About What Tesla Said

For the New Year, I would like to propose a new way of looking at the world based on Tesla’s comment. One of the interesting things about waves is that they always seem to have a manifested part and a less obvious part; a field of potential of some kind. For example, with electrical wires, there is always an electromagnetic field surrounding the wire carrying the current. Another example: the little wave packets we think of as particles have a field of probability surrounding them so that one can never be sure exactly where the particle is. We can think of these examples as having a manifested aspect and an essential aspect. It is a lot easier to picture with waves on the ocean because we are familiar with and sometimes captivated by the beauty of that scene.

For a few moments, think of the sea as God, or Source, and the waves as individuals. Each of us is an individual wave with a completely individual character, a force of our own, and a finite life span in an infinite ocean. A change in the winds can cause a change in the character of a wave, and it is also affected by the currents, the phase of the moon, the depth of the water, and other forces. You could probably come up with a page full of metaphors with a slightly determined effort. But here is the aspect I want us to consider.

Picture a wave on the ocean. Then picture beneath the wave. The water in the wave is roiling with energy to the extent that if the wave moves into shallower water, the energy will push the wave higher. The roiling part of the wave is the essential wave. What we see above the water is just the manifested part. If we are at sea, the deeper you go the less effect the roiling has on the water


“How does that apply to humans,” you may ask. Think of the wave as you. The ocean represents the Oneness of our Source. The surface of the water represents our manifested world. The wave at the surface, then, is the dimension in which we find our manifested body, and the roiling energy is our spirit, which exists in other dimensions as well. As we go deeper, we begin to lose some of our materialized characteristics. We are neither male nor female; not Pisces, or Leo, or Virgo. But still there is energy there which carries characteristics of the type of force and environment in which we were created. The signature of winds long since died down are still written in our roiling waters. There is much more to “Me” than meets the eye. You, too. Some of it we are not even aware of.

If we broaden our view and our metaphor just a bit so that we can see other waves, our picture becomes even more interesting. This is how we interact in community. We are propelled by not just the energy within us, but also the energy that surrounds us. As we go deeper, we can see that we take on a community presence. And deeper, yet, we lose even that and become a part of the Source. As humans, of course we have the flexibility to move about and change our community to some extent, but we never lose the connections we have created.

For the New Year, I am encouraging myself and everyone to be aware of our interconnectedness. I want us to become more aware of how our environment and other people affect us. But I want us to become especially aware of how we affect those around us. We have a multitude of forces trying to separate us from our true being, our true nature, but ultimately all that does is take us into a world of chaos. Recognizing and seeking connections with each other is what we refer to as “love one another.”

It is not that we have to like everyone, but simply that we recognize that everyone has a part in this process, even the ones we do not agree with. And we recognize their part in shaping who we are.

Wishing everyone Peace and Many Blessings for the coming year.





Thinking about Feelings

The wrong costumeThe last blog post I made the other day garnered a couple of pretty harsh reviews from dear and trusted friends. I almost took it down and thought better of it. The blog can’t be just about what I want to say. I’m actually happy for intelligent negative comments because it will cause me to more accurately convey what I feel drawn to express, and if it changes my opinion, then so much the better. In the same light, I hope I can say something that will helps us all through this crazy life.

The biggest complaint about my post was that it came too much from my head and not enough from my heart. That is true. I actually had rewritten parts of it to “friendly” it up a bit, so I can’t say I was unaware of the issue. But I didn’t do such a great job of presenting its significance in a particularly understandable fashion. I think I’m pretty dang lucky to have friends who love me enough to voice their views of what I am trying to convey. I do tend to approach subjects first with my head, though, and then with my heart. So I’ve gotta tell you what I think about this first, and then maybe what I feel about it.

For most of my life I have processed information with the opinion that what I thought about it was more important than what I felt about it. A few years ago I was reading a book by Gregg Braden — actually I think I read several stories in a few of his books, including Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer — and he told the story of meeting the abbot of a Tibetan monastery who had advised him that the meaning of the prayer was in the feeling more than the saying of the words. It took a few times hearing the same message, but it finally sunk in to me that this was exactly right. Feelings hold a deeper truth because feelings cannot lie. By thinking we can cover over the feelings, but the truth of our deeper selves lies in our feelings.

I realized that, for me, there are two ways that ideas move to my sense of feeling. The first way is through my mental process. First I hear something, or have an idea about something which causes me to form an opinion. This becomes what I believe. Thoughts can linger in my belief system for a long time, but I may respond according to those beliefs or not, often depending on how stressful the situation is.

