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personal path to salvation

It's very difficult for me to write about this topic because everyone has their own unique path to
their own unique brand of salvation, but i will try..

It's not enough to say "keep love in your heart" becaus e human beings need s omething to fixate
(you could say obsess) on. When i was a child, i Loved ast ronomy: it made me high, i t made me
happy,it 'brought me clos er to G od',.. In a real sense, i was in love with astronomy .. Over the
years, 'objects of fixation' changed .. M any high school crushes would change on a weekly basis
but this was bothersome to me; it felt so unstable, so unsound, so tenuous,.. to focus my love on
something so temporary. So i found girlfriends and physics - more stable things to pour my love
into .. But even though phys ics w ill alw ays accept your love, it's not easy to get physics t o love
you back. ;) It took many years in my case .. The girlfriends? They were a longer term version of
the crushes, still temporary and unsatisfying .. They say when you have a child everything
changes and it's true: they need patience and love in tremendous amounts .. What do i pour my
love into now? i confess i still love astronomy and physics but they must take a back seat to more
personal interactions. My s on cannot accept all of my love, i need to give, because i'm still a man
with tremendous need to adore a woman .. So instead of saying "keep love in your heart", i'd
rather say "find someone/something to love". If they/it won't accept, find another..

Violence is a Huge problem in our society/culture/species. N ot just physical: verbal, emot ional,
and even mental.. The basic internal problem with this issue is that we cannot suppress our
violent thoughts/feelings - we must embrace them and find their roots. We cannot 'fight with
ourselves' - this is only more violence. When we attempt to subjugate a part of ourselves, no
matter how repulsive it may seem, we do violence and hurt/destroy ourselves. We must accept,
embrace, fully realize and underst and the root s of our violent t houghts /feelings in order to be
more whole. You don't need a psychiatrist for this - s omet imes a t rusted friend can listen thereby
allowing you to work things out for yourself .. When i say listen, implicit is the word care. i don't
mean a blank stare just waiting for them to shut up. i mean Listen. So w hen w e list en, when we
care, we help them discover the roots of their violence. In so doing, they heal themselves and the
world. It's not automatic but a good step forward .. They always say "we hurt most the ones we
love - the ones closest to us". The reason we do this is basic s elfishness: we lash out when we
should embrace, w e att ack when we s hould caress, we punish when we should forgive,.. We don't
realize it but there's Always a choice when we give in to violence: violence or love. T here's
Always a choice .. M any years ago, i tried to emulate the two fictional characters Spock and
Kwai Chang: logic and peace. But my spirit w as not ready for continuous logic and peace.i
needed time to 'grow up', to experience, to find out what happens when you give in to violence,..
After many years of 'watching myself', i observe that violence SOLVES NOTHING. It may
temporarily satisfy to 'let loose'your emot ions , feelings, rage, anger,.. but violence only leads to
destruction / hurt / pain. To clarify, i'm not a physically violent pers on but my t houghts and
emotions have been Very violent in the past .. Sword fights, int erst ellar batt les, WWIII,.. i
visualized all these things in incredible 3D detail .. These did not bother me so much as when i
would do personal violence, in my mind, on another .. So when i found myself visualizing some
act of violence on another real person, i decided on another tack, another approach: don' t .. i
found i can choose not to be violent. Perhaps it's my time in my life, perhaps i'm ready for
continuous peace, whatever the case - i choose, on a continuous basis, to be non-violent: in
thought, feeling, w ords, and act ion.
Anger is much the same way. Anger is a Violent emotion. When we give in to anger, we let loose
our internal demons .. True, anger is like an energy source. I f we'r e fighting, i f we'r e a soldier in
battle,.. anger can help us win. But when anger w ins, we lose. Our humanity dies. In t he past, we
needed soldiers to fight for us, we needed battles of conquest and domination, we needed anger,..
But not anymore. Presently, we don't act ually need s oldiers anymore, we don't need batt les of
conquest and domination,.. We don't need anger anymore .. M any will argue: Sam, y ou're
Wrong, we still need anger in a street fight: when somebody punches us out of the blue, when
someone tries to take our girlfriend, when someone tries to hurt our kids,.. We need anger to
protect 'our turf'.In the first place, if someone is determined to hurt you or your family,it's damn
near impossible to stop them if they're clever and patient. So violence for violence is NOT any
solution to your problems; revenge Sucks - it's an endless cycle of despair .. If you're 'lucky'
enough to catch them in the act (of hurting your wife, child, property,..),do you know kung fu?
Or perhaps you have a gun? Think before you pull the trigger. And THINK before you give in to
anger. M ake the choice: anger or love. A nger/violence solves NO THING .. As with violence, i
found i Always have a choice regarding anger. And i choose: don't.

