The Mind’s Voice

ImageWhat does Abel know anyway? I know how hard I try to talk to ‘Being’ and he certainly doesn’t. He gets everything and I get nothing!

Walking away from the painful meeting with his brother, Cain seeks out the comfort of the fields and the wind on his skin. The wind has always been a comfort for him, even when he was little. It makes his skin cool, and his blood warm, like being under a thick blanket on a frosty morning.

For instance, Abel is the first born, and so he’ll inherit everything from Dad! I’ll get nothing! That just isn’t fair! Or, how about that girl from the other village that Dad keeps going on about like they are already joined or something? Do you see him rushing out there to find a woman for me? NO! Because Abel is older, Abel is kinder; Abel is the beloved one of everyone, especially ‘Being’.

What scared Cain the most wasn’t his thoughts about Abel, or the heat rising in him that always came when he became impassioned about something, but this nagging voice inside him that kept a close eye on all of his thoughts and feelings. It wasn’t the watching, it was the judging. Cain could feel inside him when he had a thought that was good, and when he had a thought that was bad. He feared the bad thoughts more than anything because it proved he was unworthy of the love of ‘Being’, he knew those thoughts were part of why ‘Being’ had forsaken him.

Now among the vegetables Cain needed something to do with his fear, and just then he noticed a plump rabbit nibbling away at his cabbages.

My cabbages! I don’t care that Dad says we should let the animals eat what they like; he isn’t the one who planted these plants! These are mine and it’s my duty to protect them!

And so in fear, Cain picked up a rock, and flung it at the rabbit, striking it, and filled with pride as it flumped over from the blow.

Stumping over, Cain gloats, “So! I bet you’ll think twice before eating one of MY cabbag…”

It was at that moment that Cain realized what he had done… He had killed the rabbit.

The stone must have hit it in the head! I wasn’t aiming for the head, I was just so mad that life always goes against me, and this is proof!

That voice inside Cain told him that what he had done, accident or no, was wrong. It was an act of anger, unbridled passion, and he had intended to do harm. The problem was, he didn’t feel like it was bad.

His body felt alive for the first time in a long time. Everything tingled, he was so aware of every sound. The birds singing, the wind rustling the leaves of his beloved vegetable plants.

This must be what it is like for the wolf when it kills a sheep. Why does my body feel this way? I did something wrong, but I feel good about it? Is there something wrong with me? What would the others say if they found out? Psh, like that matters, no matter what I did it would be wrong to them. I bet if Abel has killed a rabbit they would praise him for his deed, and dad would probably throw him a party or something.

No, what am I talking about? What I did was wrong.

But what I am feeling is good, gah! This is so confusing!

I have no one to talk to, they will only judge me. ‘Being’ doesn’t talk to me; mom and dad just praise Abel all the time. I need to do something about this energy I have… I wonder if there are more rabbits around here?

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And so it was that Cain discovered that our natures possess passion for more than simply good, but also evil. It is the beauty and curse of humanity to possess the potential for both light and dark. Without this potential, nothing that we chose or acted would be truly free, only guided by our natures. It is this same potential that traps the mind in endless loops of depressing thoughts, or rains negative criticism from inside our own minds down upon us, because pain can release pleasure in us.

 

It is also the beauty of humanity and our nature, that it is not good for us to be alone. It is possible to overcome these thoughts, it is possible to see the light on the other side of the fence, but it is very difficult without support, without a community of people to lend you strength and counter your fears with joy. If you have thoughts like this, first know that nothing is wrong with you, that others have gone through similar situations. Also know, however, that you cannot do this alone no matter what your fears tell you. Tell someone you love, or call 1-888-771-5166 and find a community of support near you.

 

Never forget, you are loved, and you are not alone.

10 Years Later

Cain and Abel“And so ‘Being’ threw dad out of paradise because he didn’t follow the rules perfectly.”

Seth, being only 5 years old, gasped and leaned back in fear wondering how he’ll ever be able to do what’s right in the eyes of ‘Being’.

“’Being’ was so upset, he cursed the ground so that we’d have to work really hard to grow things. Trust me, I know, I spend all day working very hard for our food to grow, and it isn’t easy.”

Seth responds tentatively, “But… but Abel says that ‘Being’ loves us very much! How could ‘Being’ love us, but also make life so hard for us?”

“That is simply the way of ‘Being’. For instance, I try just as hard as Abel to speak with ‘Being’, but I don’t feel anything, and Abel feels everything. He says he can talk to it, but I’m not sure I believe him, I think he’s making it all up.”

