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Transcript

Losing Your Religion

Every whisper, of every waking hour, Are you choosing your confessions

Losing my religion is actually an old southern expression for being at the end of one’s rope, and the moment when politeness gives way to anger.” — Evan Schlantsky

I hadn’t planned on recording a podcast episode today, however today felt like a good time to record an impromptu monologue to remind people they have choices, that helplessness, blame and shame might seem attractive and that’s a mirage. When you pass judgement on another, you ultimately pass judgement on yourself. When you shame another, you ultimately shame yourself.

Religion seems to cause human suffering more than it relieves it.

If your religion inspires you to behave like an asshole, you’ve lost your religion! What if religion could be the means by which individuals achieved co-regulation and self regulation? What if religion was a way to connect with yourself? What if you can’t connect to God except through yourSelf? What if believing in God and loving God are not necessarily the same thing?

The article from which I quoted Breslov is [here]

Below the line you can find the transcript of this episode.

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Transcript

It's Wednesday June the 5th at 1439. I just am going to have a conversation with myself. I wanted to just talk a little bit about blame and shame. I heard a great clip from Jihadi Jew Lee Weissman.

He's posted on all his things. And basically, he uses the analogy of a couple going to marriage counseling and they're having some trouble and they are at a marriage counselor. And so they're going to tell their story. And the wife starts and she's like, he does this and this and this and then husband chimes in and he's you know, she does this and this and this and essentially it's like, you know, a blame and shame game. And any, you know, good conflict resolution person or marriage counselor is going to shut that shit down because that is not how conflicts are resolved. Conflicts are resolved by trying to find common ground and getting both parties on the same side, which is the side of trying to save the relationship or rebuild the relationship and skip past the conflict. So I just think that's kind of important right now because pretty much I'm in Canada, I'm in Vancouver, but I think it's pretty safe to say that Americans fairly feel the same way.

Everyone pretty much feels pretty crappy. We all feel pretty shitty. It's in the air. Like the political atmosphere is just extremely poisonous. Everyone's really angry about various different things. Expectations are not being met. Blah, blah, blah. We just all feel crappy pretty much in Canada and the United States. We feel really awful generally speaking. And so we are living in this matrix of threat states. And life is basically trying to navigate that. And we don't always have our best thinking brains when we are feeling threatened by some stuff. And so I just wanted to like, I love word etymology. So.

Blame I look go to the usually the etymology online and I'm looking at the The etymology of blame and so I'm looking here and it's like from the similar root of blaspheme blasphemere so this is you know to speak lightly or amiss of God or sacred things. And then if you go to shame, well, the various words, but one word that stood out to me, one root word was schaamte, which means the uncomfortable feeling that you, the awareness of guilt or of feeling that you failed or that you didn't meet your own expectations for yourself. 

So blame and shame.

You know, if you think of blaming as like speaking lightly or amiss of sacred things, and if you think of shame as, you know, feeling uncomfortably aware of your own, you know, ugliness or whatever, I think these two things go together because when you are feeling un... when you're not feeling good about yourself. It's very hard to accept yourself. And one thing we really love to do is to blame others. And, you know, that is damaging to the relationship. It is, you know, taking a sacred thing for granted. It's a natural thing that we all do. And when we are feeling threatened, we don't... Like I said, we don't have access to, we don't have our best thinking brain on, but physiologically, neurologically speaking, we actually don't have access to those circuits that in our brain that make us able to be socially appropriate and thinking about other people and being in a self -examination mode and having these compassionate connection and these kinds of things. We're not able to think about solutions. We're not able to think about making peace. We're really pretty dumb, pretty stupid troglodytes when we're feeling angry and ... you know, ashamed and it's like a threat state. If you think of these things in terms of threat states, you know, it is really about how we feel, how safe we feel in our connection with ourself and with other people.

And Thomas Merton, who is a Christian mystic, said in several of his books that we see things as we are. We see things through the lens of our own self. So. You know, when we are feeling, you know, like we can't accept our own flaws and stuff, that's, you know, often when we decide that we, you know, we shut that part of our vision off and we find it really easy to see those things in other people.

