Showing posts with label Reincarnation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reincarnation. Show all posts

May 12, 2020

Anger, Faith, and Growth

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Anger, Faith, and Growth."

We live in an unpredictable world and I have made more than one bad decision recently. Fortunately, it was nothing too terrible, but I was still angry about it, and my gut reaction was to somehow blame G-d, and to feel angry at Him, because I thought somehow I didn't deserve what had happened. However, I asked myself how can you be angry at G-d if you believe that everything he does is for your ultimate good? It took me a little time, but I realized that I wasn't really angry at G-d, but at myself; It was my fault, I did deserve what happened, and my mistakes aren't G-d's.

Maybe this is what life is really all about--searching and finding G-d even among all the multitude of mistakes we make in life. We have to own our mistakes, learn from them, and thereby become stronger and better people.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 16, 2020

Our Journey To Freedom Is Almost At The End

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Our Journey To Freedom Is Almost At The End."
Despite our redemption from slavery in Egypt (1312 BCE), we continue through cycle after cycle of enslavement and exile.

In Kabbalah, we learn that the Jewish soul reincarnates until it reaches its spiritual enlightenment and fulfills all the mitzvot. Similarly, the soul of the Jewish people is reincarnated and relives painful destruction, slavery, and exile until we learn, grow, and finally become what we are destined to be as servants only of Hashem and as a light unto the nations. This has been our fate, but also it is one that we are finally nearing the end of with the return to the Promised Land and perhaps even the arrival soon of Mashiach.

(Free Photo via Pixabay)

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February 27, 2019

Dog Eyes and Knows

Something very cute about this dog and how he's looking. 

Almost seems like there is a person inside there.

See the twinkle and knowing in his eye. 

Makes me wonder whether dogs (and other animals) were once people who have been reincarnated.

Is a dog and a person soul both the same (or how are they different)?

I am sure that there is divine justice (or Comedy) in coming back and in so many different ways and forms. 

This dog knows something for sure. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 17, 2018

Striving To Be Good Enough (This Time Around)

Please read my new article in The Times of Israel called, "When Are We Good Enough?"
I too believe strongly in reincarnation. I think that is partially what G-d means by doing justice in this world. If you bomb out in life and don't fulfill your true potential than G-d sends you back for another try.  And this can happen as many times as it takes to get it right!

I hope I am getting it right in my life this time around. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 23, 2018

The Wealth Effect

So some wealthy people are good and they use their blessings and good fortune to help others.

Yet, others think that they "have it all coming" to them, and they flaunt their money and look at others who don't have what they do as pure trash--unworthy to occupy or breath the same universal space or air that they do. 

Visiting Palm Beach yesterday, I must say that I saw too much more of the latter than the former. 

Some people were nice, but others were incredibly arrogant. 

With my Jewish head-covering (yarmulke) and our mundane vacation wardrobe, we got more than our share of looks--with one older lady who was wearing fancy clothes and talking to another literally sneering at us with her nose raised in contempt as we passed. 

People whispered as we browsed the fancy stores where a shirt, skirt, or bag averaged around $10,000!

Even a large (over-sized) coffee table book was almost $1,000.

Yes, we did not belong there to buy anything, and were just respectfully browsing--and frankly, we are human beings too.

In the end, we were subject to some good old-fashioned racial profiling by the Palm Beach Police, who pulled us out as we were entering an Uber by the gorgeous beach and fancy schmancy Worth Avenue. 

At least 3 police cars surrounded us and took us toward one of them for questioning. 

They said to my wife that Chanel called saying a woman in a "hot pink" top and black skirt had stolen a pair of sunglasses. 

My wife doesn't wear sunglasses!

We told them matter-of-factly that we weren't even in that store--although we did pass by there--and my wife wasn't wearing a skirt, but rather pants.

They looked in my wife's knapsack that she opened and it was almost empty except for some travel items for the day. 

Then they said that the suspect that been called in had high heels, which also my wife didn't have--so basically the description didn't match and it didn't make any sense why they even pulled us over.

Hey, did they bother to check the store's surveillance tapes to see what the thief actually looked like???

So after they proceeded anyway to run my wife drivers license for any outstanding warrants--hey,  at this point might as well try for something--we finally, we got the:

Oh, so sorry for the inconvenience and have a nice day folks. 

Another officer winked at me. 

