Self-Assessment: Spirituality vs Religion

Dive into an analysis of the two wildly popular belief systems!

When it comes to creating your paradise, there are a few concepts that will greatly further your endeavors. Establishing a strong belief system is important as it serves as a strong foundation. This belief system can range from atheism all the way to pantheism and everything in between. In the Self-Assessment series, we will look at these bricks that can be laid. The first one as I’m sure you guessed is the internal debate between spirituality and religion. We will analyze the terms, and take an objective look at the pros and cons of each.

Spirituality – This belief system can be defined as a state of being that focuses on the spirit/soul instead of the material/physical. When someone is spiritual their primary concern is the inner sanctity of their being in opposed to the material world. Spirituality typically emphasizes the belief in the supernatural, personal growth, the journey of inner meaning, and experiencing the hand of the gods/God. Traditionally spirituality is practiced alone or in small groups without many rules/regulations. Ultimately, spirituality is about the path to the “true self” and relies heavily on experiences.

Religion –  This belief system can be defined as a cultural system that focuses on creating an accepted set of behaviors and practices. This can be accomplished using world views, texts, sanctified places, ethics, or organizations. Religion in a broad sense will connect humanity with the supernatural. This often comes in the form of a higher power. Traditionally, religion uses faith as their foundation. The ultimate objective of most religions is to give meaning to life.

Disclaimer –

For this next section, I will take an objective view on these highly subjective topics. My goal is to provide you with the pros and cons of using these two belief systems. Thus, you will have a strong foundation for creating your paradise. I urge you to read this with an open mind as understanding these systems can be beneficial to your growth.

Pros of Spirituality – Spirituality tends to bring about a great amount of personal growth. A spiritual person is constantly adapting to their conditions and draws new conclusions based on their experiences. A spiritual person is not heavily affected by societal norms as their practice relies on their own individuality. This can be very useful when attempting to carve your own way in life. Not being hindered by the group grants one the freedom to be responsible for their own actions. Because spiritual people focus on personal growth they are typically more mature than the average person.  Because of this maturity, logic based decisions are maximized while emotionally ones are minimized.

Cons of Spirituality – With great maturity often comes great isolation. One who is spiritual tends to spend a lot of time in isolation. They spend so much time meditating and self-reflecting that the world around them can pass them by. Essentially, they enter a small bubble where they can easily neglect the world. Additionally, it is easy to succumb to selfish desires when one views the world internally on a large scale. Finally, the spiritual person will often come across as eccentric, lazy, distant or crazy. This is due to the “wild” kinds of conclusions that spirituality often leads to. One such example is the belief that nothing in the world matters because humans are energy and energy never dies. Thus, what actions we take now are meaningless in the grand scale of things. But at the same time everything matters because we are all connected in some way, no matter how distant. It is not uncommon for a spiritual person to arrive to countless paradoxical beliefs causing inner turmoil.

Pros of Religion – Practicing an organized religion grants access to a second family. This second family can often be closer than your blood ties. A rare concept such as trust suddenly becomes abundant. Additionally, there are more people that can pool together in your time of need. This is one instance where blood isn’t thicker than water. Another pro to practicing an organized religion is that it tends to boost your overall happiness. By participating in group activities, one can share in the positive vibes of the group.  These vibes are infectious and will often raise your overall mood. There is a set structure to your daily life and clear rules and guidelines to follow. This ultimately makes life a bit easier as there is less thinking involved in making decisions. An action either falls in accordance with your religious beliefs or they don’t. There is usually one leader in an organized group that one can look up to for guidance. An example of such a leader would be a priest or a rabbi. Having a clear hierarchy makes for a smooth experience when making decisions.

Cons of Religion – An organized religion can sometimes be too organized, limiting what you can and cannot do to the point of frustration. Additionally, if you fail to meet the standards of the group there tends to be several consequences. These consequences often come in the form of ridicule, disappointment, or even ostracization. This will have a drastic effect due to the close-knit culture. Being thrust into isolation can lead to severe depression. Having a leader to follow also has its drawbacks. It is possible for said priest or rabbi to exploit their followers or lead them astray. Finally, depending on where you live following a religion may make you blind to the world around you. Not associating with people who have different opinions and perspectives is the major cause.

Wrap Up – When it comes to choosing a belief system it is important to choose one that fits your desired lifestyle. Stay tuned for my next post which will be “Stoicism vs Buddhism” I have taken a very complex topic and taken it down to its very root. Whether I have done these two wonderful concepts justice is up to you. Please like, share, or comment. I would love to see feedback on this post.

“If you believe all is right with the world then it is true, likewise if you believe all is wrong.” – Negus Lamont

5 reasons your friends want you to fail

Friendships are tricky…especially when some of your friends wish you ill!

