Imagination and Curiosity murdered by Entertainment

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Or maybe my title would better fit as “Entertainment and Laziness: The Imperfect Couple.”

Wise ones tell us over and over how the more things change the more they stay the same. The more we pride ourselves on invention and the progress of civilized society with technological wonders, the more our majority loses its innocence and the most vital aspect of living, imagination.

We trust what legalistic thinking minds tell us in terms of science, technology, gadgets and consumer pleasure.

We trust what legalistic thinking minds tell us politically. We replace our own ability  to imagine peace, justice or community with assumptions based on some persuasive legalistic mind whose theories represent the ultimate bookishness.

We trust what the legalistic thinking minds tell us  in the pseudo-spiritual realm of religion. We seem to have lost our ability to imagine a loving non-judgmental God of compassion who is not interested in power, control, authority, or spiritual warfare against a satanic banshee that does not exist.

We retreat to our entertainment in the shallowest end of our swimming pools. Is there only an endless repetition of increasingly shallow entertainment and conformity-addicted mental processes?

Laws, Entertainment and Where They are Worshipped

Let’s see now, ya got yer laws of gravity, planetary motions, conservation of energy, thermodynamics, and on … and on … even a law of motion that had to be replaced by a theory, of all things, of relativity.

Where do these laws accumulate, hang out together, fester like bats in a cave? Where else but in sacred science volumes; textbooks, treatises, and the journals of the priesthood of science.

The notion of a cutting edge of research and development of new science and technology breakthroughs is offset more and more by the death of imagination and creativity as a prevalent consciousness among humans.

The more we become satisfied with newer and lower levels of entertainment, the greater the death of that restless spirit that moved our predecessors across unknown oceans.

We become dominated by an imaginative and creative few who – willingly and knowledgeably or otherwise – work themselves into monopolistic dominance of what we as an entire race are willing to attempt, imagine or accomplish.

And then ya got yer laws from the One Who Created It All, more frequently expressed as “commandments” although the actual legal aspects can be found in the guise of “theology” which is nothing more than unprovable opinion. You know, stuff that promises that if you break the laws when you die and God will slap you around and make you damn sorry you ever doubted.

We seem infested with  unimaginative and non-creative authoritarians who attempt entertainment models based on economic formulas and lists. We seem infested with parasites attempting to establish in personal celebrity a monopolistic dominance of what we as a society are willing to attempt, imagine, believe and accomplish.

Lives constructed totally around a blind acceptance of someone else’s definition of non-existent laws is a process of deterioration. We devolve from a society of courageous explorers, doubters, and adventurers to a cowardly collection of believers seeking safety in the restricted confines of entertainment.

In that regard there is no difference between which entertainment you choose to relieve you of will and ambition.

If imagination is dying because of your fear of being thought of as marching outside the parade, you will lose.

Then we will lose you.

… a form of soul murder

 

A holographic function of divination

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How to avoid a blunted capacity for wonder: use your own imagination … Don’t let it die.

Divination images and verbal structures can provide a powerful symbolic focus for the interaction and intersection of consciousness and environment.

These open the opportunity to step outside ordinary space-time and discover a period of connection between the present moment and totality of life

It’s the principle of a hologram: The whole is contained in each part which is why such understanding opens the way for powerful self-generated therapeutic interactions with reality

Cynthia Giles

To understand its nature, one must begin where the Tarot begins – in the realm of imagination. Imagination is the faculty that allows us to experience the immaterial. Ordinary perception operates through the senses, and so is confined entirely to experience of the material world, but imagination is not bound by the rules of space and time which govern materiality. Through the mode of imagination, it is possible to travel instantaneously into the past or future, to other lands, beyond the earth, and even to realms that don’t exist in the material dimension.

When people journey into imagination they commonly keep themselves on a tether held by the conscious mind. For some this tether is so short they never wander far from the world of facts and matter.