So, you know, it's very easy to slide into that. And, you know, that's why it's always a good practice to just think about what you're doing and check in with yourself. So the quote here is, so Thomas Merton's a Christian, so he speaks from the perspective of original sin. I don't believe, don't buy that. So but you know we can just put aside the things we don't agree with and just take the things we do agree with. So we see things as they are not because we see them centred on ourselves. Fear, anxiety, greed, ambition, and our hopelessness. Our hopeless need for pleasure all distort the image of reality that is reflected in our minds. Grace does not completely correct this distortion all at once, but it gives us a means of recognizing and allowing for it. So, you know, just to use like a simple example, you know, maybe that person who you think is like the worst thing ever and being the biggest dickhead ever, maybe like they have no, you know, they have a perfectly reasonable explanation for whatever it is that you think that they did that was so terrible. 

And maybe, I'm not saying that it's not hurtful, but you know, sometimes it's a good, it's often a good idea to try to, once you get over the initial betrayal and, you know, feeling of disappointment and whatever of the fact that your expectations were not met, then maybe it's a good idea to put down the judgment and ask why. Why, you know, did that happen? Maybe there's some really perfectly good explanation about about why that is and it depends on what story you're telling yourself and your state of your nervous system will you know follow the story that you tell yourself and there is kind of a loop you know that there's an exchange between those two so you know if you are going around looking for proof that everyone hates you well you're probably going to find a lot that you're probably never going to be happy.

And sometimes shit just happens. Maybe that person did not answer your message for, you know, 12 hours because they had a crisis and they were in emergency. And maybe it's not all about you all the time. And we all have had those, you know, situations where we can't see clearly because, you know, the blinders are on, ego is not your amigo. Rumi spoke about polishing the mirrors so you can see yourself better and so on. 

So I really just wanted to point out that there's a lot of blame and shame and that is a function of the fact that we feel pretty crappy about our surroundings and ourselves. A lot of us, I mean, Americans are having a bit of a different crisis, but I think you are facing a similar thing as us. Some things are happening in the big political realm and they're a bit intimidating and the future looks a bit spooky. And that is a thing that's always over our head all the time. And that is, you know, an always existing threat state. And there's all sorts of, you know, opportunists and there's all sorts of clout seekers and so on out there trying to capitalize on that and trying to, if there's an incentive to get people to be living in their fear states and this and that. And it's easy to get swept in. It's really easy to get swept into that whole thing because we want to belong and we're socially connected to others. 

And I admit, after 7/10, I watched all the videos, I listened to all the things, I listened to Ben Shapiro and, you know, I heard the, you know, the, you know, the, the, the, the, the rhetoric and, you know, all of that stuff. And it was very convincing. And, you know, I don't know anybody who didn't see all the videos that didn't feel that way. I mean, I'm not, that's not, nothing I say is ever a justification. It is simply just an explanation and context that, you know, we love to judge and judge, you know, intense emotions, especially unpleasant ones. But I think that's just because they make us feel uncomfortable. And I think we just need to understand where they come from and try to ameliorate them. 

And so I can see in retrospect, I mean, in fact, when I was listening to that…Because I'm a, you know, follow, I'm, you know, one of my areas is dehumanization. And I follow the lessons and I listen to David Livingston Smith and I read his books and stuff. And I heard the, you know, thing, the human animal and stuff. And I heard that, that registered, you know. But that what I saw was really hard to assimilate. And it still is. And so. You know, there's lots of wounds and we have to start doing some wound care. I have a nursing background, so I love to use wound care as a metaphor. And I often will use physical and natural examples because I think that it's easier for people to understand. So, you know.

I just want to go over here to this article now I'm going to look at, Brezlov, Rebi Nachman Brezlov. And he's got a really great way of looking at this. I've said before, often an accusation is a confession. That's one of my favorite sayings that sometimes I say on Twitter. So, Rebbe Nachman has a really great way of talking about this. He says that, “… every time you are given the opportunity to pass judgment on another, know that it is actually your own actions you are judging. The other person's actions might be obviously similar to your own, or they might be related in ways you find difficult to fathom.

