advertisers — YOU.
  • Where does the information they report on come from?
    Everything that’s interesting comes out of big corporations and the government.  I doubt you’re interested in the day to day life of some everyday person, such as what Billy Bob is doing while he tinkers with his lawn mower in the garage.  Most everything that’s interesting in the world is coming out of big corporations or the governments of the world.  So in order to get the inside scoop of what products are going to be released, the tech involved, or even what’s going on within the government, news outlets need access.  But what if they get Apple angry at them by writing up bad reviews?  How will they get special information access on the next iPhone release? And what if Apple pulls its advertising?  Think of the loss in profits.  Or similarly, if they alienate their sources within the government, such as powerful senators, etc., those sources won’t appear for interviews and so forth.  So the system itself breeds complicity.  They have to play along or they go out of business.
  • How do they control this information?
    You can’t patent common ideas or general public information, so how would a news organization protect its product?  First they must choose which information they’re going to disseminate and frame it in a way that appeals to their base.  Next they have to isolate their base from other conflicting sources of information.  Why is this?  It’s the same reason religions demonize everything outside their cult.  It breeds loyalty.  Don’t get your information from them!  They’re lying to you, they’re biased, they’re untrustworthy.  But us?  We’re fair and balanced; unlike those other guys, we’ll tell it like it is.  This is why they play up the left/right false dichotomy.  It both gets people fighting with one another, breaking up public support on important issues (which is in the interest of the billionaires profiting from the current setup), and also breeds loyalty to their product.

This is a rotten system.  Whenever you’re reading or watching the news, keep all of this in mind.  I only watch the news out of curiosity, wondering what their current agenda is, and what distractions they’re using.  But I don’t trust any of it.  The mainstream media is garbage.

I don’t think we’ll ever get honest information as long as we live in a capitalist society.  It’s all profit driven, and that creates this nasty incentive structure that is inherently untrustworthy.

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Roseanne Cancelled

I’m sure you’ve all heard, but Roseanne’s hit television program was cancelled after Roseanne Barr tweeted that one of President Obama’s cabinet members looked like she came off the set of Planet of the Apes and belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood.  Now the conservatives are firing back, asking why Samantha Bee is still on the air when she has been saying equally nasty for ages now; for example, she just recently called President Trump’s daughter Ivanka a “feckless cunt”.  What a double standard!

I find this all depressing.  Can’t you both see that you’re mirror images of one another?  Both sides are trying to one up the other in acting like garbage.  When Ivanka posts a picture of herself with her son, why do you feel the need to post hateful comments, one after the other?  She’s a mother like anyone else.  You’re free to disagree with the politics, but can’t we be more civil and respectful?  And Roseanne, really?  Calling a black woman an ape?  We don’t need this.

Personally, I don’t want to see either Roseanne or Samantha Bee’s show taken off the air.  Say what you want to say; nobody’s making anyone watch your the shows.  If other people want to watch them, let them watch them.  But we should all take Bertrand Russell’s words to heart.

I’d like to see more love and respect in the world, especially toward those we disagree with socially and politically.

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Dancing Shiva And The World Of Form

I don’t typically collect art, but I’ve always been drawn to statues of Shiva dancing.

In the Hindu religion and other sects, this being creates, protects, and transforms the universe.  It is a limitless, formless, transcendent, unchanging, absolute being of pure consciousness, whose essential self is the very nature of the universe.

The circle in which it’s dancing represents the material world, and all of the outer flames represent its infinite expressions in the world of form, which are all creative, playful manifestations of this being’s nature.  The long hair represents that of a contemplative Yogi, extending out to all of creation, representing its mindfulness of all things going on in the dance of life.

In it’s upper-right hand is a drum, which is the drum of creation.  Beating it brings things into existence.  Notice that they represent creation with a wave of sound; in our best physical models of the universe, such as quantum field theory, the creation of particles is represented by wave-like excitations in a vibrating field, so it’s such a beautiful and accurate way of depicting the universe.

Its left arm is holding a flame which represents the destruction of everything.  All forms come into existence for a short time and then Shiva burns them up.  All is temporary in this dance.

Its other right arm is extending out toward you with its palm facing you.  This represents, “Don’t worry, it’s alright.  Be at peace in your soul.  Don’t be afraid.”

The last arm is pointing down toward its feet and Shiva is standing on this little being which represents us and our small-minded “ego”; Shiva is working to break us, to rid of us selfishness and petty ways of thinking.  This dance of creation and annihilation, this song of temporary forms, is meant to frustrate us and eventually break us down, until we once again stand weightless and spiritually centered, as represented by the other foot which is effortlessly raised, floating in the center.

Eckhart Tolle explains this dynamic in other language in this video.

When Shiva finally manages to break your ego’s back, you can finally center yourself, weightlessly, and escape the vicious circle of trying to find yourself in manifestations of form.  The constant frustration causes you to dig deeper and deeper, looking for something that’s “real”, until you finally reunite with this great power of infinite love deep within your soul, leaving you in a timeless peace which transcends anything in time and space.  You can call this God, your spirit, consciousness, awareness, the infinite, whatever, but the most important thing you can do for yourself is connect to it.

If you find it, you’ll be like the apostle Paul when he wrote to the Phillipians, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  The language is obviously Christian, but its meaning is the same.  The only thing you have to know is that you are, just as God is and always has been, and that you share this nature as well.  Everything will be alright.

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