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J.Arthur Loose

Temporarily off track in life?

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As of lately i feel like i have fallen drastically off track in my life to this point. i have accomplished many of the things i wanted to get done, but yet i stilll know that on a daily basis i am living a life that isnt meant for me. dont get me wrong, i dont dislike what i am doing too much, i am an honest hard worker and get paid less than what i realistically should for my labor...(its good for humility i guess)i can pay my bills and stll have some cash left over to waste on stuff i dont need to be spending money on...but i still know my job as a carpenter is far from what i should be doing and have been drawn to do all my life.

 

so i was curious as to if any of you have ever been off track in life, and if so how you got back on track. what was your defining moment when you realized that you were worth more than what you were doing?

 

 

just another question from the wandering mind of a weirdo..

 

thanks,

Brent

pacesetter_1@hotmail.com

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I started life as an artist...musician and martial arts. Then in my later youth (late 20's) decided to work a "real job" and became a self employed electronics technician for over 20 years. Owned my own place, president of the corporation, blah, blah, blah. I have tried lots of things to make me "happy" and feel that I am "on track" but everything is relative. I'm an artist. Born to it and it is my passion. I love it when I'm making a sword/knife, playing music, showing a dog, teaching martial arts....and when I'm not doing what I love, I survive financially by working as an AV technician.

 

My employer pays me well and insures me and my family. I sometimes hate it and feel that I am being kept from my true destiny as an artist but I have to tell you that I sleep very well at night knowing that the bills are paid and there is plenty of moolah in the bank. I remember many a scary and lonely night on the road as a professional musician and always feeling as if I was one gig from starvation. I was living the dream and having fun but deep inside I always knew my chances of survival long term were very slim. And I always felt uneasy and unsettled. So when I took a "real" job that paid regular money it was cool for a while and then I felt like you do, Brent. I felt like I was off track...so I found a great compromise by working a 9-5 to pay the bills and devoted my artistic energy to developing my skills to retire to an artists life.

 

The 21st century is very cruel and hard on sensitive/artistic folks. To have all the goodies we have to do things we don't want to do sometimes. In the end, the problem with self image and feeling off track is mostly how you feel about yourself and your "self speak"...we mostly make ourselves (by "we" I mean artists/craftsmen) miserable by repeating nasty things to ourselves and dwelling on the negative aspects of our existence. Look at the glass as half full and relish your accomplishments. Above all love/respect yourself for what you are, not for what you think you might become or be if you did something else.

 

It takes a lot to evaluate things as they *really* are and not by what we want it to be. I feel off track often but I take care of my own and am courteous and kind as often as I can be and do a good job at being a great person. I'll find myself in due time and I have a sneaking suspicion you will too. For now I'm on track by thinking positively and doing the best I can 24/7.

 

My defining moment was selling my company and going to work for someone else and resigning myself to being a part time sword/knife crafter, musician, and martial artist and doing the best work I can without sacrificing my finacial security and putting my family at risk.

 

Just some rambling from another weirdo, Brent. Some of the best knife crafters around are part timers...they work full time jobs in order to be able to afford to make knives.

 

Brian

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Brian is right on the money, he definetly knows what he is talking about [notworthy]  For a different perspective, I worked at a good paying job hand grinding and polishing O/U shotguns which I left to become a fulltime knifemaker, I've never looked back and I feel very fortunate to work fulltime at what I love BUT!!!! there are many days when I've had to make hard financial decisions and ultimately made many sacrifices to become a fulltime maker, its caused problems in my marriage(now divorced) with my credit and with my daughter ( its hard to take your kid to the movies if you have to finish a knife so you can get a paycheck)Every facet of your life is affected.I guess what I am trying to say is like Brian said look at the glass as being half full instead of half empty, work hard at your knives but don't give up your life just to pursue what you think will make you happy. I sometimes cringe when I hear a part time maker tell me he is going fulltime, I'd like to sit them down and give them the REAL story. Don't know if I have been any help Brent , but keep your chin up, things will get better, from one wierdo to another  Bill

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The artist, much like the teacher is highly revered, yet underpaid. Too bad. This world needs more of both.

