Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas

Yet another great Audiobook and I find myself both inspired and confused. This one was “Walden on Wheels” by Ken Ilgunas – both entertaining and really good.
It focuses on Ken’s attempt to become and remain debt-free, including living in a van in grad school. But its far more than that – he also works in Alaska to get ahead.

It is inspiring because it is about living differently than mainstream society. But unlike “Eat, Pray, Love”, which was financed by a book-deal, this one is very raw.
I long to life simpler and differently, and I’m already debt-free, so it should be easy. Yet it’s also very confusing, because I clearly don’t want to live this extreme.

So how do I determine the balanced changes that I very much seek? I still believe I am in the right spot and job today – but more and more I wonder for how much longer.
I want to enjoy challenging work and experience new adventures both. And I want to be a part of making a difference somehow for others too – not being just about me.

Does Prayer Make Sense for Atheists?

I’ve always enjoyed abstract math and higher dimensional / non-Euclidean geometries. Add in the weirdness of quantum mechanics and dark energy and its even more interesting. Top it off possibly with things like discreetness and strings and it gets absolutely mind-boggling. I still love to read and think about all these things, although my mathematics have gotten too rusty over the years to keep up in depth – so I can’t claim expertise.

Now on one hand I am not a fan of the popular “new age” ideas that try to equate some of these concepts with “god” and spirituality. But I will also admit that there are some possibilities nonetheless, and those are genuinely intriguing. Take for instance the notion of cause and effect – and how this is actually proven to not be so clear-cut on the quantum level. There is even some wiggle room in the bigger relativistic realm of space-time.

One place I heard this come up recently was in Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love”. At the beginning of the book she was praying for help, and she believed an answer came that told her to “go back to bed”. At the end of the book she brought up the possibility that maybe it was her future self that responded to the prayer of her younger self. I cannot claim to know if current scientific understanding allows for this, but I very much like it.

Prayer came up at last week’s seminar with Atheist pastor Gretta Vosper, and again yesterday at the monthly “Spiritual” group I attend. In both cases it was the question of who do you pray to when you no longer believe in “god”, or at least not in the “man upstairs” type “god”. Psychology may suggest that “prayer” to yourself may still be meaningful – maybe even powerful in some cases. How much more if your future self is potentially involved!

Atheist Pastor Gretta Vosper

I had the opportunity today to go hear Gretta Vosper speak. Gretta is a pastor of a church in Canada – and she is officially out as an Atheist! I think a lot of pastors / ministers in the older / progressive churches are more-or-less kind-of atheists, but its hard to find any that are actually out all the way, so I find this fascinating! Anyhow, it was really good to be able to listen to her speak today.

One of her mentors that was mentioned by her and others in the audience was Bishop John “Jack” Spong. I ready several of his books back in the very late 80’s or early 90’s when I was first starting my journey out of the fundamentalist church. I remember devouring them as they were some of my first exposures to such thinking. And yet even Spong never said he was an Atheist.

I think that is what is really intriguing to me about Gretta, and she alluded to this today also. There are a lot of people, both pastors and lay-people, that basically are “atheists” for all practical purposes. But by not coming out they either continue the status quo, or they end up inadvertently causing those like myself to just leave the church entirely, as we see no place to be an Atheist in church.

Balance of Mental and Physical

Computer software development means I sit at my desk or in meetings most of the time. Yesterday I instead worked outside on my day between jobs. I’m totally wore out today, and a bit sore too, but it was a great change. We were not meant to sit inside all the time.

I know enough about myself to know I’m not going to take a real manual labor job. But I  find myself thinking ahead and someday wanting to find more balance. Right now I am excited for my new job that I start next week. But I need to make sure I also get balance.

It may be finding time to walk on breaks and lunch. It may be doing something physical on weekends or even the occasional day off. And maybe its just a recognition. I’m not sure, but I know that spirituality is also seeking something more. So I will keep seeking.