Archive for June, 2012
Jails Create Criminals

prison bars

The de-humanizing environment of jails and prisons do not rehabilitate criminals, they create them. It is impossible to punish someone into wellness. Punishment for crime is like fighting fire with fire, and so it is time for the justice system and the environment of jails to change.

There is a pervasive question lingering in the minds of many people today. It is the question of how we can reduce the ever increasing levels of crime and violence that plague our society. The usual answer to this question which is given by politicians and the media is that we have to be even tougher on crime. It is an answer that comes from a deeply held belief that fighting against crime even harder will eventually straighten this country out. This is an illusion.

You can not ever get what you want by pushing against what you do not want. We can argue as people all we want about the physical reality we live in but the truth remains the same, that what you see as physical, tangible manifestation is the direct result of energetic movement. And this energetic movement is controlled by thought. That means that if you are focused on crime, you will manifest crime. You can not focus on the problem and get a solution.

When a society such as ours does not understand this, we try to control others. We believe that it is not in our power what another person does or doesn’t do to us. We believe very strongly in victim hood and so, we try to control others by creating laws. And we enforce those laws with harsh punishment for all those who disobey them. Laws are not control; they are merely the physical illusion of control. They do not work in the way that they are intended to work, and they run counter to the universal truth of freedom. They will fail and they do fail.

Punishment is fighting fire with fire. It is hoping that we can teach physical and mental health to a person by demonstrating the opposite to them. Punishing someone into wellness is a contradiction in terms and you can see it clearly demonstrated by the fact that the crime rate rises with the more jails we create. It is imperative that we facilitate a safe environment for all inmates and examine ways to better prepare them for their release back into society. The de-humanizing environment of jails and prisons does not help, it compounds these challenges.

Jails are not places of rehabilitation, they are terrifying, inhumane and miserable places for criminals that will luckily be seem as shameful to us in the future. They will in fact be seen in the same light as the infamous nineteenth-century “snake-pit” insane asylums are seen by us today. We are paying dearly in many ways for these institutions which do not work. And as afar as finances are concerned, they will fall of their own economic weight.

Inmates are traumatized, even more so due to the fact that non violent prisoners are put in the same holding facilities as violent prisoners where nonviolent offenders often do in fact learn a lesson… the lesson of how to be violent. And so, our justice system is not reforming criminals, it is creating them.

There is a mass societal failure at this point in time to see the truth of what creates a criminal. We hold victims in a piteous light and perpetrators in a condemned one, which is as inaccurate as it can get. On an energetic level, both the perpetrator and the victim have the identical vibration of powerlessness. It is hard for people to grasp the concept that anger and revenge is actually a much healthier state for a person to be in than the state of powerlessness and grief.

The difference between a victim and a perpetrator is that the perpetrator has tried to move closer to wellness by physically acting out in an attempt to no longer feel powerless by committing a crime. In effect, they project their feelings of powerless out onto their victim and in doing so, feel more empowered. It is a reaction rising from fear. They do not realize that any action taken from a place of fear (without first coming mentally into a space of freedom) will only produce physical results coherent with powerlessness, such as prison. The victim however, has merely stayed in the state of fear and powerlessness without acting out. But still, the victim and perpetrator share the exact same energetic vibration.

There are arguments across the board about whether criminal behavior might be hereditary (genetic) or learned. To those of us who understand the physical and non physical interplay of reality, it is very clear that your genetics are not the dictators of your life; they are the physical expression of a blueprint of thought. If thoughts change, the DNA itself changes. In other words, it is activated and de activated. It expresses itself and remains dormant based on thoughts.

So, even if we find a genetic similarity between criminals, the truth remains the same… Crime is the result of learned behavior and learned thought patterns. Thought patterns can be “picked” up before a child is even born. But more often than not, the criminal behavior we are seeing is the result of negative childhood experience.

