One should not pursue that which is not necessary in one’s life,
otherwise one will have to pay a price. One who knows how to
preserve happiness will not burden himself unnecessarily.
I have two articles for you in this issue that deal with
important matters. They are not easy articles, but I ask that you
work with them a bit, as they both contain worthwhile concepts.
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In a world where fundamentalist religions seem to enjoy ever greater sway – whether it be fundamentalist Islam, radical Judaism or evangelical Christianity – it is worthwhile to ponder one of the key assumptions underlying all three of these faiths. In doing so, we can better understand why their believers act the way they do, and consequently better comprehend events in our own world. Central to all three Semitic religions is the notion of Antithesis – namely, the notion that if one thing, “A”, is true, its opposite, “Not-A”, MUST logically and necessarily therefore be false. To put it in more familiar terms, these religions see the whole world in black and white. They see no shades of gray whatsoever. This is an extremely important concept to grasp, and one that many people fail to comprehend when they watch the fundamentalists of each faith battle it out with each other – whether it be for souls or land. The philosophy of our modern world is NOT one of antithesis, but rather of synthesis: taking two opposite concepts and seeking to create a new one that harmoniously incorporates the previous two. The spirit of the modern age tolerates ambiguity, and seeks to find richness in diversity and difference. However, that is not the way with Fundamentalism. The concept of antithesis remains absolutely central, and dominates every doctrine and every thought. Hence, if Christianity is true and Jesus Christ is the Savior, then all other religions MUST necessarily be false and of no value. If Israel IS the promised land given to God’s chosen people, then by necessity, no other race has any claim to it whatsoever. If God is ONE, as revealed to the prophet Mohammed, then he CANNOT be “three in one”, as Christianity maintains. A person BEFORE conversion to Christianity is lost in sin and bound for hell; a person AFTER conversion is saved and bound for paradise. Antithesis all the way. If you ponder this for a while, you soon realize why these religions are at each others’ throats, and the cause of many of the world’s problems. To do otherwise is to stray away from the strict and clear definitions presented in the faith’s holy scriptures. It is to be a liberal and to tolerate ambiguity. It is to be loyal to man but disloyal to God. There is no ambiguity in these religions. All is crystal clear. If “A” is true, then “Not-A” is false. There is no other possibility. “Not-A” cannot be true in any sense. This notion of antithesis penetrates all areas of their thinking. All three of the Middle Eastern faiths believe in a sharp antithesis between Man and the rest of Creation, and this is based strictly upon the account given in Genesis. The notion that (a) God created Man in his own image, and (b) that God gave Man dominion over Creation creates a powerful antithesis that lives with us to this to this day. If God created Man in his own image, it logically implies that Man possesses an intrinsic nature that is NOT shared with animals. Hence, a huge void is opened up between God and Man on the one side, and the rest of Creation on the other (which is why notions of Darwinian evolution remain repugnant to fundamentalist Christianity to this very day). Thus, if Man has personality as a direct consequence of being made in God’s image, the antithesis is that animals have NO personality. Any appearance to the contrary must be merely mimicry, analogous to teaching a parrot to talk. If Man, being made in the image of God, has an eternal soul, then antithesis dictates that animals do NOT have souls, eternal or otherwise. They are simply animated flesh “robots”, enslaved to their instinctive programming The logical result is that Man can treat Creation much as he pleases, as long as it conforms to the general will of God (which is pretty laissez faire, given that he gave Man dominion over Creation in the first place). Hence, animals can be treated as a natural resource to be exploited as we wish, and as much as we wish. They can be killed or experimented upon, as long as it serves Man’s notion of what is good for Man. This is the logical outcome of Man being created in God’s image, and animals therefore NOT being created in God’s image. Hence, animals possess NO worthwhile characteristics in common with us. It is the difference between Christian America making hamburgers out of cows, and the killing of even one cow being a legal offence in Hindu India, where cows are considered sacred. Regarding Creation itself, the Middle Eastern faiths all adopt the same stance. In contradistinction to the Eastern faiths, Islam, Judaism and Christianity all hold the creation account given in Genesis in common. Thus, the principle of antithesis dictates that if God created the world, then he is not IN the world, or in any way a part of it, as is maintained within Hinduism, where God is present in every particle of Creation. This is a VERY important principle to realize, and one which most people do not grasp with respect to these three faiths. Each essentially believes in a “clockwork universe” model of the universe. God created it, set it in motion, and