What if Earth is Hell?

 

Scareguy

Think about it.

What if we are actually living in the place called Hell?

What if the idea of Hell was invented to control people—to scare them into submission? What if it is all just a sham of for-profit evangelicalism, a form of religious terrorism handed down from generation to generation?

Much of the spiritual literature I have read suggests that Hell is a human-made construct that only exists in our minds and in our myths. I think this idea may be forbidden fruit worth tasting.

What if Earth is the worst that it gets? What if all the ideas about “going to hell” are stories that keep us festering in a tormented mental state of worry—but in the end it’s just a story?

THE GROUND FLOOR

Spiritual teachers often say that physical Earth is like the ground floor, the bottom step of the stairway to the stars.

When we die we transform from flesh life into spirit life but we remain at a fairly similar vibration to how we are here. That is, we have much the same consciousness as before we died. We do not instantly become enlightened or angelic.

The natural laws in that next dimension, known as the astral plane, are different from the physical laws we knew on physical Earth. Nevertheless, people used to living in a dark and dreary consciousness on Earth still live in a dark and dreary consciousness in the astral.

If a person has done some spiritual work, however, he or she is more prepared to function in the new nonphysical environment that person now inhabits. Mentally and emotionally, people with spiritual insight are more flexible in coping with the change that crossing over presents. They can move out of the astral plane and into the higher planes.

MEDIA HELL

On Earth many people do things or do not do things to avoid going to Hell when they die. Religions for generations have taught that Hell is far worse than life on Earth. It is constant torment and eternal punishment without the possibility of parole. By contrast, for all its troubles, Earth is a cake walk. Yes, even with the Holocaust.

Our mass media continue this conditioning by concocting a flurry of scary stories about ghosts, ghouls, goblins, damnation, and eternal misery. Supposedly for our entertainment, these horror stories condition people to be fearful of the unknown. The sheer volume of angst over ecstasy in our media offerings makes me wonder if we aren’t already in the jaws of Hell.

When I watch movies, almost any movie, I am always impressed by how much conflict, dysfunction, and woe is paraded before us! Movie protagonists rarely experience ecstatic insights and mystical bliss; they’re too busy struggling. Our brains are fed far more visions about anguish and suffering than stories about  joy, success, and harmony. I hardly ever see an exposé about good stuff.

One reason why Earth seems like Hell to me is noticing how relatively difficult it is to find good resources for rising above misery. When I am feeling lonely, depressed, or troubled, my natural tendency is to seek my own way out of it. I often turn to media for a jumpstart. Too often I find rampant negativity and unrest. Unfortunately, many places like the news, social media, and the entertainment industry provide more what’s wrong than what’s right. We’re bombarded with conflict.

Society’s solutions for dealing with stress and angst are often not in our best interest. Drinking, smoking, doping, overeating, gambling, unloving sex are often used by people to help them get out of the doldrums, and usually they put us farther into the doldrums. Society proffers wealth as a solution for misery, but so often wealth just brings on a plethora of new problems including workaholism, rampant consumerism, and total keep-up-with-the-Joneses exhaustion. While you can turn to the church, a therapist, a doctor, higher education, and so on, these solutions usually include heavy time, energy, and financial commitments. They are not quick fixes.

It surprises me that humans have invented more ways to suffer than they have to share examples of life’s bliss. It makes me wonder if that’s by design. Is Earth School the actual Hell?

WHAT IS HELL?

The mythology of Hell is that it is a real place where real eternal torture happens. It even poses God as a co-conspirator in its creation. If you don’t obey God (as interpreted by humans), God will send you to the concentration camp of Hell.

R.C. Sproul wrote: “Hell, then, is an eternity before the righteous, ever-burning wrath of God, a suffering torment from which there is no escape and no relief. Understanding this is crucial to our drive to appreciate the work of Christ and to preach His gospel.”

People who have had near-death experiences (NDEs) and spirits channeled through psychic mediums often contradict views like those held by Sproul. A minority of people who have had NDEs did find themselves in hellish circumstances where they encountered demonic antagonists. However, many of these stories had happy endings. The victim was rescued from the pit and escorted to heavenly places before being sent back to Earth. The general conclusion that comes from these stories seems to be that Hell exists but it’s not the eternal fire pit that many religious teach. You can leave it if you choose to.