Over the years, we have, as a society increasingly legitimized cruelty and callousness in response to the cruelty and callousness of criminals. In a number of prisons across the country we have reduced or eliminated the opportunity for inmates to earn college degrees, restricted family visits, and restricted access to books and magazines. And now there is even a growing public desire to remove televisions and exercise facilities from prisons. When we do not understand that punishment is not the way to rehabilitate someone, we want to make sure inmates are miserable every second of the day. We no longer want them to get healthy. In our ignorance and fear, we just want them to suffer.

It is this same vengeful attitude that leads our children toward violence. The peak age for violent crime in America is now eighteen, a number which is headed downward every year. Our children grow up with the impression that it’s appropriate to be violent toward other people. They are not learning compassion or reconciliation, because we are not teaching it to them. It is time to do so.

Another important thing to recognize is that people are being put in jail for drug possession. More often than not, the drug dealers themselves aren’t the ones taking up room in prisons; they are too wealthy and smart to get caught. Instead, they hire addicts, to take the risks that result in confinement. And it is not the drug dealers who create the drug problem anyway.

Among the poor, drugs are a problem resulting from alienation and isolation, of feeling unknown, unimportant, powerless, and hopeless. Among the affluent, they are an attempt to keep up with or escape from a lifestyle that has nothing to do with simple human joy, friendship or connection.

The problem that needs to be addressed is not the drugs themselves, it is the negative thought patterns that lead people to use them in the first place. These issues are ones that need to be addressed within ourselves, our families, and our communities. Not in jail. If we spent a fraction of the money that we would save by removing drug addicts from prison and put that money instead into rehabilitation centers and community revitalization programs, we’d begin to put drug dealers out of business in the only way that will ever last, by drying up their “market”.

Our ideas of rehabilitation usually revolve around education, job skills, and counseling. But this approach guarantees that many prisoners leave prison as merely better educated and better skilled criminals. Until criminals are taught how to know and feel their connection and value to others, learn how to shift their realities with positive thought, and are taught exactly how to live within society, no true transformation will take place.

Often as a society, we hold true to the false belief that if we empower and treat a person who has committed a crime positively, that it is the same thing as condoning what they did. It is also believed that they will be more likely to go do it again. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The only real way to rehabilitate negative behavior is by demonstrating positive behavior. Our justice systems will begin to work, (and may even go out of business) if those who commit crimes participate in programs which are oriented around positive focus such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

We must make our jails into institutions of service instead of punishment and make it the goal of jails to show those who have committed crimes, not only that they are loved but also to guide them towards a productive, healthy, empowered future. They need to receive the message that they are believed in and needed and valuable. If we empower them, they will no longer feel powerless to their impulses. They will have control over these impulses which they often feel they have no control of, which is in fact what leads to crime in the first place.

People who are happy do not commit crime. People who feel their own worth and value do not commit crime. People who feel free and empowered do not commit crime. Our deepest nature is good. It is this innate goodness which is unlearned. No child ever raises their hand in kindergarten and says “I want to be a criminal when I grow up”.

We can not forget the potential that is inherent within every individual (a potential which never goes away) and hope to make any positive change in an individual at all. For decades our justice system has been run according to the tenets of retributive justice, a model based on exile and hatred. The time has come to focus our efforts instead on transformational justice. A type of justice that focuses on bringing a criminal back into society healthier, not closing him or her out of it.

Prisons can be turned into environments that maximize opportunities for criminals to become healthy and caring human beings. In the future of humanity, there will be no need for laws, for police and for justice systems. But at this point in time, when these laws and institutions still exist (and still make people who believe it is possible to be a victim feel safe) … Instead of doing away with them, it is time to change them.

This has been an article written by Teal Scott, an extrasensory esoteric who writes and teaches about spirituality, the meaning of life, and the road to health and happiness.  She is the author of The Sculptor in the Sky. Visit her website at The Spiritual Catalyst.

Meditations: Om Meditation

meditating on the beach

Meditationsis a new article series on Peace and Loveism that will show how to meditate according to different kinds of meditation styles. There are so many ways to meditate and different styles accomplish different things. For today’s meditation style, we are going to look at an Om Meditation and how to do it.

