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SteveS55

Words And Symbols

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For many years I have enjoyed the writings of J. Krishnamurti, mainly because I think he was one of the most original spiritual thinkers of the twentieth century. Lately, I’ve been taken with some of his thoughts about our relationship with reality, vis-à-vis “words and symbols”. Here is something he spoke on the subject in 1968:

 

“One of the fundamental questions consists in man’s relationship to reality. That reality has been expressed in different ways….If we do not discover for ourselves what that relationship is, independently of the theoreticians and the theologians and the priests, we are incapable of discovering what relationship with reality is. That reality may be named as God, and the name is really of very little importance, because the name, the word, the symbol, is never the actual…..So in asking the question, as to what is the true relationship of man to reality, one must be free of the word with all its associations, with all its prejudices and conditions…One must be extraordinarily serious to find out if there is such a reality, or if there is not, and what is man’s relationship to it.” J. Krishnamurti - Talks in Europe 1968, 48, Social Responsibility

 

It sounds to me that what Krisnamurti is suggesting, is that virtually our entire “relationship” with reality is based on the word or symbol representing what we think we perceive. So, this begs the question: Does reality, as perceived by humans, consist of only representations described by words and symbols? Is there no other substantial form to what we identify as “reality”, other than what we classify, define and judge? Do we, as humans, create a “reality” of our own?

 

There are some Buddhist schools that would agree with a lot of this. They would say that what we perceive as “reality” is merely an illusion, and that “absolute reality” is something that cannot be defined, classified, or even verbalized. It is ineffable, a term also used by many of the Christian mystics.

 

Many of these questions are obviously rhetorical, but still food for thought.

 

Peace.

Steve

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Steve, I like Krishnamurti also and I agree that before we can understand the supernatural we have to know our natural self because what we think of God tells us more about ourselves than God. I think we get taste every now and then when we forget ourselves, but we can't even describe the taste even though we try.

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I'm thinking that the word God is a bit like the word person or even an individual persons name.

 

For instance I have a friend named Pam. Now the word or the name Pam cannot possibly express who that person is, what she's like or what her life experiences have been. As I get to know her however the name Pam opens up in my mind all sorts of images, feelings and thoughts - most of them positive and that I'm glad to be thinking about.

 

Now the word God can invoke all sorts of thoughts, feelings, ideas and images in the consciousness of a person saying or hearing the word. They can be extremely negative or extremely positive or a conglomeration of the two. The thing is to find the understanding of the word God as one that is true. To me this has to be an extremely positive understanding and perception, even a revelation, if not then it's not God. Though I can't say that I know God in Es entirety, {I don't know if too many people besides JC do}, I am trying to understand God as best I can for where I'm at and for my place/years in this life.

 

I do think that we as people can develop our faculty for perceiving the truth and for perceiving what is true. Perceiving God as something that is purely positive and intensely positive, not a false positive or positives covering up or condoning a negative, affects me as the perception of a real and complete total truth. It's hard to explain, maybe one has to just keep trying to do it and experience it. To keep trying to tune into what God really is - or what I keep telling myself is to keep trying to tune into what - if God were really God, what would God really have to be like to really, really be really truly God. This directs my consciousness into the perception of a positive and positiveness that for me has been completely overwhelming, mind boggling and full of pure and undiluted love.

 

I don't know if this all really pertains to what your post is about, or if it really makes all that much sense, words being what they are and poor substitutes for actual experiences. It really does kind of sound like I kind of am kind of making God up, - the only thing is what I end up experiencing is something that I, myself, could never have made up. I really am experiencing something. "Knock and the door will be opened", are the words that I remember to support me in this venture and journey.

 

Thanks for reading

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Elen, I agree the experience is more than the words and it is unfolding moment to moment, but the experience in the mind is only looking at a part of the whole picture. Stepping out of the mind or a little back from the picture gives us a little more of the experience.

