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Do you want to be true to yourself – if only for a moment? Do you want to be more grounded; connected; centered in the moment?

Go barefoot!

Take those shoes off and touch Mother Earth. Feel your toes and heels settle into the grass, sand or dirt. Feel the natural sensations associated with touching human flesh with the flesh of the Earth – a symbiotic relationship we tend to take for granted.

Breathe in positive energy and breathe out negativity

Connect to the experience – feel grounded in the moment

There is something authentic about going barefoot – if only for a few minutes

Try it

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

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WordPress has great international readership and I am sure folks outside the US can relate to our challenges…

Here is what I am talking about:

San Bernardino, CA – a city of over 200,000 with a billion dollars in assets, just filed for bankruptcy because they can’t pay their bills or their city employees. They have over 20,000 creditors.

How about commercial foreclosures? General Motors Building in New York City ($2.9 billion), Treasure Island Hotel Casino in Las Vegas ($775 million), Maui Prince Resort in Maui ($192.5 million).

Donald Trump and the assets that bear his name have filed for bankruptcy protection four times.

Huh…

Big money commercial bankruptcy and foreclosure seem pretty commonplace in this recession – a recession we have been enduring since 2006. Or is it a depression? I just do not know…

It is interesting how there is very little stigma for large corporations who trim the fat with US laws and corporate loopholes like bankruptcy and foreclosure, but it is a death sentence (especially credit wise) for single families  like you and I. Now, I have seen it first hand with family and friends; enduring a personal bankruptcy or foreclosure is one of the most stressful and arduous events in life.

Donald Trump said this on ABC News recently:

I’ve used the laws of this country to pare debt. … We’ll have the company. We’ll throw it into a chapter. We’ll negotiate with the banks. We’ll make a fantastic deal. You know, it’s like on ‘The Apprentice.’ It’s not personal. It’s just business,”

Wow, I wonder if that explanation will work at a bankruptcy hearing for a family who is struggling to save their undervalued home and keep food on the table. There is nothing more PERSONAL than the guilt of losing your job, your home and your dignity while big money corporations out source domestic jobs, slash pensions and claim bankruptcy and foreclosure with little stigma and few long-term penalties.

Not a fair comparison? You know what, these big money corporations have to sign similar deeds and documentation before they borrow money yet they do not seem to be held to the same MORAL or SOCIAL obligations like a family of four. In my home town, if you do not pay the electric bill, your power gets turned off. Why are corporations not held to the same social and moral standards of a working family in Chicago? Detroit? Cleveland?

My point is this – if you have gone through a foreclosure or bankruptcy or if you are on the verge of heading in that direction (and I think there are a lot of you out there) don’t let guilt eat you up. It just is not worth it.  Stand tall, be proud and steadfast; things will get better. Remember it was not you that pushed the housing market into a mortgage Armageddon. You are not to blame for the damage caused by greedy big money corporations. Trump says it is not personal, it is just business. Listen to Trump (LOL).

Well then, get up, brush yourself off and move on. Easier said than done right?

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

Midweek Musings

Just a few observations this week and then I will move on…

I see there was a decent turn out yesterday for Chick-fil-A  supporters opposed to gay rights; supporting Fast Food President Dan Cathys statement about the biblical definition of a family. I blogged about this a few weeks ago after right-wing Christian, Mike Huckabee chimed in. I got to be honest here and say that this type of behavior only creates division within our population. Yes, it is okay to speak your mind and support a particular institution for its beliefs. I am voicing my opinion now – and it is this: I am not gay and I really have no connection what so ever to the gay community but something deep down inside me tells me this type of exclusionism; this support that condemns a certain group of people is wrong. Huckabee, Palin and Bachmann all showed up in support and I think it is a disservice to the energy and synergy that is humanity. We will never evolve as a species when we continue to build these type of social walls.

Another thought –

I drove through the south side of Chicago yesterday and a religious billboard caught my eye. At the top of the billboard it said: “If you die today will you go to… Heaven or Hell?”. I think it is interesting how Christianity has to strike fear in the community in order to gain new parishioners. Ignorance breeds fear. Wisdom breeds wealth and bliss on many levels. Why would you settle for less?

Finally…

Have you been watching the Olympics this week? I think it is really cool how so many countries with so many different cultures, religions and viewpoints can meet in one place and compete in a civil manner. Sure we see small hiccups here and there but as a whole, the Olympics is one event where the world comes together for two weeks and we seems to exist as a planet instead of a divided globe. At least we have another week to enjoy this commonality before reality strikes again.

