Month: February 2014

JESUS (pbuh) in ISLAM – the TRUTH about it

Jesus (Peace Be Upon Him) said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.”(John 14:6-7)

Despite popular belief, as a Muslim I am required to believe in the books of the Gospel and the Old Testament. They are mentioned a few times in the Qur’an as being books of God, and so their truth cannot be contested by true Muslims. But then, don’t these religions contradict each other sometimes. YES, the RELIGIONS do, but the BOOKS do not. In my opinion (and I believe this is the opinion of many Muslims), it is only the BOOKS that are sacred, not the people who comment on and interpret it, regardless of how HOLY they claim to be.

For instance, the above quote is interpreted by mainstream priests, evangelists, etc. to say that the only way to get into heaven is to be Christian. But that is NOT what it says. it says that the only way to God is through Jesus. I interpret that as the only way to God is through Jesus’s teachings. The stories of Jesus are related (very) often in the Qur’an (see below), so I believe it should be considered by Christians to be another Gospel of sorts (at least).

The PROBLEM THAT CHRISTIANS SEEM TO HAVE with the Quranic perspective on Jesus (PBUH) is that it exults God and NOT Jesus. It claims that Jesus was a messenger of God, and a beloved prophet imbued with the Holy Spirit, but he still, like all things, would have no existence without God. GOD is the only thing worthy of our worship, although prophets are most definitely worthy of our love, utmost respect, and veneration.He’re a (seemingly) comprehensive list of quotes about Jesus fromt he Qur’an (with the short intro from the original post on 4truth.net)

note: “Allah” is the Arabic word for “God” regardless of if you are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc…

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Among the major world religions, Islam is the only non-Christian faith that recognizes the person of Jesus. Qur’an talks a great amount about Jesus. However, Jesus Christ is the most controversial personality in Islam. In the Qur’an, Jesus is referred to in over ninety verses in fifteen surahs. Islam corroborates that Jesus was born to a virgin, was sinless, performed miracles, and was superior to other prophets. Yet, Islam teaches that Jesus was no more than a prophet. It denies the central message of Christianity by denying Jesus’ divinity, crucifixion, and resurrection.
(Yusufali translation)

SURAH REFERENCE

2:87 We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the holy spirit.

2:136 We believe in Allah, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them . . .

2:253 . . . To Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs), and strengthened him with the holy spirit.

3:45 O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah.

3:46 “He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous.”

3:48 And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel.

3:49 And (appoint him) a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): “I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah’s leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah’s leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe.”

3:50 (I have come to you), to attest the Law which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (Before) forbidden to you; I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah, and obey me.

3:52 When Jesus found Unbelief on their part He said: “Who will be My helpers to (the work of) Allah?”

3:55 Behold! Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take thee and raise thee to Myself and clear thee (of the falsehoods) of those who blaspheme; I will make those who follow thee superior to those who reject faith, to the Day of Resurrection: Then shall ye all return unto me, and I will judge between you of the matters wherein ye dispute.”

3:59 The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam . . .

3:84 . . . and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets, from their Lord.

4:157 That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;-but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not.

4:163 We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: we sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms.

4:171 O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Trinity”: desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth.

4:172 Christ disdaineth nor to serve and worship Allah . . .

5:17 In blasphemy indeed are those that say that Allah is Christ the son of Mary.

5:46 And in their footsteps We sent Jesus the son of Mary, confirming the Law that had come before him: We sent him the Gospel: therein was guidance and light, and confirmation of the Law that had come before him: a guidance and an admonition to those who fear Allah.

5:72 They do blaspheme who say: “Allah is Christ the son of Mary.” But said Christ: “O Children of Israel! worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord.” Whoever joins other gods with Allah,- Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode.

5:75 Christ the son of Mary was no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food.

5:78 Curses were pronounced on those among the Children of Israel who rejected Faith, by the tongue of David and of Jesus the son of Mary: because they disobeyed and persisted in excesses.

