Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Spiritual Beliefs

Fruitcake's recent post about God has got me thinking about my own spiritual beliefs. I don't think I've thought about them that much recently.  I mean I've thought about life and philosophy; but I haven't much thought about spirits, death, life after death, etc.

So now I'm going to think about it.

And write about it.

I believe in reincarnation.

I don't have concrete faith in the whole thing.  Sometimes I think we just end...period. And our bodies decompose.

But reincarnation is my main guess about these things.  

I don't believe in gods.

I believe in a higher power. Maybe. It would probably be like the Force in Star Wars.

I could also imagine there being a dark side.  

I believe there are spiritual beings who manage things in our lives and in the afterlife.  It would be like those characters in Charmed.  I forgot what they're called. But Leo ends up joining them?   Does anyone remember?

I'll go look it up.....

The Elders. That's what they're called. And Lord Wiki's cousin reminds me that they were also referred to as The Powers That Be.  

Anyway.  So yeah. I tend to believe in that. 

My beliefs might have been influenced by Charmed...which is a little embarrassing.  But then again, that show kind of planted the Australia seed in my brain. So I shouldn't be too surprised.

I believe in karma, but I don't think it always happens within a lifetime.  Meaning that if someone treats you like crap, you won't necessarily get to see them getting a taste of their own medicine in this lifetime.

I do see karma in action sometimes, and I have to admit I enjoy it.  So I do have a bit of an evil side.   HOWEVER, I'll also say, that at the same time, I feel sympathy for the person.   I'm not completely evil.   

I think most lessons, though, are learned through multiple lifetimes.

I believe if we have repeated challenges of the same type in our life, it probably indicates that we were naughty in these areas in a past life.  Or it could mean we simply chose to deal with those challenges in this life. Maybe it's like getting a degree.  Someone might say, In this lifetime I'm going to deal with financial issues. In the next lifetime, I'll deal with health issues.

If someone has an easy time with certain issues, maybe they're not ready to deal with those particular challenges.  Maybe they're not advanced enough. Or maybe they've dealt with them before, and they passed with flying colors.  It could be like video games. You beat the final boss; then you can go back and play the game with no real purpose. That sort of feels like a waste of time to me, though. So I don't think anyone has a 100% easy life.

Some people might have financial problems. Other people might have major health problems. 

Some people might have relationship problems.

Then some people have extremely challenging lives in multiple areas. What's the deal with that?

I don't know.

In terms of reincarnation, there's probably a multitude of possible explanations.

Maybe they're being punished by karma. Someone is forcing them to learn a lesson. Maybe the wrath was brought upon by The Powers That Be. 

Maybe they're very advanced students, and this is like their final exam. You've dealt with cancer in one life.  You dealt with a stalker in another. Then there was the one where your whole family was killed in a fire.  You did well with those.  And you did fantastic with poverty!   Now could you handle one single life where all these things happen....almost simultaneously

Maybe they're not advanced students and just want to jump in there with a challenge. It's like when I volunteered in a 1st grade classroom, and a child, I worked with, insisted on reading an adult novel...even though he wasn't ready for that reading level.  

Maybe the bad stuff wasn't pre-planned, and the person's life choices led them into the situation. I don't discount that happening. 

Or it could be that in the spiritual world, the person had one plan. Then in life they took a major detour. The bad stuff could be sent from the Powers that Be to get the person back on track. 

Now....Why do very good things happen to people?

I guess it could be rewards for a job well done—in a past life or current life.

They could be tests.  When you were poor, in the last life, you hated the wealthy. You blamed them for your problems. Now how will you act if you're born into a wealthy family?   Will be you be any different?  

It's like the person who is bullied. Then later they're a witness to another person being bullied.Do they stand up for the person being bullied, or do they take their chance to play the other role? Do they join in the laughter and ridiculing? 

In general, I think the main purpose of life is for our spirits to learn and grow. 

I think probably the most important skill we need to gain is compassion...that and empathy.    

Balance and moderation is another one.

What else?  

Any ideas?


6 comments:

FruitCake said...

This is a lovely, thought provoking post Dina!
If all this is too long, please feel free to delete it. Both parts of it!

I think it was Voltaire who said nothing in nature is wasted, so there must be re-incarnation. My take on this is that there might be some fixed “stock” of energy – in the sense of a life force - in the world. All living things are constantly absorbing, using and leaking bits of this energy. We die and when our bodies decompose then those energy particles get recycled. We live, and a bit of our energy jumps from us to the person sitting next to us on the train [like a germ?] At the same time, we might pick up a smidgin of squashed cockroach energy. Better yet, we might see a $50 note on the floor of the train and pick that up.

It’s the constant flow of energy that connects all life. This is how I interpret St Paul’s idea that we are all brothers in Christ [if you’ll allow me to value scripture for its metaphorical charm]. A more secular version would be some of the lyrics from “the Walrus” by the Beatles - I am he as you are he as you are me and
we are all together.
If there is a higher power, it is the whole of all that energy and the way we work together [or against each other] to direct the energy. The whole – the higher power - is greater than the sum of its parts.

So here’s the first question from the old penny catechism we had to memorise at school: Who made the world?
Someone had to make the world, I was told. It’s a theory of first cause or something like that. Something or someone had to make the world, and so god exists.
My first reaction to this was “Okay, so who made god?”. [I think it was then the nuns realised I was a lost cause].
But it’s still a fair question: where did the world come from?
My answer to that now is “what, I have to do all the work myself?”
But seriously, how long have people been on the earth? Infinity is an idea that is graspable but intangible. We can accept the idea of infinity going forward… so why is infinity going back so hard to live with? Why did there have to be a beginning at all and, even if there was, I can’t even work out how put a movie clip on YouTube, but I know it’s possible.

