Grief’s House on Memory Lane

Some people make such an indelible impression on you that no matter how many years pass, you don’t forget them or the experiences you shared.

Or so you think.

Those memories can seem vivid until you go to document them in words. And that’s when the self-doubts start to arise, and you wonder if what you’re trying to write down really happened the way you think you remember. Or maybe you can’t quite remember at all, and you wish you had kept journals from that period in your life, because surely, those entries would tell you what you’re anxious to know.

But then you remember that you did have journals from that period of your life. Key word, did. Past tense. Because you destroyed them. You even remember why. You also remember that your closest friend, who was with you during all those crazy things that happened, was in possession of one of your journals that she refused to let you destroy. She kept it from you on purpose, for a reason.

How smart she was.

But even more importantly, she’s the only one in your life who knows what happened during that time, because she was there. In fact, she’s the only single person who shared those elusive memories that you’re seeking to excavate. You think to yourself, maybe you should call her up and take a trip down memory lane together, because wouldn’t she be able to help you remember? Besides that, you two can have a laugh about that time in your lives. You’ll enjoy reminiscing about your shared past, most likely over a glass of wine. Or two. Because you know such a thing calls for wine.

Except you also know this particular trip down memory lane isn’t possible. And you’ll never get the answers you’re seeking. Not from her, anyway.

Why?

Because your friend is gone. She passed away five years ago, and this is something you have not forgotten, even when you still have these ridiculous longings and notions that you can just pick up the phone and call her. Particularly when you have these inclinations, because they hurt even more when you know you can’t. Even five years after her death.

Grief is a funny creature. It shows up unannounced at the worst times, has deplorable manners, and doesn’t pay the rent. And just when you think it’s finally packed up and left, it sneaks in and attacks like a ninja in the night, because it was still there, festering all along. Like that spider nesting in the towel you reach for after your shower. Waiting to get you when you’re naked and most vulnerable.

And I, weak and vulnerable, inadvertently let grief walk right into my house while trying to retrieve these other memories a few days ago. I wish I could say grief was a stranger to my house, but it’s been here before. It knows where to hide. As of this writing, it’s still lurking somewhere, unbeknownst even to my cats.

The last time grief showed up as an unwelcome house guest, it arrived on the heels of a death certificate. A life summed up in meaningless words filling neat boxes on a single page. Someone’s entire legacy boiled down to one impersonal sheet of flimsy paper.

A friend once asked me if I feared death. At the time, I said no. What I feared was pain and suffering. Sitting here once again in the shadow of grief, I realize my true fear is that my life will mean nothing more than the meaningless words which will fill those little boxes on a death certificate for me someday.

Unremarkable. Mediocre. Forgotten.

It makes you wonder what purpose words serve, really. Words, so two-dimensional, so easy to misinterpret.

So why am I bothering with the writing project at all? Why have I subjected myself to these echoes of the past when I know grief is one of the gatekeepers of those memories? Is it worth the pain? Is what I have learned and what I have to say important if ultimately, it will be expressed in flat, easily misunderstood words?

I don’t know. Maybe. Words diminish, but words also create. I guess it’s all in how they’re used.

Kind of like us.

It’s how you live, or how you don’t.

So I guess right now, I’ll choose to bother, grief and all.

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Everything Old Is Woo Again

The other day I had some show on PBS running as a background soundtrack to my house cleaning endeavors. While I wasn’t directly focused on the show, the words “sustainable” and “diverse” kept sneaking into my ears repeatedly. So repeatedly, in fact, I began keeping count like a game, until the numbers got so high, I could no longer keep track. Needless to say, I got irritated and had to turn my beloved PBS off.

It occurred to me I have a mental list of words like these that have become so overused lately, I roll my eyes and tune out every time I read them or hear them. They have no meaning for me anymore.

And I wonder if they mean anything to anybody else either?

It also occurs to me that each of these trendy/trending catch phrases is like a thinly veiled sales pitch.

Some of them refer to a past state of being that we’ve moved far away from which we’re trying to get back to.

Some of them refer to how we should, but don’t, behave as humans.

Like, hey, we’re marketing this new movement for how you should be living in a hip, shiny new wrapping! And we know you’ll buy into it, because it’s the latest, hottest thing! It’s attractive, fresh, and oh, so new! (Because you want to appear attractive and fresh, don’t you?) Did we mention it’s new? And don’t forget, it’s also socially conscious, which is the new woo-woo. (Because you do want to be socially conscious, don’t you?)

