Tag Archive: Personal

Why are we not taxing churches?

This image has gone viral recently and even Richard Smith of the Motley Fool has chimed in on the debate. The controversy stems around the fact that the IRS here in the United States is missing out on an estimated 71 BILLION in taxes – being that religious organizations are tax exempt in the USA.

Well, let’s face it; our whole tax system is screwed up. I pay over 20% in taxes as a middle class citizen and rich guys like Mitt Romney pay less than 15% – go figure… I guess it can be debated either way depending on your political affiliation. Anyway….

…and don’t get me started on Religion and how it has suppressed technology since the fall of the Roman Empire. After all, it was only in the 1980s that Pope John Paul finally admonished Galileo for his theory that the Earth is not the center of the Universe – that’s another blog and another time.

I guess my point is this – there is a lot of space outside of Earth’s orbit and our future is not on this planet but out among the stars. Do you really think Earth is going to be able sustain us in 500 years? How about 1000 years? Not at the pace of destruction we are waging on mother earth… Space exploration is important and we are way behind the eight ball when it comes to recent advances. Here we are living in a self-gratified world fighting over fossil fuels when we should be coming together as a planet with one mutually beneficial goal to evolve as a globe and not as the fractured world we are now.

Fat chance huh?

Well then the least we could do is tax churches – As far as I am concerned, they owe us big!

John C. Bader


What is the dictionary definition of God? “A supernatural being: One of a group of supernatural male beings in some religions, each of which is worshiped as the personification or controller of some aspect of the universe”. Okydoky… now mind you, I am not an atheist but that definition just does not serve my spiritual needs… I agree it is a condensed definition but never the less; it is a definition in our English Dictionary.

So I regress a bit… I really did not enjoy math in college. It was hard to understand and truthfully I have always been impressed with mathematicians and astrophysicists who use math to unravel some of the Universes most intriguing puzzles. In college and even now, I find it useful but somewhat tedious. Still, math is incredibly important for breaking down percentages, measurements and yes religion and philosophy.

Now, I tweeted a bold comment recently:

“When you reduce religion to the most common denominator you have the Universe. Add conscious thought and you have a Responsive Universe… “

After I clicked the tweet button I immediately prepared for the worst. Surprisingly the reaction was quiet and most people agreed and even added their own contributions. My twitter nation is an educated group of yogis, health food fanatics and spiritual minds mixed in with people of overlapping interests. Still, I find I need to explain my definition of God as it relates to the Responsive Universe because after all I wrote a book about it all.

Now imagine you take the top four religions which depending on data are Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Now, I think everyone would agree that these religions all worship a deity in some form that created man and Earth. Each religion has an explanation of our origin and where we go when we die. Each religion has morals and guidelines, gurus and priests. I think people would also agree that religion is inherent to a specific region and a specific cultures spiritual needs and over thousands of years indigenous societies mold and amend these beliefs into the modern religions they are today. It is all kind of the same stuff right?

Now let’s add a little math to the discussion. Just like fractions, let’s reduce those top four religions down to their most common denominator. Reduce them beyond humans, even Earth. Let’s reduce religion or God to its source – the beginning of time as we know it… The Big Bang… Why do we need to break religion down to its most reduced form? Because whatever created the Universe created man who in turn created religion. Still, people tend to interject emotions, opinions and dogma into this discussion. “well the Bible says this”… well the Quran says that”. But you see, math does not deal in dogma, opinions and emotions. Math deals with numbers that add up to solutions that make sense on paper.

So, when you reduce Religion to its most common denominator you have the Universe. Now you could equate this as God and trust me, I do! But people tend of talk of God as a “He” or a “Who”. But in math, God just is…. There is nothing more and there is nothing less. God is the Universe and the Universe is…. People tend to struggle with that concept due to the ego which needs to attach dogma, fear and emotion to the concept of God.

