Category Archive: Reflections

April 17, 2020

Image by Stephen Skinner

Without access to health care or higher education and burdened by heavy college loans, people are practically caged within a system where the actualization of their potential becomes harder and harder to achieve.

Chronic economic anxiety thus becomes a constant companion, as it was even before the pandemic for tens of millions of Americans.There, in the constriction of their opportunities, lies the constriction of the American economy.

To speak of the economy as a separate entity that bestows its abundance on people rather than as the creativity of people sharing their abundance with the world, is the upside down thinking that makes our system so skewed and inevitably cruel.

Even now, masters of the universe speak of re-opening the economy with almost bloodless lack of consideration for how many millions of people will be too financially devastated by then to vitally participate. the bubonic plague led to the end of serfdom; COVID-19 threatens to re-introduce it.

If the political class does not stop underestimating the intelligence of the American people, recognizing that the barrenness of our system has now been revealed in all its heartlessness, they will be caught off guard by forces of chaos that then wash over American society like a tsunami in the wake of the pandemic.

April 17, 2020

My friend Susan sent me this picture today. She said that in the midst of all the sadness her new granddaughter was born, and her peonies began to bloom a few days before Easter. I almost cried at the reminder. Children continue to be born, people continue to love each other, and flowers continue to bloom. In the midst of the pandemic, with all its grief and horror, it seems to me there’s an undeniable awakening occurring. In the silence, in the realizations, even in the tears, there are gifts of knowledge and wisdom and depth and understanding. When this ends, whenever it ends, the sky is going to be bluer and the light is going to sparkle more and we will emerge as a more grateful and more humble people. Some will be grieving for years to come and it will be our task to comfort them. But our greatest task will be to make sure that those who died did not die in vain; that what we learned from this pandemic was to do life differently, for our country and for the world.

Time to Choose Another Way

April 14, 2020

Since you’re at home anyway and might not have a lot to do, try this little mind exercise: spend five minutes imagining what our world would be like if Congress, the Senate and White House was made up mainly of authors, artists, teachers, healers, scientists, yogis and philosophers.

Would things be any worse, and might they possibly even be better? How are we doin’ with the way we’re running things now? Is it possible for us to break the spell, to awaken from the delusional prejudice that a certain kind of business mentality is a better kind of leader?

The pandemic is not a surprise to scientists, for instance, who have been warning us about this kind of thing for decades. Their words have gone largely unheeded by large portions of our political leadership. And why? Because they do not represent financial leverage – what they have to say does not increase short term corporate profits – and it is money, not wisdom, that runs Washington. (Until we get the money out of politics, such insanity will prevail). And it is not a surprise to philosophers either, who know that humanity’s recklessness and irresponsibility have paved the wicked path to this. It is a mindset that is killing us, a dense material fear-based worldview that has nothing to do with paving a sustainable, much less thriving path for humanity in the 21st-century. The origin of this virus, whatever it was, was an expression of irreverence toward people, animals or planet.

It is time for us to choose another way. There is a veil in front of all our eyes, on the other side of which is a newborn world – one made fresh and sparkling (we’ve actually seeing images of it already) as we stop our acquiescence to the violence now perpetuated so casually upon it.

It is time to ask ourselves, “Is that what we want?” If it is, some things are going to have to change. We must make other choices. We must choose life, and peace, and love.

Yet there will be a lot of resistance to those choices, of that there is no reasonable doubt. Thus back to that imaginary government. For a different world, we’ll need a different kind of government. One of the people. By the people. For the people.

What a thought…

April 12, 2020

On the night before the crucifixion, all of the disciples were gathered around Jesus. As the hour got late they began to fall asleep. He said to them, “Can you not remain awake with me in the hour with my agony?” The disciples falling asleep was not only because of the lateness of the hour; it was because of the emotional pain of that moment and their wanting to escape it by going to sleep. And that has been us for centuries. “What you do to the least of these you do to me,” he said. And yet we have done horrible things to the least of these. We were asked not to go to sleep, and yet we did. We went to sleep with all manner of distraction, self-reference, and whatever other excuses we gave ourselves. And now we have no choice but to remain awake in the hour of his agony, because the hour of his agony is now ours as well. The answer is not to escape this mystery, to turn away from it, or to even think about trying to fall asleep. It isn’t possible anymore. The answer lies not in sleeping but in waking. The world is in agony, our collective crucifixion is upon us, yet resurrection is on the horizon even now…

Good Friday April 10, 2020

Today is Good Friday, the day of the crucifixion (I know, I know, what a weird thing to call it). We acknowledge it as a way of recognizing darkness, naming its reality and bearing witness to the suffering it creates. 

We do so however with the understanding that within the symbolic three days our suffering will end. There will be a period of grief, torment, and anguish, yes – yet that will be followed by a burst of light so extraordinary, so miraculous, that the mortal mind will bow before the supremacy of an otherworldly love. And in that moment the reign of darkness will cease, its spell having been broken by our joint realization that in the presence of God it has no power at all. Light having entered the darkness, the darkness shall be no more. The word “Hallelujah” then takes on meaning we never could have known before.

Hallelujah. May it be so. At this, our moment of collective crucifixion, may the infinite mercy of God be upon us. May we dwell so deeply in the consciousness of Love that God Himself will close the gap and lift us high.

We Must Never Ever Ever Let Go

April 9, 2020

There are two political universes: The first is the parties, the pundits, the money, the polls, the debates, and the media. I call it the political/media industrial complex.

The second is the American people, the voters, those who Jefferson referred to as “the only safe repository of power.”

In ‘20 as in’16, the first ate the second one alive. One of the most important activities on earth has been reduced to a carnival show, overseen by unscrupulous people who couldn’t care less. I hope at least some of them are using this time to think about what they’ve done again.

