Saturday, August 29, 2009

Elephant in the Rock

Elephant in the Rock
--by Eknath Easwaran (Jul 13, 2009)

In ancient India lived a sculptor renowned for his life-sized statues of elephants. With trunks curled high, tusks thrust forward, thick legs trampling the earth, these carved beasts seemed to trumpet to the sky. One day, a king came to see these magnificent works and to commission statuary for his palace. Struck with wonder, he asked the sculptor, “What is the secret of your artistry?”The sculptor quietly took his measure of the monarch and replied, "Great king, when, with the aid of many men, I quarry a gigantic piece of granite from the banks of the river, I have it set here in my courtyard. For a long time I do nothing but observe this block of stone and study it from every angle. I focus all my concentration on this task and won’t allow anything or anybody to disturb me. At first, I see nothing but a huge and shapeless rock sitting there, meaningless, indifferent to my purposes, utterly out of place. It seems faintly resentful at having been dragged from its cool place by the rushing waters. Then, slowly, very slowly, I begin to notice something in the substance of the rock. I feel a presentiment . . . an outline, scarcely discernible, shows itself to me, though others, I suspect, would perceive nothing. I watch with an open eye and a joyous, eager heart. The outline grows stronger. Oh, yes, I can see it! An elephant is stirring in there!""Only then do I start to work. For days flowing into weeks, I use my chisel and mallet, always clinging to my sense of that outline, which grows ever stronger. How the big fellow strains! How he yearns to be out! How he wants to live! It seems so clear now, for I know the one thing I must do: with an utter singleness of purpose, I must chip away every last bit of stone that is not elephant. What then remains will be, must be, elephant."When I was young, my grandmother, my spiritual guide, would often tell just such a story, not only to entertain but to convey the essential truths of living. Perhaps I had asked her, as revered teachers in every religion have been asked, "What happens in the spiritual life? What are we supposed to do?" Granny wasn’t a theologian, so she answered these questions simply with a story like that of the elephant sculptor. She was showing that we do not need to bring our real self, our higher self, into existence. It is already there. It has always been there, yearning to be out. An incomparable spark of divinity is to be found in the heart of each human being, waiting to radiate love and wisdom everywhere, because that is its nature.--Eknath Easwaran

Hypocrisy

I began to recognize that hypocrisy was not confined to religion. I had the idea that every hypocrite in the world parys daily, and thus that everybody who was not praying was not a hypocrite. I remember the lesson I learned on this. There was a young man who would sit elbow to elbow with me arguing against the religionist from time-to-time. He was in the hospital once with a very serious ailment. I went up to visit him and as I opened the hospital door, I saw him down on his knees praying to God. I stood at the door of that hospital room screaming at him, "You hypocrite--you dirty hypocrite!" until I was escorted out of the hospital. It slowly began to dawn on me that hypocrisy is a function of humanity, not religion. You deal with hypocrites at the grocery store, at the filling station, on the job, at school, and at the golf course (maybe more there than anywhere else). You do not quit buying groceries because the grocer says one thing and does another. You do not quit your job because your employer tells you to do something that he himself would not touch with a ten-foot pole. You do not deprive yourself or your child of a good education because a teacher teaches one thing and lives something else. You do not quit playing golf because your buddy takes a stroke in the rough and does not count it when he thinks you did not see it. Sure there is hypo-crisy in the sacred locations , because there are human beings there, and as long as you deal with human beings, you are going to deal with hypocrisy. Do you want to get away from hypocrisy? Dig a 20-foot hole in your back yard, jump in, let someone cover you with dirt, and even then you are going to be sitting down there in the bottom of that hole with one hypocrite. There is not a one of us breathing air that is as consistent as we ought to be, but the person who says, "I'm not going to be a pious ! I'm not going to serve God! I'm not going to get involved in the work of the people because there are hypocrites ," is just logically inconsistent! We do not use that kind of thinking anywhere else in our lives. How can we do it in our relationship to God?

