Musings on Karma and Hell on Earth

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I’m in a good mood today. No change that I’m in a great mood. I got up late sure but I guess I needed the sleep. It’s been a hard week but now I feel fully rested. Yesterday I wrote the end of my novel. Ok I still have about a thousand words to write and then a lot of editing and rewrites to go through but writing those last few lines of a story that has taken me the last year to write was a wonderful feeling. The sun is out. I go to do my shopping enjoying driving and listening to my music. After shopping I go to get fuel. The station is rather full and a car from the other direction is waiting to get in. There is also another car behind me who I believe is trying to get pass to exit the store car park. I’m trying to be nice so I pull out of the way to let them go on round. The car in front of me at the garage and I wave the car opposite me to go in front. Just as she is about to move the car behind me goes around pulling into the garage in front of both of us.
It’s annoying but I continue to let the waiting lady go in front of me before finding my own pump at the garage. I fill up and go to play. The woman I let in is just in front of me also paying. I look around for the car that had pushed in front of both of us. The pump she had pulled up to had been out of order. She’s had to wait until the car in front has moved and so she is still filling up. I finish paying just as she comes in to pay. I don’t need to say anything. My mood is still good and I feel a sense of justice that even though she had pushed in both myself and the other lady have already finish. A sense of karma having prevailed.

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It’s a funny business this idea of karma. I’ve seen friends use the phase all the time on Facebook when someone has crossed them. Karma will bite them in the ass is the usual comment. I have one friend who often says this having fallen out with someone. Rather ironically she is a person who has in the past crossed people and sure enough bad things have happened to her and yet she never thinks that this might be karma working against her. Sometimes I guess people only think that karma is something that can be wished on other people.
But surely the idea behind karma (in as much as it’s used as a catch all term) is that there is rewards for being a good person and punishment if you are not and isn’t wishing bad karma on someone also a bad deed. Is it just a case of wanting to feel that somehow justice is done and people can’t get away with doing bad things? That some universal force will sort this all out. And again if this is true then is there such a thing as free will? That we have to be good because otherwise something bad will happen to us?
It’s an idea that has been around for centuries. In some ideas of reincarnation it depends on what sort of life you’ve lived before that influences your next life. That we need to learn some sort of lesson that we failed on previously. Even in Christianity there is the idea that if we are good in this life we go to heaven but if we sin we go to hell. So if you are someone who believes in the idea of karma surely you should be spending your life trying to do as much good as you can in this lifetime and void anything bad. It may seem like a nice world but then all we are doing is good things for the sake of reward and not simple because we want to.
And the fact is if this universal law applies all over then that would mean those people who are good should always be successful in life and those who are bad will have a terrible life but we can see that this just isn’t true. I suppose in the end it’s just nice when justice does seem to be done. That’s why we like crime dramas I guess.
But we must also think about what is considered to be bad, what actions deserves punishment. What if someone does a bad deed but with good intentions or visa versa. The trolley problem is a good example of this.

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How many times I’ve read something to do with Trans gender and the usual comment about how trying to change gender is against God and will be punished. Really? This is what your God does? Go around punishing people who are trying to find their way in this world and to be the person they want to be? When I read such comments I get mad and to me it’s those people who need a dose of karma for being so hateful. So really I’m just as bad as many others out there.

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As for the whole idea of heaven or hell well I’m a fan of the TV show Lucifer and on the episode I watched this morning there is a scene where Lucifer comments that he is not the one who sends people to Hell. It is the person themselves that sends themselves there. Trapped in a world of their own guilt and remorse.