There comes a point in time where one must assess their friendships and decide whether they have established healthy relationships with the people around them. It is not uncommon for some of these relationships to be riddled with hidden agendas and ulterior motives. To make matters worse it is easier than ever to offend someone without you knowing. Below are five reasons why at least a few of your friends want you to fail and what you can do to combat that negativity. Continue reading “5 reasons your friends want you to fail”

5 Reasons Money Isn’t the Motive

Is money REALLY the best motive?

There comes a point in time in our lives where we need to sit down and ask ourselves whether we are on the right path for us. I implore you to sit down and ask yourself. “Should money really be the motive?” I know we all need to eat. But should the chasing of money be the best way to go about it? Here are five reasons why money isn’t the motive and what you should be chasing instead.

Your Passion – It is a rare soul that finds themselves doing what they love. Most of us are stuck in a dead-end job that we don’t care about, doing things that we don’t care about, and interacting with people we don’t care about. This is by far the saddest predicament one can find themselves. Being numb to your surroundings 35+ hours a week is a hell that most wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy. So why do we accept that as a way of life for ourselves?

 The Solution – Find a way to make your passion a source of income. First off, I want to reveal two secrets about success that most people won’t tell you. The first is that most of the wealthiest people in the world are entrepreneurs. If you have dreams of owning a mansion one day, working for someone else probably isn’t the best way to go. The second is that these people more often then not were passionate about something and then decided to start a business around that something. If they can do it you can do it too!

There Is Never Enough – There is no way to soften the blow for this one. It all boils down to human nature. For most of us there will never ever be enough money in our bank accounts to satisfy our wants. It is easy to say, “I’ll retire when I make a million.” But when that time comes you realize you want a five-million-dollar mansion to go with that car you just bought. This concept even works on a smaller scale. How many of you were happy with your raise this year? No matter where you stand in terms of performance, chances are you wanted and or expected a higher raise to go with that paycheck of yours. The biggest reason is that you subconsciously value your time more than anyone ever will.

The Solution – Learn to separate a need from a want. This can be challenging but it is important to prioritize your life. Once you can identify what you want from what you need you will learn to be happy with what you have. I know it is cliché but money really can’t buy happiness. Happiness is something that you must create from within. The first step to achieving this happiness is understanding who and what brings a smile to your face. Eventually, you can figure out how much you absolutely need to maintain that smile. You’d be surprised how little money it takes to be happy.

Money Value of Time – No the sub heading for this point was not a typo. I hope most of you a familiar with the concept known as the time value of money. This concept states that money today is more valuable than money promised in the future. This is because money today can be used to gain interest or other capital gains, while money in the future is subjected to inflation. The concept that is dubbed money value of time is what I’d like to take a few moments to discuss. How much is your time worth? What really is the difference between someone paying you 11.50 to scrape vomit off the floor and 11.50 to work in an office building? Either way you are giving your time up for a piece of paper that is used to purchase goods and services. If someone can rent you at that price, how much is it to purchase you? Doesn’t everyone have a price? Essentially as a society the mental shackles that were once based on race have been changed to mental shackles based on class. Notice how adamant the rich are about not wasting their time, that is one of the few things you can’t replace.

 The Solution – You need to start valuing your time and saying no to the things that aren’t beneficial to you. It is perfectly ok to say that you can’t stay when your boss tries to pressure you into clocking overtime. You have your passion to rush home to work on! Maybe you need to assess the company you keep and tell them no you can’t hang out because you have other things you need to take care of. There is nothing wrong with valuing your time above everything else, if you don’t then who will?

It Doesn’t Travel – No matter what your beliefs are about the afterlife, your riches won’t be coming with you when you pass on. You can possess all the money in the world but it won’t matter one bit when you’re put in the ground. Having a good sense of reality can really put things into perspective. What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind you? Do you want to be so focused on chasing money that you let the beauty of life pass you by?

 The Solution – Focus on living in the moment. When you focus on living in the moment you end up changing your perspective for the better. Ultimately, it becomes easier to appreciate the little things in life that take your breath away. You will see the beauty in things that you once took for granted. You begin to appreciate the people around you because you can recognize things in them that you value in yourself.

 Self-Improvement – If you’re a crappy person while poor then you will probably be an even crappier person when you strike it rich. Chasing money usually causes one to head down a dark path that requires them to live a parasitic lifestyle. A lifestyle where they feed off other people to achieve their goals. Additionally, it is easy to become manipulative and selfish when you get into the habit of thinking “money over everything” and “money is the motive”.

