Archive for the ‘Lao-tzu’ Category

The ancient masters were profound and subtle.

Their wisdom was unfathomable.

There is no way to describe it.

One can only describe them vaguely by their appearance.

 Watchful, like men crossing a winter stream.

Alert, like men aware of danger.

Courteous, like visiting guests.

Simple as uncarved wood.

Hollow like caves.

Yielding, like ice about to melt.

Amorphous, like muddy water.

 Who can wait quietly while the mud settles?

Who can remain still until the moment of action?

Observers of the Tao do not seek fulfillment.

Not seeking fulfillment, they are not swayed by desire for change

Lao-Tzu 

I was completely lost the first couple times I read this verse, for some reason the meaning escaped me. I was reading it but I was not listening to it. I was trying so hard to force myself to understand it, and then it hit me. I was doing the exact thing this verse teaches us not to do. The fifteenth verse of the Tao Te Ching describes the state of enlightenment the sages of old were able to obtain. Their perfect alignment with nature and the Tao were unfathomable to those they came in contact with. In reading this book I can agree with this statement. The states of mind the sages have obtained and lived described by Lao-tzu are beyond my comprehension. It amazes me they were able to stay consistent with such a perfect way of life.

They had immeasurable impact yet did this subtly without action. The sages consistently lived in the moment aware of their surroundings. A winter stream is dangerous because the ice is very thin. The sage is watchful for cracks or changes and is consistently aware of the dangers around them. The sages consistently showed love and courtesy to all those they came in contact with. The sage stays in a constant state of pu the uncarved wood. They held onto their childlike way of thinking.

I am not sure the meaning of “hollow as a cave.” Could this possibly be living with an open mind? Yielding like ice about to melt incorporates living with the flow of nature. Nothing in nature can be rushed. We need to let go and just allow things to happen without force. Our purpose is to stay in harmony with nature; as shapeless as muddy waters. We need to learn to sit quietly while the mud settles; this shows patience and highlights the importance of remaining still. Muddy waters are allowing themselves to settle. This is the perfect order, the mud does not ask to settle just as much as the ice does not ask to melt; it just does.

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalms 46:10. 

This lesson in nature applies to humans as well. We are unfolding in a divine order we can not possible understand any more than the ice understands it is melting. Much like nature all we require will be provided in divine order. We need to let go of our desires and demands be aware of the present moment and trust in the Tao. We should all make stillness a part of our day. Sit back and imagine all your dreams and things you “need” to accomplish. Take these dreams and desires and just let them go; allowing them to come to you. When we give up the desire to control every facet of our lives and become an observer we are mastering the way of the Tao. If we stop talking and taking, instead become a listener and receiver; we are able to receive the wisdom of the Tao.

  How can a man’s life keep its course,

If he will not let it flow?

Those who flow as life flows know

They need no other force:

They feel no wear, they feel no tear,

They need no mending, no repair.

“The Way of Life According to Lau-Tzu” By: Witter Brynner

Give up struggling against the current and trust in the wisdom of the Tao.

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“A man should always consider how much he has more than he wants.”
Joseph Addison

How many of us are consumed with our wants? We live in a society fixated on the belief we can never have enough. No matter how hard we try we always judge our lives based on what we do not have as opposed to what we do have. If we were to just stop for a moment; be present in the moment and reflect upon what is right in front of our faces, we would see we are much more fortunate then we think we are. 

I have fallen to the evils of living strictly with consistently focusing on the things I didn’t have. I never had the right job, status, or pay I deserved. I never had a nice enough car. My house was not big enough. I never had the latest electronics, or enough clothes. The things I did have were never nice enough from what I really wanted. Living in this consistent desire to own more things infested my shen; preventing my chi from flowing properly through my body causing negative energy to rule supreme. This egocentric greed transformed me into a corporate scum bag. This transformation caused me to disconnect with my family, almost ruining my marriage, and my life. 

