Saturday, January 31, 2004

Is synchronicity an indication of being on the right path? 

I'd never thought about it before, but I read something today that opined that synchronous events were a sign that you were doing the right thing, and it made me wonder; COULD following the optimal karmic path bring you more incidents of synchronicity? You can make a case for it, that the optimal path will be the one where the most side-paths converge, bringing the most opportunity into your life; those convergence points would be powerful, and draw similar things towards each other more strongly than usual, leading to greater amounts of synchronicity... maybe. I'm going to pay more attention in the future and see if I can find this particular pattern; just because a case can be made for it doesn't mean it's true.

Friday, January 30, 2004

The "it won't happen to ME" syndrome, and the truth about love 

There are countless examples of this; every person who smokes believing themselves to be magically immune to lung cancer, or who drinks and drives because they think THEY won't be in an accident, or who cheats on their taxes because they're SURE they'll never be audited, or who walks alone in a dangerous neighborhood because only OTHER people get mugged...

The one that drives me absolutely BONKERS, though, is where women (sometimes men, but usually women) say, "Well, yes, he lied to and cheated on his last girlfriend to be with me, but he'll never do that to ME." What PLANET are these women from? They end UP on Planet Jerry Springer, fighting and cursing over some worthless piece of sh*t man that no sane woman would take as a GIFT.

Why is it that every cheating man has multiple women willing to battle over him, when every woman should turn from him in loathing and disgust? How stupid are these women who think that the proven cheater is going to go home with them and treat them with respect?

A possible answer has popped up in Cosmo, of all places, courtesy of anthropologist Helen Fisher, PhD, who did an intensive brain-scan study of people who had just fallen madly in love, and discovered.... that love is NOT an emotion. To quote: "...romantic love stimulates the section of the brain associated with focused motivation and drive to win an award, such as food and sex, as opposed to emotional centers like happiness and sadness." This is mindboggling overall, but when I put aside my astonishment at finding even such a basic thing as love being an emotion being disproven, I can see why people do psychotic things, and maintain psychotic beliefs, about a person who is objectively not worth it.

Don't get me wrong, I STILL say it's stupid to clutch and cling to a partner who has PROVEN their worthlessness, and, since we have brains and the ability to reason, I also say that people can and SHOULD stop in their tracks and do an analysis of the situation when they see that they are getting involved with someone who is a proven wrongdoer, or if they discover that their partner has misbehaved, and make the intelligent choice, the one that shows some self-respect and gets them AWAY from the scumbag. Love is NOT a mystical emotion, or even an emotion at all; there's no point in following your heart, because all you're following is a blind instinctual drive like the one to find food.

Follow your BRAIN; intellect will rarely let you down. Love someone who is worthy of your affection and is capable of returning it; if someone mistreats you, kick them to the curb. Karma will reward you for doing the right thing by bringing you someone better; I sent the man who had been the great love of my entire life away right before my 30th birthday, because I saw that he would never treat me as I deserved, and a few months later I met the man that I've been with for nearly a decade... which is a heck of alot better than ending up as fodder for Jerry Springer.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Horror movies have nothing on my dreams 

Author Stephen King has said that a vivid imagination isn't always a good thing, that it can turn on you like a cannibal with razors for teeth; he is SO right. Karma is behind the phrase that gets applied to almost everything that seems good at first glance, "it's a 2-edged sword"; almost nothing in the natural world is purely good, because there's a way to harm yourself or someone else with virtually anything, and karma is a part of nature and follows the same patterns as other elements of nature do.

Last night I dreamed that I saw one of my loved ones, or rather her corpse, because she's dead; the corpse was animated, walking around and seeming aware and alive, except that I KNEW, even within the dream, that she was dead and that it WAS her corpse that I was interacting with. I watched her turn on a gas stove so that the flames leapt up easily 2 feet and put her hands into them; I watched the flames come bursting out through her neck and engulf her. I was unable to move from where I stood, and my terrified shrieks at my husband, who was standing nearby, to help her were ignored; while the latter is simply an extension of my husband's general unreliability and slowness to respond when called for in a crisis, the ghoulish spectacle of the corpse of someone I loved dearly is so upsetting that I can't link it to any particular subconscious message..... my mind is going to have to come up with a FAR less horrific image to get through to me on this one.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Exercise your right to HATE exercise 

How many times have you read that exercise will make you feel GOOD? Have you ever wondered why, if this is so, the vast majority of people are unable to keep up an exercise routine? Although there clearly ARE some people who get a rush or high from exercising, the truth for most of us is that exercise feels BAD, and that's why we're so resistant to doing it, even when we've paid a fortune for equipment or gym memberships.

The reality is that any sort movement that counts as exercise is at the very least uncomfortable, if not outright painful, and every moment you're exercising increases that discomfort/pain. Most exercises hurt your back and/or neck in addition to whatever muscles you're actually exercising, and that gets worse as you get older. If you're exercising standing up, your feet will hurt, and if you're having to strain you may get a headache. Getting heated up and sweating aren't fun, especially when your clothing starts to stick or chafe. You get steadily more tired and sore, and you can't stop as your body is telling you to-you have to keep on going, feeling worse and worse with every passing moment.

Exercise is supposed to relieve tension and stress, but if you're gritting your teeth and forcing yourself to do an unpleasant thing that you hate, that's NOT going to make you relaxed. You're supposed to sleep better on a day you've exercised, but I find that being stressed out and keyed up by forcing myself through those motions makes it HARDER to sleep, not easier. Exercising is supposed to even reduce your appetite, but I find that it makes me VERY hungry, and, since I can't eat extra to counteract that without gaining weight, I have to suffer extra hunger on top of everything else.

Exercise provides us with endless health benefits, so they're trying to get us to do it more, or at all, and they're failing miserably; is there any doubt why? We're VERY averse to discomfort of any sort, we don't have time for the fun stuff much less the unpleasant stuff, and we're far too stressed to voluntarily get more stress by forcing ourselves into the gym. Medical researchers need to take the $ they're wasting on pro-exercise campaigns and use it to come up with things that will give us the benefits of exercise without the sweat. They can already electrostimulate muscles to a certain extent, and they've discovered some chemicals that make the muscle tissues in animals undergo changes as if they had exercised; pitiful as it sounds, we need something like that for the majority of us to EVER get the health benefits of exercising.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Karmic balance 

Many geographically distant cultures have the belief that they have to hide their good fortune from the gods (or evil spirits, demons, etc), because the gods would take away the good fortune and/or bring grief if they knew... in other words, that there were forces outside of their control that would potentially act to keep them from getting and staying "ahead" luckwise. Either we have to view all of these cultures as excessively paranoid, or we have to accept that a whole lot of people have seen that something bad often happens to counteract something good that's happened (too bad they hadn't grasped that "giving back" creates balance and protects the good fortune, as we have in the modern Western world).

My own life is a glaring example of this going on; without exception, when I get something good, something bad enough to kill all my joy happens within 48 hours, usually within 24 hours, and often so close on the heels of the good event that it's as if someone were watching me, waiting to throw a switch to dump the bad thing on me as soon as the good thing happens. I'll get dropped off by a friend after a great day out, and get to savor it for about 3 seconds, because when I open the door I discover that my husband left the freezer standing wide open for 8 hours and defrosted $200 worth of groceries. As I'm yelping in triumph over having won an auction and gotten a great deal, my husband is yelling in the kitchen because he just destroyed something of mine.

Because I don't see an organized intelligence, or a being or any kind, behind the wheel of karma, I don't think it's possible to "protect" one's good fortune by hiding it; it's therefore desperately important to keep your karma as clean as possible, and "give back" when fortune smiles on you.

Monday, January 26, 2004

On the average, we are all... AVERAGE 

If you asked someone if they thought that they, or any of their loved ones, are AVERAGE, you know what their response would be; no way!! No one seems to see any illogic in believing that everyone they know is ABOVE average; where do you suppose they think that all the average and below-average people are hiding, since they never encounter any themselves?

The reality is that the overwhelming majority of us ARE average, both in individual areas like looks and overall, and that as many of us are BELOW average as are ABOVE average in any area, so why do we all act as if being average were equivalent to being scum? Why have we become so emotionally dependent on believing that we are better than the majority of people? That's what it MEANS to be above average, and, although few of us would say straight out that we're better than most, and may not have ever thought about this concept in that form, most of us DO believe just that.

I think it was Stephen Wright who said "You're special... just like everyone else." Since "special" is another way of saying "above average," guess what; most of us are NOT special. Yes, "special" can also mean "unique," but even the scummiest person on Earth is unique... that's NOT what we mean when we say "special."

This detachment from reality really messes us up in the romantic arena, because it gives us a lack of understanding of what sort of partner we should be looking for. Ask anyone what their requirements are for a relationship prospect, and they'll rattle off a lengthy list of traits including everything from beauty to success to gourmet cooking ability; ask them if THEY possess all those qualities, and they'll sputter helplessly in reply, because the answer is always NO. They may then try to frame an argument for why they should be able to get someone who is in effect so much better than they are that they would never give them the time of day much less a relationship... because well-meaning loved ones have been TELLING them for years how well ABOVE average they are, and how they're therefore deserving of the most fabulous person in the world, and they've bought into it.

You and everyone you know are probably wonderful; most people, most standard, ordinary, average people, ARE wonderful, luckily. The sad reality is that "wonderfulness" won't make a rock star ignore the supermodels and go out with you, or a supermodel ignore the rock stars and go out with you; these folks have standards far too high for them to take a chance on average folks like us, even if we are less shallow, more kind, and perhaps more compatible with them in the ways that count than the twits they date. Even someone with a high level of beauty, success, intelligence, wit, humor, charm, etc who is NOT famous will still be looking for the 1 person in a million who also has those qualities... and that probably won't be anyone you know.

