Welcome to Minding Your Mind, a weekly show for those looking for new thinking about old knowledge in the areas of Time, Living, Success, Health, Love, and Happiness.
In episode 11, I talked about not being able to know, why we must not have that ability, and why we should thank God we don’t.
Sounds counterintuitive, right? I explained…, that even counterintuitive, it makes all the sense in the world. Listen or relisten to the episode.
Also…, in episode 6, I said that I may talk more about my views on religion…, today I will.
Is there a difference between a miracle, a coincidence, and a blessing?
Hello, I am William Garcia, Philosopher and author of the book titled Now O’ Clock…Being Mindful, it Always is.
We all have our own perspectives about the knowledge we possess.
Speaking for myself…, my perspectives about knowledge of different subjects have shifted or changed over time with the evolution of such knowledge and how I think about old knowledge as it applies to the present human condition.
For example, over Time…, when talking about “being”, living and Life…, some things though unknowable…, still move people to live a faith-based life.
Generally, for older folks…, Life takes on a different meaning. Naturally, and for many…, mortality becomes an ongoing concern. Thoughts of Redemption, Reconciliation, Death, God, Heaven, and Hell, naturally pop up more often than usual.
Long-lived folks like myself…, are more mindful than ever that…, Time continues to spend what is left of our lives.
Here I remind you that we do not…, run out of Time…, we simply run out of Life.
Furthermore…, I dare say it is Time that makes us mortal, and consequently…, makes Death inevitable.
In episode 8, I talked about what I call, the natural equation…, (TNE). It remains in effect… It always is.
A quote titled, A subtraction Proposition.
“Life itself is a subtraction proposition. We do not get more of it. As Time elapses and Life is spent, there is no replenishment”. – William Garcia
When I think about it…, I thank God that I will run out of Life in a final Instant…, some Now into the future.
No, no, no… I do not have a Death wish. I have a greater wish…, and it is some form of “Being” on the other side of Time, in a place I imagine Heaven to be.
Now…, because I am merely human and believe, I try to live my life by the “Ten commandments” …, or at least some version of these.
As a guide…, I believe it is a good way to live. I call it “Heaven insurance”…, a way of living that serves as an insurance policy in order that I may benefit if, in fact, there is a God and a Heaven.
What?!… Come on…! Most of us are required to buy auto, medical, and homeowners’ insurance so that we may be covered in the event something bad happens.
Still…, don’t get me wrong here. I am not suggesting that running out of Life is a bad thing.
There is no way of knowing if the inevitable end of Life as we know it…, is a bad thing.
What I do believe however…, is that the end of Life may lead to a gate that opens into the other side of Time. It may be the gate through which we have to pass if we are to ascend…, or cross over into Heaven.
You heard right… I did say cross over… I did because no one knows if Time or Life have any particular direction…, or if looking to the skies mean, it is where heaven is.
For that matter…, I do not recall ever going through a gate that opened upstairs or downstairs. So far, every gate I have used opened across to one side or another.
This is my mind.
Anyway, continuing with my metaphor…, for those who believe…; God has allowed for a 98% discount of the price of admission into heaven. Death, of course, is the Pass that gains you access had you chosen to live a life being humanly kind.
On the other hand, our investment in the covenant is only 2% in the currency of faith in God…; A mustard seed’s worth.
I do not know of a better deal…, do you?
As I was saying…, we buy insurance at great financial costs, behavioral modification, and knowing that the benefits are insignificant when compared to the promise of everlasting residency in Heaven.
While we are here though…, we try to drive carefully, and we take good care of our health and property.
Of course…, there is much virtue in these behaviors…, and most of us derive some benefit at some level.
On the other hand…, we are not compelled to live by certain morals, principles, and values…, and there may not be a direct or immediate financial cost to suffer if we do not.
Still, without having to be religious…, we are free to be as kind, as considerate, as fair, as respectful, as loving, and as charitable as we choose to be. Fortunately…, enough people are.
It is true. My, almost 40 years in the law enforcement community, and my interactions with the public in general …, revealed to me that most people, regardless of their human condition…, are basically decent.
Otherwise…, we are just as free to be as bad-minded, Inconsiderate, awful, and as evil as we choose to be…, even being religious. Fortunately…, the number of these is vastly less than the good and decent people we meet every day, everywhere.