 

Its funny how you can start life one way and end up being/doing something you don't want to be. Its the path we walk upon. Not much we can do about it until we realize that and make positive steps in a different direction.

 

I started out as an artist in my youth. I painted, drew, sculpted. Then I discovered mechanics, mechanisms, and all things mechanical. It was like an epiphany of sorts. The world opened up to me and I pursued it with all I had in me. Then I fell in love and got married.

 

This is where I started to become influenced by my wife. She grew up as a rich girl. Her father inherited a business and brought it up from bankruptsy to thriving and very profitable. His hard work and determination permeated the whoel family with a desire to achieve. Lots of it rubbed off on me.

 

I went back to school and got my degree, but soon after working "a good job" I became depressed and life was pretty miserable. I just didn't have any outlet for my creativity... and I worked in advertising!!

 

After a couple crappy attempts at trying to use my education to get a better job, I decided it was time to get back into the things I knew and loved, and now I am much happier. I work as an industrial mechanic full time, and make knives and swords part time. It will probably be retirement for me before I actually start making full-time.

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Guest Tai

I think the most important thing in life is being true to yourself,... at any cost.

 

The worst thing would be to get to the end of life and realize that it was waisted and that your dreams never became realities.

 

If you have a dream, you must always hold it close to your heart and never let it go. It would be better to die than to live without your dream.

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Guest Tai

The path of the artist is not for the faint hearted. Take courage and move forward with your dream.

 

My dad gave me some advice once when I was depressed, defeated and off track. He said, look at your problems as a big pile a sh1t. The only way you will ever get through it is one shovel at a time, but don't stop, don't look back and sooner or later you will get through it. Just keep shoveling boy!

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Lots of good stuff in this thread [ylsuper]

 

I started out..., sheesh, where do you start with the story ?

 

I dunno. I could never keep a "real job". Either I told them to stick it up their a**, or they fired me for having an "attitude problem", go figure. [dunno]

 

Then I got into this, and the fire and the work has lit my path ever since. Many changes have been required. Growing up on a farm was a good start for this, it taught me to deal with adversity, and difficult situations, and never give up. And to not stand there whining about it, DO something about it if you are not happy with the situation.

 

I am something of a control freak, and am generally not happy with the work I get when I hire others to do things for me. This is both blessing and curse, much like doing this full time. Blessing, in the freedom and the self actualization and satisfaction. Curse in the insecurity and instability. My wife has had to learn to manage things in a very different way than most folks do. We too have had to make hard choices, and fortunately, she has not left me because of them. It is a wonderful and yet hard life sometimes. And other times it is all great. But as others have said, it really matters a LOT how you view things, as positive, or negative, half full, or half empty ?

 

We live in a time and place with unimaginable abundace as compared with most of human existence. Ancient smiths would envy even the humblest of shops in our time, I suspect, and scoff at us and our whining about the lack of this or that.

 

There is always enough to make it, no matter how bleak the outlook. Sometimes it requires a fresh look at what is really a need as opposed to a want, but that is a good practice to get into anyway. The concept of mindfulness as taught in the Buddhist way is a very good thing. Yoga (or Tai Chi if you prefer that), meditation, prayer, mindfulness, the fire. All can work together if you let them. Be happy, feel the fire, enjoy the heat, and let the light of it guide you.

 

And we are ALL weirdos. Humans all have some strange ideas, don't let anyody tell you different. Mostly it's just if we'll admit to them or not. :;):

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Being full-time keeps me on track; gotta pay the billz...

 

I think I'm a bit like Howard in that I rarely enjoy working for others.  When I do it's personal and usually another artisan.  I really enjoy teaching and did a lot of it in college, but that's such a rat race I'm not going to bother trying for a teaching position.  I tried some gallery jobs and the pressure to 'make the sale,' made me want to go postal.

