Confessions of a Holy Fool




First let me say I believe God is everywhere (not “almost everywhere”). If I'm correct in that belief, then we're all equally holy. All the branches are divine. So I'll never say that I'm better or worse than anyone else. I don't believe that way. We are equal because we are one. Thus even the least are holy. I've been a fool all my life. I grabbed a livewire when I was a kid and it screwed me up pretty bad. But, knowing what a fool I was, I collected a lot of wisdom that I hope to share in this book.

“A Fool is Known By His Many Words” I'm obsessed with words. I have been since I learned to read half a century ago. I suppose that's why I think I can be a worthwhile writer. The proof will be in this pudding. I hope my flaws as an author will not spoil your enjoyment of this book. I will do my best to communicate my ideas so that you can understand them clearly.

If you are uncertain of my meaning at any point, I consider it my bad entirely. So please forgive my sins in advance and try to understand what I'm attempting to tell you. Am I really this humble? No. But I'm making a point. I think it's the role of the writer to be humble and serve the reader. I think the truest humility comes when we realize that we're not the source of anything we are. Essentially I'm not the ultimate author of this book but more like the word processor through which it is written. Of course, the copyright is in my name ( I have a son and want to leave him something when I die.) But I'm coming from more than ego when I write. I call myself a fool and admit that it fits. I don't have any qualms about that. Every day I'm reminded of what a fool I've been. But I'm not completely foolish. What I can share, I'll share. But take everything I say with a grain of salt until it seems true to you. Let your heart be your authority. The heart is the queen Of the mind every time. The heart is the queen Of the mind. And, of course, words never saved anybody. It's the realizations that words provide that spur us to different actions. And it takes action, wise action, to change our lives. If we keep on doing what we've always done, we'll keep on getting what we've always got. While I agree with that bit of folk wisdom, I think it could be better said: “If you keep on thinking what

you've always thought, you'll keep on getting what you've always got.” “Our lives are what our thoughts make of them.” Marcus Aurelius “A man is what he thinks about all day long” Ralph Waldo Emerson “All that we are arises with our thought. With our thought, we make our world.” Buddha In this book I'll use my words and the words of others to guide your mind to helpful thoughts that can make your life better. Or you can do as I've almost always done and memorize the wise words without following through and acting on the wisdom. I wouldn't recommend it. It never worked out for me. That's the tricky part about wisdom. You have to actually do it. Words are combinations of sonic vibrations (or, in this case, combinations of straight and curved lines) that stand for concepts. Concepts are the language of the critical mind and will only increase the thickness of your chains. I'm not saying that you should not think. I'm only warning you about putting all your faith in your own mind. I followed the road of “truth” To its end in the Wall of Paradox Upon which is inscribed “Everything must also be the opposite Of what it is if it is to be at all.” And, not able to get over that intellectually, I crossed over the median To the Road of Beauty And found that not only does the Road of Beauty Lead us to our destiny—it leads us home.

“Lost in Thought” As I said, I grabbed a livewire when I was six and it handicapped me mentally. It also brought on early-onset bipolar disorder when I was ten. I never could fit in. I was so shy that I was totally awkward socially. My father was ashamed of me and didn't try to hide it. He was a cop and had anger management problems. So when I got out of school I'd go to the library to avoid him. For two years before my Mom divorced him, he called me “stupid” instead of my name. It made me want to be smart more than anything in the world. I read hungrily. I truly believed that if I read enough books I wouldn't be stupid any more. After the divorce, Mom, my sisters and I moved to Mustang, Oklahoma, then a town with only three stores and one policeman. There was a lady named Rebecca who lived down the street. It was the Sixties and she was a cardcarrying hippie who turned me on to marijuana (which I loved at first toke). I stopped going to school to hang out at Rebecca's. She was semi-attractive but quite obviously not attracted to me sexually. (I could really spice up the story at this point by lying. But I've decided to be honest in writing this no matter how lame it makes me sound.) She had several cats and fancied herself a witch. I learned a lot about witchcraft from her but I never took it all that seriously. One day she brought out a little bottle full of tiny squares of paper. She told me to take one and put it under my tongue. I asked what it was. She said, “L.S. D.” Everyone in the late Sixties knew about L.S.D. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. It was all over the cultural news and even thirteen year old Okies knew what it was. We smoked several joints, waiting for the acid to take effect. She put Magical Mystery Tour on the phonograph. I remember it kicking in as McCartney was singing “Fool on the Hill.” I went into a kaleidoscope of mingled sensory impressions.