It is not up to God who we choose to be.
However, because most of us believe in a God, we try to be as our God has asked us to be, or perhaps as we imagine God would want us to be like…, on this side of Time.
God designed us as intelligent beings with the free will to choose good over evil, right or wrong…, and most everything else in life.
God has offered us all an open invitation into heaven…, and we gain entrance when we run out of Life having lived nonjudgmentally, kind, grateful, respectful and made “good” choices being faithful to Him, her…, or it.
For the next few moments, and because this is important…, loosen your mental security belt and let us mind our minds together.
I identify as being spiritual…, not religious. Still, I need only to be curious, and I am, about what it all means and how it happens. Perhaps, you are just as curious.
Anyway, I cannot help but wonder if we all come into Life from some level in heaven…, or that there is even such a thing as levels.
Is this thought so mindboggling?
Think about it… We do not know where we come from or where we go…, if anywhere at all…, when we run out of Life.
For the faithful…, God in heaven is what awaits them 180 degrees later. At least…, that is what we hope and pray for. Right?
So…, let us go back to when it all began for each of us…, when we were conceived. It is the first instant of our lives…, the miracle of conception, believed to be an act of God…, God who resides in a kingdom called Heaven.
It may be the beginning of our first journey through Life… Perhaps it is our second, third, or fourth journey through Life here on Earth.
I imagine that, for some, the first journey would be the only one they have to take. This may be especially true for those whose journey was short lived; those who never had the opportunity to exercise their free will. Of course…, I am talking about infants.
I have never heard anyone question where an infant goes when it runs out of life… Have you?
For the rest of us…, a second journey would be the first Trial during which we subconsciously redeem ourselves with the hope of rising to a higher level when we return to heaven as we run out of Life, over and over, again.
Obviously…, I have no way of knowing which journey I am on. I could only hope that it is my second and last. But I doubt it… I am hardly a saint.
Perhaps I have been here more than twice…, and now find myself on my last journey after which I will make it to the highest level in Heaven and will not have to come back.
Nevertheless, for those of us who have, and for those who will come back…, it may be that we reincarnate repeatedly until we reach the highest level in the kingdom of Heaven.
I don’t know… Do you?… Does anyone?
Maybe…, being curious…, I am just chasing thoughts as they cross my mind and trying to make sense of it all even knowing…, I cannot know.
You know…, it occurs to me to ask…, does Déjà vu have anything to do with reincarnation? Could Déjà vu be what our soul’s eye see as an instant transcendent glimpse through a hole in the gate in Time that God allows us…; sort of a hint that we really reincarnate?
Again, I do not know…, but I remain curious… How about you?
Still…, we are born, and then we live the way we choose to live until we run out of Life…, and who knows, what then. I hope Heaven, in all its glory…, is next for you and for me. That is, what then.
I believe there is a universal Truth…, and there may be, as evidenced by history and the common knowledge that most people in the world believe in a God and…, in a Heaven.
I also believe that most people are aware that if they are to meet God in heaven, they must first die.
Still…, many resists even the thought of running out of Life…, and perhaps it is simply the fear of the unknown.
But wait a minute…, if you do believe in God and in heaven…, aren’t these also unknowns?… Of course, they are.
As a practical matter…, I do not know God or anything about Heaven. However, like many of you, I just trust in God, and that when I run out of Life, and having lived faithful to God…, that I will go to heaven.
So how do we reconcile Fear with Trust?
Those who say they believe in God and hope to go to heaven, may need to come to terms with their mixed feelings about first having to run out of Life.
Fear of the unknown is one thing…; fear of the inevitable is irrational… Don’t you think?
So…, how does one overcome such a fear? It is simple…, and it starts with being sincere about what we really do believe.
To say that you believe in God and in a Heaven while at the same time having a fear of running out of Life, reveals either that you really do not believe…, or that your trust in God may not be as strong as it could be…, which is it?
What is there to fear of eternal Love and Happiness in heaven with God?
Either way…, the reality of Life is that whether we believe or not…, whether we trust or not, some “Now” into the future…, we are all going to run out of Life…, then what?
Two questions you may want to think about, and answer are: What do I, really believe and, am I…, ready?
