– as they occur over time … now, in no particular order …
On Death and Dying (and our greatest fears about it)
What is your greatest fear about dying? For most, it would seem, the greatest fear about dying is the fear of being alone when dying. It amazes me the depth of emotion others express over this contemplated thought. But, personally, I must stretch myself to understand it, for I do not share that fear that seems to be so common amongst humans. When I was young and just learning about death, my greatest fear was that of dying, itself. This fear was further compounded by the fear of not being remembered by others long after I’ve died. But, as I experienced more deaths of those I know or know of over the years, my acceptance of the naturalness and inevitability of death has grown. Likewise, I have slowly grown out of that childlike fear of not being remembered. I evolved through constant introspection in my thinking and awareness.
It doesn’t scare me anymore, the thought of me one day dying. I’ve come fully to the acceptance that I’ll just be returning to the state I was before my conception and subsequent birth – that of non-existence, that of not existing. It’ll simply be the end of suffering for me, like it is for everyone else who dies. That fate that awaits all of us, eventually, one day. No, what scares me way more than the realization that I am destined from birth to one day die, is the thought that someone will suffer from my death, that someone will remember me and mourn for me. Being so clearly aware of this stirs, now, a different reaction in me, a reaction that is clearly the opposite of the reaction I had in youth. That this is untenable to me and that I really don’t want to be remembered, if this implies pain in remembrance, because I don’t want to be mourned. This stresses me greatly this thought, more so than any thought of death itself. I just want to pass into non-existence, from whence I originated and let that be that, as if I never had existed to begin with.
Then, no one would need feel sadness over my death, and further compound the suffering that inherently comes with living life itself. That natural unavoidable suffering that comes with the highs and pleasures of joy, the pains and joys of life that comes both together with the experience itself of being alive. Who am I, really, in the first place? Who am I that anyone should feel suffering for my unexpectedly sudden or slow drawn-out return back to non-existence? No, this is what stresses me most about living. It is the awareness that my death or the death of another will bring pain to someone or some others, and that the memory of having once lived will be a reminder of this pain. I’d rather, if I had any measure of control over the reality of this life that, if I must die, that I be forgotten just before it even happens and that no one mourn and suffer on my account. That I be as forgotten as non-existence is near rarely even recognized, just an occasional after-thought that brings a momentary periodic smile.
But, the reality is that this is not possible in this universe I experience. So, others will suffer when I die, due to my engaging in relationship with others, and this is an unavoidable fact of life. So, I often imagine myself insisting in life, in my fantasies of the inevitable end, to the near point of demanding, that no one cry for me. Instead, only continue on living life and be in joy amongst each other. That no one make or attend a burial for me – don’t really need that personally now that I’m dead – just toss me in the ground, for all I care, and throw some dirt over me. Instead, I would rather all who would miss me in my death, in my removal from the presence of those who are still breathing and living, I would rather you just sit together for a moment, in whatever version of a wake you care to assemble, and come to a relatively quick closure, by fully accepting my non-existent state now and then figure out how to go on living without my presence. I know, some would say that this doesn’t allow for an appropriate depth to the grieving process, that grieving is a necessary and healthy part of living. But, I find it debatable to what degree one should experiencing suffering, just to let go of the connection to another and continue on living. I feel it doesn’t have to be so painful with an emotionally realistic understanding and acceptance of death.
It’s not death that scares me. Even less so, is it the fear of dying alone. I would feel more inclined towards this, now, just so others are spared the pain of witnessing my last breath by their connection. It’s being remembered and that memory invoking pain and sadness that scares me most. I didn’t ask to be born into this world of existence from out of the non-existence that preceded me, and I unfortunately do not have the personal power to change the rules of life. I am only a lucky happen-chance, a possibility that luckily become probability, and then against sheer odds actually got born and survived awhile. A lucky and gifted human primate that actually got the chance to experience life, to know a moment of living. So, I can only ask that, when I die, you remember what scares me most here and keep your suffering to the minimalist least. Apply emotional reason to this situation. It won’t matter then, anyhow, for me. But, it would lessen, hopefully, any unnecessary added suffering within you. It’s okay, really, what has happened. It’s the natural order of things, accept it and let me go.