I was doing okay for the first half hour or so. Then I saw my dad in his uniform, screaming at me, telling me how stupid I was. It went on and on. I imagined that I was a tiny mouse and my dad was a giant snarling cat. However cartoonish, it terrified me. At one point, I started yelling “No!” and “Stop!” and Rebecca turned off the stereo and put an arm around my shoulders. That calmed me down somewhat. Embarrassed about crying out in front of her, I held my tongue. But inside, the nightmares of my father continued. The daytripping with Rebecca went on for the entire summer and I went steadily downhill. At last it got to me and I was being badmouthed by Dad in my head even when I wasn't tripping. I became bottomlessly sad. One night I took almost all the pills in the medicine cabinet. I didn't know what any of the pills were. But I slept three days. Poor Mom was in a panic because I wouldn't wake up and she called the pharmacist. According to the law, pharmacists are required to contact the police any time they hear of a suicide attempt. A judge quickly signed me up for thirty days' observation at the state mental hospital. In the late Sixties, the state mental hospital had no facilities for young people. I was corralled with dozens of crazy grownups. To make matters worse, I still heard my father's voice berating me constantly only now he called me “crazy” as well as “stupid.” I suppose all of the hours in the library paid off. One day I was told to go to the psychologist's office. I was stunned when the psychologist let me in. My Mother was there smiling sweetly at me. My father was there too—in his cop's uniform—scowling and sneering at me. The psychologist started going on about what a high score I'd made on my I.Q. Test. At one point (I'll never forget), he looked directly at me and said, “You can learn anything you want to.” When the psychologist took a breath, my father squinted at him and said, “Well, he ain't queer, is he, Doc? I think if he was queer I'd have to kill him.” The psychologist told my father that there was no indication that I was gay. But I don't think my father was satisfied. He never thought I was macho enough to be his son. I finally got out of the looney bin and went home. I still heard my father's

voice putting me down all the time. I went back to Rebecca's and smoked pot. But when she offered me L.S.D. I politely declined. One Fourth of July we went to Thunderbird Lake on the other side of Oklahoma City to ride horses. Then my horse spooked Mom's horse. Mom was, up till then, the highest paid secretary at Kerr McGee Oil Company. The way she fell exploded her right elbow. Though I didn't know how to drive I drove her to the nearest hospital. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life (and that's saying something). No longer able to work, Mom had to move us in with her mother and father who lived in Wewoka, Oklahoma (a Mayberry-like town in southeastern Oklahoma). I was given a little red oneroom shack in the back yard as my “room.” It was the early Seventies. Those guys who could fit in were out at Wewoka Lake doing partying, doing L.S.D., listening to music and getting laid. I was in the little red shack out back doing acid and doing experiments on myself to make myself smarter. Stupidest thing ever done really. But I wanted nothing more in life than to be smart. I kept my mind focused on thinking to avoid being aware of how sad I was. I repressed all emotion in myself and acquaintances started calling me “Spockrates” after the philosopher and Leonard Nimoy's character in Star Trek. I was on a wild roller coaster of emotion but I let none of it show. It was only a matter of time. At a football game a lovely young lady named Rita came up to me and showed interest in being my girlfriend. She worked at a burger joint and I frequented the place when she worked there. I thought my life was saved until the town's Halloween celebration. She called me and asked me to meet her there. Happy at the thought of seeing her, I walked downtown and began looking for her. When I finally found her, she was surrounded by less attractive girls who were all sneering at me. In a speech that only took a few minutes but echoed for years, she told me that she didn't want to be my

girlfriend anymore because I was too weird. I said nothing, showed no emotion, simply turned and walked away. All the way home I struggled to contain my emotions. When I got back to my grandmother's and grandfather's house, I went straight to my shack. I locked the door from the inside and sat on the couch. I clasped my hands together and stared at my knuckles. Then all the emotion I'd repressed exploded out of me and I tore the little room apart. When I was spent I collapsed in the corner and swore I'd never say another damned word to this damned world that hated me so. I didn't speak again for nine months—not a word to anybody. No doubt a serious over-reaction. But as Lao-Tse said in the Tao Te Ching, “There is great peace and power in silence.” Not talking gave me peace I sorely needed and the power to survive my heartbrokenness. I am aware that few resort to such drastic measures to survive lost love. But it was a way to survive. When you don't talk it quietens the ego mind, the personal mind. Through long association, the voice and the mind become intermingled and what you do to one you do to the other. I had no friends because of my strangeness so I was allowed to sit in my little red hermitage and write and read and think without being disturbed. After nine months my grandfather finally convinced me to start talking again. Sometimes I wish I'd stayed silent. [I will now insert a short story. I'm going to break up the nonfiction with occassional stories to make things more interesting for the reader. If this strangeness upsets you, please bear with me.] ZERO TIMES ZERO If I'd been born in Oklahoma three hundred years earlier, I might have been a

