Why Am I Doing This?

 Because, in the year 2012 the world will end of course!  No, but seriously, I just finished a book, The Uncommon Path by Mick Quinn, who points out in his book that by clarifying and narrowing down your values to a short list of five or so, with one grand overarching value, we create a sort of laser beam target for ourselves. He also hints, but never commands, that that bulls-eye should be about awakening.  Edgar Cayce also intimated this kind of thing with what he called, distinguishing and setting your "ideal."
I've also, always had this incredible interest in religion/religions and spirituality. It's a big part of my personality but I've always been an a-la-carte kinda guy when it comes to religion, a little taste here, a little taste there. There's nothing wrong with a buffet as long as you're eating truly nutritious food and you're taking your time in savoring every morsel. Therefore, narrowing my focus and making disciplined practice and practicality a bigger part of my path will allow me to more fully embody this knowledge. I'm great when it comes to cognitive book knowledge about just about anything including religion but you can't really learn how to swim by reading a book can you? I know enough to know that the contemplative practices within any and all the great religions is where the real growth and development is. What growth and development you say? Ah, the development toward greater peace, tranquility, compassion, joy, equanimity, etc..
The fact that I don't know a whole hell of a lot about certain religions such as Islam, to which, I as an American, feel compelled to get to know more, in order to empathize and understand the cultural differences and similarities of those who stand on the other side of this cultural divide, is palpable.  Why do this? Because, hopefully I'll be less apt to engage in prejudices and stereotypes of those who are different from myself.  So, I'm ready to have some creative, serious fun with this wonderful endeavor this upcoming year. 
Wish Me Luck,
 Daniel Butler

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