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And while driving back home thinking on the idea of karma and the idea of good and bad I realise that while the idea behind Lucifer’s comment is that we create on own hell I think that this is something we sometimes do here in our own lifetime.
We can try and be the sort of person we want to be and we have a choice on whether we do good things or bad. Sometime yes we may get carried away with events, swept along with the tide. How many crimes are committed in the heat of the moment? Maybe we do something unaware of the consequences of those actions. We don’t see the result.
Ultimately then does all this boils down to the fact of whether someone feels guilty for their actions. If we do something bad and we know then is the right thing to do is to try and make amends. Maybe we can’t fix the original problem but we can try and rebalance the scales. Something I touched upon in the blog of Angel as a role model looking for redemption for his past deeds. And for all his bad press and people blaming him for the evil in the world Lucifer is at heart a good person. He punishes those who deserve punishment and by doing so helps the police solve crimes and catch the bad guys.
Maybe we should stop wishing karma will come and sort people out and concentrate on being the type of person that doesn’t deserve it. Instead of making our own hell and blaming other people for it we can make it that our heaven is a place on Earth. I know it’s not easy. Yeah I feel great today but maybe tomorrow I’ll feel my depression hit me again. I will feel bad over choices I’ve made in the past, people I’ve lost and how my life is stuck and I can’t seem to get out. Hopefully I will be able in those times look back at this post and remind myself that I can do some things to make myself feel better, that there is still good things to come in my life and that I can choose to feel the way I do.

 

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Role Models Encore

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So that it. I’ve posted about the six role models heroes that have help defined the person I am today and gave me insights to the kind of person I want to be. Six fictional males. This may seem a bit odd given certain revelations I have made on this page but…
Well for a start one could now argue that with Jodie Whittaker stepping into the role the Doctor can also be female. True but at the time of writing the original list the new series hadn’t even started let alone the idea that one day there would be a female Doctor. Likewise however my Trans feelings only really came to the front last year. And though the representatives of these role models are male the traits that they embody for me are not necessarily male. He-man gave me my sense of morals, of right and wrong. The same as his sister She-Ra who I also watched as a child. Spider-man is the sense of responsibility for my actions and to keep fighting and not give up. Supergirl could be said to be the same and Angel is about redemption for your past, something I could have easily got from watching Xena who follows the same themes of trying to make up for her bad past and finally making the ultimate sacrifice in order to make amends.
That’s not to say there hasn’t been or isn’t female characters that I do like. Apart from those mentioned above there is Buffy and from the Arrow Universe there is Sara Lance the Black/White Canary, a character who I really admire and wouldn’t mind being like.

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The same can be said for Alex Drake from Ashes to Ashes. I love her style of dress and her attitude to the world she finds herself in. Bernice Summerfield is my one of my favourite Doctor Who companions who influenced me enough to base some of my novel’s character on. Yeah there are parts of her I’d like to be like, loyal, hardworking, sarcastic wit, able to hold her booze but the idea behind the list was those characters had qualities that I could identify with and highlighted qualities that I could find within myself. There are plenty of characters on both sides of gender that have aspects that I like but not enough that they have actually influenced me into the person I am. Not enough to become role models that I can draw on when I need inspiration or courage or faith in myself.
But there is another thing about this list I wrote so long ago. There were in fact seven heroes on that list and the final one has two things that the others didn’t and I’m not talking the obvious here. Firstly she is female. Secondly she wasn’t fictional. Yes for all the points made above about the role models I’ve blogged being all male they are also all fictional. Characters that are given interesting backgrounds, can do amazing feats and above all draw on a wealth of writers and their ideas melding together to make the character.

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Since I wrote that list I would say that the list has grown a little with a few more role models added and all of them are real females that I admire and take something from that helps define who I am. And that’s who I’m going to talk about now. But I’m aware that these are real people and they may not want their names posted and so I will use simple letters.
The woman that was on the original list was N. A person that I worked with some years ago. She was brilliant and we worked together well, knew how each other operated allowing our office to run smoothly. Even when she had problems she would always appear bubbly and cheerful. She had a great sense of strength about her and this is what I took from here. She was always someone I could talk to about my problems and unlike the other role models who could on guide me through my knowledge of their characters N could give me real advice and feedback. She did a lot to help boost my confidence in myself. So when looking for strength and confidence in what I’m doing I think back on her. Sadly we are no longer in contact with each other but to this day I always remember the things I learnt from her. Hell she was the one who taught me how to multi task.
After N came J. She taught me a lot of spiritual stuff. She is how I got into ghost hunting. To me she always seems to glow with a youthful energy. She help me learn about trusting in karma and the balance of the universe. She is who I need when I’m feeling drained or feel like everything is against me. And she too gave me confidence and the belief that I could be a better person and to believe that I could get what I want. It was her that made the suggestion to go to college which in turn lead to university.

