Category: Life


This Never Happens to Me…

Just a short post about my happenings of this weekend.  I had plans to go back to my High School hometown to visit old friends.  The plans started great.  I already made reservations at a hotel so that was taken care of.

I drive a little over 200 miles to Dover, Delaware.  Check in to my hotel.  I had a few hours to kill so I took a nap.  Woke up about an hour later.  Took a shower and decided to drive around town to see what changed.  I did not recognize over half the town.  It changed tremendously.

It was about time to meet up with all my friends so I went to the restaurant.  I arrived and only about a handful were there.  So we started conversing and drinking and eating.  More and more people showed up as the night went along.  Everyone having a great time.  It was wonderful.

Now we come to the tragic part of the early morning.  Unbeknownst to me I lost my credit card somewhere.  I had no idea where.  This never happens to me.  Me…lose my credit card.  No way!  I am impervious to these things.

PanicI wake up the next morning take a shower and start on my way.  First, I have to get gas.  Open up my wallet…OH NO!!!…(those were not my exact words but I want to keep this clean).  Where’s my credit card?  PANIC ATTACK!!! PANIC ATTACK!!!  I thought I was going to flip out.  Okay, Frank you can do this.

Imagine…no credit card…$5 cash…need gas…only gas card is Shell and no Shell station for miles.  So pretty much I was stranded.  I could just start driving and see how far I get but knowing this day I would run out of gas in the middle of nowhere.  So I searched my bags for anything…money…other credit card…change.  Aaagghhh!  Nothing.  But wait I found my checkbook.  I thought people don’t write checks any more.  But hey let’s give it a shot.

There is a Safeway.  I went in and found the customer service counter.  I asked if I could cash a check.  They said, “Only up to $20.”  That should be enough to get me to the nearest Shell station.  Woohoo!  Saved by the Safeway.

I was able to get to the nearest Shell station but it was in Maryland.  I don’t think I would have made it if I just started to drive at first.

I have always been prepared for these kinds of incidents.  But this one just came and hit me right out of the blue.  I guess I am not so impervious as I thought I was.  I can attribute this to excitement, drinking, and getting old.  WOW!!!  What a rollercoaster ride of emotion this weekend was.

If You Won…

What Would You Do If You Won a $360,000,000 Lottery jackpot?

 

US Dollars MoneyA few weeks ago, I read somebody’s blog about what they would do if they won the Lottery.  That got me thinking what I would do with this much money.  Of course, with a $360,000,000 jackpot Uncle Sam has to get his share, which would leave you with about $255,000,000.  I would not want that much money because it would not make me happy.  Yes, it would lessen some of the financial pain but then other kinds of pain and suffering would show up at your door.  Unless used wisely.  I would not be working so I would have to do something with my time.

 

Here is a breakdown of how I would get rid of all my money:

1.      Yes, I would pay off all bills, no brainer there.  That amount would come to approximately $200,000.

2.      I would put money in a trust for my son to be distributed to him $1,000 per week.  Why?  He is not the financially responsible type of person.  Unless, he somehow could prove he was.  This would come up to approximately $3,000,000.  (And by chance my son is reading this, life is what it is.  If you get handed lemons make lemonade.  Besides you would be getting $3,000,000.)

3.      Make sure family is set financially.  This would be approximately $10,000,000.

4.      Help a few close friends.  This would be approximately $5,000,000.

5.      Whatever is left take half and put in a retirement fund so that I could quit work and still live comfortably, not in the lap of luxury just comfortably.

6.      The rest I would use for Philanthropy:

a.      Take a set amount; say $100,000 or however much it would take to accomplish the list below to use for each individual or family.  Of course, a family would need more money so I would have two amount categories, higher amount for the family and the lesser amount for the individual.

b.      Find individuals or families that are jobless, homeless, struggling, and suffering.

c.       Set them up in a modest home, whether it is a house or apartment.

d.      Pay for any training for a new job.

e.      Help them network.

f.        Keep doing this until the money dries up.

g.      I do not want anything in return just for them to Pay It Forward in some way.

 

I am not the type of man that wants a big fancy car or a big elaborate castle to live in.  I am satisfied with my truck, my pack, and my family home.  I am a humble man and live by modest means.  I do not need millions of dollars to be successful.

On that thought of success, each person measures success differently.  I talked to a man a long time ago and he said if he woke up every morning that he was a success. 

I measure it in these four ways:

1.      Humbleness (not to be confused with servility) – I do not think I am superior to anyone else nor do I feel I am inferior to anyone.  All are created equal.  I know when to admit I am wrong and not afraid to say it.

2.      Morals – I pride myself on a high standard of fundamental principles of right conduct.  I know right from wrong so I base my actions upon this.

3.      Mindful and aware of thoughts and actions – Awareness and humility are required to keep body, speech and mind free from defilement.  A mind under control brings great happiness.

4.      Wisdom and Understanding – I do not boast about accomplishments.  I use my accomplishments to teach others.  It is good to abandon attachment to all things and attain knowledge of reality.  Cultivate friendliness, compassion, and wisdom.