By all means, believe that you and all your loved ones are terrific, and look for romantic partners who are terrific in ways that are uniquely suited to you... just understand that you're not BETTER than everyone else, and that you shouldn't expect your partner to be better than everyone else. Instead of focusing on finding a mate who is above average in ways that don't actually affect their ability to have a good relationship, how about just looking for someone who will make you happy? And, think about it; are "the beautiful people" ever happy in their relationships? No, so why would we WANT to have partners like them even if we COULD? Be happy to be average, to be surrounded by average people, and to have a choice from so many average people for romantic relationships; studies show that the average person is pretty satisfied with their life, and that's not a bad deal.

Sunday, January 25, 2004


On a certain level, it really IS that simple. Everything we do, say, think or feel creates energy of various sorts; sound, movement, heat, electrochemical churnings in the brain... all of that is energy that can change forms, change location, but NEVER be destroyed.

Where does all this energy GO, then, after we create it? It dissipates beyond our ability to detect it, and then becomes part of the fabric of the universe(s), FOREVER. It joins the infinite # of energy emanations from everyone else in the world and forms a record of everything we've ever done, said, thought or felt. My best guess is that all of these different kinds of energy become one kind of energy (of a type not yet recognized by science), or one of a spectrum of varieties of "karmic energy," or else we'd be able to perceive the accumulated power.

The actual form of this karmic energy "fabric" is beyond direct perception, but we can deduce something of its nature from the way it behaves. It clearly creates the pathways along which your life can travel; the ability of people to see even tiny bits of the future means that there IS some degree of predestination, which may, in many cases, exist in the form of probabilities, much like quantum experiments which come out different ways based on things like whether or not anyone is watching, giving you some flexibility as to whether things happen in that way or not.

There would also have to be pathways via which "things" can get to you; these things might be rewards, punishments, semi-random fillers for the "holes" left by an imbalance in your give/take patterns, or just whatever you happened to be needing, wanting or thinking about at any given time ("synchronicity").

This idea of energies going out and then coming back, and these energies being the basis of your fate/destiny, is what most people see as being "karma." Because much of this comes from the energy of our thoughts/souls, I add ESP and spirits to the equation, and, because everything that happens beyond our perceptions has to be tied together in some way, I also include whatever is responsible for the impossible realities of quantum physics in my definition of karma.

They haven't been able to come up with a Unified Field Theory yet, not only because they don't really understand the forces we ARE aware of (gravity doesn't work like we thought it did, the strong force has apparently been calculated all wrong, etc), but because they're not even aware of all the types of energies surrounding us. The day they make the first concrete discovery in this area, the first measurement of these energies, will mark the entry into a whole new level of human civilization.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Email conundrum 

It happens all the time; someone you haven't heard from in a while writes you a vivacious letter, full of news and questions, begging for a fast response. You write back in kind... and NEVER hear from them again. Alternately, YOU write the first letter, get an enthusiastic reply, write again... and they never write back. WHY?

Why does someone who obviously wants to interact with you, who even INITIATES contact, find it impossible to write more than ONE email? How can someone go from intense interest to being unwilling to show even basic courtesy and give a one-line reply with a reasonable excuse? What goes through a person's mind when they get that letter back from you that makes them decide to NOT reply? "Oh wow, she wrote me back, what a sweet letter this is... into the trash with it so I can go watch TV"?

Let's face it; the ultimate unknown will ALWAYS be certain facets of human behavior.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Feminine intuition 

Few will deny the ability of the female of our species to "know things" beyond what we can see and logically analyze, but if you ask anyone to DEFINE the phrase "feminine intuition," their reply will generally sound like a definition for telepathy and then sputter out, because they don't actually believe in telepathy... not by that name, anyways.

Part of the reason for the popularity of the idea of feminine intuition comes from the sexism that has been ingrained in human societies for thousands of years; men didn't want to accept that women were thinking and reasoning, so they labeled intelligent utterances by women as being the results of "intuition," thought of as something akin to animal instinct, in the same way that slaves who learned to speak multiple languages, read and do math were said to just be parroting or playing tricks, rather than having LEARNED anything. You'll STILL hear men, and even women (sadly), refer to something that a woman has figured out as being a result of feminine intuition, where they'd see the same thing figured out by a MAN as being a result of intelligence and logical thought

Intuition in general exists in both genders, of course. Probably the best definition I've seen of that was on an episode of STTNG, of all places; Geordi was trying to explain what a "hunch" was to Data, and Data summed it up as something along the lines of "filling in the blanks in the equation with your own experiences," and that's just what we're doing when we're trying to figure out a situation that we don't have all the info about but that we can relate in any way to things we DO know. An important facet that was NOT addressed in that scene is our ability to gather massive amounts of information about people from their body language that we aren't aware of consciously, but that we automatically include in our analyses of them; this is a part of intuition that looks a little voodoo-ish but is in fact a survival ability that most animals have. Since it has been shown that women ARE more adept at "reading people" than men are (which was important for the survival of women back in caveman days, because they depended on the good graces of the men that hunted for and protected them and their children), this accounts for part of "feminine intuition"; women get this ability due to the way our brains are set up (with far more cross-connections between the halves), while the differing setup of the male brain gives them their superior abilities in things like spatial relations, which made them better hunters (neither brain arrangement is SUPERIOR-they were both necessary for the survival of the species).

Since a woman can think "wake up" to her sleeping baby and have it quickly wake up, while a man can't do that, it's obvious that women DO have some sort of abilities beyond what men have, and there's no reason to think that it's limited to just babies; this is where the sometimes spooky part of feminine intuition comes into play, where we can pick up on things that we should have no way of knowing and freak our men out. There doesn't really need to be a special name for this, as it's just a form of telepathy, but the fact that women are consistently better at it suggests that maybe they should be looking on the X chromosome for at least SOME of the genes for psychic ability. I'd be interested to see if pregnancy hormones "switched on" or "turned up" some of these abilities in the same way they trigger lactation; a mother certainly needs the extra perception far more after she has produced a helpless infant.

It's becoming clear to me as I write these essays that the very fact that a significant portion of the description of each element of the overall "engine of karma" is based on explainable things is a big part of why people refuse to see or believe in karma; it's too easy to dismiss the parts that CAN'T be explained once most parts ARE explained, just as it's human nature to dismiss the "details" once we know the big picture (or THINK we do) in so many other areas of our lives. The biggest thing that keeps people from seeing the truth, though, is simple fear, fear that if all these unseen forces are at play we're like little kids moving through a world we don't understand, at risk on every side from things we know nothing about.

Sure, the unknown can be scary, but there's NOTHING to fear in the truth; things are what they are, whether we know about them or not, and knowing is ALWAYS better.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

"The Prodigal Effect" 

Have you ever seen people who had horrible things happen between them (usually caused by the gross mistreatment of one by the other), but who haven't seen each other in a while, run into each other unexpectedly and greet each other as if they were long-lost friends?

Have you ever known someone who behaved atrociously for ages who gave a (generally NOT heartfelt) apology and/or cleaned up their act a little, and suddenly got treated as if they'd orchestrated world peace instead of just stopped being such a lousy person?

Have you ever seen someone treat another person badly for a long time, and then as soon as they toss them a few kind words the "ex-victim" is falling all over them and treating them like a dear friend?

What's going on in each of these cases is what my husband calls "The Prodigal Effect," after the story of the "Prodigal Son"; I'm not an expert on Bible stories, but the basic concept here is that the son is a screwup, and as a result takes off for a long time... and when he returns, he's greeted by his father with JOY, and a party is thrown for him. The other son, who's a good and hardworking man, is understandably upset, because HE has never gotten a party as reward for all of his hard work and good behavior, and here the other son is being lionized for being a screwup and running away.

This story would be ridiculous if it didn't accurately describe one of the illogical, counter-intuitive but undeniable facets of human nature; people tend to not only forgive, but give special attention and approval to, those who have behaved badly but later on ask for forgiveness (even withOUT any signs of actual regret or any intention to make up for what they did) and/or start acting properly (or at least somewhat better) and/or just go away for a while and then return acting like they want to be part of the group again. The REALLY galling thing here is that, for this effect to kick in, the former wrong-doer must generally behave as is he thinks he did no wrong, which means that a GOOD person who does something bad and feels sincerely guilty and full of regret will tend to NOT get this effect working for them; they may be forgiven, and even have their wrongs eventually forgotten, but no parties will ever be thrown for them.

I CAN see how, in the days when humans lived in small tribes in a hostile, scary world, this behavior would serve to give a wrong-doing man incentive to return to the tribe and behave, so he would then help bring in food and protect them, rather than helping a different tribe who held no grudges against him, or maybe just dying alone in the wilds.... but.... BUT.... as a lifetime good-doer, I just have to say that this effect REALLY SUCKS. I'm sure that anyone who's ever seen someone who mistreated them, even if they were spurned at first, later be welcomed back into the group as if nothing ever happened, and even treated with special friendliness, will agree.

If you try to point out that this person has a track record of bad behavior and has given no actual reason to be treated as a friend again, you, who have never done any wrong (presumably) will suddenly be heaped with criticism and seen as a bad person for not being willing to give instant and undeserved forgiveness, while the wrong-doer will be held up as a saint being mistreated by evil YOU; it sounds outrageous, but it happens every time.