When we find something/someone to love, w hen we choose not to be violent/angry, w e open a


whole universe of possibilities within. We are free to be: humble, patient, kind, caring,
compassionate,.. You find the love in your heart just nat urally flows from you to t hem (those you
care for). It's a kind of continuous miracle of Being .. Sound impossible? Not ready for it? T ry.
What's it gonna hurt?

.. This morning i had visualized several ' pillars of personal s alvation', perhaps six. But above is
minimal and sufficient. We don't really need any more to move forward - to truly make progress
.. Next time you find yourself getting angry, talk to yourself: don' t. D on't aut omatically give in to
anger/violence. S ee where the path leads you. It may take you half a lifetime t o find you're ready
to live without anger/violence. Or it could be today. But you won't find out unless youtry.

i Love you with all my heart, sam

M ost often, we get caught in s elf-made t raps w hich don't allow us progres s on our pers onal path
to salvation. The path is obs cured and we get s ide-tracked on ot her paths w hich divert us and end
up creating whole worlds within/on those diversions. They're convenient, comfort able, but we
learn/grow little on those paths..
Typical traps we get caught in:
Self-pity trap: i'm no good, i'm a loser, nobody wants me, i'm wort hless, i hate mys elf, i should
just die, pleas e pity me, pleas e love me, i can s how you i'm actually worthy,.. You can s ee t he
actual needs behind the statements. We all need love, affect ion, attention,.. And to continually
berate ourselves because we believe 'we're not good enough' only highlights that fact. Needing
love, affection, and attention is NOT a weakness - it 's human. But the self-pity t rap,that's a
weakness we need to overcome, that's a trap we need to get out of, that's adiversion that keeps us
away from our own personal salvation.. We can actually choose to avoid self-pity much like the
mangey dog we're afraid to touch: "I don't want to touch that dirty old thing." We can treat self-
pity just like that dog: I choose not to touch it; I choose not to embrace it; I choose not to pity
myself.