For the next few moments, I will share a couple of stories I hope may inspire you to think about answers.
At a business meeting, a longtime client of mine told me that a close friend had died, and that he spent the last night crying unconsolably.
I asked him if his friend believed in God and in Heaven.
“My friend had a strong faith in God”, he answered.
“So why do you cry”? I asked.
“What do you mean”? He replied.
I believed that when someone runs out of Life being a good human and having a true faith in God…, they go straight to heaven, I said.
“My friend was a good man who believed in God as much as I do, and his faith is just as strong”, he said.
“Well, knowing that your friend is with God in heaven is good reason to celebrate the life he lived, and your own aspiration to joining him there later.
Now…, if your friend had died not believing in God as you do…, perhaps that would be reason enough to cry because he would be denied entrance into the Kingdom of heaven. He would not be there, when you are.
My client replied, “I never thought of it that way. It makes all the sense in the world”.
Nevertheless…, life remains mostly an emotional experience, not an intellectual one…, not one to make sense of matters of faith…, and so, we will continue to cry.
Furthermore, psychologists believe that when we lose someone, weep and mourn…, it is not so much that the person died, as it is that we no longer have that person in our lives. It may be pure selfishness on our part.
Here again…, perhaps it is simply Human nature.
Oh…! By the way…, when it comes to mourning…, there is something particularly important I should have talked about in episode 1. But…, for some reason, it slipped my mind.
At a police memorial I was hosting, there was a lady whose son paid the ultimate price while in the line of duty. In offering my condolences, I told her that, at least, she had another son she could love and be loved by.
My words did not, at all, sit well with her. With tears in her eyes and with an angry tone, she replied, “But I do not have this one. I will never have this one again”, and then she walked away.
Before she walked away…, what else I was about to say to this grief-stricken mother, is what I tell you now.
I understand and appreciate that we grieve…, and it is a normal and healthy characteristic we have as human beings, and that some grieve longer than others.
However, as best you can…, try to always be fully aware that you are in the Now…; Life in Time beyond the life of your late loved one.
Fortunately, for most of us…, there are others in our lives we can love and be loved by, as there is Life to do so now.
So…, I implore you, Don’t get used to grieving… Seek help before too long.
I say this because I have seen it happen…, and because it is regrettable.
A quote titled, “This may be regrettable”.
“Don’t get used to grieving. I say this because you can, and because this may be regrettable. It could cause those who love you, and have moved beyond grieving the same loss, to now suffer that you have not”. – William Garcia
Remember this quote when the time comes.
In the meantime…, live Now, be a good human, do no harm and do what you enjoy most doing. Love now, love much, love often, and let yourself be loved. Your life will be a happier one.
In such a life, there is little time for fear of anything…, especially the inevitable. Furthermore, it cost nothing to invest in Heaven insurance…, and you don’t have to be religious to qualify.
I believe coverage is based on faith and our behavior toward each other…, more than it does our beliefs. At least…, it should be.
To some…, God is “She”, to many…, God is “He”, and to others…, God is “Nature”. Different religions have different names for God and different notions of what heaven is like.
Who knows what is true?… I do not… Do you? I mean…, do you know?
I speak for myself when I say that I believe in God and in Heaven while…, not knowing either.
For me, as it is for many…, perhaps even you…, living a life believing in God and in Heaven is a matter of Faith…, not of knowledge.
I may die and find “Nothingness” or, hopefully…, God in Heaven.
If there is Nothingness…, at least I lived a life of faith, service, gratitude, love, kindness, and respect for fellow humans…, and that to me…, would be a good life to have lived.
A quote titled, My King.
“Time may have well been my master here on Earth. But God may yet be my king in Heaven”. – William Garcia
Here…, I want to make an admission about my trust in God.
I have a real fear or anxiety… I am not sure which it is when it comes to having faith in God… It may be both.
Still…, I have mixed feelings about not knowing…, but I trust anyway. With all else going on in life, it is the most difficult challenge I face all day, every day… But I hold on.
When I pray for something, I know I must trust that my prayer will be received and answered, otherwise…, why pray?
Still, the fear and the anxiety never go away…, and there appears to be no way to reconcile the two emotions.
