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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 36: What Do Adam and Eve Stand For?

The Fall of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden makes me wonder about a lot of things. Of course, Christians claim it is simply a literal account of how the world was created by God. I don’t regard any belief as false, but I think it might just be possible that there’s much more to it than that. Why did women start giving labor in pain only after God cursed Eve for disobeying his commandment? Why was this also the point in the story when they were commanded to work the earth? Could it be that this was the time when “Adam and Eve” became incarnated beings, the time when time began, so to speak, when souls entered into male and female bodies and populated the earth? This is a similar concept to the Kabbalist idea of tzim-tzum, the big bang which took place due to God contracting his total goodness, thereby removing it from a certain place in time in space, creating the Earth, a world motivated by infinite desire, all beings feeling the emptiness of having lost God’s all-encompassing love. This is believed to be the reason why most of us experience a spiritual impulse at some point in our lives, why religion has arisen since the dawn of time and continues to pop up in every part of the planet, since we long to reconnect with God, with the creator. Could Adam and Eve also represent masculine and feminine forces, both which are found within each person, positive and negative, the yin and the yang? Could the story of the creation of Adam, and then Eve from his ribs, be a way of symbolizing the fact that both forces need to connect, that one can’t be without the other? After all, a man and a woman connect to create a new life on this planet. Nobody knows how this conjures up consciousness into a new body, nobody knows the complete process whereby a cranium is developed to hold that consciousness, or actually the brain that will receive, or perceive, that consciousness. It all just happens, a higher intelligence takes care of all we take for granted. All we need to do is get together and make love, ideally while we are in love. This disregard for connection, yet global obsession with sex at the same time, is creating a lot of problems as unexpected and often unwanted children are being born, and their parents either give them up for adoption, or much worse, go in for an abortion. If they choose to keep the child, he or she usually grows up in a tense environment, if the parents are teenagers there are usually lots of problems with parents and they end up separating. This ruins the experience of childhood for many kids, and it ruins many people’s adult lives as well, as experiences of fear or trauma or too much stress and disagreement in the air can cause psychological or emotional problems in young children’s minds. But of course, these parents never thought about the idea of truly connecting with someone else, in order to start a family and take care of a new life. All they did was let themselves go, into all kinds of pleasures, desensitized from all possible consequences, living as if life is nothing but a dream. If more people treated the subject of sex with respect, if they truly understood the sanctity of love and true connection between two people who support each other, then maybe people wouldn’t abuse it so much, and many of these problems could be avoided. Quick and stupid decisions have consequences that last for generations. I got a little bit off course there, but on another note about Adam and Eve, could they also signify the good and evil of life? We already wondered about the positive and negative poles. The Law of Polarity is one of the seven hermetic principles, as well as The Principle of Gender. Good and evil could be part of this as well, since no one really know what real good really is, the truest good which is beyond both the good and the evil of duality. This is a planet of polarity, and maybe we need to find balance between good and evil by understanding both pain and pleasure and becoming indifferent to them, understanding that there is a higher essence above them. Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, so was there already good and evil, or did they begin when they ate from the fruit? Did they simply become aware of these concepts, of good and of evil, and that this knowledge came along with free will, with human life, with the life of suffering which we all live in, according to the Buddha? Why must the nature of life be one of suffering, why must no earthly good completely satisfy? There must have been some initial mistake, and Adam and Eve’s mistake seems to be one that impacted generations for millions, or possibly billions, of years? But how could they have chosen to disobey God in the first place and eat from the forbidden fruit, if they didn’t yet have free will? So, I don’t really know. Where these really human beings, or angels, or mythological characters, personifications of certain concepts? Could a happy marriage be the highest we can achieve in life? Could it be some kind of way for us to fully connect our opposite energies, if we do it in the spirit of true love, and to feel a connection that resembles the connection between Spirit and God, between the Atman and Brahman, the lover and the beloved? Could marriage, just as sex, be divine symbols for the connections that must be joined in balance, during this life, in order for us to live correctly, or of the physical body parts that must be joined in order for life to even continue? We can never know, but we can study and maybe one day we’ll come to a more complete conclusion.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 37.