In death, there is no suffering, no pain, and no loss, for these are things experienced only by the living that know their corresponding opposites. In death, there is only endless non-existent not-alive peace. A cessation of the energy you and I once called I. Thankfully, I know this, so my suffering over the thought of others suffering over me is, at least, not compounded with added suffering over the inevitable fate that faces us all. I don’t get to make the rules, so I can live with the self-evident around me, just as it actually is. If I feel compelled, I can take on life in an eventually-futile grab for whatever added length of life I can muster. Or, I can just accept the obvious, live, and let life take its natural course. I just don’t want others to suffer, on my account, in this process. There is enough suffering just in trying to live in some decent, respectable, and purposeful way. If there is a message to be shared in this reflection on death, it is this:
To live is to die. Life and death are two sides of the same coin, unavoidably interconnected and inseparable. So, death teaches us something while we are alive. It teaches us to appreciate life while we have it. Everything else that makes up our impression and experience of life is by our design. It is solely based in how we choose to view and experience this life we experience. Now, on this note, if you can face my demise, my inevitable returning into non-existence, with rational acceptance that brings peace within you while being present as I take my last breath then, by all means, I wouldn’t mind you being present as I slip into lifeless nothingness. As I fade away completely, knowing that it is as painless for you as it is for me. What I fear is that this won’t happen, that there will be pain at my demise, and I die knowing and knowing that I don’t want there to be. This is just where I’m at these days on the subject of death, the often misunderstood and not appreciated other half of life.
On Rightness of Thought, and How Such Thinking Deeply Misleads Us (Mistaking Our Images for Actual Substance)
Realistically, it does not matter what you believe in, what could be described as “rightness” of thought or of intent, or rightness of behavior and thought. The promised hope behind such thinking generally stems from either of two modes of thinking within an individual or collective group. One is the idea that if you think and behave in undesirable ways, then there will be negative consequences for this. The other is the idea that what you envision within your life or envision for your like-minded group can be anything that you wish it to be and, in response, the universe will either manifest it or bless you in certain ways for it. The reality, though, is rather non-partisan, as it is always giving out responses completely without favoring bias or interest in the human concept of “fairness.” The universe responds the same way for everyone, without regard for the specific subjective imagery formed within the minds of humans and expressed with their lips and hands. We see this all the time, yet against reason we vainly hope that somehow this will prove differently for us, to the point of seeing evidence of proof where it is actually not there to be demonstrably seen. Not without a leap of belief, that is, an act of faith.
What is demonstrable about our thoughts is the following: Thought has mass. Hence, certain expressions that demonstrate our awareness of this. “This thought weighs me down,” usually said when feeling depressed or heavy-hearted. “That lightened me up,” often said with happiness or joy or contentment over something discussed or remembering from a certain perspective. It’s not the imagery itself, per se, that has weight. But, thought has energy, and energy of various kinds have various masses. And, if you’ll consider this a moment, this thinking, which is the production and transformation of energy, puts into motion a cascading series of other physical energy events that affect a person and his or her overall physical and mental condition. Whatever it is that makes us joyful and alive – whether it be envisioning a banana sundae or envisioning the working of a god or goddess, or believing with all your heart that the banana sundae is god the creator of the universe, the universe in grand responds impartially to such images. But, on an individual and collective social level, the universe can and does seem at times to respond very noticeably, but with limits. The natural physical laws that organize the balance of matter and energy in this universe, energy in non-physical and physical ways, respond consistently for everyone and without bias on “rightness” of thought. Such rightness is subjective, not objective. They are the patterned images we perceive and place value upon. What the universe responds to through our thinking, whether within us or within our social world, is the mass of the thought energy occurring and to the additional physical energy response within a body from it.