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Soma

 

I get what you are saying, I’ve read some Eckhart Tolle who talks about quieting the mind and experiencing the present and that this can be a doorway to spiritual enlightenment and awakening.

 

I happen to be very much a westerner however, and a north-westerner at that, so I really like well-defined concepts and to try and get the right word/words for everything. That’s us, westerners, we like to analyze, investigate and explore everything.

 

I’m thinking that for me, for the time being anyways, I’m trying to include the rest of my being along with my minds or the intellectual experience. Not leaving the mind out so much, but including the heart and spirit and my whole being in life’s and spiritual experiences. And yeah, I probably won’t be able to put much of this into accurately descriptive words, though that doesn’t mean I won’t try.

You're probably right however, too much mind or intellect tends to delete or curtail real experience, and real spiritual experiences too.

 

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E,

 

Since you are somewhat familiar with Tolle.....heres what he says...

 

"The ego doesn't know that the mind and mental positions have nothing to do with who you are because the ego is the unobserved mind itself"

 

Essentially to me, the mind is a tool and when you let go of identification with your mind through observation, who you are beyond the mind then emerges by itself. The substrate that emerges is beyond any words and symbols and while we attempt to define that experience in words and symbols, it can only point to THAT.

 

Just some thoughts concerning this thread,

Joseph

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Elen I like thinking about these things with my mind and need to answer these questions so my mind will be quiet and I can go beyond it to the soul. I wrote the following,which is just my opinion or our mind as a learning tool.

 

Our natural state of being is one of integration with the whole making the path known from moment to moment as long as we are alive, but sometimes we will feel lost while being guided when expanding our field of vision and reallocating to another level of awareness. This inner alignment with the soul opens our consciousness to the totality of our life so it can carry out our being in harmony as we travel on the path of life. Our natural state is one of high vibration, but our mind presumes that it knows the way just because it knows what it is looking for and that is to be right and prevail over others. That is the path of conceit and inexperience, a path that is unable to make contact with the wisdom and compassion or our inner power and Divinity. On the material path we have to release and allow ourselves to return to the high state of being by changing our point of view from the mind to the soul. In a soul perspective we will still have the expected problems of life, but these obstacles become the starting place to develop our patience, harmony and compassion so we can come across our inner wisdom and love. We can guide our considerations to be more upbeat and optimistic or we can tolerate negative thoughts and their disruptions. We do not have to accept the thoughts that run through our minds and can challenge the negative ones before they make the present state of affairs unpleasant and unhealthy. If we don’t like our situation, we can change it by changing our thoughts. The thoughts we think are emitted from our being and they do not return empty handed, but return immersed with the same vibration that they were emitted with originally either positive or negative. We are responsible for the energy that leaves our mental and physical constitution because the vibrations will cause either joy or pain. Energy leaving with love will create health and enjoyment while energy leaving with dread will create negative, unhealthy feelings. Healing comes into being when we become aware of the emotions and thoughts we are concealing or emitting either negative or positive and we decide to restore a healthy atmosphere in ourselves and in the natural world. Negative emotions will continue to come into our experience until we acknowledge them and respond to their message if not they will come again with the same lesson. In the energy world where we exist with so many different vibrations around us, we will benefit looking into the unseen energies and how they affect us and others. Even the negative vibrations and emotions are good because our salvation from them comes when we become aware of them and they come undone so we are free at last.

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Hi Joseph,

 

Concerning your Tolle quote, after some thought, I’ll say that my best understanding of the subject is somewhat different. It would depend on what the mind or the “mental positions” tells a person about who they are, what they tell them about themselves and creation, {and their relationship to God, and how God sees them, from my personal perspective.} It also kind of seems from the quote that he’s saying that the consciousness of the ego is not self-aware, and that is not how I understand ego or how the word ego is used. {I’m thinking there can be a healthy ego, and then there’s an unhealthy or selfish ego, the ego it’s self is not necessarily positive or negative, though I do understand that some people see it this way and think that we should have not have an ego}. I like Tolle, but I’m not what one could call a real follower, and am certainly not a blindish follower.

