Here is a philosophical equation I postulated
in World Stompers.
If you think you know the answer, please get back to me.
I've been a ponderer of life's mysterious questions since I was a little kid. My parents were both disenchanted Christians and raised my older brother, younger sister and myself pretty much as atheists. There was no church attendance in my family, no Sunday school, and only the celebratory aspects of religious holidays were recognized. Thus was the absence of theism in my early years. Heck, even our Christmas tree was fake and we preferred it that way.
I felt as if I came into my critical thinking teen years with a fresh slate. No doctrine, dogma, or diatribes to influence my unquenching thirst for metaphysical truth. Early on I adapted the philosophical model called Occam's razor, which stipulates "often the simplest explanation is the truth." I found it amusing to debate my childhood friends who defended their Christian upbringing without even understanding the doctrine the vehemently upheld. Well, I don't debate zealots anymore. Today I feel to each his own. It's not cool to destroy someone else's faith, even if it is a perfectly logical debate.
Travel Changed My Life!
Without a doubt the single most defining aspect of my philosophical development was taking the opportunity to travel extensively in my 20s. For the first time in my life I felt ultimate freedom as I backpacked my way around the planet for three years and found myself confronted with intense stimuli on a daily basis (see: www.stompers.com for the story of this trip). For the first time in my life I was a racial minority — an outsider looking in. I witnessed intense poverty, starving animals, a degraded environment, homeless children, communist cultures, and ultra-rich gated communities. No longer was I a middle class white kid fresh out of college in a homogenized suburb. During my extensive travels I started to visualize myself as a citizen of the Earth without boundaries. I started to see the interconnectedness in all living things, and my empathy began to develop. A pivotal moment was in Calcutta, India when I came across a dying man on the sidewalk. No one gave him any attention but me, however there was very little I could do for him. The man was so weak he couldn't take any money or food, so I left it next to him. It was probably taken by someone else.This experience really shook my foundations to the core. It illustrated the intense disparity and inequities between the classes. Here I was a healthy white man who was rich enough to travel around the world, while the man on the sidewalk was dying from a lack of even the most basic necessities. From this moment on I decided it was my karmic duty to help the human race, if for no other reason than I was able to do something, where a billion global citizens don't even know when their next meal will come. I follow through on everything I feel strongly about and my answer was to start a nonprofit organization called "World Peace Through Technology Organization." Someday, with adequate funding, I hope to embark on my long-dreamed of adventure called the Peace Tour (see: www.peacetour.com). Indeed, humanity is on a collision course with itself — we will either educate ourselves or we will perish. All are part of the one. My hope is the wealthy nations of the world will come to understand that the suffering of lesser privileged people is the suffering of us all.
A Loss of Ego
The next greatest lesson I learned on my world tour again occurred in India. It was at an ashram in Pune, India when I came across the teachings of Osho, a frail old philosopher who had just died a few years before I arrived. I wasn't much into the ashram lifestyle back then, just a freewheeling traveler looking for a good time and pretty girls. At Osho's ashram I found both, but also a little life lesson that has stuck with me ever since. Everywhere I looked for inspiration, in the bookstore, at the meditations, even in other people's huts I kept coming across the same message: "lose your ego." This has been a tough one for me, a Leo no less, but something I strive for everyday. For it is only through ego death can we arrive at enlightenment. No, I have not achieved either a loss of ego or enlightenment ... yet.
A Unique Spirituality Develops
After my profound insights in India I traveled next to Egypt. Within a few hours of landing in Cairo I started getting the felling that I had been here before. Not the modern bustling streets of Cairo, but the land of the Pharaohs. I felt this way once before while exploring the streets of Pompeii. In both places it was a feeling as if I intuitively knew my way around, as if I had been here before. It was deja vu on steroids the minute I laid my eyes on the Great Pyramids. All I can say is I knew my own truth — that I had lived several previous lives in Egypt. To me my newly found spirituality was interpersonal, subjective, and applied only to me. It was a religion of one person and I sought no other converts. It is as original to me as my own unique fingerprint. From this insight I began to study the Buddhist doctrines of karma and the wheel of life. I see how our actions, even our mere thoughts, have an enormous impact on the rest of our lives — both our past lives and our current life, as well as potential future lives. If you have read this far I will let you in a little secret: we are all able to transcend our karma and have the option of rebirth once we depart these container bodies we now inhabit. This may very well be my last lifetime as an Earthling. Why? I feel I am living, learning and transcending all my unlearned lesson's in this lifetime. One of the biggest is a complete renunciation for violence in any of its ugly manifestations. For my traveling soul it's time to move on ...
A New Roadmap for Uncharted Lands
Just like the pioneers of North America extending their knowledge of the west as they journeyed onward, I feel everyday is a new adventure with so much to learn. Applying my love for Occam's razor I have developed the three simplest actions for living: Wisdom; Charity; and Compassion. I sincerely try to embody these traits everyday and I find the more I do, the more it comes back to me in the same way. A mantra I like is "I am a master here to co-create heaven on Earth." The more you repeat it the more likely it will come true. Lastly I want to leave you, the reader, with this final truism: "Love Conquers All."
I hope you've enjoyed my take on things, but just remember, I'm not out to convert anyone. I just want to tell you what works for me. Indeed, we are all responsible for everyone and everything. How you tread through the waters of life, for better or for worse, will determine how life will treat you in return. Sink or swim. Go in peace my friends!