May 11, 2017

We are in the midst of a full on assault on American democracy the likes of which we have never seen. It is multi-dimensional, across the board, and deeply dangerous. I’m not saying what we should do about it; I’m simply saying what I think we should all understand.

Hitler said the only thing that could have stopped the Nazis is if powerful reaction against them had occurred early, swiftly, and hard. At this point, all of us need to do whatever we can do on any given day. If there is a meeting, attend it. If there is a hearing, watch it. If there is an article, read it. If there is something to post, post it. If there is a march, march in it. If there is something to say, say it.

Pace yourself, obviously, but see this as the crisis that it is and act accordingly. The future continuance of freedoms that all of us just take for granted are at stake. Our generation did not expect to ever have this kind of rendezvous with destiny, but we do. And we can handle it, as long as we remain awake.

All hands on deck, and NOW.

God bless us, God bless America, and God bless the world.

AN AMERICAN AWAKENING

May 6, 2017
It’s tempting, when confronted by political malfeasance, to become so absorbed with its symptom that we give too little attention to treating its cause. In fact, behind every dangerous political phenomenon lies the ideology that produced it. Everything that happens in the material world is created first on the level of thought.

Political propaganda seeks to affect the way people perceive the world in order to affect the way they behave. Political propaganda is the biggest tool in the extremist’s arsenal. It’s at an all-time high today in terms of sophistication and effectiveness, as Madison Avenue public relations acumen has been insidiously and nefariously applied to the political sphere. Our problem is not just that some politicians flat out lie; our bigger problem is the power of their propaganda to dismantle the ability within many people’s minds to even realize they’re being lied to. People are vulnerable to extremism not because they like extremism, but because in too many cases today extremism is hugely successful at posing as something else.

No external force is as threatening to our democracy today as is the political propaganda war being currently waged against it. Our freedom is being attacked from within, but instead of fighting this tide in many ways our country is flowing with it. Why? In large part, because of the Big Lies that fuel the propaganda machine and generate its power. Identifying the Big Lies of corporate fascism is an essential part of resisting it.

Whether or not a Big Lie has been proven to be false seems to have minimal bearing on whether or not it is believed. It is the conviction and consistency with which the Big Lie is stated, not the proven accuracy or inaccuracy of its claim, that determines its effect on voters’ minds and thus the way that they vote.

The first Big Lie being used against the American people today is the idea that the business sector is our primary “job creator.”

Successful businesses create jobs; that is true. But the notion that if we cut taxes enough for the very rich and for already hugely profitable businesses, then all that money will trickle down to everyone else in the form of job creation is simply false. Yet it is a lie that has been used in the United States for propaganda purposes for decades, despite all economic evidence to the contrary. Tax breaks and other financial breaks that favor the wealthiest among us do not create greater prosperity for all; they simply siphon off more and more money to those who already have it, and more and more money away from those who do not. They do not promote wealth-creation opportunities that benefit all; they simply redistribute wealth from those who do not have to those who already do. If we give a huge amount of money to the rich, we simply don’t have enough money left over to help those who are not.

Business is important, and successful businesses are essential to a healthy economy. But the business sector is no more important or more essential to our economic good than is education, health care or any other avenue by which people are aided in their ability to self-actualize.

Who and what then create jobs, if not the business sector? The answer is often hidden from plain sight for two reasons: one, because so many within its ranks are women, and two, because it doesn’t have the funds to create a huge public relations machinery to lay out its case. Education, not big business, is the biggest job-creating sector. The greatest job-creator in America is not the businessperson but the educator — not simply someone who can give you a job, but someone who can prepare you for a job; someone who can provide you with the internal and external tools to do it well. It is not just overseas outsourcing that has taken our jobs away; it is in equal measure our failure as a society to provide for the preparation of our citizens, from the earliest age, for the challenges of living in the 21st Century.

Tax revenue currently proposed to help the top .001% should be used to create the largest matrix of technical colleges and free institutions of higher learning in the world. The fact that it is not is a travesty of economic justice, and a legacy of ancient serfdom. We have acquiesced to an aristocratic economic system, forced there not by the tyranny of kings but rather lured there by political propaganda designed to convince the abused that the abuser is their friend.