medicine man. If this were an Arab nation, I might have been considered “touched by Allah. But American society only despises those with emotional or mental challenges. But, having been “crazy” all my life I've learned that if you take the literal of the rational and the figurative of the irrational you can use both sides of it. I didn't ask to grab that livewire. I was just a kid when Rebecca started feeding me acid. I didn't ask to have my self-love slaughtered by an insane cop father. I'm just like everyone else—doing my best to deal with what was done to me. After not talking for nine months, my reputation for being crazy grew. It became the cool thing to do to hate me. I began to isolate more and more and rarely left “my own little world.” Killing the hours alone, I wrote poetry, thinkpieces, and songs. I drew and read and dreamed big dreams. Not everyone who is poor and despised dreams of becoming rich and famous. But I did. I couldn't walk across town without getting sneered at. But I told myself that someday everything would be different. Until this time I had been only a social stoner, only smoking pot with others. But I was now such an outcast that no one wanted to smoke with me. In those days you could buy a Baggie-full of marijuana for ten dollars. All I had to do to keep a steady high was mow one yard a week. That's when I became a solitary toker. It's hard to pinpoint a particular time when I really started going downhill— but this period was definitely not uphill. I spent all my time alone, lost in dreams of a glorious future that would come and make everything okay. I was too shy to look people in the eye but I convinced myself that someday I'd be onstage. Part of being bipolar is dealing with delusions of grandeur. Besides I think it's natural for anyone who's been poor and despised to want to be rich and famous. But I took it too far.

I began to believe that it was my destiny to be a superstar. I still halfway believed in God. I told myself that my life had been so hard because I was paying dues for some great future that would make me forget all my painful experiences. And the further I fell the more I believed that I would someday fly. I was simply another zero dreaming of being a hero. I had no friends, no lovers, and no hope except for the deliberately imagined sort. I spent the lonely hours of my life practicing what I would never perform. I held onto my dream of stardom like a drowning man holds onto a log. I couldn't even look people in the eye when they were talking to me. But I insanely believed that I'd get over all that someday and be an entertainer. It's hard to say that this was the beginning of my decline because I was already falling but, at this time, I began a pronounced downhill slide. The more I denied that I was doomed, the more I asserted my crazy belief that I was headed for greatness, the more my life fell apart. Strangely, the part of me that knew I was hopelessly ruined began talking to me. It was what psychologists call “schizophrenia.” I started hearing a different male voice who, like my father, never had an encouraging word to say to me. My father, who had moved back to Wewoka and went to work as a deputy sheriff after the divorce had started telling people that I was his “ruined son”. This voice I began to hear shared my father's opinion of me. And the more it put me down, the more I dreamed of being king. The more I dreamed big, the more quickly my talents improved. But it's not enough to be talented. You have to have the strength to use your talents. That I lacked.

“Forbidden Questions” I had been raised in the Southern Baptist tradition of Christianity. The first time I doubted the faith of my family was when I saw Baptists burning John

Lennon in effigy for expressing his views on the religion. But it wasn't until this period in the early Seventies that I started to question the dogma I had been fed. It was difficult for me to believe that God loved me. How could I believe that? My life had been unmitigated hell since my earliest memories and I was expected to believe that there was an almighty God on my side. I couldn't believe that anymore. Perhaps God loved everyone but me. It made a lot more sense to believe that God hated me than to believe that He loved me. But that didn't make sense either. Life started killing me when I was six. I couldn't believe that I had done something to secure God's wrath before I was six. I had read of reincarnation and tried supposing that I had been horribly wicked in my previous life. But it seemed ridiculous to think that God would visit such wickedness on children who can't even recall what they did wrong. It was easy for me to think I was a stupid kid because my father had drilled that into me every day for so long. I went through a while believing that God hated me for being stupid too. But eventually I stopped believing that God was justified in letting so many bad things happen to me. Rather than believe that God was hateful or didn't care, I chose to believe that the God I'd been told about didn't really exist. I chose to disbelieve in religion altogether and believe only in science. I read Einstein's The World As I See It and adopted his view of God—a God Who is the Universe and Who is too big to care about the personal problems of individual human beings. The library was the one place where I felt as welcome as anyone else. And I found that people who liked to put other people down usually didn't hang out at the library. I liked the spinster librarian and would sit there for hours, reading. I found that a great many famous people had not believed in the traditional idea of God—Buddha, Einstein, Edison, Mark Twain, to mention only a few. At night in my shack I would think and write about God, asking questions