Here is where it gets fun. God (the Universe) created an environment for conscious thought to arise from nothing. You want to talk about miracles? There is nothing more miraculous than conscious thought arising from nothing. People tend to think only a divine interest could create such an environment. But that is not necessarily true. You see; conscious thought connects with energy at the subatomic level and there is an instinctual quality to it that transcends humans and Earth. I explain it in-depth in the third chapter of my book, The Responsive Universe. The point is; through experience and mindfulness we connect to the energy of the Universe which is like our True Nature; constant and unwavering. It is okay if we do not fully understand its workings. Settling into the vastness of it all and understanding that we are connected to it is enough for now. Once we settle into the vastness, we often find that the idea of organized religion for us becomes unnecessary and weighted. The concept of God and the exact workings of the Universe may simply not be understandable in human terms. The Universe is the totality of all that exists, of all that existed before, and all that will come to exist in the future. What an immense trinity! The New Testament in western religion is based around a similar trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As you ponder all of this, consider a new interpretation of that trinity that transcends religion. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are different words for the Past, the Present, and the Future, or Death, Birth, and Regeneration. We sit in the Universe in the present with past and future horizons expanding rapidly beyond us (red shift). How do we explain it all? How do we find meaning in a realm that is so vast we can’t even fully comprehend it? We find meaning in the connections that bind the paradoxes of life; the unity of the Mandala:  God, the Universe, and True Nature are not three separate phenomena we must strive to understand; they are one and the same.

God is energy and therefore humans  are energy… connected as one in a vast matrix of light and matter with a dash of instinctual consciousness that transcends earthly dogma. That is the definition of a Responsive Universe; where science explains karma and an afterlife; where energy and love heal and allow us to evolve.

The Universe is… therefore I am….

John C. Bader

About the Book: www.responsiveuniverse.com

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What defines mid-life? I am in my early 40s now (thought that was mid-life)  – bye bye 30s and I can barely remember my 20s – that was a long time ago…

Well, it seems the new middle age is 50 which is good news for us 40 year olds. A recent study in Britain concluded that people in their fifties that have a decent and dependent pool of friends to socialize with are happier and theoretically will live longer. This is definitely the case with women. Further, men that have a strong bond with family in their fifties also enjoy significant psychological well-being.  I guess we are social animals after all.

The study also concluded that less educated men were more likely to have a larger social network of friends. For women, it is the opposite. Also, being single was associated with a small pool of social interaction. I have read on numerous occasions that being married and or enjoying a quality of cohabitation improves life and happiness. This article seems to reinforce that as well.

Well, there you go – the next time you are invited to go out and you just want to stay home and watch TV in your PJ’s – remember, social animals live longer!

John C. Bader


First of all everyone lives in a Responsive Universe. Let me explain…

There are people of the Christian faith that understand and see the energy and space that is the Responsive Universe. Maybe through self-discovery, meditation and even yoga, educated Christians understand how science and spirituality are making connections with the quantum Universe; shedding scientific light on the power of prayer, karma, meditation and even our origin and afterlife. Still, deep down in their hearts they know they love Jesus and Jesus loves them. Deep down they feel connections with “The Son of God” and even find wisdom within the Bible.

So, how do they fit in the Responsive Universe?

As many of you know, I am not a proponent of organized religion. I feel it creates more problems than it solves. History has clearly shown that it divides culture, encourages oppression, exclusionism and it persuades people to follow instead of leading. Still, I will never individually condemn someone for their beliefs.

When this discussion pops up I always ask this question: Where did your faith in Jesus arise from? Most would answer from childhood.  Many of us in the west grew up under Christian roofs. As kids, we went to church and much of our social evolution stems from the trappings and dogma associated with Christianity. And there is nothing wrong with that. For a child growing up in the Middle East, Islam would be an underlying social element in the growth and maturity of a child. And of course there is nothing wrong with this upbringing either.  The flavor of a specific religion is inherent to the cultural and spiritual needs of a specific region in the world – break religion down to the most common denominator and you have something that transcends earth and humans – you have the Universe… Add conscious thought and now you have a Responsive Universe.

In the First Mandala of The Responsive Universe – Meditations and Daily Life Practices we are reminded that we need to approach everything in life with an open mind. We are asked to revisit our childhood belief systems and determine if this system of conviction is still valid and practical. Much like the US Constitution which has been amended to meet the modern needs of American government and society, we need to re-evaluate our old belief systems in God and make sure this system of faith is still meeting our deepest spiritual needs. This does not mean to completely disregard your old belief systems – only to amend them; thus discarding the old and archaic that are no longer useful on your road to spiritual evolution. Religion is not bad, I just feel we need to embrace the good and discard the unnecessary – you have that right and no one has the authority to tell you differently – not even the Pope!

