Humans as endogenous beings

Image: Vladislav Klapin

Some plants that thrive in Phoenix would perish in Fort Lauderdale.

These plants are indigenous. They originate externally, requiring a certain outside environment to thrive.

We humans have a certain indigenous aspect of ourselves. This is nothing to ignore. When I consider living in a place that’s hot and sunny all year without the rest of the seasons, there’s a part of me that would rather dig its eyeballs out with a rusty butterknife.

This doesn’t just pertain to weather/environmental conditions. Some of us claim to be more indigenous to certain social/psychical environments than others. I have a friend who loves conflict and the hustle and bustle of the city. I, on the other hand, prefer the wide open spaces at this juncture of my life.

As powerful as these indigenous tendencies are in humans, they’re just ego-ideals that we hold ourselves to.

Man is that noble endogenous plant, which grows from within, outward.
 — Ralph Waldo Emerson

As much as we might have indigenous tendencies, they’re not the determining factor in the flourishing of our souls. Plop me down in Scottsdale, Arizona, and as much as I might initially hate it, if I shift my focus, I can adapt and thrive there too.

This is because humans are endogenous beings. We cultivate our consciousness from within and project it outwardly into the world.

Everything about us — how we hold a pencil; how we walk; how we talk; how we design our living spaces; our posture, fashion sense, dietary preferences, and voice — is an outer reflection of our inner state of consciousness.

Our inner-environment lays the groundwork of our wellbeing, not the conditions we find ourselves in.

There are plenty of people who’ve found their soul’s purpose and do the work of the Gods in the most hellish places on Earth.

As endogenous beings, we can venture inside ourselves, connect with the Source that creates worlds, and consciously determine how we carry ourselves into our destinies.

But please don’t make me go to Scottsdale.

Jonas writes short daily stories and preachments on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing below.

Not there…

Image: Roman Logov

Humanity has put forth so much effort
to place God in the physical world…

How many people’s souls have been silenced
under an overcoat
of dogma
that have been placed on their already heavy shoulders
by an institution that worships a false idol?

How many people have turned away 
cold from their faith
because of abuse
that exist in the world of the human.

It’s a valid argument:
How can God exist in the same world as these?

But what if God had nothing to do with the physical world? 
Would that bring you fear?
Or give you poise and focus?

What if God only worked in a spiritual sense?
Beneath the words
Beneath the form
Beneath the rules…

Have we tried finding God there?
Or elsewhere?

What if the Christ wasn’t Jesus’ last name,
but a timeless bridging energy
between the Divine
and the physical world of the human?

What if this Christ 
was the thing that rose 
into the consciousness of the human
on that day
instead of a bloody, beaten body of flesh, bone and gristle?

Where are you looking for God?
Where does communion happen for you?
On a hard, cold bench isolated from the outside world?
In the spiritual backdrop of your everyday life?

Or both?

Jonas writes short daily stories and preachments on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing below.

The gates open towards you

Image: Alvin Engler

One of the most widely held stories of mainstream Christianity is the grand moment after we die as we stand at the pearly gates...

We line up and await our turn to see if St. Peter has us in the VIP guestbook so we can get into the upscale convalescent home that is called ‘Heaven’.

Do we get in or don’t we? That is the deciding moment for many Christians, consciously or subconsciously. It’s a mega-myth that has sunk its teeth deep in our western culture — the end goal being a sort of divine escapism from this world.

But what if the story was flipped?

What if we had it backwards? What if, instead, the gates of Heaven opened the other way, towards us? What if the pull towards the Divine was to snatch it out of the clouds and bring it down into the blood, dirt, bone, tears, and joys of this world — right here, right now?

This is what I’m discovering to be true. Ponder the implications of this…

What if the point wasn’t to go anywhere?

What if we didn’t have to escape anything — mentally or physically?

What if the entire spectrum — the pain and loss as well as the joys and elations — of this human existence were the true gifts of the Divine?

What if the biggest source of our suffering is the idea that we must escape? And what if Heaven is a state of accepting and deepening into the infinite present moment?

The way I’m seeing it is, the goal is not to walk through some gate in the clouds to be accepted by a God that exists beyond this lifetime.

The pearly gates don’t swing out towards a heaven that exists beyond ourselves. They swing within, towards us.

The goal is to consciously find acceptance in ourselves and open the gates to a life graced by Divine love that awaits our embrace right now.

No need to wait for St. Peter. He’s a distraction. (And he’s easily paid off, apparently.)

I think we’d find, if we were bold enough to just try, that the gate swings inward.

It’s locked on our end, not Heaven’s.

And it swings towards us every moment of every day.

Owning this isn’t the easiest thing to stomach. But it’s the only way we’ll experience Heaven in this life.

Jonas writes short daily stories and preachments on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing below.

Life before death

Image: Charlotte Coneybeer

Have you ever thought about what happens when our physical heart stops beating? You know, when we… die?

I have. I used to have the generic version of heaven with my whole family hanging out in the clouds drinking as much Mountain Dew as we wanted (because, at that time of my life, I was big into Mountain Dew).

Then that stopped making sense — and seeming like a lot of NOT fun — so my version changed and morphed which it’s continued to do until this day.

I think it’s a human thing. To contemplate our death. It’s all horrifying, really, no matter how you cut it. Eternal life in this physical body seems horrifying as does the end of the line.