that believers were forbidden to ask, such as: Q: If God knows everything then why did He create the devil? If God knows everything, then God knows the future. So, five minutes before God created the angel who later became the devil, God would have to have known all the damage that the devil would eventually do to his other children. Why didn't God just refuse to create Satan in the first place? Q: If Christians aren't liable for the sins of the Inquisition or the witchburnings then why are they liable for the sins of Adam and Eve? Q: Is God looking at babygirls being raped by their fathers, then looking at his watch and saying, “How horrible! If it was time for Me to come back yet, I'd stop that!”? Q: What sort of God puts innocent babies in this wretched world and then damns them because they become twisted by what happens to them. I learned why most “Christians” think reason is of the devil. It's because if you start applying reason to Christian dogma it falls apart like a house of cards in a tornado. “The Spirit is Willing” In a moment of clarity I thought I should have something to fall back on just in case I didn't become the next Elvis. So I looked into enrolling in a disc jockey school in Oklahoma City. But the week before I was going to enroll, my cousin came by drunk and told me that if I was still at his grandparents house come the next day that he would kill me. He seemed drunk enough to do something that dumb. I didn't leave because I was afraid of him. My grandmother was in very fragile health and it wouldn't have helped her if two of her grandsons had killed one another in her back yard. So I took off. Before that time, I had never hitchhiked father than OKC. But this time I kept going on I-40, headed

west. To shorten a long boring story, I became a hitchhiking hobo. I sank deeper and deeper into living like a stray dog. My wild emotions kept torturing me day and night. One night a guy in a pickup gave me a ride. Without warning, he pulled a twenty-two pistol on me. I suppose fear made me brave but it also made me stupid. I got the gun away from him and then took his wallet, his keys, and left him on the side of the road. I was a fugitive for about four hours before I was apprehended. Soon after that I began a fifteen year sentence in the Texas Department of Corrections. I had just thought my life was bad before that. Now, before you roll your eyes skyward, let me comfort you with the knowledge that the autobiographical portion of this book is almost over. “Even An Old Fool” When I got out of prison in 1996, I said, “I'm not going to be wicked anymore. I swore to walk a true love walk. I suppose I expected to be blessed. I suppose I still believed somewhat in the idea of a God who cared. Whatever my reasoning (or lack of it), I felt sure that if I loved I would be blessed. I've been out of the joint for fifteen years now and I still live by love. It's habit now but I'd be lying if I said I've been blessed for it in any way. I no longer believe in karma. I don't believe we're blessed or cursed according to what we do. I believe we're blessed or cursed according to whether we believe that we're cursed or blessed. I still walk a true love walk even though I don't believe I'll be rewarded for it. It's not that I'm all holy or anything. It's just that: Even a reprobate knows Love feels better than hate. Besides, it's habit.

Now don't get me wrong. I believe love is the wise and right thing to do. I just don't believe that doing love will bring blessings besides those that arise directly from doing love. If you do love and believe you will be blessed for it, you will be. If you do love and can't believe you'll be blessed for it, you won't be. “As you believe so shall it be unto you.” At this point, believing that I can be blessed is a sizable chore. I content myself by dwelling on the little blessings I can enjoy. I think it's horrible to say that Jesus loves the little children of the world. If Jesus were one third of God, there'd be no such thing as child abuse. It's a lie. The worst person in the world would end child abuse if she or he were God for one day. That it goes on means one of two things is true—either God is a heartless monster or there is no God who cares. I've been obsessed with God for half a century. I now believe it was all wasted time and thought. John Lennon sang, “God is a concept by which we measure our pain.” I can easily agree. I believe the legends of God arose from our personal awareness of our Infinite Consciousness. We are the one we used to call “God.” This autobiographical part of this book has mainly provided proof that I deserve the “Fool” part of the title. But I'm tired of confessing my sins and stupidities. There's no fool like an old fool. But even an old fool will wise up If it hurts bad enough.

