All the pieces of the puzzle of life fall neatly into place. I've thought about life, existence, the universe, and God for the first fifty years of my personal life. Now I wish to divulge my findings, and find my destiny in the second 50. This is the personal/universal journey of Michael F. Nyiri

Those who misconstrue the lessons life teaches and do not learn by them are usually the ones who complain about the random nature of existence. There are those who passively become part of their own scenery, and there are those who carry around their own paintbrushes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

If homosexuality is wrong, and God knows all, then didn't he know that some of his children would turn gay? And if he did know, then why would he create them just to damn them to hell?

Who is God? Is he an old man with a white beard sitting on a big throne amongst the clouds in a "place" called "Heaven" doling out dogmas and directing traffic on Earth? I hardly think so. "God" is a catchphrase for the unknown Universal Entity. In most Western religious scenarios, "He" is the "creator", the first in the Universe, and the "One", according to the Holy Bible, who fashioned all of everything. He is all knowing and all powerful. He caused some problems for mankind in the early days, back in the Old Testament, when mankind didn't listen to him, but in basic Christian theology, after he sent his "Son", whom we know as Jesus Christ, to Earth a little over 2000 years ago, He has been a kinder gentler God. The message Jesus preached to mankind is that we are all saved if we accept Him into our daily lives.

In some religions, Jesus is either a mere human or didn't exist, and God is still peeved at mankind and constantly on the verge of destroying him. God is quite often a philosophical construct standing in for the idea of a "creator" for the total Universe. Religious leaders guarantee that even though no one really truly knows what happens to our minds and souls when we pass from our Earthly existence, if we "believe in God", then we are "saved" and will spend eternity in Heaven with God and the angels. This certainly sounds nice, and billions of people practice a "Godly" life, certain that they have nothing to worry about.

Others question the idea of God and still others deny "His" existence altogether. Some have developed different philosophical constructs to "take His place" and others just don't care. Scientific thought attempts to find non theological answers to the "big questions". No matter what evidence the scientific community comes up with, the religious community seems to battle with them constant arguments.
Inquiring minds want to know. The "truth" is that nobody knows anything really about the whys and wherefores of existence. Since we don't really know what's "normal", we really can't ascertain with certainty what to call "abnormal". (This doesn't stop everyone from trying.) How do we humans know whether homosexuality, the practice of same sex partnering, is "normal" or "abnormal"? Biologically speaking, it would seem to be abnormal. But biology is hardly a science which can be counted on to give us the same answers about anything either. There are species without sex. There are species which "change" sex. Humans seem to have two distinct sexes, "man" and "woman", but yet anyone who works in the medical field specializing in obstetrics might tell you some horror stories which will forever shatter your preconceived notions of biological sexuality.

Let's consider that "God" is "all knowing." We also have to consider that we as humans know little if anything, and are constantly learning. Perhaps God embraces all his creatures. In early pre Christian Polyneisan cultures, babies born with perceived "defects", including birth marks, were killed instanly upon birth. Christian missionaries were apalled at this practice, but the "Gods" of Polynesian societies were deemed to have dictated this practice, however barbaric. Early Mezoamerican cultures practiced sacrifice of humans in order to stave off bad weather and failing crops. The "Gods" dictated this practice. So far, the Western "God" of Christianity doesn't seem to be calling for a mass murder of homosexuals. One of the "10 Commandments" of early Jewish dogma, which was carried over into Western style Christianity, is, of course, "Thou shalt not kill". However, certain "religions" do seem to think that homosexuality is an abomination, and people with an urge to couple with thier own sex instead of the opposite sex are to be "fixed" or "cured" of these abnormalities.

Homosexuals in history were "closeted", mostly because of the horrendous shocks people would receive because of their practices. As the world gets "smaller" because of mass methods of communication, and as more established groups of gay rights activists appear on the horizon of our Earth, more and more closeted homosexuals have broken free of their secrets, and sometimes it seems as if they are multiplying with a fervor. (Since they can't propagate, this seems somewhat weird.) Who is to say whether a respectful, honest, upright and forthright individual is to be denied his "ticket to heaven" just because he chooses to bugger his boyfriend? God? Maybe it's certain segments of mankind who in reality are against these practices. Perhaps God really doesn't care which sex we choose to couple with, marry, or live with to the end of our lives?

