On a summer night in the summer of 2009 two men in their mid-30s, who lived in a suburb of New York City, were riding together to the Eastern Temple of Peace and Enlightenment (a temple that is real for the purpose of this story but that is not a temple in real life).  One of men (who are individuals who are real for the purpose of this story but who are not real in real life) was a real estate agent named Cody.  The other man (who was a computer IT-type person who had trouble keeping a job for very long) was named Johnny.  Cody and Johnny had been friends for many years.  As Cody turned his BMW into the parking lot of the Eastern Temple of Peace and Enlightenment, Cody said to Johnny "I really appreciate you coming here with me tonight, Johnny.  I know that you are skeptical of all religions, Eastern religions and Western religions, but please try to listen carefully to what the speakers say tonight, even though you might think that what they are saying is not relevant in the world that we live in today.  When we are done here at the temple tonight I'm hoping that we will have time go out somewhere where we can talk about what we hear from the speakers who will be here tonight."

Johnny was a little bit nervous as he and Cody walked into the Eastern Temple of Peace and Enlightenment.  He tended to always get nervous at church-type services because he always felt like he was the only person in attendance who did not find any meaning or inspiration in what the speaker was saying.  Johnny had always felt that if he had been born 200 years earlier he might have been a strong supporter of the church.  Johnny felt that at one time it was unthinkable to question the power of the church because of the external dangers that our societies were faced with at an earlier time in history.  There was a time in history when there was a very real danger that another country might invade your country and that you might be killed in the invasion or that you might have your property and your wealth taken away from you.  The church had a lot of power at that time because even if a person in the year 1800, for example, thought that religious myths might not be true, they believed that they (and the other members of society) would be personally safer from external dangers (like their country being invaded by another country) if people such as themselves did not question the religious myths.  There may have been a lot of people at that time who kept their doubts about religious myths to themselves because they felt it was important for their country to be united and strong.  In our world today, according to Johnny's thinking, we are not as concerned as we were at one time about our individual countries needing to be united so that we can fight off an invasion from another country.  And that is probably the reason why Johnny and people similar to Johnny did not see any harm in questioning the myths upon which many of our religions are based.

The first speaker for the evening at the Eastern Temple of Peace and Enlightenment started off by saying:  "How often do you and I really listen to other people?  Have you ever been talking to someone about three or four different topics when they suddenly say 'now you're talking'?  Suddenly you wonder if this person has been listening to you at all.  Did they think that you were not talking during in the 20 minutes prior to the moment you happened to say something that they agreed with?  Were they only listening to you when you expressed an opinion that was similar to their own opinion?  I would like to suggest that we make an attempt to become more accepting of people who seem to be defensive and who don't want to listen to any ideas that differ from their personal view of life.  When we get into a conversation with a person and after 20 or 30 minutes they say 'now you're talking' maybe we should tell them that we did not mean to offend them by not trying to find out more about their views on life before spending 20 to 30 minutes talking only about our own view of life.  We could apologize for not having gotten to know them better so that we would know what was important to them and what was not important to them.  We all have our own viewpoints of life.  We are really no better than other people in this regard.  And by getting into a deep conversation with another person about the issues that are important to them we give them a chance that they don't get very often (which is a chance to talk about what they want to talk about without getting cut off by the other person)".

The second speaker for the evening talked about the "divine order of things".  He said that there is a divine order of things in this world and that when we try to fight the divine order (rather than being in harmony with the divine order) we always end up failing miserably.  Johnny felt that what the speaker was saying made some sense.  He knew that you shouldn't fight against divine forces, but he felt that there were a lot of gray areas when it came to trying to please a divine being.  He knew, for example, that the people who try to live by the 10 commandments often fail miserably in life while those who bend and break many of the 10 commandments often seem to do quite well in this world.  Anyway, he didn't mind too much that this speaker had raised issues that had always troubled him because he knew that within an hour or so he would be sitting across from Cody discussing the issues that the two speakers for the evening had talked about.  Cody always had a way of explaining things in terms that Johnny could understand.

After the meeting at the Eastern Temple of Peace and Enlightenment ended, Cody and Johnny went out to a nice restaurant that they had been to many times before.  After getting seated at their table Cody started the conversation, "Johnny, I'm curious to hear your ideas about what the speakers had to say tonight.  To start out with I was wondering what you thought about the first speaker who spoke about learning how to really listening to other people by keeping our own opinion out of the conversation to allow the other person to do something that they have always wanted to do, which is give their own viewpoint to another person without being cut off by the other person before they are able to fully express themselves."

"You know, Cody", said Johnny, "that sounds like a really good idea but I think that a lot of people today use the aggressive listening techniques such as the ones described by the speaker tonight to take advantage of other people.  For example, many salespeople are known to practice techniques such as these when they are having trouble selling something to a customer who refuses to say "yes" and refuses to buy the product that the salesperson is selling.  By keeping their own view of life in the background for a few minutes (and thus disguising the fact that they are willing and able to take advantage of the customer at the first opportunity they are given) the customer is fooled into thinking that there is no harm in opening up and talking freely with the salesperson.  At the start of the conversation the customer might be afraid to open up and talk freely with the salesperson because he knows that if he does that the salesperson will succeed in selling him something that he will regret buying later.  When the salesperson temporarily pushes his own ego into the background (temporarily not showing the customer his own true view of life) the customer will say things that provide the ammunition that the salesperson will need to later attack the customer's resistance to purchasing what the salesperson is trying to sell him."

