Saturday, October 29, 2016

Book Review: "Think Big!" by Ryuho Okawa

Recently, I've been searching for a lot of practical advice to help me improve in my everyday life. Because I am usually sticking my nose in books about metaphysics, or abstract philosophy, I sometimes forget to live life in a more linear fashion, and my responsibilities get tossed to the wayside. I have a better understanding of the metaphysical world than I do of the physical world, and when I am a part of the rat race of life, I do find myself feeling confused and a little bit lost. I remembered that my friend Yushi, a minister in the religion of Happy Science, told me about a book written by the religions founder, Master Ryuho Okawa, and that it was exactly what I was looking for. This was around two or three years ago, and for a moment I was shaken by that realization alone. Two or three years in this situation? But really if I'm honest, I've been struggling with this dilemma most of my life. When you fashion yourself as some sort of bohemian, philosopher, slacker, mystic, I guess it's easy to shrug off responsibilities. Still, we all have to be grown-ups eventually. 

So, currently I am about five chapters into "Think Big" and I have to say I am deeply moved by Okawa's honesty towards himself, and his personal struggles and growths as a person. This isn't a religious text persay, but more of a self-help book aimed at young adults (which I'm not, but I guess I missed a lot of this advice in my more formative years). Some of the topics tackled are about inferiority complexes, how to manage time and make quick decisions, and how to bounce back from personal hardships. There is some talk about metaphysics and the beliefs within Happy Science, but in general, this book is more how to interact with others on a professional level than anything else. 

One part I found particularly encouraging was the "I'm Fine!" aspect of this philosophy on how to think big. In this section, Okawa talks about how an English professor would ask the students how they were doing (in English) and expect the answer "I'm fine! Thank you!" in response. Okawa, being a boy who was too honest would say things like "I'm tired" or "I'm really sleepy" but the teacher kept encouraging him to say "I'm fine!" because this was a polite and positive response. This class took place on a Monday morning, and this teacher wanted his students to start the week off with the mantra of "I'm fine!" in hopes it would give them some strength to keep going. So, the "I'm fine!" aspect is of particular importance to me because I am like the young Okawa, except I'm in my thirties. I still answer with "I'm tired" or "I wish I was home, in bed". Having a positive outlook and affirmation, even during a difficult time, can definitely give you the strength to keep fighting on even when things feel bleak. At first I though this was a way of lying to yourself, and in a way it definitely is, but it is also a philosophical placebo affect. When a doctor prescribes a placebo to a patient, there is usually some positive outcome to it, even if the medicine is just a sugar pill. This affirmation of "I'm fine!" works the same. It won't make everything better around you, but it will help give you the strength to tackle it, if even a little bit. 

In all, although I am not quite finished with this book, I really have to recommend this little book. It's very easy to understand, with no concepts that are too out-there to understand. Really, I feel that if you had a day to spare you could finish this book in a few hours.

If you have any interest, you can find more information in this book here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Music Video Review: Moby & The Void Pacific Choir - Are You Lost In The World Like Me

Moby recently premiered his latest music video for his new album, "These Systems are Failing". The video is reminiscent of cartoons from the early days of animation, particularly old Fleischer, Van Beuren, and Warner Bros. animation segments. Even Disney is referenced during a portion of this music video. This music video offers a pessimistic and dystopian look into our modern day addiction of smartphones, apps, and general escapism through media. 

What I feel this music is trying to tell us is how we are slaves to our vices, and that we are more interested in feeding our addiction to multimedia content than we are in each other or in how we treat one another. We see repetitive images that showcase people entrapped by their smartphones, filming others and laughing at them, and never turning away from their screens to fully embrace and understand what they are doing. 

One character in particular, who looks like a teenage girl, is filmed dancing (without consent) and her video goes viral. Everyone laughs at her dancing, and very cruelly laughs. The final moments of this music video follow this girl as she lives with the shame of being laughed at by what seems like everyone in the world, and committing suicide as the people who surround her record her death on their smartphones. Their vanity and apathy is the centerpiece at the end of her suicide, and that is the point of this entire video. 

Vanity appears in the form of the egotism the characters express during this video. Because they are only interested in their smartphones, they are only focusing on superficial pleasures and ignoring the world around them. They become apathetic to what is real and become vain towards their own digital worlds. 

I don't believe Moby has any real negative emotions towards smartphones and technology, but I do feel that he is disgusted with how society (especially younger people) handles this technology with such irresponsibility and indifference. What we have with our smartphones is a technology that is the capacity for an incredible amount good, but most people use it to take pictures of their food, selfies, or playing needless games. 

I actually feel that this video maybe goes a little too far, and I don't feel that this smartphone era is at all as dramatic as this video makes it out to be. Never before has our global culture been easier to access, or our friends and family easier to communicate with. With my smartphone I can peruse the museums, art galleries, and literature from around the world and spanning centuries of human existence.  In many more ways there are more pros than there are cons. 

It all boils down to responsibility I feel, in how we decide to use this amazing technology. We can choose to exist as zombies, enclose ourselves in our digital worlds, and ignore reality altogether, or we can use our smartphones as tools like they were meant to be used. Over-consumption of a needless and frivolous culture is of course a detriment to our ways of life and we need to be careful. Radio and television were also subject to this sort of scrutiny as well, so we can base our future decisions by looking back on those forms of media. Was it healthy to listen to the radio all day? No of course not, but it had its benefits as well. Was too much television bad for us? Of course it was, but watching your favorite show from time to time wasn't harmful. "All things in moderation" was a lesson we all eventually learned, and the same goes for new digital media. Before we surrender ourselves to the nihilism that this video depicts, let's consider how much easier life is now and how more connected we are to one another. 

