Listen to Episode 1:
Rich: Ommmm…. Ok, welcome to the Consciousness Talk, that we’re going to be doing on a regular basis. My name’s Rich. And I am probably the leader for the day, but it’s more of a loose knit thing—the outline that I’ve prepared, if I may. So, maybe we go around the room, and introduce ourselves.
Farzad: My name is Farzad.
Elaine: I’m Elaine.
Tania: And I’m Tania.
Rich: Ok what we have here is an outline for each of us to follow, and I thought I’d start out with my initial concept of God, and everybody else come up with the same thing. So my initial concept of God was from the Lutheran religion. And the earth was six thousand years old, and that was pretty much it. I know I was scared to death. And Jesus was God, effectively. And I was a little bit confused on how they had the Trinity. And so, over time I learned a little bit. That was the initial thing that I had. Farzad, do you want to go next?
Farzad: My name is Farzad. And I have absolutely no idea about it. Until I got into some sort of pain, and start searching for God. So I’m still in the process of keep developing some more faith here and there, which is all good. It’s progress. Thanks.
Elaine: I’m Elaine. Growing up we were not at all religious. So I really didn’t even have a concept of God, I have to say. Other than, we would say the Lord’s prayer before dinner every night. But I didn’t think about God. We didn’t talk about God. I just felt there was a lot of spirituality in my life, just with loving animals and loving nature. And that’s still my concept of God, in a lot of ways…sort of a general sense of spirituality, rather than a God figure.
Tania: My name’s Tania. I grew up in a very Catholic family. So my initial concept of God…it was a loving God, but could be mean as well. The God that I grew up with, was more of this figure in the sky, like a man, that was judgmental, and I had to really watch what I did, or I could go to hell. It’s changed very much. I don’t see that now. But that’s where it started.
Elaine: Does that still resonate with you?… do you still have the flickering of those memories?
Tania: No it’s changed.
Elaine: That’s good.
Rich: Ok, I have on our list here, a short version of the evolution. My evolution started after college. I was working for an oil services company, and we were in Nebraska doing oil wells. And I got talking to the geologist, and the geologist said that there’s sharks teeth up in the hills of Nebraska. And I said that can’t be, because common sense should make sense, to all of us…as how did the sharks teeth get up at an altitude of 500 feet above sea level. So, it got me thinking. That was the start of my thinking..
Elaine: You’re questioning it?
Rich: That’s the first question. I said how could that be..? that earth’s only 6,000 year old
and we’ve got sharks teeth up there.
Elaine: I started having those things too throughout my life. I’d hear people talking about
religion, and I’d think it didn’t make sense…over time, more and more, it just made me not
believe in traditional, or organized religion. A lot of it didn’t make sense.
Rich: Any secondary feelings on your end Tania?
Tania: Well with my evolution, where I started to go “Oh.” Where things started to shift. It was actually when I went to India, to do my yoga training. What we really are is a spark of God at our core. I had never heard anything like that. But it resonated so strongly. And so I
just started to shift how I thought of God. It shifted everything really.
Farzad: Me the same thing. I had to practice different areas of religious, and also spirituality, and reading about it, and practicing…until I had the feeling that a greater power than myself exists, and it is not me. So I believed in that.
Rich: So you kind of started with no definition of God, and then all the sudden you’re cast into an environment that you put some definition…
Farzad: Yes, well the definition of God was horrible for me because we had so many religious fanatics in the family, and not doing the right thing, you get punished. The punishment, as Tania was talking about, it was in a harsh way, in our community where I lived.
Elaine: What religion was that?
Farzad: It’s Islamic religion, but they approached it wrongly. It’s not necessarily that it was the true Islamic religion. The true Islamic religion means peace. It’s the same as Christianity and Judaism. I like them all when we get into the core of the religious aspect. In reality I’m all for spirituality. I love them. I respect them all.
Rich: When you say that it was a harsh type thing, give us some details. How harsh could it be (ha ha). Did you have hell, and all that stuff?