In a sometimes chaotic world, it is easy to forget that each of us alone holds the key to happiness and enlightenment. Unless you have experienced a spiritual awakening, everything you have learned about God and faith was from your mentors and social immersion. This is fine as children but as we grow and mature into adult’s; self-discovery becomes a primary necessity to spiritual evolution. It is up to you to connect to the sublime and grow and prosper spiritually. If you feel stagnant in your energy and faith in God then you should take a hard look at where your belief is anchored and make some positive changes that will re-ignite your conviction. Having a connection to the Universe is important – It does not matter whether it is through Jesus or simply as an agnostic. There are many roads to God and enlightenment. For me, Buddhism resonates well but I take what I need from it and I find the rest of my spiritual energy is found within.

I have always contended that Jesus was an amazing man with amazing gifts. I can even argue that the message of Jesus was more eastern influenced (before Constantine got a hold of it).  After years of manipulation, translation and rewriting, modern Christians are handed this book and expected to believe all of its contents? There is this element of fear interwoven into most contemporary religion that feeds our egos. This is when fundamental problems arise – we should never fear God or the Universe. We should never fear death or losing our soul – such trappings go against the fabric of energy and love. Fear is not Jesus; Fear is religion fighting to stay in power.

There is nothing wrong with believing in the teachings of Jesus as long as you came to this belief system on your own accord. Once we re-evaluate our childhood beliefs and re-affirm them as valid we can move on with confidence. Discard what you feel is not connected to your True Nature – embrace what feels right and is contributing to your spiritual evolution. There is nothing wrong with believing in Jesus or finding inspiration in Church or the Bible. The key is to be mindful; follow your intuition and energy. Strip down that ego and take heed to your heart wish – this is your connection with God. If you have to serve your heart wish with blind faith then there is something wrong. If you are held prisoner to dogma or fear of hell and the devil then there is something wrong. Live with compassion always in your heart and you will make a meaningful connection.

John C. Bader


New Responsive Universe Promo Video



Have you taken the precious time to just lay on your back outside

and watch the clouds just float by without much thought of anything?

Try it….

…..You might like it

John C. Bader


The questions have been pouring in, especially from Twitter. When a particular question grabs my attention, there is always a chance I will blog about it. Always feel free to forward a question or thought to me.  I can be reached through this blog, facebook and Twitter – thanks again!

A recent twitter nation follower asked how I find the energy and drive to meditate, eat well and exercise on a regular basis; basically, how do I stay diligent and steadfast?

Great question and you know what, it did not happen overnight. Living in a Responsive Universe is not about instant gratification. You can’t take a pill or meditate for twenty minutes and your life is going to change. This is not an infomercial where we advertise instant results.

For me it was the small subtle changes in my life that fueled my drive to continue on. The proof of wellness and positive energy is in the experience. The more I meditated the more comfortable I got at it. Meditation was difficult for me early on but after years of practice, I now yearn for any type of meditative respite.  Plus, meditation can come in many forms (my next blog will address that notion).

Eating healthy was another challenge – I love fried foods and I am not a big fan of veggies. The solution for me was juicing. I juice vegetables that used to simply repulse me: Kale, beets and tomatoes. I still can’t eat those things but I sure as hell can slam it down in the liquid form. I juice almost daily and it does two things for me: It gives me the anti-oxidant punch my body needs and juicing also takes the guilt away when I do want to indulge in something unhealthy – everything in moderation right?

Exercising is another obstacle I had to outsmart.  I grew up at the beach and surfing or bodyboarding out in the waves was great exercise. Well, now I live in Chicagoland and the surf is not great on Lake Michigan – actually it really sucks. But, I found bike riding to be a fun, meditative way to exercise and relax the mind at the same time. I ride about 20-30 miles a week and I love it!

So, it is about out smarting the ego which is always trying to find excuses to not meditate, eat well or exercise.  Again for me, the proof was in the experience. I just feel better mentally and physically when I include meditation with a healthier lifestyle.  As you manifest wellness in your life, new perspectives, opportunities, clarity and energy arise and then you know you are on the right path. When you see small successes and victories in areas where there were only defeats and guilt  it empowers you to continue on. It is not always easy, sometimes you do have to push yourself but the results are always worth it.

John C. Bader


Check out this article about religiosity plummeting In Ireland and declining worldwide as well.