For example, I consider myself a strong opponent of the death penalty. At the same time, I have had three friends who were murdered. The killer from the third of those committed suicide shortly afterwards, however the other two were captured and taken to prison.  The first was one of my closest friends from my late teens, Elmer. The guy who shot him was about our age and had killed four people in two separate incidents. He was convicted during the time when the death penalty was outlawed, so received four life sentences. Years later with the advent of the Internet, I came across a database of inmates in the Florida prison system so I decided to see where in the prison system Elmer’s killer was. I found he was not in the database. My first thought was that he had died, but soon realized that there was a possibility that he had been paroled and was free. As much as I professed to believe in second chances I was suddenly aghast. “He can’t be free! Elmer is still dead!” The deeper feeling had over-ruled my professed beliefs. I was haunted by those feelings for several days until it dawned on me that Elmer’s killer, who was a very intelligent fellow, may have changed during his time in prison. I imagined him as having realized what all he had wasted, both for himself and four families, and I came to find some peace in knowing he is back in society, and maybe even a productive part of it.

But life has a way of forcing the issue. I had a second friend murdered by her ex-husband. The husband had some measure of prominence and received a fairly light sentence of seven years. And a few years later I read an article that mentioned him as participating in an event. I went through the same emotions all over again. My feelings still did not match my beliefs. I was able to come to terms with this one when I learned that he was working in the community helping former prisoners readjust to life outside prison.

I think my beliefs finally joined my feelings when I began working with some inmates in a maximum security prison and saw some of them as people who had made a mistake they deeply regretted. I understood the matter from the other side of the fence, so to speak. Just in the last week or so I’ve been elated to hear that one of those inmates, who has been incarcerated for well over 20 years, has earned a parole. He has worked hard during his time in prison and will be a great benefit to the community that accepts him.

The way that something gets imbedded into my feelings without going through the thought process is through a life-changing event. The biggest one for me has been divorces. I’ve been through two divorces and no matter what I think about relationships now, if a relationship starts getting too close I back away. I can think about it all I want, half an arm’s length seems to be my comfort zone. I’m not entirely sure I want to change that right now.

So what all of this has to do with my previous post is this. One of my foundational beliefs, and one that I hope is securely embedded in my deeper self, is that we live in a “we” world rather than just a “me” world; that there is an underlying unity enveloping our existence that streams from a source that is pure consciousness.  Many religions have stated or implied this, including Christianity, and I have found that Science also seems to point in that direction. The deeper principles of Science apply very well to the dynamics of our human experience. The last post was an attempt to illustrate this.

If we view our lives as having a deeper connection, the nature of our personal interactions, from being more “me” centered to more “we’ centered, begins to reflect that understanding. The emphasis moves from competition to more cooperation and the world becomes a kinder and better place. I want people to understand this and ultimately respond to the idea.

We can come to embrace this idea through our thought processes or through direct experience. My idea is to accept this notion intellectually until direct experience helps us truly embed it into our subconscious. My last post was an attempt to show that Evolution is one of the basic attributes of our physical existence and how we are evolving in the direction of embracing our underlying unity. This is despite what seems to be a chaotic world right now. I used the example of the Biblical narrative since many Christians are resistant to any notion that involves the word “Evolution.”

I hope that clarifies that. I informed my friend, Marilyn, that I was planning on explaining life’s processes through the principles of thermodynamics. Her response was, “ARRRGGGHHH!” OK! OK! I’ll try to make it fun.

The Bible and Spiritual Evolution

SPIRITUAL EVOLUTION 930PXThe only place there really seems to be a controversy about evolution theory is in the minds of Christian folks looking for a literal reading of the Bible. In the last blog post I talked about the ways in which a literal reading of the Bible simply does not hold up, even if your only reference is the Bible itself. I’d like to build on that theme this week. Generally speaking, when someone puts the words “science” and “Bible” in the same sentence many Christians assume the next key word is going to be “evolution.” Let’s start there. But bear in mind that the parallels between Science and Religion can go much deeper.

As I mentioned last time, in the Bible’s reading, the idea of seven days of creation just does not hold up. By the time you’ve gotten to Chapter 6 of Genesis you either have to ignore half of what you’ve read or come up with an alternate explanation. I also wonder why God would choose a single rotation of a minute planet as a time standard. Now if it took the Universe two billion Earth years to spin on its axis and God called that a day — seven days times two billion Earth years is fourteen billion years — OK, I like that number. At fourteen billion years we have had enough time for the Universe to expand and cool, and enough time for molecular complexity to develop. (I’ll save a discussion about the Big Bang for a later time.)

We have about us an abundance of evidence for incredible levels of change in these past few billion years. In the Universe at large stars and other features have come and gone, and we can see evidence of that in the peculiar movements and color shifts of some celestial bodies. On Earth, the geological and archaeological records tell a similar story, even in just the past couple of thousand years. The one thing we can be certain of is that everything is going to change, even the rocks.