 

You are writing about who we/you/I/people really are, beyond or within who/what the mind tells us we are, or thinks we are. I have my own ideas and experiences on this, and more specifically, on who I really am. For me it’s when I can get in touch and can actually be my “true Christ self”. This could take a page or two to try to explain, and like you say maybe “it could only point to that”/ this which I’m trying to communicate.

 

Even though this is an important and interesting subject for me, I’ll have to leave it for later. At the present time I’m afraid I’m a bit under the weather and am unable to keep up with the web board as well as a whole real bunch of other things.

 

Hope things are going well for you and yours - E

 

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Hi E,

 

I think Tolle is saying that the real you is more the observer of the mind or more accurately the one who is aware of the mind and its mental positions. Where ego comes into play is when the mind unobserved is left to its own conditioned mental positions (whether negative or positive) as if it is you. Tolle would call it unconsciousness or acting out our conditioning and in my experience, most of us walk around in that state most often. :)

 

The body and mind , in my view, are tools to be used and not the real you beyond the temporal.. They (body and mind) are rather for the most of us the fassade or face we put on and in my experience mistake for who we are when they are allowed to take a separate idenity (ego) of their own which happens when we identify with them rather than the one who is aware of them.

 

Things are indeed well here. Thanks for the well wishes, Hope you are feeling better tomorrow.

Joseph

 

PS. As you mention, the word ego has multiple ways it is used or understood. I like this from ... Deepak Chopra, M.D.

"The ego is our self-image, not our true self. It is characterized by labels, masks, images, and judgments. The true self is the field of possibilities, creativity, intentions, and power. We can go beyond the ego through self awareness - awareness of our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and speech. "

Edited by JosephM

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Joseph,

Can we not have a "self-image" of our "true self", or a 'true self image' even if it's different from the "ego's" self-image? (that is in the context that you are using the word ego here)

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Hi soma,

 

It seems that your last post to me on this thread is very much the same as the one you left me on my intro thread – correct me if I’m wrong about this. I guess I’m going to reply to most of it here, except for the parts on heaven and hell, which are only in your post on my intro thread.

 

 

From your last post on this thread:

 

“I like thinking about these things with my mind and need to answer these questions so my mind will be quiet and I can go beyond it to the soul.”

 

I’m kind of trying to get away from the separations that I’ve heard a good deal about, both from people I know and with more public philosophical/psychological speakers. Separating the mind, the soul, the heart, the spirit, the emotions, the body, this and that part of the body,… what else is there, the id and the ego I suppose. Also the conscious and the unconscious and the semi-conscious…

 

Maybe we can use a word like psychology or psyche to cover it all.

 

My thing is to kind of have them all operating at once and in sync and even sometimes in harmony instead of just being at and in one of them at the time. Yes, sometimes one is more in the heart, other times one is more in the soul or the mind, but deleting or deriding one in favor of the others or any combination of this sort of thing, tends to make me feel like it could put a person out of balance with in themselves and then prob with the/their Higher Power and the rest of Creation.

 

 

Again from your last post:

 

“our mind presumes that it knows the way just because it knows what it is looking for and that is to be right and prevail over others.”

 

I don’t necessarily think that this is the natural state of the “mind”. Or that everyone thinks this way. Yeah people kind of want to be right, partly because the alternative of necessity is to be wrong, and not too many people are too into that. And people want to be right or want to get to what’s right and get to the (here’s that word again) truth, because living with dysfunctional/wrong and untrue ideas can be painful, confusing and derailing. But to prevail over others??? Yeah if someone is gonna shoot down a room full of people with a glock, yeah yous agonna wanna prevail over them,... but as a general state of being?.... & I suppose people want other people to have it somewhat together because dealing with someone who’s totally untogether can be hard and strenuous painful work and really irritating. But to prevail over others just to say – hi, I’m the big shot – I don’t know. Also most people over the age of 20 something can figure this out and aren’t so impressed by it all that much, or in any which way, anyways.