5:110 O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel and behold! thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: ‘This is nothing but evident magic.’

5:112 Behold! the disciples, said: “O Jesus the son of Mary! can thy Lord send down to us a table set (with viands) from heaven?” Said Jesus: “Fear Allah, if ye have faith.”

5:114 Said Jesus the son of Mary: “O Allah our Lord! Send us from heaven a table set (with viands), that there may be for us-for the first and the last of us-a solemn festival and a sign from thee; and provide for our sustenance, for thou art the best Sustainer (of our needs).”

5:116 Allah will say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of Allah’?” He will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart . . .”

6:85 And Zakariya and John, and Jesus and Elias: all in the ranks of the righteous.

9:30 The Jews call ‘Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah.

9:31 They take their priests and their anchorites to be their lords in derogation of Allah, and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One Allah: there is no god but He. Praise and glory to Him: (Far is He) from having the partners they associate (with Him).

19:19 He said: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son.”

19:20 She said: “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?”

19:21 He said: “So (it will be): Thy Lord saith, ‘that is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us’: It is a matter (so) decreed.”

19:22 So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place.

19:27 At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: “O Mary! truly an amazing thing hast thou brought!”

19:30 He said: “I am indeed a servant of Allah: He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet.”

19:31 “And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live.”

19:32 “(He) hath made me kind to my mother, and not overbearing or miserable.”

19:33 “So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!”

19:34 Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary: (it is) a statement of truth, about which they (vainly) dispute.

19:88 They say: “(Allah) Most Gracious has begotten a son!”

19:91 That they should invoke a son for (Allah) Most Gracious.

19:92 For it is not consonant with the majesty of (Allah) Most Gracious that He should beget a son.

21:91 And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples.

23:50 And We made the son of Mary and his mother as a Sign: We gave them both shelter on high ground, affording rest and security and furnished with springs.

33:7 And remember We took from the prophets their covenant: As (We did) from thee: from Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus the son of Mary: We took from them a solemn covenant.

42:13 The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined on Noah-the which We have sent by inspiration to thee-and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should remain steadfast in religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him).

43:57 When (Jesus) the son of Mary is held up as an example, behold, thy people raise a clamour thereat (in ridicule)!

43:61 And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.

43:63 When Jesus came with Clear Signs, he said: “Now have I come to you with Wisdom, and in order to make clear to you some of the (points) on which ye dispute: therefore fear Allah and obey me.”

57:27 We sent after them Jesus the son of Mary, and bestowed on him the Gospel; and We ordained in the hearts of those who followed him Compassion and Mercy . . .

61:6 And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.” But when he came to them with Clear Signs, they said, “this is evident sorcery!”

61:14 O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah: As said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, “Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?” Said the disciples, “We are Allah’s helpers!” then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: But We gave power to those who believed, against their enemies, and they became the ones that prevailed.”

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I’m not trying to convert anyone, as I have the utmost respect for ALL WHO BELIEVE IN AND SERVE GOD on this earth, regardless of the path these choose to do so. I do, however, wish to promote understanding and learning, especially in the (often under-studied) field of theology.

~Jones

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DANGER people! – When LAZINESS becomes SLOTH!!

So most people would agree that being lazy isn’t good, but it’s not necessarily evil either. OR IS IT? How is laziness different from SLOTH, one of the seven deadly sins?? I believe that once laziness becomes a detriment to the WELL-BEING of yourself or other, then it is sloth. When poor upkeep of yourself or your environment, whether that be exercising, eating right, taking care of your kids or your finances, spending more time with your significant other… WHATEVER IT IS that you’re being lazy about, don’t be so bad about it that it comes back and BITES YOU IN THE ASS. Plain and simple.

It’s hard to be objective of yourself so listen to those who REALLY LOVE YOU. They probably see you more clearly than you do. And next time you’re feeling lazy, just tell yourself NOT TO BE SO DANGED LAZY.

And then don’t be.