 The Solution – Self-improvement ought to be the goal of anyone seeking to live a joy fulfilled life. Studies show that our brain releases feel good chemicals when we learn a new skill. Leveling up constantly is a great way to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle. This goes twice fold when choosing a career. It is important to choose a career path where you are learning something new on a consistent basis. If you are stuck in a position where everything you are doing is mundane and repetitive then I implore you to seek change.

Conclusion – Changing your mindset isn’t something that happens overnight, but it is something that can be done with the right steps.  When creating your personal paradise it is important that you take a serious look at your actions and analyze what you can do to better serve your higher purpose. If you enjoyed this useful post please like, subscribe, and share!

 

“Time ceased being money the moment it began being happiness.” – Negus Lamont

 

Escaping The Digital Daze

Are you married to your technology? It may be time for a separation!

The Digital Age

What a wonderful time to be alive! Please take a moment to take a deep breath and acknowledge this fact. We live in an age where with one single click of a button you can reach hundreds, thousands, even millions of people. This digital age that we live in allows many luxuries. These luxuries include ease of implementation, convenience, and as already mentioned reach. But what happens when the luxuries that we so often take advantage of turn us into walking zombies? What happens when the digital craze turns into a Digital Daze?

The Digital Craze

There have been several technological advances that have come within the last hundred years to propel society forward leaps and bounds. The three I would like to bring your attention to are the computer, the internet, and the cellular phone. The educational benefits from owning a computer are vast. With its ability to compute highly complicated tasks in a short period of time has saved lives. In a similar fashion, the Internet has propelled civilization by connecting people across the world. Without the internet many things that we currently take for granted would not be possible. Finally, we have the Cellular Phone which has catapulted itself into the hands of over 60% of the world population. These three pieces of technology have several things in common, but one truly stands out. They were all designed to expedite the flow of information. Combined these three have allowed us to have access to a near unlimited amount of information in mere seconds. So, what’s the problem?

The Digital Daze

The problem lays in just how much our brain can handle. Our brains are constantly flooded with information coming from all kinds of sources. Because of this it is easy for the brain to become bogged down with useless information. Symptoms of Digital Daze are anxiety, depression, poor decision making, insomnia, and memory loss. Which coincidentally are all things that can be caused by stress. In other words, spending too much time with your technology can lead to stress. This should not be news as many of us have experienced the dreaded Timeline Demon. The moment where you catch yourself watching the lives of your friends and family online only to have a feeling of inadequacy at your own accomplishments. That feeling of dread and pain knowing that you aren’t as happy as they appear to be. Maybe if you spent less time on social media and more time on your goals you wouldn’t feel that way? Another issue that rears its hideous head is communication. Studies have shown that millennials have worse social skills than their parents. Having a face full of screen on a consistent basis makes it difficult to exercise some of the higher cognitive functions that deal with leadership skills, empathy, conflict resolution, communication, and the ability to expression emotions.

The Digital Phase

The solution to the age of technology is not to turn yourself into a hermit who hides away in a shack. But there is some balancing that is called for. Once and a while it is a good idea to get away from “The World” and spend time on yourself. Something as simple as a weekly walk in the park can do wonders for your health. In addition to nature walks one can go into a deep meditative state where they ponder their life’s greatest mysteries. Meditation helps to relieve stress, increase happiness, and increases self-awareness. All of which are crucial to living a fruitful and balanced existence. Interacting with friends could bring a whole new (old) dynamic when you hang out without phones. It forces you to actually talk to each other and if you guys have nothing to talk about…it’s probably time to find new friends.

Jarvan’s Will ( Short Story)

Would you give up your left hand to gain the world in your right? Jarvan finds out! In this epic short tale.

The Oakwood door creaked as he pushed it open. Jarvan Hartengale V walked into the room where his brother sat. “So…he’s dead.” Said Jarvan V. Jarvan Hartengale VI stood up before kicking the chair across the room. “Ya…he’s dead!” Jarvan V inched closer to his brother with his palms out. “Did you read his will already?”.

Jarvan VI picked up a piece of parchment and threw it in his brother’s direction. “Read it for yourself. Father was such a vagabond, I’m surprised he even bothered to write one.” The older Jarvan glanced over the parchment with pursed lips. “Well? What do you think? That old fool finally showed us his hand in death!” Jarvan VI began pacing back and forth. “Well it says here that he believes neither of us deserve to be king. He says that I am too cold, calculating, and stubborn. But he also says that you are too rash, immature, and likely to die a swift death on the battlefield. I mean…he wasn’t wrong in his assessment…as usual.” Jarvan VI slammed his foot on the ground causing sparks of light to emit.

