“The Secret” reinforces an important message of taking inventory of our thoughts and focusing them in a positive direction to create life changes that we desire. This is a wonderful message, yet without critical examination and thoughtful application, the ideas can prove unskillful in our interactions with individuals who suffer.
The idea that we attract everything through our thoughts is on the one hand a powerful message. However, it can also be a dangerous message when taken to an extreme perspective. We can end up blaming victims for their plight, such as: Individuals in poverty, survivors of disasters, the disabled or the abused.
I believe that at critical moments such as with Hurricane Katrina or with the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, our desire to alleviate suffering is most important. The extreme perspective can also assign wrongful thinking for causing diseases or illnesses. I feel uncomfortable when positive thinking is taken this far because it can allow us to become distant from another person’s need or suffering, since we can at some level just say, “Well, they must have brought this upon themselves.”
If taken to an extreme this perspective of our thoughts alone ultimately influencing the universe can approach arrogance. Certainly our thoughts, intentions and our ability to select our reaction to events are powerful tools for personal transformation, yet this message needs to be balanced with humility and compassion. Thoughts play an important role, yet at times our response needs to come from the heart not the head..
At a human level, we need to balance our positive thinking attitudes with compassion for ourselves and others. When individuals are in need, our hearts need to respond to them with empathy, care and understanding. If our positive thoughts disconnect us from compassion, then even if we succeed at an individual level, we may fail at a social level – we may achieve material success but lose our “soul” in the process.
When we approach positive thinking or “the law of attraction” with a mechanical attitude, then we risk limiting our growth to self-interest rather than growing in our compassion. From a higher perspective, we know that spiritual growth starts within our hearts and is not limited to our thoughts alone. The mind and heart work in harmony in order to create a life that is fulfilling at all levels.
In “NEXUS: A Neo Novel” our focus has been on personal transformation of people who in one way or another are stuck. Through the journey of people in our book, we discover many insights to expand both our mind and our heart – to develop a positive mind along with a compassionate heart.
Peace & blessings,
Co-author of Nexus
Deborah Morrison & Arvind Singh from Ontario, Canada explore their gifts as novelists through a captivating book called NEXUS.Deborah has previously written a book of poetry called Mystical Poetry, and she has published many articles on health and spirituality.Arvind has published a number of articles on spiritual and philosophical thought both in English and South Asian languages and this is his first book.
NEXUS is an amazing spiritual adventure of Personal Transformation & Empowerment.Readers have described it as Insightful, Captivating and Inspirational.It builds on the experiences of both authors as teachers of relaxation, breath and yoga therapies.Through a poignant journey to a retreat, each person in the novel is looking to overcome personal pain including the main character, Logan Andrews.
Logan, a journalist in his mid-20s, struggles with depression to the point of suicide.Can he control his troubled mind before its too late?
In a vivid dream, Logan is guided to a spiritual retreat where he meets his lost love, Sarah, along with an arrogant millionaire, a grandmotherly woman and two insightful teachers.
Problems soon emerge for Logan and others at the retreat. What happens to each character and the depth of their personal experiences makes NEXUS a journey of transformation and a compelling read.
I’ve read many spiritual books but this one succeeds where others fail. It successfully combines a poignant story fraught with true human emotions of personal pain along with remarkable spiritual insights. James Bertrand
Nexus made me laugh and it made me cry.The story touched on many issues that I have struggled with in my own life and it gave practical advice on transforming my life.Its perfect for anyone looking for an Inspiring, Spiritual book filled with practical wisdom. Harpal Singh Khalsa.
A simple story with a simple message, Nexus invites you in to explore the characters’ thoughts and feelings along side your own. Nancy Noble
This book is totally amazing!!! It works like a dream at a subconscious level of understanding even if consciously you’re unaware of its full spiritual dimensions. Aaron
Compassion forms the primary message contained in the pages of Nexus, where through empathy and genuine feeling of oneness with others, transcendence from ego-centeredness is possible. Then compassion and genuine love can be enshrined within.
