Tag Archives: meaning of life

Pondering Our Place on God’s Green Earth

A few months ago I attended a men’s retreat through my church.  Here is what I wrote one morning:

I’m sitting by myself gazing at the calm, peaceful, serene waters affronting part of the family compound.  The grounds are beautiful and the birds – in this early morning – are chirping away, as if claiming their freedom in God’s wonderful world.

Why are we here, in this life as we experience a grain of time within the vastness of eternity?  Our minister says it’s because God does not want to be alone.  I agree, but I think there’s much, much more.  We are here to survive, strive and thrive – individually and eventually as Heaven on Earth.

Places like this remind us of God’s gift to us through nature and all its marvelous facets. But we can hide inside our self and while there is much that can be improved; there is also that mind, body and “little piece of God” that allows us to be kind to ourselves and others.

What is it about scenes such as this – grassy grounds, mature trees and placid waters – that cause us to pause, to reflect, and to wonder?  It’s just the awe of it, surrounded by living creations of God while at the same time reflecting on the water as it echoes in its own reflection.

We are not alone.  God is in us, around us, on a moment by moment basis – eternally.  Faith helps us to live, nurture our values and develop beliefs that serve as the foundation.

Spiritual leaders are important on this journey toward Heaven on Earth.  They can – first, encourage us to say and do the right things, demonstrate good behavior; second, nurture our values, the positive ones while diminishing our negative ones; third, encourage beliefs that support first, behavior, and then empowering values.

Wisdom is the key to Heaven on Earth.  And the good news is that it can be taught – and it should be, in schools, spiritual entities, government, the media, and families (of course), all human entities.  Perhaps I’m escalating, but we gain our wisdom partly by our interactions with others.  But we also gain it by our own experiences – such as this moment with the riveting and penetrating ingenuity of God’s works.

I feel God’s presence here.  We are studying in the current Sunday school class Living Waters.  The statistics on water are quite sobering – how little of our planet’s water is pollution and salt-free, liquid and accessible.

An Ambitious Calling

Both President Reagan and Gandhi were ambitious, and I am, too.  I seek to be a pathfinder toward heaven on earth.  It may involve political endeavors within the Republican Party and/or a path more like Gandhi.

The world is full of ambitious people of all degrees.  All seek freedom and liberty.  Read “The Case for Democracy.”  Life is not a straight line, up or down or sideways.  It is full of twists and turns, and all sorts of challenges and obstacles.

The goal is The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  This is simply said – yet difficult to apply throughout and consistently.  Nonetheless, it is critical to reach toward Heaven on Earth.

Almighty God loves each of us and all of us with an enduring, steadfast love.  This enormous presence is within us, too – in our mind, body and “little piece of God.”

We each have an important role to play in this inevitable and loving march toward Heaven on Earth.  I wish and hope to be a pathfinder for others.  Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote quite eloquently what I have in mind, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

I hope and pray that I will leave a trail that many can see and have the freedom and wisdom to decide for themselves whether to follow my trail.  The essence of life is to seek truth and wisdom within oneself and others – to be kind to oneself and others.

God marches with us, in us, and for us.  Recognizing God in our values is good, but more importantly, God should be present in our behavior. God cares deeply about each of us and all of us, as well as how we treat ourselves and everyone else.  My God is not judgmental.  My God has led us from very brutal, barbaric times to our 21stcentury.  Of course, there is still much to do.

I believe sometimes the hard way is the best way.  What do I mean by that?  Suffering can and oftentimes leads to wisdom and a more balanced, purposeful life.

As I wrote before, we each have an important role – to be kind to ourselves and others.  This involves things that are difficult, self-discipline and delayed gratification.  Kindness is not only a momentary phenomenon, but one of short-term, mid-term and long-term tenacity.

Perfection is not an attribute of us humans – certainly including me.  But I do try and so must you.  The wisdom-associated values of Copthorne MacDonald are essential on our quest toward Heaven on Earth – empathy, truth, honesty, justice, cooperation, peace, compassion, universal well-being, creativity and general knowledge.  This is a march, not a dance or an easy reach.  At the same time – continually, moment to moment – we must reject Copthorne MacDonald’s negative values – selfishness, hate, revenge, envy and greed.

I go back to the song, “What the World Needs Now is Love – Sweet Love.”  Perhaps it’s a song that is dated, but to me it’s timeless – ready for prime time now and in the future.