If anything, this video isn't a depiction of how things are, but of what has yet come to pass if most of our society continues down this road. This technology carries with it a great deal of responsibility and eventually we will come to understand that as individuals. We can't change society as a whole, but we can change our own lives and make healthier choices. Hopefully sooner than later we will all learn the same lesson, but we have to be patient with one another as this era continues. So, if seeing these cartoon characters existing in a zombie-like state offends or scares you, then you should not be like them. Put down your smartphone and awaken, or find the time to explore the real world. Fixing the issues with society start with you and your choices. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My Artwork: "Alien Dude"

I'm not much of an artist, but I do try and find the time to doodle ans sketch whenever possible. When I was younger I wanted to draw comics, and although that hobby died off, I still find a great deal of peace when I draw. It's nice to create and it feels good to share that art with others. 

Above is a friendly alien I drew and then colored using the online source PicMonkey. I drew this during a time I was meeting a number of  people who identify themselves as "Starseeds" and "Hybrids". It was quite exciting and I was compelled to channel this tiny piece of art because of it. I suppose it represents how happy I felt at that moment because it really was the first time I could speak to others about extraterrestrial life without any real boundaries, and I found myself relating a lot to the people I was meeting. 

So, this "Alien Dude" as I dubbed him is a jovial person who wears a scarf sporting the Eye of Providence four times over around his neck. The Eye of Providence has both positive and negative connotations depending who you're speaking to but for the sake of this drawing I felt it was a positive addition since the Eye means to the attainment of knowledge and a personal awakening (to me at least). And I feel the addition of the Eye honestly represents my personal awaking during that period of my life. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Strange New Gods

J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, the High Epoch of the Church of the Sub-Genius

Church of the Sub-Genius television commercial

There have been strange religions and meta-religions formed in the past several decades that seem to have been created to mock the very notion of religion and spiritual belief. Church of the Sub-Genius, the Discordian Society, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc., all have holy books and devoted followers and even hold events from time to time to emphasize their presence. So, should we take these groups as seriously as we do other spiritual groups? They function in roughly the same way, have their own specialized set of philosophies, some kind of focal point of worship, and a belief system that is comparable to that of any classic religion; so, are these groups legitimately and unequivocally true spiritual groups? 

Yes but no. Although they act similarly the religions of old, the intent and the creation of these groups had a different set of goals to accomplish. The Church of the Sub-Genius was initially created to make fun of all hardcore and zealot religious groups, with an emphasis on southern preachers who use religious faith to make millions of dollars off of their follows. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was created as a silly counter-argument against Intelligent Design. There are so many groups who exist for this sort of purpose that this anti-religious movement, if it can be called that, is millions of people strong. And how do we know that fact? Most groups like the Sub-Genius will ordain you as a minister of their church for a low cost. Because the US has strange laws when it comes to organized religion, these groups (although created as parodies and satires of religion) and can exist as actual religions. 

But some groups don't exist to make fun of religion, and arguably, exist out of sincere reverence for their own beliefs. The internet has a host of online churches, spiritual schools, and metaphysical groups and they're all just as strange as the groups mentioned above, but these groups aren't vying for any sort of self-promotion or legal legitimacy. Pikpukism was a belief  in the early to mid 2000's where believers on an online forum spoke about our existence being a computer program run by aliens. This group is no longer in existence, but I'm sure there are still people who carry this belief with them. Although I haven't dug very hard for it, I'm sure there are still online communities dedicated to Pikpukism. 

Russian MTV looks into Gaykomaniya 

My personal favorite of these new online groups is the Russian group Gaykomaniya (also known as "Holy Gaykomaniya", Gedzhetizm/Gadgetism, or the "Cult of the Radiant Gadget" in English). Now, the Gaykoslavami are interesting because they are one of the spiritual groups that represent the "fandom to religion" concept wherein something from multimedia transcends its initial media and becomes a religious movement. Consider for example how many men and women consider themselves Jedi, and that Jedism is protected as a true religion in the US. There is even an online Jedi Church. Or if you aren't into sci-fi, you can always join the Church of the Latter Day Dude, or Dudeism, a religion based on the film The Big Lebowsky. Unlike the Church of the Sub-Genius, or the other parody religions, these groups exist to praise the media that inspired them and to try and live by the philosophies expressed by that media. 

An interview with a Dudeist 

Gaykomaniya is a splintered group, mixing casual fans and true cultists who take the "religious fandom" movement somewhat seriously. Some of those who follow Gadgetism are overzealous fans who worship Gadget as an icon and goddess, and will go to great lengths to express their love for her. They've created all sorts of works of art from comics, drawings, portraits, built statues and small idols, written stories and essays, and various websites to showoff the efforts of their fanaticism. In general, it seems that the followers of Gadgetism understand that there is no wrong way to express their devotion. 