The following excerpts by the Dalai Lama shed practical wisdom on bringing compassion into our daily lives:
Where Compassion Starts
“Compassion is the wish for another being to be free from suffering; love is wanting them to have happiness. “
“The next matter to be understood is whether it is possible to enhance compassion and love. In other words, is there a means by which these qualities of mind can be increased, and anger, hatred, and jealousy reduced? My answer to this is an emphatic, Yes! Even if you do not agree with me right now, let yourself be open to the possibility of such development. Let us carry out some experiments together; perhaps we may then find some answers.”
“For a start, it is possible to divide every kind of happiness and suffering into two main categories: mental and physical. Of the two, it is the mind that exerts the greatest influence on most of us. Unless we are either gravely ill or deprived of basic necessities, our physical condition plays a secondary role in life. If the body is content, we virtually ignore it. The mind, however, registers every event, no matter how small. Hence we should devote our most serious efforts to bringing about mental peace rather than physical comfort.”
Transforming the Mind
“From my own limited experience, I am convinced that through constant training we can indeed develop our minds. Our positive attitudes, thoughts, and outlook can be enhanced, and their negative counterparts can be reduced. Even a single moment of consciousness depends on so many factors, and when we change these various factors, the mind also changes. This is a simple truth about the nature of mind. “
“Self-centeredness inhibits our love for others, and we are all afflicted by it to one degree or another. For true happiness to come about, we need a calm mind, and such peace of mind is brought about only by a compassionate attitude.”
“Many forms of compassionate feeling are mixed with desire and attachment. For instance, the love parents feel for their child is often strongly associated with their own emotional needs, so it is not fully compassionate. Usually when we are concerned about a close friend, we call this compassion, but it too is usually attachment. Even in marriage, the love between husband and wife…depends more on attachment than genuine love. Marriages that last only a short time do so because they lack compassion; they are produced by emotional attachment based on projection and expectation, and as soon as the projections change, the attachment disappears.”
“Compassion without attachment is possible. Therefore, we need to clarify the distinctions between compassion and attachment. True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Because of this firm foundation, a truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the needs of the other.”
“When you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness for them. Through accustoming your mind to this sense of universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others; you wish to help them actively overcome their problems. This wish is not selective; it applies equally to all beings. As long as they experience pleasure and pain just as you do, there is no logical basis to discriminate between them or to alter your concern for them if they behave negatively.”
“Given patience and time, it is within our power to develop this kind of universal compassion. Of course our self-centeredness, our distinctive attachment to the feeling of a solid I, works fundamentally to inhibit our compassion. Indeed, true compassion can be experienced only when this type of self-grasping is eliminated. But this does not mean that we cannot start to cultivate compassion and begin to make progress right away.”
Our Connectedness & Universal Compassion
“I believe that at every level of societyfamilial, national and internationalthe key to a happier and more successful world is the growth of compassion. We do not need to become religious, nor do we need to believe in a particular ideology. All that is necessary is for each of us to develop our good human qualities. I believe that the cultivation of individual happiness can contribute in a profound and effective way to the overall improvement of the entire human community.”
“We all share an identical need for love, and on the basis of this commonality, it is possible to feel that anybody we meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister. No matter how new the face or how different the dress or behavior, there is no significant division between us and other people. It is foolish to dwell on external differences because our basic natures are the same.”
To know yourself is the most important aspect of spiritual life.
While no book can reveal this fully, since knowing yourself is a personal journey for each individual. Yet the journey of each person in NEXUS touches the mind and especially the heart. Words are powerful as they can reveal, heal, illuminate and move the spirit. They can act on our mind as a balm.
Ever since I can remember, this quasi-magical quality of language, where the words act upon our psyche to create new insights and meaning, has always fascinated me. The richness of symbolic meaning is given life by our imagination and consciousness.
This is why I have been fascinated by mystical and spiritual language because realities outside ordinary experience are made real by rich symbols. Writing became an extension of this fascination with creative possibilities contained in language.
Deborah and I wrote NEXUS to offer readers a unique journey from surface pain and sorrow to the realization of a deeper peace that is within us – at the core of our being. Journey to this innermost part is “connecting to the Nexus within” and our novel explores this search.
The search for peace is not something new. Ancient civilizations have quested for the answer to self-knowledge contained in an essential question: “Who am I?”
This self-inquiry yields our infinitude as we move past labels of name, nationality, race, gender and religion. At the surface level are these labels deep within is peace.
