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Is This Just Wishful Thinking?


freeasabird
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Maybe wishful thinking isn't the best term because I can't even say for certain whether the afterlife is something to be desired or not, but sometimes when I ponder the big question, you know "pick the right god and right way to worship it, your eternal soul depends on it" I wonder if maybe it's just one big test. And sometimes I think the right answer and path to god is to abandon every single piece of manmade religion. But then I start to think about the bigger question to that conclusion: "how do you worship a 'personal' hidden god without a worship manual?" Has anybody else gone through this? Is it just a phase in the deconversion process? Are there any good books about this version of deism? Please share your thoughts and experiences.

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We don't need a manual for having personal relationships with other persons. A relationship is based on the actual relationship, not a book telling us what phrases to use or specific approved ethical behaviors. If you have to have a handbook to commune with someone, it's not personal or intimate. A holy book defeats the purpose of intimate.

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Yeah I don't really buy the whole personal relationship thing. If I thought that was true I think he would have contacted me by now. I'm happy to worship my maker if he so desires, but how do you do that without knowing anything about it, that's what I'm trying to get at.

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You use the word "worship" because you've been brought up in a judeo-christian context. I'd say the first step would be to abandon that word all-together when approaching matters such as these.

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You use the word "worship" because you've been brought up in a judeo-christian context. I'd say the first step would be to abandon that word all-together when approaching matters such as these.

Very true. Worship and relationship are contrary in my opinion. If you're worshiping someone, it's more like the relationship of a serf has to a king. Submission and servitude comes to mind rather than personal or intimate friendship. A personal relationship is much more about being equal and mutual respect. A king who promises an eternal torment based on how you believe in certain concepts he made is not showing respect for your free will or person. If God truly was a friend, he would be a lot more forthcoming, lenient, and caring for all things, not just his own ego.

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You use the word "worship" because you've been brought up in a judeo-christian context. I'd say the first step would be to abandon that word all-together when approaching matters such as these.

Very true. Worship and relationship are contrary in my opinion. If you're worshiping someone, it's more like the relationship of a serf has to a king. Submission and servitude comes to mind rather than personal or intimate friendship. A personal relationship is much more about being equal and mutual respect. A king who promises an eternal torment based on how you believe in certain concepts he made is not showing respect for your free will or person. If God truly was a friend, he would be a lot more forthcoming, lenient, and caring for all things, not just his own ego.

 

Relationship is also the wrong word. Once again, judeo-christian context.

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The best advice I can think of to give is to "Look"

 

Some people will say that you should look within, and others say look around, but I don't see the universe making any distinction between within and without. So why should we?

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And sometimes I think the right answer and path to god is to abandon every single piece of manmade religion. But then I start to think about the bigger question to that conclusion: "how do you worship a 'personal' hidden god without a worship manual?"

 

I see abandoning man made religion or in other words, revealed religions and god(s) as a very good place to start. It seems to me that each person has their own "worship" manual built in. What moves you? Maybe this is a silly example, but beautiful music can really move me. A song that totally moves me is "Thank you for the Music" by ABBA. What are we thanking for the music? I don't know, maybe nothing, but a thanksgiving wells up inside of me that music exists. At times, I really do wish I knew where to direct my gratitude for things.

 

I don't see "worshiping" as worshiping God, as in some sky-daddy that cares about how many hairs are on your head. I see it as allowing yourself to bask in and enjoy the things that move you, and that loving God is loving yourself, which can be very hard to do sometimes.

 

That's my 2 cents, and is what's working for me at the current time. Your mileage may vary.

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"how do you worship a 'personal' hidden god without a worship manual?"

You might as well learn how to sit with uncertainty. Religion sells certitude. The actual, real world is uncertain and there is much we not only don't, but can't know about it. The universe is much larger and more complex than we can imagine. Our intellects and senses are not up to the task of fully grasping it.

 

My personal belief is that the universe is also far more random and lacking in purpose and direction than we care to think. We're always superimposing explanations, purpose, and direction where they don't exist because that's what we're wired to do. When you try to do that in areas where there is not sufficient data, you end up with random and/or crazy ideas.