This whole thing went right along with the scene of the high-end looking Palm Beach patrol car that they have off to the side of the road immediately when you get over the bridge to their luxury island--clearly conveying the message:

Non-wealthy people not wanted here!

We are watching you!

So this is part of the land of the free and the home of the brave, but where the sickness of money pours from their narcissistic veins. 

But interestingly enough, right over the bridge going in the other direction--after you leave this island paradise--is the hospital. 

I'd bet that they probably all have nice, private rooms for these monetarily rich people, but for those that are spiritually bankrupted, I'm sure that their money doesn't buy them what is truly important in life like health, meaning, happiness, or love. 

For the ones that are driven by corruption, greed, and arrogance--what they get is a dirty evil little soul.

And like Sodom and Gomorrah--these things usually don't end well for them. 

If they manage to live out their stink-in rich years, I think G-d will probably send them back one day, but instead, theirs will be a story of riches to rags--so they learn their lesson and learn it well. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 22, 2017

Wise Man Watcheth

I just loved this Asian sculpture that I found in this cool antique store.

It was white and slim with a Asian man face, long beard, and tall hat. 

The face was so expressive.

The eyes so alert and watching. 

The beard and hat made him look old and wise. 

As a real person, this is someone who has seen and learned so many things.

Forever watching.

Forever seeking to understand.

Forever trying to learn the secrets of the life. 

This is a person to consult and get guidance from. 

With age comes wisdom.

And with (occasional) reincarnation comes more opportunity to learn the painful lessons that we haven't, but must.

How long has this man been sitting there watching and learning--how long must we?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 30, 2017

Seeing Your Life Flash B4 Your Eyes

So in near death experiences, it is common to see your life flash before your eyes. 

Researchers believe that what you see isn't necessarily in chronological order, rather there is no time or space, and people report that "it all happened at once."

Additionally, people feel the experiences and pain from others' points of view. 

It's like a melding of time and space in a single continuum. 

This so-called life review experience (LRE) is eye-opening. 

It's almost like a G-d's eye view of your life in the world. 

In the worst case scenario, what we see at the end is what we failed to see during life--how far wrong we went and how much we hurt others. 

If we wait until the end to open our eyes and see what's right in front of us all along, then frankly, it's too late to do anything positive about it. 

Maybe you have to come back (reincarnated) for another try to do things better and make things right. 

Hopefully, you learned something from this go around so that you are building incrementally and purifying your heart and your soul. 

If though life experience, it's ups and downs, and pains and suffering, you still learn nothing...then what you see in the end is your own blindness to the eternal lessons of the omniscient creator--all in 20-20 extra clear hindsight. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 9, 2016

Conflicts That Challenge Us

My wife told me something good today (first time ever, haha).  

There are three types of conflicts:

1) Between Man and Himself -- these are our internal conflicts or demons (fears, anxieties, guilt, compulsions, and evil impulses) that we must conquer. 

2) Between Man and Man -- these are conflicts we have with others and we must resolve them with either empathy, compromise, giving, and forgiveness or at the other end of the spectrum with fight or flight.

3) Between Man and His Environment -- these are conflicts that are man-made or natural in our surroundings and may involve scarcity, harsh or destructive conditions, and obstacles to overcome with scientific and engineering problem-solving. 

I would add a 4th type of conflict:

4) Between Man and G-d -- these are conflicts we have in trying to understand why we are here, what G-d wants from us, and "why bad things happen," and involve our relationship and reconciliation with and service to our maker. 

Basically, these four conflicts are more than enough to keep us busy day-in and -out for our entire lifetime, and either we resolve them and go to the afterworld, or perhaps we have to come back to do some more work on resolving them again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 9, 2016

It's Got To Be

So I read a book review the other day that I haven't been able to get out of my mind. 

The book was by an atheist who had 2 near-death experiences. 

And while for other people, they see the light at the end of the tunnel--and are reunited with family loved ones and are in bliss from being with the Heavenly Father...

This guy saw nothing but blackness and said it was empty and nothingness. 

And he was dead serious about it. 

He said there is nothing after we die, absolutely nothing. 

Now, while I have always believed in life after death and even in reincarnation if we still have more growing and learning to do, I had heard others say contrary beliefs in the past.

One guy in synagogue when I was a young adult used to say, "When you die, you're as dead as a dead dog!"