Our mind is full of worry but when we can objectify our thoughts, we realize that our true nature is outside the thoughts as an ever-present spiritual reality. That realization is the essence of peace. Surface thoughts and emotions pass away like shadows cast by moving clouds, yet at our centre we can find stillness, silence and peace.
The outside is like the rim of a wheel always spinning but the central hub is steady and peaceful.
In NEXUS, we experientially explore many insights into spiritual life in the narrative. The journey of personal transformation needs to communicate to the heart. So it can’t be a theory of living but a unique experience of personal transformation from the struggles of people in the novel.
Each person needs to reconnect to their inner centre of peace, their Nexus within, in order to find the source of compassion, peace and strength. Of course, the centre is always there except it can be covered by hurt and pain of experiences.
In some cases, the affliction can be deeply buried like a wound. So it requires conscious awareness before release is possible. After the heart is unburdened from laden emotions, then the truth of who you really are can be known.
Peace is not something we have to find, since it is always within us. Rather we need to uncover it. Our surface condition has an apparent reality, yet true transformation comes from within – at the core of our being.
Excerpts of speech by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.delivered at New
Yorks Riverside Church on April 4, 1967.
Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud:
Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?
Why are you joining the voices of dissent?
Peace and civil rights don’t mix, they say. Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people, they ask.
And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.
Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I and others, have been waging in America.
A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor both black and white through the Poverty Program. Then came the build-up in Vietnam, and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube.
So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such. It became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population.
My third reason grows out of my experience in the ghettos of the North. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems.
But, they asked, what about Vietnam?
They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home. I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, my own government. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read “Vietnam.”
In 1957, when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed from the shackles they still wear.
Another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964. I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission, a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for the “brotherhood of man.” This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ.
To me, the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war.
Washingtons Regime Change in Vietnam
The Vietnamese proclaimed their independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its re-conquest of her former colony.
Before the end of the war, we were meeting 80 percent of the French war costs. After the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho Chi Minh should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not “ready” for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long.
The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by increasing numbers of US troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers destroy their precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least 20 casualties from American firepower for each Viet Cong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children.
Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and non-violence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know of his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
The Lies that Lead the US to War
It must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreements. They remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands. Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the President claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North.
We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for our troops must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create a hell for the poor.
I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam and the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of her people.
We must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed. Meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.
A Far Deeper Malady
The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing clergy, and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. We will be marching and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.
In 1957, a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of US military “advisors” in Venezuela. The need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru.
The words of John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. When machines and computers, profit and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and America Needs a Revolution of Values
True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: This is not just.”
It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.”
The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.”
This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from re-ordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.
Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are the days that demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must, with positive action, seek to remove those conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.
These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression, and out of the wombs of a frail world, new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before.
We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.
If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
Let us re-dedicate ourselves to the long and bitter but beautiful struggle for a new world. Our brothers wait eagerly for our response. The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise, we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.
Most world religions include teachings on forgiveness, which provide guidance for the practice of forgiveness. Here are some examples of forgiveness understood from different traditions:
Forgiveness is a practice for removing unhealthy emotions that would otherwise cause harm to our mental well-being. Hatred leaves a lasting effect on our karma (“actions”) and forgiveness creates emotions with a wholesome effect. Buddhism questions the reality of passions that give rise to anger through meditation and insight. After examination, we realize that anger is only an impermanent emotion that we can fully experience and then release.
The basic problem in Buddhist psychology is that emotions like anger and hatred are based on projections and ignorance, not on wisdom and awareness. The elimination of anger is a lengthy process but through mindfulness Buddhism is confident that an individual will realize anger is only temporal like many other mental states.
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else but you are the one who gets burned” — The Buddha
You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.” — The Buddha
“It is natural for the immature to harm others. Getting angry with them is like resenting a fire for burning.” — Shantideva
Wheel of Dharma, Symbolizing the Cycle of Rebirth & Death.
Forgiveness () is viewed as the remedy to anger (). You forgive an offender when aroused by compassion. Compassion generates peace, tranquility, humility and co-operation in human interactions. The act of forgiveness is considered a divine gift, not the work of human agency. Otherwise, pride () would increase when we take personal credit, which would impede our spiritual progress.