Everything old is woo again!

Don’t get me wrong. I love the earth and its people as much as the next person. I’m just tired of being made to feel guilty for being me and being alive, or in other words, being a supposedly “privileged” person with a “carbon footprint.”

As. If.

Let’s look at that personal list of words that bug me. Because maybe they bug you too? Without further ado, the words I’m completely sick of, in no particular order:

Sustainable – People in the consumer era and beyond have a long history of not living within their means on many levels, let alone utilizing the earth’s resources responsibly. Don’t get me started on corporations and their never-ending greed. Oil rig explosions, anyone? Somehow, I don’t think tiny houses or gardens or recycling are going to solve this problem. But good luck with that anyway.

Diversity — Who doesn’t like variety? Life is boring without it. Would you only ever want to look at one kind of flower? Probably not. People are no exception. We have always differed in everything, age, race, beliefs, gender identity, sexual preferences, so on and so forth, which is as awesome as cheese. So for crying out loud, I get it already, Hollywood. Your glaring social justice warrior agenda you push with every new movie or show you put out has become boring and predictable and, ironically, not diverse. It’s getting old. Just sayin’.

Inclusion — Interestingly, to me, this somehow seems like the opposite side of the diversity coin. Going by the definitions alone, diversity refers to recognizing uniqueness, an individualistic concept, while inclusion refers to being included as part of a group. Those definitions kind of negate each other, do they not? Or maybe inclusion encourages true individuality to cease to exist. Yes, I’m grossly oversimplifying here, sure. Yet I can’t help but wonder if diversity and inclusion for the sake of diversity and inclusion rather than for the sake of good old-fashioned merit and passion doesn’t hamper the ability to excel.

Reclaimed — This, to me, is nothing more than a fancy word for recycled. Generally, you hear about reclaimed when referring to building materials such as wood or for things like furniture. These days, reclaimed stuff tends to be expensive and hard to come by, with unethical companies often advertising their products as reclaimed when they’re anything but, all to make a buck. Our ancestors reused and reclaimed absolutely everything as part of their natural daily lives, no trash bills or recycling services necessary. Us? We pay money we probably don’t have to say we’re being environmentally conscious.

Repurposed — Another form of recycling, a way to give new life to old things that would otherwise find their way into the trash. I’ve seen some snazzy and extremely creative ideas that fall under the “repurposed” moniker. But I’m still tired as heck of hearing the word. Maybe “repurposed” can be repurposed.

Organic — Nowadays, this word means about as much as the food label. The food industry would have you believe all organic stuff is grown in pristine natural conditions and cared for by organic fairies and wood nymphs, assuring its organic purity. I know better. You always have to follow the money trail. It kind of makes me think about the tomatoes and cucumbers grown in my neighbor’s yard. Sure, no pesticides to speak of, but I still don’t want to eat them because I know every dog and cat in the local area has, um, fertilized them in their own special way.

Green — Yep, see “sustainable” above. Enough said.

All snarky sarcasm aside, it is not my intent to offend anyone. This is merely a plea to stop using/misusing words to the point where they lose their importance, their impact, and their meaning. And to question the agenda behind anything you’re being sold, especially when it’s got you wooed.

Change That Channel

Change that channel

I’ve always been suspicious of channelers, people who claim to let an entity speak from their mouths to transmit information on various topics. Who are these entities, do they exist, and if so, why on earth would someone let one take over their body and use them like a megaphone? Nothing against the people who channel, as many are the kindest, most purely well-intentioned beings you could know. I’m just not that brave.

But it makes me wonder about these entities and, in turn, so-called spirit guides and guardian angels.

Do we really have spirit guides or guardian angels, entities outside ourselves that supposedly help us navigate this life? Are some people able to let these beings speak through them? And why is it, exactly, that some people claim to communicate with them more easily than others?

I’ve had my own experiences with what I believe to be these entities, some positive encounters, some not so much, which has led me to the biggest question of all. If these beings truly exist for us outside of ourselves and our imaginations, are they necessary? Do we need them?

I was raised Catholic, and I think somewhere during that time is when I embraced the teaching that we each come into this world with a guardian angel, someone to walk with us and oversee our well-being from birth on. I don’t recall ever questioning that belief because who doesn’t like the idea of a powerful spirit watching over you and keeping you safe? As a child, it certainly sounded comforting to me.

