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October 20, 2005

Comments

In calculating your odds, have you taken into account the Green Bank Equation aka the Drake Equation?

“N = R* fp ne f l fi fc L
Where:
• R* is rate of formation of suitable stars (stars like the Sun) in the Milky Way galaxy
• fp is the fraction of those stars that have planets
• ne is the number of planets capable of sustaining life around each of those stars having planets
• fl is the fraction of planets capable of sustaining life that actually evolve life
• fi is the fraction of those planets where live has evolved that evolve intelligent life
• fc is the fraction of planets with intelligent life that develop the capability to communicate
• L is the fraction of the planet's life during which the intelligent life can communicate

For the sake of argument, Let N = 1, ne = 2 and L = 10,000 years (maybe a bit optimistic, since we've only been communicating for several decades). Let's try a couple different things for the fractional numbers (fp, fl, fi, fc)
• If we let fp = fl = fi = f c = 0.5 (middle of the road), then N = 2,500
• If we let fp = fl = fi = f c = 0.1 (one smallish side), then N = 20
• If we let fp = fl = fi = f c = 1 (their maximum), then N = 20,000”
(courtesy of the brilliant Barbara Jo Mattson)
So, if there are possibly 20,000 civilizations in the Milky Way capable of constructing a lottery system and/or pondering religion & spirituality and the Hubble Space Telescope project postulates hundreds of billions of galaxies in the theorized universe and the universe has been described by more than one mystic as “a hair floating on an ocean…” the question is, does that improve or worsen my odds of winning the Powerball lottery? I really want to know before I spend this five bucks.

Brian wrote: "Lastly, there’s another way to look at this “What are the odds?” question. What are the odds that I could seriously pursue a spiritual path for thirty-five years and find myself at the same place from which I started?"

Odds are very good that you will find yourself at the beginning, when you reach the goal... For there is only the timeless presence (or absence), and the apparent "path" is really just one's journey of awakening to one's original true nature. The beginning is at the end, and the end is itself the beginning. (the paradox of duality) There is nowhere to go, only to Be....naturally.

I feel:

There are certain things you can do to get closer to God. Improve yourself as a person. Be a nicer human being. To the best of your capacity help people. Consciously work on making habits of virtue through use of will-power. Progress in this area can be objectively measured.

Then follow whatever spiritual path appeals to you and leave the results to God. If it does not appeal to you , try something else. If nothing appeals to you just work to be a person of virtue ( however you define that ) and this can be a source of great satisfaction.

Regards,
Ramnik

Just a few comments from a newcomer to this site. (By the way, I love this site and really appreciate your writings). I kind of relate to this particular post. I too came full circle recently. It all began with meditation. I didn't have a clue and not knowing what I was doing just did it with a kind of stupid simplicity (but it was sincere). Instead of being totally empty of thoughts, I would go as deep as I could go and just tell Him how much I loved Him. Totally Saguna. That's when a kind of "crack" opened up (I can't find words for it) and I got this "tiny" "tiny" rush of L-O-V-E. WOW!!! As tiny as it was, it changed my life. It totally broke a kind of wall I had built up protecting myself and helped me dump alot of emotional baggage. I left my religion because I can't judge things so harshly anymore. I can't seem to relate to this culture anymore. I hate violence in life or movies. And I even feel hurt reading some of the responses posted on this website on your "I was fired" comment. Anyway... Then I did the stupidist thing. I entered the "search mode" to get it again, get MORE, find the Truth and do it right this time (as if I did it myself the first time). After years of searching, I came full circle (or maybe I just ran out of steam). All my years of effort and I never found God, but now I realize that He had originally found me. I will never give up meditation. It's still Saguna. My way, My path. Everyone has their own. Even people in religions around the world. That might be their way of searching, their path at this time. But my most hope-filled belief is that God finds us. All of us. No matter what race, creed or religion. One way or another, we are all in Him, belong to Him, are loved by Him and will return to Him. This belief carries me now and I don't need to find a perfect religion or some authority to confirm it. I don't need enlightenment, nothingness, a psychic experience or other worldliness. He rang my heart like a bell and I will just wait until He plays it again. I think your friend called it "grace."

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