Tag Archives: belief

Resolution Revolution

The start of a New Year may be a more significant spiritual event than any on liturgical calendars.  As a genus, Humans are compelled to count days, organize seasons and lunar cycles, divide days into candle-time, observe celestial cycles and even build gigantic stone thingy-s associated with all of those times.  Longest day, shortest day, equal days, feast days – they all become so very important.  But, the most important of all… the one day that every one of us cares about, regardless of nationality, is the day, indeed the hour, minute and SECOND that we change the number we have rather arbitrarily assigned to the year-time division: New Years.

Every one of us that is aware of the change in annual numbering is equally compelled to make promises to ourselves – sometimes publicly – as to how we will comport ourselves in better ways in the “new” year.  It’s a time for new personal and, in effect, spiritual beginnings.  We collectively, but privately, intend to be “better” people… replace bad habits with good ones, go on a diet, give more to charity, maybe go to church more often, tell our significant others, more often, that we love them.  Now, then, to whom are we speaking when we tell ourselves these promises?

Obviously we are attempting to communicate to a “self” that exists somewhere deeper? higher? than our cerebral cortex.  Short-term memory is notorious for being… well, short.  Our need at New Years is to imprint some new pattern of behavior – belief, really – on very long-term memory, and to do so quickly.

Belief is the key, and beliefs are spiritual, fundamentally.  Does all of our consciousness exist in neurons, ganglia and synapses?  Religions teach us, “No,” and even a little meditation can expose that our beliefs are held in a different level of mentality, and that maybe there is a spiritual component to the reflective human.  However it works, it is unlikely that a smoker, for example, will relinquish his or her hold on the habit until he or she believes that he or she is a non-smoker who is simply entangled with tobacco.  At that point dis-entanglement can begin; it won’t until then.

Or a druggie or a drinker, for other examples, must cement the belief in him- or her-self as a non-addict before commencing a true path toward cleansing that self of the entanglement with drugs of some kind.  The same is true of any habit or practice that the resolute resolver can identify as needing change.  The best news is that we need not wait for New Years’ morning to get started.  There are lots of cycles that we attend to that form perfectly good times to start becoming better humans.

In Eastern traditions there exists a concept called “The Cosmic Clock.”  It’s connected to other concepts related to the “Law” of “Karma:” As ye sow so shall (must) ye reap.  There are many ways of stating this idea.  “What goes around, comes around,” is one.  Even westerners understand it.  The Cosmic Clock starts the cycles of your life when you are born – that’s YOUR true “New Year.”  In line with the concept of being tested in each lifetime, aiming toward self-perfection, you and the people around you start a series of tests upon your birth.  Every year on your birthday you commence a new cycle of both testing and accomplishment, and by the end of that year you are obligated to place your accomplishments – your harvest: what you have “reaped” – on the spiritual altar of your “higher” self… the one you are trying to communicate with through New Years’ resolutions!  These cycles come in groupings of 12: 12 hours, 12 months, 12 years.

It is in your thirteenth year that your own, personal karma begins to cycle into your life.  That is the age of spiritual responsibility, as it were.  Many cultures and spiritual paths recognize this timing with celebrations – or events, at least – marking the end of the first 12 years’ milestone, like a bar-mitzvah.  In every year there will be 12 beginnings we call months; every day there are two beginnings – of 12-hour cycles; every 12 years of our lives there are major beginnings.  Sometimes the kinds of tests this life will include come to 12-hour, 12-month and 12-year “peaks,” together, so to speak, and even comfortable Westerners can detect a point at which testing is severe, a point when “everything goes wrong” at once.

“Every cloud has a silver lining,” is a platitude that then applies.  The lowest point is when there is the greatest opportunity for good, or improvement, or, we might say, Victory over that test.  Karma instructs that the tests you failed to pass the first time (in this life or a previous one) will be presented again, providing the opportunity for personal victory.  Trying to imprint a “resolution” is a response to the spiritual need to prepare yourself for tests your “higher” self knows are coming, and to remove weaknesses that will interfere with your victories.  You might refer to the post of Christmas Eve for another aspect of this: http://www.prudenceleadbetter.com/2017/12/24/the-religious-question/

So, New Years is a big party, presumably a celebration of all we accomplished in the spiritual year just ending.  But, it is also commencement of a year/cycle in preparation for which we are resolved to “be better.”  Pretty cool, thank goodness.