Guardian angels

And when I grew older and abandoned my religious upbringing to dabble in all things woo (translation—New Age), I also encountered this concept of guides, angels, supposedly benevolent beings, supposedly with our best interests at heart, who supposedly love us and guide us. As it went right along with what I’d been taught since I was a child, again, the concept seemed natural, and it never occurred to me to question it.

No, I didn’t question any of that until much later, after a series of, um, interesting events left me feeling uneasy and wary.

It was then I realized.

The concept of having guides and angels help us navigate our existence is a recipe for allowing ourselves to be misled.

Stay with me here.

If something is not physically manifested, it is incorporeal. If it is incorporeal, it is not human.

Humans have free will by design, whether we choose to execute it or not. The option is there, whether we see it or not. Free will is part of our true magic, because within free will lies the inherent power of creation.

Humans can create. That’s our gift and our purpose. We are matter, and we matter. We affect the spiritual by moving the physical and not the other way around.

Can incorporeal entities, which are not human, say the same? See, I don’t really know, but I don’t think so. Maybe they need us for that? Maybe, if we have angels or guides (or otherwise) with us, it’s because they have an ulterior motive that only we can make happen…for them.

If that’s the case and we’re the ones with all the power, then how can these spiritual entities possibly have any power over us?

Well, technically, they don’t. If they do, it’s only because we give it to them. I mean, those of us that are into that sort of thing do, anyway.

Why?

We’re accustomed to it. We are in the habit of giving our power away to distractions, dogma, belief systems, consumerism, you name it. If we can give our power away, we do. And it can be a pretty insidious thing. If you’re used to offering up your deepest hopes and prayers to any angel, archangel, channeled entity, ascended master, guru, or supposedly higher being that you think is listening, you’re giving your power away.

During the time I began to realize these things and to feel wary, I also noticed something else.

Many of the shared messages I saw from people’s so-called guides, guardians, angels, or channeled entities had something in common.

They all had nuggets of truth wrapped in lies.

Just enough truth to pull their listeners/followers in. Just enough lies to go largely unnoticed while leading those who took those messages to heart astray.

That includes me.

So, again, how do we take our power back?

We have to change the channel…the channel of our minds, that is.

We tend to seek out and agree with what supports what we already believe. Unfortunately, this tendency makes us easy to dupe. Very easy. 

So, start by considering all of the beliefs you take for granted.

All of them, not just the obvious ones.

Where and when did you acquire them? How long have you held onto them? Why have you never once thought to question those beliefs? What about those beliefs would you question now, given the chance? What would that look like? What would that feel like? If it’s scary for you, why?

If you’re anything like me, this process alone will keep you busy for a while, because most of us have some pretty deep programming as far as beliefs are concerned. But we can change the channel, if we’re willing. 

The Paradox of Spiritual Swindling

I’ve always had a very rich inner world. Interpret that however you’d like. I’m not going into more detail right now. Let’s just say I simply came into this world with certain gifts and didn’t know any better. Precocious, some said. Intuitive, said others.

Kinda freaking weird, said everybody else.

I heard that last one enough to where I soon realized not everyone, um, saw things the same way I did, so I learned to hide those parts to protect myself.

I’ve spent much of my life searching for answers to understand this nature of mine, trying to solve the mystery of how to reconcile my rich inner world with a mundane outer world that requires pesky things like bills to be paid and cat boxes to be cleaned.

And some of the things I’ve seen along the way make me ill.

If you’re a seeker like me, I’m sure you’ve seen it too. You spend good money to attend a weekend seminar, an afternoon group, a session with some renowned psychic/enlightened master/spiritual counselor/self-proclaimed woo guru who markets themselves as the one person who will help change your life.

For a (not) small fee, of course.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t take issue with any truly gifted person (and they are out there) charging a fee for whatever services they provide. It’s their time and energy, and they should be compensated accordingly.

What I take issue with is “help” under the guise of clichéd drivel and flowery speak that could apply to anyone, including my dog.

“Let go and let god.” “Surrender and accept.” “Be here now.” “Trust.”

Gag me with a crystal and a stick of incense. No authentic teaching happening here, nope.

And yet, the seeker in question, so desperate to make sense of their woes, gloms on to that dreck like it is the long-lost secret to their personal universe. The woo person becomes their very savior, deserving of much foot kissing and adoration. Seeker then goes back to their day-to-day world where nothing has changed, armed with nothing but meaningless, empty words, wondering just what the hell happened.

I know because I’ve been there, done that.

Where is the road map for how these empty words apply or how they can help you survive when the shit hits the fan in your life? What more can you let go of and surrender when there’s no roof over your head? How do you trust and feel grateful with no food on the table?