I truly think religion as we know it has peaked. As this article indicates, religiosity is down, especially in countries where it has reigned for thousands of years. Think about it, how many people worship RE the ancient Egyptian Sun God that ruled the religious faithful of North Africa for 5,000 years? Religions like cultures and languages die out. If history has taught us anything it is that cultural trappings are not permanent.  We as spiritually conscious creatures need to connect to something more permanent and fixed like our energy and true nature – We do live in a Responsive Universe and we do not need blind faith and dogma to connect to the sublime – the energy and love that we find in nature and human experience is proof enough. It is a dynamism that transcends Earth and defines our connection with humanity and the Cosmos; from which energy and all forms arise. There, I said it… JCB

Want to read more? Check out my blog on the Extinction of Religion…

Find your center and find your spiritual inspiration to grow and evolve in this Responsive Universe…

John C. Bader


What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives? -E.M. Forster

I love this quote because it centers on the concept of mindfulness.  I would counter, what good is life if you do not connect to your True Nature within. A person that only lives through ego and false-self is a person that has never really lived.

Spend time in nature, go bare foot and ground yourself with Mother Earth – find your center and find energy, wisdom and happiness…


John C. Bader


New Responsive Universe Promo Video

A really good question was directed to me during a recent newspaper interview for my book release – The Responsive Universe, Meditations and Daily Life Practices.

The question was: How do you define an “Awakening”?

I actually found that this question was difficult to fully answer – especially with the questioning party awaiting a comprehendible answer. During the interview I tried to find words to describe such an experience and few words were available to capture the sublime energy that surrounds such an event.

I did a little research on the subject and found that there are varying definitions and varying degrees of awakenings depending on the person and situation. An awakening is basically a spiritual arousing that includes the complete dissolution of one’s identity as a separate self with no trace of the ego driven mind remaining to govern our actions. In Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, he describes his awakening as a jarring event that immediately stripped his ego away to the point that he was somewhat disconnected from his previous self (false-self)  and even reality as he used to see it – a complete departure from the “ordinary world” we live in. That is an intense awakening!

Then there are awakenings that come in waves or as epiphanies that are more subtle and palatable to the human consciousness. These types of awakenings tend to evolve over time into something authentic. Though the ego is not entirely dissolved, there is a new shift in perspective and energy that over time is self-actualized.

I have read that for many to experience such an event there needs to be intense suffering or some sort of traumatic experience that may spur or trigger such an event. I have seen documentation that NDE (Near Death Experiences) or even deep meditation can trigger such an event. In my book, I even theorize that spiritual legends like Jesus, Mohammad and Buddha underwent awakenings – later to be interpreted as their specific culture found fit.

I experienced an awakening about 12 years ago on a cold November day at the beach. It had been about six months since my wife and I buried our full term still-born boy and I was struggling with depression, dependency, lack of faith and shallow self-esteem. I remember the day vividly as I was sitting on the beach pondering my life. My awakening was subtle but also an immediate realization of a reality different from what I always believed to be true. I like to call this different reality a “True Reality”, sans of ego. For a moment, I was egoless and felt an energy and existence that transcended any previous experience. I would have other awakenings months later including one while driving out in the country. Waking up from my ordinary life and seeing how things fit together has propelled me forward to fulfillment. It was like getting a download from the Universe. The knowledge and wisdom I gained wrote the Responsive Universe. I did not study this stuff – it came to me in an awakening. This quality of knowing is like seeing 20/20 for the first time. This vision, the awareness, and the feelings sound like they would be jarring and intense, but my awakenings felt like a pleasant windfall. I immediately knew how to act and react to challenges and stress. I had a new openness and clarity with life. Things were brighter and clearer. Even my most challenging problems seem to be palatable. I guess the best way to explain my awakening is to imagine living under a veil of clouds your entire life. You suspect that there is something warm and positive behind those clouds because on certain days you can feel the warmth permeating from behind the grey. Then imagine one day the sun parts from the clouds and warmth and light shower down on you for the first time EVER. It is an amazing feeling!

