•    Reflecting Pool Discourse — Blog Introduction   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    “It is a more complex decision to live your life, rather than let your life happen to you. There are always more reasons to not get involved.”
    — Russell Crowe Tweet —

    There is a way in which Russell Crowe’s penetrating insight dovetails, in an interesting way, with another well-known axiom: “If you’re not part of the solution — then you’re part of the problem.”

    Until I read Crowe’s tweet, I had always just seen the axiom as a kind of ‘call to action’ for people to get politically involved in the struggle for social reform. And of course — it is. But the remarkable phrasing of Crowe’s tweet brought home the point that the axiom applies just as well to “the struggle within” each person — the struggle to understand the meaning and purpose of one’s life; the struggle to fulfill one’s potential; the struggle to ‘awaken’ to a new understanding that will finally make sense of the chaos within; the struggle to see our own faults as clearly as we see the faults of others; the struggle to attain the wisdom that we wish all humans had.

    The Reflecting Pool Discourse blog represents an attempt to reconcile the outer political-religious-social dynamics with the inner world of the human psyche — so as to convert the outer political-religious-social issues — from external dogmatic abstractions into a meaningful correlating map of the individual consciousness — with its hopes and dreams and needs and its long history of labeling, categorizing and defining ‘things’ — sometimes inaccurately in the heat of the moment.

    If the term “politics” or “religion” has any meaning whatsoever, it is realized only within the heart, mind and soul of each individual. Religion is not some ‘thing’ that is “out there” somewhere in the public domain that I agree or disagree with — rather it is an interactive dynamic within a psyche that interprets, defines, judges, categorizes, and reacts to that outer abstraction. With this understanding, the inquiry into these terms necessarily begins within that judging, interpreting psyche — because before we can decide ‘what to believe’ we have to first know what it is that we now believe and why we believe it.

    Jiddu Krishnamurti succinctly described a common glitch in this predicament when he said, “We are confronted with a dilemma that inhibits our ability to actually learn ‘New Things.’ This is because we listen comparatively. That is, we compare what we hear with what we already ‘know’ … what we already believe. That which does not comport is discarded. All listening of this type obviously prevents us from listening.” The big problem with this is that we all do this and we do it habitually and unconsciously. So it requires an extremely disciplined, focused effort to run this video in slow motion so we can actually see ourselves doing this — incessantly.

    Ordinarily, the proverbial wisdom is “Don’t talk religion or politics at a social gathering — if you don’t want to turn the ‘party’ into a War Zone.” Yet that caveat is assuming that the treatment of the topic is strictly as an external debate about the outer abstractions the topics are wrapped in. But when you unpack the contents and dive down into the deep end of the pool of the interpreting psyche that is ‘sorting the incoming mail’ — the outer skirmish is by-passed and the inner skirmmish begins.

    To this end, the Reflecting Pool Discourse blog presents a variety of Topic Categories with related articles intended to redirect the reader from the typical outer abstractions to the inner workings of the mind that is considering the issue. When properly understood, this converts the process from one of “examining the subject” — into one of “examining the critical mind” that is judging and interpreting the subject. It gets very, very interesting very quickly when articles are read in this way.

    All of the topics at the Reflecting Pool Discourse blog site are open for discussion and your participation by way of Comments on the articles posted is genuinely invited and encouraged. At this point in time, Moderator approval IS REQUIRED before a posted Comment will appear on a Post (necessitated by spammers and hackers). There is a very rapid turnaround time for Moderator approval — typically less than a few hours.

    TOPIC CATEGORIES

              1. Reflecting Pool Blog Introduction (uncategorized articles)
              2. Compassionate Truths
              3. Religion’s Mortal Wounds
              4. American Politics at Toxic Levels
              5. Animal Welfare Discourse

    Leaving Comments:: You can only leave comments for “Posts” — as Word Press does not display a comments section for “Pages.” But Keep in Mind there is a Post article for every ‘Page’ article — so you’ll always be able to submit a comment for every article on this site. If you see a ‘Page’ article you want to comment on — just find it under the same title under the ‘Posts’ section. To leave a comment to a Post — there are two “Required” fields that must be provided: 1) Your name and 2) your Email Address (E-mail address will NOT be displayed on the webpage). Keep in Mind comments submitted will not appear immediately. It takes 2-12 hours for it to appear — due to moderator approval requirements. Remember to click the reCaptchya “I’m no robot” security box BEFORE clicking the comments ‘Submit’ button.

