We are the Hungry Games

This past Friday (March 24th) my son and I went to see the movie “The Hungry Games”. I really enjoyed it, partly because the little guy/gal wins at the end even though the system is set against them. I am assuming that most of you know that hungry games is a movie about a ruling class which forces competition to death between selected members of different poor districts in a selected location and this competition is witnessed on live Tv.

What struck me was that the child who is poor and starving in Somalia may see me and you- the ones who live virtually with our fancy gadgets while they starve-as if we are the perpetrators of the Hunger games. Now surely, I tell myself and hopeful you concur, we have no power. We are part of a system and this system allows for poverty, hunger, starvation, loss of limb and life, and lack of universal human rights and dignity, including universal (world) health care. We have no control.  Or do we? We play in the Hunger games by participating in the system. Perhaps the Occupy movement, though insignificant in its impact, makes a point- we, within the system, who are more privileged, will not step outside of our comfort zone because we are doing okay- we are the beneficiary of the Hungry games.

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Get Involved | The Happy Movie

Get Involved | The Happy Movie.

 

Just saw this documentary on happiness and the pursuit of it. It has interviews from individuals across the globe and the views expressed on happiness are backed by psychological research into happiness. I am intentionally not saying much because I think you ought to see it for yourself.

 

 

 

 

Sigmund Freud on Religion

“The whole thing (religion) is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life.”

This is a quote from Words of Wisdom: Sigmund Freud blogger.

Although I believe that religion, God, or spirituality have a “reasonable” dimension to them and does have a reality of its own, many of our beliefs are not reasonable at all and prevent us from doing what we can and must for global happiness.  So, for instance, the view by many that one must believe in this or that for salvation is based on the belief that: 1) there is a God; 2) He wishes to save us; and 3) we must follow His message to attain salvation; or 4) in the alternative be bound for Hell.  What is obviously missed in this scenario is the illogic of posing a God who is all powerful and loving yet unable to communicate his message effectively, or the fact that we are not that special- we share the pain and suffering with many other living things, including a dogs and cats who go through the cycle of birth and death.  The belief in God also may lend to a false sense of security and moral righteousness which may be used to exploit non-believers or take no action, on issues such as the environment, because there is a false sense that “everything will be okay” because there is a God. In some cases, religion is used to justify pain and suffering rather than alleviate it- for instance, the concept of Karma may be falsely used to say that a child who is starving is deserving of it.

I do not think I am successful in communicating my agreement with some of what is Freud is saying. I guess what I am saying is that sometimes the path to happiness is very simple- yet we invent concepts and deities that take a very long road to something that is in plain sight.

Universal Secrets of the Hajj

For my non-Muslim readers, I have believed in experiencing truth and appreciating truths wherever I find them. “There are as many ways to God as human breaths”, said Prophet Muhammad.  This is just one of many experiences of “It” that all of us have had-the aim of this post is not to promote “one truth” but share the mysticism involved in Hajj:

It is my belief that Hajj is a symbol to hidden and manifest spiritual truths ready to be discovered and guide.

The Symbol of  Circle of Life

The Hajj begins at the Kaaba, a place of worship believed to have been built by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ishmael- commonly known as the House of God.   All are dressed in unstitched white clothes. The Muslims are required to circle the Kaaba anti-clockwise

It is symbolic that the journey begins with God at the House of God. Why then depart from it only to return to it after days of journeying away from it? To journey away from the House of God to God Himself.

This is symbolic to me of “Adam and Eve” beginning their journey with God. What is also symbolic is that the approach to the House of God is in circles- I began at the outer edge of the circle slowly making my way towards the House of God.

You need very little- you can carry only very little

Your journeying away from the House of God to God requires you to carry only as much as you can carry. You carry what you need and you figure out how little you need. If you carry more than what you need it becomes a burden to you because the journey is long and tiring through the heat of the dessert sun and its cold nights. Since my Hajj in 2007, I have often wondered whether I have applied this beautiful lesson in my life. How much do I own that ends up owning my “soul”?

Letting go of vanity- a movement to your true self

During Hajj you are not allowed to look at yourself in the mirror. And by the end of the Hajj, when you have walked under the dessert sun, slept with fellow Muslims under a tent, and rested wherever you can, you “forget” yourself and ironically find your true self-you realize how unimportant your looks are and how much you need to look at yourself as both you and other human beings see you-not the cosmetic you, but the real you. This is one of the great blessings of Hajj.

The next stop is at Mount Arafat- the mountain where Adam and Eve received God’s “forgiveness” for approaching the “forbidden tree”. It is also known as the Mountain of Knowledge. What is interesting is that in the Holy Quran, the tree is linked to Adam and Eve becoming conscious of their nakedness and covering themselves with leaves! This is very interesting- 1) it links self-consciousness of the body to a lower state of being (may be this is a connection in not being allowed to look into the mirror) and 2) unconscious nakedness as a higher state.
……to be continued, God willing

Personal Reflection on Hajj-Part 2

This is a follow up to Personal Reflections on Hajj- Part 1. However, if you have no experience with Hajj, you are better off reading Part 2 first and then moving on to Part 1 as this is written for a general audience.

It is my belief that Hajj is a symbol to hidden and manifest spiritual truths ready to be discovered and guide.

The Symbol of  Circle of Life

The Hajj begins at the Kaaba, a place of worship believed to have been built by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ishmael- commonly known as the House of God.   All are dressed in unstitched white clothes. The Muslims are required to circle the Kaaba anti-clockwise

It is symbolic that the journey begins with God at the House of God. Why then depart from it only to return to it after days of journeying away from it? To journey away from the House of God to God Himself.

This is symbolic to me of “Adam and Eve” beginning their journey with God. What is also symbolic is that the approach to the House of God is in circles- I began at the outer edge of the circle slowly making my way towards the House of God.

You need very little- you can carry only very little

Your journeying away from the House of God to God requires you to carry only as much as you can carry. You carry what you need and you figure out how little you need. If you carry more than what you need it becomes a burden to you because the journey is long and tiring through the heat of the dessert sun and its cold nights. Since my Hajj in 2007, I have often wondered whether I have applied this beautiful lesson in my life. How much do I own that ends up owning my “soul”?

Letting go of vanity- a movement to your true self

During Hajj you are not allowed to look at yourself in the mirror. And by the end of the Hajj, when you have walked under the dessert sun, slept with fellow Muslims under a tent, and rested wherever you can, you “forget” yourself and ironically find your true self-you realize how unimportant your looks are and how much you need to look at yourself as both you and other human beings see you-not the cosmetic you, but the real you. This is one of the great blessings of Hajj.

The next stop is at Mount Arafat- the mountain where Adam and Eve received God’s “forgiveness” for approaching the “forbidden tree”. It is also known as the Mountain of Knowledge. What is interesting is that in the Holy Quran, the tree is linked to Adam and Eve becoming conscious of their nakedness and covering themselves with leaves! This is very interesting- 1) it links self-consciousness of the body to a lower state of being (may be this is a connection in not being allowed to look into the mirror) and 2) unconscious nakedness as a higher state.
 Part 3 will be written soon- God Willing.