The problem was, the static of life would return and quickly close off this new found world. Fear and ego would quickly return to smudge out this new found light. Through meditation and mindfulness, I am able to return to the light but it takes effort and though everyday gets easier, it is an uphill climb. I wrote the Responsive Universe in an effort to share this knowledge and even create a simple path for others to follow. I penned Nine Mandalas (chapters) that in effect shed light on a path less trodden that will lead to a shift in perspective – I live in the Responsive Universe everyday and my life has completely transformed into something so much more authentic. The gifts are there for everyone, we just need to awaken to the possibility that…. anything is possible…

John C. Bader


I dedicate this post to a friend on twitter who is dealing with overwhelming anguish from the loss of not one loved one but both her mom and dad… May energy, love and light always burn bright in their memory…

Famous philosopher, Joseph Campbell once said, “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us”. This statement rings wisdom on many levels. We as humans like to be in control of our destinies. Being that suffering is intrinsic to life; the habit of trying to control our surroundings can in itself cause suffering. North Americans especially have this need or urge to be in control. Here in the west, there is a need for immediate gratification and convenience as well the need to manipulate and manage our surrounding environment. You see it with the pressure to be financially successful and even with the United States government and its sometimes misguided foreign entanglements. Of course not all aspects of control are considered a bad thing, but it does cause problems when life rears unpredictable results like loss. We also attach ourselves to such adornments of love, companionship and communion. Losing something or someone dear to us is exacerbated by attachment and loss of control. Love and friendship connect us in ways that create immense grief when this love and friendship is taken away. We can’t be at fault for loving someone or something – it is human nature. Still, there is a need to let go of the attachments that cause us suffering. Grief is one of those attachments. Being that loss is inherent to life, it is also something we can’t control. When we can’t control something as intricate and amazing as the life of a loved one; there can be this feeling of helplessness that envelops us. Our lives can fill with anxiety and we tend to question the Universe.  Much like earlier blogs in regard to the concept of space as it relates to our mind and the Universe;  we need to make space for loss. We need to be mindful of our thoughts and try not to cling to transient affections when all that is left is memories. Cherish the great memories but let go of the guilt, anger and grief. Letting go does not mean we do not care. Letting go simply means we stop trying to control outcomes that are completely unavoidable. It means to stop doing the impossible by trying to control destiny. Instead, we should focus on what we can control which is ourselves. This is done with love: Love for ourselves and how it relates to our True Nature and love for those here in the now and hereafter.

Personally, recovering from loss caused me to question everything I knew about life, and particularly it caused me to question my faith in God and religion. I could not reconcile how something so beautiful and amazing could be gone. I blamed God. I questioned myself. I questioned God. But on one autumn day when the skies seemed to finally clear and the fog in my mind lifted, I realized that the chaos I felt in my heart was so complex and so visceral because matters of life and death are never simple. Recall the Big Bang theory – the origin of the Cosmos – An unknown phenomenon sparked the imbalance that allowed for the possibility of life on earth. For years, this mystery has spun scientific and philosophical debates on the ultimate paradox of life – from nothing came everything. The fallacy in my thinking was in attempting to find an explanation for why I lost a loved one.  Recovering from grief has shown me that there is no real truth in paradox. Sure, our lives seem governed by them – life and death, night and day, and good and evil – but the real truth of paradoxes is not that they lie at polar opposites, but that they rotate in a seemingly endless cycle of rebirth, seasons and cause and effect – A Mandala….  The truth of life and death for me was that I hurt so badly because I lost a love, but love was the very thing that was going to heal me. Love could make me suffer and soar all in a cycle of loss and gain and immense sadness and joy.

In all this confusion, one thing is certain – circular patterns, not paradoxes, describe and govern our Universe. Love is one of life’s ultimate circular bonds because we are born to love and we return to love when we die. Love can cause us life’s greatest joy and also life’s greatest sorrow. It is our blue skies and also our heart’s most tumultuous storm. Most importantly, love is what will ultimately heal us as we process loss. We will find comfort in our memories of love and of the love we lost. We will find support in the love of those we reach out to. We will find inspiration in the love we have for those still with us. We will honor lost love by loving ourselves and our life enough to let go of attachments that cloud our vision with pain and suffering.

Find love in your memories –not pain.

Celebrate your lost love by celebrating the family you still have – hug them and love them!

Remember that anxiety is only a cloud obscuring the sun which is your True Nature…

Be steadfast, strong and love what you still have. Have faith that love will conquer and fill your heart with energy, light and bliss again – it has to – it is a unwritten law of the Universe!

John C. Bader

New Responsive Universe Promo Video


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