That is it for now – I hope I did not insult anybody – and if I did, you need to ask yourself why….

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

Twitter follower, Brenda (@BrendaRegina12) asked me a great question this weekend. Her question was this: “Why are males more steeped in the EGO?”

That is a great question because on first interpretation or first glance I kind of agree that males seem to exhibit more ego like traits; of course we are basing this assumption on western culture.

First, I think we need to define the ego and label it for what it really is – your FALSE-SELF. Sounds negative doesn’t it? The thing is; we need our egos to socially evolve. Imagine isolating a child from any social existence – That child would not grow an ego, but this child would also not grow up to be a high functioning cog of society; no, this child would be more like an animal. As children and young adults we need the ego to compete and forage for subsistent strategies as outlined in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. After food, shelter and love, we yearn for something more: Self-Actualization! It is then when we need to begin letting go of the ego and connecting to our True Nature. Only then can we evolve to the next level and prosper though self-discovery and enlightenment. The point is, both males and females need the ego to socially evolve – the gauge tends to be which gender or individual carries ego traits into adulthood.

So, the ego is our false-self. It seems all of us unknowingly carry the ego through daily life – it tends to rear its ugly head during times of conflict, challenges and pressure. Men tend to add a testosterone driven quality to it that seems to emblazon the concept of ego. Still, the ego is not always about brawn, bar fights and peeling out at green lights. The ego defines and manipulates our self-esteem, jealousy, anger, guilt and addictions – and these qualities effect both genders equally.

So, it seems both genders tend to harbor these traits and at different levels. Look at the Dalai Lama – he is one of the most egoless humans on Earth and he is male.  Look at some infamous female rock stars and their excessive demands while on tour. Each of us is different in how we unknowingly allow the ego to govern our existence. Women might find their ego more entrenched in relationships, friends and what they see in the mirror. Men may find their ego through competition, money and how they measure up to other men around them – really both genders will overlap all of these qualities and many more.

In a nutshell, both females and males exhibit ego like qualities – just in different ways. The key is acknowledging the ego and slowly working to take power away from its facilities and give that power back to your authentic self – your true-self.

your comments are greatly appreciated – especially from the female population 🙂

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

I read a great article recently about the concept of fear and I have blogged on the subject in the past.

Why?

Because is fear is one of the most debilitating emotions in life. Somewhere along the road of maturity and adolescence the ego took up management and the quality of fear is one of our egos most powerful and destructive weapons.  Fear feeds on inaction and indecision. Fear limits our possibilities, success and energy levels. Ironically, most qualities of fear are fabricated emotions born from our false-self. Sure it is important to run and hide from danger – that is based on our “fight or flight” instinct that keeps us from getting hurt or killed. This is a normal reaction in the shadow of danger.

Yet, fear for most of us is based on dread of failure; fear of what others think; fear of the unknown – and that is all ego driven bullshit. Through meditation and mindfulness we can isolate our fears that cause anxiety and suffering and work toward connecting to our True Nature.

Writer, Roxanne Paxman has some great tips:

1. Do something. Anything. FEAR FEEDS ON INACTION.

2. Make a decision. Let go of the belief that you can’t make a choice until you are certain of the outcome. FEAR FEEDS ON THE UNKNOWN.

3. Imagine the very worst thing that could happen and decide what you’d do if it did happen. FEAR FEEDS ON THE UNKNOWN.

4. Imagine the very best thing that could happen and how you’d feel if it did happen. FEAR FEEDS ON FEELINGS OF UNWORTHINESS.

5. Say, “Anything is possible,” instead of “This is not possible.” FEAR FEEDS ON IMPOSSIBILITY.

6. Say, “I can,” and “Why not?” instead of “I cannot.” FEAR FEEDS ON NEGATIVITY.

7. Look for truth instead of hiding from facts. FEED FEEDS ON LIES.

8. Take in air instead of holding your breath. FEAR FEEDS ON SUFFOCATION.

9. Embrace mistakes instead of pretending that you won’t make any. FEAR FEEDS ON PERFECTIONISM.

10. Take one step today instead of waiting to run a marathon tomorrow. FEAR FEEDS ON WAITING FOR THE RIGHT TIME.

Breathe; be aware that your ego IS NOT  your True Nature; more than anything be yourself and face your fears head on. What is the worst that can happen? This is authentic social/spiritual evolution and the more you root your mind in the present and face your fear; the more self-evolved you will be.

