Self Punishment

    Today, most consider those who feel it is necessary to punish themselves, usually for religious reasons, are a little crazy.  We have probably all seen pictures of cults in some countries who beat themselves and stick hooks into their bodies, etc. on certain days important to their religion.  Even in modern Christianity, we have in some places those who feel it necessary to reenact with volunteers the crucifixion of Jesus where the volunteer is not killed but is still put through much pain.  There is also the Catholic clergy group Opus Dei, brought into popular culture by Dan Brown’s books, who continue to practice self-punishment
    The truth is, however, that virtually all of us practice some form of self-punishment, though usually without being conscious of it.  Freud and other Psychiatrist and Psychologist have claimed this.  Within our sub-conscious mind we hold limiting or damaging beliefs.  We believe that we need to be punished for something we did so we weaken out immune system and allow ourselfs to get ill.  We believe we don’t deserve success and sub-consciously sabotage our efforts.  So we shouldn’t be to quick to judge those who consciously punish themselves.  At least they are aware they are doing it.

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Protect the Gulf of Mannar

    On my recent visit to a Hindu temple, one of the guest speakers was Dr. Kusam Vyas who spoke about the Gulf of Mannar and the efforts to protect it and the Ram Sethu (also known as Adam’s Bridge).  Ram Sethu is a chain of shoals between the Indian island of   Rameswaram and Mannar in Sri Lanka.   This bridge was written about in ancient Hindu writings and generally considered to be a myth until it’s existence was verified by NASA photography.  
    This bridge of shoals is important in creating a special underwater ecosystem for the Gulf of Mannar.  Now it is being threatened by a plan to dig a mid ocean channel through the shoals to allow commercial shipping to take a short cut through the area to save a few hours.  This plan is being opposed on both religious and ecological grounds.  Hindus consider this bridge a sacred place.  In addition, cutting this channel through there would change the Gulf of Mannar and damage the uniqueness of this environment likely leading to the extinction of species found only in that area.  The Living Planet Foundation is fighting to save this area, as well as others.  I encourage you to help them in whatever way you can.

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Thrill Seekers

    In the past few weeks one man died from the famous Running of the Bulls in Pamplona and more recently, a young surfer died in Los Angeles when twenty foot waves threw him onto the rocks.  So why do we keep seeing so many people, mostly young people, seeking thrills in these dangerous ways?  The answer is that they feel something missing from their day-to-day materialistic lives and, without knowing what it is, are trying to find a way to fill that need.   
    Of course, what is missing from their lives is something beyond the simple, materialistic, animal existence.  What is missing is their spiritual lives.  Unfortunately, most people today place so little emphasis on the spiritual side of life that it is understandable that so many turn to wacky ideas like thrill seeking to satisfy it.  So if you are a person who is developing spiritually, and you know folks like these thrill seekers, try to awaken them to their spiritual needs and help prevent needless death. 

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Arts and Artists

    One thing that struck me on my recent trip to Greece was that much ancient art, in Greece, Rome and other ancient civilizations, is just as good as the art of some of the finest Renaissance artists.  Yet, while the subject of many of these ancient statues is known, the artist is not.  It seems like artists in those days were considered little more than crafts people, the same as a carpenter or basket weaver.
    This lack of respect for arts and artists seems to be returning to our modern society with music and art classes often being the first to get dropped when schools need to make cutbacks.  This is unfortunate because a little study of history will reveal that artists are usually spiritual people and very spiritual people often show talent for some arts.  Even just studying art helps people become more spiritual because being creative is being spiritual.  With God already banned from public schools, eliminating art programs just makes for a less spiritual, more materialistic student body and faculty which means less ethics and morals and more violence and a “me me me” attitude.

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