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Happy Thanksgiving

November 22, 2012

Well, it’s Thanksgiving time in America and families across the country will be giving thanks, mostly for their families, their health. Some people will complain the turkey is too dry, the gravy is too runny and the stuffing is too crunchy. Afterward, many will sit on their couch and fall asleep watching football. It is a good holiday.

But some families may be struggling to put food on the table, because they lost their job. Some may be struggling with disease because they can’t afford health care. There will be victims of Hurricane Sandy who don’t even homes to celebrate. And then there are those people who do not have friends of families to celebrate. They will be home alone and lonely.

The first Thanksgiving in American celebrated a big harvest. The pilgrims shared their good fortune with the natives the lived nearby. Many Americans don’t even want to spend time with their families, let alone a neighbor who may be a little different – race, religion, and alternative lifestyle. How often do American’s today invite into their homes their neighbors, especially those of difference?

American is still very much a land of abundance. We have more than we need, but sadly not more than we want. We have so much and yet how many of share their good fortune with others? Yes, there are those who work the soup kitchens and help feed the homeless, but we need to go beyond. We need to step outside our doors and start sharing with our neighbors and community.

Being thankful is more than just a big turkey and a big food spread; it is more than just extending our bounty with our family and close friends. Perhaps we should take a lesson from the Pilgrims and share with our community. Being thankful is more than what we personally receive; it is also what we have the ability to give.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Financial Freedom

November 19, 2012

Several years ago I was traveling through the Yucatan on the way to Chichen Itza with my mother. Along the road side were small shacks of Mayan families – fathers and grandfathers playing with the children while mothers and grandmothers chatted happily. My mother made the comment about how poor they were and isn’t it a shame the US is developing here. My comment was that is just what the Mayans need – a McDonalds and a Starbucks. I said to my mother, “Look at them. They are happy. Do you really think our money will make them happier?”

Americans have a very dysfunctional relationship with money. We truly believe it buys happiness, love and dreams. We hoard it and refuse to share it with those who are less fortunate. We scream out against taxation not realizing taxes are a contribution to our society. And we declare our money to be our freedom. We all hope and dream of financial freedom without realizing it is a trap to keep us more invested.  “I will be free if I wasn’t taxed by the government. I will be free if I made more money. I will be free if I can marry a millionaire.” Sadly Americans have lost completely what it means to be truly free.

I find it discouraging that many equate freedom to money. Do you need a lot of money to be free? What is it that we buy with our freedom – a big screen television set, the latest Apple ap, more clothes, a bigger house and beautiful spouse? This freedom brings on only more WANT. We use the term freedom for desire of wanting more stuff? Is want a freedom? How can we be free, if we constantly want more? How can we be free if what we have is never enough?

Freedom is in the mind and it is in the heart. Freedom is relinquishing all our attachments and one of the biggest attachments mankind has is money. We will never be free as long as we are attached to money and all the material items it buys. This money and “stuff” has no value. Currency and everything it places value on will only deteriorate with time and so will man’s freedom if we don’t lesson our grasp to money.

Complete freedom means to let go of everything thing – love, money, ideas, nationalism and religion. Letting go and accepting what is and what will be is freedom. Until mankind realizes we are responsible for our own freedom (and lack of freedom) because of our attachments, we will never be truly free.

Attachment to Ideas

November 18, 2012

For centuries mankind thought we were the center of the universe and that the sun rotated around the earth. Many were absolutely convinced that the world was flat until Christopher Columbus set sail for the Americas. And up until Albert Einstein, everyone believed Sir Issaac Newton’s theory of gravity. Gravity is not pulling us toward the earth; the universe is pressing us down to the earth. Everything mankind at one time believed as fact has at some time in history been disproven. We all know now the Earth is not flat. We know we are not the center of the universe (although we would like to think we are); we are just a very tiny speck. We are all so vastly small in the grand scheme of things, but connected we become part of something very big.

When we think about history and all the debunked theories and believes, how is it possible to hold such a strong attachment to any idea or ideology? Everything we believe and hold dear as the ability to be disproven again and again. Yet today, with the vastness of the internet there is always someone who wants to project their idea and ideology as fact misleading people. Many grow not just attached to these ideas, but they wrap up their entire identity and life what can easily be disprove and while others define themselves with semantics. We can then be easily shattered and disappointed when things aren’t seen and believed the same as others.

Our clinging to our beliefs and ideas keeps humanity from progressing. When we relinquish what we have learned and what we believe to be true can we discover something new – a new way of thinking, being and living. It has always been the challenging of beliefs and laws that changed the course of mankind’s history.

Many believe today the world is transgressing into a new era of greater connectedness and consciousness. What does that mean? It means that all the old ideas of the past will be challenged as people begin to expand their minds. It will be a fearful time for those who are attached to their ideas and ideals. It will be more than challenging for those who have difficulty with change. It is why it is important not to cling so tightly to what we believe, but own open our minds to what mankind can achieve.

Humanity Caught on Camera

November 18, 2012

This morning I awoke uninspired. In order to change the world, the message is clear but it is easier to hate and to fear. I ask myself, “What more can I say? What more can I write?” And then on a Sunday morning around 8:45 a friend posted this video on Facebook. Yes, Facebook can be used for good if we so choose to.