Fear is like a water faucet – turn off the ego and turn off your fear…

John C. Bader

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I have to be honest… I am not a big fan of vegetables. I will tolerate spinach and I do enjoy asparagus but it has to be bathed in olive oil, garlic, red pepper and Italian seasonings. If it is a salad, it has to be buried in bleu cheese dressing and a mountain of croutons. Huh, my stomach just growled.

I sort of stumbled on to juicing. A friend of the family has been battling cancer and I began doing more research into diet and how it relates to disease. I was surprised to find tons of research and documentation that links our diet to ailments like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and maybe even Alzheimer’s. To be honest, it scared the crap out of me because historically, I have not had the best diet. Movies like “Forks over Knives” further my juicing cause.

About two years ago, a friend gave us his Jack Lalanne Power Juicer and I was amazed by what you could actually juice and how you can make it taste good! It can become addictive! A good addiction for that matter! The drawback to the Jack Lalanne juicer is that it does not use the pulp. Recently I upgraded to a Vitamix which uses everything including the pulp – The Vitamix is actually a very impressive contraption. You can even make hot soup and ice cream with it!

Here is the point: It is all about anti-oxidants, natural vitamins, minerals, beneficial enzymes and phytochemicals. All of these natural qualities fight free-radicals in our system that can cause cancer and other life threatening ailments. The more food is preserved, altered and processed the less it is good for you. Here are some other benefits of juicing fruits and veggies:

  • ·         Increases metabolic rate
  • ·         Promotes healthy tissue and red blood cell growth
  • ·         Promotes regularity
  • ·         Anti-aging benefits
  • ·         Alleviating symptoms of depression.
  • ·         Disease prevention
  • ·         Higher energy levels
  • ·         Weight loss

I have two juice recipes that are great for any type of juicer – depending on your model; you can add ice, cold water or fresh organic juice to accent any concoction. I strongly recommend only organic fruits and veggies because of pesticide concerns – but it is not a necessity.

Morning Blend

Frozen Blueberries (handful)

Frozen Strawberries (handful)

Banana (one)

Carrot (one)

Beet – just a small amount – a little beet goes along way!

Green Veggie (a handful of spinach or kale)

Apple (only need one – cut away the core)

Notes: The fruit will mask the green veggies and the beet will give it a nice red color!

 

Evening Blend

Carrot (one)

Celery (one shaft)

Green Veggies (a handful of spinach or kale – or a bunch of both!)

Fresh Ginger (just a couple slivers)

Apple (only need one – cut away the core)

Beet – just a small amount – beet goes along way

Notes: Again the fruit (apple) will take the bite away from the veggies and the beet will give the drink a pleasant color.

Always explore new fruits and veggies: I juice bell peppers, tomatoes, red cabbage, frozen raspberries and fresh oranges. Remember, the brighter the fruit or vegetable, the better it is for you!

 

Change your health, change your life!

 

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

Money is an intriguing facet to our modern existence. It is interesting; the word currency implies a current or the movement of something. Makes sense right? Money is made and money is spent. Stock markets spike and housing markets plunge. Money moves into our pocket and then into the Super Target cash register on payday.

There is another way to look at this commodity called money: Money can make us happy and it can make us suffer. Who is not in a good mood when we get that long-awaited and much deserved paycheck? And how about the suffering of living month to month, struggling with bills and credit card debt. Money it seems can be our best friend in times of need and also our worst enemy.

I love money and I also loathe it… more than anything, I respect its power…

As I write this blog I have that Pink Floyd song echoing in my head: “New car, caviar, four star day-dream; I think I’ll buy me a football team”… or something to that effect…

My point is this – We need to be more mindful of money and how it influences our happiness and suffering. In Buddhism we are asked to treat all thoughts as equal.  There is a need to be mindful of our ego created false-self and connect to something more authentic – our True Nature.  We do this by being mindful of our root of intent so that we do not react blindly in social situations and conflict. We do this by being mindful of our addictions, desires, anger, fear and jealousy; all pendulums of action and reaction that govern credibility and karma. In doing so we create more happiness and less suffering – we need to have the same quality of mindfulness when it comes to money.

