Sunday, December 27, 2015

End of 2015, start of a new year

Well, this past year conspired against me. I rarely had an opportunity to get outside. 2015 was a hard year; wife left me, we have been down 2 people at work, causing a LOT of overtime, I made a decision to leave my pipe band that I have been with for 8 years now.
All of these things have pointed me to an inward journey. I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my life, what I want out of it, where I should be, etc. I spent a lot of time, I guess, seeking a certain spirituality. But, as I normally obtain this while spending time outside, this forced me to, I suppose, examine myself internally-whereas, my time spent it the woods, I sort of achieve a state of non-thinking, akin (at least to me) to meditation.
I have never been a particularly religious man. Largely because, although I agree with the fundamental tenets of almost all religions, I simply could not accept the dogma of organized religions. There was something about it that simply rubbed me the wrong way. That, although they purport to be the words of their respective Gods-they are, in fact, human interpretations of these ideas and concepts. Which, of course, is an OPINION-not a fact. That has always struck me as wrong.
Take, for instance, the 10 commandments. One doesnt NEED to be instructed by their religion that stealing, murder, etc, are wrong. There are millions of people in this world who have no exposure to these 10 Commandments, and have followed them.
Are there many, many lessons, in, for instance, Christianity, that are good? Of course. I am not coming down on Christianity, nor ANY religion. In fact, even though I have no desire to be part of that, I will STRONGLY defend someone else's faith. Because, after all-who is the one being wrong, when one person chooses to live by the code of their religion, and another person chooses to make fun of and belittle that person for their beliefs?
Anyway, as I was in this sort of soul searching mode, I came across the writings of Thomas Paine. Specifically, his references to Deism. I decided to look into that. After some reading on this, I found that this sort of resembles how I feel. Let me explain:
Deism, to reduce it down to its fundamentals, is a belief in a higher power, but that higher power has little to no influence over our lives. Call it a supreme being, God, whatever. This supreme being is responsible for the universe, and all its constructs (or, the creation of it), and is not a conscious pseudo-person. More of a force, one could say. Honestly, the interpretation is a personal thing. But, the concept is that EVERYTHING around us is the result of a higher complex intelligent design-how you choose to define that is totally up to you. It is NOT atheism, which is a lack of belief. It is simply an acknowledgement of a supreme being, without the hindrances of "revealed" religions. If you are interested, feel free to look it up. Anyway, this allows me to segue into my next topic:
Freemasonry. This is something that I, like most Americans, are marginally aware of, but never really gave second thoughts to. Again, during my soul searching, I found that to make myself truly happy, I enjoy being a positive force in my community. During a motorcycle ride this summer, a family friend casually mentioned Freemasonry to me. I decided to look into that.
There is a LOT of false information out there. Like, far more than actual, truthful stuff. It takes a while to separate the chaff from the wheat. But, once you get a feel for who is who, you can dig a little further. My journey with this fraternity will begin on January 11, 2016, about 2 weeks from today. No, there is no world conspiracy regarding them. No, there is no New World Order they control. Masons work within their communities, being very charitable, and trying to make their fellow men better, by simply acting like moral, upstanding men. Something that, I think, is largely lost this day and age. If this is a journey you are interested in, and, I would strongly encourage men to at least look into it, I suggest going to a local Lodge, introducing yourself, and ask to speak to one of the Brothers. There is a LOT of misinformation on the internet out there, and, if you are just beginning your research, you MAY stray down the wrong path. Two sources I recommend, is a book by Chris Hodapp called Freemasons for Dummies, and the website www.masonicinfo.org. Both of these are well vetted, and great sources.
Well, that is where I am, as of today. 2016 should be interesting, to say the least. Several things will happen, as a guarantee: I will become a Freemason. I will become divorced. I will continue on my personal journey. I will become a better person this coming year, than I was last year. I would like to say I will get outside more, but, to be honest, I dont know. I WANT to-it is my church-but, that really depends on my work schedule. I want to hunt. To hike. To bushbum. To fish. With luck, I will get to do at least some of that. We will see.
Until then, happy new year, and may this year bring you everything you desire.
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