Thanks Daddy

My childhood was probably pretty typical of a young girl growing up. Mom stayed at home with us kids while my father was at work. Dad worked every day except weekends. He had Wednesday afternoons off, but worked late on Friday nights. But, whenever he was at home, he was there for Mom and us kids one hundred percent. I have many cherished memories from those early years. Here are ten life lessons I learned from my father.
Dad taught me how to:
1. Tie My ShoesUntied shoelaces won't do. Dad taught me how to lace my shoes and tie them firmly in place. The laces need to be tied properly to give your shoe a proper fit and to make sure straggler laces don't trip you and cause a skinned knee from a fall. What I Learned: From this I learned that life at times can trip you up. A little effort and preparation before taking steps down life's pathways will make your journey less treacherous.2. Ride A BikeMy mom likes to tell me the story about what good little bike riders my sister and I were when we took turns riding on our shared bicycle. My older sister and I are Persian twins, I am ten months younger. Dad taught us both to ride without the help of training wheels on the sidewalk out in front of our home. Later, he taught us about bike safety when we became first graders and were given new bicycles to ride. What I Learned: From this I learned about sharing, responsibility, and also the importance of balance.3. Jump RopeI was in tears one day after school because the other girls at recess would no longer let me play jump rope with them. I was a terrible rope jumper and was teased on the playground. Dad backed our car off the carport making room for me to practice jumping. He coached me on what I was doing wrong and helped give me the confidence to jump better. What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of feeling confident.4. Grow A GardenIn the summertime my parents had a large vegetable garden growing in our backyard. Dad toiled with the hoe, carving out the rows. My sister and I got down on our knees and pushed in the seeds with our "green thumbs." With my father's strong hands cupped over our smaller hands we covered seeded rows of radishes, carrots, beans, and corn with the freshly tilled soil. In the weeks to follow we helped to water and weed the garden. What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of nourishment and caring for the bountiful earth.5. Fly A KiteMy first kite was yellow and I loved it. It came with a ball of string. Mom gave me a few strips of fabric to tie on its tail. Dad marched my sister and me across the street from our home to an open field where we could fly our new kites. He tested the direction of the wind and gave us a few instructions. After a few failed tries, my kite was soon soaring high in the sky. What I Learned: From this I learned the excitement of being a part of something higher than myself. 6. Play FairEvery child wants to be a winner. I was no different. My dad made sure that I didn't cheat or take short cuts to secure the winning prize. My family and I played lots of indoor and outdoor games together. It didn't matter what the game being played was (croquet, ping-pong, badminton, monopoly, or rummy), cheating was not allowed. What I Learned: From this I learned how much sweeter winning is when the game is played fairly. And, I also learned the joy of play, win or lose.7. Play ChessMy father taught me how to play many games. Chess is one that I never learned how to play very well, not for the lack of trying. But the lessons I learned from playing it have served me well. What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of strategy. There are many different ways to win a game or survive a loss. And the most significant lesson that I took from this game as a young girl was realizing that the Queen (the female gender) had more moves than her King. Women are significant and powerful.8. Shoot Hoops I fondly remember shooting hoops out on the back patio before supper time. Dad patiently taught me how to hold the ball and aim for the basket. What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of focusing on a goal, aiming for the best score, and most importantly that practice, practice, practice is an important element in becoming your very best.9. Hunt For MushroomsEach springtime we would go trampling through the wooded areas looking for morel mushrooms. Dad would give my sister and me a few tips where to look for them. I loved these nature outings and often times picked more wild flowers than mushrooms. However, I fondly remember the afternoon I discovered a motherland of mushrooms growing under a lush patch of mayapples. What I Learned: From this I learned that some of life's best treasures come from nature... and they're free! 10. Save My AllowanceI credit my father, both parents really, about learning the value of money. I was given a weekly allowance but was not allowed to spend it freely. I was cautioned to save half of it each week so that it would accumulate into a larger sum. What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of securing a savings account and about charity.Thanks Daddy! Thanks Mamma!
Thanks Wise Lord.

Thanks Mommy

My childhood was probably pretty typical of a young girl growing up.
Mom stayed at home with us kids while Dad went to work. Mom
was burdened with mundane housework and playing referee to frequent arguments
between my older sister and me. She was a member of the PTA.
She was also our chief chauffeur
ushering us to and from school and elsewhere. Here are a few life
lessons I learned from my mother.
Mom taught me how to:
1. Eat My Vegetables

Mom made sure we had three square meals everyday. She understood about the food
pyramid and made sure we ate everything in balance. Vegetables were not my
favorite food group and I especially didn't much care for cooked spinach. But,
if I wanted dessert after supper I was required to
empty my plate, including eating vegetables I didn't like.
What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of eating a balanced diet and
honoring my physical body's nutritional needs.

2. Say Please And Thank You

Mom made sure I never took anything for granted. Any small gesture was to be
responded to promptly with a thank you. Politeness and good manners were
expected always. Grace was said before/after each mealtime and prayers were a
daily/nightly ritual.
What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of gratitude and blessings.

3. Clean Behind My Ears

What mom isn't concerned about proper hygiene? My mom was one of those mothers
who would wipe off a speck of dried on food from your face with a bit of
spat-upon-tissue just before dropping you off at school.
It was important to her that her daughters were clean and
looked presentable. After my evening bath I would be given her inspection, often
tugging gently at my ears she made sure I had scrubbed myself spotless. I could
never get away with just wetting the toothbrush, she always knew if I tried to
take a shortcut.
What I Learned: From this I learned to respect my body and also not to do things
halfway.