We as a people focus so much on the adversity, the hardships, the hates and fears of the world. The news broadcasts confrontations and encourages conflicts of ideas and ideologies. We are compounded with superficial images of materialism and immediate gratification that does nothing but continue to our illusions.

Video captures people on those nasty secret cameras. You know the ones; the ones we complain restrict our freedoms and privacy. We are such a fearful bunch that we must protect us and our “stuff” by spying on innocent people. Just imagine all that wasted video of people doing actually nothing criminal or illegal. Well, they also have captured something else – humanity acting human and people doing good deeds.

They say the world is how we perceive it. Our truth of our reality is based only on our perceptions. If we distrust and fear our fellow man that is all that we will see and we will never be able to bring about a greater change our humanity needs. But when we can open our minds and see mankind in a positive light, our future just gets a little bit brighter.

Humanity and Fear

November 17, 2012

It is instinctual back to the days when cavemen fought to survive the sabertooth tiger. The days when men did not own the food chain, we were a part of it. We lived among other species living off the land for food and survival. Our human intellect gave us the ability to build tools, most famously the wheel. We build ourselves homes, towers, castles and kingdoms. We created Gods when we didn’t understand the vastness of space and the universe. We created an afterlife when we couldn’t comprehend death. Mankind has come along away over the millenniums of time, but yet we are so very afraid.

Today, we have complete domination of all other species of the animal kingdom. Where the terrarium was rough for us to travel, we paved it. And we have built rocket ships to soar into the heavens. We have done so much to build secure walls of protection, but we have yet overcome our psychological condition of fear.

I have learned when there isn’t anything present to fear; I create my own fears and anxiety. I worry about the simplest and silliest things.  Is this a symptom of humanity? We have abolished all our known predators that threatened our existence now we turn our fears on each other. We turn our fears on ideas and ideologies. We have become afraid of our minds and feelings. We are afraid to think; we are afraid to love. We have great, intense fears of death but it is the only certainty in our lives. Mankind has it itself so tied in knots it is afraid of its very evolution.

Fear is the biggest issue mankind has to overcome. We could win victories over all our adversaries and create a world that suits our own personal agenda, but we will never be satisfied because we haven’t conquered our fears. There will always be something keeping us from the feeling of liberation and freedom – ourselves.

Life as it is…

November 16, 2012

There has been so much craziness as we try so hard to define our lives and draw the proverbial lines in the sand. This is especially prevalent in the United States – Capitalism versus Socialism, Democracy versus Republic, Religion versus science and entitlement versus tolerance and so on and so on. And despite all if it; it is meaningless. Yes, it really doesn’t matter.

You see, life will continue to go on whether our nation is a democracy or a republic. The difference is relatively small in the grand scheme of things. Does it really matter what you call it? Does it really matter if our economy is based on socialism or capitalism; we are still paying our money to someone – government or corporations. Science or religion – it doesn’t matter, because we are all going to the same place when we die (whatever and wherever that is). Our overall existence is a mere drop in the bucket in comparison to the history of the earth and the universe, so why try so hard to define it? It is a complete waste of human energy when we can be connecting to create a better place for us all.

Could it be mankind’s desire to control and define life is because deep inside we are still struggling with our primitive side for survival? It has only been a couple hundred years since lights lit up the night sky.  Prior to that man put himself at risk by simply going outside in the dark not knowing what predators lurked in the shadows. Up until a couple centuries ago, food was a scarcity during harsh winters (and still is in some countries). We did not have the technology to stop diseases from spreading or even the understanding of how we got them. It has only been a very short time in human evolution that we finally have a control of our lives and can feel the safety of in our own homes and community…but do we?

The fact that fear still has such a tight grip on humanity suggests we as a species have some evolving to do. We went from prey to predator to destroying the planet within a few hundred years. When will mankind of an intervention with itself and realize, we don’t need to fight so hard against the lives we live, we just need to participate in it.

The Suppression of Education

November 9, 2012

A graph has been floating around Facebook show the difference in education vs. political parties. This is not an attempt to put people down or gloat about the election, but it does have some great importance for all of us to think about.

There is no doubt that there is a difference between the ideologies between the two parties. Democrats want to invest in education; Republicans want to cut spending. And this is made obvious by the above graph.

What does education do? It teaches people to think critically and most important it encourages people to think for themselves. Education creates openness and diversity in a country whose demographics are changing. Education inspires creativity and imagination that leads to greater innovation that will take not just our country, but the world to new heights. There is only one drawback when it comes to education.

“If my people could learn to read, they would write me off.”

Catherine the Great

Leaders have more difficulty controlling a population that is educated. It is the powerful who want to keep people from critical thinking and openness to diversity because it helps to maintain their control. These leaders want to be the minds of the people. This I would say is the greatest difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats promote people; Republicans follow leaders.

Cutting education is almost like suppressing education. This morning while I was on a Facebook post with this graph I was reminded of fourteen year old Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban because she wanted an education and all those before her who were condemned by political and religious leaders because they wanted to be educated. In some parts of the world and a great deal of history, people have and had to fight to be educated. It is a shame that in America we are having a debate on the importance of education. What a disgrace to all those who have fought and died simply because they wanted to learn.

Education is not just about the classroom. You don’t need expensive degrees to be smart, but it is about having the desire to learn and opening your mind to things outside your normal perspective and reality. This is when change really occurs. This is when we can have true progress is when everyone has the freedom and the desire to expand their mind to create and evolve.