Farzad: Yeah, I had two sides of family. One side they were very open-minded and they were keep on going with the flow of progressing, and going forward in modern life, the modern world, and I had a fanatical family over there… that you don’t listen to music, you shouldn’t do that. You have to definitely do this and do that. The God of hell, and the God of heaven.
Rich: Oh, you had both of them. Ok.
Elaine: Isn’t it kind of standard in most religions? You know, like Christianity, that there’s the heaven, and the hell.
Rich: Yeah, I guess so.
Elaine: I wonder if even in the Hindu religion, in a way, because, don’t they God’s that punish you as well as the good Gods? I know they have a lot of Gods, but I’m wondering if there are the bad, punishing Gods.
Farzad: I think they believe in a God of Karma.
Elaine: Karma, that’s right.
Tania: And the different deities. To be honest I don’t remember all of it at all, but I’m just thinking of one example. The deity Kali, is a feminine God. She’s harsh and fierce and destroys. So for example, if you’re having a really hard time in life, and let’s say everything
in your life gets ripped away from you, some people especially in the Hindu religion, might think that’s Kali coming into my life, she’s destroying my life, but it’s to serve you in the end, right? So it’s kind of a feminine God of destruction, but it’s in your highest interest. So yeah, that’s my two cents on that.
Elaine: I like that though.
Rich: My evolution expanded…what happened to me is I got into the 12-step program. That was at age 28, even thought the year before I got married in a Lutheran church, even though I was doubting things. The reason for the Lutheran church wedding was…when you
get married you don’t have many options, you have to get a place to go…they’ve got a monopoly on this thing. If you go to the judge and get married, it’s not as much cluck for the buck, if you would. So then what happened when I got in the 12-step program, concurrent with that, I got
involved in the Centers For Spiritual Living, which they’re called now…they weren’t at the time, and that’s Ernest Holmes teachings. That was a whole different thing. It was: Abundance is good, you deserve success, you deserve abundance. There was no preaching about heaven and hell. It was: Life is heaven, and skip the hell part. And then I got involved in the ministry for 9 years after a number of ups and downs, and that was the greatest blessing ever. That was a painful blessing, but in retrospect I had 9 years to do a combination of study for the ministry of that entity, of Ernest Holmes’ teachings, and in the 12-step traditions they talk about the various religions—there’s a variety of religions, and a treasure trove within the society that we live in. They’re all available for you to absorb, digest, and work with. So that’s what I did. I spent many years just trying to get unfolded, and come up with what they stressed, it was God as you understand Him. And I like to always change that to God as I understand Her. More and more I’m going for the feminine God!
Rich: Because the concept of looking at God as the mean old guy in the sky is not very inviting! If I get a good-looking feminine Goddess, what the hell, that’s easier to worship. And I say that in jest, but also in truth. Make fun out of this stuff.
Elaine: I like that. I like that we’re all able to envision God in our own way, and put a definition to God in our own unique way. Can you imagine how many different visions there are of God, with all the people on earth… I certainly don’t envision a man or a woman, and I can’t even explain what I envision. It’s just a general thing, there aren’t really words for.
Rich: That’s a good point.
Tania: Yeah, I feel like nowadays, it’s not like in my mind, even though I feel like I’ve evolved from how I use to see God, it’s not like I just think of God as like the spark in me, or like one of the Hindu gods, or anything. A lot of times I’ll pray and I’ll pray to Jesus. And sometimes I will be connecting with a different god from the Hindu religion, and sometimes it’s just trying to feel this light in me. I don’t subscribe to one or the other. I find it’s just whatever mood I’m in, and whatever feels right for me at that time, I’ll connect with it. Similar to the Yogananda, how he talks about All paths lead to the same God. Like all religious paths lead to the same God.
Rich: That’s a good point. God is God.
Elaine: What is God… that’s the question.