Naturally, the long-run effect of a prodigal being taken back into the fold is that they will take full advantage of the opportunity to abuse members of the group once again... and then everyone will react with shock, because the cold hard truth is that most people don't grasp the simple concept that a wrong-doer saying "sorry," or behaving a little better, or running off and then returning, does NOT mean that they've had a personality change or will act any different than before.

I'm not suggesting that you should NEVER give anyone a 2nd chance; if someone used to be a good friend, and they have something to bring to your life, AND you can keep in mind that, although they MAY have grown and matured into better people, you need to keep an eye on them until you're sure, go ahead and take them back (this does NOT apply to romantic relationships, though, which you should virtually NEVER give another chance to when there has been bad behavior).

And... wouldn't it be nice if, once in a while, we gave special attention to those who have NEVER done us wrong?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

No good deed goes unpunished? 

That just doesn't make SENSE, does it, that good deeds would be regularly PUNISHED? It doesn't seem to mesh with how karma works, either, but we can all list plenty of examples of this unfortunate phenomenon.

A major part of karma is balance, and, although giving and do-gooding are WONDERFUL things, karma is alot like a hot tub; if you pump out more water than you're putting in, you can end up with too little for comfort, or even none at all, and if you keep trying to run the pump when it's sucking the dry bottom, BOOM. Conversely, if you're putting water in faster than you're pumping it out, it will eventually overflow in an out-of-control manner, and that water is just lost. We can easily grasp that if you're a taker you'll end up losing some of what you've been taking eventually, not just material things but intangibles like peace of mind, and, most importantly, the people who gave to you, who end up giving up and walking away in disgust... but can giving without thought to getting back REALLY be bad for you?

It's simple to see how giving too much of your $ can harm you, since you need enough for your OWN life, and giving too much time up for the needs of others can obviously have a negative impact if you don't have enough to care for yourself; that's just common sense. If you give without getting back and this makes you feel hurt, unappreciated, unloved, unworthy, etc, it doesn't take Freud to see that you're going to suffer-that's Psych 101 material. If you're giving because you don't know how to bond with people, and you're essentially hoping to bribe them into liking you, you're also headed for a fall, because your giving isn't blinding anyone to reality, and only unpleasant people will be willing to hang around with you. Saddest of all, people tend to be resentful rather than grateful if you give too much to them when they don't have an equal amount to give to you, and resentful people don't give good treatment to the objects of their resentment. None of that is karma.

Have you ever noticed that you NEVER hear the wealthy and privileged complaining that the endless good deeds THEY do are being "punished," but that you ALWAYS hear them talking about the necessity of "giving back," even when they got their $ through hard work and so don't actually owe anyone anything, not even ethically speaking? They're a good example of karmic balance; they're taking alot in, and are giving alot out. If you think about it, most of the good things WE do that are appropriate and done with a good heart give us some sort of reward (even if it's just the warm glow of giving) rather than "punishment"... but what about the exceptions?

The good deed that gets punished is usually in the form of a favor, and usually for someone we know only a little or not at all; they don't often have an opportunity to give back to us, and, with no emotional investment, not much incentive to either. Karma DOES usually provide a reward for us, but, especially in the case of people who are too easy of a "touch" when asked for favors, and/or a little too willing to jump in and help because it's "just the right thing to do," if karma doesn't have a reward that can easily be sent along, such that "giving without getting" puts you out of balance, "drains your hot tub," leaving you with an "empty spot" that seems to scream for SOMETHING (karma, like nature, apparently abhors a vacuum), karma will drop a BAD thing into that space rather than let it be empty.

Doesn't that sound AWFUL, not to mention contrary to what every major religion says should happen? The thing to remember here is that karma is NOT an old man in a bathrobe dealing out rewards and punishments based on behavior, but a complicated "engine" that processes energy in ways that are consistent but not always "fair," in the same way that the person who eats a healthy diet, stays thin and exercises can still get heart trouble... ALL of the forces of nature have that built-in unfairness to them, and all we can do is accept it and make the best we can of the whole thing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

"Soul mates" 

The title is in quotes because the entire concept is utterly ridiculous. People shriek in horror when I say that, because it's so very important for them to believe that their relationships have some magic extra quality that will ensure their longevity and happiness... just as they believed the same thing for all the other relationships in their lives with people they ALSO called their soul mates. Why does it never occur to them that they don't get any benefits from declaring someone to be their soul mate, that people thus labeled are just as likely to break up with them? Why does the fact that they know countless people who also call every relationship partner a soul mate, even those who are only around for a few weeks, not affect their beliefs either?

Interestingly, this endless prattle about soul mates didn't exist back in the days when people married their childhood sweethearts right out of school and got busy with life; this is of course not a coincidence. The more common it becomes for people to have endless short-term relationships before marriage, and then have the marriage fail, the more people are desperate to find those magic words that will allow THEM to be one of those lucky enough to have what virtually EVERYONE had before the sexual revolution; a relationship that will last until death do them part. "Abra cadabra, hocus pocus, this is my soul mate."

Of course SOME couples who claim to be soul mates DO end up as life partners (statistically, it HAS to happen sometimes), but that doesn't mean that any special name should be attached to them; after all, the overwhelming majority of couples who stay together "forever" do NOT call themselves soul mates. People stay together because they are compatible and mature, with realistic expectations and a willingness to work and sacrifice... things that used to be common in the past, but are rare in these days of eternal childhood, instant gratification and me-me-me-ism.

Of course, there still COULD be such a thing as soul mates even if many people use the term in error, and it's not hard to imagine different "types" of souls, or rather types of that portion of the soul that relates to emotional makeup, and maybe we can perceive them unconsciously, analogous to the way we can smell whether or not a person is genetically compatible with us (it's a chemical released in sweat that we react to), and that thus some people ARE "programmed" to be better matches for us than others... BUT, for the human race to continue, there couldn't be too many types, or too many people wouldn't mate, so it's not like this could narrow the field of possible mates down to as low as even a million out of the 6.1 billion people in the world, much less narrow it down to ONE (who wouldn't be likely to ever be on the same continent as you, much less meet you).

If you've found someone who really does it for you, that's terrific; show yourself worthy of that precious gift by putting in the thought and effort to keep things going, rather than convincing yourself that you're all set because that person is your "soul mate."

Monday, January 19, 2004

The power of prayer aka focused thought 

Studies have shown that brainwaves change in a consistent way when we pray, and that they change in the SAME way when we practice things like meditation and the sending of white light; although we may SEE these mental exercises as being unrelated, they're actually just different names for the same mental process-focusing our thoughts on a desired goal.

Studies have also shown that sick people who are prayed for are more likely to get well, even when they don't KNOW that they're being prayed for, and that bacteria cultures grow faster if they're prayed for. While one might be able to make a case that God (or Allah, Buddha, whatever) is more likely to heal a sick person when people pray them (icky thought-a deity that answers prayers based on some sort of tally), it's just not realistic to believe that God is accelerating the growth of BACTERIA because people prayed for it, especially when so many important prayers go unanswered... what's happening here is that the energy of focused thought is creating results.

Reversing illness in a complicated organism would naturally be harder than just increasing the growth of healthy single-celled organisms, so it would make sense that the prayed-for bacteria ALL grow faster, while the prayed-for sick folks are only more likely to get better, NOT guaranteed to. I'd be willing to bet that if they tested the size of the groups that prayed, they'd find that a bigger prayer group brings about a bigger result, although the extra benefit might die out eventually, in the same way that only so many people can be trying to push a stuck car before any additional people aren't going to be able to get in there and apply force.

When people are practicing magic, such as voodoo or Wicca, or placing curses, they DO often get results that are well beyond what chance would provide; this is because the various spells and rituals and such are just other forms of focused thought, and these sorts of people tend to practice their techniques, which gives them more "power."

Part of how karma leads to people getting retribution for their evil acts is the thoughts of their victims, and outraged onlookers, wishing them ill. Underdogs and others who achieve beyond what they should rationally be able to always talk about feeling, even feeding off of or feeling strengthened by, the good thoughts and caring of those who wish them well, and that's more than a figure of speech. Focused and intensely-felt thoughts, whether positive or negative, DO have power... and that's a good thing to keep in mind if you wish someone particularly well or ill, or if you're the one who needs good thoughts or might be incurring bad thoughts.

The energy of thought is part of the engine of karma; the various ways to focus your thoughts, including visualization, affirmations, and "positive thinking," allow you a way to have more control over karma as it impacts your life... just be careful what you wish for, because, as so many stories in different cultures warn, you might get it, and discover that you didn't really want it, or that the price of getting it was too high.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

When life gets surreal 

Yesterday I had one of those times when the normal flow of life becomes derailed, and suddenly I felt like I was in a waking dream. There was an item that I'd searched for in vain for most of a decade without success, and I headed to the 10 billionth store where it might in theory be located without any particular hope. We found a parking spot right out front, and as we pulled into it we saw that there was a huge red sign out front advertising their best sale of the year; it had an inexplicably eerie feeling to it, sort of like deja vu (except this was NOT a specific event that I'd experienced before), and sort of like how you can feel thunder in the air right before the storm hits. I walked through the door, looked to the left... and there it was. I made a beeline for it, sure that it would have to have flaws that would spoil the find, but its design turned out to be perfect. My husband, whose taste in everything normally opposes mine, loved it too, and, although we went through the rest of the store to theoretically check to see if there were any superior versions, we both knew that we'd found what we'd wanted for so long, and for a great price in the bargain. The entire rest of the evening, we kept referring to the whole thing with disbelief, because after all the endless effort we'd found what we wanted the moment we set foot in the store, and on sale... it just didn't seem possible.