It’s not the thought image itself, whether formed visually or through human created words that symbolize and evoke specific imagery, that we who reside within the universe respond to. Rather, it is the mass of this thought energy being generated, which in turn evokes the generating of our physical-emotional responses to it. Our emotions and our very physical body are themselves energy in different states, but it is important to understand that both thought and emotion within an individual originates in the physicalness of his/her bodily existence within this universe. “Rightness” of thought is a subjective perspective of an individual or a collective group of individuals. It is a mistake to assume it is the “correct” image that in some divinely ordained way causes direct effect within the universe. For a case in point, consider how for many hundreds to thousands of years, most humans believed the earth was flat. But, the studies of science show that the world has always been rather round in shape, regardless how much we believed this assumption based in imagery to be true.
To take this one step further, consider a child who imagines and talks about wanting a new toy. This child invests so much energy into the mental imagined manifestation of this toy in his or her life. But, the reality is this toy does not manifest into the child’s hands, until someone capable of it – a living physical body – is willing to get it or make it and, then, give it to this child. Now, at most – realistically – the universe responded to this believed in intention, of “rightness” of thought, only in the fact that this mass exists and, through existing, has managed to cause a response. How this response occurs, though – if it even does – in the balance of mass within the universe is a matter of probability and chance, and can be rather unpredictable at times in what becomes the resulted form when there is a physical response. So many people give needless money and devoted time to the believed in image themselves, like children do, not realizing that, as adults, they have within them the ability to work with that image in mind and with what they’ve got available to them to attempt manifesting it themselves. In other words, doing what they want into existence, rather than doing nothing while thinking, believing, and praying that the image alone is enough, that belief alone is where it all comes from.
No, any imagery that someone or some group has managed to manifest, in some manner within life, comes from physical action, as the universe itself clearly demonstrates. It comes as a motivated reaction to the mass of energetic thought that we perceive as being “this set of words” or “this way of behaving or believing.” For example, a social movement or ideology or, even, a religion is born from an imagined thought, and it is the energy of this thought that spurs the energetic need for changes in mass and forms of things. I recently saw a post about the Church of Bacon. Yes, it is a real church, wherein bacon, a physical object of mass, is their declared god – because, as they say it, “it’s not an imaginary god in one’s head, bacon is real!” Now, for many, they would seem a joke. But, they do good social work and contribute positively to society in response to their “imagery.” More specifically, to the mass of their thought energy that needs responding to. This is a physical universe, requiring physical involvement. We are limited on how much we can actually affect with our imagined thoughts. Thoughts that must find balance, if they are to be realized as manifestations within this world, with the entirety of physical bodies competing for mass balance within the universe. Rightness of thought is a subjective concept only, and it can be anything that achieves the desired mass response, if the mass of the universe will allow for it, or under what conditions or in what manner the universe allows. Unrealistic expectations are often obsessed over and often disappointed. Realistic expectations get rewarded by personal and collective social action. It’s just the way things work, folks.
On it’s really okay to know know these things about life.
Some obvious observable self-evident facts about life that I’ve noticed:
Before our conception, which led to our particular birth as an individual human – a human primate, to be exact – before this conception, we did not exist. At best, given the possibilities of all predictable outcomes in a universe ever seeking balance between energy and objects, we existed only as a “potential” for one day existing. That is, given the right history of events taking place for our possibility to become probability and, then, ultimately a reality.
Now, what we define as a developed human life doesn’t actually begin at conception, no matter how much some who are presently living try to make believe that it is so. In their stances of ideology, of course. Many sperm-and-egg joining conceptions occur in women’s bodies with each experience of unprotected sex during ovulation. But, only one or two or three usually find their way attached to her womb, if lucky enough for this, and the rest are womb-rejected and discarded. Fertility clinics regularly fertilize multiple eggs from women with sperm, which is human science assisted conception, but only one is implanted in a woman’s ready to gestate womb. Again, if lucky, it attaches successfully and begins to grow, and the rest conceived by these medical science technicians are rejected and destroyed. The point being made here is that human life does not begin at conception. But, rather, the sperm-fertilized egg must “develop” into a human, while doing its replicating and specializing of cells in the future mother’s womb. Human life actually begins at successful birth, like ancient sacred writ describes, with a newborn baby breathing on its own – animated by the breath of life – and clinging to its mother.