4. Make My Bed

I shared a room with my sister. We had twin beds. Each morning our beds were
supposed to be made before leaving the house for school. It was a rule that I
seldom abided. I figured by evening I'd be messing up my covers all over again.
What was the point? Each day my bed would get made, but not by me. Both my
sister and Mom were neat-freaks, my unmade bed was a bother to them. If my
sister had time in the morning she would grumpily make my bed for me. Otherwise,
after school I would discover a nicely made up bed in my shared bedroom by my
mother.
What I Learned: From this I learned that some things in life are simply more
important to others.

5. Darn Socks

Mom kept a small sewing basket filled with her darning supplies at the side of
the davenport. When I was very little she would let me sit near her and watch
her as she wove the threaded needle back and forth, repairing the socks. When I
got a little older she let me try my hand at darning a sock. It was fun then,
but neither her nor I darn socks any longer.
What I Learned: From this I learned that old things can be made as good as new.
This was my first lesson in recycling.

6. Bake A Cake

I'm not sure, but I think the reason my mother taught me how to bake a cake from
scratch was to earn a Girl Scout badge. We measured out all the ingredients
required before mixing everything together, baking soda, salt, sugar, eggs...
etc. When we realized we didn't have enough flour I ran over to the neighbor's
house asking to borrow a cup of flour. Dessert was extra sweet that night for
supper.
What I Learned: From this I learned about feeling pride for my accomplishments.
As a bonus, I learned about neighborly kindness.

7. Comparison Shop

Our household survived on a frugal budget. Mom often expressed to me that my
father worked hard for the money he earned. She was determined not to spend it
foolishly. My mother pinched and saved as much as she could. She knew how to
stretch a bill. I suspect her own mother had instilled this principle into her
mind-set. My grandmother lived through the depression and knew difficult times.
Mom took me to the grocery market and gave me a math lesson on the value of
large or small eggs depended on the retail price. We compared the price of
different brands of peanut butter by calculating the price per ounce to see what
was the best value. She didn't always buy the cheapest items, she understood
quality and would buy the best if it what was at all affordable. My mom helped
me to become a saavy shopper.
What I Learned: From this I learned the value of money and not to take things
for granted.

8. Enjoy Outdoors

The backyard was our favorite playground. Mom would encourage my older sister
and me to play outdoors. She taught us how to do cart wheels and somersaults.
Other times she would give us glass jars to collect grasshoppers and beetles
inside. We would use a hammer and a nail to puncture air holes into the lid so
our crawly bug captures could breathe while we got a closer look at them through
the glass. Afterwards, we would release them back to the yard grasses.
What I Learned: From this I learned the importance of breathing fresh air and
came to respect nature's smallest creatures.

9. Change A Diaper

When I was ten years old my mom gave me a brand new baby sister. My role in the
family was swiftly elevated from "baby of the family" to "big sister." I never
really embraced the "middle kid" label. There had been some concern by the
family for awhile because my mother had been feeling ill. I remember her
vomiting and spending mornings and evenings shut up in her bedroom. When my
older sister and I were informed of our mother's pregnancy I was emotionally
filled with a mixture of both relief and joy. The birth of the new baby was much
anticipated. How to change a diaper was one of many things I learned about
caring for babies from this experience.
What I Learned: From this I began to learn about the loving instincts of a
natural nurturer.

Thanks for being a fabulous role model MOM!Thanks Daddy! Thanks Mamma!
Thanks Wise Lord.

Shivering birds

There's the story of the farmer living through a cold, snowy Midwestern winter, looking out the window and seeing a flock of birds on his farm. They huddled together, shivering from the snowy cold. With his heart touched, he knows his heated barn has plenty of room for these birds. So he puts on his coat, opens the barn doors, and waits for the birds to enter the barn. He waits and waits, but they do not see the open barn doors. They continue to shiver outside. Next, he grabs some bird seed and makes a trail to the barn, but the birds fail to see the small seeds, lost among the snow. Next, he comes behind the birds and tries to shoo them into the barn, but they fly in the opposite direction to regather into their shivering mass. The farmer thinks to himself, ``If only I could be a bird, I could show them the warm barn.''

Just as those shivering birds want warmth, we want life and truth. The farmer may have failed to communicate with the birds, but God sends inspirations, messages and love.