My own home-made divinator/muse

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I collect Tarot decks and Rune sets and have three different Books about the I Ching and a 4th on my Kindle Fire. They are an extremely appreciated tool I use mostly for entertainment and self-knowledge.
I don’t read my fortune with any of them and do not believe in such things. If I did I would probably resort to more historical and pagan or prehistoric notions by killing and gutting a chicken and drying out its bones for tossing on a blanket and looking for portents. Course I’d have to let my hair and beard grow to excessive lengths, quit bathing, wear camel hair and eat grasshoppers and dates … but I digress.
For starters though I’d like to address the superstitious ideas of an extremely superstitious segment of our society:
Start a conversation about Ouija boards and you will invariably encounter active Christians who react instinctively with rejecting, considering such things dangerously occult – a tool of Satan.
Mention the Tarot, The I Ching, Runes and other forms of divination including astrology and you’ll encounter the same knee-jerk reaction that these also are tools of the Devil and must be avoided.

Yet many of these same believers will not hesitate to talk about moments when they’ve felt spiritual guidance in their lives through the same divining process; even occasionally coming to tears in relating their own experience of the mysterious from within a literal Christian mindset.

On more than one occasion I have heard practicing Christians tell me that they’ve opened the Bible to a random page, run their finger down to a verse picked randomly and found a specific verse timely to their question and purpose.

For them it was God’s spirit moving them to find God’s truth for their issue of the moment. On more than one occasion I have seen quoted the biblical injunctions against divination, wizards and familiar spirits that cannot and should not be trusted.

Yet these same quoting biblicists seem to remain unconscious of the fact of their own conscious acceptance of spiritual divination by trusting written words in a book they have come to accept as containing a spiritual communication of God to each person.

“God doesn’t communicate with people in that manner”
Oh yeah?
In the 24th chapter of Genesis Abraham’s servant blatantly requests God’s help in an act of divining – from God – who is to become Isaac’s future wife.

Divination by dreams occurs in a righteous context in Abimelech learning that Sarah was Abraham’s wife in a dream,

… Joseph’s dream interpretation for the well being of Pharaoh’s Egypt and his own Israelite tribe,
… Gideon’s acting upon a dream to defeat the Midianites,
… Daniel’s dream interpretations,
… Joseph’s dream assuring him it would be okay to take Mary to wife, and again later to take the child Jesus to Egypt.

In Numbers, righteousness was the singular purpose and intent of the use by the priests of the Urim and Thummim, the mechanics of which must have had a similarity to those of modern workers with divination.

And yet there remain those strong words against wizards and familiar spirits from which now we live with a contemporary popular interpretation that condemns all divination as occult and a tool of the Devil.

Could it be that there is a genuine tangible and palpable difference between superstitious divination and the real thing as spoken of favorably in the Bible?

Acceptance of superstitious divination reflects people’s willingness to trust the mystic revelations of anyone purporting to foresee specific future events both general and personal.

From a negative standpoint, what comes to mind nowadays is the carnival fortune-teller who through use of a crystal ball or cards will declare something significant concerning the querent’s future – selling entertainment for a price.

The idea that God would warn Israel about wizards and familiar spirits as a protection against being deceived into harmful, rash or self-destructive actions based on gullibility makes sense.

But the idea that God was saying that divination in its purest sense, something available as a spiritual tool for all human beings, is evil and of the Devil is for me a false notion.

Our contemporary world is full of the results of contemporary Christian divinators: the prime practicioners being Rapture proclaimers like the prophets LaHaye, Jenkins and Hal Lindsey who gave us the late great planet earth. Like the Fat Texan John Hagee, these superstitious seers claim to have “divined” the meanings of the Book of Revelation and other Bible passages to construct a Rapture and End Times scenario that has impacted millions.

Divination itself is a function of communion between God and human beings. It is the essence of promptings by the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, many people keep journals and diaries which are in truth expressions of personally divined perceptions. Journaling, when it avoids mere recitation of meetings, appointments and events, cannot help but be introspective and divinatory.