“The Universe Inside Us”

In the middle of the thirteenth century, the Sufi Muslim poet Rumi wrote, “The entire universe is within you, ask all of yourself.” Now even though that was written so long ago, it agrees with modern quantum physics which says “Everything interpenetrates everything else.” And Buddha said, “All that we are arises with our thought. With our thought we make our world.” Though my life has been particularly bad, I have no problem with admitting that it's all arisen from my negative thinking. Like Edward De Vere (writing as Shakespeare) said, “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” It was the habitually negative thinking that I learned as a child which has made my life so negative. To someone blinded by the lies of separation neither the words of mystics or physicists make sense. But once free of the delusion of separation their claims seem right. The paradoxical nature of great truth arises because the universe is a union of opposites. If you view life as one great Whole then the paradoxes in the Bible and the Tao Te Ching makes sense. If we desire anything, the best way to achieve it is to believe that we already possess it. This uses the power of Faith in Imagination to manifest your desires. And Whether you call it “miracle” or “magick with a k” It's only faith in Imagination at play. Wanting it, seeing it as something that will happen someday only postpones it. But seeing it as already so brings it into being. Every thought manifests. There is a proverb of magick that says “As within, so without.” What we perceive outside us is what we believe inside us. Only inside is real, as Osho said. Outside is nothing but a dream. Though I'm not a Christian, I believe a great deal of what Jesus supposedly said. Two quotes from Jesus support what I'm saying here.

“As you believe so shall it be unto you,” and “Him that hath shall get. Him that hath not shall lose even that which he hath.” As the New Testament was being written (or “translated”) a quote from the Neo-Platonic philosophers was a popular saying around Rome: “If you believe you have it, you have it.” As modern science has confirmed the power of belief it becomes less of a mystical intuition and more a verifiable fact. Belief shapes life. Our lives become what we believe they already are. Of course it's not what we sometimes believe that creates us and our world. Wavering faith availeth nothing. But what we consistently believe manifests. And we don't receive what we “sort of” believe. To manifest a belief we have to believe it one hundred percent. “The Other Way Around” You can bet your bottom dollar And your money's safe and sound Whichever way they say it is It's the other way around You can take it to Las Vegas And lay your money down Whichever way they say it is It's the other way around. Lies about important things can destroy lives. People are told lies when they're young and it causes them to make mistakes that can warp their enjoyment of life. In this chapter, I'll point of some of the lies I've believed that have caused me great pain. You may disagree with my beliefs. But basically I'm just trying to warn you that certain bridges are out. From the time we're born into this world it starts lying to us. We're born knowing the ultimate Truth of Unity. And, from the moment we can understand language, the world starts telling us the lie of separation. There

never has been such a thing as “separation.” We have always been one with everything and everyone. Only unity is true. As soon as we can think, the deceived begin to deceive us. They don't mean to lie to us. They are simply sharing their delusion of “separateness” with us. Once you transcend the lie of “separation,” you can be one with all as we were meant to be. Quantum physics 101 says everything interpenetrates everything else. And that includes living things. We are one with the world and with one another. We don't end at our skins. The concept that we've been taught since infancy—separation—simply never was true. And the only times when we human beings really feel good is when we forget ourselves in a book, a movie, a game, or in sex. Only when we forget the lie of “the personal self” do we experience joy. They tell us there's a God who cares about us the way a good father cares about his children. I'm sorry. That's a lie. If, for whatever reason, you cannot help yourself, you will not be helped. If there is a God, He only helps those who help themselves. People are always making excuses for God. They need help and the almighty God can't be bothered to help them—well, it must not have been God's will. And every time something terrible happens they blame it on the devil without asking why God didn't step in and keep His wayward angel from hurting us. “Anthropomorphism” means attributing human qualities to God or Nature. God is Nature and Nature doesn't care. The truth is that if we abide by the principles of the Presence we prosper and if we don't, we suffer. But if you've been taught self-hatred and negative thinking, there's no hope for you until you unlearn those mental behaviors start loving yourself and thinking positively. Of course, if you believe God loves you and will help you that will sometimes work—as long as you believe it. But there is no fatherly God who will love you if you can't love yourself. Neither will anyone else be able to love you till you love yourself. You can

love everyone in the world. But if you don't love yourself too, you'll be in hell. In fact, until you love yourself you cannot properly love anyone else. They tell you to put everyone else first. But if you put everyone else first you won't last. They tell you that religion and politics are good things when they're only organized ways of lying to the people. They tell you that if you fit in and do what everyone tells you to do that you'll be happy and secure. They tell you a load of lies because they believe the lies themselves. It's not as if society is giggling behind its hands as it deceives us. Most of society believes that the way to be happy is to feed your ego. But the only way to be happy is to forget the ego. Love is the thing for us to do because Love wipes away obsession with our personal selves. Love is based on identification, on “seeing ourselves in others.” When we see another as “self too,” it brings us out of the lie that we are separate. Usually our first experience with true Love is enough to change our lives. But Love is powerful because it brings us out of our ego prisons. The more we Love, the freer we are. They tell you Love is only something you win or something we do but Love is Who we are. Never underestimate the power of Love. What's given you when you Love is more than any love can give you. By shining Love 24/7, 365, we become Who we are. Love saves. All we need is Love. Love allows us to see beyond ego and know the liberation of Oneness. But the world tells us it's all about “I, Me, Mine.” While you have to pay due attention to your personal needs so they won't make you fixate on the personal, you have to transcend the personal to be happy. I was taught self-hatred and abused until I developed what I call “negative egomania.” As the person who is super-popular can start thinking too much