God

What is God?
God is the benevolent power that exists in our hearts, in
humankind, and in the universe. Both God and the devil exist in this world
because humans simultaneously possess benevolent and malevolent qualities. In
superior worlds, only the benevolent power exists, because there we have only
God's quality.
I have no intention to convince you that God exists. I am only among you to
connect you with God, and then you will be able to believe me. I do not blame
atheists because they do not see God inside of themselves. Not everyone can
believe without proof. For those who do not believe in God, I offer them the
opportunity to see Him through immediate enlightenment, so that you may discover
your own nature, your own God-self.
You see, seeing is believing. God is too abstract, too intangible for us, if He
is not brought down nearer to our understanding a little. How can He expect us
to believe? This is blind faith.
I had to have proof. I prayed to God every
day. "Please, if You exist, show me the way so I can find You, contact with You
somehow. Open my eyes, open my ears, let me see, let me know at least Your love.
Let me feel, let me know that You take care of us in some way or another." So
after enlightenment, after initiation you will feel every day that God is taking
care of you. Truly that is so in all ways, in any situation, small things, big
things. God does really take care and love us, and smoothes things out for us.
He helps us in accidents, in sickness. He helps us in our dark days, helps us in
every way. Then you may know that God truly exists. You will feel the
overwhelming love power protecting and loving you. That is God. This is why
people say God is love.
If God lives within us, then what are we? We are God. Well, if this is only the
house, and God lives inside, then who else is there? Could it be that we, I and
God, live in the same house? God, then who is there
inside? Only one person, only God.
We have only to go upward to a higher and glorious world, to be near our
Almighty God. The ocean of love and mercy is what we call God. He is not a
being, although He might manifest Himself sometimes as a being to let us feel
close, to be able to touch Him, and communicate with Him. Otherwise He is only
an ocean of love and mercy and blessing and compassion. Everything that is good
and joyous, that is God. We ourselves at the moment, even without initiation,
without knowing our innate wisdom, our inborn heavenly power, we are still God.
Any time you manifest love toward your neighbour, toward your children, your
friends, your relatives or anyone in need, you manifest God. Understand' So the
more we manifest this kind of compassion, love, mercy and wisdom, the more we
are near to God. But God in this sense is too limited. We can only help a
handful of people at a time. God, in the ultimate sense, can help the whole
world. So this is the goal we strive to achieve.
In the universe, all things are created by energies, and we call that the
creative force, or we might call it the Creator, because the energies have been
scattered in all different directions in the universe, and have become different
worlds and beings. And now, these beings have acquired an individual state of
thinking, or level of consciousness, and according to the interaction between
each other, they will generate another kind of energy. We will divide it into
two categories. The first one, we can call positive energy or God nature,
heavenly force . The second category, we can call negative
nature, evil or dark force, or the opposite of goodness.
Now the goodness and the positive energy are side by side with the negative
energies. Whenever any being, be they angels or earth people, whenever they
generate goodness, tolerance, love, compassion and cooperation with each other,
then these energies will be categorised as good or God force, positive power.
The more beings generate this kind of goodness, the more positive power we have
in the atmosphere or in our world. And whenever we or any beings generate
hatred, bad thoughts, or any kind of negative tendencies, actions or speech, we
add more into the negative storehouse of the atmosphere. That we call evil. And
this force will reap more hatred, more wars, more disharmony in our world, or
any world that these people happen to reside in.
It is like electricity, there are two poles, one negative and the other
positive, and when the plus and minus are put together it creates power. But
actually electricity is neither positive nor negative, but without positivity
and negativity, we have no electricity. So it is the same with all things. God
is neither good nor bad. He is only an ocean of indifference and love. He knows
no hatred, no dirtiness, no bad and no sin; He discriminates not between bad and
good, beautiful and ugly. So we call Him the Ocean of Love and Mercy.
God is here if we are wholehearted. What does wholehearted mean? It is having
sincerity, humility and one hundred percent faith in the power of the Most High.
If you want to find God, I have actually not much to teach you except how to be
quiet, and what is the best time to catch Him. We can make a rendezvous with
Him everyday, and then at the exact time He will appear. Then, we become so
acquainted with Him, Hs appears everywhere, anytime, any hour; and even when
we are so acquainted with Him, others will see Him within us or near us,
standing by. That is so good. Then, this so-called God power will flow out like
the ocean or a stream and benefits anyone that comes nearby like sandalwood.
The more we think of God, the more relaxed we will be. It is like thinking and
not thinking are the same, because we and God have become "One"
even when we are walking, living, sitting, and
sleeping. At that time, we have attained the Truth.
We must never forget God, then we'll have everything because everything comes
from God.
­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­By a benevolent friend