    Special Note: The “Page” version of the article was necessary because “Post” articles can NOT be organized into Categories in any menus — because they are strictly date-ordered to show how current they are. But on Word Press Blogs — “Pages” do not allow visitors to leave comments. So I published all blog articles as both “Pages” and as “Posts” — so visitors could post Comments on every article here.

    Pages Categorized: To peruse this Blog site according to the Specific Topic Category, there are two Menu Options. Option One is to look under the “Pages Prioritized & Categorized” section on the left-hand side-bar Menu Panel and select the Page article you like under the listed Category. The Category header link is Worth Viewing — as it summarizes the importance of that Category. Clicking on a Page Title will take you to the Blog “Page.” The Second Option for viewing Topic Categories is to go to the “Topic Categories” mid-way down the left-hand side-bar Menu Panel and select the Topic of interest. This will take you to the first blog “Page” for that topic — with other Pages for that Topic appearing beneath that. There are two blog pages per page.

    Pages – Page No. Order: I have also arranged blog “Pages” according to their page number — which was simply a way to organize “Page” articles according to their level of IMPORTANCE. To peruse the blog “Pages” according to the page number, go to the “Pages – Page No. Order” section on the left-hand side-bar Menu Panel and select the Page of interest.

    ALL POSTS in Reverse Date Order (most recent on top): To view the entire string of blog Posts, which appear in Sequence with Most Recent First (descending order), click on the most recent Post (the first listed post) under the “All Posts – descending” heading on the left-side Menu Panel. Keep in Mind when you enter the “All Posts – descending” section, ALL posts from ALL Topic Categories are mixed together and the posts appear in descending date order, regardless of the topic category. To view “Pages” that are segregated according to the Topic Category they fall under, select a Topic under the “Topic Category” heading on the left-side Menu Panel — or better yet — go to the “Pages Prioritized & Categorized” on the left-side Menu Panel and select the article Page of interest to you. (see, “Pages Prioritized & Categorized” above).

    Recent Comments: To peruse the Comments submitted to the Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog by visitors, look under the “Recent Comments” heading in the left-side Menu Panel and select the Comment of Interest. Clicking on a Comment will take you to that Comment where you will be able to post your own comment on that Comment.

    Our Topical External Website Links: Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog “Website Links” appear under numerous headings that include the term “Website” in the heading. They appear in the left-side Menu Panel and they are labeled according the Topic Category which their subject matter falls under. These are “external” websites that will cause your browser to migrate away from the Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog website. Many of these “external” websites belong to the Reflecting Pool Discourse creators and you will see the word “Our” in the link title for these website links. Others are Third Party websites which we felt provided important, accurate, reliable information relevant to the Topic Category they are listed under. The word “Our” will be missing from these third-party website link titles. We always try to list these external website links according to the Topic Category they relate to, for easier browsing.

    Memorable Quotes: At the very top of the left-side Menu Panel is a revolving Marquee that displays 16 of the most memorable Quotes we have found in our travels. A new quote appears every 20 seconds. We will change \ rotate in a new batch of 16 quotes on a regular basis, to keep the offering fresh.

    Twitter Posts: On the left-side Menu Panel is a Twitter link to our “CatDaddy_NY” Twitter page (http://twitter.com/CatDaddy_NY). It used to dispay a few of the most recent Twitter posts — but — Twitter changed the ‘feed’ protocol so that it is a major gauntlet to set-up now – so I just have the link to my Twitter page. Clicking on the Twitter Feed label “Follow Me on Twittter” will take you to our Twitter site. On some browsers holding the CTRL key down or right-clicking on the link will offer an option to open link in a new window or tab.