Gadget Hackwrench, Disney Character and Goddess of the Cult of the Radiant Gadget

So what can we really take away from these "new religions"? Personally, I really love them. I think they're a hoot, and I feel that really is the point of it all. A great deal of spiritual and religious people take their beliefs far too seriously, and become easily offended. We cannot let our egos get in the way and blind us from the joy that spirituality is supposed to bring us. If we become dogmatic in our way of thinking we block ourselves from simple humanistic elements of life. If we focus too much on the metaphysical we ignore that which we can see; the physical world. Groups like the ones I mentioned help keep us balanced and I appreciate them for that. Every once in a while we have to laugh at ourselves and learn that there is no life if we can't take a joke. 

Regardless of what god you are devoted to, I'm sure he or she or it has an amazing sense of humor. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How Powerful is Prayer?

Prayer might be the most innocent action a person can perform for the sake of spiritual guidance. But, how effective is it? Every religion in the world has their own libraries with have culturally significant traditional prayers, and some cultures even have prayer tools. Books, bells, beads, amulets, idols, portraits, and altars are all meant to help engross a person entirely in their prayer work. Giant churches, cathedrals, basilicas, and temples of all kinds were created to house people and give them a space to pray to the Great Guidance of the universe. 

But is it worth it? Who hears our prayers, and, why do we spend so much time praying? All people pray, we just all do it differently; but the definitions of prayer has changed over the centuries. These days, prayers are made asking the gods and God of this world for great favors, but the word prayer means to give thanks. To pray to God, or any god, would mean to give thanks for your life, for your joy, and your toil. Even, to give thanks for your hardships. But why do we exert this much energy for a chance that some deity may hear us? 

Personally, I believe that the art of prayer has been lost for a very long time. While I feel as though the a great number of the people who do pray in this world have lost their focus. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the focus has gone from "thanks" to "give me", and that is not a healthy mind to have. Or, people often pray for revenge, or for the harm of people they don't like. Worse yet, they proclaim God's motives as if they were their own. "God will smite them" they say, or something along those lines. This sort of thing is no longer prayer. It is closer akin to putting a curse on someone. 

Praying is effort, and we have to put our effort in ways that naturally "give thanks". We all pray, even atheists, through out own actions. It's when our minds, talents, and hearts are all in the right place when we reach that attunement with the higher dimensions and angelic realities. And we can feel this as it takes place, that feeling of personal satisfaction because you were able to give something to humanity through your efforts. It's a beautiful feeling. It's an aesthetic emotion that cannot be explained. The closest thing to magic that can exist. 

So, while I feel that prayer is probably very healthy for the mind, body, and soul, it has to be done with a "right mind". Keeping your intentions pure, and understanding that you don't need receive to have the ability to give, and always giving thanks to the Great Guidance of the universe, and surely you will find attunement through prayer and peace within. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"Three Thousand Realms in a Single Thought Moment"

Zhiyi (Chih-i)

I am not an expert on Buddhism nor am I too familiar with how the religion functions. I do know that there are hundreds of different sects, much like the Christian faith, and they all have their own ways of studying and practicing their traditions. What I do know is that the "Lotus Sutra" is possibly the most influential and prominent sutra within Buddhism. A "sutra" being a sort of lecture, story or some sort of discourse on how to live life through a spiritual way.  The Lotus Sutra is influential in that it says all beings have the potential to become buddhas regardless of race, gender, or species. Animals and plants could also become buddhas according to this sutra. So, any living being can reach enlightenment and become a teacher in Buddhism. 

The fourth patriarch in the Tientai sect of Buddhism, a monk by the name of  Zhiyi (or Chih-i) taught that there are "three thousand realms in a single thought moment", which was a principle based upon the Lotus Sutra. In this interpretation, Zhiyi spoke how a single thought had the potential to lead us to either heaven or hell depending on our intentions and how we interact with our own thoughts. Ultimately, this philosophy seems to focus on pursuing what is considered the 8-Fold Path. 

The Medicine Buddha, Bhaiṣajyaguru

The 8-Fold Path is another classical Buddhist philosophy, and is meant as points for reflection on your actions and thoughts. the 8-Fold Path consists of: 
  1. Right Understanding
  2. Right Intent
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Concentration
While most religious guidelines are meant as rules (like the Ten Commandments), the 8 Fold Path is meant more for contemplation, and isn't as dogmatic. Again, it all goes back to intent, and if you can reflect on these 8 points and understand the real gravitas of these concepts, you'll be in greater control of your own mind and actions. Our very presence in this world is a disruption to both nature and our fellow human beings, and we have to carry this responsibility with us at all times. If our intent is wrong, or we say the wrong things, or do the wrong things, or put our concentration on the wrong things, we disrupt harmony. It's a difficult gauge as we are all trying to create harmony the best we can, and the best ways we know how, but the 8-Fold Path takes our minds even higher, so that we can better analyze our existence in relation to the metaphysical realms. 

So, though our minds may lead to any innumerable realms or worlds, it is still within our power to control our thoughts and actions, fine tune them, and find the kingdom of heaven that is within all of us. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

What is the shape of our world?

Some observations seem so simple but yet we still argue with others over. This year, 2016, was the strongest and most mainstream resurgence of the Flat Earth movement. I find it interesting because I explored Flat Earth literature a few years ago, and I found myself really enjoying it around that time as it was structured around a concept called "Modern Zetetic Philosophy", in which you place all your faith in your own faculties and ignore hearsay, even from researchers and scientists. It's a very stubborn way of thinking first created by a man named Samuel Rowbotham, who called himself "Parallax", and was called the "Father of Modern Zetetic Philosophy". 