I was a big wig at an auto collection company. I made more money there than I made at my last two jobs combined. I scratched and clawed my way to the top not paying any attention to those I had to step on to get there. With every promotion I was never content; I always had my eye on the next promotion and never being content with my status. All day long I made my bonuses off of destroying people’s lives. One of my responsibilities was making the decision to repo peoples cars. When we would succeed the customer would call in crying begging for my mercy. I had no empathy; I was void of sympathy. I balked at the thought of assisting these people. I reveled in my perceived victory and told these customers “you should have paid your bill.”  I did not care that without their cars they would lose their jobs, and affect their family. I just cared about my bonus.

After awhile I was unable to keep my work attitude at work. It seeped into my personal life and I began having the same f u attitude at home. I was so stressed out from the hours and the toll it was having on my sub-conscience. I started to shut down and become just a big of dick at home as I was at work. Eventually it was so hard to bare I started using drugs to find relief so I could get through the day. My doctor prescribed me Ativan and Klonipin to ease my nerves. I started taking the prescribed dose, but over time I needed more and more. I then started taking pain killers everyday and everything snowballed out of control. I was finally unable to keep everything up in the air and hit the lowest bottom of my life.

I quit my job and stayed home for the summer to reconnect with my kids with my kids. I needed to have focused and dedicated time for not only them but my wife as well. When the summer was over I started to look for work. I took the first job I was offered at the nursing home where I currently work as a staffing coordinator. I took an enormous pay cut and moved to the very bottom of the totem pole with no chance of advancement, but something was telling me this was the right move. I had a hard time at first accepting where I was. I was bummed about the pay, and devastated by my lack of status and title. If you would have told me two years ago I thought this series of events was one of the best things to happen to me I would have laughed in your face.

As time passed I stopped putting such a high value on money. I no longer desired possessions, and for the first time I was grateful for the things I did have. There are four concepts the Tao has taught me so far.

  1. Stop desiring and just allow
  2. The Tao will provide me with everything I need at this moment
  3. Let go of my ego
  4. Live in the moment

I have yet to master these on a day to day basis, but for the most part it has become a way of life. The funny thing is all the possessions I always dreamed about have just come to me. I am living my dream of becoming a writer, and I founded the Bucket List Foundation. I achieved these things with action by no action. I think if we were all to take a step back and look at what we do have and find satisfaction with this our society may just become a better place.

That which cannot be seen is called invisible.

That which cannot be heard is called inaudible.

That which cannot be held is called intangible.

These three cannot be defined;

therefore, they are merged as one.

 

Each of these three is subtle for description.

By intuition you can see it,

hear it,

and feel it.

Then the unseen,

unheard,

and untouched

are present as one.

 

Its rising brings no dawn,

its setting no darkness;

it goes on and on, unnamable,

returning into nothingness

 

Approach it and there is no beginning;

follow it and there is no end.

You cannot know it, but you can be it,

at ease in your own life.

 

Discovering how things have always been

brings one into harmony with the Way.

 Lao-tzu

I have had some trouble with this verse. I have been going over this verse day in and day out since I wrote about verse 13. This verse is asking me to have faith; for me this is very difficult. I have a huge issue with the invisible, inaudible and intangible. If I can not prove something with my own eyes or experiences I tend to not have faith in its existence. The exception to this rule is scientific facts. I have been meditating and pondering trying to overcome my concept of faith, and what the Tao actually means to me. I keep coming to a description of one of my friends’ belief system, which sounds very similar to the Way.

My friend Dans belief system is his own understanding of what is. He does not believe in evil, and feels science plays a huge role in religion, and in fact proves the existence of God. The one aspect of his faith is what happens to you when you die. He believes at death your essence leaves your body and flies faster than the speed of light into the center of the universe, which he describes as heaven. It is in this heaven you meet with your spirit guide and decide what kind of life you want to live, and when you are ready you head off back to another planet into another life. This is the aspect I hold onto most in my attempted understanding of the Tao.  