Inspiring Heart story - Most Beautiful Heart

One day a young man was standing in the middleof the town proclaiming that he had the mostbeautiful heart in the whole valley. A largecrowd gathered and they all admired his heartfor it was perfect.There was not a mark or a flaw in it.Yes, they all agreed it truly was the mostbeautiful heart they had ever seen.The young man was very proud and boastedmore loudly about his beautiful heart.
Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front ofthe crowd and said, "Why your heart is notnearly as beautiful as mine."The crowd and the young man looked at theold man's heart. It was beating strongly,but full of scars, it had places where pieceshad been removed and other pieces put in, butthey didn't fit quite right and there wereseveral jagged edges. In fact, in some placesthere were deep gouges where whole pieceswere missing.
The people stared -- how can he say his heartis more beautiful, they thought?The young man looked at the old man's heartand saw its state and laughed."You must be joking," he said."Compare your heart with mine, mine is perfectand yours is a mess of scars and tears.""Yes," said the old man, "Yours is perfectlooking but I would never trade with you.You see, every scar represents a person towhom I have given my love - I tear out a pieceof my heart and give it to them, and oftenthey give me a piece of their heart which fitsinto the empty place in my heart, but becausethe pieces aren't exact, I have some rough edges,which I cherish, because they remind me of thelove we shared. "Sometimes I have given pieces of my heartaway, and the other person hasn't returneda piece of his heart to me. These are theempty gouges -- giving love is taking a chance.Although these gouges are painful, they stay open,reminding me of the love I have for these people too,and I hope someday they may return and fill thespace I have waiting. So now do you see what true beauty is?"
The young man stood silently with tears runningdown his cheeks. He walked up to the old man,reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart,and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the oldman with trembling hands
The old man took his offering, placed it in his heartand then took a piece from his old scarred heart andplaced it in the wound in the young man's heart.It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.The young man looked at his heart, not perfectanymore but more beautiful than ever,since love from the old man's heart flowed into his.They embraced and walked away side by side.

~ The End~

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A walk inside us

"Even though I adore music, just for today, I’d like to hear the peaceful sounds of the nature, and the yellow leaves rustling in the wind here and there, and the birds chirping and perhaps the singing of insects, etc…and also the voice inside me…I’d like to hear that silent voice amidst this tranquility…


You know, when we’re silent we can hear the echo of the voice inside us in crystal clarity. I feel as if writing is some kind of silent walking through letters. When we write, we seem to be walking on a road by wording the things we kept quiet about, yes, our silence turns into a waterfall flowing easily on its way ahead. Why do we want to hear the voice of the silence hidden inside us? Maybe, we are already tired enough of telling the things we should, and, of playing our prescribed roles in certain circumstances encircling us.


There is no such thing as “to be lonely” but to be on one’s own. The times when we say we’ve had enough of loneliness, in fact, we unknowingly state that we’ve spent time on our own longer than necessary. On the contrary, when we’ve been among the crowds for a long time, we feel as though we are seperated from our own self. I think, as long as we live we can’t avoid this sort of paradoxical feelings cherishing in our inner worlds.


Sometimes, walking together with a true friend is the best of all. We hear the sounds

of the two inner worlds together. Then, we start to talk about something irrelevant which sums up the things going through our minds, we don’t need to relate our topic to the previous one or any other, that is, we enjoy the magnificient freedom of voicing ourselves as we truly are. This is probably the most relaxing one of all conversations. If your friend talks to you, it’s because he/she wants to say something straight through the heart, not because he/she thinks it’s necessary to talk. And, you don’t also need to be responsive just to prove that you’re a good listener, because your intentions are not tested but trusted by a true friend.


Today, I want to take a walk over the autumn leaves in the forest…

And, I want to take a friend of mine with me, whom I have known since

my childhood. So, there would be no need for words to make us trust each other.

Just one word would be enough to recall so many sweet memories of childhood and smile at them together... "

Suna Tekin Konca

THE "WORD," THE INNER VIBRATION

Since time immemorial, music has been a must to humankind. Even animals feel attracted to music and plants are supposed to grow faster with it. Thus, if the outer melody is so important to all our lives, the inner Celestial, wondrous Sound is even more enchanting, and full of grace and blessing.
The fetus, while in the mother's womb eats nothing. Inside there's no air, no sunlight and he doesn't seem to mind at all. The reason is that he's in contact with the inner wondrous Sound, the source of all love, bliss and power. The fetus grows at an incredible pace under such conditions, and if it were to continue, he would be as tall as the sky after he was born. But after his birth, he's disconnected from this vibration, and he cries at the first contact with the outer world. No child has ever been born laughing. It's because he feels a great loss as the Sound is severed from him.
There are two kinds of sound: the worldly sound, and the supra-worldly Sound. The worldly sound is very important to our sensual and mental comfort, but the supra-worldly Sound draws us back to God.
..........
The Heavenly Music spoken of in all the Holy scriptures of different religions such as the 'Word' in Christianity, the 'Shabd' in Hinduism, the 'Heavenly Music' in Chuang Tse, the 'Tao' in the Tao Te Ching, etc. are the only real teachings direct from the Kingdom of God. They are the language of universal love and great intelligence. All teachings come from the Silent Sound, and all languages come from this universal language. That's why high level initiates on this path speak all languages within the soul sphere. That's the level of the Master, the one who has mastered the language of the Kingdom of God. We all possess this wisdom, the wisdom to understand all things above this shadowy world, to be omnipresent and to function as the most perfect being in the universe, if only we desire to remember again what we truly are.