~ Rebel Spirit

 

1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 13: Immigrating to Canada, Pressure from Parents.

I was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I lived in Honduras, both in Tegucigalpa, the capital, as well as San Pedro Sula, the industrial capital, for ten years before my family immigrated to Canada. My father studied economy and received his Master’s Degree. He is a very intellectually driven man who takes pride in his understanding of the world, of business and of money. He left a job with the United Nations, working on humanitarian projects throughout my birth country of Honduras, and moved to Canada where he struggled to find work. With help from a job agency he was able to get odd jobs here and there, finally settling at a fireplace factory. Apart from having to wake up in the early cold which we wasn’t used to for a job which he was ridiculously overqualified for, my dad was also not used to carrying heavy machinery and equipment at work. A year or so after he began working there he found out he had a hernia and had to have surgery for it. Thankfully he was fine, and nowadays he has a much better job at a bank, which suits him a bit better for sure. Despite his temper, my father is really someone I greatly admire due to his determination to make ethical decisions in life. My father believes in doing everything right, in the way it needs to be done. Growing up I always wondered why I was so different from my father, but lately I’ve been having epiphanies which clearly show me just how similar we both are. We both have crazy ideas of unique projects. We both enjoy speaking to people and can talk non-stop when it comes to a topic we are passionate about. My dad is sort of extreme in a way, something I never wanted to admit for myself but which I need to come to terms with now. He tells me not to wear a beard when I fly so I don’t get seen as a threat, yet he wore a long beard when he was younger too. He tells me to play it safe and to study hard to have a promising career, to dedicate myself to it in order to get a head start while I’m still young, yet he left his home country in order to find his own way when he was young as well. That’s what led him up to his meeting with my mother, in the country of Honduras where my two brothers and I were all born. My mother’s family moved here from Nicaragua due to the Sandinista revolution which took place decades ago. My mother is a saint. She is a devoted follower of Christ and the Bible and she sacrificed much time apart from her work to make sure that we learn Biblical morals as well as practiced what we needed to know for school and did our homework. She always told me (and still does) that I have great potential which I waste by deciding to do things in a mediocre way. I never argued because I couldn’t deny it. I was never a big fan of school. As I started hanging out with my friends I started ignoring all the great times I had with my parents growing up and all they sacrificed for my brothers and I. My father always spoke to me in his native Portuguese so I was able to gain a fairly fluent understanding of it growing up. When I traveled to Brazil on my own for the larger part of a year I finally got some street practice, and I really felt free speaking Portuguese, I was feeling the Brazilian vibes. While in Rio, I was amazed at how hot it was, even hotter than San Pedro Sula in Honduras. While in Brazil, I first stayed in Sao Paulo at the home of a good family friend who I had never met, an old friend of my father who is a Baptist church pastor. He’s a sympathetic guy and he gave me some good life advice and treated me as his son while I was there. I’ve noticed that throughout life I’ve received such respectful treatment from many individuals as a result of their deep admiration for my father. For this reason I sometimes feel ashamed with my own performance in life thus far. I feel the pressure of great expectations which my parents have for me. If they were careless or irresponsible parents I never would have felt so guilty for going astray from their teachings. One of the saddest feelings of my life has been that of not being able to properly connect with my parents. Their religious beliefs make them very close minded when it comes to anything spiritual. It was only in recent years, once my dad started attending a Kabbalah class at the synagogue he is attending, that he began investigating deeper into mysticism and the idea that maybe things are a lot deeper than he had thought they were. For many years now he has considered himself a Jew, and has wanted to influence my brothers and I into undergoing complete conversion to Judaism, which he believes to be the true path to God. My mother is quite convinced with Jesus Christ’s promise of salvation for those who believe and pray in His name. She doesn’t feel the need for us to further investigate into the nature of God or the universe, and her closed mindset to these sorts of concepts bother my father and lead to great discord. But if their belief in God leads to discord whenever expressed between the two, then is it really serving its purpose at all? Spirituality is not something exclusive which can be taken up and dropped as a habit or custom can. Spirituality is everything, it is the essence of who we are. It is not a philosophical label or a religious sect, it is the realization that we are spiritual beings and that there is a spiritual purpose and significance to everything that happens, to every physical phenomenon. Spirituality means having a deeper connection to the true causes of things, to the nature of the effects and which causes they come from. Spirituality means balancing what needs to be done on this Earth with the time we need to spend contemplating heavenly concepts. Spirituality is balance in all aspects of life. A spiritual life is one which is well balanced and allowed to flourish, a life which is not lived for the sake of fulfilling vain worldly desires, but one which is lived for the purpose of doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. At least I find satisfaction in knowing that both my parents are people who are committed to living righteously; hopefully this can overcome any unreasonable habits that might come along with absolute belief in a single religion.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 14.

