1. Everything is connected
"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world." -John Muir
Evidently, this isn't exactly what John Muir said but he said it several different ways and it gets the point across, http://www.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit/writings/misquotes.aspx . When you destroy one thing, you are affecting something else, maybe a million something elses (don't know if that's a word.) I can't think about it too long because I get overwhelmed. But, when you think about it in a positive way, it's better. Take a smile, it's contagious. If you smile at one person walking down the street and that person smiles at another, and so on and so forth, the smile realistically could travel around the world. If one person each picked up a piece of trash every day, think of the good that could come of it. For me, this breaks it down into doable terms and I don't get overwhelmed. :)
2. Humans are not the pinnacle of creation but one of many creations on planet Earth and among planet Earth that have the right to exist and who need each other.
Just because we evolved beyond other species in terms of speech, technology, etc. does not mean that we do not need the other species. It does not mean we can just destroy them at will. Doing so will lead to our own undoing. It may not be immediate, but it will happen. For one very small example, look at the blight that took out the American Chestnut trees in the Appalachians. Not only did it devastate those living in that area but it changed their history. That was just one species of tree in one minute area of the world. For more on the blight and the American Chestnut tree go to http://www.acf.org/ .
3. Higher being
I think arguing about whether or not there is a god, or how many gods, if it's a he or she, or which god is right is useless. I think the concept of a higher being is much bigger than what any of us can really comprehend. Putting it into comprehensible terms is fine because I think some people need that tangible form but that form is going to be different for different people. There's not going to be a right or wrong. To me, the universe itself is the higher power; that's where the know all/be all comes in.
4. Everything happens for a reason.
I know this is very cliche and people say it all the time but it resonates in me. It goes back to everything being connected and using a form of karma (cause and effect, not necessarily reincarnation.) There's a fabric within the universe, when a corner is pulled, the rest of the fabric moves. When a fold is smoothed, another is formed. There are a ton of stories where someone had some minor, unfortunate thing befall them only to find out later that they were saved from a major disaster of some kind. I know the cynics will say that you can always look back an find some coincidence or whatever but I've had it happen to me too many times.
I do believe that what you put into this world comes back to you. I am extremely judgmental and have often found myself in situations where I had judged someone else's actions harshly and I turned around and had to do the same thing. So, while I unfortunately still have a judgmental side, I also know how to be humble. I remind myself never to wish bad things on people because 1, they may be having a bad day and 2, they may be doing the same to me. We've all been there in one way or another; no matter how much someone tries to hide it.
I don't know if there's an afterlife. Honestly, whatever higher being is out there, I am sure that he/she/it/them would not want us living our lives worrying about what is going to happen to us when we die. We should be living our lives. We should be striving to make each day count. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been walking the talk, but that's one of the reasons I started thinking about all of this and writing it down. We were made with an innate moral center. Of course, people debate where that comes from; whatever, I don't care. I just know it's there. Using that moral center, which may differ slightly person to person, we should be striving to make this world a better place. I don't mean by pushing our philosophies, politics, or religions on other people. I mean by blowing bubbles at the park, taking groceries in for an elderly person, doing a flash mob at a town square, smiling at someone who looks down, saving a snake in the middle of the road, teaching the Mexican janitor an English word a day, laughing with a baby.....you get the point. If there's an afterlife, it won't matter because you've lived your life to the best of your ability with what you were given. If you use religion along the way to guide you, that's awesome! If there are pearly gates in the end and I'm questioned as to why I should be allowed in, I would much rather say it was because I was loving, accepting, and I tried to make myself and others happy than that I adhered to one religion and tried to get everyone else around me to believe the same.
7. Peace is possible.
I really think it is. Do I think it will happen? No, because we will never be able to get everyone to believe #2. (heehee, I said number 2)
8. There is always a balance.
OK, so the universe does this balancing act. You can't have one thing without the other. This kind of pulls from some of my other points. You can't have good without evil. With that said, there's not this huge battle between good and evil because again, you have to have one for the other to exist; you can't have light without dark, there's no up without down, etc. So, for me, this knocks out the idea of heaven and hell. There may be other planes, other existences, but not this splitting of good people and bad people.
This balance also refers to the energy in the universe. This energy is what sustains everything. Energy can be transferred from one thing to another but it cannot be generated from nothing, or at last not in the terms that I'm talking about here. So, if something dies out, its energy goes somewhere, something else gains energy ----> tug at one thing, something else is affected. One thing is certain, nature will always set things straight in the end.
In our lives, isn't it balance that we typically are trying to achieve? In terms of World Peace, what would that involve - a balance of power; no one could have the upper hand or that would not be true peace. All of this mimics the bigger picture.
It has been proven scientifically that when a group of people gather and think together upon a single thought, there is a measurable rise in energy. If there is a rise in energy, that means something is taking place and that something is probably something beyond what we can fathom. We may not be able to fathom the outcome of prayer but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of the power of mass thought/prayer. Not everyone believes in the word "prayer" but you don't have to. Prayer can be meditation, moment of silence, drumming, anything that allows people to bring their thoughts together to the same purpose.
10. Seven Spiritual Laws of Success - http://www.chopra.com/dailyinspiration
While these laws are for success (one of Chopra's books), I've been using them for meditation and to generally live by. Some of them are actually fairly difficult for me but not because they are complex, because they require me to actually be aware not only of my surroundings, but of myself. If I use the laws as guidance, I can't just flow through life unwittingly, I have to actually pay attention. Aha!
11. What do I actually believe?
None of what I have written is new. It is a mixture of things I have picked up along the way that have made sense, spoken to me and guided me to be a better person. I don't have the final solution and I don't think anyone does. You have to go with what your mind, heart, body and soul tell you to do; and it has to be a balance (there's that word again) of those entities. The right way to live and the way to happiness is not going to be the same for each person.
Even after writing all of this, I know that I can change my mind; it's a never ending quest. That's the beauty of it all.
- I can and do laugh at myself.
- I am capable of having intelligent and rational conversations regarding politics and religion without any agenda but rarely do because most people are not capable of this.
- I've learned more from my pets than than anyone else.
- I laugh when people fall. I laugh when I fall, which I do often. :)
- I'm very sarcastic and I like to play pranks on people.
- I was in the Navy for 10 years. Yes, I want peace but I'm also realistic. I would not give up my time in the service for anything.
- I get angry, especially when I see things like bigotry, hate, malice, and all those other bad words. But, I try to turn my anger to action when I can, even if it's in a small way and I'm getting better at it (watch Ellen, http://www.ellentv.com/ , it helps.)
- I never try to stop someone from learning more about a religion, philosophy, way of life, whatever. I may throw in a cautionary word to always look at all options but I don't stop anyone. My life is where it is because of different doctrines and belief systems.
- I talk to a higher being. I'm not sure who I think I'm talking to - the universe, maybe. I don't think it matters though. I just know that I try to make sure it's not always a request or to shout in anger. I try to throw some thanks in there too. And I'll be honest, I get angry. I got angry when my brother died. I got angry when my sister died. I got angry when my brother lost his legs. I said a LOT of fuck you's. Did those things happen for a reason? Absolutely. Am I angry about it? You better fucking believe it.
- I say all this to say that I am human which makes me a hypocrite, it means I make mistakes, it means I will not always follow my own rules. However, with my belief system and inner monologues, I'm going to wake up each day and try to do my best. Am I going to achieve this every day? Nope. But that's ok. It'll make for some damn good stories, right? :)