"Parallax" and his Flat Earth Model

Now I don't want to dive in too much about Parallax or his theories, but if you are interested in his works they are all available for free through the Flat Earth Society. Parallax's intentions were religious in nature as he was a devout Christian man who took everything in the Holy Bible as fact. The reason why the Flat Earth model is so important to Christian and religious thought is it is widely speculated by conspiracy theorists that the Globe Earth model undermines classic religious values. If you were to prove the Earth is indeed flat, you could unravel thousands of years of scientific research and once again reinstate the Holy Bible as "truth". 

Flat Earth Society Video

So while I don't subscribe to Flat Earth theory, or at least I don't come to the same conclusion that Flat Earth believers do, I do feel this anti-science way of thought is harmful and and counter productive to their own cause. Modern Zetetic Philosophy, based on the zetetic method, is a strong enough system to prove the the Flat Earth Theory correct because there is nothing in existence that can satisfy it. 

Another fringe theory came from a Dr. Cyrus Teed, also known as Koresh, and the founder of the Koreshan religion (known as "Koreshanity") and creator of a device he called the Rectilineator. Koreshanity was a fairly progressive religion for its time, as it promoted woman to a higher positions when compared to most other religions, giving them equal rights to men. The members of this faith lived together on a commune, and everyone worked hard together to understand their faith based around Dr. Teed's "Koresh Astronomy", "Cellular Cosmogony", and alchemy.

The Rectilineator was supposed to prove that the Earth we live on was a "concave spheroid" with the universe contained within. This is different than the more common "hollow earth" theory where its believed there's another civilization within our world; according to Koresh, we live in the concave earth with the entire universe at the center of the concavity, while the rest of "space" is just an endless eternal void. 

The results from the Rectilineator didn't prove the concavity of the earth. Like the modern zetetic method, the Koreshan method came up short. If it were provable other researchers would have found the concavity of the earth, and the same goes for Flat Earth Theory. But does that mean we put our faith in modern astronomy? Most people would say of course we should, but I also feel that sort of thought leads too much into conformity. Most images we have of space from NASA are touched up or computer generated. If I remember correctly I once read somewhere that NASA has more CGI artists than Pixar. So, in the end, who are we to believe? 

 Now personally, I feel like letting go and existing in a state of wonderment is best, but also having faith in others and their abilities is also crucial to life. Everyone is free to believe what they like but there comes a point where we have to compromise our beliefs for the sake of truth and the evidence that is presented to us. 

The great scientist and Cosmic Visionary, Nikola Tesla, has an interesting view of the earth, or at least, how to perceive of it. Tesla viewed the earth as a realm rather than a planet or a plane. The earth is a part of a much larger system, empowered by our universe by an electromagnetic field of energy. And, according to this view point of a "Realm Earth", I feel that we can find some solace in our research. 

Nikola Tesla

I'm not convinced the shape of the earth matters too much. At least, not to me. Partially because I don't think I will ever find myself out floating in space to view it "face to face". Pictures can be doctored and edited, numbers can be wrong, ideologies can influence results, and intentions can be impure. I don't want to say "believe in what you like", but I will say if believing in one earth or another brings you some sort of inner joy, or peace of mind, do so with grace. A great deal of discord occurs when you attack others for their ideas and beliefs, and that just leads to further chaos. Mainstream science will never take notice of fringe researchers, and they have reasons for that. Previous methodologies fall flat because they don't cover the grounded needed to fulfill their own stipulations, or the intent of their investigations are too self-serving and trying to prove a preexisting belief. And, sometimes these same fringe researchers will edit the results of their findings to make their results true, even though the results prove otherwise. Actually I'm sure that happens on the mainstream level as well. 

In all, there is no absolute perfect form of conduct for this sort of research. Independent fringe investigators lack the financial backing that the mainstream researchers have. So what's left for us? Do we give up and conform to the ideas of others or do we continue to explore on our own terms? No, I think we should continue to explore, investigate, and learn for ourselves. It's the only noble action we can take when presented with the horrors of conformity and standardization. One day I'm sure we'll all know what the truth really is. 

For now I'm happy to live on this realm called earth.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Are we ever really alone? Probably not.

Every spiritual tradition in the world has their own unique lore about intangible life. Ghosts, spirits, souls, angels, saints, faeries, dragons, interdimensional beings, etc., the list goes on forever. To study these entities in their entirety would take several lifetimes at least. 

I think the difficulty in this field of study comes from understanding the metaphysics and cultural significance from another culture. The philosophies that contribute to these stories go back for centuries, so to understand the full scope of these mythologies or stories we have to imagine ourselves in a time and a place that is unfamiliar to us in our current forms. It is nearly impossible for us to do this because we have the current bias  of our modern day sensibilities. In our modern times we focus more on the physical rather than on the metaphysical because that is where society has evolved to. 

Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing at all, because of course our advancements have brought with them a great deal of freedom from the superstitions of the bad. We're no longer afraid of the unseen, and that's a huge stride. But with that, I feel we have also lost something a bit more precious, and that is the benevolence of what is also unseen, that being the guiding and guardian spirits that surround all of us. 