~ Rebel Spirit

DAY 7: 1,000 WORDS: LOVE, WORK, AND MYSTICISM.

Seventh day of writing and publishing 1000 words. So I started this challenge a week ago now, with a brief explanation about what mainly motivates me to write. On Day 2, finishing up on Day 3, I detailed some of the facts of the country of Honduras, my mother land as well as where I’m currently writing this series of posts from. I began by explaining the circumstances that brought me back to this beautiful country of my birth in the first place, after having lived in Canada for about 12 years, since the age of 10. Up in Vancouver, let’s say I didn’t make the best decisions, and so shortly after completing high school I chose to come back to Honduras to avoid the chaotic atmosphere that surrounded me for a while, having always been an adventurous spirit with a deeper view of life and the world, which I unfortunately just didn’t know how to express my whole life. To me, life always seemed to be about constant change, about continuously new and exciting experiences, along with new environments and circumstances. This is one of the main reasons for my profound respect for psychedelic substances as well, a topic I will go more in-depth into in later posts. I came to Honduras and I started working at a call center, where I met the beautiful, loving woman who became my wife a few years later. She brought a new freshness to my life, she always displayed such kindness, such a simply satisfied demeanor, without demanding much from life, a humble person in every respect, respectful towards the world and all its inhabitants. Maria influenced me in unimaginable ways, especially since all my previous relationships had been filled with problems and had left me with trust issues, no doubt. Our meeting each other is one of the main things in my own life that have played an important role in truly convincing me of the fact that everything happens for a reason. All of the bullshit I went through back in Van, most of it self-inflicted to be honest, was necessary for me to even decide to leave in the first place, to explore my roots further and to immerse myself in Honduran culture once again. This was needed for me to meet the love of my life, something I’m forever grateful to God for. The universe unfolds in mysterious ways, and there is a positive to find in every negative we encounter, even if it’s just a new life lesson learned. The seasons changed, and we fell more in love with the passing of each day, planning to continue our life in Canada, since we had bigger plans for the future which are easier to realize in a more developed country. We decided to marry as soon as we could, and I returned to Canada to save up some quicker cash than we could both even make here combined. Yesterday I described the job which I took on in more detail, upon my return to Canada towards the end of 2015. I worked for a year and a half for a successful immigration consultant who owns his own business in Downtown Vancouver for almost 2 decades now, the same one who previously worked on my own family’s application and residency eleven years earlier. Although extremely demanding, I enjoyed the job he offered me, since not only did I learn a lot, even about discipline in general and using time wisely, but it allowed me to keep my mind off of distractions from my main goal, which was the money I needed to save. The days were so packed that they went by so damn quick, it was amazing. There was no time for thinking of being home, or elsewhere, except on my break conversations with Maria, of course. Partying and other pastimes would only work against my objective, so I wasn’t doing much of that at all. Another important aspect of my life that began to take shape back in Canada was quite an important one, it was the mystical side of things as I see them now. I mentioned in an earlier post that I grew up in a home of believers. Since a child I learned a lot about the Bible from my parents, and our family always attended Christian congregations, sometimes Messianic Christian churches as my dad has always had a deep interest in Judaism. Over the years my father began to find the Christian message shallow, and the followers of Christianity a bit hypocritical. I myself don’t agree with any wide generalization of people of any denomination or religious belief, yet I understand where his ideas come from. Finally he stopped attending church altogether and started going to synagogues instead, and attempting to learn Hebrew online with some success in fact. He went to many synagogues, just as we had gone to many different churches over the years, never really belonging as members to any specific one. One he eventually settled at to some point was a conservative Jewish synagogue, Beth Tikvah. He went there every Saturday morning for Sabbath service while my mother continued attending the Christian Baptist church on Sundays, maintaining her strong faith in Christianity. Often we would read the Bible together as a family, especially during my younger days, and there was a sense of harmony. As it seemed that my father, always being very spiritual in his outlook of life, had now lost faith in Christianity’s simple message of what many see as blind belief, and was starting to explore deeper into the nature of spirituality, the differences in religious beliefs were causing a lot of arguments between my parents in those days. I felt like some of that previous harmony was lost, so I sometimes attended the service with each of them at their respective places of worship, when I was home on either Saturday or Sunday. While attending Beth Tikvah, my father got involved in a Kabbalah class. It consisted of a small group of congregants who would meet in the small library room of the synagogue every Saturday afternoon after the main morning service, and would discuss the mysteries of the Kabbalah. I attended some of these classes with him, initially in the few times I joined him, and what I heard actually had me wanting to come back for more next week, which I started doing often. The class, or discussion, was led by a Kabbalistic Rabbi, not the official Rabbi of the synagogue, an avid reader, researcher and writer, Rabbi Joseph Saltoun, and his profound descriptions of psychic and mystical concepts, along with the texts he chose to put forth to us, sparked in me a flame has kept burning in me up to this day. At first I learned mainly about the Kabbalah, but it didn’t take too long until I expanded my knowledge, and I started learning of new, amazing things I previously knew nothing about. At that point I realized that most mystical systems have mainly the same messages for humanity, and that we are all able to follow their examples in order to live a better life. I found that this has been explained throughout history by so many teachers, and that it is an undoubtedly true message of hope for humanity. I attended just a few classes before my first flight back to Honduras, before I met my wife, and then I attended pretty much every week during the whole year I was back in Canada saving up for my wedding. I learned quite a lot, and it was the beginning of what today I would say is my mission. My mysterious meeting with Maria also seemed to go hand in hand with the mystical teachings that stress that everything in life is how it is meant to be, and that we must accept things and act accordingly at all times, being fully grounded in the now. Tomorrow we’ll get back on topic and move on with the story though, I promise! 