 

Forget your dream of a nice tidy package, a user's manual, or anything like them.

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At times, I really do wish I knew where to direct my gratitude for things.

And in times of stress I admit that I miss being able to mentally "turn it over to God" even though I never actually acted as if he were going to take the slightest responsibility for anything, seeing as he never did. He was "supposed" to, though, and that took a slight amount of pressure off me.

 

I've also known fellow agnostics / atheists to gaze heavenward and offer thanks for something that went well. Even when it's done with irony, it seems like an instinct. All it really shows, though, I think, is how deeply ingrained this kind of thing is to our culture and thinking.

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And in times of stress I admit that I miss being able to mentally "turn it over to God"

 

Same here. When my father-in-law died in a tragic accident a few months ago, I was SO wanting to pray. In the end, the preacher at the funeral ticked me off so bad with his "God has a plan" nonsense, that the urge to pray went right out the window.

 

 

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Maybe wishful thinking isn't the best term because I can't even say for certain whether the afterlife is something to be desired or not, but sometimes when I ponder the big question, you know "pick the right god and right way to worship it, your eternal soul depends on it" I wonder if maybe it's just one big test. And sometimes I think the right answer and path to god is to abandon every single piece of manmade religion. But then I start to think about the bigger question to that conclusion: "how do you worship a 'personal' hidden god without a worship manual?" Has anybody else gone through this? Is it just a phase in the deconversion process? Are there any good books about this version of deism? Please share your thoughts and experiences.

 

Would your deist god be necessarily personal? I feel like the "relationship"-type god and the "king"-type god that have been mentioned do not fit the basic deist conception of a god that observes but no longer acts. I only have a fuzzy idea of deist philosophy, though. In my deconversion I went straight from looking forward to eternal bliss with everything I loved to a godless universe where your consciousness ends forever at death. It was a rough landing.

 

The fear of an uncertain eternity (what if I choose wrong?) was the biggest thing holding me to Christianity and my biggest struggle coming out of it. I don't think I got over it (if I am over it) until I could think about it and decide that even if it was true, I was happy with the path I had chosen for my life. I feel like those fears were some of the "childish things" I put behind me. I'm sure my opinion on this will change the more people who are close to me die, though. Even now I entertain thoughts of scientific breakthroughs prolonging our productive years and possibly even extending consciousness in some form.

 

I have several guiding ideas behind how I create value now, and one is sort of expressed by the Mary Oliver quote "You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves." I think that this is the most rational response to the dilemma of how to "worship" a deist god, too. Be the best human being you can, enjoy the time you have, and make the world better for your presence. I don't know what better worship any good god could ask for.

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And in times of stress I admit that I miss being able to mentally "turn it over to God"

 

Same here. When my father-in-law died in a tragic accident a few months ago, I was SO wanting to pray. In the end, the preacher at the funeral ticked me off so bad with his "God has a plan" nonsense, that the urge to pray went right out the window.

Yes, the prayer thing was just a mental habit really, sort of the metaphysical version of rocking back and forth or sucking your thumb. Just another way to stimulate serotonin production under stress.

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The best advice I can think of to give is to "Look"

 

Some people will say that you should look within, and others say look around, but I don't see the universe making any distinction between within and without. So why should we?

Ah Noggy, you touched on something I've been processing for the last few months now. In a sense of the word we do make distinctions because of how we relate to the world. So when it comes to Spirit, which this really all is, we put different faces on it and different ways to relate to it. First to say though I think the word relationship is not entirely invalid in that you can speak about your relationship with yourself. True? We speak in dualistic terms, even when we are referring to ourselves.

