Tyag

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Selfishness makes you empty – no matter how much you scavenge and keep for yourself, most of it will rot, and others will despise you for hoarding and not sharing. You will never be able to consume more than your fill but your hunger will consume you and trap you in an endless hellish cycle. I do not want that for you. Within yourself there is an unspeakable unrest, isn’t there? Constantly itching to crawl out of you. That is your conscience trapped behind your almira full of your shiny things. Let yourself out or you will also putrefy. And then it will be too late.

God Exists

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I have utmost reverence for science – I am absolutely convinced science has brought humanity closer to enlightenment. I also have utmost faith in the existence of God. I am absolutely convinced that how I define God exists as much as we exist and does not exist only if we accept we do not exist.

These two parallel ideologies coexisted quite peacefully in my mind until last week when I heard Dr. Stephen Hawking said there is no God because science offers a more convincing evidence of existence. Then it occurred to me that Dr. Hawking commented on God as an entity – much like everyone else.

Except, God is not an entity as we have misunderstood the meaning from the very beginning. God, much like every other immortal thing, is an idea. God is the idea of universal oneness. So even if science offers the most convincing evidence of existence, it would only prove that God exists.

And here’s why. In Dr. Hawking’s own words, we are all star-dust. Not just humanity and nature – everything in the universe essentially boils down to the periodic table in various combinations, in various temperatures, serving different purposes, but uniformly existing throughout the universe.

Even the newly-discovered Higgs Boson is a particle of matter that exists – albeit an anomaly – within the mass (and non-mass) of the universal system. Unless we theorize about multi-verses – and some day we may discover just that – where different elements govern existence, the oneness that means oxygen is oxygen no matter where it resides in the universe is the idea of God’s omnipresence.

Science came into existence because of humanity’s curiosity and necessity. Humanity came into existence after billions of years of the scientific process – incidentally nature’s process – of trial and error (survival of the fittest; mutation; evolution). Applying the principle of entropy, humanity – and thereby the practice of science – amounts to an apex in the universe’s disposition; we have come full circle. We employ the very method that inadvertently – or as I would say it, through the idea of God’s design – created us to question the fact of everything that was, is, will be, has ever happened, is happening or will ever happen. That hubris is the idea of God’s omnipotence.

So, just as a tree can never grow bigger than the earth holding its roots without falling over, nor stronger than the wind blowing its leaves in a storm, science can never explain away the idea of God. Science aids in the understanding of the majesty of God (the comprehensive matrix of everything).  And the fact that it sheds light on the very thing that created it is the idea of God’s omniscience.

See, I cannot deny what I have learned from Dr. Hawking; doing so would be unevolved and ignorant of me. But I also refuse to accept that God does not exist simply because science offers a more convincing alternative, or because we have misunderstood the meaning of God since we began building our tower of Babel – yes, God as an omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient entity does not exist. He never did. But God as an idea of the oneness of everything in the universe has to exist at least as long as the universe.

 

I am: An autobiography

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A first-born son

A first-born grandson

A gay boy

A left-handed boy

A dyslexic boy

A singer

A painter

A writer

An older brother

A victim of physical abuse

A victim of mental abuse

A victim of sexual abuse

A broken child

A malaria survivor – twice

My mother

My father

An immigrant

A volunteer

A bank teller

A sales associate

A janitor

A manager

A barkeep

A librarian

An alcoholic

An addict

A dancer

A hopeless romantic

An abuser

A rape victim

An architecture student

A history student

A law student

A historian

A lawyer

A cook

A teacher

A builder

A preacher

A dungeon master

A gardener

A speaker

A thinker

A champion

Once a homeowner

A business owner

An author

A physically sick man

A mentally traumatized man

A priest

A dog lover

I am all these things equally, every day of my life.

This is why I have a problem when you say ‘he studied to be a lawyer but doesn’t do anything.’

Stop being so materialistic and status obsessed – they are illusions, mutable.

Have faith in yourself and what God gave you.

I love you.

Love

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Something deep inside me keeps telling me I will win this time.

An amazing God-force has taken over me.

I understand the difference between rage and duty – the utility of peace and the futility of desire.

Every word out of my mouth comes strung to a question pondering the reason.

I have long not seen a need for desire.

And today I fully understand the meaning of love.

It is shameless and unapologetic; fearless and immortal.

Invincible.

Utilitarianism

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If a crime has been committed, do not add fuel to the flame. Everything in the universe boils down to energy – in its creation, transference and exhaustion – and attraction. We pay attention to something because through one or more of our senses, we are drawn to it.