~ Rebel Spirit ~

Man’s Search for Meaning: The Space Between Stimulus and Response.

VIKTOR FRANKL (1905-1997)

One of the greatest victories we can achieve in life is the mental, emotional and spiritual victory over inevitable circumstances and the struggles they create. If someone like ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ author Viktor Frankl, who endured and overcame extreme tragedy and horror in his life, having lost most of his family in various concentration camps during World War II, can see the opportunity for growth that is dormant within pain and adversity, then none of us can really believe that we have any excuse to simply give up and allow life’s circumstances to get the best of us and bring us down. What I can understand to be the meaning of Frankl’s wonderful quote is that, between any given situation we face and our reaction to it, there is what he calls a ‘space’, a moment of introspection. When we enter this sacred space, it may feel as if time has stopped, as if we are suddenly struck by pure timeless realization. We are saved by a mere moment of contemplation, of profound meditation. Many of us have no idea what this space really means, but when one’s life is turned upside down and one is suddenly in a life or death situation from which there is no escape, cultivating this sacred space becomes essential, not only for survival, but for sanity’s sake as well. What this space signifies is nothing but the magical science of intuition. Through the wisdom of a second of silence we find that we are freed from unconscious bondage; we are no longer compelled to react based on raw animal instinct or habitual behavior patterns we have developed over time. Emotion is no longer our master, and we are now free to examine a situation with the light of pure consciousness, with the infallible wisdom of the spirit.