 

To me the best to put my mind around it is to think of it as my experience of Spirit, or the ineffable, or the transcendent. That sense within me, in others, and in the world itself are positional references which open up different perspectives and experiences in us. People relate to Spirit in 1st person, 2nd person, and 3rd person 'relationships'. 1st person is Spirit within, Oneness, Christ Consciousness, Buddha Mind, I AM, Awakened mind. There is no distinction between you and the Divine. 2nd person is the Holy Other, the Transcendent One we bow low before being so beyond the sense of small self we have. This relates our ego to Absolute Power and Infinity in humbling and awe inspiring relationship to Spirit from the position of seeing the world through the average mind. 3rd person is to see Spirit in all the things, all life, all matter, all existence, radiant and vibrant, living and flowing. It is the perspective of being outside seeing it objectively.

 

The problem with what many take with the 2nd person perspective of the Divine is that they imagine in on the mythological level, and so to "worship" in that context of the Holy Other, follows a certain mode that we can't relate to with a modern mind. To worship in a more modern, more self-realized frame of mind in relation to the Ineffable, is not so much about appeasing the deity for favors with garlands and offerings, but to recognize humility before the Infinite in an act of putting Other as high above our ego. The action can be seen a 'worship' in the sense of offering love. I just read yet another quote from Meister Eckhart the other night that says this, “If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it is enough.” That to me, is the true act of worship. It expresses your relationship to all that is. To thank is to relate in the 2nd person to That.

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To me the best to put my mind around it is to think of it as my experience of Spirit, or the ineffable, or the transcendent. That sense within me, in others, and in the world itself are positional references which open up different perspectives and experiences in us. People relate to Spirit in 1st person, 2nd person, and 3rd person 'relationships'. 1st person is Spirit within, Oneness, Christ Consciousness, Buddha Mind, I AM, Awakened mind. There is no distinction between you and the Divine. 2nd person is the Holy Other, the Transcendent One we bow low before being so beyond the sense of small self we have. This relates our ego to Absolute Power and Infinity in humbling and awe inspiring relationship to Spirit from the position of seeing the world through the average mind. 3rd person is to see Spirit in all the things, all life, all matter, all existence, radiant and vibrant, living and flowing. It is the perspective of being outside seeing it objectively.

 

The problem with what many take with the 2nd person perspective of the Divine is that they imagine in on the mythological level, and so to "worship" in that context of the Holy Other, follows a certain mode that we can't relate to with a modern mind. To worship in a more modern, more self-realized frame of mind in relation to the Ineffable, is not so much about appeasing the deity for favors with garlands and offerings, but to recognize humility before the Infinite in an act of putting Other as high above our ego. The action can be seen a 'worship' in the sense of offering love. I just read yet another quote from Meister Eckhart the other night that says this, “If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it is enough.” That to me, is the true act of worship. It expresses your relationship to all that is. To thank is to relate in the 2nd person to That.

 

Those words are really a reminder that "words" are not that which they describe. In the exact same what that a "menu is not a meal". Words point to experiences, and to understand everything is to experience it. It's the difference between knowledge by description and knowledge by acquaintance.

 

Reading is an experience! And some reading inspires realization of what is inherently "known", but still, that realization translates into the experience of Living. And life reveals itself.

 

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I just read yet another quote from Meister Eckhart the other night that says this, “If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it is enough.” That to me, is the true act of worship. It expresses your relationship to all that is.

I am very grateful for some things -- others not so much. My gratitude expresses my relationship to all that I am grateful for, but not to "all that is". That's a bit of a leap. Nor does it seem realistic. As a finite being in an infinite universe that is indifferent to me and in many respects random and irrational in its operation, it's just unfair to yourself to demand of yourself that you be grateful for All That Is.

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I just read yet another quote from Meister Eckhart the other night that says this, “If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it is enough.” That to me, is the true act of worship. It expresses your relationship to all that is.

I am very grateful for some things -- others not so much. My gratitude expresses my relationship to all that I am grateful for, but not to "all that is". That's a bit of a leap. Nor does it seem realistic. As a finite being in an infinite universe that is indifferent to me and in many respects random and irrational in its operation, it's just unfair to yourself to demand of yourself that you be grateful for All That Is.