~Jones

A THOUGHT and a QUESTION about DONATING MONEY…

THE THOUGHT I have on this topic is from a very interesting financial book called The Richest Man in Babylon. An important aspect of financial success, it explains, is allocating a percentage of any income you earn into different categories. Say 10% paying back DEBTS, 10% into SAVINGS, and 10% into an INVESTMENT FUND, and (the part relevant here today) 10% to charity. Then, the remaining 60% is what you have to live off of. People might complain that it isn’t enough, but one of the things the books also points out is that the average person will always have JUST AS MUCH MONEY AS THEY NEED and nothing more, regardless of if they’re on welfare or a millionaire. WE CREATE A PSYCHOLOGICAL NEED based on what we can afford. So if you don’t put away X% of your income automatically, you will assume you can afford to spend all your money (and not save any) and so YOU WILL. Even if it’s a very small amount, done diligently each month it will ad up to a lot more than if you keep waiting to start saving up. THIS IS ALSO TRUE OF DONATING TO CHARITY. If you think “I can’t afford to right now, I need to save up a bit and then I will” I’m sure you have great intentions but here’s the thing – If you can’t part with $10 when you’ve got $100, it’s not going to be easy to part with $100 when you’ve got a thousand. OR EVEN $50! You might not have the emotional muscle to part from your hard earned cash! But, by the way, any money you put towards a charitable or good unselfish purpose comes back to you in 10 times the quantity! I have had an incidence when I saw this happening LIKE MAGIC, but I’ll save that for another post…

THE QUESTION I want to start implementing this program in my own life today, as I’m launching a personal a website (God willing) to display and sell the paintings I create. From the start I want to start donating a percentage of my profits to a good cause. My question to you is: HAVE YOU HAD ANY GREAT PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH A CHARITY, GROUP, ORPHANAGE, NON-PROFIT ETC. who could put my donation to good use? (I’m prone to donate to orphans and children, but open to check out anything that’s doing good in the world.) It’s rather frustrating scouring the internet looking for a small business who would really benefit from a small-medium sized regular donation. All the sites that come up are ALREADY CLEARLY WELL FUNDED and I’m honestly not sure if I’m paying the website designer’s salary or if my donations actually going where I’d like it to go! So please, SHARE WITH ME ANY OF YOUR EXPERIENCES AND LINKS. And if you or your friend runs a some sort of SOMETHING THAT’S MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE then please share your link in the comments below!

God willing, you guys can help me find an opportunity to do a little good.

~Jones

P.S. – I have a secret that I feel that the time is near to reveal :S

TWO THINGS I LEARNED from playing CIVILIZATIONS V and HOW THEY APPLY TO LIFE

Famous Japanese strategist Miyamoto Musashi explains in his Book of Five Rings that dancing, poetry, art, music, flower arrangement, etc. are NOT THE WAY OF STRATEGY but that the WAY can be recognized in all things that adhere to the doctrines of nature. I find this to be TRUE EVEN OF VIDEO GAMES, and one that I have find myself toiling away on for hours is Civilizations V. This game is a civilization simulator, in which you get to basically run a nation from ancient times to the modern era…

There are 2 THINGS I’VE DISCOVERED playing this game that I find interestingly applicable to life:

1) BUILD A SOLID FOUNDATION, even when it looks like you’re wasting time and falling behind. While other go-getters might prosper by trying to take the easy route and exploiting every opportunity, eventually, IF THEY’RE QUALIFICATION ARE POOR IT WILL BE DISCOVERED. In Civilizations this means spending the extra time to look for a good spot to place your city, scouting the area, and fostering your resources. However, this DOES NOT mean to turn a blind eye to a great opportunity (like conquering a weak city-state mwahaha!). In life, it is important to  research, educate yourself, and foster your skills before jumping into something risky.