Having heard the last sentence Abel understands what’s going on, it’s not the first time. What is he ever going to be able to do to convince Cain that it’s not ‘Being’ that isn’t speaking, but rather Cain who has shut himself off?

He speaks up, “Cain! Stop filling our brothers head with your jealousy!

“Seth, don’t listen to him, ‘Being’ does love us very much. So much so, that It wants us to work so we can have a purpose. That’s why it takes effort to bring food, because if it was too easy, we wouldn’t appreciate the beauty and bounty that ‘Being’ has given to us. This is why we must always remember to thank ‘Being’ for everything we have, because we would have nothing without It.”

Cain rolls his eyes, “Oh please! It’s not ‘Being’ that brings our food, it’s my sweat! I don’t see It out there tilling the soil every year, or making sure the plants get water when it doesn’t rain!”

“Without ‘Being’ there wouldn’t be any rain to begin with! Rain is a blessing, just as growth is a blessing, just as having brothers is a blessing! Life itself is our greatest gift, and we should not spend it trying to scare each other.

“Seth, you know how I take care of the sheep and goats?”

“Yeah” Seth nods.

“Well, I see the miracle of birth every year, and I can tell you that I had nothing to do with that! That’s ‘Being’ creating life right before our eyes! Just like you my little brother, were created by ‘Being’. You are a miracle too!”

Seth’s eyes open wide with excitement, “Wow, really!?”

“No!” Cain interjects,

“If you were a miracle than you would be helping me tend the fields rather than sitting around with mother all day long listening to songs and playing with toys!”

Looking crossly at Cain Abel says, “Again, don’t believe the words of fear spoken by our brother Seth, he’s just jealous that he can’t be sitting next to mother instead of out in the field.”

Cain blurts, “What would you know about it sheep herder! Like you’ve worked a day in your life! All you do is sit there and watch the animals eat grass while you play on your flute, or hum stupid songs! I’m the only one around here that does any real work! ‘Being’ has cursed me I tell you! Gah! I’m done with you, I have real work to do anyway!”

Abel kneels down to look his brother in the eye, “Seth, I want you to be very careful about listening to Cain. I am concerned that fear has eaten away at his heart. According to dad, fear is there to help us do the right thing, but I think that Cain has lived so long with it inside him that he’s losing himself, and has lost his connection to ‘Being’. I love him so much, I hope he’ll reconcile his hurt with ‘Being’ soon.”

Seth, not quite understanding what Abel is saying, and knowing he’s talking more to himself, still wants to know, “What’s Cain afraid of?”

“I don’t know, Ach Qatan. Sometimes I think he’s so afraid of being rejected by ‘Being’ that he’s rejected ‘Being’ first to avoid the possibility.”

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So many people have Cain in their hearts. They become so afraid of not being good enough for God that they reject him simply so they won’t have to deal with the assumed reality. This is not healthy. One of the greatest gifts of knowing God as a God of love is that He will never reject us, no matter what we think of Him.

Yes, sometimes God feels distant, but He’s not. There is a recent song on the radio which talks about how now that the lights are on, you can know that I was never gone. This is what fear does to us, it blinds us to truth, blinds us to love. There is a point when we have embraced fear so strongly, and so completely, that we don’t want to let it go because to do so would admit we have wasted so much time embracing it, but you need to let it go.

Pray to God right now, open your arms to Him, forgive yourself for what you have felt toward Him and know that He forgives you. Your sins have already been forgiven, rise and go in peace. Live the love that was first given to you. God Bless.

And It Was Imperfect

Image“In the beginning there was only ‘being’, like I began to tell you before. There wasn’t really a ‘me’, only a perception of existing both together and yet separate from ‘being’. There were also others there, other existences, as if all that lives here and more were all there. However, I didn’t have a mind. I couldn’t really think of myself, or really think at all. I was simply, aware. Are you following me so far?”

By this time, Cain has begun to fall asleep leaning over on his father’s leg, but Abel is still bright eyed. Abel says, “So, it was kind of like where I was when I was in mom’s body?”

“I suppose you could put it like that. We were in the womb of ‘being’. Now, let me ask you this, do you think you would have wanted to stay forever inside your mother’s belly?”

Abel laughs a little, and then settles to think for a moment and replies, “I don’t think so. At first I imagine I would be happy, but eventually I would want out so I could play with Cain, or give you a hug.”

“Precisely my son, so it was in ‘being’. We could have been happy there for a long time, and we were. I have no idea how long we were there simply existing in paradise. However, eventually ‘Being’ felt that it was important that we experience existence on our own. That is why it created this world, and our bodies, minds, and hearts. We didn’t do anything wrong, we didn’t get kicked out. It was more like being led out slowly, with ‘Being’ holding our hands, teaching us to walk, showing us the world and what it means to feel and love.