..::|OM|::..

mandala

Starting around the 1960s, Western civilization has grown increasingly fond of eastern spiritual traditions and practices, such as meditation and yoga. One fundamental aspect of meditation in some eastern circles, is the Om meditation. This usually is the use of the tone produced by the verbal “Om” as a healing and trance-producing state of awareness. However, this verbal usage of the Om frequency has its faults. The significance of Om rests on the belief that the entire universe, in its fundamental form, is made up of vibrating and pulsating energy of varying frequencies (see Cymatics). Unlike all other mantra, there is no meaning of Om. It is not a word, but a phonetic interpretation of a sound. According to Hinduism, it is the sound of The Source consciousness. Beyond being used in meditative practices, it is used as a healing tool, a centering and balancing tool, and as a space clearing tool.

The problem with toning out loud during a meditation session is that you often slow down your breathing as you are slowly exhaling. When you slow down the breathing, you tend to lower your vibration and become susceptible to picking up energy from the person you are working on, if you are doing the Om sound during a healing session. The solution to this is to do the Om meditation mentally.

This is fairly simple and you never run out of breath while doing the Om sound so it will go on as long as your mind wills it. Not only that, but it works just as good as if you were verbally doing the Om meditation with your vocal chords. You will feel the sensations in your energy centers all over your body very quick.

The Om sound can help to clear and balance energy channels within the body or a particular chakra when sung at the pitch which resonates with the particular chakra, and can raise one’s kundalini when sung up the musical scale, which is why it is widely-used today as part of meditation sessions.

How to Do the Om Meditation

Incorporating the Om sound into your meditation is simple and effective. Simply allow the word to sound out long, allow it to rise from deep within you. Allow emphasis on the beginning and the end. Let it last as long as it wants to. It will immediately raise your vibration and the vibration of the space you’re in.

The sound is verbally vocalized like this:

Ooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmm

You should allow it to be long and slow. Om can be vocalized alone, with a circle of people, at the beginning or end of a meditation session, during centering and balancing, or silently within one’s mind. Try it and see how powerful this meditation can be. At the annual Rainbow Family Gathering, on July 4th thousands of people hold hands and sound out a collective Om, creating such a strong resonance that you can’t help but feel the vibrations permeating through your entire body and cultivating strongly-felt energy within that can bliss you out beyond imagination.

Did Ray Bradbury exist?

Steve Hays over at Triablogue did a fantastic post for those familiar with Ehrman and the New Atheists.

  • Bradbury died Tuesday night in Los Angeles, his agent Michael Congdon confirmed. (http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-ray-bradbury-20120607,0,5622415.story)
  • Bradbury’s daughter confirmed his death to the Associated Press on Wednesday morning. She said her father died Tuesday night in Southern California. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/books/chi-author-ray-bradbury-dead-20120606,0,3340056.story)
  • Legendary science-fiction author Ray Bradbury passed away Wednesday morning in Los Angeles. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/06/ray-bradbury-movies-dead-fahrenheit-451_n_1574138.html)
How do we account for discrepant reports regarding the death of Ray Bradbury?
“This is evidence that the obituaries for Bradbury were written decades later,” said Bart Ehrman, professor of religious studies at Chapel Hill. “Bradbury really died on Wednesday morning. The report that he died Tuesday night, but his death was confirmed on Wednesday morning, is an orthodox scribal harmonization of two contradictory traditions.”
“It’s a telltale clue that Bradbury never existed,” said Richard Carrier, renowned author of Proving History. “If Bradbury really was the world-famous figure that legend imputes to him, it’s inconceivable that major news outlets would bungle the date of his death–especially in information age.”
According to Robert Price, “The statement that ‘he died Tuesday night in Los Angeles, his agent Michael Congdon confirmed’ is a legendary embellishment, redacting the earlier tradition that he died Wednesday morning. The redactor is deifying Bradbury as an exalted, celestial figure. Notice that his agent is named after the Archangel Michael. Angels are “agents.” In the Bible, angels appear to people at night in dreams. And notice that the legendary place of his demise is the ‘City of Angels.’ So this represents the apotheosis of Bradbury, as a dying and rising god–like Hercules and Adonis.”
Laugh, Smile…Radiate Your Happiness