A HELP IN UNDERSTANDING WHAT GOD IS

To help the reader comprehend the nature of God, I would like to borrow an analogy from the book Flatland by Edwin Abbott.* Abbott was a mathematician and the model is geometric in nature. It was originally written in the 19th century for the purposes we are using it for here. Flatland is the story of a man who lives in a two dimensional world--like a sheet of paper. In the surface of the paper there is only length and width-there is no such thing as thickness. You and I are three-dimensional beings-we have length and width and frequently considerable thickness. You cannot get me, a three-dimensional being, into a two-dimensional sheet of paper. You can draw a front view of me (a portrait), but that is not the whole me. You can draw a top view of me which because I am bald, ends up being three concentric circles, but that is not the whole me. If you and I were to look at the man in Flatland, we would see him as a profile (see figure 1). He would be outlined but have no thickness.
Figure 1: The man in Flatland.
One day the man in Flatland is visited by a sphere. The sphere is a three-dimensional object just as we are, and it just so happens that it crosses Flatland right in the man's living room. Now if you will think about that for a moment, you will realize that for the man in Flatland a rather incredible thing has happened. A dot appears on the man's floor with no cause that the man in Flatland can understand. A dot in Flatland is matter! In figure 1, the man, himself, is made up of a series of dots. Just as a tennis ball dipped in paint and touched to a sheet of paper would produce a dot on the paper, so too has our dot which the man in Flatland calls matter appeared out of nothing (see figure 2). As the man in Flatland watches, the dot becomes a circle which continuously grows in size (see figure 3). You will see if a plane truncates (or slices) a sphere, it will produce a circle; and the deeper the sphere sinks into the plane, the larger the circle will become.
Figure 2: A sphere tangent to a plane produces a dot on the plane. The man in Flatland sees only the dot.
Figure 3: A plane truncating a sphere. The man in Flatland sees a circle.
The circle becomes so large it is about to fill the living room of the man in Flatland. He is terrified because he does not understand what is happening. All of the laws of science which state that matter cannot be created nor destroyed are being violated. What he sees is for him a true miracle. Just as he is about to run in panic from the room, the sphere reaches its equator, passes its equator, and gradually sinks out of the plane. So what happens to the circle in Flatland? It begins to shrink, and it becomes smaller and smaller until finally it is just a dot on his floor and then it is gone! Another violation of the laws of science! Matter cannot be destroyed and yet the man in Flatland has seen it happen. The man in Flatland is being confronted with miraculous and ghost-like events which violates his science and his common sense.
Let us suppose now that the man in Flatland begins talking to the sphere, and he says to the sphere: "What is it like to be a sphere? The sphere says, "I'll tell you what it's like; draw a circle on your floor." This is not easy for the man in Flatland to do. His perception of a circle is a constantly curving line that returns to its origin, but he cannot see all of the circle at once. He can only see the side of the circle facing him. The only way he could see a whole circle would be to be inside the circle, and if he got inside he could never get out. People in Flatland commit suicide by drawing circles around themselves that they can never get out of. Because of this it takes along time for him to draw the circle. The sphere is most impatient with all this because he could have done it instantly. Finally the circle is completed and the sphere says, "Now what I want you to do is to rotate the circle! What he has in mind is that the man in Flatland will rotate the circle about its diameter producing a sphere, but what the man in Flatland does is to rotate the circle about its circumference, spinning it like a record on a record player. "No, no--rotate it the third way,' says the sphere. "There is no third way you fool," cries out the man in Flatland, and for him this is true. There is no third way, no up and down in a thickness direction, and absolutely no way for him to comprehend what the sphere is talking about or what the sphere is. The only thing that he can understand is the world or dimension in which he lives.
Now the reason that I have told you this little story is to give you a foundation by which you can understand God. When you read, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" you are reading a description analogous to Flatland. The concept is that, a God, who is in a higher dimension than are we, a God who has the same kind of relationship to us which the sphere had to Flatland, that, this kind of being touched our little "Flatland," so to speak, and in violation of all of our laws of science created matter out of nothing. God is so superior to us, he exists in such a higher dimension than do we that what is natural and ordinary to him is miraculous to us. The Bible recognizes this concept and uses it in every single description of God.
* Edwin Abbott, Flatland, (Dover Pub. Inc., 1952).