Here’s my current stance about theories of what happens when we die…

It’s all speculation.

No. One. Knows.

No one. Even if you’ve read or heard the most convincing story from the biggest authority that resonates so hard with you — it’s still just speculation.

Sure, own it as your truth if it helps you live better. Which leads to my point…

I don’t care about death. All I care about is living before dying.

This is it. This is what I interpret ‘eternal life’ to mean. To live now and now and now (and now)… eternally.

I don’t want to spend much more time talking about what happens when this skin suit of meat and bone turns to dust. I’ve adopted a story of my own that suits me fine, but I also know I’m just making it up.

However, if you want to talk about how we can live the best life possible — like how we can really experience this ride in the most exuberant way before we kick the bucket, (whatever that really means)— hand me a glass, pour me a pint, and lets talk.

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Resurrecting the ghost

Image: Arto Marttinen

This is nuts. Here I am, in real-time, on this blog, reconciling my relationship to G-g-g…

I can barely say it. See, I haven’t been a ‘God’ guy for a long time. As much as I write and pontificate about spirituality and such, you can probably count on three or four fingers how many times I’ve used the word in the last couple years.

I know I’m not alone on this. Today, it’s seen as practical to box up the big-guy with the fairy tale books we had when we were kids.

Yes, I grew up Catholic-ish. Before my mother passed, she took me to church a few times. I really enjoyed the physical vibe of the church, but as soon as the priest began speaking, I’d lose consciousness and drift off to sleep, only to be woken up by my slightly embarrassed mom (who laughed about it — I think she could relate to my boredom).

My dad was a fallen southern baptist. He renounced the church when he was a kid, but he maintained the ‘Christian’ label his entire life and pointed at The Bible for a few life lessons as I was growing up.

All in all, my religious experience as a kid wasn’t… bad. It just wasn’t really there much. I believed in God and would pray every night — one Hail Mary, one Lord’s Prayer (am I supposed to be capitalizing these?), and one Act of Contrition before asking him for stuff like my mom getting healthier, more money, etc.

When my mom passed, I didn’t blame it on God. I just saw it as a bureaucratic oversight — he had a lot of people to tend to and my mom probably couldn’t afford his fee. No hard feelings.

But as I became more ‘spiritual’, I started de-personifying the big man upstairs. I always kinda thought that whole idea of the old man in the clouds as bollocks. In my mind, I turned ‘him’ into an ‘it’ and he became an energy of a sort.

This was empowering. Now, he was strictly on the inside.

But after some time — and I’m just now starting to see this — something started missing. I couldn’t put my finger on it — still can’t — but God took on a different dimension.

Thinking back to my childhood, I remember having vivid conversations with God. Sure, he made me feel guilty at times, but not unhealthily so. I’d thank him for the great things and I’d curse at him for the bad. I’d beg him for the bright, shiny things I desired in life and when I saw some of them come to fruition, I’d celebrate the fact that I had a cosmic homeboy of sorts backing me up.

And then, one day, he was gone. I bottled him up and turned him into a ghost — still there in spirit, but gone in flesh.

I think a lot of us have done this.

We’ve killed God in the name of practicality, even spirituality.

Although we did it with the best of intentions, we may have killed off something crucial to our human experience.

Think about it… We want ‘things’ in life, sure, but what we really treasure are ‘people’. Other humans. This is what really drives us. We’re always doing something for someone, trying to prove ourselves to someone, trying to keep our promises to someone special.

That ‘someone’ is the main thing. Although that person may change over time, there’s usually someone there. Without that someone, not only do we lose the thing we desire — how we relate to a person — we lose the feeling to desire in the first place. When we lose someone we love, we don’t even want to want. We find it hard to move forward. It hurts at first and even when it stops, we’re still effected by it in some underlying way.

Killing the personal god has produced the ominous feeling of living without anyone watching.

The sunset is nice, but it’s worlds better with someone there to enjoy it with.

Although we may have real live people to share those sunsets with, there’s still something fundamentally satisfying about that person in the clouds watching over us. Guiding us. Helping us live better lives.

There’s a lot of that whole story that serves us best being thrown out. But a lot of it may just be what we need to push on.

I see a lot of younger folks lacking the luster for life. Maybe they always have, but it seems particularly so today. I’m not a religious guy — really. I think a lot of religion has set humanity back in certain regards. It’s what we humans do: Two steps forward. One step back. Repeat.

But I’m starting to see that while we were at it, we may have thrown out something essential to our humanity.

This is something I’m grappling with right now. I don’t know what the big lesson is. All I know is that I’m reconciling something that I didn’t really know needed to be reconciled. And it feels right.

God... The ghostly one inside and the personal one outside. Why not both?

Maybe those sunsets will get a little brighter.

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What to create now?

Image: Travis Hezel

Because this is the only option, at each moment.

When it hits the fan, it’s not about redeeming. It’s not necessarily about going back, regretting, making up for, or healing.

It’s about creating something going forward. Because this is all we can do. Even if we think we’re incapable of it.

There’s nothing to heal except for the misunderstanding that we’re not creating in each moment.

What now?

Yeah, that happened. What now? And now? And now?

We are chemists in the laboratory of the infinite. What, then, shall we create?
-Ernest Holmes

So, what’ll it be? More of what pains us? More of what’s in front of our noses? Same old, same old?

Or something good? Something new?

You up for making that leap?

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