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Eric's Sunday Sermon; How to Avoid Confusion of the Mind and Find Success.

Updated on January 17, 2016

They loved each other for a lifetime.

Now that is what I call success
Now that is what I call success | Source

Look in that mirror - you are a success

Just for today. Take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Do you like what you see? Let me try that a different way. Take a good look at yourself in the mirror. Like what you see. Is life really that simple? It kind of is.

When I was just a youngster I got a degree in philosophy. It was at Northern Arizona University. For a full confluence of reasons the school at that time had an awesome and well respected school of philosophy. One of the jokes was that if you wanted to go to graduate school you did not enroll in philosophy. The reason was that you could not get in to graduate school with an “F” in your transcript. Normally a degree in philosophy is a bachelor’s of fine arts. A BA. For this fool it was so loaded with logic classes that I earned a bachelor’s of science in philosophy. Somehow the wise people determined that the art of logic was scientific I suppose. Well the point of this long winded boring story is that my thesis which we had to do just to make things harder, was on success. The thesis was a failure. Get it? Oh do not worry it was good enough to get me into graduate school, but it just was not good enough for me. It was not the masterpiece I had come to expect from myself. Now let us get back to that mirror. I know that you are way ahead of me here, because you are smart. And you really do like what you see in the mirror. Go on look again. You are special and what could be seen as defects are really just your character and that is a good good thing indeed.

Go ahead and be confused about my writing. Be confused as to how that idiot is driving. Be confused over how your spouse treats you and about just about anything, but do not be confused about who you are and you are great

Hey you! Your Beautiful

Sometimes the hike is very hard

But the view is well worth it.
But the view is well worth it. | Source

Confusion

Now let us get into where some confusion begins. You want to do better and improve yourself. Therefor there must be something wrong with you. Or you can phrase it like this: I hate that I am lazy so I want to become more energetic. Two peas – same pod. Can you see the logical dilemma that puts us into? Wouldn’t it be more productive if we said, this is fine but I can do better? I have a heater that works just fine. But the pilot light is burning too high. It does not mean it is a bad heater. It means that if I tweak the valves just right it can be a more efficient heater. I am not a fat slob. But if I exercise I will feel better and look even better. Listen to this upbeat song, and we will talk more about confusion.

Somehow we see that something could be better and we immediately jump to the illogical conclusion that how it is now is bad. Life is funny that way. One of my favorite things to see, and I do not know if they do it anymore, is the notion of “new and improved”. They used to do it all the time with products they were hawking on TV. Detergents and shampoos. I remember one where they even went so far as to say the “new new and improved”. I don’t think people went around throwing out their old and not improved stuff. Don’t you dare go around throwing out the old you, just improve on it. Love what you see but always strive to improve.

Now let us talk about love and religion. Religion is not exclusive of love. Love is not exclusive of religion. And some folks like to say that love is their religion. And others say that my religion is all about love. It kind of gets confusing. There is a notion that God loves us. But we also hear of fire and brimstone and eternal hellfire if we do wrong. That is confusing. And we are not to be confused about God’s love for us. So a fellow like me clears up the confusion. And that gets confusing. Have you ever heard of the concepts of metaphor, allegory, parable, analogy, symbolism or simile? If you have not then I suggest you read no further and look those words up. It is not important that you can define them but it is important that you know they are ways of talking about something that are not really to be taken literally. If I say; “You love me” it is different than saying “you love me like a father loves his daughter”. They mean different things but the second certainly does not mean that you are a father of the speaker. That would be a major confusion in the mind. The love part is constant, though the type of love is changed. And we certainly no that fathers and daughters are not a part of the story. They were simply used in literary license to get a point across.

Sorry for all you Bible thumping literalists. The Bible is many things but it is a book. A book is literature. Literary rules apply. And keep in mind that Jesus even spoke in parables and more.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Behold the beauty in you
Behold the beauty in you | Source

Happy is good

Common sense

Now let me get back to the very unloving hellfire and eternal damnation in that unquenchable fire. The particulars are not important, but let me tell you truthfully, I have been to hell on earth. My own doing. It was an incomprehensible demoralized state without hope for anything better in all eternity. It came with moral, spiritual and physical bankruptcy. Fire would have been a blessing compared to this. And I can tell you this also; love was the lifeline to get me back in touch with love and being in love. It lifted the eternal hell that I was stuck in.

Now all that is true. But I write like that to get the point across. The Bible is written like that to get the point across. If your life is void of love, it is a fiery hell. A burning sensation fills that void that should be occupied by love. I believe God is Love. I believe in the Holy Trinity notion and that the Holy Ghost is that Love. Hey that is just me, and it works for me. (or if you don’t think so – let me know in the comments) Now here is the freaky point of my belief. I believe you can be an atheist and if you are filled with love and you believe in love in your heart, then no one important gives a hoot what you think. Thinking is for weirdos like me. If you are loving to others then I see God in you and I do not care what your religion is.

Don't take the road that leads to nowhere

Take the good road that leads to love
Take the good road that leads to love | Source

Let us tie it all together

Do not be confused about love or success. But just to let you know, in my thesis I determined and argued that true success was only found in true love. The material is almost irrelevant as success there is only transitory at best and at worst a cause for a separation from love.

Please go back and look in that mirror and love the one you are with – you! Do not be confused by the things of this world, be guided by love, and for sure that begins with loving yourself.

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    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 15 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Interesting sermon about love and success and on the need to avoid confusion of mind. But, in presenting this thesis, I feel you made us more confusing with your arguments. The main purpose is clear that we should be guided by love to achieve success. Start with loving yourself, then love that person with whom you are and spread the love to all around you. Thanks for this nice message.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thankyou Venkatachari, I see your point and it is a bit confusing. Truly you said it right.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric: I like just about everything you said here, except somewhat laconic suggestion that "we should love, and then everything will be just fine". In my experience with the complexities of human nature, it's like telling a smoker: "What, you are smoking? Just quit".

      What we, as noble advisers have on our hands is the people's CAPACITY for loving. Yes, it is an inherent ability in all of us, but heavily sabotaged by our social programming that has instilled into our self-image and our world view all sorts of negativities. So, when you look in the mirror, you are not facing a "lovable creation of God", but rather a sum total of all your "programs", experiential, intellectual, emotional, and - yes, spiritual. They may be, and usually are heavily clashing with one another, crowned by so typical self-doubt which makes all of us different from Jesus who could step ONTO the water and walk on it, even knowing that objects sink.

      Maybe a better advice would be that we all take a look in the mirror and try to figure out WHY we can't react to that image the same way that we react to a smiling baby, a playful kitten, or a person that we just freshly fell in love with.

      Maybe you are overlooking the fact that we are basically psycho-physical instruments processing all inputs mixed with all acquired characteristics, and as such we are also processing religious teachings. These teachings are not something of an "absolute value" hanging there to be absorbed in its pristine form and content - but only an offered ingredient in our ALREADY EXISTING AND STRONG QUEST, to refine our spiritual path to love. My point being that in mentality messed up with an emotional junk, LOVE may only mean "being loved, accepted", not loving and accepting.

      I have noticed that attitude while reading Q & A. The attitude of a concern about "being saved". I could hardly run into a "loving Christian" who would say: "Vlad, I admire the fact that you found your own way to LOVE, to be HELPFUL, to INSPIRE, and isn't it great that we can both feel the same thing just taking a different path to it. In my love I am embracing your life-long effort and its results, and it's fine with me that you are not a church-goer and Bible-reader". Instead, I ran into a fierce defensive criticism from those poor souls clinging to their own faith while not realizing that LOVE was not an ingredient of it. IF IT WAS, THEY WOULD DISPLAY IT, NOT ADVERTISE IT.

      Please, don't look for a "hurt ego" behind all this, because I amputated that bastard long time ago from my spiritual-self. I am simply suggesting that people should not push a bunch of STORIES about love, while not experiencing it at all.

      One of my harshest critics was a lady with an intelligent but angry mentality - anger seeking new opportunities for angry interpretations. A clear case of emotions dictating thoughts - just like a pessimist rushes to see the empty half of the proverbial glass. This is an example of what I am talking about: beliefs don't stand by themselves in their validity - they get some sense when we are sensible. The fact that someone may slap me with this or that passage from the Bible means nothing to me, because they are contradicting themselves while playing smart about LOVE instead of displaying tolerance which would be much more indicative of their faith.

      You may have noticed that I am increasingly becoming reluctant to continue with this sort of outsmarting game of kicking the crap back and forth. Some of my questions were just testing the believers' sense of "where God really is". They failed - He is not "up there and everywhere", just because a book says so. He is in our hearts - or isn't, no matter how we choose to label Him.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Remind me again why God can not be "up there and everywhere". Just because a book says so does not mean it is not accurate. We seem to have different views on what a God is. I view a God as omnipotent and omnipresent. I probably got that from 50+ books and thinkers.

      Because you and I might view God within us as an inside job, not an external thing, does not make it right for everyone. I think there are more than a couple of roads to love within.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric: Bravo on your 50+ books. I got my ideas from over thousand books about dynamics and complexity of human beings, thousands of hours of sinking into my essence, cleansing my spiritual act through discipline, and making sure that my energy field is of a positive "frequency by doing my qigong exercise and Small Universe meditation; also through self-hypnosis and self-observation of my subconscious tendencies. How silly that we got to this point of mentioning our resumes, our formal and privately acquired education, as if that of itself is supposed to support our ideas, make us more "right", or say anything about who we really are. Labels, labels, labels...that's why my love is not inspired by something that "others" have said. All my books have only been what gym is for a ballet dancer.

      Of course you can "place" God where you please, but AGAIN, when people experience Him in a duality of Him-&- Me, they are talking about God loving them "from above", not as a pattern of spiritual EXPERIENCE in which love is generated from their hearts, ergo God is their heart's realization, residing in them. Furthermore, His "omnipotence and omnipresence" is AGAIN just a little more than a part of an intellectual adventure - if He is not present in our hearts.

      This brings us to the "omnipresent" attitude of people who never really cultivated true love, but have a mouthful of intellectualizing about God, His location, His orders, His glory in the heavens. To them it's all just something to yap about between two TV soap operas and two TV news programs where they exercise a lot of anger and intolerance.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Interesting Vladimir,

      Those darn things we use to describe things. How horrific language is ;-)

      People should be careful what label they put on which label and so on.

      For some reason people not jumping into the ethereal and total complex concepts does not bother me. I think most do just fine without it.

      We just got back from a very fun time meeting with Royce and Phil and Janet and Hank and Theresa and Anne and on and on. A whole lot a hugging and hand holding going on. A great band with awesome sing along. Cool words of prayer and a sermon to boot! Ken does a great job holding my attention and getting me to think. The whole concept of "Holy" "things" otherwise known as sacraments reminds me of my son and candy. It makes him happy and taken in small doses is just fine for you.

      True love and omnipresent. I think that is way too deep for most folks. Some just relate it as "love is everywhere". I do not begrudge them that.

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 15 months ago

      Hello Brother Eric,

      I must say after reading your thoughtful Sunday sermon, I am fascinated with your writing approach. I have read the comments as well so far. And I must say, I am even more amused. I get what you are trying to convey here and the message in which you have done so, is priceless! :-)

      Now, as for the intelligent folks who have really given thoughtful and really deep responses. I will just share, if I may?

      When I was a child, I loved the song "Jesus loves me". I knew I was a sinner. And when looking in the mirror for the longest time, all I would see reflecting back would be sin. And one day, when I accepted *love* from the attitude standpoint of an omnipresent God. This is where I unlocked something so powerful. Love is as much an action as it is reaction. It is as much given as it is taken. So, for me, I can't see how any person would go wrong with knowing this reality. Love is what keeps one's heart beating and the mind dreaming of meeting the one who created Love. Blessings always...You are very much loved here! :-) Shared this love so others may know

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 15 months ago from Australia

      Eric

      I have to agree that formal religion is an important part of many people's lives and should be respected as their way to God.

      Personally I don't follow a specific religion. However this may be a personal failing as following a religion involves a lot more challenges re discipline and personal interactions.

      Vlad

      Veiled attempts at notions of superiority to religion can easily be seen as intolerance. It comes across as condescending and egotistical. Usually athiests do it. If a person claims to do the same "to teach others something " it could be seen as the very height of arrogance.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Jo,

      I just thought for a moment about how fortunate we are to discuss such things. I know about the freedom of speech thing and the forum concept, but I am talking about our gift of being able to think and feel deeply. Just the blessing to ponder and relate our history, beliefs and thoughts is a gift. And whether we like it or not an obligation to those with limitations that do not allow for such depth in understanding or ability to articulate.

      Your experience as a child and then loving realization of just how much you are loved is some explanation for why you are such a wonderful person that brings that love to whatever table you are sitting.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oztinato, You make me examine. Why am I afraid of a total commitment to a sect of my religion. Perhaps it is not their failings as much as my own. I shall meditate on this and contemplate. Meanwhile I must finish cooking these tamales for my little one before he eats my arm. Life is refreshing.

      Vladimir makes me stop and pause and check my certainty button. I like that. Arrogant is harsh but maybe self elevation. But perhaps that is our friends point!

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric; As I lightly mentioned, I spent many years studying the power of suggestion and hypnosis, self-hypnosis, mass-hypnosis used in politics, religion, and business advertizing, as well as social conditioning coming from family and media. As the result, "belief" certainly has a much broader meaning to me than it has to you.

      So, there is no doubt in my mind that on your accepted level of "believing", matters of our (somewhat fruitless) discussion are EXACTLY as you are describing them. There is nothing to be sorry about here because it's only human to be diferent - but you and I just can't get to the same page. Once when our belief system becomes a closed and locked construct, we just defend it and rationalize it - unable to get out and see it from the outside.

      Some of your comments to my words make me think of a hypothetical man saying to Albert Einstein: "Your theory of relativity simply cannot be correct - mostly because of your bushy moustache." (Of course, I am not comparing myself to a genius, I just needed that for the allegory".)

      Like every humble guy of Eastern disciplines, I will say: Sorry to have wasted your time with my philosophizing. From my loving heart I wish you lot of success - especially that one with the mirror.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Vladimir -- whether you know it or not you just said that you are too far advanced to have a conversation with a neanderthal like me. Rarefied air like yours makes you lonely on top of Olympus. You have no need for people and that is sad. Or maybe you do as you said you are leaving the Q&A but remain. Interesting. Don't mind us peons I am sure we can struggle by without your Godliness.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 15 months ago from Olympia, WA

      This lesson saved my life nine years ago. I hope everyone is internalizing this and believing it.

      '

      You rock, Dude!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 15 months ago from Australia

      Eric

      I associate with several diverse groups but find there's a point where I need space. A Tao group for example insists on not throwing out "food" even though the potatoes are green. This can cause serious illness in children and indeed it did, so I distanced myself. Another Hindu group leader became a tyrant on a trip to India demanding the impossible so I quietly distanced myself from the group.

      Arrogance: I believe it is very unethical to pretend to take on another attitude to allegedly "teach" someone as it involves a moral deception. It is a highly condescending practice, hence arrogant. It is my understanding that HP doesn't condone it.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 15 months ago from New Orleans, LA

      I like the way you have put into words about how to love yourself, which is the hardest thing. I think many times when bad things happen to us we internalize them and start to hate ourselves. It is hard not to condemn your whole self as just horrible.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill I know where you are coming from and applaud you. This notion has saved my butt more than once.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oztinato,

      I appreciate what you say. And I have to catch myself and not be arrogant over arrogance - if you know what I mean. I most assuredly fall into the problem myself. Personally I need people in my life. I do not wish to offend yet I do.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Marie, I suffer a bit from depression. Some stupid chemical imbalance. And so I have to really pay attention and watch my thoughts about myself. I cannot do the "over generalization" about my errors. Eric is good, even though I mess up from time to time. Thank you for adding to this hub.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric,

      For the sake of a few better moments we had in our exchange of thoughts, I'll make this exception to my decision. It seems like neither you nor Oztinato know how heavy the word "arrogance" is. I was never putting your religious beliefs down - on the contrary, I congratulated you as to "possibly the most religious person I know". And I never imposed my views on anybody, just willing to share about what makes my views different from standard religious ones. I mentioned many times that I did believe in God, just in my own version of Him; and yet I have been called an "atheist", beside being called a"hypocrite", a "Satan", and now "arrogant", by a person that I had a high respect for.

      Well, I don't take any bullshit from anyone. I didn't take it as an army drill sergeant half a century ago, and I certainly don't plan to start it now. Talking about those who called me "atheist, hypocrite, and Satan", if people are emotionally imbalanced I won't serve as a disposal container for their emotional crap. So much for my "not needing people" - I don't "need" them unconditionally, like a mental beggar happy to get some attention. NOT ME.

      I still don't get it how you got to this point of seeing me as "arrogant". I am only SHARING in my hubs - not "teaching". I don't write sermons, and if I stepped out of Hub Pages tomorrow, I wouldn't suddenly "turn lonely", because a happen to have something like life, and Hub Pages are not my primary aspect of socializing.

      I did not present myself as "smarter" by simply mentioning the fact that my concept of "belief" is broader than yours. By that I said what I kept saying all along - that people's psychological profile affects their "quality of faith". And you just proved it to be true by jumping the gun, forgetting your faith (which implies love and tolerance) and calling me "arrogant". We are mature people, Eric, not teenagers, to call each other any name that comes to mind, just because we are pissed off over someone daring to have a different opinion.

      You guys can have your faith, and your love, and your compassion, if it boils down to this. Just for the argument's sake - hypothetically speaking, what if I WAS smarter in some ways? Would you throw an anathema on me, with a dozen of new epithets?

      When I said that allegory on Einstein, if you had read it properly, you would have got my true message : sometimes you grab on a little peripheral detail of my comments just for sake of disagreeing, while ignoring the central point.

      Anyway, now you can misinterpret this exempt from my decision as my "apologizing", as my "wiggling out" of guilt with some cheap excuses", or probably the best one - as a symptom of my hurting ego. Whether you realize it or not, I am offering my friendly hand here, because I always give people a second chance. If you accept the hand, be careful how you call me - I never called you anything bad.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 15 months ago from Australia

      Vlad

      correct me if I'm wrong but didn't you say you found people who criticize you "cute"?

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Oztinato: I thought you knew the difference between "criticizing" and "insulting". You can criticize my ideas all you want - and I may criticize yours, but it's nothing personal. I still call "cute" many attempts of my opponents to knock down my views by quoting Bible. But no name calling is welcome. When you call ME arrogant, that reminds me of the anecdote about the great Roman orator Cicero's advice to his students: "When you run out of healthy arguments - insult your opponent".

      I find it extremely odd, to say the least, that you still want to play this losing game, Oztinato. It takes a big man to admit that he made a mistake, and you are giving me this cheap shot about my calling "cute" my critics. Still trying to somehow wiggle out of the fact that you acted totally contrary to the religious decency that you are preaching about. What is your religion good for if your psychological makeup doesn't allow you to follow it, if you have this burning need to "win", to make someone a "bad person" (arrogant) just because he dares to have a different view of God from yours. Aren't we getting close to the definition of intellectual arrogance?

      When a person can't open his mind just enough to allow the possibility of other angles of perception, then it borders with religious fanaticism, and definitely disqualifies him from ANY fair discussion. - Well, who am I writing to - it takes a big man.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      You do well my friend. You know I have no patience for another passing judgement as to another's faith and position relative to a God. Certainly not my call. I suppose I take the concept of arrogance to mean anyone's position that they feel is better than another's -- perhaps not as serious as yours which seems to relate to the notion of "Vainglory". If my words were too harsh than it is only I who is to blame. Mea culpa.

      Because I have been down you "only way to truth" road and have chosen a path more empathetic does not make me less broad minded or enlightened. Been there done that and have chosen a faith that is inclusive of others. I do not see some great big absolute in the sky or in the sky of my soul. I see love as an intermixed relationship with others with love. The divinity of my being is contingent in being a part of the whole of love. I have gone the isolationist live in a place on a mountaintop concept and found it lonely and not fulfilling of a purpose that requires interaction and acceptance on my humaness. God is the glue that binds all love into a pure direction of harmony. All love necessarily includes my brethren who have neither the time nor inclination to sit around in their skivvies and contemplate oneness. I just made the best bean, cheese and rice burritos in a corn tortilla. A perfect protein. I do not begrudge the bobblehead that buys McDonalds. And I doubt he begrudges me unless I act superior because all my ingredients were fresh and organic. (sorry could not resist the bobblehead visual)

      You should not leave the area where ideas are shared. We would miss it and be less for it. Perhaps you could meditate on the "tone" with which you present. And I shall do the same. We must look deeper than the hurt of name calling and hope to see a cause and learn from it.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric, I have been in many discussions over the years of my studious efforts, and the strange phenomenon of "superiority" is not having its debut in our particular exchange of opinions. Sometimes I had more problems convincing my opponents (discussing opponents, not enemies) that there was no competitive bone in me - than to convey to them my actual views. What makes it strange to me was the fact that many times during discussion I would even emphasize how I respected their views, but I just opted to keep mine - but for some reason that I never understood, that was not enough. To them it was still "lecturing", not an exchange of thoughts.

      So, once again, here I am, having a nice exchange of opinions, and then BOOM! - something in my words had to sound like I considered myself or my views "superior". Maybe the hard part to get is that my views are MINE, and I naturally make an effort to present WHY I see them worth having and keeping over others', including some of yours. In some unspoken sense, my views HAVE TO be more convincing to me, because they are MINE. But the question of "superiority" is illogical, because I am not "competing", just sticking to something that makes more sense to me.

      I always say that the only person I compete with is the yesteryear's myself. I truly and honestly respect the fact that we are two thinking people with different minds, and neither is "smarter" - we are simply exchanging and comparing thoughts. By the same token, yours are not "superior" just because you opt to stick to them.

      There is also a question of trust. If I expressed my admiration for your education and your spiritual path - then I like to be trusted that no matter what this or that sentence may "sound like", my admiration stands. I don't like my words to be weighed with an apothecary scale after we have established our level of mutual respect. The word "arrogant" though is too heavy, and you'll never hear it from me.

      When I said that my concept of "belief" was broader than yours, at that point of our knowing each other that was true, because you had never mentioned any of your in-depth studies in the field of suggestion, hypnosis, and conditioning. So what? I never said that you were playing "superior" (or arrogant) to me with your knowledge of the Bible and historical events surrounding it, which you know better than I. So what, if one of us seems to know more about certain aspect of either human psyche, or human religiousness? Are we "show-offs?" Imagine an architect talking to a doctor, and when doctor says something from his expertise the architect says: "Why are you playing superior to me?"

      The name "arrogant" did not make a dent on my ego or caused any hurt; names like that simply take away any sense of discussion, because I can't see the connection between what I did and that name. Being a pragmatic dude, I only see the discussion escalating to a level where I don't want it, because then we are going to start replacing sound arguments with all kind of names. So, I am not hurt one bit, my friend, the chemistry between us is violated.

      Actually WAS. I appreciate your last comment very much. Participating in Q. & A. will stay affected by so many other participants displaying a closed mind, and slapping me around with their book and its quotations. You see Eric, I could, just like you, talk about my views never mentioning the word "spiritual", or "God", and I would still be talking about both. Some folks just bluntly talk about the same musical notes, not realizing that it doesn't sound one bit like music.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 15 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      I can see by your comments that this has been a very thought provoking hub not for just me but also others. Another great discussion topic Eric.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana, thank you for that and I assure you Vladimir and I are not through with each other yet. He has a bent that is challenging my thoughts and I love that. I call these "sermons" because I want people to look at me as some kind of pompous teacher and so critically analyse my thoughts with skepticism. They do. And that makes us all better. I was going to stop publishing these sermons. And then someone told me privately that I was wrong and why. I felt energized as though I maybe made an impact, perhaps like a falling comet, not always good but an impact nevertheless. Mine is not to be right but to learn with my friends.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 15 months ago from Southern Illinois

      To my way of thinking love is the key that makes life meaningful. I know people who go to church with a sour attitude and I have friends who do not attend church but are sweet and thoughtful. You always make me think and that's good.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Vladimir, I have a problem. And that is that I like a good common me. My shrink one time decades ago made me join this group to be with folks like me. I joined. The were like children polishing their shiny stars for the world to see how brilliant they were. Outside the room they were always the smartest in a room. 3D chess and arguing algorithms and quantum physics was what they called interesting. BORING! And you would say the same.

      So I joined this group called the human race. And except for the oddball they have been very kind and gracious to me -- especially when I did not deserve it. Love and compassion and a foot up on a rock around a fire with cheap brandy. I came home to me. All of that folderol to say that you are welcome at my campfire any day at any time. Oh and by the by I fired my shrink and hired a yogi. To counterbalance my Jesuit priest. But be darned they were not that different. They reminded me of my Navajo medicine man and my Buddhist sister-in-law.

      Ain't that a long road to follow in my meandering to say simply that we come to very similar conclusions from wonderfully different paths.

      So let us be a little elitist and not take offense at being called such. We have the luxury that the working man don't have, to contemplate such matters of import and maybe they will find the time to at least enjoy a foray into our world.

      Don't leave -- OK bro?

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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby, ain't that just the way it is. My brother is a real stinker head. Atheist to the bone. But boyo boyo is he a good guy at heart. He loves and loves deeply and I owe him for that. We refuse to see eye to eye. And I think we should not. But a love flows and that is good enough.

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      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric,

      About your sermons.

      Keep publishing them by all means. You obviously have a grateful and inspired public there, and how could it possibly be wrong? On another topic, it's entirely up you if your quest is after some absolutes with which you feel more comfortable, or just playfully and freely drifting in a relativistic and unstable world that's filled with crazy magic of choice. Without a pompous introduction - my world.

      Like my latest hub would say, in my world I am a sovereign where things only have that suchness which I give to them. Other folks are doing the same - they just don't know it, as they are not doing it consciously. Gods, and angels, and politicians, and our noisy neighbor...they are all subjects to our interpretation, reaction, or intentional modification. As far as my life is concerned, the reality of a certain fish in the Indian ocean means nothing - no matter how real and existing it is. Clearly enough, I am a notorious relativist.

      Take ME out of the equation and nothing exists. It may exist to you, to Joe, or Jane, but I am not living your, or their intimate reality, only mine. Now the question is "where do we meet"? What is a "common ground?" WHATEVER WE CHOOSE IT TO BE. You and I don't have THE friendship, we have a friendship created by Eric and Val. It's not the same "friendship" that Val has with his pen pal in Buenos Aires, who is a psychoanalyst - because we discuss about "how much Jacques Lacan is making sense". And we argue, because she likes Jacques Lacan, I don't.

