I got an AP update about the earthquake early this morning. It woke me up, and I was heavy with heartache and worry for the Chileans. I was still in that phase of not awake and not asleep.
Religious training is so engrained in my head that I immediately thought of end times scripture.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24: 6-8).
In the stupor of sleepiness, paranoia overwhelmed me. I became frightened that my “choice” to be atheist was backfiring. I imagined I was in an earthquake, I died, and sent to the throes of hell.
Synapses fire so quickly. It’s a war in the mind, and the mental torture of imagining physical aural and tangible pain surged through my being.
These are thoughts when the mind is weak. This is the same period of time when a person continues to panic from a nightmare or a bad dream. It happens as fast as strobe lights and bass pounding in a night club. FlashFlashFlashFlashFlashFlashFlashFlash. BoomBoomBoomBoomBoomBoomBoom.
Then like a hammer slamming onto an anvil, I snapped out of it.
When I came out of this mental state (anguish would be a hyperbole, but it’s not exactly inaccurate), my palms were sweaty and my heart was racing. Going back to sleep was not an option. I ended up fighting with reality for a few more moments as I rubbed my eyes.
We got up, made some tea, bottomed a bowl of cereal and went to work out. I watched some of the news on a treadmill. The TV on my treadmill wasn’t working well, and I ended up watching a Spanish language channel. The destruction photography was already awful, and the picture itself was a grainy mess. Every time my feet hit the conveyor belt, the TV fuzz flashed a little bit.
The flashes triggered a reminder to my nightmarish episode and I replayed it in my head. It prompted the thoughts of biblical scripture.
I asked myself, “What would it be like if I never memorized Jesus’ words? Would I still have had the same mental torment of pending end times if it weren’t for these teachings? What would it be like not to have the religious background, but just be able to think of it as people’s lives turned upside down and of the science that caused the earthquake? Am I sure this isn’t the holy spirit? What is it? It’s conditioning. It’s training. It’s someone else’s erroneous views ricocheting around in the racket ball court of my mind.”
I thought about how religious people’s convictions will be renewed this morning. They will have more hope for the imminent graces of heaven. They will be “warmed” by thoughts of seeing their creator. They will revitalize their ideas that saving the “lost” will be moved up closer to the top of their to-do lists.
Tomorrow, they will forget a little. Monday they will forget a lot. By next Friday, it will be gone. But the reality is still there. Haiti’s reality is still there. How long has it been since that catastrophe?
In reality, that scripture from Matthew above, it’s no different than a fortune cookie. It’s so basic. It’s like Crossing Over with John Edward. “In the end times there will be more earthquakes, and floods and people.” Of fucking course there are going to be more catastrophes in the world. The older you get, the more things that happen. The accumulation of mental data and the fact that your religious teaching spoiled the well with those verses makes you search for that kind of pattern.
Don’t forget, Jesus said he was coming back within the generation of his crucifixion. He told his disciples they would not see death. Now that Christians think they are his disciples, they think he’s coming back within their life time. This has been reoccurring for every generation since Jesus’ supposed crucifixion. Everyone thinks this is going to be it. Everyone is always sorely mistaken. How many generations need to be disappointed for believers to stop with the waiting and move on with their lives?
Conditioning is like little deficits or holes in the mind that you become addicted to filling up. An earthquake fills a hole in your head that you dug and wanted to fill.
It’s simple neurology.
Don’t you see how silly that is?
If you condition your mind with something dangerous, say, cigarettes. The mind eventually creates a deficit for cigarettes. Regardless of how the world tells you they are dangerous, the mind tells you that you have a deficit. The mind tells you that you need another. The mind tells you they’re okay or they aren’t that bad for the body. You could stare a cancer victim in the face while he screamed in agony, and the mind would still desire to fill that deficit with another cigarette.
All reason is thrown out the window for the the filling of a mental hole.
If you condition your mind with religious ideas, you want to fill those holes on a regular basis. No matter what information you hear that it’s dangerous, violent or not good, your mind is convinced it’s good. You could stare at the bible’s horrible, terrible, nasty scripture, and you’d still want to believe that Jesus’ love is all powerful.
Pattern seeking and mind conditioning is basic. It’s like that dumb show Crossing Over. Imagine I’m Edward and I say, “I’m getting the feeling you have an aunt, uncle or friend whose name starts or ends with the letters S, T, P or D. And something happened between you that hurt you.”
No matter how many people or studies come out that say that Edward is a ruse, there are still going to be people who fall for that garbage. No matter how many books show how religious institutions are corrupt, or that supernatural is all in the mind, People will still believe. They want to believe. They want to connect with the unseen. In gullibility, you can fall for anything.
I don’t get it. Open some books. Open your minds. The information is in abundance.
Once the mind can accept that supernatural is based on blind vagaries, the process of working away from the conditioning can begin. Wouldn’t you like to be freed of this conditioning? I know I am freer.
The only times I ever revert back to toying with religious conditioning is when I feel my life is in peril (like taking off in a plane) or when my mind is in a weak state of consciousness like waking up. These times are waning for the most part.
Unfortunately, letting go of conditioning isn’t as sudden as an earthquake. It takes time, patience and lots of detox.