Lovely thought (not), but I never took any of that seriously. 

Yet, this guy's book somehow got to me on a deep level. 

Maybe because I lost my beloved parents over the last 2+ years and am still deeply mourning them, and the only thing that can possibly console me about that is the notion that I will one day be reunited with them and see them again. 

So the opposing idea that it's really over--that I will never see them again--experience their love and laughter again--is beyond my comprehension--it literally blows my mind in a bad bad way. 

Also, I said to my wife, if this atheist is by any chance right (not about G-d) but about there being no afterworld, then what is the purpose to anything we do--who cares?

Without G-d, without Divine will and justice, and a world-to-come, there really is nothing but darkness and not just after we die, but now too--because it would all be purposeless. 

No, I cannot believe that!

The atheist saw nothing afterwards, because he believes in nothing--it's a measure for a measure. 

For those who believe that there is more, much more--there really is. 

It has to be that way...for anything to make sense. 

For us to try so hard. 

For us to go on.

For us to have a purpose.

For there to be justice.

For there to be us. 

My dad used to tell me that "No one has ever come back from the other side to tell us what's there."

So it really is the ultimate mystery of life...but I choose to believe in life now and in life later. 

The miracles of my own life and those around me show me again and again that there is design, there is order, there is a plan, there is a purpose and I will find mine. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 29, 2014

Will You Take The Next Exit Or Not?

I'm not really into the psychic stuff. 

First, I learned in Yeshiva that we are not supposed to divine the future. 

Second, I don't think we're supposed to know what we're not supposed to know--it take the edge of the challenge in life (almost like trying to gain an unfair advantage in going through life's ups and downs, which is how we learn and grow). 

Third, I think there are a lot of charlatans out there (not everyone, but a lot). 

But one idea recently, from Sylvia Brown, has got me thinking. 

The idea is that we each have Exit Points in our lives--"precise times and ways when we'll leave here and go Home again." 

Brown says we each have 5 of these exits planned in our lives--"and we can use any one of the five we want, as we go along, depending on whether or not we feel we've accomplished enough of what we wanted from this lifetime to begin with."

Thinking back to my own life, I can clearly see times when it seemed like my number was up.

Each occurrence was dramatic and looking back now, sort of surreal. 

During these exit points, I know that I was just inches from death and that G-d brought me back. 

This is where I differ from Brown, I don't think it was my choice to live or die, but I think it was a time of judgment, when G-d decided whether to let me live on (although, perhaps, I had some input as far as G-d is concerned).

The exit points are not escape hatches like from the Matrix, where we can choose to stop or "exit program," but rather times in our lives when we are given the opportunity to go on or not. 

Also, I think the decision of whether we stay or go is based in part on whether we've accomplished our mission, but also on those around us who will be impacted--that's why it takes G-d to figure out all the combinations and permutations to make the call. 

Bad things happen and people die suddenly and violently or even excruciatingly slow and painful deaths--and in other cases, people survive to die another day--we really don't know what is going to happen. 

Part of not knowing tests us--sometimes to our limits and perhaps for some even beyond (although I was taught in Yeshiva that G-d never gives us more than we can handle). 

We live, we die, and perhaps we live again i.e. through reincarnation--a mechanism of ultimate justice and learning. 

Will G-d permit us to continue as ourselves in this go around, to come back as another in a future spiral, or is it really "game over"?

I thank G-d for letting me live to continue my journey--I still have so much to learn here and now--what the future brings, only the merciful Almighty knows. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 12, 2014

On Friends and Enemies

Over the weekend, I read/heard two great quotes about the nature of friends and enemies:

1) The first was from Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal where she reminds us of a political rule that "Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate."  Really this applies in all of life, a few real friends may last over an entire lifetime, but most others are transient, such as in school, at work, or in a community, but when you leave that place or circumstance, the friendships often do not persist. However, enemies seem to last forever, where people never forget when they feel they've been wronged and these people may actually seek each other out and even join forces to get their contemplated revenge. The fight is not always fair or just, but people's feelings when they think they've been wronged, hang in the air, like the stench of decaying carcasses. Something to beware of. 

2) The second was from a martial arts movie called Ninja 2 where one of the characters says to a martial arts expert, whose wife was brutally murdered, "The man who seeks revenge should dig two graves." Upon which, the martial artist wittingly responds, "They'll need to dig a lot more than that," and in the movie, the Ninja exacted his revenge on the drug lord and his gang for the murder they committed. 