You might read about them in the newspaper, you might hear about them from a friend, or you might be a witness. You may feel annoyed, upset, or angry with the person, or you may simply feel an urge to condemn them. If you do, you condemn yourself in the chambers of heavenly courts, says a chassidus. However, if you are able to squelch the desire to adjudge, attack, or accuse, if you reach deep into your heart, if you are able to turn away from the negative and seek and find only the good points in that person, then the positive judgment you pass is on yourself. We instinctively know this to be true, which is why we admire non -judgmental people, people who are accepting of others, people who are able to see the good in others. On the other hand, those who give in to their urge to pass sentence on others tend to be really hard on themselves, if not openly, at least deep down inside. Arrogance or hypocrisy are often covering up real fear or shame.”

So this is kind of like a negative loop in your brain. And the other thing is that our brains and our nervous systems have evolved to basically protect us from threats. Because as I, I can't remember if I said this or if I thought it, the world is essentially a matrix of threat states that we have to navigate. So, you know, we have become really good at self -preservation, and that means we need to be more, you know, aware and focused on the dangers in our world around us. And it comes more naturally to us. It's something that's, you know, we're sort of hardwired to do to constantly be checking and mitigating and ameliorating the threat states that come across the path of our existence, which is so often. And it takes work to be creative. This is what Stephen Porges calls creative. It takes work to do that. We can't do that in every single state of our nervous system. If we are in shutdown mode, which is the dorsal vagal, the lowest reptilian mode where we are immobilized in fear or freeze. If we are in, fight mode, in sympathetic mode, in mobilization mode, we don't have access or access to higher thinking circuitry and empathic thinking of other people, thinking from other points of view and questioning what are we doing and ethics circuitry and things like that. Those things are not accessible to us.

So we have to work to get ourselves into the state where we can be our best selves. And the best way to do that, the most effective and primarily desirous way to do that is through a social connection. So in to foster a social connection with another human being that is safe and sound where you can be co-regulated. Because we are mammals, so we are co -regulating species, a social connection for co-regulation purposes is a biological necessity like peeing and pooping and breathing and your heart beating and eating and drinking and moving around. So, you know, we have this notion that, you know, there is no connection between the mind and the body. And that's absolutely not true. We have this notion that, you know, we don't need other people, that, you know, social connection is a luxury. It's some fluffy thing. But it's not.

And I hope that we have learned from COVID and, you know, the social distancing that that was a terrible, terrible hardship that we put people through that was tantamount to torture. Social isolation is a form of psychological torture. Solitary confinement is torture. The human being cannot live like that. We cannot live isolated like that. So I think we have a lot of wounds on board because we have had a pretty rough past five years or so. And we don't live in a society where we even are willing to see that these things are affecting us. And we also live in a society where the notion of safety, and the notion of feeling traumatized and the notion of people suffering and experiential, the experiential lived experience is being exploited. It's being used by narcissists to bully other people.

And we really, really have a situation where there's a lot of mistrust. There's a lot of disingenuousness. There's a lot of refusal to be vulnerable because if you're hypocritical and you're misrepresenting yourself, you are not being vulnerable. And it's just not a great atmosphere to have any solutions. And it's really, really hard to be that regulated person who sees all sides in this mob because then when you say, well, you know, OK, you know, the conflict in Israel. Wow. Like it's been like what is being accomplished now by this military operation automatically, you know, you have, you know, several people accusing you of, you know, endorsing the murder of babies and genocide and a bunch of stuff that you never said. You just said, OK, wow, really? Should we rethink this?

And then everyone loses their shit. I mean, I'm not making that up. I've seen that. Or, you know, like, you know, you know, there is, you know, such a thing as Palestinian people. There should be, you know, Palestinian, you know, self -determination and blah, blah, blah. And then people are like, so you want to reward rapists and baby killers? No, I just said that there should be like you know, some kind of self -determination and a solution for Palestinian people. Well, they could go to Jordan. It's like. We just have so many people who don't want to solve this problem, who really, really, really are feeling very comfortable in this poop.

It's like we are sitting in a big pile of poop. Everyone, you know, imagine I'm going to be a nurse again. Imagine you have on your assignment sheet, the room from hell, which is the four bedroom and it is occupied by all four people who cannot take themselves to the washroom on their own. So you've walked in the room. Everyone has shot to the bed. I mean, this is like what it is. You walk into the room and everyone shit the bed, but they're happy about it. They're so happy and stuff. And they're just flinging it around the room. And it's like, that's what society feels like to me right now, very often, you know, the encampments and the using of historical trauma, you know, and all these, you know, people, you know, pretending or, you know, opportunistically parasiting themselves onto another cause. And just it's just, you know, people using other people to masturbate their ego. And yes, I said that.