watches it from the “outside”, from where he occasionally intervenes in events. He is no way part of the system, but stands completely and entirely outside of it. Hence, he is in no way responsible for the fact that the whole system has turned sour and wrong. If he were immanent in Creation and maintaining it from moment to moment, as Hinduism and New Age spirituality maintain, then it would be logically impossible for him to evade partial responsibility for the actions of all those whom he sustains with the breath of life from moment to moment. Such a situation would be analogous to a man making daily financial donations to the Mafia, and then throwing up his hands in shocked confusion, saying, “It’s got nothing to do with me!”, when the police show up at his door with an arrest warrant. If we explore this concept of antithesis in our modern world, we will begin to understand things much better. We begin to make sense of how fundamentalist religion influences world figures dominated by its mentality. The thought processes of a fundamentalist President Bush, for example, become more comprehensible. If America is “good”, then anything that differs or disagrees with America must be “evil”. If Democracy is “right” and “true”, then Not-Democracy is “wrong” and “false”. There are no shades of gray. The other face of the exact same antithesis coin is a fundamentalist like Osama bin Laden. If his brand of Islam is “good”, then logically all that stands against it – America, for example – MUST logically be “evil”. There are no shades of gray! Hence, according to this logic, to fight against America and Americans is a service to God! Each is governed by the SAME core principle – the principle of fundamentalist Antithesis. Less dramatically, the principle works in issues like Abortion, Drugs, Homosexuality and so on. This philosophy of Antithesis may have been viable right up to the 20th century. It could certainly not be disproved or challenged in any meaningful sense. However, modern Science has discovered that the world really does not function in that way. Ambiguity IS the order of the day, particularly at the sub-atomic quantum level. In Quantum Physics, there is something called Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, which is actually a scientific statement of ambiguity, in direct contrast to the “certainty” of antithesis, so enshrined within fundamentalist religion. At macroscopic levels, Chaos theory introduces similar levels of uncertainty and ambiguity. Effects are NOT the linear results of causes. Uncertainty reigns. “A” and “Not-A” may both have validity. However, none of this is likely to change the immense momentum behind Antithesis that the three Middle Eastern faiths have developed over a period of millennia. This essay is not offered in the hope of necessarily improving the situation, in either the short-term or the long-term. Rather, its purpose is merely to help you to see the situation for what it is with open eyes, and make of it what you will for the benefit of your life .
Copyright Asoka Selvarajah 2005. All Rights Reserved.
Asoka Selvarajah is a writer on personal growth and
and the author of “The 7 Golden Secrets To Knowing Your
Self”. His work helps people achieve their full
potential, deepen their
understanding of mystical truth,
and discover their soul’s purpose.
Ed Strachar is the creator of a number of innovative programs, including “Reading Genius”, The Performer’s Edge” and “Magical Concentration”. His style is always a little controversial, but his content is always excellent.
“Into the Genius Zone” explores proven strategies for awakening the genius that lies dormant within you. His techniques are proven because Strachar is a success to sports personalities,
corporate executives and more. He also practices what he
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The course combines audio AND video training to give you the
complete experience. Apart from Strachar himself, you get to hear
from well known personal growth figures such as Alexander
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their unique and essential contribution to the whole program.
Ed Strachar combines a highly metaphysical and spirit-based
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various processes he reveals are excellent and you can use them
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If you’re an avid student of New Age spirituality, you will
doubtless have come across the notion that you are “already
enlightened”, but you just don’t know it?…
Well, I’m here to give you a wake up call. Sorry, but it isn’t
true. The fact of the matter is that despite what your favorite
famous New Age guru may tell you, I’m not enlightened and, based
on the laws of probability, neither are you.
Now, if I just rained on your parade, or otherwise ruined your
day by telling you that, I apologize. However, the truth is
always better than some made-up fantasy.
Think about it for a moment…
If it was really this easy, then what have all the Buddhist monks
throughout countless millennia been wasting their time doing?
Why are they giving up their worldly careers, their homes, their
families, and secluding themselves in a life of constant
self-examination; studying endless scriptures, meditating for
many hours a day? Why would there even BE a Buddha in the first
place, if it was just as easy as reading the latest $9 self-help
book from the latest reformed drug/alcohol addict
psychotherapeutic self-help spiritual author?