2) FOCUS ALL YOUR RESOURCES IN ONE DIRECTION. In Civilizations this means you choose if your nation will focus on culture, military, gold, etc. early on, and you work diligently into that direction. It is not as advantageous to spread your resources thin, for that tends to foster mediocracy. In life, your resources are your time, smarts, skills, and yes, GOLD. If you can focus these all on accomplishing one goal, you will be HIGHLY MORE SUCCESSFUL than if you try to do a bunch of things at once (trust me, I tend to work this way and it is not the most productive).

In Civilizations I’ve found that the most generally successful strategy is to create a small, strong, and fortified nation, and then spread out into the rest of the world from that solid foundation. In the same way BUILD YOURSELF INTO A STRONG, SHINING CAPITAL and then from the abundance and safety of  your core you will be able to CONQUER ANY OBSTACLE.

Have courage but watch out for barbarians, my friends.

~Jones

Be SKEPTICAL of SKEPTICISM – And WHY GOD IS REAL!

I was just thinking how I dislike overly skeptical people. For them reality is so normal, and all that exists is what we understand. There have always been people like this in the world, but there have always been new and incredible discoveries as well. This leads me to believe that the THINGS THAT WE FIND INCONCEIVABLE are in fact possible, and will some day be normal.

So I was thinking to myself, “yea, I’m not skeptical.” But then again, I kind of am. I like to regard things with an open mind, not out-ruling the idea that we could be wrong of misunderstanding many things we consider fundamental truths. But I am rather guarded against allowing ideas to become beliefs. I think that I have become skeptical of skepticism. I feel that most of the people who have challenged the boundaries of human existence in fields of SCIENCE (Einstein, Tesla), HUMAN RIGHTS (Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.), THE ARTS (Da Vinci, whoever built the pyramids) ETC. didn’t have the inclination to think “eh, it’s probably impossible,” so it’s probably not a very empowering attitude.

Also, skeptics don’t tend to be the CLOSEST ONES TO GOD. In the Qur’an it talks about these skeptical people who mock God in their minds, and God doesn’t foretell a good outcome for those people to say the least. I never had a skeptical attitude about God, but as all things I tried to approach it with an open mind. I figured, if God is real, then he should help me discover that if I EARNESTLY PURSUE THE TRUTH. So here’s a couple of reasons that GOD IS REAL:

1) RELIGION IS SO POPULAR. Why has everyone been wondering about God or gods since the beginning of time. We’re clearly hardwired to want to believe in some powerful force that creates everything. Is this just very random, or there for a reason? If it was just fear of death that drove us to wonder these things, why do all major religions emphasis worship or reverence of something greater, something indescribable that is essentially One? This force of belief/religion is global in all people, regardless of culture. Western intellectuals and African shaman worship in different ways, to different names, but they still worship something greater.

2) ALL THOSE PROPHETS COULDN’T HAVE BEEN INSANE! There have a lot of prophets since the dawn of mankind. Starting with Adam and ending with Mohammad. Peace be upon them all. Many of these prophets are known only through legends from prehistory, and none of the story can be verified through objective evidence. The Qu’ran says that God has sent a messenger to every people, though many of them were rejected. It can be assumed that great spiritual leaders such as Siddhartha Buddha, Conscious, Lao Tzu, and many unknown from the African, American, and Australian continents were all authentic prophets of the one God. But again, little can be known about them except that they achieved miraculous amounts of success spreading a message of good. But, there are two extremely important prophets that we can verify to be real: Jesus and Mohammad (Peace be upon them). They manage to achieve ridiculous success in spreading their messages against insane odds. I don’t know how a poor carpenter could have had such an impact on the people around him, to be WILLING TO DIE for his message, if the miracles described in the bible were not true. Even if he did achieve all of this without miracles, I think THAT would be a miracle in itself. And finally, there is much (relatively) undisputed first person accounts of the prophet Mohammad of Islam and his life. One thing that any historian, secular or not, would attest to is the fact that Mohammad was known by all to be exceedingly honest. Then one day he claimed to have had a vision and was commanded to spread the message of monotheism. Either he was TELLING THE TRUTH, or his whole life up till that point (at over 40 years old) was a cunning deception. But even if this were so, why would he suffer through all the hardship he did, and refuse offers of wealth and power to spread a message he knew wasn’t true?! The other possibility is he was completely insane… but completely insane people rarely prosper until the end of their lifetimes. And by all accounts he was in no way insane, but actually an extremely, and often surprisingly, reasonable and cool headed man.