Anger is often considered the result of unfulfilled desire. If a person fulfills our desires and wants, we feel love for them but when they impede our desires anger can well up. The ego can easily feel slighted, embarrassed, belittled or in some other way be offended. As we learn to discipline our mind through meditation on the Word, our ego and anger naturally turn to compassion and forgiveness. Since anger and forgiveness are considered opposites, the human mind can only contain one of them at a given time.
Here are some verses from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scriptures, that capture the essence of forgiveness:
“To practice forgiveness is fasting, good conduct and contentment” — Guru Arjan Dev, page 223
“Where there is forgiveness, there God resides — Kabir, page 137
“Dispelled is anger as forgiveness is grasped” –Guru Amar Das, page 233
While Eastern religions take a more psychological view of forgiveness, Abrahamic religions share a distinctly moral view that varies from idealism of Christianity to relative pragmatism of Islam and Judaism:
Ideally a person who has caused harm, needs to sincerely apologize, then the wronged person is religiously bound to forgive. However, even without an apology, forgiveness is considered a pious act (Deot 6:9). Teshuva (, literally “Returning”) is a way of atoning, which requires cessation of harmful act, regret over act, confession and repetence. Yom Kippur is the day of atonement when Jews particularly strive to perform teshuva. Two relevant Jewish quotes on forgiveness:
It is forbidden to be obdurate and not allow yourself to be appeased. On the contrary, one should be easily pacified and find it difficult to become angry. When asked by an offender for forgiveness, one should forgive with a sincere mind and a willing spirit.” — Mishneh Torah, Teshuvah 2:10
“Who takes vengeance or bears a grudge acts like one who, having cut one hand while handling a knife, avenges himself by stabbing the other hand.” — Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 9.4
In Christian teachings forgiveness of others plays an important role in spiritual life. The Lord’s Prayer best exemplifies this attitude, notably in these words: ” And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” ( Matthew 6:9-13). The final words uttered by Christ during his suffering reinforce the importance of forgiveness: “”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). We also find instruction to love your enemies and turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:9 & Luke 6:27-31). Another beautiful expression of forgiveness and understanding is St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer:
“Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console. To be understood as to understand. To be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. “
The word Islam is derived from the Semitic word slm meaning “peace” and forgiveness is a prerequisite for genuine peace. The Quran makes some allowance for violence but only to defend faith, property or life. Still forgiveness is held as the better course of action whenever possible: “They avoid gross sins and vice, and when angered they forgive.” (Quran 42:37). In terms of clemecy, we find this passage: “Although the just penalty for an injustice is an equivalent retribution, those who pardon and maintain righteousness are rewarded by God. He does not love the unjust” (Qur’an 42:40).
The Star & Crescent Moon, which is a recognizable symbol of Islam
Note:Forgiveness is a central theme in our novel NEXUS available online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble & Chapters-Indigo.
We wish everyone Happy Holidays and our best for the New Year!!!
The holidays has many expectations around it. It is a time of joy, cheer, and a time for family and friends. Yet this time for some can be a period of depression, anxiety, self-evaluation and loneliness. These emotions can increase over the holidays with increased stresses, high expectations and fatigue. Emotions can be at an all time high and low.
Some reasons that can contribute to depression during this period include:
Separation and divorce can leave you alone over the holidays
Painful reminders of losing a loved one
Unresolved conflict can come to the surface
The added costs can create financial pressures, especially when the bills come in the New Year
The increased activity and expectations can lead to higher physical and emotional stress
Some stresses are unavoidable, still you can exercise control through strategies:
Recognize your loss instead of denying it and seek support from family members, friends, or people in your community
Set aside disputes for now and consider whether you can forgive yourself for any hurt or pain you caused someone. Can you forgive another person for causing you pain or hurt? Forgiveness is a mighty step toward healing your heart
Set a clear budget for the holiday season and stick to it
Manage your time wisely and don’t cram too many obligations together
Recognize that unrealistic expectations can lead to frustration, so set expectations that are realistic
You have a mind willing to create positive change in your life. You are a plant that always finds the way to light
Depression, despair, loneliness and hopelessness are never permanent fixtures of the mind. They like clouds casting a shadow in time pass to reveal rays of hope.
