Authentic Living

One of my new years resolutions in 2018 is to live an authentic life. The immediate question that comes to mind is – Robert, were you not living authentically?

Yes and no.

For sure, I try to be a good person. I think most of the time I succeed in that endeavor. I do not deceive and try to harm none. But my moral compass is not the focus of this change.

I live a genuine life, but many do not know the real me. Of course, there’s no reason for me to put my entire life in the public view. I am not that kind of person. I do not seek to validate my life through social media or my blog.

That said, I have denied myself  the opportunity to connect with my readers in a more genuine way. My books bare aspects of my soul, but my communications have suffered under two decades of trained corporate filtering.

It’s time to change that. It’s time to be authentic.

What does that mean for you, the reader? It means you’ll be hearing a lot more from me in 2018 and beyond. Rather than posts and messages sieved through a business-minded filter, I will be sharing details about my life, thoughts, and philosophy in a meaningful way that I hope you’ll be able to use in your life.

About 10 years ago, shortly before I started my first novel, I had a spiritual awakening. I emerged from years of post-Catholic atheistic malaise and dove head-first into exploring the world’s religions. I spent considerable time examining both popular and esoteric belief systems and philosophies and learned a lot. Some of that wisdom has seeped into the pages of my books.

Around the time of my second book, I discovered unknown fragments of my heritage. At least 85% of my ancestry comes from Irish and Native American  lineages. I had always felt a connection to these traditions, but never knew why. When I embraced the cultures, I fell in love with the Celtic traditions of ages past.

My ancestors who lived and died in Ireland gave me the benefit of a wonderful rich mystical heritage that has invigorated me in my spiritual studies. My writing improved when I connected with these traditions, and I felt as though I was finally living authentically.

Despite this, my public connections via social media and my blog were still twinged with marketing fluff. Sure, you read the real me – I actually typed those things and mean every single word. But I kept so much back from you. My celebration of the seasons, my rejoice in the majestic elements of nature, and the utter joy I feel being part of this beautiful creation is something I intend on sharing with you, not keeping to myself.

This doesn’t mean things are going to be all happy-shiny-wonderful. I adore the light and seek its truth and wisdom, but I will not be afraid to dive into shadow. It is in destruction we see the seeds of creation, and no life can be lived with any modicum of truth and balance without addressing the darker sides of our nature.

In the embrace of shadow we vanquish our demons and welcome the soothing warmth of day.

So, now it’s time to introduce myself as the real me. Robert, the author, the writer, the mystical spiritualist, the historian, philosopher, and general goofball who is trying, just like you, to make sense of this world.

Pleased to meet you. Let’s restart this journey together.

The Little House of Cultural Expansion

I watched an episode of Little House on the Prairie named Injun Kid last night and was struck by a pivotal moment of cultural expansion. It was subtle, but well played, and analyzing it yields a fascinating look into human psychology and spirituality.

In the episode, a half-Native American boy and his mother arrive in Walnut Grove. His grandfather is embarrassed by his presence and insists that his daughter say she adopted him. When the boy refuses to stand for prayer at church, his grandfather yells at him and informs him he must comply or be punished. The child runs away to a nearby stream and prays for peace between with his grandfather.

Laura inadvertently interrupts his prayer. He explains that he was praying.

souix_prayer

Instead of reacting in fear or hatred because he had a different religion, she reached for common ground.

You mean you were saying a Sioux prayer?”

In that moment, Laura’s entire cultural perspective is changed. She had known nothing but Christianity all her life. In an instant, her mind expanded to see the layer above her faith – the fact that others have belief systems radically different from her own. The moment was well played by Melissa Gilbert. She caught the nuance of the exchange quite well.

Totally absorbing yourself in your culture and religion is an incredible experience – one that benefits the universe by allowing it to gain another unique perspective on the zeitgeist of your cultural paradigm. But when you step back and see other cultures, compare their similarities and differences, your mind expands.

Simply knowing other belief systems exist will invariably change yours, which is why many religions fight to keep outside influence from “corrupting” adherents. It’s a shame, because some of the deepest faith and spiritual wellness one can have is by practicing spirituality in full knowledge that yours is not the only valid approach.

We all bring a unique piece to the universal jigsaw puzzle. We are singularly qualified to offer our unique channeling of spirit to others and the world. When we do this in full knowledge of what others offer, our own experience is enhanced. Our mind is expanded, and we stand on the precipice of evolving to a higher plane of existence.

Star Trek: The Next Generation sums this idea up nicely in the next to last scene of All Good Things…

Faith and Responsibility

The universe rewards faith and responsibility in equal measure.

No matter your belief system, you probably would agree that if you have faith, at least in your own abilities, you are more likely to succeed. This has been shown time in time again both in studies and in most people’s personal lives.

Religious and spiritual people tend to have faith in a greater force than themselves. Some call it God, some refer to multiple gods, some call it the universe, the all, or some other unique but all-encompassing name. Whatever you choose to call it, or not, faith in something is important for success.

Responsibility is seemingly at odds with faith. If we are to believe things will work out as we desire, should we just wait for it to happen? If our lives have a plan and we are following them regardless, should we push anyway, or allow it to come to us?