For me…, it is a constant mental and emotional balancing act, and trying to live with and make sense of it…, is indeed a difficult challenge.
Maybe the fear is that my prayers may not be received…, much less answered…, and if they are…, how and when.
How will I be able to recognize and appreciate the form the answer may take.
I say this because we do not always get exactly what we want, how we want, or when.
I am left to imagine that some of the answers may come as a sequence of events over Time that would require patience and continued faith until the answers manifest in my life.
To help maintain balance, I live by the quote titled, Trust.
“Trust God, and as you do your best, believe in yourself, be patient and trust your destiny”. – William Garcia
As they say…, “God works in mysterious ways”, and as usual…, for me at least…, it is the battle between the head and the heart, where Trust is the mediator.
I believe that I should trust because, most of the times throughout my life…, whether I had prayed or not…, I have been, and continue to be…, truly blessed.
I bet you feel the same way too.
Here is a story about something incredibly special that happened to my family and me.
It happened in a way I described as an answer to a prayer that may have come through a sequence of events over Time, requiring patience…, and that came in a form different from what I prayed for.
On the other hand, it may have been just another blessing bestowed upon us…, a miracle, or a coincidence…; still, to this day…, I am not quite sure which.
At the time…., it was something I had in mind. However…, I do not recall praying for it. Yet, it served the needed purpose as it manifested in our lives.
One August afternoon, I had taken my daughters to JC Penny to buy school uniforms, and entering one of the dressing rooms was a woman with the cutest little puppy in her purse.
I asked what kind of puppy it was, and she said it was a Chihuahua. My daughters saw the puppy and were so excited and happy that, right there and then…, it occurred to me to get them a pet.
I asked the woman about getting a puppy, and she said they had one that was pregnant and would be having pups in a few weeks. She gave me her number so that I could call to arrange to get one.
We finished shopping, and on our way home…, the girls would not stop talking about the puppy. They were happier than they had been in a while.
Unfortunately…, their feelings of happiness only lasted until we got home. That is where and when it turned to the daily concern and sadness we felt about Mom.
Before she was diagnosed, we were a beautiful family in a home where…, when you walked in…, you could sense that Love lived there.
Unfortunately…, Mom was battling lung cancer and life had taken on a reality of pain, fear, sadness, despair, and frustration. Home was like a battlefield…, and we were her soldiers.
Frustratingly, we could not hold back the enemy even with reinforcement soldiers from the health care field and friends and family who prayed every day for mom.
Mom’s condition continued to worsen…, and now more than ever…, I had to be there by her side every free moment I had.
This made me increasingly worried for the girls. Being in the thick of the fight, they could see that mom was not getting better and that she could not do Mommy things anymore.
This also made getting a pet for them just as urgent and important as caring and comforting mom.
They needed something to be distracted by from the daily battle and seeing how much mom was suffering.
A pet would make a difference especially knowing…, but hoping against what appeared inevitable…, that we were going to lose the battle.
I started calling the number the woman at JC Penney gave me. I wanted to know about the puppy but got no answer. I called several times after, and at different times of the day and…, no answer. I soon had to abandon the idea.
By this Time, the mood in our home had become as sick as Mom was, and it did not help that we too…, had become sick with concern for her. Home became mostly a quiet place, where Love prayed.
I remember one morning Marilyn told me…, Papi, I am tired of fighting…, and just a few days later, the doctor told me that my greatest love, the mother of my daughters was now…, in her End days.
By this time, I had completely forgotten about the puppy…, but my concern for the girls reminded me just how important it still was to get them a pet.
It would be a good distraction from all the sadness and stress. It would give them something to care for and play with. A pet would bring a little happiness into their lives. Home would at least be a little louder and livelier.
I became really frustrated because, more important…, was the present and pressing reality of Mom’s rapidly declining condition, and the love and care she wanted and needed now…, more than ever.
I believe in prayer, and I prayed all day every day for Mom to get better.
Like most people in similar situations…, I prayed for a miracle. I also prayed for the strength to keep the girls as calm and assured as I could. I prayed for the strength to be able to endure and survive what was to come.
With all that was going on, we were now faced with the imminent landfall of hurricane Wilma…, a category 2 hurricane.
