Friday, November 11, 2011

The Spirit and Diwali

Last weekend I attended the Diwali - Festival of Lights - celebration at the Sri Sri Radha Temple in Spanish Fork (the same place I saw the Ramayana a couple months ago.) This is the second time I've attended Diwali but it's been a while. Diwali is celebrated each year, usually early in November.

According to the temple website, "Diwali is a shortened version of Deepawali (deepa=lamps, wali=row: rows of lamps). Households in India put lamps in every window, and temples brightly illuminate their altars to bring in the best for the upcoming year. The date of the festival coincides with the return of the avatar of God, Sri Rama, to His ancestral kingdom after 14 years of exile and many adventures. All the citizens welcomed Rama home by brightening up his home city of Ayodhya and setting off fireworks."

It was an amazing experience. Worshiping God with my brothers and sisters of other faiths strengthened my love for them and for God. We participated in Kirpan (I think that's spelled right), which is singing God's name to praise Him. We used Hindi names for God, but I was singing to my Lord and Savior. Someone else may call Him Rama, or Krishna, or Allah, or True Name, but He is still God.

It was a beautiful and touching worship. I felt the Spirit as He witnessed His love for me and for all His children. One of the most amazing blessings we having in this increasingly global world is that we can meet God through interacting with those of other faiths. My soul was blessed and my heart uplifted by worshiping God in a manner I'm not usually privileged to experience. We danced and sang His name. I bowed before His feet and a Hindi priest extended God's blessing to me.

The open invitation to worship God together was something I think people of many faiths can appreciate and learn from. While there I was never told "Now that you have us to help, you can truly worship God." Rather, I was told both verbally and through the accepting attitudes of the participants "We are worshiping God. Join us, and together we will be able to offer Him more praise than we could alone."

I thank God for the opportunity I had to commune with Him at Diwali. I pray that the wishes and blessings we asked for as we floated our lights on the lake will be heard.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Playing Big

After the highly positive response to my last post, along with more personal responses to the Myths series, I have decided to really try to do something with this blog. I've got myself a new email address to go with it, a few ideas for new topics, and new motivation.

I look forward to seeing where this can go. Please continue reading, commenting, and sharing. You are all super supportive and I really appreciate it!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Occupy ___

What, do you think you’re rebellious? Do you think you’re going to do some good? Do you really think you are being oppressed? I don’t know what your reason is for “occupying,” but I’d like to know.

Some of you have a point! I’m a business student who just spent a summer in a work environment that was far from fair. Not only was I underpaid – which seems the most frequent complaint of the occupiers who aren’t unemployed – but I was housed in a mold-ridden apartment where my boss and coworkers could find me to come work more unpaid hours. And this was legal because I signed a contract to be an intern. I know unfair working conditions.

But some of these complaints are ridiculous! I just saw a sign held by one of the participants in “Occupy Provo” and could not believe it. It read “Capitalism Caused this Crisis.” Next to it I saw “It’s not a Recession, it’s Robbery.” And another: “$ ≠ Free Speech.”

Yes, maybe if we weren’t a capitalist society we wouldn’t have had this crisis. But what would you prefer? Socialism? We’re working on it. Fascism? I’m sure we could oblige. A monarchy perhaps? If you really want a king instead of someone we can kick out if they fail for four years, go ahead.

If we weren’t a capitalist society, you wouldn’t get “fair wages.” You would get what the government decided you would get. And haven’t we all agreed that the government won’t look out for the best interests of the people all the time. Especially when you give them too much power – look at the USSR, Nazi Germany, Fascist Russia, Communist China and North Korea, Warlord ruled middle-eastern and African countries. Do we really want to be like them? Is that better than an economic struggle?

I repeat, I am a business student – and that presents a unique view. I have struggled to pay for my education. I have been unable to find decent jobs because of downsizing. I am starting from the bottom in this world of economic and political turmoil. Do I become discouraged and ask to be helped out of my situation? Sure! I recognize the system isn’t perfect?

I do not feel “robbed” because of the downturn. I do not believe my leaders always make the smartest moves in fixing it, but I do not believe they are planning on ruining any chance I have for economic success just to be better than me!

First off, if I make more money, I will spend more money on their products, thereby making them richer. It would be stupid for the 1% to keep me down because that only limits their growth potential.

Second, I don’t think they really have any way to stop me. If we weren’t a capitalist society, they sure could! Socialist measures would keep me in my place, but capitalism lets me move, grow, and improve my position. I can create a product and sell it. I can offer a new service. Women in third world countries do this every day, lifting their families out of poverty on the back of micro-loans they pay back with the revenues from their businesses. Do you think you are less educated, less capable, and less creative than a woman in India who has three children and no education? If you do, then maybe you are stuck, but if you aren’t, then why can’t you help yourself?

And I agree, “$ ≠ Free Speech.” Bravo to you for speaking up! But please, think before you speak. We are taught this in grade school, and it really does help. If you are really concerned about the economy, go to your local university and sit in on a basic econ class – in a class of 200, I promise you can get in free. Or a finance class to learn how to spend less than you earn – even when you earn almost nothing. I learned my freshman year (when I had no job) how to save money and make sure I could cover all necessary expenses. Guess what – I graduate debt-free this coming April!

Once you understand what you are talking about, you can speak about it and people will listen. It doesn’t take a lot of money to get to that point. The simple fact that you have researched a topic and have facts backing your opinion, assures you will be heard. The respect that comes with gaining understanding is much more powerful than money will ever be. I am a business student, but I believe true insight, understanding, and thoughtfulness are more effective than a cash infusion any day. It’s like that in marketing – I can do more with a well-planned $100 event than I can with a multi-million dollar ad campaign any day.

Please, do not insult your own intelligence by making claims that undermine your true goal. If you want economic equality, go out and fight as hard as Steve Jobs, Mark Zurkerberg, Joshua James, or Oprah Winfrey.  
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