This blog is dedicated to Q&A . . . questions come from you . . . answers come from me. If you have a question feel free to ask by using the comments section or e-mail me at email@example.com . . . I’ll try to help or at least give my opinion.
Q: What about credentials? Are you just an old hillbilly like the title of this site says?
A: 1 . . . I have no social science degrees if that’s what you’re asking. I am a 75 year old man who has learned and studied the human condition via the two greatest teachers available to us all . . . experience and observation. My only desire is to share what life has taught me. . . my goal is not to wow you with my knowledge and intelligence, it is to wow YOU with yours. That is certain to happen once you break the matrix and see for yourself what you really are . . . a highly evolved, creative spiritual being. . . . This is no prelude to buying or joining anything.
2 . . . I moved to this small valley in the Appalachian foothills about ten years ago and consider myself a hillbilly by choice because I believe the ‘down home’ way to be the only way I wish to live. I find great comfort roaming these hills and studying nature. It is here I feel the strongest ‘connection’ to all living things.
Since time began God has been around in one form or another. Depending on when, where, and what age you were born in, you would have received from your elders an entirely different picture of Him . . .
Who is God anyway? This entity with the many names and personalities, this multi-faceted Father of the Universe, this Creator declaring His love, yet demanding our worship or else.
In our time, religious warfare has ravaged the planet. People of differing philosophies are killing one another to prove the point that they are the ‘chosen’ of the God of love and peace . . . What gives?
Say you were born in the US to Baptist Christian parents. Now, there were others in your town such as the Catholics, Protestants, Pentecostals, etc. who were also Christians, but the others were only privy to part of the truth, your parents taught you that the Baptists had it all. They were the ‘chosen’, above the rest of the ‘chosen’, who were chosen above the other religions because they all held at least one truth in common, Jesus the Christ.
The other guys, those religions and individuals that didn’t acknowledge Jesus as Lord, weren’t even in the running to be considered ‘chosen’.
Pretty confusing to a kid, but after a few years of brainwashing, you took your place in the church, accepted “it’s” version of the bible to be God’s holy word, learned your preachers denominational interpretation of all doctrinal issues such as ‘heaven and hell’ and thanked God for choosing you from amongst the billions of earthlings to reveal His truth to . . .
Is there something wrong here?
I grew up as a Protestant, but never thought much of it. My only remembrance of church was how I hated to get dressed up on Sunday and go. Jesus was just a sissy looking guy with long brown hair who got himself hung on a cross for some reason I couldn’t quite understand.
It was much later in life, after the army, after the free love ‘hippie’ days, that I began to give any serious thought to God. I had a bad experience on drugs one night with a Ouigi Board that scared me enough to seek some spiritual help.
I asked an old guy in the neighborhood about God and he sent me down the street to the Pentecostal Church. This was where my religious adventure began. Born again, Spirit filled, tongue talking, hell and damnation preaching, loud praising, song singing, Pentecostalism.
Years later, living a secluded life on a Christian communal farm, I began to wonder. I began to get an uneasy feeling about the whole thing and I left.
I stopped listening to what people had to tell me about God and decided to risk hell fire and damnation and get to know Him on my own. No bible, no Jesus, no nothing. It was time to lay aside fear of backsliding, fear of leaving the Church, and fear of everything else having to do with the Christian faith.
I began to read other philosophies, especially Buddhism, Taoism, Zen, and American Indian thought. Soon, I put these aside also and took a walk in the woods.
At first I found it difficult to deliver myself from years of religious conditioning, but as time went by, it became easier.
I began to peek into forbidden areas, and began to make choices. I thought about Jesus, about the necessity for salvation, and about sin, and hell, and death . . . and I thought about God,the creator of it all.
Today Jesus still has a role to play in my life, but not as a savior. Although I no longer worship him, I honor him as a great teacher, perhaps the greatest. His recorded life is an example of what life expects of me, and his sacrifices are deeply appreciated.
He was a teacher who revealed through his nature, what I could become if I chose to follow his lead. If he was the savior of the world, just believing in him didn’t seem to make much sense.
I can believe my math teacher is the greatest teacher on earth, but if I fail to learn what he has to teach, what does that make me? . . . a worshiper. If I absorb his teachings, I take him with me as I go into the world to become a teacher in my own right.
He will always be the Master and I his student, but as I build upon his foundation, it will no longer be necessary to sit at his feet. I will have taken on a mission of my own.
All religions seem to have a fuzzy image of God, He’s called a trinity in Christian philosophy. He’s the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Kind of confusing.
Other sects and religions have other names for Him, but none really pins Him down. He is the great I AM . . . and He doesn’t fit well into anybody’s preconceived box.
I needed a deeper understanding of Him than what religious teaching had for me, so I took a walk in the woods. . . and there I met Him face to face.
Simply put, God is not an individual entity, God is a state of being. Everything that lives, either animal, vegetable, or mineral is a part of God. He’s you, He’s me, the dog, the fly, and the leaf in the tree. We are surrounded by and engulfed in His omnipotence.
We are Him, His breath is what keeps us upright, the flesh He created is but a vehicle to contain His presence. We are drops of water originating from the same wave. We appear for but a moment, make a flash in the sun and re-enter. We are nothing . . . and yet we are everything.
We, as the highest evolution of His person, have the power to choose, therefore we are creators in our own right. As far as I know, we are the only life form having the ability to choose and to create according to our whim. We create our tomorrows by the thoughts and actions we take today, both individually and collectively.