Many spiritual teachers say that Earth School is where our souls learn valuable lessons about love through our many incarnations. Some teachers say that as souls we deliberately choose to experience pain to learn about love. Obstacles are put in our path for us to overcome. If Earth School is Hell, it is so because it is for our spiritual training. Unlike the religious story, we are not cast in Hell because we were bad; rather, the nature of physical reality creates some hellish circumstances.

Several books out now offer the premise that some people suffer tragedies on purpose. People who have undergone hypnotic past life regressions sometimes talk about how a guide or their higher self arranged for a situation to occur. We consciously think of that event as awful, tragic, horrible, while spirit thinks it’s a golden opportunity for learning.

For example, a rape may be part of a pre-conceived lesson, not a random act of malfeasance. As ugly and bizarre as that notion sounds to the conscious mind, especially to victims of rape, it does suggest that life on Earth is not for wimps. Souls choose different life experiences much as a prolific actor will choose different parts to play, sometimes hero, sometimes villain. Perhaps the often-expressed idea is true that you cannot know great pleasure if you have not known great pain.

Religion, which often doesn’t support reincarnation, peddles the idea of Hell as roasting in eternal fires. It is a very dramatic, visceral kind of misery. But what about the slow din of a life lived without much joy, day upon day of loneliness whether in a crowd or in solitude, the anxiety of failure to find the good life? What about the leisure activity of watching TV or movies or reading books, and most of it is a tour of suffering and conflict?

Life on Earth appears to stick us in a system of social insanity (war, poverty, racism, sexism, violence, materialism) geared to sustain suffering. Where do people find off ramps from misery? How many social institutions can we point to in our world as being truly helpful?

IF THIS IS HELL

If Earth is the fabled Hell, that’s actually good news. First, it means that we pretty much know what the worst is. While there’s plenty of evil around, there are usually ways to cope. We can set our sights on rising above the chaos and the hatred. We can overcome.

Second, it means that Hell does not exist solely to punish. It’s here for rehabilitation—spiritual growth. It’s here to help us learn how to make better choices.

Third, it means that the world scares the shit out of us as part of our spiritual education. We can choose by how we process information how scared we want to be. This also begs the question of whether Earth School is always supposed to be strewn with conflicts, or if through collective free will we can eventually create Heaven on Earth.

Thinking of Earth as Hell is not intended to embrace the religious conception of Hell. It’s not a place of eternal torture and damnation. You don’t get here by being judged as a bad person for not following rules someone told you God made. I see most religion as a for-profit enterprise with a vested interest in bringing in followers. Religions have used propaganda, torture, fear, and manipulation to bring in the followers, and the religious version of Hell could be part of that.

Spiritual teachers suggest that Earth/Hell is the ground floor, the first stage, the foundation. It’s a boot camp for souls who want to learn all about love through contrasts. Like any school, you can achieve what you yearn for and what you earn.

I don’t know whether Heaven or Hell are real places or states of mind, but we do create them symbolically through our beliefs and behaviors. I know that for me to create a heavenly earth, I usually need to detach from media bombardment and negative people. I need to focus my thoughts on what’s good. When bad things happen, I look for the gifts. This helps balance my hurt and outrage.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

A little bit more about the idea that many events in our lives, especially the ones we would call tragic, may have been planned.

The book Seeking Jordan sheds more light on the idea that some tragedies are planned.

Part of the inspiration for this post involved my study of how the media sell conflict. While I did not use the concept of Hell in the piece, the bombardment of content about conflict helps us stay in a mental hell.

Also check out books and videos (YouTube) by Robert Schwartz and Michael Newton.

 

Death trap

Universe

I often think that if I (or you) could talk to dead people, as if it was second nature and no big deal, I (or we) would react a lot differently to life on this planet.

Our guiding lights would be re-set. We would have some personally verifiable experience to shape our conclusion that consciousness survives physical death. We would have evidence to back up the notion that the organic brain does not originate all consciousness—that consciousness (or mind) exists outside the body. Maybe there’s much more to life than the limited perspective of it pandered and promoted in so much of our mediocrity culture.

Mediums on TV or online sometimes surprise me. They don’t all seem to grasp the deeper implications of their own ministrations. Even though they talk to dead people for a living, they still cater to much of the same socially ingrained fodder presented in mainstream, materialistic media.

What does that mean?