It’s so imperative to question what you’re told. If someone is referred to as a serious player, ask yourself why. And if they’re referred to as a joke, ask yourself why that as well. Do your own research. Recognize that many of those people make and break careers for fun.

There are journalists with complete absence of ethics who are high on their ability to destroy someone. They practice the “politics of personal destruction” – and not just for fun. They do it in large part to further their own careers. They walk over bodies and consider it a good day.

Meanwhile, there are millions of people who are desperately stuck – in jobs they hate, lacking healthcare, burdened by school loans, unable to participate in the American dream, and they show up to hear politicians with a sincere belief – eroded more and more by the bullshit that has come to be known as politics in this country – that maybe someone could actually help them.

They are people who truly care about this country. All they want is a fair shot for themselves, their children and their planet. But they’ve been turned into pawns in a corporatized game, a cruel and manipulative process by which people are made to believe that what should be thought of as a joke is serious, and what should be thought of as serious should be seen as a joke.

And where does that get us? Look all around you. The entire process of this campaign season was a canard. And I speak from experience. I was there. I was in the belly of the beast. I saw it, I touched it, I smelled it, I felt it. And in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “I tremble for my country.”

But I’m not throwing my hands up in the air, and neither should you. This is our country. The dream of our ancestors. We must never ever ever let go.

War Profiteering in the Age of Corona

April 7, 2020

Most Americans would think that with doctors and nurses literally begging for protective gear and ventilators, our federal stockpile is used so we can get them what they need as soon as possible.

But those Americans would be wrong. Why? Because the stockpile – even what’s left of it – is SOLD to the states, not given to anyone. I spoke to the CEO of a major hospital yesterday and she said that the second tsunami of despair will be financial.

Hospitals are having to spend millions and millions of dollars to get the equipment they need‬, and states are literally bidding against each other for access to the equipment. This should be seen as war profiteering. The idea that the profit motive has anything to do with any of this, while doctors and nurses – many of them with children at home – are literally risking their lives to fight this war for us, is disgusting.

This is the downside of unfettered capitalism, its shadow, the immoral and unethical obeisance to profit motive even when it runs against every moral consideration, every ounce of conscience within the human heart.

We are seeing revealed the unconscionable tyranny of a political system so driven by slavish devotion to corporate profits that we the people can just drop dead for all it cares. This is why I called the system sociopathic during my presidential campaign. This is inhuman. It’s monstrous. And it is up to we the people to change it.

April 2, 2020

It’s going to take a lot of forgiveness, positivity and compassion for those who do not agree with us, to make the kind of changes when all this is over that most need to be made. The drama on the other side of this is going to be huge. Much has been revealed about how American operates, and it isn’t pretty. We were completely unprepared for a virus that is essentially an attack on our people. Nor did our government function in a way that allowed us to prepare quickly. People are seeing how the current way of doing things in America protects the few at the expense of the many. This is not a reason for violent revolution. That very thought should bring a shudder to anyone. But we do need a moral revolution. In the words of John F Kennedy, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” We need a revolution in values. We need a blazing cry for justice. We need an embrace of love so great that it extends beyond the personal and heals the entire world.

April 1, 2020

Love replaces fear the same way light replaces darkness. In the presence of one the other cannot be. The last thing any of us need to be doing now is watching TV news all day. No need to feed our minds with it. There’s a lot of other stuff to do right now, anyway – checking in on each other, giving our thoughts and feelings room to breathe, and planning for the future. By that I don’t just mean your future; I mean our future. The evolutionary leap this calls for is the one from “it’s-all-about-me”
to “it’s-all-about-us.” Just ask yourself: if we have the money for that bailout, then why didn’t we have the money for every school in America to be a palace of learning and culture and the arts? Why doesn’t everyone have healthcare? Why doesn’t everyone have higher education? Why do so many have to carry those huge college loans? The answer is very simple, very important and profound. The answer is that we’ve been propping up a system that is basically unjust…that serves a few people but at the expense of the many. It stays alive by perpetuating a myth: a myth implying that people who don’t have much, don’t have more because they don’t deserve it. It’s actually the legacy of the shift from Catholicism to Protestantism many centuries ago, Martin Luther having suggested that the poor were poor because they had somehow not found favor in God’s eyes. That pernicious belief, embodied by the early Calvinists so involved in the founding of this nation, is an attitudinal toxin among us even now. The “Love one another” and “Judge not lest ye be judged” part gets undercut but all that, obviously. Which is not to say accountability does not matter. It’s simply to say that our public policies, way too often as not, are essentially heartless. Today is rent day for millions of people who literally do not know what to do now. Who don’t even know for sure how they will eat a week from now. So what is this system that has been propped up at their expense? And should it be, on the other side of this? Should our government be merely a handmaiden to a few? Much to think about now. On the other side of this, the change is gonna come…

March 31, 2020

So much truth is being revealed now, not only politically and economically but personally too. Who among us isn’t finding ourselves thinking about things more deeply, writing or receiving emails or calls of greater authenticity and truth, ruminating or regretting or atoning, realizing, loving, crying, remembering, owning it, facing it…no matter how hard? Sometimes there’s so much noise in a room that we say, “I can’t hear myself think.” And we’ve lived in a world for a while where no one could hear themselves think. In the midst of this pandemic, there’s an oddly blessed quiet. In “A Course in Miracles” it says miracles happen “when total communication is given and received.” A lot of total communication is going on right now, between and among us yes, but also communication within our hearts and with our God. This is a period of mystical surgery, an opening up of the body of humanity, our individual and collective psyches, in ways we needed to experience. And that includes facing our fear of death. This is rocking us to the core but in ways that somehow we needed to be rocked. Hold on, my precious, fragile, vulnerable fellow human beings. The waters are very stormy but the ship will make it through.

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