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The Clarion \ April 1,2011
'Knowing yourself is enlightenment
An interesting thought was proposed to me
today while speaking with Stan Jacobson. He
told me that I am not the stories of my past. This
took me a moment to fully digest, but when it
finally sunk in (a few hours later to be honest),
it was enlightening, humbling, and all around
My first thought was to a negative experience I
have been thinking on lately. I thought, of course!
I don’t have to be a product of that because it’s
over! What I mean by this is that while yes,
negative experiences may make us sad or angry,
when they are over, to allow them to continue to
make us sad or angry is to give that experience
a power it shouldn’t have. For example, when
you are home but are thinking about work, you
are still mentally at work, and you’re not even
A week in
By Patrick Veilleux
It has been almost two weeks since I took part
in the ORG 390 Spring Break trip to Europe,
during which a group of students and I were able
to visit four different cities in the span of a week.
It was a truly fantastic experience.
We started in Amsterdam on March 5. Still
suffering from jet lag, we decided to start out
bright and early at 4 a.m. Eastern Standard Time,
which was about 10 a.m. there. Upon leaving the
airport we drove into the heart of the city and
began walking from there.
The mass transit system ran directly down
the center of the streets, and it was remarkable
to walk down the cobblestone streets and have
a tram rush by. The Netherlands are of course,
far more liberal in law and morality than the
United States. Every few blocks there would be
a marijuana cafe or an “adulf ’ store. Among the
Dutch this is hardly noteworthy, these American
vices are mere pastimes in the Netherlands.
The cafes seem to serve primarily as tourist
traps, if one wants to truly see the city, they must
look elsewhere. The Anne Frank House is a fine
example of this, Amsterdam was under Nazi
getting paid for it.
As I reflected on Mr. Jacobson’s quote,
however, I began to realize how powerful this
though could really be, and had a particularly
liberating approach to how we practice religion.
To accept a religion simply because it is
historically what you have always been does
not seem a very valuable reason to commit to
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying to
just reject religion because it’s what you always
have been (at least in this article). I am saying
that with this type of self-awareness we can
engage what we truly believe and be honest with
ourselves without feeling guilty for changing our
minds should we so wish to.
Donating ten minutes out of your day to
yourself to truly reflect on what you believe and
why gives a tremendous amount of wealth to
your practice. It allows you to grow, and most
importantly, adapt. When you leam to let the past
go the present becomes much less constrained.
occupation less than a century ago. Realizations
such as this were commonplace for me during
the trip, that the places I was strolling through
and snapping pictures of were saturated with
After two days we rode over to Brussels,
Belgium; the home of waffles, the European
Union, and delicious beer Brussels was quite
possibly the most beautiful city out of the
four that we visited with white stone buildings
and either dark cobblestones or granite tiles
depending on where you were in the city. Statues
throughout the city added to the view, most
whereof soldiers from WWI, marks of patriotism
amongst a proud people. The most distinctive
part of the city was the Grand Place, a quarter
of the size of Times Square.
Belgium is also home to delicious waffles,
there were chunks of what I believe was
sugar embedded in the dough, and the waffles
themselves were small enough to eat with
one hand. The only flaw of the city was an
overwhelming homeless population. I felt that
everywhere I looked there was a beggar. I gave
money to a few people but on one occasion I was
chastised by a restaurant owner for doing so.
It was interesting that even though the European
Union has major buildings and institutions in
An example outside of the religious realm that
Stan gave was to look at how a criminal sees
himself When a person is found to be a criminal
at some point in their lives, they will hold on to
that title and act accordingly. The problem is,
when you are speaking with a criminal, unless
they are committing a crime while conversing
with you, in that very moment they are not being
a criminal, which shows us that they are not a
criminal, just that they have been.
Possibly the most liberating thing about this
thought is that it allows a person to make a
change if they want to. Whether it be a criminal
to a non-criminal, an atheist to religion, or a
religious to atheist, with this approach, when one
is ready to make a change, they can.
Dented sounds much better than broken to a
criminal. Dented can be fixed or changed. This
incredible quote resembles that same metaphor
To absolve ourselves from the past gives us a
much firmer grasp on the present, which in turn
gives us a better chance of affecting our future.
Belgium, the country doesn’t have an official
government. The former prime minister is
running things until a new government is formed,
but for the time being he unofficially runs the
show. This is idea is a particularly foreign one
to me and most Americans: a country that runs
see 'Europe' page 8
Editor in Chief .
. . . Daniel Heyman
. . . Brian Burgess
Copy Editor. . .
. . . Dave Alexander
Photography . .
. . . Position Open
. . . John B. Padgett
1 Jermichael Tanner Jordan lager 1
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Europe with ORG 390