Monday, August 10, 2009

A PRACTICAL MAN'S PROOF OF GOD
The existence of God is a subject that has occupied schools of philosophy and theology for thousands of years. Most of the time, these debates have revolved around all kinds of assumptions and definitions. Philosophers will spend a lifetime arguing about the meaning of a word and never really get there. One is reminded of the college student who was asked how his philosophy class was going. He replied that they had not done much because when the teacher tried to call roll, the kids kept arguing about whether they existed or not.
Most of us who live and work in the real world do not concern ourselves with such activities. We realize that such discussions may have value and interest in the academic world, but the stress and pressure of day-to-day life forces us to deal with a very pragmatic way of making decisions. If I ask you to prove to me that you have $2.00, you would show it to me. Even in more abstract things we use common sense and practical reasoning. If I ask you whether a certain person is honest or not, you do not flood the air with dissertations on the relative nature of honesty; you would give me evidence one way or the other. The techniques of much of the philosophical arguments that go on would eliminate most of engineering and technology if they were applied in those fields.
The purpose of this brief study is to offer a logical, practical, pragmatic proof of the existence of God from a purely scientific perspective. To do this, we are assuming that we exist, that there is reality, and that the matter of which we are made is real. If you do not believe that you exist, you have bigger problems than this study will entail and you will have to look elsewhere.
THE BEGINNING
If we do exist, there are only two possible explanations as to how our existence came to be. Either we had a beginning or we did not have a beginning. The Bible says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1 :1). Most atheists maintain that there was no beginning. The idea is that matter has always existed in the form of either matter or energy; and all that has happened is that matter has been changed from form to form, but it has always been. The Humanist Manifesto says, "Matter is self-existing and not created," and that is a concise statement of the atheist's belief.
The way we decide whether the atheist is correct or not is to see what science has discovered about this question. The picture below on the left represents our part of the cosmos. Each of the disk shaped objects is a galaxy like our Milky Way. All of these galaxies are moving relative to each other. Their movement has a very distinct pattern which causes the distance between the galaxies to get greater with every passing day. If we had three galaxies located at positions A, B. and C in the second diagram below, and if they are located as shown, tomorrow they will be further apart. The triangle they form will be bigger. The day after tomorrow the triangle will be bigger yet. We live in an expanding universe that gets bigger and bigger and bigger with every passing day.
Now let us suppose that we made time run backwards! If we are located at a certain distance today, then yesterday we were closer together. The day before that, we were still closer. Ultimately, where must all the galaxies have been? At a point! At the beginning! At what scientists call a singularity! In 1999, it was discovered that the galaxies are accelerating in their expansion. Any notion that we live in an oscillating or pulsating universe has been dispelled by this discovery. The universe is not slowing down, but speeding up in its motion.
A second proof is seen in the energy sources that fuel the cosmos. The picture to the right is a picture of the sun. Like all stars, the sun generates its energy by a nuclear process known as thermonuclear fusion. Every second that passes, the sun compresses 564 million tons of hydrogen into 560 million tons of helium with 4 million tons of matter released as energy. In spite of that tremendous consumption of fuel, the sun has only used up 2% of the hydrogen it had the day it came into existence. This incredible furnace is not a process confined to the sun. Every star in the sky generates its energy in the same way. Throughout the cosmos there are 25 quintillion stars, each converting hydrogen into helium, thereby reducing the total amount of hydrogen in the cosmos. Just think about it! If everywhere in the cosmos hydrogen is being consumed and if the process has been going on forever, how much hydrogen should be left?
Suppose I attempt to drive my automobile without putting any more gas (fuel) into it. As I drive and drive, what is eventually going to happen? I am going to run out of gas! If the cosmos has been here forever, we would have run out of hydrogen long ago! The fact is, however, that the sun still has 98% of its original hydrogen. The fact is that hydrogen is the most abundant material in the universe! Everywhere we look in space we can see the hydrogen 21-cm line in the spectrum--a piece of light only given off by hydrogen. This could not be unless we had a beginning!
A third scientific proof that the atheist is wrong is seen in the second law of thermodynamics. In any closed system, things tend to become disordered. If an automobile is driven for years and years without repair, for example, it will become so disordered that it would not run any more. Getting old is simple conformity to the second law of thermodynamics. In space, things also get old. Astronomers refer to the aging process as heat death. If the cosmos is "everything that ever was or is or ever will be," as Dr. Carl Sagan was so fond of saying, nothing could be added to it to improve its order or repair it. Even a universe that expands and collapses and expands again forever would die because it would lose light and heat each time it expanded and rebounded.
The atheist's assertion that matter/energy is eternal is scientifically wrong. The biblical assertion that there was a beginning is scientifically correct.
THE CAUSE
If we know the creation has a beginning, we are faced with another logical question--was the creation caused or was it not caused? The Bible states, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Not only does the Bible maintain that there was a cause (a creation) but it also tells us what the cause was. It was God. The atheist tells us that "matter is self-existing and not created." If matter had a beginning and yet was uncaused, one must logically maintain that something would have had to come into existence out of nothing. From empty space with no force, no matter, no energy, and no intelligence, matter would have to become existent. Even if this could happen by some strange new process unknown to science today, there is a logical problem.
In order for matter to come out of nothing, all of our scientific laws dealing with the conservation of matter/energy would have to be wrong, invalidating all of chemistry. All of our laws of conservation of angular momentum would have to be wrong, invalidating all of physics. All of our laws of conservation of electric charge would have to be wrong, invalidating all of electronics and demanding that your TV set not work! Your television set may not work, but that is not the reason! In order to believe matter is uncaused, one has to discard known laws and principles of science. No reasonable person is going to do this simply to maintain a personal atheistic position.
The atheist's assertion that matter is eternal is wrong. The atheist's assertion that the universe is uncaused and selfexisting is also incorrect. The Bible's assertion that there was a beginning which was caused is supported strongly by the available scientific evidence.
THE DESIGN
If we know that the creation had a beginning and we know that the beginning was caused, there is one last question for us to answer--what was the cause? The Bible tells us that God was the cause. We are further told that the God who did the causing did so with planning and reason and logic. Romans 1:20 tells us that we can know God is "through the things he has made." The atheist, on the other hand, will try to convince us that we are the product of chance. Julian Huxley once said:
We are as much a product of blind forces as is the falling of a stone to earth or the ebb and flow of the tides. We have just happened, and man was made flesh by a long series of singularly beneficial accidents.
The subject of design has been one that has been explored in many different ways. For most of us, simply looking at our newborn child is enough to rule out chance. Modern-day scientists like Paul Davies and Frederick Hoyle and others are raising elaborate objections to the use of chance in explaining natural phenomena. A principle of modern science has emerged in the 1980s called "the anthropic principle." The basic thrust of the anthropic principle is that chance is simply not a valid mechanism to explain the atom or life. If chance is not valid, we are constrained to reject Huxley's claim and to realize that we are the product of an intelligent God.
THE NEXT STEP
We have seen a practical proof of God's existence in this brief study. A flood of questions arise at this point. Which God are we talking about? Where did God come from? Why did God create us? How did God create us?
You can request a printed copy of this pamphlet from:
DOES GOD EXIST?PO Box 2704South Bend IN 46680-2704