In Science, the second law of thermodynamics (entropy) says that isolated systems move in the direction of chaos. As long as energy is being applied to a system it is stable or gaining in complexity.  When external energy is removed the system will move towards chaos.  Think of it like a battery. The only way something will not change is if it is using and gaining energy in equal measures. Even then systems are generally fluid and so they may be stable but ever changing. We tend to think that anything moving towards complexity is evolving. Moving towards chaos, it is dying. As energy is applied and taken away from a system it can go through cycles of growth, decay, and regeneration. Often the pattern goes like this: energy in > growth/organization > stability/order > over-organization/energy depletion/moving towards chaos > infusion of new energy > reordering/evolution. You can probably find examples of this in your life. You start working on something and have a great burst of creative energy at the start and as you are working on the project it gets more complex and maybe even a little overwhelming. At some point you reach what seems to be a roadblock. Then suddenly a solution to the roadblock appears, and with a new burst of creative energy you finish the project and it is better than you had imagined. This happens with humans in a number of different ways — physically, intellectually, and spiritually. In recorded history we can see examples of physical human evolution as people’s diets and migration habits have changed. No one can dismiss human intellectual evolution.

Spiritual evolution is less evident. However we can get an example of man’s spiritual evolution as recounted in the Biblical narrative. That spiritual change has been reflected in the way that people have interacted with and treated each other down through the years.  Whether you take this Biblical story literally or figuratively does not matter. It is interesting how relatively abruptly the reported changes have come.

Before Abraham’s time in the Middle East, roughly 2000 BCE, it was commonplace for people to sacrifice children to God or to the gods. Abraham’s decision not to sacrifice Isaac based on a spiritual experience reflects sudden changes in that spiritual practice and the new practice was carried on by his descendants. Still there was little or no organized law enforcement in Abraham’s day. Leaders and prominent figures had their armies and militias, but those were there for the protection of the leader and his followers.  Highway robbery and murder were not uncommon, nor were rape and incest.

In that same time period codes of law dealing largely with contracts, such as Hammurabi’s code, began to appear. Six hundred years later the Law of Moses added a layer of complexity by including a spiritual dimension to those codes. Moses attributed the source of this code to a higher power rather than a regional leader, so it was universal. A rabbi once explained to me that Mosaic Law was to insure that peoples’ interactions were not based on the power that one person had or one person lacked, but on a system of mutual respect. [We are talking about the Bible narrative, but it is interesting to note that the Hindu Vedas appeared about the same time as the Law of Moses and gave similar instructions.] The Biblical Law started with the Ten Commandments, but increased in complexity to over six hundred recorded laws.

Over the next fifteen hundred years this written law became increasingly complex as the scribes and rabbis debated how the laws should be applied in certain specific instances. The New Testament version of this history tells us that the spiritual significance of the Law had eroded to an unwieldy core of legalistic interpretation by the time that Jesus arrived on the scene.

Jesus added new energy by refocusing attention onto personal interactions implying that there was a less obvious dimension to life in the form of a spiritual dimension that we should aspire towards and become part of. Now, suddenly, everyone had access to spiritual experiences, not just priests and prophets. Jesus identified the new target experience by telling the Samaritan woman at the well, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

This is just one of the places where Jesus speaks of a spiritual evolution. The teachings of the Bible are not static any more than our knowledge of the physical world is. The door to spiritual experiences is wide open for everyone. The Bible doesn’t just support, it exemplifies evolution in a spiritual sense. If spiritual experiences become more a part of religious practice, who knows where we might evolve next? It may be that spiritual experiences influence our future intellectual and physical evolution.

Many writers are pointing to what seems to be an increasing level of chaos in the world today and draw the conclusion that we are on the verge of a new surge of creative energy and a shift in human consciousness. References to this are not found just in Christian literature, but in Hindu and other traditions as well. That would certainly fit the entropy pattern we noticed earlier. Perhaps we can follow that train of thought in future posts.


The Literal Bible: How I became a heretic.

meditate composit 4-910pxI’ve been putting off starting this blog for at least two years, maybe for the simple reason that I did not know quite where to start. It has grown out of many years of studying science and in the context of experiences that science explains away as tricks of the mind. And it has emerged through a filter of Christian teaching, which, on the whole, I still embrace, though some people would consider me a heretic. Well, if that separates me from the mainstream of modern Christian doctrine then I’ll take it. I’ll write it in big yellow letters on a bright blue and purple hat and wear it without compunction. Yessiree.

