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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 71: Humility and Balance in Life and Spirituality.

What is addiction and what is recreation? Where is the line between harmless fun and reckless behavior? Are some addictions worse than others, and if one doesn’t mind being addicted, then is it a problem? Life is about balance, as I’m sure we’ve all heard or perhaps realized for ourselves, and Buddha suggested we follow the Middle Way. But what is too much of a good thing? Is there such a thing? What is not enough evil? Wouldn’t we all be free to finally feel at peace if all evil were eradicated? Would we though? Is duality necessary? If it is, why should it be so? Unfortunately I don’t have all the answers, but I am willing to ask them, and I’m sure some good has to come of it. Some say we must have faith, and I agree, but faith in who or what? If evil is a part of life then, is this God’s perfect plan? Is there something wrong with it, or is it just that we are not at a level from which we can see what it all means, why it’s all necessary? Is life all a game, or is it extremely serious? At times we feel one way, at times we feel another. How can we find a balance between the two, and should we even attempt it? Some might blame God for having created such an evil world, but they don’t realize that their own use of their ability to express themselves is only possible because of their existence in the world. Evil is within us, just as it is outside of us, and we all have the potential to treat others in horrible ways in which we would never want to be treated ourselves. Should we despise our own existence and kill ourselves because we were born imperfect? Doesn’t it make more sense to try to understand why we were born this way? There must be some reason for it. Isn’t there any inspiration to be found in our lifelong struggle against our own evil, in persevering towards achieving a goal, towards setting our life straight, or a certain area of our life, and coming out successful in the end? What if there is a much deeper meaning to life than just seeking pleasure? Could this be the reason why some of the most damaging things in life, for human beings, are also the most pleasurable? Maybe the bitter aftertaste that follows certain forms of pleasure is there to help us, to guide us so that we may search for the truth, so that we don’t spend a lifetime chasing after alcohol, or drugs, or sex, or money. Some things are not evil in themselves. Sex is holy if it is treated with respect and used in its proper context, but it has been degraded to such an extent, that it is now one of the easiest ways to get lost in the petty search for pleasure. What turns good into evil, holy into blasphemous? A lack of balance does. Now, regarding the doubt as to whether this is God’s plan, whether he meant, if he did create the universe, to have evil be a part of life, I can’t say that I know, or that I’ve looked deeply into the subject. However, in the Bible, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the forbidden fruit before the snake had even appeared to them. If the forbidden fruit was what made them be aware of good and evil, being the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, then how could they have committed evil deeds, such as disobeying God, before having eaten from the tree? Eating from the tree was an act of disobedience, but if they were created perfect, then why did they fall for the snake’s dirty trick? And where did the evil snake even come from anyway? If God made everything good, then how could an evil snake, a lying snake, come to speak to Adam and Eve, to tempt them into doing something wrong? Perhaps God meant for there to be temptation in this physical world, maybe so that we might learn to overcome it. Would there be any meaning in an action movie without a bad guy for the hero to take on? If there isn’t a bad guy then there’s some sort of conflict to resolve. I’m not saying that life is a Hollywood film, but life is sort of like a movie except that there is no guaranteed happy ending. Life depends on our choices, and even if some think that our fate is sealed, that history is already written and set in stone, it sure doesn’t feel that way. If we can’t feel like it is that way, then at least we should try to make our lives meaningful, even if it’s just for us. Take a second to sit back, relax, meditate, leave the stress behind just for a moment. Analyze every aspect of your life, and you are sure to find much meaning. Some you have always been aware of, some you have neglected for a long time and left to the side, and some might come in the form of a sudden, new realization, a surprising epiphany. Once you think about what is important in your life, about what is meaningful, you will see that, in order to progress in each and every one of these things, you will need to work at being much more balanced, and at having more self-control in general. This practice of cultivating self-control is actually the first step into a spiritual way of living. Self-control means that the real Self, the only Self, is controlling the illusory self, the physical and mental self, the physical and mental projections which are perceived by my mind in order to create an identity of who I am, along with the name given to me by my parents at birth. The more self-control we practice, the more we will live a balanced and healthy life, and the clearer we will think. We can’t have all the answers in life, but we shouldn’t become cynical because of the world’s apparently hostile nature. We should be humble, and we should seek to understand, for we are very small beings in a much, much greater universe, more meaningful than any of us could ever imagine.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 72.

~ Rebel Spirit

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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 37: Forget About Enlightenment and Live Your Life!