“Me? Likely to die a swift death on the battlefield? I am the guild’s pride and joy. He is the one that up and let himself die a miserable death, worthy of the cunt that he is! Enough about father, this talk is beginning to upset my soul. What do you suggest we do next?” Jarvan V grimaced but remained silent. “What? You’re upset that I called him a cunt? He disliked both of us equally yet you were ever the doting son. What thanks did you get for your dedication and commitment?” Silence swept the room as Jarvan V continued to glare at his younger brother. While his eyes burned yellow the temperature in the room began to rise.

“Fine…fine…I take it back. He wasn’t a cunt. Happy now?” Jarvan V softened his posture. “I will be happy when this ordeal is over and done with. I suggest we let the people decide.” Jarvan VI began to laugh uncontrollably. “You will let the people decide? You do realize they love me more than words can convey. While you…brother… you are about as loveable as a pet rock. About as malleable as one at that!” The older Jarvan raised an eyebrow. “You mistake love for your antics and generosity with love for you as a leader. I believe the people will see that I am the one most suitable to lead them to greater prosperity and glory.” The younger Jarvan smirked, his eyes gleaming. “Very well! It shall be something the common folk call an e-l-e-c-t-i-o-n.”

 

Struggling to breathe Jarvan V began to loosen the knot around his neck. The bag that covered his face tightened with each attempt. High pitched laughter began to fill the room. A squeaky voice murmured. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you…” Jarvan raised his hand displaying an obscene gesture. “Shut your mouth and unleash me at once!” The voice began to chuckle to himself. “I suppose even the cool, calm, and collected Jarvan Hartengale V has his limits. We will unleash you soon enough. We just have a few questions for you.” Jarvan stood up pulling on the chains that bound him. “I will not answer any of your questions while this bag covers my face. Nor will you get any answers of me while these chains restrain my hands. Above all I will not answer questions to a peon such as yourself. I wish to speak to your leader.” Whispering could be heard throughout the room.

A deep booming voice could be heard amongst them. “You are as clever as the people make you out to be!” The shackles dissolved in a flash of purple sand while the bag shriveled into a tiny speck. Jarvan surveyed his surroundings. He was trapped in a cursed circle which formed a barrier around him. Outside the circle he could see thirteen robed figures all dawning blue cloaks with a swan insignia on their chest. “Who are you people and what do you want from me?” One of the figures stepped forward. “We are the Swan Guild and it is not what we want from you…but what we can do for you!” Jarvan’s face manifested into a grotesque scowl. “I am in no mood for riddles, speak with purpose or hold your tongue.” The robed figures began flapping their arms about akin to a bird. “Spoken like a true Lion. We believe your guild has the potential to rule this world…with the right assistance of course. I mean first we would have to make you emperor.”

Jarvan stepped forward pointing at the robed figure. “You have not answered my question sufficiently.” The figure inched closer. “The Swan Guild is a guild unlike any other. We perform a special kind of magic.” The figure threw a gold coin inside the circle. “Bask in the glory that is the Lion Dollar. Our prized possession. A gold coin which will signify the reign of the mighty Lion Guild. Whether you will be at the helm of this guild during its prosperity is up to you.” Jarvan bit into the coin. “You mean to use this small piece of gold as a medium of exchange for goods and services?” The robed figures began flapping their arms once again. “Yes! Yes! You understand…for swan’s sake you understand. We have heard about those Lion eyes of yours and how they let you see things that others cannot, but we weren’t sure if the rumors were true!” Jarvan remained silent. “Ahh, yes. I suppose you want to know what the cost for our allegiance is. A better question is, what are you willing to part with to gain the world?”

Jarvan V stroked his beard for a moment. He began to pace back and forth. His eyes burned bright yellow as they threatened to engulf the room. “I am willing to do what is necessary for the good of my people. With me as their emperor I can lead them to greater prosperity, security, and joy. I am willing to give what you wish to take.” The robed figures began to clap their hands together. “Very well said. Is that your final response?” This question was met with silence.

Jarvan V awoke in his bed chambers to an unusual amount of silence. He turned to his side as he grasped the empty bed space beside him. “No…not her!” He rushed to the bathroom where he was met with emptiness. Getting dressed in haste he placed his gown on his person. As he ran down the stairs beads of swear began to pour down his brow. Jarvan Hartengale VI blocked his way with his spear. “Brother, I do not know how you managed it…but the people have chosen.” He lowered to his knees. “I pledge my spear to you for as long as I breath air on this earth. I pledge the spear of my children and my children’s children, for we will forever be under your command.” Sweat still pouring across the emperors face he dropped to his knees. “What the gods give with their right hand they take with their left.”

The End

 

“What the gods give with their right hand they take with their left.”

Jarvan Hartengale V