Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Is It TRUTH or FAITH?

The one power that all of us have is the power to choose. Most of us were brought up with something higher than ourselves to believe in. Some of us believed our parents when we were told that Santa Claus was a real person, possibly weighing 300 lbs, who could actually wiggle his way down our narrow chimneys to give us presents under our Christmas tree. We were raised to believe. As we grew older, we began thinking for ourselves and choosing things that possibly angered our parents. As we experienced the world in a much more independent state, we began to discover new things, different foods, as well as various types of other religions that people believed in. I think it's safe to say that all of us raised that one important question in our mind: "Which is true?"Aren't we all searching for the "TRUTH"?


In the U.S., it's typically dominated by Christianity, although we are known as the "melting pot". Some of us truly never questioned whether or not Christianity was the one and only "religion" to follow. Since most of the nation were following Jesus, then this was the way to go. They went on blind faith, hoping that their afterlife would be somehow safe and secure. Some people like myself, had the fortunate opportunity to experience Jesus and the Holy Spirit, without questioning blind faith. In John chapter 20 verse 29, He says, "You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven't seen me and believe anyway." Nobody believed that Jesus was the Son of God. They all saw Him after He had died. I mean -- with their own eyes, they had seen this miraculous appearance and still, some rejected Him.

My point is, I understand blind faith and the imbedded childhood religion that stuck with some people into their adulthoods. You and I are just going to have to respect that. It's a given faith -- a given "religion". I also cannot prove which religion is TRUTH, but for myself, since I have "seen", I know what's TRUTH for me. It's just impossible to ever prove it to you. Anyone can debunk my experiences to hallucinations or perhaps they feel I did some sort of drug that made me felt some sort of"euphoria", which could explain my experience. But in my own recollection, it was early on a Saturday afternoon. I had just gotten back from having coffee down the street with my partner in Provincetown, MA. (No, I didn't see Jesus on a piece of toast.) I was sober in mind and body. There were no drugs or alcohol in my system to have made me experience something that I would never forget in this lifetime. If you'd like to read about the story more in detail, I explained everything in my book, A Prayer Away From Healing.

Let me just go into detail about something that happened to me a little more than two years ago. I was in a really bad situation and there was a lot of family conflict. We had just lost dad from cancer and now mom was trying to fight the big "C" and we were all feeling hopeless. All of us were so incredibly stressed out, and still mourning from our huge loss. It had gotten to the point where I held a gun and placed it on my lap ready to do the unthinkable. I didn't want to live anymore. It was such a volatile and destructive time for me, that I almost pulled the trigger. Instead, I turned to prescription drugs and numbed those feelings of hurt, sadness, bitterness and despair away. I also called a suicide hotline, hoping to hear someone with some wisdom, but they were less than excited to help out. They flung me a phone number of a nearby therapist and said to give that a shot. And although I have sought out a million and one therapists, this one therapist saved my life.

Even beyond the therapeutic help that I received, I began to realize a lot of things in life. I began to research beliefs, philosophical theories and even sought out other religions. As I was hunting for the "TRUTH", I found out why people act and react. I found out what the main cause of conflict was, and that being the ego. I learned that silence is better than a rebuttal and that silence can be more effective than words. I learned a lot about the pain-body, and how there are so many people who refuse to let go of past hurt -- even from childhood. It makes them neurotic and it also makes them place the blame on people who are currently in their lives today. Their mind is poisoned. They can't get out of this small, confining prison they live in. For each miserable experience they have endured, someone has to pay for it -- someone has to feel the same pain they feel. And with that, comes the EGO, because the EGO is always right. It's never going to admit that it's wrong. And so, it continually causes conflict with itself and with other people around them. They lash out, snap at their loved ones and ridicule and judge other people for not having the same luxuries OR challenges as they do. But even with luxuries, they are still so incredibly sad and miserable. They refuse to let go of their ego, of their poisoned mind...of their sanity.

I used to be one of them until the day I decided to let it go. I literally stopped dead in my tracks and let it all go.

The first thing toward letting things go that are affecting your everyday behavior is to realize that forgiveness is the number one step in becoming sane again. This can be forgiveness for something that took place more than 20 years ago, or forgiveness for someone who is always hurting you today. Forgiveness is not to be confused with being a walking mat. You also have the right to choose to remove yourself from someone who is too toxic to be around. If you cannot tolerate the toxicity of another person because it is affecting your mental health and wellbeing, then that person needs to be removed from your life. "Removal" of a person doesn't necessarily mean that you'll never see them again, more often, it means to simply not let them 'in' fully -- to set boundaries and set your own ground rules for friendship or maintaining a relationship with a certain family member. No words need to be said. Your actions or lack thereof will say it all.