 

An Optimist’s View of the Role of Humanity

The role of each of us and all of us is to take an honest, deep, continuing look within and without to all, for the betterment of ourselves, others, and the world.  This individual feat is not a one-time event.  It is part of our life journey, hopefully and prayerfully, eventually resulting in personal wisdom, a wonderful example and influence from others and steps toward Heaven on Earth.

Our planet is inhabited by humans, and what they do, one by one, million by million, billion by billion, has an enormous effect on our present and future.

In the 21st century knowledge, jobs, and people will be critical.  Unskilled jobs, worldwide, will be harder and harder to measure up to these knowledge and people-skill jobs; the good news is that I believe entrepreneurship, knowledge, and people-skill jobs can flourish and become more and more purposeful, meaningful, and appreciated.

Life is like a road, full of potholes, twists, curves, and upward and downward challenges.  There is a mystery about it beyond human understanding.  It is a matter of faith in our God-created mind, body and “little piece of God” and Almighty God.  But the fact that life is a mystery and difficult at times doesn’t mean we should “give up” seeking our calling(s) by God.  Throughout our lives our calling(s) will change, but love is the focus for it all.  Why?  Because God is Love.

We must not blame life or become victims.  We must rise up and try, try, and try to maximize our potential—for ourselves, others and God.

The reality is not that life is easy or even should be easy.  The goal of all of us is to maximize our potential, and the core of that struggle is love and faith—faith in God, ourselves and others.  Never give up to suicide, crime, or any other unworthy activity.  Of course, we are all human and imperfect in ourselves.  But we should try, try, and try to reach toward love, and eventually Heaven on Earth.

How do we do this?  Our spiritual leaders—globally for loving religions—are an important key.  These religions must emphasize that what we say and do is of primary importance, followed by our values, and then our beliefs.  I believe that too often religions tend to overemphasize beliefs to the detriment of values, but most importantly, also to the detriment of teaching the importance of what we say and do.

Each of us and all of us has a magnificent role to play in this global drama.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses, but a world full of stable, robust, and prosperous nations would be a world of permanent peace, but that’s not all.  Prosperity breeds prosperity, especially with the wonderful very real and positive force of globalization.  I am speaking of free, fair trade which will allow miracles to happen, especially in the poorer, developing nations of our world.  But it will benefit us all as we reach toward Heaven on Earth.

None of us is perfect.  But truth and wisdom are goals that we should seek, day by day, month by month, year by year.

I am an optimist at heart.

 

From Hurting…To Helping

We must transform the world from people hurting people to people helping people, whether one is speaking of nations, corporations, other human entities or individuals.  There is an innate sense within us that seeks to help.  Let’s see that part of us reign—one by one, million by million, billion by billion.

There is no question that each of us and all of us have an enormous role to play in that inevitable march toward Heaven on Earth, which will include peace and security, freedom, democracies, prosperity, gender harmony, racial harmony, spiritual harmony, ecological harmony and health as well as moral purpose and meaning.

The road ahead probably won’t be easy.  But it will be enormously rewarding to everyone on our planet.

God is with us.  Who can really believe that we can’t succeed?  The world is getting smaller and smaller as globalization and technology march forward.  Let us adopt the wisdom-associated values of Copthorne MacDonald and shun the negative values he identified.

First, we must strive to say and do the right thing.  My belief is that God cares about this most.  We should live “The Golden Rule.”  Second, we must cultivate the values referred to above.  Third, beliefs that support these values and behavior must be respected and adopted one by one as each person’s whole being sees fit.

After a long spiritual journey, I now describe myself as spiritual, but not religious.  At the same time, I find so much truth, wisdom and values within the loving great religions of the world.  There is no question in my mind that the spiritual leaders of the great loving religions are all-important in our march toward Heaven on Earth.

Thoughts on Freedom and Every Day Life

Life can and is a struggle, but overcoming adversity – especially over time – can lead us to rewards that just wouldn’t be there if we didn’t earn them.

A world full of stable, robust, prosperous democracies will be a world of permanent peace.  Globalization can help us in many ways, most readily in prosperity.  Free, fair trade is also very important.  Free enterprise is an additional worthwhile and vital component.

Literacy, financial literacy, reading, formal education, and learning by doing are all necessary to grow in this century forward.

Knowledge skills and people skills will be crucial to maneuver the modern age.

We must develop self-discipline and practice delayed gratification in order to cultivate our mind, body and “little piece of God.”

Wisdom can and should be taught – at all ages.  We must look deep inside for the goodness that is surely there.

There are the negative values that Copthorne MacDonald enumerated – selfishness, greed, envy, hate and revenge.  These values must be shunned.

