- Inspiration: My ideas for this book have the same origins as the scriptures, as well as all other authentic writings, spiritual or otherwise. What I am referring to is inspiration. All inspiration emanates from God regardless of the importance we humans affix to the person receiving it or to its message. The first time a guy, sitting comfortably in his chair, noticed a fly buzzing around his head and looking around for a flyswatter, couldn’t find one; but looking again he spots, right in front of him a section of the Sunday paper laying on the table. At this point he is motivated to take care of this buzzing pest yet not motivated enough to get up and look for the swatter so he reasons to himself, “If I roll up this paper like this, I might be able to get that little varmint”. This is inspiration. Inspiration is out there all around us all the time; but locating it is the tricky part. You can’t actually go out somewhere to get inspiration, in a way you have to let it find you. You can’t be taught inspiration or hold a degree in inspiration. You can’t be educated in how to be an inspiration or how to give it to others, but you can set yourself up–like baiting a trap–so you could catch inspiration in the event it should happen by. Using the guy in the chair example again; what had he been doing when the fly came into his space? Was the fly a distraction to him, or had he been waiting for a fly to come by? Where was the guy’s mind; was he watching TV at the time or plugged into his smartphone? Inspiration is a jogger in a yellow sweat suit sprinting by his front window and if our guy is in a right frame of mind to notice him, he might notice him. If he’s watching TV or otherwise mentally engaged–it’s more than likely he’ll miss him. Getting into the right space or frame of mind will prepare you when inspiration goes fleeting by your window.
- Contemplation: This is a technique or discipline used to harvest (or trap) inspiration. Contemplation is similar to meditation but instead of emptying your mind and keeping it empty, you focus on a word, phrase or idea which may contain a flicker of inspiration in it and then you warm it; like incubating an egg with your feathers until it hatches. I started out pursuing an interest in writing by writing lyrics. Lyrics are out of necessity very compact and condensed ideas which are put into very tightly wound packages. They are like firecrackers or dynamite that way. When working on a lyric project, I would get a premonition that inspiration was on its way. This was like a vague to vivid sensation moving inside me. This feeling gave me to understand that an actual inspired thought or concept would be coming through to me soon. While I was awaiting this inspiration I would enter into a contemplative state to help it along. You see–once you enter that state, you know for certain you are there. When the inspiration comes you become compelled to move with the energy and direction of the inspiration and so you find yourself on top of this tempestuous wave of energy riding it like a surfer rides an ocean wave. While on top of it contemplation is your board and you use it to dance with and skitter across the wave. Going with the wave is the way to a successful ride; if you try to take control over the wave, it will flip you ass over teakettle and you’re done for. I found this contemplative approach worked the same way for me while in the midst of birthing this book. In the arena of religious commentaries and other religious writings there is an unconscious assumption shared by many people that the author ought to be highly degreed and schooled in the Bible and in the ways of God. Many such religious folks believe in a hierarchy of divine authority that God utilizes to call people into a sacred relationship with Him and from this bunch and this bunch alone He then chooses who He will use to communicate for Him. This sort of protocol becomes really burdensome for a God who desires to relate to people intimately using inspiration. Religions decree that a person has to go to seminary or divinity school in order to be properly vetted and prepared and disciplined and book-learned and on and on and…before he/she can even be considered for any kind of sacred commission having to do with speaking (or writing) for God. This kind of process is counterintuitive to the very nature of inspiration and contemplation.
- Using Wikipedia: In looking up most of the excerpts and quotes used in the book my go-to place was Wikipedia and this was intentional. I realize that Wikipedia gets lots of bad press because it is thought by some, perhaps many that articles posted there have been not well vetted. Others say that deliberate misinformation gets posted there. I know a man in Texas, a retired history teacher and writer of historical text; who once told me that history books tend to run quite high on the inaccuracy scale. During our exchange he said that in his view the facts of history are largely subjective and speculative at best. Facts as they appear in “sanctioned” text books are politically motivated, compiled by persons or teams working under the thumbs of hierarchies and review committees; each with their own agendas. Wikipedia is information provided by the people for the benefit of the people. It operates along the same principles as the original encyclopedia did and its goals are similar: to compile the knowledge of the world and make it available to all people. In principle and intention I believe Wikipedia does that. To imagine that it is perfect and doesn’t need tweaking and editing is folly. My feeling is that truth is all prevailing–in the long run the mistakes and/or the BS will sink to the bottom of the pond and what will be left will be the crystal clear truth. Until then, I’m going to stick with Wikipedia.
- God isn’t judgmental: Throughout the book I can be sited criticizing religion claiming it doesn’t work in sync with God’s authentic nature. The example of religious inauthenticity I use most is probably its relentless fixation on Bible doctrines. I make the claim that these doctrines, in essence are conditions and conditions are strange bedfellows with the authentic God. When I claim that God, in His authentic nature, is unaccepting or unhappy with religion for pushing doctrines all the time, aren’t I saying that this authentic God is negatively judging religion on this doctrine thing? And wouldn’t this negative judgment be like trying to impose a condition? On the surface they may seem to be the same thing, but if you move a little further into the question you will see that the conditions of religion and its doctrines have consequences attached to them. The authentic nature of God does not. In the realm of the God of religion you must accept Him as your personal savior before you die or burn eternally in hell as a consequence. In the realm of the authentic God, if you fail to accept Him as your savior, He fully understands why that is. He knows you and understands your story (100s of generations back). He tries a different tact to relate to you, He tries and tries and tries to make the connection with you. If everything fails, He will still love you and keep things open and ready to receive you from His side of the deal.
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