And that is also another favourite phrase of mine. Because to me, it is very vulgar like that. It is very much like masturbation, which is like, you know, you are like engaging in this repetitive compulsive behaviour for the sole purposes of feeling sexual pleasure by yourself. Like you're using something that is like a sacred process and ability that the human body has to connect to another human being in a very sacred special context and you're Exploiting that To give yourself some dopamine hits That's really really vulgar. Okay? Yes, you know, whatever I don't mean to shame anybody if this is someone's thing if you love to do that, whatever them just using that, you know analogy that socially masturbating over other people's struggles and causes is really gross.

In Canada, we had this thing where we had a bunch of grownups, and I bet you a lot of them are professionals and university educated. And we saw these people going into the legislative chamber wearing keffiyehs deliberately, deliberately to antagonize their Jewish colleagues deliberately to do this. I mean, what person in Gaza is helped because, you know, the legislative body chamber in Ontario or, you know, in Ottawa is devolving into this, like, ridiculous mockery of social...bad behaviour over some like, you know, identity thing. It's like, it's like a battle over like, you know, Samsung versus like, Apple or like Coke versus Pepsi. And we're treating it like that because we don't care. 

We don't live in this world where, you know, we, we, we are, you know, for the past seven months, we're just being, we're under attack and we have to, there's no safe place or, you know, we have like rockets flying overhead and we have an iron dome and you know, we have like a safe room. I live in North America. I just, I've just, can I just say out loud and stop everyone and just think about the fact that most like most of you, if you're listening, you're probably in North America. Like I've never in my life lived anywhere where I've had a flippin safe room to go to because somebody might be trying to bomb me. And yes, I did live through the Cold War. And I do remember, you know, that this is a test and stuff, but it has never in my life ever been like a realistic thing where I've had to have a room where I hid in and I had to get my cats and my everything and my kid and stuff and think about my kids and whatever. because there's like somebody's bombing us.

I mean, I've had like fear for my life and I've had, you know, shitty men stalking me and like men trying to kill me and stuff. But I'm still just, I just want people to, you know, who live in this lovely Canada that's so like low population density. Like, and so we have so good that we don't even know that there are people that have like, like safe rooms for went like a bomb shelter, a bomb room or whatever. Okay. I'm sorry, I really live in a sheltered world and I just think that's remarkable that that's what people live like. They live like that or they live like, you know, their house might get blown up. Like, I just can't even like I've had to like, you know, lose everything I, you know, almost everything I owned when I went through like some, you know, life changes that displaced me and stuff like that with marriage breakdown and some other traumatic things. But.

Like I can't imagine my house being blown up because, you know, some members of my family are belong to a gang or like whatever. I mean, you know, like I see both sides and I see the side that's like, well, you know, they're a moral people and they blah, blah, blah. And they use their, you know, their families as human shields. And then, you know, I see the other side that's like, okay, well, you know, not everybody lives separately. And some cultures are not individuals, they're individuals and they live collectively together. And so, you know, that's collective punishment. I see both of those arguments. I see both of those arguments. I see a lot of outrage is the product of wrong information being exploited. There's been a lot of, there's a lot of blame to be to be or responsibility to be taken by Canada and the United States and other Western nations for the fact that we jollied along a lot of terrorism by funding, you know, certain international endeavours that we should not have. Like, you know, those tunnels didn't build themselves. Those tunnels didn't fund themselves. You know, UNRWA and various other NGOs and...

You know, we have big hearts and some of us have, you know, religious obligations to donate and things like that. And, you know, it's our responsibility as like powerful, influential, Western industrialized world, you know, and especially the United States, especially Canada, we have all these NGOs and we have all of these charitable industry and stuff, and people are donating money and they're benefiting. You know, like there's a huge problem in the United States with fiscal sponsorship. You know, like Rockefeller is, you know, sponsoring is like funding like the Iranian lobby in Washington. There's a lot of, you know, left wing, big money, you know, funding like questionable, you know, anti democratic, you know, organizations that are promoting the destruction of Israel as decolonization and there's all this kind of stuff. There's the whole favorite thing of wanting to blame the Muslim boogie person or the Islamic boogie person. And I'm not letting Islam off the hook. There is a problem with Islam. Irshad Manji said that.

