we choose death

We Choose Death by Seeking Pleasure

“Beguiled from our original state by the deceitfulness of sensual pleasure, we choose death rather than true life. Let us then gladly endure the bodily hardship which puts such pleasure to death. In this way the death of pleasure will destroy the death which came about through pleasure, and we shall receive back, purchased with but slight bodily hardship, the life which we sold for the sake of sensual pleasure.

“If when the flesh has an easy life the force of sin tends to grow stronger, it is clear that when the flesh suffers affliction the force of virtue will also increase. So let us bravely endure the affliction of the flesh, which cleanses the soul’s stains and brings us future glory. For the suffering of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.

“When physicians are treating the body they do not administer the same remedy in all cases. Neither does God, when treating the illnesses of the soul, regard a single kind of therapy as suitable for it and effects its cure. So let us give thanks while we are being created, however great our suffering, for the result is blessed.” ~the Philokalia

Beguiled by Pleasure

Pleasure is a great thing, but also a deceptive one. It can feel good but is often keeping you away from something better. It is like stopping to pick up a dollar bill on the sidewalk and missing out on the pot of gold up ahead. So it is deceitful because it gives you the idea that it is helping you, but it is really stopping you from moving forward and claiming the real treasure of life.

Bodily Hardship

If you have ever watched documentaries of real treasure hunters at work, you know that the hunters don’t just casually ride up to a suspected location in a luxury yacht, dive down into calm and pleasant waters, and come back up clutching bags of gold and jewels. They are on some old boat with tiny, uncomfortable cabins, they face storms, breakdowns, sharks, and other perils before they realize there is no treasure their and move on to another spot. They go through similar experiences in that location and the next. After several stops, they finally find the treasure, having earned it through hard work and strain. That is the way it is with seeking the real treasure, the treasure of eternal spiritual life. Continue reading “We Choose Death by Seeking Pleasure”

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find meaning in life

Find Meaning in Life, Find Meaning in Living

“The ability to seek and find meaning in life is based more than anything on the capacity to hold paradox and maintain an unblushing cognitive dissonance. The objective world and the subjective world lie one atop the other. Spiritual causality and immediate causality are often different yet occupy the same space, and so truth may be less a matter of either/or than both/and. …

“Consider the Zen practice of the koan, the question or problem posed by Zen masters to each other or by masters to students. The koan is a dilemma, a mystery which the rational mind cannot solve. By frustrating and thwarting our usual strategies of obtaining answers, knowing and understanding, it causes us to begin anew. The key to the resolution of a koan is a shift in the being of the student which allows for a new understanding of the question itself.

“In presenting a koan, the teacher engages the student with mystery in a highly personal way. The student becomes intimate with the question, and sometimes struggles with it for a long time. At first Zen students respond to the mystery much as we all do: with frustration, with outrageous pride, with a sense of unfairness and victimhood, with self-pity, even with anger towards the teacher. None of this works. Having exhausted all these ways, we can begin to find the capacity for other ways and these new ways begin to change us.” ~Rachel Naomi Remen

Seek and Find Meaning

We may not realize it, but seeking to find meaning in things is one of the earliest things we do. Soon after we are born our mind starts trying to learn and identify the things and beings around us. But trying to find meaning in life is a bit more complex. To start with, it is not always clear what life is. And if you can’t clearly identify what life is, it is even more difficult to find meaning in life. You might think that spiritual people do not have that problem, yet I see that very question being asked frequently in spiritual groups on social media. Of course, most of those asking the question are probably relatively new students, or not actual students at all, but simply readers of a few spiritual books. Others are just internet trolls trying to annoy people.

A Flawed Question

One reason it may be so difficult to find the answer to that question is that it makes what may very well be a false assumption: that the meaning in life is the same for all of us. It may be that the answer is very personal. It may be species-specific. I doubt that the meaning of life for a frog is the same as the meaning of life for a man. But if we want a very general answer, there is one that applies in all cases.

A Life Force

The simple – although certainly not complete and satisfying – answer is that a life force exists in the universe. Just as gravity pulls objects together, the life force tries to encourage matter to become living beings, and it succeeds far more than most people suspect. Scientists and explorers have found living things in the most hostile environments on Earth where they never expected to do so. Since the life force is universal, it does the same thing on other planets. Strangely, our scientific community has decided that Earth Life must set the standard for the whole universe, and if they can’t find Earth-like life on a planet or star, it is declared lifeless. They are not lifeless. Life exists everywhere.

Zen Koan

It seems as if Remen is switching subjects mid-stream, but she isn’t. At least not from her point of view. She sees the question “What is the meaning in life?” as a type of koan, a question that can’t be answered by conventional means. As already shown, that is not really true. There is a simple answer and we can find the meaning of life. We can also seek and find meaning in life on a personal level. We should look more at what the meaning of our own life is before we get too concerned with life on a grander scale. That question has an answer also., but it to might be a form of Zen Koan.

The Purpose of our Life is what we Decide to Make it

Usually, people expect a general answer to the question “What is the meaning in life?”. There is one, but what most people really want to know is what is the meaning of their life. That is largely a matter of what they make of it. Your choices determine the meaning of your life. But you can get help in making the right choices, those being the ones that further God’s Divine Plan.