I think what verse 14, and other verses Lao-tzu explains to us that trying to define the Tao is futile. Trying to hold the Tao in your hand is fruitless; it is having faith that the Tao is and has always been. I run into an issue in trying to think about what the Tao even is. Is the Tao a God, as compared to the Christian religion? I do not think so. I do not look at the Tao as a man sitting on a throne. I view the Tao as an enormous source of energy capable of taking and brining life into this universe. I think the Tao just is, and allows what be be. I do not think the Tao plays favorites granting prayers to those in need. I believe the Tao provides us everything we need at that moment in time regardless of if we understand. I think the Tao is capable of thought, but maybe not our concept of thought. This ultimately is my belief and faith in Taoism. I am sure I will need to continue to go back to this verse, until it becomes a part of me. I do know this verse is beautifully written and fills me with hope, and eases my worries about what happens to us after we pass.

The 14th verse teaches us the Tao has always been. This means the Tao was even prior to the Big Bang. The Tao like the universe has no beginning and no end. The Tao is the Alpha and Omega. I have grown closer and closer into actually having real faith into this concept; for the first time in 15 years I actually have faith in something. This faith is a small seed, but the seed has been planted and in time its roots will grow stronger and stronger brining me closer the understanding of the Way. I have reached a point where I have almost stopped trying to define the Tao, and just allow it to be.

“Stay in a persistent state of awareness of the eternal principle that animates all of life. By seeing the unfolding of God in everyone you encounter and in all of your identification with your ego based world, you’ll come to be more like Him, and less like that which has tarnished your link to Him.”

 Dr. Wayne W. Dyer “Living the Wisdom of the Tao.”   

I cannot know the Tao as it is named, but I can be it. The more time I spend trying to “be” the Tao the greater sense of peace I have. I trust the more and more I study and meditate on the Tao Te Ching the greater my faith will become.

Far too often we run into issues where people attempt to change us, or we seek desperately to change ourselves. These attempts bleed negatively into our lives. The more you try to forcefully change things the more complicated things become. We are not flowing with the Tao we are resisting it. This is not to say change is not possible, I know this because I am not the man I was ten years ago. I have grown and changed my inner self. These changes were made not because of force; they just were. This is healthy change because it is natural. It is change when change was meant to be.

The more you focus on the negative parts of someone the positives tend to get lost. For better or worse I am who I am, I need to be proud of my positives and be aware of my negatives. I have gone through my entire life hearing about my negatives. I have lost my self-worth. It is so easy to put someone down for there faults. The more you do this to someone the harder it becomes for the person to see their positives.  

I can no longer allow this type of cycle in my life. I need to surround myself with people, who love and appreciate my strengths, while loving me and holding me up from my weaknesses. The Rambling Taoist told me one time he is aware of his strengths, while also being aware of his limitations. I need to accept my own personal limitations, and be at ease with them. We cannot always be the person people want us to be, but we can be content with who we are without succumbing to others negativity.

A while ago I wrote a post about my current projects. Since then a few things have been finished and a few of my projects have been altered, because I am a shameful promoter I would like to give an update on my progress. Things have been progressing nicely although there are some tedious things causing me to dread the process. Feedback is always needed.

Dylan Thomas: This is a children’s book series written in poetry form. The goal is to create stories which appeal to ages 2-10. I want the rhyming and lush drawings to not only draw the kids in, but also make the stories enjoyable for the parents as well. I have completed the first story “Dylan Thomas: Finds His Courage.” Currently it is in the illustration phase and will be released the end of September. I hope to have the next installment “Dylan Thomas: Bedtime Songs” I hope to have this available for sale by February 2011 or sooner.

This series is probably the only way I will make any money from my writing, and hopefully this series will help me land a literary agent. The stories will follow the same flow as far as the rhyming poetry, but the illustrations will change. I think this is exciting because it will keep things fresh. The illustrator Jeff Chia has one more page to complete, and my sister Cailee is doing the editing. I hope to have everything but together by September 1st. This will allow me a month to ensure everything looks good on the actual book. I am a quarter done with the next installment.

Yin; A poetry chapbook chronicling my dark side. I have already finished this book, and should be released before November 2010.

