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Spiritual Lifestyle

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In this short 2 min clip, Sagan discusses how humans have evolved as a society, but how we still have dangerous traits that put our world in peril. He’s optimistic that humanity might make a change, but is uncertain. He discusses the benefits of seeing the planet from space, seeing it as a delicate orb, without borders. Love this guy, shame we lost him so early.

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Posted on Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson
about a battle that goes on inside all people.

He said, “My son, the battle is between two
wolves that dwell inside each and everyone of us.

“One is Evil.
It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority,
lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is Good.
It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity,
truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for
a minute, and then asked his grandfather:

“Which wolf will win ?”

The old Cherokee simply replied:
“The one you feed.”

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Posted on Monday, July 18th, 2011

mass-we-pray

Every once in a while, a special little thing comes along that really grabs your attention.

So if you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift? How about a game with a Wii controller in the shape of a cross?

Introducing: Mass – We Pray. The video game for the whole family.

Now you can forget about going to church. Take care of all those spiritual needs in the comfort of your own home.

(Note: It looks fake, but I’m not 100% sure. According to their website, you can pre-order starting today. I smell a stocking stuffer.)

Watch Video

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Posted on Friday, November 20th, 2009

creation-paul-bettany

A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer.

Creation, the biopic about Charles Darwin is too controversial for religious America? As SNL’s Amy Poehler used to say on Weekend Update: “Really!….Really!”

I can not believe that is really a problem in the U.S. I mean I’ve heard the freak stories of school boards in weird small towns demanding that evolution not be taught to students, but this is getting ridiculous.

This is just a movie… about Charles Darwin. How afraid can you be?

No matter how religious you are, if you are afraid of a movie…and openly declare you’re boycotting it (or in this instance, refusing to distribute it) you will only serve to enhance its standing.

I’m just flabbergasted that anyone still has a problem with evolution in 2009. But fine, if you want to keep your kids from learning it, and want to believe that the Flintstones were real…that’s your prerogative.

Here’s what Oscar-winning producer Jeremy Thomas had to say in the Telegraph UK article:

…he was astonished that such attitudes exist 150 years after On The Origin of Species was published.

“That’s what we’re up against. In 2009. It’s amazing,” he said.

“The film has no distributor in America. It has got a deal everywhere else in the world but in the US, and it’s because of what the film is about. People have been saying this is the best film they’ve seen all year, yet nobody in the US has picked it up.

“It is unbelievable to us that this is still a really hot potato in America. There’s still a great belief that He made the world in six days. It’s quite difficult for we in the UK to imagine religion in America. We live in a country which is no longer so religious. But in the US, outside of New York and LA, religion rules.

“Charles Darwin is, I suppose, the hero of the film. But we tried to make the film in a very even-handed way. Darwin wasn’t saying ‘kill all religion’, he never said such a thing, but he is a totem for people.”

Hmm…it’s a sad state of affairs.

The movie stars Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connolly, and hopefully will be playing at a theater near you. Here’s the trailer:

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Posted on Saturday, September 12th, 2009

spiritual-moon(Photo: h.koppdelaney)

So what is Spiritual Growth, and how can it help your life?

When you hear about Spiritual Growth, you might think it’s all about the white-bearded guru sitting in a cave, or some hippie earth mother with braided hair. For others, “growth” will have a rigid interpretation assigned to it by a particular holy book or tradition.

Obviously the term is much too complicated for one superficial, all-encompassing definition. What I’m going to talk about is a fluid interpretation of spiritual growth and its practical application in our daily lives.

How does this growth benefit us? Well, here’s my list of the top reasons (if you have others, I want to hear them.)

BENEFIT 1. YOU GET TO SEE LIFE FROM A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW.

“People find life entirely too time consuming.”
- Stanislaw Jerzy Lec, Polish writer

When you’re in the thick of daily life, it can be hard to see clearly. You take the world personally and you feel responsible for things you can’t control. With spiritual growth, you begin to free yourself of the burden of thinking that you’re the driver and the world is your car.

spiritual-flowers(Photo: courgettelawn)

BENEFIT 2. YOU GET MORE CONTROL OVER THE THINGS YOU CAN CONTROL.