Stop worrying about achieving enlightenment, and focus on being in the moment instead. Focus on living your own life to the fullest extent, to the best of your abilities, with no excuses, at all times. Too many people are seeking thrills from so-called spirituality, boosting their egos up with fancy new terms, pretending to fully understand ancient concepts. Nowadays people make money off of spirituality just as with any other service, it’s all been commercialized now. The answer is not in some training program though, or in some spirituality course. The answer can only be found in your own Spirit, the Spirit of God living within you. Can you not feel God’s presence within you? Are you blind to your own goodness, to your own consciousness? Remove the blindfolds then, and behold, be honest with yourself and complete, look at you through God’s ayes, feel your oneness with all beings in Spirit. See that the suffering you can go through could be anyone else’s. We all go through problems while we live our lives, and some of us are stronger than others and are able to find better coping mechanisms than them. Many go down a very dark path of destruction, whether of self or of others. They are caught up in negative emotions, in feelings of hate, of extreme hopelessness, of being alone in a cold world. Understand that everything depends on how we handle each situation. Everything changes, so each decision leads to a new condition of life, and slowly but surely we create the lives we wish to live. On the flip side, we can create a life which we’ll later blame God for, claiming to have no idea how things could have gone so horribly wrong. So make the right decisions now, while you still have the chance to do so. No one will pay for your mistakes but yourself, yet you are bound to bring others down with you with each bad decision, just as everyone else will bring you down with their bad behavior. Let go of the cynicism and understand that, as you help to normalize negativity, others are bound to do the same, and soon we will all be at risk, we will all think we are fine, that we are normal, yet we will be living in an insane and dangerous society, one whose values are upside down. Aren’t these the times we are living in now? Stop looking for the answer here and there, stop treating spiritual matters as a game, as if you can advance from level to level, ascending and becoming some kind of divine teacher who reads peoples futures or commands others what to do at all times. Be humble, acknowledge your limitations and don’t flaunt your talents, use them when necessary. Understand that fools love to talk much, remain observant and alert, alive in the Spirit, unshaken by all the stupidity that might surround us at any given moment. Life becomes a moving meditation, writing a sitting meditation, cooking and making tea or coffee are standing meditations. Feel the moment, whether there’s nothing that seems to important currently going on, or whether you’re going through the biggest crisis you could ever possibly face, remain grounded in your awareness that this too shall pass, and that everything has a lesson to teach. Don’t feel entitled, don’t fight life’s process, however painful it may be, don’t complain, feel all the suffering and pain, but understand is as necessary. A lesson can be learned from every tragedy, and all can rise from the bottom of the deepest pit and ascend to the top of an empire like Joseph, all of us have been granted the ability to rise again, time and time again, just like a fiery phoenix. This is enough to challenge us for the rest of our lives, learning to live with acceptance, submitting our will to the Divine will, to things we cannot understand. Being content with events which we can only analyze over and over in order to learn from, or moments we can only cherish in memory now. What need do we have then to conjure up spirits back from the dead, to do great feats before the eyes of the masses, to spread the word of some religion or ideology wherever we may go, if we have not mastered our own minds, if we haven’t yet learned to be truly humble and accepting of life in every way we perceive it? We will fall, we will easily be deceived, we will think ourselves powerful, yet we will be nothing but puppets for the system, or even for evil spirits, who knows? Spiritual learning is nothing without true humility, without a true commitment to truth, without love for humanity, with cynicism towards life, with evil intentions towards others. No advancement can be made if the requirements to reach the goal are not followed. True bliss comes from the feeling of being rid of all impurity, or at least of most of it, knowing we have tried and struggled but succeeded in the end, from feeling that we are truly connected with the Divine Will, not from acting totally against it. We cannot feel God’s presence within us if we ignore the goodness of our own Spirit. We sometimes choose to ignore our intuition for reasons such as impressing others, or simply blindly following others against our better judgment. We can’t trust others to make decisions for us, we need to be always alert and we need to understand that we have to make the correct decisions for our own lives, each and every one of us, at all times. We are all imperfect as we live in this earthly life, and we all feel this illusion of separateness. It is the reason why we try to learn special skills, why we are so interested in the dark and mysterious at times, since we want to feel like we possess some special, or hidden, knowledge. We can now use this knowledge or wisdom to elevate our consciousness, and therefore our own lives, to a higher level. This is most people’s mentality, and it simply stops there. Not a single thought about using this new knowledge or energy for good, or to give back to the community by creating actual positive change. People want to achieve the condition of no-self, by following purely selfish pursuits, and it just doesn’t work that way.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 38.

~ Rebel Spirit