Millions in America today – hard-working people who should have every right to feel securely ensconced in the middle class — are only a few unfortunate steps (a health crisis here, a lay off there) away from the ranks of the poor, and they know it. Their anger and despair are totally valid, yet often they are looking to the actual source of the problem to solve it.

The huge matrix of corporate power in America is not a huge job-creating machine; it is a huge wealth-destroying machine for anyone but itself. Our current economic power structure – led by banks, huge multi-national corporate entities and the politicians they can afford to buy — is a system of economic abuse. It is a system that creates huge amounts of economic stress, and then presents itself as the job-creating machine that will relieve the stress. It’s like a thief who steals from you, then changes clothes and arrives at your door thirty minutes later dressed as Santa Claus.

And when it comes to wealth creation opportunity, the average American isn’t even asking for Santa Claus; he or she is asking for simple fairness and decency and respect. The values of brotherhood and justice that form the framework of any right relationship form the framework of a healthy society. And that applies to the economy too. Treat every person with the respect they deserve as a child of God from the time they’re born, and watch what they will create for themselves.

Every person has within us the deep desire to create the good, the true and the beautiful. Walk into any pre-school or kindergarten and you will see that this is true. If every human being is truly a precious creation of God, then there is no amount of money too much to spend on education, cultural enrichment, and any and all opportunities to provide for their ability to create success for themselves.

Traditionally, America has known this.

After World War II, the United States Congress created the G.I. Bill for our returning veterans. This allowed millions of returning soldiers to attend college and enter the workforce at a higher level than they would have otherwise. A nation devastated by World War II then realized that our biggest opportunity for economic re-greening lay in educating the American population and rebuilding our infrastructure. This civic wisdom led to an explosion of economic prosperity among us and the creation of America’s great middle class.

Abraham Lincoln, who our current president has referred to as “low energy Abe,” in fact released the energy of a thousand suns when he articulated for the ages the highest aspiration of the American people: that ours would be a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” What a travesty we are making of our own national creed, as we acquiesce to the takeover of the United States government by forces who, however much they rant and rave their support for “the American people,” are dedicated to placing the reins of our government in the hands of those with nothing but contempt for the notion of a government “for the people.” These “economic royalists,” as Franklin Delano Roosevelt referred to them, have done extraordinary damage to our history and are doing extraordinary damage now. But whenever they appear, they are an aberration and not an inevitability. We have stopped them before and we will stop them again.

The second Big Lie at the heart of the extremist propaganda machine is that the poor are those who simply will not and do not help themselves. The demonizing of America’s poor has been one of the great successes of the corporate extremists, insidiously turning those being systematically pushed into the ranks of the poor into the greatest proponents of the system that is doing the pushing. If I don’t like you, I’m less likely to stand up for you; if I don’t stand up for you, then I’m not going to know to stand up for myself when those same forces are coming after me.

So the strategy of the propaganda war is obvious: stereotype the faceless minions of corporate extremism as your economic savior, even when they’re not; and the most disadvantaged among you as your enemy, even when they’re not. That way you won’t rebel against your abuser, and you won’t side with those held down by the same forces that will get around to you if you allow them to. It’s a brilliant strategy and at the moment it’s working. But it will not work forever, because while the American people can be fooled and fooled too easily, that doesn’t mean that we’re fools. Even the smartest people have been taken in by frauds, whether fraudulent lovers who made us think they cared or salesmen who made us believe in their fraudulent products. It happens to the best of us. But once you know what’s being done to you, something changes. You’re no longer asleep and you will no longer be held down. You are awake to your rights and no longer blinded by those who would deny them.

What we need now is an American Awakening. Political propaganda has no real power in the face of an awakened citizenry. Sometimes Americans are kind of slow to realize what’s going on, but historically we slam it like nobody’s business once we do. And we will have learned from all this. We will have learned the dangers of going to sleep at the wheel of American democracy. We will have learned that democracy cannot be taken for granted. And we will have learned that citizenship is a serious responsibility.

The question isn’t, “But what can we do?” The question is, “What will YOU do?” The midterm elections are November 6, 2018. Write that day in your calendar and etch it on your heart; prepare for that day in every way you can. Do not be distracted and do not lose courage.

It is the day when we can turn all this around.