Now, I am not a financial advisor by any means. I have had my financial triumphs and also complete fiscal failures. The one thing I learned though is the more attached you are to the concept of money; the more you are going to suffer. When we attach ourselves to money and the material things it allows us to buy we are giving power to our ego. We do not need money to make us happy; we need happiness to make us happy. Happiness is not based on money but our thoughts, actions and reactions in life. Yes, money can buy liberation and freedom – but only if you are not slave to it.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with making money. In fact I encourage it! But, money is a tool, not a toy (unless you are a billionaire). Money is meant to pay the rent or mortgage, pay bills and buy new tires. Money is a tool so that in this modern world we can get from point A to point B. When we spend money through our egos, we become a slave to money. We overspend on stupid things. We become emotionally attached to these stupid things and we need more money to support our ego driven world. How much money we have and what type of car we drive figure into our self-worth.  TV and print ads influence our decisions. When there is not enough money, guess what happens?  We tend to suffer! Trust me, there is never enough money…. Therefore logic says do not base your happiness on money. Do not base your happiness on something with currency – something that moves up and down. Base your happiness on something fixed and solid – base your happiness on things you can control like intent, actions and reactions. Be mindful of money, use it to your benefit and be happy with what you already have and not what you don’t have.

I have to go – its time to pay my bills 🙂

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

Over the last week I have discussed the “God Gene” and the “God Particle”; two newsworthy topics that have been hitting the headlines lately and causing a clash between proponents of science and religion. What about learned behavior as it relates to religion? Is faith in God taught? Of, course it is! We are not born having knowledge of God – At a young age we learn and establish a belief system based on our environment and surroundings.

I recently read a psychology study published in Science Magazine. Researchers, Will Gervais and Ara Norenzayan from the University of British Columbia recently published some new data about why people are more religious than others. Now, this is completely different research as compared to the “God Gene” VMAT2 that is capturing headlines. The God Gene is a DNA predisposition that theorizes that certain people based on their genetic makeup will be more likely to believe in God unlike those that possess little or no VMAT2. In a classic “Nature vs. Nurture argument, VMAT2 theorizes the nature of humans. This new study out of Canada focuses more on a quality of nurture – or what we learn from our mentors and environment.

According to new research, studies showed that encouraging people to think more analytically reduced their tendency to believe in God. Conversely, research showed that encouraging people to think more intuitively increased people’s belief in God. Taken together, these findings suggest belief may stem from how humans think – intuitively or analytically – and how our learning environment and surrounding social influences effect our belief systems.

In the Seventh Mandala (chapter) of the Responsive Universe – Meditations and Daily Life Practices I talk about this classic rift in our being – The quality of the mind or analytical thinking vs. our heart or intuitive thinking. Instead of living with divided interests, we must strive to merge our heart and mind as one. Humans tend to have the capability to be intuitive and also analytical. Depending on the person, one quality tends to dominate the other creating a rift or imbalance in energy. We need to be mindful of this rift and find common ground between the two worlds. When merged as one, the sum of the two is authentic empowerment; centered and self-actualized. When we are centered in life, our heart and mind rift is mended with both entities working together. Gone will be the rift; gone will be two voices; united will be your heart and mind working mutually toward self-evolution.

With the mind and heart merged as one you will find that new doors of perception will open up and a new and complete shift in perspective will take shape. Once you are centered your inner voice will speak wisdom about such musings of God and the Universe – These realizations can be considered part of our awakening, or self-evolution that connects us to our True Nature. Then our ego driven social environment and the influences of others will not matter.

That my friends is living in a Responsive Universe.

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

Here comes the fire storm….

When someone asks me if I believe in God, I tend to counter their question with a question. I often ask, “Well, how do you define God”? I am not asking if they believe in God, I am asking for them to  define the concept of God. Seems important to know what you are worshipping. It tends to throw people off. It is a loaded question, full of complexity. But it is a question that matters.

How do you define God?

Typically our conversation is over when the questioning party clarifies their idea of God as the Lord Jesus Christ or Allah. Oh boy, here we go…. I do not like to be unkind or opinionated, but when someone is so dogmatic and adamant about the blind faith concept of God to me it is either completely religious egotism or complete ignorance and low self-esteem. I know harsh words, right? Hey, don’t get me wrong, if you have an unadulterated and unfettered belief in something and you came to this belief on your own accord and it is not the borrowed dogma from others – well, best of luck to you. The problem with organized religion is that it is too easy. Follow with blind faith and package your pretty little god in a book with a pretty little bow and call it a day – it is not that easy. Religions facilitates fear and makes people follow instead of lead. Religions creates exclusiveness and divides our world. I do not see any spiritual benefits from that? I see bad karma. Look at the world today – is organized religion really working?