There doesn't appear to be a name for this sort of event, although it's not that uncommon; some goal is insanely, irrationally difficult, and then suddenly it's dumped effortlessly and unexpectedly in your lap, often in a better form than ever anticipated, you can FEEL it happening before the pivotal moment comes, and that feeling of karma unloading can last for hours after the event. It's as if, sometimes, karma doesn't "pay you back" for your efforts towards a reasonable goal in a timely manner, and, when this mistake gets big enough, something bursts like an overfilled balloon and suddenly you have resolution... is it any wonder you can FEEL it coming, and feel the energy long after?

Saturday, January 17, 2004

The Curse of Feminism 

How can I refer to feminism as a curse, when it's achieved some inarguably valuable goals? The same way that I'd call the unions a curse, even though THEY originally achieved some inarguably valuable goals (although now they're mostly a way to chisel $ out of uneducated workers and use it for political clout).

It's been a LONG time since women haven't had equal access to education, jobs and legal rights, and in fact women are now often favored OVER men in these areas, so it's time for the feminist leaders to take a bow, accept gratitude for the good things they did, and the blame for the harm they've caused, and get lost.

But, aren't women still earning less than men? Sure, but not because of prejudice, but because, on the average, they bring less to the companies they work for. This is NOT due to anything innately wrong with women or superior about men, but because of the stupid choices so many women are still making: Women congregate in low-paying jobs like data entry and teaching, with no new skills being learned and no hope of advancement, while men choose jobs with upward mobility. Women are statistically FAR less likely to take jobs that will require them to travel, move, or work long or erratic hours, although those jobs pay better and lead to executive positions; men head directly for the jobs that fast-track them to the $. Women are now getting more college degrees than men are, but women are still wasting time with majors like art history that do NOT train for any actual job, while the science, computer and engineering majors, whose graduates will be aggressively recruited for big-$ jobs, are packed with men. Even when women DO enter a professional field, they go for the lowest-paid, lowest-prestige specialties; for example, in the field of psychology, that "lowest level" is child psychology, and it's nearly all women who specialize in that. Female doctors, lawyers, educators, etc all gravitate towards the bottom of the barrel as well, while men seek out and pursue the HIGHEST levels. And, it's women who take big chunks of time, often YEARS, off to have and raise kids, and, although that's best for the kids and admirable overall, if a MAN took all that time off, for ANY reason, he'd EXPECT to lag behind in $ and promotions, and rightfully so. Since companies pay people what they're actually worth, based on background and experience, what all that adds up to is that women ON THE AVERAGE are less valuable employees, and it's perfectly fair for those that are less valuable to be PAID less, just as it's fair for women in low-end jobs to be paid less than men in high-end jobs. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that if you adjust the earnings #'s for these and other factors so that you're comparing women and men with identical backgrounds doing identical jobs, you discover that women ARE being paid equally for doing the same jobs, and fairly overall for the jobs they choose... and the feminist claims otherwise are outright LIES.

If feminists were just yelling for equality in pay, instead of telling women to EARN it by doing what men do to get better-paying jobs, it wouldn't be so bad, but the REAL curse for the average woman has been the feminist idea of "get all your education, and get established in your career, before you get a man and children." Oh, it SOUNDS great on the surface, but the reality is that the older a woman gets, the fewer men are still single in her age group (and many of those men are looking for a younger woman in any case), and the less attractive she is for that 8-second analysis men do to decide who they'll bother to get to know better, AND the less desirable she has become overall just by virtue of her education and success (men in general are repelled by these things, NOT attracted by them, sad to say)... in other words, if a woman has used up her most physically attractive years achieving goals that men are put off by, she'll find it harder than she ever imagined to find a man.

When a woman can't get a man easily anymore, or at ALL for a while, she becomes desperate, and that desperation sends men running for the horizon, leaving the woman with increased desperation and no way to get a man to save her life.

If the woman is lucky and meets a man who IS attracted to her (often through work or friends), she has to fight past the fact that if a man reaches a certain age and is still single, he either is VERY unwilling to give up his endless childhood ("bachelorhood") and settle down, or else he DID settle down once and it ended badly, and so now he's burned and resistant... and the fact that feminism has ALSO told women to go ahead and give a man sex without commitment, and live with him and be his mommy/housekeeper without making him take wedding vows, means that he can get whatever he wants from a woman without binding himself to her in a way that allows her to feel like she's setting up a home and preparing a place for children.

The feminist focus on career as the priority for women ignores the fact that women are biologically programmed to make a "nest" and produce offspring, just like all the other female animals are; instead of providing women with a better life, all a career gives many women is a wake-up call from their biological clocks, or just plain loneliness, and then the miserable experience of having to scramble to try to get those things that are still basic to human happiness, male or female... home and family.

Yes, men DO want these things too, but THEY don't have any time pressure; they're generally NOT seen as less attractive as they age, AND they stay fertile pretty much forever, whereas women's fertility begins to decline at 22, is radically reduced by 30, makes pregnancy both difficult to achieve and risky by 35, and is usually gone by 40... 40, the age at which men are generally entering their prime and looking for young women to be arm candy and breeders of their children. Men in their 20's and 30's are in no hurry, and they know it; women past 30 are running out of time to have even ONE child safely, and THEY know it... it's too bad that the feminists DON'T know it, or won't admit it, and thus have doomed countless women who've followed their teachings to missing out on having the families that they wanted all along.

The REALLY cruel thing is that the overwhelming majority of women who work have discovered what men always knew; that most jobs are just that, JOBS, endless grinding work, NOT exciting careers. They gave up looking for men at the time when they had the most choices, and having kids when they were most fertile, to fritter their lives away with the unenjoyable tasks that make up most jobs... somehow, that just doesn't seem like an improvement to me.

Listen up, ladies: If you're really, REALLY sure that what you want is to live your life alone and focus on a career, more power to you. If you're really, REALLY sure that you never want kids even if you DO find a partner (which is what MY choice has been), do whatever floats your boat. If, however, you have the normal human drives and want kids at some point, take a look at your plans and ask yourself if you can actually wait for all your other goals to be met before looking for a man and procreating; don't end up just another victim of feminism, trying to get love and nurturing from your diplomas and cubicle furnishings instead of from a man and/or children. You have your entire life to continue your education and develop a career, but only a limited time frame to have a family; don't wake up one day and realize that your 20's are over and that if you don't magically find the man you can live with forever in the next few years, get him to marry you fast, and hopefully retain enough fertility to get pregnant fast, you're just out of luck... I've seen it happen to too many women already. Yes, it bites that we have that ticking biological clock and men don't, but ignoring it won't change it; give feminism the finger and make sure you get what YOU want out of life.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Luck... or is it fate? 

People don't normally see luck and fate as being the same thing, or as part of the same thing, but MY view is that they are both words to describe the workings of karma. "Luck" refers to events happening to you in a way that exceeds what your efforts and random chance can explain; that's just another way of saying "karma," although not everyone's karma will give them unusually good or bad luck, of course. "Fate" refers to the events in our lives having a predetermined course, shaped by some force... and karma is the force. The intricate tapestry of karma determines what sort of highway your life travels along (you DO get to pick your lane, your speed, and maybe the occasional offramp, though), and that highway is both your fate and the determiner of how your luck runs... which are essentially the same thing, in the long view.

Don't believe in luck as an actual force that can work for or against you? Granted, most of what we call luck just refers to isolated events happening in a very good, or very bad, way, due not to mystical forces but to the normal run of events; "You got a DVD player for you birthday? Wow, you're so LUCKY!!" "Gosh, your new DVD player broke already? Bad luck, man!!" Everyone has a birthday every year, and big gifts are fairly common these days, as is the lousy quality of most new electronic devices-there's nothing notable about those events. BUT, if DVD Guy takes the player to the repair shop, and a beautiful woman is there with the same DVD player with the same problem, and they recognize that, laugh, and head off to Starbucks to share lattes and life stories, we'd say that he was REALLY lucky, and this would be luck in the deepest sense... and, we'd say that the meeting was "fate"... and Jungians would say "synchronicity"... and *I* see karma at work, which includes all those concepts.

What about the idea that some people are particularly lucky or unlucky, not just on a given day but throughout their lives, either in certain areas or overall? For this to be true, there must be fate of some sort, guiding events so that they follow a consistent path that isn't altered by effort and is "immune" to the laws of chance; the proof of this is that there ARE people who have jaw-droppingly good, or bad, luck ALL THE TIME. As an example, I personally have a degree of bad luck with games, related to which cards I get, the roll of the dice, etc, that is simply beyond belief:

I've played thousands of games of poker, but I've NEVER gotten more than one pair. NEVER. This is statistically impossible, as I should have DRAWN better hands than that even if I didn't know how to play, but it's the simple truth; this was so mind-boggling to the group I used to play with that they kept assigning someone to look over my shoulder to correct the wrong choices they figured I MUST be making to get this appalling result, but it was never a matter of wrong choices... I simply never got the cards, and witnesses verified that. The exact same thing happened to me playing Scrabble with my family; I'd consistently draw batches of tiles that were all 1-pointers, leaving me each turn with the choice of drawing a new batch for zero points, or making "at" or "on" for 2 points; I've gone entire games, SERIES of games, with that being all I could ever do, and yes, I got stuck with people looking over my shoulder to verify that I WAS doing all I could do, not lying about it and dumping good tiles. Same thing with computer Scrabble; I've sat there drawing 50 and more starting batches of tiles in a row without getting ONE that was playable, while anyone ELSE using the game got normal draws. In college, there was a game in the campus arcade that accidentally got set to allow unlimited free play, and I played thousands of games of blackjack on it... and, when I hit on 12, I busted 100% of the time. No one could believe it; many others played that game, and NO ONE else EVER busted by hitting on 12. People used to stand there watching me with their jaws hanging open, wondering how it could be... especially since I was well-known to be the world record holder on a game that was just 8 feet away (a normal game with pre-defined levels that you mastered through skill, NOT a casino game).