     

    The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog


     
     
  •    Christ as Myth Focuses the Lens   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    By-Line: For Christian Evangelicals and Fundamentalists it is vitally, desperately important that the biblical events and the people cited be taken as “true” and “real” — in every literal sense. But what if Christ and all the other cast of biblical characters are merely mythological figures who never did exist in actual physical reality? Would all of Christianity be flushed down the drain by such a revelation? This article takes the position that the notion of Christ as merely a mythological figure would actually greatly enhance the transmission of “The Message” of humility and undifferentiated Compassion — which the central character had always arduously emphasized was the only thing of great importance in the whole story.

    When I was 21 I wanted to truly understand what this bible thing was all about. I was determined to get to the bottom of it all — to understand, once and for all, what the central teachings were really saying. So I bought this huge King James version of the Bible. You almost needed two hands to pick this thing up. The pages were almost 8.5 x 11. So with the larger print it was easier to read and what I liked most was that all of Christ’s words were in red ink — which seemed apppropriate, since he is the central figure and, purportedly, the highest authority on the matters being addressed.

    So I would sit down for hours going through the entire New Testiment from the beginning — just reading everything in red ink. That’s all I was interested in — reading what Christ purportedly said — the name-sake for an entire religion.

    The King James version of the Bible is the only version anyone should ever own or read. Its poetic verse resonates and penetrates like no other translation ever has. I’d read many of the stripped-down, “in-plain language” Evangelical translations and what I found, over and over again, was those translations totally butchered, distorted, misstated or missed entirely what Christ had actually said — at least according to the King James version. The King James version of Christ’s purported teachings made sense, sounded humble, was not dogma-laden and it penetrated to the marrow of my bones — like many Buddhist, Sufi and Taoist writings had done. I heard Christ echoing the same insights disclosed by Buddha, Lao Tsu (Tao Te Ching), Ramana Maharshi, Shunryu Sazuki, Hazrat Inyat Khan (Sufi) and many others.

    I feel quite certain that if I had never discovered Buddhism and Taoism — the red ink would still sound like gibberish to me. It was only after I discovered Buddhism and Taoism that the red ink suddenly made perfect sense. It’s like Buddhism-Taoism-Sufiism contained the keys that unlocked the doors and thoroughly ‘cracked the code’ of the red ink — revealing a sweeping panoramic view of a landscape where the mystical branch of the World’s religions were all saying the same thing in essence — with variations primarily limited to different points of emphasis.

    And what they ALL seemed to be saying, in essence, was that the ‘teachings’ will be inaccessible to those who try to enter with their Egos intact — that the cultivation of Compassion leads to a humbleness that undermines the tyranny and dishonesty of the Ego thereby making the ‘teachings’ accessible — that the “surrender” being demanded by the mystical order of all these ‘religions’ is the surrender of the Ego-self (small self) that has owned us, lock-stock & barrel our entire lives. The spiritual, mystical branch of these religions all seemed to be emphasizing the critical importance of a meditative, contemplative life-style as being optimally conducive to taming the Ego-monkey-mind and converting it from a neurotic tyrant to a lucid, humble servant — thereby opening the doors of perception of “the Truth” of the teachings.

    This all brings us back to the thematic question: “Does it really make any difference whether Christ was a real historical figure or just a mythological figure spun by the enlightened insights of one or more enlightened sages whose names we will never know?

    The conclusive, unequivocal answer is found in the teachings themselves. The biblical black ink tells us that Christ was asked why he always spoke in parables — why didn’t he just come right out and plainly say what he meant. And the red ink tells us that Christ purportedly replied that it is given that the teaching should be hidden from the intellectual know-it-alls but shall be revealed to the babes. It was Buddhism, Taoism and Sufiism that opened-up this red ink for a full, penetrating understanding. All of these ‘religious’ teachings were saying — “an intellectualization of the words and teachings will never disclose the inner content. Intellectualization is the barrier, the hindrance, the blockade — not the keys to realization and the Promised Land. In other words, the heart of the teachings is so fundamentally simple, that it is missed by the intellectuals who are trapped in the complexities of their own rationalizations.

