Many mystics and spiritual leaders believe the main goal of life is to unite with God/Infinite Intelligence. They believe uniting with God makes life blissful and brings higher wisdom and knowledge to an individual. For this reason, I researched on what great thinkers thought on how to unite with The Creator and I stumbled upon Epictetus’ idea.
According to Epictetus, you unite with God when you make God’s will your will. As he put it ‘A person who reasons well, understands and considers, that if he joins himself to God, he shall go safely through his journey. ‘How do you mean join himself to God?’ That whatever is the will of God may be his will too, that whatever is not the will of God, may not be his.’ (John Bonforte, Philosophy of Epictetus)
Epictetus thus trusted that accepting God’s will results in unity with God. According to him, you accept God’s will when you detach from everything since God subjected everything to change. You realize that nothing you have is permanent and you stop idolizing your material possessions.
Epictetus also believed that to accept God’s will, you must avoid feeling sad when something bad happens to your possessions because doing so is resisting God’s will. Feeling bad when something happens to your possessions shows that you want to retain forever what God made temporary. The Stoic philosopher wanted us to thankfully receive whatever the universe gives us, and let it go without regrets when the universe takes it back.
Furthermore, he believed you make God’s will your will when you place your ‘pursuits under the direction of God’ and accept whatever life throws at you. For as he wrote, ‘Say to yourself, ‘I have placed my pursuits under the direction of God. Is it his will that I should have a fever? It is my will too. Is it his will that I should obtain anything? It is my will too.’ Epictetus trusted God so much that he believed that whatever God allowed to happen was good.
He believed God controlled everything including our experiences and possessions. He trusted that God determined what happens to us and what we can amass in this world.
To sum up, Epictetus believed that understanding that nothing is permanent and accepting whatever happens leads to unity with God.
‘Conduct me, O God, and thou, O destiny. Wherever your decrees have fixed my lot. I follow cheerfully.’ – Epictetus (John Bonforte, Philosophy of Epictetus)
Bonforte, J. (1955). Philosophy of Epictetus. New York: The Philosophical Library
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Friedrich Nietzsche on Why God is Dead and the Effects of God’s Death
“But when Zarathustra was alone, he spoke thus to his heart. ‘Could it be possible? This old saint has not heard in his forest that God is dead!” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900), a German philosopher, is remembered for his popular phrase: ‘God is dead.’ He came up with this phrase after realizing that the society had shifted its focus from religion to science and progress. As well, he observed how the scientific revolution resulted in the society believing that science was more reliable in helping it understand life than religion.
The phrase thus implied that, in the 19th century, many individuals stopped believing in the importance of God because the term ‘God’ became a cultural idea. Furthermore, it indicated that the society stopped perceiving God as the source of creation, and it seldom involved spirituality in everyday social life.
Although Friedrich Nietzsche was an atheist, he believed ‘God’s death’ would bring disastrous effects to the society. For as he wrote, ‘God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, the murderers of all murderers, console ourselves?
He knew ancient people used God to console themselves during hard times, and therefore, God’s death would result in people finding it difficult to face hardships because they would lack a source of consolation. Besides, he claimed that modern folks would despair and find life meaningless if they stopped focusing on God as their helper.
Nietzsche’s idea of God’s death continues to be true in the 21st century because many people have stopped believing in God. To most people, God is just an ancient’s man idea since he doesn’t exist.
For this reason, as Nietzsche prophesied, many people today find life meaningless as it is difficult to find life purposeful in a Godless world. Also, those facing hardships succumb to depression and lose hope in life because they don’t believe that God will help them overcome their hardships.
Nietzsche’s phrase must thus remind us about the importance of believing in a Higher Power/God. This belief reduces the chances of depression when one faces hardships as it makes individuals realize that God is on their side. Lastly, it makes life meaningful as it enlightens us that we were created by a Higher Power for a Higher Purpose.
Thanks for Reading.
Peace be With You
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The Wisdom of Spinoza: Top 5 Powerful Teachings of Spinoza
Baruch Spinoza, born in 1632, was a philosopher who focused on teaching about God, and the limits of religious authority. He also taught about the human mind, science, and morality. As well, he stressed on the importance of freedom, and he provided the masses with a scientific interpretation of the Bible.
Spinoza’s teachings were enlightening, and the elite believed they would expose several religious errors and awaken the masses. For this reason, the elite forced him to flee Amsterdam.
I gathered Spinoza’s teachings from his book, ‘The Philosophy of Spinoza (Edited by Joseph Ratner).
1.How to Achieve Sustained Happiness
We only achieve happiness when we free ourselves from the bondage of our emotions by becoming the masters of our emotions. To become the master of our emotions, we must know ourselves because it’s impossible to control our emotions if we don’t study and understand ourselves.
2.Everything is Divine
‘Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can either be or be conceived without God.’ – Baruch Spinoza
Spinoza opposed the religious belief that some things are divine while others aren’t. For him, everything is divine because everything exists within God. He believed nothing is unholy because everything exists only because God, The Divine Creator, exists.
3.Anyone Can Understand God’s True Nature
‘Everyone can by the light of nature clearly understand the goodness and the eternal validity of God.’ – Baruch Spinoza
Many religious leaders believe understanding God is a spiritual gift only bestowed upon some individuals. However, Spinoza believed everyone can understand God’s true nature by studying nature because nature acts according to God’s laws and thus displays ‘his’ attributes.
4. Miracles are Natural Occurrences
Spinoza disagreed with the idea that miracles are contrary to nature since ‘nothing comes to pass in nature in contravention to her universal laws.’ For him, miracles are part of nature since they obey its laws. He claimed that many people believe miracles are supernatural occurrences because they are beyond their understanding.
5.The Illusion of Good and Bad
According to Spinoza, good and bad are ideas that arise after comparing one thing with another. For instance, an individual only believes Hip Hop is bad because he compares it with Country music, Rock, or Rhumba.
Besides this, people call one thing bad if it makes them sad and call another good if it makes them happy. For this reason, good and bad changes because something that can make you happy might be called bad if it makes another person sad.
Hope you loved Spinoza’s teachings.
Anyway, I gained massive interest in Spinoza’s teachings after realizing that he was banished from the Jewish community and forced to flee Amsterdam. My research on ancient history has enlightened me that all people who provided the masses with teachings that enabled them to realize their true power were either forced to exile or killed. Jesus was crucified, Socrates was sentenced to death, and Pythagoras was burned.
We should all strive to study these folks – who were either killed or exiled – because their teachings contained hidden truths that the ruling classes didn’t want us to know. I will thus continue studying Spinoza’s works, and I’ll share them with you because I believe they contain powerful hidden teachings.
Spinoza, Benedictus de, and Joseph Ratner. The Philosophy of Spinoza. Modern Library, 1954.
PEACE BE WITH YOU
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