If mediums actually talk with dead people, the very act is diametrically opposed to the depressing morbidity you’ll hear at the average doctor’s office or during the average newscast. It would mean that reality as we’re taught to perceive it is a false one. It’s a death trap. People don’t just stop living when they die, the mediums say. We the people go somewhere else to continue living.

If I knew for sure that I could talk to dead people, I would lead an entirely different life than if I thought death ended everything and we only had one shot at it. Immortality is a fundamentally different consciousness than mortality,, especially if lights out here means lights on somewhere else. If I knew I had much more living to look forward to, I would not regard death as the enemy. I would not embrace the meme that death is sad or tragic or horrible. I expect that I would be an activist against social and religious teachings that contradicted the reality I knew that “dead people” were partying hearty in another dimension—and oh, by the way, there is no hell.

GRIEF PARADIGM

Society has organized itself around the death and grief paradigm. For example, we commonly think of death as loss. Sorry for your loss, sorry for your loss. In a society that grew up with an entirely different paradigm, death might not be seen as a loss. It might be seen more like graduating with honors, getting a great new job, or some sort of miracle. Currently, we have thousands of hours of conditioning (religious, scientific, peer group, advertising, etc.) telling us that death is a tragic loss. Yes, it hurts like hell to lose a loved one, but I believe that much of that hurt comes from all the conditioning we get at how we are supposed to grieve.

When my mother died, and then my father 30 months later, I got the well-intended deluge of “sorry for you loss.” Both my parents were already incapacitated by then, my mother almost 93 and my father almost 96. Death freed them both from the confines of their worn-out bodies. Life was more an ordeal than a pleasure for them by then. “Loss” really did not fit the equation anymore. I envisioned them as being much happier where they were—a win for them. It surprised me how people acted as if my not playing the loss game translated into insensitivity or lack of love. They would come close to arguing with me that if I was a good son, I would display much more sadness.

I understand that many people die under far less than desirable circumstances. Their departures could be termed tragic. Yet we are groomed all through life to view death as tragic. Our resulting fear of death creates fortunes for entrepreneurs who capitalize on its emotional grip. The insurance business, the heath business, the funeral business, the therapy business, the spirituality business, the entertainment business, the war business—to name just a few—are all fueled by our conditioned fear and dread of death.

But mediums talk to dead people! Dead people are alive. Death did not kill them. Rejoice, for he is risen. (Well, sort of.) People who have had near-death experiences often report that death, or going into the light, is sheer ecstasy. Their common message is, “Don’t worry. Death is an illusion. I have been to that incredible place we call heaven. I know that life goes on and I am not afraid to die.”

Here is how one Facebook friend (a near-death experiencer) put it: “I always feel bad for those left here in pain after losing a loved one. But I never feel bad for the one who has moved on to the next exciting leg of their journey… I am one who can’t wait to get back there. I’ve never forgotten how confining and limiting it felt to come back here [to Earth.]”

Messages from spirits channeled through mediums report little in the way of pain. While the dying process is sometimes painful, death itself releases a person from physical pain. The entertainment industry shows us tortured, brooding souls in books and movies, yet mediums portray the dead as feeling little if any emotional pain. In Ghosts Among Us, medium and creator of the Ghost Whisperer TV series James Van Praagh wrote, “Not once when doing my work have spirits ever said to me that they wished they could come back to Earth and live again.”

Even most people who were murdered (often including those who killed themselves) harbor no resentments. Spirits don’t ruminate sadly over lives cut short. They know that life goes on both in and out of human bodies. They are stimulated by their new reality, which sounds something like an all-expenses-paid vacation to Shangri-la-on-Steroids. By heavenly standards, life on Earth is like laboring in a work camp.

Are mediums like James Van Praagh just making up this portrayal of heavenly bliss to sell hope via their books and readings? Or do they channel truth that heaven is off the clock from duality, conflict, suffering?

MEDIUMS AND MARKETING

A great irony of contemporary life is that culturally we make a big deal out of death while at the same time, we eschew afterlife research—more death trap. When another celebrity dies or a mass killing dominates the news, people take to social media and lament and vent their hearts out. We talk in terms of sadness and loss and outrage. Yet we don’t pay much attention to near-death experiencers and afterlife researchers and helpful mediums who have been steadily sharing evidence for soul survival. Culturally speaking, the drama of loss intrigues us more than winning with woo-woo.