The act of writing out one’s thoughts on a daily basis is a powerful means of communion with one’s inner spirit – the mind is the place where the majority of human activity takes place – the mortal home of the soul.

Taking journaling one step further by setting aside time to write thoughts as they spontaneously occur without time for editing for propriety’s sake can be very revelatory.

Such writings need not be shared with anyone else, but if kept and pondered with questions such as:

“Why did I write that?”
“How come I wrote it that way?”
“Why am I so angry … so pleased … so offended … so happy?”
The effect is both healthy and instructive … a movement further along one’s own path.

Divination and Me

Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines God-approved divination by lot as occurring in the choice of scapegoat by Aaron in Leviticus, in Numbers 26, in Joshua 7 and Samuel’s selection of Saul as king, in the choice of Mathias as Judas’ replacement in Acts.

Divination by lot seems to be that which most similarly resembles popular contemporary divination methods.

It began for me one day years ago when out of boredom in a book store I began reading a book entitled “A Guide to the I Ching,” by Carol Anthony.

My eye was caught by the following under a paragraph entitled “On being led” as “necessary to establish the relationship between the student and the I Ching:

A willing suspension of disbelief

A sincere effort Perseverance”

This was a tiny powerful moment because I found myself reading the definition of how I had earlier in my spiritual life started on a different path wile still retaining my use of scripture – and coming to the spiritual place in which I now live.

I did not buy that book then, but as I continued scanning that “New Age” shelf I came across a marvelous book by Cynthia Giles, “The Tarot: Methods, Mastery and More,” a followup to here introductory The Tarot, History, Mystery and Lore

Expecting at first a Tarot “how to” what I discovered was that Giles, who has a Ph.D. specializing in Jungian Studies, was touting the Tarot as a means of self-exploration rather than a means of telling one’s own and other’s futures.

Among other things, she wrote of divination as a means of expanding ways of knowing one’s self, of wellness and rejoining body and mind, of growth uniting body and soul. I bought that book and read it … and reread it.

For the next 2-3 years in the 1990’s I bought a set of Runes, a Tarot deck, the I Ching book, commenced my exploration … and found myself amazed. In all three contexts, that which I learned as “revealed to me through divination tools” was essentially identical -the same information – in each context.

I realized then that journaling and techniques that task the mind and imagination creatively became a fascinating and enjoyable labor of love.

I found a means of exploring the inner self in a deliberate absence of seeking external mystical sources as portrayed by others who also used these tools.

I was not seeking to know the future, or some sort of channeled wisdom. Carried on independent of the need for outside religious approval based on someone else’s magic or assumptions, I found myself further down my path toward a more direct communion with the reality of God – as I have exprienced God – than I’d ever intended or anticipated.

Eventually, with a greater understanding of myself, I designed another device for divination more in line with how I seem to be wired.

“Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in your reading have been like the blast of triumph out of Shakespeare, Seneca, Moses, John and Paul.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson”

It’s a book I built in which I’ve collected what I consider the most important grains of wisdom I have found. It is also dominated by but not limited to the words of Jesus which I believe to be authentic or close to it. It’s a living book in that it grows when I encounter something new that merits inclusion in my Muse Book.

Some who read this article are probably not aware that something they’ve written may very well be in my special collection. When I use it, I refer to it slowly and in a patient, almost leisurely manner, exercising faith in spiritual communion with the divine and trusting the process.

In closing, I’ll say this. There are millions who know this stuff – many who are younger than I and yet knew it long before I did. I join with them in a path toward greater understanding of self and mystery.

One more thing, every single poetry item I write is done using that same homemade collection: Arthur’s Muse

 

The Intuitive and what is prancing across your mental stage

Intuitive Mind

 

Think about how you are able to get the intuitive mood going inside.

Stop asking why stuff comes up. Let it prance across the stage in your mind without turning on your sirens and spotlights. Just watch it come in. Hell, you might even find it useful to wait and see if it prances off the stage when you don’t react, don’t scream “bravo!” or throw a mental tomato at it.