This is completed with all poems in my journal. I just need to type and edit. I hope to have this out by November. I will either sell “Yin” and “Yang” separately or combine them into one book. If I were to combine them into one I would set it up where “Yin” is on one side and “Yang” on the other. I am planning on setting them up as pocket books.

Yang; A poetry chapbook chronicling my light side. I have already finished this book, and should be released before November 2010

Politico; Working Title This poetry chapbook focuses on my political and theological perspectives. This book is also finished with an expected release date before November 2010.

This book will contain my political, philosophical, and theological points of view. There is a website called Politico, so I am unsure if the name is copyrighted or not. If it is I will have to get their blessings to use their names. There were plenty political poems in “My Descent into Madness,” and seemed to be well received.

The Mind of a Madman: (working title) this is a novel written in poetry form describing the inner workings of a psychopath in the making, and his journey into madness, starting from the time of conception up until… the rest will be a surprise. This has been a difficult book to work on, the places these poems take me is very dark. If I spend too much time there I may become a product of my words.

I have been all over the place in writing this one. I am jumping around to different phases of the main characters’ life. I am planning on telling this story strictly in poetry form or if I should add some narrative to it. This is taking longer than I expected, because I can only stay a short time in this mans mind.

The Philosophy of Me: The life and mind of no one special: This will be a book based off 365 days of my blogging entries. This will appeal to my fans wanting all my entries in print, and introduce the site to new readers. I will also use this as part of my portfolio.

I received an e-mail from a reader saying she would purchase this even though it is just an edited version of my blog. I suppose if one person would enjoy it than others may as well.

My Journey Through Taoism; This will include every verse from the Tao Te Ching along with my quest into understanding and living the Tao. Many books are written by experts. I hope to relate to readers who are new to Taoism by explaining my journey seeking understanding. At the end of each chapter I will be including a poem based off the verse. I do not want to rush this; so I am unaware of a release date 

This will be written in real time chronicling my quest into understanding Taoism. This book is the reason I stopped adding verses in my blog. I don’t want too many books to cross pollinate. I am enjoying this project because I can spend a few weeks working on each verse which will really bring me closer to the Way. In writing this in the perspective of someone seeking the Way it may help others understand it better and assist them on their journey. 

The Humor In Theology; I was originally going to write a descriptive timeline and the evolution of religion. I realized this book would only appeal to a certain audience. I was becoming overwhelmed with the mighty scope of this project. I decided to stick with the theology aspect but instead write it in a humorous way. I think this will be informative as well as funny.

I changed this from a serious educational book into a comedy. I will look into religions of the past and current beliefs and point out the goofiness of what people believe. There is a religion in Africa which believed their God vomited up the entire universe. This is just one of the silly beliefs people hold onto. It is amazing how people completely abandon logic in the name of faith.

The Philosophy of Quotes: Everyone loves quotes, and it seems each person may walk away with different perspectives on the meaning of these quotes. This book explains my philosophical view on the meaning of quotes. I hope to turn this into multiple volumes; each volume will be broken down by letters of the alphabet. I am excited to take a deeper look at my favorite quotes. 

I thought I would enjoy this one, but I have been running into a little bit of frustrations. My mind will not shift into this mode, which is holding this bad boy up.

Deceived: (working title.) This book examines how the Christian religion has allowed itself to be destroyed by the word of man. I have read the Bible a number of times; once because of faith, once as a theologian, and once as a skeptic. You would be amazed how much the bible has been changed to not only create copyrights, but to change the original meaning of the “Word of God” to fit mans needs. This book will be written entirely on a non-biased theological way looking strictly at the Word.

If I want to properly do this one I will need to focus 100% of my attention on it. I will need to simultaneously read three to four separate versions of the Bible. I started this awhile back and read the first couple chapters of Genesis, and it made my head hurt. I really think this project has potential, but with the amount of time I have to work on my writing it would take a year or two and I am not sure if I want to make that type of commitment on something which may not reap what I sowed.