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C I have known for years. She is an amazing woman and probably the closest I would say to an actual superhero. I also know she may read this blog as out of everyone I know she is the only one I trust completely with my secrets. She has done so much in her life that I wish I had done myself. An excellent musician, she has had the courage to get up on stage to sing. I’d love to play the guitar and piano. I also have the dream of getting up on stage (especially as my alter ego) but lack the courage so much at the moment. On top of this she has done so many other things which I’d better not mention here and yet always seemed to take on so much more on top. She is a fighter, always getting back up when she’s knocked down because she need to. Clever, witty and always, always stands up for herself and what she believes in. I cannot name what traits I take from her because it’s her whole character overall. She is like many of my heroes rolled into one. J might have been the one who lead me to university but C is the one who helped me get through it. She has been there for me in my darkest hours allowing me to find my way again. Seriously this woman needs a cape.
She can be quite bossy though.

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So that’s it. Three more role models, real life role models at that who I believe are amazing and would love to have just some of the strength, determination, courage and abilities that they have. I’ll also just add one more recent female who I have been following through the media this year. C.M. She is a transgender person who documented her transformation online over the last few years. (I had to play catch-up and watched as she over time turned into this very attractive woman. But it’s not just her bravery at doing those videos and her determination to go through everything she has had to in order to become the woman she wanted but she has also created the life that she wants for herself. She is now a racing driver, a traveller and a presenter. She has changed herself and her life to how she wanted it to be and I hope that, with her and every other of my role models, real or fiction in mind, I too can overcome the obstacles in my way. To fight for what I want, to be whom I want and to have the life that I want. And I hope those who have read this can find the strength to do this too.
Here endith the lesson.

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My Beliefs

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Recently on a forum a question was asked about religion. More specifically how do you feel about other religions? With many people stating which religion they followed. My answer included the fact that I’m a Wiccan Jedi. Which raised some interest. It’s not the first time I’ve mentioned it. It says it in the about me part of this blog and I was engaged in a very interesting conversation one night in the SU bar at uni with another student. I had also started to write a blog post about being a Wiccan Jedi to explain my beliefs but then I found myself struggling. You see I do like the Jedi religion. I’ve spent a great time studying it and would have explored it further had I gone on to do my Masters degree.
And I do believe that it should be considered a real religion in a way. Forget the films and the ideas of light sabres. For most being a Jedi is leading a life seeking knowledge, something I love doing anyway. It also teaches how to be at peace with yourself and to be a good person. But then does someone really need to follow a ‘religion’ in order to accomplish those things. You see there is nothing in my being a Jedi that requires any dedication and as shown by the blogs on role models our morals and values can come from various sources. One of my tutors at University, Dave Webster wrote the book Dispirited. In which he claims that being using Spiritual to define your belief system is basically lazy as you pick out the bits you like and leave out those that you don’t. Therefore there is no inner debate or theorisation within yourself on ‘ethical’ issues relating to said beliefs. And I began to think that really this is what I was doing with the Jedi religion. (Let me be straight here, I don’t think this is a flaw with Jedi religion just with me personally.) While there is nothing I leave out of being a Jedi it seems to be that I like the ideas contained within in and so call myself a Jedi.

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The same could be said for the Wicca part. I don’t cast spells (although I have in the past) or follow any deity. For me it is because it is connected to nature and I like nature. But there is something I feel that connects the two religions which is why if I had done my Master’s my dissertation would have made the case for Jedism being a pagan religion because both religions indicate a belief in a force. Sure in the films Obi Wan explains how the force is a energy that surrounds and penetrates everything around us and some of those, myself included, believe that there is actually a force out there. For me I think that it is a natural energy force that at times we can feel and I believe that when we die our energy become part of this universal force. There is a similar type of force in Wicca called the All or the One. I also think that this force is part of what we think of as karma, In Chinese cultures it is known as QI or Chi and for those that follow the Law of Attraction the universal energy. Given that George Lucus when writing Star Wars took inspiration from many religious sources this is likely where the ideas came from.