 

So that leaves making things myself.  Every time I get tired of it and want to bail out I assess my options and situation.  I love living in Vermont (even though the people are impossible sometimes,) I have a great studio space & house and no probs with zoning / noise... but there are simply no jobs here ( if I could even do it,) and if I wanted to move somewhere it would take resources I don't have to move & maintain the studio, and then there are the loan payments / credit card billz ( from starting this endeavor...) that have to be made.  So even if I want to do something else I have to make things & sell them to get there.

 

With a sigh I head back into the forge and at some point usually remember why I love it.

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I remember the feeling, not knowing what I should be doing. It was an incessant longing. My circumstances were different, I had just gotten out of the Marine Corps, a Viet Nam vet with fresh, unprocessed memories and the unforgettable feeling of being outside looking in.

 

I went back to college, I travelled, taught, bought a business and in the end none of it made any sense to me. I felt lost.

 

I was fortunate to meet a life long friend during this period. An Englishman, he too had been in the jungle, Borneo, but when I met him he was a travelling craftsman and artist. His life was an alternative that I had never been exposed to before and his faith in life encouraged me to look outside the box.

 

I sold my business and was determined not to do anything, but rather to be open to opportunity. By the end of that year I was blacksmithing, within three years I was on my way to my first custom knife show.

 

Sometimes inertia pulls us along in life and we wake up years from where we started wondering how we got there. I have never let that happen to me. I still make the decision to open the shop doors every morning and see what I can make of the day. I believe that I could stop and do something completely different without regret and without looking back because I have maintained this sense of freedom and choice.

 

As I get older, I feel a bit like the grasshopper not the ant, but I still have the optomism and faith that I will not waste this life if I remain open and true.

 

I still feel alienated from this culture, but now I know I am in good company. :)

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Guest Tai
"Grasshopper, when you can snatch the pebble from the Matser's hand, you will be ready..." [notworthy]

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Don I think feeling alien in our "culture" is an ok thing. And yes, we have plenty of company, once you learn how to   recognize them.

 

Theres more culture in a cup of yogurt sometimes. :P

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[applause]

wow and all these days i feel alone.

my wife always asks me whats wrong and my daughter screams for my attention, even when she already has it. i sometimes feel lost in this world.

i aspire to do so many things and yet i feel the binds of bills, urban civilization, and the NAVY.

 

sometimes i want to scream, sometimes i just want to slip into utter darkness.

its a constant strugle, i long to begin smithing after a year of research and floating in the middle of the ocean with no control of when i can come home or where i can log onto the net. i love to create and i remember in school my many art and crafts teachers always told me i had so much potential, whether it was pottery, poetry, leather work, or even visual basic programming.

 

if only i could solve the constant enigma of a financially empty pocket.

with everyones words of experience in this forum i keep hope. :;):

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Tuesdays and Sundays I teach Shinkendo (Japanese swordsmanship) for an hour and a half to guys who really want to learn something that will change their life. I'm the most experienced (oldest) of the bunch and they look to me to keep them on track. Even at 48 I can crank up the speed and power while doing contact drills with my senior student and it becomes very fast, very violent, and very scary to the uninitiated.

 

I am nice and courteous and I control the class and teach them all I can. Makes me feel good to impart something of the ways of discipline and self control while creating a interesting and challenging environment. While all these young studs are competitive, they are more interested in learning something that they can apply to the real world outside the dojo. They come to the land of enforced discipline and sweat and they all work hard trying to learn something that will make them happy or give them the ability to cope with the real world and their families. They seek to learn something earth shaking about themselves. They seek the feeling of belonging and of being "centered" and on track.

 

The level of dedication scares me sometimes. These guys pay money every session to keep the doors open and the lights on at the dojo where we rent floor space. And they never complain. No matter how hard I work them or push them they always come back with the hope that they will figure it all out and have the skills to deal with whatever confronts them after a few more workouts.

 

Like knifemakers and artists I know they all work their asses off trying to get the upper hand...trying to feel on track and centered. Sometimes I feel like we are all scared horses running in the dark. Ever do that when you were a kid? I used to. Alone in the dark with a long walk home and something would spook me. And I'd run full out as far and as long as I could till the fear was run out and I could walk again. Like horses do when they are being chased or just get scared.