Do You Believe in Magic?

It’s all a matter of belief. We strive for truth, or, at least, we tell ourselves that truth is our highest aspiration. But truth among people is the subject of much argument, if not battle. Our beliefs tell our internal selves what is “true” and what is “false.” Likewise, we have internal judgments about who is trustworthy and who is not. Over thousands of years we have created deep belief structures that “work,” in a sense, to organize societies and to increase, however fitfully, general prosperity and defensive strength. Religion is often a significant basis for progress, but has just as often been a limiter, even to this day.

Prudence suggests that the Judeo-Christian ethical platform has been, ultimately, the most successful of historic belief structures, yet it is assaulted daily as “unscientific” since it accepts “truths” that cannot be proven or tested in a laboratory. When are unshakable beliefs imparted? How is it that some kids prefer gang membership while others become Eagle Scouts? Do we think it happens from a conversation with a 5-year old? From Sesame Street? Pre-school?

Speak to a pre-school teacher and she can describe the wide range of attitudes among 3-year olds, some quite destructive. Where did they form those personalities? Well, at home, obviously, but when? At age two and a half? Age two… or earlier? Somehow very young kids are “empatterned” such that anti-social actions, even pathological actions, are the automatic reactions to stimuli. When are those patterns implanted?

Our suspicion is that the process commences in the womb. Ask an expectant mother about the reactions of her pre-born baby and she can describe how her moods and feelings coincide with movements. When she is stressed and when she is calm and happy there are noticeable differences in the baby’s kicks and turns. Do we think the baby is completely inured to its environment until the moment of birth?

Imagine a baby in the last couple of months of gestation in a home where revenge is the common reaction of the parents – and others – to every slight or act of disrespect. Every source of irritation between husband and wife yields a reaction that the offended party must “get even” with, or get the better of, the offending party. The baby, innocently, will mature with a comfortable reaction toward opposition or disrespect that virtually requires that he or she obtain revenge against the offender. It is what he or she “believes.”

What a different path of human interaction that child will be on; what a different interpretation of what love and hate may be. Think about the “differently socialized” children you’ve known. By the time they enter kindergarten such children are already “marked” for special handling. By the time they are teenagers, some of these revenge-comfortable kids are gang members, either organized or in a company of local “bullies.”

Now, place these boys in a position to enthrall girls who grew up without rational father figures, never knowing how a man should treat a woman, respect her and care for her, along with their children. Such an, in effect, fatherless girl would perceive the feral sexual attentions of just as possibly fatherless boys, as true compassion. Now there are two ill-socialized children having their own children, who gestate and begin post-natal life amidst discord, resentment, poverty and, almost inevitably, vengefulness.

Is urban destruction like Ferguson, Missouri or Baltimore, Maryland at all surprising amidst populations that our own social policies have generated in far less than ideal pre-natal and post-natal family conditions? By foregoing social mores related to marriage and family and child-rearing, have we commenced a process of social disintegration? Most likely. Given this, where do we expect our dishonest politics to lead us?

Because individual power and status is the most vital of purposes for elected “representatives,” the misfortunes and dysfunctions of populations have become sources of political, personal, power. We could not have tolerated, and funded beyond reason, via hundreds of overlapping social-service agencies, social dysfunction for literal decades, unless those expenses served the purposes of Congress and others made powerful thereby. It is not possible to consider our history since the 1960’s and conclude that the trillions of dollars expended on basically failed welfare theories, resulted in failure and explosive government expansion, accidentally!

We are destroying the most successful form of social organization the world has seen, insofar as its basis is individual opportunity, freedom and growth without tyranny. Worse, we have brought ourselves to a political point where we are arguing and fighting about how FAST the Judeo-Christian heritage may be dissolved.

We are maintaining the propagation of new citizens who will not have the opportunity to grow in personal character and integrity. They will not enjoy two-parent, loving nuclear families, nor the reinforcing institutions of church and morality-based education.

We are racing not to the Brave New World, but the Craven.