    And what could be more simple than the teaching of Compassion? It’s so simple it gets missed — it gets passed over — because everyone’s saying “there must be more to it” — “this can’t be the whole Kahuna.” If it was really this simple, everyone would have ‘figured it out’ and there wouldn’t be this big mystery that surrounds the biblical text. And if it really was this simple — why is the Bible so voluminous? There must be some complex, hidden ‘code’ buried deep within the text somewhere that only an expert code-cracker can decipher after many, many years of detailed linguistic, historical analysis.

    It’s exactly what Christ allegedly predicted — the intellectuals just keep spinning their wheels and going nowhere — because Compassion isn’t an intellectual operation. But it’s what the simple, unpretentious “babes” intuitively grasp — because they were in touch with it already. It’s the fulfillment of another insight Christ purportedly disclosed — “To him that has, to him it shall be given. To him that has not, from him shall be taken even what he does have” (an approximate quote). Once you understand that the teaching is Compassion — this statement makes perfect sense. For the sociopath (him that has not compassion) — the teachings will never make any sense. The paradoxical irony is that you have to already have compassion in order to discern compassion. And somehow, Christ already knew that not everyone has it. In fact, he knew precisely WHO would have it and who would not — because he understood what the Buddhists, Taoists and Sufis know — that the intellectualization of Compassion LOCKS YOU OUT of Compassion.

    So once again, this all brings us back to the thematic question: “Does it really make any difference whether Christ was a real historical figure or just a mythological figure spun by the enlightened insights of one or more enlightened sages whose names we will never know? But now the answer is in plain sight — staring us in the face.

    The religious literalist fundamentalists and evangelicals — drenched to the bone in egotistical grandiosity and hubris about their own sanctimonious virtue and rectitude — represent “him that has not” — and they are locked-out by their hubris and their intellectualizations — which have displaced the humble Compassion that was necessary to discern the teachings. For these literalists, the inner teachings are inaccessible — precisely because their petrified literalist obstinacy keeps them tethered to the surface of things — the superficialities of life. They’re locked-out — not because they lack intellectual sophistication, but because they lack genuineness, sincerity, humility and Compassion.

    For the “babes” (“him that has”) it was always the teachings and the Compassion that was important. For the religious literalist fundamentalists and evangelicals it was always about the grandiosity of the miracles. And that is why it is absolutely imperative for them that Christ and the miracles be ‘real’ and historically accurate — even if they have to falsify the records to assert the claim. This is what happens when you try to bull your way through the Pearly Gates with your ego on. It’s like that religious axiom — “Everybody wants to go to Heaven. But nobody wants to die to get there.” No one wants to surrender their ego as the price for admission. And those who seek cheap grace with their egos intact end up homeless.

    When the teachings are what is of paramount importance — it makes no difference whether the biblical events and cast of characters are ‘real’ or mythical. When Christ ran-off one parable after another — did it matter whether the parable stories actually happened or not? Did it compromise or diminish the import of the message — just because the parables were fictional, illustrative concoctions? You’d have to be seriously out of touch to say “Yes.”

    The real paradox here is hiding in plain view. Because the teachings of Compassion are what is important — it would actually be better if the entire biblical account was mythological — because that would expunge the entire ‘miracles’ component so near and dear to the literalists. And that would serve to focus the lens more directly on what really is and always was of paramount importance — the teachings — the ‘message.’ Christ knew that literalists would seize upon the miracles aspect of the events. Or maybe the consortium of biblical myth authors knew that. And they depict Christ frequently berating those who ‘believe’ only because they witnessed the miracles. He essentially accused them of missing the point entirely.

    So if Christ (or the consortium of biblical myth authors) were granted a golden opportunity to make editing changes to the biblical text — there is little doubt that they would present it as mythological story-telling and they would purge the miracles from the story entirely — to deny superficial, disingenuous, egotistical, self-righteous literalists the fodder they need to distort, bastardize and misrepresent the teachings with their delusional, sanctimonious rants and diatribes — just before they pass the collection plate.

    Amen

     

    The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog