Conversation with Buddha and Zoe: Right Use of Mind
Buddha: We need to get to the bottom of why people do not choose to use their minds correctly. A well working mind is like a well-oiled machine: it takes you clearly, decisively and definitively to where you need to be. Yet people choose to allow their minds to rust and take them down roads and paths to oblivion. There needs to be recognition, first, that the minds of men need to change.
Second, there needs to be a clear understanding that change can exist and thirdly, there needs to be easy to use methodical, logical, dependable, un-debatable tools. You cannot escape the mind although the mind can escape you. This is not something to be feared or fearful of.
Mind simply exists. It was created as a means of allowing humans to rise above that of the levels of animal. As I’ve said before, this has happened. However, for many this has meant dipping below the level of animal. With needless violence, killing, disgracing, maiming and shocking. What for? For the purpose of satiating an out of control ego.
Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Anger Management
TM: May I ask about anger and its role in our lives and relationships? Will you begin with offering a definition of anger?
Master Buddha: What may seem obvious to most everyone is that anger is a reaction to not getting what you want when you want it or in the way you want it. It can be your fault, or it can be someone else’s fault. The second reflex of anger is retribution or evening the score to recover what you didn’t get plus a bonus for having suffered the agony of anger and inconvenience. There is also anger once removed, meaning on behalf of an injustice done to another for which you have a connection or affinity. The reflex of retribution is the same.
TM: I have a difficult time knowing when to express anger, that is, when it’s appropriate and when it isn’t. Sometimes I wonder whether or not anger is necessary or not, even though it seems to arise as an involuntary reaction.
Master Buddha: Let’s start with the involuntary reaction part of your statement and then move to the rest. Anger is a natural human emotion just like love, sadness, grief, joy, happiness, bliss, disappointment and others in the spectrum. They arise spontaneously as a reaction to what is happening in your life. This as a general statement is true for every human on earth. Then how do we account for the differences in reactions among people? Why do some people react violently to the slightest provocation and others almost not at all to severe events?
Humans share in common an emotional body that works in concert with your physical and mental bodies. There is an influence based upon one’s past life history—what must be experienced this lifetime? There is group connection—what must be worked out for this group of beings? There is the influence of parents, family and community that impacts one’s emotional body and conditions its reactions. Beyond these local influences, there is responsibility from humanity’s role on Earth.
The confluence of these many factors produce differences in reactions from one being to another.
As a social concern, there must be a range of acceptable reactions and for that humans have erected laws to regulate behavior. Within those laws one will find instances that permit retribution resulting in death of the offending party that passes as justifiable because of the provocation of anger and the acceptance that that person is not liable for such reactions, or as is in some cultures, entitled to the justice of the extreme reaction. Other cultures don’t condone anger reactions to that extent, but make some allowance for it that support the concept of it being involuntary if acted out spontaneously. There are also social customs below the threshold of laws that regulate behavior.
To answer your question of whether or not anger is necessary, we must ask to what purpose is it necessary.
TM: Some people I’ve spoken to about this usually say that expressing anger is natural and involuntary and that it releases the energy from you and that’s a good and natural thing, then you move on. Their assertion is that anger is within the constellation of natural human emotions as you just said and that we eventually evolve to the point that we can freely express anger without killing one another, but express we shall just like any other emotion.
Master Buddha: Would you say that as a rule, expression of anger has the potential to be more destructive in its effects than the expression of joy or sadness?
TM: In some cases yes. But maybe that’s because people overreact to some things due to repression of anger until they explode disproportionately.
Master Buddha: That’s possible, but let’s go back to your question to what purpose it serves and so is it necessary. If our definition of anger described the circumstances of anger, then let’s answer what is anger energetically? What purpose does the delivery of that energy serve?
Anger, energetically speaking springs from the desire nature, which in turn reflects human survival needs, and desires beyond the necessities of life. Anger is the defender of those personal and group needs and desires. If they are threatened, then anger arises to defend. Energetically, it is linked to desire and it does not discriminate between basic needs and frivolous wants without the help of the mental body. Anger at its root level, just is the defender that can be, when combined with mental energy, an impetus to aggression.
TM: In the desire nature and its list of wants, do you include things like dignity and respect?
Master Buddha: Yes, of course. That is a matter of ego interpretation of necessities that we have covered elsewhere.
I wish to draw your attention to the fact that anger derives its force and origin from its role as defender within the human realm of physical, emotional and mental.
TM: From that are you implying that anger doesn’t exist in other realms, such as spiritual?
Master Buddha: I say emphatically that anger does not exist in the spiritual realm because there is no need that goes unfulfilled.
TM: What about the whole Lucifer rebellion? That sounds like some needs unfulfilled.
Master Buddha: That was a matter of pride and desire, not of anger. It was a calculated, creative execution of a perceived right of domain. It failed.
TM: So spirits in the universe weren’t angry with Lucifer and his minions for disrupting and corrupting everything? I mean it seems like a major conflict and you’re saying there was no anger involved and I find that hard to believe.
Master Buddha: What can I say other than what I know to be true? There was disappointment in the whole affair, but not anger or retribution associated with anger. There were consequences that were accepted with responsibility by all involved.
TM: Okay. Please go back to your line of thought.
Master Buddha: Anger finds its origin in the human realm. Given that, we can look for its necessity there. Its purpose is to defend. But is that necessary?
TM: I think I know where you’re going. You’re going to argue that our desires aren’t necessary, neither is defense of them; so, anger isn’t necessary.
Master Buddha: That would be a difficult argument wouldn’t it? Many people would disagree that desires are unnecessary. What about basic survival needs? Don’t those need defending? Can’t anger be necessary for that?
TM: Yes, I suppose so. But couldn’t they be defended without anger? Why is anger necessary to arouse defense?
Master Buddha: Because it is. This is where humanity is right now. As the human race evolves closer and closer to its spiritual nature there will be a diminishment and eventually a disappearance of anger as the impetus for defense. Over time there has been and will continue to be this gradual receding of anger.
TM: I’m surprised. I never would have guessed that the official ‘Master’ position is that acting out anger is okey-dokey.
Master Buddha: Well, we have to cover this a bit more to qualify that position. I think what you’ll discover is that our understanding of human nature encompasses a realistic perspective of long term evolution of human characteristics and traits. The expression and use of anger as a defense mechanism is one. There are others.
TM: I think I need some elaboration on this, because it goes against what I believe.
Master Buddha: And you believe?
TM: Anger is a natural emotion arising from our attachment to what we desire and feel entitled to have. I don’t believe it’s necessary, but we are conditioned to express it, violently sometimes, and to accept it and actually be entertained by it. I believe there are ways to express anger without being harmful to others and that seeking revenge and retribution create more attachment to the experience. I agree this is an evolutionary process, but surely we at the point where we can see that anger isn’t necessary so that we can explore other ways of providing for our survival.
Master Buddha: Does it make you angry that others can’t see this point and share your belief?
TM: A little.
Master Buddha: This is one of those conundrums for which we can’t assert what should be based upon what we’d like it to be—it just is what it is. And at this point in human evolution there is a substantial number among the world population that experience anger differently from the belief you have stated and it’s going to take some time for the weight to shift. In the meantime there is progress toward peaceful solutions among people who have recognized, if nothing else, that peaceful solutions grant more security to the protection of needs and wants than it does by using anger and retribution. It’s a start. You don’t make the shift by being angry or judgmental towards those who still regard anger, violence, war, or force as the natural solution to feeling threatened. It is the natural solution for those grounded in the materiality of humanity, and that is the majority population of the world.
It will change over time through the enduring examples by those who have mastered peaceful solutions to threatening situations. It will happen. Patience is required.
TM: It always requires patience doesn’t it?
Master Buddha: Patience and a non-judgmental perspective.
Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: Sexuality in Western Society (Part 1)
TM: I realize that we may not be able to cover this topic in one conversation, but at least we can start. Please talk about the role of sex in Western society. Specifically, what do you observe as the general state of sexual health among our population?
Master Jesus: This is sure to provoke more than a few people who stand in judgment of sexuality when it deviates from their spectrum of acceptable behavior. Likewise, those who feel that anything goes will likely rise in defense of their personal honor if Master Buddha or I speak disapprovingly of their behavior. You’re right in that it will require several conversations in order to present a full picture of the state of sexuality in Western society. It is not our intent to approve or disapprove of human sexual behavior, but we can speak to what we observe from a perspective of what is serving humankind positively and what isn’t.
TM: Okay, that’s fair enough. I didn’t expect either of you speak from a judgmental perspective, but certainly some folks hope that you will. So, back to my question, do you want to begin with an overview?
Master Jesus: Ask a more specific question and let it lead us into what you really want to know.
TM: It seems that over the past century we’ve come through some dynamic changes from a moralistic and conservative view of sexuality to a liberal, more open view. Even though I know that doesn’t represent everyone, I’m referring to the norm. Has that shift been beneficial to our society?
Master Jesus: Yes, Western society has made a dramatic turn, more so than you are implying in your question. Observing from our perspective it is quite astounding. Most people will agree that there have been some benefits as a result of the shift, while others believe it has planted the seeds of ruination for your society. As with most subjects, there is a little bit of truth found in all points of view. But let’s see if we can shed some light on the various parts to indicate what has been beneficial and what needs to be adjusted to provide future benefits.
First of all, it’s difficult to speak about human sexuality without carefully painting a context for each part. For this part, let us talk about heterosexual conditions within the institution of marriage and romantic relationships in which there isn’t a marriage.
It’s clear from our perspective that many benefits have accrued to married and unmarried men and women from the shift in attitudes about sex over the past fifty years. However, with the relaxing of judgment and guilt around sexual behavior there has sprung up a great deal of confusion. This confusion has contributed to a lot of stress and tension between men and women over their respective roles. Over time this will work out and the major benefit will be a sense of equality. This was missing before the shift and has been slowly coming after a sudden lunge forward. The natural reaction has been two-fold. One is an opening of the floodgates to celebrate the release of age-old restrictions and the second is a recoiling of restriction to maintain the old ways. There is a growing middle that represents the balance between the two extremes.
TM: I agree with your observation. But there still seems to be a guilt-shame axis running through sexuality.
Master Jesus: Yes, this is true. But keep in mind that it is less than it was only fifty years ago. And fifty years from now you will observe even greater erosion in the role shame, judgment and guilt play in the enforcement of restrictions in sexual relations.
TM: But there are some folks who will argue that shame, judgment and guilt are sturdy enforcers and that we shouldn’t allow them to erode. If anything, we should reinforce their power to keep good people in line and get bad ones back in line.
Master Jesus: Shame, judgment and guilt have been the faithful servants of a philosophy that people are inherently bad and need the threat of punishment in order to deter them from wrongdoing. The problem in that philosophy arises in that it forces a belief contrary to the true nature of humankind, which then conditions you to perceive yourselves in constant need of redemption. The fatigue that comes from such an exercise is understandable. But the greatest harm is that it stunts your growth because you are constantly vigilant for wrongdoing and judging one another in an effort to correct or prevent wrongdoing. Add to that you have identified things as wrong that are social conventions created out of ignorance in some cases, and then perpetuated through superstition.
TM: But some things that have become social conventions regarding marriage have served to build families and then community, haven’t they?
Master Jesus: Shall we keep the context to sexuality so that what I am saying does not get confused with statements about marriage in and of itself?
TM:Yes, that’s what I meant.
Master Jesus: Let’s take the social convention of sexual monogamy, or partner exclusivity within a relationship. This is for the purpose of forming a family unit comprised of a husband and wife with one or more offspring. It provides a tight unity and strength to weather challenges on many fronts, economic, health, etc. It does that while at the same time connecting to families once removed from the immediate family. This forms a larger family unit that again provides reinforcement to the core family unit. Containment of sexual partners to the husband and wife ensure this family unity by restricting the likelihood of offspring from various sexual relations.
What protects this arrangement is fidelity to one sexual partner during the lifetime of the family. What has disrupted this pattern is a loosening of the shame grip on divorce and the subsequent remarriage and combining of families from more than a single pair of parents. In some cases this new family unit shares the connection with as much grace as a family unit from single parentage. In other cases, this is not true. Infidelity is the chief cause of hostility between marriage partners and can last a lifetime. Fidelity is considered a sacred trust and when one partner betrays that trust, the sense of betrayal is felt by the extended family and in some instances by the community at large.
TM: I think wounded pride, loss of self-esteem, shame, embarrassment and ego also play a part in this.
Master Jesus: Without question this is true. However, those personal components are activated because of the larger context of social convention that defines what causes shame for an individual or disgrace upon the family.
TM: So, you’re saying what some folks argue is that shame of getting a divorce kept the family together through tough times and in turn preserved the family values of unity and strength.
Master Jesus: You keep leaping over the sexual issues and grasp for the marriage issues beyond sexuality. We can have that conversation if you like.
TM: Thanks for keeping me on topic. Let’s stay focused on sexuality because it’s expansive enough as it is. So, you were saying that infidelity, that is, marriage or romantic partners who don’t honor sexually monogamous agreements, create discord within their relationship and the family and is likely the eventual cause for divorce. Most people would agree. What’s the point?
Master Jesus: The point is that if you take the social convention of sexual monogamy as a sacred trust and then violate it, you begin the breakdown of that institution. If it becomes widespread, then more rapidly does it breakdown. Once shame is removed as a barrier to divorce the offending mate, then you compound the acceleration of breakdown. Shame and guilt once prevented the infidelity, but in most societies males were often excused from this public humiliation. Although, this isn’t entirely the case. Witness the standard that your politicians must withstand in this regard. The general public still holds the sacred trust of fidelity as an accepted standard for your leaders, while lessening its application to your peers. And divorce is still considered a shameful failure in some circles.
To summarize, you began with the question of what is the health of your general population in regards to sexuality. We have taken a part of that in order to avoid generalizing across all relationships. Now we are only talking about heterosexual relations; specifically long-term monogamous relations. We are discussing the role of fidelity to a monogamous agreement and the results of infidelity. Are you ready to continue?
TM: As usual I want to know where this is going.
Master Jesus: I ask for your patience. In order to have some understanding you must go through the exercise of discovering what your beliefs are around sexuality in marriage. There must be some context in order to gain that understanding and to draw out your beliefs.
Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Truth and Trust
TM: I can see upon reflection of what you have said about reincarnation and karma that I had a notion that it was a form of punishment to correct wrongdoing, or reward for good things done. And one has to come back time and time again to get it right. That’s not it though, is it?
Master Buddha: Getting it right, meaning purifying your essence while in material form, and consequently purifying your material form would be one way to see it. Punishment and reward is wholly a human concept.
TM: But we have so many stories of God(s) punishing people for all sorts of things they did wrong, or for disobeying God(s). How do we change our orientation toward that model?
Master Buddha: I don’t know. You could just give it up because it no longer serves you.
TM: Well, that’s just too easily said. Much harder to do I think.
Master Buddha: You have to make that choice whether to hold on to what you once knew and cherished as truth or to embrace a new idea that better suits your current state.
TM: How do you know when it’s time to do that?
Master Buddha: Ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen if I embrace this new thought? Can you not retrieve the old one? Who gave you all these rules that you must rigidly follow?
TM: I suppose at some point I accepted them as truth and have clung to them because I want to live according to truth.
Master Buddha: Truth shifts with you. It is not a fixed thing that you can cling to and drag it around. Truth represents reality. But remember that your journey on Earth in material form presents you with an avalanche of illusion. You must be adaptable and truth seeking, not truth-clinging.
TM: Don’t you have to have something to hold onto for just a little while? I mean, isn’t truth-seeking a truth to follow? When would you give that up?
Master Buddha: As soon as I believe it no longer serves me. And service to me could mean something very different than when I adopted truth-seeking in the first place. You like many others are afraid of losing control and so you place limits; you reduce meaning and experience. Reincarnation and karma allow for a non-judgmental experience of life in material form. If you are fluid enough in your orientation you can experience all that there is in the world of illusion in a very short time. If you’re not, then you can take a long time to spin around in the same space until you realize that is what you’re doing.
TM: How do we know which truths to trust and to follow?
Master Buddha: You don’t know based upon trust do you? You know based upon deliberation in a mental process. You know based upon what has been handed down through the ages in the form of teachings and social norms. You know according to your familial orientation. And you know according to what serves your ego.
If you knew based upon trust, you would not need those other inputs would you?
TM: So you’re implying that I need to find trust first?
Master Buddha: The ego does not trust; it scans. It searches high and low for signs of agreement or disagreement with its agenda. It will play any role that serves to maintain its primacy. It is, in fact, the most worthy foe of any one you could meet. And it is who you think you are.
Trust is incongruent with ego. That is, unconditional trust is in congruent with ego. Trust based upon conditions and waivers abound with the ego. To seek truth with such a handicap is nearly impossible if not maddening.
In ancient cultures, trust was based upon instinct. With modern civilization, the mental faculty has replaced instinct. Beyond the mental faculty you will discover the true seat of trust for your purposes of living on Earth. Then you may choose truths based upon trust.
Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: Loneliness and Love (Part 2)
TM: Is it an addiction?
Master Jesus: Of course it is. You cling to the old story out of comfort in the fact that it is known, while the new story isn’t known. Humanity has struggled with this dilemma for eons. Always there are those who support change and those in the majority who resist it. This is built into the evolution of the species. If change was too rapid, the status quo might never reach its peak of efficacy. Remember the status quo was selected as the story to abide by at some point. When it begins to wear down in efficacy a new way is discovered. Those comfortable with the old way resist the new way while the others champion the cause of the new way. The tension is created and at some point things change. The addiction is the rationalization that something is good for you when it has passed the point of being so.
TM: So loneliness is an addiction?
Master Jesus: Loneliness is an experience of what love isn’t, which leads to a bridge experience of hope that leads to the promise of love. Back and forth it goes. It is the story that is addictive; the experience of loneliness is part of the story.
TM: Easier said than done to change it. How do we just let the old story go?
Master Jesus: That’s not easy. But consider that it starts with awareness that the new story may be true. Then gradually you begin to notice evidence of the truth. Over time as you welcome the truth the old story wears down until it no longer holds you in its grasp. The ones who understood the truth and who agitated for change usually go through this process too. The timing is different for everyone.
TM: It seems overwhelming at times, the idea that we have so much to understand in order to alter our present course. Sometimes the will to keep things the same over powers the forces of change. But you’re saying it has always been that way?
Master Jesus: Yes, and every generation thinks it’s worse for them; that the stakes are higher. By the way, the forces of change challenge the bedrock of status quo. The energy of the status quo is not so fluid, having crystallized over time. I say that metaphorically to underscore how thought forms behave.
TM: May I change the subject given the subject of change?
Master Jesus: See how easy it is?
TM: What are the greatest expressions of love that you observe in our culture of modern times?
Master Jesus: There are expressions of love through individuals and through institutions and they are in abundance throughout the world every second. Believe it or not it is the predominate emotion.
TM: Really? It doesn’t seem that way. I thought you said in our last conversation that the other energies were stronger right now and that you guys are trying to strengthen love to make it dominant.
Master Jesus: We are strengthening the manifestations of love, so that when the force that comes in behind it comes, love will be expressed so fully that everyone will experience it. It’s not what you observe so much because of the filters of observation. To many, expressions of love are signs of weakness, or at the very least non-productive. I observe the intimate moments between a parent and child, which is possibly the most intense expression of love. There is romantic love that for some is the only expression of love that they have ever known. There is the expression of love between friends; that love being rooted in loyalty and forgiveness and most closely imbibed with no conditions.
When I witness communities coming together to help one of its members through a crisis; that is an expression of love. An act of creation inspired by love can be a beautiful song, a painting, a home crafted with the hands of its inhabitants or a building 50 stories high that embraces the dreams of its residents. I find expressions of love in the works of many. You call it survival, but I say that it’s love. Providing for one’s survival is love. It has been distorted and made into a material quest for more, but it is nevertheless the ultimate expression of love for one’s self. It doesn’t matter if it is used to gratify the ego or punish one’s neighbor or competitor. It is an act of love to survive.