God didn’t create this chaos we live in, we did. Instead of ignoring negativity, we embraced it and made a place for it in our world. By doing so, we have created a state of dualism.
Positivity/Negativity are battling for dominion and it seems the latter is in the lead. It will continue to grow, nothings going to stop it until, we as a whole, stop struggling to be amongst the ‘chosen’ and get down to the business of being our brothers keeper.
I’ve often wondered why we were given this ability and can only figure that God/Life is also evolving. That nothing is stagnate, but forever growing, even God. Where are we going? Well, that remains to be seen. I don’t have a clue, but I’m convinced the teachings of Jesus, as well as others, are paths leading us to the next step in our evolution.
Today I see God everywhere, but especially when I’m alone walking in the woods out of the earshot of men and their constant jabbering.
Walk softly upon the Earth and you will hear His still, small voice quietly floating upon the breeze. Study the miracle within an acorn. Listen to what He has to say concerning the joy of simply being a part of it all, as well as to the futility involved in claiming personal ownership to any of it.
I recently had an epiphany of sorts from a movie my daughter, who likes to catch people in awkward positions, made for me concerning last years trip to the beach.
First of all, I must say that even at the age of 75 I ignore the mirror and see myself as being muscle packed and fearless . . . probably always will. The truth, though, is a far different story. I have arterial sclerosis and a whole slew of other stuff I stubbornly ignore.
The other day after watching the candid camera kid’s movie I was mesmerized by the old man I observed in the movie. I know of course it was me, but I had/still have a problem reconciling that image with my own.
I am not that doddering old man, nor will I ever become him because now I am convinced without a doubt I am something or someone entirely different than any kind of physical presence real or imagined. I, the REAL me, am not at all a physical being, I merely present myself as one out of necessity.
So in the real world, though I am an old man physically, I am still a youngster at heart . . . and when that old physical body returns to dust I, the youngster, shall remain. I’m not sure how, or what form I will be in . . . (although I see no heaven or hell in my future) I KNOW I will remain vibrant in some form or another.
Anyway I saw this video and that’s the thought that came to mind. Because I have always been a bit like Dustin I have to wonder how many wonderful people I have passed by because they didn’t meet my physical/social/economic criteria. . . . far too many, I am sure. . . and our physical presence is the least aspect of who we are, it’s a shame that for most of us that’s all we ever see.
It seems I do more of it in the winter, but regardless, as I get older I spend a lot of time day dreaming. I usually wake up about 5 am, make coffee and, being retired and having no place to go, sit in my chair in the dark drinking my coffee and dreaming about the past. A rather pleasant time, I might add.
Now I have been to a lot of places and done a lot of things, but the things and places have become mere backdrops, places to hold the faces and memories of the many people I have known and the friends I have made over the last 72 years that I have lived on this planet.
As I begin to think on a place and time the faces are soon to follow. These faces pop into my mind like a worn out jack-in-the-box. Crank the handle and up pops Joey Sirgo or Gunner Thompson, or Tommy One Nut, Pissball Pete or just plain Joe . . . . . (It’s amazing how many of these guys have slang names and how often that’s the only one I can remember.)
Then the fun begins as I sit and reminisce with these guys over all the exciting times we had together . . . and a few of the sad ones. Seems the good and the funny always float to the top first though. I have to dig a bit to get to the bad, so as I hate shoveling I mostly leave that part alone.
To all the girls I’ve loved before. I remember your eyes, the lift of your breasts and the swing of your hips, but my Band of Brothers meant far more to me than trying to figure you out ever did. You ladies have a special room in my heart, but not this one. This room is filled with bar girls, one night stands, and short time hookers.
The “old boys club” door is locked to the finer female. You wouldn’t like it in here anyways cause the room stinks of old cigar smoke, cordite, and bull shit and the floor is littered with trampled peanut shells, dried blood and dog hair. A place only one of my old friends could love.
I always figured when I got old I would be sitting in the park with the rest of the old goats like they did when I was a kid. Maybe the old project crowd still do that, I don’t know because I lost contact with them at 15 when I had to move.
Today I live a life of seclusion. I spend my days reading, or goofing on my computer or driving my wife crazy, but rarely if ever do I spend time with friends, cause although spread out over half the world, they are not here.
Once I was in a Portland City jail cell with the walls covered in graffiti. I found an empty spot and wrote my own little tale of woe, “I’ve been alone since birth, I’ll remain alone till death, then I’ll have a friend”. Kind of a downer, but how else would you feel being stuck in a two man cell with a guy coming down off heroin?
I do hope that quickly thought verse will prove itself to be true though cause I’m getting closer to D day each time I go to sleep at night and it would be really cool to wake up on the other side and see a large table of my friends gathered around it to greet me. (and my many favorite dogs lying under it)
Jesus and God would have to wait for a while then because first thing I want to do is drink some good Old Crow and hang out with the guys again for a season . . . or two.
I think Robert Service said it all about guys like us. Guys our women just can’t quite understand:
The Men Who Don’t Fit In
There’s a race of men that don’t fit in,
A race that can’t stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain’s crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don’t know how to rest.
If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they’re always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: “Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!”
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.
And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It’s the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that’s dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.
He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life’s been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He’s a rolling stone, and it’s bred in the bone;
He’s a man who won’t fit in.
But . . . those of us who have walked this path would have it no other way.