of her- or himself, the person who is very unpopular can also fixate on personal self with constant thoughts of “What's wrong with me?” and “How can I fix me?” Both positive and negative egomania are harmful. But I think the negative sort is more damaging. There is no more miserable person than one who is locked in constant negative thoughts about him- or herself. They tell us that if we get a job and work hard that we'll always be financially secure. Then they give all our money away to the super-rich but when it comes time for cutbacks it's the middle and lower income Americans who must sacrifice. The military “loses” billions in an immoral war and no one even suggests that they should pay back the taxpayer money they “lost.” The world runs on lies. The world tells us that life is all about “separation” and there is no such thing. The world tells us we can be okay if our neighbors are starving. The world tells us torture's okay if we do it. And most of us have been trained not to care as long as we have gas, cable and food on the table. I'll tell you one thing And I'll tell you from the heart We've got to come together Or we're gonna come apart. Can anyone bring us together before we destroy ourselves? It will be amazing if humanity lives to see the twenty-second century. It's sad to see the few robbing the many. But if the many are too ego-blind to resist perhaps we deserve to be robbed. Many are going to be surprised when the economy fails for everyone but the super-rich and we aren't as comfortable as we were told we would be. We're all so blinded by the lies we've been told that we can't see what's being done to us.

The secret of life is that we get more of what we believe we've already got. As Jesus (and the Billy Holliday song) said, “Him that hath shall get. Him that hath not shall lose even that which he hath.” If “not-having” dominates your thinking, your life will waste away to nothing. Your subconscious mechanism will manifest only poverty in your life. Counting our blessings multiplies them. Counting our curses multiplies them. Now, if you're having a hard time, it will take deliberate effort on your part to think positively. I recommend looking at your life in four areas—physical, emotional, mental and social—and then listing things you have to be grateful for in each area. It may only be “I can breathe freely.” But the main thing is to focus on positive thoughts. PHYSICAL: +I can breathe freely. +I have a home. EMOTIONAL: +I am made happy by playing with children and dogs. +I am cheerful in my sadness. MENTAL: +I am smart. +I am creative. SOCIAL: +I have many friends and no enemies. +I have someone to talk to. That of course was only an example. You have to make your own list because, for it to work, it has to be you thinking the good thoughts. Now if you are a habitually negative thinker, it may take real effort for you to form the habit of thinking in terms of what's good about your life instead of

thinking about what's bad about your life. That's why I recommend forming the habit of making lists about what's good about your life a few times every day. Forming the easy habit of making such lists will help you form the habit of choosing positive thoughts. I also recommend asking the question, “What else is good about this?” in whatever situation you're in. The question helps to focus the mind on the positive. And optimism creates good fortune. “All that we are arises with our thought. With our thought, we make our world.” Every thought manifests. Without realizing it, we make every day of our lives. By having bad thoughts about ourselves or others or the way things are, we literally create the negativity in our lives. Alexander Pope expertly described the positive attitude in his great poem “Essay on Man:” All nature is but art unknown to thee; All chance, direction, which thou canst not see; All discord, harmony not understood; All partial evil, universal good; And in spite of Reason, in errant Reason's spite, One truth is clear—whatever is, is right. It's all good. The strange thing is—it's true. The knowledge of good and evil is forbidden to Man. We don't have the ability to calculate the difference between good and bad, right and wrong. Everyone's had the experience of saying, “Oh, all right! This is wonderful!” and two weeks later you're wailing “Boo-hoohoo!” And everyone's had the opposite experience of saying, “Oh, this is horrible! My life is over!” and two weeks later you're saying “Boy, I didn't think so at the time but that was a lucky break!” The possible consequences of any event are beyond calculation. At best, we guess.