painted daisy girl

You see a person and you smile. You smile for him. One should smile only for oneself. If others share, good. If nobody shares, good. But one should smile of one’s own accord. One should not laugh to make somebody else happy, because if you are not happy, you cannot make anybody happy. Even if you are happy, it is very difficult to make somebody else happy because it depends on that somebody else as to whether he will accept it or not. One should simply laugh of one’s own accord, and one should not wait for reasons to laugh. That too is absurd. Why wait for reasons? Life as it is should be enough of a reason to laugh. It is so absurd, it is so ridiculous. It is so beautiful… it is so wonderful. It is all sorts of things together. It is a great cosmic joke.

Osho

Tangible Kingdom – Ch 1

In the first chapter, Hugh Halter talks about how he got involved in church planting in the first place. He shares some of his own struggles and his descent into what he called the “jaded denomination.” I think everyone who really loves God can identify with that. There are things we see in church that are not right and we become disillusioned by the sin we see in the Bride of Christ. It is here that we would do well to listen to the words of Bonhoeffer:

Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God’s desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves. (Life Together)

It shouldn’t suprise us (but sometimes it does) that the church is composed of sinners who are members through no merit of their own. To his credit, Hugh did not leave the church as so many have done, instead he sought to make it different. But I get ahead of myself. He says on page 4 that:

In the end I realized that the problem with the church is simply church and Christians (present company included), our usual failings as human beings, and a lot of evangelical dogma we have blindly believed in, and accommodated by our behavior, for many years.

It is hard to know just what he means by this. If the problem is really Christians qua Christians and the church qua the church, then there is no fix and his book is useless. Christians are certainly a problem in as much as our sin creates problems.

[4:1] What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? (James 4:1 ESV)

Church is certainly a problem if we are to understand church to mean the institution and traditions that mankind has set up. I am tempted to think this is what he means since he reference blind belief accommodated by behavior. (though different words would have been more helpful).  So much is wrong, and deep down inside we know that there has to be a better way to honer God in the way we do church.

Halter continues to tell a story of a trip he took to New York and the conversations that transpired over the course of a few days in a pub that he would frequent. “I heard Fiona calling two bartenders over to meet me. ‘This is the guy I was telling you about, ‘ she said, ‘You’ve got to hear how he talks about God’” (p6). He continues:

Yes, they were jaded too, but their intrigue with me seemed honest and open. I knew I couldn’t talk about church. I knew I couldn’t share the four spiritual laws or tell them I was a pastor. I just talked about the only thing I knew they might like: Jesus.

I think we need to tread carefully here. There is a time and a place for talking about church and the four spiritual laws, and I don’t think that Halter is against that. The emergent folk out there need to realize that. Yet those in the tradition evangelical church also need to realize that the four spiritual laws are not the only way point to Christ. Just as apologetics has a place in evangelism, so also do different evangelistic approaches have a place. Paul said that “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22 ESV). Although “To the weak [Paul] became weak,” he also realized that the power of the salvation was the gospel, not becoming “weak.” The power of salvation is not our evangelistic techniques, but the gospel. None-the-less, we should seek to meet people where they are. We should be good missionaries and learn about the beliefs and language of the culture we want to reach.

Non-Duality: Moving Past Right and Wrong

nonduality

Dualities are the most dividing aspects of human existence on Earth. Considering how healthy boundary dissolution for the cultivation of peace and harmony within our personal lives and within society as a whole, transcending our tendencies towards living within a dualistic framework is something incredibly beneficial for us to do. Let go of your beliefs for just a few moments and shift your position of awareness to one that is completely neutral and allow these words to drench your consciousness with provocative thoughts afterwards.

A reality of non-duality means that there is no determined actualities of “right” or “wrong” when viewed from a higher level of consciousness. This is not to say that there are not consequences and repercussions for every action that occurs, which is demonstrative of the universal and nonjudgmental law of cause and effect (sometimes called karma).