My impressions are that we should try to be good people and have a broad positive influence in the world. With some people, we will find true friendship--and very often, there is an almost unexplainable chemistry to this, where it just clicks--and it's as if we've known this person not only in this lifetime, but in prior lifetimes as well. In other cases, the friendships are more temporal based on shared circumstance, camaraderie, or even an alliance or sorts, and these really are not sustained when one or both parties move on. And that's okay, not every friendship is deep and forever. 

In terms of enemies, you know it when you have it. Again, chemistry may play a role or one person may have indeed wronged the other. Sometimes, people can learn from making a mistake, they can apologize, commit to do better in the future, and there can be forgiveness. In other circumstances, the blood between people is bad and won't get better, because there is scarcity, misunderstanding, bias, or even blind hatred. In these cases, it often seems as if no amount of communication, negotiation, or bending over backwards will resolve it. You can try--it's always worth a try--but be prepared to circle the wagons and defend yourself, if all else fails. 

Finally, a wrongful act can be so brutal and egregious that at times it seems that only a "joust to the death" will do, but revenge in the end, does not bring anybody back or undue the harm done. Yes, when justice is done, the world seems somehow righted and the fallen can be released from their painful throes and go on in peace, and maybe the evil aggressor will be prevented from hurting others in the future. In the end, the smell of peace is the sweetest of all, when we can live and let live. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 3, 2013

Google Hypocrisy?

Google, which touts itself as the one that "organize[s] the world's information and make[s] it universally accessible and usable," ended its Reader product on Monday, July 1. 

The RSS reader was a terrific tool for aggregating content feeds on the Internet (and Google is a terrific company that benefits the whole world's thirst for knowledge).

With Google Reader you could subscribe to tens or hundreds of news services, blogs, and other information feeds and read it on your desktop or mobile device. 

Reader represented the Google mission itself by pulling together all this information and making it available in one reading place, simply and easily for anyone. 

While the Goolge line is that they killed Reader, because of a declining user base, I find this less then credible, since anecdotally it seems like a very popular tool that is helpful to people. Moreover, Google could've chosen to competitively enhance this product rather than just shut it down. 

So why did they end a great product that literally fits their mission perfectly?

We can only surmise that the ad clicks weren't there (and thus neither was the profit) or perhaps Google felt this product was cannibalizing attention from their other products like Google News (a limited aggregator) or from some of their paying ad sponsors or partners feeding other products like Google Glass.

We may never know the answer, but what we do know is that, in this case, Google sold out on it's core mission of organizing and providing information and abandoned their adoring userbase for Reader. 

Feedly and other more clunky readers are out there, but Google Reader is a loss for the information needy and desirous and a misstep by Google. 

RIP Reader, I think we will yet see you, in some form or fashion, yet again. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Laurie Pink)
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December 15, 2012

Walking In All Shoes

Thinking about life and death and the concept of reincarnation. 

While I have heard the belief of some that reincarnation is the ultimate justice machine--if you treat others well, you come back well off, while if you treat them badly, you come back in their situation. 

So the classic example, would be if you have the opportunity to give charity, and do so, genoreously, then you are rewarded in a next life with riches, but if you are miserly, then you come back poor--to learn the lessons of charitable giving. 

However, I wonder if this concept goes even much further.

Does our journey ultimately takes us not just to occupy some positions if life, but rather to every role and status, illustrative of all peoples--so that we learn from the eyes of everyone. 

The world  is round and the number of perspectives around it are as varied as the people, races, cultures, and nations they come from. 

As the saying goes, "don't judge me until you walk a mile in my shoes," perhaps we are indeed given the opportunity to walk in a large representative sample of those. 

When the see the world not from where we sit today in life, but from where others are perched, we can get a whole new perspective on issues and ideas--we can learn true empathy, caring, respect, and justice.

Almost like having G-d's vantage point, we can learn to see the world from a multi-cultural perspective, where each person, tribe, and nation is infinitely valuable--where each holds the key to a perspective and lesson that we must all learn before our journey comes to a conclusion. 

Live life and learn well--there is much to see, hear, and experience, and no one has all the answers or is all righteous--like a large mosaic, we all have a piece. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Fernando Stankuns)

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