 

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So yeah my main belief allowing me to claim to be Wicca or Jedi is this belief in this force. That’s it, everything else that is Jedi or Wiccan such as meditation, Do no harm to others, to seek knowledge is just part of who I am and like Geroge Lucus’s Jedi’s and his force it all comes from various sources that I have fused together to try and be the person I want to. There is nothing I do to go out of my way to practiced or debate any ethical issues. I believe in something that hasn’t been proven but I don’t really go around telling people about it.
So why is my beliefs been playing on my mind recently. Well there is the girl I like (see blog post Trapped.) She has recently become a Christian. Wasn’t before, is now. I have no problem with that, I’m all for people finding their own way in life and even if I have taken the mickey out of Christianity before now I still respect peoples beliefs. And to be fair this girl is not going around ramming it down people’s throats. She’s not frowning on people doing things that might go against her beliefs but she does follow them. She goes out and does things related to being a Christian. You know the type of thing. A stall at a public event, that sort of thing. She has a dedication to her religion.
Now I don’t think I’m going to become a Christian myself, it’s not really my thing. I mean if I can’t really dedicate myself to the religions I am drawn to what chance is there for one that I’m not. But would I, if put in the situation, go out and help on one of this stalls. Well the answer is yes. Not because of any belief and not just because I’ll want to impress this girl. (all right it would be a big part of the reason I would but come on whose going to blame me) but because I’m the kind of person that would help out if asked. I feel like it’s my duty on this planet to help others and while my head might hold the idea it’s because I’m a Jedi really deep down I think I’m just, for the most part, a nice person and I don’t need a religion to be that person.
So that’s my belief. That there is some kind of force out there, somewhere where we go when we die and, something that we can ask for help, or for guidance or even for the girl. Time maybe for me to go meditate or chant and focus on what I want. Or at the very least stand by those things I do believe in and make sure I’m the best person I can be. And while I’m about it may be ask the universe for people to have a bit of tolerance for those who believe something different.

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The Doctor as a role model

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For anyone who has ready all the posts in this blog it should come as no surprise that the final role model on this list is the Doctor. Seriously I’ve been doing this blog for months, stating at the beginning that I’m a big fan and yet somehow I haven’t wrote anything about Doctor Who yet. He wasn’t even the last role model on my list. He was actually number four and on a list that had been written before the series returned. But I’ve saved him until last because he has more than any of the others been the biggest influence on my life. The main role model who has been there from when I was a kid in the eighties to today. And it is surprising how sometimes it has have had parallels with my life. For example the first Doctor novel I was reading back in 2007 Venusian Lullaby which dealt with the loss and remembrance of loved ones was the same time I lost my nan. The eleventh Doctor’s relationship with married companions Amy and Rory came to an end at the same time as my friendship with a couple I was close with. To this day I still haven’t seen or heard from her much to my sadness. And now the Doctor after being male for all his life is now becoming a woman in the same year I start to question my own gender identity. It’s not surprising that my dissertation in uni was based around Doctor Who. A Modern Myth for a Post Cristian society. The idea that Doctor Who could act as a replacement for religion.