On a side note I have thought of releasing my poetry books with commentary as far as what I was feeling and the meaning. I tend to write in abstract ways and I have had people tell me they get lost in finding the true meaning. I just wonder if this is sacrilegious with poetry because poetry is meant to be subjective to the reader. I am worried my poems may lose some of its luster if I add commentary. On the flip side some of my dedicated readers may care enough to know the story behind the poem.

What are your thoughts? Do you think I may be wasting my time with some of these books? I am starting my quest today to find an agent and I wonder if they want to see complete projects or is a concept enough to wet their whistle.

I know I have expressed strong opinions on organized religion, and many of those opinions are harsh on the God of the Bible. Believe it or not I was not raised an atheist or taught to hate God; in fact I used to have a strong faith in God and his Word. My mother was not a religious woman to my knowledge and my step-father was Jewish, neither one projected their faiths upon their children. My father on the other hand was a devout born-again Christian. When he was around he would teach me His Word. I think because I saw so little of my father the time he would spend with me was the greatest, and if this is what made my dad happy then I knew it would make me happy if I believed and showed an interest in his passion. I would also go to a Baptist Church with my best friends parents on Sundays if we had a sleep-over, and later on when I moved in with them. I would eat up all the lessons they would teach me. I think at my age I was well versed in this religion. I was drawn into believing this religion in part because I feared going to hell, the unknown of death, and the comfort knowing there was someone looking out for my best interest. I never ask a thing from God, I believed in him without needing anything in return.

It wasn’t until I fell into despair and I called out His name, only to hear nothing in return. Things were rough with my stepdad; my father would be inconsistent in my life, and when I was moved around. This did not just happen once; it happened many times. I prayed for protection from my stepfather. I prayed to have my father in my life, and later prayed to be with my mother. As I continued to grow I prayed for reprieve from my mental illness, I prayed for relief from my inner suffering. I finally got tired of asking for shelter, and walked away. I figured either I was not worthy of his shelter, or he did not exist. If he existed and was allowing suffering to go on in my life and around the world; then I did not want to know such a God.

I still feared the great unknown of death; I feared the wraith of God, and being cast into a lake of fire. I started studying other religions; in fact it became an obsession of mine to find the truth. I think because of my rejection issues as a kid I took the rejection from God as the ultimate rejection. The more and more I would read the Bible I started to find holes in this belief system, perhaps it was my lack of faith, cynicism, or anger which turned me into an atheist.

If you read my book, you will see a lot of poems where even after all the disappointment and unanswered prayers I was still extending my hand to the lord; in hopes he would take my suffering away. Just like all the times before he did not answer me. The Bible says in a few places where Jesus is telling his people “if you ask the Father for anything in my name and it will be granted.” These verses tended to stick with me, and caused me to become angrier at Him.  

The one thing which stayed consistent with me was an indescribable hole inside my body. I no longer feared death and the unknown; I no longer feared hell. Once I was able to shed these two fears it opened my heart and mind to other religions such as the Tao. I could not be more content knowing I have found something to fill this hole. I am grateful I have found the Way.

Favor and disgrace seem alarming.

High status greatly afflicts your person.

Why are favor and disgrace alarming?

Seeking favor is degrading:

alarming when it is gotten,

alarming when it is lost.

Why does high status greatly afflict your person?

The reason we have a lot of trouble

is that we have selves.

If we had no selves,

what trouble would we have?

Man’s true self is eternal,

yet he thinks, I am this body and will soon die.

If we have no body, what calamities can we have?

One sees himself as everything

is fit to be guarding of the world.

One who loves himself as everyone

is fit to be teacher of the world

Lao-tzu

The thirteen verse of the Tao Te Ching is encouraging us to live with an independent mind. We need to be free from the positive and negative opinions of others, and allow yourself to be guided by your internal nature. In order for us to flow with the Tao and live within the natural order of the universe we need to nourish our individuality. If we make the assessments of others more important than our own we will afflicted.

