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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What Can You Learn From A Racehorse?

I loved Coronado's Quest. He was a spectacular racehorse. A casual glance at him told you nothing. What was he really like and what can you learn from a horse? As it turns out, Coronado's Quest was a guidepost for me. A horse that pointed to the solution.

Coronado's Quest was a bad actor. He simply didn't like human beings nor did he trust them. His behavior was fantastically predictable. In fact, I won 20 bucks betting a friend that he would throw the jock off before entering the race gate one day. My friend was astonished. But I had seen this horse in action before.

D. Wayne Lucas, famous trainer, offered up the best explanation for his behavior. Coronado's Quest had received poor imprinting as a youngster. And whatever that was exactly, we will never know. The horse just didn't like humans. And he wasn't above biting them either.

The same cause and effect occurs in human beings. Poorly imprinted youngsters become unruly teenagers and sometimes criminals. When their rebellious ways fail to work for them, often they turn to alcohol and drugs. And you can be certain of one thing. Every addict and alcoholic I know hates authority. Not unlike Coronado's Quest hated jockeys.

The difference between Coronado's Quest and an allegedly highly evolved human brain might mean that we could correct this. But in fact, that is often not true. Just as Coronado's Quest was subject to a fear driven belief system that he accepted as true, so too is an addict or alcoholic. They both acquire belief systems that they cling to for the rest of their lives. Please be reminded that I am using alcoholics and addicts as examples here. All human beings are subject to the same imprinting, and not unlike animals, we are taught using basic reward and punishment themes. Therefore, some folks, quite sober, are some of the most spiritually unfit people I have met.

The problem with Coronado's Quest is that he simply didn't have the motivation nor the capacity to effect a change. And certainly, the reward his owners got was far greater than anything he might have received. So why bother?

The answer to the incredibly high recidivism and relapse rate among addicts, alcoholics, criminals, and prison inmates- and the same thing can be said about the majority of folks in this country- is that they were poorly imprinted. Unconscious, like Coronado's Quest, they simply don't know there is a better way to live. They simply go about their lives in some unconscious fashion, catering to their fears and self centered belief systems, hurting and damaging others along the way. They believe this is normal because they have never been exposed to anything better. And lacking the motivation or capacity to change, they don't.

There is a solution.

Friday, April 2, 2010

What It Means To Be An Atheist on Good Friday

It is Good Friday. Today is the day Jesus was executed by men. Unconscious and fear driven men. And as Jesus' life slowly faded away, he asked God for love and forgiveness for the very men carrying out that atrocious act. The message was unconditional love even for unconscious murderers.

Atheists have a hard time with that. Good Friday means nothing to them. There is a perfectly rational explanation for all of that. A loving explanation.

You see, I love atheists. That is made possible because I don't fear them. I love murderers, sex offenders, thieves. I can do this because I don't fear them. You cannot love what you fear. All negative emotion begins with fear. And that is an absolute. Think about that for a moment.

You see Christians and Atheists each have an opinion. A belief. Each adamantly believes they are right. And just as Christians fear Atheists, Atheists fear Christians. Consumed with their beliefs and fervently believing that they are right, Christians absolutely refuse to consider the possibility that Atheists might be right. Atheists refuse to consider that Christians might be right. And so in the insanity that is this planet, both sides fear each other and thus flows ill will and hatred.

It is the Christians who have lost their way. Many Christians fear. Because they fear, they cannot love. If you cannot love you cannot unconditionally love. Had Christians been walking the fearless, unconditional and loving path all these years, they might very well have set an example for the Atheists. The Atheists might have scratched their head and said something like...

"Man- we have been hating on those idiot Christians all these years and yet they love us in return. That doesn't make sense. Aren't they supposed to hate us back? Don't they fear us?" Maybe they know something....

A few months back, I got in a back and forth with Dudley Sharp over the death penalty in the Sister Prejean piece on this blog. Dudley is a huge proponent of the death penalty. You see, Dudley fears murderers. Because he fears them, he has no capacity to love them. He practices hate and then colors it, justifies it, and rationalizes it- just as Christians and Atheists do when trying to sell their beliefs. The same hatred and animosity, all borne in fear, occur everywhere. People arguing, fighting, and hating. Abortion, death penalty, terrorists, child molesters, religions, ethnicity, war. Righteous fear we think, justifies our positions.

All I can do with a guy like Dudley is respect him and love him. I can do this because I don't fear him. It is ok to be Dudley Sharp and have his beliefs. I am fine with that.

The message that day, that Good Friday so many years ago, was unconditional love. Jesus did not fear death therefore he could embrace it. Instead of pity, self will, anger, and hatred...he was busy loving the guys that were killing him. Completely conscious, completely rational, and certainly not of this world. And so dying was not something to be feared. It was kind of God's moment of "show and tell."

The most fearless man to ever walk this planet, died today. He came here to teach us something. Love is letting go of fear. Unconditional love is removing all fear. That's why Good Friday doesn't mean too much to an Atheist and I am perfectly fine with that. I accept and I understand.