 

 

What keeps coming to mind is Jesus, quoted as saying “Love God with all your mind…” so this would clearly be a statement edifying that one can love with one’s mind. That the mind can be a faculty for kindness, consideration, intelligence and love. Now the “Mind of God” might be trying to prevail over some others cause they are doing a bunch of mean, lousy, crappy, harmful things,… but still this is for their good as much and possibly even more, and for the good of all others. “When one harms others, one harms themselves the most, because they are harming their inner spirit and psyche and consciousness.” The previous quote is a spinoff of one from a John Wayne movie called “The Angel and the Bad Man”.

 

 

I think a lot of people want other people to prevail over themselves and in doing so, stop bugging them. Assuming or taking the stance that a person can’t run their own life, belittles humanity and defines us all as being helpless, useless, less than children.

 

 

I’m thinking that I could really give you a challenge and a run for your time concerning some of the ideas in your last post to me here. Do you think you’d be up to it or even maybe would get into it a bit?

 

I’m hoping that when we have different ideas that it’s all good and that we are all really here for each other benefit as well and equal to our own.

 

I’m recovering from a cold, and also don’t always have that much time, so I’d have to work within these limits. Right now I’m out of time and energy so any more will have to wait for another time.

 

 

Cheers - E

 

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Joseph,

Can we not have a "self-image" of our "true self", or a 'true self image' even if it's different from the "ego's" self-image? (that is in the context that you are using the word ego here)

I personally don't think so. In my experience, it can not be made into an image or accurately conceptualized. It can only be experienced and then words and symbols for the most part fail. However, one can use abstract words like the formless I, Pure awareness, the unconditioned, the substrate of being or poetry, stories , myths or analogies to point to it. Perhaps it is easier to say what the true self is not.than what it is. I'm being vague because I can't say.

 

Joseph

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Joe - is Joe ok or do you prefer Joseph?

I have to think about this for a bit - but thanks for the reply.

As I wrote on a post to you above on this thread - I believe there is such a thing as a person's "true Christ self". It doesn't exclude one's own personal identity. It's not like a person has to just become Christ himself and have no identity or consciousness or self of their own. Still there's something in the union here, with Christ, that A) makes it possible for a person to be their own true self and B] makes or enables a person be the best them that they can be.

It's really hard to explain, and as I don't have too much experience, even in being my own true C self, I don't know if I'd be the best person to put it into words.

I'm thinking that maybe it can be an image, but it's a true living image, rather than a fixed, static one.

Thanks for all your time and ideas and replies on this website.

& Cheers - E

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E,

 

Joe is fine if you prefer. Your understanding is fine with me. Excluding ones human mind's personal identity from their true self is indeed a difficult pill to swallow. It would be a death of sorts.wouldn't it? In my view, from a true self perspective, there is no subject and object so we could say for now they are both (true self and the mind's perceived self) one and the same even though the one is temporal and will die somewhere in time.

 

The concept of “dying to self” is found throughout the entire New Testament. Many say it expresses the true essence of the Christian life, in which we take up our cross and follow Christ. etc etc etc Paul said "I die daily" To what did he die? To his old identity self founded in the flesh (ego)? Why? So that other might see only Christ in him? We identify with the flesh (body and mind) yet it seems apparent from observing those who age and pass away that this present identity of both body and mind are affected. What does that leave? Obviously something other or greater than this identity. I can't say what, but if any seem contentious with i have said i would not debate the issue not only because i also see it as a hard saying but what can i say of things that cannot be said.

 

It seems to me it is a lifelong(s) and gradual process.for most all.

Just musing,

Joseph

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If anyone is interested in a rather thorough examination of "self" from a Christian perspective, I would suggest the book "What Is Self" by Bernadette Roberts. She is a contemporary Christian (Catholic) contemplative/mystic who has written a couple of other book related to this. But, this is her most recent and the best one, in my opinion.

