This book is a Get Out of Jail Free card and a passport back into the playground.

The aim of this book is to set you free. But free from what? Free from neurosis. Free from the feeling that you have to obey authority. Free from emotional intimidation. Free from addiction. Free from inhibition.

The key to happiness, mental health and being the most that we can be is absolute and unconditional self-acceptance. The paradox is that many of our problems are caused by trying to improve ourselves, censor our thinking, make up for past misdeeds and struggling with our negative feelings whether of depression or aggression.

But if we consider ourselves in our entirety in this very moment, we know these things :

1. Anything we have done is in the past and cannot be changed, thus it is pointless to do anything else but accept it. No regrets or guilt.

2. While our actions can harm others, our thoughts and emotions, in and of themselves, never can. So we should accept them and allow them to be and go where they will. While emotions sometimes drive actions, those who completely accept their emotions and allow themselves to feel them fully, have more choice over how they act in the light of them.

Self-criticism never made anyone a better person. Anyone who does a “good deed” under pressure from their conscience or to gain the approval of others takes out the frustration involved in some other way. The basis for loving behaviour towards others is the ability to love ourselves. And loving ourselves unconditionally, means loving ourselves exactly as we are at this moment.

This might seem to be complacency, but in fact the natural activity of the individual is healthy growth, and what holds us back from it is fighting with those things we can’t change and the free thought and emotional experience which is the very substance of that growth.

How to Be Free is available as a free ebook from Smashwords, iBooks in some countries, Kobo and Barnes & Noble

It is also available in paperback from Lulu or Amazon for $10 US, plus postage.

The ebook version currently has received 593 ***** out of ***** ratings on U.S. iBooks.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Why Do We Quarrel? : (The Example of the Religious Person and The Atheist)

Copyright: photochecker / 123RF Stock Photo

Sometimes something someone else says gets under our skin. We feel compelled to express our contrary view.

This is not a sign that we have confidence in our ideas. Quite the contrary. Confidence in an idea gives an individual the viewpoint which Jesus expressed in the parable of the mustard seed. A valid idea will bring forth a good harvest when it falls on fertile soil, so the best strategy is to spread it as widely as possible and waste no time on cursing the rocks who are immune to it or the barren soil incapable of giving it sustenance.

If we feel the need to enter into a quarrel it is because there is a threat to the security of our beliefs from within.

A person secure in their own religious faith may try to spread it, but will not feel the need to argue with members of other faiths or with atheists. However, for some, religion is a way of trying to maintain discipline over what is perceived as sinfulness. This is an insecure position, and in the extreme, if reason appears to threaten the structure of restraint, then reason itself must be denied and argued against. (Religion need not be like this. Some religious people do not feel at all threatened by the contrary views of others. And some of the great contributors to the progress of reason have been religious.)

Once again, when we come to atheists, there are some who are secure and some who are insecure. Reason has two main roles - 1. As a strategy for pursing understanding of ourselves and the world which gives us greater capacity to manage both. 2. As a defence against the irrational aspects of the human psyche. Emotions are not rational, and rational arguments have a limited ability to quell them.

If an atheist and a religious person are quarrelling, then each is also shadow boxing with his denied self.

If the denied self of the quarrelsome religious person is doubt in the reality of his system of belief or in its effectiveness to maintain his state of self-discipline, then what might the nature of the denied self of the quarrelsome atheist be?

Here are a couple of arguments made by atheists against religion :

1. It is irrational.

Someone using the discipline of reason to try to quell irrational feelings of fear or guilt, may see in the religious person an ally for such feelings, especially since attempting to inspire fear or guilt is a major strategy of the insecure religious individual.

2. It falsely claims moral superiority.

None of us are really morally superior, but it may be very important to our conditional self-acceptance to convince ourselves that we are. Deep down we know that it is a sham in ourselves and this is why we would rather attack what is, to us, the more obvious sham of another.

A religious individual may believe that an atheist is mad. An atheist may believe that the religious individual is mad. Believe me, as a person who has actually been clinically insane, you do no good arguing against insanity, because it is a defensive mechanism the purpose of which is to protect the individual from reality.

What lies at the heart of insecure individuals, be they atheistic or religious? Fear and guilt. Fear is sometimes useful to alert us to real dangers and motivate us to take action against them. But when the danger is not real, fear may paralyse us or drive us to counter-productive action. And guilt is useless. It pretends to be a corrective, but all it does is cause us pointless suffering and thus make us more selfish.

Unconditional self-acceptance is the solution to such feelings of guilt or fear. Freed of them, the believer can be a more appreciative servant of their God and the atheist can be immune to the compulsion to argue with the rocks who refuse his seed.

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