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Archive of ‘belief’ category

Middle Age is the New Teenage

I think middle-age is a lot like being a teenager, you wind up back where you started, bored in suburbia, sitting on the couch thinking: “Is this it? Surely there’s more!”

When you are a teenager at home abiding by other people’s rules and when you are all grown-up with responsibilities, you have something to rebel against. When you’re in your ’20s (or just generally pre-mortgage / babies) you sort of don’t. Life is then as perfect as it gets. You have energy and health and get to please yourself a lot more than at any other point in life – so what’s there to rebel against? Sex with perfect bods and immunity from hangovers? Not!

Rock Begins At 40

(OK, 38, but close enough…)

People who kick-arse begin with a vision that is apparently ridiculous and then successfully engage a critical mass of people with that vision until their support helps it actually become reality.

U2 got a critical mass of people buying into their “impossible mission” – that a bunch of kids from working class Ireland could possibly become rock stars. This seems plausible to us in retrospect, but to your average person of limited vision this would have been laughable before they did it.

Here’s my crazy vision: To prove that dreams can come true – even for middle-aged musicians – thereby inspiring people to determinedly pursue their passions, no matter what their age or situation.

Think about it – middle-aged “popular music” musicians almost never rise from obscurity to establish a viable career as entertainers. All the working rock stars over 30 established their brands in their 20s. It’s an expectation waiting to be defied, and it has a massive “what’s in it for me” factor for loads of people – Hope (not to mention great music).

In 2012 I will have been gigging for 20 years – but I am really only just getting started and the best is yet to come.

To support my vision of geriatric glory you only need to do one thing – download some of my music for free. This will subscribe you to my mailing list so you can follow my further adventures in entropy, prescription drugs and rock n roll (you can unsubscribe later if you choose – although I may send round the heavies if you do).

Beware the eternal deep-fryer!

Christians are fond of little bumper stickers that state “God is Love” and I believe this to be true, God actually is Love, it’s not an abstract idea, it’s literal.

But, having decided that I believe this (belief is a choice remember?), I cannot then stray off into beliefs that contradict this.

Therefore I do not believe that all the Christians (or Jews, or Muslims) will get to go to Heaven (if one even exists) at the expense of the other two and also of the Buddhists, Hindus and all the rest. If He is Love, then why would he send perfectly decent humans off to the eternal deep-fryer just because they were born over here instead of over there?

What I do believe is that legitimate spiritual growth and connection to God is available via all the great religions and many of the lesser known and, yes, downright kooky, ideas and practices that exist. Basically, to me, if it’s all about love, compassion, forgiveness, joy, peace and unity then it’s all about God. Different names and practices are just the logical extension of the human race’s former inability to travel with any great efficiency. The race as a whole is still struggling to play catch up with the rapid advance of technology, which has rendered previous limited worldviews obsolete.

So that’s what I mean by Rebel Zen – “Rebel” as in “Choose Your Own Path”, “Zen” as general stand-in for “Spirituality” with a particular emphasis on being chilled – as opposed to being all hung-up about a bunch of labels, rules and arbitrary stuff that God probably doesn’t give two hoots about…

P.S. Love is All You Need.

God Is Not Petty

I’m sorry, but you have to draw the line somewhere and frankly I just do not believe that He is going to condemn those who don’t join the Blue Team or the Red Team because He only digs the Green Team. I just don’t think He is that small minded and silly.

I don’t think he wants you to wear a particular kind of hat or go to church on a particular day of the week or call him by a certain name or even call Him a He at all – you can call Him a Her and that’s ok too.

I believe He gives us choice and I don’t think he will condemn you for making the “wrong” arbitrary choice. In fact I am unconvinced that there is any condemnation at all; fire and brimstone just reeks too badly of manipulative medieval, fundamentalist clap-trap to me.

Maybe there’s bad Karma – but who’s to say God’s dishing that out? Maybe it’s actually beyond His control?

Certainly misery, pain, fear, hate, despair and terror exist –but I suspect God – who embodies the opposite of these things – has nothing to do with this and perhaps has little or no power to stop it from happening. The Yin Yang model suggests that joy and despair, hate and love, evil and compassion are simply the opposite halves that together form the whole we’ve been lumped with.

The Spiritual Pick-N-Mix

In the old days, before our time, before mass communication and ever-increasing ubiquity of access to information, people were mostly presented with a single form of spirituality – it was the same form as everyone else in the village and we were informed that this was the only way. People could either choose to ignore it or go with it, but were told often told emphatically that they ignored or defied it at their own mortal peril.

These days we can choose. Well, we always could, and everyone has always been called to make a spiritual choice, but these days we are presented with a spiritual supermarket – a pick n’ mix of religions, philosophies and belief options. Traditional religionists probably don’t like this, but I do. I think it’s a very, very good thing.

And I believe God agrees with me.

It’s Always Been A Matter Of Choice

While my Pick n Mix idea might sound like some cutting-edge shit to say, in fact it’s nothing new. People have always been faced with spiritual choices:

  • should I go with what my village’s local church says is gospel or shall I run off and join the slightly different Church down the road?
  • Should I pay lip service to belief in order to be a functioning member of society while secretly doubting either parts of the deal or indeed, the whole job lot?
  • Shall I stand up for change and be called a dangerous heretic and/or become an agent for change?
  • Shall I just defy the crowd and state that I think it’s all a load of bollocks?

We were always faced with choices and always will be.

The thing that’s changed is that the range of options we have to pick and choose from is much larger. We can now access as much information as we could possibly ever use on all the big religions, plus all the little ones, plus all manner of non-traditional options like all the varying ideas that get lumped together under the banner of New Age beliefs.

For example I have chosen these days to incorporate the Christian teachings and models that I grew up with and Zen and Taoist flavoured New Age ideas. I did it to resolve internal conflict between my Inner Child, still in the thrall of the Church I grew up with, and my much more liberal adult leanings. I mixed the two, added mental images of Jesus and some old fashioned prayers to my meditation and general open-mindedness towards all things New Age and voila! Inner child is cool with it; inner turmoil resolved.

And yes, I believe that God is ok with that.