What we find is that this serene space, this intuition that we speak of, allows us to analyze any situation objectively from within the deepest and wisest part of our spirit, that part which is beyond all duality and contradiction and which is connected with God, with the oneness of it all, putting aside even the strongest of emotions and the subtlest yet most sinister sense of entitlement in order to perceive something as it truly is, to perceive it in all honesty and with painfully perfect purity. Purity is painful to those accustomed to the pursuit of pleasure, and at times our intuition will go against what our illusory self wants. It is imperative that we follow our deepest and noblest realizations, which will allow us to remain unshaken through the storms of life. Only then will we be prepared to react appropriately to any unpleasant situation which may arise, or to any confrontation against righteousness. We are not speaking of any superhuman ability,  but rather of the deepest part of our being as human beings. We can all learn to carefully control our reactions to external events, and in fact, our overall life satisfaction throughout our journey’s different stages and in general will depend a great deal upon this sole factor. Whether we are able to react calmly and sincerely to the obstacles of life, or whether we will be overcome and mercilessly consumed alive by emotions as destructive as lust and greed, being dragged around by our necks from here to there as unconscious slaves of our own uncontrolled passions.

We have all been guilty of trying to use our circumstances as excuses for why we have not gotten ahead in life and why we never will. We attempt to justify and normalize why we should and always will conform with living mediocre lives far from the true and meaningful works of art we know we were meant to mold our lives into. So many of us want to improve ourselves and the world as a whole, but a profound inability to take control of our own thoughts and actions unfortunately means that we probably will never give life to the creative projects floating around in our unique brains. The pressures of society make us feel that it we fail we will not only be forever labeled and rejected as failures, but that we will never be able to reintegrate into a mediocre life if we ever choose to return to it, having failed in the pursuit of the extraordinary life we always dreamed of. Mediocrity becomes  so comfortable because it allows us to go on reacting to things as we please, as we always have, without analyzing and correcting our own behavior, without taking responsibility for improving our lives. The real reason why we fail to get ahead, however, is because we are afraid of pain, we are terrified of struggle, and we lack purpose. The main point in Viktor Frankl’s life-changing book is this: We all need a purpose in order to move forward. Purpose can inspire one to persevere through pain of the worst kind, and even through persecution. 

Fear destroys ideas before they are even manifested outside of the thought realm. Too many people see adversity as something to be avoided at all costs, and they fear situations which will remind them of their weakness. They want to stay in mediocre situations that will not demand change of them. We all want to be heroes, but we often fail to see that usually the very same people who have been through and have eventually overcome nightmarish situations are the very same people who have also become some of the most successful and admirable people we know of, people who have made history and who have inspired millions simply by example. Viktor Frankl is someone who I personally admire very much and who I believe we can all learn much from. Again, Frankl lost pretty much his whole family who were executed in concentration camps by the Nazis. Viktor explains in his masterpiece book how he would often notice that whether or not a prisoner had hope of surviving the war or not greatly influenced how long they were able to endure cruel treatment and even live through disease.

We all need motivation in order to survive. We all have goals we want to achieve, projects we want to undertake. After some time living life it becomes clear that we will never be able to achieve these goals if we cannot stand adversity, if we break down in the face of the most insignificant inconvenience. In order to succeed we need to have a purpose. Once we have a purpose of which we are certain then it becomes much easier to avoid the distractions and to get right down to business. Acknowledging our obstacles, we accept what is. Only then can we plan out how we will overcome the obstacles. This gives us purpose, meaning. We can only find purpose if we stop following our own habitual ideas and take a moment to analyze each and every one of them, from the perspective of the spirit, from the serene space we are talking about.

None of us are perfect, and all of us know it. Yet, so many of us want to pretend that we are, even knowing that everyone else also knows we’re not. We want to keep up appearances so we never let anyone know about our creative projects, about the innovative experiences we are looking to have and create in this world. We have all become so consumed by the wanting to belong to the crowd that we ignore original ideas too often simply because they fall outside the box of social norms. Many of us know there are problems in our lives. Sometimes these problems might be dangerous and life-threatening, and imposed upon us by external forces such as in the case of Viktor Frankl and all people who were persecuted, imprisoned and murdered by Nazis and many other oppressive and corrupt groups of people throughout history. Other times our problems are not so life-threatening. In fact, since we lack wisdom due to never getting into that space of wisdom and intuition, we probably cannot even perceive that there is a problem at all, or we might know that there is a problem, but being so advanced in ignorance at this point, we succeed in completely banishing the troubling thought from our minds – for a while. Because of this reason, because the problems maybe appear minor, we choose to ignore them completely, since it is often much more comfortable to simply ignore problems than to work on them. After all, we have never had a glimpse of what our life could be like if we resolved our problems. 