Farzad: One of the methods I try in my meditation is not to symbolize…I mean sometimes it’s good to symbolize something good—symbolize Jesus—symbolize goodness. Sometimes it’s just to let it happen by itself, by practicing the meditation. For me, it sometimes happens…sometimes the energy that I feel…it’s not somebody or something comes into my mind, to have a picture of it in my mind, it’s just a feeling, as you guys mentioned…an internal feeling. I practice many of this, and very nice spiritual advisor is pretty good, and open-minded of looking at all aspects, and looking in every corner, and trying to learn more. Whenever I get there completely I’ll tell you guys all about it.
Rich: Oh that’d be great!
Rich: By tomorrow you say? The clocks ticking!
Farzad: Still working on it!
Rich: So, what happens in my world over this period of time, in all my readings and stuff, is I start piecing together all the historic and geographical aspects of our religions. So I wrote them down so we can look at them. First of all, when you get the map out and look at the world, Judaism would be in Israel, that’s if you visualize a map. To the east of that is India, and that would be the start of the Buddhist tradition, and to the far east would be the Chinese “stuff,” I’ll call it. And we can piece together, just from history, that each geographical area has contributed to the “dance.” So I can start on that if you want. Do you have any questions or thoughts?
Elaine: I may have missed it, in what you just said, but was there also the one from the North American continent?
Rich: Yeah, we should talk about that. I’m glad you asked. In the North American concept, my understanding is that the tribal people, is all tribal, and they immigrated down from Alaska, down through Canada. And so Canada right now, the Northern part, was tribal. And then all the way down to South America was tribal type beliefs. And I would love to learn more about the advanced stuff that they had done. There’s advanced things that we need to look at, like the pyramids in Egypt that are 4,000 or 5,000 years old and then the things built
in South America too. So I’ll give you some dates. Like 3300 BC was tribal traditions throughout the world. Judaism started in 3600 BC so it’s what? 5,000 years old now? I imagine some of the Jewish people would think it’s more than that. I don’t know what there belief is right now.
And then some events occurred on the way… I’ll just move fast forward to 2000 BC. And shortly after that was Moses, who’s a big name, and everybody knows about Moses I guess. For sure many of the people worship him. But that’s 3100 BC. And then about 900 BC you’ll hear names of David and Solomon. And then you’ll hear over in the Hindu world the Upanishads are written for the first time. And the Upanishads are an overview of the Bhagavad Gita. I shouldn’t say an “overview”…the Bhagavad Gita is within the Upanishads as I understand it. So you can buy books that are the Upanishads and read them, and we that live in the fast lane, we always look for a shorter and better way. Any thoughts to add to the dance here?
Farzad: I thought Zoroastrian, they go far back for 7,000 years. They are a footprint from the Zoroastrian which there are towns, for example 2,581 years ago, so it was during Cyrus the Great, who was approaching. He believed in the God of one god, that they worship also
in the same time light and fire, they keep the fire going. There are still some temples from that many years ago. Cyrus the Great’s religion was Zoroastrian. He did lots of good into the world, like many others. He was about 600 years before Christ.
Tania: That’s Cyrus the Great?
Farzad: Yes, Cyrus the Great.
Rich: Yeah, I show him 550 years before Jesus.
Farzad: Yes, that’s when he approached the Zoroastrian, but Zoroastrian…they were far back from Cyrus the Great. He is religious but he approached it, and it brought humanity, far more humanity into the world than any other conqueror.
Elaine: He was very progressive in his thinking, is my understanding.
Farzad: Absolutely. One of the greatest things he did, he conquered Babylon and he freed all the Jewish. He freed the slavery. And he freed women’s rights. And he let people have freedom of speech. Actually Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, they were teaching
their grandchildren to follow Cyrus’ path, for the Constitution of the United States, they believe some of it comes from… And his footprint, he actually wrote the whole thing on a piece of clay. The piece of clay is called Cyrus Cylinder. And from time to time they put it in the United Nations, when they invite everybody to come to the United Nations that’s there always. And that’s form of humanity, that many people honestly they don’t know it.
Elaine: Yeah, you don’t hear him talked about very often.
