I believe we are great spiritual beings on a journey through this physical realm and we each have gifts to share along the way. Writing is one of the ways in which I get to share my gifts. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with you.
Middle Class White Boy and the Moonshiner’s Daughter
Frankie saw Ellie as equal.
A few years ago, I wrote a novel called Touched. It’s the story of a young man growing up in the Appalachian Foothills. He comes face to face with the hypocrisies of religion and the authenticity of genuine spirituality.
I reference the novel because it dawns on me this morning that I’ve been proclaiming that there’s a great divide between religion and spirituality for years.
So, just what are the differences?
Religion is a system of time-tested boundaries and accepted rules.
Its purpose is to maintain a system, order, control, structure, and an acceptable way of thinking.
It seeks to glorify the system and reach divinity or a higher state through the keeping of standards.
Religion exalts the chosen few to an elite status of “the elect.”
It elicits an air of self-righteousness and moral superiority.
It is maintained through fear and criticism.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is an understanding of one’s place in the universe.
It does not depend upon adhering to a structure (although, it can occur within or without a structure or system).
Spirituality seeks a sense of balance, and inner peace.
It operates on the axis of letting go of ego, of understanding the basic principle that a cup is only useful because of the empty space inside which can be filled with something besides self.
It brings out the genuine best qualities in a person.
It elicits joy, love, hope, faith, kindness, forgiveness, patience and peace.
Spirituality is determined by one’s personal relationship with a divine source.
It is cultivated, not by keeping rules, but by seeking to be aligned with the divine way of doing things.
KUNG FU OF THE SOUL
The difference in religion and spirituality reminds me of the principles of internal martial arts such as Tai Chi and Bagua. Soft overcomes hard. Flexible overcomes rigid. Humility overcomes self-importance.
Religion focuses on external acts to obtain eternal security. On the other hand, spirituality operates from the premise that eternal security cannot be earned by performance but is assured because of our oneness with eternity. It flows from being in alignment with the Way of God, from staying true to our own spirit-path.
EDIT: A spirit inspired friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, recently sent me this beautiful clarification of one of my above statements.
Spirituality implies by its very nature, the Supernatural and the eternal part of man. While universe implies the temporal, the natural, something less than eternal. Therefore according to my reasoning, I believe your statement should read, “Spirituality, on the other hand is an understanding of the eternal nature of the soul of man and one’s place in the universe.”
The following article is merely to inform you, not to persuade you, scare you or coerce you into any action. I merely came upon this speech by Johnson, and it flabbergasted me, so I thought I’d share it. I encourage you to do your own research, trust your own intelligence, and seek your own spiritual path.
“He Who Controls the Weather Will Control the World,”
Ironically, it was John F. Kennedy who said that just because we can do a thing it doesn’t mean that we should do a thing. Every advance in technology comes with the double edge sword that whatever can be used for good, can also be utilized for the domination of others, which is the very root and definition of evil.
I promise you that if you trace just about any act of inhumanity to people, it comes back to the desire to have power and control over others, to be “as God,” in a sense. The root of greed is the desire for power. That’s why Jesus said that the love of money (greed) is the root of all evil (intentional harm inflicted upon others).
I mean if a group had the power to control the weather, they would NEVER use it to cause harm to people, would they? Surely not. Just look at human history. See how benevolent governments, rulers and people in powerful positions have always been? (Yes, you did detect a hint of sarcasm in my words.)
Remember this saying? “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.” Lord Acton
What if countries could wage war by sending massive tornadoes to wipe out their enemies?
What would it mean if those in power could control a population by immobilizing them with apocalyptic ice storms?
And what if they could induce droughts and high winds, then send lightning storms to spark wildfires?
Now, what if this weather controlling got out of control?
In the final book of the New Testament, Revelation, we read a description of hailstones that weigh over a hundred pounds each. Can you imagine? Is that possible? Not a hundred years ago, but what about in thirty years? What about in ten years? Or what about in three years? What about now?
What could cause such a phenomenon?
The book of Revelation also talks about heat waves so intense that people run to the mountains and cry for the rocks to fall on them. What if someone had an agenda to push so they could instigate global control?
Could they use weather as one means to make it “real?” Could they create a crisis in order to create a solution, a solution that strips every person on the planet of freedoms to come and go as they please?
I guess if a massive wildfire can destroy large swaths of land in a variety of places, including Maui, a virtual paradise island, then anything is possible.
In the 1990s I read a book by a man named Tex Marrs, whom had been a captain in the U.S. Air Force and an instructor at the University of Texas. I can’t remember the name of the book, but I do remember that in it he wrote of weather control as a way to wage war and control populations. He also spoke of AI, viruses as disguised warfare, secret societies, and occultism in high places. I thought he was CRAZY. I closed the book and proclaimed, “He’s a nut case.”
I might have been wrong.
I didn’t like his delivery method. I thought he was harsh and judgmental, but I can’t deny that he DID know some things. The evidence is all around me now, thirty years later.