“You can not always control circumstances, but you can control your own thoughts.”
- Charles Popplestown

You become a stronger person spiritually and emotionally. You’re better prepared to influence the things you can influence. And you’re much more chill about the things you can’t control.

spiritual-drop(Photo: ania316)

BENEFIT 3. IT QUIETS YOUR MIND, WHICH MAKES YOUR MIND STRONGER.

“Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.”
- Hans Margolius

You start to get rid of the incessant buzzing that keeps echoing your head. You know what I’m talking about… when you lie down to rest and all the events of your day and all your to-do lists come flooding into your brain.

When I say spiritual growth helps quiet the mind, I mean that you’ll start to have more impromptu moments of the kind you have after meditating (or performing any activity where your entire focus is taken up BY the activity). You’ll be training yourself to get to these quiet places more quickly and easily – just like you train a muscle.

spiritual-rocks(Photo: Mr. Theklan)

BENEFIT 4. YOU CAN DEAL BETTER WITH SORROW OR GRIEF.

“There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”
-Carl Jung

We all deal with sorrow at some point, and it comes in varying degrees, but with spiritual growth we not only learn to deal with it, we learn to embrace the positives. You might ask, “What positives?” But every type of adversity or challenge has a lesson, even if we can’t see it at first.

One of the best examples of how spiritual growth can help ease sorrow is this powerful and thoughtful letter written by Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) to the parents of a daughter who was murdered. Even with that kind of unimaginable grief, there can still be something to take away.

spiritual-waves(Photo: somebody)

BENEFIT 5. YOU HAVE PATIENCE & TOLERANCE

“One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.”
-Chinese proverb

Here the practical benefit of spiritual growth is to learn to let life’s daily indignities slide off your back. And I’m not talking about faking indifference and bottling up anger and resentment. I’m talking about reaching a point where what other people do or think no longer bothers you. Where, as Wayne Dyer puts it, “you’re independent of the good opinion of other people.”

Anger and resentment come from this fear of what others might do or think. We also experience negative feelings when someone violates our own unwritten, internal set of “rules and regulations”, the ones we expect the rest of the world to live by.

Spiritual growth is not about being uncaring. I’m talking about having a calmness and thoughtfulness that permeates your being, and that allows you to view life with more detachment.

spiritual-tree(Photo: Premasagar)

BENEFIT 6. YOU BECOME COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN.

“Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.”
- Anonymous

With spiritual growth, you no longer think about playing catch-up with all the people who are doing “better” than you.

You stop worrying about that and you realize (as many have said) that it’s not about being better than anyone else, just being better than you used to be.

spiritual-drops(Photo: Cesar R)

BENEFIT 7. YOU GET HAPPY.

“There is no duty so much underrated as the duty of being happy.”
- Robert Louis Stevenson

Spiritual growth helps you realize that your happiness won’t come from the outside, but from within. Great! It’s cliche, and what the hell does it even mean?! It means you stop wishing for “stuff” to make you feel complete. A new car, a new house, a fancy hat. I know it’s been said to death, to the point where it might not resonate any more. Money doesn’t make you happy… blah, blah, blah.

But the best way to think about it is to ask yourself:

How did we come into this world? EMPTY HANDED.

How are we leaving this world? EMPTY HANDED.

So the stuff we acquire in between doesn’t technically have any effect on the inside, but knowledge does – on our mind and spirit. We were born with all the “gear” for true happiness.

spirituality-happy(Photo: Donna Cymek)

PARTING THOUGHTS

This list represents what to me are the key benefits of spiritual growth. I’m sure I’ve missed some and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

As I said, spiritual growth is hard to define, and it means different things to different people. But the thing that’s true across the board is that spiritual growth brings a deeper understanding of what people believe. When you come to understand your fellow human (the fears, the aspirations), it’s very freeing.

You come to relate to other people around the world in a more personal way. And even if you feel your personal religious tradition is “best” (for lack of a better word), you can’t truly say you have a deep understanding of your own religion if your own religion is the only one you know.

As you taste new things, there will be aspects of some religions that you like and of other traditions that make you cringe, but exposure is an integral part of spiritual growth and maturity.

And a deeper understanding of what spiritual life means to different people will give your mind a freedom that will make you smile.

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Posted on Saturday, July 4th, 2009

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