Arrogance/vanity trap: I'm king, I'm god, I'm god's gift t o women, I'm a goddess you m ust adore!,
.. i'm not especially familiar with this trap but i believe too many humans get caught in it.
Recently i've been w at ching some blogtv channe ls. i've met some excruciatingly int eres ting
people. It's not my business to psycho-anal-ize them but i've observed some commonalities -even
among really diffe rent personalities. We all need attention whet her it's s omeone just listening to
us or pretending to ignore us. We all need attention / someone to attend us. On blogt v, it can
easily turn into a 'poon hunting' contes t where many men w ill be hounding the same babe for
sexual attention. The girl may or may not swing that way (she may be pretending to be innocent,
or actually innocent, or something else). In a room full of horney men chasing one girl, y ou end
up seeing the common threads.. There are guys that just wanna get in her pants / up her s kirt.
There are guys that are trying to conquer her like some territory. There are guys trying to prove to
other guys they're more desirable / better conquerers. Some guys are just content with friendship.
Contrary to what a few of you may be thinking right now, idon't walk into a blogtv room trying
to be the most intellectual, s martest guy, group therapy guy, what ever label you w ant t o throw on
me. i enjoy the situation whatever it is. If it's a bunch of horn-dogs chasing drunken girls, and if
the girls stand their ground (don't automatically give in to the horn-dogs), i root for the girls
because, come on, is it every group of girls w ho can s tand up to a huge auditorium of cat -callers,
slobbery drunk horney guys who just want a peek up their shirt? Then of course it makes me
wonder cuz it takes wor k to kick the wors t of them so t hey us ually have s ome guys moderate for
them - kicking out the worst / most drunk / most disrespectful. ^ ^ It 's bizarre. T his is a relatively
new form of entertainment / way to spend an evening. A girl who can appear pretty 'normal'
(whatever that is) may be a 'star' at night on blogtv. Wear a bikini and do a lit tle dance, your
viewership can skyrocket to 500 in a few moments. It's an amazing phenomenon. In that kind of
situation, you really need moderators to 'weed the crowd'cuz it can easily turn int o a free-for-all
with text spamming / st reaming where you can't see a t hing on the chat-s ide. ^^ Jus t bizarre for
me who's new to blogtv .. i believe the moderators are not special in any way except for the fact
they treated 'the girl' w ith s ome modicum of respect and so got special privileges in her room.
Not everything is about sex on blogtv. i just visited a room where all they do is talk about music
(the host happens to be an aspiring musician). i can't hang there much cuz for one t hing, i'm not
an aspiring musician. M y musical tastes are way different from t hem. A nd even t hough i think the
host is incredibly talented, i get bored in a room where a bunch of guys are fawning / 'fighting'
over one cute girl. The girl 'gets off' on the attention. The guys think they have a chance with her
(more than just blogtv). T hat kind of room is really boring to me. Yest erday was my firs t time to
co-host. (Btw, i suck at co-host !) In a way, i characterize 'the girl' as an as piring comedienne.
She's Awesome. i'm truly honored by her fri endship. But the mechanics of blogt v remain the
same: there are horn-dogs just looking for skin/sex ( they avoided our room/chat like the plague),
there are the niche groups (like the music group ment ioned above) looking for something else,
and then there are real people (people who don't try to hide their ident ity) looking for something
real. This is the group i'm interested in. (Btw , i'm not knocking the mus ic group as not real, it's
just not my thing - i'm not talented enough to participate.)^^ Anyways, it's fun, it's interes ting,
it's a way to spend a boring evening, and you can meet some extremely interesting people .. (God,
now i sound like a blogtv commerci al :( ) Wow i got sidetracked there, s orry. T o get back to the
thread/conversation, i don't t hink i'd make a very good comedian cuz i s imply don't have the self-
confidence required. As you can see above, i listed the self-pit y trap firs t and for good reason.
M ost of my life i've wasted in that trap. iknow it's a fault of mine but it 's an extremely difficult
trap to break out of. i've thought ofjoining a 'comedy workshop' locally but you probly know
what i'm gonna say: i lack the self-confidence for even that. ^^ From personal experience, it's
pretty difficult to be truly humble. You easily get caught in the self- pity trap or feel arrogant /
confident about your humility (which is obviously not genuine humility). Speaking with my
family the other day, i believe genuine humility is actually the toughest virtue to pursue. Let me
say that again: the most difficult virtue to pursue is humility. ^^i say t his not out of arrogance but
plain experience. Watch the movie Razor's Edge with Bill M urray - you'll catch my drift . Since i
had such difficulty with humility, i figured the better side to 'lay on' was s elf-pit y over arrogance.
But many of my friendships i started with the premise: don't you pity me? don't you feel sorry for
me? What a pathetic way to start a friendship -i know. 8| But i think you can understand
someone who values humility above else - why i could easily fall into t hat t rap and stay t here for
many years .. Even my most recent friendships on blogtv have some elements of this self-
delusion (wanting to be humble, having difficulty, preferring self-pity over arrogance, and using
self-pity to form friendships). So i must break the pattern in those new friendships if- i'm to
overcome / get out of this trap. If i focus on: i have a lot of love to give the right people, i can
make people laugh just by being myself, i'll be fine. . i can break out . And so can you (those of
you who are also trapped in self-pity).

i realize not everyone has humility as their prime value .. Not everyone admires Gandhi for his
humility .. But we all have our own traps (cycles of behavior / mental / emotional patt erns) which
keep us from growing / learning / e volving as individuals . . A rrogance, false humilit y, vanity,
self-pity,.. these are all traps which chain us to the past - keep us from growing. And believe it or
not, we all have a choice whether or not to allow ours elves t o get s ucked into that vortex /
sinkhole / whirlpool. For too many years, i've wallowed in self-pity; i've embraced it like a lover.
But it's empty; it's unfulfilling. Self-pit y is a lover who w ill only make you a s lave t o her every
whim. And i'm guessing the others are no better.