So, since we can't really know ahead of time if any event is good or bad for us, to assume without evidence that life is good is a logical leap of faith. Assuming that it's all good allows us to be open to all the good there is. It's a matter of following Buddha's advice. He said, “Want what is.” This admonition to think positively will seem silly to the lifelong negative thinker. But when you fully realize that negative experiences come from negative thoughts, you'll know it's worth the effort. I want to risk offending the dogmatic by saying God doesn't care if we sink or swim. The rules that govern God's Presence in the universe operate in your life whether you understand them or not. Perhaps it's nice to say that God cares about those who fall behind but it isn't true. If you fall behind it's the result of your own negative thinking and until you change the thinking that caused your downhill slide, you'll continue to fall. I'm sorry if that disagrees with your beliefs. I'm doubly sorry if that offends you. But I have to write what I believe and I don't believe that the almighty God cares about us personally. I was a virtually fatherless child who was told that there was a great invisible Sky Daddy who really loved me and would help me. I believed that for a long time and received no help whatsoever. In fact, you could, if you wanted to, say that God obviously cursed me. I don't care what excuses you make for your idea of God. For an almighty, all-knowing Being, God never really helped anyone all that much. You can believe whatever you want to. But I don't believe God cares about any individuals. So, if I'm right (which I believe I am) we are totally on our own. For all our prayers to the ceiling, if we don't completely believe that we've already received the blessings we've prayed for—we don't get blessed. Now, if you can ask God for help and truly believe you're helped, you will be helped. More power to you if that works for you. But it doesn't work for a lot of people who feel they have been cursed all their lives. I don't believe everything they say that Jesus said. But I do believe this:

“As you believe, so shall it be unto you.” Let me reiterate. We are only blessed by believing that we are already blessed. Belief creates reality. “Poverty Sucks” Along with billions of others, I was told that poverty is good for the soul. I know that too much materialism is bad for a person. But I don't think that poverty is good for the soul either. I think that doing without the things that you want and need only draws your attention to those trivialities. And they are trivialities. Personally, I'm one seven-billionth of humanity. My tragedies are trivialities. No matter how I piss and moan, it ain't no big thing if I'm alone and unknown. But poverty only draws your attention to the personal trivialities. Plus, poverty perpetuates itself. If you think “I lack,” that thought of “not having” will manifest itself in more poverty. Believe me. I know what fifty years of negative thinking did to my life. I hope you can learn from the experiences of others and bless yourself with thoughts that you are already blessed. “These Trying Times” I don't know if anyone else has been reading the headlines. But, as a species, we are in deep trouble. We face more life-threatening problems now than at any time in our history. To address the worst first: there are seven billion people on this little world. The world isn't getting any bigger and we continually are. We, of course, won't stop reproducing and we're getting too big for this little world. Now it's already crowded at seven billion. What's it

going to be like when we are ten or twelve billion? It's going to be hell. Don't you love koala bears? Aren't they gentle and sweet? But if you put two koala bears in a cage the size of this room and let them copulate and populate and don't give them a bigger cage, those sweet koala bears will turn into cannibalistic Tasmanian devils just from the need for space. The more crowded any creature becomes, the more desperate and vicious it becomes. And that includes us. What can we do? You can't say a woman can't have a baby if she wants one. That's ridiculous. We could inhabit the sea. But that would be too cost prohibitive for a temporary fix. We must terraform and populate Mars. That must be the common mission of our global space programs. It's the only hope humanity has. Crime is another of our great problems that must be solved. For a long time the problem has been managed without solution. But there is a simple and cheap method that would greatly alleviate crime if we have the sense and compassion to do it. All crime is committed by alienated people. If you identify, if you “see yourself in others,” you won't harm anyone. Identification can be taught to inmates in prison and children in school and the crime rate would fall dramatically. The only problem with this idea is that first the majority has to care about all the souls in prison. The energy problem could be greatly reduced by using the wind crashing against our cars in motion to generate electricity which could be stored in batteries in the trunk. The energy could be used in the operation of our cars and the excess sold at power stations. The first accessory for the car was the windshield. Then we had no way of using the force of the wind against the car. Now, by transforming the mechanical energy of the wind into electrical energy, we can make electric cars more viable than gas-powered cars. Electrical power is generated by using an already-present motion to make a

magnet move against a wire thereby inducing current. The already-present motion in this case is the constant crush of the wind against the car. With modern technology we can easily turn the motion of the wind into electrical power. Problem solved. Another simple idea is the creation of a networking site online in which the common folk give life lessons they've learned that they think are worth sharing. This would allow people who don't have good role models to get good life advice. It could be searchable by subject and help a lot of people. There are a lot of good ideas we could come up with and implement that would make things better on all of us. But we have to care enough to follow through and do them. “Questions” Recent research has shown that questions are more effective in changing personal behavior than affirmations. In this chapter I'll experiment with our minds by simply asking a series of questions. I hope you find it as interesting as I do. Q: What if everything we've been told all our lives is a lie? Q: What if we weren't separate? Q: What if the government weren't for all the people? Q: Why do we all think so similarly? Q: What if we all came together for our common good? Q: What would happen if there suddenly were no such thing as money?