I would love to see more mediums participate in afterlife research, gathering more data and using it to improve the quality of life here, but there is a problem. Mediums are too busy masterminding their careers. Science is not too keen on researching voices from heaven, and those few souls who attempt it are often ridiculed. Whether for self-protection or legal requirement, mediums are often compelled to note that their services are “for entertainment purposes only.”

Isn’t that reassuring? Your lawyer and doctor are not required to say that. Sometimes I think the services they render are for their own entertainment (or pocketbook) purposes only.

As a student of the truth, I have often been frustrated watching the dumbing down of metaphysical phenomena for public consumption. So many shows are more annoying than educational, such as the ghost-chasing shows. One of the best books I have read about the search for truth versus the culture at large is Steve Volk’s Fringe-ology. When we still treat woo-woo as an oddity, an amusement, or a vacation from reality, we are not advancing humanity.

MEDIUMS AND MEDIOCRITY

In my informal poking around Facebook, I see many mediums marketing themselves. Here is something one medium wrote on his page: “I never talk about, or compare myself to other mediums or psychics, but I can promise you this, none of them give as many messages as I do.”

So besides the fact that he just compared himself to other mediums, which he said he never does, he also highlighted what mediums sell: messages from dead people. People come to mediums because they are often grief-stricken, desperate to hear from a loved one they “lost.” So here’s the dilemma. For high-end mediums, a person generally has to wait (sometimes more than a year), pay hefty prices (sometimes more than $500 an hour), and then de-cipher cryptic messages from beyond. “What does rosebud mean?” Low-end mediums without a following often have untested, undocumented, unproven skills.

Society puts mediums in this position. We turn the rich and famous ones into celebrity rock stars, into show business icons. Science generally does not embrace them, and besides, a trendy medium is too busy to conduct serious research. Trendy psychics get thrown into the popular culture money-making miasma with books, movies, cruises, luxury retreats, and galas. They often reduce themselves to easy talk show and social media friendly sound bites to important questions that deserve exploring.

In turn, we often create culture wars: mediums versus skeptics. Professional skeptics like James Randi engage in culture wars against mediums under the guise of saving humanity from frauds and illusionists. They don’t do their skeptic schtick for free. Professional naysayers make hefty fees to play their roles and sell their own products. Career skeptics are no more likely to actually seek the truth than Darth Vader is to sing a love song. They are in it for the paycheck.

Under these circumstances, the search for truth is riddled with obstacles. The student of the afterlife is faced with a largely unresponsive scientific community on one side and woo-woo marketers selling easy but shallow answers on the other side. Personal experiences are the most empowering form of acquiring knowledge, but for many of us, they are as rare as seeing total solar eclipses.

We’ll never understand the insights mediums could offer us if we don’t open our minds to that potential and research the hell out of it. As this war between science and woo-woo rages on, I still have my questions.

 

The language of death

Thats-all-folks

“Albuquerque police issued a ‘desperate’ appeal for witnesses Wednesday after a cold-blooded shooter drove up alongside a car in early rush hour traffic and opened fire, killing a 4-year-old girl as her horrified parents watched in an apparent case of road rage.”

That is how a Fox news affiliate described a recent murder. Notice some of the emotionally charged words used in this supposed-to-be objective news report: desperate, cold-blooded shooter, opened fire, killing, horrified parents, road rage. 

Besides describing a crime, this piece is contributing to social conditioning. The quoted lead sentence above illustrates  state-of-the-art language of death. We are exposed to this kind of writing (and broadcasting) on a daily basis, gruesome writing that highlights violence, promotes fear, and reinforces hopelessness.

Most people do not stop to think about the mind food they ingest whenever they watch, listen to, or read the news. The majority still accepts news reports as mostly true (despite an increasing awareness of politicized media bias.) Many people still assume that unless a well-known news source says something is true, it isn’t true.

Journalists are trained not to accept anything as fact that cannot be proven or confirmed, so they don’t go around giving any stock to the paradigm that death is just the shedding of a physical body and that the mind survives the end of the body.

According to journalists, at death we fade to black. That’s all Folks! Reporters write their stories using the language of death derived from centuries of story-telling. Oh, the humanity. If you agree with the so-called “scientific” conclusion that death kills us deader than a door nail, you are  more apt to accept the language of death that emphasizes tragedy, grief, sadness, horror, and other scary story words.