3) GOD OBVIOUSLY WANTS HIS EXISTENCE TO BE AMBIGUOUS. Assuming God is real (considering the points above, it seems very likely) he clearly doesn’t want to make His existence completely obvious for some reason. In one religious story GOD DOES SHOW HIMSELF to a tribe of Jews who want proof that He is real. When they see God they are instantly overcome and die, but are raised again to life. As the story goes, they went back to being non-believers not too long afterwards. There doesn’t seem to be any proof God could show us that would be definitive evidence of his existence. (Except that feeling in our hearts that is FAITH.) So why doesn’t God just make us know He is real, if He can do anything. Well He could…. but that would violate our FREE WILL to choose what to believe. And FREE WILL IS ONE OF THE GIFTS GOD HAS GRANTED MANKIND. Angels, in contrast, do NOT have free will. They must always only obey the will of God. All the religious books seem to say that our main reason for being alive mortally on this earth is to prepare our soul for the afterlife by choosing the paths of GOOD or EVIL. (Hopefully Good!) The ambiguity of God’s existence allows you to choose freely.

4) QUANTUM PHYSICIST ARE OFTEN RELIGIOUS/SPIRITUAL. If you read books like the Tao of Physics, or the Dancing Wu Li Masters, you begin to see how the paradoxical world of quantum physics seems to draw quantum physicists to spiritual conclusions about our world. And many of them swear that there has to be an intelligence holding the fundamental vibrations of the cosmos in harmony. For instance, they have discovered that it is impossible to measure both the speed and direction of a subatomic particle at the same time. If you try to measure the speed, then the direction becomes mysteriously impossible to determine. They seem to come to the conclusion that the particles are reacting to our intentions. If we intend to find the speed, they display speed. If we intend to find direction, it will show us that. It is mysterious but our minds seem to effect reality on a fundamental (sub-atomic) level. What does this mean for the bigger picture? I’ve gotten side-tracked. My point is that THE ESSENCE OF OUR WORLD IS MYSTERY. Some things can never be fully understood or explained. The answer to that mystery is, of course, God. Without Him there are many questions, with him ALL IS CLEAR.

So in an attempt to wrap up neatly… BE SKEPTICAL OF SKEPTICISM. Always keep an open mind, to the point that you are willing to consider the (very real) possibility that some of the things you consider fundamental truths, may in fact NOT be true at all. I was raised believing in God, but in my teen years I had to earnestly question my fundamental beliefs. In the end I and came out with my belief stronger than ever, because I asked the questions I was afraid to ask and found my answers.

If you can LOOK OBJECTIVELY AT YOUR OWN BELIEFS, beyond your biases, you will, if nothing else, grow wiser from the experience.

~Jones

Today’s TRiCK QUESTION is… What is the PURPOSE OF LAZINESS??

This post is more of a question really, because I don’t think I have a good answer for this. Not coincidentally, this is my whole point.

The one reason I can imagine to be lazy would be a primitive drive to conserve energy. But in this day and age THERE’S REALLY NO REASON TO BE LAZY. There’s plenty of food around for us to eat, so we don’t need to sit placidly waiting for a migrating herd to come through our lands.

So WHY DO WE PREFER NOT DOING THINGS OVER DOING THINGS? Thinking logically I believe most people would conclude that NOT being lazy is far superior to wasting time (aka being lazy). Therefore, I don’t think there is a good reason to be lazy. (It’s probably another one of the devil’s lies!)