“It was ‘Being’ who first revealed your mother to me, and showed me what it means to love her. It simply told me that I should treat and feel about her, the way that it felt about me.

“I said to ‘Being’ (Now by said I don’t mean literally, it was more of a feeling) ‘How else could I possibly treat her? It is all I know’

“And you know what it said to me? It said, ‘This is why I have brought you here, so that you might learn what it is to love. However, to learn to love, you must also learn what it is to hate. To learn right you must learn what it is to do wrong. I have created you with a most marvelous gift, the freedom to think and to choose, to leave and to stay. It is time for you to grow up, but know that I will always be with you, within you, as you are within me.”

Abel looks intently at his father and says, “Yes, I remember, it is inside me where the love goes.”

“Yes, my son, and it will never leave you, no matter what. ‘Being’ loves us so much that there is nothing we could ever do to make it stop loving us. This is called unconditional love. Love under every possible condition, no matter how evil or how good.”

“So… ‘Being’ pushed you out of Paradise, so that you would be capable of loving on your own? And enable to love; you needed to have knowledge of good and evil, so that you could choose love, because love can’t exist without a choice. For instance, I can’t force Cain to love me, because if I did, it wouldn’t really be love?”

A tear begins to shine in Abel’s father’s eye as he says, “Yes, yes, and yes, my son. Isn’t it so beautiful? In all of our anger, all of our wrongs, jealousy, and hatred, there is always love, there is always ‘Being’. He made us perfect like this, perfectly imperfect. He loves us perfectly just the way we are, whether we yell and scream, or sit quietly and wait.”

Abel looks confused for a second before asking, “So what’s the point of doing good then? It ‘Being’ loves us no matter what, why do we need to please him?”

Smiling a little Abel’s father says, “For the same reason that you want to do what makes your mother and I proud of you, and happy. It completes you. You were made to find joy and wholeness in honoring ‘Being’, and when you don’t honor it, you feel distant from it, and lonely.

“Trust me, I know. One time your mother was trying to convince me to eat some fruit that she had tried, but I had been frightened by a serpent earlier and was in no mood to try new things so I yelled at her. Oh son, just the look on her face, I knew that I had not honored ‘Being’ with my behavior and I felt awful. I needed to repent to her and to ‘Being’ for dishonoring them both an withholding my love from them. It is so important that we never forget this simple truth, that ‘Being’ loves us always, that we were put here to honor it, and that when we don’t, we dishonor it, ourselves, and each other in ways we don’t quite understand.”

“I think I understand father, I will endeavor in all my ways to honor you and mother, and Cain, and especially ‘Being’, because that is my purpose isn’t it?”

“Yes, but also your purpose is to sleep! We have much work to do in the morning, and this talk has been quite exhausting, as the snores coming from your brother can attest to! Ha!”

And so the two put the fire out together, and Cain’s father carried him to his bed, and tucked him in. Visiting Abel once before heading to bed himself, Abel’s father whispers, “I love you.”

It was on this night, the very first telling of how this family came to be, that the first two separate images of God were born. The first, a rough and tumble man who might push you out of paradise at the slightest infraction, and the second, a kind and loving father who would stop at nothing to care for his children. God loved both visions that His children had for Him, but He did hope that the loving persona would someday win out over the angry one. Just in case, He began to hatch a great plan…

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One of the hardest things for Christians to accept is that the Bible was written by humans. The Bible is a book representing who God was perceived to be by the ancient Hebrew people. This means that their experiences, their theology, and their lives dictated and shaped who God was, and what He behaved like to them. This does not mean that the Bible is not the place to go to experience who God is, it simply means you should read it through this lens. That the person who wrote the words that you read when you read scripture was flesh and blood just like you, with a family just like you, and worries just like you. Those words are there thoughts on God, and they are brilliant, and frightening, and wonderful, and horrible. However, what they aren’t, because no human or human creation is, is perfect. 

There Was Paradise…

Image

“Now, to answer your original question, why is there sadness? I want you to reach out and put your hand near the flames.”

Cain seems hesitant for a moment, and then gently reaches his hand toward the fire until it gets uncomfortably warm and then stops.

“Why did you stop your hand?”

Cain pulls his hand back, looks at it closely, and responds, “Because I was afraid that it would burn me.”

“Ah, and would you consider fear to be a happy emotion or a sad emotion?”

“Definitely a sad emotion, I didn’t like it at all!”

“So, does that answer your question?”

Cain stares at his hand for a little while, then slowly looks up, afraid of admitting it, but eventually says, “nuh-uh”.