 

Actually it was her work that led me to explore the notions of "self" and "ego" in Buddhist doctrine and practice. I haven't been able to find much Christian thinking on "self", whereas Buddhism is all about the notion of "self", or rather, the illusion of self. Bernadette is probably one of the few Christian thinkers who has gone beyond discussions of "ego" to the loss, or "falling away" of self. If you are familiar with the stages of the spiritual life as described by St. John of the Cross, you will recognize that this loss of self is one step beyond St. John's "unitive state".

 

Peace.

Steve

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Greeting, E yes I feel everything is one, but there are many parts. I think we can talk about consciousness as the connector, but I think we have a physical and mental with many parts and a soul consciousnesst. If my arm is broken I have the doctor look at my arm without dragging in the other parts. I think the different identities we have can be tied to these different parts. Job identity, family identity, Christ identity so if we can separate our identities we can separate our parts for discussion even though they are united.

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Hi soma,

Yes, but if we have an arm that is broken we might focus on our other arm for a bit to get it to take up the slack while the broken arm is mending. So in a way another limb does get involved or dragged into the scenario.

 

Similarly, if a one has a broken spirit or heart, the mind might be very important in taking up stuff and the subjects that life is made of.

 

As far as the body is concerned I am more and more thinking of how it can be thought of, and experienced, as pure energy - pure positive energy, as well as can be the other "parts" that are us.

 

Some folks are going to say this is crazy, but when JC said, "there are those of this generation that will not taste death." I more than half believe he meant it.

 

Greetings in Return

E.

Edited by Elen1107

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Joe, - how about Joey! At least from time to time ? - Or is that too much and too far out from your familiar rules and guide lines? You don’t have to answer this but if you don’t it could happen from time to time anyways.

 

Concerning your post #15

I have to say I really don’t know, but what has kept coming to mind since I’ve read your post is that what Paul of T. might have been saying, when you get it all the way over here into North Western, sometimes Yankee, American modern English, might be – dying to selfishness. I guess ‘self’ and ‘selfishness’ are two different concepts to me. ‘Self’, having a sense of self, having a positive or spirited sense of self, or having a true sense of one’s self can be a good thing. Being selfish generally means something negative and having a or some bad character. I don’t know, but it’s the only thing that I can think of in regards to these statements and ideas.

 

I don’t really think of the mind as part of the flesh, and in reading the bible I sometimes use or substitute the word material for flesh. As I told soma in my post #18 on this thread, I’m trying to think of even the body, and/or my body, in terms of pure and positive energy. So here comes the difference between the tactile and the purely spiritual. I’m not saying that the tactile can’t be spiritual and purely positive energy, but when one focuses on only the tactile, then one gets stuck, and limits one’s self to only a limited experience and understanding of things.

 

Also as I told soma in the same post, I don’t necessarily think that everyone dies per se’. But that’s another subject and a Big One and definitely on the limits of my ability to write about or put into words, and of course I can just understand only so much concerning it.

 

I’m short on time and energy and am still a bit under the weather so if I don’t cover everything that has been brought up in your posts and those of others, this is in part why.

 

Blessings 4&2U&Yours

E

 

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As far as the body is concerned I am more and more thinking of how it can be thought of, and experienced, as pure energy - pure positive energy, as well as can be the other "parts" that are us.

 

Some folks are going to say this is crazy, but when JC said, "there are those of this generation that will not taste death." I more than half believe he meant it.

 

 

I think everything is pure energy, some vibrating at a hight frequency some things a lower frequency. The objects and my physical body are at a lower frequency than my mind and soul. My mind in relation to the whole is perfect for what I must learn at this time even though it might be learning about the emotions good ones and what is perceived as negative ones. Negative energy is not bad and balances and harmonizes with positive energy to create many forms. Energy is not created or destroyed it just changes form. My body is changing as it has been from a baby to adolescents to teen to young adult to elderly. It will become dirt and that is alright because it came from dust. I feel I will not die because I think I am a soul with a mind and body, not a body with a mind and soul or a mind with the other two. I think the living forever part comes from the point of view. From the body returning to dust is death and the mind stop functioning is also considered death, I think Jesus was talking about the soul perspective which is in eternity and is our connection to it.