 

It ain't a bad thing to just bury yourself in righteous work until you work the fear and uncertainty off. Its good for us to open it up and just plain flee sometimes.  It's OK to feel like your lost. It's only when we give up and quit that we are done for. If you fall down 7 times, you get up eight times.

 

I'm rambling again. Time for tea and a sit with the hound.

 

Brian

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Thanks for all the replies fellas. its nice to hear that i am not the only one that doesnt so much fit into this 9-5 lifestyle so well.  i very much am an artist by heart, i spend most of my free time drawing or writing or practicing Goju Ryu (even though my school has went to shit and become all "americanized") i still stick to tradition because it is something that means more to me than a freaking orange, gold, or purple belt (but that is an entirely different rant altogether:)) i have drawn ever since i was a wee lil tike and im sure that my life is supposed to be built around art in some form or another. ever since watching he-man as a kid i loved "zords" as i called them back then, and now that i have had a small taste of what it is to make blades i can tell that it will be something that i will end up doing until i just cant anymore. i dont really see this as something i would ever do as a living, but it is definately something that i am goign to pursue as long as i have arms to work with.

i have had success with doing freelance design for a tattoo shop or two, drawing up some custom work for people, but even that wasnt my thing entirely. all of these things from drawing, painting, tattoo work and even bladesmithing (a soon to be more developed interest) are great and are an important part of me, but i know that there is somehting else that i am far more suited to.

 

i think where i went wrong is when i stopped going to my old Goju school (out of protest) and never ended up getting certified to be an instructor. for some reason i have what seems to be a very good ability i pick up movements and retain the true nature of them, as in i can watch a technique, say a throw or somehting similar, and 9 times out of ten i just understand how it works and from that point on i can duplicate it and teach how it works jhust as well... but now at 25 i feel as though i would be starting over to do things right if i was to go back and get a black blet/ teaching endorsement, and i dont think that i have the time to do so. i short i think i know what i want to do in life, its just a scary thing  to not have the financial security that this mundane life of a carpenter affords me. i should have had my own school by now, and made a run at the UFC for some publicity to get people back into traditional martial arts again.

 

then there is the issue of higher standards. i hold very high standards as to the people i would like to associate with, and lets face it, the people i work with are about three drinks away from being declared brain dead. it takes a conscious effort every day that i work with these drooling mongoliods, to bite my tongue and not say something that would get me fired.i have been a carpenter for around 7 months now and already i know more about this stuff than 90% of the people that work above me...but thats most likely because i learned how to read in school and i dont get all my information from ESPNs' Sportcenter.

i also have issues with the fact that for every drop of sweat that leaves my body, there is someone above me making more money because i have a good work ethic and i bust ass every day as opposed to the earlier mentioned mongoliods.

i get paided less than people who dont know half of what i do, and do less than half the work i do, and it is aweful hard on some days to just bite back my ego and let things ride to not make a ruckus in our company. i love the fact that i do honest work for honest pay, because i think that america is missing that nowdays, but it is hard to justify coming home night after night tired, sore and beat up and not yet having the life that i should have for the work i put out.

 

in any case i just figured i would throw a response back to you guys and at least tell you that i appreciate the responses to my rather teen-angstish topic. sooner or later i know i will be able to get myself back on track, but as for now i think im gonna stick to the daily grind and see what opportunities float my way (before i do somehting drastic and end up making some opportunites. :))

 

one more thing i would like to add is that even if no one here had posted anything to this thread i think its only fair to say that the work you guys do and show here and the wealth of knowledge that is just simply handed out to those who want to learn here, is motivation of the highest and purest sort and there should be some sort of award for you people being so very cool.

 

like a batch of home made cookies or something...?

 

anyways, its late and past my bed time,

take care fellas and thanks again,

 

Brent Kistner

pacesetter_1@hotmail.com

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Guest Tai

"Every day in every way, I'm getting better and better."  :D

(...no I'm not!)  :P

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Truthfully, I don’t want to get better. I like my illness. I’m different than almost everybody I know and I never feel lonely or off track when I’m alone. It’s other people that try to control or manipulate me or when I repeat the nonsense that society preaches over and over in my head that I become disabled. I actually enjoy my depression, rage, loneliness, and uncertainty. I need my pain…..it makes me who I am.