Now I don't want to classify these beings as anything that is culturally or religiously significant, so that maybe these concepts can be understand a bit better. It has always been my belief that these spirits were unseen "helping hands" in our lives, and messengers for a higher power. Guiding us in the right direction but never influencing our thoughts beyond that. Our birthright of freedom of choice and to live as we like is our greatest responsibility, and to live without these unseen forces would be unbearable; we would be reduced to a primal state I believe. 

These forces were once like us, existing in a finite and corporal state, if not from this world then from another, and they have already learned the lessons that we are still in the process of learning. These lessons are important not only for our evolution as a society but also for our ascension into higher spiritual realms as individuals. Our relationships with these unseen forces is solely dependent on our personal attitudes and intentions towards our lives and how we perceive our world. 

Having a positive attitude helps best I find, and giving your problems away to the universe to deal with also helps as well. No need carrying extra baggage in life, it only drags you down. Not only that, negative emotions attract symbiotic and even demonic forces and cloud your mind. They're like parasites that pollute your mind, and try to influence you in the most negative ways, getting away of your own progress and happiness. They make you anxious, vengeful, and afraid; and no one needs that guff in their lives. We exist to progress forward, not to regress and fall apart. 

Even if you don't consider yourself a religious or a spiritual person, and you feel that these sort of views are superstitious, I would say to at least give it a shot and explore at least the possibility of these benevolent and unseen forces. Give up your negative feelings to them, and try to pursue and understand the Great Guidance of the universe for yourself and in your own way. If you get too bogged down with the academics or mythologies of the world and everyone else's interpretations of the metaphysical world, you'll just drown in a sea of information. Understand these forces in your own way; it will feel more personal and special if you discover these concepts while on your own adventure. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Defining Myself Spiritually

So yesterday at my job a student I was working with sparked up a conversation with me concerning my spiritual beliefs. She herself being a Christian, was confused by my open-ended Gnostic-like spirituality. And, trying to describe to her how I function was actually rather difficult. 

So, I was raised Catholic, for a time in my late teens I studied Paganism/Wicca, I was an Atheist for a time sadly, I returned to Catholicism, but then I became a student of Unarius, Happy Science, and between all of that I've read Starseed books, Theosophical books, and became a philosophy student. Not to mention I read some Sikh, Buddhist, and Muslim texts, and did my best to study and learn more about different spiritual movements from around the world. I tried to explain to this young lady that I'm trying my best to be as well-versed in as many forms of spiritual thought as possible so that I can learn how to understand God as best that I can, and His creations. 

Still, she stared rather blankly at me and I could tell she didn't get it, and to be fair I wasn't as prepared to explain it to anyone. I try not to define myself spiritually. Oh sure I have friends in many circles, and I have respect for all religions, but I always felt like spirituality in any of its forms should be something you carry with yourself in private. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven within" and all that. 

I want to continue my academic studies to at least the Masters level by working towards a MA in Philosophy, but I would also like to study with Edgar Cayce's Atlantic University and receive a MA in Spiritual Counseling. 

Happy Science University is also an option, but studying abroad in Japan is maybe too much for me at this point in my life. I'm too established where I am. Luckily, the folks who run the local temple here in NYC are very supportive whenever I have a moment to spend with them, and they always inspire me to do better. 

My studies with the Unarius Academy of Science will be a life-long pursuit, and I don't think there will ever be a point in my life where the liturgies of Unarius aren't a focal point for me. I've been studying with Unarius for a handful of years now I have the deepest respect for the folks who run the Unarius Educational Foundation and what they do. They have taught me more about myself in such a short amount of time, and I am forever grateful for that. 

My spiritual pursuits are without a doubt connected to my academic pursuits. I want to understand the methodologies of different religions and spiritual groups so that I can see that thread that connects us all as people more clearly. Too much of the world is focused on the reasons of why we are different, but I want to put focus on why we are the same. I think a lot of the problems in the world can be solved when we approach one another with respect towards different belief systems, and see that we are all just people trying to understand our universe, God, and why we exist at all. It's a complex journey but I think it is an important one, and definitely one that has a true meaning behind it. 

So, I'm not sure how to define myself, or if I even want to anymore. I'm just trying to enjoy this little journey of mine so that I can be better prepared for the complexities that life has for me down the road. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dream Journal: Ants Capable of Human Cognizance

I didn't expect to update this blog with another Dream Journal post so soon, but last night I had another weird one. 

So, because my previous nights rest was disturbed by a nightmare, I decided to take some melatonin to make sure that I slept all throughout the night without any disturbance. I didn't enjoy being stirred out of bed at 5 in the morning, so I wanted a nice heavy rest. And I did indeed have a nice and long deep sleep, but I did have a weird dream. Thankfully though it wasn't another nightmare. 

We were in a large white building, very clinical looking like a hospital or a laboratory. I was with another person, but I can't recall who they were. I feel that this person was a female, probably girlfriend or a friend of mine. They were definitely familiar to me. 

So, my colleague and I were leading a large group of hyper intelligent, fully independent ant-creatures to a small play room. These ants had individuality, but also worked together as normal ants do not because of some sort of "hive mentality" but because they wanted to work together and be friends. In actuality, these ants were not only very intelligent, they were stupendously sweet and good-natured, and also very well-mannered! 

So this room we were leading them into was both a rumpus room and a saferoom for the ants to stay in. There were treats for them to munch on (sweets mostly, sugar cubes, chocolate, etc.) and toys for them to play with.

