Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Power of Negative Thinking

Self-help books tell us how important it is to think positive thoughts, but truth is, the negative ones come more easily to mind. Someone asked recently whether there is anything to voodoo, in particular, to the power of hexes. I don't know much about voodoo except that it came to America with African slaves. Like any other religion, I'm sure it has changed and evolved through the ages and has its positive aspects. However, like most non-practitioners, when I think voodoo, I think voodoo doll.

I've been tempted to poke a few holes in one in honor of a particularly irksome person or two. But, I know I could not do it, not because I believe in curses, but because I believe in the power of negative thoughts. It's not just that I don't want to be responsible for one of my bad thoughts hurting someone else, but that I believe that whatever I put out into the universe is what I will get back. I have enough problems. I don't need one of my random bad thoughts scooting around the world and coming up behind me and saying, "Gotcha!" when I'm not looking.

All kidding aside, can you be hurt by a hex or a curse? Not unless you believe in the power of the hex or the curse. That's my answer and I'm sticking to it. It's all about psyching out the other person. I suspect that letting the hexee know that he has been targeted may be advantageous. If one goes to go to the trouble of getting the voodoo doll together and poking those pins in just so, it must be frustrating to see the victim stroll around obliviously unaware of the ill feeling that is supposed to be hurting him. Surely leaving a noxious band of dead weeds in a strategic location would speed up the process. Add a deceased cockroach, something black and sticky, tie it up with a black ribbon, and voilĂ , psych!

I read a great article by someone who calls herself "Madame Splash" about the power of negative intuition which expresses quite well the essence of the effect that negative thinking has on our bodies. Please click HERE to read the whole article and check out her other articles. There's also a link in my LINKS box.

Close your eyes and think of two contrasting people, one somebody you adore and another that you intensely dislike.

Think about each person in turn, and pay attention to what occurs in your body, particularly observe your emotions, your feelings, and other areas of tension.

If you became aware of the changes within your body, you had what we call a metaphysical "intuitive" experience, simply by "observing" your primeval reaction.

Remember the last time you could have "cut the air with a knife" with a sulker, or felt "completely stupid" around a person who treated you as such. How about a person who didn't trust you, for no good reason at all? Can you recall how you "felt" on the end of this kind of transmission?

Every individual who has experienced rejection as a result of racial, societal or belief structures has experienced this form of silent rejection, and this begins to explain what we mean by "negative intuition".

All dominating and condemning thoughts are intuitively broadcast to a recipient, and you don't need wax dolls and pins to emit harm. Gather a group of people together with the same objective of slander, gossip or ridicule and the result is merely Voodoo*!

Well said, Madam Splash. I could not have said it better . . . hence the quote.

Well, this has not settled the curse issue, so much as pointed out that negative thinking does have an observable effect on the body. If you allow yourself to be psyched out by the idea of someone cursing you, then yes, you could be hurt, but it will be you hurting yourself.

My advice? Shut the psychic door! Close the intuitive window! Let all the bad vibes coming your way bounce or slide off. Water off a duck's back. Smooth. Visualize all those bad vibes flowing around you and zipping around the world and biting your nemesis in the butt. Now that's an image I can get behind! Anyone putting a hex on you is an idiot who deserves to be laughed at, and laughter is the very best medicine for what ails you.

Want to buy a voodoo doll? I suggest one of these from The Chocolate

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

O death, where is thy sting?

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory?" sing the tenor and alto in Handel's Messiah.

"Once you accept your own death, all of a sudden you're free to live." -- Saul Alinsky

Christians seem to me to be a rather anxious lot. Although, as a group, they claim to have overcome death through Jesus Christ, I find most Christians to be preoccupied with death and apprehensive about it. I've never really understood this. They aren't just interested in keeping themselves from dying, either. The extreme ones spend a lot of time fretting over other people's unborn children.

Some of them see God as a Santa Claus who will give them what they ask for if they are just good enough, pure enough, faithful enough and pray hard enough. Some see God as an accountant, keeping track of every sin in preparation of making them pay. No surprise that group is anxious to avoid death. Some see God as a teacher and life as a never-ending final exam with lots of trick questions. Others see God as a spiritually perfect condition that each of us strive to reach so that we can be one with him and experience joy. I tend to the latter belief, but the problem is, I doubt I can reach that condition in one go.