It was October 23, 2005…, and during one of her hospital stays, it was “Discharge” day, but her doctor told us that she could stay until the storm passed. But Mom wanted to come home and so…, we brought her there.
The following night, Wilma landed stronger than the experts had forecasted. It was one of the most stressful nights of my entire life.
I was up all night making sure that everything was secured, Mom was attended to, and that the girls were calm.
The following morning, I woke up, greeted my wife with the usual kiss, made her some tea, and gave her medication … Sadly…, this was the routine.
I went to check on the girls and they were still fast asleep. I then headed outside to see what damage Wilma had left in her wake.
As I stepped outside, the sky was crying, but getting wet was the least of my concerns.
A few steps out, there were broken palm branches everywhere, and debris and patio furniture in the pool. I did not know where to start the clearing and cleanup.
At that moment…, I felt so overwhelmed by the whole mess outside…, and the sadness I was feeling inside.
I looked around and, in my despair…, I asked God for strength.
Just then…, I could hear what sounded like kittens. I looked around but could not see where they were. I walked toward the sound, and under some broken palm branches, and at the base of two palm trees were three black kittens…; triplets for our twin daughters, I thought.
They appeared to have been born during the storm, and looking at them, I could not believe they survived the storm as well as they did. Incredibly, they were in good condition.
They were in what was like a pocket or cubbyhole at the base of the trees where they had the protection, they needed to survive the storm.
Before the storm, I had never seen a cat in our backyard.
Regardless…, I was so surprised and excited to tell and show the girls.
For the moment, I felt some happiness inside I had not felt in some time, and it was because I knew the girls would be so happy to see the kittens.
I went inside and told my wife about the kittens…, and she smiled. It was all she was able to do with the constant pain she felt.
Still…, it seemed the pain she felt had subsided for the moment. I knew it was because she felt good knowing the kittens would make the girls happy…; knowing that they would be preoccupied with them, and less worried about her.
It was all about being in the moment as she was and feeling that all was well in her world in the instance of her life…, in her present living moment.
Only God’s medicine can do that…, it being a blessing, a miracle, or a coincidence.
I went into the bedroom, woke up the girls, and told them I wanted them to see something out back.
On the way out, they greeted Mom, gave her a hug and a kiss, and asked her how she was feeling…, and as usual, Mom said “OK”. This time she really was…, but just for a few moments.
By now, the sky had stopped crying as we stepped outside. The girls could not believe the big mess hurricane Wilma had left…, and for a moment they thought it was what I wanted them to see.
When we got to the palm trees where the kittens were, I said, “Look babies!” They were now fully awake and so happy to see the kittens. Their faces lit up with, “WOW”! I could see the happiness in their eyes as they asked if they could keep them. Of course…., I said yes.
How could I say no to what I believed was a miracle and an answer to a prayer I had not made…, at least not consciously?
That day in JC Penney, the idea of getting the girls a pet was born. Now…, it had to have been God that gave them three.
5 days after the girls turned 11, it was November 2, 2005…, and in her own home, Mom slipped out of her broken body and into the eternal awakening on the other side of Time, I hoped…, in Heaven.
You know…, God is great, merciful…, and so loving that he will even answer prayers made or not. I believe it is God’s way of blessing us simply for being good humans and having faith in him.
A quote titled, Trust and Believe.” You do not always have to ask in order to receive. You need only trust and believe, and God will provide when in need”. – William Garcia
We were all in need of something that would lighten the mood in our home…, and so it was.
God had lifted some of the weight I was carrying on my shoulders, and he had eased some of the suffering my wife was feeling…, at least for a few precious moments.
It was God’s way of showing mercy and bestowing upon us a means to cope with what was to come.
The three kittens…, having survived the destruction of hurricane Wilma…, had come when we most needed them so that we could have new life to care for…, lives that came with a real promise; a new beginning; a hopeful future.
Now the girls had something after school to come home to. It became a daily event and served as the perfect distraction they needed to transition in terms of their emotional wellbeing. It would be the start of a life in Mom’s recent and permanent absence.
Soon enough, they decided to name the kittens… Amada named one Jonathan, Bianca named the other Luna, and they both agreed to name third one Scrabbly… Guess why.
By the way…, there was one condition about keeping the kittens; they could not feed them. That way when they grew up, they would leave…, and so it was.