If you awaken your spiritual faculties, you make it far easier for Angels to communicate with you. They will probably still do it in secret and you will thin their suggestions are your own ideas. That doesn’t matter. They will help you steer your ship through life so you have no reason to ask what is the meaning in life. So awaken and know the meaning of life, and have a meaningful life.

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death without living

Death Without Living First, A Wasted Life

Death Without Living

“O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions, unto the man that hath nothing to vex him, and that hath prosperity in all things: yea, unto him that is yet able to receive meat! O death, acceptable is thy sentence unto the needy, and unto him whose strength faileth, that is now in the last age, and is vexed with all things, and to him that despaireth, and hath lost patience! Fear not the sentence of death, remember them that have been before thee, and that come after; for this is the sentence of the Lord over all flesh. And why art thou against the pleasure of the most High? there is no inquisition in the grave, whether thou have lived ten, or an hundred, or a thousand years. The children of sinners are abominable children, and they that are conversant in the dwelling of the ungodly. The inheritance of sinners’ children shall perish, and their posterity shall have a perpetual reproach. … All that are of the earth shall turn to earth again: so the ungodly shall go from a curse to destruction. The mourning of men is about their bodies: but an ill name of sinners shall be blotted out. Have regard to thy name; for that shall continue with thee above a thousand great treasures of gold. A good life hath but few days: but a good name endureth for ever. My children, keep discipline in peace: for wisdom that is hid, and a treasure that is not seen, what profit is in them both? A man that hideth his foolishness is better than a man that hideth his wisdom. … Be Ashamed of an offense before a judge and ruler; of iniquity before a congregation and people; of unjust dealing before thy partner and friend; And of theft in regard of the place where thou sojournest, and in regard of the truth of God and his covenant; and to lean with thine elbow upon the meat; and of scorning to give and take; Be not ashamed to inform the unwise and foolish, and the extreme aged that contendeth with those that are young: thus shalt thou be truly learned, and approved of all men living. “ ~Ecclesiasticus

Death Will Come

On the physical level, at least, all of us will die. Those who deny that fact, or spend most of their life and money trying to delay it as much as possible, are living a sad life that isn’t truly living at all.

There are also many who, if asked, will admit that they will one day die, yet they spend their entire life acting as if it will never happen. They make no effort to prepare for death, other than perhaps buying a cemetery plot. They don’t ask themselves when they are preparing to act “Is this something I would do if I knew I was going to die tomorrow?” But we all should think that way. The idea that it is fine to live a frivolous and pointless life for fifty or sixty years, then start doing what matters, is foolish. None of us knows how long he will live, or what condition he will be in when he reaches old age. You might be crippled or blind or have some other infirmary that prevents you from doing many things, so you can’t wait. Continue reading “Death Without Living First, A Wasted Life”

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mortal man

Mortal Man and Spiritual Man

“I myself also am a mortal man, like to all, and the offspring of him that was first made of the earth, And in my mother’s womb was fashioned to be flesh. … And when I was born, I drew in the common air, and fell upon the earth. … For all men have one entrance into life, and the like going out. Wherefore I prayed, and understanding was given me: I called upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her before sceptres and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her. Neither compared I unto her any precious stone, because all gold in respect of her is as a little sand, and silver shall be counted as clay before her. … I learned diligently, and do communicate her liberally: I do not hide her riches. For she is a treasure unto men that never faileth: which they that use become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts that come from learning. God hath granted me to speak as I would, and to conceive as is meet for the things that are given me: because it is he that leadeth unto wisdom, and directeth the wise. … For he hath given me certain knowledge of the things that are, namely, to know how the world was made, and the operation of the elements: The beginning, ending, and midst of the times: the alterations of the turning of the sun, and the change of seasons. … For wisdom, which is the worker of all things, taught me: for in her is an understanding spirit holy, one only, manifold, subtle, lively, clear, undefiled, plain, not subject to hurt, loving the thing that is good quick, which cannot be letted, ready to do good, … For wisdom is more moving than any motion: she passeth and goeth through all things by reason of her pureness. For she is the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty: therefore can no defiled thing fall into her. For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness. ” ~The Wisdom of Solomon

Mortal Man

Solomon, or whoever actually wrote this book using his name, that he is a mortal man like any of us. By this, he means that he is physically mortal for his mortal body will dies one day, just as will ours. He adds that he was fashioned of flesh in his mother’s womb, and born into the common air. He was not born in any special way that should make us think he was some special sort of being and not an ordinary human. Yet we all know that he was far from being an average person.

One Life to Live

Solomon also says: “For all men have one entrance into life, and the like going out.” This is probably the most important thing he says here, yet few will understand or believe it. We are all born once and die once. No second, third, or fourth chance. One physical life, that’s all! No reruns on this channel! So don’t just shrug things off thinking you will do better the next time. There is no next time. Mortal man gets one chance only. Continue reading “Mortal Man and Spiritual Man”

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