There might be an "interim" plane of existence before the Final Realization is attained, before each soul enters and permeates the "Universal Mind". There might even be a "heaven" and a "hell" although there is really no proof of the existence of either. But all souls, both "bad", "good", and "undecided', are granted "entry" into the Universal eventually. This is the end to our means. If one believes in Jesus, he is saved. But if one believes in the teachings of Buddha, or is close to enlightenment in the Hindu faith, or even if one is agnostic and searching for the truth, it will be revealed eventually. One has to die before this happens, and that's certainly hard to swallow, but it's best to wait, to live each day as if it mattered for all eternity, and to do "good works", respect and love our fellow man, and have respect for our situation. When we die, whether we're devout, questioning, hetero or homsexual, man or woman, dog or cat, we are part of the Universal Entity. We are "star stuff", and we are all a small part of the Godhead. All life is part of the Universal. And life is diverse. There might even be "aliens" in our Universe, and they are as "normal" as we suppose ourselves to be.

Let's suppose, then, that homosexuality is not "wrong". It is either a choice or perhaps biologically a physical part of the lives of some humans. Let's suppose, then, that "God" exists, and that "He" is much much more than that old guy sitting on a throne in Heaven. We might be a little part of "Him", no matter who we are. Let's suppose that we don't know the answers, and never will.

It is mankind who makes mankind's rules. These rules sometimes change with the rotation of the planet's leaders. As the world gets "smaller" and we are exposed to more and more of what happens outside our own garden gate, we are going to learn that it is best not to be closed minded. The world is full of many interesting and strange practices. Humankind has striven to understand,. catalog, and describe this diversity of life since "the beginning." Look around. He hasn't been able to either understand, catalog or describe all of life, and life keeps getting more and more interesting.

If you believe that homosexuality is "wrong", and that God needs to punish these individuals when they stray from a predetermined path, then you could believe that they are given tests which they fail, and this is what dooms them to "hell". I prefer to believe that there is no "right" and "wrong" in this conundrum at all. Like the many diverse species of life in the Universe, homosexuality is just another kind. Embrace diversity. Tolerate differerences. Open your mind.

You just might find that if you stop thinking and worrying about the many competing dogmas with which you come into contact, then perhaps God will speak to you and let you know everything is really all right. Each Realization we pass up or drive around is lost to us in our search for enlightenment. If we stop, ponder, and gain insght into these Realizations, then we are more than ready to pass from this plane of existence to the next.

(This article was first published on WhenWordsCollide on Feb. 7th, 2008)

An instant is an eon.
A leaf is a tree.
A rock is a world.
A mind is all minds.
Through history.
Through space.
Through time.
You write a lot about the Universal Mind. How would you classify this as a religion?

In 2010 I was asked to participate in a Xanga poll questioning our religious affilliations. The poll asked: Are you Christian, or part of a Christian sect, or are you an athiest, or Muslim, Hindu, etc. I answered as always that I adhere to the epiphanies which gave me the key to the understanding of the Universal Mind, and as always, I linked to the Universal Blog, as I will at the bottom of this post. I received a return message. Do you have a separate category? As I always do, I classified the Universal Mind theory as a pantheist belief, as opposed to a theist belief. However, just recently, as I have been delving more into studying the tenets of Buddhism, I also would compare the Universal Mind, and my search for enlightenment, to the similar search for and answers that the Buddha obtained over 2500 years ago, longer even than when Jesus Christ walked the earth.
For those who don’t know what pantheism is, it is the belief that all things are connected. There are spiritual connections in all of life. The Lakota tribe in North America even believe the rocks and trees were part of the Universal makeup of spirituality. Each part of the earth, including mankind and all life, is part of a Universal whole. This is also what is taught by Buddhism. The concept of a “creator”, as with theism, and more recently, with monotheism, is a moot point.

Monotheism, which is the belief that there is “one god”, is the belief system of the three major religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Yahweh , or Jehovah, is usually named as the original monotheistic diety. He’s the one who dictates to Moses that “thou shalt have no other gods before me.” He is usually pegged as the “father” of Jesus Christ. and the supreme being who gives Muhammad his recitations in the caves behind the city of Mecca. Before Yahweh became supreme, however, there were many gods and goddesses worshipped by the peoples of Europe and Asia.