Clearly, there IS a force at work, one that affects inanimate objects of certain types and that "knows" which choices/results are good and which are bad for ANY game; karma might be getting the knowledge about the values of the choices from my own head, which could I suppose be tested if someone involved me in a game where I didn't know the rules and couldn't guess at them... in any case, it's clearly karma at work here. WHY has karma done this to me my entire life? My best theory is that this is the thing that made it clear to me early on that there WAS a force at work beyond my efforts and random chance, and that this was how karma chose to teach me this crucial lesson.

Insanely GOOD luck exists, too, and most of us know someone who has it. To return to the college arcade again; pinball games "match" 1 time out of 10 if they're fair, somewhat less in reality... but one guy I knew matched about 90% of the time, with total consistency over thousands of games. People would pay attention when he finished a game, just WAITING to see him match. He had the same sort of luck in every sort of game; much as we all liked him, people didn't really want to play against him, because everyone knew that he'd win, and always through blind luck, not from skill. He cruised through ALL areas of his life on luck; it never failed him, and he was a totally laid-back guy as a result, because he KNEW things would always fall his way without him having to make an effort.

At some point, does your deep-down belief that your luck will be a certain way affect how things work out? Of course... but, the years of events that MADE you believe a certain way were part of your fate.

What IS fate? Why are some of us obviously predetermined in unusually good or bad paths? Some would say it was a function of reincarnation, and many believers of karma think just that; for me, the jury is out on reincarnation, but it COULD happen, and if you were carrying over rewards or punishments from past lives it would certainly explain some things. My current best guess is that your fate is an aspect of your soul, in the way that your hair is an aspect of your body, and predetermined by some spiritual equivalent of DNA. Luck DOES often seem to run in families, as, say, obesity does, and, although if you work hard enough you CAN overcome genetic obesity, or "genetic fate," it's HARD, and most people fail.

Your soul is energy, either the same kind as karma, or on the same "spectrum" (analogous to the electromagnetic spectrum), or of a kind that can affect the energy of karma. Each soul is different just as each person is different, and each soul would have different attributes just as each body does; some people are born with eyes that will see better than 20/20 (or far WORSE than 20/20) and some people are born with a soul, fate, luck, karma, that will allow them to always get the right cards at poker (or doom them to the WRONG cards).

For us to be able to see into the future, there MUST be some amount of predestination, which is another name for fate. Maybe fate just extends a few days or weeks, maybe the broad structure extends beyond that, maybe the big events are already in place, waiting to see if your road leads to them; there's no way to know. What we DO know is that the paths of our lives can be very different than what logic would dictate or science explain, and these more extreme cases demonstrate what is true for all; luck/fate DOES exist, and, like most aspects of karma, CAN be manipulated if you're paying attention.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

A few comments on religion 

Although I know some VERY religious folks who see and believe in the workings of karma (generally seeing them as evidence of God's plans), most of us with a deep belief in karma are NOT religious, which is what you might expect; to allay any confusion on that point, the following post summarizes my views on religion. If there's ANY possibility that you might be offended by a post of this nature, please DON'T read it, rather than reading it and then being upset and offended.

I don't subscribe to any organized belief; I believe in what I've seen and experienced, and in what seems to me to logically have to be true based on those things and my knowledge of science. I believe that there are things in the universe beyond our knowledge and even our comprehension, because it just doesn't seem possible for there to NOT be in the vastness of space, but I don't see those things as making it necessary for me to "get religion."

What's my position on the existence of God, or Allah, or Buddha, separate from religious doctrines surrounding them? I don't think it's likely that they exist, but I can't PROVE that, so I can't say for CERTAIN that they don't, or I'd be guilty of the same lack of intellectual rigor as those who believe without proof. My line of reasoning is; if they're all-knowing, they know that I exist and am a non-believer, and, since they make no effort to convince me of their existence, either they don't care about me, in which case I see no need to care about THEM, or they do not in fact exist. Anyone, whether person or deity, that expects my belief in them without giving me proof that they exist (AND are worthy) is doomed to disappointment.

Christians point to Jesus as "proof" of the existence of God. How do they know JESUS exists? It's in the Bible, of course. Sorry, but the Bible is just a book, and a book is just paper, NOT a pipeline to the truth; yeah, I know, it's supposed to be a result of divine inspiration, but nothing that's divinely inspired could have as many errors and contradictions as the Bible contains, so that doesn't wash with me. Still, I can't prove that Jesus does NOT exist; the best I can do is use logic:

WAS there someone named Jesus born about 2000 years ago? Could be. There are no records to verify it, certainly, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything, since it was so long ago. It's entirely possible that there WAS a man named Jesus who caused a stir 2 millennia ago; we'll never know for sure without a time machine.

If there WAS such a man, was he the son of God? Let's assume for a moment that there IS a God; He/She/It/They (as badly as the world runs, it makes you think that God must be a committee) would, I think, exist in a form that we've never even dreamed of, so how could we know what He would want to do-what's our frame of reference? Even if He WERE similar to humans in some ways, He should be too advanced to want to create a son to mingle with humans; it would be like US wanting to have children that would hang out with amoebas. Still, let's say for the sake of argument that He MIGHT amuse Himself by putting in the womb of a woman a child who'll grow into a man that'll dazzle some uneducated, superstitious dolts, suffer greatly and die a hideous death at a young age..... hmmmm, doesn't sound like what you'd call a sensitive deity, does He, to set such a thing in motion? He sounds like the omnipotent equivalent of the little boy who pulls the wings off of flies; things like that make me HOPE that He's not out there, gearing up for his next round of torturing innocents.

Even if it HAD been God's intention to have a son on Earth, how do we know that Jesus was this son? (Was the Savior born among straw and horse poop? What kind of sick sense of humor would God have to have to allow THAT?!!) The Jews, who believed in God for 4000 years before there WERE any Christians, do NOT believe that Jesus was the son of God, and they were the smartest, most educated and most worldly people around at that time, so why should *I* believe?

Lots of people throughout history have SAID that they have "divine connections," and not a one of them has ever proven it (nowadays, we automatically assume they're crazy); why should we believe the claims Jesus made to being the son of God any more than we believe any of the other wild claims people have made? If Jesus really HAD performed miracles, no one would have doubted who he was, and they wouldn't have ever dared to kill him. He may have had charisma, some sleight of hand, followers who were good actors, and other such things that could have fooled a few ignorant, insular peasants into believing that he was something holy; if he wants ME to believe, he can present himself and produce something that looks miraculous to ME. So far, there's no sign of him.

A few comments on Christianity as a whole: The writers of the Bible played fast and loose with many facts; consider the claim that Mary, a married woman, was a virgin, and so NOT having sex with her husband. Nubile young woman, man with sexual rights to her, and no sex? Yeah, that could happen, lol. Furthermore, the architects of Christianity stole alot of things from the Jews and even heathens and slapped a new coat of paint on them to make THEIR religion; to ME, this is NOT proof that they possessed THE TRUTH. For example, it says in the Bible that the shepherds were grazing their flocks by night when Jesus was born; the shepherds in that part of the world have in fact done just that for millennia, and do it still to this day..... in AUGUST, when it's hot, NOT in December, EVER. They made the birth officially in December because both Jewish and pagan holidays were at that time.

Another example? The familiar image of "Madonna and Child" didn't exist until they went to convert people in Egypt, for whom the image of 2 of their deities, Isis and Horus, portrayed as a mother and baby, had special meaning; the Christians took images of Isis and Horus, doctored them a little, and then said it was Mary and Jesus.... and the Egyptians converted, because it looked like what they were used to. (Oh, and, incidentally, Osiris, the father of Horus, is a much earlier example of the idea of a "god who died and was resurrected" than Jesus is... coincidence?)

Would the "one true religion" need to resort to such tactics? Not in MY mind.

None of the above means that I don't fully support everyone's right to have whatever beliefs they choose; on the contrary, I'd fight to my last breath for every American's rights in the spiritual arena. I know that religion is a powerful force in history and in today's world, and I have no doubts about the benefits that many people get from their faith. I find all sorts of spiritual beliefs, and their relationships to the cultures they arose from, to be very interesting, and I enjoy discussing this topic with people who honestly want to analyze it objectively.... I just don't believe in any deities, or that any one religious belief is "the truth." I think that there are truths in EVERY religion, but the real, whole truth is still well beyond our ability to see or comprehend.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

ESP aka Telepathy aka Psychic Powers 

People have been trying to prove or disprove this one for years; what they usually get, at best, are claims that certain people might be guessing cards correctly more often than chance would allow... and then they argue that if more tests were performed, the numbers would drop down to the level predicted by chance. They may well be right; after all, why would Mother Nature have evolved within us the ability to see images on CARDS? What's the use of THAT in survival?

Every organ, every ability, we have has survival value for us, just as is the case with every other creature. Yes, mutations happen all the time, but only those that are favorable remain as generations pass, and ESP has been seen since the dawn of civilization, at LEAST, so any way you look at it, it has survival value... and THAT is how they should be approaching studies of it, NOT with tests that have nothing to do with how ESP actually works.