24 years ago, nobody really nobody wanted to take her seriously But I think y 'all should go back and read her book, you know She got death threats over it and stuff and maybe y 'all don't like her delivery, but She was right and other people are right too. And there are people who do practice Islam The reason why Irshad Manji could write those books she's written a few books is because she's a Muslim and she believes in religion and you know, I've decided it's not for me for reasons I don't need to get into right now. There are other people who do believe it. They were born into it. They're practicing it. They're trying to show you that it's OK. I do think that there's a problem with Jewish hatred in both the Catholic religion and the Christian religion and the Muslim religion. I think Christianity has resolved that to a great degree as much as it can.

But I think we all just need to like sit down and take a chill pill. And now that seven or eight months has passed, I hope that we can all just put the blame down and put everything down and stop talking about evil Zionists and stop talking about, you know, HamasNazis, and you know, stuff like that. Just because somebody wants Palestinian people to not be suffering, it doesn't mean that they...you know, are fans of the Grand Mufti. Okay. and the other thing is that a lot of stuff that people have been told is wrong. And it's really up to you as an adult to take responsibility for the things that you believe and check your shit. I have left two religions in my lifetime. So, you know, there's really no excuse if there's something wrong.

Then it's up to you. What is your objective? What's your really objective? Are you trying to join a gang and be belong to the gang? Are you trying to find God? I'm sorry to tell you, but sometimes those two objectives end up conflicting and you have to decide which one is more important.

You know, God, it never sleeps. And he is there. And he made you. And he made every single thing. But the only way that you can get to him and see him and know him is if you polish that mirror that Rumi said. If you take the opportunity to know that when you are presented with a time when you could pass, excuse me, when you could pass judgment on yourself, knowing you're being given an opportunity, think of that as a test. We don't always, sometimes we fail the test because we are in stupid brain mode. But you know, it's a muscle that you practice. The more you practice it and the more you are connecting with people who are good at it, the better you can get at it. And then if you feel yourself almost, you know, feeling like you might, you know, devolve, then you can, you know, put the brake on or something. The point is that there's a lot of fear and there's a lot of despair and there's a lot of helplessness floating around. And there is a lot of forces and bad faith actors and opportunists who want you to believe that you don't have power, that you don't have a choice and all this stuff.

That's simply just not true. And it's really up to you if you are going to focus on the problem or the solution. We always can do something right now to get to the next moment. And I'm mostly speaking to people who are religious right now. And what is religion? I was describing to somebody this thing I'm working on where I'm sort of taking the levels of the polyvagal nervous system and I'm, you know, the three levels and I'm sort of looking at how that can be matched up with the three levels of the soul in Sufi and Judaic mysticism.

There is like so much potential and so much ability that you have. You know, that is the beauty of this looking at the world through that lens of, you know, seeing yourself as, you know, having this wire that connects your brain stem through, you know, your lungs and your heart and your all of your, your liver and your, your gut, your stomach and all of these things, all the way through your body that connects all of your systems together into one system. And your heart and your gut have an independent conduit to your brain that bypasses awareness. Like there is so much, like in the Bible or some one of the texts it says refers to the the human being fearfully and wonderfully made. And there's so much like sacredness and beauty in that, in the fact that you have the potential to heal yourself. But you know what? The only way you can solve a problem is if you are aware of it and if you accept that it is a problem.

So that is also yourself. The only way that you can heal is if you are aware of the fact that you have a disruption or a distortion, and if you accept whatever is underneath all of that stuff. So what if religion was not a gang that you joined to promote some political end?

What if religion was a thing that you did so that you could learn how to connect to yourself better so that you could practice connecting in such a way that you don't always feel like everyone hates you and everyone's trying to kill you that it's constantly like you're, you know, the, you know, in a jungle and you've got predators chasing you. What if religion was a way for people to try to find safety within themselves and their surroundings and to try to, you know, within themselves, get to the next level of, you know, being.

That's why I really love the states, the levels, you know, you have the...reptilian level, you know, the dorsal vagal, and you have the sympathetic, which is like, you know, so you have like dorsal vagal, which is like immobilization. It's like basic life function, right? It's like when you're sleeping, that stuff is still working. And then you have like, you know, sympathetic, which is like mobilization. And then you have the safe social zone, the green zone, you know? So, these are like, sort of, you can think of those as sort of like, you know, Freud talked about it, you know, the id, the ego, the super ego, and, you know, Sufism has it, and, you know, Judaism has it, you know, the low, the lowest, you know, animal level, and then there's, you know, the middle level and so on, right? 