      So, Susana and I have different arguments than I am having with Eric, which makes "argument" a relative thing. Can you see where I am going with this, without my sticking a finger in that direction? I have seen many, many religious folks talking about God, and to each one of them He meant something different - within the dynamics of their different personalities. Fishing for a common denominator - yes, their phrases and slogans were almost identical, and yet their gods were different, when mixed with their own saliva in their different mouths, within a different emotional climate, different causalities in formation od their thoughts. You may argue that a song is the same whether played on violin or on piano. But who says we are talking about a song - we are talking how each instrument is "out of tune" in its own way.

      Since I am a long time meditator, "peace" means something different to me than to you, Eric, because in the textile of your intimacy this word has a different design than in mine, even though we are apparently talking about the "same" thing. I have spent 51 years with my wife in the best marriage that I have ever seen, and yet, on some levels we are total strangers. Wife or not, she is, LIKE EVERYONE ELSE selective about what she discloses about her most intimate world. You and I may have wonderful discussions, but it will be only "my displayed fragment of me" discussing with "your displayed fragment of you". But all along we'll conduct our communication under illusion that we know who we are writing to. Imagine it even deeper: since we are both still searching for our "true self", even we don't know the reality of who we are, let alone knowing it about each other.

      The same goes for "love", or any other CONCEPT that we are talking about. Humans live in a world of mutual agreements about what is real. Nothing is "real" except that agreement. So, when you write for the folks that are loyally into your sermons, it's something beautiful, Eric, you have created an agreement there.

      But beyond that agreement, there are countless other agreements, and it's all fine. A guy like me is scanning over all of them playing my magic of relativism, in which I choose my thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and actions without really seeing a big conductor making some "common sense" out of it. In the beauty of my world, there is no "collectivism" that would dictate what is appropriate to think, feel, or believe. IT'S ALL IN MY INTUITION, which simply guides me to LOVE. Not "in the name of this or that", but in the name of ME. Why? Because I feel it's the most sincere thing to do.

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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Muy Bueno mi Amigo,

      How could one not be touched by your compassion for understanding? So we come full circle and cycle. How to avoid confusion and find success.

      We are agreed success is a self fulfillment. Whether we find it in community or whether we find it in those inner reaches of being. Success is easy. But finding a void of confusion is tough, as you illustrate in your elaboration that a common man cannot follow. That is no insult that is respect. For a man who writes a sentence that I must read twice is bravado. A man who writes a sentence I choose to read twice is enlightened. And I am made better by repetition.

      So we deal with this confusion straight on! I say the confusion is based upon non-acceptance of the world. You say it is in acceptance of the world?

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      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric...If you ask a 5 year old kid whether he wants scrambled eggs or cereal for breakfast, he may answer : "I want an ice cream". Somewhat similar is my answer to your question - whether the confusion arises from non-acceptance or acceptance of the world. My answer is: Neither of the two, but from a failure to intentionally modify our experiencing the world.

      If I insist on maintaining a harmony, health, and happiness in myself - which should be the simple concern of my psycho-physical survival, then I can't afford to allow the world to push my buttons of emotionality. It's up to my sense of humanness to be helpful and compassionate, but it's also up to me to what extent and duration and intensity I may experience it. For example, if I can't help in any way, I won't be torturing myself with human suffering. If you are hurting, I won't sit beside you and cry with you in the name of altruistic compassion - I'll do my best to lift your spirits, make your suffering go away, help in some way humanly possible.

      In other words, I will modify the situation, meaning that I will not either "accept" your suffering or "turn my blind eye to it". It really boils down to stress management, and the question is always "WHAT" is there to be experienced in any way. Since I didn't start any of that military stupidity in the Middle East, and since I have no means to finish it - I won't be bothered - just for sake of my altruism. If I wanted to emotionally respond to every trouble on TV news, I would be heading to a nervous breakdown, ulcer, or a heart attack. So, again, I am modifying my interest there. On the other hand, I may be touched to tears by a piece of classical music, or seeing toddlers play with kittens, allowing my emotionality to go ballistic.

      As for confusion, let me be honest with you, Eric buddy: once when we know what we want in life, and we don't sabotage that want - there is nothing like "confusion", all pieces of puzzle are in places where we want them.

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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Fantastic and a great addition to this hub. I hope folk read it and get a glimpse of how truly grand our nature can be. You transverse logic into my emotionally "now".

      Can we use religion as a tool? Not a stopover and not as an end to a means. But a simple platform from which to explore our inner depths. By golly it is scary down there. I need my crew up above to feed me the oxygen to continue on this journey. Are there other tools - most assuredly but I want the somebody watching my back. The journey to be worthwhile requires love from others as assuredly as love from ourselves. God did not only make organisms he made the social creature we call humans.

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      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric: We can use anything as a tool to explore our inner depths, including religion. We just have to be ready that we will be seeing ourselves through the prism of that tool, which may exclude other angles of seeing ourselves. But that's the beauty of freedom, no norms to follow, just follow your own bliss. In a way it will be "finding the truth at the place where we chose to look for it". It may make us feel dignified and a part of the celestial creative scheme of everything in existence. It may give us peace and comfort of the feeling that we are sitting in the lap of a loving and protecting father whose love is connecting all of us into one happy global family. Especially if we already have a created imagery in that aspect of self-identification. Why not.