“What about you Abel? Why is there fear? A sad emotion?”

Abel contemplates for a minute before responding, “I suppose that fear exists to keep us from hurting ourselves, it keeps us from becoming sad when we do something wrong, and so even though fear is a sad emotion, it also keeps sadness away. In that case, sadness exists to help us avoid sadness?”

“Ooo, just ponder the conclusion you just made a moment. Sadness exists, we feel sadness when we see death, feel pain, or hurt each other. We do not want to feel sadness, so we avoid activities or behaviors that encourage sadness in ourselves. It is quite ingenious! That is ‘being’, always five steps ahead!

“Even more, sadness, because it keeps us from doing wrong, is a part of what we’ve come to call, ‘the knowledge of good and evil’. ‘Being’ gave us our response to sadness so we would know when something is wrong. ‘Being’ also gave us happiness so we might know when something is good.”

While his father explained this last part, there was born in Cain’s eye a twinkle of challenge, something about this didn’t sit quite right. When he perceived space enough to speak, he blurted out, “But what about when sadness feels good? Like crying? Or when I feel happy that I got an answer right that Abel didn’t? Are those things good and evil too?”

Smiling wide his father responds, “My little challenger, my ‘opposer’, always the first to point out what doesn’t make sense to you.” Ruffling Cain’s hair, his father says, “You are right my son, sometimes sadness feels good, and besting our friends does also, but my question to you is, ‘Are those really the cause of the feeling, or is it something deeper?

“Think of it this way, did you feel good crying when you fell and scraped your knee yesterday?”

“No! It hurt!”

“So you cried because you were in pain, but did crying help you to feel better?”

Cain thinks hard for a moment, “Yeah, I think so. I cried the hurt away… But I wasn’t sad, I was just hurt… and the crying helped…

“So… crying doesn’t automatically mean sadness?”

“Yes! Very good! So, crying can be good, and crying doesn’t mean sadness. Now let’s ask the same question about your second point. Is it really happiness you feel when you best your brother at something?”

“Yes!” Cain blurts out automatically, but his father looks at him long enough that he begins to feel there might be more to it, and so begins to think about it further. “Well, I was happy that I bested Abel, and that doesn’t feel wrong, but… it feels wrong to hold onto that feeling too long… like I’m being mean to Abel in my head.”

“Beautiful! Just beautiful!” The boy’s father wraps his arms around them.

“Yes, feeling proud of yourself for accomplishing a difficult task, or setting yourself apart isn’t evil. It drives us to better ourselves, gives us motivation, and encourages hope for greater things in the future. ‘Being’ is proud of us in those moments to. Any time that you feel proud of yourself, ‘Being’ is also proud of you. However, holding onto pride too long can harm us. We forget that we aren’t always in the lead, or better than others, or smarter. Recognizing the limits of pride, and reminding ourselves of them is called humility, and it keeps us grounded in ‘Being’.

“Remember, everything that it is possible for us to feel comes from the ‘Being’, and so if you are ever confused about how you feel, or how to recognize good or evil, create that place where you can speak with it.”

Abel, sitting up to look his father in the eye, asks about something that has troubled him before, “Father, why did ‘Being’ push you out? Did you do something wrong? Was it because of the ‘knowledge of good and evil’ you mentioned?”

Understanding how important this answer is, and how deep the answer will affect his son, Abel’s father thinks carefully and says, “No, my son, we didn’t do anything wrong. And there isn’t anything wrong with you either. However, that ‘knowledge’ is part of why we were put here.

Glancing at his younger son, the boy’s father determines it is still early enough for one more story.

“Because you asked, and because I know that this is important to you. I will tell you why we were put here. The story goes something like this…

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Behind the question of sadness is this fear that we have as humans. This fear that somehow what we feel is wrong.

While I can say that what some people do with their feelings is wrong, it does not follow the path of love set by God, the feeling itself is not wrong. Everything in this world, because it was created by God, God understood completely and intended for good. Now, what humans, in their free will, choose to do with what God intended for good is the story of the Bible, and the tragedies that accompany all of our lives.

What we need to accept, is that there is nothing wrong with us. We are loved, perfect in our imperfection, just as God intended us from the beginning. Yes, we make bad choices, yes, we perform wrong actions, but this does not mean God loves us any less, nor is what we did or said entirely unexpected. Lest you forget, God created you. Fashioned you. He gave you the freedom to do what you will, and that means that he knew you might do something wrong. However, unconditional love means that there is no condition under which God will not love you. Sin does not separate you from God, NOTHING can separate you from God except you. God in his love for you will let you walk away from Him. He weeps for those of His children who choose this path, and always waits for the day when they will choose to return.