If it keeps dancing and won’t get off the stage, then something is nagging at you.

Talk to the thought then. Instead of  looking for an answer with lots of details, see if the Creative starts whispering to you. Wait for wisdom to come to you at a pace you can catch and manage.

Think about how you perceive conflict.

You know, self-conflict arises when you perceive persons or notions (what you think must be the apparent scheme of things) as adversarial pissing contests. Such ideas or concepts are those with which you disagree and they don’t mesh with your inner sense of truth. So they feed your damn conflicts.

What kind of relief do you need? Well, seeking relief from pressures created by doubt and fear causes us to sort of self-medicate with emotional whiskey; seeking answers that satisfy emotional craving.

Get this in your head:  Reasons that appear to satisfy emotional cravings are not creations of of the real self; the who-you-know-you-are when you quit chasing your tail over every distraction.

You want to figure it out?

Pay attention only after you calm down your scaredness. That’s what is called emotionally disengaging from the problem. Take a coffee break in your mind until your verbal rationalizing ends. Clarity might just show up.

If you are not afraid of new age approach, do what lots of folks have told me:

“Put it on your mental shelf and let it sit there for a while.”

Works for some I suppose, but  I get more mileage out of turning the matter over to the Great Mystery. Wait until you  eventually wake up with an idea that includes a change. What just might change is how you see what your notion looks like from a step-back point of view. Go hunting for some other way to understand it instead of calling it an enemy to your calm down mode.

Progress ain’t achieved by working for this stuff as a goal.

It’s the result of working on finding tools that help you be consistent with how the world is and not assuming that most things are either/or. It’s looking for non-adversarial principles.

Spirituality Past, Present and Future

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Why are my thoughts drawn so much to the past
where pleasure and pain of remembering doth last?
How is it I struggle to ponder the Now
where life is most vivid but wrinkles my brow
 
in confusion and wondering just why there is haste
that moves days so swiftly — and they have no taste?
The future is also approaching with speed,
with oblivion’s grave and the thing I must heed.
 
So into the past I find anchor to slow
the pace of the march played by Now’s singing bow.
The music remembers the living while young
and vibrates the harp from which thinking hath sprung.
 
A time that was strengthened by youth in its age
of vigor and wishing outside of the cage
that aging doth bring with its ups and its downs,
its joys and its pleasures with smilings and frowns.
 
Experience teaches a spiritual tune
that prompts us to seek from the holiest rune
a whisper of God in our mid-life-tuned ear
that something else needed is coming quite near.

© 2000 Arthur Ruger

69 going on 70: The mind, the body, the spirit.

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Three months ago I finished my 7th decade and embarked on the first year of my eighth. I seem to have come to a greater intimate friendship with more folks ahead of me than behind me. In fact, most folks behind me with whom I share something of an intimate relationship are family members. Most of those ahead of me are social friends connected with the neighborhood, my lodge (which has more younger members than older), the Order of the Eastern Star chapters and of course the local senior centers (In 3 of which we maintain membership.)

It’s the older ones who concern me; not because they are older and more frail, but because for the most part they remain enthused and animated about many of their life activities. I admit, I don’t know what goes on when they are not on a public “stage” and act without a public script in the privacy of their homes or marriages.

I guess that is what I do too. I have a public persona with which I inform most people of what I want them to believe me to be. However, only my dear Lietta knows what I’m really like in the intimate privacy of our home and marriage. I suppose that for the most part such things will remain private through our coming end times.

We’ve had a major transition in process going back to the time of my retirement now five years back. She used to ask me what I saw myself doing after retirement and insisted that I get used to the new mode by being off the clock and off the agenda for at least six months.

How did that work out?

Depends on how it is defined. Not having to go to work every day was wonderful and my most initial reaction was that each day felt like Saturday did when I was working.