We are not born with a “soul,” any more than we had some kind of existence before sperm met egg to form our conception. The “before-life” experience and “after-life” experience is an imaginative creative fiction of living breathing and believing humans, and no observable or demonstrable self-evidence of its reality exists. Beyond the evidence found in human written lore, sacred writ with a theological-sociological agenda and purpose. We are not born with a “soul.” Rather, with the development of our individual consciousness, we develop an individual “soul” for while we are alive. It is an energetic virtual representation of our physical body-mind generated in our body-mind, and by our body-mind for while we are alive to create it. A mental conception derived from self-awareness. It is real, but is not entirely immaterial and definitely not anywhere abstractly eternal. There is nothing in the universe that is eternal!
Now, I mentioned about the rise of consciousness, which is part of what uniquely makes us who we each individually are. It isn’t until about twenty-six weeks into to our growing into a human, within the womb of a human woman, that our brains develop sufficiently for human consciousness to begin to occur. Until then, only the basic primal cellular-collective consciousness of the body-mind itself exists. This primal consciousness is a natural result of being alive itself as a organic body-mind form, the collective awareness of the cells that comprise a living body, and exists at all times throughout all moments of life as a living breathing human, for while we have the breath of life within us.
We develop a more complex state of consciousness by about two years into life as a human being, now individually separate from his/her mother’s womb, that of self-consciousness. Our consciousness states are transitory, ever coming and going. Its existence throughout our life depends fully upon whether we are brain awake or brain asleep at any given time during our life. Our consciousness is the founding source for our ability to generate and perceive a material but not physical “soul” that we view is us, and our soul is intimately tied to the awake-asleep cycles of the mind. It is an energy-based virtual re-creation of our physical-energy based body-mind, which we generate through our state of self-consciousness and, as is so human to do, we adoringly call our human spirit.
Just about everything we are, each individually and together collectively as an animal species on this planet, is a result of the way our genetic determinants combine. We are organic physical beings! We are who we are in body, mind, and personality – because of our gene combinations! This results in an each individually unique but entirely predictable human outcome. It is only in our virtual world of imagined “soul,” our virtual re-representation of ourself, that we are capable of seeing, testing, and briefly stepping beyond this basic genetic foundational “me” and, as a result, have some limited measure of influence and control over our body-mind. And, as well, to a superficial limited degree, our surrounding environment, too, that we find ourself immersed in.
No matter how much we insist upon and “believe in” that we have some measure of life that extends beyond this physical manifested reality of body-mind, the reality itself speaks for itself and without concern for our human created and cherished beliefs. The succumbing to death is as real as the birthing of life. This universe, to stay in balance, cannot have one without the other. They are, to use a phrase, “two sides to the same coin” and, thus, inseparable from each other and equal to each other. In order to be so lucky to experience life, as we experience it, we must also embrace our inevitable demise into death. It’s nothing to be afraid of, either the living of life or the experiencing of death, but both scare us deeply as self-conscious humans, regardless. We don’t like not being asked whether we will accept it this way and, thus, we speak about it, write about it and, ultimately, create deeply believed-in fictions about it.
Both life and death are natural normal processes of a universe that is in the act of surviving, of ensuring its own survival. This includes the presence of our existence, but no object within the universe, whether coporeal or non-coporeal, is specifically favored over another by the universe. The universe favors the natural balance that probability of physical and energy chance results in – whatever keeps it in balance. And there are a lot of competing forces seeking that lively balance. The only affect our wordy and well thought out beliefs have on this is in how it affects what we do as humans within this world of a universe governed by probability of events. The universe offers no guarantees based upon beliefs, such are for our own comfort facing a world where “we” are the creators of order, purpose, and morality. Through, our deeply held and emotionally invested in cognitive fictions, of course.