Sometime in April 2006, the kittens were all grown up and left as I expected.
However…, now I had a new problem. The girls started to miss the cats and I had to do something about it.
I thought about the woman and the Chihuahua puppy, but I remembered throwing away the phone number she gave me. So…, I started a Chihuahua “puppy search” and it quickly became frustrating and depressing. It seemed they had become extinct.
My son Angel Luis was also in the search party…, and early one evening he called me to say he was at the grocery store and outside was a man selling Chihuahua puppies. I told him to get me the man’s name and number.
Now…, listen to this…, the man’s name was William…, coincidence?
That same night I called William, went to his house, gave him $200 and came home with the cutest brown and black 10-week-old Chihuahua puppy.
I felt blessed, and was so excited for the girls, because it would be a welcome and happy surprise.
Coincidentally, it so happened they were at Grandma’s for the night. This gave me the time to bathe the puppy, and it could begin to get used to me and to our home.
Then, it occurred to me that it was the night before the first Mother’s Day without Mom…, and a bittersweet feeling came over me.
Just then, Puppy jumped off the sofa and appeared to have hurt her leg…, but I did not give it much thought.
Now, it was Mother’s Day morning and I had more of a sweet thought in my mind than a bitter feeling in my heart.
On my way to Grandma’s…, the thought of my darlings being so happy to meet their new pet was greater than any bitterness I might have felt in my heart.
When they saw Puppy, they were so happy they could hardly contain themselves as they fussed over who would hold it first.
When they finally put Puppy down, they noticed it limped when she walked. I told them what had happened, and it was then it appeared the injury was worse than I thought and so…, we took her to the Animal ER.
An X-ray revealed that Puppy had fractured her little leg, and of course…, I gave the doctor the OK to treat Puppy. Then it was an all-day wait for the doctor to fix Puppy’s leg…, cast and all.
It was a Mother’s Day we will always remember…, a day that was mostly about Puppy than it was about Mom…, a day that was mostly sweet…, a good day.
That night the girls agreed to name Puppy, Miracle… Coincidence?
One day a black cat appeared out back. How the girls knew it was Luna may have been a twin triplet telepathy thing… What do I know?
Anyway, so you know…, I had hoped that Miracle would be a Teacup Chihuahua. Fortunately, she grew no bigger than what I call a “Coffee mug” Chihuahua. Still…, she was smaller than Luna.
And so it was…, and as I believe it is with God’s blessings upon us on this side of Time…, blessings that are answers to prayers made or not, and whose purpose was more important than form.
I wanted a puppy for the girls and God…, perhaps testing my patience…, gave them three kittens first.
You know what?… At the Time, I was not aware of any sequence of events, nor that I was being patient. I was simply doing what I needed to do to keep our family whole.
Meanwhile, I was mindful of the trust I had; a trust that wavered at times, but never faded. It was trust that allowed my soul to see what may have been answers to prayers made or not…, and that manifested in our lives in the form of a miracle that came in the wake of a natural act of destruction and later followed by a blessing named Miracle.
In the end…, could it have simply been coincidences? Is there a difference between a Coincidence a Blessing?… Is the difference a matter of religious belief…, or just faith?… Should any difference matter at all?
I do not think so. It made the difference we most needed in our lives at the time. That was all that mattered, and to me…, that is all that matters.
Believe what you will…, or do not believe at all. Just respect, do not judge…, and for the love of Life…, do no harm.
Because…, what is always true for everyone, is that the unknowable remains unknowable…, and that every day we live, leaves us one day less to live.
So…, as they used to say…, live and let live. Better yet…, I say…, let us all live along…, and get along.
Living along and being spiritual, I choose to continue to have a strong faith in God’s will as I am lifted, carried, and moved until I, too…, run out of Life and slip into the eternal awakening on the other side of time, hopefully, in heaven.
In episode 13, I will share the experience of having a panic attack, about what, and how I overcame it. I believe you will appreciate it. Tune in.
Until then, stop by my website, nowoclock.live. There you will find more original, positive, inspirational, and thought-provoking content you can mind your mind with. Share what you find there and spread any idea you agree is worth spreading. There is something there as there was here, for almost everyone. I hope there was for you.