God does not hold grudges, does not hate, and will always love you. This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t believe in consequences. God is not a door mat, however, God is love. God did not stop the prodigal son from harming himself, but he did welcome him back with open arms. Don’t let what you think about God, or what you think about yourself, distance you from His love. He is waiting. Go, and be with Him.

In the beginning…

“‘I love you.’

“It was all I knew then. But, it was more than mere knowledge. It was me, before I knew there was a me, there was only this overwhelming love. As I live on, the memories of it are fading, but just before I wake up in the morning, if I’ve been sleeping well, I will feel it again. It’s feels kind of like being forever enveloped in the satisfaction of scratching an itch. Everything in the world feels right, and there are no responsibilities. You are free to simply, be. I’ve labeled it, ‘being’.

“You see my sons, that was the world before me, and before your mother. What you see now, these plants and animals, they were in the ‘being’ too.”

Able listens attentively, quietly pensive, then the more restless and curious Cane asks, “But that sounds really nice. How could things have been really nice all the time then, but now there are animals who eat each other, and plants that die? Why do I feel sadness now?”

“That, is a good question. The story goes like this:

“Your mother and I, after having found each other in the ‘being’, (that’s a whole other story), were being when we both felt a push. Not having any bodies at that time, it was very hard to understand what was happening, but I think I can label it a push now. We felt a push, and then we were here, in this place, just lying on the ground, completely naked! It was so confusing, one second your ‘being’ the next you’re alive.

“The most fascinating thing about being alive, is that when you’re separated from ‘being’, you begin to understand that ‘being’ isn’t just a place, it’s a whole realm, a dimension that thinks and feels, that is more great and complex than you and I could ever comprehend. It was from ‘being’ that all that we know and all that we are was created. So when you have a question like, ‘why?’ you have to ask ‘being’.”

Cane leaps up with arms outstretched and says,”Okay! ‘Being’, why is there sadness!?”

“Ha, ha, ha! I love your passion my son! However, ‘being’ does not speak the way that you and I do now, that’s part of what I was trying to tell you. ‘Being’ is so complex, there is no way for it to express itself here.”

Looking flummoxed, Cane responds, “Then how can I ask my question?”

“Easily, you already have. You see, ‘being’ created this world, and ‘being’ permeates this world. The minute you had a question, the moment it occurred to you to ask, ‘being’ heard it. Before then, even. It was simply waiting for you to realize that you had the question.”

Cane sat down to process this, but Abel, having heard this particular explanation before, had a second question, “Father, if that is true, how do we know what the answer to our question is?”

“Again! A good question! What brilliant sons I have!

“This is one of the most difficult things about existing outside of ‘being’. Before, we were within it, and so we were what it was. We were still separate in awareness, but most things like feelings simply flowed through us, and we understood them. Now, we have to try harder to be in contact with it. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean it’s farther away! It is simply a matter of simplicity. ‘Being’ created this world for us to exist in, which is for that purpose, simple. And the simple, cannot easily comprehend the complex!

“What I do to speak with ‘being’, is I sit very still, and very quiet. And I try my hardest to thing of all of the love and gratitude I have for ‘being’, for creating me, for loving me. Eventually, I get to the end of my ability to express my love, and in that space, after love and thanksgiving have been fully spent, that I can ‘be’ again. Not exactly the same way I was, but enough that I know it’s desires, and it’s feelings again. It is there that we can gain answers little one.”

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One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn in my exploration of God, and spirituality, is that there is almost never an answer that doesn’t bring more questions. Every argument that seems to support a thesis, seems to have an exception that must be handled with it’s own argument, and it’s own thesis, which may have an exception. I do think there is a bottom to this pit of arguments and theses, but I cannot get there in one sitting.

The foundation for the tale that I have begun above is simply love. God is unconditional love. Now I know there are questions and arguments, and I could address them now, but I prefer to address them as the story continues. Just know that I have considered the questions, and I have sought that answers, and what I have discovered will be revealed in time. For now, settle into the atmosphere above, and allow yourself to love until you can’t anymore. For it is in that place that God dwells, the God which is, “I AM”, the God which simply is, is simply “being”.

Before anything else can be understood, there must a foundation be laid. That foundation is unconditional love. From here there are many possibilities, but only one which seems to fit with all that has been revealed to us, to humans, from God. There will be many turns, bumps, bruises, and scrapes. However, while there will be some you wish to heal and never see again, there may also be some which you hope will scar, so you can show others what you have discovered, and have a story of your own to tell.