One more self-evident thought, now, if we’re willing to embrace this observable self-evidence. Once you’re dead, you’re dead. It doesn’t matter what you believed to be true while alive, once dead, all of who you were as a living experiencing human ceases to be. Given enough time and history of events, completely. That applies to everyone of us, equally. The only temporary extension we have beyond our death is the legacy of our memory by others, as it evolves in time, and the passed genetic material and experience markers – aka, ancestral memory – in this shared genetic material. It doesn’t matter what we believe about death, in the end we all go to the same place. The body-mind decomposes and recycles within the universe, and we as a “soul” cease to be – becoming as non-existent for the remaining life of the universe as we we’re all those billions of years before we were ever conceived and, then subsequently, birthed as a human.
Allow me to rest this note on this final thought. Our birth was a great and joyous moment, and we are so lucky by this occurence! Our death need not be any bit as less! The reality of life and death does not need to be scary, for it is not one good and one bad. But, rather, it is all peacefully good. We are assured of very little while alive, and must struggle to come to terms with life, as it naturally is. As it proves to be, despite our beliefs. We are assured genuine peace in death, for only the living experience suffering. When non-existent once more, it won’t matter anymore. Life continues on in our absence, in new forms and new ways, with – eventually – new thoughts, new twists on beliefs, feelings, and ways of doing things. It is a peaceful blessing to see this, and to recognize it clearly. It’s just the reality of things, as they really observably are.
On the nature of reality and our understanding of mass.
Recently a team of theoretical physicists has managed to make a sort of “molecule” out of photons, and another team of researchers has managed to demonstrate that on a matter level (macro) the peculiar dual-state rules of Quantum Mechanics (micro level) is in effect. Recently, as well, several established scientific research groups have managed to produce positive thrust results in a vacuum from a reaction-less (fuel-less) electromagnetic propulsion drive. The implications of these achievements (and many, many more recent scientific discoveries) for our future is astounding. What is most notable about them is that they are signalling to us that many of our believed in foundational laws of physics need to be revisited. For our understanding of them is limited and not quite complete. Especially the notion that something can exist but, as well, have no mass to it. Many of these experiments, which are challenging the ideas of conservation of force and what can or is in a state of mass, are now putting in question several of our fundamental laws of physics as our scientific skills and technologies improve to allow us better ways of testing them. I am not totally surprised by this, having said for many years, now, that some of our fundamental laws need to be tweaked a bit. Especially when it comes to things we thought have no mass. If it exists, it has a physical basis. Which means, it has mass. We just need to expand our understanding of what mass really is and, both, how to better define it and understand how it affects the more easily and readily observable forms of mass that comprises our physical reality.
On How Our Mind Actually Works – Actual role of consciousness, not perceived role.
In a nutshell, this is How Our Mind Actually Works, as revealed by the in-depth on-going research of modern Neuroscience and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
The Unconscious Mind — It is fully functioning at birth, and develops itself in stages of brain wave activity over the years. It interprets all inputs to our senses and makes all our decisions based on them and, then, – after the fact – we only “perceive” them to have been consciously made. The unconscious mind determines our beliefs and our behaviors based upon the interpreted model of reality it has devised from years of input, real-time sensory data coming in and, once developed, reflective perceptions of the conscious mind on this. The unconscious has “free will” limitedly, to the degree that one’s genetics and inner model of reality allow for. The unconscious has the power to change, if the inner model is sufficiently challenged to warrant these changes in belief and in behavior.
The Conscious Mind — Occurs around the age of two years from birth, and is a functional development of the unconscious mind. Consciousness develops in stages, beyond basic conscious awareness of environment into more intricately detailed states of “self”-conscious awareness over the years. Contrary to popular belief, consciousness is a small and limited function of the unconscious mind. It is a reflective function meant to help the unconscious mind understand itself and its environment better. Consciousness has “no free will” of its own, it perceives and believes and does what the unconscious perceives and believes does, and “thinks” that such are a conscious choice.