While re-incarnation is traditionally about a soul being recycled, the idea of a soul is a hard one for me to buy into. That might partly be because no matter how much we have learned about the way brains work, I still can’t imagine what a personality as some permanent or eternal thing.
To me a personality begins with some random neurone development, which, after a while, develops in a less random and more deliberate way as we learn about the world. The wiring in our brain is like the mess of cords linking a video monitor, printer, modem, scanner etc to a computer – messy. When something happens to disturb the wiring our personality, or the way we function in the world, can undergo a radical change.

As I’ve never been able to sit through Star Wars, I can’t say how this compares to what my version of all this is.

FruitCake said...

Part 2


Is there a god? No. There is only the energy that connects us all as humans that might be a stupid idea but is at least egalitarian.

What happens in the world, and to individual people is caused by random events. I can’t imagine what anyone could possibly have done in previous lives, or what they might be expected to learn in this one, that can make sense of famine or other forms of third world poverty, for example. Ethnic cleansing is another thing I struggle to explain away as a lesson that had to be learned. The karma/ reincarnation thing has propped up some fairly hideous caste systems, or human behaviour, and it could almost justify a notion that we would be unkind to interfere.

Are there evil forces? Do I really have a good angel on my right shoulder and a fallen angel on my left, both whispering to me about what choices I could make? I certainly hope not but, metaphorically, it makes sense because we do have to make choices all the time.
Sociopaths and megalomaniacs are forces for evil. Are they inhabited by evil spirits? No, the neuronal wiring in their head is damaged. They can quite consciously make evil choices and do wrong, but their empathy circuit is faulty.

Prayer is a focus of energy. When lots of people pray together the energy has more impact. Ethnic cleansing is a negative form of prayer. Hitler may have been a naughty boy but he could not have done what he did without either the support or indifference of a lot of other people.

Karma goes around and comes around in a single lifetime. Some people are their own worst enemies. As outsiders, it’s hard to draw up a ledger for another person and see if their karma balances, or if they’ve made a profit or loss. I don’t feel the need to believe in a god, but I can’t live without my karma. It’s how I can forgive or dismiss most of the shit others dish out and just get on with my life.
For example, Gina Rinehardt might be the world’s richest woman but it’s hard to imagine she’s full of joie de vivre.

On the other hand, I LOVE the idea that I might have to come back in another life and be tested by having too much money. Might have to go back and think this all out again!

Dina said...

Fruitcake,

Thanks for the deep thoughts.

I'm going to respond to only one...at least for now.

Ethnic cleansing.

I'd say that could be a case of getting in the way of other people's bad behavior.

It's not always about your choice or lessons...Sometimes you just get in the middle of other people's shit.

Then those shitty people have to later learn karmic lessons. Hopefully.

I do think maybe the spirit world intervenes in the question of who survives and who doesn't.

Maybe THEN it's a matter of lessons.

For example. Some souls in the Holocaust might have been taught about dying because of other people's evil and prejudice.

Then other people are forced to learn how to LIVE after dealing with other people's evil and prejudice.

In some ways, I think the latter group had a more difficult lesson.


I don't think it's the case all the time. Sometimes it's just coincidence and luck that helps someone survive. And that luck could equal meeting up with someone who's a very good soul and is willing to help them.

That goes back to your question of intervening.

No, I don't think we should let people suffer because that's their chosen path in life. It should be seen as our path to help them...when/if possible.

It's all interconnected.

Dina said...

I have an example. I thought of it before...after writing the other comment. But we had to go to the dentist.

So anyway.

Let's say someone writes very nasty comments on your blog. Should I sit there and think "Well, this is something that Fruitcake is meant to endure. I'll sit back and watch it happen...don't want to interfere".

No. Because the main point of it all is to be compassionate. And if I don't react with compassion and empathy; then I'm shitting you, myself, and maybe other people as well.

I can't know what's going on (behind the spiritual scenes) so I just have to go with my heart.

Maybe you're being punished for a past deed.

Maybe this is all a lesson for me...a test. Am I the type of person who sticks up for someone; or at least tries to provide comfort?

Maybe it's a test for you. Can you react handle adversity like that?

Maybe you just fell upon the path of a troubled yucky soul; and by accident this provides some soul-growing for you and your blog readers.

Now if the universe meant for you to endure nastiness without emotional support....I would trust that the universe would find a way to make that happen. Maybe all your friends would be out of town. Or they wouldn't see the comments.

I think the world is like a giant puzzle. Sometimes the pieces fit together very well. It makes a ton of sense. Other pieces don't fit; and it's kind of a mess. And we wonder...why the hell did that happen?

I think there's a reason for most things; but not every single thing.

FruitCake said...

If nastiness were a test, I should probably fail miserably. Maybe I should drop out now?

Yes I agree, the world is definitely like a giant puzzle, and trying to get the pieces to all fit together is my own personal test.
For some reason, I keep encountering pieces that belong to an entirely different puzzle. Working out where they belong just makes the challenge more challenging than it need be.

Hope your visit to the dentist was not too stressful - emotionally, physically or financially.

Dina said...

Fruitcake,

You'd fail at being nasty...not being nasty...or handling nasty people?

I can't imagine it's BEING nasty.

I'm with you on the puzzle thing. It confuses me.

Thanks about the dentist! It was a fairly pleasant visit.