HEALTHCARE AS A MORAL ISSUE

MAY 4, 2017
Grown men are gloating over their success today at starting to strip millions of people of their health care. This is what happens when conscience means nothing and the marketplace means everything. What a nation of idolators we’ve become, bowing down at the altar of the free market as though it matters more than the health of our children, the health of our earth, or the health of our own souls. This is not just a political issue, it is a moral issue.

Each of us with health insurance might want to take a moment to acknowledge the pain today of those who are fearing that they and their children might lose theirs. And most of all, let us not look away; let’s not be tempted to ignore the travesty of governmental policies so dedicated to the short term economic needs of business that the long-term needs of our fellow citizens and the earth on which we live are given increasingly, menacingly and dangerously short shrift.

Quite the opposite… let this be a day of motivation and inspiration. In the mid-term elections of November 2018, when a great electoral tsunami turns back the tide of institutionalized selfishness now becoming the order of the day, let it be clear to everyone that this was the day that clinched the turning, when millions of people said “Enough is enough.”

In retrospect, let us look back on this day and know it was the day when things began to change. When enough of us woke up. When enough of us internally rose to the occasion and knew that for the next two years at least, we would take our place in the tapestry of American history and together reclaim for our nation the truth and integrity of its soul.

WHEN WITNESSING AN APPROACHING DISASTER, ARE WE NOT HARDWIRED TO SCREAM?

APRIL 21, 2017

The Viet Nam War did not go well; it was an ill-conceived unmitigated disaster. The Iraq War did not go well; it was an ill-conceived unmitigated disaster. Yet our current administration now talks about North Korea and Iran with the same saber-rattling, delusional bravado with which past administrations led our country into those unnecessary wars and thus thousands of souls to their deaths.

The issue is not whether or not the governments of North Korea and Iran are dishonorable entities; about that, unfortunately, there is little dispute. Yet military action is not some magic pill. The argument that a military solution to our problems dealing with those regimes is even close to a sane conversation is itself insane. Americans must avoid psychological vulnerability to a new set of warmongers now holding the reigns of power.

Ill-conceived US military aggression over the last few decades has brought nothing but death and destruction that continues to this day. Yet phrases now uttered by our President, Vice-President and Secretary of State in relation to both North Korea and Iran echo the same militaristic propaganda. These statements are not just troubling; they are hinting at catastrophic possibilities to come.

George Bush was not kidding when he talked about Iraq, and neither is Donald Trump when he talks about North Korea and Iran.

What are we to do? There is obviously no easy answer at this point, but what we should NOT do is acquiesce to the same falsehoods and misguided thinking that led us into wars in Viet Nam and Iraq. This is not a time to concern ourselves with ultimately meaningless things.

In those two wars, while thousands suffered and died abroad — and continue to, in the case of Iraq — the homeland of the United States remained physically intact. It is deeply naive of Americans to believe we would be so spared the third time. As it says in A Course in Miracles, there is “a limit beyond which we cannot miscreate.” Individually and collectively, you can behave insanely just so many times before reality starts to catch up with you.

Let us atone now, and pray now, that a miracle might emerge from the depth of our humility before God.

Wake up, America. We are on a war path already, and it’s a path to hell.

BLESSING IS AS BLESSING DOES

God doesn’t love one person more than He loves another, or one nation more than He loves another. It is true that we have been a blessed nation, but only because our national creed has been a blessing on the world. The moment our blessing on others stops, so will our experience of being blessed.

America is on a very perilous course politically because we are on a perilous course spiritually. We are acting as though by some divine right Americans matter more than others do; that while putting ourselves first is clearly considered selfishness in the life of an individual, for some reason it should now be considered virtuous in the life of a nation; that building walls to divide us is somehow more righteous than the work of tearing them down.

I understand how important it is to protect American workers, and I support any changes in policy that do that. But a ban on Muslims, a ban on refugees, a wall against Mexicans, the demonization of the press….where does all this meanness come from? And by what reasoning do we think that any of this will bode us well? The Biblical injunction that “God shall not be mocked” means He ISN’T. And karma simply is.

We are proactively causing unnecessary human suffering when our spiritual mission is to ameliorate such suffering. Innocent men, women and children are in pain and despair right now, as we speak, their lives thrown into chaos because of policies that do not reflect the higher mind or moral conscience of the American people. These are policies that reflect the workings of an unstable mind, not the convictions of a courageous heart.