"Okay, fair enough," said Cody.  "And what did you think about the second speaker who spoke about being in harmony with the divine order of things?  I remember that you once told me that you thought that people who try to live by the 10 commandments often fail miserably in life while those people who bend and break many of the 10 commandments often seem to do quite well in this world.  Am I correct in assuming that you didn't really understand what the second speaker was talking about tonight in his references to the divine order?"

"That is true, Cody", Johnny replied.

"Johnny, I remember once you told me you believed that if you had lived 200 years ago you would have probably supported the church because at that time every country had external enemies that might attack them.  You felt that if you had lived then you would have kept your doubts about the religious myths to yourself and you would have supported the church as a way to show support for your country to help protect your country from external attack.  In our society today we may not worry about another country invading us, but a new danger has arisen over the past few years.  Let me explain a little bit about what has been happening."  

"For many years cultures throughout the world have practiced spiritual slavery by not allowing some of their members to develop spiritually.  By doing this they have taken the spiritual energy of the spiritual slaves and they have given that spiritual energy to other people in the society.  It was thought that society as a whole would be stronger if some of the members of society gave up their spiritual energy for the benefit of the group (making the other members of society spiritually stronger than they would have been otherwise)".

"When a person becomes another person's spiritual slave", Cody continued, "they end up absorbing the pressure that should be going to the person who has made them into their spiritual slave.  The individual who has been made into a spiritual slave will have to deal with not only the pressure in their own life but they also will have to absorb the pressure that is being directed towards the person who has made them into spiritual slave.  If they eventually, with insight into the nature of their situation, get some sort of psychological release where they no longer feel the need to absorb the pressure of the people who made them into a spiritual slave, they will notice very soon that they will have increased pressure put upon them by people who are upset that the person who made them into a spiritual slave is not happy about the new situation where they have to absorb the pressure that was previously absorbed for them by their spiritual slave.  The person who has been forced to become a spiritual slave might also be accused of being evil after they break free from their spiritual slavery.  The ones who have been using them as a spiritual slave might say that they are feeling increased negative spiritual energy coming into them and they might claim that the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person is evil and has put a curse on them and that is why they are feeling increased negative spiritual energy coming into them.  Actually, they are just feeling the negative spiritual energy that the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person had been absorbing for them through the years.  But being as the person who made the more vulnerable person into a spiritual slave is going through obvious spiritual and psychological pain as a result of what has occurred, it will appear to anyone observing the situation that the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person probably has in fact put some sort of a curse on the other person.  The spiritual slave will now be cast in the role of an evil person and the person who had been a spiritual slave will be forced to go back into their old role where they were being forced to absorb the pressure that is being directed towards the person who had made the spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person into their spiritual slave."












"Johnny, 200 years ago the divine order of things was to allow some people in the society to be spiritual sacrificial lambs to give more spiritual energy to the elite members of society.  This was justified because it was thought that if you had a strong and powerful elite class, then those people would be better able to protect the country from a foreign invasion.  Today, the divine order of things is to allow people to continue using other people as spiritual sacrificial lambs (or spiritual slaves) because there are so many millions of people in the world today who are dependent on their spiritual slaves that if these spiritual slaves were allowed their freedom, the effect on society could be disastrous.  I do not feel guilty if I use aggressive listening techniques such as the ones described by the speaker at the temple tonight to sell a spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person (or spiritual slave) a house that he can't really afford and that he will probably not be able to pay for.  The reason I feel good about doing this is not only because it is important for me to get a nice commission check but also because it is important for us to keep spiritual slaves from becoming too strong.  And when the spiritual slave who I duped, or fooled, into getting in over his head financially ends up losing everything he has, I will be the first one to say that it is his own fault because he makes bad decisions.  And why, Johnny, do you think that no one will challenge me when I tell an outright lie by saying this person should take all of the blame for something that I purposely tried to make happen?"  


"Well, Cody," said Johnny, "if you are in a war it is considered honorable to lie about your enemy if telling the truth would cause your country to lose the war.  You've explained some things to me tonight that I have always had trouble understanding.  If you are the type of person who uses other people as spiritual slaves (and you and I are those sorts of people, Cody) then you will do everything you possibly can to keep spiritual slaves from gaining their spiritual freedom.  If these spiritual slaves break free from their spiritual bondage, the lives of people like you and I are going to become very difficult as we will be forced to start absorbing some of the pressures of life that the spiritual slaves have been absorbing for us through the years.  You're a good friend, Cody.  Thank you for explaining the spiritual facts of life to me.  I think you've turned this skeptic into a believer.  And I will see you at the Eastern Temple of Peace and Enlightenment on Sunday." 

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Copyright Don Bergquist 2010