In our novel, Nexus, the journey of each person gives hope, faith and strength. Nexus also has a timely message of love and compassion. It’s a unique journey that’s a perfect read over the Holiday Season.
This is a response to a blog posted on projectshave.wordpress.com, which unquestionably seemed to accept that a co-relation exists between race & intelligence as measured by IQ tests:
In order for the co-relation between IQ scores and race to be valid, we need to accept the premise that IQ tests reveal a clear genetic basis for differences between “races.” Without a genetic basis racial differences in scores become immaterial, since other variables besides race can account for them. When we think of “races,” our categories are based on social and cultural constructs of alleged divisions based on externally visible traits, particularly skin colour.
For a fuller exploration of racism against blacks, I recommend The White Man’s Burden: Historical Origins of Racism in the United States by Winthrop D. Jordan, which explores the historical origins of race and racism in American society from first contact between Europeans and Africans to enslavement by white slave-owners. It looks at many stereotypes that emerged of blacks as being violent or sexual within the historical context of slavery. Many of these stereotypes still play an important part in our social reality today.
The concept of race as we know it in everyday language is a social fabrication and it is not genetically based. The question of “race” and IQ tests has revolved around intelligence testing of African-Americans. But, can we say that blacks in America are a distinct genetic race? We need to answer “yes” to that question in order to make comparisons between IQ scores and race valid.
Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race by Ashley Montagu is a seminal book that points out that race is largely a social construction and it is not based on biological differences between people. It still remains an informative work on the issue of race from an intellectual perspective.
We assume concepts of race to be inherently true. However, race has no biological basis. It is a cultural term that people use to describe someone’s background based on their own social upbringing where a person’s skin colour has been assigned social value. Biologically human species does not have categories but only variation around the globe. Most of the diversity among human populations, unlike other species, is found at a cultural level, not in physical or anatomical differences. Human beings have adapted to change by developing cultural traditions, while animals have changed their organic structure to respond to their environment over eons.
In human species, according to policy statement by American Anthropological Association: “Human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups. The concept of ‘race’ has no validity.” Biological differences such as in blood types do not follow our commonly accepted categories of race. So “race” biologically speaking is a meaningless term.
Still many North Americans continue to believe in three distinct racial categories based on a division developed in 18th century Europe. Under that division, you have Caucasoids or white, which would include French, Germans, Italians, Palestinians, Poles, Iranians, the English, Indians from Northern India and host of other peoples. Negroid or black, would include Somalians, Nigerians, the San, Ashanti, Masai, Pygmies, Zulu, people from Southern India, and many other groups. Mongoloids or Asian, includes Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Malays, Turks and even American Indians to name just a few.
These categories are arbitrary based on cultural and social factors and they have no basis in biology. We can find as much variation within these supposed “races” as between them. Numerous physical anthropological studies have demonstrated that race has no basis in scientific fact, it is only a product of cultural and social forces at play across the world.
“African-American” like other racial categories has no basis in genetic categorization. In fact, if an African-American genotype exists, it is a conglomerate of other groups including “whites” and “Asians.” Studies have shown that all genetic traits can be traced back to the first human populations in Africa. Therefore, “racial genes” cannot be separated from one another, especially when a person in external appearance may appear “white” or “black” but some of their ancestors may have been black or American Indian.
We are biologically part of the same human family with little variation. The biological variation that we do have, based on such factors as blood types, does not readily match our socially constructed racial categories. So IQ test results cannot be claimed to demonstrate genetic differences between “races,” since socially constructed categories of race are actually being compared in such tests, which do not prove a genetic basis for any apparent difference in scores. The difference also can be the result of social, environmental and cultural factors, as well as, indicative of possible biases within the tests. These factors are difficult if not impossible to isolate, therefore any co-relation made with one variable and IQ test scores is highly tenuous.
Other factors that contribute to variation in IQ test scores cannot be ignored, such as, poverty and labeling by teachers. The Harvard Civil Rights Project is its September 2002 report correlates lack of equal educational opportunities as responsible for racial inequality in testing.