Coping with the reality of fixed income and uncertainties of our future health was meaner.  This proved to be more provocative and stressful than I anticipated. Almost immediately I commenced awakening in the middle of the night and became conscious of the fact that I seemed to be counting money in my head in anticipation of meeting bills and making all the ends meet. It would be almost four years before I achieved an internal state that allowed me to get away from my thoughts … and that not necessarily completely.

Then of course the curse of awakening out of habit at 4:30 or 5:00 am – something I began doing years before retirement because for me the most creative and alive time of my mind was early in the morning. I would leave for work at 7:30 but by 8:30 my mind had essentially gone to the dull side as I labored in the public assistance office, from which I’d arrive home grateful to be with my wife but mentally exhausted.

That was in 2011.

By the end of 2012 we had moved out of our 120-year-old home in Pacific County which had proven to be too much for us to repair and maintain on fixed income.  We were renting in Spokane.  We eventually moved into a condominium that has proven to be totally more enjoyable than we’d anticipated and in a small urban setting that totally elevated our community life as compared to retirement in a fishing village of 200 souls in Pacific County.

There have been ups and downs, wonderful experiences in the city and traveling about – especially camping and yurting during the summer months. We’ve driven back and forth to the West side of the state for family activities and to relatives in Idaho and Montana and have encountered interesting alternative locations that remain tempting and inviting.

However … back to a 70-year old body, mind and spirit. My health is quite good for my age. My dear one persuaded me to enter into what is called a paleo diet by which I have lost a lot of pounds, lowered my blood pressure significantly and have subsequently felt more “lubricated” as in a well-oiled functioning machine even if it is 7 decades old.

So why do I often awaken in the mornings with a sense of dread that seems to originate in the context of whatever I was doing in my dreams. It’s as if I woke up and suddenly remember that someone near and dear to me had passed on or that I would be going in that day for a root canal. Some sense of unease without having something specific about which to worry.

Actually, beyond a vague sense of dread or uneasiness, I’m more aware of losing interest in all the things I used to be driven about and planned on doing when my career wasn’t competing for my time and attention.

What’s with that?

Is this what aging is about?

I still love to read and write, blog on line, but other activities like sports don’t do for me what they once did. I used to gorge myself on fantasy baseball and basketball and in some years maintained upwards of 20 separate teams at sites like Yahoo Fantasy and ESPN Fantasy Sport. I’m down to 8 teams which is not something facetious for me and that’s enought to hold my interest.

The most consistent interest that seems self-sustaining in my love of music and enjoyment of playing the piano. Lietta gifted me with a second instrument, something I’ve wanted for a long time. It’s a recorder, made of wood, plays mostly like a clarinet and is best played gently. No hard blowing as in saxophone or clarinet both of which I played well in high school. With some motivation from my siblings (Randy and Adrian Ruger) last April, I’ve upgraded my piano-playing and find myself serenading my sweetheart with a bunch of new songs as well as all the old pieces I’ve played for her for years.

I composed a piece for her as part of our wedding gifts to each other in 1996 and am of a mind to compose more. As for the recorder, I want to learn to play it the way Native American musicians such as Coyote Oldman play it. With available electronics I can play along with any piece I can find and am looking forward to it.

16 years ago while on vacation, I began writing poetry using what for me was a mystical device combining two separate phrases from my collections of thoughts and quotes. My poetry is mostly lyrical and I’m drifting more to writing poetry as competition to my not-running-down desire to write.

I’ve authored a historical novel and an assortment of blog articles and that part of me has not faded much. I still want to write on spiritual matters and opine about what’s going on in the world.

I’ve come to think of aging as an awareness and experience of my body and mind getting older and possessing the right to slow down, get rusty, start aching and creaking along. Arthritis is my daily companion but it is not now and does not seem to be on a path to debilitating pain, discomfort and ability.

I thought I’d lost my hearing in one ear but a visit to the VA medical center corrected that with a cleaning of a large wax deposit that had accumulated with my constant abusive use of Q-tips. I had concluded that as I got older, my hearing was disappearing.