 

Aligning with the soul and having a spiritual experience does not guarantee spiritual equilibrium or discernment because we can have an experience one minute and be out of it the next. The consciousness of the spiritual experience must be harmonized and be with us from moment to moment. Some get off the path and have a delay of the constant awareness of the soul and have spiritual events periodically until they are serious and realize who they really are and then some go back to the spiritual life on the edge. It seems if you are not living on the edge you are not living up to your potential because we develop love and wisdom by jumping in the fire with the moth. The fire or burning bush for us Christians is the light of Christ Consciousness. It has already advanced prior to our search and shows us the way to the infinite and invisible. It makes it visible because Christ is our link from the visible to the invisible, from duality to unity. People are free to be reluctant, unenthusiastic and averse to seeing anything mystical or divine and that is their freedom expressed in the Divine Order of things so no need to force it. The mystics at their extreme point find the physical, mental and spiritual realms to be one with the wonder of simple interactions in union and concurrence as they explore their natural, unrehearsed feelings, emotions and thoughts as they observe events happening in their own time without pressure of any kind. The soul is perfect so from its perspective what we are doing in the moment is appropriate for our lives at that moment to learn and become aware. By witnessing we learn that the experiences of our life and our choices are the path we need to travel whether it is resentment, anger, unhappiness or any other low level vibration. It is our choice to linger in these energy fields or take rest in our soul. While resting in the Divinity within we make acquaintance with true generosity, tranquility, peace, and happiness. Before returning to our body and mind we gain an insight into the impermanence on the physical level and take in and take with us a sense of well-being and calm before returning to the material realm.

 

I think other paths and spiritual teachers visible and invisible are also helping to guide people and their perspective to the whole, infinite, Eternal Reality.

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Hi Soma,

 

"I feel I will not die because I think I am a soul with a mind and body, not a body with a mind and soul or a mind with the other two."

This reminds me of something John O'Donohue said in his book "Anam Cara". Explaining Celtic spirituality, he said that from the Celtic perspective a mind/body is "poured" into a pre-existent soul.

 

"I think other paths and spiritual teachers visible and invisible are also helping to guide people and their perspective to the whole, infinite, Eternal Reality"

I agree. We live in conventional reality where past, present and future make sense to us because they proceed in a linear fashion. Einstein said "time is the reason everything doesn't happen all at once". If the concept of time is agreed upon conventionally, then it is also an illusion. If instead, we exist in the "Eternal Now", then yes, all of the great spiritual traditions and teachers are there for us now! A bit esoteric for some people's taste, but not for mine.

 

Peace.

Steve

Edited by SteveS55

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Soma,

 

Do you think that Jesus’s body has turned to dust?

 

It could have been at some average time after the crucifixtion, {if you believe in the crucifixtion}, some years down the line, or after a ripe old age.

 

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Yes, I think Jesus body turned to dust otherwise we can say he wasn't in a human body. The human body is a vehicle our space suit for planet earth once it has served its purpose let it be recycled.

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Hi Soma,

 

From your post #20 on this thread:

 

“My body is changing as it has been from a baby to adolescents to teen to young adult to elderly. It will become dirt and that is alright because it came from dust.”

 

Can I ask you, do you think that the “dust” that you came from is star dust, and that it somehow combined to form amino acids and that somehow transformed into proteins back in this earths primordial sea, and that that somehow evolved into a fuzzy little fur ball running around the jungle floor, and then that evolved into a two legged mammals and that they evolved into what are physically humans, and through generations and generations and generations and then through your own more personal generations they created your parents and that your parents in combining their DNA and the fabric of their lives then created you, or do you think something else?

 

 

I hope that this post is taken in the friendly spirit in which it is meant.

 

Thanks – E.

Edited by Elen1107

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