If I can say that I accomplished these four things today then I had a successful day.  And if not then I strive for it the next day.

 

All success aside and back on track of my current topic.  We can all dream though.  Winning the Lottery is just that for me, a dream.  Anyone that knows me knows that I cannot win the Lottery because…well, I work for the Lottery.

 

Since Me, Myself, or I cannot win the Lottery what would you do if you won the Lottery?

One thing I hear people say is, “God helps those who help themselves.”  That got me thinking.  If that is so then why do they need a God to help with their problems?  You are helping yourself, which sounds like your GOD is not helping you at all.  Therefore, you are looking within yourself for the answers.  Correct me if I am wrong but that sounds more like the teachings of Buddha. 

 

While having a conversation with friends the topic of religion comes up and one person said that the younger generation is fading away from religion and becoming atheists.  I would not go that far.  All though even atheists have beliefs and morals.  I don’t think they have gone totally away from religion.  I think they are becoming closer to the spiritual side of themselves and with that process; they transform into other beliefs.

 

clip_image001After my research and many years of searching, I have finally figured it out.  I am not a religious man.  Religion seems to be more of a business and a corrupt structure.  I am a spiritual man.  That does not mean I am a heathen without any faith or beliefs.  Faith does not necessarily have to mean religious beliefs.  I do have beliefs and I do not have to belong to a certain religion to practice my beliefs.  I have faith but not in religion.  My faith is in the human spirit.  My belief is in something that is tangible not a mythical God.  I believe in the human species.  However, I do believe Jesus Christ died for our sins.  That is a given if you believe the story of Jesus Christ.

 

In Buddhism the Buddha is not some perfect, ideal being, but is rather an ordinary person living in rhythm with the law of the universe, taking wise, courageous and compassionate action for the benefit of others, through the functioning of the nine worlds in daily life.

 

The basis for all religions is the same…The Golden Rule.  That principle and more than sixty others are common to all religions.  The main difference is the teacher and how they express these principles.

 

I have to say that I relate to the teachings of Buddha.  The original intention of Buddhism is to alleviate suffering (and conflict).  I base my life on doing the right thing, good morals, a high standard of ethics, respecting my elders, being kind to other living creatures, having compassion, courage, vitality, keep an open mind, strive to achieve wisdom, and listen to what people have to say.  Everyone has a voice.  I do not suppress others words.  I want to hear them and maybe there will be wisdom in what they say.

 

The best analogy I have heard for life’s journey is the following paragraph that I read on a fellow bloggers post (I hope he does not mind if I use it here.  Here is his link: http://risinghawkspeaks.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/avoiding-confusion/)

 

Your life is a stream of experiences.  The stream of experiences that we call life is akin to an ocean wave.  In order to move toward wisdom, you must position yourself on the very crest of that wave and ride it.  If nothing else, one can see a lot farther from the crest than the trough.  If you fall behind the crest—living in the past—you will be confused and left behind.  And if you move ahead of the crest—attempting to guess the future—you risk being overcome, pounded and sucked under – again confused and left behind.  Stay present with the current experience.  Ride the crest and stay on top.  That is the place where freedom and wisdom proliferate.  (Thank you Rising Hawk)

 

Ever since I started my journey to enlightenment, I have acquired more peace and relaxation in my life.  I have never felt more at peace than right now.  I smile a lot more and in a happy state of mind.

 

Another good thing that has come from all my research is that I have more respect for all religions and the people that worship them.  That does not mean I agree with them I just respect them.

Technology Society

Look outside your office building, those of you who are in one.  Everyone is walking around in their own little world.  They are on their cell phone.  They have ear buds on listening to who knows what; music, podcast, radio.  They are texting while walking running into things not paying attention to where they are going.  They even cross the street without looking for traffic.  It is surprising I have not heard of people being run over.  They all are zombies moving around the streets like in a science fiction movie.

 WirelessDevices1

Do these people know what they are missing?  They are not paying attention to what is around them.  Technology has turned us into a Zombie Society.  Most of us, me included on occasion, have fallen into this trap where we always need our cell phone, iPad, laptop in order to have access to up to the minute updates on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, news, security of our home, security of our children, and whatever else we keep track of.

 

Every now and then, we have to get back to nature.  Go outside take a walk.  Take your dogs to the park.  Take a road trip away from all this technology and just relax.  Don’t feel that you have to be connected every single waking moment for the rest of your life.  Take a moment of every day, slow down, and smell the roses.

 

Peace!!!

Not to make light of this topic but I wanted to quote a quip by George Carlin it went like this:

 

“Tell people that there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you.  Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.”

 god-questions

Why is that?  Is it because we are not supposed to question GOD but fear him?  Why fear GOD?  I thought with GOD in your life he guided you, helped you in difficult times in your life, carried you in times of tribulation, and all around you were happy.  It did not make any sense to me to fear anyone whether real, mythical, ghostly, or supernatural.

