Categories
Culture Psychology Spirituality

A Return to Conscience

I’m thinking more and more about the importance of conscience as distinct from values.

Values are certainly important. As kids we absorb the values of the adults around us (which may or may not be a good thing!) Part of growing up is finding what our own values are – whether through trial and error or serious inner reflection. Finding people whose values are somewhat aligned with our own is an important foundation of the trust required in all our relationships – whether intimate partners, friends or work colleagues. We could all benefit from some serious reflection about what we value individually and as organisations/institutions.

But conscience is more than just having values.

Categories
Culture Politics Spirituality

Live not by Lies

If, like me, you have felt despair and helplessness at what is happening in Ukraine, what is happening to our beautiful planet, what is happening to the world’s indigenous peoples, what is happening to the poor and oppressed around the world, here is an answer. It was written by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in 1974 on the eve of his expulsion to the West. It was written to people who also felt powerless in the face of oppression, state propaganda and violence. Please read and ponder:

************************************

Categories
Culture Psychology Spirituality

A Dangerous Slide into Unconsious Religion

If we don’t do religion consciously we will do it unconsciously.

A bold statement, I know! – But one that I believe more and more to be true. We are religious animals, despite the brief interlude of The Enlightenment, Modernism and Post-modernism. We are wired to look for a grand over-arching explanation of the world we experience, and our place in it (a meta-narrative) and within that to belong to a community of fellow believers motivated by a purpose bigger than ourselves.

Categories
Culture Spirituality

Bedtime Stories with Mike

I like reading aloud. So during this time when much of Australia’s population is in lockdown I thought it would be a nice offering to record myself reading a book that has inspired me and will hopefully inspire others. I’ve already uploaded a few chapters on my private Facebook profile, but here I’m making them available to everyone. I’ll keep adding a couple of chapters each day until the book is complete.

Categories
Culture Spirituality

Suffering – and why most modern spirituality sucks

I’ve just had a beautiful and somewhat surreal experience.

I was listening to Bach’s sublime masterpiece the St Matthew’s Passion on a beautiful and sunny Good Friday morning, and through the open windows I noticed a young wallaby listening along with me.

I’m pretty sure that he/she was listening because normally when I see the wallabies they are either passing through, or grazing or sometimes taking a siesta (they usually lie down for this). This wallaby wasn’t doing any of those things – it was sitting still facing my open window and listening. It stayed there for at least an hour and a half, through two CD changes and only moved on when it got spooked by the sounds of a rubbish collection truck reversing at the end of the road nearby.

Categories
Psychology Spirituality

Altered States

There’s been a lot of articles published recently about the astonishing results people are getting using psychadelics to treat difficult psychological conditions like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety/depression around end of life/terminal illness. The mind-altering substances being used for these studies are mostly psyllocibin (as found in “magic mushrooms”), MDMA (ecstasy) and LSD. A recent book exploring this is by Michael Pollan: How to Change Your Mind.

Categories
Culture Spirituality

Bad Faith

Warning – lengthy but profound reflection on a subject where angels fear to tread – the problem with religion and atheism.

Religion isn’t going away and progressives who continue to attack religion do themselves no favours. In fact their attacks simply fuel the “persecuted victim” narrative that Trump and the religious Right have so skillfully exploited.

Categories
Culture Politics Spirituality

All We, Like Sheep, Have Gone Astray

All we like sheep(le) have gone astray!

I’ve always loved the Christmas story. In the Northern hemisphere where I grew up it is closely associated with the Winter solstice (the point at which the days start to get longer again) and its theme of the coming of light into the darkness. And this marking of the seasonal transitions is linked to a deeper story about death and resurrection, power vs love, suffering and forgiveness and new beginnings.