Given the reality of oneness, any action or reaction in occurrence that is in contrast to the support of unifying oneness is contrary to the nature of the Infinite consciousness matrix, which we are all a part of. This means that if someone does something that harms either themselves or another, this is an action that is contrary to unity and oneness and should not be exercised, since it only manifests harm. The ancient Hindu philosophy of Vedanta expresses the same understanding, by explaining that dualistic concepts such as right and wrong are relative values that should not be used as some sort of absolute standard by which we would judge other individuals.

The creation of the idea that something is either right or wrong is one that stems out of a mentality in which one sees the world as a dualistic reality, with black and white polarity governing and interacting with everything. The perception of something being either right or wrong is not something that is established in factual objectivity, but is an opinionated subjective mindset where awareness is unable to perceive the underlying nature of reality as being non-dualistic.

Our conscience, which derives from our consciousness, has the built-in understanding that anything which divides us is an illusory construct of the ego. Oneness guides one’s conscience in making decisions. Those actions or reactions that go against a unifying outcome are not desirable in this respect. The conscience sees that anything that harms oneself or others is to be avoided, as well as anything that will create a feeling of separateness or duality. The perception of a duality in which a moral “right” and “wrong” exist is not one that comes from consciousness’s conscience. Rather, it stems from the ego’s desire for judgment, domination, and self-righteousness.

Unless dealing with facts within reality, the opinionated concepts of right and wrong are subjective, as opposed to being objective. This means that they are not things that can be empirically verified or proven, since they rely on the varying perceptions and beliefs or people. Something objective, such as the polarity of a magnet, is verifiable and can be evidenced as being one thing rather than another. This can understandably be a difficult concept to accept for those who have believed in a dualistic morality from malleable childhood onwards.

With an unbiased position of awareness as one is able to have, this can be seen as a false social construct of the ego that embodies the illusion of a dualistic ultimate reality. The non-existence of this dualistic paradigm of right and wrong in the ultimate reality does not negate the fact that there are objective truths. Rather, it demonstrates that our thoughts shape our reality and if we believe something to exist, from that point onward it truly does exist within our perception of reality. However, this perception is subjective and opinionated and does not necessarily reflect the true objective reality. By embracing the concept of non-duality. We embrace the concept of unity.

When an individual attains an enlightened state of consciousness, the incredibly firm conviction of humans, that there is a right and a wrong, is seen as a conjured up illusion that has its point of origin within the ego of the human being. This false self enjoys dictating and judging every and any action or reaction that occurs within its perceivable reality. Perception of right and wrong, while being the reason for seeing reality as dualistic, is enforced by belief perseverance.

Once a false perception finds some sort of rationale for a belief, it is very difficult to change. This is why such statements as saying that “right and wrong do not exist” are not taken with an neutral position of awareness. Rather, they have the power to rouse and enrage egos. People usually keep the explanations for their beliefs, such as those related to believing reality is inherently dualistic, because the ego does not desire to admit it is wrong. This is an important thing to remember in order for each one of us to have a mind open to an infinite amount of possibilities, whether we are able to understand them or not.

When someone, that has had become Self-realized and experienced the reality of non-duality, makes a subjective and comparative judgment concerning something, he or she realizes that such a judgment is being made. The individual understands that this is not a proclamation of the mind that will be the same forever. Rather, he or she knows that where in one situation, something is seen one way, it will not necessarily been seen that way in another situation.

Consider the age-old example of a glass that is comprised of 50% water and 50% of air. The glass can one time be looked upon as being half-empty if someone is having a melancholic day, yet another day he or she is feeling quite felicitous and sees the glass as being half-full. These judgments are entirely constructed according to the subjective perceptions that a person has concerning something and they stem from the person’s overall level of consciousness or emotional states.

Viewing the glass as being both half-empty and half-full dissolves the dualistic thought-pattern that many times arises in the mind and the unity which could not be seen before is now as evident as the sun in the daytime. Expand this out into other seeming-dualistic aspects of reality and see if you can experience radical shifts in your position of awareness and see things in a newly non-dualistic light. All is one, after all.