My friend Bob, I think I've just seen the crux of our difference in perspective! I don't see the universe as indifferent. First that you say, "demand of yourself that you be grateful", is completely never a single thought in my mind, or rather heart. There is no external expectation laid upon me. It is a natural, out-flowing of gratitude to "whatever", for the fact of being, in and of itself! It's not circumstantial. It's pure, raw, existence. It is a respond to being within myself. The universe is for itself, and I am That. If you view yourself separate from it, then you imagine that that small "you" somehow needs to be appeased. You project an expectation from that perspective upon the Universe, and when if fails you see it as indifferent. But what if you are not the center?

 

What if you are the experience of it? What if you are a hand feeling the heat of fire, the pain of the body and mind, and the joy of love and birth? What if you are an eye of the universe? Then all you live, all you breath, all you see is an expression of being itself in its own becoming, its unfolding, and you are That?

 

As I stop, as I step outside all those things which I build up around me that I identify as me to see, to experience being outside those things, to see those as mere objects of my own particular plate on the table in front this body, then my identity is far less vested in those things as defining me. It's hardly a break from engagement in their reality, but the freedom of spirit in making those the particulars of my particular life allows them to be held, looked at, responded to, and taken in as part of the experience of being itself, but not its definition.

 

I suspect this will sound strange and even detached, but it's not. It's actually being quite grounded in reality. I can tell you that what started this response to yours responding to me talking about expressions of gratitude... I wish I could express it more clearly, through all damned explanations and words to the simple welling up from within to an expression of that to all that is, and to breathe in that, and to breathe it out into that.... I know of no words that can express that. To me, that quote says it the best it can, "If the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it is enough.

 

It doesn't stop with expression of that, but in being and becoming that.

 

 

P.S. I am not a finite being. I am infinite being. So are you.

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P.S. I am not a finite being. I am infinite being. So are you.

Define "infinite".

 

To me it is without limitations, which means, having whatever ability and enablement I would need for anything I would need to accomplish.

 

I do not even have the tiny subset of "infinite" that would get this damned Logitec Universal Remote to work reliably.

 

Perhaps more poignantly, I did not have even the tiny subset of "infinite" that would have cured my late wife or the subset that would put to right a number of things creating pointless drama for me in the present day. I even hired a mechanic to fix a leaky tire today. Infinite? I don't think so.

 

I don't think you're infinite either. I think you feel infinite but I don't think this remote would deign to work for you, either ;-)

 

And don't tell me it's not about petty insignificant things like one's electromechanical contrivances getting their shit together. Infinite means what it means. Infinite is about everything, by definition.

 

If you want to know where I am at philosophically, do what I did this past few days and read Schopenhauer. He and I have become butt buddies. I have always said "life is not a rational proposition" and here I read him saying "the universe is an irrational place". I have always felt my life has been all about constantly lowering the bar and here he's writing about having super-low expectations as a way of life. I don't really want to hear this stuff but at least it resonates and is consistent with my practical experience of living.

 

Now, I would much prefer your groove but I fail to see how it would be substantively different from what I spent years getting myself out of which was a situation where a happy cosmology was superimposed on the real world with the result that I experienced tons of cognitive dissonance trying to put square pegs in round holes. If the universe is a friendly place and I am not only part of it, but AM it, then my experience should comport with that happy assessment. 'Tain't so.

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If you want to know where I am at philosophically, do what I did this past few days and read Schopenhauer. He and I have become butt buddies. I have always said "life is not a rational proposition" and here I read him saying "the universe is an irrational place".