Seeking others acceptance, praise, and a desire for higher status goes against the natural order of things. The Bible says we are given free will. The Tao teaches us a similar lesson in that the Tao does not interfere or force itself upon us. The Tao lets us work in our own way to produce results naturally. Whatever approval is due to us will come to us, any wealth or status will be in perfect alignment as long as we are flowing with the Tao. This is also true for any disapproval; it will come in perfect alignment with the universe. The more we try to go against the grain of the Tao; the greater chance of a splinter.

The Tao tells us that living for ourselves is not the way to go. In earlier verses we learned feeding into our ego and its desire for possessions and self-importance is destructive to living our lives with the Tao. If we are able to live without ego, and without selves or concern for status and praise than we should have no problem following and listening to our true selves, free from outside influences.

I have problems following this verse; due to my low self-esteem I rely on what others think of me to fuel my life. I need this praise to continue following and listening to my internal self. If I receive no praise I tend to let go of my true self and conform to a certain way of life to feel I am important. I am a slave to outside messages of praise, I allow others opinion of me or my writing to direct my life. If someone gives me disfavor it destroys my inner self and I work really hard to change their opinion of me. I am sometimes able to live the way of the Tao and allow my independent mind to flow freely. When I am able to achieve this I am filled with a greater sense of happiness.

I need to spend more time meditating and listening to what my inner self is passionate about and what my inner self feels about who I am, follow it. This will put me in harmony with the Tao and the universe. I want to become a teacher of this world.

The five colors blind the eye.

The five tones deafen the ear.

The five flavors dull the taste.

Racing and hunting madden the mind.

Precious things lead one astray.

Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.

He lets go of that and chooses this.

Lao-Tzu

Verse twelve of the Tao Te Ching encourages us to live with inner conviction, oftentimes we are guided by outer senses; ignoring our inner vision. This leads to a life of pleasure seeking with the material world. Lao-tzu says if we choose to seek the pleasures of our five senses, we will madden our mind. You will never achieve a state of peace when you seek the pleasures of the material world because it is never enough. You will always need more power, possessions, or greater wealth. We will wake up every morning seeking these pleasures and ignoring the beauty behind what lies beyond your outer senses. This will impede our growth as a person.

Lao-tzu says we should be guided by what we feel as opposed to what we see. Letting go of that and choosing this is hard in the busy consumer society we live in. Many of us are so consumed with our inner senses of stress; we are unable to enjoy life.

If we can let go of our stress, and choose peace; our depression and stress will decrease. The Eastern religions encourage us to live in the moment as observers allowing things to come and go, allowing our negative and positive energies to come and go. The true sages of the East prefer what is within, not what is without. The sage sees the silliness appearances; avoiding the lure of success and possessions. This frame of mind and faith leads the sage to enlightenment.   

We need to look beyond our senses; otherwise we lose touch with what lies beyond them. Inner conviction comes down to ones faith. I spend much of my religious energy trying to see a higher power through what has been created. In essence faith is the belief in something you cannot see, or even explain. I can’t seem to look beyond the world of appearances when it comes to religion. I do not let this lack of faith take away from the moral and ethical teachings of religions.

What do you think?

“I see that you have a book on changes that have taken place in the bible. I’m thinking that you can answer some of the questions that keep me up at night. I am just looking for a short answer truthfully. I have friends that are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I have been studying with them, but grew up in a community church, so that is the background of the questions.
Obviously, from the question I haven’t read the entire bible and don’t have a huge understanding of it yet…but am working on it. I am just wanting to learn the “right way”
 
 1) is the true name of God Jehovah? And that is what He wants to be called??
 
2) Do we go to heaven/hell when we die?
 
Thanks, Dana

Dana,

Very difficult question which will require a bit of explaining, I will try to keep this as short as possible. I study theology with as much of an open mind as I can, if I were to pick a religion to “follow” it would be Taoism, although I try to follow strictly in a philosophical, moral, and ethical fashion. The “big” three religions Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim all originated from the Old Testament. It is later on they branched out into different religions. I am not a fan of the big three, since they are responsible for many of the bloodshed in human history. During the various inquisitions the Christian/Catholic Churches were responsible for wiping out many of the “savage” beliefs, and it was not always peaceful. They suppressed free thinking by banishment, imprisonment, and death.