Of course, there is a matter of degree in these values.  Take greed.  I believe it is entirely proper to pursue wealth; look at Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.  They, at least eventually, stood back and used their wealth for worthy purposes.

Another aspect of greed that is critical is whether a person is consumed with greed so that he or she does illegal, unethical or immoral acts to pursue that value.  I look at Putin in Russia.  His is partially motivated by greed, and even more by power.  Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Putin’s corruption is out of hand.  But I will give Putin credit as an unlikely hero in keeping a foolish President Obama from getting us into a war in Syria.

I read a wonderful book, The Case for Democracy.  It was written by a Russian Jew who immigrated to Israel and at one time was a Cabinet member.  The crux of the book is that all humans desire liberty and freedom – regardless of the history of their nation – China, Russia, the Middle East – you name it.  The author defined democracy as being completely free to go into the town square and proclaiming whatever you will without reprisals to you or your family.  They don’t have that freedom in Russia, or in a lot of other places.  I pray that everyone on earth will one day experience true freedom, and I believe that day will come.

Being a Hero

I have written before that there is a hero inside each of us and all of us.  I still believe that’s true.  Each of us and all of us must seek our calling(s) and during our lives those callings may change; for instance, one calling may be raising children.  Eventually those children become adults; and if you’ve raised them right, they will be about seeking and following their own calling(s).

We all have an important role to play in that ultimate journey toward Heaven on Earth.  Why do I say all have an important role?  Because the key to unlocking Heaven on Earth is in improving our values and behavior, globally with God’s enduring, steadfast love.

Wisdom is so vital in this venture.  And wisdom can be taught.  Let’s bring out that hero in each of us and seek wisdom day by day, lifetime by lifetime.

We need good people everywhere.  Let’s all strive to become a “good” person.

Things that Matter

I am reading “Things that Matter,” by Charles Krauthammer.  I appreciate this book’s  conservative viewpoint.  I look for my inspiration in reading and reviewing this deep, thoughtful book.  Optimism and idealism can be effective if you combine them with President Reagan’s famous slogan, “Trust but Verify.”

I think of what Socrates wrote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  We must not live our lives that way.  Values such as truth, honesty and empathy are vital to worthwhile meaning and purpose for all of us.  These positive values matter.  What else matters?  When we count our blessings this holiday season, consider the intangibles such as positive values.

Self-reliance is key to our goal of Heaven on Earth!

“I will try to love and help create a Heaven on Earth.”  With God’s enduring, steadfast love we can do it.  But I worry about trusting government too much rather than self-reliance.

After World War II, too many people in the Western world assumed that governments could solve our problems.  Some leaders, such as President Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, knew better.  But the pendulum has swung so far toward government solutions, especially in Japan, Southern Europe and the United States, that too much of the world has enormous national debts and obligations.

But at the same time, humankind has progressed enormously, not just in technology, but in more democracies, abolishment of slavery in the United States, and practically all the world, women’s suffrage in the United States and elsewhere and even animal rights.

I heard in India recently that they expected the United States to be about 40 percent vegetarian in the future.  People think green in many aspects of life and many governments are reflecting this movement.

The key to the future is not in technology.  It’s in us.  We must work and play and love with the passion for all—living by The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The View from Above

I was recently looking at a beautiful sight from my plane—puffy white clouds down below extending all the way to the horizon—an inspiring gift from God.  Above the horizon the sky is clear and blue.  From here it is breathtaking and striking, and yet from below it must be overcast and gray.  Perhaps that’s the way life is as we look around below the clouds and see the dull and bad aspects of life, whereas from above God observes the goodness of it all.  Somehow we must venture out from below the clouds and recognize the awesome reality above them.   

Negative Values: Revenge

Revenge is closely related to hate.  Here again a wholesale campaign by all human entities can do wonders to end this negative value.

We each have a role to play.  We must look in an honest way at ourselves.  Is there anyone in our lives whom we harbor the drive to exact revenge?  Looking inward is a way of overcoming this and other negative values.  It all starts with being honest with oneself and seeking to improve ethically, morally and legally.  We should then encourage others to do the same.

The future is all we have ahead of us.  We must take care to seek Heaven on Earth.  If we don’t, there are the potential catastrophes of crushing debt, global warming with climate change and radical Islamic disaster.  I am an optimist and I believe all of the above can be avoided, but not without great effort and a serious turn from past behaviors.  A Heaven on Earth beckons.  But we must do our part—one by one, million by million, and billion by billion.