i wanted to spend some time talking about religions - being a kind of pacifier / f alse god in our
modern world. If i choose Christianit y, i'm sure i'll lose/reject many readers but that's the danger i
must take. To my best understanding, t he 'character of Christ 'was created by Paul. Jesus was not
Christ in his time. P aul created the fiction of Chris t. Paul evidently needed s omeone to believe in
that was God-like. So he created Christ. He also evidently felt our world required a mess iah, so
again he created Christ. We created Christ out of human need/w eakness es . And s o we continue to
believe out of human need/weaknesses. It 's s imply the Christian way of connecting t o God. N ot
bad but a little perverse (if we remember the Catholic focus on crucifixion, original s in, virgin
M ary,..).i know, not all Christ ians are Catholic but many are and t his obsession with original s in,
heaven, and deification (of Jesus) borders on delusion/group-ins anit y. i think you can s ee t he
connection with the discussion above: the concept of original sin only promotes 'group pity-
party'. "We're all sinners!" (and must need t he 'blood of Chris t' t o cleanse us) is a t rick Chris tians
use to convert and condemn. In the same vein, it's a pit y party. Poor humans are so s ad and weak
we needed a messiah sent from God to save us from ourselves. It's pathetic. Christianity is a weak
religion preying on our insecurities. It may sound like all i'm doing is railing agains t P aul and
Christianity in this paragraph but there's another purpose:t's i to highlight human t endencies to
self-pity.If w e look at Chris tianity from a psycho-anal-ytical perspective,it forces us to 'accept'
we're dirty perverse disgusting creatures who only want to get off, kill, maim, rape, exploit,
subdue,.. (i happen to agree w ith the latter two) and NEED salvation in the form of 'the blood of
Christ' (you must accept Christ gave his life for our sins in order to be Christian). But realize the
mechanics of Christian salvation: you M UST accept we're all bad creatures, you M UST accept
the deity of Jesus,you M UST accept he's sent to s ave your s oul from eternal damnation,..
Otherwise, you're not Christian. Not ice the first s tat ement: w e're all bad (original sin). This is like
children in a family w hen t hey know they've done something wrong - they know t hey will be
punished in some way. But Christianity goes way beyond this simple transgression."We sinned
in the garden of Eden by turning away from God and now the whole human race is dam ned!"
Please pity us oh lord,s ave our souls , wash us clean w ith the blood of Christ,.. 8| It's pathetic and
only perpetuates a mass orgy of pity.

We're not worthy oh lord! We're not worthy yet you sent your only begotten son to save us!

It's almost comical.

But you can see how someone like me who has a tendency to self-pity could easily get sucked
into Christianity (and so my M ennonite phase as a young man). But even then i knew something
funny was going on .. Sure i had a little fun at Christianity's expense above but we learn a few
things. We have a t endency through our religions to self-pity ourselves. We can get trapped in
this like any other diversion. But t echnically explicitly and truthfully i believe it's a false
salvation (believing only Christ can save you from Hell). Or any other religion. Let's cover them.
Jews think they're the chosen people so their trap-of-conve nience w ould be arrogance. Mus lims
believe M ohammed is the prophet of God s o again arrogance. Hindu violence appears to indicat e
something similar. i was going to plug Buddhism here but they also subscribe to arrogance in the
fact they believe Buddha was enlightened and should be followed over others. It's a kind of
cultural / religious arrogance. Christians have the dual failure of self-pity (via original sin) and
arrogance stating only Christ can save you from Hell. ^^ So we can't win via religion; no one
religion can save us from ourselves.

There are groups who try to unify religious concepts and create a kind of 'consortium of faith' but
i believe this is not progres s of any sort.N o one religion or groups of religions can help us
individually mature / evolve as a whole. It has become clear to me we must dispense with all
religions socially and individually - in order to mature - as individuals and as a race.

Clinging to one particular religion o r even grouping together combining several is like a monkey
clinging to its surrogate mother: pathetic. Hars h but t rue. Each and every religion (and therefore
any grouping / merging) has some prime weakness which only perpetuates weakness in
individuals and society .. i understand we have needs like community which church / synagogue /
temple provides . We need t o feel like w e belong, like minded people, similar faith, similar
beliefs, and congregate occ asionally. This is all fine and dandy. But we us e those same places to
exclude others, curse others, damn others,.. who are not like ours elves. Even 'praying for our
enemies' is a kind of religious arrogance that assumes our position is better. Smug bullshit.

Why can't we just meet every Sunday/Saturday at some place and call it 'the communit y cent er',
pray, hug, play, love, and laugh .. But not identify it with any religion or groups of religions?
Why do we have to call it a church? Why do we feel the need to be 'the bes t' religion? Even t hose
claiming to do what i describe in this paragraph have a kind of religious arrogance .. You might
deny it but it's there,hidden, and divisive.

M y point in these last few paragraphs is thatev er y religion has some arrogance ass ociated w ith it.
Arrogance is a personal trap which keeps us away fromindividual salvat ion. There's an infinity
of traps we can get caught in: self-pity, arrogance, vanity, false humility,.. These only chain us to
the past preventing us from growing. Choose not t o pity yourself, choos enot arrogance, c hoos e
not vanity, choos e not false humility,.. Choos e not w eakness. Choos e to G row.

i'm constantly reminded that expression "your pat h to salvation is like walking on a razor's edge"
is not even close to realit y - it's more like t rying to balance yours elf on a pin (the pointy end).
There's an infinite number of ways to fall down from that point. But onlyone w ay to s tay up.
And only you can find that way. ^^ Find it; find your individual pat h to s alvation. A nd walk it.

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