For example; they have discovered that if a mother looks at her sleeping baby, and, without moving or making a sound, thinks "Wake up!!" at it, it will almost always quickly wake up, but a stranger attempting the same thing will NOT have the same effect; doesn't that look like a useful survival ability? A mother can detect the scent of her baby, with 100% accuracy, from the scents of other babies, too, so we KNOW that Mother Nature wants a mother to have special perception about her infant, and it makes perfect sense, given how helpless human babies are for how long. Why don't they wire the mothers and babies up and see what's going on in their brains when they perform this seeming miracle? Beyond that, they need to find a way to perceive what the energy is that flows between them when this is going on, even if they have to use trial and error with 10 million things before they find one that reacts to this unseen force; can you imagine what a day it will be when they find a way to detect even ONE kind of telepathic force in action?

Another thing they've discovered they can do with perfect reproducibility is to have 2 people in proximity to each other who can't see or hear each other, and cause the heart rate of one to spike; at that exact instant, the brain waves of the other person will spike... and they have no idea why (but the survival value in knowing instantly when a nearby person is suddenly startled or frightened is obvious). This is extra-sensory perception in the broadest sense; a perception that is beyond the regular senses... and out of the control of either person, keep in mind. MOST ESP is out of our control, which makes it VERY hard to test it; if they can learn to detect the energy, though, perhaps we can have something like biofeedback training that will allow us to control ESP the way we can learn to control aspects of our body that are usually not controllable.

I've experienced ESP countless times throughout my life; my friends and family are used to me knowing things that I have no actual way of knowing. I've predicted events, predicted what total strangers would do, or what they would say word for word, and done so to witnesses IN ADVANCE, who later saw events unfold exactly as predicted; I've even been able to predict the exact times that things would happen, such that the objects of the prediction were freaked out and demanded to know if I was spying on them somehow. Well, yeah, in a way...

I've also been able to do weird things like put a puzzle together without looking at the puzzle or the pieces... but I can only do it "by accident," when I'm doing the puzzle with another person and get distracted enough talking to them that I don't even REALIZE that I've started rapidly putting the pieces together (FAR faster than I could do it when I'm TRYING to do the puzzle) without looking until THEY notice and speak up. Back in my youth, when I was obsessed with MTV and certain bands, I used to know when whatever my favorite video was at the time started playing; I'd jump up, change the channel, and it would just be starting-I was NEVER wrong. I even used to wake up from a dead sleep knowing that the video was coming on, run downstairs, put the TV on, and it would just be starting. Before the days of MTV, I did the same sort of thing with the radio and whatever my favorite song was at that time, and, again, I was NEVER wrong.

None of those things have ever been under my conscious control; I AM able to consciously do a certain degree of animal communication, though, and I don't mean like that twit on TV who allegedly does it, either... I have certain abilities with animals, including the ability to "see through their eyes" under certain circumstances, which I have done with such accuracy, and with seeing such astonishing things that I couldn't even have guessed about, that those who have asked for my help in this area absolutely swear by me. I've even been able to teach others how to do some of it; I think that nearly anyone can learn, because it's probably an extension of the ability mothers and babies show, but that's just my best guess. If you have a pet, give it a try; look right at them and "think to them" a very specific thing that you want them to do (something that they're already doing in their lives, not some new trick) ; if you're like many, within about 30 seconds you'll see the pet doing what you "asked."

Have you ever had a sudden certainty that a loved one was hurt, or even dead, and then later found out that you were right, and had the timing right too? It's easy to see the survival value in that sort of thing; Jung lumped it under his concept of synchronicity, though, and, while it might in fact be that, it makes more sense in my mind for us to be able to know these specific kinds of things as part of our innate abilities.

Telekinesis seems to only exist in movies, at least when we specifically mean by it the ability of a PERSON to move or act upon objects; I've seen SPIRITS use it, though, so I know that there IS a force that can act upon physical objects, although that force may not be able to act on objects beyond a certain size or weight (I say that because I've only seen them affect small things, and it seems as if they would do bigger things if they could-they were once human, after all)... we might as well refer to that as telekinesis, a we have no other term for it, but really there SHOULD be a different term, even if it's using the same form of energy as we use for ESP.

Actual mindreading, the detection of the exact thoughts of another person, which is the first form of ESP that many would think of, seems to also not exist outside of fiction. My feeling about this is that "reading" those super-specific, tiny details requires a great deal of focus and control, beyond what our natural abilities are; there would be no point in our having evolved the ability to detect specific thoughts at a time when we were too primitive to HAVE those sorts of thoughts, and being able to perceive broad emotional cues, such as danger, pain and death, are what would really benefit us, not to mention being FAR easier to "read." I've seen accounts of people being able to pick up IMAGES from the minds of others under fairly well controlled circumstances, but none that I recall of one person being able to tap into the flow of WORDS in the mind of another; that's probably just as well, not only from a privacy standpoint but because having to hear all the disjointed nonsense that flows through the minds of others would drive us CRAZY.

I see ESP as being part of the overarching workings of karma; everything, every action, thought, or feeling, creates energy that can only change form, not be destroyed, and these energies work together with other forces to create the present, the future, and even, according to quantum physics, sometimes the past as well. Through psychic powers we can tap into some of these energies; if we look at affirmations as a form of ESP (they might NOT be in the strictest meaning of the word, since after all we're not PERCEIVING anything), we can even CONTROL the energies to a certain extent. This direct perception and (maybe) control is only a tiny part of the workings of karma that we can see, predict, and even influence, though, so, although it fascinates me on a certain level, I don't actually devote much time to contemplating it; what I'm really I'm trying to see, and use, is the karmic "big picture," and it is THIS that has changed my life.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Food, glorious food 

The most dysfunctional relationship most Americans have in their lives is with food. Hardly a week goes by without our hearing about a food, or type of food, that we shouldn't eat, or one (usually not very tasty) that we need to eat more of, or a nutrient that we're deficient in, or how food is giving us trouble with our blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc, or, our favorite, how we can lose the weight we gained from ignoring all the advice and sucking down too many calories of "unhealthy" food.

The most important thing for the baffled eater to remember is this: they have been dead WRONG about food issues countless times in the past, so you shouldn't take what they're claiming NOW too seriously. Some examples:

About 20 years ago, they were talking about sugar as if it were barely one step removed from being cyanide; today, we know that it's a harmless substance, with no more calories than any other carb, no fewer nutrients (NO carb has built-in nutrients), is no more able to rot your teeth than any other carb (and in fact it's the "sticky" carbs found in wholesome foods like cereals and dried fruit that pose the highest risk to your teeth)... and, heck, it's TASTY!! We now know that there's no reason whatsoever to restrict or eliminate your sugar intake, except as part of an overall calorie reduction if you need to lose weight (or if you're a diabetic with uncontrolled blood sugar levels).

Salt has been demonized for a long time, primarily in reference to its alleged effects on blood pressure, despite the fact that, a decade or so ago, the Journal of the American Medical Association did a review of over 50 studies about the link between salt and blood pressure, and concluded... that there ISN'T one!! They found that if you don't already have high blood pressure, or even if you DO but are under 40, you can virtually BURY yourself in salt and it does you no harm whatsoever. They DID find that in people over 40 with high blood pressure, major salt intake made a slight, SLIGHT, difference, but that's it. The screaming about cutting back salt died down for a little while at that point, but revved back up and continues to this day, as if those studies and the JAMA review never took place; the medical profession just isn't ready to let go of this one. (If you find that you tend to get bloated, though, then DO cut back on salt-it IS responsible for that.)

Another one they aren't ready to let go of is the claim that a high intake of saturated fat (which leads to elevated cholesterol levels) causes heart disease; this one is so deeply ingrained that, unless you read science magazines, you've probably never even heard that there was any controversy on this issue (and the fact that the major drug companies make alot of $ from drugs used to treat these problems is a part of it too, sadly). The cold hard truth is that many studies show that there is absolutely NO connection between arteriosclerosis ("hardening of the arteries") and blood cholesterol level; what DOES seem to be the culprit is increased levels of homocysteine in the blood, said increase being linked to an increased consumption of processed foods that are low in the various B vitamins that the body uses to hold homocysteine in check. Yes, processed foods also tend to be high in saturated fats, but neither the fats nor the cholesterol the body produces from them are to blame; instead of cutting down on saturated fats, which can leave you eating less tasty foods, increase your consumption of B vitamins (pills work very well for this).

Cholesterol in food got an undeserved bad rap, causing people to stop eating one of the most nutritious foods there is, eggs, and to shy away from the best source of calcium, cheese; aside from the fact that a high cholesterol level doesn't seem to actually harm you, your body PRODUCES cholesterol from the fat in the foods you eat, so whether the food contains cholesterol or not is basically irrelevant.

Fat has also gotten a far worse rap than it deserves; granted, because each gram of fat has 9 calories, as opposed to only 4 per gram of carbs or protein, fat in food makes it much easier for YOU to become fat, and being fat is about the biggest health risk there is (smoking is still a little bit ahead... and many women who smoke do so to avoid being fat, sigh), but that does NOT mean that fat is BAD, or that you can or should just eliminate it from your diet. Fat is necessary for all sorts of bodily functions (such as keeping your hair and skin soft), it tells your body when you've had enough to eat and makes you feel full, it helps keep your insulin levels from shooting up (which is what leads people in high-carb, low-fat diets to keep feeling hungry), and, most important of all, there are a slew of nutrients that your body can't absorb without fat, with the scariest one being calcium... scary because one of the first things we do to avoid fat is switch to fat-free dairy, thus making it impossible to absorb the calcium that many of us eat dairy specifically to get (besides, fat-free dairy products taste AWFUL, while the natural ones are delicious). Eating the various greens that have (FAR lower levels of) calcium with fat-free dressing also prevents you from absorbing the tiny % of vegetable calcium that the body can access (vegans take note-the calcium AND iron found in vegetable foods are in forms that are almost unabsorbable by the body).