Sorry. Enlightenment just doesn’t just come for the asking. I’m
going with the Dalai Lama on this one when he says meditating for
20 minutes a day during teabreaks won’t cut it, and that
achieving Enlightenment is a DIFFICULT thing that takes constant
mindful effort. I’m going with Dick Sutphen who says that
although he’s met just about everybody in the spiritual self-help
movement, he hasn’t met a single person whom he would call
So how could people get it so wrong? How could we have been
persuaded that Enlightenment is so “easy”? There are several
levels to this.
The first is that people always want the quick and easy answer,
and they will flock to anyone who will give it to them. This is a
well known psychological fact in Copywriting and Marketing.
Skilled advertisers exploit it all the time. Use words like
“quickly” and “easily” and it will increase sales. Guaranteed.
People in America in particular, and throughout the Western world
in general, always want the “magic pill”. They want to be
writers, but they really don’t want to do the hard work of
actually writing: they want to “have written”. When it comes to
Enlightenment, they don’t want the hard work and effort
necessary. They want the latest magic pill.
But hey! I’ve got something even better for you. Guess what? You
don’t even have to take the pill. You’re “already enlightened”,
but you just don’t know it yet!
The second aspect to this confusion is that it IS actually true
that the seed of Enlightenment dwells within us all. It just
needs constant watering to bring it to full fruition. If this
were not so, then Enlightenment would have to be something
totally “other” than us: something that invades us one day from
the outside and takes over. However, it isn’t. It is within us in
dormant form and is our very nature. It is the task of Buddhism
and other profound spiritual systems to progressively clear away
the debris of ignorance, wrong thinking, and wrong living that
keeps it from blooming fully within us.
That is certainly true. However, from a practical standpoint, it
is completely useless to know this merely intellectually. The key
is to make this come alive, and THAT takes work. It may be the
work of a lifetime and, more likely, many lifetimes. Buddhism
teaches that many Buddhas made the vow to achieve Enlightenment
countless MILLIONS of lifetimes before they actually achieved it!
Hence, to mistake the essence of Enlightenment, which we all
possess within ourselves, as being equal to full Enlightenment is
a very big mistake indeed. The human body is about 75% water,
but just try drinking your mother’s cheek instead of kissing it.
Matter is 99.9999% empty space, but just try walking THROUGH your
front door instead of opening it first!
It’s the same with Enlightenment. It may be your very essence,
but it is useless to merely know this superficially. Facts may be
facts. However, an intellectual truth is not the same as the
practical realization of that truth. Similarly, the essence of
Enlightenment may live deep down within you, obscured by
ignorance and delusion. However, just because that is the case,
it is still a huge error to then claim that you are “already
So why do many of the leading New Age spiritual teachers maintain
this position? Well, there is an amazing superficiality in the
West, and this sort of philosophy caters to it. Indeed, it is
actually another example of it. People don’t want to have to give
up anything. They don’t want to make any sacrifices. They don’t
want to hear about hard work. They want to have their cake AND
eat it. They want to “have it all”. They want to be “already
enlightened”, and just “not know it”. How lovely!
If you tell them it’s easy, you will get rich and successful. If
you tell them it’s hard, you won’t. Does that sound cynical?
Maybe it is. But just imagine the cynicism of telling people the
job is already done, when it has not even begun! It seems that
the Buddha really did not have to leave his royal palace and
spend years in hardship seeking the truth, as well as countless
days and nights under the Bodhi tree in the depths of meditation.
He could have just remained in his palace, enjoying himself, and
read a $10 self-help book by a johnny-come-lately author. Then he
could “have it all”.
We are all so easily deceived in the West, because there is such
an enormous spiritual void. People want fast and easy answers;
spiritual “fast food”. They want to be told what they already
want to hear, and there is no shortage of people prepared to do
By a Darwinian selection process, these people rise to the top of
the self-help market because they are giving it what it wants to
hear. The people who are perhaps more realistic about
Enlightenment, and what it takes, are rather less popular. Their
books go out of print due to lack of demand, or get filed under
“Buddhism”, or else you’ll find them tucked away and gathering
dust at the back of the shop, at the bottom of a pile of equally
The fact is that if you wish to make progress at anything,
spirituality included, you’re going to have to do something
You’re going to have to WORK at it and keep working at it. You’re
going to have to make some hard choices about how you spend your
time, and your life. You’re going to have to get SERIOUS. And
when I say “you”, I am talking about me too.
But if you think you’re “already enlightened” and there’s nothing
more to do, good luck! Enjoy yourself. Chances are though that
next time around….
You’ll be reborn as a bed bug!
Copyright Asoka Selvarajah 2005. All Rights Reserved.
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