Friday, October 1, 2010

Retiring this blog...

Decided this morning that a simpler URL may be useful. So, I'm going to stop posting here, and instead post to my new blog, http://ramt1.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Where am I?

My wife plans on starting Baptiste's 40 Days to Personal Revolution on Monday, Sept 20, 2010 at Yoga Ananda in Houston. She's decided to start a blog to record her journey, which reminded me that I haven't posted here in several months...

So, where am I ... spiritually?

Last time I walked into a church service was Christmas 2009...

Have read several books that have had a big influence on me since then, including Haidt's "The Happiness Hypothesis". Haidt's book led me down the path to learn more about meditation, of which, I must confess, I am still very ignorant. However, I try to practice meditation twice per day, and have managed to sit and quiet my mind for about twenty minutes at a time. The first few attempts felt like hell... my mind was a cacophony and acted like a two-year-old toddler, running a muck and darting like a hummingbird. I cannot say that my mind has changed that behavior so much as I have learned how to parent it... I focus back on breathing, which reminds me of taking a small child to a park and letting them run around in the play area --- when the child ventures beyond the play area, you gently nudge it back. Maybe a closer description is that I just let those chaotic thoughts come and go without becoming overly fixated on them during the meditation...

I also took up yoga about two weeks ago, starting a beginner Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga class and absolutely love it. It pushes me outside of my comfort zone and is a great workout. Within the past few days, I've started doing my nightly meditation after about 45 minutes of yoga at home. I've noticed a big difference in how calm my mind is (likely due to physical exhaustion) when I meditate after yoga.

Still not sure where I am spiritually, but I would say that I'm drifting away from a pure materialist/post-modern mindset --- not really sure where I'll land...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Punting to Books.Google.Com for reviews...

Punting posting reviews from here to books.google.com instead.

Only news, spiritually, in my life, is my decision to start trying to do meditation on a daily basis, thanks to books like Haidt's "Happiness Hypothesis" and other books on Buddhist philosophy that I have read.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lobdell's "Losing My Religion"

Started reading Lobdell's "Losing My Religion" book --- really resonated with me, especially the following passage:

"… Father Vincent addressed the scandal [of the priests who molested children] head on… if we let [the priests] actions kill our faith, that would be spiritual suicide."

"… I would eventually find Father Vincent's assumption wrong. Spiritual suicide infers that people make a conscious decision to abandon their faith. Yet it isn't simply a matter of will. Many people want desperately to believe, but just can't. They may feel tortured that their faith has evaporated, but they can't will it back into existence. If an autopsy could be done on their spiritual life, the cause of death wouldn't be murder or suicide. It would be natural causes --- the organic death of a belief system that collapsed under the weight of experience and reason."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hagerty on spirituality...

"As I studied spirituality, however, it became clear to me that there were elements of my religious beliefs that I would have to discard, or at least view with a skeptical eye. First, I simply cannot read the Bible literally. For one thing, it's internal contradictions (witness the two versions of Jesus healing the Centurion's servant in two Gospels) show that the Bible was written by flawed human beings. I believe Scripture is inspired. But when the literal reading of the text conflicts with tested and established science --- six-day creation versus evolution, for example --- I believe science wins. That does not mean that Scripture is wrong. Any Christian theologian will argue that Genesis is sound theology. But Genesis is not, and never was intended to be, a peer-reviewed article in a scientific journal. Scripture is metaphorical, explaining the world in a way that humans could understand at the time it was written, thousands of years ago, I do not think it was meant to be freeze-framed for all eternity..." --- Hagerty, "Fingerprints of God"

Saturday, January 30, 2010

10000 hours

Just had a disheartening epiphany... Expertise in something takes about 10,000 hours according to gladwell's book "outliers" --- if you spend only one hour per day in movement towards expertise in a single thing, say enlightenment, it would take a third of an adult life or more to come close to approaching an expert level... Seems insurmountable when thinking of making your way towards a relationship with God begining in your early forties --- there's not enough time left in your life to really accomplish it without sacrificing your present life.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hagerty's "Fingerprints of God"

Reading Barbara Hagerty's "Fingerprints of God". I love her candor. Felt she was about to jump the shark when she started talking about peyote and tipis, however...

So far, my takeaway is this. Religion is biology (left frontal lobe, seratonin). She argues as a believer in christ, however, it is from a NPR journalist's background. She points that she doesn't really know if it's all biology, or if it could be a radio analogy... in that certain people are tuned in to pick up God's broadcast and other people cannot --- does not mean that there's no broadcast... and if you pour maple syrup all over the wires of the radio (in say, medicating seizures, which in and of themselves can produce religious experience), or pull the wires out (as in drastic brain surgery to stop seizures in the frontal lobe), you stop receiving the broadcast... again not negating the presence of a broadcast itself... it just means that the means of receiving it are now gone for those who have been medicated or operated upon...

This is one of the first books that I've read since September that gives me a glimmer of hope for becoming religious again... unfortunately for those who know and love me, however, I'm more inclined towards pursuing some sort of eastern meditation because of this book rather than any form of fundamentalist christianity... the research findings indicate that 45 minutes of daily meditation can produce demonstrable results...