When making comments on issues of race, we need to carefully and honestly examine our own personal biases and prejudices before making uninformed claims. So The category of “race” does not accurately reflect biological populations present in any given area. The uncritical approach apparent in your post is a perfect example of garbage in, garbage out – invalid assumptions invariably lead to wrong conclusions. We have had controversial and inept example of racist language used by Michael Richards, which has highlighted the problem, and an analysis of the concept of “race” and how it influences our thinking is important. Without a careful examination of premises, we risk making stereotypical judgments about people.
Nexus is derived from Latin nectere, which means “to bind.” First of its three possible definitions will be explored in this article. Definition 1: Nexus as a means of connection, link or a tie.
A connected relationship involves a union between two or more people. We are familiar with many bonds between two individuals, which starts with our first experience of attachment, our mother, who can often be our nurturer, caregiver and protector. This bond is significant for Logan Andrews, the protagonist of our story, since his mother raised him as a single parent during his adolescence. A child often can feel the strongest bond with his or her mother, since she gave birth and raised the child in her womb. Even after birth, a child will often turn to the mother for sustenance.
The bond with the father develops next, since the child and the father are separate entities. They develop a concrete relationship after birth. Many of the same qualities can be present in father-child relationship as with mother-child, except fathers have often been distant due to traditional roles. As with any relationship, complex issues can surface and the relationship between Logan and his father is built upon regret and missed opportunities. The bond isn’t severed because the hope however remote of reconnecting is there until physical death, yet it has lost its closeness a long time ago. Will the closeness ever be established between Logan and his father before he dies?
Next we move into the level of relationship that love songs, “chick flicks” and Harlequin books depend upon: The coupled relationship. But what does it mean to be in love? Is it a feeling that we desire, or is it truly an attempt to transcend our narrow self through union with another? Some people can also be hurt by fully giving their heart to another. With the resulting hurt and pain, they can in severe cases decide to close down to life.
With Logan he experienced a deep ecstatic love with Sarah McMaster. A love that would fit the definitions of soul-mates, united in mind, body and spirit. Yet Logan loses her and this becomes his painful tragedy from which he seeks escape through suicide. Still a part of him yearns to live and to love. Nexus becomes a psycho-spiritual struggle based on this inner conflict. So far we have looked at relationships between two individuals and the bond between them. Of course, relationships can also extend outward to include a group of people as part of a circle.
Besides Logan and Sarah, Nexus also has an interesting mix of other personalities. One of the most endearing characters is Muriel, a loving widow whose faith gives her certainty that she will reunite with her husband after this life. Yet, she also wants to be part of a community before she dies. As you read our novel, you will know if she fulfills her wish.
In Nexus, we wanted to show through the journey of each character the importance of empathy, which is aroused through intimately understanding another person. Each of us has experienced moments of joy, sadness, despair and even loneliness. These experiences of highs and lows give us the capacity to relate to and know the contents of another person’s heart in all its myriad emotions.
Our empathy creates the connection between us and another person and this is precisely the nexus, the connection that the book presents as having the potential to reconnect us in our relationships.
Our connection isn’t just at a human level, we can feel the same empathy for animals and all life around us. I would even say that we have an intimate relationship with Mother Earth, though living in cities that connection is not always apparent. Yet our sustenance and survival as a species comes from Gaia just as a child’s comes from his or her mother.
Logan poignantly experiences the pain of a dying fish, expressing the idea that all life is interconnected at a spiritual level. No pain or suffering is isolated, so long as compassion enters the heart. So the circle of empathy can extend outward from that between two people, to an intimate group that attempts to form a community, and ultimately to the connection between all life. In the process, of each unique relationship our heart also grows in its capacity to love and to be present with others in our shared journey through life and possibly even after. The book also hints at the dimension of our connection beyond this life. Moments of being present, especially at the end of a person’s life journey are important and we also experience them in Nexus.
The nexus found in relationships becomes a major motif throughout our novel as we explore the connection between each character and those around them, in the process highlighting compassion and heart-centered living. Through this connection, the holistic vision of the self can be realized instead of a divided self.
Awareness of Nexus is not easy and both Sarah and Logan undergo challenges. When you read Nexus, you will learn about each character’s unique journey and discover if they can overcome their challenges.