A friend mentioned that it’s very important to mind one’s spiritual hygiene. He felt that your overall state of mind at death will linger on forever somehow. His primary concern is with overcoming hate in one’s life. To this, I quipped: What about the guy who’s had a bad year and is in a particularly nasty head space when he’s suddenly hit by a bus? What lingers when your atoms recycle through natural processes? Some people claim to know. It seems that the mind of God is easily accessible to certain people via profound spiritual experiences.
His concern with hatred is truly important regardless of its narrative package.
I was being a bit cheeky talking about getting hit by a bus. It is indeed important to overcome hate— for uncountable reasons. We can leave death out of it. Hate is bad for everyone. One might even say that hatred and ignorance are the leading causes of death.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
When I'm frustrated, angry or disappointed I never feel hate, I only feel exhausted for a moment and then I let the emotion go. If an evil man is horrifically punished I feel neither regret or satisfaction. When my team wins I feel happy only for a moment.
Human emotions should flow naturally and freely. The human intellect must be trained to flow. The human spirit needs the kind of dedicated, methodical training an athlete endures. Language comes from the embodied mind, wisdom from the embodied spirit.
c. 1300, "of or concerning the spirit" (especially in religious aspects), from Old French spirituel, esperituel (12c.) or directly from a Medieval Latin ecclesiastical use of Latin spiritualis "of or pertaining to breath, breathing, wind, or air; pertaining to spirit," from spiritus "of breathing, of the spirit" (see spirit (n.)). Meaning "of or concerning the church" is attested from mid-14c. Related: Spiritually. An Old English word for "spiritual" was godcundlic.
In avibus intellige studia spiritualia, in animalibus exercitia corporalia [Richard of St. Victoror (1110-1173): "Watch birds to understand how spiritual things move, animals to understand physical motion." - E.P.]
Life on Earth is not at all like the vacuum of space. We breathe, we are not void although some of us can contemplate the void and play with concepts like infinity. We can be overwhelmed by a feeling that the rock in front of us is alive but we know intuitively that animals and minerals are very different things. Here is a question too many of us take for granted: What is energy? Read up on it from a scientific perspective, or even just a linguistic perspective.
I try to understand myself, the world, nature and why people behave the way they do.
When I have a profound "spiritual" experience I don't assume it necessarily has anything to do with God — this human construct we seem to need so desperately — I simply meditate upon the incomprehensible and enjoy the wonder of it all.
"The lack of a unifying theory would be a perfect embodiment of Haldane's quote that "the universe is not only queerer than we suppose but it's queerer than we can suppose". Our failure at finding a unified theory would only mean our success in discovering that the universe is an inexhaustible source of riches. For this we should be grateful." Freeman Dyson
(Yes, I'm familiar with Dyson's take on Climate Change. You can be mistaken and still be brilliant.)
If we are fortunate life will be a surprising and enjoyable adventure; we'll be able to do our best and come what may, for better or worse, we’ll grow.
I feel very comfortable being insignificant. I'm a puff of whatnots in this particular universe.
This is one of the many reasons why the Stoics make sense to me:
“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.”
“All cruelty springs from weakness.”
Biology is a messy, complex thing, there is nothing simple about it, and yet people crave simplicity and easy answers. Simple stories are sticky.
We are all extremely fortunate to learn whatever we learn while we're alive. We are here for such a short time that it's amazing that any of us can become truly wise. Generation after generation is strapped by common biases. We go round and round dealing with the same problems in new ways. (I think of Kant, Hegel and Marx here. Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis— and yes, great insights often become dogma.)
“If we have chosen the position in life in which we can most of all work for mankind, no burdens can bow us down, because they are sacrifices for the benefit of all; then we shall experience no petty, limited, selfish joy, but our happiness will belong to millions, our deeds will live on quietly but perpetually at work, and over our ashes will be shed the hot tears of noble people.”
Despite the rapid growth of literacy in the 20th Century, and information technology becoming ubiquitous in the 21st Century, so many of us remain ignorant. Garbage in, garbage out... This is why it's so important to take pains to spend time with the best books, the best ideas, the best people, the best activities one can find, and to do those things that make you healthy and happy. A happy and healthy person’s love and intellect are potentially boundless. Those of us who have been neglected rarely flourish. Given a little love, constant education and good health, the human mind can become a truly infinite resource.
Getting stuck in the mire of petty prejudices is tragic. Hate is the worst kind of mental quicksand.
It's practically impossible to hate if you love learning and growing.
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”