To better answer this question, outside perspective is helpful. If you believed an injured person will heal regardless of what you do, would you still render them aid and help however you could? Of course – most people would.

Turning this back to ourselves – imagine you are faced with a difficult challenge. Since most of us are, this isn’t hard to imagine. We can have faith that we will overcome it, and this will increase our chance of success. But we still must put forth the effort in meeting that goal.

For a deeper perspective, I like to turn to nature. Animals have complete faith in the universe providing for them. Though some stockpile food for the winter, a sign of responsibility, they do not live in disbelief that the universe will work out the way it should. In nature, faith and responsibility go hand in hand in perfect balance. As always, we can take a page from the Earth’s equilibrium.

Having faith and personal responsibility are not mutually exclusive.

The World is Ending Saturday

I don’t usually see messages of Armageddon in our local media, but this one caught my eye: World Will End Saturday, According to the Internet. If my local media is carrying the story, why it must be serious business.

Rather than immediately laugh at this, I thought I’d actually watch the video. I gave it a whole 4 minutes and 21 seconds of my life.

Goofy special effects and acting aside, there are somewhat accurate astrological references in David Meade’s work, but that’s about it. He claims this somehow has to do with Niburu, the on-again-off-again destroyer of worlds that seems to never make a visual appearance.

The constellation Virgo always chases Leo because Leo comes before Virgo. And yes, Leo is a lion, associated with the Sun (or son, depending upon your interpretation), and Virgo is a symbol of virginity and womanhood. I suppose this is the tie-in with Meade’s prediction (the virgin Mary giving birth to a child), but it’s just weak astrological association at best combined with some sketchy religious reasoning.

Of course, like every end of the world prediction, when this one doesn’t come to pass it will be forgotten, and a new date will be trust upon the world for it’s demise. The prognosticators are never called to apologize or atone for their repeated mistakes.

We can glean a positive message from this: living in the now, as though you are on borrowed time, is good.

September Fog and Winter Snow

There’s a saying that there will be a snow in winter for each foggy morning in September. This year I’m finally going to put this to the test.

My wife told me about this folk axiom years ago. We’d remember it when we saw a foggy September morning, then promptly forget it the next day. This cycle repeated itself throughout the month, and come October it had disappeared from our minds.

I’m no meteorologist, but I suspect this has to do with the moisture in fall. The more moisture in early fall, the more available moisture in the winter. Even if this is correct, I’m not sure if it applies only to the southern United States or elsewhere. Regardless, if it has any accuracy, it could prove to be a valuable forecasting tool.

This year, upon seeing our first fog on the third of September, I vowed to keep a record and compare it to the number of snow days this winter. For two mornings in a row it was foggy, so if this proves to be true we’re in for at least two snowfalls.

I’m fully aware that even if this correlation works this year, it may be a coincidence. Testing this would require multiple year experiments in multiple locations. Regardless, the results will be interesting.

At least until spring, when I will have completely forgotten about it.

Judgement (or How to Be Human)

It is our task in this life to judge. It is what we are built to do. To judge, discern, and examine self, and this world we chose to be in, is our most noble task.

One of the greatest misconceptions about the spiritual journey is that we live in judgement. This notion of a great book filled with our wrongs is simply a human misconception. Since we judge, we assume that any higher being would judge. I submit that any higher being would have no need for this trait of humanity.

Spirituality is not about living up to a list of principles carved in stone, rather it is a journey to examine the mystery of why we are certainly more than we appear to be. It is a quest for inner peace, to gain profound knowledge, and to maximize our delivery of the most precious thing we can give to others: love.

The Patterns of Life

The universe has an uncanny and universal pattern of repeated themes at all levels of its existence.

At the largest level the patterns of galaxies resemble living tissue under a microscope:

750214main_CIBER-science-graphic-670.jpg

The roads, cities, rivers, and suburbs have a strikingly similar pattern:

ISS034-E-5935.JPG

From our view of the night sky, the lines between stars (the constellations) draw many distinct and beautifully random patterns.

tumblr_inline_odrs1gBbuY1tzhl5u_1280.jpg

This pattern is again repeated in cells and tissues in plants and mammals:

1280px-Medulla_oblongata_-_posterior_-_cn_xii_-_very_high_mag.jpg

And each level of the universe, both natural and man-made objects exhibit the same pattern. While this is an astonishing thought, consider that this pattern of correspondence covers even time itself.

The day and night cycles of Earth, the light half and the dark half of the day, are mirrored by the light half (spring and summer) and dark half (fall and winter) of the year. The year, like the day, repeats, and following this cycle plants, animals, and all other life on Earth are born, mature, grow old, and die. If you are inclined to believe in reincarnation, this pattern is repeated again just like the days and years on the calendar.

To enjoy this level of consistent coincidence throughout our existence doesn’t require any sort of belief. You can imagine the entire universe is the daydream of some supernatural creator, intelligent design, or even a cosmic accident. The beauty in what we see, and the patterns sprinkled throughout, is undeniable.