But, what bothers me most is the assumption by the majority of Christians (but not all!) that we only get one shot at life incarnate on earth. This, I believe, is the source of the anxiety and fear that Christians try to hide behind beatific smiles and lofty songs praising Jesus for defeating death. The promise held out to true believers is EVENTUAL RESURRECTION at some undetermined time, perhaps nearby, more likely, very distant. The reward or consequences of a life lived well or poorly arrives instantly at the moment of death and remains in place more or less permanently. Two choices: Heaven or Hell. No one seems sure where the cut-off line is between the two. Hence, the need to proselytize and baptize as many souls as possible before they die unshriven and find themselves sinking down into the abyss.

Does this make sense to you? It has never made sense to me and I'm a Christian. It offers nothing for those who die young, or live encumbered by disability, disease or mental illness. It doesn't give a fair chance to those who die in war or in a school collapsed on top of them by an earthquake. Where is the justice for the innocents? Where is their chance? It just isn't fair. God, unfair? That can't be right.

We are told that we are made in God's image, that he is our father (I use the masculine gender as a familiar convenience) as we are parents to our own children, and loves us even more than we love our children. So, let me ask you, what do we tell our children when they fall off their skateboard-roller skates-bicycle-horse? Do we say, You fell off? Too bad, you only get one chance? No, we tell them, Dust yourself off, get back on, and try again.

But most Christians believe in a God who does just that. The pared down, simplified version is God loves you just the way you are, but you only get one shot at this. Don't mess it up, or you go to hell. The truth we all know in our heart of hearts, is that none of us is perfect. We are all sinners. We all have dark places in our souls, and we are not going to get it right the first time, any more than we are going to be able to ride a skateboard on our first attempt or shoot the hoop from the center line of the basketball court with only one shot. The pressure to succeed is enormous. The consequences of failure dire. The angst is buried deep under hymns and smiles and fellowship. But, it bubbles to the top as a fretful fear of facing death and finding out whether one's one life was good enough to face God's judgment.

But, is that the way of it? I don't think so. I'm not saying we aren't judged, but I'm betting that the judgment is loving and that we do most of it ourselves, that we will come face to face with our successes and shortcomings in a place where nothing is hidden and draw our own conclusions. Heaven and Hell and whatever lies between are most likely self-generated by our own conscience and self-awareness. There is ample evidence in history, experience and scripture that you and I have lived many lives and will live many more, that our spiritual journey involves many chances to get on the horse and ride it and not fall off. My God loves me as I am and wants me to succeed, or so I believe. I hope to make progress in this life toward spiritual perfection, but can see that it is still a long way off. Death, I believe is something we are all better off accepting, not fearing. Knowing that I have come this far and will be given the opportunity to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again is a comforting thing.

If you would like to learn more about the other alternative to the one-shot at life: reincarnation, try out some of these links.

I also recommend that parents and parents-to-be read Carol Bowman's books
Children's Past Lives and Return from Heaven

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Seeing is Remembering

On August 6 and 9, 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, to hasten the end of a long and difficult war. There can be no question but that the tactic was successful, in the sense that it achieved its goal. Japan offered to surrender on August 10 and the emperor broadcast that decision on August 15.

What is not so clear, nor is it ever in time of war, is whether such a tactic can ever be allowed as humane or justified. The world has gone to great lengths in the years since to avoid a repeat, but it is the Damocles sword that hangs over our heads and of which we do not speak much, except with much finger pointing at other nations.

I've seen photographs of Hiroshima and the mounds of rubble and skeletal trees, and wondered where were all the people. Were they all vaporized? I even remember seeing a photograph showing the outline of a woman against a wall, all that was left.

The reason for this post is the release of 10 never before released photographs of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing. The undeveloped film containing these photographs was discovered by a US serviceman in a cave outside of Hiroshima. The photographer is unknown. The soldier's family donated them to the Hoover Library and Archives (which has been collecting first hand accounts of historical events since 1919) with the stipulation that they not be released until 2008. These photographs are not for the squeamish, because they illustrate in a graphic way the human cost of the bombing. I think we have an obligation to remember the past, to remember the suffering, because as the philosophers say, those who fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

You may view the photographs by clicking on the title of this post.