I recently attended an afterlife conference and had my mind filled with presentations and demonstrations about the survival of consciousness. It definitely has me questioning the validity of the version of reality I hear in the news.

THE fog of death

Sometimes I consider the possibility that our general media world is living in the fog of death without realizing it. Could it be that in some future generation, it will be taught in every school that mainstream culture in the 21st Century bought and perpetuated the fantasy that death kills us and kills us completely? Will people of the future shake their collective heads in bemusement at how many 21st Centurians refused to study an afterlife on the grounds that survival beyond death was an absurd idea? Worse, will they further joke about how 21st Centurians created dramatic myths of death and dying for their marketing, their legal affairs, their military operations, their entertainment?

Will people in some future think of us as we think of people who were “scientifically” sure that the planet was flat or that it was impossible for man to walk on the moon?

Of course, many skeptics who discuss woo-woo (often billed as experts) say that those who believe in an afterlife are the ones doing the fantasizing. Science doesn’t fantasize, the belief goes. Yet what if science is wrong? What if the devotion that science pays to materialism as well as to corporate profits keeps it from accurately making conclusions about spiritual realities?

Researcher and author Donna Smith-Moncrieff writes a comprehensive essay about how and why science is missing the mark when researching the afterlife. She does this in her book Medium9.

Despite what science suggests, millions of people have first-hand awareness of multi-dimensional travel through their personal near-death, out-of-body, and other mystical experiences. Millions of these people with direct personal insight into different dimensions say they “know” more than “believe” or “accept” that life continues. Millions of people with their own profound  experiences do not care what science or journalists say.

LOOK INTO THE FUTURE

With so much violence in the news today, I like to wonder how news reporting would sound if the afterlife (or continuation of life in another dimension) was an accepted paradigm. I wonder what life would be like if the prose we heard day in and day out was more like this:

“Albuquerque police report that a four-year-old girl made a transition into the light today when an unidentified man shot at the car in which she was a passenger. Police confirmed the girl’s arrival in spirit and are seeking information from anyone who may have witnessed the incident.”

I know that sounds as weird as, “Science has just confirmed that the Earth is actually flat despite massive evidence to the contrary.”

But it is important to understand that how we get our information about world events is often colored by word usage, which has propaganda value. If it were ever proven empirically that death is a transition — say maybe a communications device that could link the physical and non-physical worlds — the language of death would change to accommodate revisions to reality that were required.

Most places promote the idea that death is a horrible thing. Currently, descriptions of death, especially in the case of violence, highlight the manner in which someone dies. The news is often a bloody mess. The real story that is not mentioned in the news is what fascinates spiritualists. The real story is multi-dimensional.

For example, various books by hypnotherapists and psychic mediums suggest that people come into this world with a well-developed plan for what will happen in life. Life is more like Earth School for souls inhabiting bodies. The plan or curriculum often includes time and manner of death, sometimes even including murder and suicide. If research proved this, it would offer a major change to how we perceive and report there-are-no-accident events. Was a murder planned? Was it a karmic event?

The real story from the victim’s point of view is so unlike news depictions. Books and videos about near-death experiences or that use mediums to talk with the physically deceased describe death in piece-of-cake terms. I cannot recall reading an account of dying where the victim in spirit was upset about the “tragedy” that befell them. It’s more like, “Wow, this place is great! Wish you were here!”

AVOIDANCE OF DEATH

Still, most places teach us that death is terrible and we should avoid it at all costs. The news often reminds us to do things to avoid an early death. Solutions for living longer often have a funny way of costing extra money. “Buy some peace of mind.”

Marketing uses fear of death as a selling strategy. Once we’re quaking in fear, marketing sells solutions. This goes for everything from terrorism to street crime to the food we eat and the diseases we could get. So yes, with a bombardment of fear, it is difficult to consider that death might not be so bad. It’s even more of a stretch to believe that death could happen on a schedule and not by chance. It also means that a “tragically” premature death might have actually happened right on schedule.

This idea grates on the nerves and sensibilities of many of us, but people involved in afterlife research keep getting the same message. The tragedy of death seems most tragic to those left behind, not those who made the transition. So-called dead people who check back through mediums are rarely sad. As in the movie Ghost, they may stick around for a bit to sort through some unfinished business from their mortal lives, but they are having more fun than a day at Disneyland where everything is free. All that talk about lives cut short is an invention of the mind of the grieving.