You CAN absorb the calcium (and iron) found in nuts, but nuts have also been a no-no for ages, due to their high fat content; happily, they've finally figured out that they contain the "good fat," NOT the "bad fat," and now are saying that since nuts are so nutrient dense we SHOULD eat them, just be aware of the calories.

The latest thing is the insane insistence that CARBS should be avoided, as part of the endless weight-loss attempts that most Americans are bogged down with; carbs are the main component of the VITAL fruit, vegetable and grain/cereal groups, and any diet that tries to prevent you from eating these things, the very things that have been the basis for the human diet from the dawn of time, is CRAZY. All the medicos are BEGGING Americans to eat a mountain of these things each day, and little or none is supposed to somehow be a healthy goal?

The most jaw-dropping turnaround is about chocolate, which all have agreed is a "bad food" from the beginning... except now they've discovered that people who eat a certain # of ounces of chocolate a month live LONGER lives, HEALTHIER lives, than similar people who eat NO chocolate. They have NO idea why (they're making wild guesses about unknown antioxidants and so forth, lol); I think maybe it's just that we're living in something like the classic Woody Allen movie "Sleeper" (where everything that was previously thought to be harmful has turned out to be beneficial). ;-)

The most satisfying reversal has been about oat bran; they started out touting it as a miracle food, and suddenly it was EVERYWHERE... but it's so dry and nasty that they had to load the food items down with fat and sugar to make them edible, and thus they weren't really a part of a healthier eating plan. Even those who WERE gagging the stuff down in plainer versions found out that they were wasting their time and calories on something that was eventually shown to NOT have any special properties (other than the usual benefits of ALL fiber in food).

So, how do you know what to eat? Start out with the essential macronutrients: water, carbs, protein and fat... your body needs all of these things to function, build muscle, and give you energy. We should all try to drink more water, as we tend to be dehydrated, which makes us tired. Natural carb foods contain the fiber that's our best defense against colorectal cancers, and are full of essential vitamins and minerals; processed carb foods, like candy, do no actual harm, but you need to keep calories and your weight in mind, and so not overindulge. Protein is what all your flesh is built out of, and protein foods are your best sources of certain nutrients; specifically, ANIMAL foods are by far your best sources of calcium and iron, and the ONLY source of vitamin B12 (you know the jokes about vegetarians being weak? it's because B12 deficiency causes a sort of anemia). You need to watch how much fat you eat, because it'll go to your hips faster than anything else, but have enough to absorb nutrients, give you endurance, and get pleasure from the foods you eat. Eat enough variety of wholesome foods to make sure you're getting all your vitamins and minerals, because even slight deficiencies can bite you hard... and DO have some tasty foods too, because if you're not enjoying your food you're going to end up giving up the attempt to eat healthy, and life is just too damned short to make food a source of stress and unpleasantness instead of a source of well-being and enjoyment.

Monday, January 12, 2004


I don't know where this concept originated; *I* read about it in a book by Dilbert creator Scott Adams. No, I don't normally look to comic strip artists for guidance, but ANY intelligent person can provide you with insight, and he caught my interest by talking about one of the scientific experiments (specifically, "the double slit experiment") that has a different outcome based on whether you're watching what happens or not; he used the impossible-seeming result as an example of how the universe does NOT work the way we think it does. He makes the point that, like the folks in olden days who were certain that the sun revolved around the Earth because they SAW the sun moving across the sky, WE are certain about things being a particular way based on scientific analysis of what WE see or otherwise perceive... but, because things happen that we can NOT directly perceive or measure, and some things that we CAN perceive violate even basic "laws" like cause and effect, we need to accept that we STILL don't have anywhere near the full truth. He also made reference to one of the quantum physics experiments that seems to defy reality (take particles or atoms that started out together, separate them, change the spin on one and it changes the spin on the other), to how gravity isn't really what we think it is, and to ESP; no, he never makes the leap to seeing that these things and others like synchronicity (which he does NOT mention) are all part of the same thing, but he's made a VERY good start, so I paid close attention to the other things he said.

He has several pages in his book describing how using the process of "affirmations" benefited him (with events that he had no way to influence or create directly), and explained how to do it; just select a very specific goal that you can visualize, phrase it in clear terms, and write it down 15 times a day, with each iteration starting with "I, John Doe, will get/do/accomplish..." He believes that affirmations work because your thoughts can influence what happens, just by the process of thinking them in this focused manner; this dovetails with my "repeated emissions of energy" idea for how part of karma works, although I look at energy in general and not thoughts per se (emotions count too, in MY worldview).

A few weeks ago, I started using the affirmations process to attempt to remove a particularly unpleasant person from my social sphere; a few days ago, I lost my impetus to continue, so I let it lapse, since Adams thinks that it doesn't matter if you skip a little time, and *I* thought it might not work as well if you're not feeling the real desire to pursue the goal. Perhaps to compensate for my lapse, I was planning on writing about affirmations today... but, before I could, I discovered that, due to events outside of MY knowledge and control, the unpleasant person is going to be out of my social sphere indefinitely.

Is it a coincidence that I found out that my affirmations worked literally MINUTES before the time I'd set aside to write an essay on affirmations?

Is it a coincidence that I suddenly lost the desire to do the affirmations when (as it turns out) the events leading to my hoped-for result went into motion?

Is it a coincidence that I've had a major increase in "coincidences" since I started writing these essays about how "the unknown" might work?

As I said in an earlier post; when you focus on something, you're creating "slots" into which related events can fall. Try it and see.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

What comes around goes around 

That familiar phrase, which is used interchangeably with "What goes around comes around" (everyone has a different argument as to which one came first and why, lol), is the most basic definition of the traditional meaning of karma; that what you send out into the universe is what the universe gives you back.

Saying that doesn't make it so, though, does it? I fully grant that some of what could be labeled "karma" is cause and effect, common sense, and the power of your subconscious mind to make you act in a way that gets you what you think you deserve.

Much of "good karma" comes from doing and being good; it gets you the maximum possible benefit out of whatever life you've got, because your goodness wins you friends and earns you favors, AND because your goodness causes you to believe that you're worthy of having the best possible life, and to act accordingly.

As for "BAD karma": If you're always doing bad things, especially to good people who can't remotely be said to deserve it, you'll feel guilt, shame, and like a rotten person on a variety of levels... and we all know how it's possible to sabotage our lives when we feel that way; it's sort of like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Furthermore, if you send evil OUT (by bad behavior), it's reasonable to expect evil BACK; bad people might achieve wealth, and certain kinds of success, by being clever and working hard, "aided" by a lack of conscience, but they can't have real, close, loving human relationships, or even acquaintances who are willing to do them a favor "for free" when they need it, because you can't fool all of the people all of the time, and word gets around. An evil person always has folks lining up to do them an ill turn if they get a chance, and has no one willing to help them unless they themselves stand to gain from it.

None of that requires any mystical forces to be at work, right? It's for that very reason that *I* didn't believe in karma... that is, UNTIL I started paying attention to how things seem to work, and saw that the explanations I've given are NOT sufficient to explain the countless instances I've seen where nothing the "recipient" could have done could have influenced what happened, directly or indirectly, and yet there seem to be "rewards" for good behavior and wise choices made, and "penalties" for bad behavior and foolish choices made, not just as a result but right away from seemingly unrelated sources.... FAR beyond what could be explained by "coincidence" (and I'm no big believer in coincidence in any case, as I've said). This is part of why I believe in karma as a "force" that exists in its own right (it's a BIG topic, but I'll cover it all eventually).

It seems to me that this segment of karma is just a matter of energy; every action you take, every word you say, every thought and feeling you have, generates energy-that much can be measured through science. Karma explains what happens to that energy once you've generated it; nothing much, most of the time, because those bits of energy are sort of like puzzle pieces, and have to find and join with one or more other "pieces" that fit so they form something bigger before anything "happens".... but, strong energy, repeated emissions of energy, energy released in important areas and times, all of these can be VERY powerful, because they are so likely to "find other pieces" and lead to a significant result.

Every day, you have countless opportunities to send out positive energy, from smiling at people you pass on the street to giving to people to helping people to sacrificing for people. You also have countless opportunities to make wise choices, to fight injustice, to right wrongs, to make things better in your home or office, to create, to love.... all sorts of positive things that lead to positive energy. Even the nicest people generally miss alot of these chances; some of them DO take a great deal of time and effort, I grant you. Still, I've seen over and over that the more I make myself take as many of these chances as I can, the more rewards I get, and that these rewards happen so soon after the actions, with such regularity, that it'd be foolish to not see SOMETHING going on.

There are countless chances each day to send out negative energy, too, and that doesn't just mean committing crimes or hurting people; it also means making bad decisions, being selfish, choosing to not get involved, lying, being disloyal.... and, in general, just BEING negative. When you send out negative energy, even if it's as a reaction to being angry or in pain, the universe responds by sending negative energy back to you, and this is a big part of why such a ridiculous # of terrible things (that are BEYOND personal control or influence) always happen to negative people, sick people, grieving people and depressives.