Now it wasn't explicitly said in the dream that these ants were part of some kind of experiment, but I feel like that was the case. I'm not sure if they were somehow granted human cognizance through experimentation, or if they were once human and somehow became ants after some sort of procedure. Either scenario has a sinister connotation to it, and both make me feel a bit uncomfortable.

Ants, as my research has revealed to me are far more intelligent that I previously thought. Like everyone I already knew they were highly organized and ingenious little creatures but I had no idea how smart they were until I decided to look more into this dream. There have been a great deal of experiments done on ants on every level of science to see how they can function under different conditions. The research and results put together by researchers is really fascinating:
"Self recognition is not synonymous of self awareness, and the sense of self may be more or less sophisticated. Even if our results suggest a certain degree of self recognition in ants, they do not explain how ants take and use such information, how then functions the underlying cognitive processes, and if ants detain some self awareness. For many animals, such an assumption is not unanimous; for ants, we are conscious that it might even be less plausible. Here, we only showed that the assumption of some self recognition by ants, in front of their reflection, is not unrealistic." - Journal of Science
Although not definite, it seems as though ants are indeed capable of some sort of self-awareness. It seems somewhat superficial in that they use the mirror to clean themselves, but it shows they are capable of doing more than a lot of people, including myself, even thought they could. I thought ants only acted out of instinct and only reactionary tendencies based on their survival and the survival of their colony. Earlier today there was a news report about how bees have been trained to pull on a strong to get a treat. Like the information about ants, I found this absolutely mind-blowing. I'm truly impressed by these small clever creatures.

GeoBeats News

So, knowing that ants and other insects are capable of more than what I could ever consider, it got me thinking about genetic mutations and experiments like you often see in Science Fiction films. What is the moral code on giving such creatures human level intelligence, and what would be the purpose? I'm sure there are already laws in place to prevent this sort of activity from taking place. Then I remembered something from my studies.

The Truth About Mars, Ernest L. Norman, 1956, Unarius Academy of Science

I was reminded by this dream about the book The Truth About Mars, by Ernest L. Norman, who in his astral form visited Mars and witnessed the culture of the Martian people and their underground cities. In this book, Norman's Martian guide tells him about the strange creatures that exist on mars. The book itself is quite short but gives a great deal of insight to this Martian society, and their culture, and a great deal of what was predicted in this book has come true in our planets fields of medical science. This book is available on the Unarius Academy of Science bookstore page, and you can read some highlights by clicking here.  

Chimera Ant Queen, HunterxHunter
"There are also a number of species of lizards, reptiles and of some insects whose hard shells have enabled them to weather the extreme atmospheric conditions and among them are giant ants which walk semi-erect on the two hind feet. The guide tells me these are mutants which were accidentally produced from a small ant in an atomic experiment ages ago. They are similar to humans in a very low state of intelligence and at one time it became necessary to make war on them, as they became so numerous and large. These strange ant creatures average two to four feet in height and live in rocky caves." - Ernest L. Norman, The Truth About Mars, 1956
I read The Truth About Mars several years ago, but now I feel prompted to read it again and look more into the atomic experiments done on the ants of mars. There is also a sequel book called The Mars: Underground Cities Discovered. The Unarius Educational Foundation also produced an educational film based on that book.

I'm not sure if my dream had any deeper connection to the Martian ant mutants aside from the superficial aesthetics, but it could definitely be a step in the right direction if I were to research that a bit more. 

Now, looking into an online dream dictionary, Aunty Flo, I get all kinds of new information for me to use to decipher this dream. The page is filled with information, but the closest one I felt described my dream was this:
"If you dream of thousands of ants, this is the omen of temptation. If the ants are walking, you will have good wealth and fruitful activities. Seeing an ant’s hill means you will receive lots of money. Being bitten by ants in your dream can foretell misfortune.
Watching ants in your dream suggests that your friends benefit and take advantage from your work. If you are crushing the ants, you are burying your luck by yourself. Seeing a long line of ants that cross your path means luck. If you see the ants carrying food, this predicts good effort, and that your work brings you gains." - Aunty Flo Dream Dictionary
Now I'm not entirely sure how to feel about these sorts of interpretations and fortune telling. I feel that they are pretty innocuous, and even a little fun, but I don't put too much faith in them. That being said though it is nice seeing a different interpretation than what I would have thought of. As ants in this definition are the embodiment of hard work, and depending how I pick apart my dream it could fall under the umbrella of any of these definitions. There were indeed thousands if not millions of ants in my dream. They were walking and playing so according to the above definition that would mean I will have "good wealth and fruitful activities". There were no anthills so I suppose I will not be receiving lots of money (rats!). But like I said, I don't take that sort of interpretation too close to heart. 

I would be remiss if I didn't bring up at least the idea of "Insectoid Aliens" but they don't really fall under any description that I could find about my dream. 

Insectoid by David Chance
"Insectoids, or mantis-like aliens, are among the many different types of aliens reported by abductees around the world. They are described as tall, with six legs, and a peaceful demeanor. Although they speak to each other in clicks, they are able to communicate with other beings via telepathic abilities. Insectoids have been seen during abductions working alongside other alien types such as the Greys or Reptilians, usually performing various types of medical experiments." - Alien Species Wikia
The description of these aliens is a bit more sinister and ambitious than the ants who appeared in my dreams. Also they are far bigger than the ants. No, this is probably the wrong direction to take this interpretation. These Insectoids, who appear to be more mantis like in their appearance, don't have too much in common with my happy ant mutants.