I think the issue with the Bible is it has been changed so many times to fit mans needs. The oldest translation of the Bible is the King James Version, since then it has been changed in minor ways for two reasons; they make minor changes so they can copyright it. The King James Version can not be copyrighted, like I said before they made minor changes to fit mans needs. The major change is we are taught we are saved by grace not works, this is simply not true.

I also have issues with the Bible because starting in the early 500 A.D. the Catholic Church ruled supreme next to the Roman Empire; they controlled which books made the Bible and which ones did not, and also controlled translations. The information they were relaying or what we know today may not be the “truth.”  They used fear mongering to make believers out of everyone, and one of the best tactics back then and still used today is the fear of hell and eternal damnation.

There was never meant to be a separation between Judaism and Christianity, many churches base many of their teachings upon the New Testament, and almost make it seem like ok we don’t need to follow the Old Testament, because of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins. Now as far as names go we have two separate names Yahweh (Judaism) and Jehovah (Christianity) Jehovah is mentioned many times in the Bible, but with each translation it has been used less and less and replaced with “LORD.” From what I know of Jehovah Witness, is you need to call God by his true name when praying. I do not think God cares what you call him, regardless he still listens.

 If you read some of Jesus’ teachings, he was not for worshiping in churches, he believed them to be unnecessary and run by charlatans. This is discussed in Revelations and described as the seven letters to the seven churches, or charlatans. These were the churches leading the people away from God (may be a bit off it has been awhile) I believe the seven churches to be the Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Evangelicalism (there are more denominations just using these main ones as examples)

I have read the Bible three times once as a believer, once as a theologian, and the other as a skeptic. I believe if you choose to be a Christian you need to follow the God of the Bible this means you choose no denomination and read and reread the Bible and trust the word. When you do this you will see many things wrong with the way HIS message is being perverted.

I do not believe in hell per say. The Bible describes something like hell, but was not meant to be used as it is today. The Bible says when Jesus comes the TRUE believers will be taken away, it states something regarding all the non-believers will be given another chance to believe and except God into their lives. I also believe regardless of what you believe we all seek the same destination, we just take different paths. These paths lead to the same place.

If you are seeking spirituality I recommend reading many different beliefs until you find the one your heart connects with, it will be then you know you are on the right path. If being a Jehovah’s Witness does not feel right to you, then it is not, and you should move on.

Thirty spokes converge upon a single hub;

It is on the hole in the center that

The use of the cart hinges.

 Shape clay into a vessel;

It is the space within that makes it useful.

Carve fine doors and windows,

But the room is useful in its emptiness

 The usefulness of what is

depends on what is not.

 Lao-tzu

 The 11th verse of the Tao Te Ching talks about this empty space which makes the examples useful. It is what is not that is most important. This is true within ourselves; we all have this inner hole we fill with love, anger, religion, greed, or drug abuse. I think this inner space is peace. We can also not ignore the outer shell, which makes a vessel useful. You can not sail on a boat without that outer presence, without it you are just in water. I believe we are the wheel, if our inner self is positive, the spokes result in positive out ward actions.

 We often ignore this inner space, because we rush through life we do not spend enough time cultivating it. This inner peace is vital to our well being and in building a healthy relationship with others as well as ourselves. Through regular meditation we can keep our inner selves healthy. I am sure many people out there are intimidated by meditation, I know I still am. We have a predisposed concept on what you are supposed to obtain through meditation. Prior to learning more on this subject I thought in order to truly benefit from meditation you are supposed to reach some mystical state of mind. This is not the case. When I am able to meditate I sit up straight breathe deep breathe from my center or chi, and repeat a mantra over and over. If we are consumed with stress, or self- conciseness we express that through our outer shell.

 Today try to take some time, clear your mind and meditate while cultivating your inner self. Notice how good you feel afterwards.

 What do you think…