May God help those whose lives have been cast into unnecessary chaos today. May all of us help Him help them.

ON CASTING OUT THE STRANGER

When I was a little girl, my father used to point out that the entire concept of national boundaries was made by man and not by God. He would have us look at an atlas, or a globe, in which the boundary lines weren’t present and see what the world actually looks like geographically. God didn’t draw a line between France and Spain, or the United States and Mexico. The whole idea of national boundaries is simply a man-made material category.

National sovereignty has its place in our material functioning: but it should be used to organize us, not to divide us. The modern concept of nation-state has done as much to create violence as to create peace in the world. In the Middle East, for example, for centuries tribes wandered around and among each other representing different religions and ethnicities and things were in many ways much better than they are now.

Most Americans can’t relate to the idea of being a refugee with nowhere to go, though in many cases that was the plight of our own ancestors . In both the Old and New Testament, we are told to greet the stranger with respect and with an open heart. Now, however, we are allowing our hearts to close, our moral compass to be driven off course, and our minds to be propagandized with the notion that Muslims, for instance, are our enemy from whom we must be protected. No. It is simply untrue. Islam is one of the great religions of the world. It is an Abrahamic religion. It is not our enemy.

Are there radical, insane people using Islam as a cover for their death cult? Yes. But we simply play into their hands by taking the position currently promulgated by the Trump administration. Make no mistake about it: such policies will only make us less safe. And we must resist this.

Michael Weiss will be speaking brilliantly about this issue at SISTER GIANT. I hope you will be there to contribute your energy to the field of conscience now emerging. We must educate ourselves. And we must take a stand, for a politics of conscience and compassion and love. www.sistergiant.com

ON PUBLIC MORALITY

1/28/2017

Traditionally, conservatives have focused on issues of private morality and liberals have focused on issues of public morality. But over the last few decades the Left has become overly secularized, rationalistic, corporatized in its conversation. We will argue things on an economic basis but have acted as though words like “morality” are almost beneath us. In fact, not all moral issues are relative and some things are simply right or wrong. At the very least, the debate over moral issues is worthy.

Now, policies that strike at the heart of the moral core of our nation are confronting us, and we need to reclaim the moral argument in order to challenge them most effectively. Mass incarceration, for instance, is not unwise only because it is an absurd waste of money. Mass incarceration is unwise because it is WRONG. It is evil. It morally diminishes who we are as a nation.

Similarly, the issue of torture is not about “whether or not it works;” the problem with torture is that it is simply WRONG. And we can go down the list. Economic justice is a moral issue. Environmental sustainability is a moral issue. Immigration is a moral issue. For decades we have bought into the evil lie that if something appears to make economic sense, or appears to be effective in terms of sheer brute force, then somehow it should be seen as our highest good. But in fact, such arguments are often reflective of our basest instincts. And anything that tears at the moral fabric of our nation will in fact weaken us, not strengthen us. It is in God and God only that we are strong, and God is Love. The line “God shall not be mocked” means that He will not be. It is the sheerest form of arrogance to think we will not reap what we sow, as a nation as well as as individuals. And each of us has a part to play in proclaiming a higher good.

PRAYER OF APOLOGY TO AFRICAN AMERICANS

On behalf of myself, and on behalf of my country, to you and all African Americans, from the beginning of our nation’s history, in honor of your ancestors and for the sake of your children, please hear this from my heart…
I apologize,
please forgive us.

With this prayer I acknowledge the depth of evils that have been perpetrated against black people in America.
From slavery, to lynchings, to white supremacist laws, to the denial of voting rights, to all the ways both large and small, that abuses have occurred — all of them evil, all of them wrong.
For all the oppression and all the injustice…
I apologize,
please forgive us.

For the denial of human and civil rights, for inequities in criminal justice, for instances of police brutality, for the denial of opportunity, for economic injustice, for all ways that racism has fostered these wrongs…
I apologize,
please forgive us.

With this prayer I acknowledge the beauty and genius of your culture, the power and genius of those who came before you, of your children and all your descendants. With this prayer we pray that you, your children, and especially your men be blessed and protected.
May your men be blessed and protected.
May your men be blessed and protected.