I’m not outrightly accusing anyone of anything but I am inviting you to NOT take everything you see and hear on the news, on Tik-Tok, on Facebook or Twitter or on someone’s blog post, at face value.
Please realize that we’re being gaslighted at every turn, by the media, by politicians (from all parties), by celebrities, by academics, by scientists, by officials, you name it… and it’s happening on all topics, not just this one.
So, what I am inviting you to do is to be alert, to be mentally and spiritually sober, and to be a vigilant guard over your own soul, because the biggest weapon against your soul is deception and a friend used to say, “If you know you’re being deceived then you’re no longer deceived.”
Keep your calm. Trust in the Lord and do whatever you do out of a loving heart with good intentions. And above all, do not be afraid. Walk in love and know that we are more than our bodies. We live forever. When you understand who and what you are, you lose your fear of death which is the ultimate fear and when you have no fear, when you are spirit led, nothing can control you.
Therefore, do your own research. Be objective. THINK for yourself. Draw your own conclusions. It’s fine if you disagree with me, so long as your thoughts and opinions are really your own and not something you’ve been spoon-fed. Again, I encourage you, on every topic that concerns, do your own research.
Remember that old saying, “What’s right is not always popular. What’s popular is not always right.”
is forever out of control,
…trying to dominate events
goes against the current of the Tao. (the way of heaven, the Way of God)
It’s a person you love, a spouse, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a parent, a child. Maybe it’s a sibling, an in-law, an aunt or an uncle. It could be a grandparent, a friend or a co-worker. It could even be your pastor or a community leader.
But something is “off.”
And you just can’t explain it or put your finger on it. Your relationship with them keeps you second-guessing yourself.
You feel confused and disoriented.
Additionally, you feel threatened and on-edge. You may even feel the urge to flee from them. And maybe, you feel like you’re losing “yourself” around them.
You MAY LASH OUT
Sometimes, you might even lash out in ways that are not normal for you. They take your lashing out as a chance to embrace you back into the fold and help you figure out “what’s wrong with you.”
Other times, they may berate you.
Either way, they come across as stable and you seem neurotic.
YOU FEEL ISOLATED.
Maybe, even though they tell you that they’re not trying to separate you from others that you love, you feel like they are. You sense that they want your relationships with others to be on “their” terms.
Gaslighters minimize and/or dismiss your opinions. They have a gift for bursting your bubbles and downplaying your ideas.
What’s more, they want “intimacy,” possibly wanting you to share your “feelings” with them and to know “everything” about you. They want you to be enamored with them and to know that they’re the most important person in your life.
In addition, they might let you know that without them you will never succeed, be complete, live up to your potential, etc.
And you feel like you’re never quite “good enough” around them.
You find yourself apologizing for your preferences or over-explaining yourself.
…If the preceding words resonate with you, then you may be the victim of GASLIGHTING.
BUT WHAT IS GASLIGHTING?
The term “gaslight” comes from a play that was made into a movie in 1940 and then again in 1944. The premises of the script is that a psychopathic killer slowly and methodically tries to convince his wife that she is insane so that he can have her committed to a mental institution, inherit her wealth and cover up the fact that she found a letter evidencing his criminal activity.
According to Psychology Today,“Gaslighting is an insidious form of manipulation and psychological control. Victims of gaslighting are deliberately and systematically fed false information that leads them to question what they know to be true, often about themselves. They may end up doubting their memory, their perception, and even their sanity. Over time, a gaslighter’s manipulations can grow more complex and potent, making it increasingly difficult for the victim to see the truth.”
ORIGINS OF GASLIGHTERS
Gaslighting is a favorite tool of people with narcissistic traits, narcissistic personality disorder, psychopaths and sociopaths. Of course, not everyone who engages in gaslighting falls into the above categories.
Some people are unaware that they are gaslighters. They may have grown up in a gaslighting family, learning to gaslight and manipulate just like they learned to walk and talk. It comes as natural to these folks as breathing. Or they may have married into a gaslighting family and allowed it to continue until it became their go-to state of being, which means any children they raise will be reared in a gaslighting environment.
However, OTHERS know exactly what they’re doing.
They may have gaslit their entire lives, getting what they want from people by studying them, recognizing their paths of trajectory then manipulating them with subtle and well-placed words. Gaslighters will applaud themselves for being “honest” and demand “honesty” from you, especially “emotional honesty” but they themselves, while “honest” may actually be quite deceptive, using their emotional “honesty” as another tool in their arsenal. They can appear to be vulnerable when it’s for the purpose of shaping your emotional reaction in their favor.
THE ORIGINAL GASLILGHTER
Regardless of whether it’s on purpose or a natural extension of their personality, gaslighting is harmful. In fact, the first incident of gaslighting that I can think of is recorded in Genesis 3:2-4
2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
Just as the serpent wanted to alter Eve’s perception of reality and make her doubt what God had originally told her, gaslighters want to alter your perception of reality. Gaslighting is witchcraft in its purest form, attempting to not only manipulate you into doing what the gaslighter wants, but it literally alters the way you view reality. It seeks to subjugate you to domination.”