I don't have the luxury of time this morning to begin to respond as I wish to, but since you mentioned you have a new butt-buddy above, then this quote from him, from Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation might help us have a 'gay old time' together. It pretty much says what I'm saying. I'll have to 'flesh it out' latter. ;)

 

"When one is no longer concerned with the Where, the When, the Why and the What-for of things, but only and alone with the What, and lets go even of all abstract thoughts about them, intellectual concepts and consciousness, but instead of all that, gives over the whole force of one's spirit to the act of perceiving, becomes absorbed in it and lets every bit of one's consciousness be filled in the quite contemplation of the natural object immediately present - be it a landscape, a tree, a rock, a building, or anything else at all; actually and fully
losing oneself
in the object: forgetting one's individuality, one's will, and remaining there only as a pure subject, a clear mirror to the object - so that it is as though the object alone were there, without anyone regarding it, and to such a degree that one might no longer distinguish the beholder from the act of beholding, then the two have become one..."

 

I don't know about you, but that's sounds a whole lot like everything I've been saying. More later.

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The universe developed consciousness.

 

We ARE the universes way to understand itself.

This is a terrific "what if" thought experiment but is inherently unverifiable. I call it "the cosmic sock puppet theory".

 

Besides, it makes me think of someone tied to a chair with toothpicks in their eyes to keep them open, being forced to witness something they don't want to see. Too much of my life has been like that. An unwilling witness to something that has gone off the rails.

 

The fundamental inequity of life is that we are not willing participants -- none of us asked to be here. It's fundamentally impertinent to require that of us absent full disclosure and knowledgable acceptance by us. In recognition of this, the baroque theory of reincarnation has been developed and people make the (again unverifiable) claim that we DID agree to this, we just don't remember doing so. PLEASE.

 

Since we can't be everywhere in all times and know everything (and comprehend it to boot), the best we can do is to behave in agreement with our experience and put a minimum of theory and interpretation and speculation upon it. This is what I am attempting to do. This is why I left Christianity; it didn't comport with my reality -- and frankly, since this is me, living my life, my reality is the only one that matters (or should matter) to me personally. If someone else's reality is actually consistent with what one would logically expect if there is an omnibenevolence steering the ship, more power to them. If your reality is consistent with being a cosmic sock puppet, and you don't mind being reduced to that role, more power to you.

 

MY experience is consistent with a great big beautiful, doesn't-give-two-shits-about-Bob-or-anyone-he-knows universe in which Bob has been unwillingly inserted to unwillingly experience random, ultimately meaningless stuff, and then die. The end. I wish it were otherwise but welcome to my reality. So what I do, as best I can, is hold fast to the few stable pleasantries in my sphere or awareness, compartmentalize the hell out of the rest, and find something vaguely resembling happiness when I can, by having low expectations and letting go of all my hopes and dreams I once had for my life. I know this upsets the hell out of some people because it flies in the face of how THEY are coping with life, which is to basically deny that it sucks. I used to tell myself stuff like that, too, but again -- cognitive dissonance.

 

My stance is absolutely necessary for me if I am to remain sane. Sorry.

 

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming :-)

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I don't know about you, but [my Schopenhauer quote] sounds a whole lot like everything I've been saying. More later.

Yes, and he was wont to study the Upanishads at bedtime, too. I'm not saying I would necessarily agree with everything he's concluded but should I, hypothetically, see the light he's talking about, it would have been because I found my way in, I'd imagine, pretty similarly to how he did, which was basically to say that life is shit, people are fickle, bugger it all and oh, what a nice tree over there. Bwuh-ha-ha!

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I don't know about you, but [my Schopenhauer quote] sounds a whole lot like everything I've been saying. More later.

Yes, and he was wont to study the Upanishads at bedtime, too. I'm not saying I would necessarily agree with everything he's concluded but should I, hypothetically, see the light he's talking about, it would have been because I found my way in, I'd imagine, pretty similarly to how he did, which was basically to say that life is shit, people are fickle, bugger it all and oh, what a nice tree over there. Bwuh-ha-ha!

Now I'm going to make myself late to work for this, but alas... I'll add one more from him for your pondering before I come back to all this later (I do understand where you're coming from BTW, been there myself):

"The person absorbed in this mode of seeing is no long an individual - the individual has lost himself in the perception - but is a pure, will-less, painless, timeless, Subject of Apprehension".

 

Keep digging.... later. BTW, this does NOT mean 'numb'. It is freedom.

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