I am not exempt from the inclination towards laziness by any means, but realizing that there’s no point to laziness helps me to be a little less so. If you think about it long enough, you’ll find that LAZINESS IS ABSURD. Perhaps that understanding will inspire you to get off your derriere and do a little extra good in the world 🙂

~Jones

THE POWER OF BELIEF: How to TRAIN BELIEF and in doing so ACHIEVE THE IMPOSSIBLE!

Belief is an extremely powerful force. Perhaps the most powerful. GOD KNOWS THIS, which is why faith and belief are at the core of religion. God left clear signs in his books and creations, but they can easily be denied if you choose not to believe. This is intentional and is necessary as part of the free will that God has granted us. If there was indisputable proof and everyone knew they were DESTINED FOR ETERNAL HELL if they acted in certain ways, would we really have a choice to act in those ways (free will)? There is no indisputable proof, but SO IT IS WITH ALL THINGS IN LIFE. The thing is, God is real and this system is here by design.

The world we live in gives us free will to LIVE ANY LIFE WE BELIEVE WE LIVE. Our world is defined less by realities and more by our beliefs about those realities. If you have a child, your life experience will be completely different whether you believe it’s a BURDEN or it’s a BLESSING. This is true of everything. You believe you can stand up, so you do. If you sincerely didn’t believe you could stand up, then you wouldn’t. SCHIZOPHRENIA and such mental disorders are examples of a person’s beliefs allowing them to experience a TOTALLY DIFFERENT REALITY, but it would be ego-centric to assume that their realities are any less real than ours (in their minds, which define their reality).

I read a very long autobiographical account of a man who became a super-soldier for the government called “Project Superman” (google it). I believe it to be true because it is full of fascinating, vivid details, and a complex story, rich characters etc. But the grammar and syntax are terrible and it doesn’t appear to be created for any purpose except that expressed in the beginning of the report, so I don’t think the man’s am author. Either it was just an awesome creative writing project or it’s true (in which case the implications are staggering) or it was written with the intention of deception.

I DIGRESS.

The point is, the way he was able to perform superhuman feats was by the POWER OF HIS BELIEF. For example, he could crush a metal pipe in his hand by believing it was a banana. He could shoot the bulls-eye of a distant target in the same exact location by believing it was only a few feet away. He could tread in icy waters from hours because he believed it was a warm bath. IT WAS THE POWER OF HIS BELIEF THAT ALLOWED HIM TO ACHIEVE SUPERHUMAN ABILITY.

So, if we were to assume that humans are capable of such incredible feats, then why do we appear so much more feeble? Considering the immense POWER of BELIEF it seems reasonable to conclude that it is because we don’t believe we can do these things. Human limitations have been ingrained in us since we first emerged from the womb. And to some degree there are limitations. We cannot fly because there are other laws like gravity that the law of belief cannot simply negate. (Or alternatively perhaps the law of belief, given enough power, can negate such fundamental laws!) There is a native tribe somewhere that requires that for a boy to become a man, he must be able to jump his own vertical height. (This is from a book called Manthropology) This seems nearly impossible, but everyone in the tribe does it, and so there is an inherit belief that it can be done. Therefore, it is done and it is considered normal to them. This is an example of the power of belief.

The difficulty is that for this power of belief to work, the belief must be sincere, not just consciously but all the way down into your subconscious. Your subconscious has experienced too much gravity to probably ever be convinced it’s not real, but perhaps this wasn’t always the case. Back in ancient Egyptian times could the priests have controlled the commoners (or their own) beliefs to convince them that they had attributes of super strength to move these giant stones? Could they possibly even have levitated through the combined power of collective belief? It might all just be CRAZY TALK, but we mustn’t be afraid to consider even the most outlandish possibilities!

OK, SO WHAT’S THE POINT OF ALL OF THIS!?