Not so.

Energy and stamina aren’t what they used to be my wife and I know I will never single-handedly move us from one location to another again.

So I still get up early, sometimes in a bad or sad mood, warm up as soon as my sweetheart awakens smiles and me and rings the bell I gave her as a signal to bring coffee, come back to bed, and read our electronic devices like smart phones and kindle.

I’ll get chores done during the day, cook a meal or two, and fall asleep in the afternoon in my recliner and again in the evening while watching a TV program before bedtime.

Growing Old Ain’t What I Thought It Would Be

It’s all about cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control.

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Science Just Discovered Something Amazing About What Childhood Piano Lessons Did to You

Back in the 7th grade (1958) while walking across the tracks to Mrs. Hayes’ piano lessons I had a revelation:

Eureka!

Of course!

It’s all about cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control.

Just wait til I tell my little brother!

If your parents forced you to practice your scales by saying it would “build character,” they were onto something. The Washington Post reports that one of the largest scientific studies into music’s effect on the brain has found something striking: Musical training doesn’t just affect your musical ability — it provides tremendous benefits to children’s emotional and behavioral maturation.

The study by the University of Vermont College of Medicine found that even those who never made it past nursery rhyme songs and do-re-mi’s likely received some major developmental benefits just from playing. The study provides even more evidence as to why providing children with high-quality music education may be one of the most effective ways to ensure their success in life.

… “What we found was the more a child trained on an instrument,” Hudziak told the Washington Post, “it accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control.”

How a new spiritual culture developed in America.

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Occult America: White House Seances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation

We finished this audio book today. Well worth the time and a survey that covers many fascinating aspects of what spirituality has come to mean in the United States over more than just the 240+ years since the founding. Recommended reading or listening (audio should be available at libraries).
“Occult” is not written about as something akin to satanic rituals, evil combinations, conspiracies or religious nut jobs. Occult simply defined is something hidden of which discovery through human effort is possible.

Napoleon Hill: Think and Grow Rich
Dale Carnegie: How to Win Friends and Influence People
Og Mandiono:The Greatest Salesman in the World
Tony Robbins’ silliness
Prosperity Gospel doofuses like Rev Joel Osteen
Ouija Boards
Seances, Divination Spiritualism and Spiritism
Course in Miracles
Entire New Thought movement
American embrace of Eastern Religions like Buddhism, Zen and the like
Most of the Self Help publishing genre
Most of the How-To religious advice books where writers pretend to know the mind of god in ways us run-of-the-mill humans don’t. (Such pretended wisdom has led to the rise of every American religion, spiritist and new age movement coming out of the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries)

all these and more are addressed

From Publishers Weekly

America has provided fertile ground for alternative spirituality, particularly the form known as occult, whose American leaders, unlike their more grandiose European counterparts, sought to remake mystical ideas as tools of public good and self-help, says Horowitz, editor-in-chief at Tarcher.

Looking back at the growth of the spiritualist and utopian movements, he introduces the reader to a parade of personalities, both familiar and obscure: dreamers and planners who flourished along the Psychic Highway.

He begins with Shaker Mother Ann, who arrived in America in 1774 followed by, among many others, pioneer prophetess Jemima Wilkinson; Poughkeepsie Seer Andrew Jackson Davis; Madame Blavatsky, who founded the Theosophical Society in 1875 and popularized the word occultism; Frank B. Robinson, the Mail Order Messiah; and Edgar Cayce with his past-life readings.

Horowitz covers a wide variety of topics, from voodoo to the tenets of the New Age, psychics in the White House, Rosicrucianism, Wicca, arcane Masonic imagery, Tarot cards, the controversial reincarnation of Bridey Murphy and the origin of the science fictional Shaver mystery. Employing extensive research while writing with an authoritative tone, Horowitz succeeds in showing how a new spiritual culture developed in America.