The other day, someone asked me what makes me so sure about my faith. And besides "seeing for myself" -- my relationship with God is the one thing that makes my life complete. Since I have made God number one in my life, I have received answers that cannot even be explained. I have learned things that aren't published in spiritual books. But I have also researched other spiritual gurus about their own faith and journey in discovering the best way to live -- all correlating with my own initial beliefs.

Here are my beliefs...

True faith doesn't have an ego. True faith doesn't have to be "right" all the time. It doesn't need to call itself, "TRUTH". It just needs to be appreciated for the wonderful spiritual experience that it is. When somebody has true faith, you'll rarely get an argument out of them. And if you're fishing for one, true faith will step out of the picture and let you hear your own voice. True faith requires dedication. It requires to not only pray, but to meditate, "LISTEN" -- hear what the Source has to say to you in order to learn. True faith is learning. Someone who thinks they have learned all there is to know doesn't have true faith. They have an insecure illusionary "security blanket" type of faith. This type of faith always yells, "I'm right and you're wrong!" That's the ego trying to protect it's illusionary integrity. True faith, is believing in whatever you believe in, and yet respecting other people of different faiths. Their faith has no impact on you whatsoever. You do not need to convert them. If you feel the need to convert them, then try being a wonderful and peaceful example of your own faith.

This is my actual prayer spot. I use the Bible, anointing oils, singing bowls and of course, coffee! 
It sounds pretty simple, but it's not. You have to diligently seek out God every single morning and every single night. Constant communication with God is the key to living a peaceful life -- at least it is for me. I once heard a great analogy explained by Joel Osteen. He said that since you have so much faith, God will keep you in the frame. So, if you start to backslide or do something that goes against what your faith requires, or goes against God -- then God pushes you back into the frame. You may hit the edges, but you'll never leave the frame. Having faith, especially experiencing that your faith is real can never make you a nonbeliever. For instance, now that I have seen, I can never "un-see". Strong faith is similar as well. Once you have that deep faith for God, you can never be unfaithful. And if you try to be "unfaithful" and research what it's like to be atheist, or "pretend to be" because perhaps you're angry at God or people of the church -- it'll never "stick" so to speak. I do believe that there are real atheists out there in the world who are searching for scientific evidence. But the ones who tear down God and His people for being "silly and delusional believers" are the ones who seem like they have an ax to grind.

The great mystery of life has always been debated. TRUTH is, nobody "knows". They can only experience, believe or not believe. Whatever journey you're on, just make sure that you respect other people's journey, even if it's on a different route than yours. Because being angry over somebody else's journey (religion or faith) will only hurt you in the long run.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

If Your Religion is "TRUTH", Then Why is it Just a Belief?

Last night as I was prepping dinner, I walked outside with a glass of wine and my phone and started Periscoping the beautiful view of the lake and mountains. The sun hit it just right, making different parts of the mountains light up. I started talking about spirituality, faith and atheism. The point of the scope was to point out how faith is purely an unseen belief. Although I claim to be Christian and believe that Jesus is my Savior, I would never condemn anyone to hell because I don't want to play God. Those are some big shoes to fill. And although I believe in the Bible, I also believe that much of the book was written by man and yes, inspired by God, but how much do we actually know is true? So I rely on the book and read it with discernment. There are many contradictory scriptures in the Bible that leave many unsure.

Why am I a Christian?

Because it makes me incredibly happy. Is that a lame excuse? I'll elaborate on it. The euphoria I experience while meditating and praying to God is enough for me to say, "YES! This is real!" I have had spiritual experiences, that without a doubt in "my mind" -- God spoke to me. I once tested it and asked if He could tell me something I would never possibly know and say words that I am not familiar with. These are my types of confirmations that tell me "this is true" -- "this is God". You can call it hallucinations, or call even me delusional, but you can also say that I'm filled with joy because "I believe" I have The Spirit living inside me. And that to me is unlike anything I have ever experienced in my entire life.

I had a very "religious" vegan hop onto my live stream and went full steam ahead on me about the sin of eating meat. She said that I am making animals suffer just because I prefer a specific type of food. She also stated I should only eat plant-based foods and then went on to say that it was listed in Genesis.

In an article I read, it stated the scripture listed in Genesis: Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. "But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. (Genesis 9:3-4)

Later, laws were instituted that declared certain meats to be "clean" and others to be "unclean." The system provided a means of proving one's obedience to God and had some health benefits. After Jesus Christ came, God declared all meats to be clean.

Current slaughterhouse practices comply with the dictate to remove the blood, so virtually all meat today is acceptable to eat according to God. God was the one who instituted the sacrificial system for the forgiveness of sin.

The blood of the Passover lamb was symbol chosen to cleanse from sin and to cause the Lord to pass over the first-borns. The New Testament calls Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, a clear symbol of the sacrificial system set up by God.