THE LANGUAGE OF DEATH

You can get a preview of how news might reports deaths by attending workshops or conferences where most people already accept death as transition, not termination. It could be an IANDS group or an afterlife conference or a website devoted to spiritual matters. In places like this, fear of death is healed.

Language would probably need to be upgraded to deal with changing paradigms. Nowadays one often hears the term crossing over or transitioned used by people to convey metamorphosis from physical to nonphysical form. Perhaps something even simpler would emerge to replace terms like died and killed. Crossed, moved, morphed, or changed might become synonyms. New terms would likely be invented.

Quite possibly birth and death will  take on new meanings presuming that consciousness exists before physical birth and survives physical death. It’s a whole different ball game to consider that a newborn baby is actually the incarnation of an eternal soul who has already lived many lifetimes. Parents are sometimes surprised by children who seem to clearly remember a previous lifetime or who have invisible friends.

SKEPTIC’S CORNER

Anyone who goes online to learn about metaphysical phenomena will undoubtedly encounter skeptics. As with many things, when I encounter skepticism, including my own, my radar goes out to check the intent of that skepticism. Is it well-intended inquiry or is it trolling?

Many skeptics seem more eager to insult psychics, mediums, healers, and near-death experiencers than to thoughtfully listen and consider. They often use loose-canon terms like fraud even when they cannot prove how fraud was committed. They seem less interested in truth-seeking and more interested in grandstanding, especially when skepticism is how they make their money. They sound more like politicians than researchers.

So while I truly get that much of this may be tough to swallow, I think it is most helpful to be open-minded and consider the evidence. Healthy skepticism is great when it is not used as a weapon. Asking deep questions fosters deeper understanding. If a skeptic wants to get my attention, best not to use attack rhetoric; rather, best to show love of humanity  and a genuine interest in the truth.

THE FINAL WORD

When I read or watch or listen to the news now, I filter the prose that I hear. I account for the possibility that death might be a fantasy of the religion of materialism. While grief is always a part of the human experience, death might mean more than “That’s all Folks!”

The news opera

ScareguyIf you spend much time watching — and being scared by — the news, it’s essential to your sanity that you understand something.

The news is not sacred. The news isn’t even real. If you depend on the news to give you a heightened-consciousness view of the world, forget it. News is primarily show business. Its aim is economic — to deliver an audience to sponsors.

Many people have realized that news, as defined by what the new covers, is mostly bad. Shit at 11. World Shit Tonight. Nightly Shit. 6 O’clock Shit.

“Good evening. In the top of today’s shit pile, …”

And that’s because we as a society have allowed news to be defined as bad stuff. We are just as complicit in this system as are the providers. They deal us the drugs and we continue to buy them.

NEWS OPERA

Maybe at one time the news was more objective, but these days, that premise gets mighty iffy. Now it is soap opera designed to deliver viewers to advertisers with techniques derived from drama.

The moment a news broadcast begins, professional attention-getters leap into action attempting to hook you, the viewer, into hanging on and staying around. They do this with teasers, which now is a combination of video clips and pithy headline remarks. All that is packaged in glitzy computer graphics to make the whole thing look like a big, fun-to-play video game.

Prove me wrong. The focus is on negative drama — the festering conflict.

The retort from the news pros is always, “We don’t make up the news. We just report it.”

Many of us are trained to shrug our shoulders and say, “Yeah, OK. Point taken. Show us another murder then.”

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNIHILATION

Traditional broadcast TV used to be focused on something called public service. A certain portion of the broadcast day had to be devoted to public service programming. The news was part of that mix. News often didn’t make a profit in the early days of TV. It was a resource drain. It was dry. They only had film, no video tape, and the guy just read the news to us.

That has all changed. Broadcasters figured out that news could become a profit center if it were run more like drama. Being a profit center meant teasing and trapping viewers, boosting ratings, and delivering the crowd to advertisers who are paying for all this shit.

The news is the practice of scaring the crap out of us in a socially acceptable way. It’s a parade of train wrecks — that’s metaphorical unless they are “lucky” enough to score a real one.

Watching the news is sitting there like a zombie (which is also what you do when you are being hypnotized, just in case you never made that connection) while you’re being fed stories of conflict. Besides that, you have to suffer through a barrage of fear-mongering commercials, many of which are mini-horror flicks imagineered to upset you.