 

I’m not sure it really does get any better but we certainly learn to deal better with ourselves as we age. It takes a little luck and experience and my way is to embrace the bad stuff and use it as a tool. All of the elements we use as smiths, craftsmen, artists and knife makers have a bad/dark/down aspect to them. Look what fire can do to you if it goes the wrong way…but we use it everyday to make good and wonderful things.

 

I have my down times but the older I get the better I am becoming at accepting myself as being really centered and spiritual. I’m a nice guy; I work hard and give 110%. So what I’m not rich or drive a new Lexus or have all of everything I want all the time? I’m better than that (so are most of the guys who congregate here) and I can and will succeed at being happy. I may have to wait till tomorrow or next year for that but it will come. I have learned to control a grinder that can hurt me; I have learned to work closely with fire and all manner of dangerous tools; I’m pretty sure I can learn to deal with myself, my idiosyncrasies, moods, and “dark side” and use these things to good advantage. I don’t want a cure for my disease. I just wanna grow up enough to make effective use of all the aspects of my existence.

 

I guess I’m lucky in that I do not find that depression or feelings of insecurity usually disable me. I’m lucky that I view these problems as temporary and natural, normal states that make me what I am…a human man. But if I dwell on the negative aspects and repeat them over and over in my mind they become entrenched in my thought process and thus become problems instead of tools.

 

I sincerely do believe that positive self speak is essential. I used to chastise my wife for getting up first thing in the morning and repeating something negative before she was even awake. Like hearing a song early in the morning and then catching yourself humming, singing or hearing it in your head all day, you can just as easily program a bad day by negative self speak and dwelling or something negative we have been told by other thoughtless or insensitive people. Find something good and repeat that if you have to dwell on something. I’m not trying to over simplify depression, anger, or despair. But wallowing in it is not healthy if one can not control it and does not have to skills to moderate negative feelings. Like grinding on a grinder you are not competent with; the possibility of injury is very great. So practice and visualize good and positive stuff whenever possible. And if we can’t find anything positive to fixate on then practice mushin…no mind. Learn to quiet the mind by meditation, yoga, weight lifting, martial arts or staring at a pleasing object (naked women work well for me) or something that makes you calm and feel good. Never miss the opportunity to do something nice for yourself. You deserve it.

 

Ramblin’ Brian….but then again this is a ramblin’ kind of thread.

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Reading through this makes me think about the thread concerning Lore of the Smith, and how we are regarded by the communities we live in; how we regard ourselves.  Is there some way in which we are affected by our understanding of transformation of materials and the creation of objects capable of affecting Life or Death?  Do we find such satisfaction in our labors that we are perceived as anti-social?  Do we work so hard that we feel unappreciated even by our benefactors?

 

Is there a reason for the Grumpy-Bladesmith archetype?   ???

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I think perhaps it is not the craft itself so much as the people who are drawn to it, we seem to be a pretty thoughtfull bunch. and thoughtfullness can be a curse;  I have a hard time remaining positive, its hard not to be sceptical and down when it seems we live in a world wich we must consume in order to "progress".  but I think that the moodiness of the smith is also a blessing, because although we are often in danger of falling into the abys, we also have the other side of the spectrum and that is what makes us creative people - the ability to feel deaply and be afected by the world in profound ways can be profoundly depressing but it can also be profoundly uplifting. If one day is my destruction the next is my salvation. sometimes the light just hits the world at dusk and it is there for me to see in its perfection... I wouldn't trade this tempestuous childish romantic soul that drives me to make three thousand year old weapons new, for all the money in the world, or even for a glut of happiness.  following your dreams is a lonely thing to do and a selfish thing to do in some ways too,  but I think it is also an enlightening process and worthwile.

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Well maybe it depends on how you define "it" huh fellows ?