TM: Hang on just a second. You’re saying that love can be used to gratify egos and punish people and that’s okay?
Master Jesus: I’m saying that survival is an act of love, perhaps the ultimate act. The act itself is not diminished by misinterpretation.
TM: So, if someones intent is to survive, that’s love. And if they happen to kill a few people along the way, that’s okay?
Master Jesus: Hmmm…. that’s a bit extreme isn’t it? We’re talking about love and you’re mixing in attributes of what love isn’t. I appreciate the confusion that exists around absolute rules and definitions. That is what humanity wants you know, precise definitions and guidelines. I’m sorry to disappoint you in that regard, but it doesn’t work that way. Every time you create a black and white answer to a complex system you inevitably end up with contradictions in practice.
Let’s take these one at a time. Survival is an act of self-love. Providing for one’s loved ones for their survival is an act of love. The next part of your question then moves to the means of survival; how one goes about securing the provisions for survival. The means to an end debate has gone on for some time, but hasn’t really been decided has it?
TM: It has for me, although it is a major struggle at times depending on how refined you make it. I wouldn’t kill someone in order to get food or water.
Master Jesus: Let’s say a group of people in your community formed a militia and commandeered the food and water supplies. They are determined that only certain people are entitled to these supplies and the rest shall perish through starvation. In a sense, they are killing you and others like you. Assume you have no other outside resources. Is it self-defense for you to harm them in your quest for survival?
TM: I don’t know what I would do. To do nothing means I would die and if killing them was the only means to survive myself, then that doesn’t seem right either. What’s the right thing to do in that case?
Master Jesus: There isn’t a right thing to do in this case. There is only what you would do and what they would do. We’re assuming this scenario from your perspective of survival. But what if we peered into their perspective and discovered that their actions are necessary to the survival of the community because they have discovered that there is a lethal, communicable disease running rampant throughout the community and they are able to isolate the infected ones from the healthy members. The food and water provisions are likely to be disrupted because of this calamity and so a quarantine of the sick ones and rationing of the scarce provisions is the only way for the healthy members of the community to survive and rebuild the community. Should all the members of the community perish because they haven’t the will to allow the ones with a lethal disease to die without wasting their means of survival?
TM: These are the scenarios we pray we never have to face; the stories of stranded expeditions where people resort to cannibalizing to survive. It hurts to even imagine what I would do.
Master Jesus: We have examined an extreme case that most people never have to face. But by degrees from this, people do experience it in some form or another. That is why it is so difficult, for example, for a wealthy person who is many degrees from starvation to understand the plight of those who are inches from starvation. People don’t know to whom they should attribute their good fortune to survive comfortably. Some thank themselves, some thank God and some thank others. Others don’t know whom to curse for their misfortune.
TM: As of this writing, the aftermath of the tsunami that struck countries in the Indian Ocean bears witness to much suffering and at the same time much compassion by wealthier countries. What can you say to this situation?
Master Jesus: You’re right the suffering is immense and the outpouring of aid once it was realized the amount of devastation has also been immense. This is an example of what I’m talking about. The next step is to recognize the chronic suffering by hundreds of millions of people throughout the world every day. In some cases emergency aid is warranted, but for the most part it is the long-term commitment of resource sharing that is needed. The tension exists between the aggressive tendencies of humanity against the tender heart of humanity. This can be measured by the level of fear in the minds of those in control of the resources. The greater their fear, the more they rely on aggressive tendencies (even though they’re couched as defensive). As fear is diminished, so they are open to loving response.
It’s rare to find an individual with the capacity to share what they have with others. Sometimes their sharing is limited by their fear that maybe they won’t have enough for themselves when the time arrives. Sometimes it’s because they don’t know where to begin. Sometimes they follow the institutional giving route that makes it easier to identify to whom to give and how much. Groups behave in a similar manner. To the government sharing add the component of strategic politics. Sharing starts with increasing individual capacity for sharing by reducing fear. For this reason individual awareness is a major focus of spiritual work.