Some people appear to be waking up to this condition and are not watching the news anymore. They see the news as tease, lure, fright, dread, analysis, thank you.

I heard from a Facebook friend who said that her husband, recently treated for depression, had “watched A LOT of CNN …. but stopped a few weeks ago. He said he suddenly noticed just how negative it is.”

NEWS AS ILLUSION

How can news be illusion if it is all about facts? Isn’t seeing believing?

This is actually a complex question with many different veins of explorations to follow. The bottom line for me is that if you watch a ton of news, you get a very distorted, unbalanced perspective of reality. The stories might be real, but the balance is off-kilter.

This is similar to how porn is a very distorted, unbalanced perspective of happy human sexuality. It’s sort of real but nevertheless selective and formulated in what it shows.

The news could feature a balanced spectrum of solutions if it truly were about public service; the norm now is that the news gushes with the worst of everything. I yearn for the day when the News Director will say, “Let’s focus on positive solutions to the real problems facing humanity.”

DEFINITION OF NEWS

So is the news actually supposed to be a sewer documentary?

I look at my own world. I have done bunches of reading and personal research on near-death experiences and after-death communication. I have talked with people who say they “died” and experienced alternate realities. They are fully convinced that their brains didn’t make this up, and many have made dramatic post-NDE personality shifts.

As it is currently presented, the news rarely goes there. They’re wildly happy to cover fatalities but loathe to consider what happens after death. They’re wildly happy to cover shit, but are they willing to turn it into fertilizer in the form of stories that help us all heal social ills?

Just sayin’.

People seeking answers these days are leaving mainstream broadcasting and choosing YouTube, Netflix, and similar venues. They know that by searching online they’ll find topics traditional news ignores.

Understandably, skeptics as well as news providers point to science as to why the nature of death is not speculated on in the news. Maybe so, but that does not explain why the news needs to portray death and disaster with such sideshow drama — unless it’s about making money.

BIG CONSPIRACY?

I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories. I don’t think that the Media Monster is out to enslave us—even if that does prove to be true! I believe that this is just how the media organically evolved when it was unleashed into the mainstream as a moneymaking enterprise. For people in the media, this is their job. This is how they feed, clothe, and house their families. It’s the American way.

I still think it is ruining the consciousness of the planetary community by flooding us with negative stories dramatically rendered, but I don’t see conspiracy.

MIND YOUR MENTAL DIET

Ask yourself what is the value of learning about all the discord in the world — especially when it is clearly not being balanced with solutions.

If you are really into the news, take a day and watch it mindfully. View it defensively. Reflect on how your attention gets grabbed and by what? Watch what hooks you emotionally. Study the techniques they’re using. Considering that passive televiewing is a form of hypnosis, or works similarly, are you pleased with all the conflict, stress, and strife you are feeding your unconscious mind?

You might also reflect on this: what do you get from the news that you really need to know? Could you get that from another source? Are you really being served?

Remember, we are talking about your mind, your emotional well-being, your life.

THE MOOD-O-METER TEST

Here is a fun experiment: Compare the “news” you watch to places like ted.com. Do a day, a week, a month.  See which one is performing a better public service. See which one makes you feel more like living and thriving, more like engaging and joining with others.

If you normally watch a half hour of news, watch a half-hour of speeches on ted.com. See if it makes you feel different.

I guess it’s not a closely guarded secret which one floats my boat more.

The news is not the high road. It is not currently the solution. It may actually be much more the problem since all it does is rifle viewers with messages and visions of ain’t-it-awful?

Mind your mental diet. Learn how to monitor what kind of consciousness you are feeding your brain. Feed it good stuff.

When losing is winning

Broken-heart-lossOur routines, myths, news, and entertainment give us — sell us — a bunch of events that we are supposed to take as automatic big losses just because they happen.

We get a divorce or break up a relationship and we lose. Our house burns down and we lose. We get laid off or fired and we lose. We get a serious illness and we lose. All those other events that friends and family go “oh, no” can probably be included.

Certain human experiences get listed as losses. But losses can also turn out to be a first step to wins. This usually isn’t part of the narrative. It might be more interesting if it were.

THE STORY OF LOSS

Let’s say that a love relationship ends. It’s customarily treated as a loss if not a complete failure or a downright tragedy. But is it tragic or a failure if a bit later another relationship replaces it, one that is even better for the new you? Or if the end of a relationship prompts an unforeseen change that ultimately results in a major life breakthrough, is that still a loss?