Lastly, I would also like to bring to light another species that was introduced to me by the Happy Science Temple. The Ummites (or Ummo) are gigantic bee-like creatures capable of great technological advances and communication with humans. In the Happy Science film, Laws of the Universe Part 0, one Ummite appears and is really friendly and cute (and is voiced by Tom Kenny!). The personality of the Ummites seems to be closest to the ants in my dream, and it is rather refreshing to see insects or Insectoids represented in such a positive manner as most people seem to have some aversion to them. 

Ummite (Ummo), Happy Science

So there it all is. One weird dream led too all manners of thought for me. I still feel like this dream has a closer connection to Unarius and the Martian ant mutants. Quite possibly this is a peak though my own past-lives to see my involvement in those atomic experimentations. I certainly hope not, because the dream did seem to be really light-hearted (especially when compared to my nightmare from the other night). If I have a follow up dream or if anything else comes to mind I will make an update. I certainly hope though that there is nothing sinister behind this dream. 

Ant Creature, Twilight Zone

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Dream Journal: My 5 AM Meeting with Hostile Forces..

Image from the film "Mars Attacks"

So last night, or rather this morning, I was awoken by a very strange and vivid dream where I was a negotiator between two hostile and violent alien forces. They were humanoid, and reminded me of classic or stereotypical depictions of mob or mafia types that we see in film or television. Like in The Godfather series for example, with their expensive suits and proud but stoic demeanor. And this was for both sides. I suspect these representatives look like this because I tend to view all politicians as power hungry crooks. 

So, in my dream I was the negotiator between these two groups of people who were representing their respective planets. It seems like their worlds were at war for only minor grievances and cultural differences. Neither side was after any sort of attainment or plunder, or land or wealth; they just wanted to wipe each other out of existence. Now, the exact reasons weren't clear to me, but as a negotiator it was my important task to find a way for them to cease fire and hopefully bring about some peace so that both sides would walk away unharmed. 

So I spoke to both groups, and I suggested they drop their arms and try peace for a change. I was immediately gunned down by their laser pistols. I woke up a few moments later thank goodness. 

I stumbled out of bed around 5 AM and I felt pretty shaken. The dream felt so real that I even checked my body for any wounds. What a trip. It's been a very long time since I had any sort of nightmare, so I wonder what's been in the air lately for me to take in. I suppose I've been somewhat stressed, but no more than usual, This dream could also be a representation of how I feel about global politics at the moment, or it could be a peak into a possible past-life. 

Dreams that are very cinematic have always confused my senses. Normally, dreams make sense to me most when they don't make sense; when they're abstract I can understand their underlying message or what they represent. When dreams come into a form that feel like I'm watching a short movie, I'm not really sure how to quantify them, or interpret them. I've read before that some researchers and scientists believe our dreams or dream-worlds should be considered their own dimension because we spend a great deal of our lives in them. I'm agree with this for the most part, but I'm cautious to how seriously I take this line of thinking. I don't want to get lost in a sea of dreams or focus too greatly on dream interpretation. If I did I would probably go insane from trying to decipher details that I just barely understand but that come directly from my mind. 

Whatever the case, if this was a past-life or dream dimension version of myself, I hope to avoid any future situations where I get lasered to death all because I suggested peace. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ryuho Okawa: Freedom, Justice, and Happiness NYC 2016 Lecture

So on Sunday, October 2nd, I was invited to go see a speech by the founder and leader of the Happy Science religion, Master Ryuho Okawa. My invitation came from the wonderful people at the New York City Happy Science Temple. This speech took place in the Sheraton Hotel, in Times Square, New York City, and was attended by 500 or so followers of the Happy Science religion. The religion of Happy Science can be compared to being a mix of Christian, Buddhist, Spiritualist, and Shintoist beliefs and is based predominately on the teachings and "spiritual messages" Okawa has with spirits he says reside in Heaven, and that his higher spirit is that of the true God of the world, named El Cantare. To find out more about the Happy Science and their activities, click here.

Now, the focus of this event was not Ryuho Okawa's stance of a religious leader, nor was it really about his connection to any sort of higher being or deity, but the concepts behind El Cantare are quite fascinating so I may write about them more in a future post. 

Okawa began his lecture reflecting on New York City, what he calls he second home, and pointing out how different it is now compared to when he worked here in the 1980's, or even during he previous visit here about a decade ago. He made the analogy about coffee during the beginning of his speech, saying that there are so many Starbucks now here in New York City, and how the people here seem to be fine with that. The banality of New York City seemed to worry him and how we seemingly have gotten comfortable with settling. The analogy he made was, "I would rather pay $30 for a good cup of coffee instead of paying $1 for the same cup of coffee everyone else is drinking". I thought this was a nice place to start for his short lecture, and you can see a great deal of his personal views in that one statement; that personal standards must be important, and settling for anything else is regressive. 

"To tell the truth, NY is a little different, I think so. It's very, in some meaning, silent, in some meaning, no vitality, and in some meaning, no philosophy, I found that." - Ryuho Okawa, The Liberty Web, 2016

I should mention that Ryuho Okawa's political views do not necessarily resonate with my own, I'm simply trying to give some insight to what was said during this very fascinating lecture. I was a big fan of Bernie Sanders when he began to run, but now that he is no longer part of the race for president I find myself floundering with indifference for what could be the most important Presidential election in decades. So I find it very interesting that Ryuho Okawa has given his support for Donald Trump to become the next President of the United States. I initially thought that Okawa would give his support to Hillary Clinton, because of her years of experience and her cleverness as a politician; but it turns out those are some of the reasons why he doesn't support Clinton. 