So, I mean, these are like ways, these are like, you know, mechanisms or constructs or conceptualizations that are presented to us so that we can help to get ourselves back to, you know, resting state or homeostasis or something. That's the whole point of all of this. That's really like, I don't, I don't really, I don't really know what you're doing. If you're going and devoting all of this time praying five times a day and going to whatever mosque and reading your Koran or, you know, or if you're praying, you know, going to the synagogue twice or three times a day and saying your prayers, or if you're saying your rosary and you're going to church or whatever prayer meeting and stuff and you're an asshole. Like, what is the point of that? What like that's kind of like, you know guys going to like the Hells Angels and sitting in the clubhouse or whatever. Well, you're joining a gang and you're just doing it to fuck shit up. I mean, that's a gang. You join a group of people to, you know, get together and just be really judgmental and close minded and narrow minded and then designate a scapegoat and then go around and, you know, socially bully everyone. Like.

And that's how I've come to see religion. And I grew up in a devout world where that was not the way religion was presented to me, but the larger world was like that. And the community was to a large degree like that. People going to church on Sunday with their Sunday best and, did you see that I was at church and stuff like that? I think that religion has really failed you. And you have failed God and yourself when you are using your faith opportunity and your faith culture to be a dickhead and to make the world a better place. Like, do you not love God? I mean, I think there's a difference between believing in God and doing the things because you feel like that's an obligation and just being on fire and you wake up and you're like, I'm awake. I have to pray.

Those are two different ways of moving through the world. And it's really up to you which way you choose. But one way is optimal and the other way is punishing. And so I see a lot of people believing in a thing and feeling like, and maybe you're not entirely convinced of your connection. And so you need everyone else to go along with it. And you need to keep. and repeating it and stuff, because maybe you don't actually believe it. I feel like there's a lot of that going around, because the people that are sound in their morality and their relationship with God, they move through the world and they are holding the line on stuff. And they're the ones who are an example to others.

So I just wanted to remind everyone that it's up to you. You have a choice. And to feel grateful for all the things, because everything, this is something else that Rabbi Nachman Breslov also says, that every single opportunity that you encounter, every life situation that you you walk into whether it's good or bad is an opportunity for you to learn something to get something out of it So, you know, there's a lot of what was me and you know, everyone hates me and stuff and you know Stuff is shitty and people are suffering and it's really hard and you can't afford stuff and you know, whatever but you know Others feel that too. And it's not like the whole world is on an island, you know, secretly conspiring to make your life difficult people struggle

We all struggle. And so just instead of feeling, you know, resentful or whatever, think about why that is and try to find joy. There is still joy. It can be really crappy and stuff. And there's still some something to celebrate and there's still something to be grateful for. I mean, we have the Internet. We have like access to so much. You know, we have access to people that like are across the continent and like across the world and stuff. I don't know. I just feel like it needed to be said that, you know, what Merton said, what Rebbe Nachman said, what Stephen Porges says, and I recommend you go and if you're looking for a really good, you know, video to watch, the one of him with Mayim Balik, you know, the Amy Farrah Fowler from Big Bang Theory. She's a neuroscientist and she interviewed him. And that is a really, really good one -hour conversation. I really recommend you just educate yourself. Knowledge is for cutting. No one is coming to save you. It's up to you to save yourself. You know, God helps those who help themselves. And if you belong to a religious culture, you have a fabulous opportunity to help yourself. It's like free therapy. Are you kidding?

Like a therapist is like hundreds of dollars for an hour. And like if you have access to like a rabbi or like an interfaith educator who is gracious enough. To answer your DMS to like invite you to classes that they teach and it's free and there are many that do that. Like there's really not much excuse for you not to. Make some kind of little effort. You don't even have to put clothes on, you know, you can sit with your camera off with your PJs and you know, like it takes just showing up for yourself. Because if you don't show up for you. Like really, why should anyone else and so not being a dickhead, not being an asshole, you know, making an effort to be a good sociable human who, you know.