Look at it this way – it is a big world out there and there are many cultures and religions. Is one culture or religion so pious and egotistical that they would claim their belief as the only path, thus condemning others? Many wars have been fought over religion and there is plenty of religious persecution going on today – especially in the Middle East. Religious egotism also centers on the belief that God is the form of a man – I can’t think of anything more self-centered; well maybe the Catholic Church and their old steadfast belief that the Earth is the center of the Universe. That was pretty self-centered. Further, I will never vote for a politician that believes in Genesis or 100 virgins in heaven. Talk about a complete degradation in analytical thinking. I mean even without much thought, intuition tells me that the Cosmos is a pretty vast and infinite place; full of possibility and energy. How can you deny that? Why would you settle for less?

So, when someone asks me if I believe in God, I say yes. I believe in God as it relates to the Universe; an instinctual energy that is everything: A Mandala of life, death and rebirth with the common denominator that is love. A love that transcends our existence here on Earth; energy changing form… God is not found in a book, it is found in experience and much of it we do not even understand; and that is okay. It is okay to not understand everything.  Science already proves concepts like karma and an afterlife. Do we need to be divided by egotism and ignorance? Humans have more in common than we care to admit. More often than not, my answer tends to leave many with their mouth agape; their minds tumbling for an intelligent response. Hey, I am not saying that I am right and everyone else is wrong – that would be a double standard. No, I am just asking for people to live with an open mind. The Universe is full of possibilities. Don’t let fear dictate your beliefs. Don’t settle for archaic dogma that is no longer applicable in our modern, evolving world. Find God inside you; the sublime beauty of energy, wisdom and love awaits your space and clarity. Slow your thoughts down, live in the present and let your heart wish speak for once; connecting you to your True Nature.

If any of this resonates with you then you need to read my book. If you believe in God but have questions, please read my book. I have studied philosophy, Buddhism and science and have compiled a literary work rich in new perspectives and answers. Once humanity understands we live in a Responsive Universe, religion will not matter; blind faith will no longer apply. Together we can grow and prosper as a global community and not the fractured shards of glass we are today.

I hope I did not hurt anyone’s feelings.

By the way, I spent about 6 hours in church last week – They were great meditation sessions!

 

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is

than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring…

– Carl Sagan

A couple of days ago I chimed in on the “God Gene” debate over VMAT2. Now I want to discuss something even larger than life – something that transcends human consciousness but is igniting a religious/science firestorm: The “God Particle” or Higgs Boson as scientists call it.

The Higgs Boson explains why particles have mass; and in turn why we exist. Without the Boson, the Universe would have no physical matter, only energy. It is the scientific explanation for the origin of matter and why we exist;  sans of God or divine intervention. You can see why the religious are threatened – But they shouldnt be…

“The cosmological implications are hotly debated. Can God fit in a scientific story of creation?”

Lawrence M. Krauss, an ASU physicist, argues that the Higgs Boson discovery outlines a new story of our creation that is independent of religious belief.

Philip Clayton, dean of Claremont School of Theology states, “such metaphorical language helps to explain the world at the particle level where physical laws such as gravity break down, and physicists rely on abstractions to describe how particles interact”. Clayton said discussing whether the discovery “disproves religion or supports creation” misses the point. “The fans and the foes of religion … are overreaching on both sides. The quest for the Higgs Boson, and its ultimate discovery, neither proves nor disproves God.”

I guess that depends on how you define God?

I love Deepak Chopra’s view on this scientific breakthrough: “It only strengthens the notion that the Universe comes out of a nothingness which is everything.” Chopra adds, “the Boson hints at a divine interconnectedness of all things”.

hmmm, sounds like a Responsive Universe?

Krauss states, “that’s the difference between science and religion,” he said. “We don’t require the Universe to be what we want — we force our beliefs to conform to the evidence of reality.”

That is why I posted the Carl Sagan quote at the beginning. The ironic thing is, God can be proven by science. It is just that we need to redefine God. What is God? That will be my next post and it is guaranteed to piss off a few people.

John C. Bader

www.responsiveuniverse.com

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