      Now, curiously (or not), I never think about others loving me. This may be one of those things where we are different, buddy. Let me start with my beloved wife. Out of my self-discipline or something, I never really looked at her as my "possession", and even though she is officially "my wife", she isn't really "my" anything. She is another human being who chooses to share life with me, free to feel about me what and when and how much she chooses. She can't "make me" happy. The moment when my happiness would depend on her loving me, I would "expect" it as her duty, and then every signal of her "less loving me" would make me unhappy. And then I would be tempted to call her love "unstable" or something.

      So, people are free to feel for me what they choose, and I don't think it's anybody's "duty" in the name of this or that belief to love me. If they love me it's like a bonus, if they don't I am not disappointed. It is my instinctual orientation to try maintaining a harmonious relationships, but again, in the relativity of everything, nothing is chiseled in a stone about it, and that harmony may have its variations.

      Whether it's obvious or not - I don't "need" others to love me, but regardless of that "need" I always had a lot of people in my life loving me. Again, if it was my "need", then I could go through some periods of love starvation - let's say while people are preoccupied by themselves. And I might feel hurt if they don't return my love; or I might feel left out if they are busy giving more attention to others.

      Now, let's not get to a wrong conclusion - I do care to be loved, and I love others, but it's all somehow free, free of a "need". To me, love is almost synonymous to happiness. I generate a lot of it from the morning when I first open my eyes, and it gives me a feeling of loving the world, loving myself. So I never really think about love, it's with me like my breathing. Many times I turn its volume down to feel just peace, calm, serenity, whatever you want to call it. Also, during my meditation it doesn't have that emotional component but this unutterable peace and my soul's being present everywhere, becoming non-local. But enough about my meditation, I understand you perfectly when you say that we are social beings, and it's only that I personally walk more than one path, because there are different layers of me, each one exploring its own realm. Going deep is not scary, Eric. Like the ocean during storm, only the surface is turbulent, the deeper you go the more peace you find. There are no demons to face other than in our imagination.

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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What a wonderful place of divergence for you and I. Me the needy and you the stand alone. I once was a man with a big knife. Yes really we lived like that. I fished with splashing a pole on the water top and then diving into the holes that the fish hid in and catching my dinner. I wore sincere makeshifts of loin clothes. And my life was muy bueno. A bear blanket in the cold and nothing in the heat. A place of oneness with life.

      Not damned good enough. life is more than me alone.

      Life for you my friend is about your wife. Deny it, explore the opposite. You need the love of your wife to make you whole.

      You make a great case my friend. Perhaps we debate for a more concrete reason.

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      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric: You misunderstood. I do HAVE love of my wife, so I don't have to feel that "need". When we talk about a "need" we usually mean a "lack", whether we say it or not. When I say, I don't "need: that means I am not "in a need", I got it already.

      And then another overlooked detail of my comment: I am never "lonely", with all the dear people of my life, and that includes those storekeepers, people in lineups, walkers in the park, parents of cute babies at the mall, people in the elevator. Remember the Einstein allegory? Somehow you manage to pick out a small detail - and overlook those much more telling details.

      My not "expecting" love from others was clearly a matter of not treating people as obligated to love me. That is not suggesting that it's "the same to me whether they love me or not". I liked to be loved just like any other dude, but love is not an issue in my life, because I got enough of it. It was not meant to be bragging, but I have never seen another marriage like ours - which (without any particular imaginative abilities) means a lots of love, devotion, and mutual respect. Never in 51 years did we have an argument (only disagreements), and all in all - my heart is saturated with love and being loved, except that poorly understood detail that I never treated my wife as a possession that "owes me" affection.

      Look, the same goes for you, buddy, feel free to dislike my views, I am not appeasing type and neither am I "counting on" your agreements.

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      Ann Carr 15 months ago from SW England

      Excellent arguments, Eric! The confusion used to exist in me, about the Bible's 'violence' and the insistence on love. I realised long ago that they are stories and therefore there as metaphor etc. The trouble is, there are so many who still take the literal stance, supposedly intelligent people who believe that; I find that hard to rationalise.

      You always make us think, Eric, and you always make us feel good about ourselves. I'm on catch-up again so please don't think I'm ignoring you or have forgotten about you - impossible! :)

      Ann

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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ann there is always beauty in your comments. We must love our Bible but read it with common sense toward it's ultimate purpose, spreading the good news.

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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Interesting how some think of "my wife" as a possession. Clearly it means a woman associated with me.

      Now this thing of need you address. I need what I have. I do not see a need as being restricted to that which we do not have. I need water and I have water. I have food and I need food. I have love and I need love.

      I have a clear mindful state of being. I need it. I have religion and I think I need it for me. I am successful and I need that. I need to be good and I am. I need to love me and I do. Clearly I am needy. And that is part of life that I love, a need.

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      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric: Being in a need means lacking it. Maybe when I say just this, it doesn't look so confusing - because you do sound somewhat confused. Unless you just like playing with the same words. In that case let me respond in an adequate way.

      So, as I am responding, it may be adequate or not; but a response is still a response, adequate of not, although you do deserve a response that will be adequate to honor your intelligence, just like your response was honoring mine, and that's an adequate way to respond, keeping intelligence in mind. Because without intelligence we would respond in a way that wouldn't be adequate.

      Hey, maybe this even means something! Why am I bothering writing these long and silly comments - this is so much more fun.