It’s all about perspective!

I have heard of many people who at one time “lost everything” in a disaster, yet years later they were very thankful for the wins that the “awful” experience inspired. The loss put their life on a different path that turned out to breed a previously unimagined success.

Some people learned through the crushing pain of bankruptcy how much they relied on status and materialism for their happiness. When they were humiliated through sudden poverty, through their financial losses, they learned how much they had missed simple pleasures and that the best things in life aren’t things.

Losses still do bring pain and suffering, but they bring gifts, too. That should be part of the narrative.

THE DRAMA OF THE LOSS

Pay attention to someone who has just encountered a big loss. It might even be you. Notice how other people respond to it. What do they say?  How much of the talk intensifies the drama of the loss?

“Oh, you poor thing! How dreadful! That must be terrible! You must feel awful!”

While this may sound like a helpful dollop of sympathy, the polite thing to say, the loving thing to do, it also amps up the intensity of the loss. The more one slathers on the sorrow and the pity, the more likely we are to feel sorry for ourselves. That leads to thinking like a victim and not bouncing back.

I’m not saying to be stingy with compassion for people under siege from a recent event that they deem a big loss. I’m saying not to stay stuck in the soap opera or melodrama. It doesn’t help them.

When it’s your loss, consider tweaking your perception of losing. Allow yourself to feel sad or angry but don’t get caught up in glorifying the loss through constant story-telling where you see yourself a victim. Rather, keep your eyes and ears open for new opportunity. The more you look for the gift in your circumstance, the more likely you’ll find something positive.

At least that’s the message I’m telling myself as I recover from my losses.

Deep pool friendships

Loving life in the deep end of the pool.

Loving life in the deep end of the pool.

I have a metaphor for friendships that I especially like. It deals with water, my favorite element. I like to think of friendships and love relationships in terms of how deep I can dive into them.

With some people I can dive way down deep into their consciousness. They sing to me, “Come on in, the water’s fine!”

They provide plenty of room for me to swim around amid their thoughts and feelings. They reflect with me, share with me, emote with me. In the best cases, there are no secrets.

With other people you really have to watch yourself. Don’t dive in without looking for boulders, jagged edges, and other hidden obstacles. These people are aloof, evasive, defensive, argumentative, judgmental. This is what I call the shallow end of the pool. I can rarely merge with who they truly are. They are not big on self-revelation and personal growth.

Much of our society is taught to stay in the shallow end of the pool. Don’t dive too deep or you’ll split your head open when you hit bottom. Don’t get too intimate, too probing, too personal. To me conversations while dressed in Hazmat suits are about as exciting as watching a convention of gnats (which I grant you under certain lighting conditions can be intriguing, too.)

I am a deep pool kind of guy. It probably stems from being a creative writer who always needs to think multidimensionally about my characters’ external behavior and their internal world. It also stems from my college education, much of which clued me into looking for the hidden meaning beneath the surface of the obvious.

Deep pool friendships in Earth School are very rare, and I am so grateful when they manifest. The deeper the pool, the less the censorship, the less the hiding, the less the packaged personality and schtick.

Come on in, the water’s fine.

My campaign to save dirty words

Harness the semantic power

Harness the semantic power of naughty words

All right, this is just the salvo, the launch pad of one of my pet campaigns. I will be writing much more about it if I don’t chicken out.

I happen to be a lover of dirty words. I think they’re great inventions. They’re fun. They’re filled with energy. They pop. They squirt. They jiggle. They sparkle.

Dirty words are especially delicious in the creation of erotic passion. They bring focus, clarity, verve, gusto to the fore. When strewn about in poetic ways, they are music to the ear.

SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

So why do we have to use them to express ugly thoughts? Why can’t we save juicy words for producing good feelings?

That is my cause. Save dirty words for creating joy and wonder. Find other ways to express rage, hostility, displeasure.

I believe that it is semantic insanity for the same words to stand in for both the most delicious, ecstatic thoughts and for language that expresses our worst, most violent thoughts.

Recently as a beautiful female friend of mine described a struggle she was having, she used a torrent of f-word technology. I worked hard to listen compassionately to what she was saying, but my brain kept responding with oohs and ahhs with every eff.

We need to rescue dirty words and restore them to the nuggets of bliss that they are.