And please, to anyone about to say release the poverty mindset…it’s hard to have a revolution when your belly is empty. Besides, that mantra is nothing more than a sneaky way to convince someone to spend money they don’t have. Seriously.

I don’t have the answers to this stuff. But I can make a few observations.

Let’s get one thing straight.

By living a life, you are living a spiritual life. Period.

There is no separation of the physical and the spiritual, and no one person is more “spiritual” than another despite what their marketing team might tell you. A person might be more aware of certain things, but so what? Each of us is aware of something more than someone else. That’s what makes each of us so uniquely cool.

And by the way, not one of us has everything figured out, even when it appears that way on the surface. Enlightenment is not a permanent state. Nor is it meant to be.

In my experience, I’ve found the universe is one big paradox. The more intentionally you seek to let go, be present, or become enlightened, the more elusive those states become.

We shed what needs to be let go of when we’re ready and not one second before. Release is effortless and happens of its own accord…when you are ready.

So, the paradox of consciously struggling to let go of something? You’re not ready to be done with it.

The paradox of acceptance is that it is really a turning point. Accepting how things are doesn’t mean you’re powerless to change them. Quite the opposite. Nothing about surrender and acceptance is about passivity and inaction, even when it might look that way. Getting clear in your own head about what you want out of life is powerful action, big time, even if you’re not moving a muscle while doing so.

Do not underestimate the power of your mind, of your imagination. Ever. That new-age teaching that nothing unreal exists is nonsense, in my opinion. More on this later.

And as far as being present? You can only truly be present when you’re cognizant of where you’ve been and where you want to go. Your present moment is like one spot on a spider’s web, a creation that is eternally connected, never ending. From your perch on that strand, if you dare to look, you can see the path you’ve traversed thus far and understand the patterns of repeated missteps.

And that’s necessary, if you’re someone interested in not repeating the same crap over and over in the future.

Finally, the paradox of trust is it’s the act of putting your faith in utter chaos and unpredictability, no questions asked.

You can only trust that most of the time, what you think of as your plan probably isn’t the best plan for you. The route you think is most direct to whatever your goal is might need to be longer and harder than the detours that show up for you. And there’s a purpose to that too.

The universe is so cool in its paradoxicalness, ain’t it?

You are one totality, and the only way through your mess is if all your parts are intact, whole. The more you’re segregating and analyzing the various parts of “you” and ruminating about which part of you is thinking what and who is really running your show, the more fuel you’re giving yourself to hang on to dead weight you don’t need so you’ll remain in a state of unhappiness.

I repeat. By living a life, you are living a spiritual life. If you want to let go of something, let go of the spiritual duping. Embrace the paradox. Be the awesomeness you are, right now.

The Unfortunate Truth About Happiness

If you’re happy and you know it…

Happiness itself has never been my goal. For me, having a worthy pursuit to work toward was something that filled me with great joy. I’ve always equated happiness with the purpose and motivation that comes with having an end goal to achieve. But I also know that after the weeks or months or longer of preparation, when whatever goal I had set for myself was met and the excitement of anticipation was over, extreme letdown and depression would begin.

Every time.

It didn’t matter whether it was a performance or completing a project or something else entirely, the result was always the same. Debilitating melancholy.

Whenever I watch Olympic athletes perform, I wonder how they adjust to life after the games are over. How do you top the achievement of winning an Olympic gold medal or any medal or just competing at that level, particularly when your physical prime has passed and resuming training simply isn’t an option? How do these elite athletes cope? What do they do?

There has to be a re-creation of their identity, of course, but are they ever the same inside again? Can they find purpose? Happiness? Or will they just continue to look for the next gold, the next high, the next moment in the spotlight, never finding anything in the present that quite matches the past they’re seeking?

The Olympic athlete seems like an extreme analogy, but it applies to every single one of us in our everyday lives. Many of us find happiness and purpose anywhere but within, whether it’s in relationships with others, that perfect job, house, car, or children, that pay raise, the latest clothes or gadgets, the list is endless.

But those things are all circumstances, ones that change. And for most of us, with them changes our happiness. Our self-esteem, also dependent upon these external devices, suffers too.

We want quick gratification, short-term success with long-term results, but this is rare and even when it seems to happen, it typically doesn’t bring real happiness. Just ask anyone you think has been an overnight success in some way.

And how do we even define success?