"Red State and Blue State should be aimed at the end to the same goal. America must be the protector of the world, I think. This is your mission. But from their speech, I found some kind of isolationism." - Ryuho Okawa, The Liberty Web, 2016

The real focus of this event was Okawa's views on the United States and its position as a global power. Most of his ideas are connected with his book, The Laws of Justice, In general, Okawa's views are progressive and have a definite and heavy focus on America taking a great deal more responsibility for it's actions rather than being wishy-washy on it's agendas. Okawa emphasized that "America has to be greater than America" because of how much power it has, and implied that Americans should take far more responsibility than we currently do. 

"In terms of the earthly meaning, you must decide your freedom, your justice, and your happiness. Don't think about your country only. You are the leader of the world. Don't disregard this point. I want to say Ms. Hillary Clinton and Mr. Donald Trump, they are good man, but good woman and man, but they need this viewpoint. They need God's view because of the leader of the new America." - Ryuho Okawa, The Liberty Web, 2016

Okawa also stated that certain policies that began with President Bill Clinton, which were then continued by President Barack Obama have been catastrophic for Japan and other Asian countries. Okawa would like for the United States to become less isolated within it's own ideology of passive aggressively supporting agendas that bring harm to it's citizens and culture. So, Okawa sees Hillary Clinton has continuing the same agenda that her husband brought in the 1990's, and what Obama is doing currently. 

Now depending on your political views, you might be a fan of the Clintons, and Obama, and what they have done, but it seems like it's that "sameness" that Okawa isn't a fan of, and my understanding is he would like America to head in a new direction. Obama, according to Okawa, isn't a fan of Wallstreet businessmen, and has done his best to stifle their work. Okawa wants a strong leader who is unafraid to speak his mind, he wants America to help police the world to end the spread of dictatorships, and he wants our future leader to help bring about a smaller government so that American citizens can regain it's "American Dream". Or to be more exact, Okawa said the "creation of wealth is the American dream"; and to a certain degree I believe that to be true. Okawa believes that Hillary Clinton only wants to expand the middle class, while Donald Trump's presidency and leadership will allow citizens the opportunity to become wealthy without any barriers to prevent them from doing so. Okawa believes that Trump will be the leader that will lead America to a better place, and therefore help the whole world in the process.

Now, I can't say I'm the biggest fan of Donald Trump, or his views, but I will say I don't have the same dramatic view of him that other people might. I am amused by his antics at times, but I am offended by his words at other times. I do like that he is upsetting the status quo, and really irritating politicians and news stations that I personally don't care for, but I also see him as a scheming and untrustworthy businessman. I am very divided to negative on my views of Trump. Hillary Clinton on the other hand I have never found appealing or trustworthy, even when she was the first lady, but she does have actual political experience on her side so that makes her appealing as a candidate. But to be fair, I don't know if there is any one person in politics right now to can heal our country of all its wounds and truly unite the people. Either way, we will still be the "Divided States of America", as Okawa put it at one point when speaking about our country's political stance right now. This election season seems to be about two choices; either you make a compromise with your personal beliefs to try something new, or, you settle out of comfort for the same thing that we're already used to. Both are very scary choices, but that is responsibility that comes with civic duty. 

In the end, Okawa said his endorsement of Trump was a political point, separate from being that of a spiritual one. I found that to be quite good place to be, since he doesn't want to influence the choice of his followers. I found that refreshing as I've been witnessed to spiritual leaders who tell their followers what to do.

Recently, Donald Trumps campaign has been going through a lot of hardships as his past is coming back to haunt him, his poor performance during his debate with Hillary Clinton, the New York Times publishing his 1995 tax papers, and his inability to follow the advice from his campaign advisers. Even today his charity organization is in trouble. If Donald Trump loses this presidency, it will be his own doing because of his various past errors. There are various conspiracy theories about the Clintons, and how they are a part of an established organization that is part of some New World Order and Globalist agenda, so that makes Trump very popular with many fringe thinkers because it seems like he doesn't have that sort of deep rooted connection to any "secret club"; but it doesn't seem like he has any support from an establishment that could help him continue on. At this point, if he will stand a chance against Clinton, there will have to be a huge turn around soon to save his campaign.

There's a lot to take in with this presidency, so I feel as though we have to proceed with caution and really do our research, without allowing our emotions to get the better of us. Whatever happens we'll have to accept and continue on a stronger path. If there is one thing I really took away from this lecture was the understanding of how the choices and responsibilities of the United States affect the rest of the world, and I agree with Okawa when he says "America must be greater than America". To be an American citizen means to be a citizen of the world, and because the philosophy of pragmatism and capitalism has weakened the resolve of our nation and has become the "New Gods" of America. The stance of Okawa, and Happy Science, is that the United States was founded with certain spiritual principals in mind, and to turn away from God as a nation is a catastrophic move. "God is alive!", Okawa exclaimed during his lecture, and he reassured us if we have troubles to please ask God for help.

It truly feels like our country is at a turning point, so maybe we should embrace that and see what happens.