Tania: And what was the religion that was associated?
Farzad: Zoroastrian. They believe in one god…and the book of Avesta. The name of the god is Ahura Mazda. It was the only one god. They believe actually the same as Christianity, Judaism, and Islamic, in one god. But what they symbolized, their flag was a statue of a man with three wings…the wings says good thoughts, good intention, good speech. It’s three symbols written on those. It’s why Persians are very proud of their… they would like to approach it more often all over the place (ha ha). Which is good, there’s a good symbol also as Cyrus the Great, the symbol as Jesus, that he really did what he did, definitely. What Buddha says is that this material world is a misery, and the only way to avoid misery is seeking enlightenment, so that is what I believe Jesus did the same thing; he proved it, that he went and he came back.
Rich: We can look at my flow chart here, I show that Buddha was about 50 years before Cyrus the Great.
Farzad: There are many writings. It can be debated, it’s not too much of following to see if this was right or that was right. Both ways, it can go either way.
Rich: Well it doesn’t matter. Just for points of interest… who were the big players at that time? Buddha was a great one. Lao Tzu was in China, and the story on Lao Tzu is he was considered the wisest man in the world, from the Chinese point of view. And he was a high roller because he owned a water buffalo.
Rich: Yeah, kind of a big important guy! They lived within an enclosed city. He was in the process of leaving this small city and getting out of town… “Where are you going Lao Tzu?”
“Well I’m getting out of here…things are getting too complicated…”
Ha ha. You should see it now! And they locked him up, and said before you leave you have to write down everything you know, and wisdom… and so he took one day and wrote down everything he knew that was important. I think it’s 64 passages of the… I’ll have to look it up. That was it, he was off into the promised land, and that became the basis of the… again, I have to look up the name of it.
Tania: That’s not the Tao Te Ching was it?
Rich: Yeah, that’s it. Taoism is in his basket. About then…about 50 years after that, was Kung Fu Tzu, and most people refer to him as Confucius. So Kung Fu Tzu was a different twist, in that his method and writings had to deal with how to be a good citizen, and Lao Tzu’s was more related to a mystical approach, or I’m trying to think of the word to use, not the feminine approach but possibly a feminine approach. Feng Shui came out of the Lao Tzu traditions…being concerned with how things lay out and how they fit.
Tania: Are you saying Rich that Lao Tzu’s teachings were more like going inward, whereas Confucius was more like practical, like with regards to your behaviors?
Rich: Yeah, I think that’s a great description. So, about 550 BC what I show is Cyrus The Great was on the surface. So it’s kind of parallel. And then Socrates, who’s also considered one of the big influences of the time, there’s four of them, was about 470 BC. What’s interesting is that, one account that I read, is that at that time the Old Testament, the biblical writings stopped at 400 BC. What happened in there I’m not sure… and I made a note to look at it. So I’m a map guy, I love maps. So I started to pull up some of the maps. Here’s Israel..and here’s Buddha in India, and here’s Chinese people doing stuff. And they must have been communicating. And I’ve said that for a long time, and that’s the thing that I never get into very much… is they’ve been communicating for many years during this. But, the official formation of the Silk Road from Rome via Damascus was about 130 BC. So I look at that as the highway of spirituality…is the Silk Road.
All: That’s interesting.
Rich: Yeah, cause what else are you going to talk about? You’ve got a water buffalo.. and you got things like… the curiosity is…
Rich: What’s so fascinating is that while we’re talking about that, and I just saw this the other day, is that looking at Christianity, the island I guess you call it, Malta… you’re probably familiar with it?
Rich: They’re showing that that existed 500 BC way back when, and they had communications, and it sounded like sophisticated buildings in 550 BC on Malta.
Rich: Yeah, so there is a lot of stuff moving around.
Rich: Alright, and thank you for being with us. That’s the end of session number one. And next time around we’re gonna to start it with Tania. She’s gonna give us a little oversight of what we’re going be talking about.
Elaine: Ok, see you at the next one.
Tania: See you all at the next one.