Q: Who would be president if no one voted? Q: What can one person do to change the world? Q: What if you were a dream someone else was having? Q: What if education were about more than getting a good job? Q:What if seeing Janet Jackson's titty were the worst thing that had happened this century? Q: What if corporations had to pay taxes to vote? Q: What if you got more time in prison for abusing a child than you did for stealing a truck? Q: What if we felt better as we got older? Q: What if Christianity were really all about Love? Q: What if dice had no spots? “Coming Together” It's not enough that we come together physically. We grow closer together with every child born. We have to come together mentally again. We are so divided that we can't do anything. As I write, the Congress of these United States can't agree on something as simple as extending our debt limitations. From all appearances, we couldn't come together long enough to put out a house fire. The nation divided against itself cannot stand. We can't hope to do anything personally until we solve our inner conflicts. Likewise we can't hope to do anything as a society until we resolve the conflicts we face as a nation and as a world. Instead of building up the walls that separate us, we need to be building bridges that will unite us. We need to

be focusing on our areas of agreement. We need to be working together to meet the common goal of our common good. This isn't something that we can afford to put off till it gets easier because it won't get easier. We can only come together now before it becomes almost impossible to do so later. It won't be easy now. We have become so separate and divided that it will take great sacrifices before we, as competitors, can thrive as co-operators. The only reliable first step to coming together is realizing that we already are together. We must focus first on the many subjects on which we agree. One of the first steps is to make sure that neither the military nor the merchants have any say in our government. Neither pretend to give a damn about the rights of the individual or personal liberties. A politician running for president recently said, “Organizations are people.” Organizations would always vote the way the board of directors say and that is oligarchy not democracy. The plain truth is that we will come together as a species or we will die as a species. “Helping Yourself” Of course before we can contribute to society, we must first be effective in our personal behavior. That is the same as saying that we must be together before we can bring anyone else together. For personal rejuvenation, I recommend specific daily meditation on oneness. Oneness is the ultimate truth. We have been told that we end at our skins and that never has been true. We always have been inseparable parts of the living Nature. It is only when you realize that you are more than your brain/body that you can truly live. You are the world.

If you are a Christian, you might try meditating on the omnipresence of God. One of my favorite Bible verses is Acts 17:28: “God is the one in Whom we live, move and have our being.” Now you can say that we live and have our being in God in some sort of other-dimensional way. But if we “move” in God then God is Nature. I'll grant that God is more than Nature but God is Nature. Being one with Nature is being one with God. Some folk have the idea that they have to be in the woods or at the beach to be in Nature. But the cities we build are as natural as anthills or beaver dams. We are always in Nature because we always are Nature. And as such we are parts of one another. We are the same Spiritflesh of God that fills the Cosmos. We are, as Y'shua said, “branches of one Vine.” “Only Unity is True” Remember Oneness? I know you do. It rings a bell inside of you. And mystics and physicists and babies agree, We are One with the One Reality. We are born knowing the truth of Oneness and the world lies us out of it. Quantum physics says there never has been such a thing as separation. But the world starts straight in, from the time we're born, telling us we're “separate.” But if we don't believe in Oneness—we're wrong. For most, as Bertrand Russell said, “romance is the height of human experience.” Love is bliss because it makes us forget the delusion of the “separate self.” We so love our beloved that we hardly think of ourselves at all. Strange thing I've noticed, the only times we humans ever really enjoy our lives is when we completely forget ourselves in a book, a game, a movie or sex. The only time we really enjoy life is when we forget the lie that we exist personally.

When I ask you to forget your personal self, the ego-self immediately throws up red flags. That's because the ego-self's greatest fear is “not to exist.” It fears relinquishing its illusion of control. But our egos never had any control. The one function of the ego is to experience. There are those who say that we have the power to choose but I don't believe that. I believe as Bhagwan Shree Raneesh did. He said: “True humility is knowing that we're not the source of anything we are.” We've been told that we're the only source of our thoughts. But there's a great deal of evidence that says that our thoughts are exchanged all around the world and perhaps from even farther. Could it be that we think that all our thoughts are ours simply because all minds are One and have like thoughts? What if our brains are receivers of thought and not just generators of thought? That would mean that there really was no such thing as “free will” and that we're all essentially blameless. We were all once innocent babes. The cop and the criminal alike Once reached out tiny hands for giant fingers The nun and the whore on the corner Once shined the light of Sweetness equally. What have we since become? A mixture of what we inherited With what we've learned—nothing more. For which can we be praised? For which can we be blamed? We were all once innocent babes— And we're still innocent, Grownup babes with dirty hearts Needing only to be changed by Love.