Blind boy

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: 'I am blind, please help.' There were only a few coins in the hat. 1A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.
Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, 'Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?'
The man said, 'I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.' What he had written was: 'Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it.'
Do you think the first sign and the second sign were saying the same thing?
Of course both signs told people the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?
Moral of the Story: Be thankful for what you have. Be creative. Be innovative. Think differently and positively.
Invite others towards good with wisdom. Live life with no excuse and love with no regrets. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, show life that you have 1000 reasons to smile. Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear. Keep the faith and drop the fear.
Great men say, 'Life has to be an incessant process of repair and reconstruction, of discarding evil and developing goodness…. In the journey of life, if you want to travel without fear, you must have the ticket of a good conscience.'
The most beautiful thing is to see a person smiling…And even more beautiful is, knowing that you are the reason behind it!!!

The wood cutter

One day a woodcutter took his grandson into the forest for his first experience in selecting and cutting oak trees. These they would later sell to the boat builders.

As they walked along, the woodcutter explained that the purpose of each tree is contained in its natural shape: some are straight for planks, some have the proper curves for the ribs of a boat, and some are tall for masts.


The woodcutter told his grandson that by paying attention to the details of each tree, and with experience in recognizing these characteristics, someday he too might become the woodcutter of the forest.

A little way into the forest, the grandson saw an old oak tree that had never been cut. The boy asked his grandfather if he could cut it down because it was useless for boat building - there were no straight limbs, the trunk was, short and gnarled, and the curves were going the wrong way. "We could cut it down for firewood," the grandson said. "At least then it will be of some use to us." The woodcutter replied that for now they should be about their work cutting the proper trees for the boat builders; maybe later they could return to the old oak tree.

After a few hours of cutting the huge trees, the grandson grew tired and asked if they could stop for a rest in some cool shade. The woodcutter took his grandson over to the old oak tree, where they rested against its trunk in the cool shade beneath its twisted limbs.

After they had rested a while, the woodcutter explained to his grandson the necessity of attentive awareness and recognition of everything in the forest and in the world. Some things are readily apparent, like the tall, straight trees; other things are less apparent, requiring closer attention, like recognition of the proper curves in the limbs. And some things might initially appear to have no purpose at all, like the gnarled old oak tree.


The woodcutter stated, "You must learn to pay careful attention every day so you can recognize and discover the purpose God has for everything in creation. For it is this old oak tree, which you so quickly deemed useless except for firewood, that now allows us to rest against its trunk amidst the coolness of its shade.

"Remember, grandson, not everything is as it first appears. Be patient, pay attention, recognize, and discover."