Let’s be honest. We all know our cultural media suggests that the latest styles, looks, toys, and the beachfront mansion equate to a lack of problems and a lust for life. When bad things happen, we assume (or we have been taught) that they are karmic, brought on at some point by our own bad thoughts and deeds. Bad us. We get what we deserve.

I call bull on that. Actually, I called it something a tad spicier, but I’ll try to keep this nice and PG for now.

Very few people would say they’re happy all the time. In my youth, I think I was far more happy-go-lucky, carefree, and trusting than I am now as I write this and try to find answers for myself. But that’s probably definitely a combination of hindsight, naivete, and circumstances.

So, I’ve lately started to ask myself, what makes me feel good? What do I need each day? What is happiness for me, really?

The answers are amazingly simple. For me, it’s basic things like good sleep, getting outdoors, feeling the sun, exercising/moving my body, having quality human interaction, cooking and eating good, healthy food. Chocolate doesn’t hurt either. Without these things in my world regularly, I’m just. not. right.

Aaaaand perhaps you’ve noticed this already, but all of those things I listed? Yeah, they’re all external circumstances, aren’t they?

Mm-hmm.

Can I possibly be happy without any external influence at all? Can anyone? Does anyone know?

Because I don’t know. And I’m pretty sure nobody that’s ever appeared on Oprah’s show knows either, whether they’d admit that or not.

So, what do I know?

I know, or I think, the unfortunate truth about happiness is it’s not a permanent state of being because it can’t be. Humans aren’t permanently in any state at any time. Well, not until they’re dead, that is, and maybe not even then. But this is part of the design and sheer beauty of being human. It’s a good thing.

I also know it’s hard to be happy when others around you aren’t and don’t want you to be. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll realize that happens more often than you realize.

And I know that happiness isn’t only about being joyous or content, and it’s not about being detached from all feelings to avoid wide the emotional swings that seem to contradict satisfaction. Nope, that detachment stuff is just a recipe for creating a sociopath. Or a very lovely robot.

Furthermore, I know that along with our happiness, most of us also place the responsibility for our own healing in the hands of others, hands that are often uncaring and unqualified to have any part in our process. How do we not see that?

But ultimately, I know the truth, right down to my core, because of things I’ve seen and experienced and intend to put into words when I’m able.

We all inherently have the power within to be independently happy, to heal ourselves, and to create magic.

Magic.

Once we figure that out for ourselves, the truth about happiness isn’t unfortunate at all.

The Art of Ambition

Reaching for the moon and stars
Almost have it…

If a tree falls in the forest alone, does it make a sound?

If nobody hears, sees, or otherwise experiences your artistic creations, is it still art?

And for this discussion, since I’m not a snob, I consider an artistic creation to be absolutely anything that is imagined and then brought into existence. You know, created. So, with that definition, it could be a painting, a piece of writing, a song, a video, something crafty, something sewn…you get the picture. Creativity is limitless.

So, who do you create for? Don’t say you create for you and you alone. Would you have the same satisfaction with your art if you were never able to share it with a single other living being? Do you not feel lost and isolated when nobody hears, sees, or experiences your creations? Do you get upset when they do experience your creation, but they call your baby ugly? Would you have the same satisfaction or fulfillment with your art if it was only ever disliked by others?

Be honest.

That’s what I thought.

No, the truth is, when we speak of our art, we aren’t really talking about the art. We’re talking about artistic ambition, or the ego’s clouded perception of happiness and the need to somehow be validated by the opinions of others, are we not?

And before we go any further, pay no mind to the erroneous teachings that the ego and ambition are your enemies. Teaching otherwise is a really good way to start a cult.

No, I’m talking about the ego’s need to make a connection. And we all want and need that.

What is interesting is that very early art of all kinds played a crucial role in the survival of humanity. Cave paintings, storytelling, and Kumbaya-like campfire music were used to pass down bits of information to ensure the safety of the next tribal generation. You know, stuff like, “Hey, those berries will make you puke for three weeks straight. Don’t eat them!” And, “Ungawa, big dinosaur monster up ahead. Run away, run away!” You know, stuff like that.

Thankfully, somewhere along the way, ambition to excel artistically for the sake of the art itself replaced the fight-or-flight survival need it had previously filled.

Art developed, and so did culture along with it.

So, if ambition in art can be said to be the measure of appeal of one’s artwork against another’s, then for the sake of this discussion, perhaps we can consider culture to be a collection of those measurements. (Yeah, I know, but just work with me here. Culture is nothing but programming of the mind anyway, right?)