 

GOD, if I believed, had supposedly performed miracles.  The definition of miracle is a supernatural act or effect.  Miracles are supernatural so that means GOD is supernatural, meaning not of the living.  Ghosts are not of the living but supernatural and some people do not believe in ghosts but do believe in GOD.  With that been said that means GOD is the only ghost…how interesting and hypocritical.

 

“How happy can you be when you think every action and thought is being monitored by a judgmental ghost?”  The previous question is a referenced quote from a former evangelical Christian Dan Barker.  I did not want to always be second-guessing myself and wondered if what I had done will get me into a mythical land called heaven. 

 

Personally, I need proof.  If I am going to devote my life style to something then I need to be able to see, feel, and hear it.  You know something tangible.  It amazed me how so many people will base their life on the teachings of one book, The Bible.  How is that possible with so many inconsistencies proven in many verses of the bible?

           

In the churches that I went to, talk about suffering, peace, or how to combat the suffering was never talked about.  It was all about GOD.  He is the Almighty One no one questions his words.  That was not what I was looking for.

 

Just because I did not believe in your GOD does not make me a bad person.  Some religious people tried to make me think so.  My non-belief in GOD did not automatically make me a criminal but some people would look down upon me if I did not have GOD in my life.  Some people that I knew and met in my life are very religious people.  Nevertheless, they can be very hypocritical.  They preached one thing but when it comes down to their own life, they do the opposite.  What is up with that?  If you preached the Bible then you should live by it.  In my reading of the Bible, I found too many inconsistencies in it.

 

I heard someone say that religion provides structure.  It may be structure but it was corrupted.  Where is the structure in the Catholic Church when all the corrupted priests fondled young boys in their congregation?  Where is the structure in the U.S. Government; if congress is so religious then they should have structure?  Where is it?  Has religion corrupted our government?  That was not the path I wanted.  I guess the majority of people chose GOD, a mythical being, to follow.  I was not a follower like most of the sheep in the herd.  I followed no one.  I wanted to lead people out of suffering.  I needed to figure out a way to do that.

 

I continued my research outside Christianity.  Peace and to combat suffering should be promoted as the number one priority.  In my mind, our mission as human beings is to combat suffering and have it conquered in our lifetime.  The path looked brighter.  I may have found what I was looking for.

 

Follow the link below to read about other religious leaders who lost their faith:  http://www.salon.com/2013/03/27/5_religious_leaders_who_became_outspoken_atheists_partner/

Questions

Most of my life I struggled with Christianity and religion.  I grew up in a family that rarely went to church.  We never talked about it, never went to church, and never prayed before a meal.  I never had an opinion on it until I was 18 and in the Marine Corps.  I witnessed my fellow Marines happy and talking with them, they attributed it to GOD.  I figured so many people could not be wrong.

 

I started my quest for enlightenment.  In the process, I visited many churches, many denominations—Methodist, Baptist, Protestant, Catholic, Lutheran, and others.  I met many people in all those churches.  All of them seemed nice at church.  They would introduce me to other people.  Before long, I shook many hands and made some friends.  Being the observant type, I noticed how they acted in church and when they were at home or out with friends.  A lot of them supposedly live their life by the bible but actually, they live by their interpretation of the bible, when it is convenient, or not at all.  In my opinion if you say you live by the bible then you are a Saint and commended for doing so.  However, as I pointed out previously the majority of people that I have met did not.  They went to church for forgiveness of their sins but then they went right back out and commit the same sins repeatedly.  If you were living by the bible then you strived to improve yourself not to commit the same sins.

 

I had to keep in mind that I did not meet all of the people in the congregations so I based my findings on a subset of them.  In my conclusion, it seemed that people that called themselves “very religious” that go to church every Sunday and practice their faith were mostly hypocrites.  After meeting all of them, it put a sour feeling within me.

 

I know I know…you’re going to say that we are not all like that.  That may be true and I commend you who are devoted to your religion.  Unfortunately, I have failed to see that.  I can honestly say that I have met only a handful of people that have wholeheartedly committed their lives to their GOD.  Some have said you cannot judge a mass by a few but I found that I could get a consensus from my findings.  Many people will defend their religion and try to get me to go to their church but I have done all that.  I had to find what is right for me.  The ferocious conflict continued inside my heart.

 

All that being said they all had one thing in common.  I felt that my heart and soul did not belong there.  I thought not everyone fits in to the conventional religious denominations.  It’s time I tried something else.  My quest continued.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2.

Wishful Thinking?

The Search For Enlightenment

Be Careful What You Wish ForSo many of us wish for things we would like, or wish to be things we aren’t. Short people wish they were taller, plump people wish they were thin, people with straight hair wish it was curly, people with curly hair wish it was straight.

Of course we are all ‘trained’ to want things from an early age, it’s a product of the consumerist society, and we are all urged to be dissatisfied with what we have, in favour of what the ad men can tempt us into buying.

But surely this way of going about things is a recipe for a certain degree of unhappiness. There are bound to be things we cannot have, maybe because it’s a physical impossibility, being taller when you are short, curly haired when your own is straight. So maybe there is a better way to look at things.

How about concentrating on the…

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