Here’s where my relationship with traditional Christianity started to sour. In my early twenties I went back to the church of my upbringing. It was one of those fundamentalist Protestant churches with some extra commandments: don’t drink’ don’t smoke, don’t dance, don’t go to movies… it was a fairly long list. The elders kept telling me that I needed to read my Bible more, so I did, and started at the beginning. The first thing I encountered was a discrepancy in the telling of the story of creation. In Chapter 1 of Genesis we have the traditional Christian seven days of creation, where Man comes last. Then there’s Chapter 2 and a whole new story of creation in which Man was there from the beginning. I reread it multiple times to reconcile the difference and couldn’t come up with an explanation.

Next I encountered the story of Adam and Eve. It was going along pretty much as expected until I got to the part where they were kicked out of the garden for eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They were kicked out so that they would not encounter and eat fruit from the Tree of Life and thus become immortal, “like us.” What did that mean, “us?” Reading a little further, I find the story of Cain and Abel. Cain kills Able — no surprise — until Abel is sent off east of Eden, from which they had supposedly already been evicted. A mark is put on Cain so that nobody who sees Cain will kill him. So far there are only supposed to have been four people, and one of those has been killed. Who are these people and where did they come from? Not only that, but Cain gets married to a mystery woman and they build a city named after Enoch, their son.

After a genealogy, we encounter the Nephilim — the sons of God who had relations with the daughters of men and brought forth the heroes of old, the men of renown. That sounded a lot like the Hercules and Orpheus and Helen of Troy family. Hmmm. Is this where the earlier mysterious “us” came from? Well, they seemed to have created enough evil on the earth that God decided to destroy the whole mess — except for the one holy man, Noah, and his family.

The story of the flood is pretty familiar, but after the flood an interesting event happens. Noah decided to plant a vineyard. He made some wine, got drunk and naked and passed out in his tent. First of all, for me at that time, drinking was such a major no-no that it could have been the eleventh commandment. I thought Noah was in deep trouble, but no. It was his son, Ham, who got in trouble for disrespecting his father by reporting the incident to his brothers.

At this point in my reading I had had enough surprises. This was not the stuff they taught us in Sunday school. It wasn’t the stuff we heard in the church service. I thought I should ask the pastor about some of this stuff. A few days later I had the opportunity to do just that, so first I asked about drinking wine because besides this Noah escapade, Jesus turned water into wine. The answer came back that it wasn’t really wine as we think of it, but grape juice. They just called grape juice wine. I was so insulted by that answer I don’t believe I ever went to the church again.

Still trying to make sense of a literal and unerring reading of the Bible, I moved on to the New Testament, where I found differing versions of some of the stories.  Maybe some differences are minor, but I’m looking for unerring here.

The story of driving the swine into the lake; was it in Gerasa or Gadara? Were there two demoniacs or one?

Of the question of the greatest commandments, did a scribe ask that question of Jesus or did Jesus ask it of a scribe?

And there are other questions. Why did Jesus refer to himself as the Son of Man and not the Son of God?

When Mary Magdalene asked him where he was going he replied, “to my father and your father, to my god and your god.”  He did not separate himself from the rest of us.

When the disciples asked him why he was going he replied, “I have other sheep which are not of this fold. I must tend to them also so there is one flock and one shepherd.” Does that mean he is still coming and going and we’ve missed it?

And after Jesus left the various versions of the story began to conflict right away. Paul said we are “saved by faith alone” and James the Just called him a fool and countered that faith without works is dead.

Paul disliked Mark and wouldn’t let him go on a trip and it caused a lot of friction. Yet Mark was the first we know of to write a Gospel.

To cut to the chase, a critical reading of the Bible brings up more questions than it answers if you goal is to take it all at face value. When you look back at the history of Christianity and see all of the various gospels that were written — even just the ones we know about — you have to look at the course that was followed with some degree of skepticism. How much of the course was followed because of politics and not just a search for the Truth?

After I got away from fundamentalist thinking I studied other religions and I studied science. I had some pretty amazing experiences that none of these explained very well. I started formulating my own ideas. At one point, when I was studying science pretty heavily, I started wondering if there could possibly be any points of agreement between science and religion that might explain the experiences I was having. The old fundamentalist inner voice chimed in that I had better not try to change the Word of God. I opened my Bible and looked straight down on Romans 1:20, which says in effect, “Since the beginning of time, we can know all things about the Creator through the things He has made; even His divinity.”Ah! If it had happened any other way I might have downplayed the significance of a direct answer to a troubling question. But the answer was clear. We need to look at Religion through the lens of Science, not look at Science through the lens of religion. Now that is some scripture I feel comfortable with.

Here’s where we begin.

May 31, 2015