You can’t change your beliefs in an instant at first, but you can train belief. PRAYER IS AN ACT OF PRACTICING BELIEF. So is visualization and affirmations (which are proven to be highly effective in achieving your goals). PRACTICING ANYTHING really, is an act of belief. Each time you practice you believe that you’re getting better and better, and so you are. Try practicing without believing you’ll improve and you wont improve!

If you can believe something a little more unbelievable to you each day, you will work towards expanding your POSSIBILITY HORIZONS.

~Jones

Why CHARACTER IS MORE IMPORTANT than SUCCESS or ACHIEVEMENTS

In this crazy world we live in, it’s often hard to know where you stand. The road of life is never steady, and we can rarely see very far down it. This has never been more true than today. With the job market uncertain and cultures rapidly shifting there is very little that anyone can hope to rely on. I mean, college degrees no longer offer any guarantee of a job! And, while people don’t blame themselves, seeing as how everyone is having these difficulties, it can still put a dent in your self-esteem. But I have the remedy for all these potential woes! Just remember:

WHO YOU ARE is (vastly) more important than WHAT YOU HAVE.

To clarify, WHAT YOU HAVE means what you have accomplished, achieved, earned, etc. as well as what you own. It means money, of course, but you can also have (or not have) the respect of others, a healthy physical body, love, a purpose to your life etc. But WHAT YOU HAVE DOESN’T MATTER, because all of those things can be lost. And when/if they are lost it will leave you wondering what you’re worth, if that is the means by which you define yourself.

In contrast WHO YOU ARE is something that can never be taken from you without your cooperation, regardless of circumstances. If you are a loving person, you will be loving if you are poor or rich, healthy or sick. If you are a righteous person, you will always do the right thing. If you are a courageous person, you will be brave, regardless of whether you’re facing an enemy army or terminal illness. The circumstances don’t matter IT’S HOW YOU RESPOND TO CIRCUMSTANCES that shows your true quality.

What you have can be taken from you in a blink of an eye, and if you don’t know who you are (or if you think that you are the things you have) you will find yourself in despair. I have heard many stories of financially wealthy people who build their fortune, only to loose it all in unfortunate circumstance. Often they just get back on their feet and EARN THEIR FORTUNE BACK AGAIN. It’s because successful is something that they are, not something that they have. I bet if you threw Richard Branson out on the streets PENNILESS AND NAKED he would be a billionaire again in just a few years! It’s because that is who he is at the core of his being. And like I said, WHO YOU ARE is something that cannot be easily lost.

So discover, or better yet CHOOSE, who you are. Pick a one (or a couple if you’re ambitious) virtuous qualities by which to live your life, (Are you: LOVING? DISCIPLINED? MOTIVATED? RESOURCEFUL? COURAGEOUS? CREATIVE? SPONTANEOUS? COMPASSIONATE? CONSIDERATE? UNSTOPPABLE?!) and start living your life by that quality NOW!

For me I chose DISCIPLINED recently. Now, whenever I am considering being lazy and ignoring something I should do, I remember WHO I AM. I am ONE WHO VALUES AND EMBODIES DISCIPLINE, regardless of the circumstances (including how I’m feeling that day). Discipline has always been a quality that I’ve wanted to associate with, but each person is unique in what they bring to this world and to the lives of those around them. I wonder…

What virtue will you choose to embody?

~Jones

Why (EARNESTLY) practicing the Martial Arts actually makes you a MORE PEACEFUL PERSON!

First off, I’d like to define what I consider a martial art. I mean no offense to boxers, MMA fighters, or wrestlers, but THESE ARE NOT MARTIAL ARTS, they are combat sports. The way you can easily tell if a style is a martial art or a combat sport is to ask yourself, are there any targets or bodily weapons that are off limit for me to use? If the answer is yes, then it is not a martial art.

The point of a martial art is NOT to beat the crap out of an opponent. That is MALICIOUS AND A WASTE OF ENERGY. The point is to incapacitate the opponent so that he is unable or (preferably) UNWILLING to continue fighting. They say that a great martial artist can defeat an enemy before the battle has begun, just by his quality of his spirit. Sometimes you just get the feeling you shouldn’t mess with someone. Once you have developed a quality of spirit that says “DON’T MESS WITH ME” you will probably never end up in a physical altercation.