There's quite a bit more for me to say about karma, but that at least covers why I think the comes around/goes around part of it happens like it does.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

A plea to all parents of young children 

I hate to say it, but it HAS to be said; we, the members of the human race who are NOT close relatives of yours, do NOT love your kids.

When you take them out in public, we do NOT think that their running around like wild animals, climbing all over everything and handling everything, is cute... especially those of us who are among the poorly-paid employees (of the store, library, doctor's office, etc) who'll get stuck picking up after them after you FINALLY take them away. If you don't have enough control over them to make them walk along beside you keeping their hands to themselves, how about you hold them by the hand so they can't turn other people's places of business into a playground?

Furthermore, we are NOT, alas, deaf to their screaming, crying and endless chattering, nor are we charmed by it; in fact, it annoys us so much that we want to STRANGLE them, and YOU, so how about you shut them up, or put a hand over their mouth, or march them out to the parking lot so that you don't aggravate everyone within hearing distance?

If we are your friends, we WANT to love your little monsters, but, if you're "modern parents," in other words if you allow them to misbehave nonstop, keep in mind that we don't have your hormonal imperative to love your offspring, and all WE see when we go to your house is spoiled brats that we secretly hope you'll lock into their rooms. Yeah, you can run things the way you want to in your own homes, but try to remember that torturing guests is sort of a bad idea, so don't let your kids swarm over your friends, demanding attention; we don't want to give it, as we are there to see YOU, not THEM (and yes, this means that we don't want to hug them, kiss them, hold them, or have them sit on our laps). Remember also that torturing your friends on BEHALF of your kids is bad, too; no matter HOW wonderful and talented you think your kids are, we who share no DNA with them don't want to have to ooh and ahh over their trophies, artwork, or book reports, and do not, not, NOT want to see photos of them, or videos, or watch them dance, sing, play an instrument, twirl a baton, do cartwheels, or whatever else it is that you're wasting $ to teach them how to do. We also don't want to be obligated to go somewhere else to watch them do these things, even if it's a "special recital," and thus we don't want to have to go watch them in the school play, or to their soccer or t-ball games, or to go anywhere else or do anything else that revolves around them... and that includes their birthday parties, which should be for kids only (if you want to socialize with adults, have a dedicated get-together for adults, rather than cheating and trying to combine the occasions).

We REALLY dislike it when you bring the kids along on outings you have planned with us; we don't get to go out as often as we'd like, and when we do we want to relax and socialize with adults, not spend the time looking for the ten billionth bathroom because your kid's bladder is the size of a walnut, or standing around while you buy them endless snacks, argue with them over endless toys, spend half an hour battling with them over what they will and won't eat in a restaurant, struggle to get them into and out of car seats, jackets, etc... spend $5 and get a sitter, for heaven's sake!!

And speaking of sitters; just because we continue to be your friend after you procreate does NOT mean that we are willing to babysit for you, not even in "emergencies"; we have NOT volunteered to be part of your childcare plan, and it's unfair and downright MEAN to corner us with pleas that you HAVE to make YOUR kid OUR responsibility because you didn't set up your childcare network properly. We have full and busy lives, without empty hours available for your progeny to fill up, and this is true even if we have no kids of our own... and frankly, if we ARE childless, the fact that we have chosen to NOT have kids should clue you in as to how we feel about taking care of them even if we DO have spare time. Yes, we understand that it might be inconvenient for you to drag your kids along on some occasions, but it's not HALF as inconvenient as it is for US to take care of them, and if anyone should be inconvenienced by YOUR kids, it's YOU. In the truly rare case that you have to miss out on something because they won't allow kids or whatever, that's unfortunate, but it's part of being a parent; you knew things like this would come up before you had 'em, and now it's time for you to pay the piper... YOU, not US.

The thing we hate the most is when you bring your kids into our homes; we have nice things, and we'd like them to STAY that way, not be decorated with grape jelly handprints, thrown to the floor, or used as toys. You're free to let your kids treat YOUR home like the monkey house at the zoo, but we'd appreciate it if, when you're too cheap to get a sitter and so take them with you on visits, you'd make them sit quietly and play with a toy; the new experience will do them a world of good. If they need to use the restroom, ESCORT them, so they can't wander around getting into our things. PLEASE don't bring food or beverages for them to consume over our furniture and carpets (they can eat before or after the visit, in YOUR home or car); if you absolutely MUST feed them on our time, take them into the kitchen or sit them at the table, hand them non-messy food that they'll eat quickly and without fuss, and when they're done, clean them and the eating area up. Oh, and speaking of clean; don't show up on our doorstep with a kid who has food (or anything else) all over their hands, face and clothes... it's disgusting, and we know that it's going to end up smeared over OUR stuff.

Last but far from least; as your friends, we're willing to listen to you rattle on to a certain extent about the people in your life, whether we know or like them or not, just as you do for us; just keep in mind that your tendency when the people you're talking about are your kids is to go on and on and ON, and we are NOT entertained by the minutia of their lives-save that stuff for their grandparents.

We love you, and we WANT to love your offspring; we probably WILL love them once they're old enough to stop being endless sources of noise, destruction, mess, filth and revolting excretory functions and start being pleasant human beings. In the meantime, show some mercy on us; accept that part of your responsibility as a parent is to CONTROL your kids, and not allow them be a nuisance to others, and that no one wants to be a captive audience to other people's children... we'll show YOU the same courtesy if and when WE have small kids. Deal?

Friday, January 09, 2004

Dreeeeeeeam, dream dream dream... 

I was thinking about writing about dreams today, and as I was waiting for a page to load I picked up the mostly-unread Sunday comics, opened to a new page... and there was a strip with Beetle Bailey telling his friends about a dream of HIS, so, dreams it is.

I have vivid, weird and elaborate dreams, and remember quite a few each night; since I have lots of nightmares, that's sort of a mixed blessing. I also have LUCID dreams, which is when you know during the dream that you ARE dreaming, and can take control of the dream to do what you want; for me, this usually involves doing a little "magic" and creating a particular sexual partner, but I've also done things like become aware during a dream about a past boss who lied to the higher-ups and got me fired, and knocked her FLAT (that was pretty darned satisfying, even if it wasn't "real").

A high % of my nightmares have been what I call "pursuit dreams," which are just what they sound like; me being endlessly pursued, and, if caught, attacked, by... usually no one I can identify, or even remember the appearance of when I wake up. There's one glaring exception, and that's the dreams I've had of pursuit by Freddy from the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies; I've had a bunch of those throughout the years. In one of them, the chase went on and on until I was utterly exhausted, and, unable to go on, I walked up to him and announced that he would have to just kill me, as I couldn't run any more; I leaned right up against him... and he turned into my father. The pursuit dreams have, I now believe, primarily been about my parents, my desire to get out from under their excessive scrutiny, rules and haranguing; I've noticed that the longer I'm married and out of their home, the fewer of these dreams I have.

I've foretold the future in dreams, even about things that I had no way to predict through analysis of the facts I had; this, and other examples of seeing the future, make me wonder if time is in fact an "illusion," if in other words it's just another dimension we move along, with all points of it already existing, the way the entire surface of the Earth exists whether you've gotten to it or not... if we can see the future, ANY of it at ANY time, it must EXIST, right? Another possibility is that karma can "analyze" all the current data about reality and do something like a weather report, projecting what WILL be based on what IS, with reduced accuracy as time goes on, and it's these "projections" that we sometimes gain access to... and the dreaming mind, unfettered by conscious thought and more "open" than during waking hours, would likely more easily "read" this sort of thing.

It's commonplace to see the solutions to problems in dreams, and receive revelations about people and events in our lives, but we often miss seeing them because the subconscious speaks to us in symbols. A recent example I read about came from Isaac Mizrahi, who described a dream in which he was pedaling like mad on a bike, then stopped pedaling but the bike kept going; he didn't need to pedal, and he saw that that was trying to tell him that he didn't have to PEDDLE, that he could stop trying to SELL and go back to creating, which he did with great relief. Your brain will send you all sorts of messages, but it's up to your waking mind to pay attention and figure them out; you'll often get repeating dreams if you're missing the point, and the dreams usually stop once you've understood them.

Your dream symbols can be very personal to you, which is why dream "dictionaries" only offer limited help in dream analysis; I HAVE gotten useful input from them about dreams that turn out to be common, like teeth falling out, but some of my biggest symbols have been unique to me. The weirdest example of this is the endlessly recurring dreams about my locker (the one I had in high school 20 years ago, usually, although sometimes it's a fictitious college locker), in which the focus is on seeing what's in there, and often seeing unexpected things and NOT seeing what WAS expected; the lock's often open or missing, showing that someone had been in there, apparently swapping my school stuff for all sorts of things (but sometimes leaving me with an empty locker). I never knew what it meant until I had one of the dreams in which my locker had been filled with unfamiliar books, of all different sizes and colors; I pulled one out and read the title; "Rage." I looked at the title of another one; "Rage." EVERY book had that title, and of course the dream occurred at a time when I WAS angry at someone, so the connection was clear; the locker represents my emotional state, and what's there, what's missing, what's been PUT there, and the condition of the lock are all symbolic (or sometimes flat-out declarations) of what I'm feeling. Weird, huh?

Lucid dreams are my faves, and I'm going to make a belated New Year's resolution to go back to asking myself throughout the day "am I asleep or awake?" so that I'll be more likely to ask myself that in my dreams and have more lucid ones; try it, it DOES work, and lucid dreams can be well worth the effort.

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