Yet instead of evolving from a basic survival tool into something that could potentially elevate humans and their cultures beyond their current limitations, art instead turned into a medium manipulated and controlled by the masses.

And that is because of the element of ambition. We cater to those whose opinions validate our work.

See, there’s the problem. Ambition itself, like ego, can be a wonderful tool. But the ambitions of many are swirling about a self-imposed limited playing field that’s contracting, not expanding. It is like being given only three crayons out of a possible 500 or more with which to color in a coloring book. And this culture over here gets these three crayons, and that culture over there gets three different crayons, and so on.

Nobody is playing with a full set, even though all these crayons come from the same box.

But from within these limitations, we still long to speak from our souls and have what we hope is a profound effect on those who share our crayons, our culture, and maybe even on other cultures too. And how cool would it be if we could keep a roof over our heads doing nothing else but our art alone?

There’d be a lot more happiness in the world, I guarantee that.

I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of free will versus fate. I’m not sure I believe in either or that either exists. Maybe we have free will but in the fate of confinement, like orcas in the captivity of a fabricated environment, performing tricks to entertain onlookers. Please your handler, and you’re given food. Don’t please them, and there are negative consequences. Never mind that there’s a big wild world outside in which those orcas truly belong, but they don’t know that. They’re not allowed to see that.

Maybe we aren’t allowed to see either.

Food for thought for the next time you feel you’re not achieving enough, or you’re not ambitious enough, or your work isn’t good enough. Enough for whom?

Rules of Behavior

I don’t get religion. But let’s face it. I also don’t get people either. Not all of them, but a lot of them. I question human nature when attempting to discover the appeal of religion. I suppose I can understand wanting to find meaning, purpose, a sense of community, or whatever else religion might be thought to provide.

But what is it that makes all logic go out the door in favor of placing faith in an uncertain power outside (and supposedly greater than) ourselves? Is it fear? How we’re raised? Our culture? Our DNA? Some combination of all of the above?

Or, leaving the topics of logic and magical thinking for later, is it that we humans need a set of external laws to live by, “rules of behavior,” if you will, because we have no internal guidance system of our own? Are we that far removed from our own inner wisdom that we choose to place our trust in external “hands,” because it’s easier than the work of finding our personal spiritual GPS?

Well, that’s kind of a cop-out, isn’t it? And it can be quite dangerous too, because that lack of relationship with self-knowledge translates into every other aspect of our lives. Without that inner connection, we bleed our power left and right, never questioning what we’re taught, accepting lies as truth, and rarely looking for deeper meaning.

Here’s the kicker…without first developing a strong connection to our own inner wisdom, we are ironically at risk of bleeding power even more when we finally do start a journey of seeking deeper meaning. Fun, right? So, it shouldn’t be surprising that people often get trapped at that stage, never to progress any further.

That thought alone just makes me want to take a nap with my kitties and forget about everything for a while.

But I digress…so then, is it human nature to crave subservience? Maybe humans just always want to be told what to do. I mean, it would make life easier, so I have to wonder. I really do.

And if that’s true, then we’re also easy to control with religion. And other things. Just saying.  

I know some people just hide behind the auspices of whatever religion they’ve subscribed to in order to excuse their less than desirable actions. It’s okay that they [insert transgression here] because they’ll repent at church on [insert day that ends with a “Y” here] and all will be forgiven. That’s a social norm.

But like me, maybe you also know the opposite, the very religious who put us all to shame with their actions, because that’s just who they are. Those people clearly have their own highly developed guidance system, even if they attribute it all to their external god rather than their own choices.

Me personally, I liken it to the chicken and the egg and not to god.

Which came first…

I suspect for these types of people, their strong sense of morality developed way before faith or religion was ever instilled in their psyches. Well, and that too would explain how it is that some of the most virtuous people I know are staunch atheists. Their integrity and conscience came first, no religion necessary, no need to be told what to do and how to behave by some omniscient overlord.

So why is it those types of people seem so rare? Why is it the exception rather than the norm when people do the right thing and behave with morality, even with religion supposedly providing a guidebook?

I see so much greed and corruption all around, in people, companies, businesses, organizations, corporations, and yes, churches, on and on and on, everywhere I look. And I know it comes down to human nature at the core of every entity, large or small, because they are, after all, made up of people.

Maybe questioning human nature in attempting to discover the appeal of religion is the chicken before the egg (or is that the egg before the chicken…I can never figure that out). Maybe questioning religion when attempting to understand the workings of human nature is a better way to go?