In the case of a crime committed by one individual, the alleged criminal and the act itself excrete negative energies into the karmic cycle of the universe. As duty dictates, to negate that energy and restore balance, after due process and trial, if found guilty, the criminal pays appropriate social debts.

Anything beyond that keeps that negative energy alive. With news stories that endlessly spin acts of violence, deceit and malice, the energies attached to those actions get amplified. Then with each person engrossed in judging and thinking about it for prolonged periods – as opposed to for matter of fact – that negative energy is perpetuated into the psyches and imaginations of media consumers.

And the cycle continues, like a hydra growing three heads when one gets severed. The only way to stop this madness is a cautious temperance of the media’s duty to inform the public as well as a level of self-control on the part of the consumers to refrain from prejudice and empty curiosity.

Someone killed someone. Provide due process of law, find the facts, and apply the law; issue judgment to restore balance. The media provides a public notice and informs the public of this menace and it stops there – there is no shortage of ‘breaking news’ stories in the world.

Someone rapes someone. Provide due process of law, find the facts, apply the law; issue judgement to restore balance. The media provides a public notice and informs the public of this menace and it stops there – there is no shortage of ‘breaking news’ stories in the world.

Someone decides to blaspheme Allah and use Islam to slaughter thousands. Find global unity in the rule of law and the restoration of peace. Provide safe havens for those in harm’s way.  Use all resources necessary to wipe out extremism from the root.  The media provides a public notice and informs the public of this menace and it stops there – there is no shortage of ‘breaking news’ stories in the world.

We don’t need to keep talking about them and their actions – we just need to stop them, be informed that such evil exists, and make society resilient enough to withstand and defeat hatred and malice. We do not need spin cycles. The negative energies that fill coffers will never help open the door to paradise.

Changing Liberties

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Beyond the economics of material things or the politics of nations; it began with the idea of being important inside in one, and believing that everyone else had and deserved that same basic self-worth – and therefore certain inalienable rights.

Somewhere in the hypocrisy of existence this formative ideology of the American dream disappeared behind the veil of material consumption. Though it still forms the backbone of the American identity.

 

Or at least my American identity.

 

As long as I have identified as an American, a healthy debate has waged about the American Pledge of Allegiance and whether the words ‘under God’ support ‘one Nation.’ Opponents argue that God would desanctify the hallowed ground of secularism; it would contravene edicts that separate God and State. Insulted by this perspective, proponents of ‘one Nation, under God…’ claim excluding God violates their right of religious freedom; that secularism threatens their right of religious liberty provided by the First Amendment of the Constitution. The debate continues; different institutions say it differently.

Neither the various forms of the Pledge, nor the rationales matter nearly as much as the fact that a Nation of the People, for the People, by the People freely debates the meaning of God, God’s place in secular society, and its impact on nationhood and national identity – as provided by the same First Amendment’s right of free speech.

This ever-evolving mutability to constantly re-accommodate its formative ideology of valuing life and liberty gives its People the chance to be guided by its historic wisdom while shaping it for future generations. Quite poetically, the People give the People their right to build a more perfect Union – not of states, but of ideas.

 

Happy Independence Day!

 

Obergefell

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Dear Mr. Steward,

June 26, 2015 will go down in history as one of the most momentous days for a gay American. Pleas from the heart of Ohio and the hills of Tennessee were answered by the most hallowed institution of American jurisprudence. The Supreme Court finally granted us equal recognition under the law.

Justice Kennedy wrote:

Right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. The Court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.

– Majority opinion, Obergefell v. Hodges

I thought of you the instant I read the news. I wish you were alive to experience this moment. Your courage paved the way to this day; yours and all your contemporaries’ who defied discrimination for the sake of your individual – sacred and profane – identities. Today the highest Court of our land heard you.

This marks the end of one journey and the beginning of another. Despite its impact on American law and society, today’s Court ruling will have little immediate influence on those who oppose gay marriage. In fact, today’s ruling may incite and initially increase violence and sexual-orientation-motivated crime.

In a society that continues to battle phenotypical prejudice – where being black makes life inherently more dangerous – this institutional attack on conservative religious beliefs and social customs will most certainly invite backlash. This would require community solidarity and impervious vigilance.

Human beings are creatures of habit, and society is a massive engine slugging by the force of that collective habit. Change, therefore, does not come easily. But a friend once sang to me, “Change is good.” And Justice Kennedy wrote, “Changed understandings of marriage are characteristic of a Nation where new dimensions of freedom become apparent to new generations.”

So now that change has arrived, let us build this more perfect Union.

Sincerely,

O.