Even Jesus faced a gaslighter when he was tempted in the wilderness. He’re an account from Luke 4.
3And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 4And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. 5And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.6And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
WHAT DO THEY GAIN FROM IT?
According to Shaneen Megji and all the books I’ve recently read on the subject, they do it for the following reasons:
To gain power &/or control. Why? Because, maybe, at some point in their lives, they felt powerless and when they first got that taste of power, it fed them!
Make you dependent upon them.
Isolate you from people who might sway you over to another reality whether that be your family, your church, your friends, etc.
All of them do it because they want to control your thoughts, actions and version of reality for the purpose of reinforcing their own version of reality.
Whether intentional or not, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and it leaves a mark on its victims. Here are some tactics that gaslighters use.
Angels of Light
-Gaslighters may often appear to be altruistic to the public. If they are financially able, they may even be philanthropists, giving to be recognized as “good” people. Doing good deeds with no recognition or grandiosity at all does not usually appeal to them. It’s possible that a gaslighter may be a prominent citizen and be “adored” by the public. They may come across as charming, polite, respectful, and fun. Whatever the case, they present one face to the world and when their victims try to speak out, no one believes them.
-Gaslighters often wear a mask of confidence or even compassion (it’s fake compassion) to make you realize that you’ve go it all wrong or that they simply have “your best interest at heart.” They know what’s best for you. You might end up apologizing, admiring them and doubting your own grip on reality. They want you to trust them and follow their lead on all the “big” things in life, but guess who decides what’s a “big” thing?
Gaslighters want to know what makes you tick. They intuitively feel the urge to find out as much as they can about you emotionally and psychologically. These folks want to know what pleases you physically, emotionally and mentally. They may need this for future ammunition.
CHANGING THE SUBJECT.
The gaslighter will sometimes get you off track by posing a question to you or simply changing the subject and getting you off track. He or she may even bring up another subject accusing you of something and turning the tables so that you are the attacker, and they appear to be the victim! They may convince you that you have a problem. Maybe a personality disorder or they might even convince you that you’re a covert narcissist or that you have an anxiety disorder, an attachment style disorder or any number of things.
Gaslighters may brush your insights, ideas and concerns off as insignificant, which leaves you feeling foolish for bringing them up in the first place. It’s not uncommon for them to ignore your boundaries or pretend that you weren’t plain when you set them. They may even tell you to set boundaries and want you to enforce them with others but when you try to enforce them with the gaslighter, he or she will explain them away. Often a gaslighter will sweep your emotions under the rug or say that you aren’t really feeling what you say you’re feeling or that you never said what you claim to have said.
Denial, twisting, dismissing and reframing.
Gaslighters will subtly (the better they are at it, the more subtle their twisting) twist and reframe whatever is said or done into their favor, often painting themselves as the victim and you as the toxic person. They will usually steer a conversation in their favor and if they do own up to anything, it’s only to get you to trust them and confide in them even more. When this is compared with fake empathy or fake compassion, it can make you feel as if you’re being irrational, and you may begin to question your own emotional or mental stability.
If you’re experiencing the things discussed in this article, take heed. Gaslighters don’t get better. The pit they put you in just gets deeper.
Listen to your gut.
If you have a feeling that something is “off” in a relationship, even if you can’t explain it, and you probably won’t be able to, don’t ignore it.
Trust your own powers of observation and intellect.
Don’t let anyone discredit you or make you feel inferior. Your ideas and observations are valid.
Confide in an objective friend.
Find someone who doesn’t have a proverbial dog in the fight. Someone like a counselor, a family member, a pastor, a friend, someone you can trust who will help you see more clearly, or better yet….
Gather a team.
Depending on the nature of the relationship (isit a coworker? friend? spouse? etc.) and the perpetual proximity to the gaslighter (do you live with them or simply have to encounter them occassionally?) chances are you will need help getting free of their influence. So, finding a core group of supporters is important.
Seriously, document conversations, but don’t let them know you’re doing it. Then show the documentation to that trusted person or group of people you are confiding in to verify your observations. Don’t confront your gaslighter.
Guard your heart and limit emotional access.
In her book Good Boundaries and Good-byes, Lysa Terkurst speaks of limiting access to people who perpetually cross your boundaries. It’s okay NOT to share your innermost feelings with them. The gaslighter needs to know that he or she is getting under your skin. That’s why they gather intel on you.
Lead them down a false trail.
I know that sounds manipulative but if your gaslighter thinks they have your number, yet they’re a mile off track, it gives you time to gather your wits and fortify your emotional forces.
Get help from a therapist.
This will help you know you’re not insane. You’re not imagining things.
If you leave a relationship, break contact and don’t give in to love bombing or hoovering. (To learn more about this check out Dr. Ramini’s video channel, referenced below), whenever possible, GET OUT of the relationship as fast as you can.