May all your men, women and children be surrounded by angels at this time.

Dear God, may a great healing occur.
We place in your hands the relationship between black and white Americans.
May we be lifted high above the walls that divide us.
May our hearts be awakened to our truth of our oneness.
May racism and prejudice be no more.
May they dissolve in the presence of Your love.
Please come upon us and heal our hearts.

To you, my African American fellow citizen, please accept my apology on this day. It is to you and your grandparents, and their grandparents before them, and their grandparents before them.

May the screams that were not allowed, be allowed now.
May the cries that were never heard be heard now.
May the tears that were never heard be heard now.
And may the healing begin.

In this sacred container, may the healing begin.
May the Light of love now heal us all.
Amen

PRAYER FOR THE NEW YEAR

Dear God,
May my life be of use to You this year.
May my talents and intelligence 

help heal the world.
May I remember how much I have

by remembering how much I have to give.
May I not be tempted by smaller things
but serve my larger mission of forgiveness and love.

Thus shall I be lifted, God,

and know joy this coming year and beyond.

Bless me and work through me 

to bless the entire world.

Amen

CHRISTMAS FOR MYSTICS

The holidays are only holy if we make them so.

Otherwise, the assault of modernity — from crass consumerism to a 24-hour news cycle to the compulsivity of the wired world — wrecks whatever we have left of our nervous systems, making the true spiritual meaning of Christmas seem as distant as the furthest star. It’s only when we consciously carve out a space for the holy — in our heads, our hearts and our lifestyles — that the deeper mysteries of the season can reveal themselves.

The holidays are a time of spiritual preparation, if we allow them to be. We’re preparing for the birth of our possible selves, the event with which we have been psychologically pregnant all our lives. And the labor doesn’t happen in our fancy places; there is never “room in the Inn,” or room in the intellect, for the birth of our authentic selves. That happens in the manger of our most humble places, with lots of angels, i.e. Thoughts of God, all around.

Something happens in that quiet place, where we’re simply alone and listening to nothing but our hearts. It’s not loneliness, that aloneness. It’s rather the solitude of the soul, where we are grounded more deeply in our own internal depths. Then, having connected more deeply to God, we’re able to connect more deeply with each other. Our connection to the divine unlocks our connection to the universe.

According to the mystical tradition, Christ is born into the world through each of us. As we open our hearts, he is born into the world. As we choose to forgive, he is born into the world. As we rise to the occasion, he is born into the world. As we make our hearts true conduits for love, and our minds true conduits for higher thoughts, then absolutely a divine birth takes place. Who we’re capable of being emerges into the world, and weaknesses of the former self begin to fade. Thus are the spiritual mysteries of the universe, the constant process of dying to who we used to be as we actualize our divine potential.

We make moment-by-moment decisions what kind of people to be — whether to be someone who blesses, or who blames; someone who obsesses about past and future, or who dwells fully in the present; someone who whines about problems, or who creates solutions. It’s always our choice what attitudinal ground to stand on: the emotional quicksand of negative thinking, or the airstrip of spiritual flight.

Such choices are made in every moment, consciously or unconsciously, throughout the year. But this is the season when we consider the possibility that we could achieve a higher state of consciousness, not just sometimes but all the time. We consider that there has been one — and the mystical tradition says there have also been others — who so embodied his own divine spark that he is now as an elder brother to us, assigned the task of helping the rest of us do the same. According to A Course in Miracles, he doesn’t have anything we don’t have; he simply doesn’t have anything else. He is in a state that is still potential in the rest of us. The image of Jesus has been so perverted, so twisted by institutions claiming to represent him. As it’s stated in the Course, “Some bitter idols have been made of him who came only to be brother to the world.” But beyond the mythmaking, doctrine and dogma, he is a magnificent spiritual force. And one doesn’t have to be Christian to appreciate that fact, or to fall on our knees with praise and thanks at the realization of its meaning. Jesus gives to Christmas its spiritual intensity, hidden behind the ego’s lure into all the wild and cacophonous sounds of the season. Beyond the nativity scenes, beyond the doctrinal hoopla, lies one important thing: the hope that we might yet become, while still on this earth, who we truly are. 

Then we, and the entire world, will know peace.

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