But the thing is, once you have really developed this spirit deep inside (not just a macho facade of it) then you will feel no need to fight anyone because you already know you will win. One of the main reasons people (especially men) like to get in fights is so that they can prove (mostly to themselves) that they will win; that they are tough, badass, strong, powerful, etc. If you have developed this deep warrior spirit, then you already know that you are all of these things, or at least have the ability to be these things if you choose to.

In addition, you come to realize that true fighting is not glorious or beautiful like it is in a movie. It’s not a dance with people trading punching, dodging and blocking. As much as we’d like it to be IT’S NOT A KUNG FU MOVIE. It is a clash of spirits that is elemental and primal, and it often ends as soon as it starts. A real martial artist knows how to generate full body power into one point (middle knuckle, finger tips, elbow point, different parts of the foot, etc) and has developed precision with that strike. One decently powerful blow to the jaw, temple, solar plexus, floating rib, groin, eyes, and even many pressure points in the arms and legs, should be enough to stop the assault of all but the most battle-hardened and determined attackers. And for someone who has trained EARNESTLY for many years in an authentic martial art, this is a relatively simple task.

Basically, PEOPLE FIGHT OUT OF FEAR, and one of THE GREATEST CAUSES FOR FEAR IS UNCERTAINTY. When someone is uncertain of their safety, their strength, their quality of life, or THEIR FIGHTING ABILITY, and they do not want to surrender, then they will feel compelled to FIGHT. Often this is does not mean physical fighting in this day and age, but the underlying principle is the same. The martial artist, through years of training, thinking, and developing spirit, is no longer uncertain. He or she knows what they are capable of, and this CONFIDENCE keeps them from acting out of fear.

Do not let fear motivate you and dominate your life. As I’ve talked about in an earlier post, most FEAR IS BASED ON LIES that Satan whispers into your brain hoping that you believe them to be truths.

If you practice martial arts, do not try to be cool, do not try to be strong or fast or skillful in techniques. TRAIN AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT, and you shall unlock that true warrior spirit.

~Jones

How BREATHING can help bridge the gap between the CONSCIOUS and SUBCONCIOUS: This is the MAIN SECRET TO MEDITATION!

If you’ve ever been interested in meditation then you’ve undoubtedly tried sitting quietly and focusing on your breath. You may have experienced the calm sensations of deep breathing and the quieting of your mind. THAT’S GREAT, but it’s not the main reason for doing this exercise! The real reason is that (if you do it right) it begins to allow your conscious mind to be aware of your unconscious mind. Here’s why:

Breathing is an action that can be both voluntary and involuntary. Unlike the beating of your heart, which you cannot consciously stop from beating (it is a fully involuntary action), you can in fact hold your breath, or make yourself breath more or less deeply etc. The significance of this is that breathing is an action that can be controlled by both you conscious (voluntary) and subconscious (involuntary) mind. So when you’re breathing and not thinking about it, it is your subconscious mind at work, but as soon as you turn your attention to your breathing, it comes under the control of your conscious mind.

Here’s the trick. When you turn your conscious attention to your breathing, you want to allow it to REMAIN UNDER YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND’S CONTROL. This is not easy to do at first, as you shall see if you haven’t already experienced it.

Once you’re able to observe your involuntary breathing, without taking voluntary control over it,  you will have developed the ability to observe your subconscious mind without influencing it. Observing the subconscious will teach you eye-opening things about yourself.

The bottom line is, THERE’S A HUGE PART OF YOU (your subconscious) THAT YOU HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING OF. You have no understanding and therefore no hope to influence, change, or control it, and it is DOMINATING YOUR LIFE. If your goal is to consciously decide what kind of life to live and person to be, then it is paramount that you become familiar with your subconscious mind.

~Jones