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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Yes indeed we disagree on the meaning of need. I think it is something required. "I need help". That does not mean that I don't already have help. But I can see your understanding. And I can go with that. "I only need what I do not have". I must say that I would not like to go on a hiking camping trip with you. You would decide that sense we had enough food for one meal we do not need another meal and we would be hungry. I need more than just a little love.

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      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric...In "my book", craving for others' love is like drinking a lot of Coca Cola when you are thirsty - the more you drink it, the thirstier you get. That glass of water which you really need is in self-appreciation, self-compassion. Others can't give you what you refuse to give to yourself, possibly because of some unconscious guilt instilled into you either by your strict father or by the holy book with its verdict of "guilty" of every sin from the time you were born.

      To me it's something new that we humans need a steady stream of proofs that we are lovable. But in any case, it's fine with me if you, as an individual have that huge need - as long as you are not suggesting that "everybody" should go hunting for others loving hearts.

      Yes, you and I would not make good camping companions, because. not only that I would not play as a human pacifier, but I would probably keep cornering you with questions that might, just might open that valve in your heart, to allow the full blast of self-compassion and love. So, don't even think of inviting me to such a trip - go to church, there you'll hear what you WANT to hear. They are nice folks, I am not.

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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Vladimir, you take religion and love and see the excesses of both. All of us who need love from another are not "needy" any more than a thirsty man is thirsty on a hot day. Religion and the Holy Book are not bad in themselves, it is extremists that choose to use them unwisely or half measure people who seem hypocritical that makes them bad.

      One can have had that full blast and still choose religion and a need for love. Just because it made you fanatical does not mean that is a proper path for others. When we fill our vessel full of love, and keep it full, there is not room for the "anti" position.

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      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric...I agree, and I am happy for you that you have found that love and peace from religion and Holy Book. Now you've got all you need, you don't need any new knowledge, nothing new to explore. I might as well apologize for naively offering something that seems to oppose to your beliefs and your proven source of happiness and peace. It's a pleasure to know someone whose long time involvement with religion makes him a complete and content human.

      Why do we have any discussions anyway? You seem to know all that you could ever need, and now you just have to continue showing the way to everyone else how to achieve what you have achieved. Good for you, buddy.

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      Vladimir Karas 15 months ago from Canada

      Eric...It looks like I am saying things that are opposed to that teaching which has brought you peace, love, inspiration, wisdom...everything. I don't think a smart guy like you would have spent all these years pursuing something that would only give you half of what you need and make you search for more. After all, we are talking about God's words, and there can't be anything missing there.

      So, what is left for you now is to continue telling the others how you have achieved your peace and content and love, so that they can also benefit from the same teachings. Good for you, buddy, don't bother listening to those who need to be corrected all the time - how could you possibly learn from them if something is constantly wrong with their views. Stay loyal to your stuff that has brought you all these wonderful results.

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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      My boy builds another craft with his legos at my feet in my office. Mistakes, I have made a few. But as I create beautiful children -- or better said, let my universe create them and protect them from influence which will impede them from seeing the beauty within, I enjoy and yes need good men like you in my life to offer new and good restraints along with new vistas.

      If my children learn from me -- let me learn from you with no restraint or worry about transitory reactionary feelings which do us little good but yet hide our peace.

      I am off to your hub I have not read yet. I must carve out time to savor.

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      Chitrangada Sharan 15 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Great hub and an Interesting Sunday sermon about love and success and on the need to avoid confusion of mind.

      Your message is beautiful --- we should be guided by love to achieve success. Start with loving yourself, then love that person with whom you are and spread the love all around .

      Thanks for this wonderful message.

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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you ChitrangadaSharan.

      We are fortunate indeed to find the love in ourselves and share it.

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      Mel Carriere 15 months ago from San Diego California

      So you are a Lumberjack. I did not know that about you, but I should have guessed. Flagstaff is a lovely place. My wife and I spent a snowy night in the Little America Hotel. Anyhow, maybe I don't like the physical being I see in the mirror as much as I used to, but I love the internal being that the virtual mirror turned on my mind and soul reflects. Of course it needs a lot of polishing. Not the mirror, but the inner me.

      I agree with what you said about atheists. If an atheist believes in love, than he or she believes in a higher truth. What is higher truth, if not God? Every "good" person believes in God, we just define it differently.

      Again, your wisdom blows me away, but try to keep your finger off of the camera lens, if you can.

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      Eric Dierker 15 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mel, I spent prom night at Little America and let us just say -- it holds fond memories for me and.... At least I hope they are fond for....

      Y'all did better in a short comment about this than I did in a whole gaul dern hub. I reckon my inner self needs some more polishing also.

      Thanks for being a good neighbor friend.

    • Gaurav Oberoi profile image

      gaurav oberoi 14 months ago

      Very interesting! I loved reading your Hub!! its insightful and motivating.

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      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Gaurav, Thank you much I really appreciate your comment.

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      Ann Carr 14 months ago from SW England

      Just came back to this for a reminder!

      Whilst here, with reference to Bill's latest mailbag, if you wish to ask me regarding grammar queries, then feel free! I'll answer your example: "Do I always say that?" comes within inverted commas, because it's what the person said and that same person asked a question. If it's: Did you realise that he said, "I can't remember"?, then you are asking the question, not the person who uttered those 3 words. Does that add clarity? Most grammar is logical. Do email me is you wish.

      Ann

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      Eric Dierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Ann, yes that does help. And that site that Bill directed me to is also helpful.

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