Genuinely shows up to the conversation Genuinely trying to understand and trying to contribute to solutions and not being sarcastic and not you know being ego -driven all that stuff is Selfish it's egocentric. It's fun to be that way, but it doesn't help the situation so blaming and shaming. Blaming is blasphemare. It is, you know, taking advantage of something that's sacred, treating something that's important and sacred as unimportant, and shaming, schaamte, which is the uncomfortable feeling that you have when you have not met your own expectations. So everyone needs to just take some inventory. And you know, if you... belong to a religion where you pray several times a day or if you have a faith practice, you know, like Catholicism Catholics say the rosary or whatever Like that's an opportunity for you to check in like, you know to check in and say okay, like what's you know, What are my intentions? Why am I doing this or you know, what could I what am I doing? That's taking me closer to goodness. And what am I doing is taking me farther away or whatever?

All of this, these, you know, praying and stuff, you know, and moving your body and reciting, you know, mantras or prayers. All of these things are really the whole point is for you to connect with yourself. Like, I think a lot of people have this weird notion that this is like, you know, some trance they go into because they talk to the jukebox in the sky and you ask the jukebox a thing and, you know, he spits out some shit. I don't know. I don't really see prayer like that. I see it as a connection to yourself. God, you know, having a relationship with God is really connecting with yourself so that you can reach the highest potential of your soul. Because God is everything in the world. So you really have to be right with every single thing. And if you were going around looking for a scapegoat and feeling ashamed and needing to put that, you know, the poop that you cannot clean on someone else's walls, or if you need to spread your emotional shit all over someone else's walls because you don't feel like you can have the courage or whatever to clean your own shit off your own walls. That's a you problem. And I see a lot of failure to take responsibility. I think that's weak. I don't think that's triumphant behaviour.

And something that I saw, which is really very clever, is that if you need to win, often, you know, victory and truth are incompatible. So victory often does not like the truth. So I just don't know what else to say, except that blaming and shaming are really just not constructive. And spreading your emotional shit all over everyone else's walls is not exactly the way that anyone wants you to help redecorate their lives. And I just really think, you know, in North America, in Canada and the States, we really have a lot of self -examination to do. And that is really been the biggest thing that's been missing from all of this stuff is like self -examination has just has just fallen out of out of fashion and I think we need to really bring it back. And it really begins with you when you point one finger at someone else, you're pointing four fingers at yourself. So. You know, when you feel crappy, sit down and figure out why. And maybe sometimes there's nothing to be done except laying a warm pile of bread and watch Netflix reruns until. You feel connected enough and mobilized enough that you can do some things. There's so much information at your disposal that there's really, really not much excuse for anyone to be feeling like they can't, like they're helpless or unable. And so that's just it.

I just, everything really seems awful in the States, you know, the political situation is grim and horrible and everyone's exploiting it and whatever. And in Canada, it's pretty crappy too. And, you know, sitting around and feeling miserable about things that you can't do anything about is really not helpful. So... you know, this is sort of why I switched, I shifted a bit because focusing on things that I really can't affect any change and things that I can't really do anything about doesn't really, you know, maybe that's, you know, the clout seekers love to exploit things where they can get people to be upset about it.

‘Cause everyone really seems to connect with things that are like, you know, amplifying hopelessness and amplifying rage and amplifying sarcasm and assholery and stuff and to be very honest the incentive for me to create that content is there but I really think it's harmful to me. It's like I'm eating myself. It's like I'm disemboweling myself and I'm eating my body, my organs which really is painful. I don't really want to do that anymore. And I've just, you know, people grow and they change. I've been on a journey for a while and…so I encourage everyone to see how you can be part of the solution. And maybe you can only be part of the solution by meeting yourself, by connecting with yourself. Because I think the culture really does not want us to connect. The internet is a challenge. It is a really great thing. It's a really great tool for connection. But it can also be a tool for disconnection if you are not using it properly. So I think I have talked for long enough. I just wanted to really point out that there is things that you can do. There's always things that you can do. It's just a matter of looking at the situation from another point of view. And that's it.

It is Wednesday, June the 5th, and it is 1555 Vancouver time.

Everyone have a great afternoon.

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can religion be a solution to, rather than the cause of, human suffering? a blog and a podcast about dehumanization, spirituality, and religion.