Consciousness serves the unconscious mind as a testing ground, an executive playground so to speak, testing the validity of perspectives against the unconscious’s generated model of reality and real-time sensory data flowing in. The conscious function of our mind has no real power to change, it only “perceives” the changes that are made by the unconscious mind, when they occur, as having been made consciously. The conscious is a reflection of the unconscious mind, its beliefs and behaviors. It is the place where the unconscious mind tests the validity of its ruling perceptions of life.
The importance of actually understanding this cannot be understated. We do not change in beliefs and behaviors, until the unconscious mind is sufficiently convinced that a change needs to be made and, then, decides to do so. These changes are not in our conscious realm to make. Hence, why changes do not occur just from repetitive thinking on it, no matter how emotionally involved we are consciously engaged in it. To the unconsciousness mind, this is fantasy play, to test the inner model with – a place of meaningful words and creative visions, but not necessarily to make any changes on this, yet.
Real change, in both perception and behavior, only occurs when the unconscious mind adopts a change to the inner model it functions by. We, then, perceive this as a conscious choice or revelation when the unconscious does so. With the unconscious re-modeling of reality comes a change in beliefs and in behaviors. We do not affect or control the world within us or around us with our conscious thoughts. The reality does not work this way. But, it has been to our evolutionary advantage and survival as a human primate species to “think” that this is so, to fall for the illusion of conscious control presented in our heads.
This reality of our mind and how are minds actually work does not give support for our fantasies of an immaterial soul, that somehow arrives or arises within us to operate a organic-based mechanical body, for this is predicated fully on the illusion of conscious control. It is a false assumption that the conscious mind is immaterial and somehow separate of body and able to exist independently, when it is in fact energy in its material make-up and occurs as a direct result of a need to survive. It is, equally false to assume the conscious mind having free will and on consciousness being ultimately in control of the unconscious, when the opposite of this is actually the scientifically demonstrable reality. But, this is okay, because the illusional appearance of conscious control serves a critical evolutionary purpose for our species. It is a reflective creative look at one’s actual self, constantly happenning while physically awake, daring us to adapt as human primates in ways that are eventually discovered as actually possible.
Hence, why we are always emotionally and ideologically playing, and ever so caught up in our seemingly conscious-derived human games, individually and socially. Fascinating! As well, hence why, conscious self-talk seldom, if ever, actually works. The reason for this is that a new behavior or new way of thinking must be “physically” taught into the unconscious mind. This is the way we learned to be who we are today, during those formative early years as children on a quest to develop a self-conscious state. Our desired “intents” as adults must be realized in repetitive actions for them to take real effect within us. This, then, leads to our taking effect in the greater world around us, according to what is trained into us.
This is simply how reality actually works. It is never enough to simply imagine it, or imagine it enough times, or invest deep emotions into the imagining. The corresponding physical actions must match the desired intent for the reality of the intent to come about. We need to pay less attention to the intent itself, and more attention to the physical acts connected to it. I am, therefore I think. I do, therefore I become. What I become effects me and the environment around me through my actions, therefore I think.
On Staying Sane and being Fully Present in this World
Two books that will change your life for the better and the good! If you want to understand yourself, you will read these two books … carefully. If you’ve already been on a path of self-discovery, much of what is here will affirm and clarify what you’ve already been personally learning. If you’re just starting to know the need for this learning, they will guide you into an educated and incredibly more enlightened state of awareness. Knowing the reality as it really is, without mis-perceptions derived from our creative fictions about it, is near miraculous in itself. It changes us, improves us, and blesses us to do so. Give it a try, if you’re ready! Your eyes will be opened to what you have not been seeing.
Staying Sane In A Crazy World – author Sherwin T Wine
Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness – authors Susan Smalley and Diana Winston
If you’re struggling presently to work yourself free from the holds of religious indoctrination, then allow me to recommend that you read the following book first. Then, engage in the books shown above. When the mind is ready, … and we must walk the steps in their order.
Who Wrote The Bible? – author Richard Elliot Freedman