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It’s hard to know where to start with the Doctor as a role model, there have been twelve Doctors so far, each with their own personalities and traits and I don’t really want to go through each Doctor listing their differences. Because basically, at heart, there is a fundamental Doctorness that comes through each incarnation. Even Eccleston who I though initially was not suited to the role had it and it’s why I have little fear that Whittaker will be able to pull it off.
There is a phase that has been used to describe the Doctor that writer Terrence Dicks came up with and that in recent years has been used by the Doctor himself. Never cruel, never cowardly. It is a good phase to live by. Not to be cruel to people and never to be scared of standing up for yourself and others even if deep down you are scared.
But there are other things I take from the Doctor. His sense of wonder at the universe, his love of exploring the unknown. His search for truth and knowledge. I have three favourite Doctors. Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy and Matt Smith. The fifth, seventh and eleventh Doctors respectively.
It was of course the classic Doctors that I grew up with and the fifth Doctor was the one from my childhood. Just to see his youthful energy and pleasure at life. The following exchange is the best example of this.
The Doctor: Emotions have their uses.
Cyber Leader: They restrict and curtail the intellect, and logic of the mind.
The Doctor: They also enhance life. When did you last have the pleasure of smelling a flower, watching a sunset, eating a well-prepared meal?
Cyber Leader: These things are irrelevant.
The Doctor:

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The fifth Doctor had an honest charm about him and would often hesitate before making rash choices always trying to find a better way to solve the problems usually trying diplomacy first. He is the Doctor that perhaps shows the most conscience. It is telling that unlike his bombastic incarnations either side he died saving just the single life of his companion, willing to sacrifice himself for his friend.

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The type of passion and youthfulness that the fifth Doctor showed is one of the reasons the eleventh Doctor is one of my favourites from the new series. He too values the little things in life but is also willing to do what he can to help his friends and others. He has a great childish nature but this hides a calculating side of him where his enemies underestimate him. I find the eleventh Doctor to almost be a mix of both the fifth Doctor and the Seventh.

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Sadly the series went off air in 1989 with the seventh Doctor who continued his adventures in a series of novels. This made him become another favourite of mine. But unlike the carefree fifth Doctor who just seemed to get caught up in things the seventh Doctor was a master planner. He engineered plans to defeat his enemies and at times this caused conflicts with his companions but there was lessons to be learned here. I learnt that it is possible to make plans and to try and work out all the angles but at times things can go wrong and you need to improvise. But from the seventh Doctor’s flaws I leant that it is important to be mindful of your actions and to be careful not to hurt those close to you. To keep in mind the bigger picture but to also not forget the small stuff.
But overall there are aspects from all Doctors that are good with morals and lessons from all the incarnations.

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We see the first Doctor changed over time from a selfish suspicious alien to a character that dares to stop the villains he comes across. The second Doctor continues this, continuing to fight and to save the people he comes across and yet having the sense of fun with his adventures and touched with tenderness towards his companions. The third was all action and became part of a team. There was a lot of Buddhist themes during his era especially where he learns that his own thirst for knowledge can be seen as a greed and finally learning to let go of his old life in order to become a new man.
This of course was when he became the fourth Doctor and it’s interesting to note that after changing he abandons his old life, leaving behind his job and his ‘family’ and goes out to wonder the cosmos looking for adventure. A great lesson for those who want to change their life. With regards to the sixth Doctor the lessons learnt here are more to do with the aftermath of this incarnation. His predecessor comes to think of the sixth doctor in a negative light and it is only later that he comes to realise that his own memories are twisted and learns to forgive himself, a lesson in forgiving your past. The eighth Doctor regains his love of life again and living in the moment. His glee in his first adventure over a simple well-fitting pair of shoes is a great moment.
The ninth Doctor had some nice moments but above all when we meet him he is broken by his actions in the past and through his friendship with Rose he heals himself. Rose says it herself that the Doctor showed her a better way to live life.
That you don’t just give up, you don’t just let things happen. You make a stand, you say no, you have the guts to do what’s right.

 
The tenth had a story arch where his arrogance is eventually his downfall and the twelve questions whether he is a good man. So there is something that can be learnt from every incarnation

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But my favourite quote concerning the Doctor comes from writer Lance Parkin.

No one can be The Doctor, he’s more than human, but we can try to be like The Doctor – peaceful, intelligent, witty, reasonable, aware of what is truly important.”
Take joy in life, plan the big stuff but take pleasure in the little things. Stand up for yourself and others when scared. Remember who you were but keep moving forward. Search for truth Hate is always foolish and love is always wise. Always try to be nice but never fail to be kind. Laugh hard and run fast. And be fantastic.

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