 

I am of the opinion that almost everything is a matter of point of view. I agree wholeheartedly with Brian's rambling about self speak and the need to be positive. The fact that we are humans is a thing that we cannot change, and so we must learn to manage the reality of that fact with the way we see and feel and experience the world.

 

We do in fact live in a time and place that would be wholly unimaginably abundant for most of our fellow humans throughout history no matter where or when they live. Be happy, enjoy the ride.

 

"We're goin' to #### in a bucket Baby, but at least try and enjoy the ride" JG

 

It's not a bad way to do things.

 

One of my dearest friends ever explained it thusly. Imagine yourself skateboarding down the hills of San Francisco, having a wonderful time, then there comes an earthquake, and then the fires and traffic accidents and all that go with it, and you find yourself able to not only escape injury, but enjoy the ride on the heaving and tossing ground and the adrenaline rush of surviving the moment. That is mastery.

 

All the little things that life throws in our paths (or God if you prefer that) are here to help us develop as humans. Some of them are big and hurt real bad, but we can and do survive all that do not kill us, and they should in fact make us stronger, a suggested by one wiser than me.

 

Freeing ones self from the expectation of others and the society in which we live is the greatest liberation I can think of. Be who and what you are, and allow yourself to be happy about it. That seems to be the key, to me. But then what do I know? I am an unemployable misfit, remember ? :P

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Freeing ones self from the expectation of others and the society in which we live is the greatest liberation I can think of. Be who and what you are, and allow yourself to be happy about it. That seems to be the key, to me. But then what do I know? I am an unemployable misfit, remember ?

 

 

Chop wood... carry water...

 

Hammer steel... quench in fire...

 

I like the mystique that comes with being a smith, and I'd much, much rather work hard for myself than work less so for someone else.  I have to remember how cool it is to see a new damascus pattern emerge, or to sucessfully quench that big piece... or see someone's eyes when they're really excited by something I've made.  It is good to be a smith... usually.   :P

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I think perhaps it is not the craft itself so much as the people who are drawn to it, we seem to be a pretty thoughtfull bunch. and thoughtfullness can be a curse;  I have a hard time remaining positive, its hard not to be sceptical and down when it seems we live in a world wich we must consume in order to "progress".  but I think that the moodiness of the smith is also a blessing, because although we are often in danger of falling into the abys, we also have the other side of the spectrum and that is what makes us creative people - the ability to feel deaply and be afected by the world in profound ways can be profoundly depressing but it can also be profoundly uplifting. If one day is my destruction the next is my salvation. sometimes the light just hits the world at dusk and it is there for me to see in its perfection... I wouldn't trade this tempestuous childish romantic soul that drives me to make three thousand year old weapons new, for all the money in the world, or even for a glut of happiness.  following your dreams is a lonely thing to do and a selfish thing to do in some ways too,  but I think it is also an enlightening process and worthwile.

I like you, Jake. [applause]

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All the little things that life throws in our paths (or God if you prefer that) are here to help us develop as humans. Some of them are big and hurt real bad, but we can and do survive all that do not kill us, and they should in fact make us stronger, a suggested by one wiser than me.

 

Freeing ones self from the expectation of others and the society in which we live is the greatest liberation I can think of. Be who and what you are, and allow yourself to be happy about it. That seems to be the key, to me. But then what do I know? I am an unemployable misfit, remember ? :P

Amen, Howard. I get sick of all the whiners I know who feel they have been punished by God simply because they can't afford a $225,000 home instead of the $150,000 home they already own.

 

I'm workin' hard to free myself from the slavery of the expectations of others. I'm tired of being judged by folks who are not qualified to judge me.

 

I'm gonna be happy and do what I #### well please if'n I have to cry every day to get there.

 

Brian

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I've been sitting here, really enjoying this thread, thinking there wasn't much to add to it that isn't already being said, probably one of the most refreshing discussions I have seen anywhere.  There's a lot of free minds out there, with free thoughts and it makes me smile.