One major premise of Christianity is that we are free from the Old Testament ceremonial laws, since Christ is the fulfillment of symbols they represent.

Paul addresses the question directly in the book of Romans: One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. (Romans 14:5-6)

Therefore, the Christian is free to eat or not eat meat according to his own conscience. However, all eating should be done giving thanks to God."

I mean, if she truly wanted to get technical on me, I would also have to ward off shellfish, for it's an abomination to eat, written in the Old Testament. Many other "sins" to list. She kept saying, "It's wrong to eat meat! It's so wrong! You're wrong! Wrong!"

"Wrong" she said.

Here's the thing: when people are so passionate about a certain topic, let's just say for example, telling someone they're going to hell for being a Muslim or a Jew or any other non-Christian faith -- you are threatening their afterlife. And it's not about "saving people" so much as it is about enlarging your own ego to be "right". So when somebody screams, "You're wrong" -- it's their own ego screaming. The need to feel right is essential to the ego. But if you're strong-minded enough, you'll realize that you have absolutely no control over what people believe or don't believe in. It is not your business to brainwash them on something you cannot prove.

And there's another thing that people got upset with me for.

I stated that even though I have faith in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit -- I am not going to tell you it's "TRUTH", because there are no factual evidence for this. Christians say "TRUTH" a lot, and they always capitalize it so that people will "HEAR" it better -- maybe it'll sink into their little heathen-ridden heads. But for whatever reason, *cough-hack-EGO-hack-cough*, we'll just say the notion of disagreeing on someone else's faith is basically threatening their own afterlife. A fear-based religion or belief can set someone's ego into high gear.

Here's another example of truth vs belief... I have had spiritual experiences, seen and heard -- all that wonderful, glittery, euphoric-causing sensations that would let me know that there is a God. But many can chuck it up to a hallucination or that my brain chemistry is a little mixed up --whatever the theory, it happened to me. It's not truth for them, and rightfully so. They didn't "see" it for themselves. I love the scripture in John 20:29 where Jesus said, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  Meaning -- blind faith is much more impressive than God letting you see or hear Him. Do you remember ever having blind faith over something? Or just ridiculous beliefs, like believing in Santa Clause, (even though there was a guy back in the day who did distribute gifts) -- or believing in the tooth fairy? I remember catching my mother slipping the envelope underneath my pillow one night, and she got startled and said, "I was just checking if she gave you the right amount!" After that, I slept with one eye open, hoping that my next tooth loss would cost her much much more.

Even IF there was no God or heaven or hell -- for me -- I'd rather believe. It feels good. It makes me happy. And if there IS a God (which I truly believe), then why not believe instead of debating this all your life? Wouldn't it be a nice surprise if your time runs out and you start to float up into the heavens and God said, "Hey! Do you believe me now?" For some, maybe that would be a scary situation, but nonetheless...

There have been countless accounts of near death experiences, where people have had similar cases to where they saw a light at the end of a tunnel, or perhaps they saw loved ones about to take them back "home". Many neurologists debunk this account and explain that it's what our brain does when it tries to shut down. Like a computer logging off, it'll go through all of the microchips and memory board in order to shut down properly, which explains "I saw my whole life flashing before me" theory. But can it be that simple?

Dr. Eben Alexander 
"A successful neurosurgeon, who has taught at Harvard Medical School and other universities, spent his life dismissing claims of heavenly out-of-body experiences and refuting such talk with scientific logic, until he himself had a near-death experience. During that time, Dr. Eben Alexander says he saw heaven and knows the afterlife exists. Now he’s telling the world in his new book, 'Proof of Heaven.'"-----read more here.

There are so many things that cannot be explained. But my question is, if you see somebody incredibly happy with what they believe in, then why would you want to tear them down or throw away their belief? Many believe that religion has gotten into our politics, threatening our rights as Americans. And yes, there is that one stipulation of concern. Sometimes religion can be a bad thing once it starts judging, ridiculing, and leaving people out in the cold if they believe in something entirely different. "Freedom of religion" has also been known to be used to discriminate against certain groups, claiming it was "against their religion" when it was really about their hatred towards whatever "sin" they were committing, and that also goes for the sin of not believing in their religion. It may also have a lot to do with fear of the unknown. Most cases of hatred or bigotry are rooted from fear.

So let me ask you: does your faith make you fear things in life? Do you find yourself very uncomfortable sitting in the same room with somebody of another religion? Or, do you find yourself getting anxiety sitting next to someone of the same faith, possibly judging you? I find that most Christians judge one another so harshly based on whatever sins they've committed. But the greatest commandment of all is to love God with all your heart and to love others the same. Judging others leaves no room for love. "Righteous judgement" does not exist unless you are God. And remember, playing God is a tough role. Those are some big shoes to fill.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!