We know that if we were to fix this specific problem our life would be better in this specific way. Yet we are comfortable with our dysfunction now that it has become a mental habit. We accept that we are mediocre, that life just sucks and there is not much magic to it, so we sit around and do nothing productive day in and day out, slowly adopting a cynical attitude towards life and the world, complaining that everything is a problem and nothing goes our way. Well, guess what? Your problems are the way you can get things to go your way if you simply choose to stop ignoring them. How do we learn math or science or any other subject in school? We are presented with problems which we must solve day after day until we become accustomed to solving such problems. We come to know that if we want to find the answer, a problem must first be solved. In life however, we refuse to see problems as growth opportunities, as obstacles we must rise above in order to strengthen our character – we fail to see that problem-solving gives life its meaning.

What we all need to do is to realize that we have within ourselves immense power, such as the power to survive a holocaust, to keep on living with purpose even after facing the death of all those we love, to forgive the killer of our child, like the video I saw the other day where a grieving mother hugs and forgives her child’s murderer in court. I personally don’t know if I would be able to do either of these things I have mentioned were I to act in the manner I have in the past, or were I to give in to my own habits and tendencies. The problem is not that human beings cannot do these things, they clearly can. The problem is that too many of us believe we can’t, and so we never try to become such people. As a limited human brain, I cannot do these things, but if I practice tuning into that space of intuition, then every step will become clear and I will overcome in the end. You see, these people like Viktor Frankl, or like the mother who forgave her son’s killer, have made an inner decision. Their determination didn’t overcome adversity and hatred because they were born different from us ordinary people, or because they have a purer spirit than ours. We are all children of God, whose infinite power dwells within us all as one pure and universal spirit. Our spirit cannot become more pure or impure. All that can change is the amount of negative and positive habits in our brains, which are the physical instruments which allow us to perceive reality, both physical and spiritual. 

This invincible and godly spirit is capable of rising above emotion, above thought, above comprehensible human logic, and it can make miracles happen. When we become painfully aware of this to the point that we cannot help but live in the holy manner the spirit requires of us, then we will be able to live not only with purpose, but with The Purpose. The highest and only Purpose, after all, is the divine will. Man makes his decisions freely, but all is directed to balance out in the end, all flows and transforms and God’s will is always achieved. Obstacles are God’s will and mercy. They are the consequences of our own evil actions, not as individuals but as humanity, for we are all surely one spirit, and God has embedded into these obstacles the opportunity for us to learn and thrive from them, to derive purpose in correcting these mistakes and finding unity behind duality, finding peace beyond the never-ending conflict on earth which we are all susceptible to, finding the space in which we can be with our spirit amidst all the trials and tribulations. 

Create a space. Meditate. Analyze your actions, evaluate your values. Correct your ways and see if your friends follow. If they don’t follow your path, then at least make sure they don’t try to lead you astray from it and if they do then stand firm in the spirit. Our culture has become one of mindless, unproductive desires being acted out in every selfish way imaginable with no regard for anyone else or for the environment which is being affected. We need to realize the importance of living with purpose again, of doing things with meaning. We need to take a moment to reflect on our thoughts and our emotions and to make sure we do not react by escaping from those we find unpleasant, but by facing them, by identifying the problem and by creating a solution. While creating said solution, we must stay present in the moment, and we must not make the process of creating a solution a burden. We must come to love the struggle, the urge to keep on improving; we must finally realize that life’s obstacles are its biggest blessings, since duality is only an illusion, and in the end, all is one, both the good and the bad. Once we realize this it will mean we have finally come to value purpose and meaning in the way we always should have.

~ REBEL SPIRIT ~

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