Buddha began his life on the continent of India as Prince Siddharta. He was next in line for the throne of his particular city state, and until he was about 30, he was pampered and secluded, kept behind the castle walls, so to speak, by his father the king. He got married, and sired a son. In the east at this time, there were also many gods and goddesses, part of the Vedic religion. (Some of these gods and goddesses later become part of Hinduism.) The uppermost caste of Indian life at the time were the Bhramins, who could communicate witth the gods, and acted as the intermediaries between the race of gods and the race of men.

Prince Siddharta left the palace a few times, and each time he witnessed signs that there was a more sorrowful world which existed outside. He encountered old age, and sickness, and death. These concepts were foreign to him, and they bothered him. He left the palace, abandoning the crown, his family, and his destiny, to pursue the road to enlightenment, and to answer the question of why there was suffering and grief in the world.
For six years, he searched. He became the apprentice to various gurus, and practiced such accepted spiritual conceits as asceticism. He was better than his gurus at anything he attempted. Yet still he could  not find the answer to his questioning nature. One day, he sat at the foot of the Bodhi tree, and there he gained the wisdom that he later taught in his travels. All is one. We are all enlightened. The world exists. The plethora of gods and goddesses are moot. Everything is connected. Suffering and grief exist naturally, and we can’t have happiness without sadness. When his teachings became known, and when his disciples began spreading his words, he began to be idolized and worshipped as the Buddha, the awakened one. Buddha taught, however, that actually we are ALL Buddha. We are all enlightened. Some of us do not know this however, and for those, there are still questions.

Similarly, I began my search for enlightenment back when I was young. I was in high school when I really began to question the teachings of the Baptist church in which I was brought up. I always say that I gained my first epiphany under my own Bodhi tree, an apricot tree in the back yard of our house, when I was 12 years old. I realized that the long summers of youth would not go on forever. I realized that each moment is special, and should be cherished.

When the Buddha was still Prince Siddharta, he looked at the ground and contemplated the ants during the planting festival. He realized that when the ground was tilled, the complete colony of ants would be destroyed. When I was a kid, my father put a new driveway alongside our house, and I can clearly remember contemplating the earthworms, and realizing that when my father overturned the soil to prepare the driveway, he would in essence destroy the whole ecosystem of the worm world.

These realizations are that life, no matter who seemingly small and inconsistent, is special. Everything is connected, and when we disturb part, in effect the ripples disturb a lot more. However, this is also part of existence. In the animal world, there are predators and there is food. The food cannot question this, and it is as it should be.

I will be 60 in a few years. (The Buddha lived to be about 80) I’ve been “preaching” about the Universal Mind for almost 40 years. As I study religion, I find that a lot of what I believe is not new, and I never claimed that it was. The ideas I know to be true are ideas which have been known by those Lakota Indians, and by the Buddhists many many years ago. In the case of the Buddhists, longer ago than Judaism or Christianity, or Islam. Of course, over the years, there has been idolization of the Buddha and there are lots of rituals associated with the religion. I’m sure the chanting comes to mind most vividly. Buddha wouldn’t have minded perhaps, but when he walked the earth, he turned his back on the ritualistic practices of the Vedic religion then popular.
The Universal Mind is the collective. It isn’t a religion, per se. There are no church buildings or collection plates. It is an ideology and a philosophy which has been around “universally”. As with Buddhism and the pantheistic beliefs, the idea of a singular god is moot, as is the “creation story.” For the most part, all creation stories are myths. Mankind needs to know he had a “beginning”. He certainly knows he has an ‘end”. The Universal Mind teaches that this search for a creation is moot. The ‘ending” is also the beginning, as physical death brings us the final realization and opens the “doors to perception”. Everything is. Everything was. And Everything shall be.
For me, it’s that simple.

Yes, I’ll continue to sturdy religion and spiritual beliefs. Yes, I’ll continue to pray to dieties like Jesus Christ. But in the end, I know that the godhead is made up of you, me, and everything, and time is only a convention invented by man. We are part of the earth we live upon, and it is a part of the galaxy in which it spins.
And the galaxy is part of the Universal Mind. As it always has been, and will continue to be, even as we humans are born, and search for answers, and die, and find them.

(This post was originally published on WhenWordsCollide on July 9th, 2010)