 

But Brian has highlighted something that has always troubled me. First I'd like to say that anyone or anything that is secure, doesn't fear attack, and attack is only ever perceived as attack if there is an insecurity and fear of loss.  I apologise if anyone out there feels that I'm striking at religion, I am not, I believe firmly in a need for religion, but .....

There's always been an element of some religions that seems to have the belief in someone else to give responsibility for the way our life has turned out, rather than taking responsibility for our own lives. This element has always troubled me

 

This "punishment from God" concept ... Sometimes it seems like a God is the perfect scapegoat. Someone you can blame, but can't get hold of, can't question, cannot analyse. It's the easy way out of not taking responsibility for the self. Sometimes I feel sorry for the poor old guy, he gets blamed for far more "Evil" than humanity or The Devil. He must be getting pretty P'd off with it by now.

 

Anyway, it reminded me of a quote ...

 

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?

Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing?

Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing?

Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing?

Then why call him God?

- Epicurus

 

 

I guess I believe in the concept that heaven and #### coexist within us and Evil is Fear and Good is Compassion. All the evils that have ever been set upon us have begun with a fear of something.  And often our lot in life, our "can't afford a $225,000 home instead of the $150,000 home they already own."  Is really down to our own fears of risking that little bit more and pushing ourselves a little bit more and taking responsibility, rather than accepting our lot in life and not exploring ourselves, and giving responsibility for our lot in life to some unquestionable and unanswerable and untouchable higher being. "I can't do anything about it, it's not my choice, it was a divine choice that I am like this and I really have no power or control over my own life, so I will put up with it and  hate God.". But in hating God, we are really hating ourselves.  People like that need to learn Compassion for themselves, they need to explore themselves and learn where these things lay in their psyche, learn to recognise them and tackle them where they *are* questionable and answerable, inside of each and everyone of us.

 

"The only devils in the world are those running in our own hearts. That is where the battle should be fought."  Gandhi

 

"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."

- Plato (427-347 B.C.)

 

We live in a time and a society where there are needs of men, to control other men to fulfil their own needs. We live in a world where the needs of these men to take responsibility for others, drives them to try and take away our responsibility for ourselves, and most seem to gladly give up that responsibility, for the same reason they want to Blame a God.  We live in a world where we are all considered bad by those that seek control, and that want to take away our responsibility.  But those that obey a different law, the law of fire, steel, wood, clay, etc. At least cling to a responsibility of their own, they have another law to obey and it frees the mind from the constraints of the control that others want to have over us. We are more free because we have another God, we have another law. And that sets us apart and makes us outsiders. We have a responsibility that makes us adults, in a society that wants to treat us like children and take all our choices away.

 

There's a peace and meditation in obeying and taking responsibility for laws. A blacksmith obeys the laws of fire and steel and takes responsibility for those laws, if he doesn't, he doesn't produce the results. A carpenter obeys the laws of wood. A sculptor obeys the laws of clay or marble, etc. ...... When you immerse yourself in to a discipline, then you take responsibility for the laws of that discipline, it's a real self finding process.

 

"Silence is a great help to the seeker after truth. In the attitude of silence, the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after truth, and the soul requires inward restfulness to attain its full height."  Gandhi

 

Those who work in silence. Those that hear only the voice of the steel, the fire the hammer, etc. The other voices that control us are pushed aside and drowned out, and we achieve an inward restfulness through taking responsibility for a different law. There is an undeniable truth in what we do, a responsibility that cannot be taken away and we cannot *let* it be taken away, because, for sure, there are dark powers of fear that are always out there seeking to erode every drop of responsibility that we have left for ourselves.

 

I've always liked the metaphors that liken our lives to a ship on the ocean. We have choices, to stay in the harbour where it's safe, or to take the challenges and ride the waves and we can let the wind and currents and waves carry us, we can harness that wind to make our lives an adventure of learning, or we can let the waves crash over us and sink us and imprison us beneath the waves, or throw us against the rocks. We have the same life, the same time, no matter which we do, so we might as well make it an adventure and while the ship still floats, fill our sails. A Ship that rides the waves is the only free ship. Not imprisoned in a harbour, or beneath the weight of the oceans oppression.

 

Simon

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